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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Competing with Bustin Jieber

The rules of business as we have known them until now are being changed rapidly. The old models of a post industrialised world in numerous industries are being tipped on their head and rendered virtually useless by digitisation.

New economy businesses are leveraging digital and virtual platforms, different employment models to strip out overheads, infrastructure and the need for large capital investment. With digital platforms even a one person enterprise can competitively take on huge corporations and destroy their business model. It is no longer about how many offices and locations you have, how many people you employ or the size of your capital reserves. The internet is spawning a new breed of customers who have virtually no loyalty in "old school" terms because they can go to another competitor with one "click" and get what they need.

The new emerging generation of young entrepreneurs have a completely different mindset. They have grown up in an environment where, via the internet, they can access all types of services, groups and information for free or nearly free. Downloading apps/games, solving problems and accomplishing things for FREE in so many aspects of their life is their expectation. They also expect to get what they want NOW because more than ever before in human history they can. FREE and NOW is their default mindset and not only are they the entrepreneurs of the future they are also the customers of the future so we better be pleasing them.

They don't believe in intellectual property rights, confidentiality, corporate structures, boards of directors, business rules and regulations or even borders between countries. They don't need them. Nor do they believe in personal privacy. Their view of the world is put it all out there and grow the collective intelligence of their generation through sharing and collaboration. This is a massive contradiction to traditional business thinking.

Such a young entrepreneur on the rise is Thomas Suarez who is now about 14 years old. Check out the presentation he gave to +TEDx when he was 12.

He is a perfect example of the type of competitive force that I am talking about. If you are old school you will probably be thinking..."So what?! He writes games apps about Justin Bieber. I don't need to worry about him". Well you do!! The lessons and breakthroughs he and others like him are inexpensively gaining building fun apps helps them refine their approach to be able to attack traditional business models. If an app he writes fails then it doesn't matter as it has only cost him his time and his parents 99 bucks. A cheap education in my book!

Thomas is selling his Bustin Jieber app for 99 cents a download and it has gone completely viral. As he said he taught himself how to build the app and used a FREE software development kit to do it. Then for just $99 he is in the game competing against other huge multimedia companies putting enormous investment into finding the next killer app. Can you imagine the rate of return on that investment? Astronomical and enough to make the directors of an old school company weep.

You cannot underestimate that globally there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of developers and people out there right now doing exactly the same thing. There is bound to be at least a few of them thinking about your industry or business model and how they can change it, better it and ultimately defeat you.

James McQuivey and his thinking on this subject has been very influential in my own business approach. I credit him for some of the ideas in this blog and I strongly suggest you check out his work. 

All for now, 

+Brad Skelton 

Monday, 12 August 2013

3D printing technology - total game changer for many businesses and logistics providers!

I have been watching with interest the development of 3D printing technology and it's ever growing numerous applications. The impact of this technology for business and logistics companies is hard to forecast except to say it is huge!

3D printers such as the one pictured below are now available for home use at less than $2000 for a basic model.

So what are the possibilities and implications for business?

Lets say I want new water bottle cage for my +Specialized Bicycles mountain bike like this one.

Currently I could buy it online and have it shipped to me in a few days or I could go to my local bike shop to get one.

I think pretty soon the other alternative will be to buy the 3D file online and have it downloaded to my computer, just like a book from +Amazon.com or music from +Google Play or iTunes. I can then use the 3D file to print my own water bottle cage immediately at home.

So, no waiting, no freight charges, no warehouse storage, no inventory to carry for the seller, no sale for the bike shop or online retailer and the supplier of the 3D file gets paid directly. Furthermore no import duty or taxes are being collected by Customs and there is a reduced environmental impact as there is no packaging required to then dispose of later. Nor will there be any carbon emissions from the ship, plane and courier van that would have delivered the item in the old school manner.

Now a water bottle is not exactly a highly complex item but I think it illustrates the point I am making. The technology exists now to make simple items like this at home at affordable prices. 

3D printing technology is coming along in leaps and bounds and the composites now available are incredible and even allow electronic circuitry to be printed. Printing with molten metals is becoming a reality. One bloke in New Zealand is even 3D printing his own +Aston Martin DB4 in his garage! Read more

Imagine what this technology can do to improve service from your typical mobile repair guy that might come to your house to fix your dishwasher for example. If he needed a part to complete the repair he could have a 3D printer in his van, or use yours, and create the part and install it on the spot rather than ordering it and coming back later if he didn't already happen to have it on board.
The possibilities and applications are virtually endless. The efficiency gains for the end user and the supplier are immense.

For the shipping and transport industry this 3D printing technology combined with densification of products will lead to a shrinking freight task. By densification I mean things such as, flat packed furniture, data hard drives being superseded by USB sticks, CD and DVD's gradually being eliminated by digitisation and online delivery, detergents and even food being shipped as concentrates. This all means less transport capacity required and a diminishing need for customs brokers and warehouses. Freight forwarders will increasingly be transporting the printers and composites rather than the finished goods themselves.

3D printing might even prove to be a great equaliser for the rest of the world in competing against low labour cost countries such as China and India. If consumers can make their own items efficiently at home they will be looking for the best design as the manufacturing and freight costs will be pretty much eliminated. Price will be less relevant.

You really need to be thinking ahead about how 3D printing and other technologies will impact you and your business and start re-engineering the way you do things now. It will revolutionise more things than we can currently imagine.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Ocean Economy beyond shipping, fishing and tourism.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is running a project to explore the prospects of developing an ocean based economy with particularly emphasis on emerging ocean-based industries.

The project divides the ocean economy into established marine activities and emerging activities. 

Established marine activities encompass shipping and shipbuilding, capture fisheries, traditional maritime and coastal tourism, and port facilities and handling. 

Emerging ocean-based industries include: Off-shore wind, tidal and wave energy, oil and gas extraction in deep-sea and other extreme locations; marine aquaculture; marine biotechnology; sea-bed mining for metals and minerals; ocean-related tourism and leisure activities; and ocean monitoring, control and surveillance.

The ocean economy’s long-term outlook and future contribution to global growth and jobs while managing the ocean in responsible and sustainable ways are key issues.

This project is taking a long term view to the year 2030 and will be funded by voluntary contributions by OECD members.

In a world where free trade agreements and trading blocks are now common place I am curious how the OECD will somehow view or divide the asset that is the worlds oceans beyond a country's territorial waters. Do all countries potentially share in the benefits and risks or only OECD members?

To read more on The Ocean Economy Project you can go to the OECD website.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Gigonomics - The gig economy is here to stay

The global financial crisis has been the catalyst to more change in economies and the traditional way business has operated than any other single event I know of.

The reality is the market forces of globalised competition and margin pressure on companies has meant that a significant re-engineering is quietly going on. Volatility in business is now the new norm. To cope with this businesses must stay more flexible and agile than ever to manage to ride the waves successfully.

Sadly I think the days of a full time work force are numbered as this model just doesn't allow companies to compete effectively. Companies have been forced to evolve and keep costs tight by adopting "Gigonomics" and a part time/casual work force.

Gigonomics is a rapidly growing phenomenon whereby workers don't have jobs as much anymore but instead have a number of gigs with different companies to essentially derive an income equivalent to what would have once been a full time salary. Much like a rock band that relies upon stringing one gig after the other to get by. It is forecast that within ten years up to 50% of any company's team will be gigonomes.

Gigonomes are mostly contractors and consultants. They are currently mostly professionals or technical people but the trend is organically spreading into all types of roles. This group of people actually choose to work harder and frequently earn more than a traditional full time role would have typically once paid them.

Unlike their parents who are more used to the previously more secure corporate structures of 70's an 80's, Gen Y wants the freedom and are pretty comfortable with the gigonomics concept. For companies this helps them keep operating costs down and makes them more globally competitive. 

It will be a driver of innovation and the traditional foundations stones of big business weighed down with big overheads that prevent them from moving quickly will soon start to be shaken by the growing numbers gigonomes and freelancers out-maneuvering them.

Gigonomics is a win for companies and a win for the modern worker that is willing to back themselves and is here to stay.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

So you want to be a high performer?

The high achievers in business, the arts, sport, family life or any other pursuit realise the value of one important commodity ahead of all others.

This is a commodity that nobody gets more or less of than anybody else and it is free to us all.

I am talking about "Time".

We all get 168 hours per week so how is it that some people achieve more than others in any given week, month, year or lifetime? The person that gets the best results almost always is using time more effectively than anybody else. In other words they invest more in the time they have available and invest with greater intensity. 

So how do they do that?

Firstly...they know time is precious and finite for us all so they rarely waste it on trivial things. Once that time is gone or that moment passes it doesn't come back again so they make the most of it right there and then.

High achievers are nearly always very effective at delegation because they know by doing this they can invest more time into their top priorities. In other words...to be a high performer they must outsource the small stuff to open more time to focus on the big stuff. It's not optional.

The same goes for business. In any given week if your team has more time to focus on the companies biggest goals then it stands to reason you will beat your competitors and be more successful. Although it's become a bit of cliche I firmly believe that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff. Outsource it cost effectively so your team is focused on more important and dollar productive activity.

I am not advocating you become a complete workaholic. You still need to rest to rejuvenate yourself. It's just about finding the balance of rest (not laziness) versus work so you can perform at your best in the time you create. Top athletes and even race horses need to be rested so they can go harder when it counts. We are no different.

Pressure makes diamonds so I believe in creating this pressure by pushing yourself outside your comfort zone continually.

All for now,

+Brad Skelton 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

We go deeper!

I created Depth Industries to help our customers in the new truly globalised economy where the internet & modern cargo transportation have radically changed the competitive landscape forever.

We understand that increasingly most industries are becoming commoditised so delivering our customers the service they need at world best prices is the key to our own success. To enable us to do this we have adopted the latest Cloud based technologies and lean business overhead models ourselves. 

Distance doesn't matter anymore so Depth Industries businesses aim to support our clients in conquering their chosen market not just at home, but internationally from wherever they are in the world by deeply understanding their needs and delivering on them.

To do this a few of the key things any business needs today are:
- Competitive International shipping and freight forwarding services.
- A global workforce paid at internationally competitive rates.
- Capital to grow.

That's why Depth Industries operates these companies:-

Depth Logistics is the choice of heavy industry in shipping and consulting on moving project and heavy cargo all over the planet for companies involved in earth moving, mining, construction, petrochemical and energy production related industries.

Depth Offshore is an offshore outsourcing facilitation business helping companies save money by accessing a global workforce. With internet technologies there is virtually no limit to the business tasks that can be easily and successfully outsourced offshore with our help. Savings up to 75% of a comparable western country salary can be achieved. Offshoring tasks is now one of the key enablers in high performance organisations.

Depth Global is a venture capital firm specialising in early stage start up companies run by passionate entrepreneurs playing by the new global economy rules.

+Depth Industries  can be followed on Google+ for access to special offers, deals and business insights.

I hope that Depth can be of service to you and your business soon. We would be very grateful for any opportunities you give us.

Deep enough for now,

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

What's next for The Shipping Bloke?

Sadly, in January Skelton Sherborne’s creditors voted to liquidate and wind up the company and this process is now well advanced.

I made the liquidators, S.V.Partners, aware that I had lodged a complaint(#306016 dated 23 November, 2012) with the Government Financial Ombudsmen Service about HSBC's harsh treatment of Skelton Sherborne. Without representation, and at my own expense, I am vigorously pursuing compensation for the company and I am currently awaiting the Ombudsmen's advice as to when the matter will be mediated. 

I tabled all the evidence I have about HSBC's actions to the liquidators and they have authorised me to pursue this action on behalf of the company and it's creditors. They have instructed me to keep them abreast of the progress of the complaint. Should any financial compensation be awarded by the Financial Ombudsmen then this goes to liquidators for distribution to the creditors and not myself. While I sincerely appreciate the Financial Ombudsmen advancing this matter, the pace of it's progress was not quick enough to save Skelton Sherborne from liquidation and the associated fallout for innocent people.

As I indicated in my previous post I am absolutely determined to bounce back from this setback. It is early days but I am rebounding now thanks to some great personal and professional support I have received from many people who believe in me.

So here is the venture I have been developing the past few months and I am pleased to formally announce the launch of....

While I will always be very involved in shipping and international heavy logistics, I have launched some exciting new ventures under the Depth Industries umbrella in different fields. So this will be the final post from "The Shipping Bloke" as I have a fresh new blog and updated personal website in line with these new pursuits.

In the future I will be expressing my thoughts not just about shipping but all kinds of business related ideas and issues according to the new rules of this now truly globalised economy.

Click on this link to check the new blog out, subscribe and go deeper into Depth Industries.

I have been humbled by the following The Shipping Blokes Blog has enjoyed and I hope you will follow me over to the new blog and that Depth Industries can be of service to you soon. We would be very grateful for any opportunity to help you.

Thank you and see you there!

The Shipping Bloke