Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do we want the ability to design and make iPhones here?

Submitted by John Warner
What are your thoughts? Do you think it is realistic or feasible to produces Iphones in America instead of outsourcing the manufacturing to factories in Asia? Let us know what you think after you read this blog!
A few days ago, I sent a link to a number of thought leaders in South Carolina to a New York Times article, How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work. A wake-up call in the article was a quote from a high-ranking Apple executive, "Factories in Asia “can scale up and down faster” and “Asian supply chains have surpassed what’s in the U.S.” The result is that “we can’t compete at this point.”
See Michael Porter's presentation to New Carolina last fall, especially starting at about slide 15. High wage states have deep and sophisticated industry clusters, and South Carolina has recruited branch manufacturers who are all over the board. Dr. Porter said, "If there is one reason our wages are low, that's it."
This week, there is an interesting response to the New York Times article in Forbes, The Real Reason the U.S. Doesn't Make iPhones: We Wouldn't Want To.
I would rather my children designed iPhones than made them. For our young generation, 400,000 workers in rows and rows assembling iPhones is a scene that they could comprehend only in a Charles Dickens’ novel. The day that America starts to assemble iPhones will be the day that China is designing those cool products. That will be a day when our smartest and brightest young people are flocking to China.
The point of the Apple article is that an entire ecosystem of firms that "make them better, faster, cheaper, and leaner than anyone else" develops distinctive capabilities that no one firm individually has. China has moved from being only cheap in electronics, to having capabilities that cannot be replicated in the United States today. A high value added innovation culture is only possible where there is an ecosystem of operationally excellent firms that "make them better, faster, cheaper, and leaner than anyone else."
Mr. Milliken said, "Operational excellence secures today. Innovation excellence secures tomorrow." We won't be globally competitive unless we focus on building deep and sophisticated industry clusters that allow us to do both.
That requires leadership.

5 High-Risk, High Reward Steps to Starting Your Dream Company

By Nick Hughes
So, you want to start a company? That’s a very exciting decision. But first, you must cover all your bases.
For instance, generate a clear and simple idea, then determine what industry or market you plan to target, what type of corporate organization you’ll implement and where your business will be located.
Each is an important decision, but the main consideration when starting a company is how to manage risk. Risk is the heart of entrepreneurship — defined as “the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.” Risk is the sole determinant whether you will succeed or fail.
Billionaire Sir Richard Branson follows a principle called “protecting the downside,” which means that by looking at any situation and determining all options before making a decision, one can identify the worst case scenario and work backwards from there to find the optimal route forward. Protecting the downside is all about identifying and understanding risk.
Here are five risky steps that will actually help protect the downside of a new company and, counterintuitively, set you up for success.
1. Quit Your Job
Conventional wisdom suggests, “Don’t quit your day job” while you start your new venture; only jump over when it shows promise. Unfortunately, this decision can be a recipe for disaster. You will be double-minded, your current efforts at your job will suffer, your family time will suffer, and your product will suffer. Plus, investors will not be impressed with a lack of time commitment. And most likely, you will fail.
Sit down and ask yourself which path you really want to take. Do you really want to leave your current job and start something new? Or do you like the security of your job and a stable paycheck? Although risky, committing to one path will greatly increase your odds of success.
In the summer of 1994, Jeff Bezos quit his job as a vice president of the financial services firm D.E. Shaw. He and his wife moved to Seattle to take advantage of the explosive growth of the Internet and to launch Amazon. When the site first launched in 1995, everyone at the company worked until two or three in the morning, kneeling on a concrete floor to pack, address and ship books. He was all in on his new dream.
Would Amazon have survived and become what it is today if Bezos had chosen to stay at his job and work part time on his side project? I don’t think so. He’s no Steve Jobs, but Amazon is looking to become the next Apple, so I think he made the right decision.
2. Don’t Follow The Crowd
Oddly enough, once most entrepreneurs abandon a “normal life” and set out on their own paths, they then look at what others are doing in the industry and opt to imitate instead of originate.
Following others will only get you lost in the crowd. Why not be unique and stand out from the all the rest? Unconventional leaders and companies are, quite frankly, more interesting. A unique story and perspective will help you break away from the pack and shed more light on your value. Put differently, if your startup is unique and has a differentiating value proposition, you will more likely gain customers, media attention and ultimately lure investors.
Steve Jobs viewed himself as an artist, and drew inspiration from the Beatles and Bob Dylan, rather than from industry contemporaries like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. He was, in a word, different. For those of us too young to remember what he was like in his twenties and thirties, here is a little snippet from Walter Issacson’s new book, which describes a time early in Jobs’s career.
Despite his new fame and fortune, [Jobs] still fancied himself a child of the counterculture. On a visit to a Stanford class, he took off his Wilkes Bashford blazer and his shoes, perched up on a table, and crossed his legs in a lotus position. The students asked questions, such as when Apple’s stock prize will rise, which Jobs brushed off. Instead, he spoke of his passions for future products, such as someday making a computer as small as a book. Later Jobs would complain about the new generation of kids, who seemed more materialistic and careerist than his own.
Guy Kawasaki calls it “jumping to the next curve.” He writes, “Big wins happen when you go beyond better sameness. The best daisy-wheel printer companies were introducing new fonts in more sizes. Apple introduced the next curve: laser printing. Think of ice harvesters, ice factories, and refrigerator companies. Ice 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Are you still harvesting ice during the winter from a frozen pond?”...
Continue reading on the Mashable Business Website

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Daily Gamecock Says Columbia is "Trending Up," but not "Cultural"

By Frank Avery
The Daily Gamecock, the student-led newspaper at the University of South Carolina, today released their staff editorial on last night's State of the City address, led by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. As always, we at EngenuitySC are ecstatic to see student engagement from University students and love that they feel the city is "trending up." However, we were a little saddened to see students still seem to feel Columbia is lacking in "culture." While we are certainly realistic about the challenges Columbia faces, we did want to take a moment to highlight one of Columbia's best resources for the young and talented to engage Columbia's "culture" that may change at least a few minds - Columbia Opportunity Resource, or as, it's more commonly referred to COR (pronounced "core," like how they're kind of the "core" of the City's culture).

COR is a fantastic portal for all things fun and exciting, from events in Columbia like the Indie Grits Festival to the World Beer Festival to Historic Columbia, to the amazing LOCAL restaurants and vendors, like Hunter-Gatherer, Bone-In BBQ, or Motor Supply Bistro, that embody the life-blood of our town. Best of all, it's a great network to meet new people and potential find lasting work with people who care about their community. After all, you're young. It isn't just about finding a job. It's about finding something fun that pays the bills.

So if you're a student who falls into the category the TDG was describing (or you're not, but you want to get even more involved), take some time, check out their website, get on their mailing list, follow them on Facebook or Twitter. 

No matter how exciting or vibrant a city may sound, nowhere just hands you the fun and excitement it promises. It takes a little time and effort. 

So put a few moments into engaging your city through this fantastic organization. You might be surprised at all the "culture" you will ll find. And I promise, you'll get connected with exciting people and events much more quickly than you will in Atlanta or Charlotte or any other mega-city.

To start you off on your way, Greg Hilton, former chairman of the board for COR, compiled a few recommendations below:

Mad Arts Scene

·         Tapp’s Center for the Arts – Where art, creativity, and culture collide
·         701 Whaley
·         The state’s best art museum (Columbia Museum of Art) in downtown columbia
·         First Thursdays on Main – Arts Crawl, shopping experience, social networking

Amazing Outdoor Opportunities
·         Water
 Lake Murray – One of the largest man made lakes in South Carolina, with coastline stretching into four counties.  The local utility built a massive hydroelectric dam and had the forsight to put in a bike and pedestrian friendly segment that is now one of the most popular jogging spots in the City with a 1.7 mile stretch and two publicly accessible parks on either end.  A great 5K run with amazing views that make you feel like you are on the coast
Three Rivers    In  the heart of our downtown area is the confluence of three awesome rivers, the Congaree, the Broad and the Saluda.  The cities of Columbia and West Columbia are (actually) working together to build out more than 20 miles of riverfront jogging and biking trails.  A 5 minute jog from downtown and you don’t even feel like your in an urban setting. The city is working to extend those trails up and into the creek system.  The three rivers are becoming a magnet for paddlers and those that enjoy a good “tube” float (cooler optional).  In fact, Columbia hosts the U.S. Junior Whitewater Championships on the Saluda and Congaree rivers. 

World Class Urban Angling
Within Columbia’s city limits is a hidden world-class river system where anglers from anywhere can come and catch the “Saluda Slam”— a trout, a striped bass and a small- or large-mouth bass.  People are coming from all over the country to experience this and it is the best kept secret in the southeast (see article: http://www.free-times.com/index.php?cat=1992912064227409&ShowArticle_ID=11012607114126351). 

In addition, Lake Murray boast several fresh water tournaments that bring thousands of angling fans into the region every year (American Bass Anglers National Championship) and is said to be one of the best places in the country for Strippers.

Aside from a pleathora of awesome urban green space and parks, Columbia has the state’s only national park in the Congaree National Park…filled with backwater paddling opps, old growth forests, and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at.  This city of neighborhoods has invested in world class green space in almost every downtown neighborhood and anchor parks like Earlewood Park are helping to transform dilapidated districts of the city like the NOMA (North Main) district. 

·         Biking  – Columbia has a very long way to go in terms of becoming a bike friendly community, but there are several opps that rock it out.  We boast one of the largest military bases on the city’s southeaster edge.  This symbiotic relationship has make Fort Jackson a bikers mecca.  With the only requirement being your id to get on base, a world of low traffic options opens up for the road biker with 10, 15, 25, and even 35 mile loops where you’ll see a car every 5 minutes or so.  On a given Saturday, the base plays host to  hundreds of cyclists.  The traffic is next to zero, the uphills are challenging, and you can launch from nearby Lake Katherine neighborhood.  Don’t forget your identification to get on the base and best times are in the morning. 

·         Racing    Columbia is catching on to the health vibe…finally but has a long way to go.  However, the city does boast possibly the largest Mud Run in the U.S. called the USMC Mud Run Columbia where every year, more than 15,000 racers line up to get man handled by a 5.1 mile course with marines screaming down their throats.  It is amazing and is an awesome cause behind which our city rallies (with over 500 volunteers). 

A Connected City
·         Columbia has more than 10 young professionals organizations (Contempoaries, YLS, Palladium Society, Columbia YP, Lexington Young Professionals (LYP), etc…)
·         Columbia has an amazing vehicle for connecting young talent into the fabric of this community in COR | Columbia Opportunity Resource (www.ourcor.org).  Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR) connects young, talented professionals in the greater Columbia area to diverse and meaningful networks for leadership, service and fun.  

We believe:
1) Vibrant networks attract, retail and motivate talented people,
2) Motivated and talented people create exciting communities; and 
3) Exciting communities continually renew their talent pool.  

Our vision is an innovative, energized and successful Columbia community that attracts, inspires, develops and retains the best talent in the world.