New job, new culture, new learning experience.

Tomorrow will be a new day in which I begin a new job; a job with completely different culture, atmosphere, and task(s) than any I have experienced before.  As excited as I am, one of my main concerns is wondering about what adaptations I will need to develop in order to succeed, specifically in terms of “culture.”

It is important for any business to have a “company culture.”  It’s part of branding, and what makes a company unique which is especially evident in retail, and the food industry.  Think about when you enter an Abercrombie & Fitch store or Starbucks.  These shops exude culture whether it be the scent of Fierce (A&F’s signature cologne), or the scent of coffee beans.  This job is different.  The company has a defined culture, but it simply can not create the atmosphere that a retailer or restaurant can since I will be working out of an office setting.  Rather than a culture that we can visibly display in a store front, this is one in which the culture is basically what the company offers to the client day in and day out (good service, doing the right thing, etc…).

What I just talked about is the COMPANY culture that I must learn to blend in with.  However that’s the EASY part, but what about the ETHNIC culture?  Being professional, providing good service, and doing the right thing should not be difficult for anybody.  The part that’s really making me think, is the fact that I will begin working for a Japanese company.  As an American, a friendly smile, good handshake, and politeness has always served me well.  Also, if this major, foreign company is functioning in the United States, they must know that the I would not be fully aware of Japanese culture.  Even with that said, my managers might even be so Americanized that they might not even use traditional Japanese etiquette.

With that said, I will be seeing my coworkers more than anyone else in my life, and my mind becomes filled with questions.  Even though I noticed most of the workers are not Japanese, the bosses are, and so is the company.  I find myself asking questions like “Do I need to bow (which is apparently the proper greeting in Japan rather than a handshake)?” “How low should I bow?” “What Japanese words should I learn to show respect?” “Do I need to learn any Japanese at all (of course I do)?”  “Are there more forms of etiquette I should learn?”  During my interview I tried to do a slight bow leaning forward just slightly with a head nod.  “Was that considered enough of a bow to show respect?”  “Did they even notice, or was that even considered a bow?”  “Am I over-thinking all of this?”

With all these questions, I welcome a new learning experience, and am excited to see what happens next in my life.

Do CEOs utilize population growth rate to predict future profits?

Let me begin first by saying that this question came to mind after reading a quarterly earnings report by a company I was interested in.  It is a well established company which I personally feel has hit their “peak” at nearly a century old in the luxury retail industry (and not doing as well as many others).  That point is fairly significant because a young company can easily have higher percentage earnings vs. an older much more well established company.  What I mean by this is compare a new company (using arbitrary numbers) with a 100% increase in revenue from $100,000 to $200,000 its first year, to a company who’s revenue is 5billion which had increased its revenue only by a mere 2% or $100,000,000.  With that said, while 100milion dollars is a heck of a lot of money, the well established company will probably not “feel” the profits as much as if they had just completely doubled their profits like the smaller company.  While the smaller newer company may be able to completely remodel their storefront, the well established company may just barely be able to pay for electricity with the $100,000,000.

Upon reading and listening to quarterly earnings reports CEOs have with investment companies, it doesn’t take a genius realize that the C-level execs must present the company as profitable as possible, and show that it is making strides for a better future.  Then comes my question: Do CEOs utilize population growth rate to predict future profits?  Lets talk specifically about luxury retail since that is the specific industry of the earnings report I am talking about.  Plus that point might be fairly important since it is a purely “want” based industry as opposed to needs like food and water which the ENTIRE population will purchase.

When reading the report, the company discusses earnings in the last quarter, what it plans for the future, what they’re doing that might be innovative, and etc…  The statement in this report that got me thinking was when the Chief said they predicted a 2% growth in revenue.  Wow, 2% huh?  Now without getting into a deep analysis of ALL the different possibilities the CEO could have used to calculate this number, and in order to stay on topic, I wondered if this one rate factored in: the population growth rate.

With the population surging in the USA by about .7%, I thought, surely this could be used to estimate how much the company can be expected to grow (at least in the future), or even looking at past data (I will get to this point later).

Now if you’re smart you’re probably going to find many problems with what I’ve said.  First taking into account the point that you can’t just assume the whole “new” population of people is going to buy from this store.  Ok that’s obvious, but here’s my logic.

A .7% increase of a population of 313.9million (current population of the USA give or take) people is about 2,200,000.  Now lets say of those 2,200,000 people only the “top 1% earners” in America shop in this retailer (which is absolutely not the case, but I am using the worst case scenario for those who are being critical).  So about 22,000 people can be predicted to have the cash flow to shop in this store in the future.  Take about 10% of that (assuming not all of them will) and you’re left with 2,200 people.  Now lets say those 2,200 people only spend about $1,000 each (which is vastly underestimating the spending power of the 10% of the 1%) you still reach $2,200,000 in profit!

Looking at the companies current revenues of 2.5billion (I won’t use exact numbers because I don’t want to promote this company in any way, and you could probably Google if I used the exact digits) that’s almost about .1% of the 2% the CEO said.  Also keep in mind that I have used “growth rate” and not “birth rate.”  Otherwise my numbers would probably be much larger, but would fail to consider deaths.  The shopper demographic I’ve used also vastly underestimates the number of luxury shoppers, and their willingness to spend.

Now as I said earlier, how could the age of people become an important factor?  Well knowledge is power.  I know one simple statistic about the company – that the average age of shoppers is 47 (now that isn’t the real number, its more give or take a couple years but I didn’t want to give anything away to reveal the company).  There are currently about 20million people in the U.S. between the ages 45-49.  These people were all a statistic of the “growth” rate, and are now impacting the current revenues of the company.  So I wonder, do large businesses bother to take these statistics into consideration?

Although, with all that said…  The execs could have just picked the random number 2% because it was reasonably small enough of value for them to meet, which renders this entire post nothing but brain candy.  However if that’s the case, he could have boosted his number by .1%, and possibly even looked smarter to investors who may say “wow, he must have really put thought into his prediction if he’s going into decimals.”

NBC’s Youtube trailers are attention grabbing.

It’s not often that a video advertisement on Youtube captures my attention enough for me to watch it all the way through, but NBC has done it.  More often than not, I will either click “skip ad” or browse facebook while I wait for the trailer to finish because they simply do not catch my attention.  My message in this post is this: whoever came up with the marketing plan for this new NBC show called “The Blacklist” is a brilliant strategist, at least in my eyes.  I didn’t make this post to talk about how cool the show looks, although I will definitely be watching it. I want to explain why I believe this strategy by NBC will draw more viewers than the average advertisement.

First lets begin by pointing out the obvious: if you can’t grab the attention of the Youtuber within the first 5-10 seconds, they’re going to skip it.  Simple as that.  This is not a new innovative technique or concept I came up with by myself, it’s common sense.  With that said, good job NBC; as one of the largest television networks in the world the audience should expect no less.  Then we are thrown into scenes of constant suspense about this character who is labeled as the “most wanted man in the world.”  A character bad enough to be put in a chamber similar to Magneto (that is a great concept in itself).  With scenes that remind me of some great movies like “Silence of the Lambs” and “Bourne Identity,” I can’t help but want to watch this show.  However I don’t want to continue on with a “critiquing” what I think “The Blacklist” is about, so onto the rest of my thoughts.

I want to discuss why I think the video as a whole, is pure brilliance.  Most of the time I won’t bother to look into the show/product/movie any further assuming I even watch the Youtube ad; let us keep this conversation on the topic of TV shows.  If you watch the whole trailer, you’ll notice that by the end of the 4 minutes and 15 seconds, you will have watched what seems to be the entire first episode.  Now that my friends, is what I believe to be the brilliant part.  Some might think: “Why would anyone give away the entire plot and show how the entire first episode ends?”  Well that’s why you must watch the ending of the trailer.  It ends with a cliffhanger for the following episodes: there are even more bad guys to catch.  However my summary doesn’t do the show justice (I hope).

With this trailer, NBC planted seeds for the FUTURE of the show.  In the ad, I found out exactly what’s going to happen in the first episode (or so I think), yet I still want to watch it to see how it all actually unfolds.  I still want to learn more about the badass main character(s), one of which is a female.  However the strength in the ad is not that it spoiled the entire first episode (I actually feel that is a strength), but it made me want to watch the next episode, and the next, and the next, and the next, just to see who is on the “Blacklist” of the worlds most dangerous criminals who nobody even knows exists.  By thinking outside the box and giving away what’s going to happen initially really got my attention.  For that NBC, I thank you.  I am VERY picky about what shows I watch; the only series I have ever followed are “Dexter,” “The Walking Dead,” and “Breaking Bad.”  How many episodes/seasons this show goes on for, I can’t say, but I definitely will watch it.  Hopefully this one doesn’t disappoint.