Posts Tagged ‘IT’

Some Things About Samsung

Hi folks,

When it comes to the name Samsung most of us think about smartphones and tablets, other might think about TVs or refrigerators but no matter the product, fact is that if you aren’t a Samsung item owner yourself, it’s almost certain you know someone who is.
And yet, despite this popularity, there are lots of other interesting and even amazing facts that draw Samsung in its real size, shape and color but for some reason these things are less known.
So today we are going to tell you some of them.

Samsung was founded in 1938 in Korea and even if started as a trade business to export Korean food to China it soon got to operate its own flour mills and confectionery machines.
The name “Samsung” given by its founder, Byung-Chull Lee, means “three stars” which might have a calm resonance for Westerners but according to the local culture, it is a rather megalomaniacal name expressing “eternity” (reminding us about Jeff Bezos’s “Amazon).
Of course it grew continuously, diversified and spread, bla-bla, made black-and-white TVs in 1970, personal computers (meant only for Korean market) in 1982, etc. But let’s jump to 1990 because that’s the moment when superlatives start being associated with this brand.
Yes, not just one superlative but many of them.
A whole lot of them actually.

To begin with, Samsung is a major electronic components manufacturer making pretty much anything from lithium-ion batteries to memory chips, application processors or LCD, LED, AMOLED screens and panels.
In fact, it is the world’s-largest memory chip maker since 1993 and the world’s-largest manufacturer of OLEDs since 2004.
Being able to make any kind of component at top performance-price efficiency level is a huge advantage.
First, it allowed Samsung to assemble them into any imaginable device: TVs, phones, tablets, cameras, printers, laptops, you name it.
Then, it allowed Samsung to make these devices in any imaginable form.
A quick example: most smartphone producers had a real problem trying to figure out which size would be best received by the public. Too big or too small could spell disaster so finding out the optimal sizes was a struggle and releasing them was a gamble.
But not for Samsung: they simply released their phones in all sizes and shapes and focused on the best received models afterwards.
Thirdly, being a key component manufacturer allowed Samsung to have the upper hand when it comes to direct relationship with competitors.
Quick example again: common perception is that Samsung and Apple are worst enemies, pure and simple.
But like Oscar Wilde once wrote, “the truth is rarely pure and never simple“.
Samsung is a key supplier for Apple (providing flash-memories) and Apple cannot do anything about that, at least for the time being.
Of course, in its turn Apple is a key customer for Samsung at around 8 billion USD yearly revenue level (for the year 2012) but hey, it’s only money!
So the notorious patent-litigation clashes between the two giant “bulls” are in reality much softer and delicate than they appear to be.
They are “frenemies“, probably stuck together for a long term, some say.
But back to superlatives, Samsung Electronics is the largest IT Company in the world (Apple comes second) and regarding patents, in the US it’s the second largest patent holder.

And think that all the above were about Samsung Electronics, which is the most visible part of Samsung.
But do you think that Burj Khalifa in Dubai (world’s highest building, 828 m.) or Taipei 101 in Taiwan (509 m.) or Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (452 m.) are visible enough?
OK, good, because it’s Samsung’s construction division who built them.
And there’s more: Samsung Heavy Industry is the second largest ship-builder in the world, Samsung Life Insurance is ranked 14-th in the world among insurance companies and Cheil Worldwide, a Samsung subsidiary, is world’s 15-th largest advertising Company.
Samsung also holds the largest amusement theme park in Korea (the Samsung Everland, do not confuse with Michael Jackson’s Neverland), ranked 13-th in the world but let’s stop the enumeration right here as you surely got the basic idea by now.


Just two short stories before finishing, just to get an idea on how all these achievements were made possible.
Lee Kun-Hee, the 3-rd son of the founder, took over as Samsung’s chairman in 1987 shortly after his father’s death.
In 1993 he took a world tour to see for himself how Samsung’s international subsidiaries were doing.
So he visited electronics stores which, for instance in California, had stacks of Samsung TVs covered with dust as no one would buy them.
He got so mad he summoned all Samsung executives from around the world (hundreds) in Frankfurt at Falkenstein Grand Hotel Kempinski and delivered them a speech that took … well … three days long.
The speech was interrupted only for sleeping purposes.
The transcript of that speech resulted in a distilled 200 pages book that was made available for each and every Samsung employee.
And for those who couldn’t read, a cartoon version was issued too.
Yes, a Bible in its own rights, and its main commandement was:  “change absolutely everything except for your wife and children“.
The consequences of this speech were so fast and positive, Samsung later purchased all the furnishing from Kempinski Hotel and precisely recreated the room which became a Samsung sanctuary of sorts.

The other relevant story took place 2 years later, in 1995 when a most embarassing incident happened: Chairman Lee learned that the cell phones he gave as New Year’s gifts proved to be inoperable.
He ordered that a pile of some 150.000 phones is assembled in a field near one of the factories, gathered more than 2.000 staff members around the pile and set fire turning all devices to ashes.
Bulldozers then razed the remnants and Lee simply told the ashamed audience he will do the same whenever he will encounter poor-quality again.

Well folks, let’s not finish before telling that, same as other IT giants, Samsung is focusing its really considerable R&D power towards a multitude of directions, including the internet-of-things we’ve recently told you about.
And it seems that no matter what the future will bring, Samsung will be there anyway, faithful to its name and due to its ability of gathering at any time a pile of whatever things and turn it to ashes.
Gangnam style“.

Bye, folks!


Big Browser on 10 October

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To Where the Amazon Flows?

Hi folks,

Most probably, back in 1994, no living person on Earth would have seen any sense whatsoever in giving a dotcom startup Company the megalomaniacal name “Amazon“.
After all, the Amazon is the most important river of our planet: it is the largest, the second longest, the biggest reservoir of fresh water on the planet (about 20 percent of all running water), its rainforests are the biggest oxygen generators and contain more than one-third of all species in the world, including plants, mammals, fish and reptiles.
But for a guy named Jeff Bezos a name like “Amazon” (which also starts with an “A” so it will show up among first alphabetic results) seemed a perfect fit. Well…maybe for his dreams rather than for the reality, provided that the Company he just founded was -at least at its very beginings- meant to sell online small and easy to ship items such as printed books.
A bookstore with no storage needs but with online ordering reach, that is.
Needless to say, it started in a garage of course, like most of all other IT-business legends (so if you think about creating your own business in IT or Internet but you don’t have a garage, you’d better think twice before inauguration).

Anyways, Amazon grew really fast (most dotcoms had spectacular evolutions at that time) but maybe now is a good moment to note the first symptoms of Bezos’ totally non-conformistic business model: on May 1997, Amazon issued its initial public offering on stock (IPO) but its business plans stipulated that no growths in terms of profits were to be expected for the 4 or 5 upcoming years.
In other words, just like a fisherman were trying to get fish by using a bait whose smell is what fish hate the most.
No wonder his “fish harvest” was not spectacular at all, but it is however impressive that after the dotcom bubble bursted out Amazon wasn’t on the huge list of casualties.
On the contrary, it quickly thereafter became world’s number one online retailer and in 2001 Bezos kept his promise to shareholders regarding profits. AMAZON’s first profitable financial report dates as of the last quarter of 2001 and was about 5 million USD whereas its revenues were more than 1 billion USD!
About 0.5 % profit compared to incomes, apparently an insult to investors, but hey, it’s Jeff Bezos running this show!
A business magician, keeping in mind that despite its notorious thin profits (when there were no plain losses, to be more precise), its shares are solid, are growing and paradoxically they still attract investors.
How come?

It’s simple: everything is re-invested in new business lines and directions, which very soon become profits generators on their own also making way to new opportunities of business lines and directions.
The 1994 online bookstore started to sell other products than books, more and more products so now one can buy anything from shoe-laces to electronics or even industrial items.
But foreseeing the IT infrastructure needed for that, important investments in computing power were made, so big that Amazon soon got to sell web-scale cloud-computing services.
New businesses spawned like, for example, getting producers to directly sell via the online store, retaining just some kind of online-platform fee.
Second-hand products were allowed too, much to the discomfort of eBay.
And since everything started with books, why not make the next step and sell an own wireless tablet (the Kindle e-book) as means to actually sell electronic books thus “turning the page” to a new way of using and handling books?
Then consider delivery of goods to consumers: it’s a really important aspect and one which really needed a revolution too.
Well, early this year Amazon announced and even made public some tests, that it will soon use drones to make deliveries.
And about one month ago, Amazon released its own smartphone, the “Amazon Fire“.
Not to compete with smartphone giants, of course, but rather to offer a promising tool that will bring users new online-buying experiences.
The above are just exemplifications, the complete pallette of services Amazon offers is really huge.

Add to this “agressive re-investment” technique the fact that costs are minimized in a rational way.
For example, they have software development centers across the globe but take a look at some of their European locations: Dresden (Germany), Rijswijk (Netherlands), Iasi (Romania), Slough (England) or Dunfermline (Scotland).
Not exactly world’s most notorious, right?
And yet there surely are good reasons for this.

But perhaps the most important element that needs to be outlined about Amazon’s success is its customer support service.
Last year Amazon was voted the most trusted Company in the US, beating the previous king, Apple.
And although the quality of their support is well-known (support centers are spread worldwide and some are in “unusual” locations too), we should say that during the researches we’ve made for this article we got impressed by the stricking number of positive user-comments (on various websites) regarding the support Amazon provides.

With all these ingredients now, 20 years after (as Alexandre Dumas would put it), Amazon dotcom seems to indeed have become for online sales what the Amazon without the dot com termination is for the global ecosystem.
Make no mistake, this article is not some kind of “laudatio”: it simply tries to depict the particular case of an Internet giant which actually inovated nothing in terms of pure technology.
Instead, its unique business model and strategy is unparallelled and its organic inter-weaving of new businesses development is spectacular.
To such an extend that an early employee of Amazon (not working there any longer since quite few years now) wrote on his blog that competitors shouldn’t be happy each time Amazon reports losses: they’d better be terrified.

Our question in the title was: to where the Amazon flows?
Well, to the ocean, of course, but not to supply it with water and nutrients.
This Amazon is obviously up to taking on the entire ocean.

Thank you for reading this, folks, bye for now!


Big Browser on 11 July

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Casual Friday on 11 July

Meet Ida, the Angora rabbit
Meet Ida, the Angora rabbit

Meet Ida, the Angora rabbit