JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 84 : May 9, 2002

Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.

  • Automation Suppliers - more on Siemens & Yokogawa
  • Can technology foil hijackers?
  • Book: Crossing the Chasm
  • Creeping Criminality
  • Connect - keeping pace with San Diego technology
  • eFeedback:
    • Similarities in Japan and German cultures
    • Nanotechnology is coming
    • Global locations for tech-support

Automation Suppliers - more on Siemens and Yokogawa

I've had a lotttt of feedback and commentary on my review of Siemens, and of the Japanese automation players. Here are some additional noteworthy inputs which I thought you would enjoy.

In JimPinto.com eNews (April 18, 2002) I had presented a senior US Manager's view of Siemens. It is clear that the European's have a completely different view.

Mathieu van den Bergh [mathieu-van-den-bergh@cox.net] who is originally from the Netherlands, now lives in San Diego, CA. and travels to Europe frequently, had this to say about Siemens:

    "I think your view of Siemens is a little dated; they are far more flexible now than they were 10-15 years ago.

    "Several of the large German conglomerates have had difficulties with large acquisitions (lately BMW and Daimler were added to this list) and thus they are more interested in purchasing smaller companies with more innovation as compared to buying sales volume and market share.

    "Whereas Siemens hasn't had the performance of GE, they certainly haven't had the creative accounting of GE, and the profit they report is real. Nevertheless, Siemens (deliberately ??) missed out in the services and financial sector, where GE has added so much to their portfolio. On the other hand, Siemens grabbed major chunks of telecom and did very well in that - although it hasn't been that good for them the last 12 months or so. Of course, GE's performance has declined with big insurance "hits" ($ 600 million reserved for 9/11 and associated events) and the aircraft engine business is under pressure as well.

    "Last week, one of the German radio stations had a morning show, featuring the European GE VP (headquartered in Munich) who's main job it is to start building a reasonable presence in Europe. GE is a virtual unknown in European consumer markets, and they wish to change that. But the VP acknowledged that if you asked the German public their opinion about GE, 9 out of 10 just wouldn't know the company. Maybe the same is true of Siemens in the USA."

Click Siemens - a US managers perspective

Chris Carnavos [chris.carnavos@accelics.com] CEO of Accelics provided these first-hand insights:

    For several years, I (along with another American, now retired) was running the instrument and systems business in the US for Yokogawa.

    "Your comments relative to how the businesses are run are probably true today, but there are some important points that should be made:

    "Yokogawa was a leader in making relationships with westerners in Japan - GE (Medical Systems), HP, and Johnson Controls. I believe these are all successful businesses today, thanks to Yokogawa.

    "Originally, Yokogawa installed American management in its Yokogawa Corp of America (ex-Foxboro president, I believe) and that was not successful. Then they tried to make a JV with Johnson Controls, but in their eyes, eventually Johnson provided no value (different markets) and they were losing lots of money. So, after pouring mega millions into the US market, with Americans in charge, they decided they could do better themselves. I can't blame them for that decision, even though I did not agree!

    "It is also important to understand that Yokogawa ranked their market priorities as 1.Japan; 2.Asia; 3.Western Europe; 4.USA; 5.Rest-Of-World. Therefore, their eventual strategy became one of maintaining a reasonable market share and trying not to lose too much money. They sent over one Japanese rising star after another to get some experience, watch competitors, and limit losses. It's as simple as that.

    "In many respects, I miss working with and for Yokogawa. They always treated me well and with respect. However, as you pointed out, until they cease being a Japanese company with an export mentality, and truly are able to be an international company, their future potential is questionable.

    "As for the Japanese-German mind-meld, when I left ABB, I gave the leader of my ABB business unit in Mannheim a good-bye present. It was a globe of the world, with only a map of Germany on it!"

Click Industrial Automation - the Japanese players

Can technology foil hijackers

The computers in the cockpits of modern jets help airline pilots with more and more tasks: plotting routes, calculating fuel use and takeoff speeds, relieving the tedium of 14-hour flights and finding the way through the clouds. But what about dealing with the problem of hijackers who want to turn planes into weapons?

Technologies to foil hijackers being considered include onboard flight-control systems that could be programmed to prevent planes from heading into restricted areas; remote control from the ground that could not be overridden from the cockpit; and a panic button, also impossible to override, that has the plane direct itself to land at the nearest suitable field.

The computer-enforced "no flight" idea has been articulated by Edward Lee, an engineering professor at the UC Berkeley, who calls it "soft walls." Mountains, he says, are "hard walls," where planes cannot fly; why not add artificial three-dimensional blocks of space where planes cannot enter?

This kind of innovative technology thinking continues at a hectic pace. And it will continue to make the world a safer and happier place.

Click NY Times: Can Technology Foil Hijackers?

Book: Crossing the Chasm

A new, updated edition of Geoffrey Moore's marketing bible is out: Crossing the Chasm - Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers.

High-tech products require marketing strategies that differ from those in other industries. Geoffrey Moore's "chasm" theory describes how high-tech products initially sell well, mainly to visionaries and early adopters, but then hit a lull as marketing professionals try to cross the chasm to mainstream buyers.

Moore suggests remedies for the problem - he describes how to move slowly through the gulf, by focusing on specific segments of the market rather than trying to waste time and money by jumping right into the mainstream.

Written not just for marketing specialists but for all employees whose futures ride on the success of a technical product, "Crossing the Chasm" delivers crucial information in an engaging, readable style.

This updated edition of the 1991 classic is a MUST-READ for all Marketing people. If you like it, you should also Moore's book "Inside the Tornado".

Click Geoffrey Moore - Crossing the Chasm

Creeping Criminality

The way business is organized today, there is a lot of encouragement to fudge. Bluffing becomes the norm. Many drift into fiddling with results, expecting that they can explain away the discrepancy if and when their bluff is called. They fudge (stretch the truth), and then the fudging turns to lying, which extends to cheating and stealing. This is creeping criminality.

Few people are out and out criminals - most drift into increasingly dubious behavior through insidious wealth addiction. And it's not just top executives who are subject to creeping criminality. It's an affliction at any level.

My article "Creeping Criminality" was just published in the May 2002 issue of the popular webzine *spark-online.

Click Latest (May 2002) issue of *spark-online

Click Creeping Criminality

This article is part of a trilogy -

Click Lure of the Lifestyle

Click Crony Capitalism

CONNECT - keeping pace with San Diego Tech

If you value your JimPinto.com e-News, you may also appreciate the newsletter of UCSD CONNECT. The free news service is devoted to San Diego's high-tech, life sciences, telecom, and military technology industry sectors. The articles are focused on entrepreneurs, venture capital and angel investing, university research, and CONNECT trends and events. Tech sector service providers also get due coverage.

Recent articles include following an angel investment as it moves through Q3DM, the new NIH-funded protein database at UCSD, and the rapid entrenchment of SAIC and Titan into the homeland security market.

The publication is free of advertising, and covers the entire technology spectrum, not just members and sponsors of the organization. President Busch, Governor Davis and 20,000 other subscribers receive their copy every Tuesday. Why not you?

Click Read the most recent issues of the CONNECT newsletter

Click Free email subscriptions for the CONNECT newsletter


Ricardo Pessoa [ricardo@ibiseng.com]wrote about the similarities between the Japan and Germany approaches to business:
    "German and Japanese cultures have much in common, specially regarding the view towards aliens and foreign cultures.

    "Japanese countries cannot, as well as Germany, be clearly understood from a US-based paradigm. One has to understand how these cultures have evolved over time to avoid misconcepts and myths.

    "I'd suggest a revisitation of one of the clearer books on Japanese culture written in the times when Japanese juggernauts assaulted the business world, initiating the TQM, TPM and other initiatives in manufacturing. It is "The Enigma of Japanese Power" by Karel van Wolferen."

Robert Unseld [r.unseld@mi-verlag.de] the Editor of "elektronik" magazine in Germany commented about Nanotechnology:
    "There won't be a nanotech-market standalone. Nanotechnology will evolve into the microelectronics market through shrinking structures. It is already used in several surface-tech applications: coatings for cars with the surface-hardness of glass, so mini-damages by stones won't occur. In the ceramics field, a German company has a wash-basin with no-dirt-stick characteristic because of its special surface.

    At the Hannover Trade Fair in April 2002, lots of running projects were presented. Nanotech will supposedly add new features and possibilities to our world today, from IT to Biotech. There is no telling where "Nano" won't play a role. It will enhance our world greatly!"

Earl Cunningham [earlc@ectron.com] wrote this about globalization of the world:
    "My daughter had trouble with her Dell computer and contacted their help line. While talking to a very knowledgeable, helpful and polite technician she asked where he was located; India, she was told (which explained his accent)!"

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