Thursday, August 13, 2009

Survival Of The Richest

I generally try not to focus too heavily on the business side of my vocation but you’ll agree that all vocations are ultimately about how much money we make (and whether we like it our not), have a significant impact on our lives. My vocation which incidentally is a rather fascinating blend of the creative industry with technology, marketing, publishing, social media, internet and old style consulting all mixed in - has been going through a untamed joyride for the last several weeks and months.

For the last one year or rather specifically, the last 6 months; I have been witness to the some of the most momentous changes in my personal and professional surroundings, both in my immediate circle and my extended entourage caused by the global recession and the consequent financial meltdown. Many friends I know have lost their jobs, some have been downsized or forced to take pay cuts. Worse is the case of a few schoolmates of mine who have lost their mortgaged homes and seen their savings wiped-out.

Many of our competitors have shut shop. Fortunately or perhaps, my good karma, we are still very much in business. And unlike other companies, we are fairly busy with sufficient orders that will last the next couple of months but things are still not what they seem.

Big transnational clients who used to pay us on time default these days at an alarming consistency, cheques bounce infrequently or we get requests to delay their deposits. One of our client, a large publishing house which has shut down owes us several thousand dollars while an other of a similar stature has gone bankrupt virtually guaranteeing no payment for the foreseeable future. Comparatively smaller customers and SME’s are on better league but want contracts to be reworked and rates reduced or politely tell us to look elsewhere. The only saving grace being a handful of old clients with solid fundamentals who seem to weather this storm and new contracts from agile start-ups who signed up with us in the recent weeks.

I have been to several business transformation seminars, especially the expensive ones at posh hotels where business gurus in fancy suits promise utopian formulae’s to cut costs and create profits; where celebrated business consultants and management experts talk about Darwinian “Survival of the fittest” - that all companies should “innovate”, cut “costs”, think “outside the box” and hire “the best talent” if they wish to weather this global crash.

What they conveniently ignore and sidestep is the fact that every god damn thing they talk about requires MONEY. For example, it’s impracticable for any company to retain its best talent that would lead the innovations when you have to thrive in a cutthroat atmosphere where it is critical to preserve liquid cash and cut costs. Bright employees deserve and demand more and if a company can’t fulfill their wants and needs, they would inevitably leave. No matter what many wish to believe, this recession want go away soon. It will accelerate the demise of all companies short on cash as credit is a now an expensive and rare commodity these days.

I can vindicate my argument. I personally know at least three companies including a loss making competitor who seem to be completely unscathed by the slump as they are well-funded and moneyed with cash. A former colleague - David works there. I recently met David who is now a Senior VP, and in all frankness, he admitted he was blessed enough to work there. Even though his company was unprofitable, he said their investors were still quite confident on a turnaround and were also willing to pump in more money if it warrants. Lucky them!

I was genuinely impressed by David’s candor. You don’t find many ex-colleagues who speak the truth especially when you are the competition. So without further ado, how should a company survive? Maybe, get fluky and win a lottery or go hunting for a loaded investor who can bail you out. You could then perhaps, write “Survival of the Richest”!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beautiful European Pop Music to Download

Websnacker's Euro Hits Music Sampler

Lately, I have been receiving a lot of flak from readers of my former music blog. Many seem to be convinced I have completely deserted my music credentials, some caustically ask if I have chickened out (like so many other music bloggers across the web arena) while some (and i.e. a very few), plead me to restart my music uploads/reviews. I wouldn’t blame any of them cos they are all (to a degree) absolutely right. And besides, they had been solely responsible for giving my earlier blog the extraordinary popularity it received but probably did not deserve so, I give them all the freedom to complain. Anyway, before I begin this post, for all my readers, an immense thank you.

When you are young, you seem to have all the time in the world but as you age, grow older, time flies and soon, it’s never enough. I guess I have reached that period - one reason why I really don’t have the time to pursue my musical interests anymore in full speed. Nonetheless, like I always like to justify, old habits don’t just die hard, they actually never die. So, my dear friends, I will make an effort to kick start those MP3 genre samplers again and keep up the tempo alive.

And to begin this August month, I present you a MP3 sampler from my collection of beautiful non-English Pop hits from the world over but focused more on European pop music, mostly French/Italian Pop and French Pop Rock (though I have also added a sprinkling of other genres as well).

Here goes the sampler description. You’ll worship the first track – ‘Dragostea din tei’ also known as ‘Numa Numa’ - the super successful single by the Moldovan pop group O-Zone. This track was so popular that it rose to the No.1 rank on the Euro chart Hot 100 and solidly remained for 3 months straight in mid 2004. It also reached the number 1 spot in the German and French Radio charts, number 3 in the UK and a respectable 72 on the U.S. Pop 100.

‘Moi... Lolita’ sung by Alizée – a French singer is a popular track, which released as her first single from her debut album Gourmandises in 2001. France-born R&B singer Nâdiya follows with her best-selling single ‘Parle-moi’ which entered the French singles chart at number 79, moving all the way to number 2 in the next week and remaining in the French top ten for 9 weeks. Grand Popo Football Club soon join in. This is a French electronic music group comprising primarily of Ariel Wizman and Nicolas Errèra. Together, this electronic duo create superb Gallic pop that seems to equally admire and berate the music of senior peers like Daft Punk and Air identical measure.

And if you love Enigma, you’ll like Achillea’s ‘Amor Parte II’ as Achillea is the world music influenced musical creation of Jens Gad, the co-producer for the musical project, Enigma. You’ll also find the Italian compositions featuring Mina + Adriano Celentano and the Australian singer Tina Arena quite lovely.

Jean-Jacques Goldman’s ‘Sache Que Je’ needs special mention as he is or at least was the second-highest-grossing French pop singer, after Johnny Hallyday. Mylène Farmer, one of the most successful recording artists of all time in France with sales in excess of more than 45 million records is also worthy of a mention as she brilliantly compliments with Indochine, the French new wave/rock band in the duet rockish track – ‘Le Grand Secret’.

From Latin America, I have added Pato Fu, the Brazilian pop rock band plus the multiple Latin Grammy award winner Colombian rock musician Juanes’ double act with Nelly Furtado on ‘Fotografía’ which re-introduced Furtado to the Latin American market and paved the way for Furtado's eventual stardom.

You’ll also find other great acts like the Italian indie pop band - Baustelle, the French singer De Palmas, Michele Zarrillo and A Europa. As a bonus, I have also added a European sounding English track ‘Doot Doot’ by Freur, one of my personal favorites which you may have possibly heard on the Tom Cruise starrer “Vanilla Sky” soundtrack. Incidentally this was the only hit single of the band before they disbanded to eventually form the popular electronica band - Underworld.

These songs may not be in English but they are all great tracks that you'll love to hear. Try them out!

Free MP3 Download - Megaupload - 16 Free MP3s - 82.7 MB -
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