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Free Form Friday: The REAL Keys To Success

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) To distort: To make something appear different than it is

He distorted the benefits to make them seem better than they really are.

(2) To work out: To have a good result

Unfortunately, the campaign didn’t work out and we had to start again.

(3) To reproduce: To copy, create the same thing again

I love the product, but it just costs too much to reproduce. We need to lower our costs to be successful.

Today’s

Questions

1. For success, what’s more important than passion?

a. A creative idea

b. Good goals

c. A good business plan

2. Why is a system more important than a goal?

a. Goals have no value

b. Systems create good results

c. It’s difficult to succeed at reaching goals

3. For luck, what does it mean to keep your hand raised until its your turn?

a. You need to just wait for luck to come to you

b. Luck doesn’t always happen, so just work hard

c. Keep going and after time you’ll get lucky

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

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dilbert By Jeremy Schaar

Scott Adams has recently written a book and you can read a chapter from that book here. There’s also a video interview.

What does it take to be successful? Often people will say “follow your passion” and “set good goals.” But according Scott Adams–the creator of the popular comic Dilbert–those things are exactly true.

In today’s lesson, you’ll learn about Scott Adam’s ideas on how to be successful. You’ll prepare yourself to read a longer article on the topic. You’ll also learn some important vocabulary. He has three ideas in the article. Here they are:

First Idea: Passion isn’t so important He writes that “it’s easy to be passionate about things that are working out, and that distorts our impression of the importance of passion.”

What he means is that when things work well, we get excited. But if things don’t work, then we aren’t excited. So, it seems like passion creates the success, but actually “Success caused passion more than passion caused success.”

He gives the example of a loan officer. He says his old boss told him to give loans to people with good spreadsheets and a desire to work hard.

Second Idea: Have a system instead of a goal

In the video, he says “Goals are OK, but what you need more than goals is a system, a process.” This means you should think about how to be successful more than what success really means for you. Don’t say, “I’m going to make a million dollars.” Instead, say “I’m going to write a new program every month for one year.” You should then hope that one of those programs will make you a million dollars.

The example he gives is losing weight. You don’t want to say “I’m going to lose 10kg.” Instead, you should say “I’m going to eat better and exercise more.”

It’s more important to have a system because then you’ll be doing the things that lead to success. Anyway, you can’t achieve your goals without a way to get to them.

Third Idea: Keep going and you’ll get lucky.

Scott feels that luck is very important for success. However, we don’t get lucky all the time. Instead, we should have a system that makes it more likely that we’ll get lucky. He writes, “The universe has plenty of luck to go around; you just need to keep your hand raised until it’s your turn.”

In his case, he continued trying to create something of value that would be easy to reproduce. After many failures, he “got lucky” with his comic strip Dilbert.

What do you think? As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

And, by the way, if you have trouble understanding, send me a message. We teach lots of students Business English and I’m sure we could help you too!

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, B, C

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Free Form Friday: Executive Compensation

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Compensation: Usually money, but anything someone is given to do a job.

If we want to attract the best employees, we need to increase compensation.

(2) Big bucks: Bucks means dollars, so we often talk about “big bucks” to mean a lot of money.

I don’t get paid big bucks, but I love my job.

(3) Objectively: The opposite of subjectively–it means to think about something without emotions or personal opinions

I can’t think about this deal objectively because I’m so angry with her.

Today’s

Questions

1. Why should executive compensation be put at risk?

a. It’s only fair for executives to be able to lose their money.

b. So that executives can lose something and are therefore motivated to work well.

c. If executives can lose their money, they’ll think about the long-term more.

2. What’s one way compensation could encourage long-term thinking?

a. It could be lost if the executive does a bad job

b. It could be linked with low pay at the company

c. It could increase for each good year

3. What’s one way to make executive pay fair?

a. It could be linked with low pay at the company

b. Executives could get paid well only if the company does well

c. It could be linked with long-term thinking

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

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JHML1103-6609 By Jeremy Schaar

Today on the blog, we’ll look at an article on CEO pay. You’ll learn some interesting ideas about how to determine CEO pay. You’ll also learn some useful vocabulary.

In this post at Strategy+Business, James O’Toole discusses CEO pay. He begins by noting that SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) regulators are going to force companies to become more transparent about CEO pay. But he would prefer if company boards would just do a better job with executive compensation. To that end he suggests three principles.

1. “Put executive money at risk”

To be “at risk” means that something can be lost. He gives a nice example of going to a casino. If you’re playing with your money, then you’re cautious. But if the casino gives you money, then you don’t care. You can only win, you can’t lose. With stock options, he feels executives have nothing to lose, they can only win. He encourages companies to give actual stock instead of stock options.

2. “Compensation needs to encourage long-term thinking.”

To encourage something is to push someone to something. He thinks that bonuses are good motivators, but that they should increase with each year of performance in order to encourage long-term thinking (e.g. 10% for one good year, 20% for two good years, etc.)

3. “The third principle is fairness. I suspect there would be less public outcry about executive compensation if those big bucks were seen as objectively earned.”

“Public outcry” is when a lot of people complain about something. He doesn’t know what fair pay is, but it does seem unfair for a CEO to make $25 million when a secretary makes $25,000. But that’s not his real point. He thinks the big problem is when executives get a lot of money after the company does really bad. Fair means that if the company does well, so does the executive. If the company does bad, the executives don’t get millions of dollars.

What do you think? As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

And, by the way, if you have trouble understanding the blogs or LinkedIn groups, send me a message. We teach lots of students Business English and I’m sure we could help you too!

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

B, C, B

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Free Form Friday: Share Class Structure

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) S-1 Filing: The papers a company sends the government in America in order to start selling stock.

An S-1 filing describes a company in great detail. It helps people decide whether to buy stock.

(2) Dual-Class Share Structure: A system where some shares get more votes and some get less

Our dual-class share structure protects us from public opinion.

(3) Public Company: A company that is owned by shareholders.

Google became a public company in 2004. Before that they were a private company.

Today’s

Questions

1. How many votes does one share of Class B stock get at Google?

a. 0

b. 1

c. 10

2. Why does Google give different votes to different share types?

a. To stay independent from investors

b. To increase the wealth of the owners

c. A and B

3. Why might dual-class shares be a bad idea?

a. Pressure from the public might help the company

b. Owners will be influenced by the public

c. There could be battles when the owners die

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

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By Jeremy Schaar

Google has three classes of shares: A, B, and C. When it comes time to make decisions, you get one vote for every Class A share, ten votes for every Class B share, and no votes for every Class C share. Wait. What? Class A makes sense. 1 vote, 1 share. But Class B and C are weird, right? Class B shareholders get 10 votes and Class C shareholders get zero votes. Why?

It’s because Google’s founders–Sergey Brin and Larry Page–want to maintain control of the company. They don’t want investors to tell them what to do. So they gave themselves lots of Class B shares. Why?

In their S-1 Filing, here’s their explanation:

As a private company, we have concentrated on the long term, and this has served us well. As a public company, we will do the same. In our opinion, outside pressures too often tempt companies to sacrifice long-term opportunities to meet quarterly market expectations. …

If opportunities arise that might cause us to sacrifice short term results but are in the best long term interest of our shareholders, we will take those opportunities. We will have the fortitude to do this. We would request that our shareholders take the long term view.

Many companies are under pressure to keep their earnings in line with analysts’ forecasts. Therefore, they often accept smaller, but predictable, earnings rather than larger and more unpredictable returns. Sergey and I feel this is harmful, and we intend to steer in the opposite direction.

They feel that having a dual-class share structure will let them focus on the long-term instead of short-term profits. They don’t want shareholders to influence them

This isn’t a new kind of company structure. Traditionally, it has been for the media business. A newspaper, for example, wants to stay independent. They don’t want shareholders to influence their reporting of the news. So, the owners keep shares with lots of voting rights.

But these days more companies are using this structure. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp all have the same dual-class share structure.

Is it a good idea? It depends on how much you trust Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It does seem like it’s a good idea for shareholders to pressure a company to make money, but maybe not. With the internet and more casual investors, maybe there’s too much noise, so it’s better for companies to stay independent.

On the other hand, do we really think that the average CEO doesn’t have enough power?

What do you think? As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

And, by the way, if you have trouble understanding the blogs or LinkedIn groups, send me a message. I’ll be happy to help with lessons.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, A

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Free Form Friday: Finding Resources

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Resource: A useful thing

The consulting group has many resources for helping companies succeed.

(2) Trade Show: An event where people in a specific industry meet to show their products

The trade show is a great opportunity for us to meet potential buyers.

(3) Supply Chain: The movement of stuff from the start to the consumer

Our supply chain begins in China and ends right here in New York City.

Today’s

Questions

1. How can you use LinkedIn?

a. To find a job

b. To find an employee

c. A and B

2. Why should you join groups on LinkedIn?

a. To network

b. To see discussions about your industry that will help you learn

c. A and B

3. How can you easily find blogs about your industry?

a. Search on Google

b. Go to company sites

c. Look for links from your country sites

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

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By Jeremy Schaar

The hardest thing about studying Business English is that most Business English lessons have nothing to do with your job. It’s just general English. It might be helpful, but not really. The English you need for your job is different. So, how can you get better? Fortunately, there are many resources online that can help you. Today, you’ll learn about some different ways to study English that will really help you. I’ll share two resources and give an example for a specific industry.

LinkedIn

You probably know about LinkedIn. If you’re not a member, you should join now. You create a profile that’s like a resume. It’s great for searching for new jobs or finding new employees. But, it’s so much more. It’s an excellent place to study English. You can find a group that’s about your industry. After you join the group, you’ll receive emails from the group. You’ll see lots of great discussions.

Reading is the best way to improve your English. This is a great resource for reading about your industry. You’ll find the vocabulary and grammar that you need. And if you have problems, you can ask the people in the group to explain things to you. It’s also a great way to network.

I have some students in the Trade Show industry, so I joined a Trade Show group. Here’s an example of an email I got. (Click on it to make it bigger.)

Trade Show News Group

Blogs

Blogs are a second great resource and finding them is easy. Just do a Google search for [your industry]+blogs. You’ll find a lot of great reading material.

Some more of my students are in the supply chain industry, so I like to read supply chain blogs. Here’s a link for a ton of great supply chain blogs.

Kinaxis Blogs

Learning English can be hard. You’ll need specific language for your industry. LinkedIn and blogs are a great place to start.

And, by the way, if you have trouble understanding the blogs or LinkedIn groups, send me a message. I’ll be happy to help with lessons.

As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

C, C, A

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

What Makes Apple Great 2

Today’s

Vocabulary

(1) Cool: Good and attractive

In fashion, it’s more important to be cool than functional.

(2) Functional: Useful and working well

These boots might not be cool, but they’re very functional and will be more comfortable when climbing that mountain.

(3) Marginal: Small and not important 

He might be a marginally better programmer, but his people skills are terrible. No one wants to work with him.

Today’s

Questions

1. Why did Apple market their products as working well?

a. Other computers had more power than Apple

b. Most computers would often stop working

c. Most computers had many useless programs

2. What is NOT an example of Apple showing they have cool products?

a. A commercial with cool colors, music, and dancing

b. Steve Jobs showing the world the iPhone

c. A commercial with a cool guy representing Apple

3. Why did Apple have big events for their new products?

a. They were excited about their work

b. To get free promotion from the event

c. To show journalists the product

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday

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By Jeremy Schaar

Last week on the blog, I began to introduce a great company: Apple. You learned about Apple’s product development and supply chain management. This week, you’ll learn about Apple’s marketing, You’ll learn some great vocabulary and ideas that you can apply to your own company.

Product design and supply chain management seem to me to be Apple’s two greatest strengths. But Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak disagreed. He said, “I would say marketing was [Steve Jobs] greatest strength.”

Why is Apple so great at marketing? Apple markets their products in three ways. First, they just work well. Second, they’re cool. Third, when a new Apple product comes out, that’s a big event. Here are examples:

Dell, Intel, Microsoft, etc. They marketed computers as powerful. And they were powerful, but who cared? We just wanted the computers to work all day without having to restart them.

In addition to just working, Apple markets their products as cool. In contrast, other computer companies marketed their products as functional. Apple sold their computers like their were fashion items. They weren’t always the technically best computer. And other companies have made technically better phones. But, until recently, no other company has marketed their products as cool and fashionable.

Apple’s final marketing innovation was to create anticipation and excitement for their products, to turn a new Apple product into a cultural event that got them a lot of free advertising. Other companies were constantly updating their lines. Every two months, a better computer came out. New computers were normal, like Macy’s getting new shirts. Apple changed all that.

As always, if you have any questions, please post them on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.

CHECK YOUR ANSWERS!

Answers To Today’s Questions

B, B, B

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You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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