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What Makes Apple Great?


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(1) To impact: To create change, to influence

My first boss had a big impact on me. He taught me how to work well.

(2) Raw Materials: Basic things like oil and wood

To make a house, you need many raw materials: wood, iron, and so on.

(3) COO: Chief Operating Officer

At our company the COO is the second most important person. She focuses on operations while the CEO is more strategy-focused.



1. What makes Apple a great company?

a. Their fast supply chain

b. Their amazing product design

c. Their impact on the world

2. What kinds of products does Apple make?

a. Simple to use and powerful

b. Beautifully designed and inexpensive

c. Fast to the market and doing something new

3. Why is it interesting that Tim Cook became CEO of Apple?

a. He’s not good at design

b. Jonathan Ive was more famous

c. He focused on supply chain management at Apple

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday


apple By Jeremy Schaar

Today on the blog, I’m going to introduce a great company: Apple. You’ll learn what makes Apple great. In the process, you’ll learn some interesting ideas about product development and supply chain management. Next week, you’ll learn about Apple’s strategy and marketing.

But, first, what makes a company great? Is it amazing profits like Exxon? How about large sales volume like Amazon? A company that stays at the top for 100 years–like GE–is great. But new companies like American Giant and Tumblr are also great.

The answer is simple. Great companies have a significant impact on the world. They change the way other companies do business and people live their lives.

Apple is a perfect example. They’ve influenced the way companies around the world do business. Their products have made life easier, and cooler, for millions. How have they done it?

Product Development

“Our goal is to try to bring a calm and simplicity to what are incredibly complex problems so that you’re not aware really of the solution, you’re not aware of how hard the problem was that was eventually solved.” -Jonathan Ive

Jonathan Ive is the Senior Vice President of Design at Apple. Basically, he’s the main designer of their products. In the quote, he’s saying that at Apple they try to make complex things very simple.

In this process, Apple has made products that do amazing things and are easy to use. Apple devices famously “just work”. These days, many competitors also make great products, but when you compared an Apple device in 2005 with a competitor, the difference was amazing. Apple was much better.

Supply Chain Management

Jonathan Ive and Steve Jobs are famous for making amazing products. But Steve Jobs was replaced by Tim Cook, not Jonathan Ive. Tim Cook’s job before becoming CEO was not in design. He was the COO.

In truth, Apple is a supply chain company with a small design team. Apple’s industrial design team has just 16 people on it. There are also teams for product design, manufacturing, and many others. But Apple has 80,000 employees. Where do they all work?

They’re all part of the supply chain. And in supply chain management, Apple has been just as amazing as more famous companies like Toyota. To assemble a computer or an iPhone, Apple needs to find the fastest way to put together batteries from Taiwan, screens from Korea, gyroscopes from Europe, and so on. Everything is assembled in China and then shipped around the world.

What’s more, Apple coordinates not just with their suppliers, but with supplier’s suppliers to ensure that they’ll have the raw materials necessary for their microchips, screens, and so on.

Apple went another step further and, instead of putting their products in stores, created their own stores with amazing customer service. Around the world, they’ve established partnerships with authorized Apple dealers.

In the end, Apple manages their products from raw materials to sales. More than anything else, they do this to create speed. The faster they are, the more products they can sell, and the quicker they can adapt to a changing world.

Product development and supply chain management are just two of the things that make Apple great. Next week, you’ll learn about their corporate strategy and marketing.

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


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Free Form Friday–Google Analytics



(1) Conversion: A successful attempt.

Apple has had thousands of conversions from PC to Mac over the past 10 years.

(2) Goal: Something you want to happen.

My goal is to study one hour every morning.

(3) Checkout Page: The web page you see when you are about to pay for something.

The checkout page for your site is really confusing. You need to simplify it.



1. What is the purpose of online advertising?

a. Get people to visit your site

b. Get people to do something on your site

c. Sell more products

2. Which is NOT an example of a goal?

a. Viewing a search ad

b. Buying something

c. Liking something

3. Why is it useful to know how long people spend on your homepage?

a. Maybe it’s too confusing

b. Maybe people want it in Chinese

c. A and B

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday


By Jeremy Schaar

In last week’s lesson, I presented Google AdWords. You learned important vocabulary like campaign, keywords, and CPC. The basic idea, however, is simple. You place ads online that direct people to your website.

Today, I’ll explain about another Google product: Google Analytics. You’ll learn what it is and why it’s useful.

Getting people to visit your site is not enough. Once people get to your site, you want them to do something. In a way, this is the same as a regular ad and a regular store. You might put an ad on television or on a billboard. People see the ad and come to your store. But that’s not enough, you want them to buy something.

For online ads, it’s the same idea. You get them to your website, but that’s not enough. Once they’re at your website, you want them to do something. These are called goals.

Here are some examples of goals:

Buying Something

Reading Something

Sharing Something

Liking Something

Completing a Form

Google Analytics is Google’s product that let’s you see what people do on your site. You can use it to learn which pages they visit, how long they spend on each page, and what they click on while there.

The most important idea for Google Analytics is called conversions. Conversions are when someone reaches a goal. A goal can be almost anything you want. For example, let’s say you want people to buy something. The goal would be for the person to reach your checkout page.

So Google Analytics can keep track of which pages people visit. What else can it do?

Lots and lots of things. In short, it tells you how people get to your website, if they’ve visited before, and what they do after they arrive.

For example, you can learn how long someone spends on the homepage. If they leave quickly, then your homepage isn’t giving them what they expected. They came and left when they realized it was bad. So you should change it to what they want.

Another example: You can learn the language of the poeple who visit. If you suddenly see a lot of Chinese speakers on your site, you know you should translate your site to gain their business.

There are many examples, but the key concepts are goals and conversions. Google Analytics lets you set goals for your site and learn how often you succeed.

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


Answers To Today’s Questions

B, A, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Free Form Friday–Google AdWords



(1) Keyword: A word that is associated with your ad.

Choose keywords associated with your ad. When people search for those keywords, they’ll see your ad.

(2) Impression: Seeing an ad.

I have a lot of impressions of my ad which is great. I just want to build brand awareness.

(3) CTR: Click Through Rate. The number of people who click on your ad in relation to the number who saw your ad.

My CTR is terrible. I wonder why no one likes my ad?



1. What product does Google have for selling advertising on search results?

a. Adwords

b. Adsense

c. Analytics

2. What is a campaign?

a. Something you see when you search

b. Ads selling Business English

c. Many related ads

3. How much should you pay for an ad?

a. It depends on how many click the ad gets

b. It depends on the competition

c. A and B

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday


By Jeremy Schaar

Google Adwords produced $42.5 billion in revenue in 2012. Pretty good, right?

Google has the best search engine in the world, but that’s not how they make money. Google makes money with advertising. Ads are placed around search results. Today on the blog, you’ll learn about Google Adwords and the key vocabulary needed to use it. It’s important for your business and for understanding how to compete.

Here’s how it works. You tell Google a simple idea for an ad and which searches you want the ad to be near. For example, I created this ad.


This ad is part of a campaign. Campaigns are a bunch of ads on one topic. In my case, I might make an ad for general Business English lessons, but also ads for Marketing English lessons, Strategy lessons, Supply Chain lessons, and so on.

How does Google figure out where to show your ad? You tell them the keywords that are important to you. Here are some of the keywords I chose for my ads.


Google has a few different ways to charge you for the advertising. The most popular is CPC–Cost Per Click. This means that you only pay when people click on your advertisement.

If there is a lot of competition for ads near your keywords, then you’ll pay more. But you can always choose a maximum bid.

For example, if you’re selling insurance in New York City, you’ll have to pay a lot for someone to click on your ad. If you’re selling ice-cream in the winter, you won’t need to pay so much.

The next thing to understand is impressions. These are the number of times that someone sees your ad. This number can be a lot higher than the number of people who click on your ad.

Your CTR–or Click Through Rate–is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions times 100.

For example, your ad has 1000 impressions and 20 clicks. 20/1000 = .02. Times 100 is 2. 2 is your click through rate.

Next up is conversions. Conversions are the number of people who do what you want after they get to your site. To understand that, you’ll need to understand Google Analytics. Next week, I’ll introduce Google Analytics.

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


Answers To Today’s Questions

A, C, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

Free Form Friday–Game Dynamics and Organizational Behavior



(1) Organizational Behavior: The study of how people work together and how things can be changed.

Organizational behavior studies things like leadership and teamwork.

(2) Blissful Productivity: A happy feeling of creation.

Work here shouldn’t feel like work. It should feel like blissful productivity.

(3) Performance Measure: Something used to check how good the work or worker is.

Our basic performance measure is the sales number, but customer satisfaction, and team member satisfaction are also important.



1. What is the progression dynamic?

a. The good feeling that comes from completing all the steps

b. Becoming a higher level

c. The slow push of games to do things

2. How can companies use the status dynamic?

a. To increase competition

b. To punish employees

c. To motivate employees

3. Why might it be bad to motivate employees with game dynamics?

a. They won’t enjoy their job

b. They’ll play all the time

c. They’ll worry more about the game than doing good work

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday


Pottery_game_players By Jeremy Schaar

This week on the blog I’ve been featuring game dynamics. Today, I’ll review the topic and talk about using it to manage people. You’ll learn some good vocabulary, specifically with organizational behavior.

Game dynamics are the things that make us enjoy playing games. When we’re not playing games, they’re the way we can turn life into a game. One example of a game dynamic is progression. Progression is the idea that we like to complete something–especially if there are many small steps to completion. A web designer might use the progression dynamic to get people to complete a sign-up form. On the website, they’ll add a progression bar that says the percentage completed. People like to move the bar to 100%.

Another example of a game dynamic is status. To get status, people work to achieve a higher level than others. In a game, you try to level up. Marketers can use game dynamics to get people to buy a product. For example, this airline has “gold level members.” Those are the people that buy many tickets.

Another use of status is in managing people. On Wednesday, I wrote about Six Sigma and status. Basically, the program gives the status of green belt and black belt to people. The higher status makes people want to become a black belt. And that helps the program succeed.

So, here’s a good question: are game dynamics useful in organizational behavior?

Some say yes. Traditionally, companies motivate employees with three things: money, status, and interesting work. We can think of all of these as game dynamics if we want. Money is a prize. Status is a level. Interesting work is also a game dynamic. It’s called “blissful productivity”, which just means that you’ll keep playing a game because it’s fun.

Management might motivate with game dynamics. They could give out bonuses not based on sales, but rather on completing challenges. Or a manager could use a time dynamic and reward employees for doing something at a certain time or before a certain time.

Is this all good? Well, maybe not. First, is everything really a game? Is it a good thing to think of work as something that you can win at?

Second, if you have too many game dynamics, employees could stop trying to work hard and simply try to win the game. That is, they won’t focus on the company goals. They’ll focus on meeting the performance measures that get them rewards.

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


Answers To Today’s Questions

A, C, C


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

HR In The Developing World



(1) Skill set: The things a person can do, their skills.

My skill set includes fluency in two languages and web development.

(2) HR: Human Resources. The part of a company that deals with hiring, training, benefits, etc.

Check with HR about your pension. They’ll have the details.

(3) Dynamic Economy: An economy full of energy and changing employment.

They American economy in the 1990s was incredibly dynamic.



1. What does Patty McCord think a company should do if an employee doesn’t have the right skill set?

a. Put them on a performance plan

b. Transfer them to another division

c. Fire them

2. Why is Patty’s idea bad for a company in a developing economy?

a. Top talent prefers a company that will give them a job for life

b. Start-ups are more likely to fail

c. People in developing countries are nicer

3. Why can Tata succeed despite not firing bad employees?

a. They can transfer employees to more suitable jobs

b. They’re too big to fail

c. They’re very good at choosing the right employees

7 ________________________

Free Form Friday


fired By Jeremy Schaar

Today I’m going to write about how HR differs depending on the culture. You’ll learn how HR practices need to be different in different countries. You’ll also learn some good vocabulary for talking about HR across cultures.

Last week I wrote about Patty McCord–the former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix. She’s had a huge influence on HR in Silicon Valley. To review, she encourages companies to make sure that employees have the right skill set. If they don’t have the right skill set, then it’s better for the company to fire the person quickly. She feels that’s it’s a bad idea to put an employee through a performance plan where they’ll get fired if they don’t meet certain objectives over the next six months.

Is this a good idea? Most people in Silicon Valley think the answer is yes. They don’t want to waste time and money on someone who can’t do the job.

However, this is a very American way of thinking. In America, it’s very easy to fire people. It’s also relatively easy to get another job because we have a dynamic economy. Most Americans accept and enjoy this. Moreover, America has a social safety net. If you lose your job or have hard times, then the government will help you.

In other countries, this isn’t the case. If you lose your job, then you’re in a very bad situation. Therefore, when people are looking for jobs, they want to choose a stable company.

For example, let’s say you live in India. Would you rather work for Tata–a huge company that will basically guarantee you a job for life–or for a start-up that may fail? For the employee, it’s more difficult to take a risk with a start-up, because if the company fails you’re in a bad situation. For a company like Tata, they can attract top talent by guaranteeing a job for life.

One of the reasons Tata can do this, however, is because they’re so big. If an employee isn’t succeeding in their current position, Tata is so huge that they can transfer them to an area where they can do better.

So, the difference is quite large between Silicon Valley and the developing world. If Patty McCord tried her strategy in a developing country, she would learn that it is very difficult to hire the best engineers if you have a reputation for firing people quickly.

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


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, A, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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