Greetings fellow Entrepreneurs and Hustlers out there. I bring you good tidings! In January, yes next month, we kick off the first in a series of P.O.A Sessions at CTO. I know we love a good ackronym, so let me not keep you in suspense any longer.
P.O.A = Plan Of Action (can I hear a hells yes!)
So, what it is and how does it work?
In a series of Monday morning sessions, Cape Town Office coach Lauren Franze invites you to be part of this dynamic group coaching forum designed to support you, the Entrepreneur in taking your business to the next level.
The POA focuses on 5 key aspects:
Think better and bigger
Design and execute a highly efficient strategy
Examine habits and mindsets which undermine productivity
Consider your skill set and identify development areas
Optimise your energy flow
Each 2-hour session allows for both group and individual participation. Members can both be coached, and observe others receive coaching. Collaboration and group support is encouraged and facilitated as well, to build a constructive, supportive environment for the individuals, and the forum.
Why should you do this?
A recent ICF (international coaching federation) study published the following results from organisations who made use of business and personal coaches for their staff or teams, and this was the result.
70% in work performance
61% in business management
57% in time management
51% in team effectiveness
When / Where / How much?
Session 1: 22 January
Session 2: 29 January
Session 3: 05 February
Session 4: 12 February
Time: 08h30 to 10h30 Where: Cape Town Office, 62 Roeland Street, Gardens 8001 Cost: R850.00 per person [Public] / R650 per person [Cape Town Office members]
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Michael O’Brien, vice president for information technology at Journal Communications, would prefer not to have the employees of the Milwaukee media company use Microsoft’s Office software any more.
Venkat Panchapakesan of Google, left, and David Girouard, who runs Google Apps for Business. The service has lured small businesses, but few big companies, away from Microsoft Office.
He has installed Google Apps for Businesses, which provides word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail and calendar software, for 400 people and said he planned to “convert” 900 more.
Because Google Apps performs many of the same functions as Office, but through a Web browser instead of local software, it is cheaper to own and operate than Microsoft’s desktop software, he said. An additional 1,400 people will be giving up their Microsoft e-mail, documents and spreadsheets for Google in December.
Mr. O’Brien said he was also seeing a difference in behavior. Many people can look at and work on the same content together, and access their memos and calendars from lots of different Web-connected devices. So people are starting to work together by sharing documents that are stored in the cloud. Even at this early stage, he said, “it started to change us.”
What’s happening at Journal Communications is one small win for Google and its cloud computing challenge to Microsoft’s lucrative Office division, maker of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. But more than 4 1/2 years after Google Apps for business made its debut, the question remains how much of a dent Google is making in Microsoft’s business.
Microsoft says Google’s efforts are hardly noticeable. But Google executives say that more and bigger companies are signing up for the cloud service.
Possibly more important to Google is the way that Apps helps Google build social networks inside business. If successful, it would be a threat to Microsoft’s biggest division and would create another inroad in its struggle with Facebook to dominate users’ online lives.
“Businesses are inherently about people and relationships,” said David Girouard, who runs Google’s Apps business. Predictable things, like figuring out the supplies needed for manufacture, were “not the minimum to play,” he said. “You need to have a social system, where a guy can introduce an idea about a new supplier, and he gets input from a lot of people quickly.”
Though Mr. Girouard said that 5,000 businesses a day signed up with Google Apps, few big companies have done so, most likely because some people do not entirely trust a cloud-based service, they like Microsoft or do not want to force employees to learn a new system. So Google does the next best thing and is focusing primarily on smaller businesses. Google maximizes the appeal of documents, calendars and spreadsheets at a cost of $50 a person a year. Many companies say that is 50 percent to 80 percent cheaper than Office. Google has the deep pockets to go slow since its search-related businesses bring in over $30 billion.
Microsoft has deep pockets too. Its Office division revenue alone is $5.6 billion.
Most corporate software is sold through big consulting firms, like I.B.M. or Accenture, but Google has yet to use a partner. “They have approached other companies, but others think it’s not in their best interest,” said David M. Smith, an analyst with Gartner. He estimates Google gets just $150 million a year from Apps, and that it is not enough to cover costs. Google says it does make a profit.
Instead, it uses the business in “asymmetric warfare” with Microsoft. “Google spends $1 to make Microsoft spend $10 defending itself, because Microsoft went after Google on search,” Mr. Smith said.
Microsoft is dismissive of the situation.
“We sell a copy of Office 2010 every second — over 100 million so far,” said Tom Rizzo, a senior director in the Office division. “Nine out of 10 customers who use Google keep Office on their desktop.”
Microsoft started its own online documents business in June, at a price of $2 to $27 a month for each employee using the service. Mr. Rizzo, a 10-year Microsoft employee, would not say how sales were, but said, “I think this has the potential to be the fastest-growing product I’ve ever been a part of.”
Bradley Horowitz, vice president in charge of products at Google+, the company’s new social network, says the long-term reality of cloud computing will be the obliteration of any line between business and consumer. “Work and home meld into each other,” he said. “People at home already have access to huge supercomputers through the Google grid; they will not abide having old tools at work.”
Google Apps is centered on Gmail, used at no cost by hundreds of millions of people. The free version comes with ads and fewer features. Paid Apps have no ads, and Google says it guarantees a sustained quality of service and provides features like a way to publish corporate videos.
Capgemini, a technology services consultancy, uses Apps in a Guatemala-based call center because employees were used to the free version. That cut training time. Virgin America uses the Gmail system for its 2,100 employees, but lets people choose whether to use Microsoft Office. “When you have people on one tool, it takes them awhile to convince them it’s worth it to move,” said Dean Cookson, Virgin’s chief information officer. “It comes down to finding the killer thing the new one does.”
Google recently enabled companies to create corporate pages inside Google+, its social network site akin to Facebook. Where the consumer version of Google+ has a feature called “Circles,” which allows a person to keep the posts he shares with his frat brothers separate from those he shares with his mother, corporate Circles can be used to create virtual departments and teams, or for collaboration on projects including e-mail, documents, or video.
Once Google+ has perfected features like security and encryption, said Mr. Horowitz of Google, “it will change the way people work, share and communicate. I’ll have work conversations at 100 water coolers a day.”
At Journal Communications, Mr. O’Brien’s staff used Circles to train people on the transition from Microsoft Office to Apps. “We deployed six different teams in six rooms,” with video links between each, he said. “People could go into different rooms, and get different expertise from anyone in one of the other rooms.” He thinks using Circles to establish ad hoc teams of reporters will enhance collaboration among the company’s newspapers and television businesses.
Mr. Girouard said that Google Apps would introduce even more features with Google+ over the next few months. “We’re headed to a place where all productivity is inherently social,” he said. “Questions like ‘What do we do next?’ and ‘Who needs to make a decision today?’ are handled inefficiently now. It’s why there are so many meetings in companies.” Social networks in business, he said, could be faster, less formal and more efficient.
Social networking “is the next phase of what we’re going to do in business,” said Mr. Girouard.
First of all, there is probably no one-fits-all rule for office space. Depending on your business and activity, and on many other factors like will you be receiving customers or not, your ideal office space definition might be different from mine.
What has changed since we have moved atHome Group to these new offices, from my point of view as IT Manager? We finally have a true IT room now that holds all of the servers and networking stuff. This is not a direct productivity win, but it makes life much easier because maintenance is done centrally, and the risk that someone unplugs the server “by mistake” is removed. All in all, this provides for better IT infrastructure management, less risk, and more overall performance (features) for everyone.
At our old offices, we grew the company so fast that we didn’t have a conference room anymore – we had to use it to place the new recruitments. This was a very big draw-back. Even without talking about the impossibility to receive customers in a proper environment (doesn’t look very professional if they have to sit in the corridor…), alone the fact that the team members didn’t have a room to hold meetings was a very big problem.
We see this now that we have two decent meeting rooms again: a smaller one with just 6 chairs and a table, that suits perfectly for small management meetings where you have to discuss things, and a larger one that can hold up to 15 people, equipped with a Cisco conference phone and a projector.
This room and equipment has prooved to be a big addition to the IT team’s productivity in no time. Before, whenever we had to discuss a technical implementation or functional overview, we had to stand around someone else’s desk in the middle of our part of the office. Now we can sit down together, use the projector and have really productive meetings without causing inconvenience for the other office users.
In a nutshell – don’t underestimate the power of decent office space and make sure your team has the proper environment to work correctly. Especially some smaller companies would say that they can’t afford a meeting room with projector etc. but this is a mistake. You can build a good meeting room with an Macro table, 6 Macro chairs, and a cheap LCD screen you hook up on the wall, and a cheap laptop with Wifi Internet, and there you go : perfect IT meeting room for less than R10,000 !
The rand advanced to a more than one-week high against the dollar and yields fell to six-week lows after European leaders agreed a plan to stem the region’s debt crisis, whetting investor appetite for riskier assets.
South Africa’s currency strengthened 2.1 percent to 7.8363 per dollar by 10:25 a.m. in Johannesburg from yesterday’s London close. It advanced to 7.8078 earlier, the strongest level since Oct. 17. Against the euro, the rand rose 0.8 percent to 10.9780. The yield on 6.75 percent bonds due 2021 dropped eight basis points, or 0.08 percentage point, to 7.91 percent, the lowest since Sept. 12.
European leaders persuaded bondholders to take a 50 percent loss on Greek debt and boosted the firepower of the rescue fund to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion), responding to global pressure to step up the fight against the financial crisis. Copper gained as much as 2.4 percent, leading a rally in prices of metals and other raw materials. South Africa’s benchmark stock index soared to a three-month high.
The European accord “should trigger a relief rally in the near term for risky assets,” Benoit Anne, London-based head of emerging market-strategy at Societe Generale SA, said in e- mailed comments. “We expect currencies such as the rand, the lira, the zloty and the ruble to benefit in the near term from this strongly positive signal for global risk.”
Foreign investors were net buyers of 1.4 billion rand ($179 million) of South African bonds yesterday, reversing an outflow of 892 million rand the previous day, according to the JSE Ltd. Demand for bonds rose after the government said on Oct. 25 it won’t increase domestic borrowing this year.
“Momentum remains higher for local bonds today,” Quinten Bertenshaw, Johannesburg strategist at Tradition Analytics, wrote in a research note. The European agreement “could support a resumption of capital inflows from developed economies to emerging markets, and by bullish for local bonds”, they added.
Cape Town has been named World Design Capital for the year 2014, ahead of fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. The sought-after accolade was awarded to the Mother City this morning at the International Design Alliance (IDA) Congress in Taipei.
Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, accepted the award on behalf of Cape Town, South Africa and the African continent.
In her acceptance speech De Lille said: “It is an honour for me to be addressing you here today as mayor of the first African city to be named a World Design Capital. A city belongs to its people and it must be designed for and with them and their communities. For many years, people have been applying innovative solutions to our challenges. They have been using design to transform various aspects of life. But they have often been working without an overarching social goal in mind.
“The World Design Capital bid process and title have helped to bring different initiatives together and have made us realise that design in all its forms, when added together, creates human and city development.
“The World Design Capital designation gives cities like Cape Town additional motivation to actively think of transformative design in development plans. We look forward to learning from other cities that are using design as a tool for transformation, including past winners Torino, Seoul and Helsinki and our fellow short-listed cities, Dublin and Bilbao. We are honoured to have been considered with them.”
The Cape Town Partnership started the World Design Capital bidding process over a year ago, on behalf of the City of Cape Town. A Bid Committee was tasked to frame the theme of the bid and to source content and case studies for the bid book. It included design case studies in the Stellenbosch area. On 31 March 2011 the 465-page bid book was formally submitted to the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) in Canada, with the theme, “Live Design. Transform Life”.
Explaining the importance of the year 2014, De Lille said it will be the celebration of 20 years of democracy in South Africa,
“That celebration will allow for a time of reflection, to think about how far we have come as a country and a city. We will also be positioning ourselves to plan for the future. The next 20 years, and the 20 years after that, demand nothing less if we are to prosper as a city and a society and truly mature into our full potential.
“2014 then is the moment when the past and the future will come together for Cape Town, in contemplation and in action. In South Africa, cities were designed over decades to divide people. But since our new democratic era, we have been focused on trying to bring people together, to create a sustainable city that fosters real social inclusion.”
“The challenges faced by cities today are numerous. Sometimes, they seem unique. When we broaden our horizon, however, we discover the tremendous energy and innovation of individuals, communities and firms using design every day to create solutions. They are to be found within our city… and all over the world.
“In 2014, we will channel that energy into a series of events that celebrate design as a driver of social and economic change in the urban environment. We invite the global design community to become a part of our design journey, in our city, in Africa and in the world,” De Lille said.
Cape Town’s bid has gained widespread public and private sector support at City and Provincial level. It provides the opportunity to embed design thinking into urban development planning for social and economic growth. The accolade will also enhance Cape Town’s reputation globally as being a place that is known for more than just its natural beauty.
Previous World Design Capital title holders have seen increased visitor numbers as a result of the designation. Torino, Italy, World Design Capital for 2008, reported higher visitor numbers in their title year – which coincided with the global economic downturn – than in 2006, when they hosted the Winter Olympics.
Bulelwa Makalima-Ngewana, Managing Director of the Cape Town Partnership and co-ordinator of the bid on behalf of the City said: “It has been a long and rewarding journey to get to this point. The real key to our success has been the partnerships that have been forged during the bid process, and the unwavering support of the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. Being named World Design Capital for 2014 is a unique opportunity for us to reposition Cape Town on the world stage as a city of innovation, creativity and caring – and to continue to foster and promote our design industries at home and abroad.”
The World Design Capital 2014 title results in a year-long programme of design-focused events that will see creative communities across the globe turning to Cape Town for social, economic and cultural solutions. These connections are vital in the long-term links the city will secure with global role-players within creative industries. This win also highlights how design innovation has led to growth in the Stellenbosch area, taking the bid beyond the city’s borders to acknowledge the design assets of the region.
Said Stellenbosch Mayor Conrad Sidego from Taipei, where the theme of the IDA Congress is “Design at the Edges”: “The edge is where design of the past and design of the future meet – in this moment we have the opportunity to shape a new design legacy for our region.”
The World Design Capital title is awarded bi-annually by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID) to give global prominence to cities that use design for their social, economic and cultural development. Founded in 1957 and active in 50 countries, ICSID has awarded the World Design Capital designation three times – to Torino, Italy (2008); Seoul, South Korea (2010) and Helsinki, Finland (designated for 2012). The World Design Capital title is awarded in advance, allowing winning cities sufficient time to plan, develop and promote a year-long programme of World Design Capital-themed events for their designated year. The winning city is required to pay a licensing fee of 160 000 Euros to ICSID over two years for the use of the title, and this investment is then leveraged by the winning city to attract significant private sector funding for promotion of the title year.