Elena R's Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2005

From Two Different Worlds

Well, after watching both of the films on Open Source Revolution and Walmart there were definitely differences in the relationship that the two companies had with their developers (manufacturers). In regards to Linux, it seemed that there was a cooperative and communal relationship that they had with their developer. Richard Stallman and the creator of Linux seemed to have a very respectful and considerate relationship with each other because it did not seem that they were after the corporal pleasure of being on top of the success ladder. Instead, they were just promoting something that they both had a passion for. They wanted to create a quality product for the public that would be little hassle and prevent them from living in a proprietary prison. Stallman and the creator of Linux wanted to give people more of a liberating experience on the computer, so these ingenious hackers began to redefine the open source code. This way it would no longer be a proprietary software that created restrictions for users as Microsoft had desired. The Linux developers were not trying to restrain people from exploration and instill fear of copyright, yet they were trying to break it all down so that everyone could exercise their liberties over the computer without a gatekeeper holding up a stop sign. At the conference, when Stallman and the creator of Linux both came on stage, there was an obvious respect that they had for one another and they seemed to have a great appreciation for the contributions that they have made for the company. They just seemed to complement one another because they were both ordinary guys that just so happened to begin a successful revolution in the technological world.

However, with Wal-Mart that is another story. This is one of the largest companies in the country, which caters to the needs of many people in all sections of the land. It has had great success with selling high quality items at the lowest prices. Everyone knows that nice smiley face who plays the swashbuckling Zorro by slashing those high prices. That smiley Zorro is saying in an alluring voice "come to walmart and buy these products". That particular idea is a dream come true for the economically cautious consumer who is trying to save a few dollars without having to worry if their socks are going to shrivel up in the washing machine. When it comes to maintaining its corporate success with the financial world and the world of the consumer, sometimes the relationship that Wal-Mart has with its' manufacturers is not always as amicable as Linux. In fact, sometimes relationships are strained with several of its manufacturers. For example, many of the products that are sitting so beautifully on the shelves of Wal-Mart are not even from the United States. They come predominantly from International countries due to the mass amount of products that can be reproduced with the lowest amount of wages to give to the workers. So, they are now hopping over to International countries to pay little and get more by leaving resentful domestic companies in the dust. The outsourcing plan has put many people out of work because now many high profile companies are sending their work overseas because it is less money out of their pockets to pay for the production of the item and more money to add to their wallet once when the product swipes the dust away from the shelves at Wal-Mart. I only saw one instance where there was an interpersonal communication moment in Wal-Mart, but it was between the employees and the managers. I did not see the president or some other person in a position of authority come into the store and clap for the quality of work that the people did for the company. Instead, I saw factories in which no one spoke a word and there were few pats on the back. Whereas, with Linux I saw one of the key spokespersons and the people who were part of the revolution of open source not only celebrate with all of the employees, but they commended the public for their support. Sure, we get a glimpse of one of the representatives at Wal-Mart talking to a bunch of people in a stadium, but the whole relationship that Wal-Mart seems to have is more impersonal than Linux.

Finally, one of the essential differences that I saw was the pressure to accomplish work on a time constrained schedule. I noticed that with Linux that people seemed to be patient while working to reconstruct the open source code. People like Stallman were trying to motivate people into having patience and agility to look at the source code and to improve it for the consumer. They did not pressure each other about deadlines or demand things from their co-workers because they seemed to want to reinforce a united environment. With Wal-Mart there were repetitious comments about how they bullied their manufacturers into production and how they demanded certain products from them. It was made clear that no excuses were accepted, after all time is money. So, it is a cutthroat industry that is overwhelming to manufacturers, but what big corporations fail to realize about demanding products from overseas is that they are handling power that they may not be able to regulate with a watchful eye. If they push the manufacturers or rub them the wrong way, then companies like Wal-Mart could suffer a great financial loss because the manufacturers may not want to be bullied by someone who is miles away. They may not want to continue to work in such conditions and on unfulfilling terms. Instead of ordering people around and being the big boss, companies that send their products overseas should be cautious in what relationship they develop with their manufacturers because one wrong move can put them out of business.

Everyone should check out Christina's point about the similarities that exists between the companies, in which they want to satisfy the consumer's desires. Yet, they have relatively different approaches to accomplishing this task. Also, Miss Jill is right on the money in her explanation that Wal-Mart will go to great lengths to get the lowest prices for consumer and everyone should take notice of her favoritism for Target.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Take A Look At That Tail!

After reading the description on several websites, I found that Wikipedia gave a very good definition about the long tail. According, to Wikipedia it says that huge population of rare events are described as the long tail. Basically, when it comes to the economical aspects most general items that are sold are in the long tail of the graph. So, if there were several CD's that were sold at various vendors or stores, then they would be classified in the long tail of the spectrum. One of the best examples that enabled me to understand the whole concept of the long tail was the reference to the music industry. Even though many people may be convinced that the most profitable ventures for the music industry would be to sell popular albums because the artists would attract a broad audience. That in turn would help to increase the sales for the industry because people will want to purchase albums created by mainstream artists. However, all of that is now changing, especially for people who indulge in genres that may not be popular with contemporary audiences. Some people may want to buy 1950's records, the popular 80's rock band albums, or even pop music from the early 90's. But, the big problem is that they cannot find the albums in any stores. The problem is that they do not have enough space for the albums. If they are not selling off of the shelves, then it would be a loss of profit. Before there was no big competition for people's almighty green in their wallets because there were only a few musical stores and retailers that carried certain products. Stores such as Strawberry's, Fye, Sam Goody and others were the only places where people could purchase music. So, if these and other stores did not have the goods, then people were fresh out of luck. Their only option was just to imagine the music. Yet, now with more online companies emerging with warehouses stocked with an abundance of inventory (even with music from the past), now it is more profitable to sell the most unpopular products because there is a demand from customers to find rare pieces of music. People would be willing to pay a reasonable amount of money just to have this outdated music in their hands once again.

Furthermore, I managed to find a post where there was a section about television that help to further and clarify my understanding of the long tail. It talked about the whole arrangement with television stations. I remembered from several communication classes that when there are a few television stations, chances are that they are only going to broadcast information that would attract a large audience. However, that rule changes when there is more competition due to the development of more stations. Then, they begin to have more space and availability to those who would like to have a time slot for their story. So, there would be more variety with the material that is aired.

The best way that the organizations can find out about the hidden aspects of the tail is to take advantage of some of the technological advantages of the Internet. Organizations should really pay more attention to the consumers, instead of what is just "popular" because some of the products that they may believe that people want to purchase may not be consistent. So, if they wanted to discover more about the tail, they should utilize the existence of blogs and tags. Just by observing blogs more often, they can have a sense of the general items that are sold in the tail. They can find out what consumers would like to see in their stores or warehouses. For example, Chris Anderson, the man who coined the concept of the long tail, explained how organizations that carry music for artists from previous years (70's 80's etc.) may be more successful with profit than hit singles because the music may be rare to the point where people will pay anything to have it. So, sometimes the best way to make some progress in the economical department of profitability is to check out the most unlikely searches. If organizations observed blogs and tags to various websites, they can have an accurate sense of the types of products that people are interested in.

Everyone should take a look at Chris's post in which he gives a story that many people can relate to. He describes the lack of variety in several movie stores and how Netflix helped to enhance the enjoyment of viewing many movies. He also gives a good description about the long tail and where certain items fall into the spectrum. Finally, check out Joy's point about how organizations should concentrate on smaller investments because it would bring more profitability to the organization.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Folks, Folks, Folksonomy!

Many people are aware that there are various types of methods to assist people with searching for information about any topic. They can ask close acquaintances, people in chat rooms, or professionals in a particular field about certain information. They can head to the library to search on the computer for a book about the subject or if someone is really old fashioned, they can flip through the dusty library catalog in order to be swayed in the right direction on their discovery of the unknown. Yet, these days there is a much more convenient way to look up information or the latest trends. Instead of battling the search engines and being given information that is completely off topic from what they originally searched for, they can turn to their fellow human. Now folks are turning to other folks in order to satisfy their thirst for knowledge or just for plain old fun sites. Just imagine it. People sharing information that is regulated by no one and is open for all of the world to see. Imagine few restrictions, a chance for self expression, and where people control the information. Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn't it? Well, it seems that fairy tale is unfolding into reality and is taking the Internet by storm. What is it, you ask? Welcome to the wonderful world of folksonomies!

Folksonomies are not only a way for people to classify their favorite topics to share with the public, but they are a way for people to organize the world. It is people, not gatekeepers, who organize the information the way that they feel would be useful to others. Folksonomies are normally organized into common popular names because this way it is more traceable and accessible to users who desire to examine specific information. For example, there may be tags that have the words "movies" or "video" and each link brings the user to a page that is associated with the general term for search. So, if someone wanted to find a database for movies or rental DVD, then they can click on the tag to see what type of resources are available. One of the best aspects about folksonomies are the amount of freedom it gives to the users. Instead of being limited by narrowly defined vocabulary, it gives people a chance to express certain topics without having a moderator come along and scold them for using abstract terms.

Folksonomies not only are beneficial to regular people, but they are sufficient for organizations. How? Well, the reason is that they can help organizations gain an idea of the type of information that people are interested in. For example, if magazines wanted to find out about what stories people are interested in, they can check out the tags. They can see the content and perhaps people's responses inside of the forums of the websites. It may give them an idea for a feature story relating to the article because they will know that it will attract a broad audience. Perhaps, a small business wants to know what people want from their customer service department. They can access the tags and see what types of features businesses have for assisting customers. By observing the tags, they can make the necessary improvements to their website in order to make their business better for themselves and the consumer. Organizations can check out the tags and links in order to have a vivid interpretation of the websites that people observe on a daily basis. They can see what is hip and what is yesterday's news. This way they can examine the popularity and even improve their websites to attract more visitors by catering to the popular demand.

However, while I was researching about folksonomies I stumbled onto some of the disadvantages of folksonomies. Smith goes into a brief discussion about some of the problems that can arise with folksonomies. For example, Smith distinguishes the lack of synonym control, the lack of control on some of the words used to describe certain topics, and a few other issues that people practicing folksonomy should be aware of. I thought that it was quite interesting because it demonstrates the practice of allowing personal intellectual freedom to Internet surfers, but at the same time not everybody has the same interpretation about the world they live in. Everyone sees various issues in different lights and they may classify them in ways that not everybody can understand.

Everyone should take a glimpse at Chris's point about his personal view about the strength of folksonomies and how they help people to uncover a variety of information. Also, Miss M makes a good point about how folksonomies are a way for self expression and they help us to create an intriguing identity that is not always visible in reality.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Put Your Thoughts Where Your Mouth Is!

Well, the army of writers march on in the third chapter for the Cluetrain Manifesto. This time Rick Levine provides his take about the impact the voice has on the Internet. I found myself nodding my head while reading the articulate and straightforward discussions that he made about the mysterious voices on the Internet. Many of the points that he made were a realistic and contemporary explanation about the overwhelming trend of voices heard across the sea of forums.

One of the interest and familiar discussions that he has are about the benefits of electronic mailing lists. He describes how they are a successful and much more resourceful method than going through the tedious process of sending massive letters. I agree that electronic mailing list are a dream come true for people who are constantly on the go or who do not desire to look up their loved ones addresses in their address books because they help to conserve something that many people value: the essence of time. In the busy world that we reside in, sometimes myself and others do not have the time to send out a personalized message to every single person on the mailing list, especially when there is a need for time to study for a test or to run a few errands before the end of a business day. So, mailing lists take one general message and with just a few clicks on the email addresses, the word is out to all the designated individuals. It can alert people of a meeting, class cancellations, or other valuable information that could affect people's schedules. I admire that electronic mailing is instantaneously delivered to the recipient and that it reaches a mass group of people. Electronic emails give the urgent message to large groups of people without having to stand in line at the post office to send it express overnight mail. It tracks the message and if there are any problems, the postmaster immediately notifies the sender to either resend or to re-evaluate the validity of the email address. Now I can easily track down my mail with just a click of a button, instead of crossing my fingers in anticipation that it reached the right destination in due time.

Also, the point that Levine makes about forums and "eavesdropping" on conversations is something that many people, including myself, can relate to. He mentions the fact that people use forums not only as an outlet for self expression, but as a way to find out information from their fellow surfers. I agree that people use their voice not only to give their two cents on an issue, but to have their inquiries answered. For example, on Internet Movie Database, one user wants to find the title of a movie. The person describes the whole plot and the characters, and surely enough the user's question is answered. So, now the person can purchase or rent the movie without having to walk up and down the aisles of a video rental store searching for the mysterious film. The whole point is that if you do not know the answer, then chances are someone else does. This exchange of information and interaction makes people's lives easier because it leaves room for few surprises on general questions (examples: how much sugar to add to cookies or name of a CD) and provides more reassurance that there is some merit to their inquiry. Another benefit I like about the forums are that people can actively participate without having to say a word. All it takes is a little curiosity and a little patience for the surfer to stumble upon an interesting forum. The person may become intrigued by the threads and read what others have to say. The person may not respond through a detailed or witty message, but the person may indirectly participate just by scrolling through the messages boards. Sometimes when I have free time, I like to go onto messages boards and read what people have to say about various issues that are thriving in the media. Sometimes I shake my head, laugh, or sigh at the comments that a user makes. Yet, many people like myself like to, as Levine labels it "eavesdrop" because we desire to hear the voices of others besides ourselves. We want to see how others feel about an issue and their reasoning behind their position. Their comments may add or extinguish the fuel to everyone's fire with their view about the subject. Their comments can sway or push people away in disgust. In the end, everyone gains new and valuable information that they may not have possessed before. Now I see that voices are now starting to take a vivid shape in the Internet and it is now helping to evolve the way that people communicate their feelings about the world around them.

Finally, everyone should check out Jessica's discussion about how companies benefit from electronic mailing lists. She discusses the level of trust that is created between the consumer and the company when they develop messages that speaks directly to individuals. Also, Deanna makes a good point about how chat rooms have gained an infamous reputation and even discusses how web pages are the domains for people to show a creative side to themselves for all to see.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Look, everybody! We Have Our Voices Back!

After reading the continuation of Cluetrain Manifesto, I found David Weinberger's chapter to be insightful and an accurate representation of the impact that the Internet is having on society. Now the Internet is no longer viewed as just another mechanism for people to connect with others who are lands or oceans apart, but it is now a network that is slowly and surely disassembling the whole organizational chart. The change is definitely an advantage for many individuals of society who desire to feel temporary release from an organized and an overwhelmingly stressful world. After all, everyone needs a little bit of personal chaos and emancipation from the norm in order to really have a taste of the fruits of their labor.

One of the points that I found to be interesting was the emphasis placed upon management and control. Weinberger explained how many corporations have systems and meticulous methods that they employ in order to be reassured that potential surprises occur in a conventional fashion. So, if a computer shuts down in one of the departments, if classified information is exposed to the press, or if there are unaccounted for missing funds, there is a solution that is ready at their disposal. Yet, Weinberger makes the distinguishing fact that there is not a solution to every problem. He reveals how there are certain events that can occur beyond anyone's control and despite all of the precautions that the company may take, there may not be any plan that can alleviate a complicated situation. When such an event occurs, people may lose faith within the organized system because there may have been a guarantee that these methods would effectively abolish any potential incidents from occurring. The company may have persuaded the people that their plans were sufficient to regulate such events. But, when there is a revelation of a flaw in their methods, then it is seen as a huge letdown. I think that we are a society that is very time orientated. People have a need to condense and organize their time so that speeches do not run over time in a forum, that we can clean the house before company arrives, or leave work in order to beat the rush hour. From my observations, whenever people have a task to perform at a specific time and they are thrown off schedule from accomplishing it, everyone becomes disorientated because we have been programmed to structure our day around time.

Another point that I found to be enlightening are the rules of the workplace. Obviously, there are a code of ethics that people must follow in order to prevent conflicts and to reinforce the idea of behaving in a professional manner. Yet, Weinberger mentions a rule that grabbed my attention, which is about managing one's personal life so that it does not pose as a distraction in the workplace. Immediately, I thought of the movie, "The Firm" in which the superiors emphasized the idea of having the perfect family because that in turn would create the perfect diligent worker. It is possible to manage one's life to a certain extent, but I do not think that the issues with home are completely extinguished, even at the workplace. The reality is that the corporations are saying that people should not complain about what is going on in their personal life. Of course if a dear relative passes away or if there is a messy divorce, then the thoughts are going to be evident on the worker's conscience. These thoughts may not be harmful to anyone in the workplace, but the conflicted person's focus on work may not be as ample.

Finally, Weiberger reinforces the idea of self expression on the Internet. He explains how it is a way for people to reveal the multifaceted sides of themselves. At work people have to concentrate on one specific task whether it is accomplishing their bulk of the work, or promoting the image of their company. Yet, on the Internet they can show defiance to conventionality. On the Internet, they can be the wild and loose person that they always desired to be, while at the same time keeping their work identity intact. Self expression enables people to explore parts of their imagination that they conceal from their colleagues and it gives people an interactive outlet for several issues in the world. I remember reading a theory from McLuhan in which he emphasized that many of the objects or mediums we use are extension of ourselves. Well, in this case, the Internet is an extension of our voices. The Internet gives people the power to speak about several subjects whether it is verbally in message forums or abstractly expressed through art on their personal homepages.

Everyone should take a peek at Jessica's link and explanation about the show entitled "The Office". I thought that it was an excellent example of the atmosphere that is in many offices across the world and the emphasis placed upon routine. Also, Alexis makes an interesting point about professionalism and the need for structure as a form of unification within the workplace.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Ah, the Joys and Pains of the Internet!

Everyone uses this network on a regular basis, whether they want to admit it freely or keep it clandestine from others. This network enables people to touch those who are halfway across the world, to go Christmas shopping without having to face the horrific crowds (even those undesirable taxes), and for just a few minutes a day anyone can indulge in their favorite topics. This is not something that you can buy at the store or advertise in the newspaper because it is the Internet! Many people use it, but few people are not fully aware of the history and mysteries of the Internet. Well, Christopher Locke goes into profound details about the evolution and transitional periods of the Internet. With a touch of humor, a dash of playfully cynical thoughts, and a concentrated dose of the illuminating reality of cyberspace it helps to illustrate the inescapable power of the Internet.

Some of the more interesting discussions Locke has in the book The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual are highlighting the humorous corporations' view of the consumers and the struggle to maintain their patriarchal influence over society. Locke makes a very controversial, but effective point that companies do not like humans because humans have multifaceted longings that the companies can only fulfill to a certain extent. For example, the companies can accomplish the task of giving people a temporary sense of power by displaying advertisements for fast cars that can take them to the limitless boundaries of the world. It may give people the need for speed and to assume the identity of a rebellious, yet emancipated loner who only wants to head off into the sunset. People see these visualizations and associate with the theme of liberation from the turmoil of society. They soon picture their hair flowing through the wind and imagine the intense power rush as they drive full speed with their car on the winding highway. So, in order to assuage these incessant desires and hidden social insecurities, some people follow their impulses to purchase the very same car believing that it will provide them eternal release from reality. However, the company cannot produce a product that gives people millions of dollars, abolishes discrimination, poverty, or creates the perfect spouse because the sad concept is that nothing is meant to be perfect. There are certain aspects and dreams of individuals that are just too far off into the abstract world to fulfill. The truth, as Locke explains, is that the companies create products and advertisements in order to make the public believe that they are attempting to solve a majority of society's general problems. It is all about the power of persuasion through the use of brightly colored words and beautiful faces that cleverly convinces the public that companies actually care about the desires of the consumers. These ads even try to make the company appear to be on the side of the little people. However, the only intention of many companies is not to be a public psychiatrist, to be the shoulder to cry on when tragedies become overwhelming, or to just be a friend. The big objective is to sell, sell, sell! It is not about making people's lives easier, but to complicate it by insisting that they buy the product that is only an illusionary solution to their apparent dilemmas.

Furthermore, it is amazing to see the assumptions that companies have about consumers. Locke made an interesting point about the unawareness of "Joe Six Pack", who spends his time watching television and is a couch potato because television is his only "objective" window to the world. However, the emergence of the Internet transforms Joe into a knowledgeable person and in the companies eyes, a potentially dangerous individual because he is now connected to people beyond the domestic borders. Although it sounds frivolous, knowledge is a powerful tool, especially with the Internet because people can now find out from others in the world about the issues that are thriving. Some companies may have made the premature assumption that people are not suppose to question or have suspicions about the companies because people are suppose to take the information at face value. Yet, as people learn, the more they begin to question certain systems and organizations around them. They discover contradictions or hypocrisies of companies and may spread the word that companies may not uphold their public image. Some companies underestimate the intellectual capacity of consumers. They fail to realize that once they press the "connect" button, they are venturing outside of their backyard and into a cyberspace world, where limitless information is accessible to the Internet surfers.

Also, Locke creates a comical approach to the whole concept of firewalls. He reveals how a majority of companies have these firewalls to protect any detailed and confidential information. Yet, the only secrets they can conceal are that they are all "talk". They have nothing significant to hide, but they try to convince the public that they have substantial information they want to protect for their consumers. However, the reality is that the companies know how to talk a good bluff and they know how to shuffle the dice, but there is no monopoly board to play on. Levine emphasizes how eventually the companies will have to give up their obsession of protecting their information. They will have to become more flexible because this way it establishes a much more open relationship between the consumer and the organization.

In addition, Levine explains how the Internet has become an interactive television with more advertisements and more focus on incorporating fantasy into reality. More and more advertisements display unattainable and over-exaggerated concepts on the Internet. For example, with Jif peanut butter the image of the mother holding her daughter creates the perception that Jif makes women into All-American mothers. If they buy this peanut butter, they can establish a more closer connection with their children. It may work for some people, but there is no product that makes you more or less of an individual. For mothers who have children that throw tantrums, who are disobedient, or physically active buying a jar of peanut butter is not a resolution into being a better mother or having charming children. It make sandwiches or snacks taste better, but the embracing hug may not last with the child once the sugar kicks in. It also mentions that if you choose this peanut butter, then you are very selective about what your children eat. The phrase "choosy moms choose Jif" reflects the quality and the good taste of the product, but what if someone chooses a brand other than Jif? Does that make the mother less "choosy"? Jif is a good brand of peanut butter, but some people may assume that they are exceptionally selective when they buy this brand, instead of buying the cheaper store brand. It is these types of clever phrases that motivates people to buy this and other mainstream products on the market. So, advertisements paint a bright and alluring portrait of reality as being simple. When in fact there are several levels of reality that only a few products can be of use for.

Finally, the Internet is one of the best ways for someone to have a voice and an outlet for free expression. The Internet is a place where people can provide personal commentary about a variety of subjects, whether they are serious or comical. One of the important aspects about the forums on the Internet is the emphasis on providing support and intense responses to certain issues. If the person does not provide support for their position about the matter, then they can be prepared to be emotionally cremated. For example, take the Terry Schiavo case that is dividing the nation. When people cannot show defiance or support about the matter in their town, they have the option to escape to the Internet where their voice can be heard. In this forum, everyone gets their opinions across to others on their personal feelings surrounding the controversial situation. In fact, one of the best parts about the Internet is the high level of encouragement to participate and provide intellectual feedback. As Levine mentions, the level of self expression on the Internet gives people the opportunity to maintain their stability within the rat race. While at the same time creating a different and anonymous image on the Internet. They can be the conservative and time-orientated worker. Yet, when the sun goes down, the keyboard makes loud typing sounds. People can come home to release an alluring and secretive side that a company has never seen before. A side that is more relaxed and free to be just a curious web surfer. Just as Levine mentions, the Internet is there so that consumers can do as those traders did in the ancient times. They establish interpersonal connections with people from all corners of the planet, exchange stories, experiences, and make relationships with others that last a lifetime.

One of the points that is invigorating is made by Jessica because she goes into detail about how companies are apprehensive about losing their control over the consumers. She even goes further to make the suggestion that companies should face the inevitable and accept the fact that the web is a friend, not a foe. Also, Meghan gives an interesting and brief summary about the history of the marketplace. She even gives an account of the transition that is occurring due to the influence of the Internet.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Outsourcing: More Than They Bargained For

Well, “Unmade in America: the true cost of a global assembly line” is definitely an eye opener with its discussion about the flaws of outsourcing to different companies outside of the domestic borders. Although the control and command model may be a resourceful and inexpensive approach to creating mass quantities of products for public consumption, there are some complications that can arise with the companies’ distribution of assembly lines to international manufacturers.

One of the problems with the outsourcing control and command model is the inability to oversee and maintain an organized structure of production. For example, Barry Lynn mentions how Dell outsourced many of their assembly lines to other international locations to the point that the “Dell logistician had to watch hundreds of potential bottlenecks around the world”. Unless this logistician has excellent eyesight that can stretch all the way across the world from his office or some company liaisons monitoring production in the various locations, it is virtually impossible to oversee any potential problems that may occur on the assembly line. So, if something goes wrong on the assembly line or in other departments at the international locations, it is going to be much more challenging to trace the cause of the malfunction. The problem is that the production lines are not centrally located as they use to be. Before, a company could travel to their accessible domestic location, fully investigate the affected departments, and successfully rectify the situation. Now, the divisions of labor for assembling products vary due to the location. A product may have to go to one destination to have certain information imprinted and then it may have to travel to several other international destinations in order to be assembled with other equipment. So, this decentralized structure of command and control is creating a dilemma because if certain items are missing from a particular product, the availability of the product is going to be limited because the company will have to return all of the defective products half way across the world in order to improve the quality of the product.

Furthermore, the process of inventory has transformed over the past few years and it may not be for the companies’ benefit. Lynn reveals how inventory is no longer thoroughly conducted as it should be. Lynn discusses how traditionally it would take companies 60-120 days to perform accurate and complete inventory. Now, the whole process takes a few days to complete. This may be resourceful for major corporations in regards to the conservation of time. However, if inventory is done by other companies there may be deficiencies or an overabundance of supplies. The inventory for supplies may not be as precise or exclusive, which creates a problem with supply and demand. If there are not enough supplies to manufacture a product, then the company may suffer financially and there will be no way to trace unaccounted for inventory because they have chosen to place that primary responsibility onto international companies. If the company desired to examine the inventory, it may take a great deal of time to receive the inventory because they would have to access their numerous international affiliates for all of their records.

Another problem is that the companies are in a marathon to obtain several countries, which creates longer and fluctuating links that are too difficult to monitor. The links of the command and control model may branch or diverge so far that there will be no way to examine where the catalyst to a departmental problem arouse. Lynn emphasizes how the corporations are so preoccupied with the competition to see who can be the economical and global patriarch, that they fail to realize that they have more on their plate than they can consume. If problems occur with the assembly line, then there are few significant domestic alternatives because most of the work is outsourced to overseas divisions. Also, no one will know who to contact to resolve the dilemma because the company did not take the initiatives to become more acquainted with the companies they were conducting business with or make an attempt to send domestic representatives to the international locations to perform surveillance of the assembly lines.

Finally, companies are becoming so impulsive with acquiring countries that they fail to develop more practical knowledge about the possible environmental and political risks they are exposing the stability of their company to. The country may offer a proposal that is inexpensive and productive, but the domestic corporation may not fully investigate the political or natural climate of the country. Lynn reveals how political instability and vulnerability to natural disasters in other countries may place companies into an economical setback that they never anticipated. For example, if there were a political revolution in China or Venezuela, then there would be difficulty to produce and receive a product. The political strife may cause people to concentrate more on alleviating the violence, rather than organizing a computer chip for Dell. So, the company may feel that they saved sufficient amounts of money for the manufacturing of their product, but their ability to access them may go down the drain, literally. If a disaster, whether political or natural should erupt, the whole operation could collapse to the point where it may be challenging to restore back to its original productivity.

One command and control model that is complex, but more organized is from Cadence Design Group. This company offers a software that creates manageable models. It has different branches, but it seems to be centrally located and accessible in case if any problem erupts. With this model the company can actively communciate with the various divisions and pinpoint any problem to a particular department. However, with the Hanu Software,the command and control model is contrasting. A majority of the organization's high level divisions such as the business and technical departments are located offshore. This professional arrangement may help to disperse and alleviate the work load, but it will be difficult to manage a crisis because the domestic management team cannot actively participate with investigating a particular problem. The domestic department may not even have the ability to access and monitor the other major departments. So, they may not have the exclusive knowledge of what is occurring in the company.

Everyone should take a look at Miss M's Blog post about the subject. She makes a very good point about the competition among the companies and how it makes the whole battle for the title of the "best" company much more enriching for several organizations. Also, Joy straight-forwardly reveals how the tables can turn on the companies who hold the belief that they are in power. Yet, little do they know of what could happen if they acquire too many companies and rely on too many international manufacturers.