Monday, February 22, 2010

To Avoid Long Tail

The Long Tail Theory popularized by Chris Anderson saying that a powerful new economic force in the world of Internet allows almost unlimited choices. This is particular true for the new era where you’re a retailer and you offer your items over the Internet. The display of your products on the Internet is practically costless if compared to a brick and mortar retail store that involves high operating costs. At the end, the additions of small quantity sales of long-tail niche products maybe larger than the total small percentage of hottest mass selling items.

The Long Tail Curve

For slow moving products, this is a really good news. can offer endless list of book titles, but Barn and Noble chain stores have to make a wise selection of titles for display in their limited shop space.

The Internet has given us a lot of dreams, and proven some old theories wrong, and created some new ones. Unfortunately the Long Tail Theory sounds great for online retailers, but not for manufacturers.
We are the one who still have to abide by the conventional Pareto Principle’s 80-20 rule. We may tolerate 80% of slow moving items in our product line against the 20% of the hot items i.e. FingerTec TA100 and R2 model, but no manufacturer can afford to produce endless niche products that sell very little.

From product design, to structural design, to molding, to prototype, to sampling, to mass production, to A&P, the investment is snowballing, if the new product is not making a hit, producers have to lick their own wound.

Everyone dreams to become Apple, just one model of iPhone versus a plentiful of Nokia models and still making tones of money. We are no Apple, but what we can do is to limit our new products to a few models every year to avoid long tail, and pray for the newbie to rewrite the Pareto Principle to 70-30, 60-40, 50-50….

And come back from the Chinese New Year, we have finally unveiled the latest three models:

1. FingerTec FaceID 2

Yeah, it should be released last December, but to make you look good in color on the screen and not just you in black and white image, we had to hold it back until R&D department removes the final hurdle. It’s worth the wait. You can compare it with some of the rival’s products and notice the striking difference. The first batch of the Face ID 2 are all booked, we hope the good news would sustain in a longer period.

2. FingerTec Keylock 8800

This is another much awaited product. To lift the standard of conventional and high-tech fingerprint door lock combined, the effort and investment are three times higher than a normal fingerprint reader. We hope the market proves that it’s worth the economy of effort.

3. FingerTec TA300

It showed up in my plan a year ago. But the designs were shot down many times until I’m almost given up. But the tireless R&D team kept on trying to keep it alive, and we finally have a desktop standalone fingerprint reader. TA300 is meant for no-installation and low price easy market.

We would release 3 to 4 additional new products this year. To avoid the long wait and the grumbling resellers, this time I have to keep it confidential until it nears production.

But all in all, the more pressing matter now is, forget the Long Tail, what’s in my mind is to beat the damn Pareto principle’s 80-20 rule!

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Is Santa Claus Real?

The secret that had been safely kept for nine years was revealed last week.

Coming home from her school, my daughter, in a serious tone, asked me, “Is Santa Claus real, or Daddy is the Santa?”

“Why you suddenly bring this up?” I replied uneasily.

“My classmate told us that Santa Claus is actually daddy and the whole class agreed with her. I’m the only one who insisted that Santa Claus is real. They laughed at me and told me to ask my father.”

The family had worked hard to keep this secret. For a while I wanted to keep it that way. But if I continued the white lie, she would be a bigger laughing stock in her class later on. Since she would soon discover the truth from someone else, it’s better to come from her dad.

So, I told her the truth.

She laughed out loud at first, but later I saw tears welling up in her eyes. I threw my arms around her. 

What a cruel truth.

She told us that she feels happy and sad at the same time. Some of her long unrequited doubts are cleared now, but the anticipation for Christmas would be diminished.

I convinced her that all children would grow up to discover the truth sooner or later, but Daddy will always get Christmas presents.

“But I have to cut my wish list shorter when I know that Daddy is paying for the presents,” she replied glumly.

Santa Claus is children’s best fairy tale, most parents are willing to keep the secret as long as possible. When the real identity of Santa eventually unveiled, the love between the two generations grows stronger.

“That’s why I didn’t get my elephant (toy) last Christmas which I thought supreme Santa should know what I wanted,” she said with a bitter smile.

“I really went to the zoo and asked the keeper to sell one of the baby elephants to me, but he refused,” I joked.

The whole family broke into laughter, and hers with more tears in the eyes.

This episode happened a month after Christmas. And now Chinese in Malaysia are preparing for Chinese New Year celebration, which’s just around the corner. I would be taking a week holiday to be with my family starting from 13th February. Despite the two days public holiday in Malaysia, all sales and supports enquiries would be replied within 24-hours. No worry, that’s our promise.

Wishing you A Happy Chinese New Year!

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ