Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My New Year's Resolutions

I have a shorter list of New Year’s resolutions over the years. It’s simple, if you have a long list with high expectations, chances being, you’ll still have that long list of unfulfilled resolutions every yearend.

So, for 2014, I’ll settle with two resolutions. The first one is to read more; from around 50 books this year to 60. (20% growth rate, the same with my COO’s resolution on sales figure) The second one is to contribute bigger donations to charity and community.

I like reading. I hope my organization cultivates reading habit as well. Readers learn through reading, it self-motivates, it is better than training courses arranged by companies. Reading habit ensures life-long learning; keeps ones’ mind fresh to constantly absorb knowledge like a sponge.

That's why I started the Academia, to encourage pseudo-academic research and study among the staff that ties up with our served industries. I made them read AND write as well. Many short theses were produced over the one-year through a lot of reading process. With better understanding of the industries and their specific and in-depth concerns, our R&D team has dawned on the direction of software development.

As for charity work, this year, we donated more than 5% of our net profit to support some non-governmental and human rights organizations, cultural activities, and charity bodies like orphanage homes. On our corporate website, we have a statement that goes like this: FingerTec Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a form of self-regulated corporate governance integrated into our business practice. The FingerTec CSR policy functions as a built-in mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of law, ethical standards, and international norms. In short, this is what Google called “Don’t Be Evil” policy.

However, by adhering to these principles in one’s business doesn’t make a saint out of you. Because, apart from achieving your own dream, the main objective in business is also to selfishly making money for yourself in pursuit of wealth. Of course, getting rich is not wrong when the money is legally your hard earned or smart earned. But it’s also good to peek into the not-so-fortunate life for a lot of other people and making some effort to contribute. As a business owner, or as someone who has more to spend, contributing some to the needy will make one more humanitarian if not a saint and make a better society for everybody to live in.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Business Model

In the biometrics industry, I was once introduced to this findbiometrics.com website, a portal covering news of the industry. Because its revenue model is based on sponsored ads, it publishes mostly positive business news boasted mainly by the project-based biometrics companies, rather than their journalists’ own coverage. I found the website was not of much use to me. 

Two years ago, when we decided to develop cloud video surveillance solution, I bumped into another website, ipvm.com, a portal which the owner self-claimed as “the world's leading video surveillance information source. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisement, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers. We provide the best video surveillance analysis, testing and training for thousands of members globally.”

 After I perused some of the industry analysis and testing reports, I was convinced and thus signed up for a corporate account & paid the subscription fee online, frequenting my visit to the website to gather useful industry & technical know-how in a more neutral manner.

The above two different business approaches have their own target audiences with pros and cons. Unless they disclose their financial performance, I don’t think my personal preference is fair to judge who has a better business model.

Business owners have the liberty to choose their own business model. In many cases, we witness business models carrying more weight than the real substance of their products and services. Even the same products when run under different business models might end up with two totally different outcomes. Sometimes, one business model looks good in a short period, but might not sustain in a longer period; so, change is equally important too.

Business model plays a pivotal role in today's business
During the Dot Com Boom in the late 90s in the last century, investors were not dazzled by the technologies, but by the business models the Internet startups pitched on them. For example, Yahoo! succeeded with its news portal, Amazon with its online bookstore, and later Google’s strip down search engine struck gold. We have plenty more examples like Groupon, Foursquare, YouTube, SalesForces, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and etc; all of which proved business model plays a pivotal role, rather than the technologies in their success stories.

Today, with cheaper technologies and higher computing power, even conventional products and services can easily be revitalized with new ideas.  

Just like FingerTec, we produce quality products, but our business model works wonders. What is our business model? We’re heavily dependent on the Internet. We have plugged in almost everything; our sales and marketing, technical support, warranty claim, resource centre, all around the Internet. And from now on, we added FingerTec Webinar, a web conferencing tool to enhance our online training, to provide interactive training courses for our resellers and customers around the world. The best part of it is, at the right time, at your own place, no travelling is required. Just turn on the Internet, with a cup of coffee in your hand, you can join the class and participate in the discussion.  And it’s totally free of charge at www.fingertec.com/webinar/.