Category Archives: Friday Rant

Information Spend Matters: Procurement Should Think Twice before Cutting Paid Subscriptions

- July 25, 2014 6:39 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Spend Management

physical newspapers While there are major strategic implications for media companies and society as we turn into a culture of “free” news and information, there is one group of people that still expects to pay for their information: business executives. As companies look to cut costs by shifting from paid subscriptions to free sources of similar news and information, it is likely that they will find stiff resistance from executives. While moving to free news sources might make short-term financial sense, a recent study has found that executives around the world use and trust paid media in a way that produces value for themselves and their companies.

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“Nicola Davidson” — A Recommendation for Harley to Partner With Elon Musk

- July 11, 2014 10:21 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Innovation

Here’s my suggestion for Harley, go partner up with Elon Musk (the founder of Tesla) and create a two-wheeled Tesla motorcycle. Call it the Nikola or perhaps the Nikola Davidson? The electric bike concept has merits, bikes are by and large pleasure vehicles that usually don’t need to a thousand-mile range – I’m sure a lot of people rarely travel farther than 50 miles from home – so electric could work. Ride it to work, charge up there, ride home, rinse and repeat.

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Afternoon Champagne — Buying Fancy Vodka for the 4th?

- July 4, 2014 11:31 AM | Categories: Friday Rant

You can take vodka and distill it 159 times (yes, that exists), but it is fundamentally just ethanol - the purer the better. In other words, no flavor! It has to be one of the greatest IQ tests of all times whether a person buys $100+ "premium" vodka or just a fairly basic $25 pick-your-label vodka. Sure, there are bad vodkas out there (stay away from plastic bottles), but it doesn't take a lot of money to get perfectly good stuff. As long as it has been properly distilled and not artificially flavored, you're good to go.

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Rant: Write Clearer Meeting Invitations!

- June 27, 2014 11:03 AM | Categories: Friday Rant

Unsurprisingly, I get a lot of meeting invites from all sorts of companies -- providers large and small. Most corporate users probably get the bulk of invites from internal people; I mostly get mine from the solution providers we cover. Here's a dirty little fact: most invitations stink! Stink in the sense that they really don't help me manage my calendar. For example, all too many invites have vague subject lines such as "briefing with Thomas Kase" or "Spend Matters demo" - or just "demo" (seriously people!) - or other fuzzy combos that don't help anyone understand what's in the calendar.

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On Predatory Lending: Personal Spend Matters!

- June 20, 2014 11:00 AM | Categories: Friday Rant

Since a SCOTUS case in 1978, usury laws have been rendered more or less toothless in the US, and in the process practically given all of us credit cards in our cereal boxes, but still , take a look at this offer of a "fast & affordable" loan - at a mere 29.99% APR! The payment plan results in paying over $2,200 in interest on a $4,250 loan. As much as I get the concept that a fool and his money are soon parted, this is just evil.

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“This Is Are Story” – the Value of Quality Education and Competition

- June 20, 2014 2:44 AM | Categories: Friday Rant, Innovation, Public Sector

Class record book You might have come across the photo of Paul Robeson High School's senior prom sign, which read "This Is Are Story." The school is located in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s notorious South Side, probably one of the worst neighborhoods in the country and certainly in the Chicago area. This high school is of course part of the dysfunctional Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. How bad is it? Well, four out of 10 freshmen don’t graduate. Among those that do graduate and then go on to college, over 90 percent have to take remedial courses since they are not up to basic math and general school work. Note that the average CPS teacher is paid a solid $76,000 per year. And in the most recent teachers’ union deal, teachers received a salary hike of 17 percent over the next three years. That’s over 5 percent per year, well over inflation. Consider that the typical Chicago household earnings are around $47,000 per year and in Englewood the typical household earnings are only half as much. In other words, the dismal failure is not because of insufficient teacher compensation. So, what is it?

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On SAP, Ariba, Networks, and More: Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Interpreting Analyst Research

- June 13, 2014 8:32 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Industry News

I recently saw a pretty funny tweet from Tim Minahan after SAP Sapphire (see Related Articles for our coverage). It was a link citing an "industry analyst" who was writing up his experiences at Sapphire (note the marketing campaign text in the URL). In his write-up, this analyst refers to another piece of research titled “SAPs [sic] Acquisition of Ariba Visibly on Track.” As you might expect, it is “spreading the good news” of SAP’s strategy with the Ariba Business Network. The “analyst” writes: “With Ariba… SAP will now be able to take a small slice of all transactions (or in the case of eBay, share PayPal transactional fees) – and one can quickly grasp the enormity of the revenue upside potential that lies ahead of SAP / Ariba. We can only imagine that the cash registers must be ringing in the minds of senior SAP leadership behind its Networked Economy go-to-market strategy.”

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Beyond Mentoring: Co-Sipping the Yeast Overflow From the Brewing Vat

- June 13, 2014 2:17 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant

Susan beer I was recently on a tour of the Half Acre Beer company with some friends and colleagues in the procurement and supply chain profession, many of whom work for the same organization. Aside from sampling some outstanding brews that are not widely distributed (Akari Shogun is an absolute stunner), I saw a great example of team building during the event when everyone in attendance saw a large beer vessel with an overflow tap that was excreting yeast overflow from the fermentation process.

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Middle Market Procurement: Got Spend?

- June 6, 2014 6:25 AM | Categories: Friday Rant, Spend Management

Just as many households have still "got milk" like that advertisement that you probably know, so too does every middle market organization (and small business for that matter) “got spend.” But in most cases they don’t have an organized procurement or sourcing function that looks at their purchases in the same way as larger companies. They lack not only controls, policy, and processes, but something even larger – a charter to align procurement with overall business objectives.

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The Great Tech Analyst and Media Mashup: A Few Words on When Worlds Collide

- May 30, 2014 2:29 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant

I have very little to add to my colleague Pierre Mitchell’s 3,000-word essay from earlier this week on what’s become of the analyst and media world. In other words, it's absolutely worth the 15 minutes to read from beginning to end. So go read it! After you have, consider the following additional points. It's Friday after all; we'll wait.

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To All My Consulting Friends and Fellow Road Warriors: Take Care of Yourself

- May 23, 2014 2:45 AM | Categories: Commentary, Friday Rant, Travel

airport Like many Spend Matters readers, I need a good long weekend. This year has (literally) flown by so quickly that I’m close to hitting the overall airline status I was expecting by year’s end—some six months early. But being up in the air and not even knowing what time zone you’re in – not to mention being stuck in airports at every hour of the day and night – is no fun. And it’s arguably not healthy either, even if you love what you’re doing at Point A and Point B and enjoy the work you complete while travelling. So let me offer a few suggestions before the long Memorial Day weekend for my fellow frequent fliers.

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Viva the LVH – A Hilton No More!

- May 16, 2014 9:09 AM | Categories: Conferences, Friday Rant, Travel

Las Vegas, where ISM's annual conference last week was held, has become a bifurcated hotel city of ultra luxury and ultra stank and dirt (it’s always been filthy outside, but in the case of lodging, the middling places are getting dirtier and dirtier). However, it’s not terribly expensive to opt out of the places that have not seen a capital expenditure too recently, especially if you plan ahead. The Spend Matters team stayed for less than the cost of a typical Marriott in pre-paid rooms (thank you, Expedia) at the Wynn Encore, a hotel that is just about as over the top as any top-line Asian hotel chain (Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, etc.). It was a true treat for less than $200 per night.

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