As I built my outline for this editorial, I nearly halted the piece altogether because of a little known gentleman named Sun Tzu – you may have heard of him. While The Art of War is sitting on my home office desk’s bookshelf right now, I decided to follow through with this article because while there will be similarities, I am writing this through my own lens – a lens which arguably pulls the worlds of business and war together perfectly through maybe my most beloved gaming series of all-time, Command & Conquer. While I am still a fanatic of the series, this post could easily be re-titled to encompass the entire RTS, or real-time strategy, game genre since fundamentally they are all pretty much the same. That being said, as I approach the end of my MBA, and having been in the business world now for nearly six years, I bring you six key tenants that Command & Conquer has taught me about business – there are actually dozens more, but I’ll leave those for the comments!
Adam Silver is the perfect man for the job. In his first few months as NBA Commissioner, he had to address a problem that the NBA owners let grow: Donald Sterling. You see, when an owner of a professional sports franchise refers to people of other races as enemies, you just watched the metaphorical cat jump out of the bag.
And what did Adam Silver do to Donald Sterling? Banned him for life from the NBA! That’s not an overhand right from Tyson, that’s Tyson with 2×4. Sterling is now banned from any and all basketball activities pertaining to anything NBA related. He still owns the team – for now. But that may actually be coming to an end soon too.
If you’re ancy to get right to the banning (it’s ok to admit it), jump right to the 2:13 mark. And watch Silver’s facial expression and eyes when he says, “for life!” I like this guy. A lot.
Advertising vs reality: we’ve all experienced it, whether it was that glistening new cheeseburger you saw on that Sonic commercial last night, only to get a flat, depressing sandwich shoved in a bag by some pimpled kid on roller skates, or that new laptop with a supposed 12 hours of battery life, which promptly succumbs just two hours after you proudly unplugged it. While false advertising is legitimately illegal, there are obviously ways of stretching the truth, from miles and miles of -50 sized white font at the bottom of car commercials, or having 50 million ways to interpret the definition of “all natural” on those granola bars you bought this weekend – companies know it, and so do we, the consumers. Some consumers however pick up on this fact earlier than others, and in this toddler’s case, he’s already raising the bullshit flag.
Trojan condoms are easily the most recognized, and according to CompaniesandMarkets Trojan dominates [US condom market share] with 69% of sales. (Source) No, you immature bastards, that is the actual, estimated market share percentage – calm yourselves. But could they do any better – after all, there is still 31% of the market potentially available for the taking from the likes of Durex, the next biggest player? Of course they could, and that’s likely what every Trojan senior executive has and should have been pushing for, but have they ever done an objective analysis on their own brand name – Trojan Condoms? The good news is that someone already has – hit the link below for the full brand name analysis (and a laugh).
Many game publishers would be thrilled after selling 2.7 million copies of their latest title in a month, but Blizzard is not your average video game publisher. In their latest press release, Blizzard announced some impressive week one sales for their first Diablo III expansion pack, Reaper of Souls, with sales topping an incredible 2.7 million units. As a proud owner of this excellent expansion pack myself, I couldn’t be happier, and I would argue that it is well-worth the somewhat steep asking price of $40. That being said, let’s put on our business hats and see what kind of week one revenue the D3 division is staring at! Hit the link below for the details!
Has the retail onslaught that the likes of eBay and Amazon have brought forth over the last decade or so taught anything to the likes of big box retailers? What about the fact that I can more easily, not to mention more conveniently purchase and download a new PS3 or PS4 game without even having to leave my fancy, fake-leather couch? Market disruptions are nothing new, and new ideas and new technology has always forced agile businesses into pivots, whether they liked it or not. Some companies however, still don’t seem to accept the reality of the market that is moving around them, and by some companies I mean GameStop. Just recently – yesterday in fact – Paul Raines, GameStop’s Chief Executive Officer, announced “that the company plans that to open 300 to 400 retail locations which will have a focus outside of games”. (SeekingAlpha, 28 March) Yeah, I’m scratching my head too – more brick and mortar overhead, and lots of it, but not to sell games. Rather, these new store shelves will house smart phones and wearable technology products. Still confused? So am I.
Yusuf Mehdi, a senior vice president of the Windows giant’s Online Audience Business Group has placed Microsoft’s profitability bet, and it’s a steep one: “break-even or profitable on Day 1”. Mehdi, a 21-year veteran of Microsoft Corp. with degrees from Princeton and Washington (BA Econ + MBA, respectively), is not only a smart dude, but incredibly successful. According to his CrunchBase profile, he has led or been at the forefront at some of Microsoft’s, and even Reuters’ (his previous professional stop) biggest achievements. He’s looking to add the Xbox One to his list of professional accomplishments, and with launch day just 16 days or so away, the day of reckoning is just around the corner. So how realistic is this bet that he dropped this past Tuesday at the Citi Global Technology Conference? Would you take it? Based off his credentials alone, I think many folks would; as always however, there is more to the story line.
Remember this rumor? We can finally put the $70 video game chatter to rest, at least for a few years for both the PS4 and Xbox One, so go ahead and turn off the oxygen machine, and relax. Although Microsoft released the much needed good news after their recent media firestorm due to the “always online” fiasco, Sony just recently announced the news through the highly-reputable, PC Gaming-heavy website, ShackNews. Although Sony only mentions first party launch titles as part of the $60 pricing model, I would wager it is safe to expect all third party and future software to follow suit, at least for the first few years of the PS4’s existence. If you’ve been gaming enough to remember when the last price hike occurred, then high five; well, you probably just Googled it, but whatever – the last hike from $50 to $60 hit our respective wallets in the late days of the long-lasting PS2. Can we expect the same towards the end of the PS3’s existence, or will $60 hold true until next-next-gen? Hit the link below for more thoughts as well as the exact quotes from Sony’s mouth.