Opinion: Can Sears Be Revived After Eddie Lampert Won Auction Bid, Saving Sears From Liquidation?

Can Sears be revived after Chairman Eddie Lampert won $5.2 billion auction bid to save Sears from liquidation?

When thinking of Sears I got nothing to be excited about! On the top of my head, I don’t even know what I care to want to buy at Sears. Whenever I need new clothes I think about stores like Kohls. Whenever I need new gadgets I think about stores like Amazon. Sometimes, Best Buy and Micro Center make to the top of my head for buying computer related items. Video gaming stuff I would just usually get from an online store like Valve’s Steam. Something needs to be improved for the home, I usually go to Home Depot. I usually go to Home Depot or Best Buy for big items such as the refrigerator. If I need everyday cheap, items I just go to Walmart. I still don’t see what I would need so much that I would rush to Sears to get it.

I think Sears will have a very tough uphill battle even it got itself out of liquidation. In order for Sears to be relevant, I think Sears got very few options. The first option is to find out what makes Sears unique in today competitive online/offline retailers such as Amazon and Walmart. If Sears cannot compete against Best Buy, Amazon, and so forth, then I think Sears needs to go with the second option which is to cater to luxury stuff only. Nonetheless, this would be like completely changing the business model of Sears inside-out. This would mean Sears would not even try to be competitive against brands like Amazon and Best Buy. Instead, Sears would just cater to the rich.

Let’s fantasize how Sears would just cater to the rich would be like OK? Let’s imagine instead of selling a normal refrigerator Sears now sells a gold plated refrigerator. This gold plated refrigerator is one of a kind since very few of them were made. The price is around $25,000. The refrigerator is not only gold plated, but it is also a tech hub center for the kitchen where the large glassy part of the refrigerator door could go translucent so you can interact with it like a smart TV or a computer. It also got a smart AI assistant to help stock up the refrigerator when something is about to run out. In this scenario, normal people wouldn’t buy this refrigerator since it’s too expensive and luxurious. Wealthy people though, they could buy this refrigerator without blinking twice.

If Sears targets the rich, then its business model would be completely different than before! The stuff Sears needs to carry in the store are going to be totally different than before. Furthermore, when targeting the rich Sears may not even need to care about being competitive against other players at all. How come? I think buying luxurious stuff is an experience! A few clicks of the mouse through online stores won’t get you the experience! Instead, I can see rich people would drive their supercar or Rolls Royce to Sears, get greeted by super friendly and helpful staff — feeling like a king when buying something — and feeling like a king when leaving Sears store afterward. Such an experience you would never get from online stores or from the stores that cater to the middle-income class. Sears can go this route to stay profitable even though Sears won’t be competitive against players such as Amazon.

Of course, there is always a third route which is to use the old model but providing better customer service. Nonetheless, I don’t see how Sears can stay competitive and relevant when people don’t have the need to go to Sears. Sears could learn from Kohls even though Kohls is just a retailer for clothing. Why? I think Kohls is really good at attracting me to buy clothes from its online store! Kohls got discount programs such as Kohls Cash, and these programs somehow encourage me to spend more. Although Kohls doesn’t provide free shipping unless you buy more than $75 worth of items (if I’m remembering this correctly), but this somehow encourages me to spend more than $75. Kohls always announces a new clearance sale, and so it’s like Christmas all over again. If Sears can learn how to give out discount like Kohls does, I think Sears can begin to become relevant in no time. Nonetheless, Sears must carry the stuff that when giving out discounts it does make sense for people to care to buy. Yep, even on discount, unwanted stuff won’t get sold.

Crocodile in the Yangtze – How Jack Ma Built Alibaba From Nothing

Real life stories about famous people like Steve Jobs are inspiring.  In China, Jack Ma’s real life story is too also inspiring.  Nobody knows what will the future hold for Jack Ma, but it’s already truly inspiring and amazing to see how Jack Ma has built his Alibaba company in his apartment to the size of Alibaba today which has tens of thousands of employees.  I got to know about Jack Ma’s amazing real life story thus far through Crocodile in the Yangtze documentary which was written and directed by Porter Erisman — a man who once worked for Jack Ma’s Alibaba company.  How Jack Ma from nothing built a company that went to war against Ebay, a truly super large company, in his own country, China, to bringing the competition to Ebay’s doorstep in America is definitely not something everyone can just wake up one day and say I can do that too.  So, check out how Jack Ma had done such an amazing feat through the video right after the break.  Enjoy!

Is It Truly Necessary To Actually Own Digital Books?

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a piece of software is being updated often enough so newer features can enhance a user experience, people tend to care little about the terms of the agreement which came with the software .  Perhaps, the terms of the agreement for different software are varied in terms, and some might allow the buyers of the software to actually own the software.  Other software might come under the terms of licensing only, and by these terms the buyers of the software might not even know that the software they had purchased are not truly theirs.  This is understandable, because most people would gloss over the terms of agreement when there is a big ooO button which says click here to agree with the terms before you can install the software.  Have you ever purchased a software that would present you the terms of agreement first before you pay up?  To the best of my knowledge, I don’t remember any software purchase I had made over the Internet (i.e., digital download) would ever present me the terms of agreement before I already had paid up with a credit card.  Has common sense told us that we should have only agreed to something first before we purchase anything?

The digital age is rather convenient but senseless as hell.  Why is that?  Not only software front is unclear about who own what when a transaction has made, other digital types of purchase are being challenged in the same sense.  NBC News came out with a piece with the title “You don’t own your Kindle books, Amazon reminds customer,” and as I read this an anger simmers inside.  I’m not angry at a particular entity or a person, but I’m angry at how we, the consumers, have allowing the murky water to darken otherwise a pretty clean understanding of what a purchase really means.  When people are forking over money for any good, whether it would be digital or not, people should have a guaranty of some sort that their purchase would not end up be meaningless when the meaningless is not of their own fault.  This means, as long a buyer of something isn’t breaking something on purpose after he or she had purchased the product (digital or not), this very person should not bear the brunt of a complicit understanding that the access to a purchase isn’t in the control of the eventual owner (i.e., a buyer of a product ).

I love books, and sometimes I have to admit I purchase books for the thinking that I will read them later on.  Sometimes I do read some of the books that I’ve purchased on a moment of temptation, and sometimes I forget about them completely.  Then there is that time that I pat myself for purchasing a book early on, because such a time inspires me to go on and read and not have to go on and ponder on the prospect of owning such a book.  As a book lover and a reader with a small brain that can hardly contain much after a reading, I think highly of a book purchase.  I want to know that whatever book that I want to purchase will be able to allow me to have access to it for its entire lifespan.  With a physical book, physical damages can definitely shorten a lifespan of a book.  With a digital book, a file corruption can just be as lethal.

Since digital books have become so prevalent today, it’s in our interest to ponder on the meaning of purchasing a digital book.  Is it truly necessary to actually own digital books?  The prevalence of digital books have upended the possibility of actually owning a book as the case in which NBC News had reported, and knowing this is truly saddening me.  It’s saddening me not because I might not be able to revisit the same book decades later, but it’s more of a case of knowing a digital book outlet can turn off one’s account to prevent one from having any access to a digital library that supposedly being owned by…  Perhaps, owning a digital library is not actually owning?  When one cannot truly own a copy of a digital book, is it worse than a book burning?  Of course not, because a book burning equates to eradicate all copies of a book from the existence, thus some important knowledge might as well be lost.  With having said blocking one from his or her digital book library isn’t as bad as book burning, this is still pretty serious.  This begs us to ask, isn’t digital-information age is all about spreading more knowledge and not about having barriers between a woman and her books or a man and his books?

It’s understandable that some degree of greed is tolerable.  A good example of this would be a software which gets update often with newer features… and the buyers don’t have to actually outright owned this software as they’re more of renting it even though they are actually buying it.  I think it’s intolerable for digital books to be treated just the same as software.  Even a technical, digital book that gets update often with newer knowledge, the buyers still have to purchase the updated version of the book with the same or even at a higher price.  There is no guaranty that any software that is being updated will have a cheaper upgrade price, but it’s mostly the case that we see newer versions of many software get cheaper upgrade prices.  The same thing cannot be said for most books, digital or not.  With this understanding, I think vastly different digital products should be purchased and owned in different manners.  Personally, I think the acts of buying and owning digital books should equate to  the acts of buying and actually owning digital books.  How come I didn’t compare the acts of buying and owning of digital books to the acts of buying and owning of physical books?  It’s because I think the acts of purchasing and owning digital books should speak for themselves.  For an example, nobody should have to ever again fear that one cannot have access to her or his digital book library just because he or she might anger a digital book outlet overlord for whatever reasons.  Sure, a person can just go to another digital book outlet to purchase the same books to build a digital library again, but this means this person has to spend more money for the same things.  One has to wonder though, what if several specific books would only be carried by the digital book outlet which had banned a person’s access to his or her digital book library?

In conclusion, it might be wrong of me to think that it’s almost OK for one to complicit in renting a software even though one actually is purchasing a software.  It also might be wrong of me to almost compare the case of being banned from a (paid for and owned by) digital content library as to a case of book burning.  Nonetheless, I think we have to admit that having a common sense on owning digital contents is really really important.  Furthermore, to narrow down our focus, I think it’s super important for us to have a common sense on owning digital books.  After all, digital books have become so prevalent!  Digital books are so prevalent in a sense that people tend to reach out for them more than otherwise.  Whether people want to acquire knowledge conveniently or not through the mean of digital books, digital books are so ready to be purchased on a moment of temptation.  Perhaps, digital books will become one of the few preferable ways for people to acquire knowledge fast and cheaply.  As digital books may become even more prevalent than how they already are, it’s in our interest to know and question our digital book consuming behaviors (i.e., buying and owning digital contents).  Thus, I wonder is it truly necessary to actually own digital books?

Source:  http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/you-dont-own-your-kindle-books-amazon-reminds-customer-1C6626211