You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2010.
Reinventing the MBA:
MBA Without Professors
By Shlomo Maital
MBA programs worldwide teach innovation, enterprise and entrepreneurship. But do they practice it? Very little has changed since Harvard Business School opened its doors, copied the case-method approach of Harvard Law School, and began producing professional managers. McGill’s Henry Mintzberg invented an executive MBA held in five different global venues, each venue focusing on a different topic. That model has now been widely copied.
Here is an idea for an innovative MBA program. I wish someone would try it. The idea was sparked by a report from Moscow, where last year, an old idea was revived, to have an orchestra play without a conductor. The idea originated in the 1920’s under Soviet Russia, when it was felt a conductor-less orchestra was somehow more proletarian, more democratic. From time to time, orchestras that lost their conductors carried on anyway, with the concertmaster giving barely perceptible signals to begin movements.
It is called The MBA Without Professors. An announcement is made that at a certain time and date, those interested in a unique MBA program should log on to a website. Those who do are offered the following: A powerful unique MBA program, with no professors, with zero tuition. Enrollment is limited to 25 students, and those enrolled are carefully selected by the enrollees themselves, to span a broad range of experience and expertise. The group (under a self-appointed facilitator) divides up the range of MBA topics (not functional silos, but issue-oriented or problem-oriented areas – launching a startup, scaling it up, building talent, strategic renewal. A volunteer helps train each participant in the basic principles of effective teaching and presentation (much as the TED people train their speakers to do effective 18-minute presentations). The program ends when participants decide they have acquired knowledge, tools and expertise equivalent to that they would have gained at an expensive name-brand bizschool.
The disadvantage? Obviously – you do not get that Harvard Business School certificate. The advantage? You get an equivalent body of knowledge, at zero cost, and can use the money you save to start a business.
And by the way, I am a professor, I do teach MBA students, I have run an MBA program – and I truly believe this idea can be no worse than what we professors offer, and could potentially be far better, and more responsive to participants’ needs.
Global Crisis Blog
Three Reasons to Be Very Very Scared
By Shlomo Maital
On a long flight, I read today’s (Oct. 28) Financial Times, then fell asleep. But I did not sleep well at all. Here is why.
- UBS’s managing director of foreign exchange strategy, Mansoor Mohl-uddin, predicts that foreign exchange turnover in global forex markets (mostly dollars, perhaps 80%-90%) will reach a staggering $10 trillion a day by the year 2020, compared with $4 trillion a day today, and only about $1.5 trillion a day in 2000. Why? A massive flood of dollars pouring out of the U.S., as America’s Ben Bernanke, head of the Fed, engages in a risky experiment called Quantitative Easing (buying bonds in an effort to lower the long-term interest rate, after finding that the close-to-zero short-term rate was ‘disconnected’ from the crucial longer rates, so vital for investment). Mohl-uddin says that currency markets will see much higher volatility in the coming decade, because investors will need to hedge their foreign bets against currency risk, and speculators, he might have added, will be in there as well, enjoying the rising volatility and placing strategic bets. The size of the global forex market is so huge, no single country or even group of countries can hope to manipulate exchange rates. Experience and history shows, in markets where volatility grows, speculators are attracted, further increasing volatility and ultimately creating a ‘doom loop’ – a market crash when all the market players think a major currency is heading down, and all race for the exits screaming “fire”, dumping the currency in a market with few buyers. As the G20 leaders meet on an isolated island in the Han River, near Seoul, Korea, they will enjoy caviar and roast duck – but will for certain not address the key issue of how the global system can survive without a stable global money, and how the looming unstable forex market can be brought under control, before it is too late.
- American President Obama is about to lose some 50 seats in the House, the biggest loss in a mid-term election since Bill Clinton lost about 52 in the 1994 mid-term election. As his advisors tell him to slash budget deficits, America’s fiscal policy arm is neutralized. That leaves only monetary policy. But short term interest rates are rock bottom. So what can be done? The already near-zero short term rates have not been effective in pulling down long term rates much. Then, why not try to lower long-term rates? But how? Well, by massive purchases of bonds by the Fed, which raises their price and lowers their yield. This is called quantitative easing. Problem is, the massive amounts of dollars spilling out of the Fed are finding their way to emerging markets’ capital markets, lowering long-term rates in Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia, rather than in the U.S. The yield on a 10-year Indonesian sovereign bond is only one per cent above that of a U.S. 10-year bond, notes James Mackintosh, FT columnist. True, Indonesia’s economy is doing well. But – is that a realistic risk premium, 1 per cent? And if quantitative easing does not work, and fails to stimulate consumer spending and investment in the U.S., what is Plan B?
- Credit default swaps almost destroyed the world. AIG and other financial institutions sold CDS ‘insurance’, at around 2 per cent premiums, and when the assets they insured collapsed and they had to pay up, bankruptcy was inevitable. That bad movie shows some signs of returning. According to the LEX column in FT, the CDS spread (i.e. the insurance premium rate) on Brazilian and Mexican sovereign bonds is now only about one per cent. If you have one dollar, you can place a bet that $100 worth of Brazilian or Mexican bonds will be in default. In other words, the market is saying that if we live for 100 years, only in one of those 100 years will Mexico or Brazil be forced to default. Really? Something is radically wrong with risk assessment systems in global capital markets. We knew that during the 2007-9 crisis, and it is clear today that risk assessment has not been substantially changed or improved.
There is a simple solution to these scary scenarios. Stop reading the Financial Times. We can then live in blissful ignorance, and when the next crash comes, at least we will have slept well before it happens.
Global Crisis Blog
Will Gold Continue to Glitter?
By Shlomo Maital
Those readers who have raised children, or are still raising them, know that when children appear flushed, listless, tired, with runny noses, and we suspect they are ill – out comes the thermometer, to check for fever.
The global economy is no different. When global markets are unstable, uncertain, nervous, over-sensitive to risk – out comes the thermometer. And the thermometer? The price of gold. The price of gold is a measure of the degree of nervousness, or panic, in global markets. Investors buy gold when they lose faith in all types of paper assets, not just one or two.
Normally investors shift funds from market to market, seeking advantage and arbitrage. But what do you do when all markets seem risky? This appears to be the case at the moment. As G20 finance ministers conclude their meeting, and decide to “avoid competitive devaluations of currencies”, leaving implementation to the toothless IMF, their Prime Ministers and Presidents are about to gather in Korea, on an isolated man-made island built in the middle of the Han River, in Seoul, at a cost of $85 m. The setting is a perfect metaphor for the total isolation and detachment of the G20 leaders. People everywhere are worried about jobs. They need a global consensus about how to get the global economy back on track again. What they will get out of the visionless leaders sipping espresso and white wine in Korea is… nothing. The G20 meetings have been so pointless, the leaders have now decided to meet only once a year rather than twice. They might as well not bother to meet at all. It makes one nostalgic for the incredible Bretton Woods gathering, July 2-20, 1944, an 18-day period in which 40 global experts reinvented the global economy and monetary system.
Meanwhile, the gold-price ‘thermometer’ indicates the world is running a fever. In January 2002 gold was about $300 an ounce. It doubled to nearly $600 an ounce by Jan. 2006. The onset of the global crisis sent gold to over $1,000 an ounce, before the price slipped back to $700, as it appeared the worst of the crisis was over. Since 2009, as investors conclude the crisis is far from over, but is simply changing its form and shape, gold has again soared, to today’s $1380. As a result, Goldman Sachs has now raised its 12-month forecast for gold prices to $1,650/ounce. The reason: the Fed’s policy of “quantitative easing”, which is a euphemism for dumping enormous quantities of high-powered money into the system, money which in large part is finding its way to capital markets in China and other parts of Asia.
The price of gold reveals another key fact. The falling yields on 10-year US Treasury bonds signal the market anticipates continued deflation. But the soaring price of gold indicates the market anticipates inflation. Apparently, there are two groups at odds in the capital markets: the Deflation Devils and the Inflation Instigators. Who is right? They cannot both be!
Perhaps they are serially right. Perhaps, initially, there will be continued deflation – and then, inflation, as the massive amounts of dollars dumped into the market drive the dollar down, make imports expensive and recreate the inflationary cycle America and the world experienced in the late 1970’s.
Global Crisis/Innovation Blog
Geopolitics & Innovation: Leveraging Three Crises?
By Shlomo Maital
As I write this, at least three major geopolitical crises are unfolding.
- In Britain, the new Conservative government is announcing spending cuts in civilian spending, after announcing defense cuts. The result may be redundancies (euphemism for firing and layoffs) among Britain’s public sector works. Some 60% of Britons accept PM Cameron’s statement that spending cuts are necessary. But many public sector workers, facing loss of their job, may migrate abroad. Economists are divided on whether the cuts should be zero (continue to stimulate a weak economy), small (avoid tipping the economy into recession) or big (achieve fiscal stability to reassure capital markets).
- In France, unions continue to blockade refineries and fuel dumps. President Sarkozy has called out France’s tough anti-terrorism squads to break these ‘illegal’ blockades. (“You have the right to strike,” the Interior Minister says, “but not the right to prevent others from working” – a very fine line). Unlike in Britain, 70 % of France’s citizens oppose Sarkozy’s mild proposal to raise the retirement age in the public sector to 62 from 60. The French Parliament will vote on this law this week. It will pass. It remains to be seen whether the union protests will grow and become violent, or shrink and fade away.
- On Nov. 11-12, the G20 nations meet in Seoul Korea, and the main topic will be the weakening dollar, the undervalued yuan, and the American Fed’s plan to blast huge additional amounts of dollars into world markets, many of which will immediately flee America to assets in emerging market countries. Can China, the US and the remaining nations agree on a consensus plan for exchange rates, similar to the Plaza Agreement on Sept. 22, 1985, [in which nations agreed together on a controlled devaluation of the US dollar, to reduce America’s current account deficit, which it was felt destablized world markets]? Or will nations engage in unilateral acts that destabilize capital markets and ruin world trade? Right now, consensus action a la Plaza looks highly doubtful.
In our new book Global Crisis/Global Opportunity, I and my co-author D.V.R. Seshadri note that true innovators with global vision can see opportunities where others see only crises. Innovators: Can you see opportunities in these three emerging geopolitical crises? What are they? How will you implement them? And will they create true value, by mitigating the crisis, and mitigating the impact they have on ordinary working people? I believe our book will help you find some answers.
The (Mis)Behavior of Financial Markets:
Benoit Mandelbrot –We Should Have Heeded Him
By Shlomo Maital
“Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.”
— B. Mandelbrot, The Fractal Geometry of Nature
Benoit Mandelbrot, pioneering mathematician, passed away on Oct. 14 at age 85. He was an innovative thinker who should have been more closely heeded. Mandelbrot is known for the invention of fractals – visual representation of ‘odd’ events. He liked to visualize fractals by using cauliflower – each floret is composed of smaller florets, composed of smaller florets, and so on – a true fractal.
His math had a deep cautionary implication. For years, we economics professors taught ‘efficient markets theory’, which theorized that in capital markets, all known relevant information is immediately embodied in the price of assets, meaning that whatever motion there is in such prices must be Brownian, or random. This became the so-called random walk theory. Scholars like Scholes, Merton, and others won Nobel Prizes for work based on efficient markets. Mandelbrot, in contrast, cautioned that America’s financial system “is too complex to work” and warned of what Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls “Black Swans” (rare events, unpredictable, that destroy everything). His wonderful 2004 book The (Mis)Behavior of Markets debunked the efficient markets theory, and had it been heeded, would have helped prevent the catastrophe of 2007-9. Capital market returns do not follow a bell curve (normal distribution), he stressed, those who use this assumption as the basis of their risk management will end up in deep trouble. And they did.
Mandelbrot spent 30 years at IBM, as a researcher, before entering academic life. Even though he did very pure research at IBM, nonetheless he did live among people who lived in the real world. I believe this had a strong influence on his work. He was a maverick, radical innovator, unconventional writer, tackled anything and everything that interested him.
Mandelbrot was Jewish, of Polish-Lithuanian origin; his family fled to America in 1936, foreseeing the rise of the Nazis. Sometimes, such a history makes those who survive it risk averse and overly cautious. For Mandelbrot, it did not. He took risks. His life is a model for all those who seek to innovate in the realm of ideas. His credo: Pursue your passion, research and write about whatever interests you, damn the critics, look for the big picture, and, attack sacred-cow assumptions with powerful intellect.
Global Crisis Blog
The Revenge of John Maynard Keynes: Yes, Virginia, There IS a Liquidity Trap
By Shlomo Maital
The theories of John Maynard Keynes, enunciated in his 1936 book The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, were fashionable for many years, and were used to guide practical policies. Then they fell out of fashion, displaced by palpably ridiculous theories such as “rational expectations” (economic actors fully and accurately incorporate all economic data into their price expectations), theories that won proponents Nobel Prizes.
Well, friends, Keynes is back big-time. For example, Keynes’ theory of the “liquidity trap” –the idea that monetary policy (credit expansion or interest rate reduction) can no longer stimulate economic activity, because interest rates may be at rock bottom or zero (they are today, in the U.S.) and because credit expansion has no palpable impact (banks absorb Fed-supplied liquidity, but do not pass it on, instead keep the money to shore up leaky balance sheets).
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans believes the U.S. is at present in a liquidity trap, as does Nobelist Paul Krugman and many other leading economists. Yet Fed Chair Ben Bernanke continues to push a policy of QE – quantitative easing, buying bonds to pump more and more liquidity into the system. This angers China and Asia as a whole, which believes America is spilling too many dollars into the world markets and thus endangering Asian stability.
When monetary policy no longer works, why not try fiscal policy? Great idea – except America is now working to reduce its budget deficits, because the American people have come to believe (rightly) that much of the deficit spending was wasted on inappropriate ineffective bailouts of banks and financial institutions.
With the U.S. economy still very weak and with very little new job creation occurring, with monetary policy spent, and with fiscal policy no longer an option, what are the options? Don’t bother to ask the economists – they have no clue.
The situation recalls Woody Allen’s joke about choosing between alternatives. The world faces the choice between nuclear holocaust, or environmental catastrophe, he observed.
May we choose wisely.
Meet Tsai Ming-kai, Mediatek Innovator: How to Innovate Business Designs
Today’s (Oct. 18) Financial Times has an excellent profile of Tsai Ming-kai, reclusive head of the Taiwanese chipmaker Mediatek. Mediatek is the biggest supplier of mobile phone chips to China. Innovators can learn much from him, even though he is rarely interviewed (the FT interview is the first in three years).
Tsai is an electrical engineer who never studied business – except for a one-week course at Stanford, where he learned about Harvard Business School Professor Clayten Christensen’s theory of “disruptive technology”. Tsai first joined United Microelectronics, a large Taiwanese chipmaker. When it spun off Mediatek, Tsai became its head. Christensen teaches that vertically-integrated industries tend to mature and then split into horizontal segments, with each segment specializing in a key part of the value chain. This creates huge opportunities for innovators who get there first.
Tsai realized Mediatek could thrive by doing just one thing very well – and doing it very cheaply. That one thing was making CD drives for computers, which then became making chips for DVD players. By 2000 Mediatek was big, but Tsai looked for new opportunities. He saw them in mobile phones. While the big mobile phone chip designers like Qualcomm and Texas Instruments focused on 3G chips, Tsai saw opportunity in improving 2G chips to service the “newcomers” in China that he foresaw would one day defeat the industry leaders.
“There was still room for technological improvement in 2G phone chips,” he observes. There is a very important principle here. Innovators often look to cutting-edge breakthrough technologies and products. That leaves much room for improving existing far-less-dramatic technologies, by raising performance and cutting cost. Tsai offered not chips but also a “business model” – “reference designs” that came with the chip and enabled new phone makers to break into the business. It was this business model that brought down barriers to entry into the mobile phone market dramatically. So even while Western phonemakers shunned Tsai’s basic “primitive” chips, Chinese firms leaped at the chance, and quickly grabbed 20 percent of world mobile phone markets, to the disgust of Nokia and Samsung.
The inexpensive Chinese phones became known as “shanzai”, or bandit phones – this is an injustice, Tsai says, because the enabled low-income people in emerging markets to have mobile phones just like the rich.
Tsai’s simple business model for innovation? “By relentlessly improving existing technology to reduce costs, this serves a population that is a much bigger proportion of the world.” It reminds one of the late C.K. Prahalad’s “fortunes at the bottom of the pyramid”. Tsai found a fortune there – and has made a fortune for himself and for his shareholders. Tsai’s next frontier is ‘reverse innovation’ – taking goods (chips) designed for low-cost emerging markets and repositioning them for low-cost producers making products for Western consumers.
Global Crisis/Innovation Blog
Currency War? Not Quite Yet!
By Shlomo Maital
America’s economy, now on Fed life-support, is growing but not producing jobs. Ordinary Americans think the Obama Administration has wasted billions of its hard-earned taxpayer money on fruitless bailouts and will likely punish the Democrats in the Nov. 2 mid-term elections. Obama and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner have found someone convenient to blame: China. China is manipulating its currency, they say, keeping it excessively weak to foster exports. The resulting war of words has threatened a worse war, a War of Currency – with nations competing to devalue, or under-value, their exchange rates, to protect their exports and competitiveness. Geithner’s Treasury Dept. was due to issue in April a bi-annual report on currency policies of nations with which America trades. It was feared this report would formally accuse China of currency manipulation. The last time this happened was in 1994, under President Clinton. At that time, nothing was done to implement the report. And since then China has piled up a huge mountain of dollars, $3 trillion worth, to keep the yuan from appreciating.
The Treasury report has been repeatedly delayed. It will not appear until after the crucial G20 meetings in Seoul, Korea, on Nov. 11-12. Meanwhile, China’s export surplus with America was $28 b. in August alone; in that month America’s trade deficit soared 8.7 percent, to $47 b. Note that over half was in trade with China. Trade deficits imply that when goods are imported, jobs are exported, specifically to China. And jobs are THE political issue right now.
A Currency War means a rapid fall in the dollar. This is in nobody’s interest. World trade and capital flows require a stable currency. There is no replacement in sight for the dollar; some 80-90 per cent of foreign exchange transactions today are in dollars. With China restricting yuan transactions, the yuan is many years away from being a true global money. America says China is responsible for global imbalance and must strengthen the yuan, from 6.8 per dollar to, say, 3.5. China says America is the problem, endangering Asia by flooding the world with dollars through the Fed’s “QE” quantitative-easing policy. Both, of course, are right.
Sometimes, wars break out by accident. This was largely the case with World War I and II. In World War I, a random assassination of the Archduke was the spark. In World War II, it was Hitler’s blind miscalculation. A currency war could break out. But the fact that such a war would be lose-lose may hopefully deter the adversaries from starting it. Let’s hope a consensus solution to global imbalance and rebalancing will be crafted in Seoul.
For innovators: Innovation occurs within the context of global markets. As innovators zoom in on the DNA of their inventions, they must let one eye zoom out and track global developments, such as currency realignment. If I were an innovator, I would work out a worst-case scenario, or contingency plan, for the event that currency wars do break out and the dollar drops precipitously against other currencies.
Before You Measure: Define the Behaviors You Seek, OR
The Case of the Holey Azerbaijan Kettles
By Shlomo Maital
In this week’s Business Week, Lisa Hershman defines “the seven sins of performance measurement”. She raises a key point that has worried me for a long time. We management educators teach that management begins with measurement. What you cannot measure, you cannot manage. This is mostly true.
The problem is, how you measure things drives the behavior that creates the measure. If you are not certain about which behaviors you seek to encourage, and if you are not certain about the link between your performance measures and behavior, best not to measure at all.
For example: President Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, the first piece of legislation he initiated after becoming President in 2000, focuses heavily on performance testing in schools. The result: Teachers teach how to do well on tests, not how to learn.
Here is the sad story of the Holey Azerbaijan Kettles, another example (no, Holey is not a mis-spelled word, it is indeed “holey”, based on “hole”).
In the old Soviet Union, factories were given quotas. A kettle factory in Azerbaijan was given a quota of “X” kettles to produce in the coming year, with the Gulag awaiting the plant manager if he failed to deliver. Result: 100,000 kettles on schedule…but barely big enough to boil one cup of water. Next year the performance measure defined the SIZE of the kettles. Result: The plant manager conserved aluminum by making the walls of the kettles very thin, so thin they quickly developed holes.
If you introduce performance measures to your innovation system, think very very carefully at the outset about which creativity behaviors you seek to foster and which measures will help you achieve this behavior. If you are uncertain – best to forget it.
Here, for the record, are the 7 sins of performance measurement, a la Ms. Hershman.
The Seven Sins of Performance Measurement
1. Vanity: using metrics that you have mastered, or that make you look good, rather than help drive improved performance results.
2. Provincialism: when you let organizational or department boundaries such as budgets determine your metrics. Chinese GDP data are provided mainly by provincial governors. Guess why some numbers look super-terrific!
3. Narcissism: when a company measures performance from its point of view, rather than the customer’s perspective. (I think this is the worst, and most common, of all the sins).
4. Laziness: Simply assuming what’s important to measure rather than taking the trouble to discover the right metrics by asking the clients.
5. Pettiness: Companies too often focus on a small part of what matters, rather than on the totality, or end results. (At BP – reducing OSHA-defined accidents [OSHA is the US environmental protection law)] instead of truly implementing safety).
6. Inanity: Creating metrics without any consideration for the consequences. (E.g. the Azerbaijan kettle). Or: a fast-food chain that chose to measure waste, based on how many cooked chickens went unsold at the end of the day. So managers responded by not cooking any chicken until orders were placed, thereby turning fast food into slow food.
7. Frivolity: There are companies that just aren’t serious about metrics at all. Any company that doesn’t take the business of measuring performance seriously won’t have anything to measure after a while.
Global Crisis/ Innovation Management
A Rainbow of Honesty: How Alan Mulally Rescued Ford
by Shlomo Maital
After a 37-year career at Boeing, during which Alan Mulally helped design and build all the great Boeing aircraft – 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787 — Mulally was asked to become President and CEO of Ford, in 2006. In 2007, even before the onset of the global crisis, Ford was drowning in red ink, losing $17 b.! Mulally’s leadership kept Ford out of bankruptcy, when GM and Chrysler were going bust, despite the fact that the global crisis came on top of Ford’s earlier problems — and restored Ford’s profitability. Here is a short excerpt from Peter Day’s (BBC Global Business) interview with Mulally, done at the Paris Auto Show. Remember his phrase: “Rainbow of Honesty’.
” “The only way to change attitudes is to pull everybody together – engineering, manufacturing, product development, We started meeting every Thursday, 7 a.m., everybody around the world, all netted in. Details of the plan – then expectations; everyone would say where they are relative to the plan. Every Thursday. Compelling vision. Stick to the plan. Relentless implementation. On the back of the card: Foster technological excellence, Own working together, Role model Ford values, Deliver results, [by coincidence, it spells FORD]… everybody worldwide, color coded, RED YELLOW and GREEN, we say, you’re not red, the issue you’re working on is red, so everybody can help…. Everyone on the same screen, color coded.”
“Nobody would admit there were problems, even though we were losing billions. We have all the data flowing. All color coded, every issue, every launch, quality, productivity. Up on the wall. All netted around the world. We lost $17 b. But — every chart is GREEN! I stopped the meeting, and I said to our team, is there anything that’s not going well? We’re losing $17 b., is anything not going well?” Eye contact, but– eyes to the floor! Trust me. How’s it going? Tell the truth. Reflect the reality.
“The next week, Mark Field, who runs the Americas, getting ready for launch of an Edge model in Canada, up comes the launch, everything about it, everything is RED! RED! The room goes silent. Everyone thinks, now we’re going to see what Alan the new leader will do. He said it was safe to tell the truth. Let’s see.
“I started to clap! Now all the eyes turn to me, that’s the sign, Marks’ gone! He’s gone!
“I said, Mark, that was fantastic! Fantastic. Is there anything we can do to help you? Because we know you’re working hard. Derek says, Mark I’ve seen that issue (actuator on tail gate), Benny says, “I saw that months ago”, manufacturing pipes up… etc., The team made suggestions! That interchange took 12 seconds. And we moved on. That was absolute key to One Ford.
“Next week it’s RED still. Everybody is helping. Next week it’s YELLOW. Next week it’s GREEN. 2,000 vehicles start shipping. Next week: The entire 320 charts look like a rainbow! Everybody knew everything, everything for the first time. A RAINBOW OF HONESTY. RED, YELLOW, GREEN, now we’re managing the business, because when everything was GREEN it was secret, and people were managing the secret, now they are managing the reality.”
“You never want to let a crisis pass you by. The real philosophy is, continuous improvement, every year, every quarter, is our commitment to improve the business, to improve the products, to improve our capability, quarter after quarter after quarter.”