Thu 01 Apr 2004
Panther Server on Xserve
Category : Commentary/stuffOnXserveList.txt
We're going to get an Xserve from Leon at Apple tomorrow. It's for the Sun Tech Day. I'm making a list of the things we're trying to get loaded on this machine :
OS X Server 10.3.3 and Java 1.4.2.
Xcode 1.1, Eclipse, NetBeans, JBuilder, and IntelliJ's IDEA to show the array of development tools that OS X can support.
MySQL and Oracle. Plus the CVS system.
Luca, our accounting application, hopefully both as a Cocoa application as well as on the web. And all of our Java demos that we built for the "Java on OS X" course.
Plus, some demos from Leon's iDisk that I hadn't looked at yet.
So if you're in Singapore on the 20th and 21st of April and want to see all these working on an Xserve, come and visit the Apple booth at Sun Tech Day, at The Stamford.
Category : Commentary/franchise.txt
It's the gold rush. It's the time to be your own boss. Or so everyone thinks. There are lots of free seminars one can attend about starting your own business. I attended a couple and I'm hooked - I'm going to sit in on a few more. Partly to clear my own head. But mostly to watch this tide run its course.
Lots of people selling franchises. Great business, if you're the franchisor. Not so, if you're the franchisee. Too many people reading Robert Kiyosaki - and quite a few, I believe, are going to lose their shirts.
The question is : what's the difference between a McDonald's and a child care centre or a computer-aided learning centre, when they're all sold as a franchise?
Franchising is the easy way in. You can create your own business, buy over someone else's, or buy a franchise with all the templates, powerpoint slides, and letters to parents laid out for you. If you spent your whole life scoring A's in exams by memorising "model answers", which route would you take?
But McDonald's have squeezed out almost all dependencies on the human element from their workflows and processes. That's the McDonald's way and it's the archetypical franchisable business. But nobody I know has figured out how to replace the quality a human being brings when it comes to taking care of a child, or motivating kids to learn through the joy of discovery. How much money can these businesses make, when the operators have no idea what it takes to create their products, do not understand the products they would be selling, and have left staffing as an afterthought?
I think the key question to ask is : can the business produce a consistently high-quality product, when operated by any normal human being? In other words, have they found the key to making it work like a well-oiled machine, where a specific role can be performed by any mere mortal? Child care and learning centres are still businesses that ought to be run by people with a love for kids and helping them learn and grow. It's not like a method can't be found to systematise the delivery of these services. Somebody just might be able to find the right idea. But the ones doing the selling last night most definitely didn't. Then what are they selling?
So some businesses will work as a franchise and some won't. The key is to figure out the rules of each game. Of course, anybody can attempt to sell any business as a franchise. But, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. Because the would-be hunter might just end up as the prey.