Sunday, February 11, 2007

Power of Internet

Often we take the technological innovation for granted. However there are times when you are reminded of how these technological advances have become indispensible to our lives. And today was one of those days. Recently, my wife's car failed its inspection because the center brakelight was not working. I went to acura dealership to buy the bulb, but once home couldn't figure out how to take the old one out. To my rescue came google. A quick search on how to change the center light bulb in acura brought me to this thread....where some one had explained in simple language... open the trunk, and turn the bulb assembly counter clockwise. replace bulb, turn assembly clockwise, and thats it!

In years past this would have taken a trip to the dealership and a discussion with the parts department. They might have asked me to let their mechanic change the bulb for me, and would have charged me $30 for a $2 part. What technologies helped me?

1) Fast internet service
2) A computer hooked up to internet
3) A web browser (Safari, in my case)
4) Google search engine
5) A free phpBB discussion forum, and
6) Last but not least, some one with a desire to answer questions on the Acura discussion forum.

I don't know about you, but I could not live without web any more!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Marka Hansen Named New President of Gap Inc

Bloomberg is reporting that Marka Hansen, the President of Banana Republic, has been chosen to take over the spot of President of Gap Inc., left open by Cynthia Harris's departure. Marka is a good choice for the ailing "Gap" brand which has been struggling to redefine and re-position itself as something in between Banana Republic and the Old Navy. This is the second of the major changes brought about by the latest string of losses at Gap which first started two weeks ago with the departure of Paul Pressler, the CEO of Gap, Inc.

Marka's claim to fame has been the turn around of Banana Republic brand. Today Banana Republic has redefined itself as a upscale brand competing with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Kenneth Cole.

Marka's appointment comes as a surprise especially since both Pressler and Harris were outsiders brought in to realign the businesses. Once upon a time it was fashionable to bring in an outsider to shake things up, and take the brand in a new direction. However, recently we have seen a lot of companies (eg Walmart, Volkeswagen) walking away from this strategy as they realize that some times you just need a person with a lot of history with a brand to help it succeed.

What I like about Marka is the fact that she has a long history with the company and is likely to better understand how the Gap customer's mind works. Still, turning around Gap is going to be difficult. With Old Navy covering the lower end, and Banana Republic covering the high end, Gap is left with having to define itself in the narrow mid-tier sector which has a lot of competition and little room for redefinition.