Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Forbidden City of Terry Gou

His complex in China turns out iPhones and PCs, powering the biggest exporter you've never heard of

August 11, 2007

Shenzhen, China

Past a guarded gate on the outskirts of this city sits one of the world's largest factories. In dozens of squat buildings, it churns out gadgets bearing technology's household names -- Apple Inc.'s iPods and iPhones, Hewlett-Packard Co.'s personal computers, Motorola Inc. mobile phones and Nintendo Co. Wii videogame consoles. Few people outside of the industry know of the plant's owner: Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. With a work force of some 270,000 -- about as big as the population of Newark, N.J. -- the factory is a bustling testament to the ambition of Hon Hai's founder, Terry Gou. In an era when manufacturing has been defined by outsourcing, no one has done more to shift global electronics production to China. Little noticed by the wider world, Mr. Gou has turned his company into China's biggest exporter and the world's biggest contract manufacturer of electronics. Hon Hai's revenue has grown more than 50% a year in the past decade to $40.6 billion last year. It is expected to add $14 billion in revenue this year. That is roughly the equivalent of Motorola's adding, within a year, the sales of CBS Corp.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How to prolong lithium-based batteries (BU34)

Battery research is focusing heavily on lithium chemistries, so much so that one could presume that all portable devices will be powered with lithium-ion batteries in the future. In many ways, lithium-ion is superior to nickel and lead-based chemistries and the applications for lithium-ion batteries are growing as a result.

Lithium-ion has not yet fully matured and is being improved continuously. New metal and chemical combinations are being tried every six months to increase energy density and prolong service life. The improvements in longevity after each change will not be known for a few years.

A lithium-ion battery provides 300-500 discharge/charge cycles. The battery prefers a partial rather than a full discharge. Frequent full discharges should be avoided when possible. Instead, charge the battery more often or use a larger battery. There is no concern of memory when applying unscheduled charges.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

What Would Lance Armstrong Do?

August 1st, 2007 @ 10:49 am

Managers can line their shelves with books on collaboration and not get as much actionable information on teamwork as they would from watching one week of competitive cycling’s annual gauntlet of pain, Le Tour de France.

Football, baseball and basketball have always been fertile ground for team-building chestnuts - but none of those pursuits hold a laser pointer to the Tour, one of the most striking displays of teamwork in all of sports. Here are just a few of the ways that the almost two-dozen nine-man teams that compete in the twenty-day July race are an exemplar of collaboration.

Read more at the BNET Business Network

Forget What You Learned in Grade School: Five Teamwork Myths

August 1st, 2007 @ 9:00 am

Since we were all knee-high to a whiteboard, we’ve been told that we need to work well as part of a team, that the team trumps the individual, that every leader is only as good as his team. Team team team team team. Who didn’t ride the pine in Little League so everyone could get a few minutes of playing time?

But now that we’re adults, cynics — many of us full-blown skeptics — can we really believe that this idea of team is the holy grail of productivity and success? Anyone whose days are spent trying to squeeze in work between all of their meetings can tell you that team unity can sometimes be counterproductive. And it seems that the only people who get anything out of you and your officemates catching a backward-falling coworker is the consulting company that charged $5,000 to show you how to do it.

So just as we adults have learned that you can, in fact, drink too much milk or water, we also must question the grade-school wisdom we’ve always assumed to be true about teamwork.

Read more at BNET Business Network