Graph Font

Usage of fonts in presentations/Reports etc cannot be underplayed. They give the presenter a unique opportunity to increase the aesthetic quality. It brightens up the (otherwise) boring Microsoft powerpoint presentations. I came across this - Architext font- which fits well into the graphs/Daigrams in excel - Architext-A font styled on the sort of hand lettering architects used to put on drawings back in the days when an architect could still work a pencil. you can download the same from here :

No cooling off in SMP/WMP

1. No significant change in prices in the last 20 days for SMP/WMP, which cannot be taken as the indicator for cooling down of the prices.
2.Fonterra Raises 2007 Payout on Record Prices, Output :New Zealand farmers who own the cooperative and supply its milk will get paid NZ$4.46 a kilogram for the year ended May 31 ,Fonterra's NZ$5.6 billion ($4.5 billion) payment raises the risk that spending by farmers will stoke economic growth Fonterra accounts for about 40 percent of the international trade in dairy products and almost 7 percent of New Zealand's economy.
3.High dairy prices affect Hershey's earnings :High dairy prices meant Hershey's operating margins fell to 3.1 per cent for the quarter ended 1 July, compared to 17.3 per cent for the same period in 2006.
4.Starbucks increasing drink prices:The coffee conglomerate says by July 31 prices on hand-brewed coffee will increase by nine cents. The reason: higher dairy, energy and fuel prices.
5.Britannia adds to its dairy business:Britannia, which also makes bread, cake and cheese, is test-marketing yogurt in Bangalore and will extend it to other markets soon, Vinita Bali said We're looking at extending our dairy portfolio and evaluating other opportunities,"
6.Dairy farmers peturbed over rising milk prices, Reliance Retail moves into dairy sector: Dairy officials were quoted by the Financial Express as saying that rising SMP prices have forced dairies to increase price at least three times in last one year. Reliance Retail is at present procuring 10,000 litres per day at its procurement centre in Atmakur in Nellore district. The packaging, which is outsourced, is being done at Vikarabad in Ranga Reddy district.

Have some more black Coffee

This picture nicely captures the increase in the prices of daily need products. The highest being the orange juice concentrate and dairy.

Cartels - perpetuate ' business inefficiency'

we have seen many groups being formed to protect business interest, consumer interest and at times even religious interest. The over riding feeling that I have about these interest group is that they perpetuate ' business inefficiency' and ' market standing'
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

A survey of hundreds of published economic studies and legal decisions of antitrust authorities found that the median price increase achieved by cartels in the last 200 years is 25%. Private international cartels (those with participants from two or more nations) had an average price increase of 28%, whereas domestic cartels averaged 18%. Less than 10% of all cartels in the sample failed to raise market prices.

In general, cartel agreements are economically unstable in that there is an incentive for members to cheat by selling at below the agreed price or selling more than the production quotas set by the cartel (see also game theory). This has caused many cartels that attempt to set product prices to be unsuccessful in the long term. Empirical studies of 20th century cartels have determined that the mean duration of discovered cartels is from 5 to 8 years. However, once a cartel is broken, the incentives to form the cartel return and the cartel may be re-formed. Publicly-known cartels that do not follow this cycle include, by some accounts, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Price fixing is often practiced internationally. When the agreement to control price is sanctioned by a multilateral treaty or protected by national sovereignty, no antitrust actions may be initiated. Examples of such price fixing include oil whose price is partly controlled by the supply by OPEC countries. Also international airline tickets have prices fixed by agreement with the IATA, a practice for which there is a specific exception in antitrust law.

International price fixing by private entities can be prosecuted under the antitrust laws of more than 100 countries. Examples of prosecuted international cartels are lysine, citric acid, graphite electrodes and bulk vitamins.

Virtual Earth project,

Stephen Lawler, from Microsoft, takes us on a tour through the company's new Virtual Earth project, which is, basically, an attempt to turn the entire planet into an interface to the web. Collecting and synthesizing massive amounts of data -- bird's-eye views, street-level photos, 3D wireframes -- the Virtual Earth team are building a world of possibilities. Bonus: This talk may explain the mysterious vans with cameras on top that you might have seen cruising up and down your street.

Stunning - Earth Image

absolutely stunning creation
I happened to stumble on this imagery at

Can commodity prices go higher?

MARKETS depend on a dynamic of supply and demand in order to effectively set prices that clear the supply, writes NICK HOLT-MARTYN, Director, The Dairy Group.
As we have seen recently with milk quota, when there is very little supply or demand markets struggle to operate effectively. A similar position is now being seen with powders where despite good demand there is little available supply to set prices.
The effect is a reported spot skimmed milk powder (SMP) price of more than £2,500/tonne, which is confirmed in reports from Dutch official prices of €3,580/tonne and yet the United Kingdom reported market price is only £2,000/tonne.
This suggests further UK price rises are to come and that the expected switch away from cheese will have started in earnest.
The effect should be commodity prices rising further and, increasingly, a reduction in cheese supply as we enter the autumn. This all points to significant price rises across the whole market in the next six months.
A note of caution for the future is that climate experts are suggesting the possibility of La Nina conditions in the Pacific this autumn, which would provide favourable conditions in Australia allowing a recovery of sorts in their drought damaged industry. A strong recovery could lead to weakening commodities in 2009.
In the meantime, these are excellent market conditions in which to draw up closer ties with customers, markets and production costs. Agreeing smart supply contracts now will help protect against future adverse market conditions.
The Market Price Equivalent (MPE) has rocketed to another new peak due to increases in skim and whole milk powders, while cheese/butter has slipped back due to a fall in whey prices. Returns are now up by 1.95 pence per litre (10 per cent) on May 2006, due to the strength in commodities, but particularly milk powders.
SMP is leading the way, up 47 per cent on the year, whereas mild cheddar is down one per cent, indicating the disparity in returns. With market returns rising, even through the May UK production peak, suggests there should be further price rises as UK production falls from the seasonal peak. The likelihood of cheese production falling over the next six months should strengthen the cheese market and allow an increase in powder production to partially satiate the commodity demand.
The strength in commodity sectors suggests the potential for a 10 per cent rise in the cheese market as milk is switched into commodities. With continued growth in world GDP and adverse weather affecting Australia for at least another production season, prices are set to remain at these high levels until 2009.
The graph of market returns, milk prices and milk deliveries shows that rolling prices are now set to improve for the next 12 months. The rolling weighted average milk price in March was down 0.6 ppl (3.3 per cent) on March 2006, the lowest level since October 2003.
The increase in the farmgate price should feed through as the year progresses, with continual up lifts as the market returns finally benefit dairy farmers. As outlined above, a significant price increase in cheese should be achieved before winter, helping to counter the increase in production costs, particularly energy and feed costs.
The weather has turned again with a wet May leading to a prevention of drought and a continuation of the recovery in production. Grass supplies will now last out June and it seems less likely that drought conditions will hamper UK production until later in the summer at the earliest.
Currently world weather is recovering from El Nino. However, if there is a sharp La Nina in the Pacific we could enter a period of prolonged wet weather similar to 1998-2003 which lead to increased world production and lower commodity values. The current commodity highs do not mean an end to volatility, only that we are on an upward price curve, the end of which we cannot yet foresee.
o The MPE is calculated from the weighted actual wholesale prices for liquid milk, cheese, butter and powders after the normal processing costs. The MPE accounts for 90 per cent of the UK market utilisation of milk.
The MPE is calculated from wholesale market values, whereas IMPE (Intervention Milk Price Equivalent) accounts for just 11 per cent of UK milk production and is effectively determined by the Council of Ministers and the prevailing exchange rate. The MPE provides a far superior indicator of the wholesale value of milk and therefore the likely market returns available to the dairy farmer.

Fantastic Graphics

Megan Jaegerman graphics are outstanding. Her work is smart, finely detailed,elegant, witty, inventive, informative. It easy to read and pleasing to eye like the one above. You would like to see them in your morning newspaper.

Hara hachi bu !

Eating to Powerpoint slides !
The Japanese have a great expression concerning healthy eating habits: Hara hachi bu. Hara hachi bu means “Eat until 80% full” (literally, stomach 80%).

When do you know the momentum is on your side?

This is the most difficult question for a marketer – to know the ‘Tipping point’ – that you have crossed the bridge and now you have a smooth ride. How do you quantify that tipping point is so essential – is it the 100% sales growth, 25 NPDs that you chase, doubled your tonnage sales, increased your TOMA/ITP or is it the weighted distribution growth? Answer is indeed difficult.

seth had a nice article on this

Pushing and running
One of the most difficult transitions that marketing organizations go through is shifting from pushing against resistance to running with acceptance.
The culture at insurgent companies is all about pushing. You get turned down on sales calls, you have tiny market share, people walk away from your trade show booths. You have trouble finding suppliers and a bank loan and even employees.
So you learn to push. In fact, you may discover you start to lean against that resistance, that it becomes part of who you and your team are.
If your work is successful, you break through. You become Apple or the politician who leads in the polls. And then what?
If you're very good, you start running like crazy. You have the wind at your back and the chance to dramatically increase your impact and market share. But most organizations keep pushing. Because that's what they know how to do. Instead of running up the scoreboard, they look for something else to push against. I think the fascinating transformation at Apple is worth noting. The iPod gave them the opportunity to start running.
It's not easy.

more on this