Category Archives: Business

Réflexions sur le commerce électronique au Québec

Selon un sondage produit en février 2010 par le CEFRIO et Phéromone en collaboration avec Léger Marketing, 23% des adultes québécois ont acheté pour 336 millions de dollars de produits et services sur Internet en septembre dernier. Au même moment l’an dernier, on parlait plutôt de 300 millions de dollars. C’est donc une hausse de 12% qui illustre bien l’importance de l’achat en ligne aujourd’hui. La valeur moyenne du panier d’achat est également en progression : elle est passée de 267 dollars par cyberacheteur en février 2009 à 285 dollars en février 2010.

Il faut applaudir cette avancée qui reflète la tendance mondiale à magasiner sur le Web. Cependant y-a-t’il lieu de s’inquiéter du fait que ces achats se font surtout à l’extérieur du pays? Selon une enquête réalisée l’an dernier par CEFRIO, les Québécois avaient effectué 47% de leurs achats en ligne sur des sites étrangers. Si la tendance s’est maintenue cela se traduit par la fuite à l’étranger de 157 millions de dollars pour un seul mois, soit une moyenne de 134 dollars par consommateur.

Avant de s’inquiéter il faudrait bien examiner ces chiffres mais il nous manque des données essentielles. C’est utile de connaître le montant dépensé sur Internet à l’extérieur du Québec mais il nous manque les sommes d’argent dépensées au Québec par des acheteurs à l’extérieur de nos frontières. Il manque la colonne des «revenus étrangers» à l’équation.

Grâce à Internet, nous vivons dans un nouveau paradigme commercial. À cette époque où on communique instantanément avec des gens de partout grâce à Skype ou à Facebook, la notion de localisation géographique devient confuse et floue. Dans les faits, les gens qui achètent des produits sur le Web n’ont pas l’impression d’acheter au Québec ou aux États-Unis ou en Australie. Ils achètent sur Internet, bien assis au bureau ou à la maison devant leur écran d’ordinateur dans leur propre pays sans trop se soucier de la provenance du produit. Les frontières disparaissent presque en ce qui concerne le cybercommerce. Pour tous les produits numériques par exemple, le processus d’achat est exactement le même sur tous les continents peu importe où l’entreprise est située – que ce soit de la musique, un livre numérisé ou audio, un logiciel, un site web, un logo, etc. On choisit un produit, on l’ajoute à notre panier d’achat, on passe à la sortie, on paye en utilisant une carte de crédit sur une page sécurisée et le produit est immédiatement disponible pour un téléchargement. C’est simple, rapide et efficace.

Ceci est vrai pour les habitants du Québec mais aussi pour tous ceux qui ont accès à l’Internet partout dans le monde. Ce chiffre atteint maintenant 1.7 milliard d’individus, soit environ 25 % de la population mondiale. Tous ces gens sont des clients potentiels pour l’entrepreneur Web, qu’il soit au Québec ou ailleurs.

Pour notre part à www.premiumbeat.com nous vendons surtout des fichiers musicaux sur notre site web, principalement des compositions de musiciens québécois. Par contre notre clientèle provient de plus de 125 pays à ce jour. Nos ventes québécoises et canadiennes se limitent à moins de 5% de notre chiffre d’affaire alors que les achats en provenance des États-Unis dépassent les 40%. Le reste provient du Royaume-Uni, de l’Australie, du Brésil, de la France, etc. Ce 95% de revenus en provenance de l’étranger est déposé dans notre compte en banque au Québec, redistribué aux musiciens et à nos autres partenaires québécois, et nous payons toutes nos taxes et tous nos impôts ici au Québec.

Il n’y a donc pas qu’une fuite de capitaux par le commerce électronique, il y a aussi une possibilité immense d’entrée de capitaux. N’oublions pas que plus de 99.5 % de la population mondiale vit à l’extérieur des frontières canadiennes! À chaque semaine nous vendons nos produits sur tous les continents et notre magasin virtuel est ouvert partout dans le monde 24 heures sur 24 – 365 jours par année.

Notre propre entreprise est encore très modeste mais l’opportunité est formidable. Le marché mondial nous est grand ouvert. C’est aux entrepreneurs d’ici de saisir l’occasion d’aller chercher des capitaux étrangers pour les faire recirculer dans notre économie. Malheureusement si on se fie à une étude locale récente rapportée par Michelle Blanc en décembre dernier la situation actuelle n’est vraiment pas reluisante.

Aujourd’hui en 2010 combien d’argent en provenance de l’extérieur emplit les coffres des cyber-entreprises locales? C’est ce chiffre qu’il faut connaître et que surtout il faut faire croître. J’aimerais que nos gouvernements appuient vigoureusement ce virage commercial que la planète entière est en train de faire – avec ou sans nous.

25% of all our Royalty Free Music sales to go to the Haiti Red Cross Relief Fund

This week Premiumbeat.com will be sending 25% of all sales occurring between Monday the 18th and Friday the 22nd of January inclusively to the Haiti Red Cross Relief Fund.

UPDATE: We are extending our campaign to include all sales Saturday and Sunday up to 18:00 EST

Photo Credit: American Red Cross/Talia Frenkel --- Haitian Red Cross volunteer Jean Zacharie delivers first aid to 1 month old - Deborah Fatima, whose mother died in quake.

Good news! The Canadian Government has agreed to match our donation – in effect doubling the amount we will be contributing. This means that 50% of your purchase amount will be made available to the Haiti Red Cross Fund.

What’s happening in Haiti is a distressing tragedy. We at Premiumbeat.com, owners and composers together, are happy to help with this modest but heartfelt effort.

Thank you for choosing our music – this week especially it means a lot to us and it will make a difference in the lives of many.

Francois Arbour and Gilles Arbour

Other ways to help

You can also contribute directly to any organization of your choice. Please make sure the organization is legitimate and your donation will be use to serve the people of Haiti. There are many other wonderful and caring organizations but we feel very safe in recommending the following:

http://www.redcross.org
http://doctorswithoutborders.org
http://www.unicef.org

Are You Using Twitter?

I now have a personal Twitter account http://twitter.com/gillesarbour

We also have a business Twitter account for Premiumbeat.com, our Royalty Free Music website http://twitter.com/premiumbeat

Don’t know much about Twitter?  That’s OK! Here is a post I wrote in our business blog about it: Twitter

If you Tweet please follow us!

The Go-Giver – A Great Book

Delicious Gourmet Food for the Business Mind! Two thumbs up!

The Go-Giver

My friend John Mann co-wrote “The Go-Giver” with Bob Burg. The book is a wonderful parable about the transformation of a sales person (Joe) from a go-getter to a go-giver. This is exactly the kind of message needed today in the business world – or in the world in general as a matter of fact.

Besides the fact that it feels good to give, it actually pays to be generous! This is not a new concept. Napoleon Hill already wrote about this idea in Think and Grow Rich in 1937. In the early 90s Robert Cialdini writes about reciprocation in “Influence” where he actually explains from a psychological and social perspective why giving is rewarding for the Giver as well as for the Receiver. But what John Mann and Bob Burg have done is to create a beautifully compelling story where the “lessons” are being taught – and learned – without any effort, just through the pleasure of reading a moving and uplifting story.

A must read absolutely for anyone somehow involved in sales or marketing – that is everyone!

Learn more about the book here.

‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

An amazing talk from Steve Jobs – founder of Apple

‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says
This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.