Tag Archives: China

Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from In Bloom)

I woke up to the glaring sunlight streaming through my window.  My head felt like it got into a fight with a brick wall, and lost.  As I was cringing to the repulsive taste in my mouth, I squinted and saw that the clock read 10 Am.  Aw, hell naw.  Way too early for a night dweller like myself.  I had made the rookie mistake of leaving my blinds open.  They must be closed, at once.  Like a wounded animal, I rolled out of bed and slowly made my way to the window.  From my back, I reached up and spun the blinds closed.  Laying there, catching my breath from all of the barrel rolls, I felt like I too could see Blue.  Contemplating whether or not to just set up camp there for awhile, the post it on the wall caught my attention.

It was funny to see how crappy my hand writing was after having a couple of beverages.  I was relieved that I did it, though, because I didn’t remember the observation I had made about the group of girls.  Yeah, pinning it to the wall was a little unnecessary, but . . . yeah.  Really have nothing else to add on there.  I really wanted to get some people’s opinion of my product idea.  But, my room had just turned into a dark cave.  So, that was gonna have to wait  for a couple hours.

Most people wake up to the birds chirping.  Not me.  I am awaken every afternoon by a much less delightful noise.  The wall in my room is connected to the bathroom and I am reminded of that with each blaring toilet flush.  It’s usually a series of 5 or 6 flushes because of the 12 pack and 4 chimichangas my roommate had the night before.  It gets even lovelier when he bangs on my door and proclaims “Put some wings on me, I can fly now that I’m so much lighter!”  I can’t believe that this is my alarm clock . . .

I usually would have told him to f off and went back to sleep.  Not today though.  “Come in here batman”.  He opens the door and attempts to jump on my face; ass first.  Fortunately, he misses and bounces onto the ground.  “Dude, listen to this.  I came up with a brilliant idea last night.”  “Doubt it“.  “Screw you, listen.”  I disclosed the privileged information to him.  “That’s stupid.  Drive me to Burger King“.  Are you serious, it’s a great idea.”  “Yeah, not really.  I’ll be waiting downstairs.

He’s a guy, he doesn’t understand that girls will like it.  I then decided to call a trusted adviser.  She’ll get it.  I told her about the product.  Not bad.”  “That’s all you got?”  “Well, it could work.  But, it takes a lot of money to start up a business.  And you’re broke.”  “Thanks for the positivity.  I’m going to get a prototype made.  You’re going to have to test it out for me.”  “We’ll see.”  I already knew from the little time I spent brainstorming about the idea that it was going to be a long process to get the product on the market.  But, I didn’t know it would be so difficult to get people to buy into the idea.  I knew it was a good idea and people would realize it; they just needed something tangible to look at.  I absolutely hate doing research but knew I had to find a manufacturer to make a sample.  This is going to suck . . .

Continue to Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2 . . .

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I’m interested to hear from you about your college experience.  Did you also have hilarious roommates?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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The MadCap Effect

(Posted in Daily Chronicles)

(Continued from The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart)

A couple days after I came up with the idea, I was casually having a drink outside and held up my glass to finish off the last drop.  At the bottom of the glass, I saw the 5 tiny letters that are engraved on most of the items in your house: CHINA.  Along with kitchenware, the industry my company is going to be a part of is dominated by Chinese manufacturing.  Before doing any research or asking anyone, I already knew that it was a given to produce products like mine in China.  And I really thought, and hoped, that there was someway I could have it made in the U.S.  Freshen up your drink and allow me to explain why I have come to find out that it is impossible.  At least for now . . . .

The whole reason I keep harping on about this is because it is a major issue within my product’s industry.  My view of the respective manufacturing situations that the U.S. and China find themselves in is directly responsible  for a challenging goal I have for my company. I have wanted to produce my product in the U.S. ever since I first came up with the idea.  I thought then and still think that it is the most moral thing to do.

My desire to do this increased even more after learning about the violent labor strikes going on in China.  I know that if my product took off and sold really well, I wouldn’t be able to get any satisfaction driving around in a car that was essentially paid for by oppressed Chinese workers who can barely afford to get by.  After being immersed in this project for so long, I’m shocked that this matter is such an afterthought.

If a riot policeman slugged a pregnant worker (near bottom of article) here in America, I’m sure every news pundit on TV would be screaming about it.  Especially Nancy Grace.  But, so long as it is a worker making the blue jeans outside the U.S. border, who cares.  We all rally around the rights for Timmy working at Wal Mart, but don’t give two shits about the 14 year old girl in China stitching the jeans for 12 hours without a break.

I do want to be clear that I don’t think this is the consumer’s fault.  I am a consumer and just about all of my clothes are foreign made.  All of the blame belongs on the company’s shoulders.  They certainly comply with the labor laws for their employees working in the U.S. stores, but it’s quite a different story for the workers across the Pacific who are making the products for the stores.  That minimum wage salary seems to get lost along the 8,000 mile distance from here to there.

Within my company’s industry, a lot of ethical issues get swept under the rug.  That is for those CEOs to live with though.  And sure, some might absolutely have to manufacture in foreign countries for practical reasons.  But, I bet some of them do it to make more money.  There is no accountability for their actions.  They take advantage of the cheap labor and want to reap the benefits without getting called out.  I don’t want my company to operate like that.  Take a look at this video; you’ll see what I’m saying about the zero accountability part at the 15:35 mark.  And this one.

I am in the process of heading a company and I have taken all of this into consideration.  Upon finalizing the mock spec for my product, I asked my consultant to price out sample costs from American factories.  Come to find out, it’s simply impossible to have my product mass produced here in the U.S. because I wouldn’t be able to turn a profit.  That is alarming.  Voola, just like that, I had to accept my product being made in China.  I was reassured by my consultant that they have worked with this factory in China for 15 years and they have great working conditions.  They visit the factory a couple times every year and the workers get paid fairly.   Just turn a blind eye to it, that seems to be the protocol anyway.

I do realize that I am guilty of being a mild hypocrite right now.  I have been up on my soap box yelling about how deplorable Chinese factories are and now I’m doing business with one.  Trust me, if I had it my way, it’d be USA all day. However, I’m not going to let this roadblock deter me from meeting my goal.  If I’m lucky enough for my product to become a fad, I believe that I would have the capability to open up a factory here and mass produce my product.  There would be many things to consider, especially being able to keep the product at the same price point and turning a profit.

If I would be able to meet those requirements, I would definitely do it. I understand the potential hot water situation I am putting my company in right now by declaring all of this.  Like the girl said in The Social Network, on the internet, everything is written in ink.  But, I stand by it now and will in the future.  If it can financially work opening a factory and producing units here, I by all means will do it.  Some may consider it wishful thinking, but I like to think of it as forward thinking.

Considering China is the manufacturing powerhouse right now, they need to do some forward thinking of their own.  To reiterate my point from the last post, their labor cost is going to go up and all the companies are going to move to countries like Vietnam.  This trend is already beginning.  In 50 years they very well could be in the same situation the U.S. is in right now  and having to outsource for manufacturing.  It’s almost just like the infamous Domino Effect.  Once the cost of labor goes up in one country, companies will move onto the next cheap one.  Maybe this explains the sudden skedaddling of the rich Chinese out of their homeland.

That’s why, along with the U.S., China should get ahead of the game and set regulations for the companies selling products within their country.  They should make these companies abide by labor laws that protect the rights of the laborers who are manufacturing the products, even if they are outside of the country.  This would be in their best interest and a giant step towards equality throughout the world.  It would knock down the next “domino” in a much more positive fashion.

My company will never be a major player in the industry by any stretch, but I want to do my part.  What’s right is right.  Maybe opening a factory here would encourage the big wigs that it could work for them.  Nonetheless, creating jobs for fellow Americans is good enough for me.  Just maybe, we could create a positive domino MadCap Effect.

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What are your thoughts of the labor strikes going on in China?

Let me hear your responses here, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart

(Posted in Daily Chronicles)

(Continued from Waiting at the Doorstep)

I’d like to take a break from story time and touch on a hot button issue.  Still stay gathered around though, I’d like to hear your take on this matter.  This discussion is definitely something a president of a company wouldn’t want to comment on because of the potential microscope it could put their business under.  But, fortunately, I’m the idiot in charge and haven’t made any sells yet, so I guess I don’t know any better.  Or I actually care . . .

I rarely watch the news, but when I do, it seems as though the news pundits are always talking about how much money the U.S. owes China.  When I see this, I can’t help but shake my head at the complicated relationship we have with them.  It’s almost like two stubborn brothers who are trying to prove to their Dad that they are the one who deserves to take over the business once he retires.  They want to prove that their system works the best.  If they want to earn their Dad’s approval, they’d be wise to learn about what was going on in their “brother’s” country over a century ago.  They would realize that the predicament they find themselves in is eerily similar to their “brother’s” past experience.

Remember daydreaming through your world history class on the day your teacher talked about China?  Yeah, I don’t really either.  But, I do remember hearing them harp on about “The Boxer Rebellion“.  This, of course, comprised most of the lecture because the U.S. had some involvement.  Pretty much, the uprising took place because foreign influence was spreading at a dangerous rate within the country.  These foreign influences were dispersing their own ideals and they undermined Chinese values.

I’m not saying the exact same scenario is taking place in the U.S. right now.  However, I think the rebellion’s call to action to address the problem at hand is a strategy that the American consumer market needs to analyze.  There’s way too many foreign products in the U.S. market right now.  Just the other day, I saw a segment on CNBC where they would go to people’s houses and remove all of the foreign made products from the house.  All that was left was usually like a box of toothpicks and an old jock strap.  That is not a good sign for ol’ red, white, and blue.

Like the “Boxers” did, we need to start decreasing foreign influence in our country.  We need to import less and focus on domestic production.  (Americans are really starting to take pride in this movement and are going in droves to stores like this.)  Not only would this shrink the amount of foreign products on the market but it would also increase the volume of our exports.  Easy win-win solution, right?  Nope.  Not that easy.  Many domestic companies wouldn’t be able to do this  because of the cost of labor.  With all of their competition using foreign manufacturers that have low labor wages, they couldn’t turn a profit selling the product at the market’s price point.  Which brings me to . . .

China is looking pretty damn good right now.  They are the manufacturing powerhouse that America once was.  They’re relaxing poolside with a sh** eatin’ Jack Nicholson grin wiped across their face.  Their “brother” owes them so much money that they’re making him wear women’s sunglasses (guy on left) in public to rub it in until he can pay up.  Sure, China may have the hot blonde sitting next to them right now, but she just might be moving on to the next movie star here shortly.

If China really wants to maintain their “progress”, they might want to steal their “brother’s” American History book and flip to the section about the Progressive Era.  They might put two and two together and realize that a very similar movement is taking place within their country.  During the early 1900s, the American labor situation was in dire straits.  Workers were barely making enough to get by, conditions within factories and meat packing plants were unfathomable, the child labor rate was alarmingly high, and workers were dying at their job.  “There was great interest during the Progressive Era in investigation of hazardous working conditions. President Theodore Roosevelt had championed the conservation movement and broadened its scope to include the saving of human life.”
Including saving a life!  How crazy is that, only a 100 years ago . . .

Now, it isn’t as fatal as it was here a hundred years ago.  But, even the slight resemblance to a situation that took place a century ago says a lot.  Many of China’s workers are oppressed.  There is no denying that.  Much like the American workers during the Progressive Era, the Chinese workers are unionizing and organizing strikes.   They are fighting for better wages to improve their families life.

Once the cost of labor goes up in China, and it will, companies are going to move onto the next oppressed country for manufactured goods.  China might want to start thinking about a future strategy for their manufacturing industry.  Or they might find themselves owing someone money in the not so distant future . . .

The hot blonde is starting to get up; she says that she is just going to get a drink real quick.  The in debt brother lets out a vengeful chuckle.

These two stubborn bastards need to meet in the middle.  They need to come to the realization that the business will be better run by them working in unison; not against one another. It is vital that they lay the foundation for the centuries to come.  Before they know it, they will have sons of their own who will want to impress their Dad.

Continue to The Madcap Effect . .  .

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Do you think it’s plausible that America can once again become a manufacturing giant, like we were in the 1800s?  What do you think about American companies sourcing foreign factories to manufacture their products?  Let me hear your responses here, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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Waiting at the Doorstep

(Posted in Daily Chronicles)

Yesterday, I rushed to the mailbox like a kid expecting Santa Claus.  The long awaited day had finally come; the delivery of the sample.  I’m on the cusp of being welcomed inside;  I will no longer have to be waiting at the doorstep.  My goal was almost complete.  I could almost taste the round of Big Bourbon that The Exec was to going to have to buy for our bet.

Tearing open the package like a rabid animal, I sensed that all of my frustration from the past couple months could finally be let out.  All of the struggle was worth it.  The countless hours of research,brainstorming, phone conferences, hundreds of emails, traveling, and thousands of dollars were suddenly paying off with each tear. And, oh yeah, some redemption for getting royally screwed by the Fox Bros. (I’ll get to this story later).

Damnit, this thing is harder to open than those stupid plastic packages for action figures.  It was sealed extra tight because it had been sent from a world away.  It boggled my mind that a couple days ago my sample was being crafted in a Chinese factory 8,000 miles away and now it was in my hands.  Fascinating times we live in. (We’ll be discussing this in the next post).

All of the mounting anticipation and difficulty of the package just added salt to the wound after I saw the sample.  It was terrible.  Not even close to being ready for the market.  There really is some universal law that everything has to be difficult, isn’t there?  We have come so far but are still so far away.  Now, I had to contact my consultants and be like the guy at Subway bitching about not getting enough salami on his sandwich.  This isn’t acceptable!  I hate being that guy.  But, it is a role you have to fulfill if you want to produce a quality product that people will buy.  I think. 

Of course, my consultant was positive as usual.  It takes a couple runs of samples to get it right.  The next one will be market ready.  I get that, but I can’t keep forking over money for crappy samples.  The budget is running dangerously low.  I am convinced, after these past couple months, that being successful in whatever field of business, half of it is being able to spin things. The ability to deflect dissatisfaction and spin a positive  solution is an invaluable skill to have.  Especially when dealing with clients.  Every client presents their own sets of demands, vision, and budget for what they want from you.  Being able to absorb their frustration and presenting a “its no so bad” speech seems key.

I thoroughly explained what needed to change.  Okay, great.  I’m telling you the next sample will be magnificent.  We’ll see.  Back to the waiting game.  Great, Madam Moola is going to be pissed . . . (that’ll make sense later on).

The guy who answered the door now looks confused and is asking who I am.  With my shoulders hunched, I respond “still just the Madcap.”  The door closes.  But, it seems as though he left it ajar for some reason . . .

Continue to The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart . . .

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Have you ever been eagerly awaiting something and then were highly disappointed?  Please comment!

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The Christening of the MadCap

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

The Night It Became Practical:

The hourglass overseeing his cozy charade had only a few specs of sand remaining.

Crumpled paper that once had illustrious ideas written on it filled the trash can next to his conjuring chair.

It was begrudgingly the time to call a seize fire with his imagination.

With his cap in hand, he went to join the crowd.

Defeat weighed down his presence,

even the guy doing a keg stand could sense it.

His wondering eyes ventilated his broken spirit.

The cap grew heavier in his grasp and fell to the ground.

While grabbing the damned thing, a girl caught his attention.

A faint flame began to take shape.

A scene from his memory bank jolted to center stage.

The flame began to vehemently sizzle.

His eyes frantically searched the room.

Synapses began to rapidly fire.

A surprise attack ensued.

The sand in the hourglass started trickling into the empty end.

He put his cap on and departed in pursuit of a pen.

Continue to In Bloom . . .


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