mind the gap: blog
Twice: Sears, Samsung Tops In July 4 Ads
New York — Sears and Samsung dominated the Independence Day period in appliance print ads, a study by TWICE market research partner Gap Intelligence showed.
According to Gap home appliance analyst Christine Boersing, Sears accounted for about 21 percent of all retail advertising activity for the holiday period of June 29 to July 11, with more than half of its ads touting its private-label Kenmore brand.
hhgregg was No. 2 in advertising aggressiveness surrounding July 4, with about 18 percent of all holiday circulars, followed by BrandsMart USA at 13 percent, The Home Depot at 12 percent, and Best Buy at 10 percent.
Remaining retailers tracked by gap each earned a single-digit percentage of ad share, including, in descending order, Pacific Sales and Lowe’s (6 percent); R.C. Willey and P.C. Richard (4 percent); ABC Warehouse (3 percent); and Fry’s (2 percent).
On the vendor side, Samsung repeated its year-ago performance to secure the top position, with a heavy ad emphasis on laundry and refrigeration, while LG was the second-most advertised majap brand with a similar product emphasis.
Indeed, laundry was the most promoted category during the holiday period with more than one-third of all majap ads (34 percent), followed by refrigerators at 27 percent, ranges at 15 percent, dishwashers at 13 percent, and over-the-range microwave ovens at 6 percent.
Advertising grew in the weeks leading up to Independence Day, and peaked in the days immediately preceding it, Boersing said, repeating the pattern from 2013’s Memorial Day and July 4. Gap collected over 1,100 ads from seven major markets across the country for its Independence Day analysis.
gappy Tumblr 4: The Dreaded Full-Calc
One of the biggest time-sucks out of any gapper’s day is the dreaded full-calc of a large file. Depending on the file it can take anywhere from 2 minutes to an hour, and during that time a gapper is left wondering what to do while they wait – and pray – for the calc-ing to finish. At the end of last quarter, I was fortunate enough to get one of these long calc-ing files, and had to spend some time keeping myself from losing it at my desk. Below is my go-to guide to keep gappers occupied during the many stages of a full-calc:
Start by spending quality time with the high schooler’s in the courtyard
Lip-sync your favorite songs at your desk
Gracefully beat a coworker at ping pong
Take a bath
Still not done calc-ing?
How about…you grab some food from the kitchen?
Or learn a new trick
Become invested in sports
Get to know a new coworker…
…and then engage them in a staring contest
The file still hasn’t finished? Don’t panic!
If you’re getting antsy, try rolling around
Help someone with their groceries
Use a common item around you to distract you
Show off your dance moves
Find a hill to sled down
Only when you’ve reached your breaking point, resort to the following:
Space out at your desk
Think of something you’d rather be doing
Wallow in self-pity
Attempt an escape out of the office
Whatever you do, don’t come up with a brilliant plan to destroy your computer
Wait, it finished calc-ing?
Take this moment to realize that your future suddenly looks a lot better.
Introducing the Weekend Warrior!
To kick-off the summer season ahead, we here at gap intelligence are unveiling a brand-new component to our blog series…the Weekend Warrior! As a company and as collective individuals, we each strive to contribute to something bigger and better than ourselves day in and day out. Within our office walls and out into the world, our passions, talents, and interests run far and wide.
Here’s what our gappers have been up to the last couple of weeks…
Kim Plavan – Data Specialist
gapper Kim and her son Bo recently set out on a muddy Saturday morning adventure and headed to Camp Pendleton to participate in the Marine Corp’s World Famous Mud Run! The Mud Run helps raise funds for Marines and their families to enjoy various athletic clubs and activities on base.
Once Kim and Bo arrived at Camp Pendleton, they joined up with several soccer families from Bo’s team. The Mom’s ran (walked) the 5k course, while the kids ran the 1k. Both courses sported several obstacles including walls to climb, tunnels to crawl through, muddy hills to conquer, and nets to climb up, over, and under. Oh…and there were many many mud pits. The last mud pit before the finish line was a doozy! The mud was so thick it felt like cement. Luckily when some of the kids got stuck, the Marines hopped in the pits to pull them to freedom. gapper Kim and her entire team had a great time and can’t wait to get dirty again next year!
Scott Peterson – Industry Analyst
A couple of weekends ago we celebrated the Fourth of July, but rather than celebrating in the sunshine like many other local San Diegans, Camera Analyst Scott Peterson was using his talent for spinning records as a wedding DJ! Two of Scott’s longtime friends got married at the scenic Tom Ham’s Lighthouse located on the beautiful San Diego harbor. DJ’ing was a great way for Scott to return a favor to the groom, who recently gave a gapU presentation about being a Union Tribune photojournalist. That said, Scott happily found himself talking cameras with many of the like-minded guests at the wedding…all the while pumping the jams that kept the crowd dancing into the early morning hours! With the venue located right along the waterfront, Scott had a turntable with an extraordinary view.
Pasha Skripin – Programmer
This month, gap intelligence is privileged to have two of our programmers visiting from Uzbekistan. Aside from working on amazing code, Shavkat and Pasha are taking in many of the sights and sounds of San Diego. During our last monthly company meeting, Pasha Skripin expressed his desire to see some live local music while in town. Naturally, no other place would do except The Casbah! Fellow programmer, Shavkat Samatov, and Camera Analyst, Scott Peterson, accompanied Pasha to the infamous venue for a show by the Creepy Creeps and the ever-so entertaining Schitzophonics. After an ear-shattering bout of rock music and slam-dancing into oblivion, Pasha is already looking forward to his next dose of the San Diego music scene…especially the late-night burritos that go along with it!
Check back often to keep up on what the gappers are up to and feel free to share your own Weekend Warrior activities with us as well!
We are driven to contribute to something bigger than ourselves and trust that our hard work will turn into something great and that we’ll have fun along the way!
Go North Herbie!
Nothing says summer like a trip to Alaska. While many were basking in the California sunshine, Herbie headed north to Canada this summer where he was met with clouds, rain and cold weather. From Vancouver, Herbie then embarked on an Alaskan adventure for a week and returned to Vancouver for a few more days of sightseeing. Come travel along to see the sites of the Pacific Northwest and beyond with Herbie as we head north!
Day 1: Vancouver, B.C.
Herbie in front of the 2010 Olympic Torch at Jack Poole Plaza.
Herbie grabbing lunch at the Cactus Club Cafe.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Vancouver before setting sail for Alaska
Visiting Gastown’s Steam Clock.
Day 3: Sailing in the Inside Passage
It’s cloudy and cold out here.
Day 4: Juneau, AK
Herbie at Mendenhall Glacier.
Herbie is excited to ride the Mt. Roberts Tramway.
Day 5: Skagway, AK
Herbie was met with beautiful weather and a gorgeous backdrop in Skagway, AK.
Herbie taking a train ride up the Yukon Pass.
Day 6: Glacier Bay National Park
Herbie digs glaciers.
What else did you expect to see in Glacier Bay National Park?
Day 7: Ketchikan, AK
A little rain can’t damper sightseeing for Herbie.
Day 8: Sailing back to Vancouver
Herbie is going to miss this view.
Day 9: Back in Vancouver, B.C.
Enjoying the miniature train ride in Stanley Park.
Day 10: Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain
Herbie at the Capilano Suspension Bridge in the pouring rain.
Herbie enjoying the scenery on the cliff walk.
Herbie on Grouse Mountain ready to head to the top of the Eye of the Wind.
The view disappearing in the viewing pod in the Eye of Wind.
Herbie had a wonderful time traveling this summer. Thanks for following Herbie on another adventure. Until next time…
gap intelligence named emerging business of the year by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce
-Market research firm recognized for revenue growth, culture and staying power -
SAN DIEGO – June 24, 2014 – gap intelligence, a values-led market research firm, announced today it was named “Outstanding Emerging Business” at the recent San Diego Chamber of Commerce 2014 Small Business Awards.
The firm was specifically recognized for its history as an established San Diego County-based business with significant revenue growth, unique culture and staying power.
“What makes gap intelligence unique is that we’re a values-led market research firm
founded on the idea that business has a responsibility to the people and city that make its existence possible,” said gap intelligence Founder and President Gary Peterson. “That’s why the validation of being honored by our local Chamber is a profound honor.”
gap intelligence recently went through a metamorphosis from a firm focused on what and how to do business to why it’s in business. Finding its “why” led to several culture-first initiatives such an in-house institute of higher education called “gapU” that
translates to increases in retention, productivity, and scalability within the company.
Another company culture standout is its “3T’s” philanthropic committee dedicated to
giving time, talent, and treasure to San Diegans in need. This group organizes monthly and quarterly charity events including serving meals at the San Diego Food Bank, beach cleanups, a blood drive and an annual golf tournament that raised $32,000 to benefit the Emilio Nares Foundation. ENF is a local nonprofit dedicated to helping
navigate families through their child’s journey with cancer.
The firm also experienced a major overhaul this year by bringing data collection and software development entirely in-house. These tools help position the company as a leader in the very complex and constantly changing IT, consumer electronics, imaging and home appliance industries.
The Chamber is the largest nonprofit advocate for the San Diego regional business community. It is the most influential business network and resource for growing commerce in the San Diego region with nearly 3,000 members representing 400,000 employees.
About gap intelligence
San Diego-based gap intelligence is a values-led corporation that works with
manufacturers, resellers and industry players within the information technology,
consumer electronics, imaging, and home appliance industries to bring them up to the minute market intelligence. For more information: www.gapintelligence.com
For Immediate Release
Contact: Elizabeth Ireland
Catching Up with the Aftermarket at the RT Imaging Summit
At the end of May, I had the pleasure of attending the RT Imaging Summit, hosted by Recycling Times Media (RT). The event was designed to discuss questions and issues faced by the North American remanufacturing market, and (hopefully) provide attendees with solutions. Around 100 people attended the event, a pretty respectable turnout for the first event held in North America, for North America (RT is also the host of the RemaxAsia Expo held in China each year). The exhibition room featured table exhibits for the gold and silver sponsors, including MSE, Mito Color, and Green Project, where you could visit with these companies during lunch or the mid-morning and afternoon breaks. While the majority of the attendees came from the remanufacturing side of the industry, there was also participation from OEM representatives who tried to provide a different perspective.
The content of the show was extremely informative, with presenters ranging from remanufacturers and patent attorneys to chemical producers and printer remanufacturers. Because my view of the remanufacturing world is very specific, it was refreshing to be among people that are living in it every day and have a more robust understanding. Attending provided me with valuable insights and a new perspective that I might not have otherwise had.
The show started with a discussion about how the aftermarket has changed over the past 5 years or so. Since 2009 and the global financial crisis, there has been an increase in low cost foreign aftermarket products, clones, counterfeits, a decline in quality, and an increase in ecommerce. OEMs have been responding by stepping up patent infringement litigation, introducing new and more complicated chip technology and more complex cartridges, as well as increased printer refresh cycles — all of which provide limitations to the aftermarket’s market share. In particular, with the rise in ecommerce as a preferred shopping method, remanufacturers are increasingly finding themselves and their dealers or resellers competing with other resellers that, for whatever reason, can afford to offer competing products for a much lower price point.
However, while low-price online resellers are an issue and cut into the sales of legitimate remanufacturers and their partners, one of the things that I really respect about many of the companies was their acknowledgement that a main issue holding back the remanufacturing industry is quality, not price competition. Many participants agreed that they are currently very limited by quality, especially with regard to color, because color customers have different requirements and standards, whereas most people using monochrome for everyday office documents don’t necessarily need the highest quality output. Remanufacturers typically don’t have the resources to support a research and production facility that would be comparable to an OEM, and I respected that these companies were so upfront about the fact that they haven’t been able to achieve 100% OEM quality, and that no aftermarket company should say they have.
The timing of the conference could not have been better, as it happened to take place shortly after Canon filed an intellectual property complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against 18 aftermarket manufacturers, distributors, and resellers in January and took many of the same complaints to the ITC against 33 companies (including some of the same 18) in early May. Litigation pretty much set the tone for the first day of the summit, as we heard from Print-Rite, a large remanufacturer that was also named in the recent Canon lawsuits, and got a lesson in the art of reading patent claims by patent attorney Ed O’Connor. After all of the presentations, open forums, and lunchtime discussions, my insight and understanding of patent infringement lawsuits in general increased significantly, as well as the kind of reaction they generate and impacts they have on the aftermarket from the remanufacturers themselves. There was a lot of back and forth about whether OEMs are bringing these types of lawsuits to shut down the aftermarket or defend their intellectual property. However, regardless of whether these defendants are actually infringing, simply bringing a lawsuit against a remanufacturer causes customers to question their legitimacy and can have lasting impacts on that company.
Because there hasn’t ever been an easy and affordable way for the aftermarket to keep up with OEM patents, it’s been difficult for remanufacturers to even know when they are infringing – an OEM could be filing for a new patent during a remanufacturer’s development of a new cartridge. As a result, Recycling Times developed its own solution to that challenge, announced at the show as the forthcoming Patent Smart (or PatentSmart) portal. This was a solution that I was not aware of before the summit, but it is definitely something worth keeping an eye on. Little information is available, but as far as I know, it will be a subscription-based portal that will allow remanufacturers to stay up-to-date on patented OEM products and components.
In the end, it was determined that there was at least one thing that was mutually agreed on by both remanufacturers and the OEM representatives: the two industries should be spending more time working together to focus their efforts on targeting those that undermine their legitimacy, such as counterfeits and clones.
From follow-up correspondence, it was clear that the show was a success and that attendees came away with new ideas and inspiration about how to address commonly-faced issues in their industry. While there may have been undertones of fear and concern over the detriments caused by OEM lawsuits, there was also a lot of talk about opportunity. The market is mature, the technological solutions are here, and customers are still looking for value. Although the future of the remanufacturing industry is unknown, it is clear that it’s changing fast and that the aftermarket needs to continue to adapt accordingly to successfully capitalize on these opportunities.
Scott’s One Cool Thing: Mastering Timelapse with Michron
Some of the most innovative ideas in today’s imaging realm can be found as campaigns on Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding platform. The site is a boon to ambitious startups with bold and creative ideas that require an extra push from consumers like us to become a reality. One of these ideas that successfully materialized into a finished product is Michron from Vivo Labs. Michron is a tiny unassuming device that endows timelapse capabilities to common digital cameras, providing a new trick for both novice and advanced photographers alike. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Vivo Labs co-founder Greg, and perhaps fueled by his passion and drive, found myself rushing home to place an order for my very own Michron. While it is safe to say that I know my way around a camera, timelapse was actually something that I had never attempted. Using Michron, I take that initial plunge into timelapse photography in this edition of… Scott’s One Cool Thing.
Timelapse is a technique for showing an accelerated passage of time by snapping consecutive photos, and then speeding up the playback frames per second to create a video. Although timelapse is not new, its popularity is increasing as shooters desire that creative spin to make their videos unique. Heck, the first ever Vine video posted from space is actually a timelapse sequence!
While I enjoy the perspective that a timelapse made from hundreds of stills can put on everyday events (read: plant growing, sun setting), the advanced setup and high costs associated with it detoured me from attempting the technique myself. Priced at a mere $59, Michron gave me little financial excuse, and its ease-of-use message comforted me that timelapse would be a snap to pick up.
At its core, the $59 Michron is an intervalometer, a device that counts intervals of time and used to trigger exposures in a timelapse series. Michron plugs into any camera boasting an external remote jack, which includes most DSLRs and advanced point-and-shoot models. Compared to expensive intervalometers adorned with intimidating buttons and knobs, Michron is wonderfully simple, offering all necessary control via the free Michron App for smartdevices (iOS, Android).
Complicated timelapse setup is replaced by a simple interface headlined by AutoTimelapse. This Michron App feature lets shooters compose timelapses while not straying away from the camera’s auto settings, an especially attractive element for novice individuals. The Michron App also contains useful timelapse presets including People, Pets, Clouds, Landscape, Cityscape, Landscape, and Stars, which are selected to match the shooter’s desired subject. Selecting a preset will configure the appropriate timelapse settings, leaving one last step, which is to simply connect the Michron to the camera.
Once Michron is connected to the camera, and timelapse-ing away, shooters can actually disconnect their smartphone, and even close the Michron App. This is a major benefit compared to competing smartdevice-enabled timelapse solutions, which operate only while connected, leaving the Michron user free to level-up in Candy Crush. The Michron App keeps track of your timelapse progress, clearly displaying how much footage has been captured, and how long of a video it will translate into.
Loading up the pre-programed “People” setting in the Michron App, I pointed my camera at those taking on the challenge of the Wavehouse wave here in San Diego for a neat perspective.
Later on, using my newfound mastery of timelapse, I set my Michron App to “Pets,” as I sought to finally answer the question of what my lizard Pancake does when I am not around. Conclusion… not much.
Cool, but Not Without Competition
Vivo Lab’s success as a Kickstarter campaign can be traced to Michron’s message of simplicity, mixed with a non-threatening price point, and a sleek smartdevice-enabled interface. Priced at $59, the module adds a tremendous value to DSLR purchasers that have perhaps struggled to master the advanced functionalities and techniques that would otherwise justify their investments.
However, Michron is not alone as the numerous timelapse apps on the market make for a crowded set of competition, and even Apple’s new iOS 8 will give users basic timelapse capabilities. While the convenience of having timelapse on a smartphone may reduce the need for standalone solutions like the Michron, they will also raise awareness of time-altered footage. With that, Vivo Labs’ product stands to shine as a solution that caters to consumers’ obsession with smartdevices, and the desire to squeeze more performance out of their advanced cameras, and that is why it is… Scott’s One Cool Thing.
Satya’s Search for the Meaning of Microsoft
In interviews during the final months of his life, Steve Jobs gave some of his best advice on business as well as his harshest criticisms. Jobs’ most potent venom was aimed at once innovative companies that had lost their way by promoting the head of sales to the head of the company. Jobs’ most specific example of an innovative company gone bad was Steve Ballmer’s reign as Microsoft’s CEO.
“It happened to Apple when Sculley came in, which was my fault, and it happened when
Sales leaders fail as CEOs simply because of the nature of the role. The VP of Sales is supposed to find big game, big opportunities, big sales, and big money no matter what it looks like. It’s up to the VP of Sales to constantly present those opportunities to the CEO, who then filters them through the company’s capabilities. The CEO determines if the opportunity fits within the company’s strengths, core competencies, culture, and overall strategic vision. Some opportunities are executed on, but more importantly, the CEO decides which opportunities should be passed.Ballmer took over at Microsoft. Apple was lucky and it rebounded, but I don’t think anything will change at Microsoft as long as Ballmer is running it,” said Steve Jobs.
By promoting the VP of Sales to CEO, the filters for decision making are removed and every big money opportunity is jumped on. By not filtering opportunities, the business eventually splits into different directions, many of which are outside the company’s core competencies. There is no better example of a VP of Sales / CEO gone wild than Steve Ballmer’s reign at Microsoft: Office, Windows, Bing.com, Surface Tablets, Zune audio players, Skype, retail stores, Xbox gaming consoles, Nokia phone handsets, and on and on…
During Ballmer’s reign, Microsoft did grow at a pace faster than GE and IBM and was twice as profitable as Google, but the company has been left rudderless. The company doesn’t have enough consistency in what it does and how it does it. Microsoft has no unifying meaning of its existence.
Microsoft’s new CEO, who took over for the retiring Steve Ballmer in February, understands that the company is desperate to find a unifying message. In his first company-wide email as CEO, you could sense that Satya was trying to create that unifying message on his own. In his email, Satya wrote phrases such as “contribute to the world”, “empowers the world”, “software powered world”, “change the world”, “make the world a better place”, and “best company in the world.” Satya wrote the word “world” thirteen times in his email to Microsoft employees. He also used the world “empower” six times and the word “change” four times. For the record, the words “technology” and “software” were each mentioned just three times.
While Mr. Nadella is trying his hardest to unify Microsoft employees around a cause greater than themselves (“Empower the World!”), his efforts will likely fall short because “empowering the world” is not Microsoft’s true calling – at least not anymore.
How does the Xbox or Surface tablets empower the world? How is the world empowered through Microsoft retail stores? (Hint: they don’t empower the world).
Microsoft’s leadership team needs to do some deep soul searching in the months to come. Satya and his team need to look at all of the different parts of the 100,000 person Microsoft business and find a unifying theme of what exists today. The exercise may reveal that only some of the company’s endeavors are similar and fall in-line with Microsoft’s core competencies. The introspective may also reveal that Microsoft has been pretending to be something that it isn’t and needs to get back to its roots.
In a recent interview with CRN, Satya was pressed for his opinion on Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia, a Ballmer decision that he himself was against. “We are a software company at the end of the day.”, the new Microsoft CEO replied.
“We are a software company.” There it is.
Microsoft’s long term value and growth may hinge on Mr. Nadella’s ability to identify his company’s unifying theme, “We are a software company”, and weave it into the DNA of Microsoft’s vast array of businesses. It is daunting task, and Mr. Nadella may have to cut some businesses (tablets, retail stores) to cure Microsoft, but it absolutely has to be done.
“We are a software company.”
He has a start.
What Did I Sign Myself Up For?
Since my first blog here at gap Intelligence (roughly 6 months ago) you could say that I have acclimated to life in the office. The subtle hum of the air conditioner vent above my head, the bright gapU calander behind me keeps me up to date on all the cool goings on, and the 4 coffee machines in the kitchen (I LOVE coffee) yep it is definitely feeling like home.
So what have I been up to these last 6 months other than consuming a ton of coffee? Well for starters I have signed myself up for the life changing, grueling, dirty Tough Mudder. You might be asking, that sounds tough and muddy but what is it exactly is it, what makes it so life changing? Well, directly from the website, “Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test all-around strength, stamina, teamwork, and mental grit. Tough Mudder is probably the Toughest Event on the Planet. Probably.”
I am not an athletic person (or even a “dirt” person for that matter) but what I lack in respect to that, I more than make up for with my competitive nature. I am that friend who loves 3 day marathon Monopoly sessions, watches shows like Minute to Win It saying it looks easy (I could totally stack 20 nuts on a straw using just my teeth!) and yes, I was even that child who used to watch Legends of the Hidden Temple telling myself I could indeed make it out of that temple artifact in hand under 3 minutes, those kids were slow! I legitimately enjoy workouts where the instructor demands more than what I am giving. I revel in them because without them, without the pressure, and camaraderie, I know I would not push myself as hard as I should
So when my friend told me that he attempted Tough Mudder and his leg seized up at mile 7, and he couldn’t finish, that little spark of competitiveness in my mind turned into a full on flame and I was dead set on FINISHING Tough Mudder with him the next time it came to San Diego. As luck would have it, Tough Mudder comes to San Diego this October. This is the part of my story where I realized Tough Mudder is less than 6 months from today and that I in fact had no clue what I was signing myself up for. No amount of blog reading and workout pinning on Pinterest could actually prepare me for the commitment I needed to make both to the event and my teammates. I have now been training for a couple months with a pretty regular regimen of weight lifting, strength training, spin class, and (my least favorite part) running. If you asked me a few months ago if I thought I was in shape, I would’ve said, “Sure, not great shape, but not necessarily out of shape either.” I hiked every now and then, participated in gapWellness, I have a fitbit, fit is even in the name! (I would’ve listed what I thought would rationalize me as a “decently in shape” person.) I would’ve been very wrong. The Melissa, who is writing this blog now knows better! I am in fact OUT of shape, and I will admit, a bit frightened of what lies ahead of me 6 months from now. My squat presses, lat-pulldowns, planks, and deadlifts have a LONG way to go if I am going to make the 12+ mile marker. Luckily, Tough Mudder puts training tips on their website, (yay) focusing on what someone should do to prepare in order to successfully complete the various obstacles along the 12 miles. Unfortunately, they all include pull-ups, which while determined, I still have yet to be able to do, I am however, a great hang-er.
I will admit my competitive nature got the best of me in saying I could do this, a challenge less than 80% of those who attempt, actually complete. To be fair, even with the statistics, fire pits, ice vats and electric shock, and actual distance in front of me I am not scared of the entire thing, I am confident in my ability to scale mountains of hay, climb up ropes and monkey bar my way through some of the obstacles.
While Tough Mudder is fitness focused, I would be doing a serious disservice if that was all I focused on. I am intrigued by the community as well as the physical challenge. Tough Mudder is about serious teamwork and camaraderie, not about a completion time. It is really about being part of a team that together overcomes all those fears and challenges, and accomplishes more than they thought they were capable of; It is a community I am very much looking forward to joining, assuming I survive to do so.