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Tag Archives: Wall Street Journal

Is an Oracle/SAP bidding war brewing for Responsys?

Larry Ellison is willing to pay $1.5 billion for email marketing software Responsys, but he might not get his way. Investors are betting that SAP will make a counter offer.

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Last week, Oracle Corp. announced it was planning to buy cloud marketing software vendor Responsys for $1.5 billion in cash, or about $27 per share, a 38 percent premium over the price at the time.

Great, except the price for Responsys’ stock immediately shot to $27.40, and its traded above $27 ever since. Buying at that price is a losing proposition if Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has his way. So what gives?

Investors are betting that the $27 per share price isn’t as set in stone as it might first appear. The deal is still subject to approval by the shareholders, and isn’t likely to close until early in 2014, which leaves space for another company to step in with a counter offer. The big contender here is arch rival SAP, which was reportedly also kicking the tires on Responsys before news of the Oracle deal broke, according to the Wall Street Journal. If an ensuing bidding war drives up the purchase price, suddenly getting in at $27.40 looks pretty lucrative.

Analysts have taken notice, and upped their price targets. In a research note, JMP Securities’ Pat Walravens, who follows the stock, set his target at $33, saying Oracle’s price is low compared to what other large enterprise software vendors have paid to get into the marketing space, so a counterbid wouldn’t surprise him. Salesforce, another big thorn in Oracle’s side, bought Responsys competitor ExactTarget for $2.6 billion in June. Even Adobe is in the mix, picking up the marketing automation company Neolane for $617 million that same month.

The marketing software space has heated up in recent months as more and more outbound marketing moves online — opening scale and efficiency opportunities for companies that use software to track, manage, and automate their campaigns. And while it might seem passe in the era of social media, email is still the preferred medium for many types of outreach. Hence, the interest by many old-guard enterprise software vendors looking to bulk out their offerings in a growth industry.

Regardless of what actually ends up happening with Responsys, all the buzz around its sale has already paid dividends across the marketing software space. Marketo, for instance, which is a Redwood City competitor to Responsys, shot up more than 15 percent on the news in $38.17 and has been trading in the high $30s ever since.

 

 

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Why You Shouldn’t Say “You’re Welcome”

by Adam Grant –

The script is so deeply ingrained that you don’t even need to think about it. When you do a favor, and someone says “thank you,” the automatic response is “you’re welcome.” It’s a basic rule of politeness, and it signals that you accept the expression of gratitude—or that you were happy to help.

But according to one leading psychologist, this isn’t the best choice of words. After four decades of studying persuasion, Influence author Robert Cialdini has come to see “you’re welcome” as a missed opportunity. “There is a moment of power that we are all afforded as soon as someone has said ‘thank you,’” Cialdini explains. To capitalize on this power, he recommends an unconventional reply:

“I know you’d do the same for me.”

There are at least three potential advantages of this response. First, it conveys that we have the type of relationship where we can ask each other for favors and help each other without keeping score. Second, it communicates confidence that you’re the kind of person who’s willing to help others. Third, it activates the norm of reciprocity, making sure that you feel obligated to pay the favor back in the future.

As Guy Kawasaki writes in Enchantment, “Cialdini’s phrase tells the person who received your favor that someday you may need help, too, and it also signals to the person that you believe she is honorable and someone who will reciprocate. If this is the spirit in which you’re saying it, your response is far more enchanting than the perfunctory ‘You’re welcome.’ ”

Although the logic is compelling, and I’m a longtime admirer of Cialdini’s work, I’ve never felt comfortable saying this phrase out loud. At first I thought I was too attached to politeness rules. How could I leave a “thank you” just hanging in the air without the proper acknowledgment? Awkward.

That explanation fell apart, though, when I realized I could just combine politeness with Cialidni’s response: “You’re welcome—I was happy to do it. I know you’d do the same for me.”

It didn’t change my mind. The response still left a bad taste in my mouth. Eventually, I realized the problem was the subtle appeal to reciprocity. There’s nothing wrong with trading favors or asking others to repay the help you’ve given, but when I chose to help people, I wanted to do it without strings attached. I didn’t want to leave them feeling like they owed me. So I stuck with the familiar, banal “you’re welcome,” which was mildly dissatisfying. Why do we utter this strange phrase?

In English, it’s a relatively new arrival. Over the past century, “you’re welcome” has evolved to connote that it’s my pleasure to help you or “you are welcome to my help,” which we tend to say more directly in other languages like Spanish and French (“the pleasure is mine,” “it was nothing,” “no problem”). Is there a better alternative?

I stumbled upon an answer after meeting Adam Rifkin, a serial entrepreneur who was named Fortune’s best networker. He goes out of his way to help a staggering number of people, doing countless five-minute favors—making introductions, giving feedback, and recommending and recognizing others. After Rifkin does you a favor, it’s common for him to reach out and ask for your help in return.

At first, it seems like he’s just following the norm of reciprocity: since he helped you, you owe him. But there’s a twist: he doesn’t ask you to help him. Instead, he asks you to help him help someone else.

Rifkin is more concerned about people paying it forward than paying it back. In his view, every favor that he does is an opportunity to encourage other people to act more generously. That way, a broader range of people can benefit from his contributions.

After watching Rifkin in action, it dawned on me that Cialdini’s line could be adapted. Instead of “I know you’d do the same for me,” how about this response?

“I know you’ll do the same for someone else.”

Just like Cialdini’s reply, it affirms your character as a person who’s happy to be helpful. Unlike his version, it doesn’t deliver the implicit message that you’re indebted to me, and I’m waiting for you to repay it.

It’s just a sentence, but the underlying values have the potential to fundamentally change the way that people interact. In traditional direct reciprocity, people trade favors back and forth in pairs. In contrast, Rifkin’s approach is called generalized reciprocity. As described by political scientist Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone, “I’ll do this for you without expecting anything specific back from you, in the confident expectation that someone else will do something for me down the road.”

If you follow this approach, when you really need help, you have access to a broader range of potential givers. If you stick to direct reciprocity, you can only ask people you’ve helped in the past or might be able to help in the future. In generalized reciprocity, you can extend your request to a wider network: since you’ve given without strings attached, other people are more inclined to do the same. In fact, social scientists James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis have conducted experiments showingthat acts of giving often spread “up to three degrees of separation (from person to person to person).”

So next time someone expresses appreciation for your help, it might be worth stretching beyond politeness to ask them to pay it forward. I know you’ll do that for someone else.

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Adam is the author of Give and TakeNew York Times and Wall Street Journalbestseller on how helping others drives our success. Follow him here by clicking the yellow FOLLOW above and on Twitter @AdamMGrant

 

 

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The Tao Industrial Average and the Art of Deception: Things are Never What They Seem

Have you ever wondered what is in a “chicken tender?”  There is nothing in the name or any other documentation to suggest anything other than it contains parts from a chicken, and that it is tender.  Is there anywhere it says that there is a speck of un-ground breast or that it doesn’t contain every part of the chicken ground up and covered with bread because we are all too dumb to tell the difference?  Pour on the ketchup, or whatever is really in the red bottle, and were all fine.

I don’t mean to sound cynical, but alas that is my fate.  I hear words on the news that after the Greeks were supposedly bailed out financially by (essentially Germany) that they were concerned that they might be losing some of their sovereignty.  Well, gosh.  That is amazing.   To think that someone who has to pay for your financial mistakes might actually have something to say about your actions in the future seems fairly reasonable to me.  When I have to bail out a friend and pay their rent, I think it might occur to me to suggest that they don’t indulge in fine dining for a week or two and that seems to be a violation of ones sovereignty.   The deal is apparently far from done anyhow.  Germany’s highest court ruled that the Bundestag must be given a greater say in euro bailout decisions given the degree to which the common currency rescue could impose on parliament’s right to create Germany’s budget. In response, the Bundestag on Wednesday moved to include provisions for parliamentary co-determination of positions taken by Germany on the euro bailout at European Union summits in Brussels. Under the multilevel process, depending on the importance, the urgency and confidentiality, decisions can either be approved by the entire 620-member Bundestag, by the 41-person budget committee or by the nine-member special panel. ‘The Bundestag Cannot Be Replaced’.”

Warren Buffett has challenged Rupert Murdochto tax return disclosure-off.

The Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journalran an editorial asking Buffet, the namesake of a proposed guideline that would ensure that those who make more than $1 million pay proportional tax rates, to make public his tax returns. “No doubt the millions of Americans who could end up paying more because of this claim would love to see the details,” they wrote, urging the Berkshire Hathaway CEO to consider the disclosure an “opportunity to educate the public” on “his secret of tax avoidance.”

When asked during Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Summit whether or not he would be willing to do so, Buffett said he would be happy to — so long as News Corp’s most superior might join him.

China holds about $1.2 trillion in U.S. government debt, according to the Treasury Department’s latest figures. That’s about 30 percent higher than the previous estimate.

Then there is Obama health care.  What started out as an honest effort has turned into a joke.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds the support for ObamaCare has dipped yet again, with just 34 percent of Americans favoring the president’s signature health care overhaul.

What’s more, just 52 percent of Democrats support the law, a troubling sign for President Obama a year before Election Day. Thirty-one percent of Democrats view the law either “somewhat” or “very” unfavorably.

The budget debates are enough to give a teenage boy a Boehner.

Have you ever wondered about a “Peppery Zinfandel?”  What does that mean exactly? What is to stop the winemaker from taking a bunch of very average Zin grapes and dumping a pound of ground pepper in the barrel? Who would know?

Life without metrics and accountability is like that.  What we post on the internet is largely without measure or control.  Eventually our Karma will be affected by the crap that we put out if we do that, but really, there are no “thought police” out there.  We all have to be responsible to our audience, and true to our purpose.  There is enough deception out there as it is.

 

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The Advice of Steve

With the death of Steve Jobs came the end of an era. He was the CEO and visionary of Apple. He inspired many people to do great things. He will not be forgotten, but will always be remembered as an extremely intelligent, and passionate, man. He left behind words of advice that we should all ponder as we find our place in this world.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it…”

Jobs said this when he spoke for the Stanford graduation ceremony on June 12, 2005. Jobs was right when he said our time was limited. We may think we have time for everything. We don’t, and we need to make time for the most important things. Follow your heart in everything that you do. That is the best way to ensure long-term happiness.

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”

This is so true. If you are a college student right now, don’t just go through school doing the minimum requirements. Make sure you do quality work in order to get all that you can out of your education. Don’t slack off.

“…saying we’ve done something wonderful – that’s what matters to me.”

Spoken to the Wall Street Journal in 1993, Jobs inspired people not to only think about money. Doing what is great for the world is what really matters. Success does not only come in the form of money although many think it does.

“I think if you do something and it turns out…then you should go do something else…”

Many people will do something great and then stop there. This makes them failures, I think. Jobs says it best with this quote. After you do something great, go out and do something else that’s great. Don’t quit while you’re ahead.

“There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Don’t be scared of anything. Steve Jobs was innovative and if people didn’t like his ideas, he did it himself. Being scared will only limit what you can do. College is hard sometimes but it is doable. There is nothing to lose in this world. Like Jobs says, just follow your heart. If you do that, you will have no regrets. Jobs once said, “I want to put a ding in the universe.” He did. You can too.

About the Author

Meagan Hollman writes pieces MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers puts people on the right path for career, and higher education, exploration. The site helps people find online mba programs that are tailored to their exact needs.

 

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