Friday, August 28, 2015

Random thoughts: Creative technology

I read up on Creative Technology AR for the past 15 years. I have wanted to do a case study but decided to tag a random thoughts to it because I thought there are more reflections than analysis.

First, when I google "why did creative fail", this blogger gave the best answer. He seems like a insider of the tech industry and I shall
Not parroted his views on the products.

However, at his hey days of late nineties, Creative did diversfy. It is a capital Venture company, investing on small Tech start-ups that look very promising with over 100 million profits in just 1 year. Thereafter, it is a roller coaster ride.

Even within the core audio market, there is clear market segment that creative want to capture and that is one period of time they were into the Internet business, broadband etc. 

Also, unlike NOL which is slow in getting mega and green vessels and expanding at the wrong time. SIM did correctly spot the  trend of personal entertainment devices, which is like known as MP3 player.

So what went wrong? Was it possible to spot it earlier? If u look at Creative numbers prior to 2004, the FCF is super high and beautiful albeit volatile, but never negative. So if u think only debts kill a company, u like me, could be placing too much faith in numbers such as FCF. 

When its operating numbers start faltering, creative place big bets on ther personal entertainment devices market, believing that as first mover, they can capture that market. The segment revenue grow very strongly as it challenge Apple and it became the biggest segment of revenue generator but it's margin became raZor thin and subsequently become loss making.

That could well be the first red flag that "outsider" could spot without hindsight.

After looking at Creative and look at Venture, I read it's AR all over again. I think the remark of moving to higher margin product is "bullshit" but the actual fact is their major customer in printing and imaging is not doing as well due to  competition and is starting to rely on in-house capability to produce. Nonetheless, that Venture never show a negative operating profits and did diversfy successfully means it might have avoid death. But was it just economic bad times? Not, I do not think Venture could go back to days where it could be a sexy "grower" again even if economy do turn very quickly. It might however be able to grow slowly. 

This reading exercise highlight the risk of 1-2 major customer/ segment/ where if u fail, we could well be seeing dogs. 

Then, it's sembcorp marine going the way of Creative? Was it a economic bad time or was it going to be killed by competition. I am hell cutting loss when marine announce Operating loss, even for sembcorp industries.

So, if u are looking at UMS or namlee who is highly dependent on 1-2 major customer, it pays to look at the customer closely. 

When I am Driving to see a doctor today, I have this thought. I am like creative... 
I used to be the "golden boy"
But have since lost some of the mojo judging by my pupils' results. 

So how to prevent a Creative? Diversfy and capture new markets fast!! I better try new ways of teaching and see the results first! Different pupils are like consumers, what worked in the past seriously is not working well now, and my hybrid method of changing and improving my teaching at the corners is seriously not working well. 

I have 2 new products, and 1 new production method, I only have 2 more months to show results. Hope reception is good. 


  1. Sillyinvestor,

    Wow! Now this is what I call a random thoughts post!!!

    The twists and turns and unexpected ending. You har!

    I like!

    That's writing without inhibitions. Just flow!

    I guess newbie retail "investors" who got in early 2014 are finding that what worked for the past 18 months is not working now...

    You tell me! The setups that worked for me in 2014 that allowed me to triple my trading account are not working so well this year...

    I too have to ABANDON, RELEASE, and LET GO... I can't catch new opportunities if my hand is still holding on to the rock of yesterday's success ;)

    1. SMOL,

      Glad u like it. LOL. Looking at it, it is really quite sad that a industry setter at one time can fall from grace so long, so hopelessly...

      Reframing .... If I kill this year of pupils, I will make amends to next year ones... Lol. This is fairness

  2. Hi SI,

    Good post :) I think creative mainly failed because they believe that having more features is what the consumer wants. I still remembered the fight between creative and apple music devices. Creative is always trying to create an apple killer, filled with so many features. Apple just concentrated on making things simple. In the end, we all knows how won the fight.

    I too have a lesson to learn from this. In the past, I thought that since I'm taking the tuition fees from student, I will squeeze as much content in the lesson as I can. Is that what the student needs and wants? Definitely not. They need time to explore, to make some mistakes and to reflect. After a period of time, I realised that I will have to slow down my pace. I wait for them to make mistakes, and use the teaching moment that occurred after the mistake had been made to teach them the correct method of doing so. In a cliche way, I teach more by teaching less.

    I always love to see how seemingly different situations can give one lessons to apply to your own unique set of situations. Good job :)

    1. Seriously, I am at a loss of how I can do so badly ??

      Seriously... Something is very wrong... And the scary thing is, I dun know what it is yet...

    2. LP,

      I ask myself several times. Is there something I could have done but not do? I ask this question somewhere in term 2 and introduce 1 new product, and 1 new service support.

      I also Become more attuned to this new factory system and start producing at the specs of this factory.

      The improvement is really very unsatisfactory although there is still some.

      So in the second half, I though i addres more Area of weaknesses and introduce even more products ... And I think with the exception of a few, I did see some improvement in results.

      I even did closer customer service ...

      But sales plummet instead?

      Is it bad economic times? No! All my competitors doing brisk business!! I think I will be out of business soon if I am Really in business...

    3. Hi SI,

      Firstly, don't be too harsh on yourself. Once u overcome this, you'll have a bigger reportoire of skills to manage different sort of scenarios. Take it as levelling up ;)

      Maybe u should ask around and have some sharing session with those who did well. Can learn from one another instead of figuring out yourself.

  3. Hi SI

    This post is creative.

    Probed thoughts into the current education as well , "fast tracked programs" and everyone is trying to be different . By staying same perhaps it's something different out of the difference.

    1. Hi STI,

      I am
      Pretty sure when we try an different way (same way) of doing things, there will be some trade-offs.

      Maybe ... Education as a social leveler is not meant to be ... Something we thought it should be

  4. When its operating numbers start faltering, creative place big bets on ther personal entertainment devices market, believing that as first mover, they can capture that market. The segment revenue grow very strongly as it challenge Apple and it became the biggest segment of revenue generator but it's margin became raZor thin and subsequently become loss making.creative investor

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