Import Export Procedures - International Business Resources

I just made an extensive post on our Importers and Exporters blog about How to Find Manufacturers and Suppliers and how and "why" the Yahoo Directory section of Yahoo is extremely valuable to Exporting entrepreneurs - the link to that blog is located on the right side bar under links.

Briefly, however, I point out how the Yahoo directory has far better targeting of sources and WHY THESE SOURCES ARE BETTER THAN ALL other directories on the Internet.

To see how categorized the Yahoo Directory is, you can see from the following link how they break down into multiple sub-categories different business groups, in this example Direct marketing and Direct Mail -

Direct Marketing Advertising Direct Mail

I bring up the subject of direct mail because most business people ignore this means of advertising and/or making contact with other businesses now that they can "email".

Yes, you should have a website - it is your BEST 24/7 advertising billboard to the world but why not focus some attention on other advertising methods that most are now ignoring, i.e., direct mail?

In a direct mail letter you can introduce your business and provide the receiver with the URL to your website. Based on various marketing newsletters and publications I read, over 70% of all emails never reach the intended party so even though they are FREE, email is a terrible method of trying to make first contact with another business.

The MOST lucrative contracts I have ever concluded have been by means of direct contact, either by mail, fax or phone.

WORD OF CAUTION: Sending unsolicited FAX messages within the USA can get you some VERY HEFTY FINES - Faxing another business is only recommended now from one country to another. A fax message to a potential buyer/seller in another country stands a far better chance of being read by the intended receiver than an Email ever will.

In rounding out this post I want to pass along two resources that I cam upon while doing some research online yesterday using Yahoo, which by the way I recommend over Google since they changed their programming algorithm two months ago they and now return crappy results.

My Yahoo research took me to two blogs about Doing Business In Mexico that I found extremely interesting and have bookmarked them for future visits - Mexico is a HUGE market for products and services - ignore all the negative press designed to keep you off balance from what is going on around you in your own country - here are the resources -

Doing Business In Mexico


Doing Business Internationally - Mexico

Sodcasting: more prevalent, and more serious, than you thought

I was interviewed this week for a BBC Radio 4 programme on sodcasting (the programme will be broadcast in the UK on Tuesday June 14 at 1330) and it's made me think more deeply about the issue.

Sodcasting is defined by the online urban dictionary as "the act of playing music through the speaker on a mobile phone, usually on public transport. Commonly practiced by young people wearing polyester, branded sportswear with dubious musical taste".

I think we need to widen the definition from the much-berated hoodies on the bus genus (let's call this form territorial sodcasting, because it's very akin to dogs and lamp posts in its motivations) to include all thoughtless inflicting of noise on other people. One person's 'dubious musical taste' (aka noise) is another person's delight. It's well documented in field trials that those same teens who enjoy tinny renditions of N-Dubz or Eminem find the public playing of classical music unbearable enough to move away from it, which is why it is deployed at over 100 London tube stations and in many other places around the UK to move them on and to reduce vandalism. So is that state sodcasting

This wider definition brings in some many other perpetrators; though far less obvious than the gang at the back of the bus, they can be equally annoying to those around them.

I tweeted the other day in real pain from a quiet airport lounge where around 30 people, all modestly and sensitively minding their business and controlling their noise, were forced to listen to one end of a phone conversation from a man who clearly thought he had to speak loudly enough to reach the UK from Germany without the help of modern technology. While most people murmur into their phone in public, dismayed by the very idea they could be overheard in an unintended bond of intimacy with those around them, there is a breed (is this perhaps genetic?) who unashamedly broadcast like this without a shred of awareness of their imposition on their neighbours. I think we can call this white collar sodcasting. (One even more irritating refinement of this behaviour is pacing, especially with a wired headset: the unwanted conversation swells and fades with predictable frequency, so that the dread of its certain return compounds one's simple irritation into a sort of exquisite torture.)

Then there's in-car sodcasting (or should that be ex-car sodcasting?), a practice taken to the extreme with insane 20,000 watt car stereo systems, but sadly perpetrated all over the world by enthusiastic amateurs who confuse their ability aggressively to dominate other people's soundscape with their self worth. These are not the same thing, guys. Please get some therapy, grow up and enjoy your music in private, with the windows up.

And there's more... what about mechanical sodcasting? In my book I quote the estimate from the EU noise mapping project that one noisy scooter driving through Paris in the middle of the night can wake as many as 200,000 people. That's a major piece of sodcasting! Its less impressive but far more widespread relatives include leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, power tools and the like.

We're not done yet. Domestic sodcasting, aka neighbour noise, is a major social issue, and it kills people. Not the noise itself, but the ensuing arguments, which (especially when added to alcohol and firearms) have all too often ended in murder. Just last month there was the tragic case of a man who strangled his own daughter in a row about TV noise, but there are so many of these sad events, including the famous 2008 case of the Cleveland fireman who shot dead three people because of firework party noise. Duration, repetition and intensity are all aggravating factors in these disputes.

Which brings us to the big one: commercial sodcasting. I don't mean sodcasting for money: thankfully I don't believe there is any money to be made by imposing unwanted noise on people. I do mean commercial organisations thoughtlessly broadcasting noise of all kinds. That's thoughtless as in completely unconscious (noisy vehicles, chiller cabinets in supermarkets and corner shops, squeaking trolleys, checkout beeps) – and equally, thoughtless as in conscious but unconcerned with the consequences (mindless music in shops, restaurants and other public spaces). I have blogged elsewhere about the commercial pressures for this latter practice: the music industry is desperate for the cash and public performance is a rare revenue growth area. In most cases, shops play pop music for no better reason than that every other shop does it too. It's become a meme.

Fortunately for pressure groups like PipeDown and their high-profile proponents such as Daniel Bahrenboim and Peter Maxwell-Davis, the science shows that companies can make more money by designing appropriate, pleasing soundscapes for commercial spaces (just like aural wallpaper, and including careful acoustic design) than by playing pop everywhere. We can therefore hope that the mindless music meme will die out soon.

The motives for these various forms of sodcasting may differ, but there are two necessary factors in all cases. First, lack of listening. As I have recently said in my TEDxDanubia talk, people are losing the habit of listening to the world, and especially to other people – and if you don't listen, you simply are not so conscious of the effects of your own noise on others. Second, lack of empathy. In my view this is directly related to the first factor: if we don't listen to one another, we won't understand one another's realities and so we can't empathise so well. I suspect it may also be a by-product of the modern, Internet version of connectedness: we choose to care about the friend we're on the phone to, while ignoring completely the effects of our loud conversation on the people sitting right next to us. Perhaps our empathy is becoming selective and routed through the web, instead of naturally being bestowed on the human beings around us.
The solution? Legislation is not the answer, and nor is citizen power, as anyone who has ever approached a sodcaster to ask them to stop will know all too well. I believe the heart of the solution is in teach listening skills in schools. If we teach our children how to listen properly to the world, and especially to each other, they will understand the consequences of their own sound and be far more responsible in making it. Sodcasting is a symptom of societal deafness. Let's collectively open our ears and start being responsible for our sound environment.

International Protection for Broadcasts Gaining New Momentum

The proposed international treaty on the protection of broadcasters is inching forward after nearly 10 years of consideration and member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization and other stakeholders are moving toward consensus on the central elements of what it is to do and what is the object of the protection.

Much of the rhetoric of stakeholders—particularly pay TV channels and sports rights organisations—has led many to believe it is about protecting their business models and revenue. They have done the proposed treaty a disservice.

It is about protecting the value creating activities of broadcasters in content selection, packaging and distribution—something that is not protected by copyrights, but can be protected with a neighboring right. What the treaty is intent on doing is protecting the broadcast—in a signal and derivative of the signal—which embodies the broadcasters value creation activities and is the object of the proposed protection.

The result may assist revenue generation and strengthen the business model of rights holders, licensers, and broadcasters, but it does not directly protect those.

What it will do is provide a streamlined mechanism for broadcasters to enforce their rights internationally when unauthorised reception, decryption, and retransmission and rebroadcast of their signals are done by other broadcasters and cablecasters. Such practices regularly occur in some countries and sometimes involve the second broadcaster substituting their own advertising and charging fees to obtain the broadcast.

The treaty essentially gives broadcasters the right to license other uses of their broadcasts and halt uses they have not licensed, but does not give them rights to the content in the broadcasts that they do not own.

The proposed treaty includes some protection of public interests, by permitting national limitations and exceptions for clearly public purposes such as education, service to visually or hearing impaired persons, etc.

Some scepticism about the proposals exists in developing nations, because most of the benefits will occur to broadcasters in high income and upper middle income nations and only limited benefits will occur in other states.

The thorns on the rose bush, however, involve the fact that many of the nations where egregious reuses of broadcasts have occurred have never well enforced copyright, so one must be highly optimistic to believe that passage of the treaty will solve the problem.

Online Trade Leads Board Memberships - Are They Worth It?

Some of this Q&A is edited but with a savvy bit of use of the Internet and actually following the reference links in this post, you should be able to figure out what has been edited, names have been left out to protect the privacy of those individuals.

QUESTION: (Received the week of April 10th, 2011)


I recently bought your Import-Export training course and have found the information/guidance highly useful, thanks for putting this together. I have a question for you on (the online trade leads platform considered by most to be the best). They have a pretty good feature now, wherein they are asking suppliers to pay $2000 to become (background checked) suppliers.

This group is also verified (background check etc) by the website. There are some current (background checked) suppliers who claim to only work with other (background checked) members. I am wondering, once I do start the business in a few months (I am still in the research stage), if becoming a (background checked) member of a site like this is worth spending $2000 on.

There are a number of sites like this, but (the online trade leads platform considered by many to be the best) seems pretty well knit and also offers a number of useful features. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.





Hi G.....,

The problem with answering most questions of the nature you have posed is neither the import export training course publisher, nor I, know all the details of what you are considering as to "why" you think this service would be good for you and your business.

This answer is much longer than I tend to provide but there is much to say about what you are asking, so please read carefully and check out the references.

We do not know if you are considering it because you are looking to "import" or export, that is an important consideration in either case. Everyone who purchases the courses has their own set of ideas and neither the import export training course publisher nor I can assume to know or be a subject matter expert on all reasons you are considering this service.

With that said..... there is a lot more to this answer but for some reason my blog formatting kept crapping out on me and jumbling everything together so I have posted both the question above and the ENTIRE answer (quite detailed and from both myself and the publisher) on our website, here is the link to go read the entire email exchange about Import Export Trade Leads boards and to learn if they are really worth the now thousands of dollars a year some of them charge...just click here...Import Export Trade Leads

Ron Coble International Business And Trade Services Center

Chris Clark (UK Sound Map) interview

Wind pain?

Whilst renewables are clearly essential in so many ways, it's vital that we understand all their effects, positive and negative. Giant wind turbines have three downsides, of which potentially the most serious is noise. 

The first downside is visual. Anyone who's visited Denmark can testify to the visual blight huge turbines create. This can of course be overcome by offshoring or placing in sensitive locations - though wind does usually demand prominence.

The second is ecological. I am not an expert but I believe some birds are being killed (though at the moment the numbers appear to be small compared to, say, deaths from domestic cats), and it seems likely that ecosystems are being disrupted in other ways. This is not my field but I'm sure there are effects and that people are investigating them.

The third downside is aural. The noise of those giant blades can be loud and can travel a long way from the turbine: people living up to 2 km away have reported disturbance, with predictable effects on sleep and elevated levels of stress and annoyance. The World Forum for Acoustic Ecology regularly has discussions of the topic for anyone interested - you can join here - and there is also a growing body of academic research. An expert panel review in 2009 (sponsored by the wind turbine manufacturers) found no adverse health effects though it did admit that annoyance results – rather disingenuously the panel concluded that 'annoyance is not a disease'. This ignores the findings of the WHO that long-term exposure to noise, working through the mech`nism of stress and annoyance produced, does lead to increased incidences of many diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, gastric issues, depression and more. 

The evidence against wind turbines is patchy, maybe because the big bucks from industry are all paying for evidence that supports wind energy. Dr Nina Pierpoint's book Wind Turbine Syndrome may have been based on a small sample, but we should not dismiss collections of individual, qualitative evidence, and it does seem that she is becoming a magnet for a growing, though still small, number of personal testimonies of major negative noise effects from around the world. I know from my years studying the effects of sound that in general very few people complain about noise: for example, noisy shops could claim (just like the wind industry does) that nobody complains, implying that there is no problem – and yet many retailers are losing up to 30% of potential sales as people leave the store faster or don't even enter, often without being conscious of the reason for their behaviour. We have become used to suppressing noise, so it should come as no surprise that there are few complaints about wind turbine noise. This does not mean there are no adverse effects.

Giant turbines, especially the older ones, create two sounds in my experience: a tearing sound as the blades rip through  and also a thumping bass sound, both of which are not constant and therefore are probably as irritating as a dripping tap (though much louder) and as hard to ignore. Research shows that sound we can't control, and particularly regular, intermittent sound like this, is the most annoying and affecting. There is also the possibility that infrasound (ultra low frequency noise) is in play, though the jury is out on this whole topic. Much more impartial research is needed to defuse the current pro v anti posturing, where individual campaigners like Dr Pierpoint claim devastating effects and industry consultants like Dr Geoff Leventhall dismiss any negative effect at all. I suspect the truth, as so often, lies somewhere in the middle. It would be odd if high energy, low frequency vibrations did not affect human beings in some way given that we're entirely composed of vibrating matter, though probably some people are more susceptible than others, just as with audible noise. Dr Pierpoint wants a 2 km gap betwen turbines and people's houses. This may be on the high side, but from my experience I can say that I would definitely not want to live close to one, and certainly not within 1 km, whatever the pro-wind research says.

For wind turbines, the phenomenon of super-additivity (cross-modal effects where one sense multiplies the effects of a stimulus in another) seems to be in play, and is an issue which has not yet been addressed by any of the research I have seen. The visual pollution seems to be making people more sensitive to the aural; the annoyance factor seems to vary with the context, for example the profile of the location, with rural areas and hilly or rocky terrain increasing the likelihood of annoyance.

It's a balancing act of course... each energy source has its pros and cons, but it is important we know what they are before diving in head first, as the Japanese experience with nuclear power has just shown: industry experts were categorical that Fukushima was earthquake-proof when it was constructed, and they were wrong. In the UK there are now such large incentives for farmers to erect turbines that it pays for them not to farm land and instead to lease it for wind power; once erected, these things are not so easy to remove. The noise effects are as yet unclear, so I do believe we urgently need to know far more about this before we cover our countryside with wind farms.

Posted via email from Julian Treasure's posterous

Editing, the Richness of Content, and the Current Limits of Web and Social Media

Editors matter.

The March 28-April 4, 2011, edition of the struggling news magazine Newsweek—which I admittedly have not read in years— provides some of the finest articles I have read in many months, illustrates the limits of online and social media, and shows why editors matter.

There is great benefit from both edited and unedited media and I don’t believe they have to be seen in dichotomous choices for the future of media. But I believe those who argue they don’t need to edited media doom themselves to narrowness and ignorance.

If I relied only on the links I receive daily from colleagues on Facebook, my news alerts for topics of interest, or digital listings of stories, I would miss the most important contribution of edited media—the service editors provide by reviewing and thinking about the world and putting journalists to work to provide a coordinated understanding of the available information. This week’s Newsweek epitomises that reality.

Although I often have my attention drawn to information and stories of interest from my social media, the pattern of stories and information sent to me would not have led me to Bill Emmott’s Newsweek story on the impact of disasters on politics, economics, and national psychology or Paul Theroux’s explanation of how Japan’s history has shaped its culture and how the generous global response to the earthquake and tsunami is forcing it to confront the fact that it is not alone and isolated in the face of geographical and physical constraints.

Had I relied on to the multiple news websites I peruse weekly, the ways they are presented and the ways that I search for news on them would not have led me to Newsweek’s fascinating story of the nuclear disaster at an Idaho test station in 1961 that may have been the result of a murder-suicide, its account of why a London murder has led to a boycott of Coca-Cola, or its account of why political ignorance in America is higher than that in European countries.

My point here is not that we should all be rushing out to subscribe to Newsweek (My apologies to Sydney Harmon, Barry Diller and Tina Brown), but that the functions of editors matter. Having someone look at the world and see ways that it fits together, have editors coordinate and incentive talented writers, and having editors create a collection of stories and information continues to produce value.

Those who believe that news, information, and understanding of the world can come through a disaggregated and uncoordinated flow of information and stories, much of which is not prepared by professional writers on a regular basis, miss the entire reason for the success of edited media over the past 300 years.

I do not wish to be construed as saying that online and social media do not make enormous contributions to our communications ability, but until they mature to the point they can support regular oversight and thought about the world and compensate professionals for whom investigating and reporting developments is their primary employment, digital media will not be able to replace the contributions of well edited print media.

After a decade and a half of digital media it is clear that we are able to move news and information to those platforms, but we are nowhere near the point we can shut off the presses without a great deal of loss of oversight and understanding about the world around our lives.

My Thinking Digital talk

Last year I had the great pleasure of speaking at Thinking Digital, Herb Kim's brilliant tech visionary conference in Newcastle (or to be more precise Gateshead). It was a fantastic experience and I realise that I have never posted a link to the video. I hope that the embed code inside this post will give access here. Just in case that doesn't work, you can see the talk on the Thinking Digital website here.

Posted via email from Julian Treasure's posterous

LOOK3 - Festival of the Photograph - 2011

This year, the Festival of the Photograph returns to Charlottesville, Virginia, June 9th through the 11th, featuring photographers
Nan Goldin, Antonin Kratochvil, and Massimo Vitali, as well as many others. For more information, click here, and to get a flavor of the event, check out an overview video we did during the 2009 event (they were on hiatus in 2010), below:

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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