Nestle hiring 1 000 robots as clerks

3389274228The first batch of the robots – a chatty humanoid called Pepper – will report to work by the end of this year at outlets that sell coffee capsules and home espresso machines.

“From December, they will start selling coffee machines for us at big retail stores,” said Nestle Japan spokeswoman Miki Kano.

“We are sure that our customers will enjoy shopping and being entertained by robots.”

Pepper – which has already been at work, chatting with customers at wireless giant SoftBank’s outlets – has proved an effective marketing tool for the Japanese mobile carrier, delighting managers who put it to work collecting customer opinions.

The 120-centimetre (four-foot) tall robot, which moves on rollers and has what looks like a tablet computer strapped to its chest, was unveiled in June by SoftBank president Masayoshi Son.

He billed it as an “emotional” robot that understands “70 to 80 percent of spontaneous conversations”.

Pepper is set to go on the market from February for about $2 000 (R21 700) apiece. – Sapa-AFP

A tweet posted by singer Steve Hofmeyr on Twitter that black people were the architects of apartheid has caused a stir on social media.

steve+hofmeyrIn the reaction that followed Hofmeyr was accused of being racist, stupid, and a peddler of ignorance. He also had to hand back a sponsored vehicle. Journalist Mandy de Waal, in a post on www.ThoughtLeader.co.za, explained how Hofmeyr had defied medical science. “Neuroscientists at Groote Schuur, Cape Town’s premier academic hospital, today admitted that they were baffled about how alleged author, singer and self-styled Afrikaner saviour Steve Hofmeyr had existed for more than 50 years without a brain,” she wrote. Twitter user @paulrabenowitz said: “In the same way jews were the architects of the Nazi regime.” User @sir_toy was more forthright in his response, tweeting: “Such a racist piece of shit!” Following the initial tweet on @steve_hofmeyr, Hofmeyr continued posting about the subject: “Apartheid was a system of segregation. You have to ask why. “See why architects… International murder rate: 6/100000 SA citizens: 31/100000 SAPS members: 54/100000 Farmers: 133/100000.” On Sunday, Hofmeyr posted, among a number of tweets: “Denial. Expected no less.” Beeld reported on Tuesday that due to his tweets, Hofmeyr had to return a sponsored bakkie to a dealership in Port Elizabeth. Manager of the Williams Hunt outlet in the city, Trevor Villet, told the newspaper they received complaints about Hofmeyr’s tweet on Friday. The dealership lent popular Afrikaans singers a car for two to three days whenever they performed in the city. “He only had one more day with the vehicle,” said Villet. “We don’t want to get involved and we don’t want to take sides in a Twitter fight.”

5 Unforgettable Leadership Qualities for Successful Entrepreneurs

??????????Renegades, rebels, world changers, innovators, black sheep, risk takers, workaholics — these are just a few of the names we are called by both those who love us, and those who don’t understand us. One thing successful entrepreneurial leaders have in common is a high degree of emotional intelligence, or the capacity to be aware of, control and express our emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships fairly and empathetically. It can be argued that emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important to your happiness, health and success over your intellect (IQ). The following is my personal list of the five pillars of leadership for entrepreneurs, which is probably quite different than you would expect. As you grow your business and make your mark on the world in your own unique way, I think you will find it useful to keep these qualities top-of-mind when defining your own leadership identity. These pillars are fundamental and unforgettable for success. 1. Responsibility: If it is to be it’s up to me. Personally, I like to look for a “win-win” scenario in every situation, no matter what. In order to create this win-win, especially in challenging interactions, I always remind myself to come from a place of respect and love. It doesn’t matter what frame of mind the other party is in, I get to choose my actions and reactions. Mother Teresa exemplified this sort of leadership responsibility and captured it eloquently in this quote written on the wall in her home for children in Calcutta: [quotes]“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.”[/quotes] 2. Possibility: 100 percent is possible 100 percent of the time. You will be tempted to say no to opportunities you don’t want to pass up when you are feeling overwhelmed. You are the master of your emotions and your reactions and when you come from a mindset of being unstoppable, you will find a way to make it all happen. This is the hustle, the difference between being the best you can be and half-assing it. If you want to say yes to an opportunity but feel you have too much on your plate, don’t doubt, just take action and find the support you need to make it happen. Leave everything on the field, every day. 3. Integrity: My vision and my commitments dictate my ways of being and my actions. We are defined by our vision and our commitments (our word). When you revisit your goals, mission statement and vision daily you will be in alignment with your highest potential more often. Naturally, there will be days when circumstances get the best of you or throw you off track, but if you stay attuned to your vision you will rise above the petty details time and time again. 4. Urgency: I live as if my life and the lives of others depend on it. This is a precious life. Every second wasted will never come back. When I wake up I am thankful for another day to experience it and to share my gifts. When you go all out and share your passion with others, what distinguishes a leader from the average person is the sense of urgency to do everything we can with this one day, this one hour. You may not have tomorrow so you need to take action now. 5. Risk: Learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. The only way you become an entrepreneur is to take a risk. You risk your time, safety, money, security, reputation and so much more. So what? Let fear be your compass. Follow it all the way through to the end and see to it that your business and your life are nothing short of extraordinary. Source

Apple Again Tops Interbrand’s Best Global Brands Listing

Interbrand describes itself as the world’s largest brand consultancy and there’s no reason to doubt that, given its global network of dozens of offices and a client list that includes the kind of brands you can only dream of. Being such a massive enterprise it has the resources to generate analysis on the state of brands and branding, notably by a series of annual reports, such as this year’s Top 50 Swiss Brands, Best Canadian Brands and Best Global Green Brands.

This week Interbrand released the 2014 edition of its Best Global Brands ranking, which uses the firm’s brand valuation methodology to come up with a list of the top 100 global brands. Somehow it didn’t come as a surprise to learn that Apple once again snagged the number one spot, with Google and Coca-Cola in hot pursuit. The listing is accompanied with brief comments on each brand but more valuable is a collection of interviews with some of the marketing heavyweights of the firms on the list, as well as articles and analysis of various industry sectors.

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David Beckham celebrates the launch of Haig Club whisky

To celebrate the global launch of HAIG CLUB David Beckham and business partner Simon Fuller hosted an exclusive HAIG CLUB weekend in the heart of Scotland on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Attended by Victoria Beckham and other guests, the weekend gave Beckham and Fuller the opportunity to personally introduce friends both old and new to the whisky and the brand that they have helped create. “I am incredibly proud to have been part of the creation of HAIG CLUB,” said David Beckham. “I think we have made something really special. For me it has meant understanding how whisky is made and enjoyed and then working with some incredible people to write a new chapter for Haig.” Responsible drinking is at the core of HAIG CLUB, with David Beckham supporting the brand’s philosophy of quality over quantity. David said, “I appreciate a well-made drink and I like to take my time and enjoy it – I try to drink better, not more.” Simon Fuller commented, “This is a great partnership between one of the world’s most iconic stars and a company that is a true leader in the global sprits industry. Now we can all celebrate together as HAIG CLUB is launched worldwide and can be enjoyed by everyone!”

9 Things You Should Know When Dealing With Difficult People

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Here’s the good news. In some ways, handling demanding people is a little easier online because that person isn’t in your face. You also have the luxury of time and to respond on your terms. Try these techniques the next time you encounter a troll, an upset customer or someone who is just plain rude.

When Dealing With Difficult People, Keep Calm

This is always so much easier said than done in the heat of the moment. However, as mature adults, we simply must learn to contain the natural anger and hurt.

For me, staying detached helps. I pretend like I’m a customer service rep just doing his job. Often, I even introduce or sign off with a different name (that has other benefits too). This way, I’m forced to be calmer – after all, if I were a rep who wants to keep his job, I should be nice.

Don’t Sweep Them Under The Rug

It is awfully tempting to close your eyes and pretend things never happened. However, when people misbehave on your turf, such as your blog, your forum, your Facebook group or page, your help desk, it’ll only hurt in the long run to let things slide.

Resentment among members will seep into the community. Those following you will notice the lack of leadership. And, if it’s a customer issue, you’ll probably lose them for good. It’s hard but you should always acknowledge the offender.

Respond Later – But Not Too Late

Just because you must respond doesn’t mean you should jump right to it. Try not to get roped into a match in the heat of the moment. Let a comment stand 15 – 30 minutes or even an hour or two. It’ll be OK. You’ll probably have a clearer head by then. You might also have given the other person some time to chill out.

Ask Your Trusted Peers For Input

There are two scenarios when to use this. First, when you are stumped at how to respond to a particular issue. Two, when you want to validate your response is the best possible one you can give.

Almost always, I find others will give, or remind me of a different perspective. This usually leads to a clearer, better thought out reaction that seeks to reconcile rather than alienate.

Give The Benefit of The Doubt

We all have bad days where one bad thing seems to lead into another. Whether we realize it or not, we offload this negative energy onto others. Perhaps that’s what’s happening to this person.

Resist The Urge To Defend

Sometimes, no matter how you say it, explaining yourself always comes off as defensive. This could infuriate people even more, sending the situation spiraling in a direction you don’t want.

That’s not to say you admit defeat or apologize for what you believe in. Instead, saying something simple like this could diffuse the situation quickly. “I can see how that would be upsetting. Thank you for voicing your opinion.”

Be Polite

Whenever my children cry about who did/said something bad to them first, I’ll respond with, “Yes, that wasn’t nice but you don’t have to return the favor.”

By returning rudeness with politeness, we break the cycle. The buck stops with you.

Sift Through For Real Nuggets

Unless it’s a personal attack, underneath all the tough words, there could be truth. This person might be pointing out something you overlooked. They might be showing you a different way and point of view. It’s hard to read but after time has passed, try to ascertain if there is something you can learn from it. It’s OK to feel a little upset again but don’t let that take over. Focus on what you can learn and you’ll see it.

Cut Them Loose

No matter what you try, some people may be beyond helping. Limit your time with them. Get someone else to assist them. Try to have short conversations or those that steer clear of hot button topics. If you really cannot be around them, cut them loose completely.

It’s never easy dealing with difficult people. Give yourself permission to feel hurt, to even get upset. You can’t win over everyone, but if you stay classy, you’ll always come out a winner, no matter what the immediate results are.

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