10 months agoDalian Yifang attacker Carrasco in contact with Arsenal

first_imgDalian Yifang attacker Carrasco in contact with Arsenalby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveBelgium winger Yannick Carrasco has emerged as a target for Arsenal.Sky Italia says the 25-year-old left Atletico Madrid to join Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang in February last year.Arsenal have made initial contact with the Belgian international, who has given his ‘approval’ to the move.Carrasco is said to be open to moving to the Premier League with the Gunners now favourites for his signature.Milan had been keen on Carrasco and the player even liked a social media post about a potential move to the San Siro.But there are doubts over whether Milan would be able to afford the deal, with Carrasco currently pocketing around £170,000-a-week in China. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Video: Duke Basketball Releases Cool Video Celebrating All Of Coach K’s NBA Draft Picks

first_imgGrant Hill of Duke on draft day.Grant Hill DukeKentucky is the college basketball program that gets most of the love these days for producing NBA talent, but Duke has been pretty great at it, too. Since Mike Krzyzewski took over the Blue Devils’ program in 1980, he’s had 51 players get selected in the NBA Draft. Thursday night, he’ll add to that number, as Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones are all projected to get picked in the first round, with Quinn Cook a potential second-round pick. In anticipation of the draft, Duke has released a cool video celebrating all of Coach K’s NBA players.last_img read more

Revenue Growth Accounts for More Capital Expenditure and Social Spending

first_img Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chairman, Keith Duncan, says robust tax revenue growth over the last two years is creating the welcome fiscal space that allows for notable increases in Government capital expenditure and social spending. Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) Co-Chairman, Keith Duncan, says robust tax revenue growth over the last two years is creating the welcome fiscal space that allows for notable increases in Government capital expenditure and social spending.These increases, he said, are reflected in the first 2018/19 Supplementary Estimates, tabled in the House of Representatives on September 25 by Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, which show an additional $17.8-billion allocation for critical government operations.A total of $7.3 billion is earmarked for the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP); $7.14 billion for street-lighting arrears; and $2.5 billion for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC).“These expenditures are to be covered by additional tax revenues of $8.5 billion and additional distributions and non-tax revenue from public bodies amounting to $10.1 billion,” Mr. Duncan indicated.He was addressing journalists during EPOC’s quarterly media briefing at Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited’s (JMMB) corporate offices in Kingston on Wednesday (October 17).Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) data show that revenue inflows for April to August 2018 totalled $207.9 billion, some 3.6 per cent above the budgeted $200.6 billion.The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Mission Team’s fourth Precautionary Standby Arrangement (PSBA) review, conducted in September, showed that inflows for the period up to the end of June 2018 totalled $127.8 billion as against a target of $110 billion.Mr. Duncan said data also show that the inflows increased to $168.4 billion in July, $207.9 billion in August, and were poised to meet September’s $234-billion target.He indicated that capital expenditure for April to August was $24.4 billion, some $2.8 billion or 13.2 per cent above budget.This expenditure, the EPOC Co-Chairman added, is $10.7 billion greater than the $13.7 billion spent for the corresponding period in 2017.“This improved investment in capital expenditure demonstrates the Government of Jamaica’s commitment to the overall stimulation of growth in the economy,” he further noted.Meanwhile, Mr. Duncan said Government’s social programme expenditure totalled $11.5 billion as at June 2018, which was $5.1 billion more than the budgeted floor (minimum) of $6.4 billion.He pointed out that the tax revenue and expenditure out-turns contributed to a Primary Surplus of $42.1 billion at the end of August, which exceeded the Government’s target of $34.3 billion.Mr. Duncan said the robust tax revenue inflows resulted from continued improvement in compliance, with approximately 6,080 new persons brought into the tax net as at July 2018.“EPOC acknowledges the targeted effort of the Government of Jamaica [and] Tax Administration Jamaica in widening the tax base, which has contributed to the positive performance of tax revenues,” he added. Story Highlights A total of $7.3 billion is earmarked for the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP); $7.14 billion for street-lighting arrears; and $2.5 billion for the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC). These increases, he said, are reflected in the first 2018/19 Supplementary Estimates, tabled in the House of Representatives on September 25 by Finance and the Public Service Minister, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke, which show an additional $17.8-billion allocation for critical government operations.last_img read more

Crapo Puts Housing Finance Reform Front Center

first_img in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Housing Finance reform will be a key focus area for the Senate Banking Committee during the 116th Congress. In an outline for the committee’s agenda, Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo said that the committee would “continue to identify and move bipartisan legislative solutions” during this session.Calling housing finance reform the “last piece of unaddressed business from the financial crisis,” Crapo said that the committee would assess the proposals it has received from various groups on the conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since it favorably reported on the bipartisan housing finance reform legislation in 2014.”The Committee will assess these and other proposals to determine how we can fix the flawed system, establish appropriate levels of taxpayer protection, preserve the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, increase competition among mortgage guarantors and promote access to affordable housing,” Crapo said.Housing finance reforms have been in the spotlight ever since Joseph Otting, Acting Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), that oversees the conservatorship of the GSEs, remarked that the White House would be announcing a plan by next month to end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.According to a recording of his remarks obtained by Politico, Otting told FHFA employees that they would be seeing communication from the White House and the Treasury over the next two to four weeks that “really sets a direction for what the future of housing will be in the U.S. and what the FHFA’s part will be.”The remarks have set the share prices of both the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) soaring as investors became more hopeful that Fannie and Freddie could soon be out of government conservatorship.Apart from housing finance reform, the Senate Banking Committee also plans to focus on ensuring that federal agencies implement the Dodd-Frank Reforms Act also known as the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (EGRRCPA). The provisions under this Act include provisions to enhance the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Family Self-Sufficiency program and streamline compliance burdens on smaller Public Housing Authorities.”The Committee will work to identify additional opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of HUD programs, and will consider updates to Title VI of the Violence Against Women Act,” Crapo said.Additionally, he said that the committee would continue to explore targeted reforms, such as making it easier for consumers to interface with credit bureaus generally and dispute inaccuracies. The committee also plans to reassess the National Flood Insurance Program that has been extended 10 times since last Congress with the latest re-authorization set to expire on May 31. Crapo Puts Housing Finance Reform Front & Center Dodd-Frank EGRRCPA Fannie Mae FHFA Freddie Mac GSEs Housing Finance Reform HUD National Flood Insurance Program Otting Sen Mike Crapo Senate Banking Committee 2019-01-29 Radhika Ojhacenter_img January 29, 2019 1,110 Views Sharelast_img read more

TV is on track to succeed the PC as the top platfo

first_imgTV is on track to succeed the PC as the top platform for watching online video in the US, with TV viewing habits increasing as PC viewership declines, according to new research by Parks Associates.The research firm claims that in the first quarter of this year, US broadband users watched roughly three hours per week of online video on TV sets and PCs. However, for TV this was up from 2.3 hours per week in Q1 2013, while online viewing on PC is in “steady decline.”Parks’ report said that 81% of US broadband households watch video on TV, while 60% watch content on a computer, 31% on a smartphone and 28% on a tablet.The PC was the only platform to show “any significant decline in video viewing in the past year,” according to Parks.“Ultimately, consumers can more easily access online video options on a television than ever before,” said Brett Sappington, director of research, Parks Associates.“In addition to smart TVs, Blu-ray players, and game consoles, consumers are also buying streaming media players and devices such as Google’s Chromecast. Pay-TV providers are making a strong push to extend TV Everywhere to a variety of devices. These trends are converging to displace computer-based video consumption.”last_img read more

Netflix has partnered with creators of the acclaim

first_imgNetflix has partnered with creators of the acclaimed natural history series Planet Earth to produce its own follow-up series, Our Planet. Netflix is partnering with Silverback Films and conservation organisation WWF on the ambitious four-year project that will see Our Planet premiere across all Netflix’s territories in 2019.Using 4K camera technology, the eight-part series will aim to take viewers into “never-before-filmed wilderness areas from the ice caps and deep ocean to deserts and remote forests.”Silverback Films, led by Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey, previously created Planet Earth, Frozen Planet and Blue Planet for the BBC. Commenting on the new project, Fothergill said that Our Planet will “raise the bar for natural history landmarks.”Lisa Nishimura, vice-president, Netflix Original Documentaries, said: “The Planet projects have enjoyed great success on Netflix and have helped launch new technologies for viewing at home. We think watching Our Planet, fully on demand in 4K will be an unforgettable experience for our members.”last_img read more

Back in the 1960s a clever but financially disadv

first_imgBack in the 1960s, a clever but financially disadvantaged fellow placed a small ad in a national magazine that read something like: Money needed. Please send $1 to the address below. Do it today! No specific need was given, and nothing was promised in return, so that fraud could not later be charged.Yet within a few months, thousands of dollars arrived in his mailbox, a considerable sum in those days. Or so the urban legend goes.P2P MoneyA half-century later, many things have changed, but one thing remains unchanged: People still need money, and they have not ceased to innovate ways in which to get it.We have written extensively in this space about many of the P2P Internet connections that are transforming the planet… in commerce, in education, in the job market, and with business and social networking. The list of possibilities is truly endless. For yet another example, the world of money has been given a Red-Bull jolt by a fast-growing phenomenon known as “crowdfunding.”Previously, if you had a grand scheme for a new product or service and you needed seed money to get your project off the ground, you had to save it yourself, borrow from friends and relatives, or go with begging bowl to your local bank, which was unlikely to see you as the next Steve Jobs. If it was a big enough idea, you might even attract the attention of a venture capital (VC) company, but there you had to be prepared to offer many pounds of flesh in return. And still, those ideas that didn’t meet with bank criteria (there’s no collateral for a software startup) yet weren’t large enough for the VC crowd often fell into a no man’s land, scraping out some funding from unorganized, so-called “angel” investors, or never getting funded at all.More recently, we’ve seen the rise of for-profit Internet alternatives to traditional lending, such as Prosper, Zopa, and the market leader, LendingClub. These P2P companies specialize in small loans – LendingClub’s limit is $35,000. They don’t originate loans – they facilitate them, cutting out the banks and creating a situation that allows individuals with spare cash directly to invest in other people’s dreams, while the dreamers can borrow based on the public responses to their particular (hopefully compelling) stories. For each loan, there is a multitude of lenders, not just one.It’s a win-win proposition. Borrowers receive below-market rates with less hassle than is usually encountered at a traditional financial institution. Investors get an excellent rate of return, and can attenuate risk by building a portfolio spread across multiple loans. And LendingClub prospers by taking a cut. The site claims a very low default rate of less than 3% since its inception in 2007, and it has been a monster success. To date, LendingClub has negotiated nearly a billion dollars in loans, a meteoric ascent from about $175 million just two years ago.Other, more philanthropically oriented organizations either are or function a little more like nonprofits. They solicit donations in order to make very small micro-loans to budding entrepreneurs, primarily in the developing world. Donors either simply get their money back, or the principal plus a small amount of interest. Those that work this way include Kiva, Zidisha, Fundable, PayPal’s MicroPlace, GlobalGiving, FirstGiving, CreateaFund, Calvert Foundation’s Community Impact Investing, and the Grameen Foundation, which received tremendous worldwide publicity when its partner organization Grameen Bank shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Muhammad Yunus in 2006.At the other extreme – if you’re an upscale investor looking outside of the traditional markets for greater risk/reward potential – there are alternatives for you as well, in the form of secondary markets. Sites such as SharesPost and SecondMarket provide access to participation in private placements and the purchase of already existing, pre-IPO shares in privately held companies. These opportunities are generally only open to accredited investors, i.e., those who can verify that they are high-net-worth individuals and attest that they’re comfortable with assuming a high degree of risk.No quite so well-heeled? You can still play the game. MicroVentures was the first Internet broker/dealer to help startups in the US raise capital in exchange for equity. Companies can apply for up to $500,000, and individuals can buy in with an investment as low as $1,000. There’s also MediaShares, which offers companies the opportunity to crowdfund IPOs, and investors the chance to buy as little as a single share of stock. The stock can be sold online, with or without an underwriter. A new US law (H.R.1070) has been passed by Congress that will allow for advertising the sale of stock to the general public and selling to non-accredited investors; this is expected to greatly expand these types of online offerings. Crowdcube, Grow VC, and Symbid also finance business startups. SeedUps specializes in tech.Clearly there are a lot of new and imaginative ways of moving money around that vie for our attention. Many of them would be considered crowdfunding (derived from the general term “crowdsourcing,” which has traditionally referred to works like Wikipedia driven by large numbers of amateur contributors), since the definition of this term still tends to be on the loose side. It can be applied very widely, as Wikipedia does, calling it any “collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.”Crowdfunding, if thought of merely as the pooling of resources for a common cause, is as old as human groupings. Neighbors pitching in to help someone who’s had a house fire, supporting the local rescue squad, sending truckloads of canned goods to disaster areas – all of these cooperative efforts represent crowdfunding of a sort.But that isn’t the way it’s thought of nowadays. In fact, the very term “crowdfunding” is just six years old, with Word Spy attributing its first official appearance in print to blogger Michael Sullivan on his fundavlog of August 12, 2006. And the first book on the subject – Kevin Lawton and Dan Marom’s The Crowdfunding Revolution – wasn’t published until October, 2010.In contemporary usage, “crowdfunding” is generally defined as an ongoing money-raising effort organized through the Internet. As such, it is intimately related to and initiated by online communities and social networks. However, while a given crowd might pre-exist as a community, it can also arise completely spontaneously, from disparate groups around the world which happen to share an interest in funding a person, project, or whatever. And it can be brought together by a website whose purpose is just that. These are the characteristics that distinguish crowdfunding from traditional co-ops.Funding the ArtsEarly crowdfunding efforts often involved musical groups that needed cash to advance their careers. A British rock group, Marillion, wanted to tour the US in 1997, but the band lamented on a newsgroup that they couldn’t hack it financially themselves, and their record company wasn’t prepared to pony up the support money.Marillion’s fans then took it upon themselves to raise the necessary bucks. Word went out via the Net, and the money poured in. With just a live CD promised in return, the band raised $60,000 from all over the world. Later, Marillion went on to tap its Internet fan base to fund the production and distribution of subsequent albums, cutting out the record company entirely.ArtistShare, founded in 2000, formalized the concept, becoming the first fully crowdfunded website for music. In 2005, American composer Maria Schneider’s Concert in the Garden became the first album in history to win a Grammy Award without being available in retail stores. The album, funded through ArtistShare, received four nominations that year and copped the Grammy for “best large jazz ensemble album.” Since then, ArtistShare projects have received several other nominations and taken home four additional Grammies.Other music-centric crowdfunding sites followed ArtistShare’s lead, including SellaBand (2006) and PledgeMusic (2009).Music and the arts have always been logical targets for crowdfunding and, with barriers to entry in the movie business historically so high, film was a natural. Movie crowdfunding was initiated by French entrepreneurs and producers Benjamin Pommeraud and Guillaume Colboc in August 2004, when they launched a public Internet donation campaign to fund their film, Demain la Veille (Waiting for Yesterday). Within three weeks, they managed to raise $50,000, allowing them to make the picture.Spanner Films has been a centrally organized pioneer in this area, and has even published a guide titled How to Crowdfund Your Film, just in case you have any great cinematic ideas. Spanner crowdfunded a film called The Age of Stupid, set in 2055 and starring Oscar nominee Pete Postlethwaite. Further taking advantage of the Internet, the company in September 2009 pulled off a gala global premiere, satellite-linking to more than 700 cinemas and other venues in 63 countries, with a total audience of more than a million people.Many, many other sites – including RocketHub, Sponsume, My Show Must Go On, AKA Starter, inkubato, and A Swarm of Angels – have set up shop to service the creative arts.One of them, Indiegogo, originally focused on fundraising for independent film, and was launched at Sundance in 2008. But the site soon branched out into all sorts of creative projects, whose breadth is confirmed by a quick look at the projects currently listed: game development; a graphic novel; a documentary film; a gender-transition calendar; a Canadian comic-book anthology; an asthma education app; traveling dramatic performances; and some kind of knitting endeavor (which you can back if you read German), among others.As an example of how these things work, here’s Indiegogo’s model: Entrepreneurs create a page for their funding campaign, set up an account with PayPal, make a list of “perks” for different levels of donation, set a fundraising goal in dollars (or euros, pounds, etc.), then create a social-media-based publicity effort. They publicize the projects themselves, through Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Postings are free, and users have 100% ownership of their campaigns.In the end, Indiegogo collects 4% if you reach your goal, but allows you to keep money raised even if you don’t, minus 9% (to encourage people to set “reasonable” goals). If you fail to reach your goal, you may also elect to return all money to contributors, and you will owe nothing.Kick It into GearThen there is the current king of the hill, Kickstarter. Launched in April of 2009, the site has been a massive success. At the moment, Kickstarter says that over $350 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, successfully funding more than 31,000 creative projects “in the worlds of Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology, and Theater.”The bulk of Kickstarter-funded projects – 68% – were in the $1,000-10,000 range. But 300 raised between $100,000 and $1 million, and 13 raised in excess of $1 million. Of those that are posted, about 45% fully meet their goals, and about 12% end without having received any pledges. 82% of those that reach 20% of their goal go on to attain full funding.Kickstarter is an “all or nothing” proposition. Project creators make their pitch, set a funding goal, and a deadline by which the full amount must be raised. If they succeed, donors’ credit cards are charged at that time; if they don’t make it, no one is charged anything. Kickstarter takes a 5% cut of successful fundraisers, and payment processing fees can claim another 3-5%. Outside of that, creators keep 100% of the money and retain all rights to their projects.Backers receive no equity or financial payback, but are promised “rewards,” depending on one’s pledge level. Mostly, people participate in good faith, contributing to something they believe in. Kickstarter’s “Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.” But there are no legal guarantees.If a Kickstarter project really tickles people’s fancies, the results can be stunning. For instance, a modest project currently listed on its start page began with a goal of $5,000 and, with the deadline still two weeks away, has pulled in almost $110,000.Where To from Here?So, is crowdfunding the future capital source for every new venture under the sun? Well, probably not… although we can’t say for sure, because it does sometimes seem that way. In no particular order, some current and projected applications include:Journalism – With Spot.us and Global for me, the public provides suggestions and tips for stories. When a journalist accepts a suggestion, he creates a pitch, which is then funded by those who are interested. Whether this will gain any traction with readers accustomed to free Internet news content remains to be seen.Politics – Democratic candidates can benefit from ActBlue, a crowdsourced fundraising site that allows anyone to be part of a PAC. Since 2004, ActBlue has raised over $300 million. Across the aisle, Ron Paul ran his campaign for the presidential nomination largely through crowdfunding.Public projects – Want those bike lanes but your town is out of money? You can turn to CivicSponsor.Fashion – Milk and Honey Shoes allows customers to design their own shoes. Several other sites that will let consumers participate in designing new fashions are currently under development.Personal wants and needs – GoFundMe specializes in fundraising for individuals, for everything from weddings to funerals, and medical expenses to high-school trips. Greedy or Needy aims to fund make-a-wishes without the necessity of going through a big foundation. Kapipal teams up with PayPal to finance just about anything.Science – Still in its infancy, science crowdfunding has many researchers excited about the possibilities. RocketHub’s #SciFund Challenge was the first crowdfunding initiative to support science projects, while Petridish invites donors to “fund science & explore the world with renowned researchers.”Biotech – On October 1, biopharmaceutical antibacterial drug-discovery company Antabio, and WiSEED, the French crowdfunding platform dedicated to technologic startups, announce the successful completion of their seed round of financing. Initially funded by more than 200 small investors, Antabio was able to finance a key step in the validation of its drug-candidate molecules, bringing it to the attention of some major players in the drug-discovery arena.Cars – According to Gizmag, Local Motors “is a small Phoenix, Arizona-based automotive firm that uses crowd sourcing for brainstorming, designing, refining and developing vehicle ideas. They work with an Internet community of more than 20,000 designers, engineers, auto enthusiasts and other passionate minds toward developing unique, customer-centric offerings.” They’re currently working with BMW to crowdsource the Beamers of the future.DIY – Launcht claims it “empowers universities, nonprofits, startup crowdfunding portals and others” to design and implement “their own custom white label crowdfunding & voting platforms.”Brewskies – BeerBankroll is your destination if you want to help fund a small brewery.And so on.It’s difficult to overstate how fast and furious crowdfunding has grown (but it pales in comparison to the growth potential of a new technology in replication).  So red-hot is the sector that a whole secondary support network has popped up out of nowhere, largely as a result of the 2012 passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which effectively lifted a previous ban against public solicitation for private companies raising funds. Among the nascent bureaucracies there is now a National Crowdfunding Association (NLCFA), National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, World Crowdfund Federation, Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates, and Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), all of which sprang into existence subsequent to the passage of JOBS. The CfPA offers a course in Crowdfunding 101 and sponsors a Crowdfunding Bootcamp to teach entrepreneurs how to master the process.While crowdfunding does not yet have the Web presence of some other services, it’s headed up with a bullet. Alexa, a leading Web information company, ranks some 30 million websites worldwide, according to the amount of traffic users of its toolbar generate. Its statistics are considered one of the most accurate yardsticks by which site popularity can be measured.As of August 2012, crowdfunders were nowhere near challenging the top 10 megasites like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Twitter, and Amazon. But Kickstarter was in 748th place, followed by Indiegogo (#1,798). Rounding out the ten most-visited crowdfunders were GoFundMe (10,892), ChipIn (28,394), RocketHub (47,424), GiveForward (52,383), Fundable (60,149), Crowdtilt (133,246), crowdfunder (105,447), and appbackr (125,977).Pros and Cons… and ConsThe pros of crowdfunding – the Internet’s P2P ability to unite worthy projects with seed capital, in the absence of conventional funding sources, and bring dreams to life – are obvious. But what of the cons?Well, there’s fraud, for one. Though crowdfunding sites claim to do detailed background checking before clearing a project to be posted, in reality this is fertile new ground for scam artists. In fact, in August the Massachusetts Securities Division charged a Lowell man in a crowdfunding scam, alleging that he had bilked 20 investors – who thought they were putting money into a gaming site – out of more than $150,000.Regulation of securities issuance is another sticky topic. Questions about crowdfunding campaigns involving unaccredited investors and private companies are being closely examined in Washington. Complicating the matter is that due diligence can be very hard if not impossible for a prospective investor to do prior to offering startup money for a new company, and that the stock those companies are offering is often not intended to be traded on any recognized exchange. Private offerings for oil and gas drilling, which are not SEC-registered, are another area of concern.Though the SEC has yet to set any hard-and-fast rules in place regarding equities, it is widely expected to stick some fingers into this rapidly baking pie as soon as the next few months.Further, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) publishes an annual list of emerging threats to investors. This year, NASAA included crowdfunding on its list of worries, warning that fraudsters could use it in new scams involving such unexplored territory as precious metals, real estate, and promissory notes.Although not overtly fraudulent, there are also going to be ideas (including possibly some great ones) for which the funding goal is unrealistic. A September Reuters article discussed a Kickstarter project called Lifx, which intends to develop a dimmable, WiFi-enabled, multicolor, energy efficient, 25-year LED light bulb that you control with your iPhone or Android… and to start shipping finished product by next March. Talk about ambitious. So far, the bulb is a monster Kickstarter hit, and the project is oversubscribed. Backers have thought so highly of it that they’ve ponied up more than $1.3 million, in return for which they’ll get… well, some bulbs. Once they’re in production.Unfortunately, as the Reuters piece pointed out, “Coming up with a truly worthy LED bulb is enormously complex, requiring expertise in physics, chemistry, optics, design, and manufacturing.” One of the early entrants into the space, the Switch bulb, has received an eight-figure investment from one VC company alone; it was promised in October of 2011 and still hasn’t arrived. Phillips, which won a $10-million government prize by marketing the first LED bulb, spent much more than that in development. So maybe Lifx can deliver the goods for $1.3M, and good for them if they can. But investors should probably be at least a little skeptical that they’ll ever be dimming the room lighting with their phones.If, instead of bulbs or other manufactured goods that may not show up, you’re looking for a return on capital – i.e., investing in a startup that’s offering stock – you are also likely to be disappointed, since more than half of all new small businesses fail within five years. Should you wish to make such an investment, it would seem sensible to find one in your immediate area, so you can check it out with your own boots on the ground.Then there is intellectual-property theft. Most basement innovators probably haven’t patented their ideas before presenting them to the waiting world, which means there’s nothing to prevent someone with deeper pockets from stealing the idea, producing the product, and getting it to market first.The reverse is also possible. Someone may, knowingly or unknowingly, post a project that infringes on someone else’s patent or intellectual-property rights. According to a recent story in Wired, this has happened on Kickstarter at least five times since April.On balance, though, we’re optimistic. All of these potential drawbacks will eventually work themselves out in the marketplace, we’re sure, provided that forthcoming government regulations don’t make it too difficult for these sites to thrive.Investment ImplicationsCrowdfunders may facilitate transfers of newly minted stock to investors, but they don’t sell stock in themselves, so there are no opportunities here, at least for the time being.However, there are some income-producing sites, like Lending Club, that have been very successful at returning a decent yield. Some Casey Research employees are invested in them, and they may interest readers who are willing to do their homework. By all means, check them out for purposes of portfolio diversification if you’d like to – or crowdfund your own pet project.As promising as crowdfunding is for investors, its profit potential pales in comparison to a new technology that could change everything from people’s shopping habits to the way diseases are treated.  When you hear about it, it may well seem like science fiction, but it’s already working on a number of fronts. You can learn more about it here.last_img read more

It is an essential impossibility to solve problems

first_imgIt is an essential impossibility to solve problems created by excess debt and artificial liquidity with more of the same. That’s our credo here at Casey Research, and the reason why we believe the gold price will turn around and not only go higher, but much, much higher.While fellow investors around the world may not agree with gold-loving contrarians like us, they are buyers: gold is up in euros and almost everything else, except the dollar.The dollar’s rise has been strong and seems all but unstoppable. But look at it in big-picture terms, as in the chart below, and ask yourself how sustainable the situation is.I’m skeptical of reading too much into such charts. A peak like the one in the early 1980s would certainly take the USD much higher, and for several years to come. But still, this is an aberration. It’s not the new normal, but rather the new abnormal.More to the point, gold hasn’t collapsed since the dollar began its latest surge last July. Just look at this one-year chart of gold vs. the US dollar. The dollar is up sharply (in EUR, as a proxy for everything-not-the-dollar and for comparability to the chart below), but gold is only moderately down.Gold has been trading almost sideways over the last year.That might seem like damnation by faint praise, but it’s critically important. With the USD skyrocketing and commodities plummeting, gold should be dropping like—well, like a gold balloon—if the critics are right and it has no practical value at all, except to dentists and fashion accessory designers.But gold is money, the best store of wealth millennia of human experience have devised, and more and more people are recognizing this.Consider this chart of gold vs. the euro, which documents my contention that people outside the US do not see gold as a barbarous relic, but as an essential holding to safeguard their future.Pretty much everywhere but in the US, gold is up, not down.This chart supports my view that gold rebounded last November when it breached its 2013 low because international buyers saw that as an opportunity. The US has gone from primarily exporting inflation to exporting gold and inflation.The fact that the dollar has risen faster than gold has dropped has important, positive effects on miners operating outside the US. If costs are paid in Canadian dollars, Mexican pesos, euros, or really hard-hit currencies like the Brazilian real, then those costs have just gone way down relative to the price of gold.Of course, there’s a good chance that there’ll be more sell-offs before the gold bull resumes its charge… but they should be regarded as opportunities. Because once the gold market rises again, the best small-cap mining stocks have the potential to go vertical.Watch eight industry experts discuss where we are in the gold cycle, and how to prepare your portfolio for gains of up to 500% or even 1,000%, in Casey’s recent online event, GOING VERTICAL. Click here for the video.last_img read more

In 2014 Nadia Murad a member of the Yazidi minor

first_imgIn 2014, Nadia Murad, a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, was taken captive by ISIS members and sexually enslaved for three months before escaping. In 2016, at the age of 23, she was named the U.N.’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. Today, she became the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Dr. Denis Mukwege, a gynecologist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who treats victims of rape.The pair were named for their work to highlight and eliminate the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, according to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Murad was honored for her refusal “to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected,” the committee said. At age 25, she is the second-youngest peace prize recipient; Malala Yousafzai was the youngest at age 17.NPR profiled Murad in August. This story has been updated.In August 2014, Nadia Murad was one of thousands of Yazidis who were captured by ISIS and forced into sexual slavery. Three months later, she escaped through a door that one of her captors left unlocked.Murad has shared her painful story with international media outlets over and over to show the world what happened to Yazidis. She has become a voice for captive women and girls in the process.She urges women who have faced sexual violence to reclaim their lives. “The hope of ISIS was to break the Yazidi community,” she says. “But for survivors especially, going back to their lives and getting married and making a life and working, it’s basically making sure ISIS did not succeed.”When she was named the U.N.’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised her courage.”Nadia survived horrific crimes. I cried when I heard her story. But I didn’t only cry out of sadness,” he said. “I was also moved to tears because Nadia has so much strength, courage and dignity. She rightly calls for a world where all children live in peace.”Yazidi women and girls who have escaped ISIS or are rescued face an array of problems, Pari Ibrahim, founder and executive director of the Free Yezidi Foundation, tells NPR. “A lot of the women have difficulty trying to build a new future. They don’t have a boyfriend or get engaged; they are living in the past. It’s not easy for them to switch back to the here and now and to live daily life.”Murad, who has tried to loosen shackles of the past, announced in August her plans to be married.Her fiancé, Abid Shamdeen, is a former interpreter for the U.S. Army and a human rights activist. “Despite all the difficulties that we were going through, he was always there. He was supportive,” Murad tells NPR.Shamdeen says of Murad: “Obviously she’s a very brave woman. She is courageous, she’s smart, she’s strong. And she’s a fighter.”Murad says their engagement shows Yazidi survivors that “it’s possible to live their lives again and to not believe the propaganda of ISIS — that they will not be accepted back into the community.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Two ministers have refused to apologise after they

first_imgTwo ministers have refused to apologise after they both misled MPs about the impact of the government’s new disability benefit on disabled people.In the space of just 20 minutes, work and pensions secretary Damian Green and minister for disabled people Penny Mordaunt both misled the House of Commons about how personal independence payment (PIP) was affecting disabled people.The first House of Commons work and pensions questions after the break for party conferences saw about 20 questions from MPs across the main parties with concerns about the way PIP was operating, far more than for any other issue.In one answer, Mordaunt (pictured) told MPs that under PIP – compared with disability living allowance (DLA), which it is replacing for working-age claimants – “more people are entitled to use the Motability scheme”.But Motability’s own figures show that of their customers who have been reassessed for PIP so far, 44 per cent have lost their entitlement to the scheme and have had to hand their vehicles back.Responding to another question on PIP, Green told MPs on Monday that “many more people are eligible to receive PIP than were eligible to receive disability living allowance”.But the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) own figures from June showed that only about seven in 10 disabled people who were previously claiming DLA were being found eligible for PIP.The DWP figures showed just 71 per cent of DLA recipients who applied for PIP were successful with their claim in April 2016, once withdrawn claims were excluded.PIP was introduced with the intention – announced by chancellor George Osborne in his 2010 emergency budget – of cutting the number of working-age claimants by 20 per cent.A DWP spokesman appeared to accept that the two statements were not true*, arguing in a statement that the ministers were trying to make completely different points about PIP.He has so far refused to say whether the ministers stand by their statements or whether they will be apologising to MPs, but insisted that “the comments should be considered in the context of the exchanges made during DWP Oral Questions and the wider discussion of which they formed a part”.Among MPs who raised concerns about PIP, the SNP’s Martyn Day told Mordaunt that for the fourth year in a row “the Infrastructure and Projects Authority has said that the roll-out of the personal independence payment project is ‘in doubt with major risks… apparent in a number of key areas’”.Mordaunt claimed that PIP was “a vast improvement on what went before” and was “a more targeted benefit”.Another SNP MP, John Nicolson, then told her of a disabled constituent who had had her Motability car removed after a PIP assessment.He said: “She had to use public transport, which she was unable to do, and she lost her job as a result.“Does the minister really think that government policy is delivering compassionate outcomes in such cases?”After asking for Nicolson to write to her with details of the case, Mordaunt claimed that more people were entitled to use the Motability scheme under PIP, although “clearly we want to make sure that any decision taken on a PIP assessment is the right one”.Tory MP Peter Bone told Mordaunt: “I do not know whether it is just in my area, but at every weekly surgery I will have one person who has been refused PIP who is clearly entitled to it.“I had a lady this week with multiple sclerosis; she is clearly entitled to it and will get it when she goes to the independent tribunal, but why do such people have to wait until then?“Surely this can be corrected at an earlier stage.”Mordaunt said she understood Bone’s frustration, and told him that DWP was “looking very closely at those cases that have gone to appeal and been overturned to see why the right decision was not taken earlier in the process”.She pointed to an earlier answer in which she had said that DWP was working to address such problems, “including giving a bit more flexibility for certain cases at that early stage, with the hope that the evidence we need will then be submitted at that stage”, work that she said was currently being rolled out.She told Bone that there would be more announcements on PIP in the department’s forthcoming green paper on employment support for disabled people, which is due to be published before the end of the year.*In full, the DWP spokesman said: “There are more people using Motability now than when PIP was first introduced, including a number who are newly entitled to Motability under PIP, which is the point the minister was making. “PIP recognises both physical and non-physical conditions, such as mental health problems, much more effectively than DLA did. “For example, under DLA some people with mental health conditions were not eligible for support or were on much lower rates than they are under PIP, which is what the secretary of state was referring to in his remarks.“Overall, 66 per cent of PIP recipients, whose main disabling condition is a mental health condition, are getting the enhanced rate of the daily living component, compared to only 22 per cent of working age mental health recipients receiving the highest rate of the DLA care component.“24 per cent of PIP recipients, whose main disabling condition is a mental health condition, are getting the enhanced rate of the mobility component, compared to only nine per cent of working age mental health recipients receiving the higher rate of the DLA mobility component.”last_img read more

When Your Virtual Assistant Goes MIA

first_img President of Keener Marketing Solutions The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Guest Writer –shares What would you do if someone you worked with just disappeared? Image credit: Georgijevic | Getty Images Next Article Apply Now » Virtual Assistant February 16, 2017 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List When Your Virtual Assistant Goes MIA It was like any other morning. I fired up my computer, checked email and started prioritizing the day ahead. Despite my usual sense of optimism, I couldn’t help but feel a little concerned. It had been several days since I heard from my virtual assistant — we’ll call her Jessica — which was definitely not like her. For more than a year, we had worked closely together on practically everything. Although she was not an employee, I thought of Jessica as an extension of my brand. She helped me keep things organized, took excellent meeting minutes, collaborated on new ideas and even shared a laugh or two. Her prompt service and rapid turnaround was one of her greatest strengths. Now, after a few days of no response, I was beginning to question everything.More time passed. I never heard another word from Jessica. It’s like she just disappeared. I’ll occasionally see her chat status as “online,” but I’ve stopped trying to contact her. In this article, I’ll share four lessons learned from this experience.Related: 7 Ways to Gain Self Discipline and Strive Towards Greatness1. Don’t ignore the warning signs.In hindsight, I should have seen the situation coming. Unfortunately, I’m often too forgiving and willing to overlook minor annoyances. A forgetful moment here, an oversight there — everyone makes mistakes, right? Of course, no one is perfect; however, when examined in their entirety, a pattern of events had developed that I failed to notice.Be on the lookout for these warning signs from your virtual assistant(s):Forgets simple instructions. By definition, a virtual assistant should be someone who is highly organized. His or her job is to make your life easier, not complicate matters. A reliable virtual assistant will be proactive and make detailed notes, rather than constantly asking how things are to be done.Unexpectedly misses meetings. Scheduling conflicts do occur, although very few happen due to real emergencies. When a calendar overlap is identified, your virtual assistant should offer plenty of forewarning and seek a new date that works for everyone. Waiting until the last minute, or after the fact, is simply unacceptable.Makes excuses. There are only so many pet crises that actually impact one’s work schedule. It’s OK to be compassionate with your virtual assistant, but, on the other hand, it’s also possible that you’re on the receiving end of an excuse.2. Be strategic when giving system access.I was either too trusting or too lazy when I hired Jessica. Within a week of starting her contract, I had made her an administrator on several of my company’s most important systems, including my project management software. I later found out that she was also an “owner” of several important Google Docs folders, which was especially difficult to unwind upon her mysterious departure.Before hiring another virtual assistant, pause to consider your approach to freelancer onboarding and offboarding. If you needed to, could you flip a switch and instantly restrict access to outgoing contractors? Of your existing assistants, which of them have more access than is actually needed? Spend time reviewing each user’s permission levels and adjust accordingly.To further limit your risk, it can also be wise to take a staggered approach to onboarding. Rather than giving access to everything on day one, share only those systems necessary to get work done. As you build trust with the contractor, you can then expand his or her access to include additional systems or administrative privileges.Related: When to Hire Virtual Assistants and Outsource Help3. Formally review your virtual assistants.Virtual assistants are usually freelancers who serve multiple clients. Although they’re not your employees, it’s still a good idea to provide regular feedback by means of a formal review process. Doing so provides an important forum to express concerns or warning signs you’ve observed and to drill down into the root causes.To structure your review process, it can be helpful to do the following:Create an assessment form for your virtual staff.Schedule an hour-long, review session twice a year for each virtual assistant.As the annual review approaches, s invite the virtual assistant to submit the form as a self-assessment.Also submit the assessment from your perspective.At the review meeting, compare notes and share candid feedback.Save the assessment data and meeting notes in a drive for safekeeping.The review process is your opportunity to objectively examine the situation. If you realize that a virtual assistant is actually making your life more complicated, then it’s probably time to move in a different direction.Related: How Inefficient Processes Are Hurting Your Company4. When you start to beg, something is wrong.The best virtual assistants are motivated by accomplishment and your total satisfaction. Therefore, when you find yourself begging for simple updates, you know something is seriously wrong.For example, I probably said things like this to Jessica before she vanished:”Did you ever enter that one task I sent you last week?””Are you going to send the meeting invite we discussed? I never saw it come through.””Can you post the link to the meeting minutes? I needed that yesterday.”Remember, your virtual assistant should keep you organized — not the other way around. Stop begging for things you could do yourself in a matter of minutes. 5 min read Matt Keener Add to Queuelast_img read more

How to Watch Apples WWDC Keynote

first_img Next Article The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Chloe Albanesius June 5, 2017 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List The opening WWDC keynote begins at 1 p.m. ET and will be live streamed on Apple’s website. 2 min read Image credit: via PC Mag Add to Queuecenter_img How to Watch Apple’s WWDC Keynote –shares Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) kicks off this morning, but if you can’t make it to the San Jose Convention Center in Silicon Valley, you can live stream Cupertino’s big announcements — if you have the right setup.The opening keynote begins at 1 p.m. ET and will be live streamed on Apple’s website. To watch, you’ll need an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with Safari on iOS 7.0 or later; a Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OS X v10.8.5 or later; or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. You can also stream on the newest Apple TV or the second- or third-gen set-top box with software 6.2 or later.PCMag’s Matthew Buzzi and Dan Costa are on the ground in San Jose, and will bring you all the news about iOS 11, the next version of macOS and perhaps a few hardware surprises. Look for some Mac news, and maybe even a smart speaker that can tap into Siri.Last year, Apple gave its operating system a new name — macOS — and brought Siri to the desktop. Updates for iOS 10 were heavy on notifications and messages, with emoji and the ability to send animations, invisible messages that only appear once tapped and handwritten notes. We also got some tvOS and watchOS updates.We’ll have to wait until 1 p.m. ET to see what Apple has on tap for WWDC 2017. Until then, check out what PCMag expects to see. This story originally appeared on PCMag Executive Editor, PCMag Apple Apply Now »last_img read more

How This 28 Million Startup Hopes to Save the World With 3D

first_img Entrepreneur Staff Divergent 3D, founded by a one-time investor and two-time entrepreneur, holds patents on technologies that allow carmakers to print vehicles. Kevin Czinger says he wants to completely change how cars are built, but his motivation isn’t money or fame. It’s to help humanity avoid the “suicidal direction that people are heading,” he declares.By shaking up how cars are made, Czinger believes, the world will be saved from an impending climate disaster. And that’s where 3D printing comes in. Yes, that’s right: Some day, most cars will be manufactured using 3D printing technology, if Czinger gets his way.But first, an aside, because you’re probably thinking, Well, how about ‘saving the world’ with something we’ve already got: electric cars?The correct response there is, Not so fast. Yes, drivers switching wholesale to electric vehicles would certainly make a sizable dent in the CO2 damage that tailpipe exhaust creates. Yet those cars are just a Band-Aid solution, since the electricity they require comes largely from nonrenewable sources. So picture a Band-Aid trying to cover a gaping environmental wound.Alternately, the most effective way to reduce the environmental damage cars have long fomented is something people don’t usually think about: automobile manufacturing. According to a United Nations report, manufacturing is the single largest source of the damage automobiles unleash on the environment.An electric vehicle’s batteries account for about a third of its weight, while the carbon composites and aluminum in its body also require a lot of energy as part of its production and processing.Related: Stephen Hawking Says We Have 100 Years to Inhabit Another PlanetAnd while low-emission vehicles can be good for the overall environment in places in the United States where green energy providers already abound — think California — electric cars simply add to the problem in places where coal still rules — think China.Because coal, as we well know, is a global-warming bomb.The part of the Blade that’s 3D printed is the chassis, not the entire vehicle. The company says a chassis such as this can be assembled in a matter of minutes.Image credit: Divergent 3D”The [reduction of] tailpipe exhaust,” Czinger says, “is fooling you into thinking that you’re not creating a super-destructive system, that any potential environmental benefits are offset.” That’s a mistake, he says.“You’re vastly accelerating the destruction of the environment.”So, how does this Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, who walked away from his first startup, plan to shake the pollution out of how the automobile industry builds cars? His answer brings us right back to 3D printing.How it worksCzinger’s company, Divergent 3D, created and holds the patents for 3D-printing equipment and software that specifically allows carmakers to print individual pieces of a vehicle, each of which is then assembled by hand or machine. The process requires less energy and fewer materials than current manufacturing methods, Czinger explains, by replacing the hard-metal tooling, stamping, welding and painting currently required to create today’s vehicles.In a case study, Divergent found that its process eliminates 80 percent of factory costs and decreases the number of chassis structure parts by about 75 percent compared to typical vehicle-manufacturing practices.”The machine doesn’t care if you’re doing the most complicated layer cake in the world or you’re doing a simple nail,” Czinger says. “We’re looking at it as a system we’re going to continuously innovate around, and then we’re going to license that, so that people can create structures that are much more functional and much more profitable and use vastly less material and energy.”Czinger says he sees Qualcomm, which licenses the use of the chips found in devices such as smartphones, as a model for Divergent. His own company, which emerged from stealth three years after its 2011 founding, employs about 55 people, most of them engineers. And so far, it’s raised a total of about $28 million. Last year, Divergent also announced a partnership with PSA, the French automobile giant.PSA weighed in on the deal: “We are very impressed by the promising new opportunities in Divergent 3D’s technology. We’re convinced that these spectacular advances in 3D printing will help position PSA Group as a leader in automobile manufacturing,” said Carlos Tavares, chairman of the managing board of PSA Group, in a press release in March.Divergent 3D creates car parts using metal 3D printing that bypasses some of the most energy-intensive factory operations such as fixturing, stamping, welding and e-coating.Image credit: Divergent 3D”This has the potential to dramatically scale down the size and scope of our manufacturing footprint, reduce overall vehicle weight and build complexity, while also giving us almost limitless flexibility in design output,” Tavares said. “We are talking about a radical change for our industry.”Czinger plans for Divergent to partner with major automakers and commercialize the technology, which he believes could eventually lead to what he calls a democratization of cars. In that scenario, individual designers and small firms would create car models, and customers would special-order them. The larger automakers could act as the manufacturer, certifier and distributor, combined, for smaller brands.”Design, engineer, send data, manufacture, assemble the standard parts and customized Lego block connectors and then you have an object,” Czinger says, ticking off the steps of Divergent’s process. “That will be for a whole range of complex structures: vehicles, maybe in the future architecture, aerospace vehicles, etc.“You’ve democratized even the larger-scale industries because there’s no big capital barrier to them anymore, and you’ve relocalized the manufacturing. That’s what I think the future will be.”Related: Our Rosy Outlook on Driverless Cars Needs a Reality CheckTwin passions early onCzinger’s past goes back to Cleveland, where he grew up, and where he had a love of cars ingrained into him from a young age.”I grew up in a relatively large family where probably from the time I could physically help my brothers, they enslaved me working on cars,” Czinger says. “And then of course I built and raced cars. I always had this love of cars.”In high school, when this son of a housewife and door-to-door salesman was captain of the football and wrestling teams, Czinger also developed his other passion: a love of nature and a sense — instilled by his Jesuit teachers — that we are all responsible for the planet. “They were totally focused on stewardship,” he remembers. “That you had 100 percent responsibility for creating a human society and for caring for nature.”Following graduation, Czinger attended Yale, where he played football under Carm Cozza, who coached the team from 1965 to 1996. Cozza gushed over Czinger in his 1999 book, True Blue, writing, “Kevin Czinger was the toughest kid to play football at Yale in my 32 years as head coach.Divergent 3D partners with SLM Solutions Group to develop specific metal 3D printing hardware and software.Image credit: Divergent 3D“No question about it,” Cozza’s memoir continued. “He was also the most unusual personality, probably the outstanding overachiever, maybe the brightest student, and definitely the scariest individual.”Scary? “When I say Kevin was tough,” Cozza wrote, “ I mean he was competitive to the point of obsession, and loyal almost to a fault.”Czinger earned his BA from Yale, followed by a law degree from Yale Law School in 1987.A rebellious streak”I was always rebellious against authority,” Czinger says. But then came his stint in the Marines Corp. Reserves — inspired by his parents and brother who served in the armed forces — from 1983 to 1992. There, the rebelliousness stopped. “What they did for me is [make me] say, ‘This is the context I’m in. The last thing I want to be is disruptive. I have to fit in here and support what the Marine Corps is doing.’“You have to understand context and be willing to discipline yourself for a greater aim.”That greater aim included interning with Goldman Sachs during law school, clerking for Judge Gerhard Gersell — who famously presided over the Watergate and Iran-Contra cases — then moving to a job as an assistant attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s office, Southern District of New York, under Rudy Giuliani, who of course would later become the city’s mayor.Relatively early in his tenure, the then-young attorney Czinger even led a case. He then made a return to Goldman Sachs, where he became the executive director of media, telecom and technology group, from 1991 to 1995.”Those things transformed me from someone who had zero public speaking skills — I was shy and nervous — into someone who could stand up, think on their feet in a logical way and address a broad range of people,” he says of those early years.Electric carsIn 2008, Czinger finally acted on his love of automobiles by moving away from both law and Wall Street to become co-founder of CODA Automotive, a company which produced electric vehicles.His experience at CODA ultimately led to the founding of Divergent 3D, but first, Czinger had to fail.CODA aimed to create electric vehicles for the Chinese market by converting an existing Chinese sedan to electric power, but Czinger found that the associated economic details were not in the company’s favor. “If you look at electric cars, autonomous vehicles — all of these programs people are talking about — these are all lower-volume vehicle programs,” he points out.He says he wanted the company to change course, but because he had raised so much funding and given away equity, his share of the company had become minimal. So, in 2011, Czinger left CODA to start researching the concepts that would eventually become Divergent 3D.A divergent pathWhile researching his next move, Czinger found studies, primarily the aforementioned UN report, that detailed the environmental impact of automobile manufacturing. He also found inspiration in Stephen Emmott’s book, Ten Billion, which predicts a global calamity once the world population reaches 10 billion.”By 2025 we’ll have 8 billion people in an industrialized world that’s scaling up,” Czinger says, ominously. “We’re going to look [back] at that 120-year period where we built 2 billion vehicles, and in the next 30 to 35 years we’re going to build 4 billion-plus vehicles, which on average are 50 percent heavier.“So, we’re going to, in a fraction of the time, triple the number of vehicles ever manufactured in the history of the planet.”He continues: “From a materials and energy standpoint, you’re looking at a magnitude difference in environmental destruction. That means that the way we design and manufacture vehicles is critical to our survival.”This fact reflects the sobering reality that electric vehicles can be as detrimental to the environment as gas-powered ones — and Czinger isn’t the only one saying that: Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions, declared that, “Moving from petroleum-fueled vehicles to electric cars begins to look more and more like shifting from one brand of cigarettes to another.”Related: Meet the Entrepreneurs Driving the Edible Insect MovementCzinger says that once he started looking into the problem, he knew that an incremental solution wouldn’t be good enough. There needed to be a way to eliminate the specific machine tooling and long assembly lines currently used to manufacture vehicles, he reasoned. That solution? 3D printing.Divergent showed off its 3D-printed car, the Blade, at CES 2017.Image credit: Divergent 3D”The dream of car engineering is to look end to end at a vehicle and only pick the materials that are perfectly optimized for each segment,” he says. “That’s what [3D printing] allows you to do.”Divergent got PSA on board after it shaved about 150 kilograms off a Peugeot 308 and reduced its number of structural parts by more than 75 percent. Not only that, Czinger says, but the updated version of the car won a better crash rating.Lifelong learnerDuring our interview, Czinger tends to give lengthy answers involving technical descriptions. He even expresses gratitude to the Carnegie Library System in Cleveland, where he spent weekends as a kid reading for entire afternoons — his favorite pastime growing up.Clearly, he’s a lifelong learner. And, today, he says, when tasked to learn something new, he takes a similar approach to those library days of his youth: reading and more reading.”The reality is you can teach yourself anything,” Czinger says. “First, I do a general survey of what the literature is, to understand what people are thinking; and then if I find particular people that I want to talk to, I’ll talk to them.”Still, while all that idealistic stuff about fighting climate change is Divergent’s mission, Czinger has his feet planted firmly on planet Earth. He knows Divergent is a business first.”The most internal discipline you can possibly have, because you are wanting to change the world, you have to look out and say, ‘I’m not going to change anything if I run out of money,'” Czinger says. “I’m not going to change anything if I don’t survive. I have to make sure that we maintain our survival.”Meanwhile, he says he doesn’t see Divergent as an extension of himself. “My ego doesn’t depend on this company,” he says.“Whether my life is successful or not doesn’t depend on this company. I’m going to give it, like, an enormous, crazy, crazy, crazy effort because I’m a competitive person and I think this is the right thing to do. But, as a human being, this is not about ‘me.’ The most important thing is to be a good person and have those relationships.”He adds, “If I thought this was about making more money or being cool, I would not do it for a second, believe me.” June 15, 2017 12 min read Enroll Now for $5 Image credit: Divergent 3D News Director Stephen J. Bronner –shares Cars Add to Queue How This $28 Million Startup Hopes to Save the World With 3D Printing Next Article Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Jay Leno and Kevin Czinger pose with Divergent’s Blade while filming a segment for ‘Jay Leno’s Garage.’last_img read more

Watch Out Santa Denmark Says It Owns the North Pole

first_img Image credit: Pixabay Watch Out, Santa. Denmark Says It Owns the North Pole. Jason Fell December 16, 2014 –shares Entrepreneur Staff Director of the Entrepreneur Partner Studio 2 min read Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Santa, man, you better dig up your deed and call your city officials, pronto. It looks like Denmark is making a power play to be the sole owner of the North Pole.Following a 12-year, $50 million survey of an underwater mountain range, the Nordic country — located in Northern Europe just south of Norway and Sweden — has concluded that it is the rightful owner of the North Pole. Its research apparently shows that the Arctic region is geologically attached to Greenland, which Denmark also controls.For those of us who need a quick refresher on where the North Pole is, it’s the 556,463-square-mile area in the middle of the Arctic Ocean that represents the northernmost point on Earth. So, no, residents of North Pole, Alaska, can rest easy.Related: 5 Steps to Working a Holiday Party Like SantaTurns out, a number of countries have voiced interest in owning the North Pole over the years, including the U.S., Russia, Canada and Norway. Denmark’s claim is uncharacteristically bold for a country that’s otherwise considered a pretty chill, diplomatic place.As with most things, there appears to be some business strategy behind Denmark’s northern land grab. The North Pole is believed to contain 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of its oil. As the polar ice melts, getting to these resources becomes more feasible.In other words, Denmark is seeing dollar signs.I wonder if Santa knew what was under his feet if he would have gotten into a different line of business. Or, maybe he would have diversified revenue streams, at least.Related: How Much Would Santa’s Salary Be? Next Article Add to Queue Opportunity Register Now »last_img read more

Apple Signs Up for Googles Cloud Services

first_imgCloud Technology 2 min read Add to Queue Reuters Image credit: Denys Prykhodov | Shutterstock Next Article –shares Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brandcenter_img Apple Signs Up for Google’s Cloud Services Apple Inc. recently started using Google’s cloud service even as it simultaneously builds its own data centers to reduce its reliance on third-party service providers, technology news website Re/code reported, citing sources familiar with the deal.Apple currently also uses Amazon.com Inc.’s and Microsoft Corp.’s cloud services, but intends to end its reliance on all its rivals in the next few years, Re/code said.The iPhone maker is spending between $400 million and $600 million on Google’s cloud services, tech magazine CRN reported, adding that it was unclear if the range was for an annual rate or a set amount of capacity.CRN said Apple has also significantly reduced its reliance on Amazon since signing up with Google late last year.Apple, Amazon and Alphabet Inc.-owned Google could not be reached for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.Apple said last February that it would spend a combined $3.9 billion to build three data centers in Arizona, Ireland and Denmark. The Arizona facility is planned to be a command center to manage its other data centers.Google has also been pushing to gain share in the fast-growing market. In November, the company appointed industry veteran Diane Greene to run its cloud business.Last month, Google signed a deal to provide cloud services for online music streaming platform Spotify.(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza) March 17, 2016 Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Enroll Now for $5 This story originally appeared on Reuterslast_img read more

Start Saving Michael Phelps The IRS Is Taxing Your Olympic Medals

first_imgRio Olympics 2016 Start Saving, Michael Phelps. The IRS Is Taxing Your Olympic Medals. August 15, 2016 Image credit: Michael Regan | Getty Images Entrepreneur Staff Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business 1 min readcenter_img Next Article Entrepreneur Staff Hey aspiring Olympians, if you dream of taking home the gold, start training … and get a good accountant.As reported by Americans for Tax Reform, the United States Olympic Committee awards monetary prizes to those athletes who medal: $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze.Related: Serena Williams and the 9 Most Successful Entrepreneur AthletesSo with five golds and one silver around his neck, doggy paddle specialist Michael Phelps is set to swim home with $140,000 in his pockets. (Speedos have pockets, right?) But don’t go blowing all of that in the arm floaties section of Wal-Mart, Michael. Your pals at the IRS are going to want to take a bite of your historic medal count.Americans for Tax Reform unhappily notes that using a tax rate of 39.6 percent, “victory tax” would be $9,900 for gold, $5,940 for silver and $3,960 for bronze.Those numbers could be smaller for athletes in lower tax brackets, but given Phelps’ net worth of $55 million, it looks like the human fish will be on the hook for the full $55,440 tax bill.  Register Now » Add to Queue –shareslast_img read more

Shop Direct Enhances Customer Engagement Revenues with Revionics AIBased Price Optimization

first_imgShop Direct Enhances Customer Engagement, Revenues with Revionics AI-Based Price Optimization PRNewswireMay 9, 2019, 11:57 amMay 9, 2019 Comprehensive Organizational and Process Approach Transforms and Streamlines a Retail InnovatorAs the UK’s largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider, Shop Direct is committed to continuous innovation that makes it a preferred online shopper destination while delivering strong business results. Having made a deliberative selection to adopt AI-based price and promotion optimization, Shop Direct’s implementation of Revionics is delivering measurable positive impact on multiple fronts, including customer engagement, unit lift and revenues.  Based on strong results in the initial deployment in its Ireland businesses, Shop Direct is now moving confidently through rollout in its UK operations.“The success of this customer-centric pricing initiative is due in no small part to our unique culture at Shop Direct, which embraces a willingness to constructively challenge the traditional ways of doing things, at the same time recognizing the critical value of thorough planning and a comprehensive end-to-end approach,” said Shop Direct’s Group Retail Director Sam Perkins, the executive board member who leads the etail giant’s combined retail and product teams. “Rather than adopting retail price optimization technology in isolation, we took a holistic end-to-end approach, from a meticulous consensus-driven selection process, to setting up the right price strategies, processes and organisation structure, to a disciplined implementation rollout, all of which enable us to maximise the impact of these powerful optimisation capabilities. And we teamed with Revionics at every step of the way to benefit from the best practices they’ve seen as they’ve worked with leading retailers worldwide.”Marketing Technology News: Persistent Systems Joins Siemens’ MindSphere Partner Program to Bring Industrial IoT Solutions to Market“While Revionics has always taken a long-term partnering approach with our retail customers, Shop Direct is a truly outstanding partner that embodies the powerful business benefits of this sort of strategic collaboration,” said Revionics Chairman and CEO Marc H. Hafner.  “Their willingness to challenge their past approaches in favor of new, thoughtful innovations, their deep commitment to having a razor-sharp focus on their customers, and their strategic business transformation mindset make Shop Direct an exemplar of a forward-thinking retailer structured for long-term success.”Marketing Technology News: Madison Logic Unveils New Data Cloud to Accelerate ABM for B2B Organizations GloballyAs the UK’s largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider, Shop Direct has annual sales of £1.96 billion. Later this year, we will rebrand to The Very Group as part of plans to bring our name and identity in line with our largest and fastest growing retail brand Very.co.uk.Marketing Technology News: Amazon or Alibaba: Freedonia Compares These Global E-Commerce Leaders AIfinancial services providerMarketing TechnologyNewsSam PerkinsShop Direct Previous ArticleZappar Launches ZapWorks Studio 6Next ArticleVoicify, LLC Receives Second Round of Funding from Multiple Investorslast_img read more