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Posted: 7 May 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research

An Amazing Man

There was a one hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffet, the world’s second richest man who has donated $31 billion to charity.

Following are some very interesting aspects of his life:


1. He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!

2. He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.

3. He still lives in the same small 3-bedroom house in mid-town Omaha, which he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.

4. He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.

5. He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world's largest private jet company.

6. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year.

He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis. He has given his CEO's only two rules. Rule number 1: do not lose any of your share holder's money.

Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.

7. He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch Television.

8. Bill Gates, the world's richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted or ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.

9. Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.




His advice to young people: "Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself and Remember:

A. Money doesn't create man but it is the man who created money.

B. Live your life as simple as you are.

C. Don't do what others say, just listen to them, but do what you feel is good.

D. Don't go on brand names; just wear those things in which U feel comfortable.

E. Don't waste your money on unnecessary things; rather spend on those people who are really in need.

F. After all it's your life - then why give chance to others to rule your life."

G. The best investment you can ever make, is to invest in the Kingdom of God

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Posted: 7 May 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research

Global Risks 2012 - Seventh Edition

Global Risks 2012 - Seventh Edition

Economic imbalances and social inequality risk reversing the gains of globalization, warns the World Economic Forum in its report Global Risks 2012. These are the findings of a survey of 469 experts and industry leaders, indicating a shift of concern from environmental risks to socioeconomic risks compared to a year ago. Respondents worry that further economic shocks and social upheaval could roll back the progress globalization has brought, and feel that the world’s institutions are ill-equipped to cope with today’s interconnected, rapidly evolving risks. The findings of the survey fed into an analysis of three major risk cases: Seeds of Dystopia; Unsafe Safeguards and the Dark Side of Connectivity. The report analyses the top 10 risks in five categories - economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological - and also highlights "X Factor" risks, the wild card threats which warrant more research, including a volcanic winter, cyber neotribalism and epigenetics, the risk that the way we live could have harmful, inheritable effects on our genes. Key crisis management lessons from Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters are highlighted in a special chapter.


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Posted: 8 May 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research



Despite almost certain IPO success, Facebook has to start making money from mobile phone advertising soon


Facebook flag next to US flag outside the offices of J.P. Morgan in New York City

Flag it up: the Facebook and US flags outside underwriters JP Morgan in New York. Facebook's IPO is expected to be the biggest ever. Photograph: Lee Celano/Reuters

The New York offices of stockbrokers JP Morgan flew a flag – with Facebook's familiar blue background and white logo – on Friday. Some onlookers were appalled that it was flying at the same height as the American flag beside it. But Facebook's status as an American icon is about to be cemented by its stock market offering.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executive, and other executives, began their "roadshow" on Monday to persuade institutional investors to buy shares before the flotation.The flag-flying JP Morgan is one of the underwriters, along with Goldman Sachs, with Morgan Stanley in the lead, of the initial public offering. It should not be too hard a sell. Hundreds of investors lined up outside New York's Sheraton Hotel yesterday to hear Zuckerberg set out the case for buying shares in Facebook's initial public offering (IPO) which has been eagerly awaited for months. Some 338m shares are being sold off at a price between $28 and $35 – which would raise between $9.4bn (£5.8bn) and $11.8bn in ready cash and potentially value the company at up to $100bn.

That will make it substantially bigger than Google's 2004 IPO, which raised $1.66bn. Some think the company will push up the offer price even higher; beyond $38, it would be the fourth-largest IPO in history, beating Deutsche Telekom's $13bn in 1996. The final pricing is expected on 17 May. The social network is emerging into the sunlight after years in which its finances and operation have been surrounded by guesswork. It turns out to have a solid advertising model built around knowing precisely what people are interested in at any time – because its 900m users tell it through their self-penned biographies, updates and connections with each other.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, it earned $302m on revenues of $1.13bn, but profits dipped in the first quarter to $205m as it spent more on marketing, although revenues grew 45% year on year to $1.06bn.

The numbers are amazing: 125bn connections between those 900 million people (an average of 139 each). The "Like" button is pressed 2bn times a day. More than half – 526 m – of the users log on each day. And 488m connect using their mobile at least once a month. Of the daily active users, 152m are in Europe, and 129m in the US and Canada. The adverts that generate most of its money can be carefully targeted by age, interests or location – although, to advertisers, Facebook is in effect a black box that they push their requests into; it does not sell them the data.

A video released to go with the roadshow gave a fascinating glimpse into Facebook's advertising metrics. Globally, it makes $4.34 in advertising revenue per user per year. In the US, its most fruitful region, it gets $9.51 per user, Europe generates $4.86, Asia $1.79, and the rest of the world $1.42. Overall, advertising generates 82% of its revenues; the other 18% comes from payments, for example its slice of the money people spend buying farm animals in games such as Zynga's Farmville (Zynga alone generates 15% of its overall revenue).

Zuckerberg, 27, is joined on the 12-strong board (where he is chairman and chief executive, and the youngest by 10 years) by Mike Schroepfer, the vice-president of engineering, David Fischer, in charge of marketing, and Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer. Sandberg, 42, received the highest cash and stock compensation, worth just under $31m last year; 37-year-old Schroepfer's package was worth $24.8m; Zuckerberg's was a more modest $1.7m.

The pay is big – but so are the potential rewards. The main prize for Facebook is the largest internet population in the world: China. The company is still banned there, but Zuckerberg has made visits regarded as attempts to engage the authorities. Yet, if the experience of Google is anything to go by, the compromises needed to operate inside China's authoritarian sphere can cause high-level disagreements (although Google eventually left after discovering China-inspired hacking against Tibetan activists).

Although Facebook would be able to drive its growth by moving into China, the censorship that would be required might be too much for it to stomach – even though the network has famously blocked pictures of breastfeeding, and has a complex rulebook for its moderators to consult when deciding whether to delete uploaded photos if people complain about them.

But entering China may be a decision Zuckerberg will take solo. After the IPO, he will still hold 23.5% of the stock – and 57.3% of the voting shares, because of the two-tier structure which allows him to continue to make decisions in effect without reference to the other directors, as happened with the $1bn purchase (23m shares, $300m in cash) in April of Instagram, the mobile photo-sharing site, where the board was only informed after the fact.

The Instagram deal has raised some concerns about the company. "That made it look like [Zuckerberg] was a kid in a candy store who wanted to have anything he wanted," said Francis Gaskins, president and editor of the research firm IPO Desktop. "They're moving into a different arena, and I don't think they fully realise the subtleties in terms of how to deal with institutional investors and how to run a company on a very cost-effective basis. He talks about connecting people, but he's just not connecting with the people who are going to be setting the value of his company."

Facebook's biggest threats may not be external. Founded in Zuckerberg's room while he was at Harvard University in 2004, the company has no true challengers outside China. Google's attempts to move into the social space with Google+, launched last summer, have shown little sign of denting its rise or, more importantly, user engagement. And Zuckerberg is aware of the rapid rise and fall that befell earlier social networks such as Friends Reunited, Bebo, and MySpace; he has focused on broadening its appeal and building it into the fabric of the web through the "Like" button and similar systems.

But two big threats do exist: mobile and privacy. The world's shift towards using mobile phones, and especially smartphones, is the key one. Facebook makes no money from mobile advertising – but 40% of its users access it that way at least once a month. That is a gap it is determined to fill, and quickly. In February it announced it was planning to develop strategies to correct this. One challenge is that mobile advertising generates less revenue than that on personal computers (because phone screens are smaller, offering fewer placements). But as the numbers using mobile overtake those on the desktop – expected some time in 2013 – that could compensate.

Privacy has been a bugbear of users and government agencies in the past couple of years. In Europe, the company is obliged to work closely with data protection commissioners after complaints about its ever-changing privacy policy. "The company's financial success requires it to collect more personal information and make that available to advertisers," Bill Kerrigan, chief executive of the privacy company Abine, said recently. But a growing proportion of Facebook users hide data such as their age or home town – up from 12% in 2010 to 33% in 2011. The company recognises the "threats" in its regulatory filing about "changes in user sentiment" about its "privacy and sharing, safety, security or other factors".

However, the latest annual study by Consumer Reports, extrapolating from 1,300 US households, suggests that 13 million of its users have never touched their privacy settings.

That's just how Zuckerberg would like it. As he prepares to take his giant idea public, the last thing he wants is his users becoming more private.

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Posted: 9 May 2012 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Market news

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter says the Facebook CEO's hoodie is a "mark of immaturity" and shows a lack of respect for investors. Even so, he set a $44 price target and gave Facebook an outperform rating.


I find the arrogance of this insinuation unbearable. Anyone else?





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Posted: 11 May 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research


What is the name of a whale penis ?


JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Thursday that it suffered a trading loss of at least $2 billion from a failed hedging strategy, a surprise disclosure that hit financial stocks and the reputation of the bank and its prominent CEO, Jamie Dimon.


For a bank viewed as a strong risk manager that never reported a loss throughout the financial crisis, the errors are embarrassing, especially in light of Dimon's public criticism of the so-called Volcker rule to ban proprietary trading by big banks, and could lead to more heat from Washington on the sector.


"This puts egg on our face," Dimon said, apologizing in a hastily called conference call with stock analysts and conceded that the losses were linked to a Wall Street Journal report in April about a trader, nicknamed the 'London Whale', who, the report said, had amassed an outsized position.



Herman Melvill

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Posted: 15 May 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research

Krugman and Euro


Some of us have been talking it over, and here’s what we think the end game looks like:

1. Greek euro exit, very possibly next month.

2. Huge withdrawals from Spanish and Italian banks, as depositors try to move their money to Germany.

3a. Maybe, just possibly, de facto controls, with banks forbidden to transfer deposits out of country and limits on cash withdrawals.

3b. Alternatively, or maybe in tandem, huge draws on ECB credit to keep the banks from collapsing.

4a. Germany has a choice. Accept huge indirect public claims on Italy and Spain, plus a drastic revision of strategy — basically, to give Spain in particular any hope you need both guarantees on its debt to hold borrowing costs down and a higher eurozone inflation target to make relative price adjustment possible; or:

4b. End of the euro.

And we’re talking about months, not years, for this to play out.


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Posted: 22 May 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Off-beat


With classic understatement, Justine Gatt, from the University of Sydney, who has been studying twins, said the discovery of a tumour in this way was 'not something that happens often'

Brenton Gurney, 38, from Sydney, suffered a series of headaches but an MRI scan found nothing wrong, so he convinced his brother Craig to have a scan.

Craig's MRI revealed a brain tumour in the base of his skull. It has been removed in a 10-hour operation and he has safely recovered.

"Ultimately Brenton saved my life," Craig told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Brenton said: "We've always been really, really close."

During the gruelling operation, Brenton said, the family often looked over to him in the waiting room as to detect his brother's progress.Previously, it was Craig who had divined maladies in his twin. He detected when his brother had a life-threatening mystery rash and when he dislocated a shoulder – and both men have married women named Nicole.

"We're really closely connected and we've always been able to pick each other, know what each other were thinking," Craig told Channel Nine.

Justine Gatt, from the University of Sydney, who has been studying twins, said the discovery of a tumour in this way was "not something that happens often".

Asked whether the twins might have a telepathic connection, Dr Gatt said: "There's so much we don't know." She added: "In terms of Brenton's and Craig's case, where one twin was feeling the symptoms of the other, that clearly shows that there's a lot more to know and this kind of research is central to mental health."


Maybe this explains my headaches





Multimedia - Mail & Guardian Online… via @mailandguardian

— Michael Melvill (@MleopoldM) May 22, 2012

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Posted: 28 May 2012 - 1 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research


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Posted: 30 May 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research

White complex displaying a newfound arrogance -…

— Michael Melvill (@MleopoldM) May 30, 2012


a few quotes...


The DA racist, violent and arrogant assault of Cosatu through its attempted march on Cosatu House in defence of the youth subsidy

....this essentially found also on the mainstream white liberal electronic copies of newspapers too, the insulting painting of President Jacob Zuma


B. The DA's offensive against COSATU on the proposed Youth Wage Subsidy

1. Globally, no amount of bribery of the bosses to employ young people through the so called youth wage subsidies will resolve the failure of the global capitalist system to generate sufficient levels of employment to sustain itself.

2. This is the crux of the matter - the global capitalist system is incapable of generating sustainable levels of employment - in the past, when faced with similar revolution threatening poverty and unemployment challenges, the capitalist system has literally killed millions of youths by sending them to war! 

 The legislation of the right to work by young people, which will force government to employ or place any young person in a university, FET college, skills programme or in a (community service or development) job after completion of their Grade 12 or guarantee them an income.

D. The racist attack on the person of the ANC and Republican President, Jacob Zuma, by Brett Murray's painting

1. As a revolutionary socialist working class formation, Numsa will always defend freedom of expression and freedom of artistic creativity.

2. Numsa members fought for these freedoms well before the demise of the Apartheid capitalist regime, and the ushering in of the 1996 South African Constitution.

3. Thus we cannot today be schooled in the science, art and fight for human freedoms by those who not only benefited, but continue to do so to this day, from our inhuman treatment at the hands of white racist monopoly capital for more than 350 years; it is our revolutionary duty to defend all human rights in general and the right to human dignity in particular.

4. Numsa finds Brett Murray's painting and the subsequent extremely irrational and inhuman defence of the indefensible thoroughly repulsive and extremely unwelcome in the post 1994 South Africa.

5. Coming on the heels of so many racist and capitalist attacks on black people in general and Africans in particular, this painting has simply added to the fuel that is quickly generating a climate of racial civil war in South Africa.

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Posted: 31 May 2012 - 0 comment(s) [ Comment ] - 0 trackback(s) [ Trackback ]
Category: Research

 No one in the entire world is as good at summarizing the state of the technology business through slideshow presentations as Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker.


She's about to do it again at the All Things D conference.

Read more:

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