Flickr Photostream

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Short blog re we need a challenge between the Billionaires!? Pierre Omidyar, Steve Case And Mike Milken On The Business Case For Impact Investing - Forbes

Pierre Omidyar, Steve Case And Mike Milken On The Business Case For Impact Investing - Forbes:


Brilliant work indeed, and also the giving pledge,

this might be a stupid question, surely if all the billionaires work together on a few big issues, the impact would surely be even greater, right?? why let each decide in their leisure and most likely without urgency!?

IMHO seems like this is opportunity lost, as turning up for events and charity fund raising is much easier.. lets do a "solution pledge' for the second phase!??  we really need solution for Food, water, MRSA & world financial market..etc.

We have a challenge of lack of "intelligent giving" at present sadly.. see @Quora question Charities: How best to do "intelligent giving"? http://bit.ly/16hmbaJ 

What do you think? we need a challenge between the Billionaires!?


Friday, 24 May 2013

My blog re how to challenge the offshore UHNWs to creat community of "intelligent capital" for europe? re Hipsters Flocking to Silicon Roundabout as Bankers Fade - Bloomberg

Must read article:
Hipsters Flocking to Silicon Roundabout as Bankers Fade - Bloomberg:



 

Great event, great insights shared+, great people on and off panel.. really hope the panel discussion video can be shared. (some pictures I took: #WhiteFlat Buzz panel at Bloomberg 19May13 http://flic.kr/s/aHsjF6TRQ2 )

Brilliant to have such vibrant & exciting ecosystem/community success so far in the last few years, and well on our way to address "density of network" issue.. (mentioned often by Eze, quoting Reid hoffman)

One of the key challenge as highlighted by Jeremy was that there is not yet many major billion pounds exit yet (IMHO, that is only one measure and most don't end well except for founders & selected early investors, look at Autonomy furore, Bebo that just gone bankrupted after further sell off.. who is to say Skype has done better!?) 

Hopefully in 2013, we will have more startups with "to be proven sustainable business model" in mind rather than short term eyeball gains and exits to bigger player as ultimate goals, Groupon? (some might argue that is the reason why we have no major Internet Tech firms from Europe yet) 

some of the panel mentioned that the Major problem the ecosystem faced with now is apparently lack of startup with real ambition and lack of decent follow on funding  (range of US$500k+ was mentioned) (need verification of the video, sadly I didn't take notes!)

As I asked during the event,  it would be great if panel & others can attempt to address "quality of and competitions between investors" challenge.. (hopefully they are also intelligent also)

IMHO, knowing quite a few of the top investors and many of the well heeled exited and now offshore UHNWs (tax wise, non dom), quite a few of them are still active in business/deals but sadly they are not as 'hungry' any more (can't blame them! & not talking about career fund managers/VCs) and nor they have or need to be under any 'social proof' pressure, as the offshore /anonymity offered by jurisdictions means most are surrounding themselves with yes-men or people wanting their time/resources (& friends/colleagues they trusted) and rarely they see many peers that are much more successful than them (well, it is intrinsically impossible, because they are offshore! they might meet them in local functions but people don't mingle, like at private members club, unless you own the club of course).. 

Further complex the issue is that most UHNWs are in the "linkedOUT" phase and most prefer anonymity,  hence you may have noticed that its same tens of 'big names' guys in the same conferences all over europe.. etc. where in fact many other top UHNWs guys who might be richer but are less active. 

my off the cuff suggestion then was for UK policy maker to consider creating a "density of network" between such off-shored and well heeled potential investors/typically exited mid-cap entrepreneurs/UHNWs (to meet on or offshore 1/2days per year with each other & pre-qualified entrepreneurs with decent firms/ideas).  this should ensure some social proof between the exited successful potential investors so they can see behind close door how some others are doing better from other sectors (very much like in Silicon Valley), this should provide some competitive incentives for the newly formed UHNWs to invest time to meet/listen and thus maybe more likely to take some risk and invest in the next Apple of UK/Europe??  

In return, maybe government can give them few more days to visit friends & family on shore if they have invested based on certain criteria? that might also promote further bragging rights (e.g. how many extra days they get this year..)  the real scale and effect might be much greater than 100s of EIS/SEIS combined!? (have no numbers nor resources to research, please do tell me if I am wrong, keen to learn more!)

Another issue is that the supply of quality entrepreneurs also need to be addressed (not most of the dragons den type but serious well thought out guys please), .. hopefully with intelligent/prequalified capital we will also have intelligent/pre-qualified entrepreneurs... I hope this all make sense, but probably I have written away my invitation now! ;-)  maybe some food for thought? 

BR


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Make sense but sadly not likely, here is why, "Winner takes all politics" re Why public companies should have public tax returns | @FelixSalmon

Why public companies should have public tax returns | Felix Salmon:


this makes perfect sense & yet another brilliant post, Felix..!

but sadly given the eloquently written thesis/book  by Jacob Hacker & Paul Pierson, on "Winner takes all politics", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winner-Take-All_Politics_(book)

See interview here: https://vimeo.com/35036408 (over a year ago but still relevant)


Jacob Hacker & Paul Pierson on Winner Take All Politics from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

sadly this time, looks to me US needed some outside help (not sure if they really recognise that this is a fundamental problem and needed fixing!)..

Not likely however.. lets hope I am wrong in this instance. what do you think?

BR
@GarethWong

Yes please, but surely some things to consider 4 John Caudwell? If I can pay £250m tax, so can my fellow billionaires | The Sunday Times

If I can pay £250m tax, so can my fellow billionaires | The Sunday Times:


It is great and brilliant that John is taking the moral high ground and setting an example for other billionaires.. many other UK billionaires should take heed, likewise how he aims to give wealth away to make a different is also awe inspiring (not sure many will follow sadly but fingers crossed). 
His comments and experiences are most applicable to other firms that are operating mostly in UK, like Acadia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phones_4u & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcadia_Group ) but as you can see, Green family is offshore also (not saying it is right or wrong but already practising and using instruments that is being reported for big corporates)
No doubt therefore running firms like google/amazon would be rather different from phone4U in UK...
Indeed, it is only few years back that John was also trying to fight for his rights..  (Phones4U boss loses £13m tax fight | This is Money, 24 July 2005 http://bit.ly/10KFnET
US indeed have similar challenges: @GarethWong: Must read, view from within US, corporate tax nationally, and what has changed.. very real national problem! re We’re living in an Ayn Rand economy - Salon.com http://bit.ly/13JcVbT
Transfer pricing is a world problem, not only UK, as I briefly blogged: @GarethWong: Challenge of Transfer Pricing, My comments/data needed to support Eric Schmidt: At Google we aspire to do the right thing. So we welcome a debate on international tax reform | Eric Schmidt|Comment is free|The Observer http://bit.ly/10KG690
Given all the philanthropic work of John, why not take the leadership position and fixing this for the world!?? see what professor Adam Grant has to say about that, and maybe learn from @LJA_Foundation.. ?? (https://www.quora.com/Charities-1/How-best-to-do-intelligent-giving )
The news article may have taken the wrong angle and/or I may have taken the wrong end of the stick.. if so, apologies. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Must read, view from within US, corporate tax nationally, and what has changed.. very real national problem! re We’re living in an Ayn Rand economy - Salon.com

We’re living in an Ayn Rand economy - Salon.com:

This is a very important national view in US, the other side of the coin of the last post.

must read article and highlighted a very important national issue!

the system is indeed broken. no end or solution in sight sadly.

BR
@GarethWong


"So Who Has To Pay?
Middle-class families. The $2 trillion in tax losses from underpayments, expenditures, and tax havens costs every middle-class family about $20,000 in community benefits, including health care and education and food and housing.
Schoolkids, too. A study of 265 large companies by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) determined that about $14 billion per year in state income taxes was unpaid over three years. That’s approximately equal to the loss of 2012-13 education funding due to budget cuts.
And the lowest-income taxpayers make up the difference, based on new data that shows that the Earned Income Tax Credit is the single biggest compliance problem cited by the IRS. The average sentence for cheating with secret offshore financial accounts, according to the Wall Street Journal, is about half as long as in some other types of tax cases.
Atlas Can’t Be Found Among the Rich
Only 3 percent of the CEOs, upper management, and financial professionals were entrepreneurs in 2005, even though they made up about 60 percent of the richest .1% of Americans. A recent study found that less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs came from very rich or very poor backgrounds. Job creators come from the middle class.
So if the super-rich are not holding the world on their shoulders, what do they do with their money? According to both Marketwatch and economist Edward Wolff, over 90 percent of the assets owned by millionaires are held in a combination of low-risk investments (bonds and cash), personal business accounts, the stock market, and real estate.
Ayn Rand’s hero John Galt said, “We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another.” In his world, Atlas has it easy, with only himself to think about."

Challenge of Transfer Pricing, My comments/data needed to support Eric Schmidt: At Google we aspire to do the right thing. So we welcome a debate on international tax reform | Eric Schmidt | Comment is free | The Observer

At Google we aspire to do the right thing. So we welcome a debate on international tax reform | Eric Schmidt | Comment is free | The Observer:

Despite I did not agree with you last time we encounter re China re reforms, in this instance, I agree with you Eric, but don't envy your challenge as UK like most other governments worldwide are sadly run by popular sentiments (can we blame them!?) and sadly most do not understand the bigger macro/international picture of Transfer pricing (for those of you interested, this 1998 article explains high level what it is: http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/issues/1998/jul/carter.htm ) add the international politics to it, and competitive situation between multinationals and further complicate that with "no one country can legislate for the world"... this sadly means you are in a "no win" situation! 

IMHO (I am probably wrong), contribution of a company is not and should not be measured by ONLY one standard (corporation tax) but a balanced score card approach should be adopted, namely how much "other tax" is Google and others major firms paying? are all the staff paying the right amount of PAYE and other tax? do the Corporations contribute in money and in kind and make a measurable impact to the local/national society?? by all means lets get the real life data/measurements and compare that with the local council (government) vs  other national firms, and multinationals?? 

Indeed, it is not a good excuse for firms not to pay tax, but this is indeed an endemic problem of the capital market, which is highlighted very well by the brilliant book of Prof. Colin Mayers's Firm Commitment.

Talk and accusation by popular culture (press/committee judge & jury) is cheap, "real actions", measurable results and lasting impact speak for itself, no!? Lets find out the real problem and devise a viable solution. 

Please forgive my probably flawed & grammatically wrong post but I hope the central idea was conveyed. 

BR
@GarethWong

Monday, 13 May 2013

What would happen if this was in UK!?? How Chris Hadfield brought space travel back to us Earthlings - Telegraph

How Chris Hadfield brought space travel back to us Earthlings - Telegraph:

Brilliant indeed. Well done to the commander and Canada! 

A thought just came to my mind, why do we not have such brilliance from UK yet!!?  

Maybe the potential consequence of any such creativity might bring? (some might argue that)  if this happens in UK's space station (if there was one!) and with a British astronaut that did such great work (whether or not his/she could sing).  All we could hear now would be the MPs shouting to each other in parliament and media/lobby groups' complaint as to why the money was spent on making such frivolous video!? 

Lets wait and see what  @RichardBranson   video will be like when Galactic flies... no doubt that video will be interesting but it will be his and his financier's achievements.







Wednesday, 8 May 2013

my comments re What if you learned about personal branding from the greats? | LinkedIn

What if you learned about personal branding from the greats? | LinkedIn:


great post and IMHO if I might add, need to adopt sun tze art of war: 知己知彼,百战不殆. namely know thyself and know your enemy (the world/competitions), 

1.) Know yourself, 
2.) where you want to go and 
3.) then you can devise the right strategy, self branding included. 

the brilliant three examples (in the above blog, Richard brandson, Martha Stewart & Bill Gates) are case in point, we cannot create the same successes (and no one will be able to, ever!) due to the fact that we are not them.  

However we can and have to create our own success (having our own history, challenges, personal stories..) so, first step might be to look back and have a "personal away day"... decide where you come from, where you would like to go, and then decide on how and in fact whether you wanted a personal brand!?

I think having fame & fortune (at least at level of the 3 mentioned) might just be over-rated. :)

BR
@GarethWong

My comments re What Would Ashton Do—and Does It Matter? - Harvard Business Review

What Would Ashton Do—and Does It Matter? - Harvard Business Review:
(must read article & research links above)

I would like to argue that most things relating to celebrities are meaningless.. as per the brilliant documentary done by Chris Atkins shown on Starsuckers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starsuckers

although some celebrities are using their fame to help people, invest in firms like Ashton and maybe likes of @Stephenfry is doing something more by engaging & challenging our mind with his learned intellectual programs (I have to confess I don't watch much TV even before seeing starsuckers)

IMHO, present days popularity and fame is very much like in the 20/30s , they can only influence how you spend the leisure pound, and how they can potentially manipulate media for a 'cause'... 

love the comments made by @annielennox made when she received the HONORARY SKOLL AWARD FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP @skollworldforum  this year reiterating her previous points (Annie Lennox attacks 'horrible' TV talent shows with 'stupid row of judges' - Telegraph http://bit.ly/16giVM2 ) but pointing towards the kardashians (still don't know what the fuss is about, beyond me)

please do not forget that Ashton does not mean anything outside of the popular culture, I am quite sure he is a lovely guy and happy to share a cup of tea with him if he is a down to earth guy.. 

you asked the 1 right question, which is "real influence" should be measured by money or time spent that is done based on suggestions by the influencer.. good example is money spent (e.g. donation to church, local community centre, charity) or time spent /habit change, like joining a martial art club to church choir or really get involved with a local homeless charity, local farm or even create own transparent foundation (not one of those that create one's own worshipping community, fine line, I know!)

Online/mobile, it is very difficult to fit into my definition above as people just change the habit of location of consumption (How to waste one's time)... the best measure I would like to argue then is how much money is spent (only viable measurement) but we human would not like to ask obvious questions, as typically we KNOW we do not like the answers (like why our banks do not know how risky their positions are!? ) .. 

the question is how much money is spent online based on the 'influence', have you guys noticed that there is no research whatsoever on how much total money spent online by whom, via whom and for what!? likewise, if google is the defacto standards, why they charge on per click and why not through per transaction done via their system?? (I love Google services though, as I cannot find any alternatives! so, pls don't break it up yet until I find a replacement for the G-services)

fact of the matter is most people (me included) do not challenge ourselves enough and it is much easier to consume (passive, to be influenced but hardly lifting off fingers, let alone butts) than to create (get involved, try to understand real issues and put some plans into action).. 

This highlight real opportunity for whoever, @aplusk  included if he/she can really affect influence and change the world for the better (via whatever platforms) or just influence how you spend/preserve your resources. 

good luck to us all!

BR

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

RT @GarethWong Must Watch Bril.! @rorysutherland @ICACanada Next revolution will b psychological not technological http://bit.ly/10g19Ag SlidesPls!

The next revolution will be psychological not technological - YouTube:

nothing I can add to the Brilliant lecture by Rory, culminating in many hours of talks given by him, this is probably one of the best, we just need the slides & links to the videos he refers to to make it more complete for those that have not seen the videos..

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Cultural clout, interesting view indeed...

Cultural clout:

"Arena Media's Justin Gibbons unveils a new study from Work Research and Bournemouth University, Cultural clout – the role of culture in consumer decision-making, at Shift 2013.






see how Tai Chi Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang do not move with 20ppl pushing him, 陳氏太極拳 - 陳小旺 VS 亞洲大力士 - 龍武 - YouTube

陳氏太極拳 - 陳小旺 VS 亞洲大力士 - 龍武 - YouTube:

Chen Tai Chi vs guy that can push a 25 tonnes articulated lorry, can he push master Chen and move him outside of a circle over 3minutes!??

Grandmaster Chen (70years old dring filming) can already stop 20 people pushing him though, fascinated popcorn/dramatic documentary on an almost unbelievable martial art with thousands of years history!


Video - Weekend With Buffett: Berkshire Hathaway Meetup - WSJ.com

Video - Weekend With Buffett: Berkshire Hathaway Meetup - WSJ.com:

The Warren Buffett Gig... a pretty concise video


Friday, 3 May 2013

My comments re Rat Meat Sold as Lamb in China Highlights Fears - NYTimes.com

Rat Meat Sold as Lamb in China Highlights Fears - NYTimes.com:

Must read>>>

can you blame our mainland Chinese friends searching the world for "safer baby milk powder"!??

This is a systemic problem very much like the financial market where short term profit rules except consequences much graver that would affect people's long term health and even might kill people..

Huge problematic issue that need some urgent solution! any ideas??  do not believe that it is only a Chinese problem, as it will affect the world!!

"The police arrested 63 suspects accused of “buying fox, mink and rat and other meat products that had not undergone inspection,” which they doused in gelatin, red pigment, and nitrates, and sold as mutton in Shanghai and adjacent Jiangsu Province for about $1.6 million, according to the ministry’s statement. The account did not explain how exactly the traders acquired the rats and other creatures.

¶ “How many rats does it take to put together a sheep?” said one typically baffled and angry user of Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service that often acts as a forum for public venting. “Is it cheaper to raise rats than sheep? Or does it just not feel right unless you’re making fakes?”

The cases described included a company in Inner Mongolia, a northeast region of China, caught with 23 tons of fake beef jerky and unprocessed frozen meat adulterated with flavoring chemicals and swarming with bacteria. Six suspects in Guizhou Province, in southwest China, were caught with 8.8 tons of “toxic chicken feet” adulterated with illegal additives. Chicken feet, steamed or boiled with spices, are a popular dish in parts of China.

The Ministry of Public Security also described cases of traders selling pigs and ducks that had died from disease, and of another perennial problem: pigs injected with water to increase the weight, and price, of the pork sold on the market.
"


Chinese mothers force gold price rebound | South China Morning Post

Chinese mothers force gold price rebound | South China Morning Post:

IMHO, its all very well when we have all the ETFs & funds based on Gold etc, which satisfy the demand from the 'trader' part of the finance community, we cannot escape the in escapable fact: supply of Gold is limited and demand is either constance or increasing (vs no more new gold found!!) therefore, the investment of the gold bullion is a sure thing!

consequently, maybe governments worldwide should really think about a possibility of using gold rather than debt/currency based model...!?


"Chinese mothers have beaten Wall Street hedge fund managers in forcing a turnaround in the price of gold after it dropped last month.

Taking advantage of the steepest drop in three decades, they have shored up prices by splashing out on gold for their daughters' weddings in the past couple of weeks, foiling the plan of finance gurus who have been short selling the precious metal in the hope of pushing it lower.

"The drop in gold price last month was caused by Wall Street fund managers who wanted to short gold and push it below the US$1,300 per ounce level before piling back in," said Haywood Cheung Tak-hay, the president of the Chinese Gold & Silver Exchange Society."

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

My short comments re the bold statement by "BlackBerry CEO predicts death of tablets in five years (Wired UK)"

BlackBerry CEO predicts death of tablets in five years (Wired UK):

It's great to be bold, ambitious, & visionary. But success will only arrive if one can deliver, case in point, if iPad,iPhone don't work, no one will pay for them!

I'm a BlackBerry family ; sadly now I have both a torch AND a Z10 as I can't get my 25,000 contacts over.. no. Solution!

As I mentioned to thorsten via email and blog, he needs to be strong & bring company private & focus on products & find a vision/ redefine their own niche.

That advice hasn't changed but with Tim cook being forced to give back cash AND do what a typical ceo do (albeit very rich one!), thorsten's opportunity might be opening up! He needs some vision for the future and Erm deliver (without much short term distractions like quarterly earnings reports!)

more of my previous and still valid comments are here:
http://garethcxo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/my-revised-suggestion-short-blog-for.html?m=1my blog in 2012 re how to secure future of blackberry

What do you think? or you think he is on the right track!?

BR
@GarethWong
(on a z10)