Friday, November 28, 2008
Mesila works with families to provide them with the tools necessary to live within their means. It's not just another Gemach(Kindness organization.) Mesila tries to convey responsible, Torah-based attitudes towards finances. It's obvious that Chareidi society has different needs than other groups, ( feeding large families, Bar Mitzva's, marrying off lots of children..) and many people end up loaded down with staggering amounts of debt and spend their entire day running from Gemach to Gemach, rolling their debt.
As a volunteer for the organization,I have worked with tens of cases and can attest to the fact that their methods work. I'd like to share an example:
About two years ago I started to work with a young couple with 3 children under the age of 5. The husband was learning and the wife was a teacher earning a teachers salary. Wanting the same type of lifestyle that their parents currently enjoy, they bought a car, an apartment, and of course they could only furnish the apartment with the very best furnishings. Needless to say that their total income was about $1,000 a month, had expenses of $2,500 a month and had run up debt of $50,000. They were late on mortgage payments, municipal taxes etc.. You name it and they hadn't paid it. They were constantly under threat of being cut off from all utilities. ( Believe it or not this is actually one of the easier cases I have worked on!)
Well, we got to work. The first thing they needed to do was understand their expenses, both monthly and annually. Mesila believes that you need to separate your monthly and annual expenses from your debt. If everything s mixed up then you can't get a good understanding of the problem. Once the couple actually saw their income and expense line, they actually realized that they had a big problem. The husband immediately got a job as a security guard, and the wife started to supplement her income by tutoring. Then we worked on a budget. They would have to live within their means, and have money left over to start paying down debt.
A big issue for these couples is that they have no room to breathe. What do I mean? That even though they are making more and saving more they are constantly being chased down from people wanting to be paid back. So the couple made a list of all the individuals, and companies that they owed money to, and we starting calling them to re-work the payment plans. We also arranged for about $5,000 from a Gemach to pay back the most urgent loans; those of the local grocer, butcher and fruit store. The firms we called to re-work payments were so accommodating to the couple. I see it over and over again when it comes to charity. If people think that they are giving and they feel like the money is going into a black hole, they are less inclined to give. But if a family actually has a budget and they are doing their best to live within that framework, people are much more willing to donate. The same thing holds true for these firms. Once they heard that the couple is working with Mesila, they delayed repayment for a few months, and then made terms that the couple could handle.
I don't want to go on and on with this story but needless to say, the family is doing well. They have managed to cut their debt down to about $20,000, and are living within a monthly budget. The husband still works nights as a security guard but is in school studying to be a social worker.
Many of you will say that Chareidim should get out of the Yeshiva and get a job. First of all, Mesila believes in not judging anyone. You can do whatever you want to do with your life, just make sure that your expenses are no more than your income. Also, what you need to know is that in many families the husband works and may even work multiple jobs. The wife also brings in some extra money. They are very resourceful. It's just that if you have 10 kids, even if you net $5,000 a month you are going to be in trouble.
The need is great and they are inundated with requests to help. There aren't a lot of English speaking volunteers. There are hundreds of Israeli volunteers and they have branches all over Israel and are even trying to start a branch in Lakewood.
We could use more organizations like Mesila and Paamonim to enable people to get back on their feet economically. Any of you who think you could use your experience to help others are urged to call and volunteer.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
According to the JPOST.com: "A further NIS 5b. will be used to set up a number of investment funds in partnership with the pension institutions (provident funds, pension funds and managers' insurance providers) for the provision of non-bank credit and to deal with the refinancing of bonds. The establishment of the private investment funds will be on the basis of tenders. Out of the NIS 5b., NIS 3b. will be allocated with immediate effect and NIS 2b. in five months time.
"The move is designed to support holders of corporate bonds when the bonds mature and to help assure companies' ability to meet their commitments," said Goshen.
"The investment funds will either refinance corporate bonds and spread the payments out, or inject capital directly into troubled companies operating in Israel to help them through the crisis."
Great. So the taxpayers are getting left bailing out lousy portfolio managers who bought corporate bonds that had little in the way of assets to back up the bond issue. Why do these managers keep their jobs? After all, if they did such a poor job in managing pension money to the extant that they need a safety net to protect soon to be pensioners, why do they keep on working? Also, we have to bail out billionaire 'Tycoons' like Lev Leviev and Yitzchak Teshuva who made highly leveraged real estate investments all over the world at the height of the bubble. Why bail them out? How much do you want to bet that they will continue to make hi risk investments knowing that if the investment crashes, the Israeli government will bail them out.
So you may ask, " why is this any different than bailing out the US auto industry?" Not that I like that either but at least I understand the case about the huge job loss that would follow if the Big 3 automakers went under. What job loss would be created in Israel if one of the tycoons went bankrupt? How many local Israeli's is Teshuva employing in his Las Vegas hotel/casino? They lost hundreds of millions of dollars investing out of Israel, employing no Israeli's and we still have to bail them out?
This is a scandal and it's a shame no one is talking about it.
New Rules of Investing - this site is a really interesting view on investing 2.0. Talks about all kinds of new methods of investing, as opposed the old school way of investing.
SeekingAlpha.com- This is a site that is geared to professional investors. It is a site that aggregates financial blog content, and gives investment ideas to those in need.
CBS Marketwatch- This is a must for those who want up-to-date information on what's happening in financial markets.
Israelnewsletter.com- For those of you interested on what's going on in the Israeli economy and Israeli stocks that trade in the US, this is a very informative site.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
1- Specialize. Define what it is that you do best, and if the task at had doesn't fit into your specialization, give it to someone else to do.
2-Take a holiday. Take a week or two off and see how everything will continue. let's face it, we aren't as important as we think and life continues, even when we are away on vacation. See who filled in for you and what tasks they did in your place, and then once you return, give each person those tasks permanently.
3- Mistakes won't kill you. Many times people who are unable to delegate are perfectionists. The reason that they can't relinquish control of certain tasks is because they are afraid that it won't be done 100%. Well in my experience, things don't really need to be finished in a perfect manner. Often times 80-90% success is more than necessary to get things done well. Delegate those tasks that really don't need to be done perfectly, this will free up a whole bunch of time.
Feel free to post you own tips on delegating.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The BOI must feel that with limited inflation risk, and the economy showing signs of zero growth, they need to do whatever it takes in order to jump start the economy. Now if the governement would only cut taxes!
Johnson & Johnson company group chairman Alex Gorsky said, "Our partnership with Omrix has already expanded our capacity to provide innovative, next generation products that raise the standard of surgical care. We believe this transaction will further enhance our efforts to bring new, science-based products to patients and the healthcare professionals who treat them."
It just goes to show that large multi-national companies will continue to look to Israel fro their R&D, instead of doing it in house where it is much cheaper. With global markets reeling, there has been very little in the way of M&A( mergers and acquisitions). The fact that an Israeli firm was acquired is truly something to be proud of.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
1- Stick to the shopping list. Before you go to the supermarket, make a thorough list of everything you need. Then when you are shopping, only buy what's on the list. The items on sale that are calling out to you to buy them need to be avoided if you don't need them now. Even if you think you will have a use for the item in a couple of months, forget about it. It's a question of current cash flow. You can't spend what you don't have.
2- Leave the car at home. Even though gas prices have dropped dramatically over the last 4 months, if you are able to cut out one tank refill a month you will have a big savings. Instead of taking the car to the neighborhood grocery or even to work, try walking. Not only will you be physically fit but you will be fiscally fit as well.
3- At restaurant drink water. If you treat your family to a dinner out at a restaurant, order water and forgo the pop or soda. A family of five can save about $10 on drinks just by ordering water.
Well the so-called 'protectors of the poor' cried and cried saying that we need more social justice and we need to increase child allowance payments, and increase unemployment benefits, otherwise we will have even larger poverty.
Wrong! It always amazes me that these elitists are always wrong. In today's eagerly awaited report on poverty, we see the number of poor declining. How could that be? Here's a thought: lower unemployment, meaning that some of the poor actually got jobs.
According to the Jpost: "According to the report, the economic quality of life for families across Israel improved from 2006 to 2007 meaning that in 2007, economic growth managed to reach the lower-income sector of society. "
Now the experts are warning about a return to higher poverty rates in '09 due to the economic slowdown. That may very well happen, but the solution is not to expand unemployment benefits. The solution is to cut taxes and encourage private sector economic expansion, as they are the ones who will create real jobs.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I will not use this column to state my personal opinion of the current system. What I think about it is irrelevant. It goes without saying that these important issues should be handled by the Gedolei Yisrael. However, I would like to provide a few tips to potentially ease the financial burden on anyone who is about to make a wedding. Keep in mind that this isn’t some magic formula which will make you suddenly able to afford the wedding and everything else that goes along with it. However, it may help you to get better organized and save some money.
Make a List
When planning a wedding, the first thing that parents need to do is make a list. In one column, write down how much you are able to realistically give to the new couple. In another, make a list of all the possible expenses that can arise from the actual wedding, such as photographers, flowers, chassan and kallah gifts, hall rental, etc…. If it’s the first wedding that you have made, it may be a good idea to speak to friends who have already gone through this process. Next to the type of expense, write down the estimated cost. Then, in a third column, list the expenses for the couple’s new home, including buying/renting an apartment, linens, appliances, and other necessities. It’s important to differentiate between these two types of expenses because it allows you to prioritize where your limited funds can go.
Instead of simply coming up with a certain budget for the wedding and using it without much thought, creating this list will give you more control of each spending decision. It can also eliminate certain less vital expenses, distributing that money toward the most important needs. In the long run, this type of organization should help you save money.
Buy Second Hand
With the current shidduch system, the phrase, “can’t afford it, don’t buy it,” doesn’t seem to apply. However, one thing that can be done is to buy second hand. The new couple doesn’t need a brand new Shabbos table or bookshelves. Used furniture that is in good condition should be sufficient. A few years down the road, when the couple has the means to upgrade, let them pay for their new furniture themselves. Thousands of shekels can be saved if practical decisions are made with regard to what is purchased for the couple.
Since we can’t necessarily change the current system, it is worthwhile planning accordingly and trying to keep all expenses within the initial budget. Then you can sit back and enjoy your simcha and the nachas that the newly married couple will give you.
May they build a Bayis Neeman B’Yisrael.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Well I may be mistaken, but wasn't Obama the one who raised these expectations? He has been going around for 2 years, promising to 'fix what's broken',' make history' and ' change the world.' Heck he even has a plan how to crown a college football national champion.With rhetoric like this who needs expectations?
He got elected because he convinced enough people that he can fix everything. He is like a real life Schneider- from One day at a Time. Now his handlers are saying he can't actually do this, and the country better be prepared for this fact.
A bit disingenuous, don't you think?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
You see in our house growing up my father was a huge believer in duct tape. It was like aspirin. Any problem you may have had or have, somehow or someway could be taken care of with duct tape.
As a public service to those who didn't have such an upbringing, here are 3 uses for duct tape that you may not be aware of.
1- Wart removal. If you have a wart, place a piece of duct tape on top and in a few days the wart will disappear.
2- Hand bags and wallets. DS tells me that at the Pike Place market in Seattle artists make handbags and wallets out of colored duct tape.
3-Use it as a musical instrument.
Feel free to add some ideas as well.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Does anyone have an idea of where the treasury is going to come up with 21.7 billion? I have an idea, can you say higher taxes? Part of the plan calls for re-educating fired hi-tech workers and training them to be teachers. Huh? Why not give incentivize them to start new companies? Teachers? Does the treasury want to close the Israeli hi-tech industry? It makes no sense.
Funny that there is no mention of cutting our taxes, or trying to get the private sector to open new businesses. The government is planning on investing billions in order to 'create' jobs. As we are all aware the government has a hard time managing anything efficiently. How are they going to be able to manage public works projects? Just to name a few failed projects of recent memory we have, the Bridge of Strings in Jerusalem, the light-rail in Jerusalem, The bridge to nowhere in Modiin..feel free to add your favorite to the list.
Why do politicians think that they know how to spend our hard earned money better than we know how to? And why do some of us look to the government to solve our problems? Whatever happened to individual responsibility?
This economic recovery plan is a recipe for disaster, and with an election looming, the treasury will open up their purse strings in order to buy some votes. The only hope that we have is that they may have gotten a bit greedy in the plan. The plan also calls for enlistment of Hareidi boys into the IDF. This clause in itself may help shelf the plan.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
According to an article in Globes, Livni said, "It is infuriating to see political parties trying to make partisan gain at the public's expense. The opposition of the Labor Party and Shas to the emergency plan demonstrates why people should not vote for sector-based parties.The opposition of the Labor Party and Shas to the emergency plan demonstrates why people should not vote for sector-based parties."
Though i hate to admit it, i agree with her that they shouldn't try to make political hay out of an economic crisis. More so spending money on welfare payments and infrastructure projects is no answer. The clear answer to help extricate Israel from an economic slowdown is by cutting taxes, and making easier for small and mid-sized businesses to actually conduct business in Israel. Along with income tax cuts, we need corporate taxes to be trimmed and we need to give small businesses large scale relief in paying Arnona (municipal tax.)
As for Livni, she complained that, "It is infuriating to see political parties trying to make partisan gain at the public's expense." I have one quick question for her. Ever hear of the Kadima party?
The one compliment that I can give Mr. Yang is that at least now he understands that he needs to step down, and he understands that he has failed in his duty. I have seen many a CEO, be so arrogant that they can't admit their own failures and they end up bankrupting the company. Just see recent examples of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual bank.
Many think that his departure will open up negotiations once again with Microsoft. If so I wouldn't ecpect an offer anywhere close to the $31 offer. And who can investors thank for that? Jerry Yang!
Monday, November 17, 2008
If you are sick of baking but looking for some good desserts, feel free to email Dvoras Cookie Creations. I am not just writing this to earn some family brownie (no pun intended) points, but I actually really like her cakes and cookies.
Again for full disclosure: Unfortunately, I have not received payment of ANY KIND for this post! I think I'll have another cup of coffee (hint hint.)
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I guess that means that I am starting to get older. As a public service to my readers here are 3 signs that you are moving on in years:
1-You have enough kids that you need to buy a minivan
2-You can't seem to move the dial from the 80's station
3- Can you say...Colonoscopy?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Even though Israeli is likely to experience an economic slowdown as well, we are still talking about 1-2% growth, compared to negative growth in the US. I have many friends who were always fence sitters re: Aliyah, but they have told me that over the last month or two they have really starting thinking about taking the big step.
I have helped counsel, financially, many olim and the fact is that with some proper planning, you can actually be ahead of the game financially living in the holy land. Keep in mind that while salaries maybe lower, the cost of education is a joke compared with sending your kids to Jewish schools in the US.
Maybe now is the time for you to make Aliyah?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The proposed rule will have a public hearing Jan. 8, and parks commissioners will make a recommendation to Parks Superintendent Tim Gallagher two weeks later."
That means for those who enjoy participating in naked bicycle rides, volleyball games in the park, or skinny dipping at one of the city beaches, better bring along a pair of shorts and a shirt, or the term 'buck-naked' will have a more costly meaning.
For me this proposed rule comes 22 years too late. You see on a beautiful spring day back when I was in high school we went up to Volunteer park to play baseball for our gym class. I took my regular position in left field, and the batter smacked a ball well over my head and it rolled into some bushes. When I climbed through the bushes to retrieve the ball, I was met by a man, naked, playing the flute for another man, also naked.
Needless to say, that's a vision that I could have done without, and has lingered in the back of my mind for more than 2 decades.
While this proposed law comes too late for me, I guess this is a case of better late than never.
Now correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't Livni continue to say that her push to pass UN Security Council Resolution 1701, was her crowning diplomatic achievement. That fact that none of Israel's enemies have upheld this resolution and continue fortifying southern Lebanon in anticipation of the next war, only bothers Livni because it's a 'flagrant violation of the resolution." Maybe she should be bothered by the fact that she made a terrible mistake, and this resolution is disaster for Israel.
Livni keeps taking pride in the resolution. Maybe it's time she stop blaming our enemies and accept some blame for her failed diplomatic 'achievement.' Maybe Livni should be held responsible.
Then there was Shachar Rubin. Who? No, not Shachar Pe'er the Israeli tennis star, Shachar Rubin. My dear wife starting getting phone calls from supporters of Shachar Rubin. The first call went something like this." Hello Mrs. Katsman, we just want to know that we can count on you to vote for Shachar. How many others in your household can we count on to vote for Shachar." To which my wife answered, " Who is Shachar?"
The she got another call on her cellphone a few hours later, reminding her to vote for Shachar.
On Tuesday morning as we were literally walking into our polling station to vote, she got a text message reminding her to vote for Shachar Rubin. the message said, " Shachar Rubin requests from you to vote today for the "RAK" party(Hebrew letters). The day is important for all of us and every vote counts." Then yesterday she got a thank you text message, thanking her for voting for Shachar and his 'Lev' party.
After speaking to a bunch of friends, including election maven Steve, and checking the election results, no one had ever heard of or new anything about our Shachar. Well last night my wife decided on doing a Google search on our friend. It turns out that he is the deputy mayor of............. Ness Tziona. We live in Jerusalem, and my wife has never set foot in Ness Tziona.
And the good news.............. Shachar is again deputry mayor!!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Almost all my RZ friends ( I am also a crotched kippa wearer) voted for Barkat because he was secular and they shuddered at the thought of voting for a Chareidi candidate. Why? What is behind this fear of the Chareidim? As someone who 1- has a lot of Chareidi family and 2-does a lot of volunteer work in the Chareidi sector, there is nothing to be afraid of. They are just like us. They face the same issues of raising their families, education issues, etc. that we do. So many will respond 'yeh, but they don't work and don't serve in the army.' Well the fact is that many of them do work, and last time I was in North Tel-Aviv there were a ton of army aged teenagers loitering around doing nothing but sipping lattes. After all it's become fashionable for secular Israeli kids not to serve in the IDF. Additionally, it has become widespread for RZ kids to stay in Yeshiva and keep on learning after Hesder is over being supported by their parents.
Correct me if I'm wrong but for religious Jews of all stripes the army isn't the end all. I always thought that the keeping Torah and Mitzvos and not wanting to give away the Land of Israel were the most important aspects of our religion. The fact is that because we share a common Torah, we have much more in common with Chariedim than we do with the secular.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of 'can't we all just get along,' but in this case it just kills me that we can't. We have a common base (i.e. the Torah) that should automatically bring us together. Take a minute and speak with a Chareidi, and I'll bet you will find that he won't bite, and that you have a lot in common. Much more in common that you have with someone from Ramat Aviv Gimmel.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
With analysts lowering their '09 growth forecasts, Fischer who has until last week remained unrealistically optimistic, appears to have thrown in the towel an admitted that things aren't all that rosy, and is trying to add liquidity to the Israeli banking system to try and prevent the same type of credit crisis gripping the global banking system .
As a result of the cut, the US Dollar soared almost 2% against the Shekel. For consumers the rate cut is helpful. It will mean lower rates that you need to pay on overdraft, lower rates for loans and other types of credit. On the other hand, investors in Israeli bonds will receive less interest on their investment.
What I think is really funny is that there are many who think that the government can come up with a plan to make the automakers viable again. According to an article in the IHT: "On Friday, Obama said he would instruct his economic team, once he chooses it, to devise a long-range plan for helping the auto industry recover in a way that is part of an energy and environmental policy to reduce reliance on foreign oil and address climate change."
If anyone thinks that the government can run a large business efficiently and profitably, I have a bridge to sell you.
If you want to save the big 3 US automakers, let them file Chapter 11, otherwise it's going to be a black hole of more and more bailout money going to keep them alive.
Monday, November 10, 2008
As Wall Street crashed, many investment bankers became the butt of jokes. Most of you have probably received most of these jokes via email over the last few weeks, but for those who haven't, it'll probably produce a small chuckle. Here are 3 of the better ones:
1- What's the difference between an investment banker and a pigeon? A pigeon can still leave a deposit on a Ferrari.
2- What's the difference between an investment banker and a large pizza? The pizza can still feed a family of 4.
3- What does a hedge fund manager with no hedge fund to manage say? Would you like fries with that sir?
Okay, so they aren't so funny I'll admit. Do you have anything better? If so feel free to post it as a comment and we can all be the judge if it's funny or not.
I always felt that in a democratic system of government, both sides need to argue their respective ideas and policies and try and convince the other side that their opinion is right. Then they vote and the majority wins. Not that thy can run roughshod over the minority( De Tocqueville's concept of tyranny of the majority.)
These constant calls for unity sound to me like a call for one side to give up their beliefs. Isn't it obvious that the calls for unity are meant to unify around one set of ideals, in this case, those of Pres. elect Obamas
Unity may sound good, but I am not sure how good it is for democracy.
Turner's campaign pointed a finger at one of the other candidates running against the mayor, who himself reacted somewhat sarcastically, saying the rumors of his death were "premature".
All I can say is that this is just sick and classless. If you can't win on issues then accept defeat with class, ala John McCain. Faking a death to get a few more votes seems beyond the pale. All I hope is that those who posted the signs don't bring an Ayin Hara upon themselves.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
In an emotional moment for any parent she says, "I don't want to leave him. I want to sit with him and talk to him and tell all the boys at the bus stop, "Hey -- you've got to get to know this kid. He's so bright and creative, and lots of fun to be with! He's sensitive and thoughtful. He would be a great friend to have." But they don't speak English, and my Hebrew is poor at best. Instead, I drive the car slowly away, peering into the rear view window to see if he follows my advice.
I can't blame him for not being assertive at the bus stop. I'm afraid to call Israeli mothers on the phone to arrange play dates for my kids. What if they don't understand me? What if they don't want their child playing with an American?"
Organizations that promote Aliyah, like Nefesh B'Nefesh, have done such a great job in helping olim get acclimated in Israel, whether it be helping finding a job, a suitable community, and/or easing bureaucratic red tape. Because of NBN's success, we may forget that a major issue that is beyond the scope of any organization is helping children make new friends, and get comfortable in their new surroundings.
Eliwatt says that a well placed ice-cream cone, or a trip to the park can help ease the transition as it helps bring the family closer and remind all that they are in this together.
She concludes, "But at least a few times a week, (before I've lost my patience, raised my voice or done some other parenting faux pas), my daughter has looked at me with a sweet smile on her face, asking, "Why are you such a good mommy?"
I don't recall ever hearing that question in America.
There is a sense in the family that "we're all in this together." And perhaps, in witnessing our children slowly acclimate to their new life, we are inspired to work harder to adapt and to accept the changes in our own lives."
A must read article for veteran olim, or those contemplating calling NBN and starting the journey to their own Aliyah.
According to a report in Globes, "We expect 2.7% growth in 2009, and we're accused of over optimism. In such times, if you want to be serious, you should be worried, and I am really worried. Wise men won't tell you that there is nothing to be worried about." I guess that means I am a wise man!!!! I have never been accused of that before.
Did something actually happen in the last 72 hours to change his mind? This is getting crazy. If we can't trust Fischer to tell us the truth about the Israeli economy who can we trust?
The Globes article continued that Fischer warned of rising unemployment as well as worsening credit conditions and raised the prospect of companies having a hard time getting financing. In English we call that potential bankruptcy!
Gov. Fischer, if the banking system is so sound, why should companies have trouble accessing local credit markets?
My feeling is that the banking system is not all that healthy and as customers, you had better watch out.
Well news over the last few days that former highly regraded Likud members such as Benny Begin( son of former PM Menachem Begin) as well as Dan Meridor have rejoined the Likud party has given Netanyahu a big boost.
If Netanyahu can succeed in convincing the electorate that he can actually get along and not 'tick-off' everyone, than his chances of a large victory will be greatly enhanced.
As a public service I will give my top 5 most annoying phrases:
5- Change we can believe in
4-Take your game to the next level
3-To tell you the truth
2- You need to have a long-term perspective when it comes to investing
1- Yes, we can!
Feel free to post you own favorites
Saturday, November 8, 2008
If it was only that easy. Not only do you need to provide content that is of interest to a reader but the whole online ad business is slowing down.
I came across a great post over at New Rules of Investing.com, the writer speaks about how the monetization of ads is becoming tougher. The article says, " monetization of ads getting tougher as ad model struggle: This issue is facing every firm reliant on ads for revenues. TheStreet.com’s CFO Eric Ashman said, “it is safe to say that we have very little visibility into online ad spend for the rest of the year or for 2009.” While online has held up better than offline, I think this is an important issue. I’ve said before that firms like SeekingAlpha have created new content models but not revenue models. Constrained by pageview growth and CPMs, these firms are no different from the predecessors in terms of generating advertising revenues."
The fact is that for a very small blog or online content business, on line ads can still be a nice little source of income. the real problem becomes how to scale. The aforementioned article mentions Seeking Alpha. Here you have a great example of the problem. Once the decision to become a large firm is taken, and large amount of expenses need to be taken in order to scale, the question becomes how to scale revenues?
I don't have an answer but maybe it pays to stay small in size, and avoid the problems of trying to scale the business. just a thought.
1- Don't go crazy with food- guests will eat what's served, not more and not less. Don't feel that you need to add extra side dishes or extra main courses, just because you have a few more people at your table than normal. So many times we have hosted large meals and cooked and cooked only to have tons of leftovers.
2-Relax and let the conversation flow. With such a large amount of people with various backgrounds, it isn't too hard for the conversation to flow. There is no need to force the issue. Just relax and be happy knowing that your guests are having a good time.
Friday, November 7, 2008
According to a story in the New York Times: " Sales of handguns, rifles and ammunition have surged in the last week, according to gun store owners around the nation who describe a wave of buyers concerned that an Obama administration will curtail their right to bear arms.
“He’s a gun-snatcher,” said Jim Pruett, owner of Jim Pruett’s Guns and Ammo in northwest Houston, which was packed with shoppers on Thursday."
The NY Times report continues: " In Colorado, would-be gun buyers set a one-day record last Saturday with the highest number of background check requests in a 24-hour period, according to figures from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
“We’re not really sure who is promoting the concept that a change in federal administrations might affect firearms possession rights,” said an agency spokesman, Lance Clem, “but we do know that it’s increased business considerably.”
Clearly gun store owners are stoking the flames of fear in order to increase sales. The question is Obama will keep his campaign pledge or whether he will move to the far left and justify the fears of those running to buy guns now.
US Attorney Michael Garcia said Spitzer "has acknowledged to this office that he was a client of, and made payments to, the Emperors Club VIP," an international prostitution ring busted in March.
Just a reminder, Spitzer was busted after the news story broke that he paid $1,000 an hour for sexcapades with call girl Ashley Dupre at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.
Funny that other people involved in the prostitution ring are doing jail time. The Post says: "Aside from the Emperors Club, Spitzer has also been linked to an escort service called Wicked Models. Its former ringleader, Kristin Davis, said last month that Spitzer was a client, but said she never personally serviced him. Davis has pleaded guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court to promoting prostitution. "
I guess there is a difference between the promoter and the promoted.
Anyway you look at it, Spitzer seems to have gotten lucky once again!
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The article continues, " In his message to Obama Thursday, Ahmadinejad went on to say that "nations of the world" expect changes from Obama - mostly that he will change current US foreign policy.
That policy, the note claimed, was "based on warmongering, occupation, bullying, deception and humiliation, as well as discrimination and unfair relations" and has led to "hatred of all nations and majority of governments toward the US leaders."
Ahmadinejad also said that Obama is expected to replace such a policy with "an approach based on justice and respect, as well as lack of intervention in the affairs of others."
Clearly the Iranian leader is setting up Obama to engage in diplomacy, his greatest stalling tactic. Let's see if Obama will succumb to the Iranian leaders charm or whether he will show some backbone and stand strong.
If everything is so rosy, then why does the BOI have a plan to stream money to the local banks in the event of a credit freeze? Is this prudent planning, or cause for worry?
As reported in Globes, Fischer spoke about how disciplined the local Israeli banks have been. “In addition, Israel’s banks had no sub-prime exposure. “Israel’s banks said ‘No’ to this paper,” said Fischer.”
Really? That’s not how I remember it. Bank in March Bank Hapoalim wrote off hundreds of millions of dollars. According to Reuters, “Hapoalim, whose shares have slid some 30 percent so far in 2008, said it posted impairments of 1.18 billion shekels, or $334 million, for its U.S. asset-backed securities portfolio. It had previously said it would write off around $300 million in the fourth quarter due to a decline in the value of its U.S. structured investment vehicle (SIV) holdings.” Other local banks also wrote off smaller amounts.
In the aforementioned Globes article Fischer also said, “Also the banks applied responsible credit policies.” Really? Is loaning money to the wealthiest ten families so that they can spend billions of dollars on international real estate, at the height of the real estate bubble, called responsible lending?
Shouldn’t the central bank head come clean with the Israeli public?
Stay tuned for some clear and concise analysis and thought provoking content, and with a little luck you may even crack a smile.
Wish me luck.