The Secret To 17-Year-Old Nick D’Aloisio’s $30 Million Success: Amazing Hustle

The Secret To 17-Year-Old Nick D’Aloisio’s $30 Million Success: Amazing Hustle

Jay Yarow | Mar. 26, 2013, 12:05 PM | 18,310 | 22

Now that 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio sold his company to Yahoo for $30 million, he’s gaining widespread attention. However, in tech media circles, D’Aloisio was already well known. In 2011, Gizmodo‘s Casey Chan wrote about making D’Aloisio cry. Chan covered apps for Gizmodo. So, D’Aloisio emailed Chan to see if he would write about his app, which was called Trimit at the time. Chan said he was interested in the app. This led to D’Aloisio going nuts. “Over the course of a few days, D’aloisio berserker barraged me with over a hundred e-mails about Trimit,” says Chan, “I saw him go from calm to excited to a nervous wreck to suffering a nervous break down to threatening to bat shit crazy to borderline suicidal.” D’Aloisio never mentioned that he was only 15 at the time. After not getting quick responses from Chan, he went on to email everyone else at Gizmodo. In response to D’Aloisio’s email barrage, Gizmodo decided to name Trimit the “worst app of the week.” But, the editors felt bad about that, so they just pulled the coverage altogether. This sent D’Aloisio over the edge. He wrote to Chan:

I can’t believe this. Please just put us back on the list. Anywhere.

I feel like crying I’m that disappointed. Please.

You don’t understand what this means if we don’t get featured. We’ll go bust and I’ll end up unemployed.

Why have you done this. I can’t actually believe this is happening.

Please, seriously Casey, don’t destroy my livelihood.

I’ll do anything just please put us back. Seriously I’ll do anything I can’t let my boss see this.

We’d planned so much marketing and SEO for this feature. Now we’re not going to get the visibility and get into debt. Casey, you must understand what this will do to us if you don’t put us back on the list. I thought you liked the app, why do you want to destroy it.

Come on man, please forgive me. We all make mistakes. Why didn’t you tell me days ago to stop emailing you! I thought you weren’t getting them, that’s why I kept sending them.

Seriously without this feature we will lose ranking and then we won’t pay back our purchases and then will have to stop the business.

I plea for you to put it back to how it was before. I plea.

Now we’ve wasted $10,000 as we dont have the article to accompany the efforts.

That puts us in debt and we can’t pay that back for ourselves so now I’m going to have to go without food for the next month.

I am new, we’ve just started the startup, and I’ve never been in PR so I’m not familiar with these journalistic conducts and etiquettes I seem to have broken. I was not meaning to hurt any of you guys or disrupt your work at all; none of that was intentional. I WILL GET FIRED now because of all of this but I guess I can’t change what has happened now. Our marketing has failed since we were not featured and now I have massive debt which is my responsibility to fix.

I’ll ask you for the final time to understand the seriousness of the situation and change it back to the way it was. What is stopping you? Why ruin my livelihood and my app? Why would you want that, seriously?

Please man. Please.

I really need to know what’s going on! My boss is asking.

While this appears to be the ramblings of a crazy person, it also shows someone with a dedication, focus, and energy to succeed. (And, again, he was 15!) Gizmodo wasn’t the only publication that got aggressive emails from D’Aloisio. He was in our writers’ inboxes too. While we don’t want to encourage others to bomb our inbox with pitches, we think his behavior reveals a big part of the reason he’s successful. The kid is a hustler. He works hard. He’s aggressive. He went after his investors, he pursued the media. In one of his interviews from yesterday he told people who want to be like him: “If you have a good idea, or you think there’s a gap in the market, just go out and launch it because there are investors across the world right now looking for companies to invest in.” This is obviously an oversimplification, but it’s not terribly far from the truth. If you have a good idea, and you’re willing to work incredibly hard like D’Aloisio, you’ll probably find success.

10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Amazon.com; Its warehouses are the size of 700 Madison Square Gardens; Amazon.com employees spend two days every two years working at the customer service desk, even the CEO

10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Amazon.com

Kevin Smith | Mar. 27, 2013, 7:37 AM | 16,228 | 1

Amazon.com is well-known for its Kindle, lightning fast shipping, and selling virtually anything online.

The e-tailer’s revenue totaled $61 billion in 2012 and it currently sits at No.5 on ComScore’s list of top 2,000 domains on the web.

But did you know that the massive website started in founder Jeff Bezos‘ garage? Or that Amazon’s operation has become so massive that it’s warehouses have more square footage than 700 Madison Square Gardens?

Take a look at some other mind-blowing facts we found.

Amazon.com was almost called “Cadabra” as in “Abracadabra”. That idea was struck down because CEO Jeff Bezos’ lawyer misheard the word as “cadaver”. Read more of this post

SHILLER: ‘We’re Living In A Totally Artificial Real Estate Economy’; Shiller thinks a full housing recovery is a long way off. He thinks it could take 40 years before home prices rise to pre-2007 levels

SHILLER: ‘We’re Living In A Totally Artificial Real Estate Economy’

Drew SandholmCNBC | Mar. 26, 2013, 7:51 PM | 11,479 | 27

Housing data released Tuesday was mixed, showing home prices jumped while new home sales dropped, prompting renowned economist Robert Shiller to call the housing recovery positive in the short-term, but not without many headwinds. There might even be a bubble, he said.

“One thing that makes it very hard to forecast home prices right now is that we’re living in a totally artificial real estate economy,” said Shiller, co-creator of the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Index, a widely followed measure of housing prices.

Shiller pointed to the Federal Reserve, which last week reaffirmed its policies on bond purchases and record-low interest rates. In September, the Fed launched a third round of quantitative easing (QE), in which it has bought $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities per month, primarily in mortgage-backed bonds.

Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest U.S. home funding sources, remain in government conservatorship as Congress looks for ways to raise new tax revenues, Shiller noted.

“All of these things are weighing on the futures of housing,” Shiller said on CNBC‘s “Futures Now,” adding the recovery might even be a bubble. “One thing you learn from history is that bubbles can occur at any time.” Read more of this post

Panera extends pay-what-you-want idea to menu item at all St. Louis-area cafes; “People do the right thing and are willing to take care of each other.”

Panera extends pay-what-you-want idea to menu item at all St. Louis-area cafes

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, March 27, 1:08 PM

Panera Pay What You Want.JPEG-0675f

ST. LOUIS — Order a bowl of turkey chili at a St. Louis-area Panera Bread cafe and it’ll cost you a penny. Or $5. Or $100. In other words, whatever you decide.

Three years after launching the first of five pay-what-you-want cafes, the suburban St. Louis-based chain on Wednesday quietly began its latest charitable venture that takes the concept on a trial run to all 48 cafes in the St. Louis region.

The new idea experiments with a single menu item, Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl, available at each St. Louis-area store for whatever the customer chooses to pay. The new chili uses all-natural, antibiotic-free turkey mixed with vegetables and beans in a sourdough bread bowl. The suggested $5.89 price (tax included) is only a guideline. All other menu items are sold for the posted price.

Panera calls it the Meal of Shared Responsibility, and says the potential benefit is twofold: Above-the-cost proceeds go to cover meals for customers who cannot pay the full amount and to St. Louis-area hunger initiatives; and for those in need, the 850-calorie meal provides nearly a day’s worth of nutrition at whatever price they can afford. Read more of this post

Global pool of triple A status shrinks 60%, forcing investors and financial regulators to rethink definitions of “safe” assets.

March 26, 2013 7:34 pm

Global pool of triple A status shrinks 60%

By Ralph Atkins and Keith Fray in London

The global pool of government bonds with triple A status from the three main rating agencies, the bedrock of the financial ­system, has shrunk more than 60 per cent since the financial crisis triggered a wave of downgrades across the advanced economies.

The expulsion of the US, the UK and France from the “nine-As” club has led to the contraction in the stock of ­government bonds deemed the safest by Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, from almost $11tn at the start of 2007 to just $4tn now, according to Financial Times analysis.

The shrinkage, largely a result of US’s downgrade by S&P in August 2011, is part of a dramatic redrawing of the world credit ratings map, which is encouraging investment flows into emerging markets and forcing investors and financial regulators to rethink definitions of “safe” assets. Read more of this post

BOE Says U.K. Banks Have a Capital Shortfall of $38 Billion; Banks need to set aside more money to cover bigger potential losses on commercial real estate and from the euro area, possible fines for mis-selling and stricter risk models

BOE Says U.K. Banks Have a Capital Shortfall of $38 Billion

By Ben Moshinsky and Jennifer Ryan  Mar 27, 2013

U.K. lenders were told by the Bank of England to raise 25 billion pounds ($38 billion) of additional capital, less than analyst estimates.

Banks need to set aside more money to cover bigger potential losses on commercial real estate and from the euro area, possible fines for mis-selling and stricter risk models, the Bank of England said following a report by the Financial Services Authority. The BOE didn’t identify or quantify the number of lenders that need to bolster capital and it said plans already announced by banks should cover about half the shortage.

“It’s a bit of a damp squib,” said Simon Maughan, an analyst at Olivetree Securities Ltd. in London. “The banks are going to have until the end of 2013, at least, to do it and there was no change to the message that they won’t need to raise fresh capital or restrict dividend payments.”

The BOE is pushing banks to increase resilience so they can boost lending and fund an economic recovery. The bank’s focus on loan losses could still hit Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) the most because of their commercial real-estate holdings, while Barclays Plc (BARC), with its investment banking unit, would be most affected by the changes to risk weights, Maughan said. RBS and Lloyds have announced asset sales this year to bolster capital, and Barclays plans to sell contingent convertible notes. Read more of this post

Sir Luke Johnson: Online help for would-be founders; Keeping connected via the internet is more important than ever for entrepreneurs

March 26, 2013 4:14 pm

Online help for would-be founders

By Luke Johnson

Keeping connected via the internet is more important than ever for entrepreneurs

Starting a business can be lonely, and keeping connected via the internet and online publications is more important than ever.

There are a host of websites and magazines for entrepreneurs, but no one who works for themselves can afford to spend hours a day surfing. So I have selected a handful of my favourite sites to save you time. I have not included typical blogs because there are too many and they are mostly rather personal. Read more of this post

New York’s wonder shows planners’ limits; Unplanned social interactions are the key to vibrant cities and companies

March 26, 2013 5:59 pm

New York’s wonder shows planners’ limits

By John Kay

Unplanned social interactions are the key to vibrant cities and companies

The Financial Times reader visiting New York might typically stay or shop in midtown and speed to Wall Street by car or subway. With a few hours to spare, I chose to wander in the area in between, with no particular destination in mind. Greenwich Village, Chelsea, the Bowery and the Lower East Side are full of quirky buildings, eccentric shops and charming cafés, and layer upon layer of American social history.

This is hardly an original observation. It was made to brilliant effect 50 years ago by Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities. That book was the product of her campaign to stop Robert Moses, the city and state public works executive, building the Lower Manhattan Expressway, an elevated highway that would have enabled motorists to speed directly from Queens to New Jersey via the Williamsburg Bridge and the Holland Tunnel. In the process, it would have destroyed the character of the area through which it passed.

Jacobs explained, through meticulous observation, how the life of cities is the product of multiple, unplanned social interactions. The density of urban living, far from being an evil, is the source of its vitality. Short streets divided into many blocks lead residents and visitors to take a multiplicity of routes and acquire a variety of experiences. Jacobs explained why the planned cities of the world such as Canberra, Brasília, Chandigarh and Letchworth Garden City are so boring. And her readers were told how the expressways Moses had built had damaged the life of the outer boroughs of New York. Read more of this post

Turning Google Trends into sales trends; Here’s how one entrepreneur used Google Trends to predict which items were likely to sell

Turning Google Trends into sales trends

By Mohana Ravindranath, Updated: Wednesday, March 27, 6:00 PM

A year and a half ago, Matt Thier, co-founder of online-only clothing store BetaBrand, thought he noticed more people in San Francisco wearing bold, patterned socks than before.

Thier had been thinking about expanding BetaBrand’s sock line beyond the striped socks it already sold, but he wasn’t sure if there was enough interest, or if BetaBrand should continue investing in socks at all.

So Thier decided to do some market research, not by surveying shoppers, but by analyzing Internet searches.

He used Google Trends, a free service showing the volume, popularity over time, and geographic concentration of particular search terms. Google Trends is one of several search-term analysis platforms currently available, including subscription-based services like Compete, which can be a few hundred dollars a month. Read more of this post

S. Korea’s debt-to-GDP ratio rises to record high in 2012; the rate of combined debts to the nominal GDP was 283 percent in 2012, higher than the 227 percent for the 1998-99 Asian foreign exchange crisis and the 278 percent in 2009 when the global financial crisis peaked

S. Korea’s debt-to-GDP ratio rises to record high in 2012

English.news.cn   2013-03-27

SEOUL, March 27 (Xinhua) — The ratio of South Korea‘s total debt to gross domestic product (GDP) rose to a record high last year, boosting concerns over lack of capabilities to repay massive debts, central bank data showed Wednesday. Combined debts of households, companies and the government were 3,607.3 trillion won (3.25 trillion U.S. dollars) as of the end of 2012, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK) data. The rate of combined debts to the nominal GDP was 283 percent in 2012, the highest since the related data began to be compiled. The figure was higher than the 227 percent for the 1998-99 Asian foreign exchange crisis and the 278 percent in 2009 when the global financial crisis peaked. The ratio continued to rise from 221 percent in 2003, 236 percent in 2006 and 274 percent in 2008. The rapid rise was attributed to a faster growth in debts than economic output, boosting concerns that the Asia’s No.4 economy may fail to pay back debts amid slowing economic growth and its consequent low income gain.

How to Beat Childhood Cancer; The past 40 years have demonstrated the remarkable return on investment to be gained in collaborative scientific research

How to Beat Childhood Cancer

Peter C. Adamson is Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

26 March 2013

PHILADELPHIA – For a parent, there is perhaps no greater fear than the prospect of losing a child to illness or accident. And it is childhood cancer that has the greatest potential to catapult a remote fear into an unimaginable reality. As a pediatric oncologist, having cared for children with cancer and their families for more than 25 years, I know that only a parent who has confronted such a diagnosis truly understands the depth of this fear, as it touches the core of who we are as parents.

I also know that we are treating more children more effectively than ever before – and that we can do much better still. Read more of this post

Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) has increased its securities investment in the country’s top four conglomerates ― Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK and LG ― by about four times over the past five years; he four firms accounted for as much as 58 percent of the NPS’s combined stock investment in 2012, compared with 34.6 percent in 2007

2013-03-26 17:54

NPS exposure to risk increasing

By Na Jeong-ju

130326_p10_NPS

The National Pension Service (NPS) has increased its securities investment in the country’s top four conglomerates ― Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK and LG ― by about four times over the past five years. This is another indication that the state pension fund is making little effort to diversify its investment portfolio ― the No. 1 rule for risk-hedging. That also means the NPS is betting bigger money from pensioners on the four firms ― if they falter, people’s money will be at risk. According to the NPS, Tuesday, its investment in stocks and bonds issued by the four business groups and their affiliates totaled 51.7 trillion won ($46.6 billion) as of the end of 2012. That’s about 3.7 times larger than 13.5 trillion won in 2007. The four firms accounted for as much as 58 percent of the NPS’s combined stock investment in 2012, compared with 34.6 percent in 2007. Read more of this post

Red Flag, the secret supermarket in the walled grounds of Zhongnanhai, China’s Krelim and well-guarded headquarters of China’s central party and government leaders, has closed

Zhongnanhai’s Secret Supermarket

2013-03-26 18:44

Translated by Li Jing and Pang Lei

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Update: Cao Shiru (曹世如), the chairwoman of the Red Flag supermarket, revealed onher Sina Weibo account yesterday afternoon that the Zhongnanhai supermarket closed way back in 2003, not long after it opened.

One of the top stories floating around China’s internet today was about a Sichuan supermarket chain that managed to open up a store within the walled grounds of Zhongnanhai, the well-guarded headquarters of China’s central party and government leaders.

Sometimes referred to as China\’s Kremlin, Zhongnanhai was once part of the Forbidden City with its lakes – Zhongnanhai (中南海) literally translates as the Central and Southern Seas – were part of the former imperial gardens.

Reports said that the Red Flag supermarket chain’s (红旗连锁超市) outlet within the walled compound has now closed, though no-one seems to be really sure when it happened. The store was reportedly opened in December 2003. Read more of this post

China’s “black clinics” flourish as government debates health reform

China’s “black clinics” flourish as government debates health reform

12:31am EDT

By Hui Li and Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) – A one-room shack with a single, bare light bulb on a non-descript Beijing side street is 29-year-old Chinese migrant worker Zhang Xuefang’s best recourse to medical care.

Not recognized as a Beijing resident, she does not qualify for cheaper healthcare at government hospitals, and her hometown is too far away to take advantage of medical subsidizes there.

Like millions of other migrant workers, Zhang, on whose labor China’s economic boom depends, is forced into a seedy and unregulated world of back ally “black clinics” if she falls ill.

The issue highlights the two-tier nature of China’s overburdened health care system and goes to the heart of a heated debate about how to reform the contentious “hukou” system of household registration, a cornerstone of government policy for decades which essentially legalizes discrimination between urban and rural residents. Read more of this post

Outsourced Chief Investment Offices Gain Traction with Institutional Investors

MARCH 25, 2013

Outsourced Chief Investment Offices Gain Traction with Institutional Investors

Everyone from former endowment CIOs to asset managers is hanging out a shingle as an outsourced chief investment office. As endowments, pension funds and other institutions take advantage of OCIO services, this growing market will consolidate, experts say.
By Frances Denmark

This January, Matthew Wright joined a growing trend by walking out of his office at Vanderbilt University. He didn’t walk far. The former vice chancellor of investments founded Disciplina Group, an outsourced chief investment office, or OCIO, in Nashville.

Wright’s exit is part of a stream of high-profile talent from endowments that began in 2004, when former University of Virginia CIO Alice Handy founded Charlottesville, Virginia–based Investure. Mark Yusko left the University of North Carolina to launch Chapel Hill, North Carolina–­based Morgan Creek Capital Management, and Scott Wise departed Rice University to set up financial services firm TIAA-CREF’s Covariance Capital Management. When these people leave their posts, there’s no guarantee that they take their former institution with them.

As the OCIO business stakes out its turf, there seems to be an insatiable demand for veteran endowment investors to step in and manage endowment assets. But not everyone is convinced. “It’s an incredibly overcrowded space right now,” says Kevin Quirk, a founding partner of investment management consulting firm Casey, Quirk & Associates, in Darien, Connecticut. Read more of this post

‘Big Data’ for Cancer Care; Vast Storehouse of Patient Records Will Let Doctors Search for Effective Treatment; Some 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, but in more than 95% of cases, details of their treatments are “locked up in medical records and file drawers or in electronic systems not connected to each other,”

Updated March 26, 2013, 8:46 p.m. ET

‘Big Data’ for Cancer Care

Vast Storehouse of Patient Records Will Let Doctors Search for Effective Treatment

By RON WINSLOW

A major oncology group is launching an ambitious project to collect data on the care of hundreds of thousands of cancer patients and use it to help guide treatment of other patients across the health-care system.

Cancer doctors would be able to consult the database, much like doing a GoogleGOOG +0.34% search. They would get advice on treatment strategies that might work for their patients based on how similar patients fared in practices around the U.S.

Details of the plan are being unveiled Wednesday by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, a nonprofit professional association.

It is the latest example of emerging efforts in medicine to harness the power of “Big Data” to improve care. It reflects growing expectations that information gleaned from huge clinical databases can speed learning about benefits and harms of treatments, support efforts to improve quality of care and hasten development of new medicines.

Some 1.6 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, but in more than 95% of cases, details of their treatments are “locked up in medical records and file drawers or in electronic systems not connected to each other,” said Allen Lichter, chief executive office of ASCO. “There is a treasure trove of information inside those cases if we simply bring them together.” Read more of this post

China’s officials go underground to defeat moves to curb their lavish feasting

Officials go underground to defeat moves to curb their lavish feasting

Wednesday, 27 March, 2013, 12:00am

Keith Zhai and Minnie Chan

Officials dodge Xi Jinping’s curbs on luxury by turning canteens into five-star restaurants and meeting businessmen away from public gaze

Xi Jinping’s call for officials to cut down on extravagance and feasting appears to have hit a snag at the local level.

Officials from four different regions have told the South China Morning Post that the banquets have merely gone underground, where they are now being held in much more lavish style.

Two officials in Fujian province said many canteens in government departments had been renovated and had hired chefs from the region’s finest restaurants after outside banquets were banned as part of the Communist Party leadership’s anti-corruption and austerity drive.

“Such renovation is not only happening in Fujian, but in many provinces around the country,” one of the officials said. “There are plenty of ways at the local level for cities to get around rules from the top.”

There are plenty of ways at the local level for cities to get around rules from the top. Read more of this post

What Will You Create to Make the World Awesome? Like the poet Mary Oliver’s beautifully haunting question: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

What Will You Create to Make the World Awesome?

by Greg McKeown  |  12:00 PM March 26, 2013

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When web designer Ben Blumenfeld was working for a major TV network, he was responsible for creating websites for mainstream shows. One day, he made a breakthrough that led to a significant uptake on a show, but the success struck Ben in a way he had not expected. His success meantmore people would spend even more time watching TV, and he ultimately didn’t see that as a goodthing.

The moment proved to be an inflection point for Ben. He decided to stop thinking of his career as something separate from himself, and the values, ideals and principles that were important to him. He believed in making a positive impact in his community, and realized his day-to-day work wasn’t aligned with that. He decided it was time to pursue a path that baked his mission into his career. Read more of this post

Eurozone’s bully boys will come to regret penalising tiny Cyprus

Eurozone’s bully boys will come to regret penalising tiny Cyprus

Europe’s monetary union was meant to be about solidarity among the many and prosperity for all.

An immediate collapse of 10pc to 20pc in national income is in prospect, with unemployment soaring to more than a quarter of the population Photo: EPA

By Jeremy Warner

8:17PM GMT 25 Mar 2013

In practice, it’s turning out to be a doomsday machine for the fringe economies that once so enthusiastically lined up to join.

If even Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German finance minister, is prepared to admit that Monday’s bail-out is a bitter pill for Cypriots to swallow, then it must indeed have been merciless. Nicholas Papadopolous, chairman of the Cypriot parliament’s finance committee, had a rather blunter way of putting it: “We are heading for a deep recession, high unemployment. They wanted to send a message that the Cypriot economy ought to be destroyed, and they’ve succeeded. They’ve destroyed our banking sector.”

The terms of this latest bail-out are scarcely any better than the ones so comprehensively rejected by MPs only last week. The offshore banking model on which so much of the island’s recent prosperity has been built is being broken beyond repair. Small wonder the latest package is structured in a way that doesn’t require another parliamentary vote. Democracy is once again being suspended for the supposed sake of the single currency. Read more of this post

Corporate Field Trip: Learning From Startups

Updated March 26, 2013, 4:13 p.m. ET

Corporate Field Trip: Learning From Startups

By RACHEL EMMA SILVERMAN

Maybe Goliath can learn a few things from David.

A handful of large companies, including PepsiCo Inc. PEP +1.40% and snack company Mondelez International Inc., MDLZ +1.37% are sending small groups of employees to work stints at technology and media startups, learning how smaller companies get things done with fewer resources, often at a quicker pace.

The hope, managers say, is that workers who spend time immersed in small, emerging firms will bring some of that scrappy spirit back to headquarters and change the way things get done.

At Mondelez, a corporation of about 110,000 employees created when it was spun off from Kraft Foods KRFT +1.20% last year, managers wanted to jump-start efforts to shift more of its marketing to mobile devices. So they chose nine mobile-technology startups to host Mondelez staff, among them inMarket, a two-year-old Los Angeles mobile-marketing firm with a staff of 20. Read more of this post

Big Players Cash Out of Hong Kong Property

March 26, 2013, 3:00 p.m. ET

Big Players Cash Out of Hong Kong Property

By ISABELLA STEGER

HONG KONG—With the government growing confident that it has halted the meteoric rise in property prices, some of this city’s biggest real-estate investors are getting out.

Several of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families are planning initial public offerings of hotels, offices and other real-estate assets in coming months, while others are lowering prices on luxury apartments to entice buyers.

“Developers are selling assets at the very top of the market, when appetite is big, and interest rates are low,” said Christopher Wong, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management ADN.LN +4.03% in Singapore. Read more of this post

Europe’s financial crisis costing lives, suicides and infectious diseases on the rise

Published: Wednesday March 27, 2013 MYT 8:49:00 AM

Europe’s financial crisis costing lives, suicides and infectious diseases on the rise

LONDON: Europe’s financial crisis is costing lives, with suicides and infectious diseases on the rise, yet politicians are not addressing the problem, health experts said on Wednesday.

Deep budget cuts and growing unemployment are tipping more people into depression, and falling incomes mean fewer people can see their doctors or afford to buy medicines.

The result has been a reversal since 2007 of a long-term decline in suicide rates, coupled with worrying outbreaks of diseases including HIV – and even malaria – in Greece, according to an major analysis of European health in The Lancet journal.

Countering these threats requires strong social protection schemes, researchers argue. But the austerity measures imposed after a string of crises in southern Europe – most recently in Cyprus – has shredded such safety nets. Read more of this post

Abandoned gold loans are India’s “jingle mail”

Abandoned gold loans are India’s “jingle mail”

MARCH 25, 2013

By Andy Mukherjee

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The myth that Indians’ love for gold is driven by tradition rather than financial self-interest has been dashed. Falling prices have prompted borrowers who took out loans secured against the yellow metal to break a cultural taboo and abandon their collateral. It’s the Indian equivalent of American homeowners who walked away from their underwater mortgages by mailing the keys to their homes to the bank.

India’s version of the “jingle mail” came to light when Manappuram Finance, a lender against gold, recently warned that defaulting borrowers would force it to report a quarterly loss. The lender’s Mumbai-listed shares tanked 31 percent over just three days. The precipitous fall was partly due to concerns the company had selectively leaked its guidance — a charge Manappuram denies. But clearly the lender, which was forecasting a profit as recently as February, had underestimated the borrowers’ response. Read more of this post

India Plans New Rules for Companies Pawning Shares to Borrow after uneven disclosures resulted in some small companies plunging 80 percent last month.

India Plans New Rules for Companies Pawning Shares to Borrow

By Pradipta Mukherjee and Santanu Chakraborty  Mar 26, 2013

India’s capital market regulator will frame stricter rules for companies and owners pledging shares as collateral to borrow funds after uneven disclosures resulted in some small companies plunging 80 percent last month. The Securities & Exchange Board of India is also planning to overhaul regulations for insider trading, as well as share repurchases, Chairman U.K. Sinha said in Kolkata today. The regulator set up a panel on March 5 to review insider trading rules. Indian companies had pledged as much as 1.5 trillion rupees ($28 billion) of shares to lenders as of Dec. 31, Morgan Stanley said in a report on Feb. 21.

“People have come out with creative solutions with some instruments through which they are pledging shares and they are not informing the stock exchange,” Chairman U.K. Sinha said today in Kolkata, without elaborating. “Very soon we will take measures to ensure that all kinds of encumbrances are reported well in time so the market knows about it.”

Sinha is reviewing regulations to raise corporate governance standards in the $1.2 trillion market. A dozen companies on the S&P BSE500 index plunged last month amid speculation the shares pledged by company’s founders in return for loans have been sold. Core Education & Technologies Ltd. (CETL) crashed 80 percent, Gravita India Ltd. (GRAV) 38 percent and ABG Shipyard Ltd. (ABGS) 17 percent in the period. Founders who have pledged a large chunk of their shares risk losing control of their companies should a drop in equity prices erode the value of the collateral, according to CNI Research Ltd. (CNIR) Borrowing costs in the $1.8 trillion economy are among the highest in Asia. Read more of this post

Integrating foreigners isn’t a lost cause

Integrating foreigners isn’t a lost cause

On a recent trip to present a research paper in Tokyo, I was surprised to not hear a single mobile phone ringing or a commuter talking loudly on the subway. Despite the train coach being notoriously crowded, the quiet was deafening.

Zhang Jianlin is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at SIM Global Education.

5 HOURS 1 MIN AGO

On a recent trip to present a research paper in Tokyo, I was surprised to not hear a single mobile phone ringing or a commuter talking loudly on the subway. Despite the train coach being notoriously crowded, the quiet was deafening.

Just as I was starting to wonder why the Japanese were behaving so considerately towards others, I heard announcements, first in Japanese then in English, over the sound system that all mobile phones must be switched to silent mode inside the coach.

What can we learn from the Japanese subway management to help our foreign friends better integrate in Singapore? Our Government has in recent times been sounding the refrain that foreigners whom Singapore welcomes to its shores must do their part in learning and adapting to our culture. Will this be a call in vain?

From a behavioural economist’s view, I believe not. It is in one’s self-interest not to deviate from the social norms of the society we live in. Read more of this post

Shadow Loans Hard to Squelch in China City Hit by Suicide

Shadow Loans Hard to Squelch in China City Hit by Suicide

Zhou Xiang is playing with his mobile phone in a room just big enough for a desk and chairs at the year-old Wenzhou Private Lending Registration Center. Not a single prospective customer has shown up for hours.

As a government-sanctioned loan broker seeking to match cash-strapped business owners with private investors, Zhou is one of the few people who can even be found inside the two-story building in a high-end residential district of Wenzhou, a city of 9 million people in China’s southeastern Zhejiang province. Rows of airport-like seats are empty.

“Only those who are really out of options would come here for loans,” says Zhou, a manager at Sudaibang, one of five independent brokers operating out of the center. “Most of the time, you would find these firms so weak financially that they can be literally crushed by a straw. The volume of lending is so low that we ourselves won’t be here long without expanding into some other businesses.”

One year after China’s leaders picked Wenzhou to start a pilot program designed to curb and regulate the city’s informal shadow-lending networks, it’s clear, based on a recent trip to the country’s epicenter of private lending, that the plan isn’t working. Small firms it intended to benefit still can’t access loans because they lack collateral and are struggling to stay afloat. At least one broker, Beijing-based CreditEase, has given up, citing a gap between the center and targeted borrowers. Read more of this post

Foxconn Plant in Peanut Field Shows Labor Eroding China’s Edge; “China’s advantage in low-cost manufacturing will end much sooner than expected, I believe within five years,”

Foxconn Plant in Peanut Field Shows Labor Eroding China’s Edge

Standing on a street corner near Foxconn Technology Group’s (2038) plant in central China that makes iPhone 5 handsets, employee Wang Ke says he’ll quit if his wage doesn’t double.

“I don’t have high expectations, I know I’m a migrant worker,” said Wang, 22, who earned 1,600 yuan ($258) in December, after deductions for lodging. “But I want to make 3,500 yuan a month, net. That’s a fair price.”

Wang’s attitude springs from a labor-market squeeze across the country after China’s pool of young workers shrank by almost 33 million in five years at the same time as industry added 30 million jobs. The resulting wage pressure means Foxconn, Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) biggest supplier, pays the same basic salary at the Zhengzhou plant it built in 2010 among the corn and peanut fields of Henan province, as it does in Shenzhen, the southern city that spawned the nation’s industrial boom.

“China’s advantage in low-cost manufacturing will end much sooner than expected, I believe within five years,” said Shen Jianguang, Hong Kong-based chief economist at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd. “Wages are rising faster inland than on the coast. More companies will consider moving to countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.” Read more of this post

Malaysian PM Najib Uses Public Humiliation With Graft Gallery: Southeast Asia

Najib Uses Public Humiliation With Graft Gallery: Southeast Asia

Malaysia’s government is using public humiliation in its war on graft as Prime Minister Najib Razak seeks to show voters that he’s getting tough on corruption ahead of an election that may be held within weeks.

An online gallery shows the names and photographs of more than 1,000 convicted offenders, including former Selangor state Chief Minister Mohamad Khir Toyo, who was sentenced to a year in jail in 2011.

Najib is trying to bolster his graft-fighting credentials to counter criticism from the opposition that companies from power producers to toll-road operators have unfairly benefited from their ties to a government that has ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957.

“The opposition will use corruption and financial irregularities in government spending to try and help win the election,” Ibrahim Suffian, a political analyst at Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, said by phone on March 15. “They will present a picture of pervasive corruption in government, including trying to link Najib himself.” Read more of this post

Academic castes that dog us for life

Academic castes that dog us for life

Our school years hold many memories. Some of us remember playing football every day after school; others cringe at the memory of their younger, awkward selves. It was a mixed package for me.

FROM OLIVER MICHAEL –

26 MARCH

Our school years hold many memories. Some of us remember playing football every day after school; others cringe at the memory of their younger, awkward selves. It was a mixed package for me.

School was a stage for the drama of academic caste life. Hailing from a school with over a century of tradition and history, there were Express pupils who mocked Normal (Academic) pupils who, in turn, would sometimes look down on Normal (Technical) pupils.

Even within the Express stream today, there is a constant race to be the best. Secondary schools have a system where being first is more important than doing well.

Some would argue that such is school life. Unfortunately, these formative years have a lasting influence. Some pupils never outgrow their shell, and carry the burden of being called “stupid” into adulthood, lacking self-esteem. Read more of this post

Reforming MediShield to be truly national; “Cancer treatment can be very, very expensive. This is something our health system will have to deal with. It is not surprising if some patients have to sell their house.”

Reforming MediShield to be truly national

Every now and then, Singaporeans come across a media report of a medical bill in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and everyone seems to know someone struggling financially after a prolonged illness.

Jeremy Lim has held senior executive positions in both the public and private healthcare sectors. He is writing a book on the Singapore health system.

4 HOURS 51 MIN AGO

Every now and then, Singaporeans come across a media report of a medical bill in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and everyone seems to know someone struggling financially after a prolonged illness.

In fact, the late Dr Balaji Sadasivan, previously a junior minister in the Health Ministry, while undergoing treatment for cancer commented: “Cancer treatment can be very, very expensive. This is something our health system will have to deal with. It is not surprising if some patients have to sell their house (sic).”

In dealing with the financials of catastrophic illness, Singaporeans are likely most concerned about two issues: The uncertainty of illness severity with an attendant massive hospital bill, and their share of the bill. Read more of this post

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