Do Fraudulent Firms Engage in Disclosure Herding?

Do Fraudulent Firms Engage in Disclosure Herding?

Gerard Hoberg University of Maryland – Department of Finance

Craig M. Lewis Vanderbilt University – Finance

July 25, 2013

Abstract: 
We present two new hypotheses regarding the strategic qualitative disclosure choices of firms involved in potentially fraudulent activity. First, these firms have incentives to herd with industry peers in order to escape detection. Second, these firms have incentives to locally anti-herd with the same peers on specific aspects of disclosure consistent with achieving fraud-driven objectives. We use text-based analysis of firm disclosures and compare disclosures across firms involved in SEC enforcement actions to benchmarks based on industry, size and age, and also to each firm’s own disclosure before and after SEC alleged violations. We find especially strong support for the conclusion that firms involved in alleged fraud anti-herd with industry peers on localized disclosure dimensions. We find moderately strong support for the conclusion that they herd with industry peers on broader disclosure dimensions. Content analysis then reveals key vocabulary terms used by firms involved in enforcement actions, and suggests that these firms use complexity to potentially conceal fraudulent activity, and these firms often discuss issues relating to uncertainty, litigation, and speculative statements.

3 Key Life Lessons You Can Learn From A Very Odd Mathematician; If you want to be the best, put in the hours.

JULY 28, 2013 by ERIC BARKER

3 Key Life Lessons You Can Learn From A Very Odd Mathematician

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By all accounts, Paul Erdos was a very odd guy. If you were a friend of Erdos he might show up at your house in the middle of the night wanting to do math and announce, “My brain is open.” He wouldn’t do laundry. If he was staying with you, you had to do it for him. If he wanted to work on a theorem at 5AM he’d bang pots and pans until you came downstairs. He is also one of the world’s most accomplished mathematicians. He collaborated with more people in the field of math than anyone who has ever lived and is recognized as the center of the mathematical world. And people loved him because he brought out the best in them. What made him weird made him great and what made him great made him weird. This is what you can learn from him.

1) If you want to be the best, put in the hours.

Ever since Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success, people have been taken with the idea of 10,000 hours of practice being the threshold of expertise. Paul Erdos makes that number look like a low-water mark. Even in his 70′s, he often published more papers in a year than most solid mathematicians do in their entire lives. Read more of this post

Steve Jobs Spurs Harvard MBA to Ditch McKinsey for China Website

Steve Jobs Spurs Harvard MBA to Ditch McKinsey for China Website

Qin Zhi says Steve Jobs’s “Stay Foolish” commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005 was so inspiring, the Harvard MBA left his consulting job at McKinsey & Co. in New York for an Internet startup in China.

“After reading those words I thought to myself what I was doing then was absolutely not my passion,” Qin, now chief executive officer of Autohome Inc., which operates China’s largest vehicle-comparison website, said in an interview last week in Beijing, where he was born. “What I did had no risks and I felt like I was wasting my life. So I decided to seek a change.” Six years after joining Autohome in 2007 as employee No. 38, Qin has helped oversee a 100-fold increase in revenue that topped 1 billion yuan ($163 million) last year. Today, the company employs more than 1,000 people and its namesake website attracts an estimated 6 million unique users a day, about double that of the online car section of top Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. (700). Read more of this post

After divorce or a job loss comes a period of recovery from grief and rebuilding your life. It takes two years. No shortcuts.

July 29, 2013, 9:11 p.m. ET

After Divorce or Job Loss Comes the Good Identity Crisis

Experts say most people should give themselves a good two years to recover from an emotional trauma

ELIZABETH BERNSTEIN

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Recover and Rebuild: Getting over a divorce involves two overlapping processes—recovery from grief and restructuring your life. Where will you eat dinner? Who will your friends be? After all, when you are married, even if you hate your spouse, ‘you know when to show up and when to come home,’ an expert says. 

Whether you’ve lost a job or a girlfriend, it won’t take long before someone tells you, Dust yourself off. Time heals all wounds. Yes, but how much time? Experts say most people should give themselves a good two years to recover from an emotional trauma such as a breakup or the loss of a job. And if you were blindsided by the event—your spouse left abruptly, you were fired unexpectedly—it could take longer. That is more time than most people expect, says Prudence Gourguechon, a psychiatrist in Chicago and former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association. It’s important to know roughly how long the emotional disruption will last. Once you get over the shock that it is going to be a long process, you can relax, Dr. Gourguechon says. “You don’t have to feel pressure to be OK, because you’re not OK.” Read more of this post

What’s an Idea Worth? Why the billable hour no longer makes economic sense.

July 29, 2013

What’s an Idea Worth?

By ADAM DAVIDSON

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Like a lot of accountants, Jason Blumer never really wanted to be an accountant; he wanted to play guitar in a hair-metal band. But like most guys who want to play guitar in a hair-metal band, Blumer eventually realized that there wasn’t much money in touring bars and being paid in beer-smeared $20 bills. So he changed gears and decided to follow his dad into what seemed like one of the more steady businesses around. After college, he bought some suits, joined a midsize firm in South Carolina and processed his clients’ payroll and tax returns. He billed them by the hour. He hated every second of it.

Blumer, 42, wanted to infuse a bit more rock ’n’ roll into his industry. So when he eventually took over his father’s small firm, he made his own rules: There would be no time sheets, no dress code and, most radical of all, no billable hours. He was convinced, in fact, that the billable hour was part of a series of mistakes that took all the fun out of his profession. To him, it seemed like a relic of a dying economic age and one that was depriving his industry of billions in profit. Read more of this post

Bad loans trigger new debt crisis in China’s Wenzhou

Bad loans trigger new debt crisis in Wenzhou

Staff Reporter

2013-07-30

The city government in Wenzhou in eastern China’s Zhejiang province has seen its finances deteriorate and is facing an economic crisis due to local businesses taking on bad loans, reports Beijing’s Economic Observer. The private lending crisis in Wenzhou, which erased a sizable amount of local residents’ savings, has begun to impact the official financial system, with banks reporting a surge in bad loan ratios, the paper said. The non-performing loan ratio at local banks climbed from 0.37% in June 2011 to a high of 4.01% in March, while 6,458 loan disputes, involving 24.2 billion yuan (US$9.3 billion) were reported last year. Read more of this post

China Is Set to Suffer the Skyscraper Curse

China Is Set to Suffer the Skyscraper Curse

Auditors seeking to head off a Chinese crash are rushing to scrutinize the debt-swollen books of the country’s local governments. Economists are poring over statistics, bond spreads, electricity gauges and stock valuations. They might all have more luck if they got their noses out of the books and looked up.

On July 20, the Broad Group broke ground on Sky City on the outskirts of the south-central city of Changsha. The skyscraper will rise 838 meters (2,749 feet) into the heavens to become the world’s tallest building. If that weren’t feat enough, the project aims to wrap up construction in 90 days and at almost half the cost of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, which it would top. Read more of this post

China Cities May Tighten Property Curbs as Slowdown Lifts Target

China Cities May Tighten Property Curbs as Slowdown Lifts Target

Chinese cities seeking to cap home-price gains below income growth may need to tighten property curbs as the nation’s slowing economic expansion makes their targets more difficult to meet. Hangzhou, the capital city of the eastern province of Zhejiang, will tighten approvals of pre-sale permits in the second half and may raise down payments for second homes to make sure its price-control target is met, according to a July 27 report by Today Morning Express, a Chinese-language newspaper affiliated with the provincial government. Read more of this post

China should probe foreign luxury carmakers over prices: Xinhua

China should probe foreign luxury carmakers over prices: Xinhua

Monday, Jul 29, 2013

Reuters

SHANGHAI – Foreign carmakers are reaping exorbitant profits selling imported luxury cars in China and should face an anti-trust investigation, the official Xinhua News Agency said, in what may amount to a shot across the bow of foreign auto firms. Xinhua said that in the wake of investigations into how foreign companies in other sectors price their goods, the question of imported cars had become a contentious topic. Foreign milk formula makers and pharmaceutical companies have come under intense regulatory scrutiny in recent weeks, especially over pricing. Separately, Chinese police have accused British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline of bribery. Read more of this post

The Near-Zero Interest Rate Trap; If long-term rates rise to normal levels, banks holding government bonds would be de-capitalized—a disaster

July 29, 2013, 7:04 p.m. ET

Ronald McKinnon: The Near-Zero Interest Rate Trap

If long-term rates rise to normal levels, banks holding government bonds would be de-capitalized—a disaster.

RONALD I. MCKINNON

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The conventional critique of the Federal Reserve’s policies of near-zero interest rates and massive monetary expansion is that they risk kindling excess aggregate demand and high inflation. Yet inflation world-wide remains low, and some major trading partners of the United States, such as Japan and now China, are worried about deflation. China’s Producer Price Index fell 2.7% in June, the 16th consecutive monthly decline. Read more of this post

Bacteria linked to gum disease traveled to the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that dental hygiene plays a role in the development of the memory-robbing illness

Bacteria in Brains Suggest Alzheimer’s-Gum Disease Link

Bacteria linked to gum disease traveled to the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that dental hygiene plays a role in the development of the memory-robbing illness, British researchers said.

Signs of the bacterium, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, were found in four out of 10 samples of brain tissue from Alzheimer’s patients, while no signs of the bug were found in 10 brains from people of similar age who never developed dementia, according to the results of the study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Read more of this post

Overuse of antibiotics has caused growing resistance to drugs, and many scientists say their heavy use on farm animals is a major culprit

July 29, 2013

Tracing Germs Through the Aisles

By SABRINA TAVERNISE

Twice a month for a year, Lance Price, a microbiologist at George Washington University, sent his researchers out to buy every brand of chicken, turkey and pork on sale in each of the major grocery stores in Flagstaff, Ariz. As scientists pushed carts heaped with meat through the aisles, curious shoppers sometimes asked if they were on the Atkins diet.

In fact, Professor Price and his team are trying to answer worrisome questions about the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs to people from animals raised on industrial farms. Specifically, they are trying to figure out how many people in one American city are getting urinary infections from meat from the grocery store. Read more of this post

Some of the top scientists in cancer research are recommending sweeping changes in the approach to detection and treatment, including eliminating the word cancer entirely from some common diagnoses.

JULY 29, 2013, 11:00 AM

Scientists Seek to Rein In Diagnoses of Cancer

By TARA PARKER-POPE

A group of experts advising the nation’s premier cancer research institution has recommended sweeping changes in the approach to cancer detection and treatment, including changes in the very definition of cancer and eliminating the word entirely from some common diagnoses.

The recommendations, from a working group of the National Cancer Institute, were published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They say, for instance, that some premalignant conditions, like one that affects the breast called ductal carcinoma in situ, which many doctors agree is not cancer, should be renamed to exclude the word carcinoma so that patients are less frightened and less likely to seek what may be unneeded and potentially harmful treatments that can include the surgical removal of the breast. The group, which includes some of the top scientists in cancer research, also suggested that many lesions detected during breast, prostate, thyroid, lung and other cancer screenings should not be called cancer at all but should instead be reclassified as IDLE conditions, which stands for “indolent lesions of epithelial origin.” Read more of this post

Tycoon “Superman” Li Ka-Shing’s ParknShop struggles to turn subleasing business profitable

ParknShop struggles to turn subleasing business profitable

Staff Reporter

2013-07-30

Speculation is intensifying over the intention of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, one of the largest companies listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, to sell its supermarket chain Taste International ParknShop. The chain has posted worse-than-expected results in both Hong Kong and mainland China, according to the Chinese-language New Express Daily. Chen Xianming, a senior analyst at Taiping Securities, feels Hutchison Whampoa’s business development has matured, with lower marginal profits. If the company does seek to sell ParknShop, it should be seen as a positive move given the fierce competition the conglomerate faces in mainland China. Read more of this post

HK Commercial Crime Bureau is believed to have started investigating the company China Metal Recycling for allegedly faking its balance sheet

(773) China Metal Recycling:
Apple Daily reported that HK Police arrested 2 individuals related to China Metal Recycling last Friday, and the Commercial Crime Bureau is believed to have started investigating the company for allegedly faking its balance sheet. Officers visited the company’s offices in Central on Friday and Saturday, taking away documents.
(773 HK) @ HK$: market cap. US$0.0m, daily liquidity US$0.0m. Broker forecasts:  buys,  holds,  sells, 0.0x current year P/E, 0.0% yield.

(773) China Metal Recycling: SFC has presented a petition to the Court of First Instance to wind up China Metal Recycling (Holdings) Limited. These applications follow an SFC investigation that found evidence suggesting that China Metal Recycling has overstated its financial position in the prospectus used for its initial public offering in 2009 and in its annual report for 2009. The SFC alleges that this was achieved by inflating the size of the company’s business and the amount of revenue generated by its major subsidiary. The SFC alleges that an overwhelming majority of the subsidiary’s purported purchases from its three major suppliers for the financial years ended 31 December 2007, 2008 and 2009 were fictitious by escalating amounts in each successive year. The SFC’s investigation also found evidence showing that the suspected exaggeration of China Metal Recycling’s financial situation remains a current issue that would affect its 2012 financial results, which to date remain unissued . China Metal Recycling said an order was granted by the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 26 July 2013 appointing Cosimo Borrelli and Chi Lai Man Jocelyn, both of Borrelli Walsh Limited, as provisional liquidators to Chin a Metal Recycling on the application of the SFC. In response to the SFC’s file, the single largest shareholder of the company, Wellrun Limited expressed objection, saying that the act does not meet the interests of shareholders. The Company has arranged legal counsel to follow the issue.

Two nabbed as SFC says China Metal lied
Victor Cheung
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Hong Kong police is understood to have arrested two individuals related to China Metal Recycling (0773) on Friday, it was learned last night. The Commercial Crime Bureau is believed to have started investigating the company on Friday for allegedly faking its balance sheet. Officers visited the company’s offices in Central on Friday and Saturday, taking away documents. One of the individuals arrested is a 46-year old man surnamed Lam and another is a 42-year old woman surnamed Lai. Both are locals and currently on bail. The Securities and Futures Commission, which is seeking to liquidate China Metal Recycling, yesterday accused the firm of inflating the size of its business and revenue before listing in 2009. The regulator, which applied on Friday to wind up the listed firm under the Securities and Futures Ordinance in a first, said China Metal had overstated its financial position in the prospectus used for its June 2009 initial public offering that raised HK$1.55 billion. An “overwhelming majority” of purported purchases by one of the firm’s subsidiaries from its three major suppliers for 2007-09, were “fictitious by escalating amounts in each successive year,” the SFC alleged. With the court granting orders to appoint Borrelli Walsh as provisional liquidators, the board of directors will be suspended. The court would void any disposition of the firm’s property and any share transfers. The matter will return to the court for a hearing on Friday. China Metal chairman and major shareholder Chun Chi-wai yesterday objected to the winding up, saying the move would not be beneficial for shareholders. The Guangzhou-based firm’s shares have been suspended since January 28 after shortseller Glaucus Research made allegations against it. Just three days before, Chun signed a deal to sell 29 percent of the state-owned firm for HK$3.4 billion. Deloitte, the auditor for China Metal, said there is no suggestion of any fault on its part.

China risks following Japan into economic coma

China risks following Japan into economic coma

5:14pm EDT

By Wayne Arnold

HONG KONG (Reuters) – After decades of emulating Japan’s export-driven economic miracle, China appears in danger of following it into the same kind of economic coma that Japan is trying to wake up from 20 years later.

China is struggling to wean itself off a habit picked up from its more advanced neighbor: relying for growth on exports and credit-fuelled investment. That has left its economy lopsided, economists say, with massive over investment in property and industries rapidly losing their cost advantage, from mining and electronics to cars and textiles. Wages are rising, the return on investments falling. Read more of this post

60-70% of honey in China’s Jinan is fake

60-70% of honey in Jinan is fake

by Neil Thomas on July 29, 2013

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The front cover of today’s Jinan Times is dominated by an exposé of the Shandong honey industry, with a headline proclaiming “60-70% of honey on the market is adulterated,” leading into a detailedfeature article on pages two and three. The report claims that the production of counterfeit honey in China is an open secret to industry insiders, and so journalists from the Jinan Times went undercover to investigate. If you enjoy eating honey, as the Chinese have since ancient times, then you will not like what these reporters found. Read more of this post

In the post-PC era, is Microsoft toast?

In the post-PC era, is Microsoft toast?

July 30, 2013 – 9:53AM

Timothy B. Lee

Microsoft’s Surface: Tablet computing is an example of what Harvard business guru Clay Christensen dubs a disruptive innovation. 

When Microsoft announced its financial results for the second quarter, the market panicked. The firm’s stock dropped 10 per cent in after-hours trading, even though revenue and profits both topped their numbers from the second quarter of 2012. Why did the market freak out? The biggest reason was that Microsoft booked a $US900 million charge for “inventory adjustments” for its Surface tablets. In plain English, Microsoft admitted that its heavily promoted tablet is selling poorly. And that’s an ominous sign for the firm’s long-term prospects. Tablets and smartphones are the future of computing, and Microsoft is falling farther behind the market leaders, Apple and Google. Read more of this post

Digital camera makers are coming to realize they will have to adapt to a world where smartphones trump the classic point-and-shoot

July 29, 2013, 9:13 p.m. ET

The Point-and-Shoot Camera Faces Its Existential Moment

As More Users Opt for Smartphones, Companies Wonder What’s Next

DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI

MK-CF118_JCAMER_NS_20130729183606 MK-CF119_JCAMER_NS_20130729183610

The compact digital camera is fading fast. As global shipments plummet—down 42% in the first five months of 2013, according to the Camera and Imaging Products Association, a Tokyo-based industry group—manufacturers are scrambling to adapt to a world where customers value the convenience of smartphones for quick shots they can share on social networks likeFacebook FB +4.18% and Instagram. The changes are forcing some of the biggest camera makers, including Fujifilm Holdings Corp. 4901.TO +1.11% and Panasonic Corp., to pare product lines and adapt offerings. Some are choosing to focus on more high-end cameras as interest in the classic compact, or “point-and-shoot,” fades.

Read more of this post

Rethinking How We Watch TV; Intel, Apple and Others Push New Technologies to Take Control of the Living Room

July 29, 2013, 7:32 p.m. ET

Rethinking How We Watch TV

Intel, Apple and Others Push New Technologies to Take Control of the Living Room

DON CLARK and IAN SHERR

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.—To understand how much television could soon change, it helps to visit an Intel Corp. INTC -0.09% division here that runs like a startup.

Erik Huggers, a Dutch-born former British Broadcasting Corp. executive, has assembled a 350-person team with talents beyond computer chips—programmers, industrial designers, artists and experts in fields like video encoding. Working in bright, newsroom-style offices that differ from standard Intel cubicles, they’re creating an Internet-based service that doesn’t only serve up on-demand programs but overhauls live TV as well. Read more of this post

The billionaire prince who says Saudi Arabia is in far bigger trouble than the other royals admit

The billionaire prince who says Saudi Arabia is in far bigger trouble than the other royals admit

By Steve LeVine 6 hours ago

Saudi Arabia, home to the world’s largest reserves of cheap-to-drill oil, describes itself as a painstaking economic planner. It plots to keep current oil prices stable even while diversifying for harder economic days ahead. These practices have, among other things, resulted in the accumulation of $700 billion in official foreign reserves.

This self-depiction has always aroused suspicion since outsiders typically see little more than what the Saudis wish them to. But now a 14-page screed by one of the nation’s most prominent billionaire princes suggests internal dissent on whether the kingdom is planning painstakingly enough. Alwaleed bin Talal, a jet-setting nephew of King Abdullah who owns stakes in Apple, Citigroup and Twitter, says that Saudi Arabia faces a dire threat. Read more of this post

Music streaming expected to decimate iTunes Australia

Music streaming expected to decimate iTunes Australia

PUBLISHED: 29 JUL 2013 00:05:00 | UPDATED: 29 JUL 2013 07:53:30

PAUL MCINTYRE

First it was compact discs. Then downloads. Now music labels are facing another challenge to their business models, with revenue growth from iTunes in Australia expected to halve this year as more consumers take up new streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora. Record company and commercial radio executives say music faces more structural change from a maturing market for download-to-own music services such as iTunes, competition from non-Apple device manufacturers and platforms that allow users to stream music for free through an ad-funded service or by paying a ­­sub­scription fee. Read more of this post

Financial advisers who put their clients into Australian LM’s frozen funds stand to collect millions in commission before their clients see any return

LM frozen funds: commissions before client earnings

July 30, 2013 – 12:24PM

Michael West

The financial advisers who put their clients into LM Investment Management’s frozen funds stand to collect millions in commission before their clients see any return. The latest administrators report for LM Investment Management shows commissions of $10 million are subject to claims by financial advisers. However, the actual investors themselves have not been deemed by the LM group administrators to be creditors. Rather, their savings rank behind the fees of the very people who put them into these dud investments in the first place. Business Day revealed yesterday LM founder Peter Drake had taken at least $46 million in loans before his mortgage fund empire collapsed earlier this year. These have not been repaid and Drake appears headed for bankruptcy. In light of the loans to Drake and the feeding frenzy by the administrators and their lawyers, the prospective returns for investors in the LM suite of funds is diminishing with every week that passes. Since the collapse in March this year, the administrators FTI Consulting have charged $2.4 million in fees, or $130,000 a week. Disbursements came to another $2 million. Read more of this post

China: Citizens united; Civil activists pose a growing threat to the Communist party as they link up

July 29, 2013 5:36 pm

China: Citizens united

By Kathrin Hille

Civil activists pose a growing threat to the Communist party as they link up, writes Kathrin Hille

When the Chinese police arrested rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong on July 16, they charged him with “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place”.

As Mr Xu had been under house arrest since April, the charge triggered an outcry. But in the eyes of China’s ruling Communist party, the softly spoken but stubborn lawyer is still a threat, even while confined to his Beijing home. Over the past year, Mr Xu has worked to link activists who were each running individual campaigns, marshalling them into a broader movement called “citizenry” to foster a sense of rights and responsibilities across a range of public issues. It is the virtual equivalent of a crowd in the street. Read more of this post

How India has Punctured its Gas Balloon; Even as gas takes off in the US as a cleaner and cheaper fuel, India is heading in the opposite direction with policy flip-flops and failed promises strewn along the way

How India has Punctured its Gas Balloon

by Cuckoo Paul | Jul 30, 2013

Gas_Final.indd

Even as gas takes off in the US as a cleaner and cheaper fuel, India is heading in the opposite direction with policy flip-flops and failed promises strewn along the way

From his office in central London, Christof Ruhl, chief economist and vice president at British Petroleum (BP), analyses energy demand-supply data from around the world to produce one of the most widely consumed reports of the oil industry: BP’s statistical review of world energy. This year, Ruhl says, he was amazed by the unprecedented shifts in energy preference in countries the world over. Read more of this post

The language of success; Online translator Lingo24 is turning to private equity to fund its £100m expansion.

The language of success

Online translator Lingo24 is turning to private equity to fund its £100m expansion.

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We did something awful but we got customers.” That’s how Christian Arno, the founder of online translation company Lingo24, knew he was on to something when he launched a rudimentary translation website while still at university.

By Philip Smith

7:00AM BST 28 Jul 2013

We did something awful but we got customers.” That’s how Christian Arno, the founder of online translation company Lingo24, knew he was on to something when he launched a rudimentary translation website while still at university. His idea was to use the web to entice corporate customers looking for low-cost translation – because he had access to “cheap” language students to do the work. “It was the dotcom boom and I looked at what was happening in the translation space, and the answer was not very much.” His first website, by his own admission, was “shocking”. “It was in Motherwell FC colours, claret and amber. I’ve nothing against Motherwell but they are not my team,” he says. However, the gaudy site didn’t deter customers, and he quickly won clients, including the Liverpool Tourist Board. “I was amazed,” he says. Read more of this post

India’s attempt to ignite a startup boom

India’s attempt to ignite a startup boom

July 29, 2013: 1:46 PM ET

It has come in fits and starts, but India is slowly building its own startup world.

By Anika Gupta

FORTUNE – Most entrepreneurs remember vividly when they decided to strike out on their own. For Siddhartha Ahluwalia, the moment came over breakfast, in 2009. Then 22 years old and an engineering student at the Indian Institute of Information Technology & Management in Gwalior, he was interning at India’s premier graduate business school — the Ahmedabad campus of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-A). An IIM-A student sat down at Ahluwalia’s table and started to talk about his own business — a tech platform that served TV ads at train stations. “IIM-A is full of energy regarding entrepreneurship,” Ahluwalia remembers. “You meet a lot of new entrepreneurs.” The fired-up Ahluwalia enlisted three friends as co-founders, and they started work on an advertising platform for doctors’ offices. Read more of this post

Apps That Know What You Want, Before You Do

July 29, 2013

Apps That Know What You Want, Before You Do

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

SEARCH-2-popup

Google Now, a search app that tries to anticipate what users want, as seen on a Galaxy Nexus.

SAN FRANCISCO — In Hollywood, there are umbrella holders. Outside corner offices, there are people who know exactly how much cream to pour in the boss’s coffee. In British castles, royals have their valets. And then there is Silicon Valley, where mind-reading personal assistants come in the form of a cellphone app. A range of start-ups and big companies like Google are working on what is known as predictive search — new tools that act as robotic personal assistants, anticipating what you need before you ask for it. Glance at your phone in the morning, for instance, and see an alert that you need to leave early for your next meeting because of traffic, even though you never told your phone you had a meeting, or where it was. Read more of this post

The E-Commerce Entrepreneurs Who Are Literally Working Themselves To Death

The E-Commerce Entrepreneurs Who Are Literally Working Themselves To Death

ALYSON SHONTELL JUL. 29, 2013, 3:39 PM 8,902 17

Running an online business can be difficult. It can also be life-threatening. In China, there’s been a spike in the number of overworked employees who have dropped dead, particularly in the e-commerce space. One company that’s becoming infamous for its worker death toll is Taobao, a Chinese e-commerce platform that resembles eBay. Merchants can post items on their own Taobao storefronts. They’re in charge of everything from keeping inventory and shipping items to updating the website and communicating with customers. But when their businesses take off, the work load can become too much. In July 2012, 24-year-old “Aijun aj” who was running a store on Taobao died of cardiac failure. She wasn’t the first or the last. Aijun’s death was preceded by a mother who ran a store on Taobao and a 25-year-old who ran another highly-rated online shop. Being overworked doesn’t directly kill you. It leads to a series of poor health decisions, such as irregular diets, chronic stress, lack of exercise, and exhaustion, which can cause heart issues like Aijun’s, blood clots and more. Read more of this post

Inside The Booming Mobile Video Ecosystem (Infographic)

INFOGRAPHIC: Inside The Booming Mobile Video Ecosystem

BUSINESS INSIDER JUL. 29, 2013, 2:30 PM 765

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Mobile video has begun to accumulate scale, and has also turned out to be one of the few types of mobile content — along with games — that monetizes reliably and drives premium ad rates. That’s reflected in the much higher prices that mobile publishers can command for mobile video ads, compared to standard mobile formats like banners. eMarketer estimates mobile video will account for $520 million in ad spending in the U.S. this year, or 13% of the digital video ad market. In a recent reportBI Intelligence breaks down the mobile video ecosystem, analyzing the behavior and devices behind the growth in consumption, and examining the demographics and behavior of mobile video consumers. We specifically detail how mobile video monetization is booming, and look at the new video ecosystem that is taking shape, with mobile devices — rather than television — at the center. Read more of this post

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