Financial Security; Age Matters

Financial Security; Age Matters

Research from Payscale puts the salary for an American female graduate reaching its highest point at age thirty-nine, and for her male graduate counterpart at aged forty-eight. But what happens if you haven’t reached your earning potential as defined by these age markers?  What happens if you drifted from one job and career to the next?  A more haphazard journey through jobs brought about by a series of random events (like being made unemployed, like waking up one morning and deciding engineering wasn’t really for you, like finding out you were having a baby…)

Age is a great divider.  Below a certain age, let’s say thirty, you may not have had much money, but maybe you were more able to roll with the changes. You had enough to do what you wanted, whether this was spending a summer backpacking through India, or buying a second hand car.  But what a difference ten years makes.

If Payscale’s research tells us anything, it’s that in general, our financial security is related to our age. So this begs the question, if by 39 (for women) and 48 (for men) there are some of us out there, who let’s say, maybe are earning less than we did in our early thirties, is there any hope of financial security as we age?  Of course there is… fingers crossed.

Lay the Foundations for Financial Security

Here are a few tips to build financial security:

1. Come up with a budget. Do you know what you spend your money on?  Even if you think you do, sit down and make a simple budget.  List incoming money and all outgoings.  Knowledge is power after all.  You may not want to change your spending or earning levels, but you’re also wise enough to acknowledge what your lifestyle is costing you.

2. Monetize yourself.  Sounds pretty ruthless, but it doesn’t have to be.  Your ability to navigate through jobs and careers, while trying to stay healthy, have new families, manage old families, find shelter, food etc is commendable. Realize your assets, think about the skills you have, and the experience your increasing age have proffered.  There’s no cheating Time.  Your knowledge and skills have been hard won. Update your resume, create a snapshot of your professional self.

Are you under-selling yourself?

3. Set short term and longer-term goals.  Then work out a way to achieve them.  If you want to work less hours at the office, come up with a plan that will allow you to action this.  Maybe you could work from home, or work on transferring your skills to a job or a career that allows greater flexibility? Leafing through the pages of your local college is often a good starting point; part-time and night classes allow you to dip your toe in to other career options, without giving up your day job.

4. Save.  Find some way to save some of what you’re making now for the future.  Investing doesn’t have to be scary.  Setting up monthly payments in to a personal retirement plan may be one option, hiring a personal financial planner is another.  But there are others. Investing your hard earned bucks in to property is one example. Spending money to professionalize your skills may mean an initial outlay, but in the longer term may offer greater financial rewards.

5. Learn about personal finance.  While the term has become mired in controversy and easily associated with other less positive terms (greed, banking, profit), you owe it to your financial security-self to figure out how to better manage your money.   To use a gardening analogy, know how to plant your seeds in order to reap a better harvest.  To push the analogy to its extreme, prepare for leaner years by making jam with the left overs.

Time waits for no Financial Mismanagement

So, having skim-read these points, are you moved to act?  Do you feel empowered to take a cool, hard look at your finances, whatever state they happen to be in?  Drafting  a plan, or several plans, that lead you towards greater financial security also has the added advantage of offering peace of mind. It’s reassuring to plan ahead isn’t it?  Especially if you happen to be growing older.

The Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite – The New Kindle on the e-Reader Block

In the elevator up to the brand spanking new West Hollywood Library, two older patrons fished out their ancient looking library cards in a ritual-type display of their devoted commitment to the Library. They bemoaned the fact that their cards were going to be shortly discontinued, and replaced with the newly branded bar-code adorned, self-renew library cards.  Libraries, like their sisters the Public Swimming Pools, are a humbling reminder of community spirit and service; their presence like a beacon of light.  Anyone can walk in to any library, pick up any book, or a newspaper, or a DVD, find a seat, and read (or watch).  This is pretty amazing.

But what does this have to do with the launch of the new 7.5 ounce Kindle Paperwhite?  Here we have the latest e-reader on the block, which Amazon are hailing as ‘The world’s most advanced e-reader’. We’ll see.  The 3.25 minuted video tour is impressive enough, and includes image of their intended female dominated audience.

Kindle Paperwhite’s features include:

• Higher resolution, higher contrast, making the text sharper, hence easier to read

• Built-in light with a eight week battery life (assuming 30 minutes of reading time per day)

• More customized font styles and size

• Built in Wi-Fi

• 2 GB storage – 1,100 books storage

• Timer telling you the time remaining before you finish reading the chapter

• Cloud Synchronized

• Touch screen and rubber back for easy handling

• Customer rating on Amazon give 3.7 out of 5 stars

Be prepared to pay $119.00.  The 3G built-in wireless version costs $179.00. Compare these e-reader advances against the original Kindle, which costs $69.00.

This new device which enables us to store our own personal libraries.  So it follows that if you can store your library on a portable device, what happens to our real libraries?  In a few years time, will those two older patrons be flashing their original, authentic Kindles, while the world around them insert reading chips straight in to their cerebral cortex?  What will the library of the future  look like? If indeed the Library survives.

In one way, the launch of the new Kindle Paperwhite on October 1 st  marks another step towards a more customized world of reading. How are the libraries responding?

Annual Library Visits

It is heartening to read that  New York Public Library, which has 89 branches, gets 16.3 million visits per year.  County of Los Angeles Libraries (84 branches) hit 12 million annual visits.  These read as strong figures. However, the American Library Association 2012 yearly report highlights a less healthy picture for two main reasons:

• Publishers limit e-book lending.  While the demand for e-books are increasing, publishers restrictions severely impact the availability of e-books for libraries and hence their patrons.

• Budget cuts, which severely effected school librarians and libraries

Reading – a Social Experience

Reading in a library is also a social experience.  Libraries are rarely empty places. Visiting a library involves opportunities to see and talk to others, including library staff.  How many of us strike up a chat with the librarian as we check books in and out?  Maybe we read and hear recommendations from library staff? In a library we mingle with other book/ newspaper/ magazine-minded, real life readers, from all walks of life and from all ages.

The Kindle delivers what we want, when we want it, from pretty much anywhere.  We can expect to download titles in the time it takes us to find our library cards.  But this also means that we’re less likely to browse and select a book we may not have heard of when stood at library shelves.   And what about  all those missed interactions with the professionally trained, all knowing, book loving librarian? I remain optimistic.  I have a Kindle. They’re handy when you’re traveling.  But I also enjoy paying a visit to the library, especially reassuring when I’m away from home.  I’m hopeful that there is room for libraries and e-readers, despite publisher wranglings.  You never know, maybe the next time I see the older library patrons, they’ll be taking their new Kindle Paperwhites to the library.

The Sun Shines on eBay

The Sun Shines on eBay

So did it surprise you to learn that the behemoth of online auctions – eBay-  published its report last week announcing its solid third quarter?   To be honest, it took me a little by surprise, as I haven’t brought anything on eBay since those car shades in August.  But clearly the rest of you have picked up my consumer slack and run amok with it. Indeed, eBay’s success can be attributed to its 23% increase in PayPal, which it owns, as well as the rise of mobile commerce.  Yup, the phone is the thing to catch the conscience of the King (who we’ll call eBay).   eBay’s own mobile app is designed to provide a high-speed product listing and shopping experience, (just in case you change your mind while waiting for your order to be processed).

Mobile Auctions

Research states that a third of customers use their mobiles to purchase goods while traveling.  This fact alone may be the reason why eBay is opening its new eBay ’boutique’ in London’s West End on the 1 st December.  It will close four days later.  Punters have been granted four Christmas shopping days to be able to check out goods – online though their Smartphones – and get together with other auction crazed customers to shop in one great location.  Imagine.  No need to feel like a social leper if you don’t have your own Smartphone, the good folks at eBay will lend you one.  Aah.  That’s nice.

Ebay: Hi’s and Lo’s:

For those of you not abreast of such matters, allow me to fill you in on some of eBay’s high’s and lo’s.

• Ebay began in 1995 as Auctionweb, changing its name to eBay in 1997 – an American multinational company with its HQ in San Jose, California.

• Operates in 30 countries

• Ebay has around 100 items that it does not allow for auction on its site.  These include the not surprising items – tobacco, alcohol, drugs.  Add to this Nazi items and firearms.  Then there’s the downright weird and wacky; used underwear, body parts (this was after a man tried auctioning his kidney), ivory and fortune telling gear.  You’ll just have to continue to buy these from yard sales.

• Ebay shares last year traded at $30 per share.  Today each share costs $50.

• Number of Users increased to figures not seen since 2007

• Net revenues in 2012 estimated at $14.1 billion

Telling Fortune?

Looking forward, eBay has purchased Hunch.  As its name helpfully suggests, Hunch provides its hunch for user recommendations.  Hunch is a social network search engine that customizes user preferences for brands and products.  Hunch then played its hunch and now eBay has acquired a means by which it can know what you want, before you knew that you knew you needed it.

Is it reassuring to know that those great guys at Hutch are working hard to predict just what we’re going to want to buy next?  They’re working oh so relentlessly to chart us on their ‘Taste graphs’.  Are we really that predictable?

I’m confident it won’t be long until I receive my recommendations for other car accessories from my eBay friends.  This is serious business.  Pundits see eBay’s move in building on its search and recommend engine as a way to compete with Amazon, which is the numero uno e-commerce player.

Profits & Losses

Since news of their financial upswing has put eBay under the spotlight, recent news reports are emerging that question the less healthy aspect to eBay’s fortune.  A rather meager tax bill of 1.2 million for example. That’s the total corporation tax paid on 789 million pounds of profit made in 2010.

Doesn’t quite seem to add up does it?  The Sunday Times, a pretty reliable UK broadsheet, puts eBay’s tax bill at a more realistic 51 million.  It’s thought that eBay’s ability to use Paypal, which is based in the tax favorable Luxembourg, partly explains this. An old adage comes to  mind; Where’s there’s big profits there’s a loophole – that goes by the name of Luxembourg.

So next time you’re traveling and you reach for your phone to list those baby stair gates you’ve had in the back of your cupboard for five years, or you’re on the lookout for a replacement computer cable, pat yourself well deservedly on your back – you’re going to make the next financial report the best yet.

TOP FIVE CHRISTMAS-FREE DESTINATIONS

For those of us who start twitching with the thought of staying home for a traditional family Christmas, it’s time to get thinking of a great alternative.  With you in mind, here’s a top five list of the where-to-go-to-avoid-Turkeytime worldwide destinations:

INDIA: You can easily forget its Christmas in India. India’s largely Hindu population will sweep you up into its own pulsating rhythm.  No Christmas shopping, no freezing temperatures (unless you decide to head up in to the North and Himalayas).  And definitely no turkey.  India’s a vegetarian’s delight, it’s assumed you’re a vegetarian, unless you state otherwise.

Top tourist hang outs include:

1. The Taj Mahal in Agra &  The Red Fort in Delhi

2. Gateway to India in Mumbai

3. Golden Temple in Amritsar

4. Goa – Benaulim Beach

5. Shimla – Monkey Temple

Christmas Dinner: Try a roadside dhaba for a menu of Fresh tandoori-baked rotis, vegetarian dishes of the day, dal, raita, pickles and gulab jaman for dessert.  All washed down with lashings of chai, for the price of a turkey-tofuturkey sandwich back home.

SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA: You won’t avoid the Christmas celebrations here, but with so many alternative holiday celebrations happening in this very liberal, open-minded university town, you might just find yourself camping under the canopy of the giant Redwood trees with a friendly gang of tree-dwellers on Christmas day.  With a large Jewish population, cinemas are open on the 25 th  December, as are Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Brazilian etc… restaurants.  It’s certainly not assumed you’re a Christmas devotee here.

Top tourist hang outs include:

1. Boardwalk – Historic beach boardwalk and arcade. Look out for Laffing Sal.

2. West Cliff Drive (surfing and scenery)

3. San Francisco – Two hours drive north of Santa Cruz

4. Alcatraz

5. Highways – take a road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway 1

Christmas Dinner: Try shrimp tacos or ginger infused sea bass and noodles at any Chinatown eatery in SF.  Wash it down with iced beer or Martelli’s Apple Juice.

NEPAL: You can enjoy the winter weather here without the choking Christmas festivities.  Take a visit to Dharamsala; the exiled home of the Dalai Lama and a welcoming Tibetan community. While a visit to the capital Kathmandu is a must, be sure to venture further afield to experience the diversity of this relatively new tourist destination.

Top tourist hang outs include:

1. Mount Everest

2. Pokhara or Annapurna Mountain ranges

3. Chitwan National Park

4. Dharamsala

5. Kathmandu

Christmas Dinner: Dal Bhatt (Dal and Rice).  Humble but surprisingly delicious and fortifying.  Drink

chai or honey, lemon and ginger tea.

CENTRAL AUSTRALIA: ULURU

Otherwise known as Ayers Rock in the Red Center, Uluru is the sacred site for the Aborigine people. The landscape and Uluru itself will almost certainly push out any lingering, last-minute Christmas pangs.  Take a walk around the base of Uluru and give yourself over to the changing colors of the Rock.  Camp out at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and soak in the Milky way – prepare to be star-struck by the sight.  It’s summertime in Australia!

Top tourist hang outs include:

1. Uluru – take a helicopter ride or walk around the base

2. Camp at Yulara

3. Kings Canyon

4. Cooper Pedy South Australia – See the underground homes

5. Alice Springs – Northern Territory

Christmas Dinner: Barbecue… seafood, meat, chicken, if you can get it on a grill, barbecue it. Drink local Wine and Brew (Beer).  Or fresh carrot and ginger smoothie.

If, for budgetary, recession-impacted reasons the option of an international flight remains prohibitive, this final destination is for you:

HOME:

Draw the curtains, enable the answering machine, and whether alone or with others, do as the winter animals do and hibernate over the holiday period.  Pre-stocking your nest with essential goods (DVD’s and Chips), services (Cable/ Netflix) and heating will determine the quality of your hibernating experience.  Board Games and Books you’ve been meaning to read all year but haven’t, may also prove invaluable.

Top Tourist hang-outs include:

1. Wearing whatever you like

2. Eating and Drinking whatever you fancy

3. Not answering the phone/ emails

4. Not having to leave your nest unless you choose to

5. Doing whatever you like in the comforts of your own home

Christmas Dinner: Chips.  Cake.  Chocolate.  Drink: Tea.  Wine.  Beer.

Happy Holiday Getaways.

WHAT IS E-COMMERCE

Gone are the days when the posh most residential areas would be coveted because of the presence of swank boutiques and availability of premium services. “What is e-commerce?” .This question has been the death knell for many large retail brands that got most of their revenue from sales in physical stores across the globe.

E-commerce is the Gen X name for electronic commerce. Sale of products and services though the various forms of electronic media. Old school traditionalists may argue that e-commerce has robbed many aspects of shopping of its charm. But e-commerce is not just Amazon and Flipkart. Not by a long shot. E-commerce has revolutionized the very way we transact and purchase. The tele and internet banking facilities provided by almost every prestigious Bank can also be categorized as e-commerce. The brain child of Michael Aldrich dubbed “The father of online shopping”, is no longer something very simple and its effects are multitudinous and far reaching. To facilitate the whims and fancies of luxury loving consumers is now no longer the sole target or purpose of e-commerce. We need to take a look at the assisting technologies that make e-commerce possible to understand that it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Christmas 2011….almost 70% of people made their purchases online. That is no small number and it also means that the myriad shops with physical outlets experienced a 70% slash in their clientele and revenue. It may seem shocking but without realizing it, we are indeed becoming addicted to and depending more and more on the internet-not only for entertainment but also purchase and business.

When we enter the domain of e-commerce, the entire Universe becomes electronic. Books,clothes,jewellery and even Health care facilities like blood tests have gone E. We browse the website of a particular Business venture or brand and we get a comprehensive view of all products and services. We choose without the hassle and hustle bustle of an actual store and we can literally take all the time in the world. And if we don’t find what we need…we can access another website at the click of our mouse without having to bear the disapproving glances of the shop assistants for wasting their time. In case we do find something we like, we “add to cart”….a phrase that has become the mantra of success and the embodiment of convenience and choice. Unlimited choice. E-commerce websites function on a technology called Electronic Data Interchange. Wherein we provide personal information pertaining to delivery address, delivery date and mode of payment and in return the vendor site provides us with the invoice electronically without human intervention. Next comes the actual payment. No tangible cash changes hands. And another technology that primarily owes its existence to e-commerce, Electronic Funds Transfer, wraps the deal up. We are guided to a secure payment page where we enter our credit/debit card details and make the payment. Or we avail of net banking where our bank acts as the middle man and makes a payment to the vendor site without revealing any sensitive information to any payment gateway. It sounds easy and uncomplicated but leaving electronic

money trails may have severe repercussions. If the encryption of data is not strong enough then there is a very real possibility of a proficient hacker hacking into the database of the Payment gateway host and stealing our credit card information. But most of the well-known sites scrupulously follow the stringent security protocol and enforce SSL encryption that is the industry standard and considered to be pretty much hacker proof. But the real surge in e-commerce came with three little words. Cash on Delivery. And the world went mad! Now the intrepid shoppers could shop from any site they wanted without revealing sensitive information and pay after they received the goods. Children without credit cards could now actively participate in the joys of online shopping! Suddenly stores became obsolete. And going out for shopping cumbersome!

Suffering huge losses many large brands succumbed to e-commerce and opened online shops together with the physical ones and those who couldn’t change with the changing consumer needs…filed for bankruptcy. E-commerce allows small entrepreneurs to open businesses and host on sites like e-bay with minimum investment in inventory and store set up. Hosting a website is much cheaper and a tie up with a reliable courier service is the majority of the need of e-commerce taken care of. Some large hospitals and pathological centers allow customers and patients to request for, pay online and avail at home: services like blood sugar testing and pressure checkups. This especially helps senior citizens, who may be incontinent or may find driving to the hospitals a deterrent. It is e-commerce that has exploited the business potential of social networks to the fullest: advertising, hosting and selling online for the complete e-experience. “What is e-commerce?” has a simple answer. It is the future.

STEVE JOBS AND THE WORLD OF APPLE

STEVE JOBS AND THE WORLD OF APPLE

Once in a Century comes along a visionary who with his sheer will and exuberance brings out the capacity to defy all limitations- not only in himself but people around him and scripts a success story that becomes immortal. Steve Jobs was just such a person. Often described by his near and dear ones as “rude” and “obnoxious”, a bully with questionable hygiene and someone who abandoned his new born illegitimate daughter…..nevertheless he is the individual who has single handedly changed the face of the entertainment industry and all concepts of luxury goods.

A good wine can become the best with the correct packaging…..He lived by this motto all his life. He is perhaps one of the elite few who have been associated with two massively successful business undertakings- Apple and Pixar. Somewhere in between was Next, Job’s attempt at redemption after being voted off from the board of the very company he had built with his sweat, grit and determination. The fact that he spent close to a fortune just designing the logo of Next gives a glimpse into the genius yet chaotic and insecure mind of the tech Czar. He was the ultimate perfectionist where work was concerned. In the era of clunky metallic contraptions and the fact that most software companies were just content churning out personal computers with utter disregard for form and shape, Steve Jobs was obsessed with the way the products should be presented, packaged and launched. He was in a sense the progenitor of lead generation. What a product should stand for and the image of the product in the minds of the target audience were factors which influenced every decision he took. Steve Jobs had a new manufacturing unit built for components of the Apple products so that every screw was just so and every bolt customized to fit only his products. Many of the Apple board members considered this idiosyncrasy of Jobs’ detrimental to the progress of the Company. They could not understand why the look of the product should be of such paramount importance when performance was already spot on.

But Jobs was a man born before his time. He knew that brand value was the future of business and he wanted to elevate the computer and electronic goods as a whole to the level of luxury items, sought after not only for convenience but as a status symbol.   1984 was the year that Steve Jobs changed the definition of advertisements forever. With Ridley Scott at the helm, the first glimpse of the Apple Macintosh was something the world would remember. A woman shattering the screen of the televised Big Brother to break the monotony of aesthetically unappealing boxes that passed for personal computers with limited functionality and bleak grey display screens. It inspired a generation to think and expect more even from products that were considered to be strictly functional. The innovations that Jobs literally pried out of people who could never have imagined themselves capable of “out of the box” thinking is legendary. His famous “reality distortion field” would help achieve deadlines which people later confessed were not humanly possible. That was the roguish charm and charisma of the enigma that is Steve Jobs. He used to break down crying in the middle of Board meetings if he couldn’t have his way but that same petulant man-child frequently manipulated the CEOs of large corporations into bending over backwards to please him.

Tony Fadell, the inventor of the iPod was a Jobs acquisition. He invited the inventor over and encouraged him in his quest to find a better Mp3 player. Another fad of Jobs’ was to keep all of his products closed. Despite being coaxed and cajoled by Bill Gates he would allow the Windows OS to operate on his Macs thus depriving Gates of a large market share corresponding to Apple computer sales. He believed that software and hardware should be integrated seamlessly to provide the best possible user experience.

It goes without saying that the unique features of the iPad and the iPhone like the extreme portability and the feather roll of the touch screen are all the results of Jobs untiring crusade to produce aesthetic and functional products. Apple in short became the vanguard in the field of consumer satisfaction and exclusivity. To date the Apple product launches are aimed at thrilling and exciting the audience, arousing their curiosity to know more about the product and finally creating the need to buy something which is a piece of the legacy of Steve Jobs, the man who revolutionized not only the electronics industry but also what can be achieved by proper marketing.

ECONOMIC RECESSION

ECONOMIC RECESSION

Economic recession…..We have been hearing this much dreaded word repeated on all the air waves and any news channel of significance for far longer than we are comfortable with. Dryly it can be explained by the following definition: A period of general economic decline; typically defined as a decline in GDP for two or more consecutive quarters. But what does the term recession actually mean??? If statistics and financial analysis are left aside for a moment and the perspective of empathy adopted, recession takes on a much more somber tone.

Analysts say that only when recession lasts for a really long time, can it be classified as a depression. And that is something to worry about! But ask the common people of any country, the daily bread winners and they will vehemently agree that recession has indeed impacted their lives and changed their way of thinking forever. The majority of the work force all over the world comprises of people who were born in the late 60s or the early 70s when the global economy had left behind the gloomy clouds of the Great Depression and with the UNO firmly in place with its policy of passive intervention, a new era of peace, prosperity and abundance had been ushered in. That populace got a rude shock when they encountered the recession. It was reminiscent of the slump their parents used to talk about and which had been just a nightmare- to be wary of but never to be faced in real life. When the pink slips were handed to employees by the dozens and work forces were curtailed across all sectors….people started panicking. More so psychologically than economically and that sense of panic permeated the entire world. Yes recession meant slashes in the availability of bank loans for budding entrepreneurs and a rise in the number of unemployed. People held on to their capital with the jaws of death and investments were considered an unnecessary risk. Not ideal circumstances for economic development which largely depends on the dynamic nature of available capital as well as trade balance.

But what triggered this recession is not really well known. Something of such vast import which is still sending after shocks through economies all across the world deserves better understanding. We can capture the essence of the recession in Warren Buffet’s famous quote: “Number one rule is to never lose money and number two rule is to never forget rule number one.” The magic of the Wall Street wizards was waning and the stark reality of home loan defaulters and stagnant wages was exposed. In the rush to make money, the basic structure that renders an economy stable was undermined and people were content to just let the things follow their own course, deliberately holding on to their rose colored glasses in the face of imminent problems.

The subprime mortgage crisis was the main protagonist of the late 2000 recession. In simple words real estate that could be considered prime by no standards was projected and portrayed to be so by highly educated and professional evaluators. They used their knowledge of the economic system and the Real Estate laws to weave a web of falsehood. With these valuations on steroid, the property owners could take out mortgages that were far higher than what they could have with accurate valuations.  Thus rule number one was in full swing. But it all came tumbling down like a castle of cards when these property owners started defaulting. The banks when they moved in to foreclose the property, found that they had been taken for a ride. The actual price of the properties was far lower and there was no way the banks could recoup losses by selling them off. The loss of one, cautioned the others and the banks started to draw the purse strings. Businesses had to go through rigorous verification processes before they could apply for a loan and the balance sheets scrutinized for any sign of manipulation. New ventures couldn’t expect to be financed unless they could provide collaterals that were much higher in value. This threw a wrench in the workings of the economy and the declining GDP with rising unemployment finally proclaimed loud that “recession is here”. Since then banks have tightened security and strictly take into account the distress sale value of properties only. But the damage has been done. The world economy is a complex network where each individual unit affects the others in the equation. As USA struggles to cope, other countries are still succumbing to recession in a domino effect. The only way to combat economic recession is to reinvent one’s business and come up with ventures that are considered to be recession proof.

New York Stock Exchange

Ranked as the largest stock market in America, this exchange is burrowed in the center of the indisputably most urban city, New York. This exchange facilitates in the trading of securities and stocks of major corporations that operate both nationally and internationally. Founded on the brink of the 19th century, the New York stock exchange began with a few men swapping commerce related ideas under a tree in New York. While at this point, shares in a company could theoretically be traded individually, it seemed a plausible idea that there should be an uninvolved third party that monitors and assists with the financial side of it. Evidently, this idea picked up momentum and landed this stock exchange a spot as the epicenter.

The foundation of the exchange took place on May 17th 1792. Starting in a small room, the brand new organization moved to Broad Street nearly a century later. Corporate America grew through the industrial revolution during these years, and westernized companies began to catch wind of the purpose of this exchange in New York. The stock value for these companies became dangerously potent, making the physical state of ownership worrisome for the owners. The concept of facilitating trades and transfers with an outside source began to make more sense than the contrary. This began to act as a catalyst for similar companies, and upon the dawn of the twentieth century, it was time once more to change the location of the main building. A spot across the street was chosen, and designed specifically for the purpose of stock exchange. The approximate cost of this building was a whopping four million dollars. The organization ran non-profit and as a private entity for about one hundred years. In the early twenty first century, the New York stock exchange began to merge with similar exchanges, like the one based in Europe. Within the same year, the exchange became public and eventually profitable. This has been a debatable subject for many, especially as the market for internationally business takes off.

To take part in public stock exchange, a company must first have a significant amount of income and register to become publically traded. Essentially, this will give people that do not participate in the company a chance to have partial ownership. The value of this ownership, measured in stocks or shares, increases or decreases on a constant, rapid basis. The goal of those that make this a profession is to buy a select amount of low value stocks and hold them for a short period of time in hopes that the value of the company will increase, if only by a fraction of what they were worth. At this point, a broker sells them at a virtual gain of profit. This has become a viable source of income for many, but the risk speaks for itself.

Upon stepping into the New York stock exchange building in upper Manhattan, one would find company-appointed traders filling the floor of the 75-foot tall room. The room runs in a format most similarly compared to an auction house, where a member of a NYSE firm will release information on the company that is attempting to sell stock. This resonates with buyers and sellers that are intertwined within the room, hopefully sparking a high-profile transaction. The responsibility of the traders is to make money for the company, which will later translate into individual revenue. The exchange building itself has been described by many as completely chaotic; with theoretical dollars, information, and stocks flying through the air on a fast paced auditory medium. Traders have a stressful role, and must disseminate this information to their close colleagues as well as the executives of the company, leaving them enough time to potentially participate in the transactions. As money comes through the companies, traders are told what to buy, and for how much. They serve the role of pawns in the game of stock trading.

The New York stock exchange is responsible for a vast amount of finances in international commerce, especially in America. Now running publically and for a profit, the location in New York is running at a faster pace than ever before. Many are employed to come to this location each day and bid on different sorts of stocks from companies being sold and bought. As commerce in America especially continues to increase, as will the activity of the New York stock exchange increase proportionally.

Business News: Henrique de Castro

After producing definitive success with major technology corporations, a man named Henrique de Castro has antagonized a major change in the popular internet companies. After working at dell for some time, de Castro became heavily involved in online commerce when he transferred over to Google. He assisted with advertising and market development, and in recent days was invited to be the chief operating officer of Yahoo!, a rival company. When news hit the media that he would take the job, the success of Yahoo has been expected to increase. The current employee of Google will finish his business with the corporation, and immediately accept the influential position.

Henrique really climbed his way to success when he started running things for Dell in Europe. He dealt with advertisements for the most part; increasing the international popularity of the North American products. Dell seemed to get more than they bargained for, and de Castro moved to London, an urban hotspot of the continent. In 2006, he was lured away by Google. His executives there decided to keep him in London, where he began to deal with online advertisements and commodities, especially through mediums like YouTube. Needless to say, the man was successful, the extent of which brought him across the great blue ocean to the United States.

After six loyal years serving Google as much as he possibly could, it can only be assumed that his closest associates are shocked by his decision. In an article from April, the current leader of Google, Larry Page, emphasized the motives of Google to represent “love and trust.” Some investors have become questionably skeptical after not only the treason of de Castro, but also a former executive by the name of Marissa Mayer.

Mayer was a chief spokesperson and a fundamental member of Google when she came upon the opportunity to be the CEO of Yahoo!. She sprung at the challenge, and has been granted the evident ability to dig up former connections to the executive internet world. Marissa is the youngest ever CEO of a fortune 500 company, giving her a unique advantage on innovation, this being a possible leg up on Larry Page. Her success, though not yet fiscally apparent, is expected to prosper for Yahoo! very soon.

As he left Google in the dust, this 47 year old man left many people from his former place of employment dumbfounded. Perhaps it is the six hundred thousand Yahoo! offered him as his yearly salary, in addition to a compensation package valued at about fifty million. If that wasn’t enough, Mayer and her finances were able to throw in a cash bonus of one million dollars, after he finishes his work with Larry Page. Suspecting that the financial compensation may not be enough to make up de Castro’s mind, she also showered him with verbal praise, especially when she described him as “[an] incredibly accomplished and rigorous business leader,” something that de Castro surely appreciated. This isn’t to say that the man was not valued at Google, but it seems to the public that he is simply worth more to Yahoo!.

Yahoo! has dug deep in order to compete with the advertising power of Google. They paired with Microsoft to develop a smoother web experience for computer, laptop, and smartphone users. This didn’t pick up the momentum that either company had expected. While Google brought in a twenty percent increase from advertisement in the last fiscal year, Yahoo! competed with revenue that was equal to 2011. Recently Yahoo! has focused on cutting costs to save money for investors and stockholders, but it is becoming evidently anticlimactic. Maybe it was the involvement of de Castro, but Yahoo! has concluded that in order to increase their profits, they need to pour more money into advertising powers and online development for user experience. The ever expanding world of online users waits with suspense to see what sorts of changes the corporation will introduce.

De Castro’s first day is expected to be in mid-January at the very latest. While it seems hostilities would be high at Google, public appearances have showed nothing but a polite and friendly relationship, garnering respect still from the former employee. This action from Henrique de Castro may inspire a huge new trend for Yahoo!.

Sources:

http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/05/larry-page-looks-back-at-a-year-at-the-head-of-google-promises/

http://www.boardroominsiders.com/executive-profiles/7723/Google-Inc./Henrique-De-Castro

http://www.engadget.com/2012/10/15/yahoo-hires-googles-henrique-de-castro-coo/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/yahoo-ceo-marissa-mayer-lures-away-top-google-advertising-executive-to-help-turnaround-effort/2012/10/15/d7ac3d9a-1726-11e2-a346-f24efc680b8d_story.html

The Oil Business

While much of the media only focuses on the financial side of oil for the intention of finding out the weekend’s gas prices, there is a far more detailed commercial world behind petroleum. As one of the largest industries in the United States as well as several other nations, the business is one worth looking into. From its effect on would-be college students to its international implications in the middle-east, the natural substance is dirty in a metaphorical sense as well as a physical one.

One of the most televised, written, and spoken issues with oil is its impact on the environment. The atmosphere, at this point in human history, is visually eroding, making the sun’s exposure far more harmful. The most broadcasted problem that this creates is located at the north and south poles of the planet, where cold weather reaches its most frigid temperatures. While the ice here is composed majorly of water (followed by salt) it floats in the rest of the ocean like an ice cube in a drink. This ice is denser than the water, and as the increased heat from the atmospheric disintegration melt the ice, the surrounding water level rises significantly. This is sure to create a problem when the effect reaches the coast, and flooding ensues completely. As gas and oil customers are realizing this, their financial investments in petroleum drop to a point that is problematic for the industry.

While this slow damage to the earth continued to take place, BP was specifically affected by another environmental crisis. One of the large scale metal transportation tubes running through the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico started to leak. As this turned into a large scale spill of the black substance, the surrounding wild life and water composition was affected with massive environmental vigor, causing the company to lose nearly all of their credibility immediately, as well as royally angering the locals of this region.

As the oil corporations, previously kings of commerce, began to lose their validity, the scarcity of oil began to make the prices rise higher than ever. The formerly cheap and plentiful substance is up to a price of four dollars on average, to date. The consumption of oil in America has been compared by many as a personified drug addict. The government and business has gone to extreme lengths to procure the oil. From frozen tundra to barren desert, the youth that do not have the academic status to pursue college have gone to such isolated locations to find the liquid gold, or help in the process of doing so. This is sure to create some serious national implications, and there is no obvious solution in sight. For the economic status of the world over, this has had a major impact that has left a variety of people financially lost.

A silver lighting of the oil crisis has been the rise in alternative energy and its fiscal value. New companies are now rising to the surface of the corporate world, and poking their heads out into the world of fuel. For solar, wind, and electric based companies, the fall of the oil economy has allowed them to make great technological and profit based strides. The “green revolution,” as it is referred to as by many, has given the impression of a sort of world economic recovery. For the recycling of plastics, specifically, the general population has become more environmentally conscious. This trend, or change, whichever it turns out to be, has grown to a point that organizations have been founded, the direction of such groups being global recovery. These institutions represent and withhold a belief that the oil companies can and will fail, which is obviously less than beneficial for oil based employees and executives.

The summary of the petroleum business, in all steps of the distribution and digging process, is slow, steady failure. Where money used to boom, the oil businesses are experiencing complete astonishment. From large scale global warming problems to individualistic oil spills, there does not seem to be any good news about corporations specializing in natural gas. On the small up-side, alternative energy business has been given a slowly increasing boost. This green movement has sparked a new, non-oil-based flame, which may one day grow to be as large as the oil business once was.