Putin, America, CIA and Russia.

Those that consider Putin to be a dictator and a destroyer of capitalism are invariably incorrect. Under Putin’s legislation the Russian GDP has boomed, as well as overall life quality for Russians citizens. The country is in enormously greater condition than under the government of its predecessor Yeltsin.

The anti-Putin movement in Russia showcased by the media outlets of United States and the American-supported governments has been over-exaggerated and most likely supported by those same governments. However when Russia was under the rule of the American-funded “democrat” Yeltzin who was recorded drunkenly orchestrating a German orchestra at meeting with the G8 the American-supported governments have been in fond admiration of the leader who tore and sold Russia apart (Yeltsin).

This means one obvious thing for Russia. It is not in CIA’s and American government’s interest for Russia’s realignment and economic growth on the global platform. Hence this is why the image of an uproar and protest is being exhibited on American mass media. If you go to Moscow and interview Russian citizens, take legitimate polls, or simply look on the red square and streets of Russia, you will see that protests against Putin are not happening at nearly the scale alleged by the American media.

The movements against Putin are CIA sponsored, simply to remove a strong leader and prevent the emergence of another independent global power.

Here is an example of American’s portrayal of Russia and Putin.

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Finance: Amazon Grows as its Shares Fall.

As was discussed in one of our lectures on finance, a company’s performance is not always reflected by its stock value.

Despite the fact that Amazon’ has had a revenue growth of 44 per cent in the third quarter their share price has fell 17 per cent since the last quarterly result and 23 per cent down from the record high hit on Oct 17.

Amazon has also had a 26 per cent increase in active costumer accounts to 152 million. Which is the company’s fastest growth since 2003.

Amazon is also implementing a cloud computing serivce called Amazon Web Services which is expected to grow at about 40 per cent a year. Amazons Kindle Fire tablet is designed to also penetrate the market in the mobile device space and didgital content sector.

Although Amazon is thought to be selling the tablets at a it expects to make up for the loss in the sales of services through and movies.

Four years after introducing the first Kindle Amazon already sells more ebooks than paper books.

ECommerce is exploding and Amazon is one of the biggest ECommerce websites out there. Nevertheless the market is still skeptical. In my opinion the fact that Amazon is doing so well but is having such negative results on the stock markets exhibits the spectulative nature of many of those who trade in the market.


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Organizational Culture: Role of Stress

I’ve stumbled upon an article from Benefits Canada which closely connects to what we recently learned about organizational culture in class. It states that employee absence, stress and disability are creating more and more pressure on Canadian organizations in terms of both cost and workforce productivity.

89% of employers surveyed have stated that excessive workload has become a problem in their organization, compared to just 64% in 2009.

The main concern of employers is the mental health of their employees. Stress in organizations is causing short term and long-term mental disability claims causing in costs to the enterprises.

The article suggests that companies to invest into effective health and productivity programs and demonstrates the significance of a positive and not overwhelming Organizational Culture.

As I read this article I thought back on the Organizational Culture of Zappos. It seemed however that it was not the amount of counselling and lessons on productivity that they received but their intrinsic motivation that separated them from other companies.

So I would suggest  that these companies that are experiencing a downturn in their employees productivity should in addition to effectively investing into  health and productivity programs, invest heavily into developing a very positive organizational culture and creating esteem in the hearts of the employees of the company. This would allow for employees to develop intrinsic motivation.

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The guy with 800 million friends.

A few weeks ago a group of entrepreneurs who were Sauder alumni did presentations at our Commerce 101 lecture. It very inspirational and their entrepreneurial spirit was felt by the whole auditorium. Their visit opted for me to write this post about a person I consider my idol entrepreneur. Time Magazine’s 2010 person of the year: Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg began using computers and writing software when he was just in middle school.  He was taught by his father Atari Basic programming and later was hired a tutor. Half way through his high school years he transferred into the prestigious Philips Exeter Academy. Philip Exeter Academy has an endowment of one billion dollars which is equal to that of UBC.

Even prior to finishing high school Microsoft and AOL tried to recruit Zuckerberg to work for them but Zuckerberg chose instead to enroll at Harvard University. There he studied computer science and psychology.

At Harvard he quickly gained a reputation of a “programming prodigy”. Before creating Facebook he wrote a software called CourseMatch which allowed student to make class selection decisions based on the choices of other students and FaceMash which let students select the best looking Harvard student from a choice of photos.

He cofounded Facebook with classmates Dustin Moskvitz, Eduardo Saverin and Chris Hughes. Facebook now has over 800 million users from all over the world. Mark Zuckerberg’s net-worth is estimated to be US $17.5. Not too bad for a 27 year old.

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ASA Global: Microfinance Group for 7 million People

I found learning about social entrepreneurship on November 15 in our COMM 101 class very interesting. One thing that I wanted to look into was micro-financing. I have read about it before and decided to learn more about it.

I stumbled upon ASA Global which is rated number 1 micro-finance institution in the world by Forbes.com. I was amazed to learn that ASA has a total number of 3,183 branches.

On December 2009 ASA’s the total amount of money that ASA has lent out was US$ 5,418 million with an outstanding amount of US$ 457 million from the previous year. That is amazing!

ASA Global takes pride in having had financially assisted over 7 million people in Bangladesh and other places around the world. ASA clients are 71 %  female. The rate of recovery of the loans they lent out is an astounding  99.64%.

Their mission statement is: “to support and strengthen the economy at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid by facilitating access to financial services for the poor, marginalized and disadvantaged.”

ASA Global seems to have shown the world that there is a thriving financial market among the poor. By lending the money to the poor ASA does not only generate profit but also allows poor families to start their own businesses, foster financial independence and promote economic growth in the developing world.


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Wharton School’s new undisclosure policy.

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A week ago my classmate Peter Byrne in his blog  talked about a recent decision of University of Pennsylvania’s Warlton Business School to implement a non-disclosure policy which would mean that the school would not disclose students’ grades to employers.

I understand Mr. Byrne’s view which is that the students will generally study less and rely mainly on the elite reputation of the school to get good jobs.

However I am not totally against this policy. High marks do not necessarily mean good communication skills, proficient management skills and leadership abilities (especially in business schools). The internships, job placements, awards, volunteering, entrepreneurial and other extracurricular endeavors mean as significant if not a more important role as do marks. Keeping that in mind it would be an excellent idea for universities to conduct several graduation interviews to build the students profiles.

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Ethics in Investing: Maybe the way to make more money is to act in a responsbile way.

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It is apparent that social responsibility, environmental sustainability and management plays a role in investing. As shown in a video series on otpp.com responsible investing is more complicated than it seems.

Take for example the bio-fuel industry. It seemed like a great idea to make an environmentally responsible investment to reduce the environmental harm caused by extraction of oil. However the high increase in demand for wheat driven by increased production of ethanol, drove food prices up. What was an environmentally responsible investment quickly turned into a socially irresponsible one.

What then should we focus on to make the most responsible investments? The nature of the industry plays an important role in this assessment. The tobacco industry is bad because Tobacco kills people. It is also important to take account the companies mission or value set, and the fate of the company’s workers in other parts of the world.

In our highly pluralistic world the level responsibility and transparency has a significant impact on how well the stock of a company is doing in the market. Hence responsible investing seems to reduce risk.

As Milton Friedman would say, the objective of any investment is to make more money. Maybe the way to make more money is to act in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

To read more about this you should also check out this business ethics blog post by Chris McDonald.

Responsible Investing

iPhone 4S- Sold Out.

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According to AT&T the preorders for iPhone 4S have made this launch the most successful iPhone launch to this date racking up 200,000 preorders in the first twelve hours of pre-availability.

Apple store previously listed the arrival time of iPhone 4S for those who preordered the phone to be October 14, 2011 (or next Friday). At this point in time however, those who recently chose to preorder the product now can expect it to be shipped in one-two weeks. The launch day stock (at least at Apple Online Store) has been sold out!

An alternative way to be one of the first to lay hands on Apple’s new smartphone is to simply get early in line at one of Apple’s retail stores. Two people have already been camping outside Apple’s 4th Ave. store in NYC for 12 days.

iPhone 4S does not have a revolutionary new design with a limitted number of modifications to the existing version of iPhone 4. However it is the last Apple product released in life-time of the iconic Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who passed away this Wednesday and is a way for consumers to commemorate his legacy.

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iPhone 4s is out… Looks like shareholders and consumers will have to wait for iPhone 5.

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The consumers along with shareholders of apple have been waiting for the iPhone 5. Unfortunately it just isn’t here yet. Despite the fact that apple has had 16 months to prepare their new phone rather than creating what Job’s would call another revolution Apple has manifested a small scale evolution of an existing product. It seems Apple is attempting to replicate the marketing success of iPhone 3G and iPhone 3Gs.

The new iPhone 4 S  which was announced today includes the following evolutionary hardware modifications: A5, the same 1GHz dual core processor as the one in iPad 2 and an 8mp HD 1080p Camera. The prominent software modifications include a new iOS 5 and Siri.  Siri is basically an artificially intelligent life assistant. You can actually ask Siri aloud if you should take an umbrella with you today, where the closest ATm is and verbally command your iPhone 4 S to send messages and make phone calls. The iOS 5 does not seem to have any outstandingly new features.

What else is new? That’s about it. Not surprisingly shareholders were not impressed since the whole world was primed for iPhone 5. Most OEMs including Sony, Nokia, Samsung and Motorolla have already equipped their phones with 8 to 12mp cameras, dual processors and powerful displays prior to the release of this new iPhone. How will this effect Apple’s reputation? Will this be Apple’s first in a while marketing “slip”? Let me know what you think.

Markets do not seem to house the poor. It’s time for a revolution. It’s time for the $300 house.

A developmental humanitarian project of Vijay Govindarajan- a professor of International Business at the Tuck School of Business at Darthmouth along with a marketing consultant Christian Sarkar has gained tremendous amount of buzz on the internet. At first the idea was released at the Harvard Business Review Blog in January 2, 2011. The idea was to replace the unsafe, unreliable, and unhygienic cardboard and metal sheet houses in the parts of the world heavily stricken with poverty with a mass produced $300 dollar product. The in work design of the $300 house for the poor includes a mosquito net, built-in furniture, solar cooker, outlets to charge phone/tablet PC as well as sanitation solutions. Govindarajan and Sarkar initially simply wanted for the idea to be out in the air. However the massive response that it received from the online community has opted for them to turn it into reality. As you can see here, this innovative project is being developed through a very innovative strategy. $300 House has issued a series of challenges such as the “Financial Challenge” the “Design Challenge” and “Energy Challenge” to be taken on by various companies and individuals to help turn this project into reality. This seems to be an amazing solution that could drastically help about 50% of the worlds population. I am currently looking into how I can contribute and suggest that you fellow Saudirites do as well! Check out their website for more details.

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