REPOST: A Missing Piece of the Global Growth Jigsaw Starts to Fall Into Place

With capital investment (capex) and expansion spending by large international companies rapidly picking up, can we expect a brand-new global growth story? Here’s an article from Bloomberg for some possible answers:

A missing piece in the global growth jigsaw appears to be falling into place.

Spurred by higher profits and buoyant stock markets, some of the world’s best known companies from Amazon.com Inc. to Volkswagen AG are ramping up spending on new plants and equipment after years of caution. For an international economic expansion already gathering speed, that could prove a boon.

The thinking is that capital investment, or capex, will stoke not just demand, but ultimately higher wages and inflation. That’s a positive for central banks and governments yearning to see profits trickle into workers’ pockets. Employers have been reluctant to spend even amid an economic upswing spanning 75 percent of the globe.

“Capex is definitely picking up,” said Chetan Ahya, co-head of global economics at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong. “This is a very important part of the global growth story.”

A new tracker of business spending by economists at JPMorgan Chase & Co. underpins such confidence. It points to capex growth running at a pace of around 8 percent.

While the picture varies from country to country, there’s enough evidence that spending is improving. U.S. orders for business investment, for example, increased by more than expected in September and the economy’s 3 percent spurt of the third quarter was aided by a 1.5 percent climb in business fixed investment.

“The pickup in business investment is like a fountain of youth for an aging recovery,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group LLC in Minneapolis. “U.S. companies have an incredible amount of dry powder right now.”

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Top cybersecurity companies protecting the finance industry

Image source: thecyberadvocate.com

The financial services sector remains as the top target of cybercriminals and this is the primary reason why industry giants like J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo, to name a few,  spend billions of dollars on cybersecurity. However, according to a Cybersecurity Ventures Report, new and similar threats are expected to cost $6 trillion each year by 2021.

As an answer to this modern problem, the cybersecurity industry is rapidly expanding and increasing its coverage to protect highly vulnerable institutions like banks and organizations within the monetary sector.

Here’s a list of the top cybersecurity companies protecting the finance industry today:

IBM Security

IBM Security, under its parent company, IBM, offers services that can be beneficial and necessary to financial institutions: advanced fraud protection, privacy and data security, security intelligence and analytics, as well as identity and access management.

Business can also opt for a modified enterprise security portfolio that addresses to new threats and organize security innovations that can easily reduce not only the cost but also the complexity of their IT security.

Mimecast

The company protects organizations from the common and persistent email and data cyber threats like malware, data leaks and data loss, and also spear-phishing, to name a few.

Recently, it has launched Mimecast Email Security Risk Assessment, an analysis report aimed to measure the efficiency of email security systems.

Cisco

The company offers a selection of cybersecurity services that can help detect and neutralize threats. Their products and services include advanced and complex malware protection products, next generation firewall, cloud security and efficient security management.

REPOST: A $1.6 billion rival to Oracle and Amazon just filed to go public

Highly valued tech startups are going public at a pace not seen in years, and New York-based database firm MongoDB is one of them. Reportedly valued at $1.6 billion, is the company ready to face stiff competition versus giants like Oracle, Microsoft, and Amazon? Know more on Business Insider:

From left, MongoDB cofounder Elliot Horowitz, and execs Michael Gordon, Dev Ittycharia

MongoDB, a New York-based database startup reportedly valued at $1.6 billion, officially filed for its IPO on Thursday afternoon.

In August, TechCrunch reported that MongoDB had confidentially filed the paperwork to go public, taking advantage of new SEC rules. The fact that this paperwork appeared publicly on the Securities Exchange Commission’s system appears to confirm that earlier report.

You can read the full filing here. The company plans to trade on NASDAQ under the symbol “MDB.”

MongoDB isn’t profitable: The company reported a $45.76 million loss on $67.9 million in revenue in the six months ending on July 31. It did $45.1 million in revenue over the same period in 2016, showing positive growth.

And MongoDB reports that those losses are narrowing. MongoDB says that it lost $1.71/share over those same six months, versus $1.93/share in the same period of 2016.

MongoDB also notes that it faces stiff competition from the likes of Oracle, Microsoft, and Amazon: While its flagship Atlas database runs on cloud computing platforms like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, those same platforms also offer their own database services.

Earlier this year, MongoDB CEO Dev Ittycheria told Crain’s New York that Oracle is the company’s biggest target.

“We believe Oracle is incredibly vulnerable because they’ve lost the developer’s heart and soul,” said Ittycheria.

When MongoDB does go public, it will be the seventh so-called “unicorn” startup to do so in 2017.

Fastest growing occupations in America

Recent data have shown that unemployment in the United States sank to 4.3 percent in the early months of 2017. While it’s a good news for many people who are actively looking for a job, the unpredictable economic and political climate can be a problem.

The real question that needs to be answered is, which jobs and career options can give applicants the stability and the growth that they need? To answer this question, the Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered a vital figures based on a 2014 research with projections through 2024.

Let’s take a look at the fastest growing jobs in the U.S. this year and beyond:

  1. Wind turbine service technicians
Image source: lmwindpower.co

The wind power industry has seen the highest growth rate in terms of employment and career opportunities, and according to the recent statistics, approximately 50 percent increase in job availability is to be expected (from 4, 400 posts in 2014 to 9,200).

 

  1. Occupational therapy assistants and related jobs
Image source: usi.edu

The demand in the health care industry, specifically in the sector of occupational therapy, has seen a drastic growth because of the aging Baby Boomer generation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 43 percent growth (14,100 new jobs) for occupational therapy assistants and related occupations (physical therapy aides, home health aides) come 2024.

 

  1. Commercial drivers
Image source: gobytrucknews.com

Career options in the commercial driving and the trucking industry are also looking optimistic with a predicted overall 11 percent job and employment growth for commercial drivers through 2024.

 

Meanwhile, a related project led by Forbes and the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau revealed that posts for food preparation workers have also reached an impressive milestone by providing a million Americans employment (gaining 142,000 workers based on the 2015-2016 data). Food preparation workers came in third, gaining 142,000 jobs and reaching a milestone.

Behind every successful business is a reliable cloud system

The Internet has given birth to a whole new system of how people build and maintain businesses and the rise of startups relying on cloud infrastructures has proven that this new industry is here to stay.

Image source: kordahitechnologies.com

In definition, cloud computing is the process of storing as well as accessing data and programs through the Internet. The features of this system have made it one of the lifelines of a growing enterprise and recently, tech giants like Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, and Microsoft have reported a massive increase in demand for the worldwide cloud infrastructure services market.

Cloud systems may not be perfect but many experts and business owners relying on the cloud infrastructure agree that the gains of using this technology outweigh the risks. One example is the system’s ability to provide security to one’s enterprise without breaking a bank. Usually, cloud providers offer security services while also providing the hardware and knowledge to its clients. In addition, one doesn’t have to have enough know-how in setting up security systems since the provider will set up everything depending on the specific needs of your enterprise.

Image source: telegraph.co.uk

As mentioned above, another benefit that strengthened millions of businesses’ reliance on cloud systems is its efficient but low-cost implementation. Cloud providers have an unlimited amount of resources that can help your company’s operations without demanding excessive time and effort, letting you focus on more important task.

Most importantly, cloud systems can adapt to the needs of your company. For instance, having the tools to access needed data and programs over the Internet means an ability to work beyond the four corners of the workplace because workers will no longer be bound to a hard-wired infrastructure.

REPOST: It’s time to build skill sets for the future

In his blog on the Business Daily, former Ministry of Information and Communication (Kenya) Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo argues that low skill level workers must start developing new skill sets designed to adapt with growing trends and major disruptions such as Big Data, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence. This way, job losses as a result of digitization can be mitigated. Read more:

I travelled to Ottawa, Canada, last week to attend a workshop sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The workshop’s theme was ‘‘Digitization and the Future of Work: Building a development-oriented research agenda.’’

Some of the questions that the workshop sought to address included: How will the automation of work impact emerging countries? What are the sources of learning that can be relied upon to support future jobs? How can governments prepare their citizens to thrive amidst this changing nature of work? And how can the Global South leverage digital entrepreneurship?

These are hard questions policy makers must contend with. It is dreadful to imagine a future without work in countries where majority of the citizens are aged below 30. Already, many of the developing countries are experiencing high unemployment rates. Yet the pace of technological change threatens to send many more people out of work. Many of the jobs today will be redundant in less than 10 years since the world of work is being reshaped faster than we have ever imagined before.

In 2014, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates said: “Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses … it’s progressing. … Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill set. … 20 years from now, labour demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower. I don’t think people have that in their mental model.”

Barely three years later, there are driverless cars dotting the roads in the city of Pittsburgh. Gates may have overestimated the period it would take for labour demand to be substantially lower, but he was right to state that we don’t have that in our mental model yet.

If we did, we would be thinking about the skill set we need for the future. As it stands now, more than 85 per cent of the routine work in most developing countries will disappear. As the cost of automation drops, cheap labour is no longer a competitive advantage. The argument that developing countries can still buy time has no ground. The problem with developing countries is magnified further by the fact that the millennials shun artisanal work.

Many village polytechnics built to develop technical skills are empty. Yet in most of these countries you cannot find a competent plumber or carpenter. These are skills that have not been automated, but can guarantee employment for some time before the computers catch up in this area.

 

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The knowledge economy and its driving forces

Image source: aim.com.au

Man’s endless search to improve our way of life has driven different revolutions that have proven to not only expand our understanding of the world but also define a whole new future for generations and generations to come. In the age of information, the economy of the world shifted from largely agrarian systems towards a demand of ideas and how they can shape global innovations through an inexhaustible resource derived from the “human capital,” the knowledge economy.

Knowledge economy recognizes the role of education and knowledge as essentially productive assets to produce more innovative products and services across the globalized worlds of business, manufacturing, trading, and many other economic sectors.  The main purpose of knowledge economy is to create an interconnection where sources of knowledge such as human expertise and trade secrets can be utilized to boost economic growth.

Image source: eir.co.uk

Several studies have suggested that there are different driving forces responsible in fueling this kind of economy that are changing the game in business especially in terms global competitiveness. Globalization is a big word in today’s business and it is one of the forces that drive knowledge-based economies around the world. For instance, today’s products and markets are now global in nature, making goods popular not only in their home countries but also across continents—and this is where the reliance on information proves to be important.

Efficient production for millions of manufacturing and software companies have to embrace knowledge-based resources to respond to a global demand of products and services. Thus, they turn to information workers to do the job with great efficiency and accuracy. Several developments in the information and technology sector have made this system possible. Through networking and fast connectivity via the Internet, the ‘global village’ found a more effective and faster way to do things together.

The end result of these forces working together enabled supplies to be developed, manufactured, distributed and sold whether physically or electronically to every part of the globe.

REPOST: How to Become a Traveling Nomad Entrepreneur in 5 Steps

Unlike expatriates, many digital entrepreneurs—such as travel bloggers and webmasters—do business in several locations within a given span of time. They are called ‘nomadic entrepreneurs,’ and the advent of the Internet and mobile devices has made this business lifestyle very plausible. To them, the workplace is anywhere, as long as there is Internet connection and electricity. Here’s an article from Income Diary on how to start a nomadic entrepreneurial endeavor:

Imagine visiting a new town every day, skipping from one country to another over the course of a few weeks.

Sounds like an ideal vacation… but it’s an even-better job.

More and more people are making the decision to become a location-independent, traveling entrepreneur. Below I’ll walk you through how to become a “digital nomad” in five steps.

 

#1 Save up Money

Before you jump out of an airplane, you strap on a parachute. Before you hop on the nomad trail, you make sure that you have some cash saved up so that you can ride out the rough patches.

“Put your head down and put away some money,” advises Matt Wilson (Under 30 CEO). He continues, “You need some savings… as a buffer if you are going to make a long-term habit of living outside of the United States.”

 

How much Money Should You Save?

The answer depends on (A) the cost of living per month where you’re going, (B) the cost of travel to/from this location, and (C) how much your willing to go without luxury and security. You’ll also want to consider the travel cost of renewing your visa every 30, 60, or 90 days.

Let’s say I want to begin my nomad life in Costa Rica. I’m going to need at least enough money for the flight to and from Denver (about $600). Then I’ll need about $500 for the first month of food, lodging, wifi, and bus fare. Then it’s just a matter of how much I would want for luxuries (about $100) and a “rainy day fund” (let’s say $2800).

For this example, I would save up $4000 before buying my ticket to San Jose. Depending on where you’re at in life, that may seem like a fortune or chump change.

Given the risk of your laptop breaking, you needing medical attention, or your best friend getting married back home… it’s always a good idea to save up more money than you think you’ll need.

 

…or Don’t

“Leap and the net will appear.” -Zen saying

Like to take risks? Thrive under pressure?

If so, you don’t have to save up much money before you start. John Bardos of Jet Set Citizen had just $1000 dollars to his name when he arrived in Japan and began his life as a nomadic entrepreneur. Bardos hit the ground running and never looked back. He says, “It was easy because I had nothing to lose.”

Not having a financial safety net will motivate you to succeed, since you won’t have any other choice. Still, I recommend you have at least enough money for one month’s rent and transportation to get home at all times.

 

#2 Get the Essentials

Some items are no-brainers. If you’re a photographer, obviously you’re going to need your camera. Most everyone is going to need a laptop and a padded bag for it. Of course, you won’t forget your toothbrush.

Here are some essential items and resources that you may not have thought of:

External GPRS/EDGE/3G USB Modem

 

These little doodads plug into a USB port and turn a cell phone data network into an Internet connection. This vastly expands the number of locations you’ll be able to work while traveling.

 

Theft Protection Software

For most digital nomads, their laptop is their livelihood. But the value of electronic devices also makes them attractive to thieves.

If your laptop, tablet, or smart phone is ever stolen or misplaced while traveling you’re going to wish you had a way of locating it remotely. Prey anti-theft software is just that. Registering up to three devices is free and it only takes a couple minutes.

 

Online Backup

Services like Mozy offer regular cloud-based backups in case anything goes awry. For one computer, it can cost as little as $5.99 per month (about $72 per year).

 

External Hard Drive

As a video producer, my work eats up Gigabytes like PacMan eats dots. For me, an external hard drive is the cost of doing business.

But even if you don’t need an external hard drive for the storage, you should have one for a backup. Online backups are great, but you won’t always have access to a consistent, high-speed Internet connection.

You can pick up a 1TB external hard drive for under $100.

 

Pocket Notebook

When you’re hiking the Himalayas, you may not have your laptop handy. Ditto for when you’re laying on the beach.

But those are both times when you’re likely to feel inspired and creative. Always have a notebook on you and you’ll always be able to catch lightning in a bottle for your business – even when it strikes in the most remote of places.

 

A Grasp of the Language

A few important phrases in the native language goes a long way. I’ve personally used DuoLingo to sharpen up my Spanish. It’s amazingly robust (and free!) language learning software.

Unless you’re fluent, pick up a travel-sized phrasebook. Once you’ve settled in, look around for a tutor. One-on-one lessons are highly effective and may be surprisingly inexpensive.

 

Eliminate the Unnecessary

I just listed some of the things you’ll need to have as a digital nomad, but the list of things that you’ll need to lose is even longer. It’s important to travel light. You’ll probably have to shed the majority of your possessions unless you’ve got some generous friends/family with a big garage.

 

Continue reading HERE.

 

 

E-commerce is changing business models: Is your company ready?

The search for convenience has led the world to innovate and even make a once impossible future a reality. One concrete example is how the Internet made it easy for everyone on the planet to connect and interact even from miles away with just a click of a button.

In order to take advantage of this limitless connectivity, business managers and entrepreneurs have found a need to conceptualize new and updated business models that would satisfy a new generation of customers in their constant demand for products and services—from the comforts of their home.

 

Finding economic refuge in a digital environment

Image source: willemisbrucker.com

E-commerce has increased the ability of an organization, big or small, to claim a vast outreach and attract millions of customers around the globe. Since it is still in its early stages, old companies may try to integrate their old business methods with new marketing strategies suited for an online marketplace.

The opposite applies to startups who can just start from scratch and figure out more effective ways of introducing their products and services by abandoning traditional marketing methods and taking risks in trying out new and more updated business styles.

E-commerce’s single most lucrative segment is the online retail sector, which is dominated by the sale of consumer electronics, apparel, and personal accessories. As reported by the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. online retail sales during 2013 totaled roughly $262 billion. By 2016, this figure had grown to $395 billion, an increase of 15.6 percent over the prior year.

 

On meeting quotas and staying competitive

Image source: adobe.com

However, electronic commerce may have led to more effective ways of providing goods and services but the challenges that businesses face have also become more complex especially when it comes to reaching quotas and managing competition. Nowadays, one’s failure or success will always depend on how one is able to actively respond to customers’ demands and consistently keep positive reviews in order to build a credible online reputation.

Product-oriented businesses are now a thing in the past as customer-centric practices have been proven to fare well in this new environment. For instance, managers have to understand the needs of the customers as well as their buying behavior by utilizing data from online platforms such as social networking sites.

Perhaps, as a business owner, the most important question that you should ask yourself is: are you ready?

Reversing paralysis: A new breakthrough in medical science

Stroke is one of the most prevalent medical conditions that affects a sizable portion of the world population. It is one of the leading causes of death and disability, which can easily translate to financial catastrophe on the part of the patients and their families. Risk factors such as smoking, obesity, and an unhealthy lifestyle lead to its development. Modern lifestyle isn’t helping curb the chance for this debilitating condition either. One of the dreaded complications of the disease is unilateral paralysis, most commonly in the face. When hemiplegia strikes, there is no escaping it. This will certainly hinder a person’s activities of daily living.

 

Image source: amsvans.com

 

Scientists are determined to reverse the occurrence of such complication. A French neuroscientist had the idea of installing a recording chip inside the skull of a monkey who was suffering from right leg paralysis due to his spinal cord being cut halfway with a scalpel. Another set of electrodes are then attached to the spinal cord below the site of injury. The result is a device which would read the monkey’s intention to walk thereby transmitting that desire as electrical signals into the end organ.

 

Image source: pharmaphorum.com

 

Throughout the experiments that Grégoire Courtine and his colleagues have done, it seems that they are actually gaining a lot of progress. Initially, they have observed minimal movement in the affected limb. The specimen then extended and flexed his leg, hobbling forward in the process. The monkey’s thoughts of wanting to move made him able to walk again. There is still a lot of time before it can be used for human trials. It may even take as much as 20 years before it becomes operational, but the technology is showing a lot of promise.

 

Image source: christopherreeve.org

 

Within the healthcare and medical sector, plenty of breakthroughs are being made year after year. The aforesaid is just one of them, and many governments, private organizations, non-profits, and R&D institutions are spending billions of dollars every year to bring more medical innovations, and consequently, improve the quality of life. This makes the industry not only a beacon of hope for humanity, but also an attractive investment opportunity for investors, businesses, and even ordinary workers. Healthcare and medical stocks for example, are staple components of many portfolios. For financial institutions like LOM Asset Management, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street, the sector could be just as essential and profitable as other tech industries such as telecommunications and semiconductors.