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Business Plays Ostrich As Geopolitical Chaos Reigns

Thu, 10 Mar 2016 09:10:00 -0500

I worry about the world's turbulent geopolitical condition. I find that much of the business world I come across also worry but almost invariably about their own condition and prospects - profits, market share, competitiveness - but not about the condition of the world. That they do not worry leads, [...]

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Zara Uses Supply Chain To Win Again

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 12:40:00 -0500

Nearly all supply chain leaders we talk to these days want to get on top of the digitization wave that is sweeping our economy and world. I’ve argued in the past that there are three broad buckets of performance improvement enabled by digital: sense, decide and respond. New data from [...]

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Where Product/Market Fit Breaks Down

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 12:33:00 -0500

A tweet from GrowthHackers caught my eye recently -- “Our #product market fit and NPS are off the scale, but we're struggling to grow. Any ideas why?” Like most tools in a well-stocked tool chest, a specific tool is only good for a specific problem or use. Product/market fit is no [...]

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Mergers & Acquisitions: Middle-Market Wrap-Up

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 11:09:00 -0500

Middle-market mergers and acquisitions in 2015 did NOT implode. The spike in deal volume in 2014 skewed year-over-year comparisons for 2015. 2015 represented a return to historical averages in deal volume. However, one investment bank found that deal price premiums did carry over in lower middle-market firms.

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The Biggest M&A Deals Of 2015Pfizer/AllerganDow Chemical/DuPontAB InBev/SABMiller2. Shell/BG GroupCharter/Time WarnerDell/EMCHeinz/KraftAnthem/CignaTeva Pharmaceuticals/AllerganBerkshire Hathaway/Precision CastpartsMylan/PerrigoAvago/BroadcomACE/ChubbAetna/HumanaMarkWest/MPLXAbbVie/Pharmacylics

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 11:09:00 -0500



Deal value, including debt:$160 billion

Date: 11/23/15


Deal value, stock-for-stock:$130 billion



Acquirer:Anheuser-Busch InBev

Deal value, including debt:$107 billion


Target:BG Group PLC

Acquirer:Royal Dutch Shell PLC

Deal value, including debt:$79.3 billion


Target: Time Warner Cable Inc.

Acquirer: CharterCommunications

Deal value, including debt: $79.25 billion

Date: 5/26/15



Deal value, including debt:$67 billion


Target: Kraft Foods Group Inc

Acquirer: Kraft Heinz Foods Co

Deal value, including debt: $55.42 billion

Date: 3/25/15

Target: Cigna Corp

Acquirer: Anthem Inc

Deal value, including debt: $50.38 billion

Date: 7/24/2015


Acquirer:Teva Pharmaceuticals

Deal value, including debt:40.5 billion

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Why Feeling Uncomfortable Is The Key To Success

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 10:31:00 -0500

While it may not feel like it in the moment, a little bit of discomfort goes a long way in terms of personal development. Sure, no one likes feeling uncomfortable, but it’s a big part of improving your performance, creativity and learning in the long run. Routines may make you feel [...]

Don't Let Volatile Markets Scare You Away From Customer Experience Investments

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 09:06:00 -0500

By Harley Manning If you like horror shows, forget The Walking Dead and check out global markets: In 2016, U.S. stocks got off to their worst start ever. Oil prices are in the toilet – taking oil company stocks with them – andneither looks to fully recover any time soon. Of [...]

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Ready to Buy Your First Home? 8 Key Terms To Know

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 09:00:00 -0500

When you're a real estate newbie, it can be difficult to decipher all the financial lingo you hear. Learn how to talk the talk.

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Can China's Rich Hold Onto Their Wealth?

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 04:13:00 -0500

Private bankers and asset managers have long had thriving practices meeting the investment needs of millionaires in developed countries. But China’s high-net-worth individuals have much less experience with professional wealth management than their foreign counterparts.

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Why Payoneer Thinks Now Is A Good Time To Enter In India

Wed, 9 Mar 2016 00:24:00 -0500

Online payments services company Payoneer has been busy stamping their footprint in new markets – the latest in India, where a burgeoning entrepreneurial scene, among other reasons, means this is a good time to enter, they say, despite the odd challenge or two.

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Will You Be Mine?

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 22:17:00 -0500

by Joerg Krings, J. Neely, and Olaf Acker In the space of about 17 days in the spring of 2015, Boeing bought a company that develops aerial imaging software, Spanish bank BBVA bought a design studio that specializes in the online user experience, and MasterCard purchased an analytics company that helps [...]

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Netflix's 'Daredevil': Stop Worrying, Here Are Punisher And Elektra In Full Costume

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 15:04:00 -0500

The take-away is that Marvel is once again saying, "Trust us; we know where we're going with this."

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20 Comic-Con Exclusives You Won't Want To MissMy Little Pony Pinkie “Chicken” PiePetco Star Wars Pets Yoda EarsGames of Thrones: Robert Baratheon CrownWizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering Planeswalker SetDC Comics Batman Classic Chair CapeHasbro Jem And The Holograms Jerrica/Jem Fashion DollDeluxe Ant-Man Costume In Child and Adult by Rubie’sExclusive Alien 1979 Retro MinimateBlack Series First Order StormtrooperSaturday Night Live Weekend Update Tina Fey & Amy Poehler 3 1/2-Inch Action Figures Set of 2Star Trek Captains Monitor Mate Bobble Heads Set of 5Das Toyz 1:6 Scale Stan Lee Figure SignedStar Wars: Droids—R2-D2 Jumbo FigureSherlock Titans: 3" Sherlock Priest DisguiseBOOM! Studio’s Lumberjanes #15 comiXology VariantExclusive Marvel Daredevil PosterEgg Attack Iron Man Mark III Magnetic Floating Ver.H.P. Lovecraft's NecronomiconGame Of Thrones - Direwolf Cub 6 Inch Plush Box SetDarth Vader Black Glitter 3D Coin Bag and Storm Trooper Pink 3D Coin Bag

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 15:04:00 -0500

Why this costumed Pinkie comes in fried-chicken bucket packaging, we may never know!

Fuzzy, comfortable ears that attach with Velcro and make your pet look as wise as she is adorable.

  1. This 5” resin replica of King Robert Baratheon’s crown might look good on your cat.

  1. These black-on-black double-sided cards display the game’s planeswalker characters in their youth.

Become a 9 to 5 superhero with a cape that you can attach to the back of your office chair.

  1. Inspired by the ‘80s cartoon, this doll transforms from daytime to showtime with a wig and costume change.

  1. Appease your child, or your inner child, with a suit that turns you into a superhero.

  1. Celebrate 35 years of Alien with this horrifying glow-in-the-dark figurine.

  1. This 6” figure will be one of the first toys available from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Two awesome comedians; one package&l[...]

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Messaging App Fleep Wants To Make You Love Email Again, Then Help You Switch To Something Better

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 14:57:00 -0500

I recently caught up with Henn Ruukel, founder of Fleep, a messaging service that combines team chat and email into one simple to use platform. This week the team announced that company email can now be sent and received within their platform. Is this the end of email as we [...]

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Manitowoc Spins Manitowoc Foodservice

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 14:36:00 -0500

On March 4, 2016, The Manitowoc Company, Inc. completed the spin-off of Manitowoc Foodservice, Inc. Through the spin-off, shareholders of MTW received one share of MFS common stock for each share of MTW common stock held as of the close of the business on February 22, 2016, the record date. [...]

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A Guide To Mobile Digital Marketing

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 12:34:00 -0500

Although you might understand the importance of having a mobile marketingstrategy, you mightbe stumped on exactly what changes you need to be makingto accommodate today's mobile-heavy world.Most companies ensure they have a mobile responsive site and consider their mobile strategy a fait accompli. But the journey that a mobile user [...]

The Disaster When Sales And Execution Are Not Aligned

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 10:15:00 -0500

Each element of a business has to work seamlessly together to produce repeat and referral business that comes from happy customers. During two recent situations with retailers, I had experiences when sales and the end result were terribly misaligned. This can happen in all types of businesses. See how these situations apply to your business and discover steps to help you avoid disasters for your business.

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With 'Friends' Initiative, Whole Foods Tries To Put Hip, Local Spin On Stores Within Stores

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 09:35:00 -0500

The grocer’s outreach to include “Friends,” such as bike repair shops, in its new 365 stores shows the natural-foods chain understands that customers cannot be captured with lower prices alone. Is a sense of community the future of the grocery experience, or is it simply a trendier approach to capturing the non-food dollar?

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Two Great Reasons To Stay In Your Business

Tue, 8 Mar 2016 01:00:00 -0500

While it might seen odd to start with two great reasons to stay in your business, it is important to cut through all the hype about exiting and re-focus on one issue: This Exit Is Yours! Unless your exit gives you and your family financial security and the ability to meet all of your other exit objectives, it is a train wreck.

How To Handle Divorce In A Family Business

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 12:37:00 -0500

In a split, you can buy out your spouse, sell the business or stay on as commercial partners. But each of these are tricky.

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The Six Events That Could Ruin Your Ability To SaveEverything That Can Go Wrong And Kill Your WalletThe Market Could TankPolicy Changes Hit Social Security And Tax RatesWorking Until Age 65 Becomes UntenableElder Care Becomes An ExpenseHome Prices PlummetThe Perfect Storm Hits

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 12:37:00 -0500

In a new report, JPMorgan Asset Management makes the argument that not only should people in their twenties save money, but they should be saving 15% of their income if they want to be prepared for everything life will throw at them. Using the hypothetical example of Ima Narcissus (pun intended) who plans on making 7.5% pre-tax savings contributions through her life, JPMorgan outlines all the ways this 7.5% savings rate could fail her. These are just six of the things that could go wrong for Ima.

“A combination of factors leads to modestly lower financial market returns,” JPMorgan says. “Over Ima's lifetime, equity and fixed income returns are 0.75% lower on an annual basis compared with her ideal scenario. She will have to make higher savings contributions from pre-tax income -- 9.7% rather than 7.5% -- in order to offset the impact.”

A range of policy changes are enacted to bring entitlements under control,” the report hypothesizes. “The impact on Ima: a 1.4% increase,bringing her annual required pre-tax savings contribution to 8.9%.” (JPMorgan figured this out by reasoning that some policy changes already under discussion target those earning more than $250,000; this is roughly Ima’s income level.)

If Ima were to retire just three years early, "the loss of three years of savings and portfolio income, combined with accelerated withdrawals from after-tax and pre-tax savings, results in a gradual death spiral of Ima's financial assets by her late 70s,” the report explains. Ima’s options are therefore: bump her savings rate from 7.5% to 12% in anticipation of the earlier retirement; cut retirement spending to 45% of pre-retirement spending levels; sell her home at age 79 and live off the proceeds .

In the fourth scenario, Ima’s parents get sick and need to move to an assisted living.But in order to pay for a facility that meets her standards, Ima must contribute the equivalent of $40,000 (in 2015 dollars). “Instead of saving 7.5% per year in pre-tax plans, Ima would have needed to save 9.5% in order to be able to contribute to her parents' assisted living costs while still maintaining her long-term retirement spending goals.”

JPMorgan notes that a one-standard-deviation reduction in home price appreciation happens quite frequently; if this were to happen to Ima, her home would appreciate at a rate that is 1.25% below the national average. This means that if she were to count on living off the proceeds of her home starting at age 79, they would only last until she turned 84 – versus age 88 if the market hadn’t taken a turn.

In the final scenario, JPMorgan puts our heroine Ima through the wringer. Not only is she forced to retire early, but market retur[...]

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Four Gut Reactions That Can Derail Your 401(k)

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 09:15:00 -0500

Far too many investors "invest with their gut" and lose money in their retirement plans. Here are the most common mistakes and how they can be avoided.

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9 Reasons Joe 6 Pack Can’t Invest Like Warren Buffett9 Reasons Joe 6 Pack Can’t Invest Like Warren BuffettBuffett gets the first callBuffett gets deals other investors don’t get.Buffett can take bigger risksBuffett buys private companiesBuffett has helpBuffett doesn’t need incomeBuffett has influence on companiesBuffett had incredible timingBuffett has an army of followers

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 09:15:00 -0500

Despite the fact that he draws much of his investment strategy from Ben Graham, Warren Buffett has some tricks up his sleeve. Being the world’s third richest person comes with a lot of perks that individuals off the streets just can’t mimic. Here’s why Joe 6-Pack shouldn’t expect to be reeling in billions like Buffett.

Individual investors are often limited to learning about companies via quarterly reports, investing newsletters and other publicly available knowledge. Rather than having to seek out expert sources and documents, Buffett has top investment bankers and dealmakers contacting him. Unless an investor is great friends with a pack of CEOs and analysts, they have a slim chance of finding the same opportunities. Berkshire Hathaway gets a jump on the average Joe.

Simply put, Warren Buffett gets better deals than any other investor in the world. Take his 2008 investment in Goldman Sachs, for example. Buffett invested $5 billion in preferred shares of Goldman, with an astonishing 10% annual dividend. Joe 6-Pack isn’t going to be offered Goldman paper with a 10% coupon. Ever.

With a market cap of $188.5 billion and $41 billion in cash, Berkshire Hathaway can afford to take risks and sustain losses in pursuit of high returns. Said Buffett in one annual letter to shareholders: “we have for some years been willing to assume more risk than any other insurer has knowingly taken on. Indeed, we have a major competitive advantage because of our tolerance for huge losses.”

Buffett has been known to buy into companies that are not listed on public exchanges, taking them over under the Berkshire Hathaway umbrella. Most investors don’t have the funds or the access to pull off that type of move on any sort of scale. In 2010, Berkshire Hathaway completed the acquisition of BNSF Railway in a deal valued at $34 billion, Buffett’s largest private purchase to date. 2010 was BNSF’s most profitable year ever, with almost $17 billion in revenue.

Buffett has a team of investors working under him, helping do the legwork on his investments. Top minds like Ajit Jain (pictured here), who helped lead Berkshire Hathaway into the Indian market, and Todd Combs, a former hedge fund manager who joined Berkshire late last year, give Buffett an advisor network that the average Joe just can’t match.

Joe 6-Pack wants to retire someday, and will likely need to draw down his savings throughout his golden years. Whereas most investors rely on decumulation throughout retirement, Warren Buffett has no need for such income. As a result, he can hold equities for as many decades as he wants, allowing him to really reap the benefits of slow-burning turnaround stories without worrying about income. Says Buffett, “

Sohu Playing Video With Tencent?

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 09:05:00 -0500

Bottom line: Sohu is likely to combine its online video service with Tencent's in an ongoing consolidation of the Chinese sector, and the tie-up could presage a Tencent-backed privatization bid for Sohu later this year. More consolidation could be coming in China's online video sector, with word that web portalSohu may [...]

What Are The Greatest Priorities For Rapidly Growing Companies?

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 06:00:00 -0500

Leading a rapidly growing company is no easy task. In today’s fast-paced business environment, there are a lot of things that demand your attention as an entrepreneur.

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Biggest Startup Mistakes And How To Avoid ThemBiggest Startup Mistakes And How To Avoid ThemSkipping ResearchForcing A ModelOvervaluing Positive FeedbackPoor Hiring DecisionsScaling Too Soon

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 06:00:00 -0500

No matter the industry or your experience, launching a new company is a risky endeavor. Forbes contributor Tom Taulli reached out to some successful founders and asked what lesson they advise entrepreneurs to keep in mind.

“It’s easy to confuse a good idea for a good business. Ideas are a dime a dozen. What turns a great idea into a great business is execution, and a fundamental stage of execution is market research. Skipping research, ignoring the results or forecasting off of inaccurate data can quickly lead to failure. There’s wide scope for mistakes. You may have a great idea but the market may not be quite ready. Or maybe your idea isn’t as original as you thought. The courage to pivot and evolve your idea as market conditions evolve is endemic of execution. Don’t think an idea is all you need to build a viable business. And if you do, at least test that assertion with robust and independent research.” - Ajay Patel, Founder & CEO, HighQ

“Don’t just copy the latest fad. Think bigger and differentiate. One of the biggest mistakes is chasing after the product mechanic rather than the reason for the product. In other words, the model that worked for movies might not work for books or that photo-sharing app might not work as a video sharing app. You cannot assume that a certain model will work across different industries or modes. First, find out what consumers truly need, then figure out the optimal way to deliver it to them. Too many startups try to force a model to fit the supposed ‘need’. Before you do anything, it’s essential to find out if consumers actually want your product or service.” - Jeff Chen, Cofounder & CEO, Joyride

“There’s a tendency, as an early stage enterprise startup CEO, to over-value positive feedback from prospective customers. People can say all kinds of terrific things about your product, but until they buy it, all you really have are kind words. Startup founders love to hear validating positive feedback, but unfortunately this encouragement really means nothing and can often set you on the wrong path. If a prospect spends lots of time looking at your product but is not excited enough to give you a purchase order, you have built something intriguing, but not compelling. The startup ecosystem is littered with the corpses of intriguing startups that failed to make payroll. To be successful as an early stage entrepreneur, you must maintain a laser-like focus on creating a ‘must-have’ product. The only way to iterate towards this solution is to filter out encouraging words from prospects and focus exclusively on their behavior.” - Marius Moscovici, Founder & CEO, Metric Insights
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Four Reasons Today's Disruptive Innovations Are Better And Cheaper, And What To Do About It

Mon, 7 Mar 2016 06:00:00 -0500

Technology that drives better and cheaper innovation isn't just a random event. Four converging economic trends are driving the phenomenon, certain to disrupt industries far from computers and consumer electronics with Big Bangs yet to come.

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