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OneDayGlobal - Page 2 of 4 - Empowering entrepreneurs across the globe by rethinking the way business is done

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Wag the Dog: Why The Latest Anti-Islam Movie is a Vehicle of Distraction

A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct privilege of going to see Murhaf Jouejati, at Harvard. During his talk, Mr. Jouejati informed the general public of the dire straits and consequences of the war in Syria. What became very clear during this discussion was the lack of concrete international intervention and the bloody future months of innocent killing that lie ahead. Innocent civilians and refugees are being murdered ruthlessly and the world silently watches.

 

Why Syria is Different From the Rest of The Middle East

 

Syria has become the focal point of attention and dissension for the global super powers and an unfortunate victim of poor timing and placement. Russia, still seething from foreign military intervention in Libya has run a full court press supporting and backing the current Syrian regime.  For Russia, Syria represents a last stronghold in the Middle East and an important trading partner.  Over the last year the Syrian government has placed a considerable amount of money in buying Russian-made arms and defense weapons. China and Iran hold similar trade and political agendas for their alliance with the current regime.

 

The European Union is in flux and unable to handle any more crisis’s and America is in the midst of a pivotal presidential election. All this leaves the Syrian people with no hope for positive foreign intervention and a speedy resolution. The crises will continue and become more secular as thousands lose their life trying to gain freedom.

 

The Role of The Inflammatory Movie In All This

 

Recently a movie purportedly produced by a former criminal portraying the profit Mohammed as a womanizer, bastard and power monger was produced and translated into Arabic. This movie is a low-brow production and mix of different scenes meant to outrage and incite hatred on both ends of the spectrum. While this has caused a wave of protests, violence and unfortunate deaths across the Arab world recently, the movie was actually launched in June and only translated to Arabic around the time of September 11th.

 

The timing of the translation and the protests seem to be a well-timed plan of a greater organization that has nothing to do with the common Arab. This seems to aid certain organizations and countries while deflecting the attention from a greater issue at hand.

 

Wag the Dog Forget The Syrian

 

The Syrian people have been lost in the noise of what is commonly referred to as a wag the dog strategy. The biggest beneficiaries of this movement are precisely the enemies of the Syrian revolution. Arabs are portrayed as highly unstable individuals unable to manage with free civil liberties. Their backlash reaction shows them to be a blood-thirsty culture that hates the West and needs to be tightly controlled. Russia and Iran can point to Libya and Tunisia as examples of what happens when Western intervention helps oust a West friendly Dictator.  Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is using the movie to push his own platforms. Mr. Netanyahu sees the protests as a case study for what can occur when Middle Eastern countries are given too much leeway.

incendiary movie. Countries like Russia, China, Iran and Israel continue to push their own platforms. This movie has helped and aided their cause, serving as a vehicle for frustration and diversion while successfully diverting the world’s awareness and attention from the continuing Syrian genocide.

 

Aug 19

Its All Greek To Me: Why Greece Could Be A Microcosm Of The Entire World

 

As the world economy continues to try to move forward, many countries across the Eurozone seem to be sinking or stuck in neutral. Countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal are responsible for their situation due to the fiscal irresponsibility they have shown over the past decade.

In the last year we are increasingly seeing a large wave of anti-foreigner sentiment across the European Union as nationalist waves have struck a chord. Citizens of Greece particularly are responding by blaming a part of the economic conditions on foreigners and refugees in the country. The crime rate and growing unrest are being looked at as a foreign problem and not one inherent in the make-up of the country.

Why the Americans, Germans and English Maybe More Greek Than They Think

While the focus has been on Greece, the economic fundamentals that brought down Greece’s economy can be found everywhere around the world. Countries, like the US are maintaining larger levels of debt that are unsustainable and have destabilized many parts of the economy.  As the US continues to try to jumpstart the economy, further unmanageable levels of debt are being taken out. What this means for future generations is a potential Greek-like occurrence. One day this debt will have to be paid and future generations of Americans, Germans, and Englishmen alike will have to shoulder the burden of this debt.

The only thing separating first world countries like the US, Britain and Germany from Greece and Spain is the perception and reputation of their fiscal and economical situation. At present we are seeing the beginning austerity measures and the same reactions present in Greece. Immigration policy and border controls in the UK, Germany and the US have tightened tremendously in the past year. The same knee jerk anti-foreigner sentiment and economic frustration found in Greece, can be found across large swaths of the US, Germany and the UK. No easy answer or quick solution is possible.

Why Market and Investor Confidence Are Not Important As The Fundamentals

At present market investors dictate the wealth of countries by deeming their net worth based on the value and classification of their government bonds. German and US bonds are seen as safe and stable investments largely because investors believe that these countries will fulfill their debt obligation.

The underlying problem that is affecting the march for a more responsible, efficient and progressive world economy lies in patience in fundamental economic reform and long-term policy. As is the case with public companies, many countries’ governments are anxious to gain support and investor confidence in their bonds. This coupled with the need to win election votes for  politicians leads to short-term economic planning and short-term gain. The need for instant results has hampered the ability of not just Greece’s but all the major players world economies in recovering. The hope for our future economic and social wellbeing lies in recognizing these short-lived economic solutions and creating new sustainable reforms that truly have a chance to succeed.

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Why the Super PAC is the PAC-Man of True Democracy

In a world teetering on an economic collapse, one can never truly breathe easy. The November US presidential elections hold a glimmer of hope for many across the world. By knowing what president will reside over the next four years, investors and companies alike can better predict what kind of market legislation lies ahead.  A domino effect will occur as finally many of the financial strategies that are currently being held up in fear of an unknown future are executed.

 

Usually one can take solace in knowing the future of the markets will be dictated by the will of the collective spirit of the people. Part of this belief is the understanding that the elected officials represent the will of the people. While, legal lobbying has always been present from the inception of the US, this presidential election will mark the first time the super PAC will be present. The super PAC allows an uncapped level of private wealth to enter into campaign funds.

 

Carte Blanche for the President

 

With a super PAC in place the private interests will become the center of each candidate’s decision-making process. As long as the candidates cater to their collective campaign cronies, there can be no harm in any of their decisions. This leads to a dangerous precedent where democracy and liberal free flowing capitalism is greatly hindered.

 

Campaign stuffers like the Koch brothers and others will continue to get their platforms across at any cost. These platforms come at a cost of the social welfare as many of the so-called benefactors are not moderates and are out on their own personal mission. This mission does not correlate with the social good of the country.

 

Wheels in Motion: Why the 99% should be afraid

 

The President and his cabinet are already seeing the effects of this super PAC.  Mitt Romney has raised more campaign funds than many thought was possible during this time period.  While current President Obama has not necessarily lived up to peoples’ expectations, a future with Mitt could turn the US’s international standing and economy into an irreversible tailspin. The same Mitt who was once an underdog now is seen more and more as a potential primetime candidate.

 

Mitt could be the first lab rat of the new super PAC and its effects. Mr. Romney is a candidate willing to be a pawn of the super PAC benefactors. All believers in social democracy as a check and balance should be wary this November. What may start as a great market recovery, could be the start of a new and dangerous brand of politics.

Jul 23

The Growing Alternate View on the Emerging and Developing Markets

 

In our current economic times we are experiencing an unprecedented global recession in Europe and the US. The focus on these markets has dominated the headlines for the last two years, and will do so in the near future.  What has truly been overlooked is the alternative business models and companies that have found a way to join new world technology with emerging market needs.

 

A New Path to Profits and Social Progress

 

The last ten years, thanks to the advent of micro financing, the perception of making money in emerging or developing countries has changed. Investors and the overall public have seen the power of collective economic micro loans and the potential for making profits and bringing along needed positive change to these countries.

 

Microfinance has entered the mainstream investment mechanisms and eliminated many of the stigmas and misconceptions about social business models. The microfinance industry has garnered the most accolades and attention. However, it is by no means the only business model that focuses on bringing social change while earning a profit.

 

Jana’s Role in Redefining the Market

 

In Boston, a new startup is trying to bring about social change and progress through mobile phones. Across the developing world it is much more likely to find a family with a cell phone than a computer.  In the most remote jungles in India and Africa, electricity is scarce, life is difficult, yet locals still carry and charge their cell phones.  Travelling through these areas one can find cell phone models that were popular in the US and Europe over a decade ago.

 

Many of these locals have never been surveyed, are not accounted for in census data or are very hard to access by advertisers and research agencies. In Boston Nathan Eagle, the founder of Jana has created a proprietary technology that allows these locals the ability to have free airtime in return for completing market surveys about themselves and their communities. These surveys have proved crucial to such organizations as the World Bank. The World Bank uses these surveys to compile and assess research data across the world to make crucial economic and investment decisions.

 

In its short time of existence Jana has been able to secure partnerships with cell phone providers in over 50 countries.  This has allowed Jana to apply its technology to bring about change all over the world.

 

In a world where there is decreasing investor confidence and bad news abound, companies like Jana are a welcome refuge.  We should all take solace in knowing that there are still companies in both the US and Europe that are helping to redefine our local and international economies. No one can be sure what the future is for Jana, however there can be no doubt in the power of social progress and profits that can still be made in these emerging and developing countries.

 

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Life, Love, Sports and Politics: How Football Represents More than Just a Game In Europe

I will never forget getting my education on La Liga when I came to Spain. As a naïve foreigner I thought of rooting for the team closest to the region I was living in.  At the time I was living in Alicante and the closest team was Valencia. I became one of the few Valencia fans in the whole city of Alicante.

 

Apparently my enthusiasm and support of Valencia was foolish. The majority of the city was rooting for Real Madrid as any proper Alicantino would never be caught dead rooting for Valencia and what their team represented. I quickly came to realize that behind each team and fan base there was a larger political and hidden spirit. Soon I was able to map the teams and what each supposedly represented, but this was just the beginning of my education in the real game of football.

 

Remnants of Forgotten Glory

 

In the midst of one of the worst financial crises that the Eurozone has seen, the current Euro Cup has provided a stage for the best and worst that Europe has to offer.  As most former European empires have lost their glory the Euro Cup is a chance for all these countries to recapture a bit of that magic of yesteryear. Equal parts sport, pride and politics: the Euro Cup is a fascinating sociological study of the European content

 

The Thoroughbreds

 

Italy, Germany and France have consistently fared well in the tournament and in the midst of this financial crisis are looking to reemerge as winners. A win at the Euro Cup would mean a great deal in restoring national pride and patriotism despite the current economy.

 

You’re My Only Hope

 

Countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece are living under the stress of high unemployment, and the possibility of a complete economic collapse. For them the Euro Cup represents a chance to maintain at least one part of their storied past. All three countries are known for their bevvy of world athletes, brilliant and sometimes befuddling play.

 

A win at the Euro cup would in the very least bring joy and a sense of relief that these countrymen can’t find in any other facet of their daily lives.

 

For the love of the Queen and the Crown

 

Perennial under-performers England look to finally capture the one crown that has eluded them. The stress and frustrations of the country are always dumped fairly or unfairly on the national team and their results. No country would like to win this cup more than England, to restore a long-suffering nations many defeats and to honor its long-standing Queen on her diamond jubilee.

 

The New Iron Curtain

 

Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Poland are finally emerging as global economies after many years of soviet rule. This tournament is a showcase for them to show the world that they are back on the center stage. A win for these countries would not only restore national pride but could provide the impetus for more progress and development.

 

In Russia’s case the team is also fighting an internal battle among its fans as protests about the recent elections in the country have spilled over to the Euro Cup and protests have surrounded the team throughout their games. A win may help unite the country or at least prove to be a welcome distraction.

 

The Best is Yet to Come

 

In the second week of the cup the story lines and the moods of nations are changing by the moment. Only time will tell who the winner will be and what their overall effect will have. It would, however, take a true novice to think that the Euro Cup is just a game with no political and national repercussions.

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From space and back entrepreneurship and innovation thoughts from a serial successful entrepreneur

Last week at the MIT Innovation symposium I had the pleasure of hearing Alexander Galintsky speak. Mr. Galintsky is a well known international entrepreneur and inventor. His career has included involvement in such day to day inventions like wi-fi and the vpn network, to space technology and software during the soviet years.

 

Having a varied background and an ability to succeed regardless of the government and its structure, Alexander has a unique view on entrepreneurship and innovation. In addition to being an entrepreneur and inventor, he also is an active venture capitalist running Almaz funds. Below are some of the key points one can take away from his talk.

 

Its not the prettiest plan that necessarily wins

 

While there is a lot of focus in business schools about creating the perfect business and execution plan, this can be of limited value in a true business environment. The keys to succeeding lie in the ability to take any plan ugly or pretty and execute it in a way that allows it to grow and succeed.

 

Even the least attractive business plans can morph to be successful depending on their execution and their will and motivation to adapt as needed.

 

Being a little crazy is a good thing

 

Friedrich Nietzsche stated that it takes chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.   Mr. Galintsky applies this idea directly when making hiring and funding decisions. In his opinion normal people are not the entrepreneurs and the innovators in the worldwide community. In order to succeed as an entrepreneur or innovator, you have to have a little bit of craziness in your heart and soul. This craziness can help guide and fuel an entrepreneur to greatness.

 

Ahead of the curve not always a good thing

 

We are always taught from a very young age to be ahead of the curve in our thinking and our actions. The one thing we are not taught is how far ahead of that curve we should be.  Alexander described how several times in his career, his ideas and their applications have come well before the market was ready to adopt them. This led to several ideas initial commercial failure.

 

It is always a needed key to understand what the market is ready to accept and adopt before launching your venture. Always understand what your customers are capable of adopting and structure your plans around this.

 

Company has to grow from every aspect

 

Many times a concept can catch on like wildfire and the resulting success is a positive boost to the company. Nonetheless, with this success, many times a subsequent lack of focus and uniform growth occurs.  Companies and startups can lose their balance and become uneven giants.

 

This happens more than most companies like to admit and can be a primary reason for a troubling future. Startups need to be very careful to grow accordingly from every aspect to avoid this potential pitfall.

 

Nothing beats blood, sweat and tears

 

It is always good to read case studies, understand risks and know the historic keys to a successful venture. This however, will never replace the actual learning you will get from starting your own venture and growing through your own mistakes.

 

Every founding team will make their share of mistakes. These mistakes are what give a company their depth of learning and their understanding of how to move forward. There is no substitute for personal experience.

 

It is Mr. Galintsky’s personal experience and resulting business acumen that has enabled him to remain a frontline global entrepreneur, from the soviet times till today.

 

 

 

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Spring Anew a year later: Have the Arab Revolutions Provided A Solution?

 

It has been just over a year since the Arab revolutions spread across North Africa and into the Levant. From the seeds of oppressive frustration born decades ago, came a wave of action that would make worldwide revolutionaries from De Gaulle to Gandhi. The people spoke, many of the dictators fell but did real progress occur?

 

Tunisia, Egypt and Libya Successful Revolutions?

 

The Arab landscape changed overnight and the whole world eagerly awaited the results. Slowly like a domino beginning in North Africa with Tunis, we saw successful overthrows in Egypt and in Libya. With the fall of iron clad dictatorships came a sense of hope and a new destiny.

 

A year later Egypt’s military has created a new regime that would make Mubarak seem like Mother Teresa. The rules of oppression and dictatorships have returned stronger than ever. With an unrelenting energy only paralleled to that found in the revolution the new politics in Egypt is as severe as ever.

 

Tunisia and Libya are both struggling with similar problems. Attempts at democratic elections and social progressive change have been nearly impossible to implement. The corruption and ways of old still remain as parties and tribes jostle for absolute power and control of the country.

 

Syria, Bahrain, Morocco a Dream Deferred?

 

 While some of the revolutions saw older despots removed from power,  other dominos are still too strong to fall. The situation in Morocco and Bahrain saw frustration emerge on to the streets, only to have repression and the heavy hand of the law rebuff their efforts.

 

Syria, on the other hand continues the battle for change but like a terminal disease, the whole body of the country’s majority is still repressed by the Alawite minority. The difference in this particular battle is that there is no end in sight or an idealistic solution ahead.

 

One Step on the Path to Progress 

 

Sun Tzu, once said in the Art of War  that  “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” In the case of the Middle East this process has led to several step forwards in the century followed by a sprint back. The Arab idealism of the fifties and sixties gave way to staunch dictators and economic and intellectual stagnation.

 

The hope that still glimmers a year from that time is that unlike the past Arab movements, this ongoing struggle can lead to long term change and progress.

 

Dec 20

The Best Way To Celebrate The Holiday Season: The Power of Giving through Mentorship & Entrepreneurship

As 2011 comes to a close we can reflect on what was one of the most tumultuous and eventful years in recent history. From both a global business and politics perspective this year made market analysts look foolish and revolutionaries seem heroic. This year also cast a sharp light on the problems present in the growing divide globally between the upper class and the rest of society.

While, there is very little one individual can do to change the system, as a collective whole we can help bridge the divide in years to come through a focused, inspired and channeled effort.

Mentoring: Empowering Change One Person At A Time

For those who have been incredibly fortunate and have had the ability to learn, advance and grow successfully it is imperative that one help, advise and empower the future and upcoming generations. It is unbelievable the power a mentor can have in shaping future leaders, thinkers, and dreamers as they build a future.

If one can spend even an hour a week helping out in the local communities the payback will be enormous both in the present and in years to come. It will also create a domino effect where the successful population of mentored youth and professionals will feel the obligation and need to do the same to up and coming youth in their generation.

When we have seen societies grow and prosper historically it has generally always included a time where information was distributed to large swaths of the population. Times like the Renaissance and Islamic Age had this mentoring and apprenticeship principle as a cornerstone of their foundation.

Entrepreneurship: The Growth Engine To Change

While, mentoring might be the first step in this process it is important to also recognize the effect of entrepreneurship in change. The one advantage the US has always had is its ability to encourage people to take risks to define the world as they see it. As a result of risks we have new industries, roles and processes that we never thought were possible.

If our governments and our collective people across the world would embrace the power of entrepreneurship and business creation we could re-define the so- called aristocratic workplace that spurred the occupy movement and much world resentment.

Key to Change: Action Instead Of Reaction

The keys to our success really do not lie within one institution or country. It is necessary to recognize that as a collective whole we are responsible for our current situation. In that same token the present situation is not helpless and mentoring and entrepreneurship can go a long way in healing our current woes. This holiday season should not be focused on bickering or complaining but rather on the proactive change that lies within each one of us.

 

Dec 01

When Perfection is Too Much: Trials and Tribulations to Understand What Defines “Good Enough

In the last two years the transition from the highly organized world of corporate investment banking to the organized chaos of entrepreneurship has been an eye opening adventure.  The banking world in many ways revolves like a sporting match the rules are clear, the objective is set and the time limit is defined. There is a finish line and a way to seize victory and be a proclaimed “super-star.” In entrepreneurship, the inverse is nearly true: the rules are like flowing water changing at every turn, the need for adjustment and strong adaptability to unforeseen circumstances is everywhere, and there are many ways to win.

 

Time Goes by So Slowly But Time Can Do So Much

 

With a set of never ending self assigned tasks and responsibilities as an entrepreneur you do not have the ability to give each the proper time to perfectly execute and deliver on each task in your queue. The need for perfection can lead you to the road of misery and failure, as too much time is diverted doing a task that is not a critical value-add to you and your company. The hours in the day are not enough and so the critical business building philosophy of “good enough” needs to become part of every successful entrepreneurs credo.

 

The “Good Enough” Checklist: A little taste of Memento, Marx & Moxie

 

At times at work we all feel like we are rolling a boulder up a hill only to see it roll back down at the last second. This is the sentiment I encounter almost daily when I look at how much work I have done versus how much still remains to make our current day venture a shining success.

 

Memento Motivates Me:

 

While, the helpless feeling is daunting I have found the best way to deal with it is to write up every single task on a white board in front of me as it arises. Rather, than plow through the tasks it is imperative to rate their importance and see which ones are critical for the day, for the week, or for the month. By prioritizing the tasks one can successfully break down the work to many palatable and efficient pieces, with “good enough” clearly defined.

 

It may look like you have emerged out of the Memento movie with post it notes and chicken scratch everywhere on your board but putting a visual orientation and priority structure to your tasks will create a clear roadmap to allow you to navigate effectively through the chaos.

 

Marx Moves Me:

 

In essence when you are prioritizing the list if you have a group of co-founders use them to get their input on what they think of your list and its priority structure. Many times a fellow co-founder can point out angles and thoughts that you never discussed or envisioned.  Taking a socialist approach to making decisions may be more time consuming and impractical, but when possible it is a great asset to any entrepreneur. By talking out your decision making process you realize what is the “good enough” point daily for each task.

 

Moxie Makes Me:

 

The thing that will have you endure and define “good enough” at the end of each day will be the amount of moxie you have for your venture.  I remember our MIT professor Bill Aulet saying  “creating a company was like having children, if you knew all the risks and headaches in the process you may never willingly create one, but the rewards and gratification you get from having children or creating a company is unparalleled to anything else in life.” The desire, drive and energy to see your vision to fruition will be the ultimate factor to make you push through correctly assess “good enough,” and reach your envisione

Nov 17

Sometimes life is indeed a board game: Engineerius a startup’s journey around the world

With the speed & development in this modern age the majority of the entrepreneurs one encounters are all focused on the most vibrant & disruptive technologies. The assumption being: these technologies are easily scalable and thus quite profitable if positioned and marketed successfully.

Engineerius Board Game

What few people remember is that well before Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook, there were social phenomena that spanned the world in a much simpler and equally widespread form. Entrepreneurs like the Parker Bros introduced the whole world to such classic games like Monopoly and Clue that are still popular over one hundred years since their inception. One company trying to follow in Parker Bros footsteps and leave their own mark in the board game world is Engineerius.

 

The Beginning: An idea born in Norway and Nurtured in Boston

Bård Gamnes, Gøran Berntsen and Andreas Bertheussen developed the idea for Engineerius in the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. During their graduate studies the trio decided on a concept they had sincere passion and knowledge in. Always wanting to play a Trivial Pursuit like game focused for science and engineers, the founders gave birth to Engineerius. The aim of which was to be a game for engineers by engineers, covering the fields of science, technology, and engineering.

 

A New Wrinkle on an Old Game

Unlike most game companies Andreas, Gøran, & Bård did not have the resources or time to create the questions for the game. What they did instead was open the games questions to their target segments.  They launched a Norwegian website allowing people to interact with them and submit questions and answers in the fields of science and engineering.  The innovative site was a success and hundreds of relevant and stimulating questions were received.

The founders compiled these questions, which were then proof read and validated by professors within the respected areas from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Hundreds of questions were then tested out on a prototype board game with friends and fellow enthusiasts.  The founders settled in on 1800 high quality questions in six categories of science, technology and engineering.

 

From Prototype to Production 

With the help of their fellow classmates and their inspiration running high the founders published the game in Norway right before graduating. The result was a resounding hit as it sold out and became the best selling board game in Norway. While, their passion was evident throughout, the success was unexpected and all three had already committed to post graduate corporate careers.

Rather than let Engineerius die, the founders handed the next stage of development to their friend and fellow student in the Norwegian University of Science and Technology Anita Kaur Mongia.

  

Engineerius Goes Global From Norway to USA

Anita was one of the contributors and collaborators to the game and fell in love with the idea and its development. As a result she is currently developing the English version Engineerius as part of her graduate studies at Boston University, School of Management. Using the entrepreneurship spirit and innovation in Boston to inspire, advise and guide her, Anita continues to refine, tweak and develop the game to attract the desired US audience. The Engineerius site is now open for enthusiasts to engage in and submit their questions and answers for the US edition.

As in any other startup the development of Engineerius continues to be a series of different stages of development.  While, there is still a long way before Engineerius can become the next big board game, it is most certainly a refreshing twist on one of the first scalable global businesses.

 

 

 

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