Monthly Archives: April 2015

About Iran’s Most Lethal Weapon

If one had to define Iran’s most lethal weapon today, I would say it’s not a piece of machinery but the “mastermind” behind it all. An operative by the name of Qassem Suleimani; the commander of Iran’s Quds Force — the foreign branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

 
Due to the nature of his position, Suleimani’s operations have been of course clandestine; so it’s often impossible to know for sure whether he and his Quds Force have been involved. But after one look at the circumstantial evidence, patterns begin to emerge.

 
Here are a some of key operations that Suleimani has been tied to over the last twenty years.

 

1. The 2005 Assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri

On February 14th, 2005, Rafic Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon and one of the leaders of the country’s Sunni community, was assassinated when more than 2,000 pounds of TNT detonated by his motorcade in Beirut, killing him and 21 others.

 

For More: About Iran’s Most Lethal Weapon

Turning Stupid Start Up Founders into Real Players

10 basic tips for all those delusional entrepreneurs if you want to get somewhere in life:

1. Stop believing all the stories you tell.

If you are not brutally honest with yourself, you can’t make informed decisions that will truly improve your company. You need a healthy dose of skepticism to make real forward progress. Founders often highlight what looks good and hide what looks bad. This is fake traction. Try to avoid it at all cost.

2. Swallow your stupid ego.

Startup envy isn’t a good enough motivator to get you through the tough times. Thinking that such-and-such startup was just acquired for hundreds of millions of dollars and you are so much smarter than them is not a productive thought.  Swallow your stupid ego and get real.

 

3. Stop this passion crap.

I have seen many founders blind with passion. Passion can blind you to know when you need to pivot or change your product. The trick is to get passionate about product-market fit, not about the product as it is today. Keep tweaking until you find the fit.

 

For More: Turning Stupid Start Up Founders into Real Players

Hillary for President?

Why?

 
Well I am afraid she has absolutely no clue of how our economy functions and I blame her too for backing the disastrous monetary policy which has wound up being the greatest redistribution of wealth in human history. On all counts, Clinton’s generation of politicians – Democrat and “Republican” alike – have taken the greatest country in the history of human civilization and, in the space of less than a quarter century, set it down the path toward an inevitable, inexorable collapse.

 
Hillary apparently believes Obama’s delusions, too. In fact, Obama lives in his own little world of denial, saying the economy is better than ever, and apparently Clinton thinks so, too.

 

For More: Hillary for President?

 

Thank you,

Hilary’s Emails and our Nations Security

My questions are about Hillary’s emails, but they aren’t the usual ones. Everyone is agog about the hubris exhibited by the would-be President and how it reminds us of the First Couple’s dodgy past from not-sex in the oval office to stealing everything they could get their hands on when they left the White House.

 

However, there are much more important questions: namely the security of our nation’s secrets and Hillary’s role in giving them away.

 
The current White House electronic information security breach by Russian hackers came through U.S. State Department computers. It turns out State Department computers were hacked earlier and the latest report is that it is not at all certain all intrusions have yet been cleaned out.

 

News reports say that State was hacked “for months.” Technically that is true, the reports simply don’t say how many months. If you read all the stories carefully it turns out that those months represent years – the years Hillary was Secretary of State.

 

For More: Hilary’s Emails and our Nation’s Security

Is Water The New Gold?

It is a fact that water use is today rising at double the rate of global population growth owing to urbanization, more water-intensive agricultural products, growing industrialization of emerging markets and the impact of climate change. The supply of fresh water is relatively static; hence, the rapid rate of demand growth is, not surprisingly, causing some stress.

 
An estimated 1/3 of the world’s population currently lives in water-stressed or water-scarce countries. On the current trajectory, it is estimated based on most recent population projections (according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Geneva Conference) that by 2025 countries will have water demand in excess of supply and 64% of the world’s population will be under significant pressure.

 
The Middle East (and North Africa) has the greatest absolute and relative water supply problem, in fact classified as ‘high’ stress compared to the rest of the world which is classified as moderate (Asia) and low (all other regions).

 

For More: Is Water The New Gold?

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Opportunities in China

The practice of doing business in China has come into question early this year. The disputes between Google Inc. and the Chinese government have been one factor; others have included the continued concerns raised in the West about China’s currency policy, and in China about Western financial policies.

 

Moreover, questions about intellectual property protection in China have not gone away. At the same time, the consumer markets within the country are more vibrant as its pace of growth increases, and Chinese businesses are becoming innovative, fierce competitors within their country, and increasingly in the world outside. There has never been a time when getting China right is more important — or more difficult.

 
How do we view China in here at Blackhawk?

 
What is our investment policy vis a vis China given the increasing tensions that are raising concerns among some businesspeople out there and given our increasing exposure to China through our strategic investments in Linktone and China Security & Surveillance Technology?

 

For More: Opportunities in China

Women’s Coming to Power

If China and India each represent 1 billion emerging participants in the global marketplace, then this group; which we will call the “power group” is made up of women, in both developing and industrialized nations, whose economic lives have previously been stunted, underleveraged, or suppressed.

 
These women, who have been living or contributing at a subsistence level, are now entering the mainstream for the first time. We estimate that about 870 million of them will do so by 2020, with the number conceivably passing 1 billion during the following decade. Their presence as economic actors will be widely felt, because they have long been overrepresented in the ranks of subsistence agriculture and other resource-based forms of work.

 

As they move into knowledge work, in domains ranging from manufacturing to medicine to education to information technology, their sheer numbers will hasten the integration of the regions where they live into the larger economy.

 

For More: Women’s Coming to Power

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Knowing the Right People

They say “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

 

I cannot but (finally and after having ruminated the question for years) wholeheartedly agree.

 

Some of my greatest ideas and projects went nowhere because I didn’t know the right people yet. And some complicated deals went ever so smoothly simply because I knew the “person in charge”.

 

In my 30 years in business, this famous quote that my father kept repeating to me ever since I was a teenager, is probably the single most potent business lesson that I have learnt.
At the end of the day and no matter what technological miracles are conceived, people do business with people.

 

For More: Knowing the Right People

Thank You,