Having as of today been involved in founding and running the Financial Policy Council for four years now, I am often asked how to come out with the most innovative ideas to turn a nonprofit into a truly unique organization.
The answer is simple… It all boils down to how you generate your ideas and then going about executing on them.
After all, coming up with good Ideas is not hard. It just takes focus. So how do you acquire this focus?
Here’s some food for thought…
1. Find a problem you’re obsessed with solving or you’re passionate about improving and delve in it in full force.
After all, building a nonprofit is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it.
Life has taught me that the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others… So by and large, I have come to realize that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves. If we are happy it is because we are fulfilled with a cause bigger than us.
Read More: “Out of the Box” Ideas for your Non Profit
Ziad K Abdelnour
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Being both an oil trader and financier and tech investor, I am frequently asked about my general views on the oil and tech sectors at large given the ever changing financial and political disturbances out there.
Well for a start, you might think that tech is today in a bubble as a company whose sole product is a photo sharing app in which the pictures get deleted after they are shared just turned down $3 billion.
Maybe…. But the reality is that even if there is a bubble in the making there are really no consequences. Unlike the late 90s, technology is now established. If one company blows up, other entrepreneurs will start a new one or join someone else. So If you really think about it, the cost of failure has never been so low, ever.
By the same token, and for the sake of argument, I don’t think that the tech and software sector is even close to eating the world.
Take a look at the Fortune 500 2013 – Fortune on CNNMoney.com. There are hardly any software companies on there. Google is #55 with a $52.2B in annual revenue. Facebook is barely hanging on at #482 with $5.1B in revenue. The largest electronics company is Apple at #6 with $156.5B in revenue. The second largest is Hewlett-Packard at #15 with $120.4B.
Read More: Oil and Technology What Makes the World Go Round
Ziad K Abdelnour
As part of Blackhawk’s close group of family and friends, we thought we’d share with you some of our most salient views as to the state of the world economy today and what to watch for in case you’re also in the “Wealth Creation” business.
We hope these thoughts will help you better position yourselves in the months and years ahead.
Even if you disagree with our points on the trajectory of where the world is heading, it cannot hurt to understand and prepare for the worst case scenario while still hoping for the best.
So here they are…..
About the markets at large:
Contrary to what the talking heads and pontificating gurus are saying, markets are not out of control, central banks are out of control printing money…and we believe they will never tighten monetary policy again, but merely print, print, and print more as they love to see asset prices go up, and as their policy reflects their desperation to perpetuate the process. As far as we are concerned, we know the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at 0, precisely 0…in real terms.
About the Federal Reserve:
The lifetime achievement of Greenspan and Bernanke is really that they created a bubble in everything, everywhere. In fact, you have to ask what they were smoking during the housing bubble, as prices were increasing by 18% annually when interest rates started to steadily rise in 2004.
It seems that the tremendous economic Sophism of the day is that a nation can print its way into prosperity. By the same token, if debt and money printing equaled prosperity then Zimbabwe would be the richest country in the world. Go figure if Mugabe is not the economic mentor of Ben Bernanke.
Read More: what policy makers tell you
Ziad K Abdelnour
Seventeen years ago, I read a book called The Evolving Self. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, it profoundly affected the direction of my life.
Since reading that book, I have dedicated my life to coming ever closer to getting a glimpse of the universal order, and of our part in it.
After years of research and analysis, I’ve come to the conclusion that we, in fact, live in a neo-feudal society built on debt and mental slavery.
That may sound like over-the-top rhetoric, and it obviously sounds extreme to propagandized and conditioned minds, and yes, it is extreme. However, it is the unfortunate reality of the present situation. The facts are there for the rational and unbiased mind to absorb and comprehend.
Let’s start by giving some context and perspective on present circumstances by breaking down some economic data. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”
Read More: Media is Most Effective Weapon
Ziad K Abdelnour
Challenges and Opportunities Turkey
Turkey is today at the center of the world with on one side Russia, on another side the Gulf countries, and on the other side the Central East Asian countries., it is without a doubt turning into a tourist and financial and investment center in the region second to none.
Having bounced back from its own profound financial crises in 1994 and 2000, Turkey is indeed well prepared today to ride out the current global economic storm.
With the bank’s capital adequacy ratios at more than 17% — it is clear that Turkish banks are today very liquid and stable, even despite the adverse global market conditions we are facing.
Because of the country’s political stability since 2003, its financial market stability, and the liquidity of its banks, investors are today flocking to Turkey to invest in there.
In the last 30 years for example, and up to 2003, Turkey had only $5 billion or $6 billion in foreign direct investments. Since 2003, the country have had more than $15 billion to $20 billion in direct investments as equity.
Read More: Opportunities in Turkey
Ziad K Abdelnour
the 1990s, Israel emerged as a leading center for technology start-ups and innovation.
In the 1990s, Israel emerged as a leading center for technology start-ups and innovation. In 2000, near the peak of the high-tech boom, Israel had 4000 high-tech firms and new ones were forming at the rate of about 500 start-ups per year.
Today, out of the 101 companies trading on NASDAQ; 63 of them are registered in Israel; a stunning number indeed for a country with a population of only seven million people, the size of Rhode Island and the population of New Jersey.
And the story doesn’t stop here.
The Israeli high-tech industry boasts today 43 of the 50 leading technology giants in the world; all with cutting-edge R&D centers. Scientific American’s list of ’50 Research Leaders’ include three Israeli scientists. Notwithstanding the fact that S&P credit rating for Israel is still AA – amid a still shaky global environment – , four Israelis have been awarded the Nobel Prize and Israel tech investments have produced consistent and significant returns which only continue to climb.
So the question is: What makes Israeli technology companies so unique?
Read More: The Israeli hi-tech Experience
Ziad K Abdelnour
If ever a chart provided unequivocal proof the economic recovery storyline is a fraud
If ever a chart provided unequivocal proof the economic recovery storyline is a fraud, the one below is the smoking gun. What a joke this whole recovery BS they are feeding us.
Ziad K Abdelnour
The independent economic think tank Financial Policy Council (FPC) fears that the business and investing community (not to mention, bank depositors and shareholders) are potential big losers from the Justice Department’s much-trumpeted settlement of civil and criminal charges with J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. in connection with its activities involving Bernard L. Madoff’s legendary fraud.
We wish we did not have to emphasize the criminality of J.P. Morgan Chase — and we wish it had never occurred — except that the bank itself admitted to this fact. Others can speculate on whether there was arm-twisting or the use of leverage, and even on whether or why other Too Big To Fail banks might be “untouchable.”
We restrain our focus on the hard fact: J.P. Morgan has admitted to criminal wrongdoing, and in so doing has agreed to a massive $1.7 billion penalty and to reform its anti-money laundering funds in order to get a two-year deferred prosecution agreement. The particularized admissions are formidable, as contained in the criminal information filed in Manhattan Federal Court (Southern District of New York) by the United States Attorney’s Office.
Criminal wrongdoing needs to be emphasized here, because a criminal act involves criminal intent, that is, willfulness. Here, the bank is charged with having “willfully fail[ed] to establish an adequate money-laundering program” and further having “willfully fail[ed] to report suspicious transactions.”
I am approached every year by hundreds of entrepreneurs with great ideas, great strategies
I am approached every year by hundreds of entrepreneurs with great ideas, great strategies but no track record of execution – all seeking funding for their respective ventures – and I turn them down one after the other for a lack of track record executing.
So here is some food for thought for all those of you still debating whether should funders back an idea/strategy or whether execution/track record is really what counts.
First time and aspiring entrepreneurs often mistakenly believe that a completely unique and original idea is what’s going to make them rich. In reality, it has very little to do with the idea, and more about the choice of market, the team, the execution, the persistence, timing, and how good you are at adapting the business along the way based on what you learn.
I’ve made this mistake multiple times already in thinking that one specific product idea would be the key to a successful business and then got trapped working in an area I wasn’t thrilled about.
Continuous Reading: Successful Ventures
Ziad K Abdelnour
Americans who play by the rules just got coal in their stockings, courtesy of the United States Government.
The most damaging and dispiriting government action this month is not its treatment of the Fiscal Cliff, but its enforcement decision showing that the rule of law is deliberately uneven. That is the message conveyed by the Department of Justice with its announcement earlier this month that neither HSBC nor any executives at the international bank would be criminally prosecuted for activities involving the money laundering of funds for terrorists and drug cartels (among other bad actors) for which the company itself has agreed to an unprecedented $1.92 billion fine, out of concern that such criminal charges could “destabilize the global financial system.”(1)
The message of a two-tiered justice system is actually amplified by the slap-on-the-wrist criminal plea on December 19th by a subsidiary of the equally too-big-to-fail UBS to one felony count of wire fraud in an emerging interest-rate manipulation scandal, providing for about $1.5 billion in fines and accompanied by criminal indictments of two hapless traders whom the bank decided to throw under the bus in a show sacrifice.(2) One need not be a cynic to view the institutional criminal plea, and the financial settlement which amounts to little more than a rounding error, a cost of doing business, as a transparent attempt to uphold the image — if not the rule — of equality under the law, precisely when they are being broken with impunity and the unofficial imprimatur of the government.
Lands where justice can be bought, where the application of the law depends upon whom it is to be applied, are typically found in Third World countries ruled by despots and the law of the jungle, where might makes right. In such countries, any purported rule of law is best referred to as crony justice. (Note: One cannot define it as “crony justice,” since the definition of justice involves equal application of uniform rules, hence, a two-tiered system involving arbitrary applications or “special treatment” ceases to be justice and that term cannot properly be modified by the word “crony,” or any other adjective, for that matter.)