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Thursday 30 January 2014

Coming out with "Out of the Box" Ideas for your Non-Profit

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.

Thank you

Wednesday 29 January 2014

The Tech and Software Sector is Even Close to Eating the World ?

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  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:The Tech and Software Sector is to Eating the World ?

Thank you
ziad k abdelnour 

Tuesday 28 January 2014

The Federal Reserve Letting Americans Know The Depth Of The Economic Problems?

The Federal Reserve (Fed) announced a third round of money printing, or Quantitative Easing 3 (QE3).  This round of money printing has a dramatically different twist and message attached to it, as it has no expiration date or limits. 
Clearly, the Fed’s stated objective of a sound currency is now taking a back seat to stimulating the economy.  

Today, the question remains whether or not this latest attempt to stimulate the economy will work, or will it be remembered as just another desperate attempt by the Fed to save a broken system.

The outlined plan of QE3 states that the Fed will purchase at least $40 billion worth of mortgage-backed-securities each month until unemployment numbers are satisfactory. 

 It is interesting that they have not defined what a satisfactory level of unemployment is, but based on historical statements released by the Fed, they are likely looking for levels somewhere between 5% and 7%. 
Many are calling this QE program, QEternity due to the lack of end date and limits on the program. 

Open-ended money printing could be considered positive from the perspective of stock markets, since the message delivered by the Fed is clear that they will do whatever necessary to prop markets up, and continue the illusion of recovery. 

Interestingly enough however, markets to this point have actually seen declines since the announcement.  Major US indices are down between 6 and 8% in the two months following the announcement, despite prior consensus that prices would rise like they did following QE1 and QE2.  

Read More: The Federal Reserve Letting Americans Know The Depth Of The Economic Problems?

Thank you 

Ziad Abdelnour 

Monday 27 January 2014

Don't be Fooled by What Policy Makers tell you Read the Facts

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.

Read More: Don't be fooled by what policy makers tell

Thank you

Ziad K Abdelnour

Friday 24 January 2014

The Challenges and Opportunities In 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.

For Read More: Opportunities In Turkey

Thank you
Ziad K Abdelnour

Thursday 23 January 2014

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee

The Foreclosure Transformation Act threatens all homeowners in New Jersey with massive wealth destruction.  The essence of the Act is that the State needs to sell bonds, create a new bureaucracy, buy homes out of foreclosure and convert or sell them to people who will use them for low-income housing, rehab centers or other social welfare purposes which destroy the character of their neighborhoods they are in.  The stated goals of reducing the supply of homes for sale and supporting home prices will fail on both counts. 

The uses for these converted properties, as contemplated by this Act, are simply not considered desirable by neighbors even if they are considered otherwise socially beneficial.  Location matters and prices reflect that reality. 

When you put homeless shelters or rehab centers next door, trust me, homeowners will prefer an abandoned foreclosure every time, because that house will ultimately be bought by someone and recover its value. With this Act and its 30-year deed restriction on converted housing, you will cause the value of all properties to crash, and then to stay down.

What happens next is even worse -- current homeowners will rush to sell their homes before the value goes to zero. It will be a fire sale environment, as this Act will achieve precisely what it purports to prevent – an oversupply of homes on the market, sharply reduced demand among homebuyers, and a massive housing price drop. 

Read MoreNew Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee

Thank you
ziad k abdelnour

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Being Real and Being Successful

Genuineness has many advantages. It conveys that you can be trusted, that you mean what you say, that your actions and deeds carry more weight than your words and that you are perfectly happy to be judged on your record. 

Contrast that approach with the people who demand that you trust them. These are the people who implore you: "Trust me." I'm not talking about the ones with decades of experience who really are saying, "Look at what I've done the last 20 years." That is not asking someone to trust you; it is asking someone to look at what you've done! I'm talking about the people who try to make you feel obligated to trust them.

Trust is not health care; it is not an entitlement. (I didn't really just write that, did I?).  Business -- or any successful relationship, for that matter -- is not about one party sacrificing.  A successful relationship is symbiotic, featuring a mutual benefit, a willingness to act for that mutual benefit, and an act of trade.  

What is the opposite? The act of taking.  Someone who demands your respect, your trust, your business, without having demonstrated his character or credentials, has not only not earned your business, but is demanding something FROM you. The code word is trust. The stated meaning is "trust me." The real meaning, the scary but true meaning, is "Give me." It's no different from the stickup man who points a (presumably) loaded gun at you and demands, "Give me all your money!" 

Thank you,