Category "Adam Kidan"

Ways You Can Sharpen Your Mind

- - Adam Kidan

Newt GingrichSuccessful entrepreneurs need to be able to think quickly and stay on their toes.  It’s easy to get caught up in the habitual drone of everyday life, which leads to stagnation.  I recently came across an article that shares some steps for keeping your mind sharp, listed below:

Break free from routine: A habitual mind is restricted.  According to a study by the Association for Psychological Science, those who engage in experiences that are new, challenging and exciting will more likely retain high cognitive functioning.  Passive involvement won’t do it, though.  Try once each week to do something outside of your comfort zone, and you might find out there’s something you love.

Keep moving: Exercise has its obvious physical benefits, but a healthy body is also closely connected with a healthy mind.  Physical activity has positive effects on mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, which often prevent people from getting things done.

Get enough sleep: Entrepreneurs often have to sacrifice sleep for hard work.  But if you aren’t sleeping enough, it could be why your personal or business development has slowed down.  A Brown University study has confirmed that sufficient sleep “locks in” knowledge gained from learning new tasks.  Most people don’t know that even if they can choose which time to go to sleep, drowsiness can involuntarily “switch off” the brain, making much of the learning or working you do from that point relatively useless.

Keep circadian rhythms on-track: A circadian rhythm is the nearly-24 hour cycle that regulates organisms’ physiological and psychological processes.  Though this mostly operates on its own, it can be slightly manipulated by light and temperature.  In order to regulate your circadian rhythm, expose yourself to natural light in the mornings and afternoons by keeping windows open.

Eat brain-enhancing foods: Foods that are rich in iron, such as meat, eggs and dark-colored vegetables, may be responsible for improved concentration and a higher IQ.  Whole-grain cereals and breads, which contain the vitamin B1, are thought to improve the speed of your mental processes.  Antioxidants may slow the detrimental effects that free radicals have on the brain, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may fight off depression and improve cognition over time.

Laugh: Laughter and other forms of positive affect may improve your ability to think creatively and look at problems from a new perspective.  It’s recommended that you laugh regularly to release endorphins, reduce stress hormone cortisol and help eliminate epinephrine.  it can even affect the number of intestinal flora in the human body.

Goldman Downsizing?

- - Adam Kidan, Business
Lloyd Blankfein

Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs

With chaos in the market, lowering oil prices and concerns about Deutsche Bank AG, shares for Goldman Sachs have begun to fall.  In response, the group’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein has signaled that the bank could end up cutting costs in the near future.  While speaking at the Credit Suisse financial services forum in Miami, Blankfein said that Goldman Sachs could possibly do a lot more “on the cost side” if it was necessary to deliver a return.  Saying that “necessity is the mother of invention”, he spoke about the need to take a concerted look at continued cost cuts.

Like its peers on Wall Street, Goldman has been struggling with low interest rates and strict regulations in the aftermath of 2008, which have lowered profits in areas like fixed income trading, which had previously been a wildly profitable venture.  Blankfein has said that the bank has already taken measures to cut headcount, which it has reduced 10 percent in its fixed income businesses since 2012.  During that time, Goldman has increased 11 percent overall in an effort to meet regulatory and compliance needs.

Currently, about 25 percent of Goldman’s employees are in lower-cost places, such as Bengaluru in India and Salt Lake City and Dallas out west.  In addition, Goldman has been looking to develop more open source software to reduce payments to outside vendors.  So far this year, shares of Goldman have declined 17 percent, which has raised a red flag to some.  Nonetheless, Blankfein is optimistic, believing that the global markets will improve, but hasn’t spoken about how that’s going to happen.

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Signs You Shouldn’t Take a Job

- - Adam Kidan, Business

Scary job interviewLooking for a job is a lot like modern-day dating: most of it is done online, reaching out to find the right one is always awkward and if you’re not careful you could end up with a bad one.  Being unemployed isn’t fun, but neither is spending eight hours of day at a miserable place you hate.  But don’t let that happen to you!  When you’re at an interview, you should keep your eye out for any “red flags”.  Scope out the office for any telltale signs of a bad boss and burnt-out employees.  In case you’re bad at figuring out the truth, I recently found an infographic that shares ten different red flags that could spell trouble.  Some of the points made are listed below:

High turn rate: Imagine you’re at a company that’s been around for a long time, but everybody who works there seems to be new.  A high turnover rate for employees is always troublesome.

A trash-talking boss: If an interviewer complains about their current staff during the interview, you should watch out.  Already bad-mouthing prospective co-workers to a potential employee is a sign of a domineering boss; if they talk like that about their current employees so freely, who knows what they’ll say about their future employees?

Vague words: Random buzzwords and vague phrases are hardly a good thing.  They suggest a company without any clear idea about how to utilize you, and might imagine you filling several roles simultaneously.  If you like the startup life, this could be what you’re looking for, but it could also be a sign of a dangerously disorganized company.

Overselling: Overselling a job means that it’s usually too good to be true, especially when the job description is vague and they haven’t asked you if you have relevant experience.

Nobody’s touching it: If you keep seeing that the same job is being advertised over and over again, that most likely means something bad.

No clear career path: Nothing is worse than a dead-end job.  You don’t want to be stuck somewhere where there’s no mention of a path for career progression.

Honesty: Ask any prospective co-workers what the best and worst thing about their jobs are.  If the boss isn’t around, they can be really honest.

They want your money: No company that wants money from you to being working there is going to be anywhere good.  A good job only wants your time and service, not any of your money.

Employees react badly to their boss: Take a look at how employees act when their boss is speaking.  If they’re looking at the floor and act like they don’t want to be there, this boss could either be domineering or embarrassing as a leader.

Bad body language: Look at the people you pass in the office and see what their expressions and body language look like.  If it looks like they don’t want to be there, then there’s a good chance you won’t want to be either.

5 Habits That Guarantee Failure

- - Adam Kidan

In the words of Winston Churchill, “success is not final, failure is not fatal — it is the courage to continue that counts”.  If you’ve failed in the past yet didn’t give up, you’re stronger than you think.  Everybody is afraid of failure, and experiencing it is ultimately inevitable.  Yet your response to this failure is what makes all the difference.  Here are a few habits that could guarantee failure, based off an article I found on entrepreneur.com:

Failing to plan: You have a better chance at success if you have a gFailureeneral plan.  This doesn’t have to be perfect, and you’ll ultimately get more out of getting something done than getting it done perfectly.  Think through whatever you want to achieve and make plans on what to do next.  You should have specific, measurable and time-bound plans.  If your plan isn’t measurable, you’ll be prone to procrastinate, so work with timelines to achieve ideal results.

Fear of trying: As Wayne Gretzky once said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.  Start to confront your fears and take the most basic steps towards what you have to do.

Giving up too soon: One of the best secrets of success is learning to conquer your doubts.  Most of us give up on our passions too soon, yet don’t give up.  Take a look at the story of this man: he failed in business at 21 and 24, lost a legislative race at 22, lost a congressional race at 34, a senatorial race at 3 and failed at becoming Vice President at 47.  Yet then at the age of 52 he became President of the United States.  Who is that, you might ask?  Abraham Lincoln.

Disbelief: If you don’t believe in what you do, then you’ll give up, and all the effort you’re putting into it will have been in vain.  Your mind’s unconscious beliefs play a huge role in the amount of effort you ultimately put into your life’s work.  Your progress depends on your decision to try knowing that you’ll overcome your failures and rise above them.

Making excuses: There will always be a reason to why it “can’t be done”.  People are always trying to explain why they couldn’t, shouldn’t or didn’t do something, but making excuses like that just means that you’re not in control.  People make excuses because they’re afraid of the unknown, or afraid of change, rejection and embarrassment.  If you learn how to eliminate all traces of fear from your life, then you can stop making excuses.

Kale Pops?

- - Adam Kidan
Green juice

You’ve heard of kale juice, but what about kale popsicles? Sophie Milrom is trying to change that.

The majority of popsicles flavors are pretty simple: cherry, raspberry, orange.  Maybe the occasional fudge or mango.  Yet how about kale flavor?  Or lemon, cayenne and agave?  Young entrepreneur Sophie Milrom has been looking to popularize these flavors with her new company, EatPops, dedicated to providing more options for healthy, sugar-free snacks.

Starting out her company, Milrom spent some $10,000 making samples.  Every morning before going to work at a bankruptcy law firm, she would put her samples in an insulated freezer-purse and go from grocery store to grocery store, pitching her idea to potential vendors.  Three months after becoming certified to practice law, Milrom started working at EatPops full-time, launching her company six months later.

Two years later, EatPops can be found in 10 states and are available in more than 300 stores.  As an entrepreneur, Milrom has been capitalizing on the clean food revolution; she points out that her popsicles satisfy both the paleo and vegan diets, two of the fastest-growing food trends.  EatPops, with flavors such as banana, peanut butter, vanilla, agave, carrot, mango and pineapple, markets itself as a healthy alternative to ice cream.  Yet it also fits the qualifications of a meal replacement, as well as a variation on the juice cleanse, even if the company has yet to develop a formal cleanse plan.  Yet unlike the highly perishable fresh juices necessary for a proper cleanse, these popsicles have a two year shelf life, and Milrom claims that they’re ultimately cheaper than the traditional cleanse.

While the thought of a kale and spinach popsicle might not appeal to everybody, Milrom says that EatPops have a high appeal to those who are more health-conscious, both millennials and mothers who want to get their kids to eat vegetables.  Milrom has partnered with like-minded health-conscious companies to put on fitness events where her pops are served.  For the new year, her resolution is to collaborate on more events with fitness studios in New York and LA.

Oil Raining on Christmas

- - Adam Kidan

As oil values have plummeted, stocks have fallen sharply.  The Dow fell 300 points today, a 1.7% decline.  The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have now all fallen about 3% so far this December.  Crude fell more than 3% to a new seven-year low, dipping below $36.  Investors have little interest in big-energy stocks, with Chevron falling 3% and natural gas companies Southwestern Energy and Chesapeake falling more than 7%.  To add flames to the fire, retail sales for November have proven weaker than expected.

Investors have also been worried by the fact that the Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund announced plans to liquidate late yesterday, and won’t be allowing shareholders to withdraw money from the fund.  This is a further oil plummetingsign of turmoil in the bond market, in particular for high-risk corporate bonds.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that CNNMoney’s Fear & Greed index fell into “Fear” mode today.

While the picture looks bleak, some believe that the Federal Reserve could hold the solution.  If the Fed raises rates in mid-December, which is widely expected, it could cause stocks to pop.  Investors could interpret this move as a sign that it is still confident about the economy and job market, even with concerns over commodity prices and the slowed growth in China.

Investors could be pushing the expected start of the “Santa Claus Rally” earlier and earlier each year, much how retailers put out their Christmas merchandise the day after Halloween.  However, the market tends to surge at the very end of December after traders leave for the holidays, and such liquidity could drive stocks higher, much like what happened last year.  Rapidly plummeting oil prices have led to big losses in the stock market during the first half of the month.  Yet in the final two weeks of 2014 and 2013, stocks took off.

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Facebook at Work

- - Adam Kidan

Facebook at work

In the coming months, Facebook’s professional version, Facebook at Work, is expected to launch after spending a year in tests.  This new service, geared towards workplace collaboration, is nearly the same as Facebook itself, with “likes”, a scrolling news feed and live chat.  However, Facebook at Work users will maintain profiles that are distinct from their existing Facebook profiles.  They’re also developing exclusive products for the new Facebook, including security tools.

Facebook started beta-testing the service in January, and so far has kept it as a free “invite-only” service for companies.  It will be open to all companies once it’s launches, and Facebook plan on charging a fee for premium services such as analytics and customer support.  The online career market, which includes LinkedIn and Monster, is worth about $6 billion a year.  More than 300 companies are currently using Facebook at Work, and the French resort company Mediterranee SA is set to be the latest adopter.

According to Facebook’s director of global platform partnerships, Julien Codorniou, almost everything on Facebook at Work is the same as regular Facebook, except for a few differences; there are most likely going to be less chances to play games like Candy Crush.

How Facebook at Work is going to work remains to be seen.  For one, maintaining one Facebook profile is difficult enough for a lot of people.  And often-times, the original function of a platform changes with how people decide to use it.  There’s a distinct possibility that Facebook at Work could serve as much of a distraction as Facebook itself.

The Top Cities For Startups

- - Adam Kidan, Business

The Brighton School of Business and Management recently released an infographic that reveals the top 10 places to launch your startup, which was published in the Swiss company Seedstars World.  I recently found an article where a writer in Forbes interviewed the founder of Seedstars to get her take on why each of these cities is such a good place for a startup.  Below are the cities listed in the infographic, and what incentives they have to offer:

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur: The cost of living in Malaysia is a lot cheaper than in neighboring Singapore, so there’s been a trend of startups that are incorporated in Singapore but based in Thailand or Malaysia.  Malaysia is also a good test market with three different nationalities present.  So theoretically, if you can make it in Malaysia then you’ll have a shot at making it in the Chinese, Malay/Indonesian and Indian markets.

Beijing

Beijing: Although Chinese culture doesn’t foster entrepreneurship, this is changing fast and success stories are making it a more and more valued career path.  China has also been focusing on higher-end and more advanced manufacturing.  China has a tax relief program for startups that have been established by previously unemployed workers and recent college graduates.  Earlier this year, China set up a USD 6.5B VC fund for startups, with a particular emphasis on seed stage startups.  The country now runs at least 1,500 incubators.

City of Warsaw

Warsaw: Due to its bigger internal market and strong history of entrepreneurship, Poland is considered a much better entrepreneurial market than its Czech and Slovak neighbors to the south.  They already have a few success stories under their belt, and have been attracting some of the top tech companies around the world, including Google.  Apart from Warsaw, Krakow, Gdansk and Wroclaw are all becoming major startup hubs in Poland.

Red Square Moscow

Moscow: Although failure is feared and condemned, Russia still places a strong value on entrepreneurship.  The legacy of the Soviet Union means that there’s a large number of both quality engineers and hardware companies.  However, political tension and currency devaluation has meant there’s a clear brain drain.

Bangalore India

Bangalore: In cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi and Chennai, entrepreneurship is strong.  There’s a huge market, and the number of engineers that graduate every year is impressive.  Bangalore’s startup scene is traditionally focused on engineering and tech development, which means it can be difficult for founders to find good business development or design counterparts.  Although there aren’t any incentives for startups and it can take several months to set up a business, the cost isn’t too high.  In the city itself, there are at least 10 startup events happening every week, which fosters a strong startup culture.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney: Being an entrepreneur in Sydney is well-respected, although most people still tend to seek the comfort of corporate employment.  Most startups are still focusing on their local market, although there has been a shift in mindset where they start to think more globally.  Unfortunately, the government doesn’t tend to allow for any special tax incentives for entrepreneurs.

Tunis

Tunis: The recent Arab Spring served as a turning point for the entrepreneurial spirit of this small North African city, and things are still very very new here.  One of the most pioneering startups here is Tunisia Live, an English-language news portal that was originally set up to transmit live images and report breaking news during the Arab Spring.  Startups here tend to use and create tech products to mobilize communities, often engaging them in political discussions and working for the collective good.  To better support the local entrepreneurship market, policy makers have started to implement new strategies and programs to boost incubators, accelerators and education programs.

London

London: In the first quarter of 2015, investors pumped a record-breaking £459m of venture capitalist funds into London’s digital sector.  This is augmented by seed enterprise investment schemes (SEIS), the British Business Bank, R&D tax breaks and government startup loans.  Tech is now regarded as the lifeblood to powering Britain’s economic recovery, with Britain’s fintech players being worth an estimated £20bn in annual revenues collectively.

Cairo pyramids

Cairo: A mass of young and educated graduates in Egypt means that a whole bunch of startups have been popping up.  Entrepreneurs have been fighting setbacks to exploit the birth of various new accelerators and crowdfunding campaigns.  Thanks to the quality of local universities, Cairo is also home to some of the best engineering talent in the area.

Sofia Bulgaria
Sofia: Although it isn’t a well-known fact, Sofia has one of the lowest income taxes (10%) and one of the fastest internet speeds in the world.  There are some very successful companies coming out of the scene here, and Sofia has become a strong regional hub by accessing the EU’s structural funds to create three separate funds: LAUNCHub, Eleven Startup Accelerator and Neveq.

Fighting the “Entrepreneur Blues”

- - Adam Kidan, Business

It’s a situation that happens with every entrepreneur: they’ve got a great idea, they’re setting out, thinking that it will make them rich and fulfill their biggest dream.  Yet being an entrepreneur isn’t all fun and games, and the pressure and stress that comes from managing the unknown day after day provides no shortage of stress.  Yet there are ways for you to manage that stress; I recently came across an article that features six ways to stay optimistic when facing the “entrepreneur blues”, listed below:

Monty Python Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

In Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”, the title character is told to “always look on the bright side of life”.

1. Be thankful: The author of the article advises entrepreneurs to write down three things every day for which they are thankful, but these need to be new things each time, so nothing can be repeated.  This trains your brain to constantly search for positive angles, because after a while finding three new things to be thankful for every day can be tough.

2. Surround yourself with good people: It’s only natural to adopt the attitudes of people around us, and optimism is contagious.  We’ve all got those friends we just enjoy being around, since they emit positivity.  Of course, the opposite is also true.  Avoid those kind of people as much as you can.

3. Be mindful: All sorts of health practitioners, coaches and organizations are boosting mindfulness as a way to boost employee engagement and productivity.

4. Consistently exercise: Studies show that exercise releases chemicals that reverse the effects of stress.  Try working out for 20 minutes three times a week for a month, and chances are you’ll feel better at the end of it.

5. Set and achieve small goals: Setting goals is a great way to boost your self-efficacy; achieving goals allows you to tap into an unknown part of your character, bringing all sorts of new potential into the game.  Yet goals need to challenge you; something that you write down and check off is a to-do item.

6. Choose your words carefully: Positive self-talk has got no shortage of power; replace negative words like “can’t”, “need to” or “have to” with ones like “am”, “choose” or “being”.  Adopting such a mindset can take a big mental shift, but once you can you’ll feel a lot stronger.

Why Proper Goal Setting Is The Key To Success

- - Adam Kidan, Business

There is plenty of advice out there that can help motivate you or increase your productivity at work. While this advice is certainly important and can provide a real impact on your work life, if you are focused on achieving success, there is no substitution for goal setting. As this article points out, if you want to achieve business success then it is important to set goals for yourself and build your life around these goals. Here is a list of some important tactics that you should incorporate in order to reach your goals and the success that you desire.

1) Review Your Goals Every Day

Plenty of people have ideas or dreams for what they want to accomplish. What separates those that simply dream from those that achieve success, is that successful people take action on their ideas. One of the major obstacles for dreamers is that life goals can appear overwhelming and unattainable. However, if you break down your goals into a series of small, achievable tasks then overtime you can make real progress and eventually you will accomplish these dreams. At the end of each day, review what steps you took that helped position you to accomplish your goal.

2) Evaluate Your Goals Regularly

It is important to evaluate your goals regularly so that you can focus on what is actually important to you. Sometimes your goals may be different than what you are actually trying to accomplish. Evaluating your goals helps you determine if you are taking the right path. Suppose your goal is to run 10 miles a day but you have knee problems. You should ask yourself if your goal to run 10 miles a day is actually your goal or if you are simply trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle. By evaluating your goals, it provides you the opportunity to take a step back and examine the bigger picture.

3) Zig Zag Your Way To The Top

You will be tempted to want to rush toward your goal as fast as possible. But on your path to success, you will inevitably encounter unexpected obstacles. These obstacles can provide an opportunity to take different courses of action that you may have never considered. These obstacles may be frustrating but at the end of the day, your business will be more stable because of your ability to adapt. Zigzagging requires you to be flexible and forces you to take advantage of different opportunities. When you encounter a roadblock, evaluate your goals and determine whether it may be more beneficial to pivot from your current model.