Schlagwort-Archive: finance

Finance Needs A 20/20 Vision On The Business

Published on March 20, 2017Featured in: Banking & Finance, Business Strategies, Operations
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Anders Liu-Lindberg
Anders Liu-Lindberg
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Finance Master | Finance Transformation Expert | THE Finance Business Partner | Writer
In order to drive value creation in a business, it’s important that all employees and functions focus on doing what they do best. Sales should focus on meeting customers, explaining the value proposition and closing deals, operations should focus on delivering the product as agreed, procurement needs to secure the lowest possible price from the vendors etc. No frontline function that’s involved in running the business will have an in-depth view of what’s going on in other functions and how they’re performing. Their view is so to speak limited to any handover points they might have. Now does that mean that it’s only the CEO that has the full overview of what goes on in the business? No, of course not, and here we enter the support functions. Support functions like HR, IT and Finance support all parts of the business having a focus on people, digitalization and business performance to name a few. They are, however, doing it from their own point of view and despite supporting the whole business their view could be limited too.

Finance needs to have a full overview of the business

If we then zoom in on Finance and discuss how good a view the function has on the business it’s clear that without having a 20/20 vision on the business, Finance will fall short on supporting the business and the CEO, in particular, on driving business performance and value creation. By 20/20 vision is meant the following starting with the official definition.

” 20/20 vision  is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.”
To translate it into the current context it’s not asking for something superhuman when wanting Finance to have a 20/20 vision on the business. Essentially Finance should see what goes on in each part of the business like a normal person but not like a specialist who would see things even clearer (and yes it’s possible to have a better vision than 20/20). By having this vision into the business, Finance would be able to not only have a full overview of the business but more importantly be able to have a performance dialogue in a business context rather than a pure numbers context.

If you only know the numbers you won’t get a seat at the table

I’ve previously described how simply knowing the numbers is no longer enough to get you a seat at the table. Here I’m then making it clear that without having a view on the business and being able to contextualize the numbers you will get stuck outside the door. It’s important to note the essential point about the 20/20 vision again. As a finance professional supporting the business, you’re not supposed to see what goes on in each function as well as those that work there. You’re not asked to become as good as the specialist although naturally the more you understand of a given function the better you will be able to support it. This is especially true if you’re a finance business partner and tasked with supporting a specific function. Then it’s not uncommon to encounter an expectation that you need to develop a better than 20/20 vision on this function. Only then will you be able to become a true sparring partner to the business leaders in the function.

There are many things you need to do and can do to develop a 20/20 vision on the business but here I will refer you to past and future articles where this has and will be covered extensively. For now, I will leave it by asking how good is your vision into the business and what are you doing to improve that vision? Luckily, unlike your eyesight, in most cases, you can actually improve this vision and if Finance should truly help create value this is a must!

To stay updated on this topic and in particular on how Finance can help the business create value I would encourage you to follow my “value-series” where you can find past articles below. To be sure to stay informed about future articles you can either connect with me or join my group Finance Business Partner Forum. Last but not least you can also follow me on Twitter.

Anders Liu-Lindberg is the Senior Finance Business Partner for Maersk Line Europe Region and is working with the transformation of Finance and business on a daily basis. I have participated in several transformation processes among others helping Maersk Drilling to go Beyond Budgeting and transformed a finance team from Bean-counters to Business Partners. I would love the chance to collaborate with you on your own transformation processes to help you stay out of disruption. If you are looking for more advice on how to get the most of LinkedIn I also have a few tips to share as well as if you want help in your job search. Don’t be shy! Let’s get in touch and start helping each other.

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China’s internet giants go global

Tencent is leading the acquisition spree, with Alibaba a close second

 Print edition | Business
Apr 20th 2017 | SHANGHAI
THERE was a time, not that long ago, when China’s big internet companies were dismissed by investors in Silicon Valley as marginal firms with a tendency to copy Western products. Not any more. Today they are monsters with increasingly hefty international ambitions.

Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce group, handles more transactions each year than do eBay and Amazon combined. Jack Ma, its chairman, pledges to serve 2bn consumers around the world within 20 years. Tencent, which specialises in online games and social media, is now the world’s tenth most valuable public firm, worth some $275bn. Pony Ma (no relation), its chairman, wants China to “preside over the global tech revolution of the future”. But as the two firms become global forces, the third member of China’s “BAT” trio of internet giants, Baidu, an online-search firm that came to dominate the mainland market after Google left the country to avoid censorship, is lagging behind.

All three firms differ from their Western peers in important ways. First, Western companies usually prefer to focus on a few core areas, whereas Chinese internet firms typically try to do everything from cloud computing to digital payments. When this works, as with Tencent’s wildly successful app, WeChat, the results can be impressive.

Second, with the exception of political censorship, the internet sector in China is lightly regulated. Facebook, Apple and Google, in contrast, face increasing scrutiny. Chinese internet firms can achieve market domination of a sort that would attract close attention in other markets.

The third difference is that they can succeed on a rapid and massive scale because the state-dominated economy is so inefficient. Often there is not even a physical infrastructure to leapfrog—so-called third-tier cities, for example, often lack big retail centres. Nationwide there is one shopping mall per 1.2m people.

A huge home market has not stopped the trio from fighting bloody turf wars among each other. The outcome to this battle is rapidly becoming clear. Tencent and Alibaba are surging ahead; a series of own goals has left Baidu far behind. The common jibe about Baidu among local experts is that it is becoming the Yahoo of China, a once-dominant search giant that sank owing to a lack of innovation and a series of management blunders.

Its revenue growth fell to 6.3% in 2016, down from 35% in 2015 and 54% in 2014. The firm gets some nine-tenths of its revenues from online ads, but this income is plunging as marketers redirect spending from search ads on Baidu to social-media networks like WeChat and mobile-commerce platforms run by Alibaba. Meanwhile, Baidu is burning cash trying to keep its various big bets on artificial intelligence (AI), online video, virtual and augmented-reality technologies, and “online to offline” (O2O) services going. One of China’s most respected business consultants is pessimistic about its future: “There is very little chance they’ll be relevant in five years.”

Of the other two giants, Tencent is probably the most fearsome. It already has higher revenues and profits than Alibaba (see chart). Its value is set to climb as it ramps up advertising on WeChat (provided that does not provoke a backlash from users). Its main weapon against Alibaba is its stake in JD.com, the country’s second-biggest e-commerce firm, led by Richard Liu, one of China’s most aggressive and successful serial entrepreneurs.

JD.com has adopted an expensive “asset-heavy” business model akin to Amazon’s in America. Thus far, its vast investments in warehouses, logistics and couriers have not come anywhere near toppling Alibaba. But last year the company saw its revenues rise to $37.5bn, up from $28bn the previous year. Its share of China’s business-to-consumer market rose to 25% in 2016, up from 18% at the end of 2014. If Mr Liu’s investments in infrastructure start to pay off, much of Alibaba’s future domestic growth could be at risk.

That threat may explain why Mr Ma is not content with Alibaba’s overall 70% share of the local e-commerce market. In 2016 it spent $1bn to win control of Lazada, South-East Asia’s biggest e-commerce firm. In March Lazada launched a new service for Singaporeans directly to shop on Taobao, one of Alibaba’s two domestic e-commerce platforms (the other is Tmall).

Mr Ma last year persuaded the G20 summit of leading countries to endorse his proposal for an “electronic world trade platform” (eWTP), to make it easier for small businesses to trade across borders. Last month Alibaba launched a “digital free-trade zone” as part of the initiative, in Malaysia. This public-private partnership, which involves simplifying both logistics and payments, will help small merchants.

Mr Ma’s chief weapon for going global, however, is Ant Financial, which was spun out of Alibaba before the latter’s $25bn flotation in 2014 in New York. In China the unit offers services ranging from online banking to investment products; it even runs the mainland’s first proper consumer credit-scoring agency, Sesame Credit, which uses big data to work out the creditworthiness of punters. Ant already has more than 450m customers in China and is going overseas with gusto.

It has investments in local online-payments firms in Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea. In America Ant is in a frenzied bidding and lobbying war with Euronet, an American rival, to buy MoneyGram International, a money-transfer firm. On April 17th Ant raised its initial offer for MoneyGram by over a third to $1.2bn, topping Euronet’s bid.

Tencent is also making bold acquisitions abroad. A consortium that it led spent $8.6bn to acquire Finland’s Supercell last year, a deal that turned Tencent into the world’s biggest purveyor of online games. Together with Taiwan’s Foxconn, a contract-manufacturing giant, the firm invested $175m last year into Hike Messenger, an Indian messaging app akin to America’s WhatsApp. It was also an early investor in America’s Snapchat, another popular messaging app, whose parent company Snap went public in March.

One reason for these purchases is that Tencent’s earlier efforts to promote WeChat abroad (including a splashy advertising campaign in Europe featuring Lionel Messi, a footballer) flopped. Established social networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp proved too entrenched to dislodge. They also did some copying of their own: once they adopted some of WeChat’s innovations, Western consumers had little reason to switch to the Chinese network.

Such investments have been in Tencent’s core areas, away from turf occupied by Alibaba and Baidu. Sometimes, the trio end up co-operating, if not by design. All three BAT firms are backers of Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing firm with global pretensions of its own. But in other ways their domestic war is spilling into foreign markets.

India is one such battleground. This month, together with eBay and Microsoft, Tencent invested $1.4bn into Flipkart, a leading Indian online retailer. Alibaba and Ant together are reported to have invested nearly $900m in Paytm, India’s top online-payments firm; in February, Paytm launched an e-commerce portal akin to Alibaba’s Tmall to take on Flipkart and Amazon in India.

Elsewhere, Tencent unveiled a service last month that will allow firms in Europe to use WeChat to sell on the mainland. This will let them sell directly into China, avoiding red tape. Tencent also recently invested $1.8bn in America’s Tesla, a pioneer in electric and autonomous vehicles. That is a particular challenge to Baidu, which is betting its future on machine learning and AI.

Baidu’s push abroad is mainly a way to get access to talent in these fields. The firm has just started its first recruiting campaign at top American universities, including Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has a respected AI laboratory in Silicon Valley, despite the recent departure of Andrew Ng, an AI expert. But Baidu does not have the same firepower as Alibaba and Tencent. It tried but has failed to conquer foreign markets such as Japan with its search engine. This week it opened up its self-driving technology to rivals, as Tesla did in 2014, but it has a long way to go before it makes an impact in autonomous driving.

Grandiose BAT statements about global aims should be taken with a pinch of salt. It would be an error to neglect the profitable domestic market. Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, reckons that China’s online retail market will more than double in size by 2020, to $1.7trn. As Duncan Clark, author of a recent book on Alibaba, points out, whatever headlines Mr Ma and other internet bosses make with their overseas ventures, “it takes a lot to get away from the sheer gravity of China.” But at home and abroad, one thing is clear: China’s internet titans cannot be ignored.

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline "Three kingdoms, two empires"

 

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These Are the Highest-Paying Companies in America

A cyclist rides past Google Inc. offices inside the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg
Once again, technology companies and consultancies took the top spots in the latest list of employers with the highest median compensation in the U.S. While familiar names, including Facebook Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., and LinkedIn Corp., can be found on Glassdoor’s annual survey, some lesser-known companies have landed on the honor roll as well.

The top five companies on the list, each with median salaries above $150,000 according to the anonymous poll, include consulting firms AT Kearney Inc. and PWC Strategy& LLC, and software companies VMware Inc., Splunk Inc., and Cadence Design Systems Inc. AT Kearney and Strategy& also took top spots last year, while Splunk is making its first appearance on the list.

Here’s a look at how the top 25 stack up 1  .

While it's true that investment banking and hedge fund firms tend to pay well, with places like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. touting median compensation of $107,500 on Glassdoor's website, it’s not enough to crack Glassdoor’s top 25. Banking and investment companies require highly educated employees with niche skillsets, but Glassdoor says tech and consulting firms require a bit more. Hence the bump.

But just because a company pays well doesn’t mean you’ll like working there. Those two key reasons for working anywhere often stand opposed. Strategy&, for instance, just has an average rating as a place where people want to work. This sort of divergence between pay and other aspects of a job goes for how much people respect their bosses, too.

“There is not necessarily a link between high pay and great leadership at a company,” said Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist. “We see companies on the list with CEOs who have very high approval ratings—and some with lower approval ratings.” 

The most common refrain in reviews by current and former employees is that companies need to do a better job helping them balance work with their personal life.

Companies that address this conundrum seem to get more in-house respect. Chief executives of Facebook, McKinsey, and LinkedIn received some of the highest ratings. Facebook employees, noting similar concerns over work-life balance, said if you ask for a better arrangement at their company, management is typically receptive.

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The Economy Only Looks Good If Your Eyes Are Closed

The Economy Only Looks Good If Your Eyes Are Closed

There are multiple little anecdotes and ways to say the same thing:

  • People see what they want to see
  • If it looks to good to be true it probably is
  • All that shines is not gold
  • Cheer up…it could get worse

….to name just a few.

But me…I've read The Bible and I'm looking for the signs of the Last Days that it talks about. 

Currently I see many of those sings everywhere I look. 

For example, traditional business metrics do not lie. They can't. 

Number readily available today point to a financial and monetary train-wreck much closer than most people don't want to see…therefore they don't.

Trump is nice to have come along right now but he doesn't represent the end of the war between good and evil. He only represents one battle won within it… just like an uptick in the stock market.

I would like to call my readers' attention to two article by one of my favorite trend analysts, Simon Black, founder of www.sovereignman.com. Simon recently wrote two very good articles that both talk about certain economic realities that only a fool (which there apparently are a lot of) would ignore.

Question…..

Do you know what a P.E.Ratio is?

You've probably heard the term. Here's what Investopedia.com says it is: 

For example, suppose that a company is currently trading at $43 a share and its earnings over the last 12 months were $1.95 per share. The P/E ratio for the stock could then be calculated as 43/1.95, or 22.05.

In this article, Simon ponts out that the P/E Ratio for the S & P Index is currently 26.5, a level only reached three previous times in the US economy, each of which immediately preceded a major financial disaster (the Panic of 1893, the 2000 dot-com crash, and the 2008 financial collapse).

That should make you feel real good, shouldn't it?

You can read the article for more detail and examples. As usual, Simon lays it out very simply and logically and to paraphrase what he says: deep do-do is just around the corner.

It just amazes me that people seem to be blissfully unaware or willfully ignorant of the factors that go into that conclusion. But I know what the Bible says. It says that in the End Time there will be:

  • Wars and rumors of war. (No kidding….Check!)
  • Nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom (No kidding…Check!)
  • People will be lovers of self. (Check!)
  • Good will be called bad and bad will be called good. (Check!)
  • Animals dying everywhere (Check!)
  • Earthquakes everywhere (Check…they're there…you just don't hear about them)!
  • Seas dying. (Check!)
  • A time of great contrast between rich and poor. (No kidding…Check!)
  • Israel blooming but increasingly abandoned by former friends.(Check!)

I'm sure there are a few other conditions I don't recall at the moment but my point is that it won't take much…not much at all… for this whole House of Cards to come tumbling down. Humanity is indeed dancing on the deck of the Titanic, and most of us have no idea what's ahead.

But…moving on…

In Simon's other article, which you can read here, he warns us that, "there are certain anomalies that are too absurd to last", and warns us that far too many US companies must have some of those Superbowl ad chimps making their corporate financing decisions for all the lack of wisdom shown.

To put their financial imbecility in simple terms: How is it possible that major companies like Exxon, Verizon, and many others seemingly can pay out more money in dividends that they have 'free cash flow'?

The answer is easy if you have a mind like those chimps: You just borrow it. They go deeper and deeper into debt.

And why wouldn't they be able to, considering that they get their money from banks which get it from governments that print it like it was so many coupons for a Penny Saver newspaper?

The result is that politicians get to keep their jobs because they can tell the plebeian masses that everything is just fine. Big corporations can tell their stockholders that everything is just fine. And 'We The People' suffer a continually declining standard of living and wonder why we seem to be working harder but not getting ahead and always in debt.

Trump is nice to have on the scene, but he's only one man. Apparently, he's a Christian and a patriot and does believe in the American Ideal. That's nice. He's doing what he should do. But his ultimate home is no more in 'this World' than any other Christian.

The way I see it, our mission right now is simply to get ready for Jesus, keep our head low, save as many unsaved as we can, give as many as we can something to think about when we're gone, and to piss off as many of the 'hard-heads' as we can so that they can get saved the hard way when the time comes.

Meanwhile, I personally keep waiting for a few last pieces of this puzzle to fall into place. I'm not convinced that all our problems are solved and, like the title of this article says, I think the economy only looks good if your eyes are closed.

 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter
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We Should Be Scrutinizing The Banks With This Formula

We Should Be Scrutinizing The Banks With This Formula

This is a very short article but in this case 'size doesn't matter'.

I never realized how simple it is to check the 'strength' of a bank?

You'll probably be surprised how simple it is too. Just read this short article by Simon Black, founder of www.sovereignman.com.

As an aside, most people don't know it but Simon has some kind of accounting degree… as evidenced clearly by how much of that jargon and explanation he puts into his articles.

Simon has often written about the weak financial positions of not just US banks but the vast majority of banks worldwide. He often gives precise figures and explains why there are so bad.

But it wasn't until tonight that he got my attention by explaining the uber-simple formula of figuring it out one very important bank ration on my own. Yeah…the figures you need to plug into a quick computation are right there on the internet.

Read this article and take note of the simple formula (just two figures is all you need) .

I'm amazed it's so simple to see how shaky these banks are.

P.S. The carton in the article is hilarious too.

 

Art Williams
Freelance Copywriter

Contack email

 

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What’s Going On With Coinbase vs. IRS?

What’s Going on With CoinBase vs. IRS?

 

Most people doing anything with cryptocurrency or Bitcoin have at least heard of the fracus going on right now between the IRS and the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.com . For those who might not be familiar with the situation or its significance, this is my summary based on the research I’ve done.

The IRS, as the Pursers of the Dark Side, is most assuredly a not big fan of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Apparently they recently identified 3 tax evaders who didn’t pay what the IRS thinks they should have in taxes. Since 2 of these 3 were Coinbase users, the IRS is stalking Coinbase now.

Note: (Note: “evasion” is illegal but “tax avoidance” is not)

Almost anybody who deals with government agencies or bureaucrats knows that the often don’t distinguish between what they have the legal authority to do vs. what they have the power to do. Frequently they do what they want anyway.

In the case of the IRS and cryptocurrency, the IRS does have some regulations regarding cryptocurrency reporting but they are muddled and unclear. The regulations (as I understand them) give various reporting requirements to cryptocurrency exchanges but rely on the ‘honor system’ (plus the IRS’s confused and complex regulations thus far) for declarations from the individual taxpayer.

In this case, Coinbase contends that it already complies with IRS regulations as they presently exist and further says that the IRS demand is too broad and burdensome and presumes the guilt of the entire Coinbase customer base.

Note: Looking at this IRS behavior it’s easy to see that Irwin Schiff, was right. Irwin was an expert on the US Constitution and US jurisprudence as it relates to the Federal Income Tax and its enforcement. His contention to his dying day was that was that the federal income tax was totally misunderstood by the average citizen and illegally interpreted and enforeced by the IRS… with the connivance of the US court system. He successfully defended himself from the IRS for years and also assisted many of his students in doing so he yet was eventually arrested and tried in an illegal “show trial”, illegally imprisoned, denied proper medical care, and died after over 10 years in prison.

Irwin’s great book, The Federal Mafia, still downloadable for free in PDF form on his website, www.paynoincometax.com, is a guaranteed eye-opener and gives a better understanding why cryptocurrency is surely something which keeps IRS agents, government fat-cats, and the industrial elite awake at night because it is a direct challenge to their control over the affairs of men and nations.

Many observers agree that the IRS will eventually get Coinbase’s records but it might be a short-lived Pyrrhic victory. If the general public continues to learn about and adopt the cryptocurrency and the blockchain, they eventually simply won’t need ‘big government’.  

What has recently rekindled interest in the IRS vs. Coinbase situation is that since the IRS has not thus far been able to intimidate Coinbase into giving up their customer records (because Coinbase knew the law), the IRS is using something it does have the power to do…i.e. Issue a “John Doe Summons”.

A John Doe summons is the type of summons which allows the IRS to force a company to surrender their customer records because the IRS says the suspect somebody (but they don’t know who) within the group is guilty of tax evasion.

Many people interpret the IRSs’ actions as simply a witch-hunt designed to intimidate the general public and virtual currency sellers into the charade of “voluntary compliance” and if the IRS gets away with this tactic with Coinbase, one can only wonder what they might do next.

Note: Irwin Schiff often correctly said that the US tax laws are extortion… not voluntary compliance. Anybody interested in this subject should delve into his excellent and timeless videos on YouTube.

But that what the ongoing saga of the battle between Coinbase and the IRS is about. Now you know. Is it a good idea to be a Coinbase customer right now? IMHO…. Probably not.
 

Art Williams
Freelance Writer
Case Studies and eMail Copywriting
eMail Me

 

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Siemens is buying a software company for about $4 billion

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser.

It's official: Siemens just announced it was buying the semiconductor-design software company Mentor Graphics for $37.25 a share in cash, or about $4 billion.

That's a 21% premium to Mentor's closing price Friday, and it values the Oregon-based company at about $4.5 billion, including debt.

"Siemens is acquiring Mentor as part of its Vision 2020 concept to be the Benchmark for the New Industrial Age," Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said in a statement. "It's a perfect portfolio fit to further expand our digital leadership and set the pace in the industry."

Kaesar has made it a priority to sell off core units to boost profitability since taking control in 2013.

Mentor Graphics has been fending off interest from activist investors for years. Carl Icahn fought and won a proxy fight to get three board seats in 2011, but he later exited the trade. Elliott Management in September reported a stake in the company, saying the shares were deeply undervalued, according to Reuters.

Reuters in October reported that Mentor Graphics had hired Bank of America to explore strategic alternatives.

Here's the press release:

Siemens is further building its Vision 2020 to shape Digital Industrial Enterprise by expanding its unique portfolio for industrial software. Siemens and Mentor Graphics (NASDAQ: MENT) ("Mentor") today announced that they have entered into a merger agreement under which Siemens will acquire Mentor for $37.25 per share in cash, which represents an enterprise value of $4.5 billion. The offer price represents a 21% premium to Mentor's closing price on November 11, 2016, the last trading day prior to the announcement. Mentor's Board of Directors approved and declared advisable the merger agreement, and Mentor's Board of Directors recommends the approval and adoption of the merger agreement by the holders of shares of Mentor common stock. Mentor shareholder Elliott Management has committed to support the transaction.

This acquisition decisively extends Siemens' leading Digital Enterprise Software portfolio with Mentor's well established electronics IC and systems design, simulation and manufacturing solutions. These capabilities are essential for today's smart connected products such as autonomous vehicles. The combination provides mechanical, thermal, electronic and embedded software tools which will allow Siemens' customers to further accelerate their innovation, drive production efficiencies and optimize the operation of their products in the field. Now, for the first time, quality, efficiency, flexibility, safety and speed can be optimized across technical domains, throughout the entire lifecycle and for the entire extended enterprise.

"Siemens is acquiring Mentor as part of its Vision 2020 concept to be the Benchmark for the New Industrial Age. It's a perfect portfolio fit to further expand our digital leadership and set the pace in the industry," said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG.

"With Mentor, we're acquiring an established technology leader with a talented employee base that will allow us to supplement our world-class industrial software portfolio. It will complement our strong offering in mechanics and software with design, test and simulation of electrical and electronic systems," said Klaus Helmrich, member of the Managing Board of Siemens.

Mentor is headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon, U.S., and has employees in 32 countries worldwide. In its fiscal year ended January 31, 2016, Mentor had over 5,700 employees and generated revenue of approximately $1.2 billion with an adjusted operating margin of 20.2%. Siemens expects these attractive margins to continue in the future and contribute significantly to the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software business of Siemens Digital Factory (DF) Division, which Mentor will join. Mentor serves a large, diverse customer base of marquee systems companies and IC/semiconductors companies with over 14,000 global accounts across communications, computer, consumer electronics, semiconductor, networking, aerospace, multimedia, and transportation industries. Mentor is viewed as a global leader in strategic industry segments including IC design, test and manufacturing; electronic systems design and analysis; and emerging markets including automotive electronics.

"Combining Mentor's technology leadership and deep customer relationships with Siemens' global scale and resources will better enable us to serve the growing needs of our customers, and unlock additional significant opportunities for our employees," said Walden C. Rhines, chairman and CEO of Mentor. "Siemens is an ideal partner with financial depth and stability, and their resources and additional investment will allow us to innovate even faster and accelerate our vision of creating top-to-bottom automated design solutions for electronic systems. We are excited to join the Siemens family, as it is clear they share the same values and focus on customer success, and are pleased that this transaction provides immediate and certain value to our stockholders."

Siemens expects to achieve synergies through a combination of revenue growth and anticipated margin expansion, with a total EBIT impact of over €100 million within 4 years from closing the transaction. Additionally, the transaction is expected to be EPS accretive within three years from closing. Closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected in Q2 of calendar 2017. Mentor will be part of the PLM software business of Siemens' DF Division. DF is the industry leader in automation technology and a leading provider of PLM software.

"By adding Mentor's electronic design automation solutions and talented experts to our team, we're greatly enhancing our core competencies for product design that creates a very precise digital twin of any smart product and production line," noted Helmrich."

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State of The World From A Coffee Drinkers Point of View

State of the World From a Coffee Drinkers Point of View

This article is admittedly not extremely focused. At least…not in the traditional sense. But I think it does make 'sense'. This morning after getting my cup of great tasting, weight-loss coffee I went to scan the news. First I noticed an interesting article from wnd.com basically saying that Patriots and Christians could lose the upcoming POTUS election if the sissy Christians and 'Never Trumpers' don't vote (which it seems that a lot are inclined to do). (Sorry I can't find the article in my digital trash).

Next, I read this article from one of the regular writers over on one of my other favorite sites, sovereignman.com. In that article, the writer described how history shows clearly that market-makers (i.e. the 'professional' money-managers) will indeed spread stupid advice, even though they actually know better.

They do it because (1) everybody else is doing it and (2) they don't want to miss out on the profits of a rising market (even though the fundamentals clearly point to the opposite decision).

So just step back and look at that situation for a moment. We've bad guys circling the camp, hungry for our blood, in front of us…AND we've got idiots on your own side hanging out sitting at home watching Archie Bunker re-runs instead of being out piling boxes on the barricades where they should be.

Is it any wonder that the number of people saying, "Hey…fuck this shit. I'm moving to Camincreasesincreses every year. NB: Fill in the name of your favorite expat destination…mine is Colombia right now but Cambodia would be a good option too from what I've read.

I'll tell you one thing is for sure. Most of 'the professionals' have gone totally bonkers. The peaceful, relatively rational society we used to know no longer exists. There isn't any such thing as just minding your own business and going to work and doing your job anymore. Traditional jobs don't exist and your neighbors are all illegal immigrants, or would be if our Great Deceiver or his protege Hillary had their way.

One of the anti-moron, anti-poverty strategies mentioned in the Soverignman.com article mentions investing in fundamentally sound business. But if Big Business is all nuts…where can a person find a fundamentally sound business?

The answer, in general terms is…become an entrepreneur and plant multiple flags for residential, taxation, and passport purposes. Don't get caught in a situation were a corrupt, tyrranical government has you by the short hairs.

In more specific terms, one excellent strategy (although admittedly somewhat contrarian) is to find a good MLM opportunity, something that can be done from anywhere in the world with only an internet connection, and get busy building it.

Key Point: It's got to be the combination of the Right Product and the Right Distribution Method.

I don't know if there is a lot of those kinds of situation but I do know of at least one ….. the one that I do. It can be summed up in this thought-provoking question:

"Who do you know who likes coffee and would like to lose some weight?"

If you had a product that would actually do that, do you think you could make some money?

You'll find the entrepreneurial answer to that question in the unique, once-in-a-lifetime alignment between two companies: (1) Valentus, an MLM company with a unique, affordable, weight-loss coffee product that even sells very well on eBay, and (2) Markethive, the world's first, fully combat-ready Market Network.

And don't think your situation is not going to get any better either. It ain't.

You've got two choices: Watch the world go up in flames and join the fleeing crowds in the street, or (2) watch it all in the news on your satellite TV from someplace peaceful, safe, and fun where you'd really like to be.

We're recruiting and training the Next Generation of no-base, progressive, MLM industry leaders right now. It's a rare combination of the right products, the right companies, the right leadership, and the right tools. Join us (for free) in Markethive and learn more.

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Series B – Say What!?

"Series B – Say What!?"

I hate it when people assume I know something I could easily understand if they'd just get out of their own little world and get into mine. Such an instance occurred just a few days ago with this article which discussed the new buzzword, 'market network'. 

Notice that at the end of the very first sentence you see the phrase, "…HoneyBook announced a $22 million Series B*.

My very first reaction to that was, "Whaaat??!!" But as I read through the article I sort of got the general idea of what they were talking about…"Series B"….yeah, sure. Like…money and investiing and stuff. But frankly I don't like it when writers use terms that their readers probably aren't familiar with. It's very frustrating to people who actually read. NB: Some people talk that way too… but that's another article. 

It's frustrating because written communication doesn't have the benefit of the spoken word and face to face contact….i.e. visual signaling through eye contact, body language, and trial closes. For that reason, a writer who wants people to understand and appreciate what they're writing will seldom, if ever, use terms the reader isn't likely to know.

As the inquisitive guy I am, I did some research on the term Series B. That term simply refers to one of the earlier stages in the equity funding of a company (NB: "equities" usually refers to stock ownership, i.e. ownership interests or positions in a business entity).

Here is an informative page with some text which explains what Series B means and also has a very short video explaining the term. If you're a Markethive community member you would be wise to have an interest in such things because we´´ might be closer than most of us realize to being involved in such a thing…i.e. we might be doing our own Series B in the near future.

Another item from the article that I thought worthy of reiteration and illustration is the following diagram:

It thought it would be worthwhile to remind readers that the green circle is a type of site that most of us are already very familiar with. The green circle is social sites like Facebook. Our fearless leader, Tom Prendergast, CEO of Markethive, has recently pointed out something that many us already knew, i.e. the world doesn't need another Facebook. The majority of content on Facebook and similar sites is worthless drama, meaningless sabre-rattling and posturing, pontificating, and bullshit. The world really doesn't need any more time-wasters like Facebook.

The other type of site, the 'marketplace' type of site on the left side of the diagram, is a more recent development on in the internet environment. We know those too. They are sites like AliBaba, Amazon, and Etsy, and other, where vendors sell stuff. People go to these sites because they have a regard for the quality and/or service they get there.

The third circle, the blue one, is represented by a term that few people outside certain niches of the internet know… "SaaS" or 'Software as a Service'. This is simply a useful functionality of some sort which you use via your computer. The difference is that the software that makes it happen isn't on your computer. It's somewhere else.

What is unique about 'market networks', as represented by the confluence of these three circles, is that it uses SaaS to facilitate the connection between the networks of people (i.e. the consumers) to the marketplaces that have something they're looking for.  

The market network also removes most of the burden of traffic generation from the vendors on the marketplace too. Traffic that they have previously had to acquire on their own, by more circuitous and laborious means, is now facilitated by the interconnection with the 'networks'.

For example, eBay, Amazon, and AliBaba sellers previously had to hustle to get attention to their 'stalls' in their respective marketplace. As I understand, on a market network site, the presumption is that their value proposition will be a bit more apparent and they will be able to focus more on their own quality and service and less on 'getting traffic' with the presumption that the consumer, i.e. the average dudes from the green circle, will have a better buying experience.

In my view, the most unique factor in this new marketplace paradigm is the software itself and the design elements of the systems themselves. Conceivably there could be some differences between various market networks relative to what product or service they actually deliver, i.e. consumer goods vs. travel services vs. financial services, etc.

One this is certain: People or organizations who can figure out and actualize these ideas will make a lot of money. In fact, considering that the term itself is brand-new, it might even be that there are some entities on the internet that are closer to already being a functional market network that even they themselves realize (Markethive.com?)

It's even conceivable that there could be market networks specifically for home based business opportunities…. keeping in mind that it is no longer true that a legitimate business has to even have a centralized geo-presence anywhere. It doesn't.

So, we see how the face of business is changing as the ways that buyers and sellers connect with each other. The internet has made this possible. Basic fundamentals indeed are changing and this is a good time for entrepreneurs who see it for what it is and/or are interested in pushing boundaries.

And it's also easy to see that these changes are probably pretty scary to established players who aren't very excited about having to go back to work to reinvent their business model.

To project a bit further into the future, just imagine what a new definition of 'money' itself will do the nature of entrepreneurship, business, and society. I'm referring of course to cyber currency.

If you're a home based business entrepreneur you will recall that over the last few years there have been several cyber currency scams in the MLM niche. All of them have gone down in flames. People apparently really 'ate it up' what they were offering.

I was one who wrote in several articles (with a previous employer) that I would never consider any cybercurrency centric MLM opportunity. But what would happen if somebody was able to really pull it all together, do it correctly and legally, and make the idea of cyber currency work in a Denentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) encompassing Market Networks?

Depending on your perspective, these ideas are either fascinating and exciting or scary and foreboding.

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