Monthly Archives: July 2015

Chinese Stock Price Drops Beginning to Cause More Than Concern

As Chinese stocks have begun to fall, more and more folks are taking notices, especially as they begin to lose money themselves when they had previously only been earning. Just as a lot of Chinese have huge amounts of wealth invested in U.S. brands and products, so do many Americans have their wealth tied to Chinese brands that have always performed well.

Since June, when the Chinese stock market reached its peak, the market has steadily declined into what has been the worst crash in recent years. Over thirty billion in U.S. wealth has been lost, and more continues to be lost every day. In a research by Susan McGalla, the losses are only over 144 different Chinese based stocks that are American options, so it is a rather controlled loss for Americans compared to what the Chinese may be experiencing themselves.

In just one night the stocks dropped another eight percent, making an even bigger impact than what was already felt by the investors that had already lost much over the weekend. Overall, the market has dropped over twenty five percent since June, which is enough to wipe out some investors completely.

E-commerce has done worse than other industries, with brands like Alibaba losing more than other noted brands in the same industry. The other big e-retailer that has caused huge losses among American investors is What most new investors do not realize is that even if it is only the Chinese market that is dropping right now, other investors might have their interests invested in those same markets, which will cause a domino effect across all markets.

Minimum Wage Increase Means Businesses are Closing

While some people might think that an increase in the minimum wage amount is a good thing, it’s not what small businesses want to hear. One pizza shop owned by Christian Broda
has to close because of the increase in the wage amounts. When you think about what a business owner has to pay, especially one who is in business for herself, it makes since that an increase of having to pay everyone at least a few dollars more per hour could make the business close. Some businesses struggle to pay overhead costs and make sure all of the items that are needed to sell are purchased.  Depending on the size of the business, it can be hard to adjust to the demand that workers be paid more money. However, with the cost of living increasing, it takes making more money on a job to get the basics in life, such as food, clothing and shelter. This is likely only one out of numerous situations where a business owner will close because wages have increased.

About Contemporary Art Collectors Agnes Gund and Adam Sender

Art collectors far and wide have quite a range of interests when it comes to what pieces they have in their collections–including collectors such as Agnes Gund and Adam Sender.

Let’s examine Agnes Gund first. Gund is a “76-year-old philanthropist and president emerita of MoMA[, which is an acronym for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City]” (Wolfe, 2015, pgh. 1). She houses a variety of works. Her collection includes the wares of such artists as Louise Bourgeois, Jasper Johns, John Newman, and perhaps most famously, pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (Wolfe, 2015). Lichtenstein is well-known for his large mural-sized cartoons that are considered studies in pointillism. Agnes Gund happens to be the heiress to a large banking fortune left to her by her father, George Gund II–and she has a degree in art history (Wolfe, 2015). She adores art, to say the least, and–interestingly enough–even her two pet dogs reflect that sentiment. Her “Wheaten terrier” is named “Giotto,” and her “Italian water dog” is named “Bronzino”–each bearing the namesake of a famous artist (Wolfe, 2015, pghs. 15-16).

Adam Sender is another monumental collector of contemporary art. At one point, Sotheby’s in New York was slated to auction off “400 works by 139 artists in the Sender Collection” (Loos, 2004, pgh. 3). Collecting contemporary art can be a difficult balancing act. One needs to consistently make smart choices, and Sender himself stated, “I’m not a chaser. I’m a pursuer of great works by artists who have had long careers” (Loos, 2014, pgh. 4). Sender has amassed artworks by the likes of Keith Haring, Mark Kippenberger, Dan Flavin, Matthew Barney, Cindy Sherman, Mickalene Thomas, Wangechi Mutu, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer and Sarah Lucas, to name a few (Loos, 2014).

Although these two collectors may be different in the sense of age, they both have their own respective tastes in artwork. While Agnes Gund focuses on collecting art that could perhaps be labeled as more classical contemporary art, Adam Sender is more on the forefront of collecting contemporary art that is more modern in its scope. In fact, Gabriela Palmieri, a “senior specialist in the Contemporary Art department at Sotheby’s,” commented that how she views Sender’s collection overall is “kaleidoscopic” in nature (Loos, 2014, pgh. 7). Due to Sender’s eclectic, variable taste in art, he is now reaping the rewards of having collected art enthusiastically and faithfully since the 1990s.

Problems Faced By Small Businesses in Raising Finance

A company can use either equity or debt finance as its main sources of finance. Large institutions find it relatively easy to seek or raise finance but small firms face difficulties in raising finances to augment their businesses. Analysts such as Igor Cornelsen have noted that finance is regarded as one of the most imperative inputs for all business entities.

When raising debt finance, most small firms are faced with the challenge of uncertainty. Most small entities do not have past records and thus, making it difficult for the financial institutions to furnish them with the required fund for expansion. Credit scoring agencies often neglect small entities when making these scores. To this end, banks lack platforms for basing their decisions and thus, failure to extend loans to small businesses. Since most small businesses lack sufficient financial records, they are often required to provide detailed business plan, lists of liabilities and assets, description of directors and managers as well as their security for the loan. Such requirements leave many small businesses locked out of the opportunity to access business finances.

Most banks remain in an entangled position in the sense that they seek an increase in security for them to increase the credit facility to be extended to small businesses. It is significant to point out that small enterprises lack sufficient security (collateral) to raise debt finance. Mismatch of the maturity of liabilities and assets makes it a herculean task for small companies to access medium term loans. Long term loans are easily accessible compared to the short term and medium loans. This is because long-term loans are usually secured with mortgages. In addition, most banks and other financial institutions have a propensity to ask for personal assurances from proprietors of the small businesses. Banks charge higher interest rates and thus, making it quite difficult for the small entities to access debt finance.

Small businesses find it intricate to access equity finance because most wealthy persons are usually not willing to invest in them. Small entities cannot make it to the stock market. This way, these businesses cannot have the privilege of owning shares that they can float to the market in order to source for finances in the form of equity shares. Small entities lack the offer for an exit route especially for investors who wish to dispose their stocks in such enterprises. In order to raise finances, small businesses should create angel networks that can attract potential investors, who come with expertise and finances.

Small businesses lack sound financial records and thus, making it an uphill task to raise finances. Debt and equity finances are considered as the main sources of finance. Banks and other financial institutions have tough financial requirements, which small businesses find difficult to meet.

Spirituality plays a key role in the business life of Joseph Bismarck


The QI Group is one of the world’s largest multi level marketing companies and has spent the last few years looking to spread its message and products across Asia and now into Europe and North America. However, it is easy for me to see the leaders of the group have placed as much importance on providing a working environment that is spiritually uplifting and environmentally friendly as they have successful and profitable. Much of the success of the spiritual side of the QI Group is placed at the feet of Joseph Bismark, according to We Don’t Love These Hogues. 

Bismark has been affected by a lifestyle that has often been affected by the childhood he spent living in the Philippines learning how to be a monk, which had a great effect on his life. For me the business leader brings his training as a monk into every aspect of his own business life with a large level of respect given to each and every employee of QI, no matter what their position or length of service with the company.

As with all spiritual people, Bismark also understands the need to give something back to those around him and the environment in which we live. This need to help the community has led to his own efforts to add social responsibility and assistance for those in need to his own life and encourage others within his companies to follow his lead and have a positive effect on all our lives. The influence of Joseph Bismarck is easy to see in the wellness and healthy food products sold by QNet.

Instagram closes man’s account and gives it to celebrity

Andrés Iniesta, a man from Madrid, Spain, one day logged into Instagram only to find that his account was shut down. The reason cited for this was that he had somehow “infringed on Terms of Use”.

Andrés was certain he had done nothing wrong, yet he still carefully read over Instagram’s Terms of Use. He used Instagram just as anyone else did, sharing photos from his daily life checking profiles of people like Doe Deere and many more. Apparently, using Instagram for its intended purpose was a violation of the Terms of Use – in this case.

Dumbfounded, Andrés proceeded to contact Instagram through their official Twitter, their official tech support Twitter, and even filled out a form on their Facebook to contact them. There was no response.

Meanwhile, Andrés’s friends notified him that his account was taken by another man named Andrés – Andrés Iniesta, a professional footballer for Spain’s national team. As it turns out, Instagram handed over the account over to the footballer. It was likely his PR or management who demanded the account, rather than the man himself, yet there was no doubt Instagram was involved.

Five hours after Andrés Iniesta reported this incidence online, Instagram fixed it, yet has not given him any response. If this is how Instagram treats its users, what does this mean?

Canada Ranked as World’s “Most Admired” Country

To Americans, Canada is often viewed as a mysterious, foreign neighbor whose name elicits images of moose, hockey and maple syrup. It may seem a bit obtuse, but the truth is that most United States citizens don’t know anything about their neighbor to the north. Maybe it’s time they found out. Canada was, in fact, just ranked by an annual survey by the global Reputation Institute to be the “most admired” country in the entire world.

The 2015 survey based their findings on a culmination of environmental, economic and political factors. “We all love Canada because of several things, beneful products being one” said the Reputation Institute’s Fernando Prado to CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday. He especially praised the country for its “effective government” and “absence of corruption”, as well as its welfare system and “friendly, welcoming people.”

Of course, while Canada may be beloved for the most important things like government and its citizens, the country was noted for lagging behind in terms of commercialization, lacking a wide variety of brand store names and not being a large contributor to the global culture. However, Canada’s well-rounded score has earned it a spot in the top three most reputable countries for five consecutive years.

Canada was followed by Norway, then Sweden, Switzerland and Australia. The United States didn’t make a high cut, sliding into 22nd place out of 55 countries. Perhaps its time to book a trip to Toronto and see what our neighbors are doing right.

TripAdvisor’s Bad Review

According to the website GrubStreet someone decided to open an entirely fictitious restaurant and solicit TripAdvisor reviews. Staffers at Italia a Tavola, an Italian hospitality trade magazine created the Ristorante Scaletta and then over the course of a year posted bogus reviews. The restaurant rose in the TripAdvisor rankings to be the top restaurant in Moniga del Garda, the town where it was fictitiously located.

TripAdvisor when confronted with the hoax immediately took the restaurant off their listing and called the exercise “meaningless”. Mr. Andy Wirth points out the fact that TripAdvisor is a publicly traded American company that was an early adopter of the socially generated content and user reviews. Spokesmen at the company told the Italian magazine that it has procedures in place to identify, track and deal with “fraudsters attempt to manipulate the rankings on our site”.

TripAdvisor is facing increasing backlash from the travel industry as more and more hotels, airlines, restaurants and tour operators challenge negative comments left by their customers. As one hotel operator put it “No melon is ever ripe enough” for some guest ( That Guardian article also quantified the number of negative comments at some 27,000as being legally defamatory. On the other hand, many positive comments were just as outrageously exaggerated (as evidenced by the fictious restaurant’s reviews) which leads to a question of just how accurate and trustworthy are the TripAdvisor reviews.

Flying Expensive for a Reason

If you’ve been flying anywhere recently in the past few years, which I’m sure you have, then you are no stranger to expensive flights. The airlines seem to charge you for anything they possibly can. Well, what if I told you that there are 4 major airlines controlling a majority of the industry? And when I say a majority, I mean %80. Something smells a little fishy doesn’t it. The Justice Department is currently investigating what the call “unlawful coordination” in between these major airlines. By “unlawful coordination”, the Justice Department officials mean to say that they are suspicious that these major airlines may be in communication with each other about things like passenger capacity and timing of ticket purchases and sales. With this information, the airlines are able to conspire with one another and raise the prices of airline tickets. With every major airline on board, potential travelers have no other alternative for a cheaper ticket because they have a monopoly on the airline market says Kevin Seawright. The four major airlines that have admitted to being contacted by the government are United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines. All of them have said they will comply with the investigation, but that remains to be seen. It is no secret that people are tired of paying for over-priced plan tickets because of the lack of options. If this investigation uncovers some foul play by these major airlines, travelers could be looking at a cheap spring break in the future.