Why You Should Care About Bitcoin


Money is going digital and it is impacting the biggest growth industry of the past 75 years

Bitcoin has attracted a lot of news and high-profile investors in recent weeks, while the media still focuses on how early buyers have made money and how authorities are onto its role in online narcotic sales. Less attention has been paid, however, to the underlying long-term potential of Bitcoin as a catalyst for innovation in global financial services by decoupling transactions from the networks previously required to ensure their execution and enforcement.

To really understand the power of Bitcoin, you need to think about it as 3 things: (1) a protocol, (2) a commodity, and (3) an ecosystem.

Continue reading @ Why You Should Care About Bitcoin — (Editor’s Picks — Medium)


The True Size of the Shadow Banking System Revealed!

The shadow banking system is vastly bigger than regulators had thought, say econophysicists who have developed a powerful new way to measure its hidden impact.

In most parts of the world, the banking system is closely regulated and monitored by central banks and other government agencies. That’s just as it should be, you might think.

But banks have a way round this kind of regulation. For the last decade or so, it has become common practice for banks to do business in ways that don’t show up on conventional balance sheets. Before the 2008 financial crisis, for example, many investment banks financed mortgages in this way. To all intents and purposes, these transactions are invisible to regulators.

This so-called shadow banking system is huge and important. Indeed, many economists blame activities that took place in the shadow banking system for the 2008 crash.

But the size of the system is hard to measure because of its hidden and impenetrable nature. But today, Davide Fiaschi , an economist at the University of Pisa in Italy, and a couple of pals reveal a powerful and simple way of determining the size of the shadow banking system.

via The True Size of the Shadow Banking System Revealed (Spoiler: Humongous) — The Physics arXiv Blog — Medium.

US super-rich hit new wealth record five years after financial crisis

Forbes magazine says the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a record $2.02tn, up from $1.7tn in 2012!

via US super-rich hit new wealth record five years after financial crisis | Business | The Guardian.

3 Tips to Get Your Customers to “Check In”


More than ever, consumers are relying on their smartphones to point them toward the best deals in town on the fly. For small-business owners, that means an opportunity to get them in the door when they’re already nearby.

Nearly half of all U.S. adults now own a smartphone and, among them, one in five “checks in” — or publicly announces his or her current location — with a mobile app such as Foursquare, Yelp, and Facebook, reports the Pew Internet & American Life Project. When people check in, they not only broadcast their whereabouts to their family and friends, but also often share reviews and photos of their experience there.

Because people can browse these apps to find goods, services, and even specials offered in their immediate vicinity, small-business owners can take advantage of the trend — and drive traffic to their storefronts. The first step to “claim” your business using the services offered by these websites. Next, try these three tactics to get your customers to “check in”:

1. Offer a special or two. Your goal is to reward your most loyal customers and to attract new ones. You can do so by offering two different specials: one for customers who check in frequently (or just for the “mayor,” the person who’s logged the most check-ins on Foursquare) at your place, and another for customers checking in for the first time. The latter could be a discount on their first purchase.

2. Encourage groups. Want to draw a bunch of people to your business at a certain time? Create a special offer on Foursquare that gets unlocked when a “swarm” of people check in within a certain amount of time. Don’t need that many people? Make an offer that requires the patron to arrive with a specific number of friends, colleagues, or family members. For instance, offer a free dessert to a party of four or more.

3. Don’t give it all away. You don’t necessarily need to offer freebies or discounts, though those certainly are attractive to customers. Get creative and think about other perks that people may enjoy, such as special treatment or access. For example, reserve parking spots for people who check in, let them skip the line for a special event, or provide a behind-the-scenes exclusive preview of an upcoming product or service.

via 3 Tips to Get Your Customers to “Check In” [INFOGRAPHIC] | Intuit Small Business Blog.

The Future Of Storytelling: Immersion, Integration, Interactivity, Impact


As technology becomes more advanced and more accessible across multiple platforms, it’s only natural for consumers to expect increasingly higher standards of creativity and engagement from content creators. However, with social media, apps, tablets, smartphones, websites, TV, etc. all part of the audience’s viewing habit, learning how stories should be evolving and how to make narratives work across platforms is a complicated matter. A new study offers some perspectives on what audiences may be looking for in their stories.

Research consultancy Latitude recently released phase one of a two-part study titled “The Future of Storytelling” that looks to uncover trends and audience attitudes about content. Overall, the study revealed that audiences are looking for a blurring of barriers between content and reality in a layered yet cohesive execution. The company asked “early adopters” around the world how they wanted to experience stories and asked them to reinvent some of today’s well-known stories accordingly (according to the company, early adopters are “people in over 10 countries who are more likely to own smartphones, tablets or both; who are already more likely to seek out content through multiple avenues; and who are more likely to be aware of the possibilities that the Internet and emerging technologies present”).

Based on participants’ responses the study zeroes in on “four I’s” that will continue to shape storytelling:

  • Immersion: Delving deeper into the story through supplementary context and sensory experiences.
  • Interactivity: Allowing consumers to become part of the narrative and possibly influence its outcome.
  • Integration: Having a seamless connection among all platforms being used and going beyond just replicating content on different devices.
  • Impact: Inspiring consumers to take action of some kind, e.g. purchase a product, sign up for a service, support a cause, etc.

Other findings from the study:

“Transmedia is more than media shifting:” 82% wanted complementary, not duplicating, mobile apps for their TV watching experience.

“The real world is a platform:” 52% consider the real world as another platform in which 3-D technology, augmented reality, and the like are expected to link the digital and physical.

Control: 79% expressed the desire to become part of a story, interacting with its main characters.

“So far, one of the biggest insights for us is that the emergence of new technologies means there’s a largely untapped opportunity to allow people to tie stories directly into their own lives—bringing narratives ‘out of the screen,’ so to speak, often through meaningful connections with characters,” says Neela Sakaria, EVP/Managing Director at Latitude. “We’ve distilled our findings down into a few key principles, and our hope is that content creators begin to embrace the idea that the desire for interesting cross-platform experiences isn’t as niche as some might think. Innovative storytelling isn’t just for fantasy fiction, and there are exciting new opportunities for news creators and even retailers to use storytelling principles to engage people more deeply.”

via The Future Of Storytelling: Immersion, Integration, Interactivity, Impact | Co.Create: Creativity \ Culture \ Commerce.

Exclusive: U.S. banks told to make plans for preventing collapse

Exclusive: U.S. banks told to make plans for preventing collapse | Reuters

U.S. regulators directed five of the country’s biggest banks, including Bank of America Corp and Goldman Sachs Group Inc, to develop plans for staving off collapse if they faced serious problems, emphasizing that the banks could not count on government help.

The two-year-old program, which has been largely secret until now, is in addition to the “living wills” the banks crafted to help regulators dismantle them if they actually do fail. It shows how hard regulators are working to ensure that banks have plans for worst-case scenarios and can act rationally in times of distress.

Officials like Lehman Brothers former Chief Executive Dick Fuld have been criticized for having been too hesitant to take bold steps to solve their banks’ problems during the financial crisis.

via Exclusive: U.S. banks told to make plans for preventing collapse | Reuters.

True Secret to Success: Gratitude

I’m utterly convinced that the key to lifelong success is the regular exercise of a single emotional muscle: gratitude.

People who approach life with a sense of gratitude are constantly aware of what’s wonderful in their life. Because they enjoy the fruits of their successes, they seek out more success. And when things don’t go as planned, people who are grateful can put failure into perspective.

By contrast, people who lack gratitude are never truly happy. If they succeed at a task, they don’t enjoy it. For them, a string of successes is like trying to fill a bucket with a huge leak in the bottom. And failure invariably makes them bitter, angry, and discouraged.

Therefore, if you want to be successful, you need to feel more gratitude. Fortunately, gratitude, like most emotions, is like a muscle: The more you use it, the stronger and more resilient it becomes…

via True Secret to Success: Gratitude | Inc.com.

If The iPhone 5 Really Looks Like This, Apple May Be Screwed!

iPhone 5

Over the past few days, the latest round of purported pictures of Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 5 have hit the web.

And I can’t be the only potential customer who is deflated by what they see.

Here’s a video from a Japanese Blog showing the casing:

In fact, I’ll go far enough to say that, if the iPhone 5 looks like the pictures that have recently appeared, Apple may be screwed.


via If The iPhone 5 Really Looks Like This, Apple May Be Screwed… – Business Insider.

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