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Capilano’s Best Take on the World

The lectures are finished, the all nighters have been endured, and the exams were crushed – the class of 2010 Capilano School of Business is Graduating! A collective fist pump rolls across the hundreds of grads who are leaving our sprawling campus for opportunities, careers and paycheques, but that can wait for at least one more night. Tomorrow night the class, some supportive faculty and local businesses will gather at the Pinnacle Hotel to celebrate their achievements. The event will be the first ever Capilano University Grad celebration, and promises to kickoff the tradition in a fantastic way. It’s made possible by the initiative of our Business Enterprise President Courtney Lange, and the extreme generosity of our Dean Graham Fane. Both of those people have done so much for the School of Business in their short tenures that a simple listing of accomplishments couldn’t possibly suffice. Graham and Courtney killed it this year. Unfortunately we lose Courtney to graduation this year, but we hope to benefit from Graham for a while yet. I could gush on about the amazing people at Cap, but I’ll embody the collective in the Grad Committee who put in a ridiculous amount of work and stress to this effort – headed up by Saralyn Nickerson. These guys rock.

Clearly I’m pumped for the event, even though it means that we will be losing what is indisputably the greatest grad class that I’ve seen in my near-decade stay at Cap. I may be biased in that I’ve had the opportunity to work with these people longer than most, but the rockstar ratio is ridiculous. We have entrepreneurs who are owning the competition before even graduating, effortlessly brilliant people headed off the world’s most prestigious Universities for graduate studies, and an unbelievable pool of talent that we will all be able to tap long into the future.

Faithful Stoked readers will be familiar with the fact that I will not be one of the victorious few to cross the stage, and some are starting to wonder if I ever will. Next semester I’ll be putting in my application for the mandatory golf cart that comes with 8 years of campus life. Readers will also be familiar with the fact that I somehow manage to squirm my way into as many exciting Capilano events and initiatives as possible, so how’d I pull this one off? Rather than hiding behind a computer screen and ripping on defenseless people and ridiculous issues, this time I’ll be doing it live and in person as the MC of the event. Terrified? That’s probably the correct response; however I have promised to be on my best behavior and will be donning my formal persona for the occasion.

Aside from my barely coherent ramblings, there are legitimate reasons to be excited about the event – the keynote speaker will be Vanoc’s Design Manager Roger Bayley. The man who somehow coordinated over 150 consultants and produced the Olympic legacy that is the Olympic Village. Additionally, local businesses have stepped up and supported our grads, resulting in a fantastic collection of takeaways for the attendees. One of the gifts is redeemable by all Capilano graduates, attending or not: Business in Vancouver magazine has extended a 12 week subscription offer to us, and I have the exclusive pre-release! Check it out here: Business in Vancouver

Have a great time at the event to all who are attending, and I apologize in advance for the MC. Congratulations Grads! Your work has paid off finally; I can’t wait to see you all out there rocking what you do as hard as you did here.

Categories: Business News, CUBES

Americans Do Nothing

As predicted, the rate remained unchanged. Does that mean that we’re getting set up for another bubble? Possibly.

The bigger question is: which bubble are we talking about? Speculators are back in the real estate market, driving prices up using the extremely low interest rates as fuel, there’s a possibility that many areas could re-bubble in housing as a result, but not everyone has returned to even early ’00s levels yet.

Gold? Definitely. But this is a bubble that won’t burst, it will slowly sag and then pick up speed only if confidence in a solid base currency returns. The USD doesn’t seem to be coming back any time soon, and certainly not the precarious Euro, so how about the basketed Renminbi? Could the communist coin really be the solution? We can only hope that the answer is no, the way that the Chinese have manipulated rates with the limited power that they’ve had until now.

Here’s hoping that I’m wrong and the miraculous Americans can pull somethoing out of their collective hat again and provide some stability to an unstable world.

Categories: Business News

All Ears on the Fed

The world is poised and ready for today’s 2:15pm announcement from Bernanke and the boys at the US Federal Reserve. Lately, all talk has been about significant recovery and positive signs in several markets. It’s unlikely that times are so good that the Americans will be pumping their rates up just yet, but the world will be over analyzing every word said for indications of the next move. Today could be a big day depending on what is said. Stay tuned.

Bankers are Balling Again

January 15, 2010 3 comments

Today Morgan Stanley announced they’re 2009 compensation figures, and they are near-record highs in nominal value.

The media is in an uproar, drumming up anger and contempt towards some of the worlds’ best-paid employees. What is glaringly missed is the fact that banks also had near-record years in terms of profits. Those profits and their sustainability are a rant for another time, but isn’t the essence of the public’s fervor from last year that compensation should be tied to profits and that employee’s not receive bonuses in bad times?

In the financial world, the good times are back. Not only have the banks built enormous profits again, they have rolled back the percentage of those profits that they are paying to their employees. 2008 saw an exorbitant 62% of the bottom-line redistributed as compensation. The 2009 number is 33%, which is significantly less than even the historically typical 44%.

All of that indicates to me that it may be a good time for new business grads to be looking at CFAs and potential careers in the financial sector. That is, if you like money of course. If not, try Arts – I promise that you won’t be burdened by any extra cash.

For more, check this out: Damn it Feels Good to Be a Banker

Google Takes a Stand in China

The world’s most powerful internet company has announced their intention to defy the state-imposed censorship laws in China. After a series of e-mail account intrusions into human rights activists accounts using Google’s software that is tentatively liked back to Chinese government offices, the restrictive policies will no longer be adhered to.

This will likely mean that Google will be forced to retreat entirely from what is arguably the world’s largest and fastest growing online market. China commonly blocks its citizens’ access to websites that it has deemed to be less than beneficial for their well-being. If Google drops their big-brother algorithms from their search engine, then billions of Chinese would have access to information, media and communications that the State has never allowed access to in the past. Most likely it will mean that Google will join the list of blocked sites along with porn, preachers and PETA.

In a move of altrutistic solidarity, Google’s largest competitor has linked arms in their stand against China’s practices and Yahoo will also be dropping their censorship practices.

What’s being set up here is truly a battle between the public and private sectors; it has been speculated that corporations have become more powerful than governments. Clearly, an impasse has been reached and the result of this international arm-wrestle will have far-reaching implications on business, government and even human rights. Keep your eyes open, Stoked will be posting any big developments. For more details check out http://www.globeandmail.com.

SH Happens, the Brits Develop a Filthy Mouth, and MPs Look for Booze-Equity

Now, politics may not pique our TMZ-laden palates very often, especially not the Coronation Street-esque world of Canadian democracy, but when famously staid and conservative pundits start describing our glorious leader with words like “naked“, “torture“, “danger“, and dirtiest of all – “prorogue” I rise to attention. The following is a direct quote from world renowned British right-wing magazine The Ecomonist: “He might …play… nurse…and…impose…abortion and…the death penalty on a…country.”link

I couldn’t make this stuff up. I may take some significant artistic licenses, but make it up? Never.

So what has got the news-world so excited about our quaint little quorum all of a sudden? On the 30th of December Prime Minister SH announced that the legislature would be taking an extended break over the Olympics and not returning until March 3rd.

The sum of it all is a 63 day stay-cation for our highest ranking officials between sittings in parliament. I am shocked that anyone could possibly argue against this as a massive positive. Sarcastic pokes about our leaders’ ability to benefit the country by locking themselves in a deep dark hole never to be heard from again aside, the world is coming and what better time to pump our agendas to a captive audience. The thing about politics is that it tends to get a tad political. Given that, we should have our best and brightest in the mix – forming opinions, lobbying diplomats and crushing bottles of scotch with ministers from Dubai (in debt), Switzerland (has the $$$), Iceland (in desperate need of $$$ and has resources) and our yankee bretheren.

I see a stellar opportunity here that eclipses a parliamentary sitting that would otherwise pass dozens of stimulating new laws, bills and tax reforms. To me, every country is a business: CEO=PM, Finance Minister=CFO, Lieutenant Governor=VP of Marketing, Exchange Rate=Share Price and GDP=Revenue. We even have per capita GDP, which is similar to Earnings per Share – which would make us each a single share in the corporation that is Canada… but I digress.

Given the buisiness nature of a country, where can our executive add the most value? In head office meetings or at a global forum of international customers, suppliers and competitors? To our esteemed ministers I say: enjoy the Olympics to the fullest! Join me with a couple of cute Spanish “diplomats” at the Roxy, I promise that we’ll find equity somehow.

Google Gives up its Gadget

January 6, 2010 8 comments

Google announced the release of it’s latest contribution to the tech world yesterday. For the first time they have stepped into the hardware market, much to the delight of Android geeks everywhere. The main feature of the phone is its improved version of Google’s operating system, Android, which features homescreen widgets – similar to the iPhone -with much more flexibility.

Google is not interested in blasting into the handset and other hardware markets the way that they’ve dominated the software and ad game, they’re using this phone to push their software and plant a flag in the mobile search world.

I’ve had a look at the pricing and the features and frankly, I think that this is a major misstep for Google. Much like Virgin entering the cola market, the brand is built on this impossible image of innovation and world beating products. No phone, much like no cola, can live up to those expectations and the brand will inevitably be severely damaged.

And that’s if the product is very good, which the Nexus is not. Android as an operating system is fantastic, but that’s not what you and I are shelling out our money for. Speed, functionality and memory are the features that we look at when purchasing a phone. The Nexus is made by HTC, who currently makes second rate smart phones for consumer use. Also, it operates only on GSM networks, so it can’t possibly match the performance of 3G Berries and iPhones.

Finally, it’s priced much too low. People love to pay massive premiums for cutting edge technology. It gives their purchases legitimacy and makes the rest of of jealous until the price comes down far enough that the mainstream can afford it. Google has missed the boat on this one. I predict that the Treo and the HTC will give up some market share on the lower end, but big bad RIM and Apple won’t even notice it’s arrival.

For more information check out what the Globe has to say at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/google-upsets-carriers-analyst-says/article1420917/