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December 4, 2007

Written by Bob Meyer, Editor of BarterNews

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From the desk of Bob Meyer...12/04/07

Southern California Second To Silicon Valley For Venture Capital

Southern California is starting to muscle out New England for second place as a magnet for venture capital. For two consecutive quarters it has topped New England. San Diego County is especially attractive to healthcare and biotechnology, and Los Angeles has an industry group different than anywhere else—information technology, media and entertainment.

Global Counterfeit Sales Reach $600 Billion Annually

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the International Anti-counterfeiting Coalition calculate that global counterfeit sales equal $600 billion to $650 billion a year.

Private Homes & Apartments Preferable For Some Travelers

If you’re spending most workdays on the road, and would prefer a private house or an apartment instead of a luxury hotel room (many do so they can entertain clients, especially if one’s hobby is cooking), there are two excellent and extensive web sites to check out. www.vrbo.com and www.homeaway.com.

Gift Cards Go Unused By Forgetful & Time-Strapped Consumers

Gift card sales have soared in recent years since shoppers see them as a quick and easy gift idea. Archstone Consulting expects sales of gift cards in the United States to jump 25% to $35 billion this holiday season.

But a survey released by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that 27% of respondents who received gift cards for the holidays last year have not used them. Interestingly, this percentage is approximately the same for the use of scrip—a company’s currency in the barter marketplace.

U.S. Real Estate Bubble Information

A site full of statistics and commentary regarding the challenging real estate environment in the United States can be found at: http://paper-money.blogspot.com.

U.S. National Debt’s Interest Equals 9¢ Per Revenue Dollar

The national debt of the U.S. is $9.1 trillion. This year Americans will pay $235 billion of interest on that debt, which is 9¢ on every dollar of the approximately $2.5 trillion in government revenue taxes.

Consumer Debt Service Is Even Higher...14¢ Of Disposable Income

According to Fed statistics released in September, U.S. consumers are carrying a record $2.456 trillion in debt—NOT including mortgages. The flip side of consumers’ record-high debt level is a pathetically meager personal savings rate.

The Commerce Department reports the personal savings rate, for all of last year, was a minus 1%...the worst showing since the Great Depression. The average family was spending 14.3% of disposable income just to service its debt load, according to the Center for American Progress.

Sovereign-Wealth Funds Projected To Top $12 Trillion

Sovereign-wealth funds, which are capital pools set up by governments to invest in foreign assets, are now worth between $2 trillion and $3 trillion, according to the International Monetary Fund. However, estimates from Morgan Stanley say they are set to top $12 trillion by 2015.

The Gulf States already boast the world’s biggest sovereign fund: the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), which is responsible for investing the Abu Dhabi government’s oil revenues. The fund holds more than $875 billion in assets. On November 26, 2007, ADIA invested $7.5 billion in Citigroup.

People In Poverty Can Become An Economic Powerhouse

Muhammad Yunus, 67, an American-trained economist from Bangladesh, won last year’s Nobel Peace Prize for his revolutionary approach to ending poverty. His concept of micro-loans (giving small sums to poor people to start businesses) is being adopted around the world.

Yunus says that half of the globe, approximately 3 billion people, subsist on $2 a day. By creating an income for them—through micro business loans— these people can become an economic powerhouse.

How so? Imagine if each of them bought one pair of shoes a year, or one shirt. You’d need 3 billion more shirts and shoes. More important than that, however, is the wasting of their talents and creative genius.

All back issues of "From the Desk...” can be accessed by clicking here.

(Please feel free to forward our newsletter to your friends and colleagues. We have a “box” at the end of the newsletter for your convenience. See you next week. . .)


 TV Ads To Take Hit As Big Brands Anticipate Online Budgets

Big name-brand marketers are fed up with traditional media channels and are threatening to shift the lion’s share of their budgets online, according to Nick Brien, worldwide CEO of Universal McCann.

“If this happens for another year, significant clients will want to walk,” Brien said at an Interactive Advertising Bureau conference in reference to a general climate of discontent due to increasing viewer fragmentation, disruptive technologies, and the resulting decrease in ROI (return on invested capital). Without naming any specific clients, Brien added they are “just waiting to increase their online spend to 50% or 60% [of their total budgets].”

According to eMarketer projections, web advertising as a share of total ad spend will reach 7.4% this year, more than 10% by 2009, and at least 13.3% by the end of 2011. “Shifts among marketers away from traditional media would make U.S. advertising growth flat-line without the Internet,” said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer.

The increased spending on online ads is coming from a mix of additional allocations and budget shifts from other media, and TV may be in for the greatest losses. Among the largest companies, 42.4% of marketing executives recently told BusinessWeek that TV would take the biggest hit in ad budgets in the next few years.

Brien also took a moment to dispute statements made recently by Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive of Publicis, to the effect that the industry was approaching the kind of hyper-inflated economics that led to the so-called dot-com crash in 2000/2001.

“He doesn’t give enough credit to the serious ad dollars being redirected to growing audiences online,” Brien says of Lévy. And at the end of the day, a solid brand is still one of the “most valued and most exciting mechanisms” a marketer can possess, Brien notes.

That notion was seconded by Brad Brinegar, chairman and CEO of Havas’ McKinney, who described a brand as “that most valuable asset.” Brinegar predicts that over 50% of McKinney’s business will be digital in less than two years. “But don’t talk about how interactive [digital] is a way to do something cheap,” he says. “To do it right costs money. It’s just allocated in different ways.”


 Peter Drucker’s Simple Leadership Test

·         Leaders start projects by asking, “What has to be done?” instead of “What do I need?”

·         Leaders next ask, “What do I have to do to make a real contribution?” The answer best suits the leader’s strengths and the needs of the project.

·         Leaders continually ask, “What are my organization’s purposes and objectives?” and, “What qualifies as acceptable performance and adds to the bottom line?”

·         Leaders don’t want clones of themselves as employees. They never ask, “Do I like or dislike this employee?” But they won’t tolerate poor performance.

·         Leaders aren’t threatened by others who have strengths they lack.


 Entrepreneurs Must Continually Be Alert For Con Artists!

We’re seeing an amazing growth of new businesses nationwide, propelled by an entrepreneurial desire held by many Americans.

But this eager class of risk-takers is discovering that the challenges can be greater than they ever imagined.

To all the normal bedevilments of small business—tight financing, uncertain markets, strong rivals—add another: a new breed of unscrupulous moneymen who prey on entrepreneurs.

Con artists have been around for ages, of course. But the fatal combination of entrepreneurial fervor, financial need and naiveté makes fledgling business owners these days easy marks for a new variety of scamsters. Filled with enthusiasm for their own ideas, they can be startlingly inexperienced in finance.

“Technical entrepreneurs, especially, think what they do is important, but that the business side is trivial,” revealed Brad Bertash, director of a Salt Lake City nonprofit venture-capital consulting firm.

Above all, what makes emerging companies ripe for scammers is their often desperate thirst for capital, and the historical difficulty in obtaining funding for start-ups.

So entrepreneurs are left to swim in shark-infested waters. Well intentioned efforts by the government, to make it easier for small businesses to raise capital, have paradoxically created hotbeds of abuse.

In fact, many of the schemes used to squeeze money from unsuspecting entrepreneurs are technically legal. Operating just this side of the law, many sophisticated promoters take advantage of loose regulation.

“These guys are like tax attorneys—always looking out for a new loophole,” explained Howard Sirota a former securities dealer investigator. “They know exactly how far they can go, and still avoid trouble.”


 How Do You Use Your Weird Time?

David Allen, one of the world’s most influential thinkers on personal productivity and author of Getting Things Done: Mastering the Art of Stress-Free Productivity, claims that most people’s thinking just isn’t set up to take advantage of weird time. There are lots of opportunities during the day that people waste. According to Allen, weird time is when we get 15 minutes—and sometimes only 5 minutes—between meetings and phone calls.

What to do about it is to turn it into a game, asking: How efficient can I be? Sometimes the most appropriate thing to do with five free minutes is to water the plants, or make a quick phone call.

Learning to set boundaries is incredibly difficult for most people. First determine what’s the very next thing that you need to do. Until you decide on that, there’s a gap between where you are and where you need to be—a big black hole that can suck you in. That big black hole is unproductive, wasted time.

Once you know what you’re doing, productivity becomes your one true competitive edge. There’s an elegance to how you work and live; it’s not just about running faster, it’s about utilizing your time efficiently. You can do anything—but not everything. Just control your aspirations.


Keep Smiling, Be Healthy

Smile when you say, “Don’t worry—be happy!” It could prolong your life.

People who are optimistic have a longer and healthier life, while those who are pessimistic have a 19% increased risk of death, a Mayo Clinic study has found.

“It confirmed our common-sense belief,” said Toshihiko Maruta, who speculated that optimists are less likely to develop depression and are more willing to seek medical help. So keep smiling.


 Thought of the Week. . .

“Ideas are the currency of success. They separate you from your competition.”

—Edward De Bono


Hotel General Managers

Work With Audio/Visual Vendor On Barter

Collect cash, as usual, from the guest accounts staying at your facility that require the use of professional AV services. And rather than shouldering your ongoing employee costs, or your current vendor’s cash agreement for AV services, here’s a much better alternative:

Work with a proven national vendor (a sterling 25-year track record) who will provide all of the AV services for your hotel on a 100% TRADE BASIS! (Payment to be in the form of trade dollars.)

Your hotel’s annual AV billings must be a minimum of $200,000, and this offer is available only in the continental United States.

For a confidential introduction contact Bob Meyer via e-mail: bmeyer@barternews.com.

Attention Trade Exchange Owners:

If your member hotel(s) have a minimum of 10,000 sq. feet of meeting space and annual billings of at least $200,000 for AV services this is a great opportunity to earn substantial cash service fees on the hundreds of thousands of trade dollars your hotel member will be paying the vendor. Contact Bob Meyer at the above e-mail.


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The Growth and Use of Secondary Capital (New Money) Creates Unprecedented Wealth In Today’s New Age Of Possibility

There are many forms of secondary capital—which can be defined as any financial instrument that measures and communicates value in a common language. Would you like to see and learn more about the many forms of secondary capital?

 We have 70 free, informative and inspiring, articles for you in our “Secondary Capital Section.” Check it out... www.barternews.com/secondary_capital.htm.

Get New Money-Making Ideas And Valuable Contacts!

You can obtain useful, informative ideas and contacts in every available back-issue of BarterNews.


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