Its a great time to be in the hotel industry – even

first_img Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Airbnb, Best Western Hotels & Resorts It’s a great time to be in the hotel industry – even with Airbnb TORONTO — How much have booking patterns changed over the years? When Best Western’s Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Dorothy Dowling, started her career, the average booking lead time was nine months. Now? It’s 45 days. Everything is faster, more streamlined and more focused on a never-ending parade of new technologies, and travellers – and travel agents – are busier than ever. Notes Dowling: “In my 35-year career, the past two years have moved faster than any others.”Heading up yesterday’s 13th annual Leisure Travel Summit, Dowling said Best Western had a stellar year in Canada in 2017 and the momentum is carrying into 2018, with forward bookings up close to 8% year over year. The hotel company’s loyalty program, Best Western Rewards, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and clients who have been with the program from the beginning were rewarded with top tier status as part of the celebration. Back in the early days just 9% of the company’s revenue was generated through Best Western Rewards. These days it’s 47%. Best Western has been on the forefront with new technology, from VR to AR. The latest tech innovation for the company is the new Best Western Rewards chatbot, set to launch this month. TripAdvisor’s Brian Payea, also on the panel, said it’s all about personalization, “to make sure you’re going to get the information relevant to your trip.” Best Western has 26 hotels in the pipeline in Canada, including first property here from its Glo brand, opening in Kanata just outside of Ottawa. The Glo brand is geared to suburban destinations and feature larger spaces and themed décor elements.Echoing Best Western’s success in 2017, hotels across Canada had a record year last year, buoyed no doubt by all the Canada 150 arrivals.Part of the panel at yesterday’s event, Susie Grynol, President, Hotel Association of Canada, said the country’s hotel’s posted a 66% occupancy rate in 2017 and that looks like it’s holding into 2018. There’s an uptick in groups business and there’s almost certainly a boost from travellers opting to vacation or hold their events in Canada instead of the U.S., although Grynol is too diplomatic to come out and say so. “Overall it’s a great time to be in the hotel industry,” she said.One cloud hanging over the hotel industry’s sunny results, is, as always, digital platforms like Airbnb, however the hotel industry is making headway on that front too. Last month HAC made April 30 – Canada’s tax deadline – a day of protest in Ottawa, saying the Canadian government hasn’t taken steps to collect the taxes they should from digital platforms like Airbnb, and demanding that the inaction has to stop.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsOver the last two years, the commercial side of Airbnb’s business – those renting multi-unit entire homes – grew by 108%, says Grynol. These entire home rentals generated 83% of Airbnb’s revenues.HAC continues to call on the federal government to ensure Airbnb pays its fair share of taxes, and to take real action to address tax avoidance in the digital space.“Digital business have an unfair advantage over bricks-and-mortar,” says Grynol. “Our focus is on establishing a level playing field for the commercial side of Airbnb. We’re not talking about the residential side, like the people who rent out a room in their home. We’re talking about the commercial side, where people are buying up properties and essentially running them as a hotel through platforms like Airbnb.”The latest HAC survey focusing on driving factors for travellers when it comes to choosing accommodation shows that leisure is currently more of a growth driver than corporate travel, and that bleisure travel – where people tack a few extra days of vacation onto a business trip – is over-indexed this year, suggesting this trend is still on the rise. Kathryn Folliott Posted by Thursday, May 17, 2018 About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019last_img read more

Its a crowded field but Canada Jetlines says it wants PVR CUN

first_img Travelweek Group Tags: Canada Jetlines, Jetlines VANCOUVER — Canada Jetlines says it intends to provide future service to several sun destinations in Mexico including Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Cancun.The start-up ultra low-cost carrier, currently aiming for a summer 2019 launch, says it has reached agreements with Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico to provide future service to the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) and the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD), as well as Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) to provide future service to the Cancun International Airport (CUN). “We are thrilled to announce future service to these airports,” says CEO Javier Suarez. “I have worked in this market extensively and have a deep understanding of how to operate successful routes in and out of Mexico. We look forward to providing Canadians with ultra-low fares for their vacation plans. With the money saved, Canadians will have the ability to spend more at their destinations; staying longer or in nicer resorts with their friends and family members. Our low fares will also encourage Mexicans to visit beautiful Canada.”Suarez joined Canada Jetlines in June 2018, first as Chief Commercial Officer and later as CEO, from Mexican low-cost carrier VivaAerobus where he was Vice President, Network Planning, Revenue Management, E-Commerce.Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico CEO Raul Revuelta says, “We at GAP are pleased to welcome Jetlines at our Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos airports. During 2018, for the first time in history, we received a combined traffic of 10 million passengers at both airports; this due to the growing number of hotel rooms and the high quality of the touristic products offered at these amazing destinations. I am sure that our Canadian friends will have a wonderful time while visiting Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, and we at GAP will continue to work to provide them with the best airport experience.”And ASUR’s Customer and Route Development Director Alejandro Vales said, “ASUR is delighted to welcome Jetlines to our Cancun airport. A brand-new Canadian airline bridging new origins from Canada to our world-class destination will be a recipe for success indeed.”The long list of carriers flying Canadian vacationers to Mexico got even longer this month with low-cost carrier’s Swoop’s new service to Cancun, Mazatlzan and Puerto Vallarta.Suarez says Canada Jetlines’ ability to service these routes is subject to the completion of the airline licensing process and the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals. It’s a crowded field but Canada Jetlines says it wants PVR, CUN & SJD Thursday, January 17, 2019 center_img Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Love is love is love Labrador meets up with dolphin every day

first_imgLove is love is love: Labrador meets up with dolphin every day for a swim Share Travelweek Group Posted by DONEGAL, IRELAND — Would you swim across an ocean to be with your soulmate? One dog did, and he does it every single day in the name of love.Okay, maybe it’s not the length of an entire ocean, but to Ben, a lovable labrador in Donegal, Ireland, it may as well be because that’s how deep his love goes for his #1 pal and soulmate, Duggie.And if that weren’t enough to melt your heart, get this: Duggie is a dolphin.According to residents, Duggie has remained off the Donegal coast after her dolphin mate unexpectedly died. One day, she met Ben – who likes long walks on the beach – and the two hit it off.According to residents, Duggie has remained off the Donegal coast after her dolphin mate unexpectedly died. One day, she met Ben – who likes long walks on the beach – and the two hit it off. More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backSince then, the two mates meet up to swim every day, sometimes up to three hours at a time, said Ben’s human, Pat Doohan.“Occasionally a school of dolphins will go by and she will join them. When I see them I think she will forget the island and go back to her wild ways but she never does,” he says.So there you have it: love is love is love. Here’s hoping Ben and Duggie have a lifetime of happiness together!center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Thursday, June 27, 2019 Tags: dog, dolphin, Lovelast_img read more

Regulator approves decrease in electricity rates

first_imgThe onset of therainy season and the launch of two renewable energy projects have prompted a decrease in electricity rates for the next three months.Both situations allowed for a reduction in thermal generation of electricity between May and July.The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) calculates the costs for companies to generate electricity using fossil fuels each quarter. The cost savings recorded in recent months translates into lower rates starting October, the agency reported.The new rates will apply for the eight electricity companies in the country, although the change in tariffs will vary by company.Customers of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), the Public Services Company of Heredia, the National Power and Light Company (CNFL) and Electric Services Administrative Board of Cartago will see a 1 percent decrease in their monthly rates.Customers of CoopeAlfaroRuiz will see a 0.7 percent decrease; customers of CoopeGuanacaste and Copesantos will see a 0.5 percent decrease and customers of Coopelesca will see a mere 0.07 percent decrease in their monthly bill.The agency passed the last rate-setting in July when it approved increases ranging from 1 to 6 percent to compensate electricity providers for $14.5 million spent to purchase fuel.Hike request pendingGood news for consumers, however, could be short-lived as ARESEP is currently evaluating two requests for hiking tariffs for next year.ICE and CNFL, the two largest suppliers in the country, filed requests earlier this month to increase rates by 10 percent and 6 percent, respectively.If approved rates in January would go up for 1.2 million customers of both utility companies, representing 77 percent of the local electricity market. Facebook Comments Related posts:Reduced electricity rates this year? Don’t hold your breath Ombudsman’s Office opposes hikes in electricity rates for CNFL Regulatory Authority approves lower electricity rates except for San José, Cartago residents Regulator approves decrease in electricity rates for next quarterlast_img read more

Fast forward to now and the Cardinals arent anyw

first_imgFast forward to now, and the Cardinals aren’t anywhere close to contention. In fact, you may wonder how either the Bears, a team the Cardinals smoked in Chicago last year and the Packers, a team the Cardinals beat in the playoffs last season will represent the NFC in the Big Game, or how the Jets, who won just four games in 2007 and are starting a second-year quarterback could actually top the very same Steelers who beat the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. Sadly, of the four teams that are left, the Cardinals beat two of them just last season, one won just four games in 2007 and the other, of course, is the Steelers. Knowing that, it is fair to ask how those teams got so good so fast while Arizona instead sunk to the bottom of the worst division in football.One common denominator is the quarterback position. The Packers and Steelers boast two of the best in the game, as Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger are both capable of winning games by themselves. The Cardinals, unfortunately, do not have a QB with anywhere near the same amount of ability as these two. Look at the other two quarterbacks, Jay Cutler and Mark Sanchez, and you start to get the impression that maybe a top-flight QB is not necessary to compete for a Super Bowl. Both have ability, sure, but neither is what one would call “elite.” Top Stories Could John Skelton, a free agent or a future draft pick reach the solid-but-not-great level? It’s possible.So if it’s not the quarterback, what is it? It can’t be the running game, as only the Jets ranked in the top 10 for total rushing yards this past season. James Starks, Shonn Greene, Matt Forte, LaDainian Tomlinson and Rashard Mendenhall did not come close to challenging for the league’s rushing crown, and none have averaged more than 100 yards per game in the postseason. Neither the Bears nor Steelers are known for keeping their quarterbacks upright, and only the Jets did a decent job of opening holes for running backs. Therefore, you can’t really look at the offensive line play as a key cog in their respective successes. In fact, the Packers are the only one of the four that can claim to even have a great offense, as they were the only one of the four to rank in the top 10 for points scored in 2010. No, where these teams make their money and rack up victories is on defense, which is the area the Cardinals arguably need the most work. Besides talent, what makes their defense strong is identity.The Bears conjure up memories of the “Monsters on the Midway,” the Steelers and the “Steel Curtain,” the Jets are led by defensive mastermind Rex Ryan and the Packers have elite defenders like Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews, and A.J. Hawk. What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke 0 Comments   Share   Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocationcenter_img D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away For further proof defense matters, Pittsburgh and Green Bay led their respective conferences in sacks, while the Bears and Packers were second and fourth, respectively, in the NFC for takeaways. The Steelers and Jets were second and third in the AFC. The good news for the Cardinals is, as bad as their defense was, they were tied for sixth in the NFC with 30 takeaways. However, they are lacking an identity, which is something that could very well be rectified with their upcoming defensive coordinator hire. That hire, for a team like the Cardinals, could make a world of difference. Whether they get an aggressive mind like a Rex Ryan (we know it is really his defense), Dom Capers, Dick LeBeau or Rod Marinelli, the right hire could take a talented unit like the one the Cardinals boast and mold it into one to be feared. It seems like a while ago when the Cardinals were preparing for the NFC Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium with a Super Bowl berth on the line. While the 2008 and 2010 Cardinals were worlds apart in terms of success, one look at this year’s final four would reveal that, for all their faults, the Cardinals could be just a couple moves and some luck away from making a return trip to the top of the NFL. The final four is set.The New York Jets will battle the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers take on the Chicago Bears, the winners reaching Super Bowl XLV. Of course, it was not long ago when the Cardinals were getting ready to host the Philadelphia Eagles, a thrilling game that the home team won 32-25, securing the beleaguered franchise’s first trip to the Super Bowl. We won’t get into what happened in Tampa, but suffice to say that was probably the most exciting month for the entire franchise and its fans.last_img read more

Good day And welcome to another week  We had som

first_imgGood day. And welcome to another week.  We had some great weekend weather which I took advantage of watching my son’s football game Saturday and daughter’s soccer and field hockey games yesterday.  None of the games resulted in wins, but I enjoyed myself in spite of the outcomes.  The labor data here in the US provided the equity markets with a pleasant outcome Friday as stocks ended the week on a positive note.  The dollar didn’t have such a good week, dropping just over one and one half percent vs. the major currencies.  This week will be dominated by the FOMC meeting here in the US and the German constitutional court ruling on the other side of the pond.But we will start with a recap of events on Friday.  The US labor department reported the biggest decline in factory jobs in two years, contributing to a disappointing increase in payrolls during August.  The US economy added just 96,000 jobs last month after a revised 141,000 increase in July.  The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain of 130,000 jobs.  Factory payrolls declined by 15,000 workers last month and was the major contributor to the drop in jobs.  Details of the report showed the workweek shrank, and the number of industries hiring new workers plunged to the lowest level in almost three years.  Definitely not a good sign for the prospects of the unemployed factory workers, and exactly what the current administration didn’t want to see.  A lot was made of the rebound in the auto industry, but the data showing manufacturing jobs have decreased throws cold water on that line of thought.But the President and his supporters can still point to the unemployment rate which dropped to 8.1%.  Yes, the number of people working dropped, at the same time the unemployment rate also dropped.  Much like last month, the unemployment rate and monthly jobs data seemed to be in conflict.  But unlike last month when the difference was blamed on inconsistencies in the generation of the reports, this month’s conflict could be more easily explained.  Americans are leaving the workforce at a faster pace than they are entering it.   368,000 Americans left the labor force last month, most of them giving up looking for new work.  The participation rate, which shows the share of working-age people in the labor force, fell to 63.5% from 63.7%.  There are currently fewer working-age people in the labor force than at any time since September 1981.  That one piece of data is a great indicator of just how bad things are here in the US.The labor data have increased the odds of action by Bernanke this week.  The Federal Open Markets Committee will be meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, and the Chairman is expected to announce another round of stimulus for the markets during his press conference Thursday morning.  During my presentations out in San Francisco, I shared my thoughts that there was just slightly higher than a 50% chance of another stimulus announcement this month.  I felt it was just too close to the Presidential election for the Fed to act; as they try to avoid the appearance of being too political.  But Chairman Bernanke has pointed toward the stagnant labor market as the key to further stimulus, and Friday’s report should provide him plenty of cover to avoid looking too political.  The markets are certainly expecting Bernanke to announce another round of stimulus; I saw a survey this morning which put the odds of another stimulus announcement this week at 99%!!The question now is exactly what will Bernanke announce.  Some now believe he will model his new program off of the ECB’s, announcing unlimited additional bond buying.  This would allow the Fed to continue purchasing bonds until they feel the economy shows more definite signs of recovery.  The advantage of this program, as shown by the reaction to the ECB’s announcement last week, is that the markets can’t question the ability of the central bank to take action.  But unlike the ECB program which is solely aimed at sovereign debt within 3 years, the Feds new program will likely be aimed at mortgage debt with longer maturities.  Another difference is that the ECB won’t buy bonds unless a country asks for a rescue, and then the bond purchases will come with austerity commitments by the country seeking help.  The Fed’s quantitative easing program won’t have any austerity measure tied to it, in fact it is more of an ‘anti austerity’ program adding to our deficits and debt in the interest of stimulating growth.Friday’s labor report and the resulting increase in expectations for another round of stimulus led to a rally in gold and treasuries and a continued fall in the value of the US$. Investors, worried about the inflationary impact of additional stimulus measures, took gold to the lofty levels it was trading at back in March.  While prices moved down a bit going into the weekend, gold is still firmly entrenched in an upward trend and certainly looks like it will challenge it’s former highs.The dollar lost ground vs. most of the major currencies on Friday, ending a week in which the dollar index fell over 1.5%.  I guess the ‘Chuck is off the desk rally’ held true again.  In years past, whenever Chuck is off the desk for an extended period, we always seem to have a currency rally, and last week’s dollar action was a confirmation of this pattern.  As I explained last week, the reason for the fall in the US$ is a fairly simple case of supply and demand.  The Fed will be creating a whole lot of dollars which it will be using for the bond purchases, and this increase in supply will eventually lead to inflation.  It may not be reflected immediately in the price of goods and services, as international investors still seem to have an appetite for the freshly minted currency.  But eventually the demand will slacken, and at that point we could see a spike in inflation.  Bernanke has told us he is aware of this risk, but he is convinced the Fed can pull the newly created dollars back out of the markets as fast as he is adding them.  I guess we will just have to wait and see if he is correct, but the markets are starting to hedge their bets.The ECB action last week helped the euro push above the $1.28 handle, but it gave it back and is hovering just below it this morning.  Concerns over the German Constitutional ruling due out this week, combined with renewed concerns in Greece put a lid on the appreciation of the single currency.   The German court is expected to give its ruling on Germany’s participation in the European Stability Mechanism on Wednesday.  The court is expected to allow for Germany’s participation, but currency traders are worried they may put stipulations on any future participation of Germany in European bailouts.  Both German Chancellor Angel Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are confident the German court will allow the establishment of the ESM, allowing the bailouts to continue.Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to meet officials from the ECB, IMF, and EU today.  Samaras failed to secure an agreement to the 11.5 billion spending cuts required for the release of the next round of rescue funding.  After this year’s two elections, Samaras is operating with a minority government and must get his two coalition partners to agree to the austerity measures.  At least one of the two is demanding the cuts be combined with growth measures. “The recession is deep and if these measures aren’t accompanied by growth measures, they will be ineffective,” according to Greece’s Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis.  “Our European partners need to know that Greeks can’t take anymore.  Nothing can be taken for granted.”  Sounds like we could be in for some more volatility in Greece.  We warned you that the rollercoaster ride of the euro isn’t over yet, so just make sure you are strapped in!The Canadian dollar rallied to a yearly high this morning after a report showed employment in our northern neighbor rose faster than forecast.  Canadian employment rose by 34,300 jobs in August, offsetting a decrease of 30,400 the month before.  The unemployment rate remained at 7.3%, right on target with median forecasts.  While the number was definitely a positive sign, the Canadian economy is expected to remain in a slow growth mode.  Last week the Bank of Canada left the key interest rate unchanged at 1% in an effort to encourage investment and consumption to drive growth.Carney has reflected a hawkish tone, as increases in the prices of commodities which make up the majority of Canada’s exports threaten to push up Canadian inflation rates.  The increase in commodity prices caused the BOC to reiterate that interest rates may have to be raised in order to prevent inflation from accelerating.  Following last week’s BOC meeting, Carney said “some modest withdrawal of the present considerable monetary policy stimulus may become appropriate.”  Higher interest rates would give even more support to the Canadian dollar, sending it to new yearly highs.The Australian dollar moved lower in early European trading after a report showed China’s imports slowed.  Both Canada and Australia have commodity driven economies, and the commodity markets are dependent on strong demand  from China.  A report released earlier today showed China’s imports slid 2.6% in August from a year earlier, the first decline since January.  The same report showed Chinese exports rose 2.7% and a different report showed production increased 8.9%.  The Chinese President sounded a warning, saying China’s economic expansion faces ‘notable downward pressure’.The pace of the global economic recovery is going to be dependent on Asia, as both the US and Europe’s economies continue to struggle.  So the news that Chinese imports slowed are worrying.  China has been slowly changing from an export driven economy into one driven more by internal consumption, so the slowdown in imports is concerning.  And concerns regarding the Asian growth prospects were heightened further with the release of Japanese GDP measures which showed the economy grew at just .7% during the 2nd quarter, less than the preliminary reports which predicted a 1.4% increase.  The median forecast of economists was right in the middle of the two figures at 1%.  The spending which was necessitated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami helped push GDP up slightly, but that spending is now over and gridlock in the Japanese parliament is preventing any additional stimulus.  There is a good chance the Japanese economy could slip back into contraction in the 3rd quarter.  I continue to warn against investments in the Japanese yen, and actually look at it as one of the currencies which could fall the most as investors start to move back into higher yielding currencies.To recap. Friday’s monthly jobs reports showed a US economy which is still struggling to recover, and put the possibility of a stimulus announcement by the Fed at almost 100%.  The future of the ESM (and therefore the euro) rests in the hands of a German Constitutional court which is expected to rule later this week.  But the court is widely expected to rule in the euro’s favor, and the single currency continued to rally.  The possibility of another round of stimulus had gold rallying along with the commodity currencies.  The loonie hit a yearly high but the Australian dollar moved lower after a Chinese report showed imports decreasing.  Japan’s GDP came in at ½ of what was originally predicted, and further stimulus isn’t in the cards for the Japanese yen.Currencies today 9/10/12. American Style: A$ $1.0353, kiwi .8106, C$ $1.0239, euro 1.2781, sterling 1.6009, Swiss $1.0562. European Style: rand 8.1789, krone 5.7822, SEK 6.6390, forint 223.04, zloty 3.2178, koruna 19.177, RUB 31.7243, yen 78.28, sing 1.2365, HKD 7.7559, INR 55.3875, China 6.3377, pesos 12.9622, BRL 2.029, Dollar Index 80.336, Oil $96.46, 10-year 1.67%, Silver $33.6925, Gold $1,734.57, and Platinum $1,596.75That’s it for today.  Tough loss for both our football teams this weekend.  Mizzou looked good for the first three quarters in their opening SEC game vs. Georgia, but just couldn’t hang with the dawgs at the end of the game.  And the St. Louis Rams dropped their season opener during the final 10 seconds of the game played up in Detroit.  My son’s high school team got routed on Saturday morning after their game Friday night was delayed because of a storm which rolled through during the first half.  Not a good football weekend, but I enjoyed it still as the weather was absolutely fantastic Saturday and Sunday.  The trading floor has a new look this morning as workers installed several new desks over the weekend to keep up with our growth.  Things are a bit cozier now and I’m sure the noise volume will increase as we put butts in all the new seats; but that is what I like about being out on the floor, all the noise and activity are what makes it a trading floor.  Gone on a bit long this morning, so I will just thank all of you readers for sharing your morning with me.  Hopefully this will be a Marvelous Monday and a great start to your week!Chris Gaffney, CFA SVP & Director of Sales T. 314-951-1619 EverBank World Markets 8300 Eager Road, Ste. 700, St. Louis, MO. 63144 EverBank.comlast_img read more

The Shiller PE SP 500 divided by the 10year av

first_imgThe Shiller P/E (S&P 500 divided by the 10-year average of inflation-adjusted earnings) is now 27, versus a long-term historical norm of 15 prior to the late 1990s bubble. Importantly, the profit margin embedded into the Shiller P/E is currently 6.7% versus a historical norm of just 5.4%. The implied margin is simply the denominator of the Shiller P/E divided by current S&P 500 revenues (the ratio of trailing 12-month earnings to revenues is even higher at 8.9%). As I showed in “Margins, Multiples and the Iron Law of Valuation,” taking this embedded margin into account significantly improves the usefulness and correlation of the Shiller P/E in explaining actual subsequent market returns. With this adjustment, the margin-adjusted Shiller P/E is now nearly 34, easily more than double its historical norm. This fact is important, because the Shiller P/E averaged 40 during the first nine months of 2000 as the tech bubble was peaking. But that Shiller P/E was associated with an embedded profit margin of only 5.0%. Adjusting for that embedded margin brings the margin-adjusted Shiller P/E at the 2000 peak to 37. Quite simply, stocks are a claim not on one or two years of earnings, but on a very long-term stream of cash flows that will actually be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For the S&P 500, that stream has an effective duration of about 50 years. At normal valuations, stocks have a duration of about half that because a larger proportion of the cash flows is delivered up front. The point is that our concerns about valuation aren’t based on what profit margins might do over the next several years. To take earnings-based valuation measures at face value here is essentially a statement that current record-high profit margins, despite being highly cyclical across history, will remain at a permanently high plateau for the next five decades. That’s the only way that one can use current earnings as representative of the long-term stream of cash flows that stocks will deliver over time. In order to use a simple P/E multiple to value stocks, this representativeness assumption is an absolute requirement. On other measures that have an even stronger historical correlation with actual subsequent market returns than either the Shiller P/E or the S&P 500 price/operating earnings ratio, the ratio of stock market capitalization to GDP is now about 1.33, compared to a pre-bubble norm of 0.55. The S&P 500 price/revenue multiple is now about 1.80, versus a historical norm of 0.80. On the measures we find most reliably associated with actual subsequent 10-year market returns (with a correlation of about 90%), the S&P 500 is not just double, but about 120-140% above historical norms. On a broader set of reliable but more varied measures, the elevation averages about 116%. Current equity valuations provide no margin of safety for long-term investors. One might as well be investing on a dare. It may seem preposterous to suggest that equities are literally more than double the level that would provide a historically adequate long-term return, but the same was true in 2000, which is why the S&P 500 experienced negative total returns over the following decade, even by 2010 after it had rebounded nearly 80% from the 2009 lows. Compared with 2000 when we estimated negative 10-year total returns for the S&P 500 even on the most optimistic assumptions, we presently estimate S&P 500 10-year nominal total returns averaging about 1.3% annually over the coming decade. Low interest rates don’t change this expectation—they just make the outlook for a standard investment mix even more dismal and the case for alternative investments stronger than at any point since 2000. I’ll repeat that if one associates historically “normal” equity returns with Treasury bill yields of about 4%, the promise to hold short-term interest rates at zero for 3-4 years only “justifies” equity valuations 12-16% above historical norms. Again, at more than double those historical norms, current equity valuations provide no margin of safety for long-term investors. To put some full-cycle perspective around present valuations, understand that 1929 and 2000 are the only historical references to similar extremes. Moreover, aside from the 2000-2002 bear market (which ended at fairly elevated valuations but still allowed us to shift to a constructive outlook in early 2003), no bear market in history—including 2009—ended with prospective 10-year returns less than 8% (See “Ockham’s Razor and the Market Cycle” to review the arithmetic of these estimates). This was true even in historical periods when short- and long-term interest rates were similar to current levels. Currently, such an improvement in prospective equity returns would require a move to about 1,200 on the S&P 500, which we would view as a fairly pedestrian completion of the current market cycle—certainly not an outlier from the standpoint of historical experience. Major secular valuation lows like 1949, 1974, and 1982 pushed stocks to valuations consistent with prospective 10-year returns over 18% annually, and dragged the S&P 500 price/revenue ratio to about 0.40, and the ratio of market capitalization/GDP to about 0.33. At present, a secular valuation low would require “S&P 500” to be not only an index but a price target—though one that would also make a rather satisfying megaphone pattern out of the past 15 years of market action. Such an outcome only seems preposterous if one ignores the cyclicality of profit margins and assumes they have established a permanently high plateau. In any event, with the current price/revenue ratio at 1.80 and market cap/GDP at 1.33, the notion that stocks are in the early phase of a secular bull market (as some Wall Street analysts have suggested) can only reflect a complete ignorance of the historical record. The Line Between Rational Speculation and Market Collapse However—and this is really where the experience of the past few years and our research-based adaptations come into play—there are some conditions that historically appear capable of supporting what might be called “rational speculation” even in a severely overvalued market. Depending on the level of overvaluation, a safety net might be required in any event, and that would certainly be the case if those conditions were to re-emerge here. But following my 2009 insistence on stress-testing our methods against Depression-era data, and the terribly awkward transition that we experienced until we nailed down these distinctions in our present methods, the central lesson is worth repeating: Neither our stress-testing against Depression-era data, nor the adaptations we’ve made in response extreme yield-seeking speculation, do anything to diminish our conviction that historically reliable valuation measures are of immense importance to investors. Rather, the lessons to be drawn have to do with the criteria that distinguish periods where valuations have little near-term impact from periods where they suddenly matter with a vengeance. I detailed these lessons in my June 16, 2014 comment—“Formula for Market Extremes” (see the section titled Lessons from the Recent Half Cycle). That’s really the point at which we were finally able to put a box around this awkward transition and view it as fully addressed. See also “Air Pockets, Free Falls, and Crashes,” “A Most Important Distinction,” and “Hard-Won Lessons and the Bird in the Hand.” Historically, the emergence of extremely overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions has typically been followed by an “unpleasant skew”—a succession of small but persistent marginal new highs, followed by a vertical collapse in which weeks or months of gains are wiped out in a handful of sessions. In prior market cycles, more often than not, periods of extremely overextended conditions were also already accompanied by a subtle deterioration in market internals or widening credit spreads. In recent years, the persistent yield-seeking speculation encouraged by quantitative easing has weakened the overlap between these two conditions. That is, we’ve had repeated periods of severely overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions, but they often have not been accompanied by internal deterioration or widening credit spreads. In those periods, stocks were generally resilient to significant losses. In contrast—even since 2009—periods that have joined 1) overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions with 2) deteriorating internals or widening credit spreads have been responsible for nearly stairstep market losses. During the tech bubble, we introduced considerations related to market internals (what I often called “trend uniformity”) as an overlay to our value-driven models. So our pre-2009 method of classifying market return/risk profiles had this distinction hard-wired into it. The ensemble methods that came out of our 2009-2010 stress-testing efforts were more effective in market cycles across history—including Depression-era data—but while they included trend-sensitive measures, they didn’t impose them as an overlay. The basic narrative of the transition from those pre-2009 methods to our present ones boils down to 1) our self-inflicted stress testing miss, and 2) the need to re-introduce those overlays (albeit in a somewhat different form) to make our methods more tolerant of speculative bubbles. We certainly learned all of this the hard way, and my hope is that others will draw some benefit from that experience. Unfortunately, my sense is that many have learned entirely the wrong lesson, and are just as vulnerable to the next crash as they were to the other two collapses in recent memory. You can see the effect of imposing those overlays in the narrowing of conditions under which we view a hard-negative outlook as appropriate. See last week’s comment, “Iceberg at the Starboard Bow,” for a chart of the cumulative performance of the S&P 500 across history in periods restricted to the conditions we presently observe. Now, if we do observe an improvement in market internals and credit spreads, it would not make valuations any less obscene, but it would significantly ease our immediate concerns about market losses. A safety net would be required in any event, but there is a range of possible outlooks between hard-negative and constructive with a safety net. I suspect that the range of variation in our investment outlook is likely to be very confusing in the coming years to those who have swallowed the hook that I’m a permabear, because our present methods would have encouraged an unhedged, leveraged investment stance through about 62% of history (including over 20% of recent cycle—though at no time in the past three years). That’s exactly what I encouraged for years following the 1990 bear market—a leveraged stance. Those who’ve followed my work over the long term should recognize that the framework I’ve presented helps to understand both my major successes and my periodic failures—exasperating during bubbles, but ultimately vindicated—through decades in the financial markets. This isn’t an accident, because it also helps to understand the bubbles and crashes of the equity market itself in market cycles across a century of history. What this framework requires, primarily, is the ability to withstand the cognitive dissonance of markets that are outrageously overvalued or undervalued, but persist until subtle deterioration or improvement in observable market internals and credit spreads indicates a shift in investor risk preferences. Again, we completed the transition from our pre-2009 method to our present method of classifying market return/risk profiles in June. The resulting adaptations are robust to market cycles across history, including the Depression, including recent bubbles and crashes, and including the current cycle. With these adaptations in place, nothing in recent years leaves us concerned that we would be unable to navigate a long continuation of the recent bull market (unlikely as we might view that outcome). We don’t need to hope for a market collapse, nor dread the possibility of a further advance. Our primary goal is simply to maintain a historically informed discipline and align our outlook consistently as market conditions change. At present, the fact that we are highly concerned about market risk is a reflection of a market environment that joins extremely overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions with still-troubling dispersion in market internals and a widening of credit spreads. That will change. In short, our concerns about market risk remain extreme at present, and will shift considerably as the evidence changes.last_img read more

Recommended Link

first_imgRecommended Link Recommended Link Watch now Click here to for the latest update — Transfer the funds you’ve set aside for crypto to the exchange and buy bitcoin. Justin’s note: Today, we have a big-picture update on the crypto market from Casey Research’s in-house crypto specialist, Marco Wutzer. Below, Marco shows us why the blockchain and cryptos are still going to create a huge amount of wealth for smart speculators… why the next bull market will be more powerful than the last… and how you can start profiting today. By Marco Wutzer, senior analyst, Disruptive ProfitsEight seconds.That’s how long you have to grab someone’s attention before they mentally drift off to the next thing. That’s one second less than a goldfish.Thanks to constant interruptions by smartphones and multitasking, our attention spans are getting shorter all the time.This is also reflected in absurd investor behavior…Over the last five decades, the average holding period for a stock has steadily declined. It’s fallen from eight years to a mere four months since the 1960s. You can see this in the chart below:I wouldn’t be surprised if that average is even shorter in the fast-paced, 24/7 crypto market.Why am I telling you this?Put simply, if you want to be a successful crypto speculator, you need to take a long-term view. Download and install a crypto wallet. Exodus is my personal favorite. — Will Donald Trump Be Your Last President?…A major political coup is unfolding in America that will topple Donald Trump’s presidency… Only those who prepare will be able to live in peace in a new socialist America. In this video, we lay out the simple steps you can take right now to protect your assets but survive the next recession…center_img The Future Takes Time to BuildThe internet took 30 years to become mainstream. Blockchain technology is barely 10 years old and has only received serious attention for the last three years or so.Rewiring the global financial system and the larger economy takes a long time. Still, the Blockchain Ecosystem is developing fast. And it’s spreading like a virus.Eventually, it will take over all the aspects of our daily lives in which it makes sense to use a trust-minimized system.You see, nature is trending towards higher orders of complexity.In short, blockchain technology is peer-to-peer, immutable, and censorship-resistant. This enables us to build a freer, more complex society outside the limitations of nation-states.Building the future takes time. It’ll be another three to five years or so until cryptocurrencies reach mass adoption.But luckily, we don’t have to wait for this to fully play out to profit as speculators.That’s because markets move in cycles. Each cycle brings in a new wave of cryptocurrency adopters.I deal with the Blockchain Ecosystem on a daily basis. So it’s easy for me to forget that there are billions of people on this planet that have never even heard of blockchain technology.I was reminded of this recently at Doug Casey’s estancia in Uruguay. We were having dinner with a cosmopolitan, affluent Uruguayan couple.She is a lawyer and real estate broker, and he is retired with a background in many business ventures, including being a stock broker at one time.In other words, they’re wealthy, educated people who travel the world… not local, isolated farmers.When Doug asked them what they think about cryptocurrencies, it turned out they had never even heard about bitcoin.This goes to show that we still have a very long way to go. Most of the growth is still ahead of us. Transfer a small amount of bitcoin – the equivalent of a few dollars – to your crypto wallet. Open an account with an exchange where you can trade your fiat currencies to crypto. (I recommend itBit or Bitstamp to my Disruptive Profits subscribers.) Congratulations!You’re now part of the still small and exclusive club of crypto pioneers… And you’ll be ready to take advantage of the next bull market when it kicks off.To disruptive profits,Marco Wutzer Senior Analyst, Disruptive ProfitsJustin’s note: Once you’ve got some bitcoin, you can start speculating on the future of blockchain technology… the plays that will mint a new generation of millionaires.Marco is on top of all of the most exclusive developments in this space. Go here to check out how to get access to his best picks.Reader MailbagAre you buying bitcoin today? Do you think that digital currencies are a big money-making opportunity right now? Share your thoughts at feedback@caseyresearch.com.You’re Invited…To spend time with your favorite investing masterminds in southern California… the only time this year that all of Casey Research’s gurus will be together on one stage…And as a Dispatch reader, you’ve got an exclusive invitation to join us at the second annual Legacy Investment Summit on September 23-25.Join the smartest minds in finance – like the legendary Doug Casey, former hedge fund manager Teeka Tiwari, master trader Jeff Clark, and angel investor Jeff Brown – for their exclusive, in-person insights.And for a limited time, you can secure your tickets for hundreds less than everyone else will pay… Make sure you back up your recovery phrase so you can restore your wallet if something goes wrong. (Think of the recovery phrase as your password.) 5-Billion-Year-Old Bacteria Unlocks the Way to Beat Cancer at the Genetic LevelIt’s hard to fathom a bacteria from the dawn of Earth holding the key to curing cancer, but then again, it is the starting point of all known life… and these 3 companies hold all the key patents to this bacterial breakthrough. Superior Solutions, Growing AwarenessA crypto seed was planted in the Uruguayan couple’s heads that evening.They might not investigate the topic much further right away… But two more people on the planet are now aware that cryptocurrencies exist and offer superior solutions to many problems.Think about that for a moment. Variations of this conversation play out thousands of times a day across the globe.That’s why from 2015 to the end of last year, the number of people who use blockchain wallets grew over 900%.That means almost 29 million more people use blockchain wallets today than just four years ago.No matter if we are in a bull or bear market, the crypto meme is spreading and reaching more people.Even during the current bear market, more people learn about blockchain technology every day. The couple Doug and I talked to in Uruguay is a case in point.When the market eventually turns bullish again, this growing pool of new adopters will be ready to participate in the new world of the Blockchain Ecosystem for the very first time.That means that when the next bull market starts, the network effects will be even stronger than the last time.And where will new adopters go for their first dive into crypto? They’ll buy the most well-known cryptocurrency… the reserve of the crypto world – bitcoin.That’s why, whether you’re buying bitcoin for the first time or already own some, now is a great time to buy.How to Start Profiting If this is your first time buying a cryptocurrency, I recommend the following: Once you’re familiar with the process and have made sure everything works the way it should, transfer the rest of your funds to your crypto wallet.last_img read more

Labours shadow work and pensions secretary has pl

first_imgLabour’s shadow work and pensions secretary has pledged to transform the social security system from one that “demonises” benefit claimants to one that is “supportive and enabling”.Debbie Abrahams told Labour’s annual conference in Brighton that the social security system was failing sick and disabled people, and she reminded her party that the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities had concluded last month that the government had caused a “human catastrophe” by cutting disabled people’s support.Abrahams repeated the party’s pledge, included in this year’s general election manifesto, that a Labour government would legislate to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law.She later said that the party was also in the process of setting up a new social security commission, whose conclusions on how to reform the benefits system would feed into the party’s policy-making process.Abrahams (pictured, right) told a fringe meeting hosted by the PCS union that Labour wanted to “transform social security” and “make it something people can value”.She said Labour’s vision was “to make sure the social security system is there for every one of us”.She said Labour wanted to replace the work capability assessment and the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment with a more “personalised, holistic support programme”.And she said that the government’s new Work and Health Programme was “just a way of making even more regressive cuts”.Abrahams said the party had started some of the “groundwork” for setting up the new social security commission, and that “central” to it would be “ongoing dialogue” with disabled people’s grassroots groups such as Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle.She told another fringe event at the conference, organised by the Fabian Society and the disability charity Scope: “How will we achieve our target of halving the disability employment gap? It certainly isn’t going to happen through the Work and Health Programme, is it.”She said Labour would be publishing its ideas before the autumn budget, and that the party needed to ensure that disabled people supported its proposals.Abrahams said: “Again we will be coming back to you, saying is this going to work, what do you think of this, this has worked in Sweden, will it work in the UK, it’s worked in Australia, but again, will it work in the UK?”And she suggested that some policies could be piloted in Greater Manchester or London, where there were greater devolved powers for local government.Abrahams also said that the party was carrying out a review of the Access to Work scheme, which was “absolutely inadequate at the moment”, and she added: “We are reviewing it with the intention of being able to expand it.”After hearing how one disabled man at the fringe event had faced discrimination in the workplace, she said: “We need to get to the core of why we have such difficulties with employers. It is about cultural changes.“We do need to ensure that we are shifting attitudes with employers.”The event also heard from disabled presenter and producer, and YouTube star, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, who said that “every single disabled person” she knew had had problems with the PIP assessment process, and all had found it “degrading”.She said: “We need to be focusing on giving disabled people independence in more than just name, and that includes financial independence.”Kellgren-Fozard also said that disabled women were twice as likely as non-disabled women to face domestic abuse, usually at the hands of their carers, but they were “tied” to them through the benefits system.She said: “They can’t get away. You can’t get a second job and store some money up. You don’t have your own money anymore.”She added: “Money is a massive part of independence. I am an adult and I want to be treated like that, I don’t want to be thought of as a child, a dependent, a problem, or a burden, ever.“I think that is what we really need to be working for here, to give people independence in more than just name.”Ellen Clifford, a member of the national steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), told the PCS fringe event that welfare reform had been introduced by New Labour under Tony Blair and the process had been “accelerated by the Tories”, and was designed “to reduce spending and cut the welfare bill”.She said DPAC would like to see a system that was designed “to meet the needs of those who are unable to earn a living through waged labour”, with “an acceptance that there will always be some people who are unable to engage in the labour market and earn a living of their own, not due to their own fault… but because of very real concrete barriers that they face”.And she said: “We need to end the influence of private insurance companies who are there for their own profit-making reasons, and stop ploughing millions of pounds into helping them find ways to trick disabled people out of benefit entitlements.”Clifford said that cuts to disabled people’s support – such as social care and Access to Work – were pushing disabled people out of employment.Catherine Hale, lead researcher on the Chronic Illness Inclusion Project, told the same fringe meeting that the government’s continuing benefits freeze was “one of the key drivers of increasing levels of poverty in the UK”.She said that public support for the campaign to lift the pay cap on public sector workers meant it would be the ideal time to push for an end to the benefits freeze.She said: “If we are really going to resist the Tory attempts to divide the workers from everybody else, would it not also be the right time to fight for an end to the benefits freeze, so we are showing equal value to workers as to people on benefits?”And she urged politicians to consult with disabled people on reforming benefits assessments, rather than “doctors and so-called experts” who “really have no idea about the lived experience of disability and what are the real barriers to work that people with certain types of impairments face”.She added: “You really need to draw on disabled people’s expertise on capability for work.”last_img read more

The 10 FastestGrowing New or Redesigned Apps in 2018

first_img July 18, 2018 Image credit: Mixmike | Getty Images The era of ‘Angry Birds’ is over. Add to Queue The 10 Fastest-Growing New or Redesigned Apps in 2018 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Apps 3 min read Editorial Interncenter_img Enroll Now for $5 Madison Semarjian Forget the useless, though wildly popular and entertaining, apps that previously filled up our smartphones or computers. People now want apps with function and purpose.Here are the fastest-growing new or recently redesigned apps of 2018, according to business app platform Zapier, which compiled the data using its platform.1. DiscordNostalgic for the days you stayed up late playing The Sims and messaging with your friends? Discord is a voice and text chat app that connects more than 14 million daily players in the gaming community through video and audio.2. Things 3If you need help organizing your busy schedule but don’t have a personal assistant, check out Things 3. This award-winning personal task manager app can help you get things done and achieve your goals in an organized manner.3. LeadpagesNot your typical email marketing service, Leadpages helps you create customized landing pages, webinars and ads to generate leads. It focuses on growing your email list, then links to a third-party site, such as MailChimp, to send your campaigns to those that signed up.4. KlayivoKlayivo pulls in data from your ecommerce platform, point-of-sale software or other marketing tools and helps you create highly targeted and super-relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing. You can set up automated trigger emails for when customers sign up, abandon shopping carts and check out.5. SquareSquare handles all of your company’s digital finances. With four different platforms (Payments, Point of Sale, Payroll and Capital), Square helps you track all of your money on your smart device. Compatible with both Apple and Android, you can make customer transactions, pay employees and fund your company.6. SalesflareIf you feel like you waste too much time updating your CRM, Salesflare is for you. A CRM that basically fills out itself, Salesflare inputs data for you so you can focus on making sales. It reminds you what follow-ups are the most important and who talked to what customer, so your team can efficiently work together to increase profit.7. CodaIf you want to build your own website instead of relying on Squarespace or Weebly, Coda lets you hand-code with a little help. It edits your text to make sure your coding is in tip-top shape.8. LandbotLandbot creates a Chatbot for you within minutes that lives in your website and enhances your customer’s experiences.  9. ClickUpClickUp’s easy-to-use product management software keeps your team productive, efficient and headache-free. It lets you integrate with more than 1,000 other services, such as Slack and Zapier, to keep everything your company needs in one convenient place.10. GhostA modern-publishing toolbox, Ghost helps you create and manage an online blog or publication. It edits, manages content, schedules, builds proper SEO and more, all through its simple platform. Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. –shares Next Article Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brandlast_img read more

Podcast Cannabis Investing Tips for NonMillionaires

first_imgPodcast Get 1 Year of Green Entrepreneur for $19.99 Image credit: Codie Sanchez Podcast: Cannabis Investing Tips for Non-Millionaires 15+ min read Jonathan Small Next Article Add to Queue May 23, 2019center_img Cannabis stocks are all the rage. IPOs valued at billions of dollars are popping up on Wall Street and the Canadian Stock Exchange, and private equity funds are investing multiple millions in cannabis companies.If you’re watching all this from the sidelines, wondering if you’re missing out on a golden opportunity but not sure what to do about it, you’re not alone. Many potential investors believe they don’t have the cash to get in the game, and in some instances they’re correct. Due to regulations, many funds are not even permitted to accept investments for less than $200,000.On this week’s Green Entrepreneur podcast, we talk to Codie Sanchez, a partner at Cresco Capital Partners, about how to invest in cannabis companies even if you don’t have a lot of cash. This is a full transcript of our interview. Related: Why Former NBA Star Al Harrington is Betting On CannabisYou started your career with lots of spreadsheets and more traditional investing, and have now transitioned to the cannabis industry and business. I’m curious to know why you made that change.I think there might be some parallels to a lot of people’s story in this space in that once you figure out investing, and particularly if you’re trained to do it, once you figure out how to find dislocations in markets – something where everything just doesn’t fit together perfectly so that people smarter than you and who have more money than you do can take advantage of it – when you see those dislocations, you learn to jump on them quickly. In investing we call this arbitrage. That’s when something typically costs less than it should or costs more, and you can take advantage of those things happening.So I saw that happening in this space. I’m certainly no genius or clairvoyant in it; it really just came down to the math and looking at math in this space as an investor and saying there’s a real, tangible generation of wealth creation event happening here.But I have to say that probably math would not have been enough if I was going to call my mom and tell her I was going to go into the cannabis game. [laughs] It was a little bit deeper than that.I started off my career, even before I was traditionally investing at firms like Goldman or State Street or Vanguard or doing some of the venture stuff, I was actually an investigative journalist. I don’t know if we talked about this before, but I worked at the U.S.-Mexico border. We were writing stories about human trafficking and drug smuggling.Wow, that’s intense. What part of the border?The part that you would probably know is right across the border is a place called Juárez, [across] from El Paso, Texas.Yes, it’s notorious.Exactly. They call it Ciudad de la Muerte, the city of death. It’s a pretty tough place to be young and female. Thy have hundreds and hundreds a year of murdered women there for some reason.But what that taught me, besides to be relatively jaded, is that as an investigative journalist you really don’t take anything at face value. You have to question everything, find the root of why things happened, and then dig deeper. You really can’t let stigma get in the way, or people’s assumptions; otherwise you’ll never write a good story.This tendency taught me to do this deep diving, and that’s when I got to the math, and also a little bit of the heartstrings. I think anybody in this space has a story – and I know you’ve shared some of yours too – about the impact that it’s had. I dug into that a little bit in particular with veterans, which we can talk about later. We fund an initiative called Texans for Veterans, which is trying to give veterans in Texas access to research and medicinal marijuana.How many times in your lifetime do you get a chance to be a part of a generational wealth creation event where there’s massive dislocation so little guys can play too, because the big guys aren’t all allowed to with their legal background, and then in tandem you get to make a huge impact – I think in multiple areas, but certainly with mental health and veterans, which I’m very aligned with since my partner is one.Your partner is a veteran?Yeah. My significant other. He’s active duty military right now, in the Navy.Has cannabis made an impact in his life?No, they’re very, very highly regulated. He does some particular things for the military in which that’s not allowed. Actually, for the military overall, if you use cannabis, you can lose your VA benefits, be fired. There are huge repercussions. But what he and I both have done is be a part of this nonprofit that essentially is trying to push for access for veterans.He’s the first one to say, “Gosh, if I could use it, I absolutely would,” for the chronic inflammation that you get from being deployed so many times, and certainly from – everybody comes back with some type of hyperawareness and certainly that stress that comes from being in a warzone.And you’ve seen firsthand that cannabis has helped veterans with those symptoms you’re talking about?Oh, absolutely. There’s one gentleman whose name is Keith who’s a bronze medal winner. He served in three different branches of the military, lifelong veteran. He was actually here in D.C. when the Pentagon was hit and was one of the first responders because he was a trained nurse. He’ll very publicly say – so I can say his name – that without cannabis, he doesn’t know if he’d still be around because of the opioid cocktails that they were giving him. He just wasn’t reacting well to them. He had a lot of anger and anger issues.Now with cannabis, he has a lovely family and wife and a cute dog. I think, while that is not quantifiable because there’s not enough research on it, there is certainly a lot of qualitative human interaction that you can see that it makes a differenceI know there’s no such thing as easy money, but I think people who are not necessarily directly involved in the industry, whether they’re touching the plant or not touching the plant, might have some interest in investing, at least, in the industry. That is what you do. Your clients are generally big spenders, right? To get into your fund – tell me a little bit about the fund that you work with.It’s called Cresco Capital Partners, and it’s a private equity or growth equity fund in the cannabis space. What’s interesting is due to the regulations around a lot of how these funds are structured, they actually mandate that you have higher minimums, typically because you’re only allowed so many investors in the fund and they have to be accredited. So even if I wanted to allow everybody in at $5 or $10, it’s very hard to do that at this stage.Now, that changes, and as you get more funding you can create a more complex fund business. But at this stage, this is our second fund, which is $55 million. The first one was around $25 million. We have co-investments, so we’re probably right around somewhere like $100 million in assets. The minimum is $200k, so that does make it difficult for everybody who wants to invest. It’s still one of the lowest in the space. I’ve tried to keep it lower. It’s an administrative nightmare to do so.Image credit: Codie SanchezBut I think the whole point of this industry is democratizing access, right? I think that’s what we’re going to talk about today – how to do that, whether it’s investing with somebody like us, or ramping up to invest with somebody like us, or doing it on your own. We can talk about all of the above and how I started investing in cannabis.Let’s talk first of all a little bit about what you do with the money that people invest with you. Who has Cresco invested in and some of the companies that are under your purview?This is where I get excited. There’s nothing more fun than giving the lifeblood, which is capital, to really incredible organizations. In this industry in particular, it all moves so fast, you get to see what that money does that you give these companies quickly and all the people you’re able to serve one way or the other.We’ve invested in a lot of interesting companies. We’ve had about seven exits thus far, which means companies that have been sold or gone public or done some sort of merger. We invested in some names probably people know, like Acreage, one of the biggest companies out there, who’s had a little bit of news.They recently merged or were acquired by Canopy Growth.Yeah, for a tiny amount, $3.5 billion. We’ll see. It’s the right to buy them, so it’s pending that legalization happens – but you covered that well.Then we invested in GTI, which other people probably know. We invest in a company called Ebbu that was bought by Canopy Growth for just shy of $500 million. We invested in another company called Form Factory, which was also sold. That one’s interesting. It’s kind of a co-packing business and a branding company. And then we have lots of up-and-coming companies in the portfolio, like Prohibited, which is a big media company. You guys have done stuff with them. I think that company is fascinating because they’re doing brands too and leveraging this medium platform to maybe figure out who will be the future brands of cannabis. And then we invest in another company called Sublime. Great product.I love their music.Oh, the music? [laughs] Well, these guys are not of the ’90s. They were probably born around that time period. But they do these little things called Dosies, which are micro-dose, almost. They look like Tic-Tacs. They’re manufactured by the same manufacturer of Tic-Tac to do the candy coating that they do. So they taste like orange Tic-Tacs, and they’re great for sleep. My grandmother has a problem with her hip and she can’t sleep, so she uses Dosies now. I got turned onto it. One of my partners, who’s another woman and a mom, said after you have kids you really never sleep again, and these helped her. So I thought it might work for my grandma, too.You oversee a $100 million dollar fund. I’m sure you get pitches all day long. What are some of the main things that you look for in a company? I’ll tell you one thing, my inbox never gets to zero, that’s for sure. We’ve screened over 1,800 companies and hundreds a year, and what we look for is twofold. One, we’re not seed stage, meaning we don’t invest on the early side of the business like a tech company might when there is no revenue yet or no product. We invest in the growth equity space. Typically we’re looking at companies that are already generating anywhere from $1-$20 million in revenue. We need them to be revving a lot in order for us to invest.We definitely are interested in companies that first and foremost – which I think any good investor will tell you –you’re really betting on the team. The idea is important, but as any entrepreneur knows, there are going to be pivots, there’s going to be heartbreak, there’s going to be backstabbing. It’s like Lifetime TV if you want to go run a company. You have to pick people that are resilient to do it. So we do a ton of time on due diligence on the teams. I was just talking to a big MSO today, actually, and one of the sales points for them –That’s a multi-state operator, for those taking notes at home. Good one. The thing that sold me was they are a multi-state operator and their COO is one of the smartest operators I’ve ever seen. That’s always a good trick if you’re looking to invest: figure out, can they actually operate? Because cannabis is not a simplistic business. It’s highly complex. You want to make sure you have somebody that can handle it. Let’s get to the million dollar question, which is: I don’t have a million dollars, but I want to be a player in this business, or at least I want to invest in this business. Where do I start? What do I do? If I know that a lot of the really successful funds such as yours have a pretty high bar of entry, unless I have $200,000 – which I don’t. I think the goal here is to do just that, to get your seat at the deal-making table and to get you deals and access into the space that really outstrips your network. The secret is, I really believe wealth is made on the private side. If you look at anybody who has accumulated wealth – not just rich, but real wealth – it’s because they’ve done investing either on real estate or in their own company on the private side. That’s just the “why” of this even mattering.Explain that a little bit to me. On the private side, meaning they’re not public companies that they invest in? It’s very hard to make generational wealth or real wealth by investing in public stock markets. You can see that very quickly. Say you put all the faces from the Forbes 100 list, billionaires out there, on one page. What you would notice if you went through all their bios is not a single one of them made their money from smartly investing in public stocks.The brilliant Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn, they only move when they have three things. The first one is an unfair advantage. For instance, Carl is an activist  . He can go bother the founders of the company until they make changes to the actual company and make him money. So you need an unfair advantage in some way.Your unfair advantage, Jon, might be that you have really incredible deal flow because all these entrepreneurs want to pitch you all the time. So you might be able to see trends and know people and be a connector because of all this deal flow that you see.So one is your unfair advantage. That’s what you need. The second thing that you need is intimate knowledge. Not insider knowledge. You can’t have anything illegal. But you need intimate knowledge of the industry, the company, whatever you’re investing in. You really can’t get that with public stocks because otherwise it would be insider information. So intimate knowledge meaning you have some access to their financials, or just that you know an industry intimately?I believe access to their financials or access to the actual founders or access to their actual distributors. Something beyond what the news and Jim Cramer could scream at you on CNBC. So you need that.Then the third thing that you need is the ability to affect the outcome. That’s how we invest on the private side because by giving them capital, we can talk to them about how they’re going to exit, who’s going to buy them, if we could help them structure the exit on the backend, all of that.Those three things are really key to massively investing. But we’re talking at a super high level. We’re not all going to have that on Day 1, but you should always have that in the back of your mind. It’s why I’m really worried about anybody who’s a price speculator.What does that mean?Price speculator basically means – everybody knows about the cryptocurrency crisis. The housing crisis really was no different, and there was also the internet bubble, and then if we go way back there was tulip mania, which was where people were paying hundreds of dollars for a tulip bulb. Nuts.It’s all the same thing, though. It’s all called price speculation, which basically means people invest in something just because they think the next guy is going to buy at a higher price and they’ll be able to sell after he gets in. But they don’t believe that there’s real value in what they’re investing in. They’re price speculating that the price is going to go up no matter what.We’ve got to be careful about that. There’s a little bit of that in cannabis, so on the public side I’m really cautious about investing. We talk about price a lot. Warren Buffett talks about that too.It seems really out of whack right now on the public side, the valuations of the companies. Yeah, I think so. I think you’re nailing it. I don’t have a crystal ball. If I did, we’d be on my yacht while we’re recording this podcast. But what I think is important to think about on the public side, or any time valuations or the price of stocks is concerned, is it might be really exciting the numbers that they’re at, and they might do all the things they need to do in order to grow into that price, but I’m always looking at the downside.Does it make sense for the top 10 cannabis stocks to be worth 4x more than the top 10 biotech, tobacco, pharma, or healthcare stocks, from a price-to-sales perspective (which just means the price that they’re worth versus how much they actually sell)? I would say I don’t know. It’s a growth industry; it could be, but probably not. The key to investing there is always buy low, sell high, and train your brain on that, to focus on price first before excitement.You gave us the three attributes or the three keys to think about and ways to position yourself. You had also mentioned you need to make relationships, you need to network outside of your network. How do you recommend doing that?Codie: I think there are a couple different ways. One, if you want to invest, in my opinion, or if you want to do anything – say you want to play baseball. The first thing that you should probably go do is watch a baseball game. Then you should probably go try to play a baseball game amongst you and your friends. Then you should probably try to figure out who are the reporters that cover baseball. Then you should probably try to go to three or four conferences of people who are talking about baseball or selling baseball gear or something related to baseball.It’s not dissimilar to investing. You go where the game is played. In cannabis, in my opinion, that would be places like ArcView, which is kind of like AngelList, if you know what that is. AngelList is where you can go and invest in lots of different startups, but at very low dollar amounts. ArcView is similar but for cannabis, and they also have conferences. So I think you go to a couple ArcView conferences, you join that.They should be, in my opinion, getting smart. They’ve got to listen to all the podcasts on Green Entrepreneur, and then go over to CannaInsider podcast, and then go and look at some of the investor intelligence reports like Cohen. Don’t spend a lifetime; do this in a weekend. You can binge-listen to a couple podcasts, binge-read all the investor intelligence on MJBiz or Green Entrepreneur or Cohen.Then you start reaching out. Then you try to go to an ArcView event. Schedule one. Then you email all the speakers at the ArcView event. Give yourself a timeline. You have 30 days to get smart on it.What’s crazy is, after you do those three things – listen to a ton of podcasts, read as much as you can about the industry, and then get hooked up to an industry group and go to one of their conferences – you are smarter than 90% of the population on cannabis.What’s the conversation you have with these people that you connect with through ArcView or these different platforms that you have recommended? Is that the moment when you present yourself, about who you are and what you have to offer?I think you have to first have a belief that I’ve found to be true across every industry I’ve been in, which is that if you go where the game is played because you want to be in the game somehow, you will have opportunities presented to you that you never otherwise would.That’s my promise to you. If you do these three things and you go to where the game is played with a curious and open mind and dig in, you’re going to have stuff come up that you didn’t exactly realize how the opportunity was presented to you, and you wouldn’t have picked it exactly this way, but it’s even better than you thought.If you have that belief, then when you go, I think there are two things that are super important. One is curiosity. We’re all egoists, right? I like to have my ego stroked. I’m sure you do [laughs] Never. But the truth is, if somebody comes up to me and says, “Codie, I’ve been reading your stuff, listening to your podcast here, I saw you speak here, and I’m really curious as to what you meant here” or “I’m really curious, what do you think about this?” or “how would you enter this space?” or “why did you do this particular move?” – those small, tailored questions to somebody’s ego, showing that you’re truly curious, not faking it – that goes really far. If you do that to five or ten people, the likelihood is you have two to three to four who want to engage with you. So that’s where I’d start. Curiosity.But then I think the second thing you’ve got to do if you actually want to get in – I just interviewed an analyst today, actually, for our firm. The way he came to me was similar to this. Reached out, said he had listened to a few things. But he did something different that I loved, which was “I’ve been doing research and analysis on the space. I’m in grad school right now and did some models on vertically integrated companies” — which are companies like Acreage, let’s say.So he said, “I did some research on these guys. Would that be useful to you?” I was like, “Huh, that’s interesting. Yeah, sure, I’ll take a look.” I looked at it. The models were actually really good, so I followed up with him. Right now I’m looking at the lab testing space, for example. Every time somebody wants to sell you cannabis, they’ve got to go make sure that they take it to a third-party lab to see if it has any sort of pesticides in it or if it actually is THC at the level that they say it is. I’m interested in that space. So I said, “Why don’t you try to apply your thought process to this lab space?” He did it, did a great job, and I’ll probably offer him a job.So that second key is not what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. If you provide value to people who are in positions of power, that is so rare – so rare – that they are going to want you in their circle.Right. There’s an example of somebody who might not have had $200,000 to invest in the fund, but had an expertise that you appreciated and needed.Absolutely. And if you’re an employee in a fund, you get an allowance where you can invest much less, so you don’t have to put in $200k if you actually work at one of these funds. Even if you’re in admin.What are some common mistakes that you see people making?First is be careful with public stocks. If you’re going to do it, be fine losing the money and be prepared for a lot of volatility. I say that because there are also some great public stocks, so I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it; just be cautious.The second thing I see people do that makes me nervous is they just go and invest in one company right off the bat. Everybody’s raising for cannabis something or other these days. Even if it’s just the $1,000 that you have to invest, it’s really risky to throw that out there. It’s called angel investing, but it’s risky to do that with the first couple companies you’ve seen especially.So I think the biggest thing you’ve got to get used to if you want to be an investor is saying “no” upfront. You’re like the hot girl at the bar. “No, no, no, no.” You want to go on a lot of first dates, but you don’t want to get married to somebody – you don’t want to give them your money – until you’ve gotten a feel for this weird industry and how to do some investments. Don’t make your first investment when it’s been given to you.And Lord, I made some bad investments when I first started, so don’t feel bad if you did. But I think they say that the best way to make a million dollars in angel investing is to start with three, which is the same for vineyards too.So diversify. Do a fund.Yeah, do a fund. ArcView is the only one that I know of in the cannabis space. I don’t want it to feel like I’m doing a commercial for them. But you can go to these angel investing groups. The goal that I had when I first started investing was to invest alongside somebody that’s smarter than I amHow do you do that? Well, you can go to something like ArcView and listen to all of the companies pitch. It’s like YCombinator, which is famous in tech circles as being an incubator. Go to ArcView, listen to everybody pitch, and then see and ask them what other investors are investing in their company besides you. Then you very easily reach out to those people and say, “Hey, I’m Codie and I’m looking to invest in XYZ Cannabis Company too. Do you have a minute to talk so I can understand why you’re investing?”Once you are in the investing circle, it’s much easier to get doors open for you. So invest alongside people that are smarter than you. You can do that by starting at something like ArcView, or I think you can do that in a fund structure.Or you can do that by following some of the big names in this space, like what is Steve DeAngelo investing in? He probably has interesting insight, being in this industry for a long time. What is Jonathan investing in? He’s seen a lot of different cannabis companies. So look for those influencers and then see if you can get a little piece of the pie and put in a small amount of what you can.Should we apply the same sort of criteria that you apply when you’re looking at companies? You said that you say “no” a lot. What are some red flags that you would say “no” to? What would you see in a company that you would be like, “no”? Or what should I see in a company where I might have second thoughts? I think when you’re an early angel investor, you should never invest in a company that doesn’t have revenue. There’s too much deal flow, especially in cannabis, there’s too many companies to invest in somebody that has never made a dollar. So I would not do that. Look for companies that at least have a couple hundred thousand dollars to a million plus in revenue.What you’ll be amazed by is they’ll take your money – you might not have much, let’s say, but if you can provide some other type of value, some sweat equity – these startups are usually strapped for cash and for help. So you can probably even leverage your sweat equity a little bit there. But I would start with don’t invest if they’re pre-revenue. I think that’s way too much risk upfront.Then I would say also, be really careful about investing in friends who are not absolute rock stars who have already done this before. Maybe they had already run an alcohol distribution company, so now they’re going to go into cannabis distribution. That makes a lot of sense. But otherwise, be careful about funding friends early on, before you really know how to analyze if they’re capable or not. That’s where a lot of people lose money.You said that you want to make sure that you like the team and are impressed by the team that is running a company. Will you have that kind of access as somebody who’s new to the game? It’s not like you can call up every CEO. You’ll have access because of who you are and your status in the industry, but how does one – should you just do your own research online? How do you find out more about who these people are?One way you can get access is through special purpose vehicles. What a lot of people do when they don’t want to invest or don’t have a ton to invest is they might pool their assets. It’s pretty inexpensive. You create an LLC, which basically costs nothing online these days, and that LLC allows you – say you have $10,000 that you could invest, and a couple other people have $10,000 that they could invest, and you pool it together and now you have $100,000.You can make yourself sound very fancy. “I am in charge of Cannabis, Inc., which is an LLC of investors in the cannabis space. We’re analyzing companies.” So with very little work and with very little money, you can actually get a seat at the table and say “We have $100,000. We’re looking to deploy it, and maybe it’s with your company.” Then you can get better access, certainly.Or you can join into somebody else’s syndicate or join angels groups. There’s CannaAngels – almost every city has a cannabis angel network, and if you join one of them and you pool all your resources together – but you don’t have to do the actual work – then you can get real access.How quickly will you see an ROI?Well, in cannabis it’s been faster than it typically is. Most venture capital or private equity funds are 5-year funds, so your money’s locked up for 5 years with a 2-year extension, meaning they can extend that 5 years by 2 years if they want to. That’s typically because it takes that long for a company to have a liquidity event, which means when they sell or you get your money back in some way.So the typical thought is 5 to 7 years, which I know to all of us who use Uber Eats and expect our food to get delivered in 7 minutes, seems like an eternity. [laughs] But that’s standard. If you’re going to do this, it has to be long money, and in my opinion, you have to want to learn and make money.Our first fund, we returned the capital in 3 years because cannabis is moving so fast. But that is what draws people to public stocks, I think, a lot. It’s short-term, there’s an ability to make money, and it’s a lot more rewarding to that endorphin-heavy brain of ours that wants immediate feedback loops. If you’re seeing it too quickly, there might be something going on here that’s not right?In my opinion, yeah. I don’t like price speculation, which I think is entirely what crypto is about. I think blockchain is different, but yeah. You always worry if you’re at an airport somewhere and the shoeshine guy is giving you stock tips about cannabis companies or about cryptocurrency companies.The stock market is really there to help investors beat inflation over the long term. You earn your 10% per year, which helps you beat inflation, and compounding investing over time leads to you making enough money to retire, theoretically. So I’m always nervous if the stock market is looked at as an immediate cash cow. That’s probably not sustainable.As far as the type of cannabis companies to invest in. Tell me the top 3 that you should be looking at and top 3 that maybe you should pass on?I got offered a really interesting deal in Colombia, actually, by descendants of Pablo Escobar to grow cannabis in Colombia [laughs] I passed on that one. But in all seriousness, cultivation is something that I worry about as the price of flower or the actual cannabis smokeable plant goes down. That’s just natural. It is a plant and it is agriculture, so that’s going to happen as the markets get more efficient. So I’m not running to give money to people who are purely doing grows. I would stay away from that. I don’t think I’m the only one doing that.I would stay away from brands that are not amazingly executed and with the ability, proven and actual, to scale. There’s a lot of little micro-brands around, and I think many of those will die a death of a thousand papercuts with California regulations and others. So be careful about that space.I also think I would be careful about any sort of tech that mimics something that’s done by a company outside of the cannabis space. People say to me, “I’m going to be the oracle of cannabis,” and my response is, “Oracle will be the oracle of cannabis.”I wouldn’t do that because eventually this game will change and those companies – perhaps they get bought, and there are some instances where that could be the case. But I’m hesitant of that space. So those would be the three I would stay away from.And the three that seem to have a lot of opportunity?Up until now — and I think it’s still the case — multi-state operators have done incredibly well. They’re out there doing a land grab, trying to grab as many different dispensaries and the grows associated with the licenses in each state for them.So these are cannabis brands that operate in many different states because they have, like you said, dispensaries and grows in a bunch of different states? Exactly. It’s not dissimilar to a company that distributes, like Whole Foods for instance, across multiple state lines and grows all their own produce and has a ton of white label brands and everything, like you see in Whole Foods. Not dissimilar entirely for these multi-state operators. Those I think are going to continue to have a lot of value, if done really well and if they scale. I think the small one-off operations I wouldn’t be as interested in.The second space that we’re really focused on is everything to do with biotech in this space and the ability for cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes, whether that’s biosynthesis or being able to actually create cannabis in a lab through things like yeast or algae. It’s way above my paygrade from a science understanding perspective, but we have somebody on the team that that’s their specialty, so they dive into those companies. So I think anything in biotech and that sector could be really interesting if you get the real plays. Then the third area is really well-executed brands who are able to scale nationally and hopefully globally. We’ve made a few of those bets in the brand space, but gosh, we have to see a lot.Explain to our audience exactly what you mean by brands in this context.That basically means who’s going to be the Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Blue Moon of cannabis. These are cannabis brands that will become household names, hopefully. We don’t really have any of those right now. I don’t really think you could argue that there is a nationally recognized cannabis brands I can’t tell you the amount of times I get pitched, individual small CBD brands or THC brands, and they might have really nice packaging or make you feel good – I mean, a lot of times it’s the same product. We’re all dealing with the same brands, so why is this one product going to break out as opposed to the other hundred that I get pitched? It’s very hard as an investor to know. Is it the people attached to it? It’s the difference between RC Cola and Coke. How do you know which is the one that’s going to stand outSometimes it’s very hard to tell whether it’s all hype or if there’s something real there. What would be your way to dig a little deeper?First, I would want to see real revenue. If we’re dealing with a company like Sublime, for instance, we’re talking about double-digit millions in revenue, so then you know that there’s something there. They’re able to operate, people are buying these companies.Then the second thing — I have two good friends that run a company called Windy Hill Brands, and they sold an alcohol company that I’m blanking on, but it was something Moonshine, to the guys who created Deep Eddy Vodka. They’re just brand geniuses. So one of the things is having people in your corner who understand this space.The most important part there is also their ability to distribute. I’ve made mistakes before in investing in brands – not at Cresco, but when I was investing at different venture funds. There was a brand that I loved and I wanted this product to exist in the world, but I realized that the management team didn’t have the distribution chops. So they weren’t able to get it on the shelves of Whole Foods, for instance, or CVS or whatever the case may be – and they didn’t have that crazy sales drive to do it.What you really need in the brand space is it’s all about your distribution, and can you actually get your product in the hands of the distributors, or can you get your product, through ecommerce, sold online in a big way? A lot of founders are pretty lazy about getting their sales out in that way, and they want to do some of the fun stuff. Nobody likes cold calling.Say you have no money to invest in cannabis. Not a dollar. I’ve totally been there; my dad didn’t get to go to college, so I remember having nothing to invest and worried about my debit card not going through.The one thing that you can do is look for sweat equity into these companies. That is basically where you start doing all the stuff we talked about – meeting people, reading about it, reaching out to them via email – and then you say, “I’m Codie,” for instance, and say I’m a graphic designer. “I could do some graphic design work for you. You don’t have to pay me. I’ll just do it for you, but how about I work for some percent ownership in the company, and you pay that to me over this time period?”Or you could say, “I, Jonathan, am really good at copywriting because I’m a journalist. Why don’t I help you write some of your copy for your website or to your clients, and in exchange for that you give me some equity?” So there are certainly ways to use your skillset as your capital. I would think about that. If you google “sweat equity,” you’ll get a million different ways to do it.That’s great advice. Is it helpful to make a list of what you have to offer? Like, are you a graphic designer, are you a good publicist? What are a lot of these companies looking for?I think everything. Totally all of them are looking for help from a marketing – the two things that almost every company needs immediately is sales, so they need somebody to go out and bring them more revenue, and they need help with marketing. They need, just like you said, people to pitch publishers, people to write copy. Social media somewhat, because social media is tricky in this space. But yeah, somebody who’s good with social media in a way that won’t get them banned from Instagram. Exactly. And you can always say, “What are things that you need to have done that are terrible, that you don’t want to do? I’ll do that.” You can also offer it more broadly if you don’t have a direct solution.I would say what they don’t need is like “I’m really good at strategy. Let me give you strategy.” Nope, we’re executing. We don’t have time for third-party strategy. So that’s probably not as useful. But introductions to capital, sales, marketing, graphic design, anything like that is really valuable to a startup. Would you recommend having a formal agreement with a company? What I would be concerned about is that – most people are good people, but there’s going to be some bad apples, and they’re going to take advantage of you and then sell and not give you anything. Should you have some sort of contract with them?Yeah. We all watched the Facebook story, right? How I’ve done it in the past, before I was a bigger investor, was I would have a little something drafted up. Again, you can find this online, like a sweat equity contract.But essentially I would have a little contract that basically says “Codie is going to provide the following services. For these services, she is going to be given X percent of equity,” for them to fill in – and it’ll be vested, which means I actually own it – “over a 6, 12, or 18 month period,” whatever period you choose.But what I would say upfront is, “Hey, why don’t I do this for you, work for you for the next 30 days for $free.99? Free, totally. I’ll do this work for you for 30 days. I believe in what you’re doing. This is the contract that I’d like to sign at the end of 30 days for me to keep helping you like this. Does that sound good?” Typically they’ll be good on that front. You might get burned once, but you’re going to learn a ton, and then you’ll learn who not to trust next time.I think in tandem with that, then you can actually start adding some cash components of it. Once they see your work and how useful you are, if you crush it for them, people don’t want that to stop. Entrepreneurs aren’t stupid. So if you’re doing good work and you had your little equity thing drawn up, you can ask for cash as well so you’re not slaving away for free for 5 years.  –shares Entrepreneur Staff Want to invest in the cannabis industry but barely have enough to buy your own weed? Cody Sanchez of Cresco Capital Partners has suggestions. Subscribe Now Editor in Chief of Green Entrepreneur Green Entrepreneur provides how-to guides, ideas and expert insights for entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a cannabis business.last_img read more

Marianne Williamson May Seem a Little Bananas but Shes Right to Focus

first_img Marianne Williamson Food 68shares Guest Writer Add to Queue 6 min read Cofounder and President of the Reducetarian Foundation Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Brian Katemancenter_img Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Next Article Marianne Williamson May Seem a Little Bananas, but She’s Right to Focus on Food Issues Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Williams’s contribution on the debate stage was small, but important. Fixing our broken healthcare system won’t be easy for politicians or entrepreneurs — but it would save millions of lives. July 15, 2019 Last month’s Democratic debate touched on a lot of important subjects. But not enough time was given to one of the most urgent problems in the U.S. today: our diets are killing us.Around 45 percent of deaths from heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes in 2012 could be because of a poor diet. About three-fourths of the population has a diet low in vegetables and fruit, while most are eating too much salt, saturated fat and sugar. Research has found that even small amounts of processed meats can increase the risk of death, from cancer and particularly heart disease.This public health disaster is really costing us. Rising rates of chronic disease accounted for an estimated $211 billion of the $314 billion increase in healthcare spending in the U.S. between 1987 and 2000. More recent research has found that one in five deaths between 1990 and 2017 were associated with poor diet.During the debate, presidential candidate Marianne Williamson mentioned the importance of going deeper than “superficial fixes.” “[W]e don’t have a health care system in the United States, we have a sickness care system in the United States,” she said. “We just wait until somebody gets sick and then we talk about who is going pay for the treatment and how they’re going to be treated.”She said we need to talk about why so many Americans have unnecessary chronic illnesses compared to other countries, and the influence government has on our diets, and subsequently, our health and wellbeing.“It gets back into not just Big Pharma, not just health insurance companies, but it has to do with chemical policies, it has to do with environmental policies, it has to do with food, it has to do with drug policies, and it has to do with environment policies,” Williamson said.Many voters think she doesn’t stand a chance of becoming president, but in this instance Williamson has stood out among her competitors because many policymakers don’t want to talk about this broader issue. It’s easy for them to think this battle is far longer than their time in office will be, that it’s too anti-business. But this wasn’t an off-the-cuff crusade for Williamson. On her website, she argues that:”Until America comes to terms with how much we have acquiesced to the many unhealthy practices that should be considered unlawful — but which are currently allowed in order to increase corporate profits — we will continue to have a less-than-meaningful discussion of how as a society we provide health care.”People aren’t eating poor diets by choice; the country’s food system is designed this way. Processed food and fast food (notorious for meat-sweet items) are often cheaper and more accessible, and many trade lobbyists are pushing onto the population the very foods we need to stop eating. Improving attitudes around diet and health and longevity is welcome, but we also need to recognize the huge role policymakers play in this, and hold them accountable. For example, Williamson said we should end agricultural subsidies for unhealthy foods, including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and hydrogenated fats, and incentivize and subsidize those in industry and business making healthy food more available and affordable. Research has found that the rate of Type 2 diabetes is 20 percent higher in countries with higher availability of HFCS compared to countries that have less access to it.More and more scientists and entrepreneurs are acknowledging that we need to focus more on prevention and less on treatment, that it’s already too late when people seek help from their doctor to manage their weight. One hope is that AI and other futuristic technologies will be able to spot early markers of disease and help people prevent its onset through diet, exercise and lifestyle.Science and technology are also advancing the availability and quality of plant-based alternatives, which can play a role in helping people cut back on their meat intake. For example, in Beyond Meat’s R&D lab, an e-tongue “tastes” the Beyond Burger burgers for likeness to meat, and helps perfect the burger’s chewiness, and an e-nose isolates more than 1,000 animal and plant matter molecules. Whole plant-based foods would obviously be a healthier option, but meeting people where they are (like at the drive-thru at Carl’s Jr.) is arguably an important and realistic start.There are many complex and intertwining factors contributing to the soaring number of Americans with preventable diseases, and a wealth of legislation that could help: from education to food regulation, advertising standards to agriculture, what children are served in school, how scientists are funded and incentivized, the food patients are served in hospitals and the food deserts (and food swamps) preventing or disincentivizing populations from accessing fruit and vegetables.One major regulatory issue at the moment is labeling. States across the country are banning plant-based foods from using words such as “sausage” and “burger” to describe their products. Most recently, a ban in Mississippi prevents vegetarian and vegan foods from using such words. Many hope that legislators can push back on this, as there is no evidence for the main claim that such labeling confuses consumers, which courts have repeatedly affirmed.Michelle Obama’s efforts to tackle obesity and improve nutrition for children during her time as First Lady were commendable, despite criticisms for partnering with food giants. But now, we need much bolder policy change. Williams’s contribution on the debate stage was small, but important. Fixing our broken healthcare system won’t be easy for politicians or entrepreneurs — but it would save millions of lives. Given all that is at stake, let’s hope other candidates take a cue from Williams and raise food issues in the second Democratic debate. Enroll Now for $5last_img read more

Study reveals link between childhood abuse and higher arthritis risk in adulthood

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 17 2018In a survey-based study of 21,889 adults in Canada, severe and/or frequent physical abuse during childhood and frequent childhood exposure to intimate partner violence were linked with higher risk of arthritis during adulthood, even after controlling for a range of factors. The findings are published in Arthritis Care & Research.The link may be due to potentially enduring immune and metabolic abnormalities caused by severe childhood abuse that might play a role in the pathogenesis of arthritis.“The link may be due to potentially enduring immune and metabolic abnormalities caused by severe childhood abuse that are similar to those that have been suggested might play a role in the pathogenesis of arthritis,” said lead author Dr. Elizabeth Badley of the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto. “The link may also be an indicator of the role joint injury has in causing osteoarthritis, by far the most frequent type of arthritis.” Source:https://newsroom.wiley.com/press-release/arthritis-care-research/childhood-abuse-linked-increased-arthritis-risk-adulthoodlast_img read more

Breast cancer drugs could tackle lung cancers resistant to targeted therapies

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Dec 27 2018A class of drugs used to treat certain breast cancers could help to tackle lung cancers that have become resistant to targeted therapies, suggests a new study in mice from the Francis Crick Institute and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).The research, published in Cell Reports, found that lung tumors in mice caused by mutations in a gene called EGFR shrunk significantly when a protein called p110α was blocked.Drugs to block p110α are currently showing promise in clinical trials against certain breast cancers, so could be approved for clinical use in the near future. The new findings suggest that these drugs could potentially benefit patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancers whose tumors have become resistant to treatment.”At the moment, patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancers are given targeted treatments that are very effective for the first few years,” explains study leader Professor Julian Downward, who has labs at the Crick and the ICR. “These drugs are improving, but unfortunately after a couple of years the cancer usually becomes resistant and starts to grow and spread again. The second line of treatment is currently conventional chemotherapy, which is not targeted and has substantial side-effects.Related StoriesStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryUsing machine learning algorithm to accurately diagnose breast cancerHow cell-free DNA can be targeted to prevent spread of tumors”Our new study suggests that it would be worth investigating whether p110α inhibitors could be used as a second-line therapy. As our research is at such an early stage, more research in mice and patient cells would be needed before even considering clinical trials, but it opens up a promising avenue of investigation.”For this research, the team targeted a specific interaction between the RAS protein and p110α. The RAS gene is mutated in around one in five cancers, causing uncontrolled growth, and is a key focus of Julian’s research. When they blocked this interaction in genetically modified mice with EGFR mutations, their tumors shrank significantly.Before the intervention, the tumors filled around two thirds of the space inside the lung. When the interaction between RAS and p110α was genetically blocked, this shrank significantly to about a tenth of the space inside the lung. The intervention also had very few side-effects.”As we wanted to pinpoint the specific interaction responsible, we used a genetic technique that would not be practical in a patient treatment,” says Julian. “We’re looking to develop ways to do this with drugs, as blocking this specific pathway would significantly reduce side-effects, but this work is many years from the clinic. In the medium-term, investigating existing drugs that inhibit p110α will be the next step. While these have side-effects, including temporary diabetes-like symptoms during treatment, they are still less toxic than chemotherapy.”Source: https://www.crick.ac.uk/news/2018-12-21_breast-cancer-drugs-could-help-treat-resistant-lung-cancerslast_img read more

Facebook flags users who try to game factchecking effort

first_img Facebook nixes Brazil pages, profiles that spread fake news Facebook acknowledged Tuesday it has developed tools to identify users “indiscriminately” flagging fake news as it refines its effort to combat misinformation. Citation: Facebook flags users who try to ‘game’ fact-checking effort (2018, August 21) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-facebook-flags-users-game-fact-checking.html © 2018 AFP Facebook says it has a ranking system that identifies users who “indiscriminately” flag fake newscenter_img Explore further But the leading social network disputed as “just plain wrong” a Washington Post report that it has developed an overall “reputation score” for its users as part of the initiative.Facebook said it has developed “a process to protect against people indiscriminately flagging news as fake and attempting to game the system” which relies in part on how often a user reports something as fake despite verification by fact-checkers.”The reason we do this is to make sure that our fight against misinformation is as effective as possible,” Facebook said in a statement.Users who report what appears to be bogus news are given a standard probability score of from zero to one depending on how reliable they are when it comes to reporting posts that are untrue, according to the social network.The rating is one of many “signals” used to prioritize flagged posts sent to be reviewed by fact-checking teams.But Facebook said the Post report was misleading because it did not create a “unified score” to rank the overall trustworthiness of its users.Over the past 18 months, Facebook and other online platforms have stepped up efforts to combat the spread of false news with the intent to manipulate the platforms.Part of the challenge battling bogus content is that some people report posts as false simply because they disagree with stories, or in efforts to wrongly discredit them, according to the social network.Repeatedly reporting accurate information to be false at Facebook would skew a users reliability rating toward zero in the ranking system.Facebook last month shut down 32 fake pages and accounts involved in an apparent “coordinated” effort to stoke hot-button issues ahead of November midterm US elections.The US intelligence community has concluded that Russia sought to sway the vote in Donald Trump’s favor, and Facebook was a primary tool in that effort, using targeted ads to escalate political tensions and push divisive online content.Facebook has since made a priority of preventing the social network to be used to spread misleading or outright deceitful messages aimed at influencing politics. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Teaching chatbots regular human language

first_img Explore further Credit: Gerdien Wolthaus Paauw XiaoIce: When a chatbot chat moves up to human-sounding flow At some delivery restaurants, you can already order your pizza through a chatbot. And IKEA, Google, and Amazon have virtual assistants on their sites that try to answer your questions. IKEA’s assistant is a drawn, redheaded young lady called Anna. You can ask her about products and sizes, about what is in stock, and about opening hours. However, an often-asked first question to chatbots is if a flesh-and-bone person is available. Clients’ experiences with computer systems are not always positive. “And yet, frequently asked questions are often answered correctly and quickly by these chatbots,” Christine Liebrecht observes. She is doing research on how to make them come across more human. Here, she is interviewed by Marga van Zundert.More human-like chatbots? Why?Even though you know you are chatting with a machine, it is nevertheless strange to start a conversation by typing ‘start’ rather than ‘hello.’ A conversation runs more smoothly, is more pleasant and more efficient if a machine presents itself in a human fashion. This is only logical, because talking is something you normally only engage in with humans. But at the same time, it is also very natural for people to see something human in lifeless things and to attribute emotions to them. Cars look friendly or cool and, standing in front of them, we see eyes rather than headlights. We do so en masse and unconsciously. If you google ‘I see faces,’ you will be surprised how strong this tendency is. The same thing happens when we are chatting with a robot. Unconsciously the idea that you are talking to a machine disappears. We call this anthropomorphism.How do you make a chatbot talk more human-like?Together with researcher Charlotte van Hooijdonk of VU Amsterdam I analyzed real customer service workers’ chat conversations. Clients like a personal touch. It turns out this personal touch lies predominantly in informal use of language, in personalization, inviting words, and empathy. Think of words like ‘I’ and ‘you,’ and in Dutch the use of the informal variant of the second person singular ‘jij’ rather than the more formal ‘u,’ the use of ‘hey’ or ‘hallo,’ but also of reactions like ‘Jeez,’ ‘Yes, I agree that’s very frustrating,’ or a smiley. The rights words to use obviously depend on the company. A pizza delivery company most likely will require more informal use of language than a mortgage company. Companies can use these language elements in their own online conversations, whether it be with chatbots or with ‘real’ employees. At the moment, together with a company called OBI4wan, we are developing an automatic tool that helps employees use the right tone of voice. We managed to get project funding for it from NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. The next step is to also teach chatbots this use of language, to have them use it in their conversations, and to subsequently investigate if clients like it better that way. Customer service chatbots are ready to help you night and day. But communication with a bot can be cumbersome sometimes. Christine Liebrecht, Associate Professor of Language, Business Communication, and Digital Media, thinks there is room for improvement. How? By teaching bots regular human language. This is how Tilburg University focuses on technology that works for people. Citation: Teaching chatbots regular human language (2019, February 25) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-02-chatbots-regular-human-language.html Provided by Tilburg University Are companies interested in chatbot research?They certainly are. More and more people are using online customer services. KLM receives 400,000 messages each month; it is undoable to answer these by hand. It is nice to have this attention from companies, because we like to use real data for our research. We are currently engaged in exploratory talks for new chatbot research. Companies can still let us know if they are interested.Can clients already mistake a bot for a human when they are chatting?That happens very rarely. The bots we have now are not advanced enough for that yet. IKEA’s Anna can answer questions about furniture, a travel company’s chatbot can answer questions about summer resorts. The first question you get in customer services tends to be about the type of question you are calling about, whether it is category x, y, or z, after which you get the next question. That is a smart trick to get to the right problem and the answer to it. But as soon as clients stray from the prescribed ‘path,’ they immediately notice that communication gets more cumbersome. In cases like that, a real service worker will often need to be called in after all to answer your question. But aren’t bots becoming more intelligent fast?Yes, they are. Artificial intelligence is making great strides. We already have self-learning bots that perform better and better because they process new information. But things can go horribly wrong there as well. A few years ago, Microsoft developed self-learning chatbot Tay. The ideas was to have ‘her’ become more personal and more human by letting her learn from conversations on Twitter. She learned a lot all right, but the input from Twitterers turned out to be so racist and so unconventional that, to everybody’s horror, Tay even developed into a holocaust denier. The input a self-learning bot receives is essential to its output. Won’t a chatbot need a spoken voice to make it truly human-like?That would certainly contribute to their being experienced that way. Colleagues of mine are actually doing research on that subject. However corny it may sound, people tend to experience a female voice as being friendly, helpful and willing to help, and a male voice as reliable and competent. Keeping this in mind, companies can think about how they want to present themselves, the kind of image they want to radiate, also in terms of voice. But for the moment we are concentrating on written text, and there is still a world to be won there as well. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

EU is unimpressed by threats of nodeal Brexit BBC

first_imgLONDON (Reuters) – The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said in an interview to be published on Thursday that he was unimpressed by threats of no-deal Brexit but that if the United Kingdom opted for such a course it would have to face the consequences. FILE PHOTO: EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nicosia, Cyprus May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Yiannis KourtoglouAsked by the BBC what would happen if London tore up its EU membership card, Michel Barnier said: “The UK will have to face the consequences.” “I think that the UK side, which is well informed and competent and knows the way we work on the EU side, knew from the very beginning that we’ve never been impressed by such a threat,” Barnier said. “It’s not useful to use it”. Barnier spoke to the BBC before Britain’s Conservative Party leadership contest. Boris Johnson, who is the frontrunner in the contest to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, has pledged to leave the EU with or without a deal on Oct. 31. If Johnson wins, the three-year Brexit crisis could deepen as the EU has refused to countenance changing the Withdrawal Agreement and the British parliament could try to block a no-deal Brexit. Barnier said the Withdrawal Agreement “is the only way to leave the EU in an orderly manner”. EU Commission’s first vice-president, Frans Timmermans, told the BBC that UK ministers were “running around like idiots” when they arrived to negotiate Brexit in 2017. Timmermans said he was shocked by the standard of the British negotiation after initially expecting a brilliant show. “We thought they are so brilliant,” he said. “That in some vault somewhere in Westminster there will be a Harry Potter-like book with all the tricks and all the things in it to do.” But then: “I thought, ‘Oh my God, they haven’t got a plan, they haven’t got a plan.’” “Time’s running out and you don’t have a plan. It’s like Lance Corporal Jones, you know, ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic!’ Running around like idiots.” Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Costas PitasOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.last_img read more