Blogs could become an embarassing exposure

Public entries intended for friends could become an embarrassing exposure. The number of places where young people go to bare their souls, to vent, to gossip is increasing. These places are the blogs – where people post their innermost thoughts for any number of Web surfers to see. “My philosophy is to be totally honest – whether it’s about my neighbor’s dog or my opinions about Iraq war, since the people who read my blog are friends or acquaintances of mine.” said Sarah, who lives in suburban Illinois and has been blogging for three years. But some people find that a price can be paid for putting one’s life online. Maya Marcel-Keyes, daughter of conservative politician Alan Keyes, had some discussions on her blog about being a lesbian, and this became an issue during her father’s recent campaign for U. S. Senate because he made anti-gay statements. Such incidents can cause personal and public dramas, often taking on a life they wouldn't have if the Web had not come along and turned individuals into publishers. Other people think that some blog entries about partying and dating exploits will have ramifications down the road. "I would bet that in the 2016 election, somebody's Facebook entry will come back to bite them,", says Steve Jones, head of the communications department at the University of Illinois at Chicago, referring to a networking site for college students and alumni, that is something of a cross between a yearbook and a blog. Some traditional blog sites, like Xanga, LiveJournal or MySpace, which allow easy creation of a Web site with text, photos and often music, have gotten more popular in recent years, especially among the younger set. Pew Internet & American Life Project made some surveys completed in recent months and found that nearly a fifth of teens who have access to the Web have their own blogs. And 38 percent of teens say they read other people's blogs. I’m increasingly hearing stories about the risk of posting a blog, says Amanda Lenhart, a researcher at Pew. For example, a man whose daughter was a college student looking for a job. He typed his daughter’s name into a search engine and found her blog, with a title that began "The Drunken Musings of ...." “And they surely have some discussions” said Lenhart, chuckling.

Western australia needs 18 000 extra workers every year

Unprecedented economic growth in Western Australia means that up to 17,800 extra skilled workers will be desperately needed every year for the next ten years, according to a report launched today by education and training minister Mark McGowan. Some of these skilled workers must come from Australia immigration. The Beyond the Resources Boom study was commissioned by the State Training Board (STB), and examines Western Australia's economic growth and the challenges faced by the state's workforce. Skill shortages are set to remain a feature of the labour market, the report concludes, due to the strength of the economy and the ageing workforce. STB chairman Keith Spence said the demand would be met through a combination of general population growth, skilled immigration from interstate and overseas, and the development of local training initiatives. Among the top performing occupations, in terms of projected annual average employment growth between 2006 and 2016, are intermediate mining and construction workers, plumbers, structural construction tradespersons, and mining, construction and related labourers. Demand for jobs in the mining and construction sectors is very high and a downturn is considered unlikely. Many of these occupations are on the Australia Skilled Occupation List and the Australia MODL (Migration Occupations in Demand List), which entitles people applying for Australian immigration to extra points. Economic projections modelled by the report indicate there is unlikely to be a boom-bust scenario in the short to medium term.

This reflects the resource-driven construction boom, which is underpinned by strong growth in demand from China and record commodity prices, particularly for the state's main export, iron ore. Skilled occupations currently make up nearly 60 per cent of the workforce and the report forecasts that overall demand for higher skills in Western Australia is likely to remain constant as a proportion of the economy. Other skilled occupations in demand include managers, administrators, professionals, associate professionals, tradespersons and related clerical, sales, transport and production workers.

Property abroad technology are set to change they way you work

Copyright 2006 Nicholas Marr The 1970s saws predictions that would have us believe that by the 21st century we would be relaxing whilst technology took the strain. Well the 21st century is here and the leisure era has still to appear. However there is one prediction that I am pretty convinced will come true and that is that overseas property will become our homes. The evidence is here, those looking to retire are buying homes in preparation for retirement and some are commuting huge distances whilst they see their time out at work. The young are traveling greater distances to buy affordable property and are beginning to travel further to work than any of our grandparents would ever have considered. More and more companies are seeing the benefits of home working and soon economics will take precedence. Doubts over worker inefficiency will fade away and companies will soon positively encourage office workers to work at home. Computer telephones, secure access to company intranets, email, faxing are all available now. What will the technology enable us to achieve in years to come? Overseas property owners are set to live in their homes Its a fact technology allow us to do almost anything we did at the office now at home. So why not make it an overseas home a place of work. According to the findings of a national tour operator the next 10 years will see the UK commuter belt extend beyond the British Isles and far into Europe. Thomson Holidays predicted that more people will work remotely from their overseas home or from the town nearest to their overseas property by 2016, commuting in and out of the UK on a regular basis. Cheap flights will make commuting a real option Cheap flights and overall better communications will assist the overseas home buyer to fly into work at relatively cheap prices. An overseas commuter belt will become established and commuters will consider their overseas home their primary residence. Prof Nick Middleton, presenter of UK TV Channel 4 travel shows Surviving Extremes and chairman of the Thomson Future Forum, said that in 10 years' time "the way we travel and the reasons for travel will be vastly changed". "The rapid advance of technology and global communications networks will make international commuting highly desirable and viable," he added. Combining an overseas property in your favorite part of Europe may mean that your leisure time will be enhanced. The affordability of overseas property will be another great attraction for this new work culture. It would certainly balance the work life balance in favour of leisure time. So the Leisure era may after all be on its way after all.

Property abroad technology are set to change they way you work

Copyright 2006 Nicholas Marr The 1970s saws predictions that would have us believe that by the 21st century we would be relaxing whilst technology took the strain. Well the 21st century is here and the leisure era has still to appear. However there is one prediction that I am pretty convinced will come true and that is that overseas property will become our homes. The evidence is here, those looking to retire are buying homes in preparation for retirement and some are commuting huge distances whilst they see their time out at work. The young are traveling greater distances to buy affordable property and are beginning to travel further to work than any of our grandparents would ever have considered. More and more companies are seeing the benefits of home working and soon economics will take precedence. Doubts over worker inefficiency will fade away and companies will soon positively encourage office workers to work at home. Computer telephones, secure access to company intranets, email, faxing are all available now. What will the technology enable us to achieve in years to come? Overseas property owners are set to live in their homes Its a fact technology allow us to do almost anything we did at the office now at home. So why not make it an overseas home a place of work. According to the findings of a national tour operator the next 10 years will see the UK commuter belt extend beyond the British Isles and far into Europe. Thomson Holidays predicted that more people will work remotely from their overseas home or from the town nearest to their overseas property by 2016, commuting in and out of the UK on a regular basis. Cheap flights will make commuting a real option Cheap flights and overall better communications will assist the overseas home buyer to fly into work at relatively cheap prices. An overseas commuter belt will become established and commuters will consider their overseas home their primary residence. Prof Nick Middleton, presenter of UK TV Channel 4 travel shows Surviving Extremes and chairman of the Thomson Future Forum, said that in 10 years' time "the way we travel and the reasons for travel will be vastly changed". "The rapid advance of technology and global communications networks will make international commuting highly desirable and viable," he added. Combining an overseas property in your favorite part of Europe may mean that your leisure time will be enhanced. The affordability of overseas property will be another great attraction for this new work culture. It would certainly balance the work life balance in favour of leisure time. So the Leisure era may after all be on its way after all.

The world turns to renewable energy

The issues associated with the continued of fossil fuels are complex. What is undisputed, however, is the world is turning to meet the challenge through renewable energy. The World Turns To Renewable Energy When one thinks of the amount of energy needed to power the modern world, it is easy to get a headache. The sheer volume is so massive as to be difficult to picture. Now that we have awakened to environment, climate and societal problems associated with the continued use of fossil fuels, it is interesting to hear the politicians suddenly thinking green. Ten years ago, who would have imagined the Terminator, now the Governator of California, driving around in a hybrid hummer? Well, he does. More so, Governor Schwarzenegger happens to arguably be the greenest politician in the Unites States when it comes to actually taking action. California, after all, has just instituted a 3 billion dollar solar energy plan. Alas, the federal government falls on its face when it comes to energy issues. Beholden to big oil, there current administration simply refuses to acknowledge there is a problem, much less take action. For many in the country, this must give the impression that nothing is being done around the world. In fact, much is being done, but the U. S. simply is not taking part. For example, give some thought to Victoria, Australia. This province has just committed itself to obtaining 60 percent of all of its energy from renewable sources by 2016. That is a staggering number. How about Germany? The Germans lead the world in wind and solar technology. By 2020, a full 20 percent of the total German energy supply will come from renewable energy. If you have ever experienced the lights of Berlin at night, you know that is impressive. How about Norway? The country is 99 percent reliant on renewable energy sources. Norway has no petroleum powered power plants. None! It imports no oil. In fact, it exports nearly all of its oil resources, making it the third biggest exporter in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Russia. How about Brazil? The country is known for its “interesting” political situation, yet it has managed to turn itself into a clean energy giant in South America. The reason is the country has converted much of its transportation, public and private, to ethanol. By 2007, it is believed most transportation in Brazil will run on 100 percent ethanol, which is a biofuel made from sugar cane. The price per gallon of ethanol is half that of oil. If the United States was to take the same step, the savings on oil each year would be close to $2 trillion dollars. The above represent only a few samples of a world making a concerted clean energy effort. Unfortunately, the United States is both the biggest consumer of fossil fuels and emitter of greenhouse gases. Until we follow these changes, the process will be incomplete.

Rising uk energy prices compound fuel poverty problems

More and more British households are spending a higher percentage of their income on energy costs. According to Tony Lodge of the Bow Group, research shows that the number of households categorised as being in fuel poverty is expected to have almost doubled in the past four years, up from 2 million to over 4 million. Then there is severe fuel poverty, which refers to spending more than 15% of total household income on fuel. Using the UK Government’s own fuel poverty criteria and set against recent energy price rises it can be calculated that an extra 2 million households have become victims of fuel poverty over this period. Last winter, more than 25,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of cold related illnesses. This was way in excess of other European countries with more severe climates than Britain. 22% of older people living in fuel poverty have gone without gas or electricity in order to make ends meet. After the 2005 series of energy price rises had hit British households, Energywatch said: “With no immediate end in sight to energy price rises the effect will be increased levels of debt, fuel poverty and the possibility of disconnection.

” So with the latest round of gas and electricity increases, fuel poverty becomes an even more crucial problem and challenge, particularly for the elderly and low paid. It is estimated that approximately half of people in fuel poverty are of pensionable age and that considerably more than half of vulnerable households in are pensioner households. AT GREATER RISK Fuel poverty amongst older people is a particularly serious problem not only because they are at greater risk from the cold, but also because they are more likely to spend time within their home. In fact, households containing people aged 65 and over spend more than 80% of their time at home, whilst this figure rises to over 90% for those aged 85 and more. Help the Aged estimate that between 20,000 and 50,000 people die each winter because their homes are cold. For this reason alone, the urgency of tackling fuel poverty deserves a high priority from Government. Indeed, the Government was officially committed to ending fuel poverty for vulnerable households by 2010. However, it is increasingly accepted that this target will not be met and it seems highly unlikely that the Government’s other target of eradicating all fuel poverty in the UK by 2016-18 also will not be achieved! INTRINSICALLY LINKED Energy policy and fuel poverty are intrinsically linked. A balanced energy policy which should include new nuclear power stations, clean coal stations alongside gas and some renewable capacity can play a key role is stabilising electricity costs. Through this route strategies aimed at reducing fuel poverty can function in the knowledge that a large area of fuel cost – electricity - will be far less volatile than, say, in the recent past. Other strategies boost support for better home design and insulation to improve heat conservation while other energy efficiency measures for households are sadly lacking. An energy policy that strives to reduce energy costs is available. It represents a strategy which can significantly reduce fuel poverty and provide a better degree of certainty for the energy generators and customers alike. Meanwhile the Government risks placing Britain at the mercy of being over-dependent on gas for its electricity generation and all of the implications this represents on grounds of higher bills and the inevitable social problems that would inevitably follow.

Important steps to complete before applying for nursing school

: According to the Bureau of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook, the demand for skilled nurses is at an all-time high, and is only expected to go higher. Between now and 2016, the nursing occupation will generate nearly 600,000 new jobs, and hundreds of thousands of positions that already exist will need to be filled. The demand for registered nurses will be higher than the demand for any other occupation for the next decade. If you are considering a career in nursing, there has never been a better time to pursue this rewarding field. There are three different paths that will lead to an RN, a certificate that declares you a Registered Nurse. Before you apply for nursing school, you should carefully consider the kind of nursing position you want to aim for. There are currently over 700 programs that offer bachelors' degrees in nursing, a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). There are about 850 programs at community colleges and other schools that offer an AN, an Associates Degree in Nursing, and about 70 programs that offer a diploma in nursing.

Any of the three types of programs will qualify you for an entry level position in nursing. They differ largely in the amount of time each takes to complete and the types of jobs for which you will qualify. Here are just a few important considerations and steps to complete before you apply for a nursing school. 1. Explore the many career options available in nursing.There are dozens of different career paths in nursing. While most people think of nurses in a hospital setting, it is far from the only type of nursing. Registered nurses work in doctors' offices and for insurance companies. They may be involved in doing research studies to help discover cures and new treatments for diseases, or work in administration to help shape and set medical policy. Some nurses work in public agencies like health departments of the Centers for Disease Control.

Others go on to further education so that they can become nurse practitioners, physician assistants or nurse midwives. Some nurses even combine their careers with a love of travel and adventure to become travel nurses, working on cruise ships, resorts or with travel tour groups. Before you start considering nursing schools, think about the kind of career that you want, and then make your choice of nursing program based on your career decisions. 2. Get your high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma.Finishing high school is important, especially if you are considering a nursing career that requires a higher degree. Consider weighting your classes toward studies that will help prepare you for the courses and prerequisites for nursing courses. High school biology and chemistry courses will lay a solid groundwork for courses that you will have to complete in order to get a degree or certificate in nursing.

3. Explore financial aid options.There are many sources available to help you fund your education in nursing. The first place to start is the federal government, where you can apply for Pell Grants and other educational grants, as well as qualify for low interest student loans with deferred repayment plans. Be sure to check into any special loan programs offered for those pursuing a career in medicine or nursing. As the demand for nurses grows, there will be more incentives available for those who want to enter the field. Besides FAFSA (the federal student financial aid programs), there are many other sources. If you are post high-school and working, check with your employer to find out if they offer tuition reimbursement for nursing programs. Check with local hospitals and your local and state government as well. In many cities where the nursing shortage is especially acute, there are grants and loans available to those who commit to "giving back" by working in local and state hospitals after receiving their certificate or degree.

4. Choose several nursing programs in which you are interested.There are nearly 1,600 accredited nursing programs in the United States. Once you have decided on the type of program you want to attend, you can search for programs that fit your criteria. Among the factors you should consider are location, reputation, accreditation and availability of financial aid. Once you have narrowed your choices, contact the programs to find out about their requirements for admission so that you can make sure to fulfill them before applying.

An analysis of overstock com ostk

Why is a value investor writing about an unprofitable internet company? Because value investing is about finding dollars that trade for fifty cents; with a market cap of less than 75% of sales, Overstock. com (OSTK) looks like it may be exactly that. But isn’t it too risky? The greatest risk in any investment is the risk of overpaying. So, the real question is: what is Overstock worth? I think it’s worth at least $1.5 billion. With Overstock’s market cap currently sitting around $500 million, my valuation certainly looks far fetched.

But, there’s only one way to know for sure. Let’s take apart my argument piece by piece, and see if any of my assumptions are unreasonable. First Assumption: Over the next five years, Overstock will neither generate truly free cash flow nor consume cash. In other words, its free cash flow margin will average 0%. Cash generation in some years will exactly offset cash consumption in other years. Obviously, this assumption is unreasonable, because there is almost no chance the cash flows will exactly offset. That’s not a problem if it turns out Overstock does generate some free cash flow over the next five years. In that case, my assumption simply errs on the side of caution. If, however, it turns out Overstock actually consumes cash over the next five years, there is a problem – possibly a very big problem. So, which scenario is more likely?

Overstock’s revenues are growing quickly. Gross margins look solid at 13.3% in 2004 and 14.9% over the last twelve months. Overstock’s unprofitability is the result of its selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A) which have been growing exponentially. Will these expenses continue to grow? Yes, but not as fast as revenues.

Over the last twelve months, Overstock’s spending on cap ex has been 5.6% of sales. That number is an aberration. In the long run, spending on cap ex should not exceed 3% of sales. Considering the business Overstock is in and the expected sales growth, the company will, more likely than not, generate some free cash flow over the next five years. Therefore, the assumption that Overstock will be cash flow neutral over the next five years is not overly optimistic. Second Assumption: Over the next five years, Overstock’s sales will grow by 15% annually. Is this an unreasonable assumption?

Again, I don’t think it is. Very few industries are expected to grow as fast as eCommerce. Overstock’s revenue growth in 2003 and 2004 was over 100%. In the past year, that growth has slowed. However, it is still closer to 50% than it is to 15%. Overstock isn’t in a cyclical business. So, there is no reason to believe current sales are abnormally high.

Also, all that spending on advertising is increasing consumers’ awareness of Overstock. A review of Overstock’s traffic data shows it has not only been gaining more visitors; it has also been climbing the ranks of the most popular web sites. While it is a long, long way from the Amazons, Yahoos, and eBays of the world (and will never reach those heights) Overstock is becoming a well known internet destination. This fact was most clearly evident in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Shoppers who visited Overstock during the holiday season obviously know it exists, and may very well return at some other point in the year.

Analysts are predicting very high growth rates for Overstock; however, they are also recommending you sell the stock. I don’t put any weight in their estimates. But, for the other reasons given, I believe the assumption that Overstock will grow sales at 15% a year for the next five years is not unreasonable. Third Assumption: Six to ten years from today, Overstock will have a free cash flow margin of 3%. Ten years from today, Overstock’s free cash flow margin will rise to 4% and remain at that level. Now, of all the assumptions I’ve made, this one is the most questionable.

Sure, Amazon has that kind of free cash flow margin, but Overstock isn’t Amazon, and it never will be Amazon. Overstock’s gross margins are less than Amazon’s. In fact, Overstock’s gross margins are less than Wal – Mart’s. However, Overstock’s fixed costs will eat up a much smaller portion of its sales than is the case over at Wal - Mart. If you compare Overstock to other online retailers, you will see that if Overstock does experience strong sales growth, a 3% free cash flow margin six years from now is not unreasonable. I assumed Overstock’s sustainable free cash flow margin will be 4%. There’s a case to be made that 4% is too high. I won’t make that case, because I don’t believe in it. Remember, that 4% number comes ten years out. That gives Overstock plenty of time to grow sales and thus reduce SG&A as a percentage of sales. Fourth Assumption: Six to ten years from today, Overstock will be growing sales by 12% a year; eleven to fifteen years from today, Overstock will be growing sales by 8% a year; thereafter, Overstock will grow sales by 4% a year.

Let’s see what this really means. According to these assumptions, Overstock’s sales will be as follows: Today: $707 million 2011: $1.59 billion 2016: $2.71 billion 2021: $3.83 billion 2026: $4.66 billion 2031: $5.67 billion 2036: $6.90 billion Seven billion dollars is not an unreasonable target – if you have thirty years to achieve it. To put that figure in perspective, Amazon. com currently has sales of about $8 billion. So, even after thirty years, these assumptions don’t lead to Overstock reaching the same size as today’s Amazon. Don’t forget these numbers assume some inflation. For instance, if inflation averages 3% a year over the next thirty years, Overstock’s projected $6.90 billion in sales only translates to $2.84 billion in today’s dollars. So, these assumptions only lead to a fourfold increase in Overstock’s real sales over a period of thirty years. I think that’s pretty reasonable. If you take these four assumptions together, you get a value of $1.5 billion for Overstock. Today, Mr. Market is offering it for $500 million – that’s why I’m writing about an unprofitable internet company.

An analysis of overstock com ostk

Why is a value investor writing about an unprofitable internet company? Because value investing is about finding dollars that trade for fifty cents; with a market cap of less than 75% of sales, Overstock. com (OSTK) looks like it may be exactly that. But isn’t it too risky? The greatest risk in any investment is the risk of overpaying. So, the real question is: what is Overstock worth? I think it’s worth at least $1.5 billion. With Overstock’s market cap currently sitting around $500 million, my valuation certainly looks far fetched. But, there’s only one way to know for sure. Let’s take apart my argument piece by piece, and see if any of my assumptions are unreasonable.

First Assumption: Over the next five years, Overstock will neither generate truly free cash flow nor consume cash. In other words, its free cash flow margin will average 0%. Cash generation in some years will exactly offset cash consumption in other years. Obviously, this assumption is unreasonable, because there is almost no chance the cash flows will exactly offset. That’s not a problem if it turns out Overstock does generate some free cash flow over the next five years. In that case, my assumption simply errs on the side of caution. If, however, it turns out Overstock actually consumes cash over the next five years, there is a problem – possibly a very big problem. So, which scenario is more likely? Overstock’s revenues are growing quickly. Gross margins look solid at 13.3% in 2004 and 14.9% over the last twelve months.

Overstock’s unprofitability is the result of its selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A) which have been growing exponentially. Will these expenses continue to grow? Yes, but not as fast as revenues. Over the last twelve months, Overstock’s spending on cap ex has been 5.6% of sales.

That number is an aberration. In the long run, spending on cap ex should not exceed 3% of sales. Considering the business Overstock is in and the expected sales growth, the company will, more likely than not, generate some free cash flow over the next five years. Therefore, the assumption that Overstock will be cash flow neutral over the next five years is not overly optimistic. Second Assumption: Over the next five years, Overstock’s sales will grow by 15% annually. Is this an unreasonable assumption? Again, I don’t think it is. Very few industries are expected to grow as fast as eCommerce.

Overstock’s revenue growth in 2003 and 2004 was over 100%. In the past year, that growth has slowed. However, it is still closer to 50% than it is to 15%. Overstock isn’t in a cyclical business. So, there is no reason to believe current sales are abnormally high. Also, all that spending on advertising is increasing consumers’ awareness of Overstock. A review of Overstock’s traffic data shows it has not only been gaining more visitors; it has also been climbing the ranks of the most popular web sites. While it is a long, long way from the Amazons, Yahoos, and eBays of the world (and will never reach those heights) Overstock is becoming a well known internet destination. This fact was most clearly evident in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Shoppers who visited Overstock during the holiday season obviously know it exists, and may very well return at some other point in the year. Analysts are predicting very high growth rates for Overstock; however, they are also recommending you sell the stock.

I don’t put any weight in their estimates. But, for the other reasons given, I believe the assumption that Overstock will grow sales at 15% a year for the next five years is not unreasonable. Third Assumption: Six to ten years from today, Overstock will have a free cash flow margin of 3%. Ten years from today, Overstock’s free cash flow margin will rise to 4% and remain at that level. Now, of all the assumptions I’ve made, this one is the most questionable.

Sure, Amazon has that kind of free cash flow margin, but Overstock isn’t Amazon, and it never will be Amazon. Overstock’s gross margins are less than Amazon’s. In fact, Overstock’s gross margins are less than Wal – Mart’s. However, Overstock’s fixed costs will eat up a much smaller portion of its sales than is the case over at Wal - Mart. If you compare Overstock to other online retailers, you will see that if Overstock does experience strong sales growth, a 3% free cash flow margin six years from now is not unreasonable. I assumed Overstock’s sustainable free cash flow margin will be 4%. There’s a case to be made that 4% is too high. I won’t make that case, because I don’t believe in it. Remember, that 4% number comes ten years out. That gives Overstock plenty of time to grow sales and thus reduce SG&A as a percentage of sales. Fourth Assumption: Six to ten years from today, Overstock will be growing sales by 12% a year; eleven to fifteen years from today, Overstock will be growing sales by 8% a year; thereafter, Overstock will grow sales by 4% a year. Let’s see what this really means.

According to these assumptions, Overstock’s sales will be as follows: Today: $707 million 2011: $1.59 billion 2016: $2.71 billion 2021: $3.83 billion 2026: $4.66 billion 2031: $5.67 billion 2036: $6.90 billion Seven billion dollars is not an unreasonable target – if you have thirty years to achieve it. To put that figure in perspective, Amazon. com currently has sales of about $8 billion. So, even after thirty years, these assumptions don’t lead to Overstock reaching the same size as today’s Amazon. Don’t forget these numbers assume some inflation. For instance, if inflation averages 3% a year over the next thirty years, Overstock’s projected $6.90 billion in sales only translates to $2.84 billion in today’s dollars. So, these assumptions only lead to a fourfold increase in Overstock’s real sales over a period of thirty years. I think that’s pretty reasonable. If you take these four assumptions together, you get a value of $1.5 billion for Overstock. Today, Mr. Market is offering it for $500 million – that’s why I’m writing about an unprofitable internet company.

Four indicators to watch when outsourcing during a recession

When making decisions about IT offshore outsourcing, the state of the U. S. economy looms large. The effect of exchange rates, interest rates, IT employment levels and even domestic commercial office vacancy rates will affect your onshore, offshore or nearshore strategy. America is growing more and more dependent on lower cost offshore services. So what is an offshoring decision-maker to do about controlling cost in this U. S. economic downturn? That depends on how the economic cycle affects your business.

Because consumer spending leads the economy up and down, recent weakness at Tiffney and Target suggests both ends of the consumer spectrum are being affected, so we may be early in the cycle. In his article “Understanding the Economy” (Inc. Magazine in December 2007) Joseph H. Ellis says, “People worry that a recession is coming. But buy the time one arrives, most economic harm has already happened.” He says don’t be afraid to do your own economic detective work. You may gain a new perspective in cyclical patterns and cause-and-effect relationships you didn’t realize existed. Here are four indicators to consider. Exchange rates: Analyses of major IT software outsourcing destinations reveals that most of their currencies appreciated against the US dollar substantially.

This resulted in either a higher cost for clients or lower earnings for offshore providers. In a country like India that claims 70 percent of the international business process outsourcing market, the Indian Rupee gained about 11% on the dollar from an average exchange rate of 44.21 Rupees per dollar in January 2007 to a monthly average of 39.37 in December of 2007. Currencies in nearshore outsourcing destinations like Canada and Brazil also saw a sharp appreciation against the dollar of 15% and 16% respectively from January to December 2007. This represents increased cost to you the buyer or lost revenue to the outsourcer. When reviewing your outsourcing strategy, currency exchange rate risk is something both parties to the agreement need to discuss and not just hope for the best. Interest rates: Rates can go up, down, or stay the same. Sometimes we overlook the basics.

The Federal Reserve seems to be trying to keep interest rates artificially low but that is exacerbating the dollar’s decline. The results are always inflationary. Should they fight inflation, interest rates will increase and this will raise the dollar. If you need capital, time may be running out on low cost borrowing even if you can get it. Keep cash at the short end of the yield curve to protect against eventual higher rates. When reviewing your strategy keep in mind that if the government’s adjustment to interest rates strengthens the dollar, your offshore services will get cheaper, however, if you use short-term borrowing to make payroll, your cost of onsite services will surely rise.

IT employment: According to the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistic’s, computer software engineers are one of the occupations projected to grow the fastest and add the most new jobs from 2006-2016. Employment levels for computer professionals are currently at one of the highest points in recorded history with un-employment in this profession reported at around just 2%. It is possible that outsourcing to other countries may somewhat temper this employment growth. Many firms will cut cost by outsourcing to foreign countries that have lower prevailing wages and highly educated workers. However, high quality jobs in software engineering require computer professionals with strong programming skills, systems analysis and interpersonal skills. Therefore rising wage pressure will become a long-term strategic issue, whether you are attempting to staff professionals domestically in a job market at near full employment or you are attempting to staff offshore where experienced professionals are demanding higher wages in their currencies against a weaker trending dollar. Office space: IT staff augmentation requires additional office space somewhere. On the first Monday of 2008, real estate research firm Reis reported that U. S. office vacancy rates rose for the first time in four years. Completions rose to 19.6 million square feet in the forth quarter, the highest level in almost seven years vs. 8 to 12 million over the last couple of years. This is the first time since the forth quarter of 2004 that effective rent growth has fallen short of asking rent growth and concessions have widened.

In this market it might be cheaper than ever to lease additional office space for an expanding IT services and development team. But facilities are always a part of the cost equation. When developing an offshore vs. onshore strategy look at all your cost including facilities, utilities, network access, and other costs associated with housing a large or small team. Some emerging markets like Panama have an excellent infrastructure and government policies that are designed to encourage technology businesses to use facilities there. No matter where you are in the cycle, cutting costs and improving quality is always a goal. Outsourcing can help you to reach that objective.

There is a clear growing trend for companies, regardless of their size and industry, to outsource an element of their business. George Schildge, president of CEO of Matrix Marketing Group Inc. believes outsourcing is not a passing fad but clearly a paradigm shift that can change a business model for the better. Two themes for software development trends in 2008, according to SearchSoftwareQuality. com, are that outsourcing will continue to effect more people and business analysts and project managers will need to learn how to face the challenges of distribution across countries and continents. Bas de Baar, project manager and author of “Surprise! Now You’re a Software Project Manager” says Different cultures, different time zones different languages, different customs will impact software projects more than in previous years. Profiting this year will require different strategies.

Outsourcing will become a bigger part of the equation so do your homework now and act to stay ahead of the curve. . Vision TRE has aggressively sought out IT professionals in Brazil, Panama and Ecuador with first-rate English skills and offers their offshore services in advanced programming skills including. Net, ASP, C++, C#, Microsoft SQL, Oracle Applications, Oracle DBA, Crystal Reports, Visual Basic, network engineering and more to U. S. clients since 2004. We currently have a large reserve of skilled professionals ready to meet any popular programming skill set demand.

Four indicators to watch when outsourcing during a recession

When making decisions about IT offshore outsourcing, the state of the U. S. economy looms large. The effect of exchange rates, interest rates, IT employment levels and even domestic commercial office vacancy rates will affect your onshore, offshore or nearshore strategy. America is growing more and more dependent on lower cost offshore services. So what is an offshoring decision-maker to do about controlling cost in this U. S. economic downturn? That depends on how the economic cycle affects your business. Because consumer spending leads the economy up and down, recent weakness at Tiffney and Target suggests both ends of the consumer spectrum are being affected, so we may be early in the cycle. In his article “Understanding the Economy” (Inc. Magazine in December 2007) Joseph H. Ellis says, “People worry that a recession is coming.

But buy the time one arrives, most economic harm has already happened.” He says don’t be afraid to do your own economic detective work. You may gain a new perspective in cyclical patterns and cause-and-effect relationships you didn’t realize existed. Here are four indicators to consider. Exchange rates: Analyses of major IT software outsourcing destinations reveals that most of their currencies appreciated against the US dollar substantially. This resulted in either a higher cost for clients or lower earnings for offshore providers. In a country like India that claims 70 percent of the international business process outsourcing market, the Indian Rupee gained about 11% on the dollar from an average exchange rate of 44.21 Rupees per dollar in January 2007 to a monthly average of 39.37 in December of 2007.

Currencies in nearshore outsourcing destinations like Canada and Brazil also saw a sharp appreciation against the dollar of 15% and 16% respectively from January to December 2007. This represents increased cost to you the buyer or lost revenue to the outsourcer. When reviewing your outsourcing strategy, currency exchange rate risk is something both parties to the agreement need to discuss and not just hope for the best. Interest rates: Rates can go up, down, or stay the same. Sometimes we overlook the basics. The Federal Reserve seems to be trying to keep interest rates artificially low but that is exacerbating the dollar’s decline. The results are always inflationary. Should they fight inflation, interest rates will increase and this will raise the dollar.

If you need capital, time may be running out on low cost borrowing even if you can get it. Keep cash at the short end of the yield curve to protect against eventual higher rates. When reviewing your strategy keep in mind that if the government’s adjustment to interest rates strengthens the dollar, your offshore services will get cheaper, however, if you use short-term borrowing to make payroll, your cost of onsite services will surely rise. IT employment: According to the U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistic’s, computer software engineers are one of the occupations projected to grow the fastest and add the most new jobs from 2006-2016. Employment levels for computer professionals are currently at one of the highest points in recorded history with un-employment in this profession reported at around just 2%. It is possible that outsourcing to other countries may somewhat temper this employment growth. Many firms will cut cost by outsourcing to foreign countries that have lower prevailing wages and highly educated workers. However, high quality jobs in software engineering require computer professionals with strong programming skills, systems analysis and interpersonal skills.

Therefore rising wage pressure will become a long-term strategic issue, whether you are attempting to staff professionals domestically in a job market at near full employment or you are attempting to staff offshore where experienced professionals are demanding higher wages in their currencies against a weaker trending dollar. Office space: IT staff augmentation requires additional office space somewhere. On the first Monday of 2008, real estate research firm Reis reported that U. S. office vacancy rates rose for the first time in four years. Completions rose to 19.6 million square feet in the forth quarter, the highest level in almost seven years vs. 8 to 12 million over the last couple of years. This is the first time since the forth quarter of 2004 that effective rent growth has fallen short of asking rent growth and concessions have widened. In this market it might be cheaper than ever to lease additional office space for an expanding IT services and development team.

But facilities are always a part of the cost equation. When developing an offshore vs. onshore strategy look at all your cost including facilities, utilities, network access, and other costs associated with housing a large or small team. Some emerging markets like Panama have an excellent infrastructure and government policies that are designed to encourage technology businesses to use facilities there. No matter where you are in the cycle, cutting costs and improving quality is always a goal. Outsourcing can help you to reach that objective. There is a clear growing trend for companies, regardless of their size and industry, to outsource an element of their business. George Schildge, president of CEO of Matrix Marketing Group Inc. believes outsourcing is not a passing fad but clearly a paradigm shift that can change a business model for the better. Two themes for software development trends in 2008, according to SearchSoftwareQuality.

com, are that outsourcing will continue to effect more people and business analysts and project managers will need to learn how to face the challenges of distribution across countries and continents. Bas de Baar, project manager and author of “Surprise! Now You’re a Software Project Manager” says Different cultures, different time zones different languages, different customs will impact software projects more than in previous years. Profiting this year will require different strategies.

Outsourcing will become a bigger part of the equation so do your homework now and act to stay ahead of the curve. . Vision TRE has aggressively sought out IT professionals in Brazil, Panama and Ecuador with first-rate English skills and offers their offshore services in advanced programming skills including. Net, ASP, C++, C#, Microsoft SQL, Oracle Applications, Oracle DBA, Crystal Reports, Visual Basic, network engineering and more to U. S. clients since 2004. We currently have a large reserve of skilled professionals ready to meet any popular programming skill set demand.

Intermec let the rfid cycle begin

RFID a great growth market A new revolutionary technology is forming called RFID or Radio Frequency Identification. This technology greatly improved the ability to track items, any item. The current leading market solution uses a one way system where, for example, a simple “bar code” at your local grocery store where the grocery clerk has to run the bar code over a scanner. These readings are very man-hour intensive as each individual item must be scanned RFID is a two way system where a reader could scan every item at a Wal-Mart (WMT-48.14) store. Then each item with a RFID tag would respond or “chirp” back to the reader. Using the two way RFID system a single person could take complete inventory of a store almost eliminating all the man-hours of manual inventory. A reader mounted on a fork lift truck would track each item the hyster moves into the warehouse. The RFID will allow a single person the ability to inventory unlimited amounts of items. Using our simple forecasting theorem which mathematically helps us forecasts how successful technologies will be; our approach signaled that RFID will be revolutionary. . Here are some of the many uses of RFID. Tracking gamblers at a black jack table so the house knows who’s betting big, tracking prisoners in a jail to see who was involved in a scuffle, tracking prescription drugs for counterfeit, tracking cattle for mad cow disease, tracking cars so police could immediately identify a stolen car or a car with outstanding issues. More examples, tracking passports to see if the picture is correct, tracking products for Wal-Mart to almost any store and warehouse, tracking the Department of Defense inventories for most items, Boeing can track parts for building aircrafts and Ford tracking parts for it automobiles. It appears that both the scope and magnitude at this time is limitless. Industries tracking consumer goods from shoes to cement blocks to frozen food to cars, including boats, planes, parts and supplies can utilize it in all aspects from manufacturing, inventory and shipping to retail outlets. Judging from our theorems, RFID will see revolutionary growth to the likes of the cell phone, Personal Computer and the Internet that also at the beginning of their cycles scored extremely high. IdtechEx forecast From IdtechEx, the market for RFID is to grow from 2.7 billion in 2006 to 12.3 billion in 2010. The value is expected to be about 26.2 billion in 2016 or ten years to grow almost 10 times. Selecting the company that could lead that market Identify the correct market to invest is only part of the challenge. Possibly the bigger challenge is to identify the company that will lead this technology. This is where we have identified Intermec. Intermec is one of the leading companies in bar codes. Over the last few years Intermec has been focused on developing products that would comply with the new Gen 2 RFID standard rather than introduce products that supported the older Gen 1 Class and 0 Class protocols. This strategy has allowed Intermec to utilize its roughly 149 patents to allow Intermec to extract royalties from the entire RFID industry and appear to be essential when utilizing the Gen 2 RFID standard. The Gen 2 RFID standard and Intemec’s patents are very co-depended of each other. In my opinion Intermec is gaining an integration monopolistic position. Why monopolies have great success Past monopolies have had great success from controlling the market like Intermec integrating their solution into and then helped become part of the standard. Compared to war it is the equivalent of having the high ground in battles – this approach is extremely valuable. Control in new revolutionary technologies is very rare. Our studies shows that in the past when companies achieved control they are usually able to hold it for 1-2 business cycles or from 9 -19 years. Some past successes that have demonstrated integration and or control of revolutionary products were Microsoft (MSFT-27.13) and Intel (INTC-19.78) in the Personal Computer, Cisco (CSCO-21.44) for the Internet and Qualcomm (QCOM-49.87) currently for Cell Phones. When I was young child IBM (IBM-84.32) controlled the standard for Mainframe and AT&T (T-26.81) the phone business. You can often see companies that are monopolistic in a revolutionary industry have a probability of achieving super wealth. Several monopolies we listed achieved the world’s largest stock value. Is Intermec a new monopoly? Intermec or any company for that matter to have a chance to be great monopoly it must have a degree of control. The question is how much control does Intermec have over the RFID industry? To answer this simple but very important question we devised an extremely effective test. Intermec claim’s to be an integral part of the Gen 2 standard. The definition of de facto standard is recognized by all its peers as the standard. Does the RFID industry recognize Intermec as the standard? Companies like Symbol Technology (SBL-10.64), Zebra Technology (ZBRA-45.45), Philips Electronics (PHG-32.38), Texas Instrument (TXN-30.59) are some of the leading companies in RFID space that also have the size, technical background, law staff and other resources to verify or reject Intermec’s claim. Accepting Intermec’s claim means paying royalties to Intermec for years, you must understand if possible all theses companies would NOT want to pay royalties so their preferences is to reject Intermec’s claim. All the companies mentioned above and more have agreed that Intermec will receive royalties on every Gen 2 RFID product they make. No one wants to pay 2.5-7% royalty to Intermec to utilize the Gen 2 RFID standards. Especially leaders in RFID like Phillips, Texas Instrument and Symbol which all have a major leading position in the market, and their agreements with Intermec greatly validated Intermec’s claims. It was when the largest company and Intermec’s closest competitor, Symbol Technologies, that created the biggest challenge to Intermec’s claims. Symbol Technologies not only refused to pay early in the process, but sued Intermec asking for Intermec to pay Symbol royalties for their many patents and Symbol wanted their own version of the standard. Symbol gave up their court fight and agrees to join Intermec’s Rapid Start Licensing program. When your biggest competitor allows you to sign a controlling contract where Symbol has to pay royalties to Intermec every time Symbol sells a RFID hardware product. To me the Intermec/Symbol relationship Intermec has provided validation with a very high degree of control. Many experts assign a similar agreement to the rise of Microsoft and the downfall of IBM when IBM accepted the Microsoft PC standard. I believe history will say the same thing when Nokia (NOK-20.52) then the largest cell phone company in the world signed and agreed to pay royalties to Qualcomm on all Nokia 3G phones. It reminds me of a very old saying “the king is dead, long live the king” if you can dictate your will to the powerful companies your have a high degree of control. Gutter vs. Shingles Intermec is using their RFID control to establish what I call a gutter business. In Oregon it rains a lot and what we know are roofs. Water from shingles flow into a gutter. In some cases the gutter and shingles are co-dependent and need each other for the roof to work properly. First gutters have tremendous leverage. Second you could measure the number of shingles or measure the square footage of the roof to understand the amount of possible water flow or leverage the gutter might achieve We believe gutter based companies are far better companies to own. If you wanted fill a cup of water would you put your cup under a shingle or a gutter? It’s my believe that by far most companies are shingles business models, but the gutter business model have far great potential to grow profits utilizing and leveraging the shingles. In a few situations all the shingles combined could flow into a single gutter. A roof with a single gutter or a monopoly has one of the best business models and has a chance to leverage the entire industry to enrich its profits. Intermec is possibly building this type of business model and has awarded the premier client of Cisco, and IBM while having alliances with Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Companies that joined Intermec’s Rapid Start Program and agreed to pay Intermec a royalty on every RFID hardware product they sell. • Accu-Sort • Avery Dennison • AWID • Datamax • EM Micro • Feig Electronics • Hand Held Products • LXE • Metrologic • Paxar • PSC • Psion Teklogix • SAMSys • Sato • Symbol Technologies • Texas Instruments • ThingMagic • Toppan Printing • Zebra Technologies All of these agreement occurred in 2005 after the new Gen 2 standards for RFID established in early 2005. If we are right Intermec should have outstanding and accelerated growth for the duration of the Gen 2 RFID standard business cycle possible Gen 2 Standard last about 9 years based on many business cycles we followed. Risk Intermec’s placement and degree of control in the Gen 3 RFID standard is very unclear, and will take many years from now to achieve any clarity. A company could challenge Intermec’s legal position. Even though Intermec has about 149 patents in the RFID industry the largest IP portfolio, a single company could sue making Intermec’s patent unenforceable. Knowing that Symbol Technologies is well funded and a leader in the RFID industry and has attempted this and failed, it makes the hurdle even higher for a smaller less funded company to attempt this knowing that it would be a very costly approach. Intermec appears to limit the companies that license their technology especially during their Rapid Start Program. If in future years Intermec is found to be a monopolistic company this could be very damaging in a court system. Intermec should give every company an equal chance. RFIG Gen 2 is still not Intermec’s core profit center and there are no guarantees that RFID will become revolutionary. Most all new technologies have gone through long incubation cycles before becoming mainstream which RFID Gen 2 will probably incur. In my opinion the great appreciation will come when the royalties are the main profit center, and that may be many years if it ever occurs. Conclusion To summarize 1. The RFID appears to approaching a revolution growth cycle. 2. Intermec is the technology patent leader and has degrees of control over the Gen 2 RFID Standard. 3. Intermec is forming a gutter business model combined with a possible monopoly position giving Intermec the ability to have possible leverage over the entire RFID industry If Intermec could achieve the three items above it has a chance to achieve a: Modern Monopoly Effect. A Modern Monopoly Effect is when a single monopolistic company achieves a stock market value roughly equal to all the companies’ market value that supports the standard. In Intermec’s case Intermec could achieve stock market values about equal to all RFID hardware partners businesses that supports Intermec Gen 2 Standard for RFID. The water from all the shingles on a roof could roughly equals the water flowing into a gutter, a single monopolistic gutter named Intermec. If Intermec becomes a Modern Monopoly Effect possibly it will become the fifth time we have identified and owned a Modern Monopoly Effect.