Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Capitalist Economy: American Dream or American Nightmare

Bill Bernake, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, has cut discount interest rates consecutively in September 2007 (5.25%) and October (5.00%)2007 in comparison to last year’s rate that stood at 6.25%. Amid the mortgage woe’s, a domino effect has taken place bringing with it a wave of foreclosures, slow job growth, job loss, inflation, and talks of recession. I would like you to ask yourself a question, “What does this all mean to me?? To some it means nothing, for many, this is news, and for the conscious few, it strikes fear or ambition in their heart. The fact is that our economy has gone from a high speed Ferrari to a Kia Spectra.

If you have studied history at all this is clearly part of the vicious cycle of America’s capitalist system. When times get harder for some, things get better for others just take notice of the growing number of high end vehicles on the road & lavished real estate on our corners. Meanwhile crude oil the black gold of America, once a cheap commodity is breaking records by hitting nearly $100 per barrel in recent weeks. At the same time the cost is breaking the pockets of Middle Americans who cannot avoid pumping the poison that takes them wherever they need to go to make ends meet. The darker side is those who cannot afford the black gold slip further into despair, as a growing number of beggars, fiends, and poor people appear grim faced on the streets of this country.

The upside is that our generation will see the end of our oil addiction and the fruition of “Going Green”. The October 2007 issue of National Geographic reads “Growing Fuel”, what I believe to be a window into the future catalyst of the combustible engine. The investment portfolio of the future will seem alien to what we know as diversified by today’s standards. New technology will spawn an era of super speed precision communications, target marketing will be transmitted via Bluetooth based on the individual’s habits and RFID (Radio-frequency Identification) will create a paperless society.

Down on “The Street” (Wall Street that is) traders have been scrambling. We see images of them with arms flared upward as real-time news hits the market. Mortgage backed securities, asset backed securities, & derivatives bundled packaged and flipped into the secondary market have rattled the economy along with Wall Street. They hustle and bustle high yield bonds and CD’s resulting in billions of dollars changing hands in a flash. These events dictate our economy today, tomorrow, and for decades to come.

Let us switch to Washington D.C. where politicians, Law makers, and lobbyist all gather in Congressional Halls and board rooms to shoot rhetoric at each other. The end result is a mantle hammering down, passing a Bill, which soon turns to law. So again, ask yourself “What do all these events and jargon mean to me??” The climate of this economy is not welcoming and many young people are being slapped with the harsh realities of earning a buck. Just finding a decent job is difficult for so many especially recent college graduates. As for the young entrepreneurs chasing their dreams is just as rough if not more brutal when the realities of our economy are factored into your odds of survival. Young entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of that bi-weekly/W-2 check; it is just not part of the repertoire. The wage earner may soon find themselves disillusioned sort of like a donkey chasing the carrot on a stick. To put it simply waiting for your check on the first and the fifteenth will not cut it now a days. How can take hold of their socio-economic position while the divide between rich, poor, and middle class widens??

There is a ribbon in the sky and a light at the end of the tunnel for our generation according to statistics,

  • · More than 65 percent of 14 to 19 year olds are interested in starting a business compared with about half of the general public. (Kauffman center for Entrepreneurial Leadership)
  • · “Control of destiny” is the most commonly cited career goal of young entrepreneurs, and 87 percent of entrepreneurs say the reason they left corporate life was to gain more control over their lives. (Inc. Magazine)
  • · Millennials (The Internet Generation) have an optimism not seen among kids in decades. (“Newsweek”, May 8, 2000)

A good friend of mine described the experience of this economy as “Living Life on the Chart” everyone’s position is different and reaction to a shift in position is unique to the individual. So I say conquer the chart like it is a mountain and you are the climber. Anything is possible using the tools of innovation, intelligence, and information, smart investing and setting goals.

Johnathan Burns
President of WC Executive Concierge Svcs.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hip-Hop & Corporate America: "The Corporate Influence in Hip-Hop"

A young banker invites JD & Associates to his home for a weekend meeting. We arrive at the Baldwin Harbor Estate, proceed to the waterfront yard, and are greeted by his speed boat. As we idle through the small channels behind the homes, he cranks up the system, and sudden acceleration pulls us back into our seats as we hit 80 mph.

A recent D.J. Clue mix tape highlighting various artists blares from the speakers as we approach Paddy McGee's in Long Beach. He docks the speed boat beside his Bank attorney's yacht. My thoughts are still with the music, “Am I surprised by his choice?” The answer is no. My awareness of this melting pot of cultures is reinforced by this very event. Maybe it's the aggressive edge of the music, the hustler's spirit in it, or the greatest common goal; dollars. The year is 2007. It only makes sense that people in all industries are tipping the scale when it comes to riches. Rappers speak of it in their music and in the past decade have revealed they are indeed business savvy. Let’s take a look at one of the greatest rappers of all time, Jay-Z: The Mogul. His mastery of word play is phenomenal but it is the context of his rhyme that captures my ear. For many listeners, the lyrics go over their heads and the message is missed. So allow me to turn your attention to a record that did not capture much acclaim like many of Jay's hits, but its context correlates to this article.

"The Corporate Takeover": Jay-Z "....they respecting my mind now it’s just a matter of time now. Operation Takeover Corporate...makeover offices, then takeover all of it, please may these words be recorded to serve as testimony that I saw it...all...before it...came to fruition, sort of a premonition, huh, uncontrollable Hustlers Ambition. Alias superstition like Stevie...Writings on my wall like my lady right baby. Saw it all before, some of yall thought I was a Fox in K-G (ha-ha). The more successful the more stressful....the more & more I transform to Gordon Gekko. In a race to a billion got my face to ceiling got my knees to the floor, Please lord forgive 'em...has he lost his religion? Is the greed goin get 'em?? He's havin heaven on earth will his wings still fit 'em?? I got the Forbes on my living room floor.....'Times: Most influential' was impressive specially since I wasn't in the artist section. Had me with the buildings and the Titans...had me fightin Rupert Murdoch. Billionaire Boys is some dudes ya never heard of....word up on Madison Ave is I'm a cash cow....word down on Wallstreet the n*gga can get ya cash out...I.P.O HOV no need to reverse merger, the boy money talks no need to converse blue Maybach like I own Gerber...boardroom I'm lifting ya skirt up...The Corporate Takeover"

This guy is obviously hip to the game called "Capitalism" and mastered it like a new hustle.Let's take a look at another rap star whose prolific rise has recently picked up speed ten fold.

With a 10 percent holding stake in a growing bottled water company, the corporations’ equity grew rapidly due to the rappers involvement. Negotiations by a Fortune 500 firm, for the acquisition of Vitamin Water, began shortly. Some call it pure genius, maybe it was intuition, or like a roll of dice in a game of Ceelo, many consider it pure luck. None the less, a 400 million dollar pure cash profit was made as a 400 billiondollar transaction transpired and the boy 50 Cent let it be known "I get Money, Money I got (I get it)". In his own words "I took quarter water sold it in bottles for 2 bucks, Coca-Cola came & bought it for Billions...what the F*ck". I can only imagine what the commission was like for the Investment Banker who brokered that deal. Can we say "Baaaallliinnn”?!

Hip-Hip and Corporate America have formed a Ying Yang relationship. We see it in commercials, T.V. shows, endorsements, and fashion. The affiliation has yielded ridiculous profits for all parties involved. Rappers turned entrepreneurs are growing in numbers, meanwhile entrepreneurs and white collar workers are embracing the lyrics and feel of the music.

Johnathan Burns
President of WC Executive Concierge Svcs.

Monday, August 6, 2007

AudemarsPiguet vs. Rolex

Fundamental Values: Tradition, Exellence, & Innovation. As a young Executive what's your choice??

On the left we have the "Self-winding Grande Complication Model" This watch has a simple yet bold look.

Below we have the "Gem Set Self-winding Chronograph Model" Bling Blaow!!! The Gem Set makes a commanding statement. Whether mixing Martini's for guest at your wet bar, or holding a power meeting with your sales force, this time piece screams out "Pay close attention!!! Its worth your while"
-Johnathan Burns
President of WC Executive Concierge Svcs.

There are "3" things Executive's Do in Life....

Kiss French

Dress Italian

Drive German