Monday, June 29, 2015

Tsipras plea for calm ignored by many , Greeks stock up on cash and fuel

Topic | Greek Debt Crisis
Location | Greece

Greek PM Alexis Tsipras has addressed the nation asking them to remain calm after talks between European creditors broke down and the European Central Bank (ECB) said it would not increase emergency funding to Greece.

Mr Tsipras has declared that Greek depositors money is safe but this hasn't stopped people queuing up at the multitude of ATM's scattered across the country.

The Bank of Greece has been making huge efforts to keep the ATM's stocked but due to capital controls now put in place a maximum of 60 Euros can be withdrawn in any one day from a single account. There has also been a block put on overseas transactions unless for vital pre-approved commercial transactions.

Greece is entering uncharted territory and it is likely banks will remain closed until July 7th , two days after the proposed Greek referendum.

The Greek pm said that wages , pensions and bank deposits were safe and guaranteed.

Stocking on on basic supplies like water , tinned food , fuel and cash is the natural response in times of uncertainty like this. Over the past 6 months many Greeks had been steadily withdrawing their deposits but obviously many never saw this eventuality being possible.

More to follow as the story unravels during the next few days.

Weekend of turmoil

  • Friday evening: Greek prime minister calls referendum on terms of new bailout deal, asks for extension of existing bailout
  • Saturday afternoon: Eurozone finance ministers refuse to extend existing bailout beyond Tuesday
  • Saturday night: Greek parliament backs plan for referendum on 5 July
  • Sunday afternoon: ECB says it is not increasing emergency assistance to Greece

Zerohedge Article - Ignoring Tsipras Plea

Australian Reaction
IG market strategist Evan Lucas warned the market faces a tough day.
“Unfortunately this could probably be our worst day in two or three years, you’d probably be going back to 2011 or 2012,” he said.
“It’s a very tough time and unfortunately nothing will be spared, except perhaps gold.”
Mr Lucas said while the Australian market had little direct exposure to Greece, traders were concerned about the fallout from a possible Greek debt default and exit from the euro zone.
He said Greece’s exit would raise fresh questions about fellow debt-laden EU countries including Italy and Spain.

Puerto Rico $72 Billion in Debt!

The governor of Puerto Rico has stated that the commonwealth cannot repay it debts and is looking for a restructure by deferring payments up to 5 years. The island nation only has 3.6 million people and many are already struggling to make ends meet. 

Pocketinfo , Greece , Puerto Rico June 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

P2P Lending in New Zealand - Digital Disruption in Banking

The Sharing Economy

Location : New Zealand

Topic : P2P Lending . Peer to Peer. Sharing Economy

Peer to Peer Lending (P2P) is taking off in New Zealand.

Peer-to-peer and peer-to-business are relatively new concepts in the field of lending and borrowing.  Classically individuals (or businesses) would save their money in a bank, and the bank would then lend that money to other individuals or businesses.  P2P removes the bank from this process.  There are a growing number of online companies that can facilitate this process.  This process can also be referred to as social lendingcrowdlending or marketplace lending.

Harmoney is NZ's first P2P licensed lending platform. They provide relatively low interest personal loans. The Harmoney platform has been developed to bring together borrowers and investors to get a 'better deal'. The target market for Harmoney is making money from borrowers who want a fair deal rather than some of the very high interest loans you can get from credit card providers. Harmoney's current reported starting rates are 9.9% which are much more attractive than those of the credit card providers.

Borrowers can get involved and $500 NZD appears to be the minimum investment on the platform. LendMe is another NZ based P2P lender.

Advantages for Borrowers.
Borrowers could obtain lower rates than from other loan providers, and they also have the knowledge that they are borrowing money from individuals like themselves.  From the borrowers' perspective the process is not too dissimilar from dealing with a bank or building society.

Advantages for Lenders
Lenders can obtain higher rates than they can with a bank or building society.  For comparison, the highest rates on comparable savings on Kiwibank is only 2.7% AER*.  In fact lenders are the ones able to set the interest rates.  From the lenders' perspective this process is quite different from simply opening a savings account.

P2P Lenders
Assetz Capital - UK
Bitbond - Germany (Bitcoin)
Bondora - Estonia
Funding Knight - UK
Harmoney - NZ  (Heartland Bank 10% equity stake)
LendMe - NZ (now licensed and going live soon)
Ratesetter - UK
Society One - Australia
Trust Buddy - Sweden
Zopa - USA

P2P Business Lenders
Funding Circle - UK

Editor's note - This post will be added to over coming weeks as more P2P lending research is done.

Placeholder - CrowdFunding for Startups

 Sharing Economy , Disruption , P2P,   - updated June 2015

Thursday, June 25, 2015

French taxi drivers protest violently against Uber - Digital Disruption

Paris Uber Go Home on Taxi's

Location : France
Topic : Digital Disruption.

The French love a good strike to get their point across and look to disrupt as much as possible in the process.

Taxi Drivers and other protesters have blocked all road access to Charles De Gaulle airport making the only efficient way to the city via train. Back in 2005 I was on a business trip on behalf of a NZ technology company I was representing at the time when the whole of the Paris Metro stopped due to an impromptu strike. On emerging from the Metro my colleague and I were faced with complete gridlock in the inner city and had to cancel both meetings that afternoon.

Paris and Marseilles today are faced with roadblocks, including overturned cars and stacks of burned tyres, whilst passengers needing to get to their flights took to walking down motorway verges so they can get to the passenger terminal in time.

The French government have banned all unlicensed drivers back in October 2014 via the Thevenoud Law, however digital savvy users who have downloaded ride sharing apps can save up to 50% on a journey rather than going through a traditional taxi provider. Taxi drivers have to pay thousands of Euro's for a taxi license and Uber drivers don't have to pay the same fee.

In recent weeks there have been close to 100 attacks on Uber drivers in France. It is claimed that Taxi drivers have lost 30-40% income over the past 24 months due to users of Apps like Uber.

Courtney Love Cobain got caught up in the fray today...

how on earth are these people allowed to do this? the first car was destroyed, all tires slashed and beat with bats, these guys trying to open the doors and the cops are doing nothing?? French Taliban? civil reform needed in France?? I want to go home

New Zealand's view on Uber is one of the most flexible in the world.
Local Apps Your Drive and Chariot are also looking at helping with NZ and particularly Auckland's transport issues.

Paris , Uber , Strikes , Thenevoud Law , June 2015

Auckland Budget cleared for $60 billion spend over 10 years

Auckland Wards and Local Boards

Topic : Budget
Location : Auckland

Auckland Councillors got to debate and vote on the budget today and it has scraped through in a 10-9 vote. Mayor Len Brown was keen to get it passed before the end of the month which would have made it harder for the budget to get approved in its current state.

Late changes to the budget would have meant that the budget would not be audited in time for the June 30 cut-off so Mayor Brown saw his plan passed by a 1 vote majority.

There has been significant outcry from ratepayers over the average  increase of 9.9% across Auckland, with some of the traditional lower socioeconomic areas getting hit by a 16.9% increase (Mangere-Otahuhu).

It appears the Councillors opposed to the budget could see the outcry from homeowners who would now have to pay a lot more each year and found it hard to pass the budget without deeper consultation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Google caught out promoting its own services and products by the EU

Google ad placement

Topic : Monopoly of Search
Location: Europe 

The Californian search giant is currently being investigated by the EU’s European Commission over alleged violations of anti-trust law. Google sometimes promotes its own services and products in search rankings ahead of its competitors — and European authorities aren’t happy about this.

PocketInfo was well aware of the potential for this in an article edited back in 2011 some four years ago , it is one of the most read posts on this site... Original article

Other Top Search Engines
Yahoo - my old favourite from 2000-2005.
Bing - Microsoft's search platform
Alta Vista
Duck Duck Go

Google will soon be challenged by other ways of doing search, clearly this market dominance is unhealthy. IBM has already sniffed this out and acquired Blekko. Cognitive computing is IBM's response to Google Search but it appears it will be a B2B play not a B2C play.

Blekko technology - now IBM Watson group.
Blekko brings advanced Web-crawling, categorization and intelligent filtering technology.  Its technology crawls the Web continually and  gathers information from the most highly relevant and most credible Web pages. It uses classification techniques to create thousands of topical categories, making that data more useful and insightful.

Our advise is spread the love.

Pocketinfo Term of the day: EBITDA

  1. EBITDA is essentially net income with interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization added back to it, and can be used to analyze and compare profitability between companies and industries because it eliminates the effects of financing and accounting decisions.
  2. Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization 

 - Monopoly , Google Search , Advertising updated June 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Systemic risk a concern due to global debt levels

Gold and Silver set to surge 2016 and beyond

Topic : Mortgage Debt
Location : United Kingdom

The manager of one of Britain’s biggest bond funds has urged investors to keep cash under the mattress.
Ian Spreadbury, who invests more than £4bn of investors’ money across a handful of bond funds for Fidelity, including the flagship Moneybuilder Income fund, is concerned that a “systemic event” could rock markets, possibly similar in magnitude to the financial crisis of 2008, which began in Britain with a run on Northern Rock.
“Systemic risk is in the system and as an investor you have to be aware of that,” he told Telegraph Money.
The best strategy to deal with this, he said, was for investors to spread their money widely into different assets, including gold and silver, as well as cash in savings accounts. But he went further, suggesting it was wise to hold some “physical cash”, an unusual suggestion from a mainstream fund manager.

Watching the Greek car crash thanks to the Troika

Greece 2014

Location - Greece
Topic - The Markets

So it looks as though the Greek government has had it's hand forced and is settling on an 11th hour deal. This is from a long way finished and will play out in what is left of  2015.

“The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.”

In few arenas are our mental shortcomings thrown into more stark relief than in the investment markets. Our brains evolved ‘fight or flight’ mechanisms to enable us to recognise potential predators in the wild. However, they have not yet had the evolutionary time to help us respond to threats – real or perceived – in the economy, bond or stock markets.
In recent weeks we’ve highlighted the aberrant price and yield volatility of longer dated German government bonds.
Since these instruments represent something close to the ‘risk-free’ rate for the euro zone, the fact that their prices are convulsing like someone in an electric chair hardly bodes well for future price stability across other capital markets.
It’s not fair just to blame Greece – how about the central banks that drove interest rates down to zero, effectively forcing investors into higher risk markets?
The markets cocktail of 2015 is a strong one, and whatever decision you ultimately make involves having to take a sip or two.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Disruption - some NZ examples and global ones looking for market share

Global Digital Disruptors

Topic - Digital Disruption
Location - New Zealand

Mobile technology and digital communication is accelerating ideas and their execution into the market. Digitally savvy entrepreneurs who know how to create an App for use on iOS or Android phones are fast tracking ideas into the market for consumer adoption. New Zealand is relatively small and continues to be a good place to roll out new ideas some of which develop from here and other ideas which have been modified from overseas.

Urban Sherpa - went to their launch party last week after being in stealth mode for several months. Urban Sherpa has initially only launched in Auckland but will look to grow to other regions during the next few years. Has some heavy weights backing it but needs to get its platform into highly dense geographies before it will become a market leader.

Zomato - bought Menu-Mania the NZ equivalent of Zomato last year so it could be the market leader across the country. Zomato has launched cashless payments within its app in the UAE and sees NZ as it's next target. Zomato's executive team is from India and compete against platforms like Yelp , Foursquare , Facebook and The Entertainment Book .

Note : Zagat has been acquired by Google and doesn't have the geographical reach of Zomato.

Chariot - Wellington based start-up looking to address ride-sharing across the major cities and towns of the world. They hope to  take a 20% cut for users of the app and provide a way of calculating a fair ride share fare for those going from A to B. Currently offering a $10 credit toward your first ride when they launch in NZ.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Execution is the key - Ideas are just a multiplier of Execution

Ideas are just a multiplier ..... of execution

After a two year hibernation in a successful second phase start up I now have some breathing space and renewed energy to attack the world.

Thank you to Shabu from CarrotLeads for posting this link on LinkedIN today.

Derek Sivers - original post from 2005.

It's so funny when I hear people being so protective of ideas. (People who want me to sign an NDA to tell me the simplest idea.)
To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Cricket World Cup 2015 Fixtures

ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

New Zealand and Australia are co-hosting  the 2015 Cricket World Cup and it will be fascinating to see the historical powerhouses compete against the smaller nations.

Here are the fixtures for those looking from the UK's point of view.

I will hopefully be attending a few of these games. Getting to the quarter final stage is key and I am hoping New Zealand get to the final after a quite brilliant warm up for the event. An India vs New Zealand final would be a true David vs Goliath test  ( 1billion+ vs 4.5m ) . Bring it on!

Monday, November 24, 2014

The software revolution

All industries are undergoing change.


We are players in a new world where innovation is being industrialized and daily life is being altered. And you have the opportunity to influence the future — not just be changed by it.

We predict that the years roughly between 1980 — 2050 will be recognized as the Software Revolution era. The era will be defined by the augmentation of intelligence and experience by computers. The historical definition of the period may be:

“A period of major industrialization that took place during the late 1900s and early 2000s. The Software Revolution began in the United States and quickly spread throughout the world. This time period saw the computerization of business and personal life and had a massive effect on economic, social, and cultural conditions.” 
If you work in technology you likely agree that this time period is unique and being driven by a number of powerful factors including the democratization of software development, widespread broadband access, and the emergence of mobile devices. Software has been commercialized at a dizzying pace, yet new processes and technologies are just starting to be developed to bring efficiency to idea development and execution.

Of the three major forces mentioned above, the democratization of software development is having the most profound impact — it’s both structure and finish. Democratization equates to a world where all that is needed to create great software is a computer and a bold idea (and some dev chops of course) and a marketplace of free and low cost apps that billions of people and millions of businesses have immediate access to.

No function is more important in technology companies than product management. Yet, it's the last to be properly tooled with applications that are modern, transparent, and collaborative.

Software Revolution , A Ha ,  World Trends - updated Nov 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Thinking Man - Sculpture

Yep - I have been putting off a few things in life and need to get things back in motion,

 “We live in a society that is totally bombarded with distractions all the time,” wrote Shaz Hasan. “And now thanks to the internet, ‘we create more content in 48 hours than we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003’, according to Eric Schmidt CEO of Google. That’s A LOT of YouTube videos, blog posts, Facebook statuses, and tweets that will distract you every day.”

In the last week I've started the ball rolling on getting an Uber license , rejoined a Gym after 20+ years , pushed through some overdue gardening and restarted Pocketinfo.

The world is still being taken for a ride by a select few who want to keep us hooked on sugar , fossil fuels , credit and anything else that makes corporate fat. People need to wake up from the distractions that are being pumped around them. I've switched off twitter a while ago , check on Facebook rarely and have now stripped my focus back to my family , me and doing some good before I depart this physical world.

This article on the BBC webite may help some kickstart them out of their malaise.

Procrastination , distractions Image via Pinterest - updated Nov 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

The top 100 songs - Radio Hauraki Decision 2014

Mikey Havoc - Hauraki

Here are the top 100 songs from Radio Hauraki's decision 2014.

The contenders were taken from thousands of texts, tweets, Facebook messages and phone requests Hauraki received throughout the year.

Los Angeles is the most dominant location for the bands that made the top 100 and not one Australian band made the top 100 which is a bit controversial along with no sighting of Pink Floyd , AC/DC or Led Zeppelin showing that Kiwi tastes have moved on from the past - particularly where Hauraki listeners are concerned. 

see the list

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Ebola Hit Countries 2014

Hypsignathus monstrosus

The latest outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) is the most widespread in history and through the reach of global media has created more attention through hourly updates on the 24/7 news culture in the west.

It is thought the outbreak spread through a family catching the disease from a bat which the family had hunted for bush meat in Guinea.

The West African countries effected so far include...

  • Liberia Liberia: 4,693 / 2,704 (as of 19 October 2014)
  • Sierra Leone Sierra Leone: 3,706 / 1,259 (as of 19 October 2014)
  • Guinea Guinea: 1,553 / 926 (as of 19 October 2014)
  • Nigeria Nigeria: 20 / 8 (outbreak ended 20 October 2014)
  • United States United States: 4 / 1 (as of 23 October 2014)
  • Mali Mali: 1 / 1 (as of 24 October 2014)
  • Senegal Senegal: 1 / 0 (outbreak ended 17 October 2014)
  • Spain Spain: 1 / 0 (as of 19 October 2014)
As of 25 October 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 10,141 suspected cases and 4,922 deaths (5,488 cases and 2,945 deaths having been laboratory confirmed)

Background on Outbreak.

Researchers believe that a 2-year-old boy who died on 6 December 2013 in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou Prefecture, Guinea, was the index case of the current Ebola virus disease epidemic. Reports suggest that his family hunted bats of the Ebola-harboring species Hypsignathus monstrosus and Epomops franqueti for bushmeat, which may have been the original source of the infection. His mother, sister, and grandmother then became ill with similar symptoms and also died. People infected by those initial cases spread the disease to other villages. Although Ebola represents a major public health issue in sub-Saharan Africa, no cases had ever been reported in West Africa and the early cases were diagnosed as other diseases more common to the area. Thus, the disease had several months to spread before it was recognized as Ebola.

PocketInfo Quiz
  • Tallinn is a beautiful Capital City in which European CountryAnswer Here
  • The Burj Khalifa is the worlds tallest building (situated in Dubai) but how many floors does it have? Answer Here
  • Valletta is the Capital of which Mediterranean Island Nation? Answer Here

Ebola , Socio-economic Geography , Liberia , Sierra Leone , USA , World Trends - updated 26th Oct 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cuba Street - Wellington. A Bohemian gem worthy of its historic place.

Eyeball Kicks - Christian Pearce

Cuba Street is probably the most fascinating street (road, place, quarter or avenue) in New Zealand. K' Road in Auckland may have pushed it close a few years ago but now Karangahape , to use its official name,  is looking rather sad in comparison. I would also rate the overall feel better than the Melbourne laneways in Australia due to its more concentrated nature.

Last night I had a chance to walk up and down Cuba a couple of times doing some after hour window shopping before returning this afternoon to check out some of the unique fare that caught my eye.

First stop was Eyeball Kicks.It is effectively an Art Gallery selling a range of Art (both original and reprinted) from NZ and around the world. One artist that particularly caught my eye was that of Christian Pearce whose artistic focus centers around Hot Rods , Planes , Tanks and Robots. The owner of the store had completely changed the window display from last night and I had to search out the gems that were previously on display.

Other Kiwi artists on show included Sam Rawlings , Tony Rush , Veronica Green , Gina Kiel and Seymour.

The proprietor of Eyeball Kicks seems to have been in operation since 2005 and I wasn't able to find out if they had been at 177 Cuba Street since its inception.

Cuba Street was named after an early settler ship in the 1840's (not the famous island nation famed for its Cigars) and some cafe's have taken the Island theme including Fidel's at 234 Cuba.

The Cuba Quarter

Cuba Street is a creative and culinary melting pot of buskers, art galleries, graffiti-filled alleyways, quirky cafes, nationally acclaimed restaurants and community exhibition spaces. One of the capital’s icons, Cuba Street is a meeting of minds, menus and market culture enjoyed by everyone from young to old, hipsters to suits, locals to visitors. 1
The surrounding streets and lanes known as the quarter are widely regarded as the best place for Vintage shopping in New Zealand.

My second and third stops were to two retro shops which had some reasonably priced bargains amongst some of the more inflated items. Ziggurat (founded 1980) had a range of vintage and designer labels and sell clothing on behalf of third parties who can't be bothered selling it on Trade Me or Etsy. ( Like a trendier version of the Recycle Boutique found nearby or up in Auckland).

It's off to the airport now and I will continue this update when I get a better connection to the interwebs!

Wellington , New Zealand Cuba Street - updated Oct 2014

Sources WellingtonNZ (1)