“Think big but start small”

At the height of the dotcom bubble in 2000, almost anyone with a cheque book could put money into a hot new technology company. Few got out without losing their shirts.

But Carmen Busquets, a 46-year-old Venezuelan entrepreneur, managed to make a successful bet on an e-commerce venture, and has gone on to become one of the most important investors for fashion-related internet businesses.

An early backer of Net-A-Porter, she recently made an angel investment in ModaOperandi.com, which allows fashion obsessives to order straight from (and straight after) the runway.

Ms Busquets’ investing style stands apart from more famous venture capital firms, which shower start-ups with tens of millions of dollars, bestowing young companies with colossal valuations. Instead, she doles out small investments as a company needs capital.

“Why give a million dollars to someone if they have not proved that they can make a million dollars?” she asks. “I learnt this from my father, who would never give us more money than we could make. If I maxed out a credit card, he would cut it.” Read more »

Mandarin raises profile in classrooms

Asked at the start of their first Chinese class what motivated them to take up the language, the students of the Institut de la Providence, a secondary school outside Namur in Belgium, give their new teacher varied answers.

“It’s a big country,” says one. “I’ve been to China and would like to go back,” ventures another.

The two dozen teenagers are part of a pilot project started this autumn in nine Belgian schools to promote Chinese language learning. More broadly, they are among hundreds of thousands of students in the west who are opting to learn Mandarin Chinese, often at the expense of traditional subjects such as Spanish or German.

“One way or another, China is the future,” says Olaf Mertens, headmaster. “Over 1bn people live in China. Surely, students should be exposed to their language and culture?”

Read more »

Is radical innovation a thing of the past?

It is a rash commentator who calls the end of history. Such declarations, as Francis Fukuyama discovered, tend to be made on the eve of wrenching change. Even so, despite the mass of management thinking forced between hard covers and carpet-bombed weekly on to cowering readers, it is hard to identify radical innovations from the past decade and tempting to think great breakthroughs are no longer possible.

Plenty of thinkers would beg to differ. Ten years after Good to Great was published, Jim Collins is back as co-author of a new book, Great by Choice , touted as “groundbreaking” despite its derivative-sounding title. Michael Porter believes “creating shared value” will mark a turning point in economic history, though critics claim his latest idea is corporate social responsibility under a new guise. Gary Hamel, meanwhile, is promoting the open-access Management Innovation eXchange – “the MIX”, an online clearing house for management ideas – as the vehicle for nothing less than a reinvention of the discipline.

In May, Prof Hamel blogged that “the emerging ‘social technologies’ of Web 2.0 are likely to transform the work of management root and branch”. He laid down an “e-gauntlet” to organisations to share ideas about how they were becoming “more adaptable, innovative, inspiring and accountable”. A few cynics have fallen into the MIX (though the contributor who offered a lapidary contribution headlined “innovation sucks” seems to have disappeared from the site). But the winners of the first phase of the prize mostly defy scepticism – mainly because the improvements they propose seem to be working in practice. Read more »

iPhone 5 (or perhaps iPhone 4S) will be launched on 4 October

Apple earlier today sent out invitations for a special media event scheduled for October 4th with a tag line “Let’s talk iPhone.” Apple’s CEO Tim Cook along with other executives are expected to unveil the iPhone 5 during this event.

The invitation confirms earlier reports about iPhone 5 release date event that was rumored to be held in the first week of October. Apple’s invite carries iOS icons for Calendar, Clock, Maps and Phone all depicting the details about the launch event.

Unlike, previous launch events this year Apple will announce the iPhone 5 / 4S at the company’s Town Hall auditorium at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. The event will begin at 10:00 AM PT.

The use of the word “talk” and one notification on the Phone icon could point to speech features in the fifth-gen iPhone and only one model being announced. Many analysts have been debating about the possibility of a low-end iPhone and we’ll just have to wait and see what Apple has in store for us on October 4th.

According to various reports Apple could make the iPhone 5 finally available for sale around October 15th and would probably start accepting pre-orders a week before that. iOS 5 is also expected to be a part of the special media event.

We’ve been reporting on possible features of iPhone 5 and it’s widely expected to feature 8 megapixel camera, higher RAM, include new “Assistant” feature and have a thinner design.

From http://touchreviews.net/apple-talk-iphone-5-4s-event-october-4th/

IMF: Global Economy Is Entering a “Dangerous” Phase

IMF (International Monetary Fund) believes that the world economy is perhaps becoming decreasing. A new recession is approaching, due to economic downturn across Europe and the U.S. In terms of production, nations including Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland are back to pre-crisis levels.

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