Bill Gross: Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed - Ted Talk Summary

Jul 26, 2015 -

Creating a start-ups is a great way to unlock human potential. You get a group of individuals together with the right equity incentive and you can achieve a great deal. But, what is the biggest reason why startups succeed? In other words, what matters most in a start-up?

Bill Gross has founded a lot of startups, and incubated many others — and he got curious about why some succeeded and others failed. So he gathered data from hundreds of companies, his own and other people's, and ranked each company on five key factors. He found one factor that stands out from the others — and surprised even him.

After starting and been a part of over a hundred businesses since the age of 12, Bill Gross sought out the sole reason why startups succeed.

"Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face." So much about a team's execution is its ability to adapt to getting punched in the face by the customer. The customer is the true reality.

What five factors did he take into account?

1) Idea - The "ah-ha" moment.
2) Team - Team execution and their ability to adapt to the customer's demands.
3) Business Model - Does the company have a path?
4) Funding - Do they have enough money?
5) Timing - Do you need to educate the world, is it too late, or just the right time to release your product? Are there too many competitors?

Number one thing that contributed to a success or failure of a start up was timing. Team and execution came in second. The idea itself was third. Business models and funding were fourth and fifth as these were things you could add later on in the business.

Airbnb came out during the height of the recession and people needed money, so people were not hesitant to rent out their places. Uber was perfect in getting drivers extra money. an online entertainment company, signed Hollywood talent, but broadband penetration was not good in the late 90s. In other words, the timing wasn't good. Years later a similar company, YouTube started and by that time the market was ready. It was timed perfectly.

Are customers ready for your product or service?

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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 30 in 2015

Jul 24, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 30

- Amazon stock surges 17% as earnings beat expectations.
- WTI was 7/24 at $48.14 and Crude Oil $52.62. Oil prices continues its rapid decline.
- Anthem to buy Cigna for $54 billion, creating nation's largest insurer.
- US new home sales at seven-month low; manufacturing stabilizes.
- AT&T gets FCC approval, immediately completes $49-billion takeover of DirecTV.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 17568.53 on Friday, July 24 2015, which was about a 517 point decline versus a week ago of 18086.45 on Friday, July 17 2015. We've seen the market try and retest the top, but it ran out of momentum at 18100 and was quickly sold. Four consecutive red days after a bullish run is not a good sign for bulls. We continue to be in a wicked trading range beginning in March. 

There will most probably be another retest of the bottom of the range. This time it might not be so friendly. The previous bounce was a hard fought bounce. Would not be surprised if we actually broke below this range this time. 

The S&P 500 closed at 2079.65 on Friday, July 24th 2015 versus a week ago of 2126.64 on Friday, July 17th 2015. This was a 47 point swing downward. While this chart is a bit stronger than the DJIA, we still see that it is definitely in a trading range. I'd expect to see a retest of the bottom range as we are not yet oversold. 

For the bulls any trade at the bottom of the range with a tight stop is good risk to reward. Any break below the trading range then I suggest you go short. 

The Nasdaq (COMPQ) closed at 5088.63 on July 24th, 2015 versus 5210.14 on July 17th, 2015 . The strongest of the three indices is still the COMPQ. We noticed that the indicators still show that it is not yet oversold and that we have yet to retest the 50 or 20 DMA, which means that the trading trend is intact. 

The stocks in the Nasdaq include but are not limited to Google, Facebook, eBay, Dish Network, Costco, Amazon, and Apple. So you can see why the Nasdaq is still above water. The past few weeks, Amazon and Google have performed relatively better than its peers. 

Shake Shack is a modern day 'roadside' burger stand serving the most delicious burgers, fries, hot dogs, frozen custard, beer, wine and more! We've covered Shake Shack in the past before. There were two very good buy opportunities that we were not able to take advantage of as we were in FIT. In any event, the first occurred early April and then again in early July. We saw selling action from Jun through mid July as the price reached about $96.

The second opportunity was a the close of the high and low bar of the previous day. The stop would've been right where the blue line is. If I held the position today, I would put my stop at the 20 DMA. Though it is likely that it will break through that as indicators show it is overbought. 

Disclosure: I do not have a position in SHAK.

The information provided on this site is not advice to buy, sell, hold, trade, or invest in any securities. I am not a financial professional. Do your own research before acting on any information provided on this site.
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 29 in 2015

Jul 19, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 29

- Q2 2015 S&P 500 earnings stand at $28.61, a 3.8% decline in growth year-over-year.
- WTI was 7/19 at $59.89 and Crude Oil $57.72. Oil prices continues to decline.
- US jobless claims dropped for the first time in 4 weeks, according to the Department of Labor
- Google's Share price hits all-time high, closed at 672.93 .
- Retail sales reduced 0.3% last month, the weakest reading since February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 18086.45 on Friday, July 17 2015, which was about a 326 point decline versus a week ago of 17760.41 on Friday, July 10 2015. The DJIA dipped below the trading range for the first time in four months. However, managed to bounce back though unconvincingly. It took several attempts before breaking above the 200 DMA. You'll notice as we go through the other charts, this is the weakest of the three indices. We should see a retest of the top trading range. 

After four consecutive positive trading days, the market took a break near 18000. The short-term stochastic (STO) indicators now show overbought conditions. Don't be surprised to see some consolidation to work off that overbought condition or a pullback. 

The S&P 500 closed at 2126.64 on Friday, July 17th 2015 versus a week ago of 2076.62 on Friday, July 10th 2015. This was a 50 point swing upward. The S&P experienced a huge drop toward the 200 DMA, and like the DJIA struggled to make a convincing V-shaped bounce like we've seen in the past. Nonetheless, it did recover and is now trading above the 50DMA.

The STO levels suggest that a period of consolidation or pullback is likely to follow. This is especially the case now that we are toward the top of the trading range. The doji (cross) at the top of chart is just another indication that we may be at a top of this leg up. 

The Nasdaq (COMPQ) closed at 5210.14 on July 17th, 2015 versus 4997.70 on Friday, July 10th . The strongest of the three indices is still the COMPQ. To our amazement, the COMPQ made a new high. Not only that, but it also closed near the top of the high of the day. Without a doubt this is positive action of the chart. Although it is overbought at the moment, further run up is possible before we see any consolidation or pullback. 

Notice that we did not even come close to testing the 200 DMA on this chart. Just incredible strength despite the weakness we see in the DJIA and the S&P. 

Etsy, Inc. (Etsy) operates a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods. My first position in the stock was when it first IPOed, we were able to get in at the great price of $16 per share. The first trading day it jumped up towards $30 and then we dumped it the second day due to weakness. 

Needless to say the stock had been on a downward spiral ever since. Our analysis taking eBay's IPO price relative to its earnings, tagged Etsy to be valued at around $12 per share. It didn't get that low, so we didn't enter the stock. However, from a technical analysis standpoint, the breakout of the trading range was the first buy signal. Then the breakout of the 50 DMA was the second. 

We would wait for a consolidation or another trading setup as we've already missed the last two opportunities. 

Disclosure: I do not have a position in ETSY.

The information provided on this site is not advice to buy, sell, hold, trade, or invest in any securities. I am not a financial professional. Do your own research before acting on any information provided on this site.
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 28 in 2015

Jul 11, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 28

- Janet Yellen reaffirmed America's central bank intends to raise interest rates this year.
- WTI closed 7/11 at $52.74 and Crude Oil $58.73. Oil prices continues to decline.
P&G dismantling its beauty business with sales of brands 
- New GoPro $400 video camera size of an ice cube.
- Shell hauling two huge rigs in Arctic Ocean to start drilling in days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 17760.41 on Friday, July 10 2015, which was about a 30 point decline versus a week ago of 17730.11 on Friday, June 26th 2015. The DJIA dipped below the trading range for the first time in four months. In fact it is now trading just above the 200 DMA. We'll want to see it break back into the trading range at the 17800 level otherwise, expect further downward prices. 

After retesting 17600, the short-term stochastic (STO) indicators bounced off STO 20 and it is now hovering over 40s. We still see that the longer term fourteen day STO is still a bit oversold. The bounce at the 200 DMA has been less then spectacular. I'd expect more downward prices unless we break the 17800 level.  

The S&P 500 closed at 2076.62 on Friday, July 10th 2015 versus a week ago of 2076.78 on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015. The change was flat. The S&P experienced a huge drop toward the 200 DMA and like the DJIA struggled to make a convincing V-shaped bounce. It appears as if it is forming a bearish flag, which would suggest further decline in prices.

The STO levels suggest that the bounce was less than strong. Even when they are showing it is not overbought, they are declining. We can see that the STO levels (five day) peaked at 50 and then declined to 30s versus a peak above 20 in the fourteen week STO indicator and a decline at 17 by the end of the week. This suggests weakness in the markets. 

The Nasdaq (COMPQ) closed at 4997.70 on Friday, July 10th versus 5009.21 on Thursday, July 2nd 2015. The strongest of the three indices is still the COMPQ. As with the action we saw last week, the trend has been broken and now we are failing to make higher highs. This is also a clear indication that the markets are beginning to turn. Unless we can see a solid bounce back into the trading range, expect lower prices. 

Fitbit, Inc. (FIT) is a makers of fitness bands. It has also been a focused long-stock in weeks prior namely due to its strong price action despite the downturn in the markets. Last week was  week of consolidation. FIT tried to work off overbought conditions and did so wonderfully. It hovered around 40-44 last week, which sets it up perfectly for a breakout above the $44 level. We doubt that this will reach STO oversold before it sees higher prices. Right now we are targeting $47.61. 

We entered into the position at $34.61 on 6/26 and it is up about 20%. 

Disclosure: I have a long position in FIT.

The information provided on this site is not advice to buy, sell, hold, trade, or invest in any securities. I am not a financial professional. Do your own research before acting on any information provided on this site.
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 27 in 2015

Jul 4, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 27

- Greece defaults on $1.7 billion IMF payment.
- WTI closed 7/2 at $56.93 and Crude Oil $62.07. The lowest in a month.
BP Agrees to Pay $18.7 Billion to Settle Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Claims.
- U.S. Pending Home Sales at Highest Level in Nine Years.
- Aetna to buy Humana for $37 billion in largest insurance deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 17730.11 on Thursday, July 2 2015, which was a 1.02% decline versus a week ago of 17946.68 on Friday, June 26th 2015. The DJIA is still in a trading range between 17700 and 18200. It appears to have tried to break through 17600, but quickly bounced just above the 200 DMA. Until we see some kind of sustained break, this is just another choppy market to be trading in.  

After retesting 17600, the stochastic (STO) indicators bounced off STO 20 and it is now working off oversold territory. As we had mentioned last week, "We shouldn't be surprised to see a retest of 17000 in the coming weeks". Lone behold, there was a retest. At least for now, there appears to be a decent bounce from that area. The STO indicates that the bounce may still continue. For the bulls, I'd like to see it go back to the 18010 area or 50 DMA. Otherwise, any sustained break below the 200 DMA suggests the bears are here to play.

The S&P 500 closed at 2076.78 on Thursday, July 2nd 2015 versus a week ago of 2101.49 on Friday, June 26th, 2015. This was a change of 1.2% decline. The S&P experienced a huge drop toward the 200 DMA, however stopped just short of it.

Just like with the DJIA, it appears that on the SPX, the STO levels are oversold and the small bounce was overdue. Whether or not this is sustainable or there will be further follow through remains to be seen. For the bulls, you'd like to it go back to the 50 DMA of 2104.48. Evidently any break above 2130, would be good for the bulls. We should watch for any break below the 200 DMA as an indication that the bears are here to play. 

The Nasdaq (COMPQ) closed at 5009.21 on Thursday, July 2nd 2015 versus 5080.5 on Friday, Mayz26th 2015. The strongest of the three indices is the COMPQ. It made a new high two weeks ago, however was quickly sold off. We are seeing signs of a breakdown of the trend. Unless the chart starts to trade above our trend line, expect more downward action.  

As with the SPY and the DJIA, we are seeing the oversold indicators working themselves back away from that territory. We would expect a second test of the 50 DMA. If it doesn't break through then look out below, otherwise sustained break above would be great for the bulls. 

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) is a company that needs no introduction. It is one of the strongest banks in the United States and has consistently outperformed its competition in almost every level. From a technical analysis standpoint, we have just retested the 50 DMA and that would've been a great entry point to go long. My stop would have been just below the 50 DMA at support of $55.5. It is not often that both the STO for the 14 day period and the 5 day period match up and when they do, typically it is a good indicator in this market to go long. Still at $56.74, this would be a good entry with a stop just below the 50 DMA. We'd expect a retest of the $58 level should the 50 DMA hold.

Disclosure: I have a long position in WFC.
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 26 in 2015

Jun 26, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 26

- EBay announces date of PayPal spinoff - July 17th.
- WTI closed 6/26 at $59.63 and Crude Oil $63.26.
- Nike soars after crushing earnings forecast at $0.98/share vs $0.83/share
- Personal consumption expenditures rose 0.9% in May.
- Next Tuesday is the deadline for the Greek government to repay the IMF 1.5B euros.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 17,946.68 on Friday, June 26th 2015. After failed attempts to break through the 18,300+ barrier via an ascending triangle trading pattern, the DJIA is now in a trade range and continues to bounce between 17,700 and 18,200. Until we can see a clear break either to the upside or the downside, this remains a stock picker's market. 

After retesting 18,200, the stochastic (STO) indicators bounced off STO 80 and it is now working off overbought territory. The STO indicates that there is still some selling off that could occur. We shouldn't be surprised to see a retest of 17,700 in the coming weeks. 

The S&P 500 closed at 2101.49 on Friday, June 26th, 2015. The S&P was posed to break out of its ascending triangle pattern. However, it stopped short around 2,130. From then on beginning in June, it peeled back into a 60 point trading range from 2070 to 2130. This is nearly similar to that of the DJIA chart above.

Just like with the DJIA, it appears that on the SPX, the STO levels have not been completely exhausted and there is still more selling to occur. For the bulls, you'd like to see a break above 2,130. The more times it tries and fails to break through, the more likely it is that the bears will take control. However, right now it looks more or less neutral. 

The Nasdaq (COMPQ) closed at 5080.5 on Friday, May 26th 2015. The strongest of the three indices is the COMPQ. It made a new high this week, however was quickly sold. Though the upward trend remains intact. Until we see a break below the 50 DMA, this is an index that is moving upward. 

As with the SPY and the DJIA, we are seeing the overbought indicators working themselves off of that via a pullback. Friday's volume was significant however it held above the 20 DMA. Look to see it retest the 50 DMA before it bounces again. 

Fitbit, Inc. (FIT) is a company that designs and manufactures health and fitness trackers and provides online dashboard and mobile apps, data analytics, motivational and social tools, personalized insights, and virtual coaching through customized fitness plans and interactive workouts. Just last week, FIT IPOed at a price of $20 per share. IT opened closer to $30 a share. After reaching $40 per share, it cooled down and appears to have pulled back to the magic Fibonacci extension (61.8%). On a pure bounce play, we entered in at $34.61, with a stop just below today's close. The target is a retest of the high. 
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Should You Bail On Gold?

Jun 24, 2015 -

The following is a guest post.
For a long time, gold bullion has been viewed as an investment worth considering for an appropriately diversified portfolio. If you have gold holdings or you're up-to-date on alternative investment strategies, you'll likely be familiar with all the arguments that have favored gold over the years: its price tends to be fairly stable (and rose for a solid decade without interruption), it's relatively low-risk, and it's a nice alternative to currency or stocks in times of economic hardship.

But in the past two years, all of these common arguments have been thrown into question as gold prices have experienced an unprecedented drop-off. A combination of factors perhaps headlined by the steadily improving U.S. economy and strengthening U.S. dollar have led to a far less stable outlook for gold, which in turn has put those managing long-term gold holdings in a tricky position. So, is it time to abandon gold and cut your losses?

I'd always argue that that's a question for each investor to answer individually based on his or her situation. However, some are beginning to say that yes, the time might be ripe to give up on gold for the time being. Just this week, The Wall Street Journal's commodities section took on the topic of investors abandoning "havens" (such as gold and other precious metals) given increasing hope of a deal between Greece and its European creditors. As the article puts it, "some investors buy gold in times of economic or political uncertainty, convinced it will hold its value better than other assets in turbulent periods." This is the long-standing philosophy. And yet, as hopes linger over Greece avoiding a disastrous default and potential exit from the Euro zone, investors are showing less inclination to flee ordinary financial assets in favor of gold. In short, where there's no crisis, there's no appeal.

And unfortunately for those holding gold, the talk of investors abandoning the metal in light of recent news in Europe doesn't seem to be a purely theoretical one. The price of gold fell somewhat dramatically over the course of the day on Monday (the same day of The Wall Street Journal's account). FXCM's gold charts show that while the metal opened at close to $1,200/ounce on Monday morning, it was down around $1,185/ounce by the end of the work day. That's a roughly 1.25 percent drop in a single day, taking gold dangerously close to its dramatic lows from last November. And really, Monday's news and price reaction was just the latest in a series of disappointments in gold that have made long-term investors uneasy.

On the other hand, there are also financial experts who view the current situation—primarily as it concerns the strong U.S. economy and improving dollar—as one that's unsustainable, meaning gold could still be a worthwhile long-term play. Seeking Alpha had an interesting article that fell within this mindset. The argument was made that recent action (or inaction, rather) by the Federal Reserve was a bad sign for gold investors. The basic idea is that the Fed has essentially allowed for the dollar to coast and continue strengthening throughout what looks to be the remainder of 2015, meaning gold could continue to fall if it follows its common trend of moving inversely to the dollar. However, the same article also states that "the dollar is extended, and its unwinding will eventually serve gold, but not quite yet."

So again, whether or not you decide to cut your losses and abandon gold investments is up to you and you alone. Some expect that as various international issues continue to hold gold prices down, we might just be living in a new economic climate in which the precious metal just won't be as valuable as it once was. Others believe that an eventual stalling of the dollar's growth, and inevitable political and economic turmoil abroad, will see the gold prices rebound, eventually.

The only certainty is that managing gold investments in 2015 is very different, and arguably more complex, than ever before.

Jenna Batten is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She enjoys covering a variety of topics including finance, technology, lifestyle, and travel.
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Stock of the Week: Shake Shack (SHAK)

Jun 21, 2015 -

The Scoop on Shake Shack 

What started as a hot dog stand in New York City's Madison Square Park has quickly turned into a publicly traded company. The original hot dog cart was established in 2001 to help rejuvenate Madison Square Park. The stand was an immediate hit and peopled formed lines daily for three years. Since then, Shake Shack ("the Company") has opened up numerous restaurants and expanded throughout the world.

Shake Shack is a modern day "roadside" burger stand. The Company serves premium burgers, frozen custard hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries, shakes, beer and wine. Per the SEC filings, as of April 1, 2015, there were 66 Shacks in operation, system-wide, of which 34 were domestic company-operated Shacks, five were domestic licensed Shacks and 27 were international licensed Shacks.

Highlight Fundamentals

Financial Highlights for the First Quarter 2015 (per SHAK's press release):

▪ Total revenue increased 56.3% to $37.8 million.
▪ Shack sales increased 59.2% to $36.0 million.
▪ Same-Shack sales increased 11.7%.
▪ Net loss was $(12.7) million, or $(1.06) per diluted share, which included $13.2 million of after-tax expenses incurred in connection with our IPO.

Unlike most other recently IPOed publicly traded restaurants, Shake Shack is profitable and has been for the past three years. Shake Shack recorded profits of $4.1M, $5.4M, and $2.1M for the fiscal year ended 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively. Most recently in the first quarter of 2015, the Company recorded a loss of $12.7M compared to a profit of $1.1M in the prior comparable period. A closer look at the Q1 2015 10Q reveals that $12.8M of the loss is attributable to a one-time IPO related stock-based compensation expense and $0.6M IPO expense. Adjusted for the aforementioned, Shake Shack would have recorded a $0.7M profit in Q1 2015.  

The adjusted pro forma fully exchanged weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding-diluted shares count as of April 1st, 2015 was 37,049,000. As of 6/19/2015, the price was 69.34 per share, which brings the market capitalization to approximately $2.6B. You don't need to be a math genius to know that currently Shake Shack is trading a very high P/E ratio. Without a doubt, this valuation is predicated on the potential of future earnings. Wendy's Co has an approximate market capitalization of $4.1B as of 6/19/2015, which is about twice that of Shake Shack. However, it did end fiscal year 2015 with net income of $121M. For Shake Shack to be on the same market capitalization to net income ratio, it would have to have a net income of $77M. 

What makes the Company different from say a Habit Burger? It boils down to company culture, branding, supply chain, and their food of course. The restaurant industry is quite simple to understand. The more food you sell, the more revenue you generate. At the same time, you'll want to keep down operating costs. The way to sell more food is to appeal to your target market. The innovation comes from the food itself and branding. Of course, location does matter. But, we've seen people drive great lengths to eat at In-N-Out burger when one was not available outside of California. Restaurants constantly ask themselves how can you generate more same store sales and where should they open up more stores. 

Highlight Technicals

From a technical perspective, SHAK has done incredible considered how highly valued it was coming out of the IPO.

SHAK IPOed at $21 earlier this year. However, by the end of the first day of trading, SHAK reached $45.90.  Over the next few days, it pulled back a little bit towards $37.84, however has since skyrocketed to a high of approximately $97.31. We've overlaid the below chart with the Fibonacci retracement taking the low and the high since it IPOed.

The ideal entry would be at the 61.8% retracement level of $60.58. Though if you look closely you can see that the stochastics suggests that the stock is currently oversold. A bounce is definitely due and would not be unexpected. It is also trading below the 50 DMA. Any close above such level and a close above the high and low bar of the previous day, would suggest a possible entry point. 

Disclaimer: This article is written for informational purposes only and not intended for investment advice. For more similar articles visit
Disclosure: I do not have a position in SHAK.
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Five Tips on How to Most Efficiently and Effectively Use Email

Jun 10, 2015 -

Nowadays, email is the primary form of communication in business. Email has replaced in many respects the use of a phone as it is much easier to send emails than to pick up a phone and call someone. Though these are two different methods of communication, there are some people who expect an immediate response from an email much like a SMS text to a friend or an update to social media. There is certain business etiquette that comes with using email as a form of communication and if you use it wrong it can come off as unprofessional. People spend a fourth of the day reading, writing, and replying to their email box, don't contribute to each other's email clutter.  

Here are a number of email etiquette and guidelines that can go a long way in helping minimize email clutter and actually will help your chances in getting your emails read.

1) Email shall not be used to scold or discipline people

Consider a situation whereby your coworker just dropped the ball on a project and now you are suffering the consequences for something you didn't have full control over. Your first instinct is to rip your coworker a new one. Tell him or her off and then flip the bird perhaps. You decide to draft an email with all your anger directed towards that individual. Wait a second. Before you do that, cool down and step away from your desk. Remember that email will be stored on the company server somewhere. Refrain from sending out that email.

2) Send relevant email content to your recipients

The last thing you would want is to receive an email that has nothing to do with what you are doing or related to you in any way. Make sure if you are sending something to someone, it is relevant to them. Have an objective, actionable point, and make sure to address your recipient personally.

3) Limit the number of emails you send related to a discussion

Sending an email should not result in playing email tag. In a professional setting, emails should not be used to banter back and forth or left to right. Be concise and offer solutions in your email, which will help keep long email chains at bay. If your "discussion" ends up going past three emails, perhaps you should pick up the phone or schedule a conference call.

4) Add the email address last

How many times did you accidentally send an email that was not ready to be sent? Maybe on second thought, you didn't mean to send out that email. Take your time to write the email, proofread it, make any changes and attachments, add the recipients, and then fire it off.

5) Only expect the 'to' recipients to respond

Common practice has been those who are CCed typically will not respond to the email or they may merely skim over the emails. If you want a response from someone, make sure you address them in the 'To' field or direct the email towards them. For example, "Jim, will you please take a look at this? In the meantime, Barbara, if you could help set up a call regarding this with Jim, myself, and you that would be helpful." In this case I would still send the emails 'to' Jim and Barbara rather than 'CC' them.
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10 Days Itinerary For the East Side of Australia

Jun 1, 2015 -

How to Do Ten Days on the East Side of Australia - Itinerary Summary 

Three of my friends and I took ten days to explore the east side of Australia including the world's oldest rainforest, Sydney, Great Barrier Reef, and beautiful beaches. In total, we visited six different cities/areas. Our planned itinerary for Australia was a mix of both outdoorsy and city adventures. Below is a summary of our ten days planned itinerary in Australia.

Day 1 

-Land in Sydney
-Take the train from the Airport into the City
-Walk around Darling Harbour
-Ferry to Circular Quay (Purchase the Opal public transport pass)
-Take a walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens
-Sydney Opera House Tour

Day 2

-Eat Brunch/Breakfast at Social Brew
-Ferry to the Taronga Zoo
-Trek to Chinatown for some great food at Kiroran Silk Road Uighur Restaurant

Day 3 

-Travel to Cairns (About a 3 hour flight from Sydney)
-Walk along side Esplanade street
-Visit the Cairns night market
-Spend some time at Cairns Central Shopping Centre

Day 4 

-Snorkel at Michaelmas reef

Day 5 

-Diving at the Hastings Reef

Day 6 and Day 7

-Tour up and around Daintree Rainforest (2 hr drive north of Cairns)

Day 8 - Day 9

-Spend a night at Palm Cove
-Eat at Vivo Bar and Grill
-Pick up breakfast the next morning at Rising Sun
-Fly back to Sydney
-Train to Newtown and dinner at Thai Pothong

Day 10 

-Breakfast at Cornersmith in Marrickville
-Farmers Market on Addison Rd and Millawara Rd on Sundays
-Train and Bus to Bondi Beach
-Bus to The Rocks
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 19 in 2015

May 9, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 19

- BABA surged 7.5% after company introduced Jonathan Lu as new CEO. 
- WTI closed 5/8 at $59.39 and Crude Oil $65.39 down 1.6% from last week.
- Janet Yellen said that stock values are "quite high". 
- U.S. economy adds 223k April jobs primarily in the business services as wages rise slightly.
- Tesla's Powerwall sold out till mid-2016 - received estimated $800M worth of orders.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18191.11 on Friday, May 8th 2015, which is up about 167 pts from last Friday, May 1st. The ascending triangle trading pattern remains in tack. After it tried yet again to break below the 17800 level, the Dow Jones pulled an impressive bullish candlestick on Friday. Despite Yellen's comments about how the stock values were "quite high", the bulls continued to show that they were in charge. 

The stochastic indicators are now not in overbought territory and the chart is set up fairly well for a boost to the upside. We will have to see if the market will be able to follow through from Friday's action. If it does, we have a good chance at further upside. The market has been stuck in range mode for about three months now. When will this break?

The S&P 500 closed at 2116.10 on Friday, May 8th, 2015 up about 8 pts from the previous week. The S&P is posed to break out of its ascending triangle pattern. This is nearly an identical chart to that of the Dow Jones. Probabilities suggest that the bulls will make another run at the top. Any sustained break would make this rally worthwhile to watch. So far we have not been able to see the bears take control or show that they can thwart the bulls. On the contrary, we have yet to see the bulls take full control either.

The Nasdaq closed at 5003.55 on Friday, May 8th 2015. This was a decrease of about 2 pts from last Friday the 1st. The Nasdaq was the only index of the three to have closed down from a week ago. Yet, it looks to be the best set up for a pop above. You can see that it formed an evening doji star this past Monday. Typically these happen when the market gaps up, but bulls or the bears are unable to take control from the opening price. This shows indecisiveness in the market and therefore if the market does gap up, typically you'll see a roll over. In this particular case, this rollover however was short lived and immediately, we saw the prices being bought and followed by a nice gap up candle on Friday that closed just above the 20 DMA. It will be important to see if this can be sustained on Monday.  

ProShare Crude Oil (UCO) tracks the price of crude oil. It closed at $9.66 on Friday, May 8th 2015. Typically, you'll see an increase in demand in the summer for oil. As we get closer to that, we'll see prices rise unless supply can match that demand. Technically speaking, we bounced from the 20 DMA, which is positive for the bulls. We'll see some resistance at the $11-$12 price range as those who had positions are looking to exit at break even. Oil is still at historical lows and we are far away from that $100/barrel. There is a lot of room for oil to run; but it won't shoot up as quickly as it shot down. Oil rigs will come into service as certain prices are hit. The higher the price, the more oil rigs will come in and drill, which will keep supply high. Be patient with these positions, it might take a while for them to pay off. 

There will likely not be a week 20 or week 21 post as I will be traveling to Australia. Jet lag permitting, I'll do my best to put up a week 21 post. 
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 18 in 2015

May 2, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 18

- LNKD and TWTR's post-earnings tumble down 21% and 23% thru Thurs., respectively.
- WTI closed 5/2 at $59.15 up 3.5% and Crude Oil $66.46 up 1.8% from last week.
- US Fed Reserve keeps rates low as US economic growth slowed to an annual rate of 0.2%.
- Berkshire Hathaway's first-quarter profit up 10% fueled by railroad, utilities, and energy.
- Tesla introduces Powerwall, a 10kWh home battery charged through solar panels.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18024.06 on Friday, May 1st 2015, which is down 56.08 pts from last Friday, April 24th. The triangle trading pattern remains in tack, after it tried to break down, the bulls came back Friday. Will this break upward or break down?

The stochastic indicators at the bottom of the chart continued to work off that overbought territory. We will need to see it break 18100 and sustain that level to know if the bulls are back. Otherwise closes below 17800 and sustained follow through suggest sell in May is a strategy to follow.

The S&P 500 closed at 2108.29 on Friday, May 1st, 2015 down 9.4 pts from the previous week. The S&P broke out of its triangle pattern, but failed to see sustained follow through. Instead it was a bull trap. The false breakout was quickly sold and now it's back into the triangle pattern. When this happens, typically you'll see that the bottom range is tested. I wouldn't be surprised if it did as such here before another run at the high or break below to fulfill the sell in May and go away theory. 

The Nasdaq closed at 5005.39 on Friday, May 1st 2015. This was a decrease of 1.76% from last Friday the 24th. The Nasdaq has broken out to new all-time highs the week before, but has been unable to sustain those high prices. While the 20 DMA is still being held, it has now fallen back into the trading range. We are now in May and without a doubt as we get closer to summer, the volume will drop. Any break below 4825 will cause problems for the bulls. 

Twitter (TWTR), a social media site focusing on advertising as a revenue source, closed at $37.84 on Friday, May 1st 2015. When it did not meet analysts expectations it tanked and filled the gap up from early February rather easily. Now it is in the same trading range as it was in December. There will be heavy resistance at $40 and expect buyers to come in at $36 to retest the support levels from end of December 2014 through February of 2015. As with the indices, watch for a break out in either direction. 

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Book Review - Getting There: A Book Of Mentors

Apr 29, 2015 -

About Gillian Zoe Segal, Author of Getting There: A Book Of Mentors

Gillian Zoe Segal is the author of New York Characters, a tribute to New Yorkers, and Getting There: A Book of Mentors. Her work has received numerous mentions by publications such as Forbes, CNBC, MSNBC, and Business Insider. Gillian is also a freelance photographer specializing in portraits. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts and received a law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between successful and unsuccessful people? While Gillian has been successful in life thus far, her search to inspire and provide guidance to her daughter and others led her to share Getting There: A Book of Mentors. Smooth waters never made a skilled sailor. At some point in life, everyone will encounter rough waters. Gillian sat down with each of these thirty mentors to understand their highs and lows. She got as personal as she they would let her get. It's never too late to improve, try something new, find a great role model, and discover something about yourself!

"The road to get there is almost guaranteed to be arduous, but if you love what you do, you'll thrive on the inevitable challenges and have stamina to achieve your potential." 

What is great about the book?
Despite having a background in law and photography, Gillian's Getting There: A Book of Mentors has gathered not only the experiences of a successful lawyer, but experiences of people from various backgrounds. Of which include investor Warren Buffet, Spanx inventor Sara Blakely, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, and even Mad Men Creator Matthew Weiner.

While it is great reading about the stories of successful people and immersing ourselves in their journey from the beginning, most readers want to know how they can benefit from such experiences. Gillian does a great job pointing out key turning points in each mentor's story. For example, Warren Buffet had a fear of public speaking in college. What he did to overcome this fear was he signed up for the Dale Carnegie public-speaking course. Here Warren identified a fear of his and understood that he couldn't go through life not knowing how to speak in front of people. What can we as readers take from this? If there is a weakness within ourselves that is holding us back, we can look to see what can be done to turn that weakness into a strength. Whether that be finding a course to take or seeking advice from those who have gone through a similar desired transformation.

At the end of each mentor's section, the author highlights key "pearls" or takeaways from the stories. For example, with Warren, he emphasized the importance of reputation and also experiences that may seem to be disastrous at first actually work out for the best. A good example of this was his rejection from Harvard, which eventually lead him to Benjamin Graham in Columbia whereby he learned the fundamentals of investing. For Anderson Cooper, the famous journalist, the way to find your bliss is a three step process. First you figure out gets your adrenalin pumping, next figure out a way to make it a career, and third outwork everyone around you.

"When you're much more interested in what you're doing than going out for a drink with friends, you've found your bliss." - Anderson Cooper

Each of these successful individuals have something you can incorporate in your life or change for the better. If anything, they would reiterate what you might already be doing. One of the most important things, I've gathered from these stories is to keep an open mind so you will be able to take opportunities when they arise and to really follow what you are passionate about. That of course is much easier said than done. Where in society we are pressured to meet other people's expectations, we lose sight of what is truly important in our lives.

Here is a key excerpt from Tom Scott's (Nantucket Nectars Co-Founder) section:

"Over the next two years, six of my friends joined in, and we dramatically expanded the scope of the business. Our slogan was “Ain’t nothing these boys won’t do.” One friend, Tom First, and I shared the same playful personality. One night he blended up a peach juice based on his memory of something he’d tasted in Spain. Within about seventeen seconds, we thought, This is what we have to sell off the boat! It happened that fast. We came up with the name Nantucket Nectars and spent the entire winter testing all sorts of fruity concoctions. We were obsessed."

What is the not so great about it?

Usually, with most books, we can find a couple things that aren't so great about it. In Gillian's Getting There: A Book of Mentors, the only thing I can find that isn't great about it is that the stories were not long enough! As I was just starting to immerse myself in one of the mentor's stories, I found myself towards the end of it! While this is most probably done by design to keep the reader engaged, for those who can really relate to one mentor or another, it would be best to seek out a biography afterwards.

Sometimes, it can become difficult to relate to those outside of our industries, regardless in this increasingly globalized world we live in today, learning about other people's specializations does open your eyes to new and varied experiences. Gillian does a great job showing that there are different ways to be successful and success comes from those with different personalities as well.

What is your final recommendation?
For those young professionals or those who have been working in their industries for many years, day in and day out all we see are those in our particular fields. As we get older, your circle of friends becomes smaller. While we do build strong bonds with our existing friends, we lose sight of what else is out there. Our imagination diminishes and we get sucked into our own little worlds. Gillian's book Getting There: A Book of Mentors is a great read and really lets you into the minds of successful people in various industries. As I was reading the book, it felt as if I was right there next to that person listening to their story. How rare is it that you are able to find a surfer, lawyer, investor, fitness instructor, journalist, all in one room? This is essentially it! All the stories from various background all in one book! You never have to leave the comforts of your own home, Gillian brought all of them to you.

Conclusion: Getting There: A Book of Mentors is a recommended read for those who seek to the wisdom of successful individuals. After all, all of us can use another mentor to help guide us in the right direction in life. 
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Stock Market Indices Review for Week 17 in 2015

Apr 24, 2015 -

Stock Market Highlights - Week 17

- Nasdaq composite index beat its record of 5,048.62 set on March 10, 2000
- WTI closed 4/24 at $57.15 up 2.5% and Crude Oil $65.28 up 2.9% from the last week.
- AMZN & MSFT shares rose to $445.10 & $47.87, respectively due to cloud business profits 
- Greece and EU ministers fail to reach deal in unlocking 7.2B euros to pay off IMF debt.
- Brazil's Ibovespa stock benchmark extends a rally from a Jan. 30 market low to 21%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 18080.14 on Friday, April 24th 2015, which is up 1.42% from last Friday the 17th. The triangle trading pattern has not yet been broke, however is itching to break upwards. Volume has essentially been a non-factor in our analysis. 

Price action continues to make higher lows at the end of March, beginning of April, and once again tested the 17800 level last Friday. This was followed up with a bullish engulfing candle on the 20th. While there is still risk to the downside, the probabilities suggest there will be further upside. You'll see this when we look at the NASDAQ and SPX charts later. 

The stochastic indicators at the bottom of the chart actually worked off some of that overbought territory. There is still room for the stochastic indicators to run above 80, which means we should be looking at breaking out of the channel. Again if it breaks below and fails, we have numerous support levels to watch for including the 17800 level and then the 17700-17600 levels. 

The S&P 500 closed at 2117.69 on Friday, April 24th, 2015. The S&P continues to show relative strength compared to the DJIA with an increase of 1.75% compared to the prior week. The triangle pattern we saw forming in the past two months has now been broken. A break from the triangle and continued upward price action would suggest higher prices to come. 

The 50 day moving averages has held relatively well and continue to be support for this index. Watch next week for a break above the green line we've drawn below. Evidently more sideways action would be good for the overbought indicators, however don't be surprised if we trade above overbought conditions as the market takes off again. 

The Nasdaq closed at 5092.08 on Friday, April 24th 2015. This was an increase of 1.92% from last Friday the 17th. The Nasdaq has broken out to new all-time highs; busting through the high established in 2000 during the dot-com boom. We would like to see continued upward action and this is likely to happen as nobody is trading a loss now. Still as always, we watch to see if the price falls back into the trading range. Should it do so, we can almost certainly expect a retest of the bottom range. 

Box, Inc. (BOX), a provider of cloud-based computing, closed at $17.75 on Friday, April 24th 2015. It recently IPOed in late January. Since its descent from a high of over $24 on opening day, it has since traded anywhere from $21 to as low as $17 per share. If you are bullish you'd want to enter in when the price sustains above the 50 day moving average. For bears, you are looking at any break below $17 and sustained follow through to be an indicator of lower prices. 

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