Tag Archive | "End Result"

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Step Aside Washington Let The Economy Work


Despite Washington’s dysfunction, the US Labor Department’s Non-Farm Payroll report showed 155,000 jobs were added in December. Additionally, another 15,000 jobs were adjusted to the November total. By all accounts, the figure continued a steady progressive trend.

Based on the antics of a devastatingly dysfunctional 112th Congress, many analysts feared for the worst. Over the last 60 years, the unemployment rate has averaged 6.0 percent. Today, the unemployment rate is 7.8 percent and there are few reasons to think the economy can re-create more prosperous times. The December unemployment rate is one percent less than 12 months ago.

There are many theories about the direction of the US recovery. However, analysts all agree that the dysfunction in Washington may be the nation’s biggest hurdle.  With momentum leaning forward, the economy received no lift from the pitiful resolution of the fiscal cliff. There is not one provision in this divisive piece of legislation that gives the economy direction much less the much needed stability to know where the country is headed. Lacking than a clear direction of financial policy, the government has engulfed the business community with instability. Business leaders have learned very little about what demands a resolution to the debt crisis will make.

The end result of the first leg of the self-imposed fiscal cliff is that business leaders know less about the direction of the solution than before negotiations commenced. Businesses are again forced to hoard their capital in preparation for the next Congressional debacle. It is a sorry state and not one worthy of the world’s largest economy.

In December, average hourly earnings increased by 0.3 percent. Two important sectors that have been gutter-bound since the outset of the recession, construction and manufacturing, reflect progress as new jobs increased in both sectors.

To many observers, new job creation in December is disappointing. To others, it is a miracle that the economy has withstood a government seemingly on a path of self-destruction. Retail sales over the holidays were below expectations. Consumers started the holiday buying season at a good pace but as the fiscal cliff approached, many consumers applied the brakes. Now, facing several more agonizing fiscal negotiations and when the country needs the full power of the American consumer, it becomes difficult to see positive growth and new job creation.

Will the Congress Remove the Shackles?

The politicians will be negotiating the debt ceiling, and the pending portion of the fiscal cliff in upcoming months. If that isn’t enough to dim the economy, consider it a miracle.

On a positive side, automakers have achieved great success in 2012. And, local, state and national payrolls cut 13,000 jobs in December.

What the country needs is a well-considered debt reduction plan. Only the development of such a plan will encourage corporate investment and return consumers to open pocketbooks. The chances for a resounding debt resolution plan are cloudy at best.

Richard Gilhooly, an interest rate strategist for TD Securities, New York, offered a sound observation regarding the current job marketplace. “Private sector payrolls at 168,000 were fairly robust in December and the general view is that the recent numbers were likely depressed by fiscal cliff issues, such that improvement should be seen in coming months.

“The household survey was weaker, with only 28,000 jobs, while 192,000 people entered the labor force, pushing the unemployment rate 0.1% higher. Bonds initially traded higher on the unemployment rate and the idea that QE is pegged to at least 6.5 percent, but the market has traded back to the lows subsequently on what is generally a firm report and likely better ahead.”

Imagine where the economy would be if Washington stopped presenting obstacles to a motivated environment.

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Steve Jobs A Visionary Lost


Visionary, passionate, solid, creative, genius, successful, marketing magnet and compelling are just some of the terms used to describe the greatest entrepreneur of the last eighty years.  Often grouped with such iconic names as Ford and Edison, Jobs made life better through his extraordinary technological and mechanical talents.  His communication projects expanded the global communications network.

 

The end result of the entrepreneur’s passion and dedication is that at the time of his death on Wednesday October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs’s Apple was the largest technology company in the world and the second highest valued company in the United States.

Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004. His activity level at Apple has been intermittent since that time.  However, his astute marketing abilities revealed his excitement and familiarity with every product Apple produced.  There was certainly no more hands-on CEO in any company of this size in the U.S.

Steve Jobs was 56 years old at his death.  Jobs died with his wife Laurene and his immediate family at his side. 

The Steve Jobs story is more than a story of his undeniable entrepreneurial success.  His story is the story upon which the American Dream is built. 

Jobs was born on February 24, 1955 to his biological mother, Joanne Simpson, and Abdulfattah Jandali.  Joanne put Steven Paul Jobs up for adoption with the request that the parents be educated. 

His adopted parents, Clara and Paul Jobs were high school dropouts.  Joanne Simpson agreed to the adoption on the condition that the Jobs’s put Steve through college.

Paul Jobs was a machinist. He worked his “genius hands” in his garage.  He taught Steve the invaluable ability to take things apart, to put them back together and to assemble concepts from start to finish.  Paul also taught Steve how to construct and breakdown electronic gadgetry. These skills contributed to Steve’s own genius at understanding how things are constructed and served as a sound base for what was to come.

Indeed, it was in this garage that Steve Wozniak, a brilliant computer engineer and who had helped Jobs get a part-time job at HP, and Jobs assembled their first Apple computer.  With funds from Wozniak’s sale of his state-of-the-art HP calculator and with proceeds from the sale of Jobs’s VW, they cleared the $1,300 necessary to put together their assembly line in the garage.

Jobs loped his way through high school. He was always resistant to formal education.  He enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.  He only lasted six months but did complete a calligraphy course that he said served him well.

In 1974, Jobs took a position with Atari. After a few months, he sought spiritual guidance in India.  He experimented with various drugs during this period.  He returned to the U.S. in 1976 as a proclaimed Buddhist.  At 21, Jobs began his magical success story.

Jobs and Wozniak began to produce their first “out-of-the-box” computer, which retailed for $666.66.  The Apple I netted the entrepreneurs $774,000. Apple II was released three years later,  Sales increased 700 percent and totaled $139 million. 

Apple went public in 1980 and had a market value of $1.2 billion after the first day of trading.  Jobs hired Pepsi’s John Scully to serve as Apple’s President.

IBM swooped into the pc market at this time and dimmed the Apple star. As IBM sales rose, Apple computers struggled with design flaws and product imperfections.

In 1984, Jobs presented his Macintosh to the board of directors.  His ten-minute presentation was followed by a moment of silence before the Board collectively rose to their feet and issued a thunderous round of applause.

Sales of the Mac were strong but its incompatability to IBM products was a negative.  Scully led a successful movement to oust Jobs as Steve resigned as Apple’s CEO in 1985.

Jobs was now equipped with cash, a sound core of investors and new ideas.  He launched a hardware and software company, NeXT, Inc.  A year later, he purchased an animation company from George Lucas and launched what would become Pixar Animation Studios.  Initially, Jobs invested $50 million of his personal money.

This studio produced some memorable and profitable films including Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Pixar films netted Jobs a nifty $4 billion.  He merged with Walt Disney in 2006 and became Disney’s largest shareholder.

Jobs’s efforts to sell his NeXT operating system were unsuccessful.  After several disappointing years, Apple purchased NeXT, Inc. for $462 million and Jobs returned to Apple as CEO.

This time around his vision was more equipped to deal with competition. He announced that his annual salary would be $1 per year.  Jobs was more committed to excellence than ever.  He was also more directed at presenting retail products that had excellent standards and were easy to improve a world of communications.

Jobs put forth the iMac and a variety of stylish, user-friendly communication devices.  The company now sells about 40,000 units per year.  With a fresh Board and great stock options, Jobs recruited the brightest and the most unstructured thinkers in the industry.

Jobs fathered an illegitimate child at age 23.  He met and married Laurene in the early 90’s.  Together, they have three children and his daughter, Lisa, moved in with him in her teens.

Steve Jobs has kept his personal life out of the limelight.  His battle with pancreatic cancer was handled similarly.  As a straight talker, Jobs once told a New York Times reporter, “You think I’m arrogant who thinks he’s above the law and I think you’re a slime bucket who gets most of his facts wrong.”

Perhaps his most powerful public address was his 2005 graduation speech at Stanford University.  Jobs told the graduating class,

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.  Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure, these things just fall away in the face of death. Leaving what is truly important.  Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking that you have something to lose. You are already naked.  There is no reason not to follow your heart.”   

Thank you Steve Jobs, for a courageous life well-lived!

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