If Greece defaults on IMF? then …

Greece could take a risky step into the unknown tomorrow if it misses, as expected, a 1.5 billion euro debt payment to the International Monetary Fund.

For the moment, credit rating agencies though would not declare Greece officially “in default” on its debt, because the missed payment is to an official lender and not the commercial funding market.

Although the Greek government has put the deal offered by creditors to a referendum vote next Sunday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said earlier this month that “there will be no period of grace” for the country.

To help fund a budget shortfall and keep current on all its obligations, Athens has been negotiating to get another 7.2bn in bailout funds from the IMF and European Union.

The talks have broken down, and the Greek government – which was allowed to bundle together several IMF payments due this month into one – is not expected to have enough money on its own for the 30 June payment.

If Athens does not make the payment it would immediately be cut off from access to Fund services and facilities.

If the Greek government misses tomorrow's payment, it will be declared “in arrears” by the Washington-based institution.

Greece has borrowed about 32bn from the global crisis lender since 2010, some of which has already been repaid.

It could also theoretically be placed on track for expulsion from the IMF

Only one country in IMF history has been kicked out: Czechoslovakia, during the Cold War in the 1950s.

Expulsion would require support of a large majority of the Fund’s members, who usually prefer to avoid extreme outcomes.

Long in default on their IMF loans, Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe have kept their memberships.


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How AIRBNB or PINTEREST and other startup started


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Britain’s biggest bond funds has urged investors to keep cash under the mattress

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.

His concern is that global debt – particularly mortgage debt – has been pumped up to record levels, made possible by exceptionally low interest rates that could soon end, and he is unsure how well banks could cope with the shocks that may await.

He pointed out that a saver was covered only up to £85,000 per bank under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme – which is effectively unfunded – and that the Government has said it will not rescue banks in future, hence his suggestion that some money should be held in physical cash.

He declined to predict the exact trigger but said it was more likely to happen in the next five years rather than 10. The current woes of Greece, which may crash out of the euro, already has many market watchers concerned.

Mr Spreadbury’s views are timely, aside from Greece. A growing number of professional investors (see comment, right) and commentators are expressing unease about what happens next.

The prices of nearly all assets – property, shares, bonds – have been rising for years.

House prices have risen by 26pc since the start of 2009, and by 68pc in London. The FTSE 100 is up by 75pc.

Although it feels counter-intuitive, this trend of rising prices should continue if economies remain weak, because it gives central banks licence to keep rates low and to carry on with their “quantitative easing” programmes.

Conversely, if the economy does pick up and interest rates need to rise, the act of doing so is likely to stall the economy and force them to be reduced again. Once more, demand for those mainstream assets would be rekindled and the asset boom continues.

But then there is the shock event. Daily Telegraph columnist Jeremy Warner also captured some of the concerns this week when he wrote that the trigger for an “inevitable correction” could come from “a clear blue sky – a completely unanticipated event”.

How are fund managers preparing for this gloomy possibility?

Mr Spreadbury sticks to bonds because of the remit of his funds. Within that world, he said a shock to the system would cause a flight to safety and the price of British government bonds, or gilts, would rise sharply. He also holds bonds of companies that would be most protected in times of turmoil – water companies, power network operators – and those where the bonds are secured on a solid asset, such as land or buildings.

Examples include Center Parcs and Intu, which owns shopping centres.

Marcus Brookes, another well regarded fund manager who looks after billions of pounds worth of investments, is less constrained in where he invests, because of the different remit of his funds. Schroder Multi-Manager Diversity, for example, can pick and choose between assets.

Mr Brookes said the probability of a major shock event was small but even he holds 29pc of the Diversity portfolio in cash, a huge proportion compared with most funds. This decision is due to his concern that bonds are overvalued and may fall. He aims to deliver returns of 4pc above inflation so can’t afford to put too much in assets that he believes will lose money.

“The problem is that people are struggling to work out how to diversify if QE programmes stop,” he said.

Mr Spreadbury added: “We have rock-bottom rates and QE is still going on – this is all experimental policy and means we are in uncharted territory.

“The message is diversification. Think about holding other assets. That could mean precious metals, it could mean physical currencies.”

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Here is what you need to know now as Greece enters a pivotal week in its testy relationship with the Eurozone:

1.       Greece’s most immediate – as in first thing Monday morning – source of danger is its banking system. To compensate for accelerated deposit flight, the European Central Bank injected additional emergency funding on Friday to allow the banks to open on Monday. With a lot more needed, the ECB will grow more hesitant to pump in new money unless the Greek government secures an agreement with its European partners and the institutions through which they operate (the European Commission, the ECB and the International Monetary Fund).

2.       A Summit of European leaders has been called for Monday to increase the chances of such an agreement. The aim is to find a compromise under which Greece would agree to a set of economic reforms, creditors would provide additional debt relief, and at least 7 billion euros of previously committed funds would be released immediately to help Greece navigate its tough payments schedule over the next few weeks.

3.       The Greek government faces a virtually impossible choice in these negotiations. Either it relents and agrees to the demands of its increasingly restless creditors, thereby breaking its electoral promises and undermining what it has fought and stood for; or it holds out and risks seeing a series of disruptions that include the total implosion of the banking system, the rapid accumulation of payments arrears to creditors and suppliers, the imposition of capital controls to counter the accelerated flight of money out of Greece, and the issuance of government IOUs to meet pensions and other government obligations – all of which would deal another blow to an economy that is already ravaged by recession, alarming unemployment and climbing poverty; and it would render very difficult Greece’s continued membership of the Eurozone.

4.       The unpleasant choices also apply to Greece’s creditors. Even if the Greek government agrees to additional reforms, few believe that it would actually implement them. As such, they fear that the new money disbursed would only buy the country a few weeks while continuing to transfer private liabilities to the European tax payers; and this is assuming that national parliaments, including in Greece, would approve the revised terms for the bailout. Yet the alternative is also very unappealing. If creditors continue to withhold funds, Greece would be tipped into a catastrophic crisis that, for the rest of Europe, would also entail the threat of massive migration out of the country as well as geo-political risks.

5.       Markets have been relatively calm in the face of a growing probability of a Graccident and the Grexit that this could entail. Some market participants believe that, as has repeatedly been the case in the past, a last minute agreement will be reached to avert a Greek economic, financial, social and political disaster. Others realize that such an agreement could well elude Europe this time around but are comforted by the steps that have been taken to contain the negative spillovers.

6.       The rest of the Eurozone is indeed better placed to deal with a Grexit than it has been at any time since this crisis first emerged in 2010. A number of regional funding windows have been put in place. The ECB has already embarked on large-scale balance sheet operations which could be rapidly expanded. The European Investment Bank has obtained greater lending flexibility. And the usual list of peripheral European countries at risk – including Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain – are themselves less vulnerable than in the past.

7.       Minimizing contagion risk does not equate to eliminating it. Given the truly unprecedented nature of all this, there are lots of unanswered questions, including vexing legal and operational ones. For example, it is far from clear how a Greek currency redenomination process would play out given that there are no established procedures for this. Existing safety nets are way too weak and already-extremely stretched to handle the likely human dislocations. And new mechanisms would need to be found to reset the banking system in order to restore a minimum level of financial services to citizens and companies.

8.       While seeking an agreement to avert a Greek implosion, also expect European leaders to work hard on a “Plan B” that most, if not all, could rally around. In addition to establishing a new European relationship for Greece should it be forced to exit the single European currency system (such as an association agreement with the European Union), they would need to approve a “whatever it takes” mandate for regional institutions to contain contagion risk emanating from a Greek disaster.

9.       The implications for the global economy depend in large part on whether European leaders succeed in finding a durable solution for Greece or, alternatively if they fail to do so, are able to contain the crisis from pushing the rest of the continent into recession and financial instability.

10.   Whatever happens, and while the blame game is likely to intensify, there are important lessons to be learned for all involved. If this learning process does indeed happen over time, some small good could emerge of what otherwise is a terrible Greek tragedy.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/el-erian-10-things-to-know-about-the-greek-crisis-2015-6#ixzz3dg6rfRTB

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The “PayPal Mafia”

The “PayPal Mafia,” as it is called, refers to the 14 ex-employees of PayPal who contributed towards shaping the company in its early days. We present to you pictures of these 14 gentlemen from those heady days (and now) and discuss how they went on to change the world even beyond PayPal.



The PayPal Mafia Journey After PayPal:

Of the many people who were in the founding team (and/or with PayPal in the initial days), 14 went on to achieve some amazing things in the world of technology. The culture at PayPal was such that many of them were also good friends. The journey of the PayPal Mafia (the individuals) has inspired many entrepreneurs in FinTech and beyond. The PayPal Mafia went on to create seven different “unicorn” companies (>$1 billion valuation). These seven companies collectively enjoy a net worth of roughly $75 billion. Today, many successful startup companies are supported/backed by members of the PayPal Mafia. So what did these guys do at PayPal back then? And what are they doing now?

Peter Thiel: Founder and former CEO. Today, he is an investor in companies like Airbnb, Practice Fusion – a web-based electronic health records company, big-data company Palantir, spaceflight provider SpaceX and the payments company Stripe (four of the most valuable tech companies in Silicon Valley today).

Max Levchin: Founder and former Chief Technology Officer. Recently, he has started a payments company, Affirm, backed by several former colleagues.

David Sacks: Former PayPal CEO who later founded Geni.com and Yammer.

Roelof Botha: Former PayPal CEO who later became a partner at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

Steve Chen: Former PayPal engineer who co-founded YouTube.

Jawed Karim: Former PayPal engineer who co-founded YouTube.

Chad Hurley: Former PayPal web designer who co-founded YouTube.

Elon Musk: An early PayPal angel who later co-founded Tesla and SpaceX, and is the Chairman of SolarCity.

Russel Simmons: Former PayPal engineer who co-founded Yelp.

Jeremy Stoppelman: Former VP of Technology at PayPal who co-founded Yelp. He has invested in payments provider Square and also Uber, Pinterest, Airbnb and Palantir.

Reid Hoffman: Former Executive VP who later founded LinkedIn and was an early investor in Facebook.

Premal Shah: Product Manager at PayPal. After PayPal, he became President of non-profit organization Kiva, which allows people to lend money to struggling entrepreneurs and students in over 70 countries via the Internet.

Dave McClure: A former PayPal marketing director, he is now a super angel investor for startup companies and founder of 500 Startups which has made more than 500 investments.

Keith Rabois: Former head of business development at PayPal. He is now a partner at Khosla Ventures, holds shares in Airbnb, Stripe and Palantir, to name a few.

About The PayPal Mafia:
PayPal is one of the first and most successful online payment processing companies in the world. PayPal was founded by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, Ken Howery and Luke Nosek. eBay acquired PayPal in October 2002 for $1.5 billion. The term “PayPal Mafia” has been coined by the media for this group of men.


Source : http://letstalkpayments.com/paypal-mafia-then-and-now/


If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”
Peter F. Drucker

A strategy is a plan of action to achieve a major aim and future result. It requires commitment because making change is difficult. To describe what’s involved, Peter Drucker said:

“Strategic planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial (risk-taking) decisions systematically and with the greatest knowledge of their futurity; organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions; and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized, systematic feedback.”

So it’s not hard to see how businesses get off course, often unaware, and the commitment of a continuous process becomes a collection of words periodically reinforced.

To know if this is happening to your business, here at 11 signs when you don’t have a strategy

  1. STRATEGY IS A COLLECTION OF TACTICS: Often, we use the terms strategy and tactics interchangeably. They are interdependent but different. You need both. Sun Tzu, the Chinese general, philosopher and author of the Art of War said: The difference between strategy and tactics: strategy is done above the shoulder, tactics are done below the shoulders.
  2. STRATEGY IS MERELY AN OBJECTIVE: Increase awareness. Acquire new customers. Grow average order size. Inspire advocacy. These are not strategies. While they may explain the what of a strategy, they don’t explain the how, when, where and why where the heavy lifting is required.
  3. NO CONSISTENT EXPRESSION OF SUCCESS: A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve a major future result. If your company isn’t clear what success looks like, you’re lacking the key ingredient of the strategy.
  4. NO CONSISTENT MESSAGE: Your brochure, website and sales collateral have inconsistencies. The content is even unclear to people in the company. When people within a company can’t understand it, neither can anyone else.
  5. IDEAL CUSTOMER ISN’T DEFINED: A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. It’s not uncommon to mention them in a strategy. Every business should know who they are.
  6. EVERYTHING IS A PRIORITY: When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. A strategy focuses on a singular major future achievement.
  7. IGNORING COMPETITION: A strategy reinforces a competitive advantage. But the competition is not static and is not only direct competitors but innovations that could make your product or service obsolete. A good strategy takes the competition into account and maintains flexibility.
  8. NOT EVALUATING  POLICY FOR OPPORTUNITIES: A reason to have a strategy is to guide new opportunities. When a business is not using its strategy for this purpose, your not taking advantage of one of its major benefits.
  9. DON’T DO MARKET RESEARCH OR SOLICIT CUSTOMER FEEDBACK: A strategy has to be grounded in reality and the achievable. A sound strategy has been researched with quantitative data about the market and qualitative data from customers and prospects.
  10. NO KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs): KPIs are the metrics that matter most to the achievement of the business objective. They are generally in the range of 6 to 8 metrics carefully chosen to keep a strategy on track. They are the actionable scorecard to help guide the desired result of a strategy.
  11. NO RAVING FANS: No business can survive without enthusiasts. If a strategy isn’t created around them, then your strategy isn’t going to work.

Do these signs help you determine if your business has a strategy?

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Greece’s looming debt repayments in a pair of charts


Sorry, if you’ve heard this before, but it is crunchtime for Greece and its international creditors.

Indeed, things haven’t been this dire since the last time they were this dire. But cynicism aside, it is clear that Greece is running out of money and eventually default will be unavoidable unless Athens and its eurozone partners, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund come to an agreement to extend the country’s bailout.

With that in mind, here’s a look at how much Greece owes in the near term, courtesy of Athens-based Eurobank:

In the very near term, Greece must make a 303.3 million euro ($338.7 million) repayment to the International Monetary Fund on Friday—an obligation that a Greek official said it would meet if it reaches a deal with its creditors even if funds haven’t been disbursed, Reuters reported.

Financial markets, fickle though they are, seem to be in an optimistic mode right now, with the euro EURUSD, +1.9856% posting its best performance against the dollar in several weeks on news that Greece’s fellow eurozone members, the ECB and the IMF—the trio that dare not call itself the troika anymore—had agreed on a set of proposals to put to Athens.

While Friday’s IMF repayment may offer a source of near-term drama (and Greece faces further IMF payments on June 12, June 16 and June 19), European officials have pointed to the end of June as the real crunch date. That is when the current bailout extension officially comes to an end. Also, as the chart shows, Greece faces nearly €5 billion in payments in July.

Indeed, July 20 looms large on the calendar. As this table from Brussels-based think tank Bruegel shows, a pair of bonds held by the European Central Bank worth around €3.49 billion mature on that day.


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How does Elon Musk think?

That’s what I aimed to discover while researching the habits behind his unbelievable success. For those who aren’t aware, Elon Musk is arguably the most impressive living human being on earth. Here’s his track record: 


Oh yeah … and he’s one of only two people to found three billion dollar companies. Not bad.

The crazy part is he doesn’t care that he’s worth billions. In fact, he’s annoyed with journalists asking about him. He wants them to ask about the bigger, worldly problems he’s trying to solve. He’s not focused on his existence, he’s focused on the existence of humanity — sustainable energy, clean transportation, and interplanetary space travel. 

So yes, again, he’s one of the most impressive people on earth. And because of this, I wanted to get inside his brain.

How does he think? What are his mental frameworks? What makes him tick? I scoured through dozens of interviews to unravel his six most compelling lessons … and turned them into actionable exercises. 

As a result, I created “worksheets” that ask questions derived from following lessons from Elon Musk. And quite frankly, these lessons (and accompanying exercises) have changed my life.

Complete the following exercises, based off the psychology of Elon Musk, and they might change your life, too.


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