Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Places ought to see in USA

United States of America is a huge country with fifty states. There are several attractions in this vast landmass which attract visitors from different parts of the world. United States is well known for diverse landscapes, mammoth man-made wonders and various other attractions. Visitors from visa waiver countries travelling to United States should obtain ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). This is very important and can be applied online through the ESTA website. USA is a country with several beautiful attractions. We focus on some top attractions which a tourist ought to see in USA.

a) Niagara Falls- these huge waterfalls is located in the border of Canada and USA. It is well known for its depiction in cinema and art. It is a popular place for various types of visitors including students, foreign tourists, couples etc. It is a must-see for any tourist visiting USA.

b) Las Vegas- Las Vegas is a vibrant city well known for its gambling industry. It has some of the best casinos and towers. Every tourist visiting USA plans to visit Las Vegas and at least one of its numerous casinos. This landmass built on the desert of Nevada is truly a man-made wonder.

c) Grand Canyon- Grand Canyon is infamous for its sheer size and scale. It is the deepest canyon in the world. The sight of this beautiful natural wonder can be overwhelming to first-time visitors. The Yellowstone national park is also an amazing place which is located near Grand Canyon.

d) Manhattan- Manhattan is the business district of New York. Most people would have a fair idea of this place due to depiction in media. The famous skylines of New York are a treat to watch. The Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Broadway etc are some other popular attractions in Manhattan and nearby areas.

e) Golden Gate Bridge- This is another beauty which is famous due to its depiction in movies and art. It was the largest suspension bridge when it was completed in late 1930s. This is a bridge between Golden Gate (San Francisco) and Marin County.

f) Florida Keys- These are a chain of tropical islands covering over 120 kilometers in the state of Florida. The famous Seven Mile Bridge is located in the lower keys. The state of Florida is well known for its beaches and sunshine. This is a must see place for tourists interested in exploring the east coast.

g) Washington DC and White House- Any tourist in USA would love to visit White House. It is located in the capital Washington DC. The White House is the residence and office of the President. It was built in the 18th century. It may be difficult to visit the place. Most tourists hope to catch a good glimpse of the building.

h) Disneyland- Disneyland is one of the oldest theme parks in the country. There are of sections in the park which children can relate to. It could be the comic characters and characters from books they read. Overall, it is very popular among children and even adults.

It is recommended to follow traveler tips for a safer journey. Tourists should keep the copies of their documents and passports with them. It is advised to carry emergency contact numbers while venturing out into new places. Travelers should choose plan their trip and choose places they ought to see. This is very important because US is a large country and it may not be possible to cover all good places in a few days time.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What is Personal Finance?

What is Personal Finance?

Personal Finance is a subject that has been receiving more attention in recent times. It primarily deals with managing money at an individual level. It is starkly different from Portfolio Management, Wealth Management etc. Personal Financial management is very important to ensure a sound financial health. Managing money requires a great deal discipline and patience. Personal Finance deals with a variety of investment goals like buying a house, retirement planning, planning for vacations abroad, children's education and marriage etc. Hence personal financial management has more to do with planning and saving for achieving certain investment goals.

Systematic Investments, timely savings, sound debt management, adequate insurance etc are some hallmarks of good personal financial management. Avoiding expenses is another great skill which deserves special attention while dealing with this topic. Other aspects of money management like portfolio management, asset allocation, credit cards etc are highly linked to the area of personal financial management. Please read on to check out the top five online resources on personal finance.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Which course to choose : BBA, BBS or BBM?

There are several undergraduate courses for students in India. Most of these courses are offered in a number of colleges around the country. Most students opting for undergraduate management courses are confused as to which course is most suited for them BBA, BBS or BBM? BBA Stands for Bachelors in Business Administration, BBS stands for Bachelors in Business Studies and BBM stands for Bachelors in Business Management. These courses do not differ with each other in a significant way. It is just that universities call the undergraduate courses by different names. Hence, students need not get confused as to which degree they should choose BBA, BBS or BBM? There may be some subtle differences in the curriculum in terms of elective and optional subjects. The differences are mostly very trivial in nature. Hence there is no need to get confused about the name of the degree and give more importance to academic details.

The three undergraduate degrees BBA, BBS and BBM offer similar job prospects. They are eligible to pursue related higher educational degrees like Masters in Business Administration (MBA), Masters in Financial Management (MFM) etc. Students, should concentrate on obtaining seats at good colleges to improve their chances of securing a good job rather than being confused with which degree to pursue BBA, BBS or BBM? Students, should however give due importance to AICTE or UGC approvals of these courses. Many students are under the notion that they may not be eligible to pursue higher education if they opt for one of these courses and MBA cannot be taken up by a BBS graduate. This is a wrong notion and given the undergraduate degree has appropriate approvals; students with any of these degrees are eligible for higher education.

These courses are identical in most aspects. This includes aspects like grading style, project evaluation, industrial training, dissertations etc. Hence, students need not worry only about the course name. They should consider other aspects of the course. In some colleges, degree is known by the name of BBA where as in some others as BBS. Some colleges also use different names to distinguish and position themselves uniquely in the crowded educational market.

Though, on a higher level, there are no significant differences between these three degrees, it is recommended that students go through detailed curriculum before deciding on the course suitable for them. They may find more subjects of interest in one course compared to another. For instance, a student enthusiastic about capital markets may find that a BBA degree at a particular college has more subjects related to the subject compared to BBM in the same college. In that case, the student can opt for BBA. It is very common for students to get confused as to which degree they should pursue BBA, BBS or BBM? On a higher level, all these courses are quite similar and students should bring in other aspects like university reputation, College placement records, College faculty etc before deciding on the course to pursue. Other aspects like hostel facilities, industry interface, alumni network are more important in deciding the course.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Startup Investing Trends- Paul Graham

Key statistics @ Y Combinator

a) Y Combinator funded 564 startups including 53 from current batch
b) Total valuation of 287 startups is USD 11.4 billion
c) 511 startups from previous batches have raised USD 1.7 billion
d) Top 10 startups account for about 1 billion valuation (8.6% of 11.7 billion)

Monday, July 1, 2013


Scobleization refers to being referred to by Robert Scoble. Robert Scoble is a well known blogger and is known to be quite influential.

He blogs at http://scobleizer.com/.

Read this section from a book "Return On Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing" which refers to Scobleization.

Quora had been Scobleized.

Robert Scoble probably exemplifies the power of social media to create Citizen Influencers better than any other human being on earth. Robert doesn’t just move his 200,000 Twitter followers, 5,000 YouTube subscribers, and 5,000 Facebook fans to action; he moves markets.

After attending journalism school, Scoble fed his lifelong love of photography by taking a job in a San Jose camera shop. As a young man, he moved though a number of professional communication and video production positions before accepting the job that ignited his celebrity. In 2003, he joined Microsoft as part of the MSDN video team, where he produced and starred in videos that showcased Microsoft employees and products.
His geeky intellect and easygoing style made him an effective interviewer, but the fact that he also frequently criticized his own employer and praised competitors such as Apple and Google elevated him to cult hero. In these early days of blogs and social media, Scoble influenced a generation of bloggers and set a social media cultural tone with his direct approach and transparent communication style. He was friendly and accessible, even to the point of publishing his cell phone number on his blog. Robert Scoble may have become the world’s first professional spokesblogger.

The Economist magazine described Scoble’s influence in a 2005 profile: “He has become a minor celebrity among geeks worldwide, who read his blog religiously. Impressively, he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience.”

In 2006 Scoble created a ripple in the technology industry when he left Microsoft. “Somebody leaked the story,” he said. “It started to spread like wildfire. The story was pushed and doubled and went viral, and within three days, I had 15 million media impressions that all came from that one leak. It hit CNN, Newsweek, and the New York Times. My career never had had any momentous steps really. It was more like the frog that is being boiled slowly! But when this happened, I thought, Wow, this is pretty cool, and I certainly realized something was going on. I knew it would be a big story but didn’t realize how big. I knew I was starting to get attention.”

He began a series of career moves that leveraged his popularity and, more important, his access. His fame as an intellect and technology pundit made him a highly sought-after speaker and panelist at the most prestigious conferences and an A-list invitee for anybody trying to get attention for a new technology or start-up. He was invited to private parties of the tech elite, Space Shuttle launches, and government think tanks.
Scoble’s ability to influence the behavior of his followers was probably never so well documented as in the events that occurred between December 26, 2010, and January 30, 2011. On a day when most people were enjoying holiday leftovers or shopping for postholiday sales, Robert wrote a blog post titled “Is Quora the Biggest Blogging Innovation in 10 Years?”

The post was a seven-point manifesto proclaiming Quora an improvement over blogging that incorporated the best elements of Twitter, Facebook, and social bookmarking sites. “I find that there’s something addictive about participating [on Quora] instead of here on my blog,” he wrote. “Why? Because when you see people voting up your answers or adding their own replies in real time it makes you realize there’s a good group of people reading your stuff. I don’t get that immediate rush here.”

The response was profound. One man, through one blog post, had created the equivalent of a social media gold rush. Quorawas the next big thing. A replacement for blogging. The place to see and be seen. The big buzz. Account registrations skyrocketed, servers sizzled, and within one week, the website’s traffic had increased by nearly 400 percent. (At the time, I didn’t see the big deal, which prompted one of my favorite blog post headlines: “Let’s Not Have a Quor-gasm.” This has nothing to do with the story. I just liked that headline. Thanks for obliging me. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.)

Robert’s experience, access, and insight put him in a position to anticipate the company’s success. “I probably get a lot more credit than I deserve,” he said. “I see myself as somebody who has talent in doubling pennies. If you double a penny every day for a month, you are going to end up with a million dollars at the end of the month. The thing is, while it’s true that most ofQuora’s growth happened in the three days after I published my article, I had put myself in front of that curve. I was watching things and saw that Quora was in that doubling mode, so when I finally jumped on board, it looked like I was responsible. Sure, I probably moved it along a little faster, but in a sense, I just jumped in front of the parade.”

Scoble proved he was at the top of his game. Quora was soaring. His influence was at its peak. And then, in a matter of days, the unthinkable happened.
Robert changed his mind.

In his blog post titled “Why I Was Wrong about Quora as a Blogging Service . . .” published just one month after the initial missive that had ignited the Quora epidemic, he wrote, “Turns out I was totally wrong. It’s a horrid service for blogging, where you want to put some personality into answers. It’s just fine for a QA site, but we already have lots of those and, in fact, the competitors in this space are starting to react.”
Traffic on Quora plummeted by more than 50 percent, nearly down to pre-Scobleized levels. Response to the about-face was harsh and swift, as typified by this entry on (where else?) Quora:
So Robert Scoble, it seems you don’t like the heat. In the bygone days of what feels like ten minutes ago, you, the ubiquitous tech evangelist, larger-than-life personality and blogger, couldn’t stop gushing about how great Quora was. Was Quora, you asked in the halcyon age of last December, the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years? Of course it was. Back in them days and throughout January, you could post answers to a wide range of questions and your ardent Twitter followers could up-vote them en masse and each up-vote and congratulatory comment could generate that awesome squirt of dopamine in your brain. Wasn’t it grand?
This was a lesson that our historic celebrity influencers know all too well. Simply being in the spotlight makes you a target. And being thrust into the new role of Citizen Influencer is no different.

Lessons from "The Richest Man in Babylon"

The Richest Man in Babylon is a remarkable book by George Samuel Clason. Please read it at least once improve your understanding of personal finance and investing. The following points appear in the book under the section "Seven Cures For a Lean Purse"

a) Start thy purse to fattening

Try to make your purse by whatever means possible. Accumulate some money.

b) Control thy expenditures

Budget thy expenses that thou mayest have coins to pay for thy necessities, to pay for thy enjoyments and to gratify thy worthwhile desires without spending more than nine-tenths of thy earnings.

Controlling expenditure is very necessary for building wealth. Always remember that it is the poor who live beyond means. A good portion of your income has to be saved.

c) Make thy gold multiply

This aspect explains the principle of compounding. No matter, what you do ensure that your money works for you. 

d) Guard thy treasures from loss

Guard thy treasure from loss by investing only where thy principal is safe, where it may be reclaimed if desirable, and where thou will not fail to collect a fair rental. Consult with wise men. Secure the advice of those experienced in the profitable handling of gold. Let their wisdom protect thy treasure from unsafe investments.

This principle explains the principle of capital protection. 

e) Make of thy dwelling a profitable investment (Own thy own home)

Owning a home is seen as a good investment.

f) Insure a future income 

Provide in advance for the needs of thy growing age and the protection of thy family.

This explains the importance of insurance for financial stability.

g) Increase thy ability to earn

Invest in yourself, your education, your craft and keep moving ahead. Increasing your earning power over a period of time is very important.