Monthly Archives: January 2017

To George Soros, wealth is a means, not an end

George Soros grew up in difficult times. Born in 1930, his family was initially prosperous in an upper-middle-class sense. His family name was originally Schwartz, but his father had opted to change it to Soros amid a tension-filled climate of virulent anti-Semitism on Forbes. This move would prove far-sighted later, when some of Soros’ extended family was deported to the German death camps. This brush with death at the hands of ravenous nationalism had a profound effect on Soros and arguably formed the basis of his lifelong obsession with philosophy and its role in shaping the societies on nytimes.com in which people live.

In 1947, he was accepted to the London School of Economics where he had applied in order to study philosophy under the famous professor Karl Popper. Once there, the adolescent Soros became enraptured by the life of the mind, especially being influenced by Popper’s ideas and his seminal work, “The Open Society and Its Enemies”. This book would come to form the cornerstone of Soros’ worldview and he would even later name his flagship philanthropic organization on opensocietyfoundations.org, the Open Societies Foundations, after its title.

After graduating with a master’s degree in philosophy in 1954, Soros struck out into the world for the first time. But he could not find suitable work using his degree. Instead, he drifted from menial job to menial job, working for a time as a traveling salesman, among other things. After a few years of toiling at low drudgery, he decided to pursue loftier goals. Resolved to go work on Wall St., he contacted an old college friend who vouched for him, landing him his first financial job at a boutique firm called Singer and Friedlander.

Over the next 15 years, Soros worked on various trading floors and as a financial analyst. As a paid market analyst, he had plenty of time to ponder the workings of the financial world. He was still possessed by the love of philosophy, and it was during this time that he began developing his own theories of how markets work. He was still largely uninterested in the accumulation of wealth, hoping only to earn $500,000 so that he could retire to a life of academic inquiry.

In 1973, George Soros founded his first hedge fund, Soros Fund Management. It was during this period that he first began to acquire real personal wealth. However, unlike previous periods in his life, this time around, he began to see the acquisition of wealth as a means to effect real change in the world. As his bank account grew, his desire to tackle the same kinds of societal ills which had caused the death of his loved ones in the 1940s was rekindled. Shortly thereafter, George Soros founded his first philanthropic organization.

As the years wore on, the enormously successful trader began to donate more and more of his personal fortune to the causes in which he believed. He eventually was credited with toppling entire governments and radically changing the Eastern European political landscape. George Soros is among the greatest traders in history but he may also be the first true radical capitalist.

Magnises Black Card offers a New Lifestyle for Millennials

Billy McFarland is the current CEO and founder of the Magnises Black Card. The card comes out as a way for young millennials to have fun and spend money. The card started out as a card for invited-only members. The card gained popularity and later became open to the public. Many people who have used the card have called it good enough.

During a recent interview, McFarland mentioned the origin and process of the Black Card. He stated that people get difficulties when they move to a new city. He saw this problem and decided to come up with a solution. Previously, there was no real way for one to meet with other professionals from other industries. Newbies thus never got to experience a city to the maximum. The Magnises team formed the black card that allowed millennials to try new experiences and meet new people. These experiences have improved the lifestyles of millennials that want to make the most of their city.

When asked about a typical day at the office, McFarland states that his work is about expanding the brand. He wants to expand by enlisting more brands and getting more members. The company has since strived to grow by getting across other international nations. It strives to create a black card which is a must-have for millennials that want to grow professionally and socially. The whole team has focused on accomplishing the goal of entertaining members. Unlike other black cards available in the market, the Magnises card requires only $250 annually for membership.

Magnises has created a mobile app that enables users to know about the coming events. One can make bookings through the application. The application has also been labeled as a millennials guide. The card allows members to identify different locations in their city. The Magnises team announced that it raised enough revenue for expansion. It plans to reach more members and citizens on a global scale.

Billy McFarland was a college dropout who was raised in New Jersey and New York City. He attended Bucknell University where he studied Computer Science. However, he dropped from his freshman year to start his business. He later established Magnises Black Card which has gained the likes of many.

The Giving Nature Of Marc Sparks

Marc Sparks is a perfect example of a successful person who constantly gives back to his community. his story is one of constant giving and a relentlessly upbeat spirit. Marc Sparks grew up in Austin and graduated from high school in that illustrious city in 1975. Upon finishing, Sparks had a few different routes he could take.

Being a religious man, he could have devoted himself entirely to the church. However he was also an ambitious and intelligent person who had some interesting ideas on how to make money. College was a potential option, as well.

Intriguingly, Sparks did not go to college but immediately started working and investing the capital he could raise through various side jobs in a multitude of businesses. He started out working in real estate and capital investments, finding the ways that big money walked and how it talked. There were a lot of heartaches and heartbreaks along the way, but he stuck to it and never gave up.

One thing that made Sparks stand out from other “bigger than life” Texas entrepreneurs was his relatively quiet and humble demeanor. Not one to strut around and make big promises he couldn’t keep, he instead learned how to relate to investors, to find out what interested them, and to find investment possibilities that could work. Sparks’ promises weren’t always as big as his competitors, but he met them more often.

Success Started Coming

With his modest approach and personal integrity, Sparks started making a lot of money. This didn’t go to his head the way he’d say it happen with other people in his position. Instead Sparks turned continually to his ever-increasing believe in God and used it to stay humble and well grounded. As a result, he remains a friendly and happy person in a world where so many big names are frantic and desperate.

His steady stream of success helped him for a wide range of firms. His biggest remains Timber Creek Capital, of which he is the founder, owner, and CEO. They provide a variety of services for entrepreneurs, including capital, equipment, accounting help, graphic art, web development, and even office space. Ever since 2000, they’ve remained his most successful and consistent group.

However he has also been associated with Reliant Healthcare, Agency Matrix, Colbalt Real Estate Services, Blue Jay Wireless, Cardinal Telecom, and even Uncle Marc Food Delivery, a new delivery service for for restaurant in the Austin area. These businesses have seen him garner success and helped fuel his biggest love: philanthropy.

His Philanthropy

The list of Spark’s enthusiastically given and received philanthropic projects is longer than his business success. His biggest beneficiaries have been The Samaritan Inn, Habitat for Humanity, The American Can! Academy, and his own Sparky’s Kid foundation. The latter was his brain child and is a way to help underprivileged youth receive the help they need to get a leg up on life.

 

As Sparks continues to give, other Texas businessmen are following his example. He is truly a special kind of person, one that deserves to be respected and admired for his many achievement and his giving nature.

The Early Life and Career Journey of Dick DeVos

Early Life

Dick DeVos is a son of Richard DeVos, a renowned entrepreneur based in Michigan. As a child, DeVos was involved in the operations of the family business, Amway. DeVos and his brother Doug would serve as mini-hosts responsible for greeting attendees of Amway annual convention. Additionally, they would help in clearing tables during annual conference and ferry guests to play tennis. With time, DeVos would give product demonstration. In 2006, he contested for Michigan’s governorship on a Republican ticket but was defeated by the incumbent Democrat, Jennifer Granholm.

Education and Career

Dick DeVos attended Northwood University to pursue a degree in Business Administration. Later on, he joined the Wharton Schools and the Harvard Business School for further studies in Business Administration. Throughout his career, DeVos has earned honorary doctorates from Northwood University and Central Michigan University. He also holds a distinguished alumni recognition from the University of Northwood.

DeVos started his career in 1974 at Amway. Here, he held different positions in sales, marketing, finance, research and development, and manufacturing departments. In 1984, he was appointed as Amway’s vice president responsible for the company’s functions in 18 countries. Under Dick DeVos’ tenure, Amway expanded its addressable market by more than double. Furthermore, the company’s foreign sales surpassed domestic sales for the first time in its history. When DeVos became the vice president of Amway, the company’s international sales accounted for about 5% of the overall sales. Within six years, foreign sales had grown to 50% of annual sales.

Political activities

On June 2nd, 2005, DeVos announced his candidacy for the post of Michigan’s governor. At this point, DeVos was considered as the wealthiest man to run for Michigan’s governorship on the Republican ticket. As of October 27th, 2006, DeVos had spent $35 million in his campaign. However, he lost to the incumbent Democrat, Jennifer Granholm by a slight margin. Political analysts attribute his loss to his fist performance during a televised debate with Jennifer Granholm.

Philanthropy

Besides business and politics, Dick DeVos is an active philanthropist. Through his charitable organization, Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, DeVos donates thousands of dollars to artistic, educational, community, religious, and civic organization throughout the United States. Some of its grantees include Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Potter’s House, Education Freedom Fund, American Education Council, and ArtPrize Grand Rapids. In the fall of 2010, he opened the nation’s first aviation charter high school, the West Michigan Aviation Academy to extend his philanthropic efforts.

For a Robber, a Pizza Can be Expensive

It was an ordinary night, on October 7. 2015, near the Amtrak station in South New Brunswick, New Jersey. A call came into the Wilmington Police Department that the Golden Corral in the Monkey Junction area was to be the location of a robbery. Shortly after, another call tip changed the location to the Pizza Hut nearby. Police, not wanting to attract attention to the kidnapping of two smokers outside the Pizza Hut, watched as three men took the smokers inside, robbed them, and shut them in a freezer. The criminals then dashed to the front door, and police shot them, killing two and injuring the third. Guns in evidence turned out to be toy. Recently Smith, the injured robber, was sentenced in a plea bargain, to two counts of 72 months for armed robbery and attempt to kidnap.

 

On August 7, 2013, a pizza delivery man went to an apartment in the ultra-modern apartment complex called the Quincy, in South Brunswick, New Jersey and was told no pizza had been ordered. As he returned to his Pizza car, he was approached by 3 men with a handgun who robbed him of his wallet, money, and pizza. They hurriedly dashed for a dark minivan, located in a nearby parking lot, escaped, and were hunted by police. Four months later, by tracing cell phone records, Parysh Wood, 21, was arrested in another robbery and placed at this crime scene also. Wood, in Middlesex County Jail for other armed robberies of pizza delivery drivers, made a plea bargain also involving the 2013 robbery case in the parking lot at Quincy Circle.

 

Both cases indicate the blatant attempt of local small time robbers to ruffle the feathers of local New Brunswick Policeman. Nobody expects to get big money from a pizza delivery man. One tip called for the location to be the Golden Corral, but then the location was changed to the Pizza Hut. High organization was not apparent. What is speaking is the persistent and up to date technology being used by the South Brunswick police force, and others, to hold these small time criminals accountable for their actions. They may initially escape to their minivans, but cell phones, and other data, is available to the persistent investigative force. Four months later, Wood was placed at the Quincy shooting site by such data, and he was sentenced for his crime.

 

To sort the toy guns from the high quality hand gun may not be easy to do in the heart of the firing, but the safety and freedom of a responsible pizza delivery man is the promise of our local police force. It is the solid rock that makes police work a treasure in our society.

Eric Lefkofsky Creates Successful Companies And Helps Others To Do The Same

American entrepreneur Eric Lefkofsky was born and raised in Michigan by his parents, a school teacher and a structural engineer. After graduating from high school, he went to the University of Michigan, eventually receiving his Juris Doctor in 1993.

After graduation, he teamed up with a college friend, Brad Keywell, to purchase a Wisconsin apparel company with borrowed money. Purchasing Brandon Apparel would be the beginning of a long and successful career for the pair.

In 1999, Lefkofsky and his college friend created an internet company, Starbelly. This company specialized in promotional products and experienced quick success. Starbelly was sold in 2000 to Halo Industries where Eric Lefkofsky was appointed COO. After Starbelly’s success, Lefkofsky helped co-found the company InnerWorkings in 2001. This company provided print services for companies and after success, had a successful public offering in NASDAQ.

In 2005, Lefkofsky and his friend moved on to found Echo Global Logistics, a freight logistics company. This new company attracted financing from a large technology investor, New Enterprise Associates. Only a year later, the duo founded a company that focused on media-buying technology. MediaBank went on to acquire Datatech in 2007 and eventually merged with Donovan Data Systems to create Mediaocean in 2012.

In 2007, Lefkofsky not only co-founded but funded a new online collective action website, ThePoint.com. In 2008, ThePoint.com changed its name. Groupon.com would become history’s fastest growing company, according to Forbes. In just 3 years, the company had an estimated value of over $1 billion.

In 2010, the successful pair founded a Chicago-based venture firm named Lightbank, with the focus of developing new companies and start-ups in the area. Four years later, in 2014, Uptake,LLC was co-founded by Lefkofsky. Uptake, LLC was an analytics company. In 2016, he co-founded Tempus, a company that specialized in delivering personalized cancer care.

Aside from his many business endeavors, Eric Lefkofsky is also a philanthropist, active member in the community, and a valued teacher. In 2006, alongside his wife, he founded the Lefkofsky Foundation. This charitable trust provides funding for scientific, educational, and charitable organizations all over the world.

He also sits on the board at many Chicago-based organizations like The Museum of Science and Industry, The Art Institute of Chicago, and the Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He is also on the board at World Business Chicago and a Trustee of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

After his initial success as an entrepreneur, Lefkofsky began teaching business at local schools. He has taught at places like Northwestern University and DePaul University. He currently holds a position as Professor teaching a class on entrepreneurship and building businesses at the University of Chicago. Eric Lefkofsky is even an accomplished writer, with his book Accelerated Disruption being recently published.

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