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Tag Archives: New York

4 Quick Ways to Make a Viral Video

By: Caroline Rodin

Anyone can make the next big YouTube hit, whether you’re a corporation with a big budget or an individual filming on your phone. But small businesses have the perfect combination of resources, flexibility and a loyal following that make a YouTube video successful. Learn the techniques that big companies are using to promote their videos and help them go viral and how you can do a few simple things to give your video a boost.

Grovo, an online education platform for leading sites, apps and Internet tools has the Top 4 Ways to Make a Video Go Viral This Weekend. YouTube is waiting for you to film the next viral video. Make sure it goes viral.

1. What is Video Optimization?
Online video is more popular than ever, reaching a huge percentage of the US Internet audience…and YouTube, the world’s largest video site, is at the heart of it all. Tapping into that large YouTube audience to get more views, however, means making sure that your videos are optimized for people to find them. Check out this Grovo video to get a quick overview before moving forward:

2. Find and Compare Trends
The YouTube Trends Dashboard allows you to see what videos are most popular in different places around the world to help you decide what content to produce and who to target. To use the YouTube Trends Dashboard, navigate to youtube.com/trendsdashboard. Use the location drop down to see popular videos in a specific country or city, use the age drop down to pick an age range, and filter by gender using the links below. The “Compare” button lets you select up to three locations, age ranges and gender settings to compare what’s popular with different groups of people. Use the “Unique” checkbox to see which videos are not in any other list, and the “Common” checkbox to see which videos are in multiple lists..

3. Help Search Engines Find your Videos
Adding tags and video categories can improve the performance of your videos by helping search engines find them when users search for your tags and similar terms. You can add tags when you upload your video, or at any time after by selecting “Video Manager” in the dropdown below your username. Check off a tag you’ve already used to include it, or type in the box above to find a specific tag or create a new one. You can also choose a video category that matches your title, description and tags to help improve your video’s search ranking even more..

4. How do I Get More YouTube Views?
A video’s popularity is a function of many factors, only one of which is the quality of your video content. Most importantly, however, before people can even judge the quality of your content, they have to be able to find it. Grovo’s video below will show you how to help people find your videos via YouTube search, with three of the most important elements are, and the top 5 factors that will influence how well your video will appear in search results. We’ll wait for you to finish the video…

Okay, good. You actually watched it right? None of these factors is necessarily more important than the others; they all play a part in determining whether you video will show up in search results.

About the Author:
Caroline Phillips Rodin is the SEO & Inbound Marketing Manager for Grovo.com. She has nearly a decade of experience helping Fortune 500 financial and fashion companies improve their online visibility and increase their natural search traffic. Not only is she in love with SEO, she has a passion for sharing her love of SEO with others. Caroline’s work has been published in Social Media Today, YouMoz, Business2Community and AdvancedWebRankings, and more. Caroline graduated from Wellesley College cum laude in 2010 with a degree in sociology. She is an avid reader who spends her free time hunting for NYC’s best chocolate chip cookie.

 

 

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Ask the Critic: Here’s How Tipping Actually Works

20130114-ask-a-critic.jpg[Illustration: Robyn Lee]

Editor’s note: Here to answer your questions is senior managing editor, former SENY editor, and frequent author of our NYC restaurant reviews Carey Jones. We’ll take a few of your questions each week and give you the New York restaurant advice you’re looking for. Email carey@seriouseats.com with the subject line Ask the Critic to submit your question!

How Much Do I Tip A Bartender Who’s Serving My Dinner?

What’s the etiquette on tipping when dining at the bar?  By “the bar,” I mean a nice bar at a reputable restaurant and by “dining” I mean drinks and a full meal.

My date and I went to a well-regarded Lower East Side restaurant recently at about 8 p.m. on Saturday night. Looking at a 90 minute wait for a table, we opted instead to have dinner at the comfortable-looking bar. We started with a cocktail apiece and ordered three shared appetizers plus a shared entree. Service started shaky but nothing unforgivable (slow to make our drinks and then added a wrong ingredient so had to start again; didn’t provide menus until about ten minutes after we asked; water glasses sat empty) but later improved. When the food came it was generally dropped off by a runner except for one dish that the bartender placed in front of us.

Now, the bartender did care for our meal by providing us with silverware and clearing empty dishes but does that sort of service require the same tip as what you’d give a waitress at a table in the dining room?

To answer that question, we’ve gotta get into the nuts and bolts of how tipping actually works in New York City.*

Unless you’re in the habit of tipping with a handshake, sliding a $20-or-whatever directly into your server‘s hand, here’s the reality: your tip does not go directly to your waiter.

Read that last bit again, it’s important. Probably the biggest misconception of the dining public.

Many restaurants allot payout via a points system, in which tips are pooled, then distributed at the end of the night. Think that the extra amount you’re penciling in goes into the pocket of helpful waitress Lauren or bartender Steve? Well, not quite.

*And here, we are talking about New York City; practices vary across this nation of ours.

Here’s An Example

Head down the math road with me for just a mo’.

Let’s take a medium-sized Manhattan establishment, a restaurant with a decent-sized bar. Say there are 2 bartenders, 6 servers, 2 bussers and 2 runners. And let’s say, in this establishment, that the servers and bartenders get 10 points and everyone else gets 5. (There should probably be more staff and the runners might make more than the bussers, but I needed an example with nice round numbers, ‘kay?)

That’s 8 ten-pointers (2 bartenders, 6 servers) and 4 five-pointers (2 bussers, 2 runners), making for 100 points in total (8×10 + 4×5). Let’s say the restaurant took in $3,000 in tips last night. Under this system, each “point” is worth $30 ($3000 total intake/100 total points). Thus, the bartenders and servers get $300 each. The other folks, $150. Not too bad.

Now let’s say your server was terrible. Totally distant and indifferent, mixed up orders, left you alone for long periods of time, spilled something on your date and didn’t apologize, screwed up the check. First of all: you might want to mention something to the manager, rather than just take it out in a tip. But it’s an understandable impulse to tip less. Let’s say your dinner was $100. You’d usually tip $20; tonight, you tip $5. That’ll show him!

And sure, there’s a bit of a psychological hit, a wake-up when someone tips you a measly 5%. But how does the money actually play out? You didn’t knock that waiter down by $15, as it may seem. You knocked thepool down by $15. So let’s take the scenario above. Now, the total tip haul of $3000 is down to $2985. Each point is worth $29.85. So that terrible waiter makes… $298.50 instead of $300. The difference? $1.50.

A buck-fifty, six quarters, is the difference between 20% and 5% for that waiter, on a pretty sizable check. We call tipping an incentive. How much of an incentive is that, really?

Of Course, It Varies

Sure, there’s a lot of variation. In some restaurants, for instance, the bar keeps its own cash at the end of the night. (Though still, that money isn’t just going to “your” bartender; there are barbacks, too, the guys who cut the garnish and fill your water and do just about every damn other thing, who need to be tipped out.) Here’s the real truth of it: you don’t know where your tip is going. And there’s no way to know, unless you’re going to be that guy who asks how the tips are distributed just so you make sure your money is going to the “right place.” (Please don’t ever be that guy. I hope that guy doesn’t exist.) Think of it like paying taxes. You may want more for education or less for the military or more for city police, but the vast majority of us just fork over our share without any real idea of how it works out.

If you want a better chance of your server keeping the tip, always tip in cash. If you see your tip as a very specific thank-you—a host managed to sneak in your party of 10 last-minute, a bartender spent all night mixing off-menu drinks for you, a server pulled out all the stops for your date’s birthday—that’s best handled with a bill or few slipped into a handshake. (Though even that should be on top of a standard, on-table tip. Or you’re stiffing those food runners again.)

So to answer your question—the bartender did care for our meal by providing us with silverware and clearing empty dishes but does that sort of service require the same tip as what you’d give a waitress at a table in the dining room?yes, it does. Because, between the runner and bartender and busser and everyone else you interacted with, the service you received essentially adds up to what you would’ve gotten at a table.

It’s a messy system, right? It’s a messy system for the workers as well. Imagine taking a job where you don’t know your own salary. And where there isn’t a definitive way to know. My significant other is a bartender and cocktail designer, and within the last year, got a job offer from a very well-regarded and always-crowded restaurant, where the “cheap” beers start at $8; wine and cocktails, $14. At first, he was thrilled; those crowds and check prices must translate to a lot of money for the staff, right? But he talked to a few other bartenders and realized… they were making around $100 less per night than he was at his current job, where the crowds weren’t as thick and the average check wasn’t as high. Why? There were so many staff on the floor that the pool got stretched thin, and the tip distribution wasn’t favorable to the bartenders. Every restaurant is different.

Occasionally I’ll visit him at work, and sometimes I don’t end up with a bill; my drinks are rung up on his buyback check. But even when I don’t get charged, I always tip, at least 20% on what I “should have” paid. He pushed back my money once; “Why don’t you just keep that $15 and take a cab home?” It’s not for you, silly. It’s for your barback with a 5-year-old whose wife is 8 months pregnant, who always makes sure my water glass is full and keeps me in good conversation when you’re at the other end of the bar; and it’s for everyone else in the establishment. (And yes, some of it’s for you, too.)

Moral of the story? Always tip the full now-standard 18-20%, because it’s not just your waiter or bartender you’re paying out; it’s the runners who are sending money home to their parents, and bussers who are supporting kids on their tip money, too.

Don’t like the system? Thinking “Why is taking care of the employeesmy business?” Well, because you’re eating at a restaurant in America, and by doing so, electing to participate. And maybe some day we’ll figure out a different system, like every other goddamned country. But for now, this is what we got.

 

 

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What Your Business Cards Says About You

What Your Business Cards Says About You

Business CardsLike many things in life, all business cards are not created equally. For this reason, it is essential that you truly think about what you want your business card to say about your business when you are creating it with an online printer. After all, your business card is much like a good hand shake. In fact, it is a business card that usually allows someone to form their first opinions about you and more importantly your business. Keep reading below to avoid making business card mistakes that can allow people to develop a poor opinion of your business.

Create High-Quality Business Cards Online

The best way to impress your customers, potential customers, and those you are going to network with is to make sure you wow them with a high-quality business card the very first time you meet them. In order to be considered high-quality, a business card should not look like it was hastily put together. For this reason, you must take the time to proofread and edit your business card template. A quality online publisher will take care of using quality products and centering the information, but it is the business owner‘s responsibility to make sure everything is spelled correctly, and that all phone numbers and contact information is correct.

Negative Effects of  Poor Business Cards

Consequently, if your business card contains noticeable errors, your customers and contacts will notice, which will give them a negative reaction to your business. In fact, customers and networks may think that you rush through your work and can’t be bothered with details if you pass out a business card with erroneous information. Also, if you try to create the business cards yourself on a home printer, they will likely look cheap, and unprofessional, which will reflect poorly on your business.

For the reasons listed above, it is incredibly important that you take the time to proof your business card template, and order from a high-quality online business card publisher.

Positive Effects of Stellar Business Cards

On the other hand, if your business card immediately wows customers, potential customers, and network contacts, you will make a great first impression on these people. A great first impression means that when the need arises, people are likely to contact you first.

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to grow your business by passing out less than stellar business cards. Instead, make sure you deal with a quality online printer who will ensure that your business cards are professional and useful.

Once you have created the perfect business card for your business, make sure to choose an online printer who will save your information for you. This way you don’t have to recreate your information every single time you need a fresh batch of cards.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

Guest post by David Dobson – Using my 30 years of experance in the printing industry to pass on information on business card printing

 

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Instagram loses users in photo rights backlash

Published: 9:15AM Sunday January 13, 2013 Source: ONE News

Instagram loses users in photo rights backlash  (Source: ONE News)Instagram backtracks on some changes

Photo-sharing application Instagram has lost nearly half its daily users in a month after publishing updated terms and conditions which said it would have the right to sell users’ photos without notifying them.

Following an instant backlash among social media users, Instagram quickly backtracked on its earlier statement, saying that sweeping changes was not what it intended.

Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook for US$700 million in cash and shares last April, added that it was not their intention “to sell your photos”.

But the damage was already done, with many users’ threatening to quit using application.

And it appears they have stuck to it – new figures reveal Instagram’s active daily users – the highest frequency user group – has dropped to 8.42 million this week, from 16.35 million on December 17, the day the controversial news broke, the New York Post reported.

The statistics were compiled by AppStats, which measures app usage by tracking users who are logged into Instagram via Facebook.

AppStats CEO Sebastian Sujka told The New York Post: “The main loss will be most likely due to the terms of service changes, given how much attention and controversy the terms of service change has brought, and seeing how clearly the Instagram app dropped after the terms of service change.”

Facebook has described the findings as “inaccurate”.

“We continue to see strong and steady growth in both registered and active users of Instagram,” Facebook said in a statement.

It appears that some changes to the application will still take place on January 16.

 

 

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Ron Bruder; From Real Estate Developer To The Youth’s Advocate

Light from the dark

An interesting listing on the annual Times 100 most influential people list is a certain individual that caught our attention, Ron Bruder. When the city of New York was plunged into chaos with the September 11 happenings many people agonized over loved ones caught in the centre of the devastation and Ron Bruder was at the centre. On the day of the attacks Ron Bruder had no idea whether his daughter Jessica was dead or alive as she worked close to the World Trade Centre. His life was changed forever and so was his career path. From a successful real estate business in some office lease Tucson, Ron Bruder packed his bags and headed to the Middle East.

The light bulb moment

Ron Bruder a Jewish-American entrepreneur planted his roots as an extremely successful real estate developer enjoying many renowned projects, one being a successful integration and evolution of a electric generating plant in Manhattan to a residence. After the September 11 attacks his life was to change forever and so was his career. Instead of turning to resentment for the attacks, Ron Bruder instead embarked on a mission to go to the source and help in any way possible. He spent the next few years of his life travelling through the Middle East looking for ways to help and improve the situation. Through his travels he found a specific need for practical education programs and programs that taught high school and college graduates skills that they could utilize in the work place.

The Change

After Ron Bruder’s findings of the change needed he set off and set up the Education for Employment Foundation (EFE). He first introduced of the program was in Jordan for youths that are at risk and he taught them the skills to repaid air conditioning systems. Ron Bruder then brought the foundation to the war torn Gaza strip and West Bank where he taught engineers to become project managers. Other Middle Eastern and African countries that the foundation was set up in are Yemen, Egypt, Morocco and soon Tunisia. The success of Ron Bruder’s Education for Employment Foundation has seen substantial growth and continues to have the potential to change youth’s lives. In 2011 there were 1,300 graduates recorded and the predictions for this year are 2,000 graduates and 5,000 for 2013.

Social media like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have now started to infiltrate into Middle Eastern countries and freedom of speech and expression is becoming more prominent in a incredible stringent society. Although these are ideals that the youths should be enjoying and partaking in, Ron Bruder is teaching them more important skills, the importance of finding and keeping productive careers and jobs when the protests and turbulence is over. Some of these youths may even enjoy some work abroad in some serviced office London or anywhere across the world.

Jemma Scott is an avid writer and explorer of influential and inspiring people.

 

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Megacities and the Scale of the Future

  by Mike Macartney

Demographic trends in society are pointing towardsmegacities, defined as populations of 10 million or more, as the future for how most people on the planet will live. There are 21 such cities today and they include Cairo, Mexico City, Lagos, Los Angeles, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Manila, Moscow, Tehran, London, Paris, and others, growing every day. Tokyo was at 34 million in 2011. These cities and what supports them are at the core issues of scale and sustainability.

  • How large will these cities grow?
  • How will people in the future supply them with energy, food, water, transportation, jobs, housing, education, health care, and not least of all, entertainment?
  • How will these cities fit into national models – will they become city-states like earlier times in human history?

Scientific groups like the Santa Fe Institute are studying that very sustainability. Other, informal web based groups of people like New Geography are also thinking about what cities and human society will become.

The issue of scale may be the defining issue of the 21st century. The solutions are not simple or even invented yet. For example, it is well known in investment circles that alternative energy does not scale like the Information Age cornerstones of semiconductors, telecommunications, and software. Because of the laws of physics in the universe we live in alternative energy requires large investments in land, labor, and raw materials. These are needed to provide grid energy systems like the current fossil fuel and nuclear powered electrical grids. Innovation in alternative energy is not information or knowledge based. It is execution and implementation based. Even if we think we know how to do it, we still have to get it done. Very large physical scale collection and distribution systems are required to implement alternative energy solutions. Presently, the profit for investment in large-scale energy systems ties to large-scale tax systems. These are linked to government subsidies and government funded infrastructure build-out to solve the scale problem. Will the same go for alternative energy?

The scale needed for alternative energy competes directly with the scale needed for agriculture, housing, environmental preservation, and transportation. One example is the Three Gorges Dam project in China that displaced over 1-million people. Hydroelectric power systems are solar energy systems. The water behind a dam is stored solar energy. Very large amounts of land are required for hydroelectric systems just like for proposed solar, wind, and biomass systems. All the systems require very large solar collectors to operate in a grid power model. Efficiency can never be greater than one. There is no Moore’s Law of exponential growth hidden in the current efficiencies of a few tens-of-a-percent and 100-percent in alternative energy collection components. Are grid power systems the future of alternative energy?

The solutions to the scale problems of megacities with high consumption rates of food, energy, and living space are complex and competing. Complexity is one of the areas of study by scientific think tanks like the Santa Fe Institute and government funded institutions like Harvard University and MIT. How do you think scale will be achieved to support megacities in the future?

About the Author

Mike Macartney

Mike holds a BS and MS in mechanical engineering with emphasis in heat transfer and computational fluid dynamics. As a staff system engineer he developed advanced cooling systems for more than 15 different spacecraft and missiles, ranging from cryogenically cooled sensors and pre-amplifiers to on-orbit problem resolution of failing spacecraft. Mike has managed over 200 proposals for advanced aerospace systems, and terrestrial IT systems and custom code development for corporate customers.

Mike has advised start-up companies and high-tech incubators wishing to “spin-in” technologies from NASA and the National Laboratories as well as helped Russian enterprises do business in Silicon Valley. Mike has been a founder in three start-up companies for enterprise SW and publishing as well as a trade show manager for NASA technology transfer activities, and an executive liaison manager to facilitate business cooperation between aggressive Fortune 500 competitors. Mike has developed reengineered business processes for quality control, proposal development, and lean manufacturing.

He currently operates a small publishing company, Shoot Your Eye Out Publishing

 

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More Than Economy-Related Stress

The economy is obviously starting to display indications of the crisis that a typical business person has been facing for a long time now. The tension in the job market and beyond is incomprehensible, and not just from the perspective of folks trying to acquire work to help pay bills. It can be seen from the business owner’s end of the spectrum, as reputable companies are trying not just in order to avoid laying off staff members but also to produce more work and thus improve the economy regionally and across the country.

Dumping Unnecessary Expenses

Among the steps that the business owner can take prior to layoffs is shedding any expenditure of money typically regarded as excessive no matter how effective they are in the arena of impressing prospective clients and associates. For example, an airport limousine service is an excellent opportunity to make the best first impression on a promising financially rewarding customer, but funding the pickup is likely to be too costly for all customers. While it could be a method for people with extensive wallets and leaning toward purchase or partnership already, it is usually not a practical commitment for a customer that is nowhere near reaching a conclusion.

A second illustration of this is electronic devices, since businesses are more likely to let each device become out-of-date before updating it when the crunch is on. It’s not practical to continue making use of techno-gadgets that are out-of-date, but sometimes the business is forced to keep these things longer than normal until a newer version can be fit into your budget. When the successor can be purchased, outdated devices can often be marketed to recoup some losses provided the hard drives are wiped.

Boosting Advertising Tactics

The second big step that the business will take involves marketing and advertising, not always abolishing marketing and advertising methods but instead streamlining them to boost their overall performance and making the most of the marketing budget. Since marketing and advertising has an effect on the company’s profitability, it should not be completely removed or the organization risks not reaching their customers. The target audience is the people who are likely to shop for the product, tool, service, or information of the business being advertised, and it may change from one product/tool to a new one.

Website marketing is a very effective and innovative technique to maximize the marketing budget today, and it reaches a lot more people around the world than any two methods put together. Pay close attention to the types of online marketing that are used for each marketing method so every dollar is wisely spent for maximum result. This is the easiest way to relieve the tension produced by the financial crisis and job market and remain in the green as a company.

Article Provided By: New York Limos

 

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American Entrepreneurs Can Succeed Without Speaking English

 

 

The international census is that spoken and written English is needed in order to financially succeed as an immigrant in an English speaking country. However America has recently produced a series of entrepreneurs who have built multi-million dollar Empires from nothing, speaking little or no English. These new American Entrepreneurs used technology and clever marketing within the immigrant diasporas to attain considerable wealth.

Felix Sanchez de la Vega has been living and working in the United States for 40 years but still his English hasn’t progressed and remains very basic. When he arrived from Puebla, Mexico to New York City, he was uneducated and poor. He moved from various low paying jobs and eventually started his American entrepreneurship by opening up his own small business as a street vendor, selling authentic Mexican tortillas. Back in the 1970s the Mexican population in New York was still relatively small, but as it grew so did the demand for authentic Mexican products.

Using nothing more than his ingenuity and dedication, Sanchez’s small business eventually turned into a $19 million food manufacturing and distribution empire that weaves through the various Mexican communities from coast to coast and even back down into Mexico itself. This successful American entrepreneur achieved all this despite his lack of English. His success is rooted in the fact that in general, large cities have big enough immigrant populations to insulate business owners from everyday transactions that require English. After gaining footage in a local area, modern technology makes it possible and easy for immigrant American entrepreneurs to expand their business and tap new immigrant markets across the country or even the world. Furthermore, professional translation is readily available if English is eventually required.

Other examples of successful American entrepreneurs include Zhang Yulong from China. After emigrating in 1994 he now owns a $30 million a year earning company that deals with cell phone accessories, also in New York, that employs 45 people. Kim Ki Chol is another Asian American entrepreneur who arrived from South Korea in 1981. He started a clothing accessories store in Brooklyn and is now a highly successful retailer and real estate investor.

These stories of success although unusual are not isolated. According to the Census Bureau, in 2010, 4.5 million who were the heads of household in the United States spoke English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’. Of these households, about 35, 500 had household incomes of more than $200,000 per year, indicating a longer list of American entrepreneurs from non-English backgrounds. These unique stories of great American entrepreneurs as well as the statistics prove that in today’s global world it is not impossible for an entrepreneur to succeed without English. With the amount of international companies now offering certified translation via the Internet as well as the continued development and accuracy of Google translations, the opportunities for success as an American entrepreneur are endless.

Sally Roberts is an experienced writer in technology-related news from around the world.

 

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The Rise of the Serviced Offices Market

The serviced offices market may be in full strength in many of the economic capitals of the world, but there is still a huge potential for this type of business lease. While London serviced offices are at the top end of the market, comprising more in serviced office workstations than the other top 5 cities from around the world, there is still a mass of areas in the capital and the UK which can offer growth to this emerging office market trend. So what are the benefits of serviced offices in comparison to others, and why will this market continue to grow around the world? The benefits are all in the flexibility and low risk associated with the Serviced office market, as businesses can tailor their premises needs in short periods of times and have choices that normal leases cannot offer.

Serviced offices are the perfect option for international corporations planning on making headway into new territories and this is why huge amounts of international growth are expected over the next decade, especially in Asian, American and African economic capitals. Corporations can make a low capital investment for starters and expand the size of their offices as they expand their influence in the local market. Should they require more space immediately, the flexible lease terms allow for almost immediate changes, and cancellations can be made without bankrupting an organisation. Due to these factors, Africa and certain Asian markets, such as India, are seeing new centre being opened almost monthly to ensure that businesses looking to invest have access to A-grade office space when entering a new market. These offerings also include everything that a company needs for start up, including desks, communications equipment and maintenance staff to ensure that as soon as employees move into the location they are ready for business from day one, without having to source furniture and equipment. Serviced offices can also be an interim solution for many companies sending advance teams into regions to solidify presence before making the full commitment to a region for business.

While serviced offices may seem to be an expensive package, the benefits and costs associated with them are very reasonable for the benefits received. Although rates in emerging markets may be slightly more expensive than in developed economic capitals, new centres will drop prices as markets flourish, benefitting the end consumer. New York has the second highest number of serviced offices, but only occupies a small percentage of the property market, so the area for expansion is available and the percentages are set to increase. Even in London, Office space Wimbledon is set to increase, as West End and Central London properties become saturated. With the ample benefits and the rise of business expansion, the serviced offices market internationally is set to increase dramatically over the next decade. For more information on the growth of the serviced offices market, read the full report online.

Sarah Mancini is a Freelance writer who specialises on articles regarding the corporate property market. She hopes to educate readers on the varirty of Office solutions available.

 

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What the Wall Street Protesters are All About, If You Have the Stomach For It

I had some money, once, and it wasn’t just my two divorces that cleaned me out. Being in a service industry can be just as volatile in a downturn as being in a manufacturing space.  For several years I was in business development for a corporate travel management concern, and as the recession bloomed people found less expensive and less frequent means of getting to point b, including webinars and teleconferencing.  Not to say that a little belt tightening and ending extravagant spending isn’t a good thing, but it didn’t seem to reach across the board.

While the average silicon valley executive had his boarding passes start to read “coach” instead of first class even on international flights, the board members of the auto industries had to be reminded that it would be slightly poor form for them to take their private jets to Washington while begging for bail-out money.

The list of golden parachutes and excesses is truly amazing, and I have attached a story by Henry Blodget of The Business Insider that documents the disparity of our distribution of wealth far better than I could have ever had the time to research.

The bail-outs and lack of accountability were actually the tip of the iceberg. Who in their right mind would give a child a blank check because they had spent their money on drugs and couldn’t afford their rent?  Well that is essentially what we did to the banks.  We took those functioning least responsibly and rewarded them for their incompetence without any direction as to where they had to spend this windfall.

Then came the Obama appointments.  If my memory serves me wasn’t it Geithner and Bernanke who were at the helm when the ship ran on the rocks in the first place? Another reward for failure.  They were appointed because of their “experience.”  Hell, Jeffrey Dahmer was experienced at what he did.

My wife and I went up to the City (and yes, there is only one) for the fleet week celebration last weekend.  There is another great example of the taxpayers money being oh so wisely spent.  It was a grand time though, hanging around the south beach marina with our boating buddies, having drinks at the Yacht club, and retiring to the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Center.  It might sound opulent, but the Hyatt has seen its hay-day and we had deeply discounted rooms, the drinks at the Yacht club were $3, and we had dinner at Delancy Street (highly recommended) where the entries were around $12 and delicious.

My point?  We, like most Americans have had to learn to make do with less.  After I was laid off from the travel industry I started an internet marketing company specializing in social media and website optimization.  I’m getting by just fine, but like the rest of humanity (except for the 1%) my stocks have taken a beating, my property maxed out 5 years ago and I’m not holding my breath for Social Security.

Outside our window at the Hyatt, lies the Federal Reserve building.  It was swarmed with young and old people like with fire in their eyes, and blowhorns in their mouths till all hours of the night. The pace was fever pitched at 2:00 in the morning, and when we walked by on Sunday the tired but determined group was still there.  This morning they stormed downtown and demonstrated in front of the Wells Fargo building. My wife and I were discussing this on Sunday:  God bless these young wild eyed freaks that have the energy and principles to stand up and say “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

We lost lots when Steve Jobs passed away.  We stand to lose lots more than that if we ever lose the spirit this country was founded on. Remember what we said to the British Monarchy?  Taxation without representation is tyranny.”  Well, isn’t that really what is happening again now?  Do we really have any say where our hard earned dollars go?  Let’s start another war over weapons of mass destruction.

Below are some facts that should make you ill.  Good luck protestors, I’m with you!

 

CHARTS: Here’s What The Wall Street Protesters Are So Angry About…

BY Henry Blodget |  The Business Insider

 

The “Occupy Wall Street” protests are gaining momentum, having spread from a small park in New York to marches to other cities across the country.

So far, the protests seem fueled by a collective sense that things in our economy are not fair or right.  But the protesters have not done a good job of focusing their complaints—and thus have been skewered as malcontents who don’t know what they stand for or want.

(An early list of “grievances” included some legitimate beefs, but was otherwise just a vague attack on “corporations.” Given that these are the same corporations that employ more than 100 million Americans and make the products we all use every day, this broadside did not resonate with most Americans).

So, what are the protesters so upset about, really?

Do they have legitimate gripes?

To answer the latter question first, yes, they have very legitimate gripes.

And if America cannot figure out a way to address these gripes, the country will likely become increasingly “de-stabilized,” as sociologists might say. And in that scenario, the current protests will likely be only the beginning.

The problem in a nutshell is this: Inequality in this country has hit a level that has been seen only once in the nation’s history, and unemployment has reached a level that has been seen only once since the Great Depression. And, at the same time, corporate profits are at a record high.

In other words, in the never-ending tug-of-war between “labor” and “capital,” there has rarely—if ever—been a time when “capital” was so clearly winning.

 

Let’s start with the obvious: Unemployment. Three years after the financial crisis, the unemployment rate is still at the highest level since the Great Depression (except for a brief blip in the early 1980s)

 

Jobs are scarce, so many adults have given up looking for them. Thus, a sharp decline in the “participation ratio.”

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

And it’s not like unemployment these days is a quick, painful jolt: A record percentage of unemployed people have been unemployed for longer than 6 months.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

And it’s not just construction workers who can’t find jobs. The median duration of all unemployment is also near an all-time high.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

That 9% rate, by the way, equates to 14 million Americans—people who want to work but can’t find a job.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

And that’s just people who meet the strict criteria for “unemployed.” Include people working part-time who want to work full-time, plus some people who haven’t looked for a job in a while, and unemployment’s at 17%

 

Put differently, this is the lowest percentage of Americans with jobs since the early 1980s (And the boom prior to that, by the way, was from women entering the workforce).

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

So that’s the jobs picture. Not pretty.

 

And now we turn to the other side of this issue… the Americans for whom life has never been better. The OWNERS.

 

Corporate profits just hit another all-time high.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

Corporate profits as a percent of the economy are near a record all-time high. With the exception of a brief happy period in 2007 (just before the crash), profits are higher than they’ve been since the 1950s. And they are VASTLY higher than they’ve been for most of the intervening half-century.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

CEO pay is now 350X the average worker’s, up from 50X from 1960-1985.

 

Image: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz

CEO pay has skyrocketed 300% since 1990. Corporate profits have doubled. Average “production worker” pay has increased 4%. The minimum wage has dropped. (All numbers adjusted for inflation).

 

Image: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz

After adjusting for inflation, average hourly earnings haven’t increased in 50 years.

 

In short… while CEOs and shareholders have been cashing in, wages as a percent of the economy have dropped to an all-time low.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

In other words, in the struggle between “labor” and “capital,” capital has basically won. (This man lives in a tent city in Lakewood, New Jersey, about a hundred miles from Wall Street. He would presumably be “labor,” except that he lost his job and can’t find another one.)

 

Image: Robert Johnson

Of course, life is great if you’re in the top 1% of American wage earners. You’re hauling in a bigger percentage of the country’s total pre-tax income than you have at any time since the late 1920s. Your share of the national income, in fact, is almost 2X the long-term average!

 

Image: David Ruccio

And the top 0.1% in America are doing way better than the top 0.1% in other first-world countries.

 

Image: David Ruccio

In fact, income inequality has gotten so extreme here that the US now ranks 93rd in the world in “income equality.” China’s ahead of us. So is India. So is Iran.

 

Image: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz

And, by the way, few people would have a problem with inequality if the American Dream were still fully intact—if it were easy to work your way into that top 1%. But, unfortunately, social mobility in this country is also near an all-time low.

 

So what does all this mean in terms of net worth? Well, for starters, it means that the top 1% of Americans own 42% of the financial wealth in this country. The top 5%, meanwhile, own nearly 70%.

 

Image: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz

That’s about 60% of the net worth of the country held by the top 5% (left chart).

 

Image: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz

And remember that huge debt problem we have—with hundreds of millions of Americans indebted up to their eyeballs? Well, the top 1% doesn’t have that problem. They only own 5% of the country’s debt.

 

Image: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz

And then there are taxes… It’s a great time to make a boatload of money in America, because taxes on the nation’s highest-earners are close to the lowest they’ve ever been.

 

Image: National Taxpayers Union

The aggregate tax rate for the top 1% is lower than for the next 9%—and not much higher than it is for pretty much everyone else.

 

Image: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz

As the nation’s richest people often point out, they do pay the lion’s share of taxes in the country: The richest 20% pay 64% of the total taxes. (Lower bar). Of course, that’s because they also make most of the money. (Top bar).

 

Image: G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz

And now we come to the type of American corporation that gets—and deserves—a big share of the blame: The banks. Willie Sutton once explained that the reason he robbed banks was because “that’s where the money is.” The man knew what he was talking about.

 

Image: AP

Remember when we bailed out the banks? Yes, and remember the REASON we were told we had to bail out the banks? We had to bail out the banks, we were told, so that the banks could keep lending to American businesses. Without that lending, we were told, society would collapse…

 

So, did the banks keep lending? Um, no. Bank lending dropped sharply, and it has yet to recover.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

So, what have banks been doing since 2007 if not lending money to American companies? Lending money to America’s government! By buying risk-free Treasury bonds and other government-guaranteed securities.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

And, remarkably, they’ve also been collecting interest on money they are NOT lending—the “excess reserves” they have at the Fed. Back in the financial crisis, the Fed decided to help bail out the banks by paying them interest on this money that they’re not lending. And they’re happily still collecting it. (It’s AWESOME to be a bank.)

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

Meanwhile, of course, the banks are able to borrow money FOR FREE. Because the Fed has slashed rates to basically zero. And the banks have slashed the rates they pay on deposits to basically zero. So they can have all the money they want—for nearly free!

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

When you can borrow money for nothing, and lend it back to the government risk-free for a few percentage points, you can COIN MONEY. And the banks are doing that. According to IRA, the “net interest margin” made by US banks in the first six months of this year is $211 Billion. Nice!

 

Image: Institutional Risk Analytics

And that has helped produce $58 billion of profit in the first six months of the year.

 

Image: Institutional Risk Analytics

And it has helped generate near-record financial sector profits—while the rest of the country struggles with its 9% unemployment rate.

 

Image: Reuters (Felix Salmon)

And these profits are getting back toward a record as a percentage of all corporate profits.

 

Image: The Big Picture

And those profits, of course, are AFTER the banks have paid their bankers. And it’s still great to be a banker. The average banker in New York City made $361,330 in 2010. Not bad!

 

Image: New York Times, New York State Comptroller

This average Wall Street salary was 6X the average private-sector salary (which, in turn, is actually lower than the average government salary, but that’s a different issue).

 

Image: New York Times, New York State Comptroller

So it REALLY doesn’t suck to be a banker.

 

And so, in conclusion, we’ll end with another look at the “money shot”—the one overarching reason the Wall Street protesters are so upset: Wages as a percent of the economy. Again, it’s basically the lowest it has ever been.

 

Image: St. Louis Fed

So now you know!

 

Image: Julia La Roche for Business Insider

Now check out…

15 Mind-Blowing Facts About Inequality In America

Tags: EconomyOccupy Wall StreetInequalityTaxesPoliticsFeatures | Get Alerts for these topics »

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1#ixzz1abgi2Jwr

 

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