Wednesday, July 11, 2012

London Loot

Had a 48hour trip to London last week and bought a hell of a lot of super healthy food and supplements as well as these beauties. Was thinking of my holiday in Capri in September clearly. The weather was utterly bad, Richmond was under water (check out the boyfriend checking out the pavement near the Thames) and I was glad to leave again on Sunday for the golden lands. Back soon though.

Letzte Woche ging es fuer 48 Stunden nach London und ich habe wirklich viel supergesundes Essen und Supplements eingekauft sowie diese zwei huebschen Schuehchen hier. Offensichtlich ging mir mein Urlaub in Capri im September durch den Kopf. Das Wetter war klassisch londinisch, Richmond war unter Wasser (seht euch mal meinen Freund an wie bekuemmert er den Spazierweg neben der Themse ansieht) und ich war wirklich froh, am Sonntag wieder ins sonnengoldene Land zurueckzufliegen. Allerdings gehts bald wieder ab in den altbekannten Norden.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How Black Swans Affect Your Business

All Swans are White.

There was a time in Europe when everyone knew that swans were white. No one had ever seen a swan that wasn't white and no one doubted the truth that all swans were white. If anyone had suggested a swan could be anything but white people would have had serious doubts about their sanity.... after all the evidence was there for everyone to see.

Then Australia was "discovered" by Europe and, as incredible as it sounded to everyone, black swans were discovered as well.

Of course we shouldn't be surprised by the fact that a "truth" was proved wrong; after all not too many centuries before everyone knew the world was flat and that if you sailed too far you would fall off the edge!

"Safe as houses"

Up until a few months ago people put their money in houses, as it was "as safe as houses" to do so. Of course we had seen the occasional blip in prices but for them to drop by more than a few percent for a brief period was highly improbable. Sub prime lending and the credit crunch have since made large price drops a reality in many countries.

We also believed in putting our money in the bank for the same reason; banks didn't go bust, they were full of people who understood money and were very cautious. A run on the bank was almost unknown, was outside most people's experience and highly improbable. A few small town banks in the US had experienced problems but few people living in Europe and the rest of the world knew of it. Then the highly improbable happened, banks in Iceland froze savings accounts overnight, governments in Europe had to help their banks with huge loans and many banks were effectively nationalised. The unthinkable had happened. Business growth slowed down in many sectors and a world recession loomed.

Some people hadn't put all their money in the banks, they had bought shares; after all, despite some stocks fluctuating, stock markets worldwide grew year on year and were a good way to grow your capital, provided you spread your risk. Then stock markets worldwide lost tremendous sums and the world entered an uncertain period.

Highly improbable

All the above were Black Swan events. They were highly improbable to happen, or impossible to imagine.

Of course house prices have dropped before; in the 1920s the world went into a depression that lasted years; although we've not had a recession in the UK for 16 years we did experience recession in the 1990s, 1980s .....and many times before. But recent events have rocked the world and filled the media.

Predicting Black Swans

Could you have predicted these Black Swan events?

Yes. Or so writes Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan.

Black Swan events are almost impossible to predict, when they happen their impact is huge and experts worldwide try to rationalise them afterwards. In The Black Swan,

the author, puts black Swans into perspective, he also explains why you should never run for a train or read a newspaper!

Are Black Swans relevant to business?

Yes. Understanding Black Swans could save you money. It certainly helps you plan for all eventualities.

Understanding Black Swans saved me 9000 a few weeks ago. You see like over 100,000 people in the UK I had invested money in Icebank, an online Icelandic bank. Because I knew enough about Black Swans to know that highly improbable things happen all the time I had spread my risk with personal and business accounts spread around several banks and countries. However being aware of the sub prime situation I sat down and imagined the worse case scenario. In my book it was highly improbable but a run on the banks could happen.

So I spread my risk by closing one bank account in Iceland and moved it to HSBC. This was just 12 hours before the bank's assets were taken over by the Icelandic government and accounts were frozen. Because I had imagined the worse I paid £30 for a CHAPS transfer and my money arrived safely.

My other account is now frozen. Fortunately it had much less money in it and, because it is covered by a guarantee, the UK authorities will refund it eventually. The original guarantee was via the Icelandic government but they are effectively bankrupt' so it was a tense time while the UK negotiated with Iceland and eventually loaned them enough to cover the monies owed, to personal investors, by but all now looks well and at least I have my 9000. Thanks to understanding Black Swans.

So yes, Black Swans can strike anywhere and as part of our planning we should always try to imagine how highly improbable events might affect our business.

For example say your e-commerce website was unavailable for several weeks - maybe your hosting service goes down or the site is hacked. Or the mail service goes on strike and your Christmas mailshot isn't sent. Have you a fall back plan. Could you survive these highly improbable events?

Learning More

Clearly we all need to understand about Black Swans and I recommend reading the book. It cost me just over 5 ....and saved me 9000.

Stefan Drew is known internationally as the Marketing Magician. Based in the UK he advises businesses, worldwide, on marketing. His focus is on the highly effective marketing strategies and methods that are low cost or free to use.

Stefan's work has been featured on the BBC and in the press of over 50 countries.

Stefan also has an interest in Sun Tzu Marketing Strategies, a subject which he teaches in his Marketing Masterclasses.
#By Stefan Drew

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Summer So Far

Life is good and colourful. Busy. Healthy :) Thanks for checking back regularly, peeps.

  1. Grilled zander with potatoes in Hungary. Probably THE best meal I've had so far - I was also incredibly hungry, that helped ;)
  2. The lake we usually hang out at at 8am
  3. Fruit and nuts - I could live off that when it's hot. Looks pretty too I just realized.
  4. Survival package from England 
  5. Really old wine cellars we saw while we were hiking in the vineyards that day.
  6. Hand made leather goods from Hungary. I ordered a LOT more than I had planned.
  7. Reading material: 'Manual for Burgenland' - the South-Eastern area in Austria where I grew up and where I am staying at the moment. It's hot, it's sunny, it's flat, it's green, it's quiet, it's pretty beautiful.
  8. Peaceful and old cemetary we passed in Veszprem in Hungary
  9. Groceries! It's probably my main hobby - I love love love grocery shopping - I do it every single day in London cause I like it so much :) You see, I am trying to be good and get only the healthy stuff - with the occasional naughty treat. There really are no excuses for me these days though to indulge for longer than a day!
  10. New vegan shoes from beyond skin - hand made, great fit and they feel just like leather. Very impressed.
  11. Double espresso by the lake in the morning sun
  12. We got an invitation to the premiere of 'As You Like It' in a castle nearby. Had a really good evening with my mum there.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sexy Wallpapers of Hanna Marin `Pretty Little Liar Black Swan

Hanna Marin used to be an overweight girl, friends of Alison's posse. She helped her to lose weight by encouraging her to become bulimic. After Alison's disappearance, she distances herself from the other girls and becomes best friends with another unpopular outsider named Mona. They managed to make themselves popular over the summer by becoming gorgeous and skinny.

Hanna/Ashley  - hanna-marin Wallpaper
Hanna takes Alison's place as the most popular girl at Rosewood High School in her absence and wins 'Prom Queen'. She and Mona shoplift, mainly for fun but Hanna also does it to get attention from her father who left her and her mother for another woman. Her and her mother, Ashley Marin, have financial problems and to get money, Hanna does unpleasant things "A" wants her to do. When Hanna and her three other friends get trouble and together to solve that, she always next to them, find a solution and do anything for their happiness.

HannaMarin! - hanna-marin Wallpaper
Hanna Marin Sexy

Hanna/Ashley  - hanna-marin Wallpaper
Hanna Marin `Black Swan`Style

Sexy Photos of Aria Montgomery `Pretty Little Liar` Black Swan

Aria Montgomery Photo
Aria Montgomery is the "artsy" girl of the group who moves back to Rosewood with her mother Ella, father Byron, and younger brother Mike after a year away living in Iceland following Alison's disappearance. She has returned a mature, changed, insightful young woman who slowly reconnects with her old friends. Prior to her first day back in high school, she goes to a bar and instantly strikes up a conversation with a man named Ezra.

There is instant chemistry between the two. When she arrives at school the next day, she finds out that the guy who she made out with in the bar bathroom is none other than her new English teacher, Mr. Fitz, and embarks on a long-term relationship with him, with many ups and downs.

Sure, all the PLL crew are badass girls but Aria’s everlasting bravery makes her stand out among the rest. Not only does this high school diva dress original and risqué, she has the most passionate and secretive love affair with her young hot teacher, Mr. Fitz. Their first meeting in the bathroom of the bar was beyond sexy and every encounter we see now makes us root for their relationship.

Yeah, so it’s totally illegal and whatever but Aria fights for her love and never backs down from A’s tyranny. She expresses such a confidence that all girls should adopt and it works in her favor - scoring guys like Noll Conn and Jason DiLaurentis. Her loyalty to her BFF’s is extremely admirable. She responds to every SOS text message with all intentions to help her homies. So yeah, she’s lucky to be dating her hot English teacher and is misunderstood by her parents but let’s get real—she is one brave little liar!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hot Photos of Alison DiLaurentis `Pretty Little Liars' Black Swan

Sasha Pieterse Poses at the 2011 VH1 Do Something Awards on August 14, 2011

Sasha Pieterse (Alison DiLaurentis) is one lucky girl. Besides getting to play Pretty Little Liars' most powerful queen bee (even after her death, Alison's legacy lives on), Sasha's also snagged a role in a Disney Channel Original Movie. She will star alongside Sarah Hyland and Matt Prokop in Geek Charming, a film all about social hierarchy and the pressure to be popular. Sasha should know something about that, since Alison ruled Rosewood.

Geek Charming, based on Robin Palmer’s novel of the same title, is about an it-girl (Sarah Hyland) who befriends the school’s loser (Matt Prokop). We don’t know Sasha’s role yet (the film doesn’t come out until 2012), but based on her controlling character on Pretty Little Liars, we think she'd be convincing as one of Sarah Hyland's super popular BFFs. Regardless, we can’t wait to see Sasha in this flick!

Alison DiLaurentis-Black Swan `Pretty Little Liars'

Sexy Wallpapers of Black Swan Pretty Little Liars

"Pretty Little Liars" may soon be seen transforming into "Black Swan" dancers. Show creator Marlene King says producers have been thinking about doing a ballet episode because some of the leading ladies can dance.

"We've actually thought about doing a Black Swan episode because three out of the four Pretty Little Liars are ballet dancers," King tells E! Online. "We're thinking of maybe incorporating that into the show."

More than that, King also shares that they could also shoot a musical episode. "They also all sing. They're multi talented," he gushes on Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell.

Hale, claiming to have never heard it before, is up for the plan as she says, "I sang on the show last season, so it would be awesome." She additionally affirms King's statement about the girls' singing skill, "Actually, all the girls have really nice voices. We're going to Glee it up on Pretty Little Liars!"

Pretty Little Liars Characters wallpaper
Her co-star Mitchell also agrees the idea. "Love it," she simply says, before adding "I love dancing, so why not?! Let's do all three - acting, singing and dancing!"