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In Venezuela, This Is How You Convert $1 Into $175,000
Submitted by Francisco Toro
Say you come into Venezuela with just $1 and an eye for business. Just how much money can you turn that bill into using tried-and-true, being-used-right-now scams? With a bit of gumption the answer to that is…$175K or so. Really. Here’s how.
First, take your crisp new dollar bill to a black market currency dealer and buy yourself Bs.85.
Did you make sure to get travel insurance before you trip?
Good…..Now go to a doctor and buy yourself Bs.85 worth of medical attention. Any pretext will do. Don’t forget to get a receipt, though: your insurance company back home will reimburse your 85 Bolivar claim at the official rate, giving you back $1 for every 6 Bolivar and 30 cents you spent.So after one doctor’s visit, your $1 has already turned into $13.50. Not too bad.
But we’re just getting going here. Needless to say your next step is to take your $13.50 right back to the currency tout and buy yourself 1,150 Bolivar.Next, take your 1,150 bolivars to any reputable Caracas jeweller. There, you can get about 5.7 grams of 18-karat gold for that. As it turns out, back stateside those 5.7 grams of gold are worth $182.29.
Your Caracas black market dollar dealer will be expecting your call by now: the $182.29 you netted for the gold buys you 15,495 Bolivar.
This is fun, isn’t it?
But maybe you’re getting a bit impatient at this point. Sure, a 18,290% profit with no risk and for doing no real work isn’t too bad, but let’s say you want to make some real money.
For that, you need to go to a market with genuinely grotesque price differential. And in a petro-state like Venezuela, that can only mean one thing: gasoline.
At Venezuela’s ludicrous price of 0.097 Bolivar per liter, the 15,495 bolivars currently burning a hole in your pocket can buy 159,742 liters of unleaded gas. That’s 42,200 gallons or so.The next step is to load your gas into a tanker truck and drive it out to Colombia, where each and every one of your 42,200 gallons will sell for US$4.14/gallon….By the time it’s all said and done, that clean, crisp $1 bill you came into Venezuela with has turned into US$174,905.
That’s a seventeen million percent profit margin for doing basically nothing.
This isn’t just some thought exercise, it’s the central reality of the Venezuelan economy today.
The catch, of course, is that the viability of each of these scams depends first and foremost on having official protection from some regime-connected power broker. You can’t smuggle gasoline out of the country without a National Guard officer (or 10) taking a cut. You can’t load much gold into a northbound plane without paying off an airport guard. Any attempt to buy a substantial number of official rate dollars is going to depend on some regime official – probably wearing olive-green giving his go-ahead.
As the protests mount on the streets, it’s important not to lose sight of this: it’s these rackets those guys are protecting.And their willingness to use violence to protect them is roughly proportional to the profit margins involved.
“Thou shall have balls & not business ideas”
And 9 more commandments for startups from Indian entrepreneur, angel investor Vishal Gondal that will lead the “path to the promised land”
(Called ‘India’s King of Gaming’, Vishal Gondal is the Founder and CEO of India Games. He is considered among the among the top 25 powerful people in the Indian digital business. Erstwhile, he was the Managing Director of DisneyUTV Digital.He has received no formal education in computers and is a commerce dropout.Gondal shared his 10 commandments for startups)
We present to you the commandments…
Thou shall have balls & not business plans
Ideas are dime a dozen. To be an entrepreneur you don’t need business plans but the courage and conviction to break through the initial challenges and bring your ideas to life.
Thou shall develop relationships & not transactions
Entrepreneurs should go out, meet people and invest in building long-term relationships. Those who can’t help you today may prove to be valuable tomorrow. Don’t be transactional about it; make lifelong friends!
Thou shall focus on real pain-points
India is the land of opportunity because it has tonnes of problems for entrepreneurs to solve. Instead of aping solutions from the West, we should look at solving local problems – something not many entrepreneurs are doing today.
Thou shall be among the top 2
It’s imperative that you be No. 1 or No. 2 nationally or internationally in your defined sector to ensure you create a larger market for yourself. There is no point in becoming the nth player in an already competitive marketplace which has established leaders.
Thou shall focus on 20 per cent
As an entrepreneur, you must focus on the 20% that gives you 80% impact. Entrepreneurs tend to waste their time and effort in a number of non-productive activities just to be everywhere. This should be avoided at all costs.
Thou shall avoid MBAs & spreadsheet makers
The education system is designed to train students to fill up competencies required to work in large organisations. Startups are meant to disrupt and are run by talking to people and constantly taking feedback from the ground. The mindset required to excel at a startup is very different from one that is required in a large company where there is time to invest in building year by year projections.
Thou shall celebrate failures & enjoy your journey
As an entrepreneur, you will have many moments of failure. Organisations where failing is not okay tend to become bureaucratic. As a startup, you should build a culture which celebrates failure and people have the independence to experiment and execute new ideas without worrying too much about failure.
Thou shall not want to sell
Don’t build your company with the intention to sell. You can’t build a great startup by dreaming about selling it someday. As an entrepreneur, your startup becomes the core of your life and you have to nurture it like your own baby.
Thou shall be fit
As an entrepreneur, one tends to put their health on the backseat but there is no point in building a billion-dollar company and having boiled vegetables with a IV attached to you. If you aren’t fit both, in mind and body, you cannot operate a company.
Thou shall win with… Passion
As a startup you will have a small set of people who won’t always have the best skills or resources at their disposal. In this case, the only thing you can motivate them with, is PASSION. As an entrepreneur you need to make your team believe that this is their chance to do something remarkable with their career!
ALZHEIMER. A must read!
“The idea that Alzheimer’s is entirely genetic and unpreventable is perhaps the greatest misconception about the disease,” says Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Center on Aging.Researchers now know that Alzheimer’s like heart disease and cancer, develops over decades and can be influenced by lifestyle factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, depression, education, nutrition, sleep and mental, physical and social activity.
The big news:
Mountains of research reveals that simple things you do every day might cut your odds of losing your mind to Alzheimer’s.
In search of scientific ways to delay and outlive Alzheimer’s and other dementias, I tracked down thousands of studies and interviewed dozens of experts. The results in a new book: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss (Little, Brown; $19.99).
Here are 10 strategies I found most surprising.
1. Have coffee.
In an amazing flip-flop, coffee is the new brain tonic. A large European study showed that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife cut Alzheimer’s risk 65% in late life. University of South Florida researcher Gary Arendash credits caffeine: He says it reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains. Others credit coffee’s antioxidants. So drink up, Arendash advises, unless your doctor says you shouldn’t.
Oddly, the health of your teeth and gums can help predict dementia. University of Southern California research found that having periodontal disease before age 35 quadrupled the odds of dementia years later. Older people with tooth and gum disease score lower on memory and cognition tests, other studies show. Experts speculate that inflammation in diseased mouths migrates to the brain.
3. Be a “Google”.
Doing an online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA’s Gary Small, who used brain MRIs to prove it. The biggest surprise: Novice Internet surfers, ages 55 to 78, activated key memory and learning centers in the brain after only a week of Web surfing for an hour a day.
4. Grow new brain cells.
Impossible, scientists used to say. Now it’s believed that thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works: aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk every day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking and vitamin B deficiency.
5. Drink apple juice.
Apple juice can push production of the “memory chemical” acetylcholine; that’s the way the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept works, says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts . He was surprised that old mice given apple juice did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received water. A dose for humans: 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.
6. Protect your head.
Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase odds of dementia years later. Pro football players have 19 times the typical rate of memory-related diseases. Alzheimer’s is four times more common in elderly who suffer a head injury, Columbia University finds. Accidental falls doubled an older person’s odds of dementia five years later in another study. Wear seat belts and helmets, fall-proof your house, and don’t take risks.
Brain scans show that people who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage – a classic sign of Alzheimer’s – as they age. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says yoga meditation of 12 minutes a day for two months improved blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.
8. Take D.
A “severe deficiency” of vitamin D boosts older Americans’ risk of cognitive impairment 394%, an alarming study by England ‘s University of Exeter finds. And most Americans lack vitamin D. Experts recommend a daily dose of 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3.
9. Fill your brain.
It < http://brain.it/ http://brain.it/ > ‘s called “cognitive reserve.” A rich accumulation of life experiences – education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities – makes your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles. You can even have significant Alzheimer’s pathology and no symptoms of dementia if you have high cognitive reserve, says David Bennett, M.D., of Chicago ‘s Rush University Medical Center .
10. Avoid infection.
Astonishing new evidence ties Alzheimer’s to cold sores, gastric ulcers, Lyme disease, pneumonia and the flu. Ruth Itzhaki, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in England estimates the cold-sore herpes simplex virus is incriminated in 60% of Alzheimer’s cases. The theory: Infections trigger excessive beta amyloid “gunk” that kills brain cells. Proof is still lacking, but why not avoid common infections and take appropriate vaccines, antibiotics and antiviral agents?
*What to Drink for Good Memory*
A great way to keep your aging memory sharp and avoid Alzheimer’s is to drink the right stuff.
a. Tops: Juice.
A glass of any fruit or vegetable juice three times a week slashed Alzheimer’s odds 76% in Vanderbilt University research. Especially protective: blueberry, grape and apple juice, say other studies.
Only a cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people by 37%, reports the Alzheimer’s Association. Only brewed tea works. Skip bottled tea, which is devoid of antioxidants.
c. Caffeine beverages.
Surprisingly, caffeine fights memory loss and Alzheimer’s, suggest dozens of studies. Best sources: coffee (one Alzheimer’s researcher drinks five cups a day), tea and chocolate. Beware caffeine if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, insomnia or anxiety.
d. Red wine:
If you drink alcohol, a little red wine is most apt to benefit your aging brain. It’s high in antioxidants. Limit it to one daily glass for women, two for men. Excessive alcohol, notably binge drinking, brings on Alzheimer’s.
e. Try to avoid: Sugary soft drinks,
Especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. Water with high copper content also can up your odds of Alzheimer’s. Use a water filter that removes excess minerals.
At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.
Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.
The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group.
Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.
The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.
In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.
The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt.
When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.
Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?
If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?
He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.
It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.
I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.
It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.
More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.
Lessons learnt from the story:
I understood, I should not react in life.
I should always respond. The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.
Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.