Archive for September, 2014

The Global Economy In September

Key policy decisions of several major Central Banks took prominence in the month of September. The European Central Bank cut interest rates to fresh lows amid persistent disinflationary pressure. Additionally the Bank announced plans on purchasing asset-backed securities and covered bonds starting from October.  The US Federal Reserve maintained its stance on keeping interest rates near zero for a “considerable time”, however raised its outlook for rates for the coming years. In Asia, the People’s Bank of China introduced stimulus measures to support its weakening economy by injecting liquidity to five of its largest banks through standing lending facilities. Emerging market equities and currencies weakened significantly during the month. The FTSE Emerging Index which consists of big developing countries recorded the longest losing streak since 2001 fueled by speculation over Fed rate hikes. On the commodities side, Brent oil continued its downward trend falling below $100 mark. During the month global oil demand growth was seen decelerating to a two-and-half year low. Gold prices fell sharply as it lost its safe heaven demand in the face of improving US economic data and a stronger dollar.

The above is a summary of key stories from our daily global markets update from 24 Aug to 24 Sep.

Processes, Who Needs Them?

Apparently, we do.

Large organizations have a large amount of processes. Unfortunately it is unnecessary that all of them must be followed by everyone they apply to at all times. This creates a lot of ‘going by the book’ when it is not really needed, contributing to dissatisfaction and red tape. But on the bright side human intuition and corporation can result in flexibility and  in the bending of rules in certain situations when everyone involved knows that strictly following the process is unimportant.

At Frontier we like to keep things leaner, so we have cut down (and are constantly reviewing) our processes to the barest minimum. This almost eliminates unnecessary process following, yay! But wait, this also eliminates flexibility in bending rules. Over here, we have less procedure, but as a result every procedure we DO have must be followed to the letter.
Which system is better? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Why You Should be Ignoring the News

As an organization that focuses a lot on news, we are big on ignoring it.

Sounds confusing? Well read on.

In today’s age of information overload, we believe knowing what to ignore is the first step in knowing what to know. Sifting through the piles of junk in the form of what passes for ‘news’ today (this includes, surprise, surprise! your Facebook and Twitter feeds) can be an almost overpowering task; something that can completely suck the productivity out of your day. In the words of Inc’s Larry Kim 

 “The news is like the cookie monster. It just doesn’t know when to stop. It has little to no self-control. News, or the farcical stories that pass today for “news”, makes an effort to kidnap every spare moment with its ubiquitous presence while holding productivity ransom.”

The article goes on to lay out a logic of why, exactly, news hurts your productivity;

–          News is aggressive and rude. It’s relentless in seeking attention as it pulls at your shirtsleeves, begging to be noticed on televisions, smartphones, and radios. It whines at you from Twitter, Facebook, your inbox. Anywhere you go, the “news” is sure to follow.

–          It’s possessive like a selfish lover. News refuses to relinquish attention, always asking you to click another article, read the full story, watch the exclusive video reel, just give them one more chance.

–          It really doesn’t change that much. Most news is the same rehashed drivel, tale as old as time.

–          Most news is trivial and doesn’t matter. At. All. Most news so inconsequential that it’s embarrassing. Puppies are pulled out of ice sheets, dancing pigs are rescued from the bacon machine. As far as momentous events that will affect your life, 99.9% of the news is irrelevant filler.

–          It’s insanely unreliable. New research shows that a glass of red wine before bed is good for your health. Bad for your health. Good for your heath again. Bad for your health again. Does not affect your heath at all.

–          It’s bad for your brain. Feed your brain real knowledge, not crummy Chicken McNugget news (Sure, it tastes great as an indulgence, but devouring it every day will only hurt you). Don’t forget GIGO–garbage in, garbage out.

–          Most of it is downright depressing. Yes, terrible things happen in the world, but you already knew that. Filling your head with the negativity offered by many “news” sources will do nothing to benefit you. Having a positive outlook on life is extremely important–your attitude affects your career, life satisfaction, and even your physical health. Don’t let the news rain on your parade (the parade of life).

–          News sites are all about the money. News isn’t created today to enrich your life through learning or keep you up-to-date on current events. Most news sites are covered in ads, begging for clicks. Don’t fall victim.

–          It’s not actionable. The news can keep us awake at night as we wrestle with tragedies, such as the MH370 airplane disappearance. Unfortunately, there’s usually nothing we can do to change such situations. It’s more constructive to focus attention on the things we actually have control over.

–          A lot of it is inaccurate or untrue. In an effort to deliver the latest breaking news, news sites are constantly working to push out as many articles as possible, 24/7. This extremely fast turnaround means most news articles are riddled with inaccuracies. Some contain bold-faced lies, as the need to create something “fresh” overrides the need to make something accurate.

–          No one is judging you for not being up-to-date on current events. Most people are way too caught up in their own lives to care if you know who won the presidential election in Zimbabwe.

–          The news that DOES matter will make itself known. The news that truly matters will get to you eventually -a friend will tell you about it, you’ll see it in the Sunday paper, etc. Don’t stress about missing major events.

–          News is distracting you from what really matters. News makes you give up spare time that you deserve to use for yourself. The sacrifices mount as you surrender a few chapters of the latest New York Times bestseller during your commute, your lunch break, your phone call with an old friend, and, of course, your productivity. The costs of following the “news” add up.

 

Focus today is under attack by distraction. The trick to truly taking advantage of the internet age’s massive information boom, while still maintaining your productivity (and sanity) is to ignore the trash, consistently. And there is a lot of trash out there. At Frontier I, helping our clients do this basically forms the rationale for our business; we help them deal with information, going the extra step of actually searching for and telling them exactly what they need to know.

Your attention is a valuable asset. Don’t waste it on a compulsive urge to get to know every little detail about what happened to that cat who ate a bicycle. Curious to know more? Or interested to know how you as an individual can better manage your information? Leave a comment or just contact us via phone or email (contact details on our website) for some free advice!