Projects

Hugely Successful Companies That Own No Products

I came across this awesome photo that completely depicts the fairly recent trend of how large-scale companies are becoming highly profitable while changing the paradigm of how their individual industries function.

For most of us who are 30+ years of age all we ever knew were companies that we would pay to use their services. You wanted to take a trip? You would have to pay the corporate rental car company for a car, a large hotel chain for a place to sleep, and you only had a few choices of airlines in your area to get you there if your destination was beyond a comfortable road trip. And before any of this could begin you had to withdrawal money from your corporate financial institution. Every part of our lives led us to consume services from corporations that were making the few richer while the many were working away their lives just to afford that one holiday during their 1-2 weeks off each year. Looking at it from a distance, this is simply absurd. What ever happened to people giving other people a helping hand?

Some people will argue that with the current internet culture that people are more disconnected than ever. I would have to disagree. If you take the exact scenario discussed before, the power of people to connect with other people and to share their wealth between each other has never been simpler. In today’s business world, power is being taken back by the people and people are reconnecting! When you go on holiday now, upon your arrival you can simply ride-share to your location with companies such as Uber or Lyft. People can use their own vehicles to earn extra money in their spare time. Instead of staying at a impersonal hotel you can now stay in another person’s home that is much comfy from Air Bnb. There are even pilots willing to share the cost of their flights for individuals willing to ride along to their destinations with Wingly. To pay for all of these services we are now entering a new financial market where money is controlled by the people, rather than the Governments and Financial institutions. You can transfer funds to the individuals directly with much lower fees than you would incur from financial institutions using Cryptocurrencies.

What other industries can be disrupted by people sharing services with other people? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Disclosure: The author of this article is an investor in Cryptocurrencies and stocks discussed in this article.

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.

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Cryptocurrency – The Future or a Bubble?

Is this the true disruption of the global financial industry? There have been many stories told of millionaires being minted in this new world of finance called cryptocurrency. The famous Winklevoss twins that earlier sued Facebook heavily invested their funds into Bitcoin early on and have now been labeled as the first Bitcoin billionaires. Day traders of the 1300+ crypto-coins are also telling stories of becoming crypto-millionaires in very short periods of time. So what is this new and exciting, yet highly volatile market that is making the early adopters wealthy beyond even their greatest expectations? Could this serve a higher purpose than creating wealth based on the hype of a digital product that could very well be a rapidly declining fad, or is it just what the people need right now in the fight against government infringing more and more in our lives? 2018 will definitely be the year to determine cryptocurrencies validity as an asset class, or its demise as a fad. Read ahead for a brief, but greater understanding, of what is truly on the line here for the financial world.

There are many intricacies to what is going on, and I will briefly make a few points for you to think about and form your own opinions on. Please feel free to share those comments below when you finish reading.

First off, we have to understand what money actually is. A few characteristics are:

-Generally accepted as a form of payment

-Holds a value that is widely agreed upon

-The value is generally stable day-to-day

The US dollar, and other governmental currencies around the world, hold true to these characteristics. Notice that this also means that the US dollar is not actually backed by anything tangible. It hasn’t been backed by gold since 1971 ,yet this is often one of the first critiques against cryptocurrencies. So, the US dollar and Cryptocurrencies are literally only backed by the value we as people agree to give it. Other examples of high dollar items that are solely backed by the value we give them are classic automobiles, fine art, and diamonds. The value is derived from the scarcity of these items. With these standards of value, cryptocurrencies have a high possibility of becoming valuable as they become accepted by a global audience.

What is the main difference between countries moving forward with a centralized and government backed digital monetary system versus a decentralized digital currency controlled by the people that have invested in the potentially new global financial system? Control.

Countries already use fiat money as their form of currency, and much of that currency is stored on data systems in banks or other financial institutes in digital form. The financial institutes don’t actually keep your fiat deposits on sight. The next logical step for countries are to offer a digital currency that is backed by the economic health of the country. The main argument against this from the cryptocurrency community is that this still allows government control in “printing” more coins at will to help balance inflation or deflation.

In contrast, there are a few cryptocurrencies that have a chance at becoming the digital currency of the future. Some enthusiasts say that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dash, or Monero could easily replace fiat money for daily use. The key difference is that no government can manipulate the supply of coins available to prop up their economy through inflation or deflation. The community that is invested in these coins is what gives them value as there is a greater acceptance of them globally. At the time of writing there are large organizations accepting cryptocurrencies as payments. Overstock and Shopify currently accept digital payments in Crypto, and Alibaba and Amazon are being urged by consumers to follow suit. By large online retailers accepting payments in cryptocurrencies it increases the legitimacy of the crypto-world as a whole.

The future of cryptocurrencies is highly uncertain, but it’s still in the early adoption stage. More infrastructure is being created based on the technology. Soon debit cards linked to your crypto account may be as common as debit cards connected to your bank accounts. Soon people may hold the power to send and receive money through the equivalent of an email address without having to pay excessive fees to banks and other money exchange services. The opportunities are endless when the people have greater control of their money. One thing is for sure at this moment in time, and that is that banks are gaining interest in cryptocurrencies as it is potentially a huge disruption to their profits. The governments are paying attention and starting to regulate it as well, because they are losing revenue from the unpaid capital gains taxes on the cryptocurrencies. Some financial institutions are open to working with crypto while others are still denying it as anything of value. The verdict is still undecided by the financial world as to what this all means for the future of money. Time will tell where this all goes. It may change the face of global money, it may make some wealthy individuals as they buy early and sell for a large profit, or it could all be gone in the near future to be written in the history books in comparison to the Tulip bubble, Internet bubble, and the Real Estate bubble.

It only takes a small disturbance in a pond for the ripples to be felt far away. Cryptocurrencies currently are currently gaining traction as part of the global monetary system. How far will it be felt as time goes on?

What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below.

 

Disclosure: The author of this article is an investor in Cryptocurrencies.

Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency.

Featured Image from Pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteering

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Do you have a desire to lend a helping hand in this world we share? Pack your bags for the countryside of Thailand! Education and entertainment can be fun and eye opening for all those involved. Join us today!

Founder

Dustin Watchman has helped teach, lead, and councel children to adults on how to proactively take control of their lives and make positive decisions in accomplishing their goals. He has worked with over 76 nationalities, in 26 countries, including exotic locations such as Hawaii, Dubai, Bangkok, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. In 2008, Dustin was looking to volunteer overseas. He landed his eyes on a charity in Thailand and decided to volunteer with a local charity that placed him in Khon Kaen, Thailand. Since his first time volunteering, he decided to start his own charity in collaboration with his host from 2008, Joop. He is always ready to assist in helping others grow and develop through life changing volunteering experiences, and volunteering with Volunteaching is one way he gives back to his global community. If you are looking for a low cost volunteering experience where you will be stepping outside your comfort zone, then Dustin Watchman has made it possible for you to live out your dreams.

Volunteaching Charity Mission

Volunteaching is a grassroots charity aimed at providing low cost, genuine, volunteering experiences for volunteers of all ages. Volunteers in collaboration with the lovely Thai hostess, Joop, can be placed throughout the stunningly beautiful Northeast part of Thailand, known as Isan. Our mission is to strip away all the red tape and overhead costs of larger charities and to only ask for the appropriate amount of donation money to be mutually beneficial to everyone involved.

How to volunteer with Volunteaching

You can volunteer in schools in Thailand in a few easy steps. Dustin Watchman has set up a low cost alternative charity for you to get the most experience for the least amount of expense.

1. Read about Volunteaching Charity on this page. If you have any additional questions contact us at dustin_watchman@yahoo.com

2. Research Khon Kaen, Thailand and the surrounding areas in Isan, Thailand. Decide if this is truly a journey that you want to embark on. There are options of where you can be placed, but the first option is about 35 kilometers outside of Khon Kaen.

3. Understand the FAQ’s  report listed below if you are interested in Volunteaching Charity.

4. Discuss an appropriate donation for the host to provide you meals and housing each day to make sure you are properly taken care of and motivated during your stay.

 

dustinwatchman volunteaching

FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions

1. What will I be doing while I am there?

You will support Joop inside the classroom. If you are comfortable enough with teaching, she can give you an actual schedule of classes to teach by yourself, in which the Thai teacher would be present to assist you with any translation issues. The students have books that you can teach from, or if you are creative you can come up with games to help them teach and have fun. Education is very relaxed here and is very much about having fun. The kids will love you if you attempt to have fun with all your lessons. You can also play sports with the students after school and just have general fun and interactions with the students. They don’t meet a lot of foreigners so your presence is welcomed and appreciated.

2. What will my accommodations be like?

If you choose to stay with Joop, you will stay in a house, with your own private room and air conditioner. The shower may consist of a large bucket of water in which you use the smaller bucket to bath yourself with. This is common in the countryside of Thailand, and more often than not the cold water shower is quite refreshing in the warm Thailand weather. Most of your meals will be outside the home as food is quite inexpensive and very delicious from the market place. There is a kitchen if you need to store some snacks or bottled water for anytime you may find yourself hungry.

3. Does anybody speak English around there?

The school is located about 35 kilometers outside of the larger town of Khon Kaen. Few people speak English here, but Joop is always there if you need assistance. This is a great time to use that Lonely Planet phrasebook to learn some Pasah Thai ( Thai language). Locals can speak a few words here and there and half the fun in volunteering is piecing together conversations with others. Inside the city of Khon Kaen there are more English speakers. Some evenings or weekends you can go into the city to cut loose and enjoy some nightlife, night markets, and big malls if you want to.

4. If I have any problems, who can I talk to?

Your first option would be to try and fix it yourself. If something is dirty, clean it. If there is to much downtime in class, then start up an activity. If there are geckos or frogs in the house, well, it’s the country and Thai people are very close with nature. Your second option would be to speak to Joop about anything that maybe she can help fix. She knows sometimes being in a new country is more than you expected and she will do her best to accommodate you. Need a drink? She can take you to the bar. Need to speak more English? She can get you to Khon Kaen for your English fix. If you have any issues beyond this then you can contact Dustin.

5. Can I get a refund on my donation?

Fortunately, yes you can get a 50% refund if you have not yet arrived. This is due to the preparation that will have already occurred once you commit to volunteaching with us.

Unfortunately, once you have arrived the donation is non refundable. We expect you to take into all considerations and possibilities of volunteering in Thailand before coming. Once you arrive, if you feel that you can’t handle the environment, your donation will still be distributed as stated above to Joop, to Volunteaching Charity, and as scholarships for the students. In all honesty, most issues can be resolved for you to enjoy your entire stay and leave knowing you made a true difference in these kids lives.

6. Does the charity provide a visa for my stay?

We cannot provide an extended visa for the duration of your stay, but most visas are valid for 30 days. You can also file for a 60 day visa in advance of showing up to Thailand depending on your country of origin. If you decide that you want to stay longer you can cross the border and come back easily in one day. (Officials have not allowing this time to time so please do your research on this topic. Generally it is quite easy to do with no problems at all crossing over to the Laos border and back.

7. How much money will I need while I am there?

This highly depends on you and your spending habits and vices. You will need to buy your airfare to Thailand, a hostel for a night in Bangkok can be found for about $18/night or less. The taxi to the bus station will cost under $10usd. The bus ticket to Khon Kaen, where Joop will meet you will cost under $20usd. Once you are there, housing and meals is included depending on your donation choice. You may want to eat out sometimes on your own and therefore will need extra money, but meals usually cost $1-$3usd if you eat in the local markets or the infamous “street food”. If you eat at a western style restaurant you should expect western style prices as well. If you enjoy the nightlife of Khon Kaen, a drink will cost you approximately $2-$4usd. So it is truly up to you on how much you spend, but typically $100 will go very far if you are on a budget.

Agriculture

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About Farmup

Farmup is an urban farming consultancy startup and a social business. Our vision is a city in which farming has become an integrated part of urban development. Our mission is to turn unproductive urban spaces into productive agricultural systems.

Urban Farming

Whereas conventional farming is located in rural areas, urban farming consists in doing agriculture in the city. The advantages of urban farming are numerous:

  1. Logistics are simplified and costs reduced;
  2. Losses through transport and storage are avoided;
  3. Product freshness is at its maximum;
  4. Trust between producer and consumer is strengthened;
  5. Symbiotic relationships with the city can be created;
  6. Carbon footprint is minimal and green jobs are created.

In short, urban farming is sustainable, social and positive for urban development. It does not replace, but rather complement conventional agriculture and it will undoubtedly become the norm of tomorrow.

Check out this infographic for more details:

Benefits of Urban Farming

What We Do

Farmup builds and cultivates farms in the city, bringing the producer close to the consumers. Our farms serve nearby customers, such as restaurants, hotels, developers or business requiring agricultural supply.

Our Farms

Our farms are either built in-house at the consumer’s location (hotel, restaurant, factory) or independently (rooftop, land), strategically located to service consumers within a 1 km radius. Technologies we use are aiming at the safety of our consumers and of the environment as well as resource efficiency, including hydroponics and aquaponics as well as vertical farming. These technologies, combined with the principles of urban farming, contribute to maintaining the highest quality standards for our produce.

Our Produce

Farmup’s systems are able to produce vegetables and greens as well as  fish and mushrooms. Importantly, we guarantee the quality of our produce: Farmup farms are environmentally sustainable (no carbon footprint, water saving, space and energy saving), and treatments are non-poisonous to protect the consumer’s health.

Our produce are not certified, because we rely on the proximity of our farms to build a relationship of trust between producer and consumer. Indeed, Farmup is the certification itself. When delivering our products, we guarantee:

✔ zero toxicity: we do not use pesticides potentially harmful for consumers.
zero environmental damage: we use environment-friendly technology.
zero kilometer: our produce traveled less than 1 km and logistics did not generate CO2.
✔ water saving: we use approximately 20% the amount water conventional farming does.

If you would like to partner with Farmup to provide fresh produce for your needs, please contact us.

Import/Export

dunawi export

Dunawi Group works directly with factories in China and Thailand to provide high quality items catered to your business needs to provide a memorable experience for your clients.

Currently we supply pleasantries for your Air BnB guests to use during  their holiday in your up scale Air BnB locations across the globe. We suggest the following items, that can be custom made with your logo or company name of choice, that allow a personal touch as well as a faster turn-around time on the house-cleaning responsibilities.

  • High quality shampoos, conditioners, and body washes in travel-regulation friendly sizes.
  • Cloth bottom slippers for your guests to comfortably relax indoors while leaving their footwear at the front door.
  • Standard tissue boxes for everyday use and minor clean-ups.
  • Soft-to-the-touch bathroom towels and washcloths for the guests that choose to leave room in their luggage for more souvenirs.

Education

(insert name of language center here in English and Chinese characters) is proud to present the first-ever high quality language center in the small town of (insert town name here) that sits in the picturesque (mountains?hills?fields?) near Guangzhou, China.  Our aim is to provide local students with quality teachers that will help them succeed in their future by providing targeted lessons in the English language that cater to each students individual characteristics and needs.

We understand that students learn differently and that education is not a one-size-fits-all product. Individualized lesson plans involving multiple authentic learning materials are offered to best suit the student and the individual ways that they learn.

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