The backdrop on retirement funds

first_imgDavid Laibson, who serves on Harvard’s Retirement Investment Committee, spoke with the Harvard Gazette recently about upcoming changes to the University’s retirement investment options. Laibson is the Robert I. Goldman Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.Gazette: On Nov. 12, Harvard will reduce the lineup of mutual funds offered through its retirement plan. “Lifecycle funds” will now be the automatic, or default, choice for employees who do not actively choose to manage their own investments. What are some of the benefits of these changes, in your view?David Laibson: With the new lineup, we’ve stripped out the funds that are really not appropriate and included only those that are people’s best options, so it’s a lot easier for them to choose wise investments. That’s one benefit.A second benefit is that lifecycle funds are easier to use in the long run. For instance, the funds automatically reduce your exposure to stocks as you approach retirement, so you don’t suddenly lose half your wealth on the brink of retirement because the market plummets. They also rebalance, as asset classes perform well or perform poorly. Let’s say your fund held 50 percent of its assets in stocks. Then prices double, and now stocks are a much larger percentage of your portfolio. Lifecycle funds automatically rebalance so that you aren’t overwhelmingly weighted to stocks just because prices went up. That’s another benefit.Another benefit has to do with fees. Funds charge an annual fee — maybe a percent or two of your total account balances — as compensation for managing your money. As the University reduces the number of funds it offers, we end up with more assets in the ones that remain. That allows Harvard to demand lower fees from the fund companies [Fidelity, Vanguard, and TIAA-CREF]. It might be only half of a percent extra return each year. But if you can get that for 40 years, it’s like increasing your final wealth by as much as 20 percent.Gazette: How are lifecycle funds better than, say, picking stocks on my own?Laibson: If you pick stocks, you could be very lucky and put your money in the Google IPO and get rich. You could also be very unlucky and put your money in a company like Enron and lose all your wealth when it entered bankruptcy. Saving for retirement should not be like buying a lottery ticket.Finance professors and economists generally believe that a diversified portfolio — one that holds foreign and domestic stocks, corporate and government bonds, and money market assets — is the best way to invest. Lifecycle funds are fully diversified. Their goal is to get the best tradeoff of risk and return.Gazette: Lifecycle funds do a lot of work for the investor. Is that a good thing? Take automatic rebalancing: If stocks are doing well, wouldn’t I want more of my money in stocks?Laibson: There’s a lot of academic work — including my own — that shows that human psychology goes in just the right way for people to shoot themselves in the foot when it comes to investing. They think, “Stocks went up a lot. I want even more stocks. Stocks went down a lot. I want to dump whatever I have.” Pretty soon, their portfolio is no longer diversified. They end up doubling their exposure at the height of the tech boom — just in time for the crash. They also end up exiting stocks in 2008 and early 2009 when stocks reach their bottom, and they miss the rebound. That’s why giving people something that’s going to automatically do the right thing for them is a big plus.Gazette: The new lineup will also include a number of “core funds.” Why is Harvard offering them, and how were they chosen?Laibson: It’s all about giving people choice. If they want to be in the driver’s seat, the core funds give them that option. We’ve made sure that these funds are low cost, that they are diversified, and that they span the universe of assets that are appropriate for retirement savings. If people want even more choices, they can open a brokerage account and get access to thousands of funds. They can hold undiversified mutual funds if they really want to. I don’t recommend it, but they have that freedom.You can visit the Compensation & Benefits section of the HARVie website to get other answers to questions about the new retirement investment choices, to find out about on-campus information sessions, and to learn how to make appointments with fund representatives.last_img read more

The Evolution of Irreducible Complexity

first_imgIt must be open season on Intelligent Design (ID).  Yesterday, Nature tried defense with a new missing link claim (04/06) and today, Science is printing a story to tackle ID’s offensive line, irreducible complexity (see U of Oregon press release and EurekAlert).  The Discovery Institute immediately jumped to the match, with Mr. Irreducible Complexity himself, Michael Behe, leading the charge (see ID the Future).  Behe stood his ground without a flinch, calling this the “lamest excuse yet to answer the challenge irreducible complexity poses for Darwinian evolution.”  Additional responses have been appearing on Evolution News and ID the Future.Read both sides.  Impressed with the Charlie charge?  Kind of like Pickett’s, isn’t it?  On both counts the Darwinists are fighting tanks with feather pillows.  In both cases also, they only give the press their side of the story, and the other side is forbidden access to respond.    It’s time for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.  For their bluff, bluster, fluff and froth, and for the silly idea that molecules planned ahead to be pre-adapted for later function, the reporters at University of Oregon are the winners:Thornton’s group then showed that the ancestral receptor also responded to a far more ancient hormone with a similar structure; this made it “preadapted” to be recruited into a new functional partnership when aldosterone later evolved.  “The stepwise process we were able to reconstruct is entirely consistent with Darwinian evolution,” Thornton said.  “So-called irreducible complexity was just a reflection of a limited ability to see how evolution works.”O ye of little faith, they cry, can ye not see how the unguided hand of Charlie hath wrought these wonders?  The incorrigibility of Darwinian fundamentalists knows no bounds.  But what will they say when they have to fight real intellectual armies in public view instead of straw soldiers?  Pull down the the Bamboozle Curtain and public perceptions will change really fast.(Visited 27 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Dinosaur Fight or Common Fate?

first_imgA fossil discovery by amateurs in Montana, reported by the Great Falls Tribune, shows “a meat-eater and a plant-eater – with their tails crossed like swords.”  The fossils show “remarkable detail, right down to tendons and teeth.”  The three amateur discoverers had been scouting on private property in Garfield County.  Finding bone fragments on a canyon floor, they noticed they came from bone sticking out of the hill in crumbly stone on the hillside. He scrambled about 20 feet up the side of the canyon, following a trail of bone fragments, to a flat ledge where he saw what was unmistakably a large fossil: a dinosaur pelvis exposed in the rock.    “Literally his butt was hanging out of the hill,” [Mark] Eatman said.    The team brushed away the crumbly stone, exposing a femur articulated into the pelvis and, even more striking, tendons.    “To see them like guitar strings going down the side of this big bone was pretty amazing,” Eatman said.The “world-class dinosaur find” included a Gorgosaur (like a T. rex) and a ceratopsian.  The carnivore was nearly 100% complete except for a claw.    The article discussed two controversies.  The primary dispute was about the rights of amateurs to find and sell fossils (see also a Nature article this week).  Another concerned the circumstances of the burial.  The discoverers found a tooth in the back of the plant-eater and wondered if the two were locked in combat when they died.  A paleontologist had another view.  “Based on the placement of the skeletons, it’s more likely that the two unfortunates were victims of a flood event and their bodies washed up on the same sandbar,” he said.The hypothesis of mortal combat appeals to our sense of drama from seeing B-movies of dinosaurs, but think about it: would Gorgon be thinking about a meal while drowning?  The pro believed that they were buried in a flood event.  That’s a common explanation for a dinosaur here, a dinosaur there, and a dinosaur over yonder.  The impressive wall of bone at Dinosaur National Monument far to the south in Utah is also explained by watery burial.  They never seem to consider connecting the dots that maybe the same flood event buried them all.  For tendons and articulated limbs to be preserved it must have been a very unusual and widespread event, unlike anything ever seen in Dinotopia before.  Does their entombment in crumbly rock really support the notion that the burial occurred 75 million years ago, and that these explorers happened along just as the bones were disintegrating?  Only if one believes in dumb luck.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Indigenous people: SA impresses

first_img10 August 2005The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People is encouraged by South Africa’s commitment to indigenous people.Briefing the media on Monday after his 12-day visit to South Africa, Rodolfo Stavenhagen said South Africa’s ongoing efforts to formulate and implement legislation and policies to address issues such as land restitution, multilingual and multicultural education was encouraging.Stavenhagen was in the country to better understand the situation of indigenous people and to learn about the country’s policies to promote and protect indigenous people’s rights.This is part of preparing a report on the UN Second Decade on Indigenous Issues, which was proclaimed by the 59th session of UN.He met with government authorities, civil organisations and the donor community on the ways and means to strengthen the nation’s responses to the needs and demands of indigenous communities.Stavenhagen visited a number of places such as the township of Platfontein in the Northern Cape where he met with the chiefs and members of the !Xu and Khwe communities who had been resettled in the area after returning from forced displacement in Angola and Namibia.His interaction focused on the communities’ challenges and successes in the field of housing, social services, health, education and other human rights issues.He also met with members of the National Khoi-San Council in Upington who explained to him their major concerns regarding the statutory non-recognition of the Khoi and San people.They also told him about their difficulties in enjoying land rights, full access to social services, their cultural and ethnic identities.He was impressed that the South African government had also made the representation of traditional authorities in public life and has made enormous efforts in delivering basic services.“Government authorities are aware of the urgency to focus on the accumulated backlog of unsatisfied needs of indigenous communities, and the Khoi-San in turn are dissatisfied by the delays in the provision of services and demand that such efforts be speeded up.“More coordination between the various governments that deal with indigenous people is required,” he said.He explained that all indigenous people in the country were brutally oppressed by the colonial system and the former apartheid regime up to 1994. The Khoi-San were dispossessed of their lands and territories and their communities and cultures were destroyed.“Through my conversation with government authorities and Khoi-San people, I am aware of the challenges faced by these communities and their longstanding demands for land rights, official statutory recognition, respect of their cultural identities and full and equal access to social services,” he said.He said he would elaborate in his report to the Commission on Human Rights next year on recommendations and proposals intended to strengthen human rights for indigenous people.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

The Annual Report on South Africa’s 50 Most Valuable Brands

first_imgBrandFinance® South Africa Top 50Top 50 brands are a catalyst for South Africa’s growth and a winning nationThebe Ikalafeng, Chairman – Brand Finance Africa; Founder, Brand Africa & Brand Leadership GroupDespite another year of difficult global trading conditions, the total brand value of the BrandFinanace South Africa Top 50 brands increased 18% from R343bn from 2013’s value of R291bn. Surprisingly though, the Top 10 brands have only grown at 14% against the 22% of the bottom 40 brands, indicating the momentum is with the smaller players. These top 10 brands account for 52% of total brand value amongst the Top 50 with MTN accounting for a massive 16.5% of total brand value.By sector, there are 13 financial services brands (banks and insurance) in the Top 50 generating R89bn (26%) of value, followed by 5 telecom brands generating 25% of value and 16 food and beverage brands generating 22.6%.Among the BrandAfrica 100 Most Valuable Brands in Africa, South Africa leads Africa with a 72% share, compared to Nigeria at 26% and Kenya at 2%. MTN tops the table in Africa too.In the category of South Africa’s Strongest Brand, MTN and FNB are both rated as this year’s strongest brands – this is the third year running that FNB have achieved this ranking. In the year that South Africa lost it’s founding democratic President and Most Valuable Icon, Nelson Mandela, it’s interesting to note that the underlying core values of these brands closely follow those of Madiba’s. It’s no surprise then that these brands resonate with South African consumers where others battle.It also comes as no surprise that more than half of the brands have a significant presence beyond South African borders. While Nigeria has the highest GDP in the continent, South Africa dominates the branding landscape across Africa – with 80% of the Top 50 all essential staples in a continent that is turning the corner from being a consumer to becoming a creator. It is estimated that if intra-Africa trade is increased by 1%, it will generate $50bn in revenues. With its experience in building and creating portfolios of world-class brands, South Africa is in a good position to play a leading role in that African renaissance.The brands of a nation are not only a vector of its image, but a catalyst of its wealth too. There is empirical evidence that the value of the brands with the top nations has an almost direct correlation with their GDP.That South Africa is not among the six African nations in the Top 10 fastest growing economies globally (Economist) and not one of the three African frontier markets that are recognized to offer high returns and improving economic institution (Botswana (#2), Rwanda (#5) and Ghana (#10)) (Foreign Policy Magazine’s Baseline Profitability Index) is a challenge that South Africa needs to address if it is to remain the most admired African nation, and competitive with fellow African and BRICS nations.A thriving ‘Made in South Africa’ and entrepreneurship spirit are what built South Africa’s wealth, reputation and competitiveness – and the BrandFinance South Africa Top 50 brands. For Africa and certainly for South Africa to grow independent, create jobs and reduce inequality, it will need to invest in the attributes that built these brands – on top of increasing intra-Africa trade – to challenge global brands in Africa.The pan-African dominance, global reputation and success of the Top 50 shows that South Africa has the creativity, skill and experience to continue building great brands and a great, growing nation. Top 50 brands are a catalyst of South Africa’s growth and a winning nation – and Africa.Top 50 Most Valuable brandsRank 2014Rank 2013BrandParent CompanyIndustry Group11MTNMTN Group LtdTelecommunications23SASOLSasol LtdChemicals32VodacomVodacom Group LtdTelecommunications44Standard BankStandard Bank Group LtdBanks55ABSABarclays Africa Group LtdBanks66NedbankNedbank Group LtdBanks78First National BankFirstRand LtdBanks810MediclinicMediclinic International LtdHealthcare-Services918InvestecInvestec LtdDiversified Finan Serv107WoolworthsWoolworths Holdings LtdRetail119ShopriteShoprite Holdings LtdRetail – Food Specialists1217MultiChoiceNaspers LtdMedia1314NetcareNetcare LtdHealthcare-Services1411SparSpar Group Limited/TheFood1513MondiMondi LtdForest Products&Paper1615*CastleSABMiller PlcBeverages1712Pick’n PayPick n Pay Stores LtdRetail1819*Carling Black LabelSABMiller PlcBeverages1920TelkomTelkom Sa LtdTelecommunications2022SappiSappi LimitedForest Products&Paper2116SanlamSanlam LtdInsurance2226*Hansa PilsenerSABMiller PlcBeverages2321Mr PriceMr Price Group LtdRetail2428DiscoveryDiscovery LtdInsurance2524*GrindrodGrindrod LtdTransportation2631WesbankFirstRand LtdBanks2723TruworthsTruworths International LtdRetail2825Media24Naspers LtdMedia2929African BankAfrican Bank Investments LtdDiversified Finan Serv3032BidvestBidvest Group LtdHolding Companies-Divers3134SABMillerSabmiller PlcBeverages3230MakroMassmart Holdings LtdRetail3335CLICKSClicks Group LtdRetail-Drug Store3433LibertyLiberty Holdings LtdInsurance3536*HulettsTongaat Hulett LtdHolding Companies-Divers3644Rainbow ChickenRainbow Chicken LtdFood3740AltechAllied Technologies LtdTelecommunications3839CheckersShoprite Holdings LtdRetail – Food Specialists3943LifeLife Healthcare GroupHealthcare-Services4037NampakNampak LtdPackaging&Containers4149SteinhoffSteinhoff Intl Holdings LtdHolding Companies-Divers4245*Capitec BankCapitec Bank Holdings LtdDiversified Finan Serv4338SAASouth African AirwaysAirlines4447Rand Merchant BankFirstRand LtdBanks4548ImperialImperial Holdings LtdHolding Companies-Divers4641GameMassmart Holdings LtdRetail47Cell COger TelecomTelecommunications4842SantamSantam LtdInsurance4952FoschiniThe Foschini Group LtdRetail5046SaskoPioneer Foods LtdFood ServiceFor the full details in the table above, download the Top 50 in PDF format.Methodology Definition of ‘brand’Financial accounting and reporting standards requires a clear definition of what intellectual property is included in the definition of ‘brand’. Brand Finance defines brand as the “Trademark and associated IP including the word mark and trademark iconography”. Royalty relief Brand Finance calculates brand value using the Royalty Relief approach. This approach involves estimating the likely future sales that are attributable to a brand and calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for the use of the brand. The steps in this process are as follows:Calculate brand strength on a scale of 0 to 100 based on a number of attributes such as emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, among others. This score is known as the Brand Strength Index.Determine the royalty rate range for the respective brand sectors. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database of license agreements and other online databases.Calculate royalty rate. The brand strength score is applied to the royalty rate range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty rate range in a brand’s sector is 1-5% and a brand has a brand strength score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4.2%.Determine brand specific revenues estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to specific brand.Determine forecast brand specific revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts and economic growth rates.Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.Brand revenues are discounted post tax to a net present value which equals the brand value.Why we use the royalty relief approachThe Royalty Relief approach is used for three reasons:It is favoured by tax authorities and the courts because it calculates brand values by reference to documented third-party transactionsIt can be done based on publicly available financial informationIt is compliant with the requirement under the International Valuation Standards Authority to determine the fair market value of brandsBrand RatingsThese are derived from the Brand Strength Index which benchmarks the strength, risk and future potential of a brand relative to its competitors on a scale ranging from D to AAA. It is conceptually similar to a credit rating.AAA+                    – extremely strongAA                         – very strongA                            – strongBBB – B                 – averageCCC – C                – weakDDD – D                – failingValuation DateAll brand values in the report are for the year ending 30 June 2014.Contact DetailsDavid HaighBrand Finance [email protected] IkalafengChairman, Brand Finance Africa+27 82 447 [email protected] SchmitzManaging Director Africa+27 82 087 0507; +267 72 984 [email protected] KempValuation director+27 72 459 [email protected] Brand FinanceBrand Finance plc, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy, advises strongly branded organisations on maximising their brand value through effective management of their brands and intangible assets.  Founded in 1996, Brand Finance has performed thousands of branded business, brand and intangible asset valuations worth trillions of dollars.Its clients include international brand owners, tax authorities, Intellectual Property lawyers and investment banks. Its work is frequently peer-reviewed by the big four audit practices and its reports have been accepted by various regulatory bodies, including the UK Takeover Panel.Brand Finance is headquartered in London and has a network of international offices in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Athens, Bangalore, Barcelona, Colombo, Dubai, Geneva, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lisbon, Madrid, Moscow, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Singapore, Toronto and Zagreb.Valuation | Analytics | Strategy | Transactions{loadposition press_release}last_img read more

Africa must invest in infrastructure

first_img15 July 2015Closing Africa’s infrastructure gap is a top priority in order to put the continent on a path for double digit growth and sustainable development, according to world- renowned professor of economics Prof Jeffrey Sachs.“There is no choice. Africa needs 10% per year of economic growth in the next 15 years,” said Sachs. The only way to achieve this was to focus on large-scale investments in trans-national infrastructure projects in power, roads, broadband, and other core regional infrastructure needs.The professor was speaking the sidelines of the Third Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 13 July. The event had the theme “Unlocking public and private capital for African infrastructure” and was organised by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) Agency and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).The conference ends on 16 July. It is organised under the auspices of the UN’s Financing for Development office.Thousands of delegates have gathered to set the new financing architecture for a new global partnership. Its outcomes will also address the issue of means of implementation, referring to the “how” the goals set out in the post-2015 development agenda can be achieved.Support for Nepad goalsSachs is the director of the SDSN and special adviser to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals. For Africa to realise the 2030 timeframe, he urged the global community to rally around the Nepad agenda, as the continent’s strategy for implementing cross-border infrastructure projects. “We need to help support Nepad achieve its goals,” he said.The Nepad Agency has identified Africa’s most important infrastructure needs within the context of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida), which provides the framework to implement 51 priority programmes and projects in the sectors of energy, transport, broadband and trans-boundary water.Chief executive of the Nepad Agency Dr Ibrahim Mayaki said Africa’s challenge was not a lack of resources, but a lack of bankable projects. “We need to invest in the capacity to invest.” It was about proposing structured projects, he said.Mayaki spoke about the complementary instruments that had been developed to build the necessary capacity for early-stage project preparation and the Africa50 Fund to finance the implementation of Pida and other regional infrastructure projects.He also underscored the important role of regional economic communities in providing the enabling environment for project implementation, through harmonised policies and regulatory frameworks.Global partnershipsRegarding how to crowd in investment, Sachs encouraged African economies to forge partnerships with East Asia, tap into capital markets and strengthen continental bodies such as the Nepad Agency and African Development Bank.The Nobel laureate for economics and professor at Columbia University, Prof Joseph Stiglitz, noted that financial markets had “failed to translate pools of savings into productive investment”. There was a need to better match these large-scale resources with the financing priorities of developing countries. “The world has the resources with which to do this. Allocating more of these resources to inclusive development would be good for the global economy.”The best way for Africa to achieve its infrastructure goals was to tap into a Global Infrastructure Investment Platform (Giip), Stiglitz said. The objective of Giip was to put forward an ambitious proposal that would allow long-term investors to ramp up their infrastructure asset holdings, with an allocation target of up to 10% of assets under management over a 15-year horizon.The Nepad Agency, SDSN, UN Conference on Trade and Development and Washington think tank Brookings Institution agreed to set up a working group that will move Africa’s regional infrastructure financing agenda forward.Source: APOlast_img read more

TechStars Boulder Now Accepting Applications For Summer Mentorship Program

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#start#startups Related Posts If you procrastinated on applying for TechStars Boston and missed Monday night’s deadline but still want to attend a TechStars event, their summer program in Boulder, Colorado is now accepting applications.TechStars is a highly competitive funding and mentoring program based in Boston, Boulder and Seattle that helps young startups jump-start their businesses. Their impressive list of over 50 mentors includes WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, venture capitalist Fred Wilson and Foundry Group director Brad Feld. This summer’s program will be the fourth class of companies to go through the Boulder program, and if last year’s class is any example of how things will go this year, big possibilities await applicants. TechStars founder and CEO David Cohen announced last November that six of the 10 companies from the 2009 Boulder class closed investment deals with venture capital firms.One disadvantage Boulder applicants face is that any unselected applications from the Boston program are automatically rolled over into the Boulder applications, making the selection more competitive. The same thing will happen in Seattle, which means Seattle applicants will be ultimately vying for spots against the Boston and Boulder rejects.The deadline to apply for this summer’s Boulder program is Monday, March 22 at midnight Mountain Standard Time. Seattle applications open the following day.Photo by Flickr user Let Ideas Compete. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting chris cameron 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Sponsor Post: Taking The Pulse of the Developer Ecosystem

first_imgTag cloud based on 828 responses from 502 developers.If you’re a current API provider, or you’re thinking of advancing an API program by opening up your data to developers, there’s plenty of room for targeting the niche of your business. Since the landscape of the API providers is not conducive to a winner takes all conclusion, there is a thriving, healthy long tail of developers who are interested in new platforms and creative innovation. The secret sauce is in the type of data you expose, and how simple you make it to access your data.So don’t be a five-year-old on the soccer field, flocking to the latest shiny object. Play your position, and stay focused on your core audience. Think about it: When Chris Anderson first established his The Long Tail theory, the premise was that overcoming the limitations of geography and scale will enable you to discover new markets and expand existing ones – because there’s an audience for everything, and “popularity no longer has a monopoly on profitability.” “Going by past evidence, [even] closed ecosystems… still allow for opportunities to be made at the edge of the ecosystem in areas the platform owner deems too small to bother with,” writes VentureBeat.With nearly 2,000 APIs listed on ProgrammableWeb, there is more room for compelling data to be re-mixed and re-used into different user experiences across multiple devices. Related Posts, Business of APIs Conference, November 2009 2. Open platforms and closed communications don’t always mix wellWhat developer resources are most helpful when building with APIs? If you want to better communicate with your developer community, it’s a senseless exercise to compare apples and oranges, but Apple to Twitter – valuable lessons learned.Apple:Host an annual developer event and fail to mention major policy changes around Flash and HTML5 that hugely impact the ecosystem’s development process on the platform. Instead, institute changes in the Terms of Services and let developers dig through and work out the edits on their own. Message: “Dear community, our policies are public and open. Have at them.” “It’s hard to build a business on a platform where you feel like you cannot trust the men in power. If they can take down Adobe a few days before the launch of their flagship product, what hope do smaller players hold?” – David, 37signalsTwitter: Launch a developer event for the sake of talking to your growing ecosystem and present a roadmap, have executives communicate policy on stage, from the top down. Inform developers of where opportunities lie while being honest about which pieces of the pie Twitter will keep for themselves. Message: “Dear community, we want to help you grow by being transparent on where we are headed as an organization.”“For every platform ever, it’s a question of what should be left up to the ecosystem and what should be created on the platform.” – Ev Williams, CEO, TwitterAnd when we asked the community what is most helpful to them as developers, what was most reflected was a growing demand for clear cut communication from API providers: Chart based on 1416 results from 530 developersWeb scripting languages like PHP and Javascript (not surprisingly) dominated amongst the developers working with APIs that we polled at SxSWi 2010, capturing almost 50% of our sample. But programming languages are subject to changes when large platforms claim their support or remove their support and disrupt the ecosystem. What impact will Apple’s stance on Flash have versus HTML5? As app development on mobile devices continues to build momentum, will Objective-C continue to rise at the expense of Java or Windows languages? Apple’s platform guidelines require all apps to be built in Objective-C – a fact that particularly noteworthy considering the exploding need for new and refurbished iPad applications. 5. Developers migrate toward where they find opportunity Where are developers building apps and extending into new devices and channels? The results:The implications: Online/browser and Mobile are clearly the dominant development platforms with almost 3/4 of survey responses.Desktop and Set-top and Gaming Consoles have yet to attract strong developer adoption. Currently, only the Xbox360 console is open to scalable app integrations, while Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight are still waiting to take off as market opportunities.Only 3% of this developer population is focused on hardware, but we expect that to change as major mobile operators and manufacturers supply more app-friendly handsets into the hands of mainstream consumers.When you are an API provider, it is important to periodically check-in with the developers consuming your APIs to gage the pulse of your developer ecosystem, particularly in times of turbulence like today. Our developer pulse revealed that:APIs have a compelling long-tailOpen platforms and closed communications don’t always mix wellPassion first. Paycheck second.Ebb and flow of disrupted ecosystemsDevelopers migrate toward where they find opportunityWe think that the recent comments by venture capitalist Fred Wilson apply to the wider context of developer platforms in this latest era of platform battles: “It is clear you can build large businesses on top of a social platform like Facebook and Twitter… We are entering a new phase now. Twitter is a global platform… so it’s time for Twitter and its developer ecosystem to work together to create entirely new things that will shape the Internet in the coming years. I’m excited to see it happen.” Tags:#Sponsors#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Editor’s note: We offer our long-term sponsors the opportunity to write posts and tell their story. These posts are clearly marked as written by sponsors, but we also want them to be useful and interesting to our readers. We hope you like the posts and we encourage you to support our sponsors by trying out their products.Apple versus Adobe. Facebook versus Google. Twitter versus its own developer ecosystem. At the recent Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco keynotes and hallway conversations revolved around the latest platform battles that are actively defining and re-imagining the future of our increasingly mobile, social, and real-time reality.But technology platforms such as AOL, Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo, and eBay have been experiencing these cycles for years, spawning large ecosystems that in turn created huge opportunities for partners, developers and competitors. Evolution is inherent in any ecosystem and today’s platform battles are just one spike in the Web 2.0 maturation curve. Observing the renaissance of social ad platforms (note AdMob, the launch of iAd, Promoted Tweets) we at Mashery realize that while analysts and media remark on corporate goings-on, there has been a lack of interest in understanding the developer community that is a meaningful part of the 2010 platform wars. Mashery, an API infrastructure and management company, polled nearly 600 Web and mobile application developers at SXSW Interactive this spring to take a pulse on what they love and hate about developing on different API platforms. By peering into the mindset of a developer building applications with APIs, we extrapolated ecosystem insights and presented them to you here. API Leader Mashery Captures Application Developer Trends with Developer PulseView more presentations from Mashery.The QuestionsWhat are the best APIs out there for developers?What are the most helpful resources to you as developers?Why do you work with APIs?What programming languages are you using?What platforms and devices do you build applications for? Findings & Implications1. APIs have a compelling long tailWhat are the best APIs out there for developers? There is no real surprise when we announce that the top three APIs named as the best to work with are Google, Twitter, and Amazon (69% of respondents). But interestingly, we see a solid number of smaller platform players emerging.center_img rww sponsor 1 A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Chart based on 1072 responses from 542 developers.In the ‘Other’ category, we heard what developers had to say about their API pet peeves: I “hate it when [the] API stops working without notice.”I want “clear, updated information” and “stability and company ethics towards developers.”It’s an important signal when “CEOs work with developers.” Provide timely bug fixes, “working tutorials, demos and BBS, and sample apps” on the developer portal.Create a “vibrant community” with “online message boards” and helpful “blogs and videos.”As an API platform provider, knowing more about who your developers are and what they rank highest in importance is the best indicator for resource prioritization. Build support tools that your ecosystem actually wants, or needs. It’s human nature to flock towards the friendliest habitat for growth and survival. 3. Passion first. Paycheck second.Why do developers work with APIs? The Valley is filled with startups and garage coders with a vision of how to do something better, paired with the energy, drive, and desire to build the next great thing. Entrepreneurs may dream sweet dreams of fame and riches but at the core of Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, and everywhere in between is solving a problem in a technically elegant way in front of your peers. That is its own reward. We asked the community, “Why do you work with APIs?” The results: Additionally, of the 569 responses from developers attending SXSW this year, more than a quarter of them came from companies with 30 plus employees, which demonstrates interest and support for API initiatives from larger organizations. Almost 1/5 of developers attended SXSW Interactive for their “own personal projects,” and nearly 2/3 cited reasons beyond “because my employer pays me to,” which demonstrates personal dedication to the field. 4. Ebb and Flow of Disrupted EcosystemsOne thing we were very interested in when we laid out our questions to this community was figuring out which were the most popular programming languages. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Making the singles count

first_imgRelaxed at a practice session on the eve of the fourth ODI against England in Bangalore in November 2008.Sachin Tendulkar is the complete batsman. Neither fast bowlers nor mystery spinners nor hard pitches nor damp decks nor dust bowls nor heat nor cold nor dusk nor dawn nor razzmatazz have,Relaxed at a practice session on the eve of the fourth ODI against England in Bangalore in November 2008.Sachin Tendulkar is the complete batsman. Neither fast bowlers nor mystery spinners nor hard pitches nor damp decks nor dust bowls nor heat nor cold nor dusk nor dawn nor razzmatazz have found him wanting. Ten thousand questions have been asked and all have been answered, most of them in the affirmative. Half-a-dozen downturns have been endured and all have proved temporary. Injuries have laid him low and none has crushed him. Thirty dubious decisions have been suffered and all have been accepted. It has not only been the runs or the brilliance of their making that have set him apart. It’s a mistake to regard him as an ordinary man and outstanding cricketer. There is nothing ordinary about him. He is cricket’s second miracle.Durability and equanimity count amongst his strengths. His longevity and continuity tell that tale. Harmony has also been important to success. It’s not just that he loves batting as another man relishes beer. Was ever a sportsman so lacking torment? Cricket has never been an ordeal to him, merely a game, his game, India’s game. He has sacrificed privacy for his talent and considered it a small concession. Although India speaks loudly in his cricket-he can only be fully appreciated once its turbulence adulation and exhaustion have been taken into account -he is not an especially Indian batsman. He has soaked up local and imported, past and present, and taken the guts out of them. He is at peace with himself and has been able to absorb the influences around him. It’s too easy to cast him as a genius, as if that provided the entire explanation. He is an independent and intelligent cricketer with a profound understanding of the game.advertisement”Cricket has never been an ordeal to Sachin. He has sacrificed privacy for his talent and considered it a small concession.”Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and one of the most respected writers on the game With his family at the unveiling of his wax double in Mumbai before it moved to Madame Tussauds, London.Another quality can be added to the list. Tendulkar’s enthusiasm for cricket is beyond quenching. Through it all he conveys pleasure, retains vitality as others wilt. Crucially he loves the game, and serves it well. How many masters can truly say that? Tendulkar is no innocent, yet there is simplicity in his batting and impishness in his manner. At the crease he looks happy, a man in his element. He does not need to goad himself. Nor can any strut be detected in him. Never mind that he dominates the statistics, is widely admired, or that his play has seldom been equalled; he still respects colleagues and foes and the game itself. He does not take liberties. It is the unchanging approach of an unchanging man.His appetite for the game is evident in the length of his career and in every innings he plays. Tendulkar’s batting is illuminated but not defined byresounding drives, flicks off the pads or cuts as savage as any treasurer dare contemplate. Of course, these provide satisfaction but they are a gift from the gods. His character is revealed in another, less captivating part of his repertoire. He is a magnificent stroke player but he is also a master of the manufactured single.Sachin’s singles illustrate the workings of his mind. The humble run has never been neglected. It’s hard to think of another batsman of his stature as keen to tuck the ball into a gap and scurry. Of course, the bowling does not hold any fears. Just that his job is to score runs, and a single is better than a dot. Apparently Bradman sought a single off his first ball. Tendulkar is like that every ball. To watch him at the crease is to observe a batsman aware of every peril and the location of every fieldsman. Has any batsman the game has known collected as many runs with mild taps into the perennial gap behind square leg?Tendulkar is no innocent, yet there is simplicity in his batting and impishness in his manner. At the crease he looks happy, a man in his element. He does not need to goad himself. Nor can any strutbe detected in him. Receiving the Padma Vibhushan from the President.Opponents have studied the charts and observed the tactic and still cannot stop him. Captains cannot find a man to fill the hole without weakening their defences. Bowlers suffer as their prey politely guides their best offerings into a convenient gap and trots a single. Nor is the off side is neglected. Tendulkar is as calculating player adept at opening the face of the bat and encouraging the ball to speed away behind point. Another run, another small victory, another blow landed in the enduring and cut-throat battle between bat and ball.Opponents cannot build pressure on so elusive a batsman, and cricket is a game of pressure, of canny and rash decisions taken in the hot moment. Bowlers are frustrated to find their most lethal offerings, the summation of all their knowledge, experience and power, pushed away for a simple run. What is the point?It is this ability to create runs from thin air that sets Tendulkar apart. Ordinarily stolen singles are the work of the humdrum practitioner. Tendulkar has turned them into an art form. Consider the manner of their taking, the modesty, skill and anticipation required, and then the genial dash towards the other end. Radio commentators insist they once heard him call a single before the ball had even arrived. Tendulkar is ahead of the game.Nor does he forget about anxious partners. He wants the run not to fill his own account- though like all batsmen he is mindful of that-but because it is good cricket and improves the team’s position. He is not selfish. He is also a superb judge of a run. In 169 Test matches he has only been run out seven times. His partners have been caught short on 13 occasions. How many of them have been his fault? He has batted with Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and others of that ilk. Doubtless some of them were bunnies whose judgement in these matters is notoriously unreliable. Considering all the singles scampered, it is a remarkable record.Celebrating India’s victory over Pakistan in the third cricket Test match at Rawalpindi in April 2004.Despite all the passing years and the vast tally, Tendulkar’s high regard for quick singles tells of discipline, hunger and a willingness to serve. His spirit does not tolerate rebellion or ego. Throughout he has uplifted team and country with deeds. Indians scared of pace? Ask Brett Lee or Wasim Akram. Cannot score runs overseas? Check the books. Dare not defy the Australians? The deed was most thrillingly done. He was not slaying dragons or dismantling demons; he did it because he could, because he wanted to score runs and to win.Still he is there, looking fresh and alert, still a player of pedigree, still humble, still wary but then suddenly fascinating about batting. And he’s not done yet. Still he is scoring hundreds, talking sense in that curiously high pitched voiced, driving the ball past the bowler or pinching a single and looking as pleased as a child who has found a plum, always he is absorbed. How many runs has be scored. Has he once appeared bored? Has he thrown his wicket away? Has he let the team down? Once? He has taken guard a thousand times for his country alone and always looked keen.Still, all good things come to an end. Fleetingness is part of it. It’s the same for the players, the knowledge that soon it will be over, this childhood dream taken into adulthood, this acquaintance with excellence.Tendulkar has been around so long it’s hard to imagine the game without him. Eventually another talent will appear. Let them outlast him. Let them outscore him. Let them surpass him in one formof the game let alone in three. And let them do it in India.advertisementadvertisementHis singles illustrate the workings of his mind. The humble run has never been neglected. It’s hard to think of another batsman of his stature as keen to tuck the ball into a gap and scurry.last_img read more