Waiting For The Pop-Vancouver’s Pending Real Estate Crash

v681047_1.jpgThe Washington Post is reporting on the disaster that is the British Columbian Forest industry – that the U.S. housing crisis is about to crush what has long been considered the backbone of the British Columbian economy.

I am very happy that they decided to do a three page spread about the B.C. towns that are falling apart, because I may not have realized how grim the situation really is.  The local Vancouver media would never run a  story like this.

Why?

Because it’s bad economic news,  and we can’t have any bad economic news in our papers, people might stop buying real estate. 

I live in beautiful, Vancouver British Columbia, where for just 70% of your income, you too can live in a three bedroom bungalow.  This is a real estate market that should have cooled down before the end of 2006, but instead it roared through 2007. It roared through however, because people were bombarded with messages like “buy now or be priced out forever”, “real estate only goes up”, or my favourite “it’s different this time”.

The average single family home is now priced at $742k in a community where the average family income is $54k – things have spun completely out of control.  And that’s the problem, I’m afraid that it’s too far out of control. 

There are over 100 communities and 200,000 jobs depending on forestry.  News of their doom could have people questioning whether or not this is the best time to sign up for $4000 or $5000 a month for 40 years.  That of course could start to effect the 280 000 jobs in construction, or the 17500 real estate agents,  that all depend on the boom’s continuing booming.  

The media can’t report anything “anti real estate”, that would upset their advertisers, the ones who buy pages and pages of space to show off their shiny granite counter tops.   Bob Rennie, our local real estate guru,  has more power then the mayor.

So British Columbians have continued their trek through open houses, and have left themselves with a personal savings rate of -7.9%.  Combine that with a province that has a 17% poverty rate, and a government that has spent $1.6 billion on the 2010 Olympics, and we’re stretched real thin.   

But we’ll all keep our heads in the sand.  We’ll buy our Starbucks, and read reports telling us how fantastic we are.  The most controversial topic to cross the news in the past week was the mayor’s request to have fire trucks turn off their sirens at night,  they disturb his sleep.

That, in itself, says so much .   

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Recession Smession – WordPress gets $29.5 million in Series B

Blog and Run:

Just spreading some positive news, I know that we’re all focused on the depths of the recession, but there are still millions and millions of dollars being spread around – on good ideas.

I like WordPress – I think it’s a good product – and I’m happy they secured the investment dollars that they were looking for.

We can clearly see that good business dynamics are always good business dynamics. If you have a solid target market, there’s no reason not to plow ahead with your business, recession or not – just stay smart, lean, and nimble.

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The Recession is Coming – Now What?

main.jpg“I’ve Not Failed – I’ve Just Found 10,000 Ways That Won’t Work” – Thomas Alva Edison

I stumbled across this quote, at the bottom of a chain letter actually, and as soon as I read it all I could think was: “That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it.” 

The economic news gets worst every day,  over 2 million people are going to lose their homes to foreclosure,  and Wall Street is in full skid, with the Dow losing over 4%, the S&P dropping 5.4 % and Nasdaq dropping 4.1%, just last week. 

We’re all reading the news with knots in our stomach, but inevitably, what are you going to do, roll over or roll with it? Do you give up or get smart? 

The news isn’t all bad.  Reuters is reporting that 1 in 4 small/medium sized business in the U.S. have at least 1 position that they can’t fill.   That’s alot of jobs.  Yahoo Finance reminds us that there was a 6 year high of $29.4 billion in VC investment in 2007.  That’s alot of money. 

I’m not suggesting that we throw on the rose coloured glasses and pretend that the Emperor has clothes, but the sky isn’t falling either.   This is the time for preparation, not panic.  If you’re employed, figure out what you’d do if you lost your job – could happen – have a back up plan – you always have to have a back up plan. You could start a whole new career, you could start a new business, the back up plan could actually become the best thing that ever happened to you.

If you already own your own business, this is just the time to play hardball.  Find new markets for your products/services, and sell like you’ve never sold before.  Let your market know you’re the best and never back away from it.  Keep your competition in mind, but envision them as small dots behind you in the race.  Ask for help when you need it, learn to say no when you have to, and make your suppliers treat you as well as you treat your clients. 

This isn’t the first recession, it won’t be the last.  Our grandparents survived, our parents surived, we’ll survive.  But there’s no reason for this to be a time of just survival, handled properly, this can be a time of change and transformation. 

Women In Business – Losing The Fight In Canada?

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Being reported in the Globe and Mail Today – the number of women, in top executive positions, has fallen in Canada over the past year.

“Just 31 women hold the highest-paid executive jobs in the 100 largest publicly traded companies. That’s down from 37 last year, according to the study by executive search firm Rosenzweig & Co.”

From The Article :

“Of the six positions that declined, two were eliminated because of corporate restructuring after mergers, two of the companies that were included last year are no longer in the top 100 and the other two were retirements of women who were replaced by men. ”

so that tells us, that not one of the top 100 companies in Canada promoted a woman in 2007

……………..

What is going on?

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Leaving The Dark Side – Using The MBA for Some Good

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Businessweek’s report, “Switching To Green Collar Jobs“, shows us that there is a way to find some real career satisfaction, by joining the ranks of the green-collar professionals. There are currently 8.5 million jobs in renewable energy and energy efficient jobs, in the U.S. alone; with that number predicted to rise to over 40 million in the next 25 years.

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Oprah Moves One Step Closer To World Domination

oprah.jpgMy Question is – how much Oprah is too much? And I’m not Oprah bashing – I humbly, humbly, bow to her accomplishments, she is an absolutely amazing business woman, earning $260 million in 2007 alone, currently worth an estimated $2.5 billion. 

I couldn’t help but notice though, that the only person who has ever been on the cover of Oprah magazine is well…. Oprah. I personally look forward to her ensemble change each month.

Now, she’s teaming up with Discovery to start her own television station, (not her first time in, she was part of Oxygen back in the late 90’s), which will be called OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network. Oprah is an icon, she’s just on a different plane then the rest of us, but she has stumbled along the way; and I always wince for her when she does.

I’m feeling a teensy bit of a wince right now. We all love Oprah, but an hour a day is more then sufficient. The problem with Oprah is that everything she does is very “Oprahish”. It’s very inspirational, very deep, very be-all-that-you-can-be. So although I realize that OWN won’t be 24 hours of Oprah’s face, I’m concerned that it will be 24 hours of “you should really be working at making yourself better”; while most of us enjoy spending tv time ” not quite intelligently as we could or should”. If we didn’t, would any of us, have any idea, of what Scott Baio is doing?

It’s reported that they’re on the hunt for a CEO, I just hope she invests in some good comedy writers too – because it’s o.k. to relax once in a while Oprah – it’s o.k.

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Free Sex is Apparently A Good Investment

I think we’ve just found the next wave in online porn (and let me remind you that online porn generates $97.06 billion dollars every year, with 72 million monthly visitors, 1/3 of them women)

If you’re ever in Prague, you can swing by the Big Sister brothel and have sex with a prostitute, for free. All you have to do is agree to have your rendezvous taped and put up on their website – which is currently receiving 15,000 hits per month, and charging a $45 monthly subscription fee.

It’s one of those ideas that was right there all along – but it’s a 26 year old marketing manager named Carlos, and his secret Swiss backers that have put it together. The brothel was renovated in 2005, with theme rooms and video equipment, and has generated more then $5 million euros since then.

I can just imagine the mad scramble happening with porn investors since this was reported in Bloomberg last week.  How many designers are working on “Pirate” and “Roman Slave Girl” theme rooms right now?

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