Follow The Money: Bailout Plan (2009 and Counting)

Follow The Money: Bailout Plan (2009 and Counting)

The money trail behind the ever-changing bailout plan is getting tough to follow. Especially when so many decisions are being made behind closed doors. Sharyl Attkisson reports.


What do you make? by Seth Godin

What do you make? by Seth Godin

What do you make?


You don’t run a punch press or haul iron ore. Your job is to make decisions.

The thing is, the farmer who grows corn has no illusions about what his job is. He doesn’t avoid planting corn or dissemble or procrastinate about harvesting corn. And he certainly doesn’t try to get his neighbor to grow his corn for him.

Make more decisions. That’s the only way to get better at it.

The EU ‘Rescue Fund’ – Part of The Problem Not The Solution by Gemma Godfrey


Greece – an exit from the euro now a possibility…

As markets now price in a full default on 2 year loans, and the next tranche of the bailout hangs in the balance until political chaos abates, the question now seems to be – is an exit from the euro inevitable? The people of Greece are against it, but politicians are threatening it and firms are getting prepared for the possibility. Finally, there is a fear of a run on the banks as deposits fall and the risk other countries may join the ‘default’ bandwagon.

Greeks do not want to leave the Euro

Although 60% of the Greek population view the austerity terms set for them to receive the next tranche of their bailout negatively, more than 7 in every 10 favour staying in euro. The main benefit to the country in the reinstatement of their own currency would be its inevitable depreciation, enabling the economy to regain competitiveness with respect to the (cheaper) price of their goods and services. UBS estimates this would be a 60% change in valuation. However, the bank also estimates borrowing costs would rise by 7%, hitting balance sheets and costing each citizen €11,500 in the first year outside the euro (€4,000 in subsequent years).

…But politicians point to the possibility

Nevertheless, politicians have begun pointing to the possibility of Greece leaving the euro. When faced with a potential referendum being held in Greece, subsequently called off, Sarkozy exclaimed that the “real question is whether Greece remains within Europe or not”. The Luxembourg Prime Minister tried a more diplomatic tact conceding it does not have to remain a member “at all costs”. Whereas Germany’s biggest newspaper far more brutally demanded “no more billions for the Greeks, Greece out of the euro!

…And firms are starting to prepare

And companies are starting to make preparations for Greece to return to their own currency. Tui, one of Europe’s largest travel companies see Greece leaving the euro as “more than a theoretical possibility” and have accordingly requested the freedom to pay bills in the new currency.

Lack of credibility puts the bailout at risk

surprise and ultimately rejected call for a referendum and the ensuing political chaos put the next tranche of the bailout at risk. A last ditch attempt at appeasing the people, by putting the acceptance of the tough austerity measures they will have to endure to a vote, led to threats of expulsion from the euro. Subsequently, a coalition government has been formed until early elections can be called and the Prime Minister has stepped down from his position. The rumours that the leader of this new unity interim government, Papademos, wasn’t even in the country at that time doesn’t bode well for a new era of superior management!

Time is short as an €8bn bailout has now been withheld for over a month, until the situation is sorted out. 700,000 public sector employees and 2 million pensioners need to be paid at the end of the month and nearly €3bn for bonds maturing in December from the 19th onwards. However, Greece still has a bloated public sectorrefuses to sell or lease more of their assets, misses out on what could amount to€30bn in tax avoidance each year and continues to generate a 10.5% deficit in terms of spending versus income. And with riots on the streets and wage and pension cuts already of 20% and upwards, flexibility to cut more is somewhat limited. Fundamentally of course, this won’t generate growth. With the resulting bailout a short term plug, and the economy still forecasted to shrink by 2.5% next year, the feeling of futility can be understood.

…and there are fears of a run on the banks

Worryingly, Greece deposits fell by €10bn6% of current deposits in October alone. And it’s no longer just the wealthy looking to relocate assets to the likes of Switzerland but by people needing the funds to survive. An audit of Greece’s largest banks could reveal in December €15bn of non-performing loans, whilst holding a disproportionally large amount of their own sovereign debt. Greek 2 year yields have risenabove 100%, implying investors do not expect these loans to be repaid. It could take €30bn to recapitalise these banks.

… and the risk others may follow

If one country is allowed to renege on its debts, then there is the possibility of others demanding likewise. Ireland could follow suit and demand it is therefore unfair that they have to repay bond holders in full. However, although a possibility, it is not currently a probability. The stark austerity measures being imposed on Greece, and the scrutiny they are now under is enough to put other countries off that option for the moment. Ernst &Young Item Club estimate that a default by Portugal, Ireland & Spain would cause Eurozone output to fall by 6%, in a recessionary environment that’s not a number to take lightly!



Email Checklist (maybe this time it’ll work!) by Seth Godin, hat tip to Kathy Swanson

Three years ago this week, Seth posted this checklist, in the naive hope that it would eliminate (or perhaps merely reduce) the ridiculous CC-to-all emails about the carpool, the fake-charity forwards, the ALL CAPS yelling and the stupid PR spam.

A person can hope, right?

Feel free to send this to those that need to read it:

Before you hit send on that next email, perhaps you should run down this list, just to be sure:

  1. Is it going to just one person? (If yes, jump to #10)
  2. Since it’s going to a group, have I thought about who is on my list?
  3. Are they blind copied?
  4. Did every person on the list really and truly opt in? Not like sort of, but really ask for it?
  5. So that means that if I didn’t send it to them, they’d complain about not getting it?
  6. See #5. If they wouldn’t complain, take them off!
  7. That means, for example, that sending bulk email to a list of bloggers just cause they have blogs is not okay.
  8. Aside: the definition of permission marketing: Anticipated, personal and relevant messages delivered to people who actually want to get them. Nowhere does it say anything about you and your needs as a sender. Probably none of my business, but I’m just letting you know how I feel. (And how your prospects feel).
  9. Is the email from a real person? If it is, will hitting reply get a note back to that person? (if not, change it please).
  10. Have I corresponded with this person before?
  11. Really? They’ve written back? (if no, reconsider email).
  12. If it is a cold-call email, and I’m sure it’s welcome, and I’m sure it’s not spam, then don’t apologize. If I need to apologize, then yes, it’s spam, and I’ll get the brand-hurt I deserve.
  13. Am I angry? (If so, save as draft and come back to the note in one hour).
  14. Could I do this note better with a phone call?
  15. Am I blind-ccing my boss? If so, what will happen if the recipient finds out?
  16. Is there anything in this email I don’t want the attorney general, the media or my boss seeing? (If so, hit delete).
  17. Is any portion of the email in all caps? (If so, consider changing it.)
  18. Is it in black type at a normal size?
  19. Do I have my contact info at the bottom? (If not, consider adding it).
  20. Have I included the line, “Please save the planet. Don’t print this email”? (If so, please delete the line and consider a job as a forest ranger or flight attendant).
  21. Could this email be shorter?
  22. Is there anyone copied on this email who could be left off the list?
  23. Have I attached any files that are very big? (If so, google something like ‘send big files’ and consider your options.)
  24. Have I attached any files that would work better in PDF format?
  25. Are there any🙂 or other emoticons involved? (If so, reconsider).
  26. Am I forwarding someone else’s mail? (If so, will they be happy when they find out?)
  27. Am I forwarding something about religion (mine or someone else’s)? (If so, delete).
  28. Am I forwarding something about a virus or worldwide charity effort or other potential hoax? (If so, visit snopes and check to see if it’s ‘actually true).
  29. Did I hit ‘reply all’? If so, am I glad I did? Does every person on the list need to see it?
  30. Am I quoting back the original text in a helpful way? (Sending an email that says, in its entirety, “yes,” is not helpful).
  31. If this email is to someone like Seth, did I check to make sure I know the difference between its and it’s? Just wondering.
  32. If this is a press release, am I really sure that the recipient is going to be delighted to get it? Or am I taking advantage of the asymmetrical nature of email–free to send, expensive investment of time to read or delete?
  33. Are there any little animated creatures in the footer of this email? Adorable kittens? Endangered species of any kind?
  34. Bonus: Is there a long legal disclaimer at the bottom of my email? Why?
  35. Bonus: Does the subject line make it easy to understand what’s to come and likely it will get filed properly?
  36. If I had to pay 42 cents to send this email, would I?

How to Become a Networking Pro by Jennifer Rodstrom

Learning how to network is one of the most powerful skills a person can have. Becoming successful at networking can land you your dream job, get you promoted, help you to become close to industry leaders, or simply provide a way for you to learn from or help others.

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending Help a PR Pro Out (#HAPPO) event in NYC. It was a great opportunity to meet a bunch of communications professionals and establish new relationships. However, walking into a room full of new people can be intimidating if you don’t have a plan. Successful networking takes more than just showing up with a smile. These tips can help:

Do Your Research. Before attending an event, take time to look up what the event is about, who will be there, and develop a list of key people that you desire to speak with. Most of the time, there is so much going on at an event, that it’s easy to lose track of time, and sometimes the people you wanted to speak with might be sneaking out the door. Make it your first priority to find these people early on, that way you don’t miss the opportunity to make a connection.

Know Yourself, and Your Subject. It seems like a no-brainer, but knowing who you are and being able to get your point across quickly and effectively is an art. If you don’t know your purpose, it’s going to be hard to develop relationships. Take time to brainstorm reasons why you are attending, and what your goals are. Coming up with a 60-second elevator pitch on your subject will make it easy to hold conversation, and draw in the right people.

Be Prepared. Bring business cards! Looking for a job? Bring resumes! There is nothing worse than succeeding at getting someone’s attention, and then not being prepared when they ask you for a business card. “Running out” of business cards is unprofessional and gives the impression that you are unprepared and disorganized.

Speak With As Many People As Possible. After you reach out to your target list of people, use your time to work your way around the room, meeting as many new people as possible. You may find something you were looking for, or someone you never thought to connect with could be looking for you.

Follow-Up. After the event, be sure to review your new list of contacts and make notes about what you discussed or interesting information you shared. Be sure to e-mail them and thank them for their time and to let them know you enjoyed meeting them.

Stay In Touch. From time to time, e-mail or call your new contacts to touch base. Use industry news as a way to connect by passing along articles which may be relevant to them. Keep tabs via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. If your contact changes companies or gets a promotion, use the opportunity to congratulate them on the news.

Success, in a nutshell

In order to achieve something you have never achieved before, you have to learn and practice something you have never learned and practiced before. The highest paid people are simply those who know more than others.”–Brian Tracy

The Most Famous DotCom Failure, authored 2001 by Deborah Collier Revised 9th April 2008

The most memorable Dotcom Failure was that of the original in the year 2000. Deborah Collier of Echo E-Business investigates the reasons why the original online retailer failed.