Proverbs 16:8 “Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest.” NLT
Money laundering is the process of concealing illicit sources of money to make it appear like legitimately earned money. Money which is evidently the proceeds of a crime is referred to as “dirty” money, and money which has been “laundered” to appear legitimate is referred to as “clean” money. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. In 1996, the International Monetary Fund estimated that two to five percent of the worldwide global economy involved laundered money.
Life insurance products used to be used to facilitate money laundering. For example, currency can be used to purchase one or more life insurance policies, which may subsequently be quickly canceled by a policyholder (also known as “early surrender”) for a penalty and a check is issued from the insurance company.
A typical modern day money-laundering scenario: (1) Make numerous below-the-radar deposits to accounts in different banks. (2) Consolidate the funds via wire transfer in a single account in, say, Tampa. (3) Wire that to a London bank. (4) Convert the funds to certificates of deposit. (5) Use those as collateral for a loan from a bank in the Cayman Islands. (6) Transfer the loan proceeds back to your front company in Tampa. Result: a confusing trail for the feds to follow, most of it electronic, with no need for small unmarked bills or other crime-fiction cliches. The only problem with an electronic trail is that there is an electronic trail of transfers and the fees associated with each step.
Lets say you have a stolen art piece and want to receive $1,000,000 in compensation. The buyer could open a Google Adwords account and bid on clicks for products on Amazon with the outbound link containing your Amazon affiliate ID. If you were able to have a click that costs $1 return $.70 in commission you would be will within traditional money laundering fees. The sales would be attributed to your account which you could receive a direct deposit from Amazon into an of your specification every 30 days.
I can not imaging how anyone could track who paid for a Google Adword advertisement and the incoming link to an Amazon affiliate account. Thoughts?
Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.
Like many other merchants out there I was wondering which deal of the day sites would bring in the most value to my business. After taking into account the split and volume of sales these are the best deal sites in the order of profitablility they generated for YourStarForever.com;
#1 DealChicken.com (more sales than on Groupon Goods)
#5 CBS.com (they can syndicate your deal on Amazon Local and Google Offers)
#7 Bundlebuy.com (a Hart Ventures subsidiary, we retain 90% of the sale)
We have also run on the following; CrowdCrave.com, DealSaver.com, HalfOffDepot.com, KSL.com, KGB.com, and MadDeal.com. We are still working to be featured on LivingSocial.com, Google.com/offers, and Amazon.com/local.
Eric and Oscar at Center Link Media made all the difference in the success of YourStarForever.com. Within the first 45 days they were able to get our deal placed on 10 of the top 15 deals sites resulting in over $100,000 in sales. Our company is now the industry leader in online star dedications because of them. Eric and Oscar are very well connected in the deal industry and can get a deal featured quickly with their blanket contracts they already have in place with the deal sites. They are excellent at staying in communication and returned my emails promptly. I would recommend their services to anyone wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.
A professor of mine once told me that when he was serving in Vietnam he would receive audio tapes with messages from his family on them. His elderly grandma did not understand the tape recorder and would talk in a loud monotonous voice and had trouble communicating her message. His family ended up handing her a telephone handset and asking her to talk into it (secretly placing the tape recorder close by). They catered to her technology comfort level and met here at the extend of the technology she was willing/able to adopt.
Pick up any product ant you will see several marketing labels on it… Non-GMO, USB 3.0, Fair Trade Certified. Well, I have an idea for a new label. Rather than targeting the technology adopters, go after the 16% of tech laggers. The label would say “Low-Tech” and the goal would be to make them comfortable and more likely to buy an item marketed to their demographic. For example, a non-smart phone, a plug and play DVR or TV, or even a laptop.
Wikipedia: The technology adoption lifecycle model describes the adoption or acceptance of a new product or innovation, according to the demographic and psychological characteristics of defined adopter groups. The process of adoption over time is typically illustrated as a classical normal distribution or “bell curve.” The model indicates that the first group of people to use a new product is called “innovators,” followed by “early adopters.” Next come the early and late majority, and the last group to eventually adopt a product are called “laggards.”
Having a great designer in your rolodex is a wonderful feeling and a great asset, especially when they have the quality of catching a vision and representing it graphically. It feels great to be able to refer them to others and know they will make you proud.
Earlier this year I was referred by a missionary friend of mine to Tom who has done some pro-bono work for them. I checked out his portfolio at TomMorseBrown.com and he did some preliminary work for me to try and win my account.
I was impressed with his portfolio and his Design Awards and decided to hire Tom to design my marketing materials, website, iphone application, and refine my brand. Tom was professional, affordable, quick, and was able to take my feedback and exceed my expectations. We worked out three milestones with respective payments and executed a contract.
We used DropBox.com to share files back and forth, deliver drafts, and transfer the final design files. If you stay under 2 GB it is free and you can view files on your mobile phone, desktop, or laptop. it will even automatically back up and sync the files across all your devices.
The project spanned 3 months and over 150 hours of design time, culminating in the finished product seen below. I was so happy with his work that I offer to post a glowing review on my website and promote it on our social media channels. If you end up working with Tom please let me know and leave your comments on this post after the fact.
We are pleased to announce the launch of CrowninTown.com in November of this year. Hart Ventures has partnered with Devon Dickinson, Tom Morse Brown, VistaPrint, and Scott Dahl to create a nation wide network of local business awards.
Crown in Town helps businesses market themselves to their community. Businesses compete to be “crowned” the best in their city for what they do. Each voter who casts a vote receives a special offer given by the business such as a free menu item or discount on a purchase. The voter who recruits the most other voters wins a grand prize from the business, which is a free product or service for a year; such as a free tax return filing, free sushi once a month or free coffee once a week. Crown in Town uses gamifcation to engage users to complete challenges and level up to increase their chances of winning the King’s Bounty. Hey business owner… Is your business best?
We employ a freemium model, where it is free to compete and free to win and there is the option to upgrade for premium features ($17/month or $150/year). If you want to give out a Special Offer to voters or incentify them to promote you by offering a Prize to your top promoter then you must upgrade your business account. Upgrading also allows you to count voter check-ins towards your total vote count as well as order custom VOTE-FOR-US marketing materials. Upgraded accounts can also send a message to their voters a limited number of times during the competition via email and push notifications on their mobile device.
Search for “Microsoft Tag” in the app store and try scanning my tag. Create your own here.
Recently the Hart Ventures team began working on our next start up, Crown in Town. One of the decisions we were faced with was whether to build our own CC processing system to charge for subscriptions or to integrate with a 3rd party vendor. We priced the development hours and decided on the latter. We began researching Chargify, Recurly, CheddarGetter and evaluated the pros and cons.
Then we heard of Seed Edition. I spoke on the phone with one of the Seed Edition founders, and he told me about their incredible product and offered to let me demo it for FREE up to $1,000,000 in transactions. Wow! What a stroke of luck. We were planning on hiring Chargify and with their upcoming 30-40% price increase we will save in excess of $4,000 ($140-$420/month) by choosing Seed Edition. Seed Edition is smart in investing in future partners to up-sell additional features that will eventually be needed such as accounting integration. Click here to sign up and request a free beta.
This last week I flew down to Los Angeles to pitch a new start up within the Hart Ventures portfolio to a group of investors.
I was presenting the ask for a certain amount in exchange for 10% of the company. The objection was raised that when the second round was raised that their stock would be diluted.
The correct way to look at it would be to consider the projected valuation at the time of the second round, which is 2.5x’s Round 1. Their stock would be diluted but it would also be worth 2.5x as much.
The point is dilution is not the true measure of the value of an investment, the measure is the upcoming pre-money valuation of the next round.
As a kid, my mom would take my brother and I garage saling. Sometimes In the spring on a sunny Friday we would be dismissed from school for a “dental appointment” and conveniently get lost in the back roads of Puyallup discovering the gems of opening yard sales.
An early trick I learned was to walk around calmly and ask price questions about what you were interested in as well as what you weren’t. This would DISGUISE how bad you really wanted the Voltron toy or the Angels in the Outfield VCR movie.
Once you had convinced them that you weren’t that into a particular item it was time to begin the first phase of negotiating… get them to LOWER THE PRICE first, even if it is only a dollar. The key phrase to ask was “Is the price negotiable?” Usually they would reply with a yes and lower it from $5 to $3 or $30 to $25.
The next step in the negotiations was to return to your car, even if they had lowered the price. You have to prove to them you were willing to WALK AWAY. At this point you established that they wanted your cash more than you wanted their goods.
Now you are in a position to RETURN WITH AN OFFER on the item since you had established that you could live without the item and the owner was already willing to lower the price once.
Negotiating at garage sales is a dance, each step has a specific purpose and when assembled correctly is very rewarding. The problem with dancing is sometimes your partner won’t dance with you.
Before my little brother came along there was little competition for the items which caught my attention, but as he grew older we would rush from the car to the same items and squabble over who had the first right to buy the good. We immediately lost any hope of being able to negotiate the price down with the seller. If one of us wasn’t willing to pay full price she knew the other was likely to.
This lead to a problem, garage saling was no longer the thrill of negotiating it used to be. It became a constant fight with my brother with neither of us winning. It had to be resolved.
The solution was to agree to walk at the same slow pace from the car to the sale and subtly whisper dibs on an item we wanted the first rights to negotiate on. We would begin the process of disguise, lower the price, walk away, and return with an offer. If the owner declined our offer then the other person could begin their negotiation process.
There was no sense stepping on each others toes in this dance. Once the truce between my brother and I was enacted the joy returned to the art of negotiating.