Shaking It Up With Kanye. The internet is on fire. Charlamagne tha God and Kanye West have canceled their live appearance for a TimesTalks on mental health. For anyone familiar with the music industry, this is shocking and surprising news. The event would have taken place on October 17 in The Town Hall, New York.
According to an initial announcement for the event, the talk would feature the two men “discussing Charlamagne’s upcoming book ‘Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me‘ that details the ways anxiety has been a driving force in Charlamagne’s life since childhood.” The description said Charlamagne and West would discuss how to “break free” from “fears and anxiety to reach the next level of success.”
Back in May, the two had an intense two-hour sitdown, as the two delved on a variety of topics ranging from Kanye West’s time spent in the hospital, to the infamous Taylor Swift incident, Ye’s relationships with JAY-Z and Barack Obama, Donald Trump, leaving Nike for Adidas, YEEZY, Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton, and much more.
But in an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Charlemagne drew applause from the studio audience when he admitted that he’s the one who pulled the plug on the talk saying it wouldn’t be productive. He explained that he was alarmed by Kanye’s admission that he was off his medication, which the rapper alluded to in his epic White House Oval Office soliloquy where he claimed to have been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was merely sleep-deprived. Charlamagne said he realized that trying to hold an event with a celebrity who may not have his own mental health issues under control was counter-productive to a cause he cares about.
“For what I’m trying to do which is like elevate the conversation of mental health in the black community and you know, try to eradicate the stigma around mental health, I just didn’t think it’d be a good conversation,” he said. “It’d be a distraction.”
Reports show that Kanye took the news well.
Kayne West has been open to discussing his psychological health. Two months after releasing his latest solo album YE, on which he confirmed he is bipolar and calling it his “superpower,” Kanye West spoke candidly about how the condition affects his life. “We never had therapists in the black community. We never approached taking a medication,” West shared, before revealing that his late mother Donda West chose not to “fully medicate” him after he “had my first complete blackout” at the age of 5.
People with these disorders can have episodes that look much like depression (a different but related condition), including feeling sad and worried, a loss of energy, sleeping too much, and suicidal thoughts. Unlike depression, however, people with bipolar also have episodes of mania (associated with bipolar I) or hypomania (associated with bipolar II). People experiencing mania may be more likely to engage in risky behavior, including spending money or having reckless sex, as well as have euphoria, high energy, little need for sleep, irritability, racing thoughts, rapid speech, and other symptoms. Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes. Sometimes mania can include psychosis, which is a break with reality along with hallucinations and delusions that require hospitalization.
People can also experience a mixed state that includes high and low symptoms all at once. Men and women with bipolar disorder are at elevated risk of substance abuse and suicide, and people are often prescribed medication to help control the episodes.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 4.4% of US adults experience bipolar disorder at some time in their lives.
All Shook Up: Dealing with Anxiety. The center of As if a Black Privilege follow-up wasn’t always in the cards for Charlamagne Tha God. Even though the New York Timesbest-selling author and radio host had publishers waving lucrative checks in his face, he repeatedly declined the idea of penning another book without something captivating to offer his audience.
“Last year, I was sitting on one of my favorite islands of Anguilla and I was with all my friends and family sitting by the pool and I had this really serene feeling,” Charlamagne tells Billboard. It was at that moment of serenity that a light went off looking toward his next chapter.
Just over a year later, the brash The Breakfast Club co-host came back Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me. His second book will focus on personal experiences dealing with anxiety and peeling back the layers to traumatic events that were never dealt with properly at the time.
Overall, in this work, Charlamagne looks to elevate the conversation surrounding mental health, especially in the hip-hop and black communities. Shook One cements the radio personality’s stance in making sure he’s on the right side of history when it comes to society’s growing focus on mental health, while helping remove the negative stigma of remedies such as therapy.
Taking mental health issues head one has been of Charlamagne’s larger success stories. It happened at a period in his life that where he had just been fired for the fourth time from radio. Charlamagne was living back at home with my mom at 32-years-old. His daughter was two-years-old. His now-wife had to go back home to live with her parents, so he was stressing. He had an artist he was working with and that didn’t work out, and that didn’t seem to working out. That’s when he began struggling with panic attacks. One time in particular, Charlamagne was riding down I-26 in South Carolina with his cousin, and he really felt like he was having a heart attack. His heart was beating fast and his arm began to go numb. Charlamagne wanted to pull over and got some water to calm down. He went to the hospital the next day and, according to him, the doctor said, “You got a healthy heart. You got an athlete’s heart, but it sounds like you had a panic attack. Do you suffer from anxiety?” He asked if Charlamagne was stressed about anything. The response? “Hell yeah.”
So once the doctor had an honest conversation with Charlamagne, he knew what it was. He started thinking back in life to all the times in life he had those similar feelings.
The Breakfast Club came a few months later. In his mind, when an artist is seven years into doing what he had been doing on radio and he had success doing books and television and yet still have those frightening, same panic attacks, one would wonder “why?” Charlamagne thought he was good, but clearly, he wasn’t perfect. That made him want to start going to therapy.
For Charlamagne, based off his own experiences with anxiety, going to therapy, realizing that he got PTSD and even trauma from things that happened to him when he was younger. He definitely wanted to bring in an expert’s opinion because he was not an expert in what he would call “anything.” All he had were his experiences, and his hope was to share his experiences to see if people could learn from them. Charlamagne connected with Dr. Ish Major, who is a therapist that specializes in black mental health issues, to consult on the work. For everything he described in the book, he gave a clinical correlation for at the end of each chapter. Charlamagne’s concern was that it would just sound like he would venting without it, which could have undermined the credibility of his work.
In his book, Charlamagne writes a lot about rational anxiety. Rational anxiety is when you’re aware of the source of your anxiety. For example, if Charlamagne had to host an award show or talk to millions of people on the radio, he’s explains he we would feel anxious, and he would know why. Irrational anxiety, on the other hand, is when someone would leaving CVS and there’s a car behind them and he or should be wondering if that driver would be following them home. Should the driver start doing detours? That person would be making sure nobody’s running up on them, but, upon reflection, it’s some logic-looking kid driving past the anxious person. That’s trauma and anxiety from things people been through.
Being black in America, Charlamagne emphasizes that people are going to have a sense of paranoia people won’t know how to remotely unpack. He wrote whole chapter called “Blackannoyed.” When Charlamagne gets pulled over, his mindset is totally different now. He doesn’t have the luxury of asking, “Why did I get pulled over, sir?” He can’t curse the cop out. He has to comply.
A lot of anxiety followed. For Charlamagne, with young he sees kids from difficult neighborhoods, what he thinks is that he sees lot of PTSD. And social media brings another whole level of anxiety that we’re all dealing with. Charlamagne thanks God that he didn’t have to grow up with social media in his formative years. He don’t think he would’ve made it. In his books he talks about the fear of missing out in, and that’s what social media does to you. He thinks social media is painting an unattainable picture of perfection. Social media is literally everyone’s highlight reel. You don’t see any mistakes, flaws, or struggle. The problem with that virtual reality is we are all trying to bring that into our real world.
Now, you can get in trouble for talking about things that happened years ago. Charlamagne laments that people can get in trouble for the way they used to think a long time ago, and that’s not fair. Every story Charlamagne has enjoyed, is one of growth and evolution. He thinks The Autobiography of Malcolm X is the greatest story of evolution ever. He thinks Jay-Z going from Jay-Z to Shawn Carter is a great story of growth. Charlamagne has seen the flaws of these people, but nowadays, no one is allowed to do that. Imagine being 14-years-old and going on social media to see everyone living this fake perfect life, and then in real life nobody’s talking about their mistakes. So when that 14-year-old does make a mistake, he might feel inferior and kill himself, which concerns Charlamagne. Let kids grow and evolve he believes.
Finally, Charlamagne feels like the universe is conspiring for all of us to have this conversation. Our whole life we’ve been told everything is mental. Everything starts with a thought and thoughts become things. What you conceive, you can achieve. Charlamagne always tells people the things they want to happen in life, they should constantly think about. That’s why anxiety is so tricky. For example, when you’re thinking about the worst things happening, you hold onto those thoughts. When Charlamagne sees Taraji P. Henson with her foundation or Chance The Rapper pledging one-million dollars, he didn’t know the universe was going to do that. Instead, he believes, it’s conspiring for us to win. He wants to elevate a conversation by letting people know its okay to go figure out what’s going on upstairs. Because, nowadays, there’s a bunch of us on this mountain seeing each other going through the same things.
If you’ve noticed that your veins are looking more pronounced, you might be dealing with a condition known as varicose veins. This condition can affect any vein within the body. That being said, most people notice them around their legs. This is often because more pressure is placed on these veins from standing up and walking. If you have varicose veins, it’s understandable to want to minimize their appearance. With that in mind, here are five things to include in your varicose vein treatment diet.
Those dealing with varicose veins should consider including avocados in their diet. Avocados contain large amounts of vitamins which help the body in many ways. One of these ways is by protecting the cellular health of your body. This amazing food also contains glutathione which helps to protect the body against cell damage.
Another aspect of treating varicose veins is consuming enough fiber. If you don’t have enough fiber in your diet, consider eating more chia seeds. Chia seeds are great for your heart as well as treating varicose veins. While it’s an unpleasant topic, passing hard stools places stress on the veins in your body. The fiber in chia seeds helps to ensure you avoid constipation. Therefore, eating chia seeds is a great way to avoid dealing with varicose veins.
Varicose veins often occur because someone has too many oxidants within their body. Oxidants can wreak havoc within the body, contributing to blood clots and many types of cancers. Therefore, it’s important to consume foods containing large amounts of antioxidants. Consuming enough antioxidants helps increase vascular health. If you have optimal vascular health, it reduces your risk of developing varicose veins.
In most cases, it’s a good thing to consume amino acids. You’ll find that amino acids play an important role in fueling your muscles. If you have varicose veins, you’ll want to avoid an amino acid known as homocysteine. Having high levels of this amino acid in your body is known to cause damage to blood vessels. If your blood vessels continue to sustain damage, it could cause varicose veins to begin appearing. In addition, beets are known to contain nitrates which helps to improve overall blood circulation.
Drink More Water
People dealing with varicose veins are sometimes dehydrated. Considering that, veins and other parts of your body need water to function optimally. Therefore, it’s wise to consider increasing the amount of water you drink each day. It’s important to note that sodas and other sugary drinks constrict blood vessels, making varicose veins worse. This means it’s wise to consider reducing, if not eliminating, sugary drinks from your diet.
If these diet changes don’t help your condition, it’s time to consider seeking out professional varicose vein treatment. Many who are seeking treatment for this condition visit Metro Vein Centers. Metro Vein Centers has facilities throughout the United States including locations in Texas, New Jersey, New York, and Michigan. In addition, Metro Vein Centers utilizes cutting-edge medical technology including both radiofrequency and endovenous laser ablations. If you’re looking for minimally-invasive and safe varicose vein treatment, consider making an appointment with Metro Vein Centers.
The fascinating world of finance lured Matt Badiali away from the study of his intended field of science. With a bachelor’s degree in the rigorous discipline from Penn State University and a Master of Science in geology from Florida’s Atlantic University, he was on his way toward earning a Ph. D. at the University of North Carolina when a friend recommended another path.
Anyone who has received his advice benefited from the influence of his friend who held a Ph.D. in finance. Many have realized returns of double-digit gains and even triple-digit in some cases. The friend’s intention of persuading Badiali to use his knowledge of science to create advice for the average investor achieved the goal of providing access to excellent financial information.
Providing Insights for Investors
With the launch of his Real Wealth Strategist newsletter with Banyan Hill Publishing in 2017, Matt Badiali reaches readers who know the value of his recommendations in the natural resources market. From his experience and his research, Badiali expects a change in energy consumption that shifts focus from fossil fuels to an electricity-centered world that waits only for battery technology to provide the capacity to “store enough power to supply a city.”
His approach to research and investment prospects lead him to go anywhere to talk to scientists as well as CEOs about mines, oil wells and geologic data. He travels the world to develop the advice for his newsletter, and his research in Haiti, Hong Kong, Iraq, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, the Yukon and the Mexican desert reveals the extensiveness of his preparation to advise investors with his expertise in mining, energy and agricultural industries.
Examining the Dampening Effect of the Trade War
With a frank assessment of the market’s view of metals lately, Matt Badiali concludes that the current market hates metals. The news reports of the trade war with China seem to announce another hit on metals each day, and almost everyone knows that the trade war can slow China’s growth. He refers to the vast country as “the mouth of the world” that takes in raw ores, smelts them, builds products and ships them to the United States.
However, Matt Badiali believes that the fundamentals remain strong for platinum even though the price continues to fall. The petroleum industry needs it, but the metal remains very cheap on the current market. He anticipates a bounce, perhaps as soon as the fears of a trade war fade and let the fundamentals produce a viable market again. Demand continues to exceed supply, and the situation may worsen before he expects improvement. The price for platinum may “rocket” when it eventually starts to rise.
Setting Records for Low Prices
The United States Gold Bureau gives investors some reasons for optimism in the potential for the price of platinum to stage a significant comeback.
- In the span of only 10 years, its price exceeded $2,300 per ounce, a stellar achievement that more than doubled the price of gold. Even more astonishingly, it was four times more expensive than its silvery white lookalike palladium. In the current market, gold and palladium have a higher price than platinum. Gold has outpaced the price of platinum only two times in the past 30 years.
- The cost of producing platinum exceeds its value, and experts predict that miners cannot sustain the loss of $200 per ounce. A selling price of $900 and the mining cost of $1,100 creates an imbalance that experts expect to produce a supply deficit.
- Surging demand in China and India for platinum in the automotive, petroleum, glass, electronics and medical industries has created a deficit in the supply line.
- An anomaly that confounds investors regards the price of platinum at a lower price than gold. While 2,800 tons of gold reach the market every year, platinum provides only 250 tons annually. The rarity of platinum that makes it 10 times scarcer than gold presents a vexing imbalance that concerns investors.
- The higher boiling point for platinum and a higher melting point that exceed that of palladium make it a more appealing metal for industrial purposes. Denser as well, the metal’s versatility provides the basis for driving demand.
- After a crash that lowered the price of platinum to $793 per ounce, investors may choose to “rebalance their bets” and create an “upward momentum” that may reverse a trend. The price made it the lowest ever in comparison with gold.
Considering the Influence of Global Conditions
The value of platinum that has applications in jewelry and in the production of diesel fuel ironically has fallen to a 14-year low. Matt Badiali points to the oddity of a price that is lower than it was during the financial crisis while the current supply is down. For the first quarter of 2018, the demand for platinum exceeded the availability by 125,000 ounces, and South Africa’s mines struggled to keep up. Production levels reached their lowest point in two years. Just as the World Platinum Investment Council predicted the rise in demand to come from global economic growth in China, the trade war put a damper on expectations.
Reviewing Some Analyses
Investing News expects platinum production to increase by 1 percent while global demand continues to fall by 7 percent year after year. The surplus of 250,000 ounces challenges the market to return to equilibrium even though analysts expect a reduction to only 25,000 ounces. However, in the face of changing conditions and expectations, analysts look for the market to balance in 2018 as the supply and demand pick up the pace. They attribute the reduced need for platinum in 2017 to the automotive industry that required 3 percent less than expected due to falling demand in Western Europe. The market experienced growth in commercial vehicles for China and the rest of the world as well. As a compounding factor, the jewelry sector did not offer the same appeal for platinum as it has previously demonstrated.
In 2017, the demand globally slipped by 2 percent as the decline in China challenged other regions to offset the difference. A decrease in Japanese bar buying affected the statistics as well. Even with reductions in many sectors, the exchange-traded fund investments came back strongly after two down years. Investors in the United States increased their holdings by 90,000 ounces.
Earning an Unwanted Appellation
Seeking Alpha wonders if platinum may have a good year in 2018 after falling from its once lofty position. In 2008, investors regarded it as the “king of the precious metals sector.” However, its fortunes fell precipitously over the past decade. Silver has accompanied platinum in the lower priced metals sector while gold and palladium have reached “appreciably higher” prices than they had at their peak in 2008.
The severity of the decline in the price of platinum has produced a downward spiral since 2014. The industrial world has turned its back on it and favored palladium instead. Investors tended to reject it after their disappointment in its performance during the financial crisis.
A steep drop of 67 percent in the five months between March and October 2008 created a “carnage in the platinum market” that investors remember distinctly. Analysts at Seeking Alpha note that platinum has experienced a consistent downtrend since 2011 and that it has earned recognition as “the worst performing precious metal since 2014.”
The Motley Fool points out that the largest use of the platinum group of metals rests with the automotive industry and its production of catalytic converters. Several automakers have plans to produce hydrogen-cell vehicles, but a problem may occur with the requirement for “significantly more catalytic material” than diesel or gasoline vehicles use.
Want to learn more about Matt Badiali and his newsletter “Real Wealth Strategist Newsletter”? Click here.
A cash-balance plan may not mean very much to someone who has no concerns about retirement, but it provides an alternative to traditional pension plans. An international expert on money and the editor of three financial publications, Ted Bauman recommends a retirement plan review that may encourage employees to make a switch. From his perspective at Banyan Hill Publishing and as an authority on asset protection, he suggests that older workers and high wage earners may have a lot to lose by not considering retirement income alternatives. Employers may benefit as well.
Considering the Options
Bauman cites sobering statistics that may alarm anyone who has not considered the reality of savings habits in America. Only one-third of the population has saved money for retirement. Of the remaining 66 percent, about a fourth has accumulated only $10,000 or less. Ted Bauman estimates that “75 percent of Americans have inadequate retirement savings.” He recommends that employees evaluate the benefits of the two traditional types of savings plans and compare them with a third or “hybrid” type.
Companies have customarily offered “defined-benefit” plans that let employees know what to expect as monthly income. For many years, almost everyone thought that the traditional pension provided a secure source of funds for retirees. Bauman contends that it was a risky arrangement that relied on companies managing their plans professionally. However, Congresses that favored employers “watered down the system” so severely that companies in financial trouble often just stopped paying pensions.
401 (k) Plan
As an alternative to the traditional pension, the 401 (k) plan resulted from a format that resembled the individual retirement account and shifted the retirement savings risk to individuals. It placed the burden on each worker to make decisions about how much to put away. Simultaneously, it relieved the employer of any obligation other than deciding on how much it wanted to match. Smart Asset defines it as an option that allows an employee to make “contributions to a retirement plan” with participation by the employer who “may or may not make matching contributions.” The amount of savings and the movement of the stock market determine the value of a 401(k) account. All risk rests with the employee as an investor.
Money considers a cash-balance program as a defined benefit plan that resembles a traditional pension that includes elements of a 401(k). Without a requirement for a cash investment, it relieves employees of “any responsibility for the investment choices.” Ted Bauman believes that the cash-balance option presents a combination of the best of the two types of retirement savings plans as a “hybrid” option. While the traditional pension allows the employer to provide the contributions, the investments reside under the management of finance professionals with a promise of benefits upon retirement. With a 401(k) plan, each employee receives an account balance instead of a guaranteed monthly income, and the fund’s performance rests with the stock market’s advances or declines and that of the fund manager.
Understanding the Limitations of 401 (k) Plans
The benefits that employees get with a 401 (k) plan allow an employer to make contributions to a retirement program, but employers may or may not choose to contribute. The money that employees receive depends on how well the stock market performs and on the choice of funds that the manager selects to hold the contributions. A downturn in the market creates conditions that can wipe out a 401 (k). CNBC points to several reasons that make investing in a 401 (k) less than advisable in some cases. The plans require “revenue sharing” to pay the costs that a broker charges for selling the plan to an employer. The companies that hold the 401 (k) assets in custody require payment for record keeping. Operating expenses serve to reduce the returns that a plan may otherwise produce. Downsides include contract asset charges that can occur when plans offer “group variable annuities” to participants.
Advantages of Cash-balance Plan vs a Traditional Pension
A cash-balance pension plan resembles a traditional pension in several ways. The Balance points out that an employee does not invest any money in either and has no input into investment choices. Pensions may start paying out as soon as an employee reaches age 55 although most begin about 10 years later. Cash-balance plans use total years of service as well as salary in the years that lead to retirement to calculate account value. With them, companies base an annual credit of an “average of 5 percent“ of an employee’s salary, and it includes a “set interest rate” on the balance in an account. Cash-balance accounts allow portability that traditional pensions do not. The difference in methodology enables an employee to withdraw the funds from an account when leaving a job, but traditional pensions do not deliver a payout until an employee reaches retirement age.
Cash-Balance Plans Are a Good Alternative to a 401(K)https://t.co/xe5Xf4pWPr#CashBalancePlans #401k #NASDAQ #SP500 #NYSE #Assets #Retirement #Commodity #Money #Investing #Commodities #Resources #Economy #Politics #Trading #Stocks #StockMarket #CMT #BanyanHill pic.twitter.com/KA0hBZi9jD
— Ted Bauman Guru (@TedBaumanGuru) August 27, 2018
Evaluating the Recommendations
Ted Bauman has spent a career across two continents in distilling and explaining financial facts that help people control their financial futures. His emigration from his childhood home on Maryland’s eastern shore to South Africa led to an education at the University of Cape Town and his postgraduate degrees in History and Economics. In his 25-years of experience there, he contributed his expertise through nonprofit sector executive leadership. Over the years, he has learned time management habits that he wishes he had acquired earlier. The benefits that Ted Bauman’s readers get to enjoy include his advice to “set aside the most productive part of the day” to work on the projects that matter the most.
Comparing the Pros and Cons of a Cash-balance Retirement Investment Strategy
The advantages and disadvantages of a cash-balance retirement plan may vary according to the point of view of participants. Older business owners who have limited retirement savings may see it as a “boon,” but a switch to it can “upend the retirement plans of long-term pension participants,” according to Kiplinger. Employees who have relied on a 401 (k) may like the addition of a cash balance plan that sharply reduces a tax bill and increases the value of a “sagging nest egg.”
However, those who anticipate the payout from a traditional pension plan may not like it as much. The traditional pension plan rewards longtime employees by increasing the benefits with contributions that companies base on the final years when salaries usually peak. Cash-balance plans may provide less lucrative results. Companies calculate contributions by using a base that represents an employee’s entire working career and includes the years when earnings did not equal those that came later. The advantages of a cash-balance plan to one employee may seem disadvantageous to another.
Choosing a Hybrid Retirement Plan Instead
The components of a well-designed hybrid plan include the elements that provide retirement security for all workers, according to Pew Charitable Trusts.
The basic requirements include these:
- A commitment to fully fund retirement promises.
- The combination of a benefit and savings rate that helps workers follow a path that ensures a secure retirement.
- Access to income for life through annuities.
- Professional management of a fund with low fees and pooled investments with “appropriate asset allocations.”
The IRS considers a cash-balance plan a hybrid that contains features of defined benefit options as well as defined contribution methods that allow sponsors and participants to benefit from both types of programs. Ted Bauman suggests that investors may need to consider it.
William Saito invented a software company in his dorm room at the University of California, Riverside. It was the kind of company that drew the attention of Microsoft and in 2000, Microsoft bought the firmware rights to the technology, securing Saito firmly as an authority in the the technology industry.
Since that time, he has been instrumental in developing and investing in over 25 companies at the start-up phase. He enjoys helping companies build their way from the ground up and utilizes his expertise as a venture capitalist and political adviser to do exactly that.
William Saito has an extensive background in international business both as an IT strategist, and as a Venture capitalist. He is well known for being both likeable and efficient. He’s brought an extensive array of leadership to the field of technology within many different facets including cyber technology, international technology, and cyber security.
In 2016 William Saito was awarded the Japanese Medal of Honor for his involvement with the cleanup and recovery efforts for the people of Japan in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima. He also founded Japan’s first independent accident investigation into the events leading to the disaster from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
William Saito has also served as an advisor to Pricewaterhousecoopers, the Chertoff Group, and the World Economic Forum. He’s built and maintained relationships with thought leaders, innovators, and stakeholders across the board, proving vital to the cohesive and collaborative nature of the industry.
Saito transcends politics and technology and has influenced several government leaders, advising them on topics including network security and technology strategies. William Saito even served as special advisor to Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s cabinet. During the years of 2013 – 2017 he used his extensive knowledge of cyber security to aid in the improvement of Japan’s cyber security defense system.
He’s been advisor to Japanese Airlines as well as several other technology companies. In 2998 NASDAQ, Ernst & Young, and the USA today named William Saito, “Entrepreneur of the Year!”
He has multiple degrees from multiple universities including Harvard, Yale, and the University of California, Riverside, where he has also served as a visiting professor in business management. He’s also taught at the UCLA School of Management.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I’ve always been curious about how things work. I couldn’t just be satisfied by understanding how to use a computer, I needed to know how it was built and I would take them apart to understand the inner workings, all the way down to the microchip level. Then I would switch gears and learn how to build an entire computer from scratch. Then I would need to learn how to build the programming from scratch. My curiosity and need to understand the inner workings of machines has always been at the forefront of my success.
I’ve been involved in the technology industry since it’s early inception and almost every step of the way has been due to a result of other people believing in my talent, ability, and ingenuity. By seeing the potential in what I’m capable of doing, I had the support of people who would embrace my talent, it and nurture it either through job opportunities, investments, or through helping me to create a company.
How do you make money?
My business is built around the idea of finding start up companies that are looking for investors to back their efforts. I spend a lot of time meeting with potential clients and companies, hearing pitches, developing concepts with them, and then ultimately debating if this is a partnership that can be mutually beneficial.
Most companies have one of two things: Passion for their industry or intricate knowledge of the field they are creating within. It’s rare to find a person or a company that has a combination of both of these and, yet, both are essential to success. So much so, that one cannot operate without the other for very long.
My approach is always to take a step back and examine with a fine toothed comb what a company’s most essential assets are. When I invest in a company it’s my goal to help them come up with a product that can maximize the value of their assets at a rock bottom cost to the client.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
I’ve been working in and out of the technology sector since I was in Jr. High School, and I’ve been profitable at nearly every stage of the game, often accidentally.
It took several years for me to build capital and understand how to run a profitable company, but at every stage of the game I was able to turn at least a little bit of a profit. Enough for me to take the money and re-invest in whatever project was next on my list.
At one point in College I was designing a software and selling it for what amounts to pennies, but it cost so little to make that I was actually turning around enough of a profit to invest in more computers to make more software.
And I’d take that money and turn it around into investing in additional technology. Whatever I would make I’d utilize to create something new. I was never satisfied with the project I was working on until it could lead me or my team into a new project. I also knew that through each experience I was becoming better and more skilled in the technology and the nuances of building an industry.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
I believe in the life transformative process of failing, so yes, I actually hoped that it wouldn’t work! I looked forward to and embraced that doubt and fear and used it as fuel to create! That is to say that one of the most crucial parts of my process is figuring out how quickly I can fail. I find the most revealing information about a project, a concept, or an idea comes from it’s breakpoints. Once you know what that point is it can provide a ton of useful information and help you assess exactly what steps to take to make the product, idea, or concept better, stronger, and ultimately, build a success.
So I am actively seeking for a moment of watching everything I’ve worked for completely fall apart. And until I achieve that moment, I know the project cannot be complete.
I think a lot of this drive to fail comes from my experience in culinary school, which many of my colleagues find curious. I spent four summers learning from the best chefs in France.
It was here that I truly honed my ability to improvise and adapt from failures. I also could rarely stick to a recipe. I tend to go off book in so many areas of my life, and cooking was no exception. So for example, if I overcooked a chicken, I’d somehow turn it into a stew. If I forgot an ingredient, I’d revise the whole recipe so that I could use a different one.
I’d often cook Thanksgiving dinner for 80 or so of my friends, and I’d cook every single element of it without any of the help of anyone else. I enjoyed the process as much as the delicious meal that I’d create.
This is a lot like business for me, and the process and journey is as fun for me as the success is.
How did you get your first investor?
I’ve been working for companies designing programs and building software and computers since I was 12 years old. So this question is a bit difficult to answer, because each of those companies could technically be considered an investor. In fact my first software programming job was for Merrill Lynch, and I helped them compute their numbers. I’d program their computers on the weekend and my dad would drive me to and from the office.
It’s also possible we could consider my parents the original investors of me and of my future, as they were the first to introduce and provide a real computer to me when I was 10 years old. At the time it cost them $2,000 (what would be about $5,000 today) and did so solely on the advice of my teacher who saw a talent for this kind of work within me.
But when it comes to more formal investors, I was able to sell my first software company to Microsoft when I was a sophomore in college. I think that was a big tipping point in establishing both me, my business, and my expertise.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
InTecur is my platform that I utilize to manage my investments in startup companies. I have a need to pay forward the opportunities I was given when I was young to new and ambitious companies within this industry. While I have invested in over a dozen young companies over the course of my career, choosing which companies deserve my time and my money can be a truly difficult process.
I don’t simply find a company that I can step back and say, “Oh yes, on paper, I really like this idea!” Or that I think the creator has potential so therefore they should have the capital. For me to be involved, I am all in. I sit on the board, I sit in on meetings occasionally, I help them in all facets of the creation of their product or company. I invest my money and my time. So I have to be extremely choosy during this process.
At the most basic level I tend to look for small companies that have an unusual idea or a technology that is in need of both funding and guidance. And to make sure I’m choosing the right company I have four basic criteria that they must meet:
1) The technology must be applicable on a global level
2) The company must be formed by a team. In my experience utilizing a team is by and large preferred to a single owner/designer/operator/creator. I simply don’t trust one-person shows. I believe a good leader recognizes the value of talented people and uses this strength to help complement weaknesses.
3) The business must not rely on a temporary advantage in core technology, something like a faster CPU speed, higher bandwidth, faster speed etc. These are commodities that will depreciate rapidly in the coming years along with any capital I choose to invest.
4) The business founders must have experienced failure at some point in their career.
While it seems like it should be a pretty easy list, you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t meet one of these qualifications, although they will try to convince me of all the reasons why their company will be different and why I should make exceptions to the rules. However, wisdom and experience have taught me otherwise.
So it’s not one decision that I’ve made that’s been particularly difficult, it’s assessing several qualifications time and again. And it never gets easier. But when I do find a unicorn of a company worth my time and money, it’s electric and the energy and excitement is a great tipping point to launch our partnership. Then we get to work.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Failure and my open embrace of all things related to it have made me successful in nearly every avenue of my life. This combined with an almost insatiable need to understand how things work have driven most of my success.
Also, I’ve always been pretty good at faking it till I make it. When I was in college my best friend and I started a software company. We were hired by a Japanese investment company called NEC to perform some major software translations to incorporate American software into the budding Japanese technology.
They had no idea that we were a couple of college kids doing most of this work in between our classes, fueled by pizza and caffeine. At one point we learned that some of the team from Japan was coming to California for a conference and wanted to drop in and meet us formally. As a Japanese American, I knew that this was not just a simple “meet and greet.” This was an evaluation of who we are as a company, and would confirm if they continue working with us. We needed to do something drastic to make the appearance of a real company become a reality.
In town for Interpol World 2017, William Saito, special adviser to Japan’s cabinet, talks about the Japan-EU trade deal and the third arrow in Abenomics.
In the span of a few days we rented office space, staffed desks with computers we “borrowed” from the school, invited our friends and their girlfriends to sit at the desks and fill out the office. The NEC representatives bought it.
As a result it opened many more doors to opportunities, including actually having a legit business incorporated taking us from the rinky dorm room software programming company to a legitimate business with an office space and a paid staff.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Having worked with young start-ups has always been enormously gratifying. I enjoy the energy of young entrepreneurs and their hope for what is possible. Helping to nurture that is pure joy.
I also have enjoyed the process of teaching young entrepreneurs on the college level. It’s gratifying in a different way as it allows me to help shape the minds that will go out and create, invent, invest, and ultimately, hopefully, change the world. There’s a satisfying feeling that what I’m sharing with my students will benefit more people down the line. I often can’t wait to see what they will come up with. It’s truly rewarding.
I’ve also been honored to be a judge for the Entrepreneur of the Year program and during that time I’ve been able to review close to 10,000 business plans. There’s nothing quite like the experience of evaluating a ton of data on a topic, such as a business plan.
Here’s one thing I know for sure: Nothing will ever go to plan. Not one single successful business has ever been based on a perfectly thought out business plan, but on the ability of those involved with the company to adapt, evolve, and understand the changing tides of their industry.
What is a primary way that you generate new business?
I’m kind of an anomaly in the tech and computer world in that I actually like people, I like working with them, I like talking to them. Many people who get into this industry enjoy the solitude of tinkering with a project. Don’t’ get me wrong, I love that facet as well, but I also enjoy working and collaborating with people.
I think that this ability to connect has proven a successful strategy to my ability to meet and acquire new clients. I’ve built a reputation of being generous and resourceful and clients tend to want to work with people like that.
Connect with William Saito on Levo.com