Marco Antonio Marques da Silva Talks Career and Personal Philosophy

July 3, 2018 - By 
Interview with Chief Justice Marco Antonio Marques da Silva

Marco Antonio Marques da Silva has enjoyed a long career in both academia as well as the field of law. Born in the city of Itapetininga in 1958, he currently serves as a professor and academic advisor at Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. Having graduated from the university after his undergraduate studies, as well as attaining both his Masters and Doctorate in law from the institution, his connection to the school is enduring. In addition to his work in academics, he also serves as a judge on the Court of Appeals in São Paulo. We had the opportunity to speak with Marco Antonio Marques da Silva on his pursuits in both law and academics, as well as the release of an upcoming book on basic human rights.


What’s a professional failure you’ve had to overcome?

I don’t think of failure as something that needs to be overcome. Failure is always an opportunity, even if it doesn’t seem like that at first. When we fail at something, it sets us up for a larger learning that we can apply to our future endeavors. Keeping this in mind, I don’t fear failure and don’t see it as an obstacle in my life.

What was the inspiration for your book?

My work has focused extensively on the subject of human rights in a globalized society. This book is a natural extension of that work which allowed me to further explore these ideas. To me, these are fundamental questions of how we should act on a global scale (ebc).

What trends interest or excite you?

Interdisciplinary exchange of ideas. The more we engage in these kinds of exchanges and discussions, the more we are able to benefit from a depth of diversity that exists in all aspects of life. Modern technology is certainly helping to facilitate this exchange and I think it will only become more pronounced with time as technology develops and our access to ideas grows. This is the type of work that will help to benefit some of the most vulnerable people in the world who have previously not had as much input into academic thought.

How do you bring your ideas to fruition?

Collaboration is the lifeblood of my work. I travel a great deal so I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a range of people in different universities and other institutions. From these experiences, I am able to learn from others as well as experiencing a diversity of situations and contexts. That’s not only how I formulate my ideas but how I’m able to bring them to others. This fits with my general opinion of life which is that we can in part give rise to an idea, but it is never truly ours. Instead, we hold it for some time then we send it out into the world to have its effect on others.

What’s an opinion you hold that others find controversial?

I highly prefer spending money on travel and experiences over things. I think a lot of people trend towards the opposite since things are so tangible and experiences seem ephemeral. But I really feel that my travels have given me a depth of understanding about world cultures and other people that I would never have otherwise. It’s also a great way to test oneself and see what you’re made of.

What’s a habit that helps you in your career?

I’m always reading. Books, newspapers, you name it. Also, I watch a lot of films and travel a lot. Basically, anything opens me up to new experiences is worthwhile in my opinion.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Focus on the importance of hard work and faith in God. Understand the importance of the story of Saint Augustine.

What book would you recommend for our readers?

“Book of Disquiet (Livro do Desassossego)” by Fernando Pessoa. It’s a bit on the older side but the ideas it explores are incredibly relevant today. I think he did a great job of capturing certain basic human truths and ideals.

What does your typical day look like?

My day is usually packed with various aspects of my career. I serve as a judge for the Court of Justice in São Paulo, which takes up a large portion of my time. Most of that time is spent hearing cases and also preparing remarks for upcoming decisions. I also serve as a professor at PUC-SP in the faculty of law. In that capacity, I teach classes for undergraduate and postgraduate students and advise masters and doctoral candidate. It’s a lot to pack into a day but I find the intellectual stimulation to be very gratifying.

What’s a piece of technology you find critical to your work?

My iPad is great for writing down ideas in any location. I use powerpoint a lot for lectures. Apps for productivity or taking notes such as Goodnotes of Vademecum are great timesavers.

What’s a recommendation of yours for people seeking to achieve career goals?

Set goals and then work to achieve them with focus and persistence. But always do this in a manner that is responsible towards others.

Can you tell us your favorite quote?

“There are more tides than sailors.” It’s a Portuguese saying that means there are always more opportunities to come. If we miss one, it’s a chance to reflect and learn, but then also turn around and look for the next opportunity on the horizon.

What’s a way you’ve worked to develop your career?

Always be studying and striving towards your goals. By doing this, and surrounding yourself with people who do the same, success is an inevitability.

What’s the best way you’ve recently spent your money?

When I’m spending my money on helping people, I consider it well spent. Alleviating suffering is an intrinsic part of life so we all have to do our part and use our resources to this end.

Tips from Marco Antonio Marques da Silva

  • Seek out others in your field who have differing opinions in order to build a fuller base of knowledge and experience
  • Balance is key in life. Make time for work, study, and faith as well as other pursuits
  • Alleviating human suffering is an important part of what makes us human. Strive to contribute some of your time and resources towards this goal

More about Marco Antonio Marques da Silva at,MI130219,31047-PUCSP+homenageia+desembargador+do+TJSP


GreenSky Credit Company Has Increased Their Fundraising Goals

July 3, 2018 - By 
Fintech GreenSky Credit

GreenSky credit company is an online lending platform that has opened the floor for public trading on the Nasdaq.


The company is growing at an accelerated pace, and it appears that other fintech companies are unable to keep up. They have already raised a staggering $874 million, and they have announced that their pricing will be higher than they originally expected.

At present, the price for GreenSky stock is set at $23 per share. They offer additional perks to underwriters by allowing them to purchase 5.7 million additional shares at a discounted rate within 30 days. Their initial placeholder goal was $100 million, and the company has since raised it to $748,1 million. If underwriters purchase these shares at the maximum share price, GreenSky could rake in approximately $901.7 million.

Gerry Benjamin, who’s on the board of directors, has stated that the company is very excited about its current position. The company aims to continue working in medical and home improvement industries, but it may also expand into other areas. Either way, it will continue to offer its products and services to over 12,000 merchants. Since its launch, GreenSky credit company and its banking partners have financed over $12 billion worth of transactions to 1.7 million customers.

Benjamin believes that the company is in an excellent position to maximize its profits with this latest strategy. GreenSky provides a digital platform which enables contractors and retailers to offer instant loans to clients. The company has four offices in the Metro Atlanta area with 1,100 associates.

“I believe that there is no other fintech company in the world that is offering more value than we are. Everyone is excited about our future prospects,” he said.

There are several companies backing and underwriting the deal, including Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, TPG, and the Pacific Investment Management Company. Benjamin had already anticipated the IPO’s success, so he was not at all surprised by it.

“I think the GreenSky company is an unusual one, we do things differently than anyone else, and so far, our strategies have not failed us. A lot of experts in the field want to know the formula for our growth and profitability,” states Benjamin.

There have only ever been seven start-ups in the Atlanta area to raise over $100 million, but GreenSky credit company has managed to raise $350 million from several different investors. Although some experts believe that GreenSky is being too ambitious in its fundraising goals, the company has a successful track record with a practical business model and a solid corporate governance. The company has not raised any outside capital for over ten years because CEO David Zalik chose to focus on structuring the business in such a way that it did not incur any of the burdensome costs of other online lenders.

The Wall Street Journal believes that GreenSky could possibly raise $1 billion at a valuation of $5 billion after filing for the IPO.

The company has demonstrated high profits over the past five years and, at the end of 2017, it had acquired an estimated $250 million in revenue.

Moody’s investor service anticipate GreenSky credit company will have an estimated $400 million in revenue by the end of 2018. In the past, the majority of fintech IPOs have faced difficulties after going public, so some experts are skeptical about GreenSky’s success. But Zalik has established a business with staying power.

In terms of performance, GreenSky credit loans have grown steadily over the years. The company has provided a large number of home improvement loans. According to a 2018 survey conducted by LightStream, approximately 58 percent of American homeowners will renovate their homes this year. Consumer spending habits also work to support the GreenSky IPO. The report states that there has been a 29 percent increase from 2017 of people who intend on taking out a home improvement loan. There are also 54 percent more 18-34-year olds who plan to fund projects through a home improvement loan. Although the report did mention that 30 percent of homeowners will fund their projects with a credit card, that number was 16 percent less for homeowners between the ages of 18 to 34 who planned to use a credit card.

Another trend that will work in GreenSky’s favor is that an increasing number of people are finding it difficult to pay for healthcare costs, which means that they are turning to short-term loans to pay their medical bills.

A recent report by the Commonwealth Fund states that only 62 percent of patients are confident that they will be able to afford medical treatment.

In general, experts believe that this IPO will lead to profitable investments based on the unique position that GreenSky Inc. holds within the market. In a rare interview with David Zalik, he attributed the success of his company to his restraint in taking out large loans when he first started the business. Being frugal, in short, is what has sustained him. However, now that the company has opened its doors to the public, fundraising is going to be a lot easier.




Financial Expert Ted Bauman: Strategies to Protect Your Assets

July 2, 2018 - By 
Protect your wealth with these tips from financial expert Ted Bauman

Financial expert Ted Bauman recommends keeping part of your wealth in secure safe deposit boxes at banks and foreign vaults to protect your money from disaster scenarios. Bauman has spent his entire career helping people to protect their resources, so his recommendations influence many investors. He attended the University of Cape Town in South Africa where he earned postgraduate degrees in economics and history. An economist by trade, Bauman worked for many years in South Africa in executive roles for low-cost housing projects, hedge funds, nonprofit companies and even urban planning. He returned to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2008 and later joined Banyan Hill Publishing where he edits “Alpha Stock Alert,” “Plan B Club” and “The Bauman Letter,” which has more subscribers than any other newsletter published by Banyan.

Safeguarding Wealth from Political Turmoil, Economic Chaos and Other Disasters

Protecting your wealth is critical in today’s uncertain times, and Banyan has long been an advocate for diversifying and protecting assets. Economic and political mayhem can result in losing a great part of your wealth or having your funds frozen for an uncertain period of time. Shifting some assets into precious metals and jewelry is a sound way to diversify your portfolio without the risks of converting assets to cash. At a minimum, Bauman recommends installing a large safe to store liquid assets and weapons for self-protection. He warns that “it’s worth contacting a safe contractor to see about your options in this respect.”

However, Bauman believes in diversifying your assets in multiple ways, and strongly recommends putting some of your assets into secure outside storage options. He has advocated this approach frequently over the years in “The Bauman Report.” The storage options that Bauman recommends include safe-deposit boxes at U.S. banks, safe-deposit boxes at foreign banks, vaults at nonfinancial institutions and foreign vaults. There are sound reasons for each of these recommendations.

Bank Safe-Deposit Boxes in the United States

Ted Bauman grew up in the United States but emigrated to South Africa where he spent 25 years. He has consulted with African and European governments, delegates to the united Nations and American economists on a wide range of economic issues. In 2008, he returned to the United States to work for a nonprofit organization as the director of international programs. After joining Banyan Hill Publishing, Bauman quickly established a reputation for providing practical advice to protect wealth and assets.

Bauman recommends storing some assets in U.S. safe-deposit boxes because your assets are generally secure and easily accessible. However, there are some disadvantages as well:

  • Safe-deposit box contents aren’t insured by the FDIC, so you need separate insurance.
  • U.S. safe-deposit boxes can be targeted for civil and criminal investigations.
  • There is the possibility of court-ordered confiscation of your assets.
  • The government could order banks to hand over the contents of safe-deposit boxes in a financial crisis.

Safe-Deposit Boxes in Foreign Banks

Safe storage at foreign banks has the benefit of an extra security layer against court-ordered confiscation of your assets. Swiss banks provide safe-deposit boxes when you open an account, and these banks are known for their strong security protections. Your assets are safe from U.S. government confiscation, and most jurisdictions won’t enforce orders from foreign courts. Any potential claimants would need to start a new proceeding in the jurisdiction where your foreign bank is located.

Vaults at Nonfinancial Institutions

There are private vault companies that can give your assets an increased level of security in the United States. These vaults aren’t subject to the leverage that governments and courts have over the banking industry. In the United States, banks routinely surrender privileged information to the government. Private companies require a formal order from a U.S. or state court before they’ll supply this kind of information.

Foreign-Based Vaults

Foreign vaults at private companies rank among the most secure storage spaces for liquid assets. You can store precious metals, cash and other high-value assets without being reported under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

Bauman Discusses Changing Gears in Mid-Life

Bauman admits that he enjoys helping people protect what they’ve earned regardless of their incomes and assets. That’s why he became a financial writer. Bauman’s father, Bob Bauman wrote on financial topics, but Ted Bauman was too busy in South Africa to follow his dad’s path to success during the first part of his life. During this time, Bauman had time-management challenges. Being employed in the public sector creates an extraordinary demand of anyone’s time and emotions. Bauman learned that boundaries must be set if you want to be more productive.

Bauman offered this explanation of the demands of working in the public sector, “ I worked in the public sector for many years as the executive director of a housing finance company that worked with very low-income households to construct housing. One of the things that we did was to try an intervention to help those communities develop financial management systems that would allow them to get the most out of the money they had available.”

After returning to Atlanta, Bauman eventually joined Banyan Hill Publishing in 2013 and finally found the time to try his hand at financial writing on a full-time basis. Bauman commented, “I travelled extensively in Africa and Asia during this period, developing a keen understanding of the relationship between political and economic dynamics in various societies. I’ve also published research and commentary in a number of prestigious international journals, including The Journal of Microfinance, Small Enterprise Development and Environment and Urbanization.”

Bauman’s writing includes work for the “Smart Money” service, which is an ETF-trading platform, and “Alpha Stock Alert,” which is a stock-trading service. He developed a trading system with help from Wall street experts. The system provides real-time insights into the markets to help investors make wiser decisions.

Giving Back

Although Bauman espouses protecting your assets and living a sovereign life, he has worked tirelessly to give back to the community in a variety of nonprofit organizations. He helped to establish Slum Dwellers International, a group that helps low-income families find housing. The group has helped more than 14 million people in 35 countries.

Bauman has devoted years to helping people from all socioeconomic classes lead better lives. He advocates working hard to find ways to protect your assets from corporate greed, excessive taxes and governmental oversight. Vaults and safe-deposit boxes can provide security, flexibility and diversification for people trying to protect their financial resources.


Why is Talos Energy Built for Success?

July 2, 2018 - By 

Talos Energy went public in May of this year after the independent oil and gas company merged with Stone Energy Corporation. Technically, Talos acquired Stone for accounting purposes but either way the new company is built to succeed. For those unfamiliar with Talos, the energy company is a technically driven independent E&P company operating in the United States Gulf of Mexico and Mexico’s portion of the gulf. Management over at Talos have on average 30 years of experience with exploration, acquisition, exploitation and development of shallow and deepwater assets in the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico’s emerging offshore shallow water fields provide the company with high impact exploration opportunities in an up and coming basin.

Co-Founder and current CEO of Talos, Tim Duncan summed up the company’s prime directive best when he said:

“Our plan is to follow large operators, it could be a major, it could be an investment grade type of independent, usilize the infrastructure they typically put in place, and then use the most modern seismic technology available to essentially explore like a world class operator. What would not be material to a major as a basin matures would be material to us as a smaller company. But we need to be able to be as smart as those majors were in how they explored and utilize the infrastructure that is in place which changes the economy of scales which allows us to operate smaller discoveries.”

With the recent Stone merger, Talos Energy has announced it’s 2018 Financial and Operating Guidance, which gives a glimpse of the E&P companies initial 2019 Outlook and Operations Update. The guidance gives the public a look at crucial information regarding various Talos assets. Tim Duncan commented:

“We are pleased to present our Financial and Operational guidance, including a detailed view on the company and its strategy, which outlines Talos’ high-quality portfolio on both sides of the Gulf of Mexico, and value proposition as the largest pure-play public company in the basin. Our guidance reflects a strong free cash flow generating business, with our capital program being internally financed, while effectively managing our liquidity and maintaining balance sheet flexibility.  We believe this flexibility will allow us to be a natural consolidator in the basin.”

Some Highlights of the Operating Guidance include:

  • Talos anticipates generating positive free cash flow after debt service in 2018 – on a pro forma basis – and also in 2019, while investing in the development of its US.S. assets, appraising the Zama find in offshore Mexican waters and continue its proactive exploration initiatives both in Mexico and the US.
  • The Company predicts:
    • 2018 pro forma production sales volumes of 18.0 – 19.5 million barrels of oil equivalent (“MMBoe”), which represents an average daily production of 49 – 53 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (“MBoe/d”)
    • 2018 pro forma capital expenditures of $430 million to $450 million that is expected to be funded with cash on hand and cash flow from operations
  • Successfully drilled Mt. Providence well in January 2018, which is expected to be completed and brought online by September 2018
  • Tornado #3 well is expected to be spud in 4Q 2018 with first oil expected in 2Q 2019
  • Pro forma 1Q 2018 EBITDA margin per barrel of oil equivalent (“Boe”) of $31.20/Boe

Many in the independent oil and gas sector have found success with shale production. But while the industry zigged, Talos zagged relying on their technical and operational expertise within the Gulf of Mexico. This gamble has turned out to be a productive one as Talos successfully spudded the Zama-1 well only to find a large subsea formation. Zama-1 is now one of the 20 biggest shallow-water fields discovered internationally over the past twenty years. Oil Fields that rival Zama-1 in size can produce 100,000 barrels daily.

The company not only seeks to improve production performance on all of its projects and improved hydrocarbon recovery methods, but Talos is also dedicated to the environmental health of the basin’s they operate in. Environmental compliance is of the utmost importance to Talos. And it is this holistic approach to the upstream energy sector that is driving the success of the Houston based independent oil and gas company.




This communication may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements, other than statements of historical fact included in this communication, regarding our strategy, future operations, financial position, estimated revenues and losses, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. When used in this communication, the words “could,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate,” “expect,” “project” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and assumptions about future events and are based on currently available information as to the outcome and timing of future events.

We caution you that these forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. These risks include, but are not limited to, commodity price volatility, inflation, lack of availability of drilling and production equipment and services, environmental risks, drilling and other operating risks, regulatory changes, the uncertainty inherent in estimating reserves and in projecting future rates of production, cash flow and access to capital, the timing of development expenditures,  potential adverse reactions or changes to business or employee relationships resulting from the business combination between Talos Energy LLC and Stone Energy Corporation, competitive responses to such business combination, the possibility that the anticipated benefits of such business combination are not realized when expected or at all, including as a result of the impact of, or problems arising from, the integration of the two companies, litigation relating to the business combination, and other factors that may affect our future results and business, generally, including those discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in our final consent solicitation statement/prospectus, dated April 9, 2018, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b)(3) under the Securities Act.

Reserve engineering is a process of estimating underground accumulations of oil, natural gas and NGLs that cannot be measured in an exact way. The accuracy of any reserve estimate depends on the quality of available data, the interpretation of such data and price and cost assumptions made by reserve engineers. In addition, the results of drilling, testing and production activities may justify revisions of estimates that were made previously. If significant, such revisions would change the schedule of any further production and development drilling. Accordingly, reserve estimates may differ significantly from the quantities of oil, natural gas and NGLs that are ultimately recovered.

Should one or more of these risks occur, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results and plans could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements, expressed or implied, are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. This cautionary statement should also be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that we or persons acting on our behalf may issue. Except as otherwise required by applicable law, we disclaim any duty to update any forward-looking statements, to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this communication.

Free cash flow after debt service is a supplemental non-GAAP financial measure used by management and external users of the Company’s financial statements, such as industry analysts, investors, lenders and rating agencies.  The Company defines free cash flow after debt service as net cash from operations less capital expenditures, dividends and cash interest paid.

Talos Energy has been voted one of Houston’s Top-work-places



Q&A with Chris Burch of Burch Creative Capital: Invest in Being Human and Everything Else Will Follow

July 2, 2018 - By 
Chris Burch

Chris Burch, founder and CEO of the New York City based firm Burch Creative Capital that focuses on managing venture investments and brand development, was profiled by Forbes magazine as one of the world’s billionaires. He was recently featured on The Art of Success with Daniel Budzinski. Below is a transcript of the Q&A, titled ‘Investing in Extraordinary Humans with Chris Burch’. read more