Ford recalls 15,600 cars in South Africa over fire risk


JOHANNESBURG Ford Motor Co (F.N) is recalling nearly 16,000 Ikon and Figo models in South Africa due to a potential fire risk, it said on Friday.

The models were built between 2004 and 2012 in India, Ford said in a statement.

“A power steering fluid leak could result in fumes being emitted from the engine compartment,” it said.

“It may also be possible for power steering fluid to come into contact with the vehicle’s exhaust system components, creating the potential for smoke and, in extreme cases, fire.”

Earlier this year in South Africa Ford recalled 4,500 Kuga SUVs following dozens of reports of the vehicles catching fire.

(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by Jason Neely)

EU promises tough line on U.S., China while pushing for free trade


BRUSSELS German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday that Europe would react in kind if the United States did not play fair in trade, while EU leaders also agreed to consider screening investments by state-owned Chinese firms.

The 28 EU leaders signed up to a document saying they and the European Commission should look into ways to increase reciprocity in government procurement and investment.

“Reciprocity is the right way. If we have for example access to public contracts in the United States, then we can say ‘yes’ to access to public contracts in Europe,” Merkel said, but if full access was denied then Europe would “need an answer”.

The leaders called on the Commission to analyze foreign investments in strategic sectors, adding they would return to the issue at a future meeting.

The written conclusions to the European Union summit that ended on Friday made no mention of the bloc’s two largest trading partners, the United States or China, but both were in the background of its “free and fair” trade push.

The 28-nation union tried for three years to forge a trade alliance with the United States, but now sees itself as an open markets counterweight to a country whose President Donald Trump is looking at restricting steel and aluminum imports.

Beijing is also in the sights of the “protection agenda” of new French President Emmanuel Macron, described as an embrace of free trade, but with limits on foreign takeovers in areas such as energy, banking and technology, where China seeks Europe’s know-how.

An EU-China summit earlier this month, designed to show the two as allies in climate change after the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris accord, was overshadowed by disagreements over trade and over-production of steel.

“Fair competition is better than the law of the jungle,” Macron told a news conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

France, Germany and Italy have backed the idea of allowing the EU to block Chinese investments, partly because European companies are denied similar access in China.

More pro-trade countries such as Sweden have said this is a step down the path of protectionism, while smaller eastern and southern European economies that are dependent on Chinese investment have rejected steps against Beijing.

New Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said it made sense to screen foreign investments to ensure that public infrastructure or defense firms did not to fall into foreign state-owned hands.

“The key thing we wanted to avoid was any effort to use this proposal as a Trojan horse for protectionism,” he said.

Trade, agreed the EU leaders, created growth and jobs, encouraging progress in trade negotiations with countries in the Americas and Asia.

“I think that a time when protectionism is strongly on agendas, the European Union’s commitment to a free and rule-based trading system is very important,” Merkel said.

The most advanced talks are with Japan, with the EU’s chief negotiator in Tokyo seeking a breakthrough that would allow a provisional deal to be signed in early July. The EU wants Japan to scrap tariffs on cheese and wine, while Tokyo is seeking greater access for cars and car parts.

(Additional reporting by Noah Barkin; editing by Robin Emmott and Angus MacSwan)

U.S. new home sales jump, median price surges to record high


WASHINGTON New U.S. single-family home sales rose in May and the median sales price surged to an all-time high, suggesting the housing market had regained momentum.

The Commerce Department said on Friday new home sales increased 2.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted rate of 610,000 units last month. April’s sales pace was also revised sharply higher to 593,000 units from 569,000 units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which make up about 10 percent of all home sales, rising 5.4 percent to a pace of 597,000 units last month. Sales were up 8.9 percent on a year-on-year basis in May.

“While the data quality of the new home sales report is notoriously poor, the general picture from this report and the existing home sales report is one of solid housing demand in the important spring selling season,” said Michael Feroli, an economist with J.P. Morgan.

The housing market has been bolstered by continued strong job growth. The unemployment rate fell to a 16-year low of 4.3 percent in May and mortgage rates are still favorable by historical standards.

However, an increase in the cost of building materials and shortages of lots and labor have crimped homebuilding. With demand outstripping supply, house prices remain elevated.

The median house price rose to a record high of $345,800 in May, from $310,200 in the prior month. The average sales price last month was $406,400, also a record high.

The U.S. dollar pared losses against the yen after the data. U.S. stocks were trading modestly higher while prices of U.S. Treasuries edged up.

Across the nation’s four regions, new home sales were mixed. They fell 25.7 percent in the Midwest and 10.8 percent in the Northeast, but rose 13.3 percent in the West and 6.2 percent in the South, which accounts for a large share of the housing market.

The inventory of new homes on the market increased 1.5 percent to 268,000 units last month.

At May’s sales rate, it would take 5.3 months to clear inventory, unchanged from April. A six-month supply is seen as a healthy balance between supply and demand.

(Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Paul Simao)

Toshiba willing to talk with spurned Western Digital about chip unit sale


TOKYO Toshiba Corp said it was open to talks with Western Digital Corp in their dispute over the sale of the Japanese conglomerate’s prized chip unit – an apparent olive branch after it chose another suitor as preferred bidder.

The two have been feuding bitterly and Western Digital, which jointly runs Toshiba’s main semiconductor plant, has sought a U.S. court injunction to prevent any deal that does not have its consent.

The softer tone from Toshiba comes on a day of further indignities as the crisis-wracked conglomerate saw itself demoted to the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange and estimated bigger losses for the past financial year.

This week it chose a consortium of Bain Capital and Japanese government investors as preferred bidder for the unit, the world’s No. 2 producer of NAND flash chips. It wants to clinch a deal, worth some $18 billion, by June 28, the day of its shareholders meeting.

“Western Digital used to be a good partner, so we want to continue talks. I’m disappointed with the current dispute,” Toshiba CEO Satoshi Tsunakawa told a news conference, adding it was important that they joined forces to better compete against bigger rival Samsung Electronics.

“We want Western Digital to jointly invest to fight against Samsung. It will be so disappointing if we can’t do so because of the dispute,” he said.

But in a sign that tensions were still high, Tsunakawa also said Toshiba was not going to be the first to propose the U.S. firm join the consortium and it was still considering whether to block Western Digital employees not based at the plant from accessing joint venture data servers.

Tsunakawa also said he did not expect any changes to the make-up of the consortium before June 28.

Western Digital’s offer had not found favor on price and because the U.S. firm wanted to take control of the unit, he said, adding that he expected executives from Toshiba to still be running operations after the sale.

His comments come after sources familiar with matter said earlier this week that the Bain consortium members had made resolving the dispute with Western Digital a condition of their investment.

Representatives for Western Digital were not immediately available to comment.

HYNIX HURDLES?

South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix Inc is also part of the Bain consortium and its membership has raised concerns that the winning bid may find it difficult to clear anti-trust reviews.

Its presence has made Western Digital reluctant to join the group in its current form due to worries that high-level technology for NAND chips, which provide long-term data storage, could be leaked to its rival, sources familiar with the matter have said.

But Tsunakawa said SK Hynix would not be holding any equity and would not be involved in management – an arrangement that was unlikely to raise regulatory red flags and would prevent leaks of key technology information.

SK Hynix, which is relatively weak in NAND flash memory chips, has said it has joined the group because it sees new business opportunities. It will provide half of the 850 billion yen ($7.6 billion) that Bain plans to put up in the form of financing, sources have said.

Earlier in the day, Toshiba flagged a net loss of around $9 billion for the year ended in March with negative shareholders’ equity of around $5.2 billion, both worse than expected on an increase in liabilities at bankrupt nuclear unit Westinghouse and potential legal damages.

With negative shareholder equity confirmed, the Tokyo Stock Exchange said it would move Toshiba’s listing to the second section of the bourse from Aug. 1 – the latest in a series of humiliating developments since December for a firm that has been in business for more than 140 years.

Toshiba also received regulatory approval to delay filing its annual earnings by more than a month amid a prolonged accounting investigation at Westinghouse. It is the sixth time since 2015 that Toshiba has delayed an earnings filing.

Regulators have now given Toshiba until Aug. 10 instead of June 30 to submit the filing. Failure to gain an extension would have put the troubled company’s stock exchange listing in further jeopardy, although it still needs to dig itself out of negative shareholders’ equity by the end of this financial year to stay listed.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Edwina Gibbs)

S&P, Nasdaq rise as tech stocks gain, oil rebounds


The SP 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were higher in late morning trading on Friday as technology shares rose and oil prices rebounded from multi-month lows.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was little changed, weighed by a drop in Home Depot (HD.N) and UnitedHealth (UNH.N).

Oil prices rose about 1 percent, edging up from 10-month lows touched earlier this week but remained on course for its biggest first-half decline in almost two decades as production cuts have failed to reduce oversupply. [O/R]

At current levels, the SP 500 energy index .SPNY, down 15 percent so far this year, is on track to post its worst weekly decline in about 18 months.

Apple (AAPL.O), Microsoft and Visa (V.N) rose between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent, and provided the biggest boost to the SP and the Nasdaq.

At 10:48 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index .DJI was up 14.09 points, or 0.07 percent, at 21,411.38, and the SP 500 .SPX was up 4.55 points, or 0.19 percent, at 2,439.05.

The Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC was up 13.53 points, or 0.22 percent, at 6,250.21.

The index is on track to post its first weekly gain after two weeks of declines following a drop in richly-valued tech stocks.

Among the laggards was the healthcare index .SPXHC, down 0.33 percent and the top decliner among the SP subsectors.

Health stocks rallied on Thursday after Senate Republicans unveiled legislation that would replace Obamacare.

However, the bill drew skepticism from the Democrats, who attacked the legislation as a callous giveaway to the rich that would leave millions without coverage.

“The market is banking a lot of its future on the Trump trade. So when we see progress, the markets react positively to it,” said Ken Moraif, senior adviser at Money Matters, a wealth management and investment firm.

Helping boost sentiment was positive economic data.

New U.S. single-family home sales rose in May and the median sales price surged to an all-time high, suggesting that the housing market had regained momentum.

Among stocks, Blackberry’s U.S.-listed shares (BBRY.O) were down 11.8 percent after the company’s quarterly sales missed analysts’ estimate.

Bed Bath Beyond (BBBY.O) shares touched record low as the company reported a bigger-than-expected fall in same-store sales in the first quarter.

A Deutsche Bank upgrade on steel companies, including US Steel (X.N) and AK Steel (AKS.N), pushed up their shares about 4 percent.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,901 to 765. On the Nasdaq, 1,719 issues rose and 874 fell.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

13 Surprising Facts About Top VC Investor Chamath Palihapitiya

Chamath Palihapitiya is one of the most prominent and successful venture capitalists in Silicon Valley.

You’ve likely heard that he was an original member of the Facebook management team before founding venture capital fund Social Capital.

You’ve also probably heard that, since 2011, he’s been part of a group that owns the Golden State Warriors, winners of the NBA championship in 2015 and 2017.

But there’s a lot more to Palihapitiya’s life story than just these few facts.

In fact, here are 13 more surprising things you may not have known about Chamath Palihapitiya.

1. He Is a Refugee

Although wildly rich today, Palihapitiya was actually a refugee in childhood. According to Bloomberg:

“His family had come to Canada from Sri Lanka when he was 5; his father, Gamage, was an official with the Sri Lankan High Commission posted to Ottawa. In 1986, when it came time to go home, Gamage applied for refugee status. Chamath says his father had made enemies in Sri Lanka with his outspokenness about the needless violence on both sides during the civil war that was erupting there.”

2. He Always Dreamed of Being Rich

Palihapitiya always wanted to rich. Even as a child, he obsessed over the Forbes’ Billionaire List, according to Business Insider.

Now that he is rich? He wants to use wealth “as a bridge to a more meaningful, long-term, largely unrealistic goal that can keep you focused, grounded and helpful to others.”

3. He Graduated from the University of Waterloo

Palihapitiya attended the University of Waterloo, graduating with a degree in electrical engineering.

He was actually in the same program as I was. That makes Palihapitiya one of just a handful billionaires to come from Waterloo (bonus fun fact: Waterloo has produced six graduates who founded billion-dollar startups). I’m hoping to accomplish the same as him one day!

4. He Was the Youngest VP in AOL’s History

Remember the days when AOL Instant Messenger was still relevant?

Well, Palihapitiya was running the division in 2004. When he was just 27 years old. (He left AOL in 2005.)

5. Facebook’s User Growth: 14x in 4 Years

When Palihapitiya joined Facebook in 2007, the social network had 50 million users.

By the time he left in 2011? It had 700 million users.

6. The 10 Things He Values in Employees

In a Medium post, Palihapitiya wrote about an email exchange he had with Zuckerberg about the types of employees they wanted at Facebook. The result was a list of 10 things he values:

  • Very high IQ
  • Strong sense of purpose
  • Relentless focus on success
  • Aggressive and competitive
  • High quality bar bordering on perfectionism
  • Likes changing and disrupting things
  • New ideas on how to do things better
  • High integrity
  • Surrounds themselves with good people
  • Cares about building real value (over perception)
  • 7. His Advice for Noobs

In his farewell message to Facebook employees, he shared some advice:

“its easy to get distracted. everyone thinks we are much better than we actually are. be humble and honest about the fact that more is left to do than has already been done. keep moving quickly and don’t get bogged down in the things that don’t matter.”

8. Social Capital Has Made 207 Investments So Far

His investment firm, Social Capital, has made 207 investments in 131 companies, according to CrunchBase. Their portfolio includes startups in consumer, education, enterprise, financial, and healthcare spaces.

Among the winners: Slack, Box (IPO), and Yammer (acquired by Microsoft).

9. He Loves to Pay it Forward

Palihapitiya told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he tips at least 100 percent most of the time.

“Look, I got lucky, so I feel like I should just pay it forward,” he said, adding that he loves seeing the joy on people’s faces when they get such a generous tip.

10. He’s Fascinated by Poker

According to Business Insider, Palihapitiya regularly hosted poker events at his home in Palo Alto with some big name players from Silicon Valley. He called poker a game that “you can learn so easily, but never master,” and noted that playing poker almost mirrors running a startup.

He’s also a competitive poker player. In 2011, he came in 101st in the 42nd World Series of Poker tournament.

11. 4 Important Questions He Asks Himself

On his 39th birthday (Sept. 3, 2015), Palihapitiya posted on Medium, sharing four questions he asks himself at the end of every week:

  1. How many days did I do the things above?
  2. How many days did I just give into the norm vs push back? Fight back…
  3. How many days was I happy? Like, really happy. Not fake, cosmetic happy.
  4. How many days did I give up what I really wanted because someone else’s marginal validation tricked me from focusing on the bigger picture?

12. He’s Big on Bitcoin

In 2013, Palihapitiya said he owned the equivalent of $5 million in Bitcoin – and wanted to own up to $15 million. While it’s unclear if he’s made that a reality, he’s clearly still a big Bitcoin believer:

13. 3 Books He Tells New Graduates to Read

They are:

  • “Liar’s Poker” by Michael Lewis
  • “The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King” by Michael Craig
  • “Fermat’s Enigma” by Simon Singh

1 Sign to Immediately Know Someone Has the Gift of Leadership

When you think of the word “transparency” in business and the workplace, what immediately comes to mind? Do you cringe at the possibility of being that open? That, perhaps, coworkers, direct reports, or even customers will perceive it as a weakness, and take advantage of you or your position?

Heck, is there even a place reserved for “speaking from the heart” as a leader without exposing yourself to hurt from toxic colleagues with bad intentions?

Well, there is a place for it, sure, but leaders first have to get over their own fears. Glenn Llopis, well-known speaker, coach, and author of The Innovation Mentality, challenges conventional leadership thinking when he said this in Forbes:

Being transparent is a powerful thing, if you can trust yourself and be trusted by others.The reason most leaders are not transparent is because they believe they will be viewed as less authoritative; that the credentials they worked so hard to attain will lose their power, leverage and gravitas.

Trust Doesn’t Happen Without Transparency

Ahh, “trust yourself and be trusted by others,” Llopis says. Trust yourself is about courage, inner strength, faith, and belief in your values. Trusted by others? That cannot happen without transparency as the main ingredient in the secret sauce of building trust with your tribe.

Transparency promotes an open culture of respect and dignity void of the usual toxic corporate metaphors like backstabbing, gossip, and throwing people under the bus. The business case for it has and always will be about the team — about strong relationships, collaboration and, lest we forget, getting results!

In his quote, Llopis suggests a necessary change in the belief system of most leaders. As I always say, to get over the fear of something and experience lasting change, change your perception. In this case, the idea that transparency means being soft, weak or vulnerable. Maybe this illustration will help.

A Different Kind of Transparency

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Chip Bergh, chief executive of Levi Strauss Co., tells Adam Bryan about his early leadership lessons on transparency, which is not what most of us think. He demonstrates the side of transparency that comes with fortitude and toughness:

I was at Procter Gamble, which was a promote-from-within company that placed a huge emphasis on the role of the manager to develop their people. In fact, it was part of your performance review.

My first hire was supersmart, but he really wasn’t performing over time, and I felt pressure to get this guy promoted. I basically carried him and got him promoted. But about four months later, he was gone for performance reasons.

The big lesson for me, and it stuck with me forever, is that you’ve got to be really transparent and straight with people, and if they’re not cutting it, you’ve got to tell them where they’re not cutting it. Hold the bar up high, and if it’s not a good fit, call it. (emphasis mine)

When a leader displays transparency, team members know exactly how they’re doing and where they stand with performance. Transparency in this sense is about demanding excellence in others, and openly setting clear goals and communicating the right expectations for desired results.

Bergh also minces no words when it comes to defending his culture of transparency from saboteurs. He tells the Times, “I’ve got some trusted people who will tell me if [politics] is going on behind my back. If I see it, you’ve just got to squash it like a bug as soon as it happens and not tolerate it. You have to be really clear about how we’re going to operate, and if you can’t play that way, then you should probably find another team to play on.”

For skeptics of transparency, prolific author Warren Bennis proved the business case for a transparent work culture.

He noted one study, in particular, where 27 U.S. companies known as “most transparent” beat the SP 500 by 11.3 percent.

If you’re over the skepticism, the question still lingers: How does a leader (or a whole team of leaders, for that matter) become “transparent?” Here’s what I recommend.

Practicing Transparency

First, it always starts with leadership. Once these ideas are clearly understood, leaders should implement them as part of their daily routine every week. After about three months (or shorter), they will achieve noticeable results with their employees.

1. Be accessible to your team.

Be out in front of the line, out in the open, making your rounds, walking your “four corners” and personally sharing plans for the future–communicating important things to your people. Get out of the office as often as you can and pursue connections with your team.

2. Follow through.

If you don’t know the answer to a question or concern, commit that you will get back to your employee by a certain time, and make sure you follow through. Keeping your word on small things demonstrates that they can depend and rely on you. This is important for the relationship because when the big things come down the pipe, they can trust that you’re going to be there–that you’ll continue to do what you say you will. Following through and being your word will solidify your credibility.

3. Give your team the bigger picture.

One way to engage your employees is to give them perspective about what they’re doing. Communicate how their work ties into the bigger picture. Let them know the larger context — not just what they’re doing, but WHY they’re doing it. Transparency in this context is really about your employees saying, “I trust the future.” It gives them confidence about where they’re headed, where the company is headed.

4. Provide concrete goals.

So you’ve communicated the vision for your team. But if your vision, and the strategy behind the vision, is unclear, this is not good. Remember, it’s the ‘why’ behind the cause that motivates employees on an emotional level to go above and beyond. Make it a habit to give your tribe clear goals and expectations by providing the ‘why’– the ideological basis for those goals. When this information is shared weekly with them, they will feel the same drive and passion to accomplish those goals as their leaders do.

Man Who Made 97 Million Robocalls Faces Record $120 Million Fine

If you’ve ever answered the phone and been annoyed to hear a pre-recorded voice on the other end, you may find it especially satisfying that the Federal Communications Commission has identified what appears to be the single worst perpetrator of robocalls. Adrian Abramovich, 47, of Miami is accused of placing 97 million robocalls in the last three months of 2016 alone. He’s been doing this for years, so his total of annoying robocalls likely stretches into the billions. The FCC has proposed a fine of $120 million as punishment.

The calls begin with a pre-recorded message pretending to be from Marriott, Expedia, or TripAdvisor. They offer an exclusive vacation deal you can learn about if you press 1. But if you do press 1, your call is routed to a call center in Mexico operated by one of several travel companies there that will try to sell you vacation packages or timeshares. Needless to say, none of this has anything to do with Marriott, Expedia, or TripAdvisor.

TripAdvisor (after getting some bitterly worded complaints from people on the Do Not Call registry) investigated the fraud on its own, according to the FCC’s filing. According to the FCC: “TripAdvisor spoke with an owner of one of the Mexican call centers selling vacation packages who explained Abramovich’s business model. Various Mexican call centers contracted with Abramovich to reach out to American consumers via phone campaigns and direct consumers who ‘pressed 1’ to their call agents. This traffic provided by Abramovich could be adjusted up or down based on the call center’s capacity and needs. The call centers paid Abramovich daily for various amounts of traffic.”

Misrepresenting yourself as someone you’re not is illegal, needless to say. But so are many other things that telemarketers routinely do. It’s illegal to call–or text–a mobile phone for anything other than emergency purposes without the owner’s prior consent. It’s illegal to call a land line on the Do Not Call registry for marketing purposes without prior consent. (Contrary to what some telemarketers may tell you, the fact that you’ve done business with a company in the past does not constitute prior consent.) It’s also illegal for telemarketers to call numbers used in response to emergencies, which Abramovich did. Finally, it’s illegal to “neighbor spoof” a call, making it appear to come from a local number and Abramovich did that too. In addition to the proposed fine, the FCC warned Abramovich that could be fined up to $19,246 per call for any further violations of these laws.

Abramovich now has 30 days to respond to the FCC about its proposed fine. Available information about Abramovich seems to be scarce, but the FCC did note that Abramovich has operated at least 12 companies over the years, often for only a year at a time. He was operating as Marketing Leaders, Inc. when he made the calls he’s being fined for. Since September 2015, he’s been operating as Emerald Media, which is still active today.

Buzzfile, which aggregates public records about companies, estimates Emerald Media made about $23,000 per year during its first two years of operation. In view of his record fine, let’s hope Abramovich has some other source of funds.

The Pros and Cons of Investing in a Cryptocurrency ICO

“Initial Coin Offerings” are all the rage these days. A project called Bancor raised $153 million within a handful of hours. This week, another called Status.im raised at least $64 million. Both evoked so much enthusiasm that transactions clogged up the underlying network. The startup behind chat app Kik is planning an ICO sometime this year. According to a recent CoinDesk report, “So far in 2017, blockchain entrepreneurs have raised $327m through ICO offerings, a figure that now exceeds the $295m raised through VC funding.”

As the name implies, ICOs are inspired by standard IPOs, although in practice they are very different. The simplest way to understand an ICO is that it consists of crowdfunding on top of a blockchain (the technology behind Bitcoin). Investors buy tokens — units of digital currency — which are typically meant to be an integral part of the application that the startup wants to build. The bet is that the application will be popular and thereby generate demand for the tokens, increasing their value. So far, most ICOs are built on top of Ethereum, which is like a version of Bitcoin that can also host applications called “smart contracts.”

There is big money here, much of it coming from China. But plenty of investors from all over the world want to get in on the ground floor, hoping to become a stakeholder in a startup that could turn out to be the next Google or Facebook. Meanwhile, critics say that ICOs are schemes to evade SEC regulation, or that ICOs have potential but the current fervor is a bubble.

Let’s get to the real question: Should you invest? Is this a good way to get rich quick? In the case of most ICOs, the answer is no, but contrary to Betteridge’s Law, there are occasions when the answer is yes. As with all high-return investments, buying cryptocurrency is risky, and ICOs are riskier still. And as with all active investments in general, it is wise to never commit more money than you can afford to lose.

That said, if 1) a project makes sense as a business and 2) there is demonstrated demand for it, and 3) the business is something that needs a cryptocurrency token system to work, and 4) you can commit the funds without hardship, then sure, go ahead. Alternately, if you know that you are a talented speculator irrespective of an asset’s underlying value. (However, this is probably not true even if you think it is. Even most professional stock traders don’t beat the market.)

That said, it is crucial to understand that buying into an ICO is not the same as buying stock. When you buy stock, you literally buy a piece of the company. Similarly, stock is regulated and obligations like fiduciary duty and accreditation are involved. Legal infrastructure may come to cryptocurrencies eventually, but we are not there yet.

Rather, as Investopedia plainly put it: “Early investors in the operation are usually motivated to buy the cryptocoins in the hope that the plan becomes successful after it launches which could translate to a higher cryptocoin value than what they purchased it for before the project was initiated.”

On top of that, a typical ICO company has a website and a whitepaper, but no functional product. The consensus in the venture capital world is that it’s not good for a new startup to get too much money too quickly. The founders will feel compelled to spend the funds simply because they’re there, and abundant resources will reduce the need to hustle hard for product-market fit.

Neither is Ethereum itself a stable store of value. A flash-crash shook the market on Wednesday. Prominent Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir‏ said in March, “Ethereum isn’t safe or scalable. It is immature experimental tech. Don’t rely on it for mission critical apps unless absolutely necessary!” It is worth stressing that ICOs, which usually rely on Ethereum, are themselves an experimental mechanism.

In closing: You might be able to make money by investing in ICOs. But there are substantial risks involved and you should try to approximate the due diligence that a traditional investor would conduct before committing cash to a new project.

Office Politics Suck–Here Are 5 Ways to Come Out a Winner Every Time

Regardless of how much we choose not to be a part of it, office politics often seep into many aspects of our working lives. So, given that office politics aren’t going away anytime soon, what can anyone really do?

Well, you have two options: Ignore it and hope it goes away, or play it to your advantage.

Here are 5 ways to win the game right now.

1. Figure out who runs the game

There’s something to be said about having an intuitive feeling for those who have more social power than others. Identify individuals who seem to do a great deal for an organization, analyze how they interact with others in the company, and do your best to ally yourselves with them.

2. Remain professional

In small conversation and larger talks alike, it’s important that you remember to stay professional in your language, behavior, and actions. Appear objective, learning more than you offer, and always think before you speak–because what you say might be used against you later on.

3. Include, incorporate, and communicate

Although it may be force of habit to include as many people as possible when having group conversations, it’s wise to watch who you bring where–especially as you never know who might turn around and start talking poorly about you once you leave. Communicate readily and with great transparency when it comes to people you trust, but refrain from overly sharing with people you don’t know that well.

4. Protect those on your side

As in any situation, when you demonstrate that you really show up for your loved ones–or at least coworkers you consider close–it encourages them to return the favor should it ever be necessary. Attempt to squash disputes at the highest level possible, and prevent cross-departmental conflict.

5. Embrace the game

If you accept that your job and workplace will always be political, you’re sure to have a better experience than someone who denies the reality of the situation. Work with the grain–not against it.