Friday, 6 April 2018

Thank God for the Long Weekend

The Beginning

Your Wealth is a custom Enterprise briefing for people just like you: Executives, entrepreneurs and builders who know that time isn’t money, but that time and money are feedstock for the one thing that matters most in life: Your family, however you define it.

Once a month, in partnership with our friends at CIB Wealth, we’ll bring you a hand-picked selection of ideas, tips and inspirational stories that will help you make the most of your time, enhance our wealth, and build a better life with the people you love.

As always, we love hearing from readers. Send us story ideas, hints, tips or interview suggestions to

Your Life

Sham El Niseem. Sham El Niseem. Thank God Almighty, it’s Sham El Niseem. For those looking for ideas beyond the typical Hurghada, Sokhna and Dahab, National Geographic has its list of top 14 destinations for the best Spring vacations. For those who already have vacation plans, you snooze, you lose. Those in the mood for a flowery springtime destination must consider the beautiful Colombian flower towns to catch Japan’s cherry blossom trees bloom. Those who felt jilted by Egypt’s winter should checkout Norway’s Svalbard for some iceberg kayaking. A little closer to home, you can never count on a bad trip to Morocco’s blue city of Chefchaouen.

Why Apple is the only place you should store those vacation pics: If you’re looking for the place to store all those photos from the break, then look no further than Apple, which John Patrick Pullen argues is the best product Apple has to offer in a piece in Time Magazine. “Despite all the bottomless storage features offered by tech giants like Google and Amazon, I default to keeping my most valuable data with Apple,” he says.

The crux of the issue boils down to the differing business models of the big tech companies — who have been catching heavy flak lately over privacy and exploiting user data. Apple, whose revenue model relies on premium-priced gadgets and electronics and doesn’t charge for data, has a longstanding commitment to privacy. It even faced off with the FBI last year on the issue. Google sells devices and ads. Amazon tries to use its gadgets to lure into buying more, when they’re not spying on you, that is. As for Facebook, which doesn’t sell its users anything at all, your prized photos themselves are the product.

As for the rest of your digital life, we may have just found the killer app, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal’s David Pierce. Notion, the life organizing app, is a one stop shop that keeps all the stuff you usually have stored all over the internet, such as account numbers, meeting notes, to-do lists, contact information, and drafts. “Notion combines many of the best features of Google Docs, Excel and Dropbox, along with lots of task-management and organizational tools,” says Pierce. While program does have a limited free tier, and costs USD 8 a month for heavy use. Pierce says that it is worth it, since it saves you from paying for all those other specialized ones.

At the Movies: 1980’s nostalgia craze got its biggest single boost, with the return to form of the greatest 80s movie director of all time, Steven Spielberg. His newest sci-fi flick Ready Player One is already blazing a trail through the box office. The current number 1 movie made USD 53.2 mn in North America over the four-day Easter holidays, and USD 128 mn overseas, proving that the commercial viability of 80’s nostalgia is still rolling strong.

The film — set like any good 80s film in a dystopian future — has the main characters trying to navigate a virtual reality world, which might as well be called 80s World. There’s “an intense scene inside the hotel from “The Shining,” a character fighting as a robot from the Japanese franchise Gundam and Chucky from the “Child’s Play” movies attacking bad guys,” writes Peter Sblendorio for NY Daily News. “[The protagonist] also drives a DeLorean like the one in “Back to the Future” and at one point slips into the red leather suit Michael Jackson wore in his “Thriller” video.”

Why is this obsession happening now? Pop culture experts say it’s all about timing. We grow fond of decades usually 15-30 years after they end, Robert Thompson, a pop culture professor at the University of Syracuse says. Those who grew up in that era are the ones making movies now. 1980’s themselves were also special as they were the last decade where pop culture was widely shared and “forced.” Cable TV and the internet fragmented pop culture.

Even if you’re not an 80’s buff and just stuck in Cairo for the break, Ready Player One should be worth seeing. You can check out the Hollywood Reporter’s review here.

Say it ain’t so — Coffee causes cancer? Is nothing safe anymore? As the fuel that runs Enterprise, those were our thoughts exactly when we heard that a California court ruled that coffee ought to be branded with cancer warning labels. Acrylamide, a chemical formed when coffee beans are roasted, had been recognized as a carcinogen by California since 1990. The Council for Education and Research on Toxics, the party poopers who filed the suit, charged that Starbucks and 90 other companies did not warn consumers that ingesting coffee would expose them to acrylamide. The companies are considering fighting the decision, according to the NYT. While we do agree with consumer transparency on a moral principle, in this case, we’re willing to go with the “ignorance is bliss” argument.

This is a must read for companies that allow employees to work remotely: As some companies (we’re looking at you, tech) look to revolutionize the office space, others are doing away with an offices altogether in favor of working remotely for some reason or another. For those that do (including us here at Enterprise — and if that interests you, please come work for us) developing a corporate culture outside the office is an imperative. Messaging app Slack is profiling the ways studen loan repayment solutions company Student Loan Hero are using to create corporate culture remotely. These include corporate retreats, weekly meetings, randomized chatting with co-workers, and an internal newsletter on books the company recommends.

Your top 5 for March

The five most important business and economy stories out of Egypt in March 2018 (and the first week of April, too):

  • President Abdel Fattah El Sisi was re-elected for a second term, winning 97.08% of the vote.
  • The central bank cut rates by another 100 bps on the last Thursday of March after inflation rates dropped to 14.4% in February, from 17.1% a month earlier, and ahead of central bank expectations.
  • 23 state-owned companies will IPO or list additional shares on the EGX, the government announced, offering around 15-30% stakes in each. In the private sector, Carbon Holdings tapped a top investment banking house to advise on its IPO, which is set to be the largest in Egypt since 2011.
  • The Administrative Court ordered suspending the licenses for ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem following a case filed by 42 taxi drivers seeking to shut down the platforms’ operations. Both companies appealed the decision.
  • Egypt could become a member of OPEC after 2019, Oil Minister Tarek El Molla told Bloomberg in an interview earlier in March.

Your Time

Long working hours, spending time with family, the requirements for a healthy social life, and often futile attempts to stay in shape mean that we have less time to do something we truly love: reading new books. The app Blinkist helped us get more reading time — sort of. “The basic idea of Blinkist is to take the best of new nonfiction and condense it into pieces just a minute or two long, with entire books summed up in a series of these “blinks” totaling 15 minutes or so,” as Techcrunch explains. Blinkist’s founders are aware they are not replacing book, with co-founder Niklas Jansen saying “we think of Blinkist as the bridge between no book and the book. There’s always a case why you should go on and buy the full book afterwards. Now, if only there was a way we could get more time to read some of the best fiction works out there…

Speaking of saving time, CIB Wealth is setting the industry standard here in Egypt for delivering personalized experiences designed with its clients in mind. They’ve partnered with Les Concierges Egypt to bring a host of exclusive personal concierge services, whether you need help getting errands checked off your to-do list, assistance booking a business flight, or a hassle-free way to make dinner reservations. The experience provided by the CIB Wealth Concierge Services gives CIB Wealth clients exclusive, efficient, and immediate access to round-the-clock tailored services such as:

  • Assistance with government services
  • Bill payments
  • Doctor referrals and appointments
  • Travel services
  • Errands
  • Home care
  • Dining reservations
  • Personal shopping
  • Auto care

For those who would much rather zonk out in front of the home entertainment system and kill brain cells, then April is the month for you. There are three reasons. The first is Westworld, which will premiere on 22 April. There’s Westworld (see reason one). And for the bronze, there’s the second season of the Handmaid’s Tale — the ever creepy Emmy-award winning dystopia. The verge has a list of some pretty interesting trailers for some other shows coming out.

Your Money

Counting the costs of that “one special day”: Wedding season is upon us. And for many of the happy couples out there, it’s the season of jitters — and it’s not because of commitment fears. Costs of getting married have continued to rise globally. In the UK, couples in 2017 spent an average of GBP 27,161 for that one special day. In Egypt, the costs are far greater. The numbers vary, but from we’re seeing an urban middle-income couple could plurge see costs reach between EGP 600k to well over EGP 1 mn. Even in Egypt’s poorer rural communities, expenses can get as high as EGP 150k. It is perhaps not surprising that 13.6 mn Egyptians over the age 18 are unmarried, according to the CAPMAS 2017 census.

Why is it that bad? Beyond inflation and unemployment, probably the biggest driver of these costs is tradition. Grooms and their families have to make sure an apartment is ready and furnished. There’s also the dreaded Shabka, which at around USD 3,000 is giving plenty of men the cold sweats. Dowries can get up to EGP 50,000. And that’s before the actual wedding itself, which we pride ourselves for making it an extravagant affair, with relatives you’ve never heard of coming out of the woodwork. The state appears to have recognized that it has gotten so bad that there’s a bill floating in parliament to setup a fund to offer couples USD 3,400 in interest-free loans payable in 12.5 years.

Does it have to be this way? Short answer — not really. You can forgo with some of the cumbersome traditions. For the other expenses, CNBC says couples are increasingly looking to marry in the off season to save on costs. With popular wedding dates running between May and October, it perhaps worth looking at alternative dates. Risks that come with it include bad weather and shorter guest list — which may not be a problem at all.

Your Family

What does it take to raise a daughter who’ll end up being a high-powered CEO? A career-driven mother, and an all-girls school helps, says Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman. In an interview in the New York Times, Friedman sheds some light on how her home life growing up helped turn her into a high powered woman in Wall Street. She singles out her mother’s transformation from a college-dropout stay at home mom to the first female partner at her law firm as being a pivotal point. “It was a formative thing for me, to see how she transformed herself.” Being in all-girls school played an important part as well. “It was a really important part of me growing up, being in an environment where being smart was celebrated. They constantly talked about going as far as you can go in your life.”

Millenials are finally old enough to forget those dreaded family vacations of their childhoods and are even starting to appreciate them. In the US, 44% of some 88 mn planning family vacations are millenials, more than members of Generation X (39%) or baby boomers (32%), according to a survey by AAA Travel. “Just like generations before them, millennials see a family vacation as one of the best ways to create memories and reconnect with loved ones,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president. Their favorite spots run the gambit of exotic beach locales in Mexico and Jamaica to the cultural destinations of Italy.

Your Style

Second hand clothes have not only shed their grimy reputation — they’re actually going mainstream, according to a recent report by from second hand clothes retailer ThredUp. Last year, 44 mn women shopped second hand (which they fondly call resale), up 9 mn from 2016. The average annual growth rate for the segment is 15%, far higher than the 2% for average clothing retail. The second hand business is projected to double to USD 41 bn in five years from USD 20 bn. And it goes beyond simple affordability, which is already offered by off-price retailers. It appears the thrill of the treasure hunt for that gem item at affordable prices is what’s driving the growth, according to Forbes.

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