Movies. Real Quick Reviews.

Here’s a list of movies I’ve seen recently and my quick reaction afterwards. No film school critics analysis-paralysis. Just quick impressions. I find that I have to see a lot of turkeys to find a gem worth watching twice.

I’m using a 10 star scale, like IMDb. Its just that I don’t know what a “10” star movie is. In the interest of not over thinking this, I generally go with these ratings:

  •  9 Stars – Yeah, these are really, really good, clever and well done. From story to dialogue to twists to cinematics (whatever that is). I’ll remember these and expect they are on the Oscar-watch. Yeah, I’ll see this one again because there are details I probably missed and its so worth a second look.
  • 7 stars – solid, entertaining and enjoyable. I really liked it. These are where I rate most of the Marvel Universe. Despite their familiar storyline, they are simply well done; so cheers to them.
  •  5 stars – yeah, basic and average. Covers the check list for a movie but isn’t special. Follows a pretty obvious flow; so, nothing special. Take it or leave it. Generally, I should save my money. As I leave the theatre, I’m feeling disappointed. Maybe it was over-hyped, but it just didn’t work.
  •  3 stars – wow, definitely bad from start to finish. What were they thinking? Who let this movie get released? I’m pissed I sat through this. But maybe the cinematic qualities and/or actors made me stay. I feel bad for them.
  •  1 star – OMG! Now I’m pissed. Hey Producer AND Theatre Operator! You stole my money! This is awful! But I’ll give you a star for spelling.

If I rate it in between these levels, its because its just a bit better/worse than my rating scale. Here goes, in order of when I saw them (most recent on top):

BRIAN BANKS [7 stars]

Interesting story. I was familiar with Banks,  a  USC football recruit falsely accused of rape and his struggle to clear his name and reclaim his life in football. Just sad he lost a critical 10 years, which in football is nearly impossible to overcome.

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK [6 stars]

Decent but familiar scary stuff of childhood. Probably will play well to the 12-14 year olds. Good tension and frights at times. But saying “boo!” gets you only so far.

HOBBS AND SHAW [6 stars]

Good jokes. Good banter. Good action. Over the top. But not really in the Fast and Furious tent. Where’s Dom? Just an excuse for a buddy movie and follows that path. Ryan Reynolds needs to expand his range. Getting tired of the schtick. Sorry.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD [8 stars]

Well I loved it. Interesting story. Great acting by DiCaprio and Pitt. I expect Oscar noms for them and the movie. Typical Tarantino, except less gore, until later in the movie. Clever. If you like Tarantino, you’ll like this.

STUBER [5 stars]

Both clever and boring, wrapped into one story. Clever idea but dragged. Nanjiani as the Uber driver was very good. I’m going to keep an eye on him. And Bautista (of Guardians of the Galaxy), as the big loveable dimwit was alikewise good. So, yeah, I guess the casting kept me watching this one.

THE ART OF SELF DEFENSE [5 stars]

Man, sort like Stuber, both clever and boring at the same time. Jesse Eisenberg was perfectly cast, as if they writer wrote it with him only in mind. At the end of the day, forgettable, just as a 5-star movie should be. Oh well.

CRAWL [6 stars]

It teases me with tension but at the end of the day, its just a spin on the Sharknado movies, except with gators. Enjoyable and forgettable, but I felt I got my money’s worth for this carnival ride.

MIDSOMMAR [2 stars]

Kinda disgusting. Definitely disturbing. Completely immoral. It revolted me to my core. Wish I didn’t see this one! Trying to forget it. I’m so pissed. Any questions?

SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME [7 stars]

I’m a Spidey going back to Toby. Liked this one very much. A lot of promise with this new cast. The movie was thoroughly entertaining. Delivered what you expect from this Superhero. Also, explained the world after Avengers and what happened. So there is a bridge story back to clarify things a little.

YESTERDAY [6 stars]

Music was the star of this and really showed the depth of what the Beatles did and the music sounded fresh today. The story was clever with this nobody pub singer singing covers of the Beatles songs, except in his world, the Beatles magically didn’t exist. Strange idea but entertaining and fun to imagine. “Imagine if there were no Beatles… Its easy if you try…” Groan… but you get it.

ANNABELL COMES HOME [4 stars]

Just barely above a waste of time. Nothing new here. They got me in the door because I sorta like this kind of movie. But actually, I’m tired of it. Absolutely nothing new. They are beating a dead doll here. Save your money.

THE DEAD DON’T DIE [3 stars]

OMG. What a waste of time. Cameos. Weak jokes by Bill. Everybody dies. Typical zombies movie only worse. It was trying to be funny. Put a stake in this one. Walk away. Bad. Bad. Bad.

ANNA [5 stars]

Good. Spy movie where a super-model gets the bad guys. Okay, maybe unrealistic in every way. But the movie had a good pace, kept me interested and the Anna is, well, hot.

MEN IN BLACK: INTERNATIONAL [5 stars]

A lot of people didn’t like this one. I guess that’s why I didn’t think it was bad. It was okay, watchable and … shrug.

SHAFT [6 stars]

Its got Samuel L. Jackson bringing the attitude. He’s so good, and lifts this average installment in the series. The original Shaft is the grandfather. And Sam’s kid is, well, “violence averse”, but Samuel brings him up to speed in the family business – a$$ kicking bad guys. Fun movie. No masterpiece though.

DARK PHOENIX [6 stars]

Really didn’t get a lot of press; so I didn’t know it was coming up. In the Marvel X-Men series. Men? Well, or course, this is a woman-driven hero. Or is she the nemesis? I enjoyed discovering who these character are. After years (decade really) of Avengers, the X Men story seems to have slipped away. Thing was a good movie, but who really cares. Where’s Ironman, etc.? Not here.

MA [4 stars]

My, my, my. Crazy story but decent. Didn’t know what to expect. Watchable. Forgettable too. But not the worst thing I’ve seen.

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS [3 stars]

I may be a little harsh in my grade, but I just didn’t like it and I don’t care at all about Godzilla. What was the point here? Why do we care? Good special effects though. 3 stars for that.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 3 [6 stars]

And you wonder why there is such violence in society? Wonder no more after you see guns, violence and carnage glorified. Hey, Hollywood? Hello? But this one gave me heart palpitations. Pure adrenaline. And, yes, I enjoyed it. But I don’t own a gun.

ROCKET MAN [4 stars]

I love Elton John music. And this movie, of course, was satisfying to listen to. But, I’ll be honest, the story made me cringe a little. I’m not the target audience for this one. I’ll stick to Spotify for my Elton John fix.

THE HUSTLE [3 stars]

Oh wow. So bad. Embarrassing. I’m a Rebel Wilson fan, but this one didn’t work. Pairing her with Anne Hathaway. Zero chemistry on top of lameness in everyway. Aptly named move; I was hustled in seeing this. $8? Sure, here you go. You’re welcome.

POMS [4 stars]

Complete waste of a talented cast. They did what they could with this tur…key. Man, I never want to end up in a retirement village. Just a sad story.

 

 

What Is? Defining Financial Terms and Concepts: Financial Ratio Analysis

LEVERAGE RATIOS:

Businesses use debt to finance operations. Financial leverage ratios measure the extent to its use. More leverage becomes problematic in a business downturn if profitability (or operating losses) are not sufficient to cover debt servicing requirements (periodic repayments of the debt and loan agreement covenants).

It is a risk to carry too much debt. However, the use of debt can act as an earnings accelerator when times are good. In addition, financing operations with debt preserves the use of the company’s ownership equity, which is an important consideration to shareholders and the value of their shares in the business.

Some well-known ratios:

  • Debt to Equity = [Total Liabilities] / [Shareholders’ Equity]
    • Generally, a ratio greater than two is considered risky to investors in the stock, and to lenders; but this varies by industry.
  • Debt to Capital = [Total Liabilities] / [Total Liabilities + Shareholders’ Equity]
    •  Measures the % of debt in the company’s capital structure.
    •  Operating leases are capitalized and counted as debt, and preferred shares and minority interest are counted in equity to get a complete picture of the company’s leverage.
  • Degree of Financial Leverage = [% Change in EPS] / [% Change in EBIT]
    •  EPS = (Net) Earnings Per Share
    •  EBIT = Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (generally, operating earnings)
    •  Measures the sensitivity of EPS to operating earnings, which is affected by the use of leverage.
  •  Debt to EBITDA = [Total Debt] / EBITDA
    •  EBITDA = Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization
    •  EBITDA is a measure of cash generated by the business which is available to pay the debt servicing requirements.
    •  Banks often use this measurement (and set specific targets) in the loan agreement (called covenants) with the company.
    • The higher this ratio, the greater the risk to the lender. So it is watched and is important in banking.

LIQUIDITY RATIOS:

  •  Quick Ratio = [Cash + A/R + Marketable Securities] / [Current Liabilities]
    •  Measures a company’s most liquid position. Used to evaluate the company’s ability to quickly pay off any and all its current bills. Its also known as the “Acid Test” and provides a general indicator of how well the company is prepared to service its operating needs.
    • A ratio of 1.0+ is considered healthy. However, too much in Accounts Receivables (A/R) could artificially bump up this ratio. If a lot of that A/R is with a few customers, there could still be problems to liquidity if certain customers delay their payments to the company. SO the “age” and payment terms of the receivables should be considered as well when determining what a healthy Quick Ration might be for the company.

 

 

Baby Steps: The Benefit of Micro Savings

A while ago, I read something that really struck me. It was about a comedian, W.C. Fields. He was a successful guy but he lived during the Great Depression and, it seems, was very concerned about saving a few bucks whenever he could. A sensible thing. And of course, one learned the hard way during the worst of economic times.

W.C. toured many cities and towns with his comedy act. And everywhere he went, he would open bank accounts to deposit his earnings, so that he always had some money handy no matter where he was. Of course, there was a problem after a while –  keeping track of where the cash was. It is said that when he died, there were a bunch of these accounts scattered around the country abandoned.

Well, that is what the Great Depression can do to you I suppose. You can never have enough cash stashed to feel a little secure.

If W.C. was alive today, he would surely love how easy it is to set up savings accounts and keep track of them – all from your phone!

I think I have that ‘insecurity’ gene that W.C. carried. I feel the constant need to put a few bucks away. For emergencies or unexpected needs.

So I have really embraced some of these financial services (banks, brokers, funds) that allow you to start with any amount (spare change really) to open an account, and then have regular deposits automatically pulled from your bank account – all before you see it or spend it.

I’m a firm believer it the ‘out of sight-out of mind’ approach to saving. So these services have allowed me to set up what I call little micro-accounts, all drawing little amounts out of my bank account, weekly and/or monthly. Its truly painless and I don’t even miss the money I’m saving because I set the amounts so low and it all happens automatically.

In short order, these accounts are now beginning to grow, which gives me further incentive to continue, or even increase these little savings programs.

The services I am using for this purpose are:

  •  Acorns. This service rounds-up to the next dollar all transaction activity in my bank account, and invests this spare change into a stock fund. So, for example, when I buy groceries and the charge is $34.75, Acorns with take $0.25 and move it into my little savings account with them. All they do is round up all my spending and save the difference for me automatically.
  •  Robinhood. This service allows me to buy stock with money I deposit in this account. No commissions too; except I suspect they take their cut from the price I pay for the stock. Anyway, I have been socking away a few dollars through an auto-deposit each week into this account, and buying stocks, even only 1 share, based on my own research, or impulse. I like this account because it allows me to but only a few shares so I can start to watch a stock before I really commit bigger amounts to it. And I must admit, I do occasional buy stocks on impulse, like LYFT after its IPO. Yikes! But at least the damage is contained.
  •  Marcus Bank (which is actually Goldman Sachs). This is a straight savings account which offers 2.15% (as of Aug. 1, 2019) interest on your savings. This is a better place to sock away my “safety net” money that leaving it in my regular bank with its 0.15% annual interest! So, again, I have set up a simply weekly automatic swept from my bank to this bank.

All three of these accounts were set up online and linked to my current bank account to pull out automatic investments and to draw back money should I need to. There are others, of course. These work for me for putting away money that might have been in a cookie jar in my kitchen. And, as I see the balances grow in these three accounts, it spurs me to add more and more savings to reach savings goals, which I continue to revise higher.

I think W.C. Fields would love this new way of saving.

 

Accounting for Stock BuyBack and Retirement (ASC 505-30)

When a company buys back its stock from investor(s), there are two basic approaches depending on whether their intention is to hold those shares in the treasury for future use/reissue, or permanently retire them. Guidance on recording this is found in US GAAP (Accounting Standards Codification) ASC 505-30 which covers treatment of Treasury Stock.

SCENARIO: A company returns repurchased shares to its treasury.

Such purchases are not considered assets because companies, as a rule, do not invest in their own stock. Rather, this return of stock to the treasury is treated as a reduction against its shareholders’ equity account on the balance sheet, since these shares are no longer outstanding. Therefore, the repurchase of shares is a ‘contra-equity’ account.

Such transactions are dealt with on the Balance Sheet (and the related Statement of Shareholders’ Equity). Generally, the transaction does not result in any gains or losses running through the income statement. Any gains on these shares are credited to the Additional Paid-in Capital (A.P.I.C.) account, and losses are charged against any previous gains first, and then any remainder is charged directly to Retaining Earnings.

These moves bypass the income statement altogether.

A convenient and brief bullet-point list of all of ASC 505 (including section 30) is found here: http://www.accountinginfo.com/financial-accounting-standards/asc-500/505-30-treasury-stock. Of course, it is more fully found in the US GAAP codes.

Two Accounting Method:

[1]  Cost Method– This method is used when holding the shares in treasury for later resale (or later retirement). Often, such share repurchases are used for stock option exercises or other types of incentive stock compensation.

Journal Entry to record the transaction:

DR: Treasury Stock (at cost of the buy back: # shares x $ price paid/share)
CR: Cash (for same)

[2]   Constructive Retirement Method – Shares repurchased are immediately retired (no plan to reissue):

Journal Entry to record the transaction:

DR: Common Stock (C.S.) at par
DR: A.P.I.C. (using the price the stock was originally sold for)
DR: Retained Earnings (difference, if repurchase price > original issue price), OR
CR: Contributed Capital from Retired Shares (a)
CR: Cash (amount paid in the repurchase)

Note (a): If there is a credit to balance this transaction; no new equity is created, but the source of the credit is a form of APIC and could be presented separately on the balance sheet in the Shareholders’ Equity section (In fairness, most choose no distinction, while others do separate it as its own APIC account.) In any case, the details of the repurchase is presented in the Statement of Shareholders’ Equity.

Corporate Governance / Legal Considerations:

Of course, there are some formal Board of Directors actions / resolutions needed to authorize the repurchase and/or retirement as dictated in the corporations article and bylaws.

In addition, there may also be a requirement to report these stock transactions to the SEC and state of incorporation. But these matters are not part of this article.

IPO’s – San Francisco Real Estate and Southern California

In March, a New York Times article observed that the rush of announced IPO’s, logjammed to go public in the second quarter of 2019, might have a staggering effect on the price of homes in the San Francisco area, where many of these companies are based.

Hundreds of Billions of Dollars could be unleashed as various “unicorns” (defined as $1 Billion plus private value companies) suddenly become liquid public companies, giving their insiders, and the local economy, an enormous windfall. Such companies on the docket, or expected, include Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Pinterest among others. As of this writing, Uber, Lyft and Pinterest have gone public, along with several others. But more unicorn listings are still to come.

The Times article posits a few interesting expectations of this new money on a rather small slice of real estate:

  • Estimated 10,000 instant millionaires created, many will be looking to spend on an upgrade to their homes and cars (Tesla anyone?);
  • Average home prices could exceed $5 million in San Francisco (and I’ll bet that’s for a “tear-down” because its about the location, not the home itself that is being purchased);

The article further notes that these millennial buyers prefer to stay in the city where upscale eateries and entertainment abounds; thus reducing the geography in which buyers will hunt for homes.

So, the simple rules of supply and demand will surely drive up prices. Keeping pressure on the home market are the sellers, some of whom are holding houses off the market until after the IPO money flows.

As it is now, the article points out, the rental market is already red hot. The current average rent for a one bed / one bath flat ranges from $3,550 – $3,690 a month. Its no wonder that renters use the common space in apartments as an additional room to rent, in order to hold down the cost somewhat for all occupants. Even closets might be rented out! So I have heard first hand.

Look to Southern California Next:

My observations about this comes from my southern California home, and occasional business trips to the Bay. The high rents and limited office spaces and homes available in the San Francisco-Silicon Valley market has some start-ups and tech firms looking to the south to relocate or add new offices. The west side of Los Angeles-Santa Monica area has their own “Silicon Beach” scene with businesses such as Snap, Hulu, Google/YouTube among others making their mark in this “relatively” more affordable market.

But it doesn’t stop there. Continuing south on the 405 and you arrive at Irvine and the “OC” (Orange County), also attracting unicorns like Houzz.

And not to be left out, San Diego, all the way down the 5 near the border,  is already home to Qualcomm and its own tech “halo” effect, plus a host of biopharma companies, and is now seeing some of the fleeing Silicon Valley businesses add new campuses in the area, like Apple, in order to find convenient and affordable (again, a relative term) housing for workers, new local engineer talent (Qualcomm poaching); and a better quality of life. The extra sunshine and milder climate is an added bonus.

Commuting from Southern Cal:

It was only a matter of time before Silicon Valley would have to look beyond the Bay for business expansion. After all, flight from San Diego to San Jose, the hub for Silicon Valley, is a little over an hour, which is not that bad.

I used to make that “commute”, in my case flying up to San Jose on Mondays ands returning to San Diego on Fridays. I would see a lot of regulars on the same flights doing the same.

The difference this time is that more offices are locating in the various southern California coastal communities, reducing the need for regular commuters like this. It will be interesting to see it unfold.

 

In Saint John Paul II’s words

In honor of (and preparation for) the canonization of Pope John Paul II, I recently completed reading his book ‘Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way’ in which he talks about his spiritual journey and those that inspired him along the way.

A couple of excerpts struck me as valuable lessons, which I write below:


About Fear’s effect on Being an Apostle:

These words were actually spoken by Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, a mentor to Pope John Paul and recounted in the book. they are worth reflecting on in one’s own spiritual journey.

“The greatest weakness in an apostle is fear. What gives rise to fear is a lack of confidence in the power of the Lord.” Wow, think about that. Could I lack confidence in the Lord by my own fears? I hope not! This is a powerful message to contemplate. He continues,

“The disciples who abandoned the Master increased the courage of the executioners. Silence in the presence of the enemies of a cause encourages them. Fear in an apostle is the principal ally of the enemies of the cause.”

I think this observation comes from the experience of those in communist Poland during the time of Soviet oppression. In my words, I think of this as intimidation of the state, the enforcement tool of totalitarian society. There’s more:

Use fear to enforce silence is the first goal in the strategy of the wicked.” Indeed, this is what sinks the ‘silent majority’ in any society, even those not oppressed by totalitarianism. Those commonly held beliefs and moral standards that most people hold can be overrun by bully tactics simply because people don’t speak up. We see this today.

Pope John Paul puts it this way, “We have to bear witness to the truth.” In my words, we must have courage over fear to speak up. This is our duty as witnesses of the Lord.


“Rise, let us be on our way.” (Mark 14:42)

John Paul writes about these words of Jesus this way: “When His hour had come, Jesus said to those who were with him in the Garden” – Peter, James and John – ” ‘Rise, let us be on our way’. Not only He must “be on his way” to fulfill His Father’s will: they, too, must go with Him.”

I would add, we all must view this message of Jesus as directed to us as well.

John Paul thought this message was especially important to the bishops of the Church. He adds, “Even if these words indicate a time of trial, great effort, and a painful cross, we must not allow ourselves to give way to fear. They are also words of peace and joy, the fruit of faith.”


“Rise, and do not be afraid!” (Matt. 17:7)

John Paul observes “God’s love does not impose burdens upon us that we cannot carry, nor make demands of us that we cannot fulfill. For whatever He asks of us, He provides the help that is needed.”

I have often contemplated this thought during times of trials in my life. No matter what I face, I think God has given me the ability to overcome it.

Concluding with this message we should all take to heart, ” ‘Rise, let us be on our way!’ Let us go forth full of trust in Christ. He will accompany us as we journey toward the goal that He alone knows.”

Amen.

 

Social Media shifting trends

I recently read that younger users of social media sites have been looking for alternatives to the mainstream sites such as Facebook, partly because it has become accessible and used by everyone and anyone – including parents. Hence, the ability to post and communicate with friends exclusively means finding other venues not yet discovered by parents.

In the quest for more privacy, other social sites are getting more traffic. Here are some of the sites mentioned:

For More Privacy –

These Micro Blogging tools are seeing a pick up in use:

— Tumblr
— Pheed
— Twitter (direct messaging is private)
— Path (limited to 150 friends and private)\

Image Sharing:

— Instagram
— Snapchat (clips are not saved and limited to one view per recipient)

Messaging Services

— In US
> kik
> whatsApp
— weChat (China)
— KaKoaTalk (Korea)
— Linc (Mideast and Asia)

Kobe’s Work Ethic

Basketball fans know about the competitive fire that burns inside Kobe Bryant. Those who have written about him say his model is Michael Jordan, and Kobe’s burning desire is to be considered as good if not better than Mike.

Kobe is, no doubt, a great player and will go into the history books as one of the best to have played the game. Love him or hate him, that’s undeniable.

As a Laker fan, I have been watching Kobe since he entered the NBA as a 17 year old high school kid. I root for him and I celebrate his elite skills. Without him, the Lakers never would have seen any of the 5 championship rings during his career.

I read an article in which a reporter commented on Kobe’s extreme work ethic and that it has helped him squeeze out every ounce of talent from his body. Some interesting comments about his work ethic include these observations made by the reporter. They highlight the competitive fire that drives this guy:

[1] Lost 16 lbs. for the 2012 Olympics in order to preserve his knees by becoming lighter. Kobe felt that he needed to drop the weight to reduce pressure on his knees and this was extra important in 2012 because he would not have any break after the season ended. Since the Olympics were being played during the summer, he would have to immediately gear up for fall NBA practice and the season.

[2] Workouts often started at 5 am; and 4 hours was typical; including post game one-on-one’s with guys on the team.

[3] Game day workouts, including suicide push-ups for example.

[4] Very strict diet. No sugar or pizza (a favorite). Lean meats only. And he continually self accesses where he stands versus his goals.

[5] Shoots and counts 400 baskets made per day before he stops counting

And the list goes on. Kobe is always ‘on’. No wonder he feels he can come back at full speed, and ahead of schedule, from his Achilles injury. I don’t doubt it.

Tips from a LinkedIn expert

Last night I attended a very informative presentation by Debra Faris, a LinkedIn “expert” who provided some tips on how to improve your visibility on LinkedIn. She definitely knew what she was talking about and the meeting was valuable.

As most know, LinkedIn entered the scene in 2003 and quickly dominated the business social networking space. (Remember Monster.com? Does anyone use that site anymore?) For those seeking job opportunities, staying in touch with colleagues or networking for business connections, this is the meeting hub for such activities.

Naturally, you want to maximize your visibility to others. Here are my notes of what she had to say about accomplishing that:

A typical LinkedIn user may have 150-250 close contacts

But you should actively seek out and attract as many connections as possible because you really never know which one will lead to a connection or opportunity you want. You should make your profile attractive and engaging to encourage others to connect with you.

Your Profile should not be a copy/paste of your resume

Most of us build our LinkedIn profile by transferring what we have said on our resume. But this is really lifeless, clinical and rigid. It doesn’t really say who you are. Its a list and it has its important role of course.

Format your profile to drive your characteristics

But your LinkedIn profile needs to communicate who you are – your personality, skills, characteristics of what you are made of. It should tell viewers what kind of person you are – trustworthy, ethical, flexible, innovative, enthusiastic, generous, empowering, mentoring, etc. Whatever characteristics describe you ought to be emphasized in you profile. This will attract connections because it will be interesting.

Incidentally, Debra mentioned that the most important characteristic may be trustworthiness. If you are perceived as trustworthy, people will want to employ you or do business with you. Makes sense.

You need to network as much as possible, but be time-efficient.

Face to face meetings with others should be part of your weekly routine. You never really know what you will find out until you invest some time communicating one on one with someone. Building relationships, following up, helping others will all help lead you to opportunities.

You should really try to connect with a few people each week. Connect – not be simply present at a function. Build on each relationship. Without connecting, all you are doing is collecting business cards. You need to take time with a few contacts each week. See where it leads you. Debra suggests 3 individuals each week – and really connect!

Join groups on LinkedIn but limit visibility to 10 groups

Networking includes joining as many groups as possible because, like contacts, you never know where it can lead or who is using that group to prospect for job applicants or business opportunities. But its advisable to limit to 10 the number of groups visible on your profile. Otherwise you will look “piggish”.

In the settings screen, simple “uncheck” group logos to not show the group in your public profile. Also, don’t ever show that you belong to a job-seekers group because headhunters typically screen out job seekers. Join them, but keep them invisible. And join as many groups as you want.

Other Tips

[1] Create Tags to organize your contacts for easy future reference.

Such as “Recruiters”, “Who Viewed Me”, “”Top 25”, “One on One Meetings” “To Call”, etc. These help you manage your contacts for follow-up and where you know them from. These tags are not visible to the public.

[2] Connect with HR and Recruiters

They are the keys to job openings.

[3] Send an Invite to those who viewed you.

When someone views you, you are able to connect even if you don’t know them.

[4] Accept every invite you receive (with a few exceptions if it appears suspect).

When you click on the invite, you can always see who they know in your network. If they know others, you probably should know them too.

[5] Connect with the big connectors to get visibility into a bigger potential audience.

These “LIONs” will be restricted from inviting more than 3000 1st level connections, but they can accept connections that come to them.

[6] Endorsements are an opportunity to have a conversation

Spread them out though since each endorsement is “announced” in the timeline. And only do a single endorsement at a time, so that you have future opportunities to have a conversation with that person.

[7] Optimize the SEO potential of LinkedIn

SEO means Search Engine Optimization. You profile is searchable; so have ample relevant “key-words” in your Headline, Summary, Specialties, Position Titles, etc. You will come up in searches that way.

[8] If you are between jobs, be a consultant

Say that you “work with small to mid-sized firms on 6 month projects, etc.” Companies in transition, such as start-ups and M&A’s, may find it attractive to hire temporary people. Say “call for free consultation” to attract a conversation.

[9] Export your email lists into LinkedIn

People change jobs and email addresses; so its a good idea to import your contacts so that you don’t lose them in the future. LinkedIn doesn’t publish email addresses so you may not be able to find associates you knew in the past.

[10] Join project management groups

This may lead to short-term assignments

[11] Recommends paying for service because it lets you know who viewed you.

St. Faustina’s Vision of Hell

It’s a scary thought to be sure. Hell. We don’t really want to think about it. Many people say it doesn’t exist, or that they certainly will not be destined for eternal damnation.

I was reading an interesting article about the Bible’s references of Hell in its text. According to what I read, there are more than 30 references to the existence of Hell in the Old Testament alone. Further, Jesus spoke more of Hell than Heaven. This reference in the Gospel of St. Mark (13:41-42) is particularly disturbing:

“The Son of Man shall send his angels and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

Key to note in this passage is that we are responsible for our actions that may lead others to sin, as well as our own sins. To me, this is another reason why we should not be complacent about the disturbing secularization of society today. And if we care about others, we should speak up when we see their errors. We should not cause others to sin. (In particular, legalized abortion is an affront to the Almighty Giver of Life. And now it is further institutionalized in the mandatory Healthcare law.)

St. Faustina was an early 20th century Catholic Nun from Poland. (The great and Blessed Pope John Paul II canonized her in April 2000). A truly blessed and holy Saint, Faustina left an invaluable legacy in her diary writings that expressed her inner-soul’s journey, and her relationship with our Lord Jesus.

Our Lord permitted her to visit Hell in 1936. She wrote of this vision in her diary. Here are some portion of her account:

“Today, I was led by an angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of torture I saw:”

1] the loss of God;
2] perpetual remorse of conscience;
3] one’s condition will never change;
4] fire will penetrate the soul without destroying it – a terrible suffering since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger;
5] continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own;
6] constant company of Satan;
7] horrible despair;
8] hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies

“These are the tortures suffered by all of the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another….

Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin….

…most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.”

Please, let us all contemplate this warning.