Business Calendar for week of May 25 - Phoenix Business Journal Business Calendar for week of May 25 - Phoenix Business Journal

Friday, May 25, 2012

Business Calendar for week of May 25 - Phoenix Business Journal

Business Calendar for week of May 25 - Phoenix Business Journal

Wednesday, May 30

“Whittling Down the Details of a Business Bankruptcy,” Women in Banking, noon, offices of Ryan Rapp & Under­wood, 3200 N. Central Ave., Ste. 1600, Phoenix. Free. Emily Amparan, 602-763-1875 or

Thursday, May 31

“Identifying and Protecting Your Intellectual Property,” Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, 11:30 a.m., GateWay Community College, 108 N. 40th St., Phoenix. Free. Reservations required: 602-286-8955 or

“Simple Steps 2: How the Right Information Can Make You a Lot of Money,” Greater Phoenix Score, 2 p.m., NMBCA/SSC Boring building, 1951 W. North Lane, Phoenix. $25. or 602-745-7250.

2012 Business & IT Expo, Arizona Technology Council and Phoenix Business Journal, 2:30 p.m., Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 N. Third St., Phoenix. Free. www.aztech

Monday, June 4

“Global AZ Tech Beat,” Arizona International Growth Group, 7:30 a.m., ASU SkySong, Global Room, 1475 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. $20. globalaztechbeat

Wednesday, June 6

“Sales for the Technology Venture,” Arizona Small Business Development Centers TechEdge, 11:30 a.m., GateWay Community College Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation, 108 N. 40th St., Phoenix. Free. Reservations required: 602-286-8955 or

Manufacturing Series: “Portfolio Management,” Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 5:30 p.m., PADT offices, 7755 S. Research Drive, Ste. 110, Tempe. $20.

Thursday, June 7

West Valley Procurement Fair and Trade Show: “Mastering the Purchasing Maze,” Glendale Chamber of Commerce, 8 a.m., Thunderbird School of Global Management, Glendale. Free.


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Business acumen: How one Swiss Guard found inspiration in late pope - Catholic News

VATICAN LETTER May-25-2012 (950 words) With photos posted May 24. Backgrounder. xxxi

Business acumen: How one Swiss Guard found inspiration in late pope

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Some might find the Vatican an unlikely teacher of business management, especially these days, given the ouster of the Vatican Bank's president for negligence and a leaked document scandal alleging corruption and incompetence in the Holy See.

But according to one former Swiss Guard, the years he spent protecting Blessed John Paul II yielded life-changing lessons for a career in business.

Andreas Widmer, a 6-foot-9-inch Swiss-born financier and entrepreneur based in Boston, said watching how the late pope lived his life showed him that business and faith can go together.

Blessed John Paul emphasized "an integrated approach to life" in which earthly activities need not be divorced from spiritual enrichment, Widmer told Catholic News Service during a recent visit to the Vatican.

"There is a latent dualism that says, 'Over here in the spiritual realm, I can do a little bit of tithing, maybe a little bit of corporate social responsibility and then over here it's dirty business," he said.

Any dichotomy depicting the material world, especially business or work, as bad or below the divine "is not true; that's not an integrated Catholic approach to life," he said.

In fact, superficial trends supporting "social entrepreneurship" and "corporate social responsibility" actually reinforce the harmful dualism by perpetuating the assumption that only the fruits of labor and profits -- not the business practice itself -- can improve people's lives, he said.

Widmer served in the Swiss Guards from 1986 to 1988 and credits the way Blessed John Paul prayed, worked and interacted with the young guard for bringing him back to his Catholic faith.

Even after he left the guard to earn numerous business degrees and build a successful career, Widmer kept his eye and ear on the pope's teachings.

Key to his business ethos is Blessed John Paul's theology of the body, which integrated the physical and the spiritual, he said. Just like a marriage, a business has to be life-giving, respect human dignity and cooperate with natural law, Widmer said.

A manager or employer has to feel real love for his or her workers and clients, and needs to create an environment that prompts people to grow in holiness.

When people feel responsible for the moral and spiritual well-being of co-workers, clients and customers, not only does it help fulfill God's plan of salvation, "it's also a very profitable way to do business" and a clear way to avoid unethical practices.

"A good business cooperates with natural law," he said.

Despite the church's call for business and economic policies that protect human dignity, more needs to be done, Widmer said.

Perhaps the most startling evidence for this came when Widmer noticed that of the thousands of entrepreneurs he found who practiced good stewardship, "they were all Christian, and not one was a Catholic."

"Maybe the church isn't ministering to entrepreneurs. How many dioceses have a business ministry?" he pondered.

The teachings are there in the church's abundant magisterium, he said, but the church and many lay Catholics haven't quite figured out how to translate it into a language and format that's easily understandable to today's economists, entrepreneurs, bankers and the like.

The most general litmus test is to simply ask, "Do your services truly serve and are your products and goods truly good?" he said. That's the best way to describe the fundamentals to a room full of CEOs without needing to give a whole catechesis, he said.

But a wider, more intensive application of church teaching will require new ways of speaking to the world.

Widmer helped spearhead the Catholic Mental Models Project, which will study what business professionals around the world think specific Christian concepts, such as "social justice" or "preferential option for the poor," mean and how they apply to the real world.

He said he's applying to social doctrine the same kind of social science rigor he's had to use as a consultant to a company looking for what words to use to sell its detergent.

"Some people will be offended by this, but this is no different from what Paul did in Athens," when he sought to couch Jesus' message in ways the local people would understand, Widmer said.

He added that he hopes the online survey results will "supply the church with the language that will explain her ancient truths to people living in a market-based economy."

Another way Widmer is working to fill the gap is by spreading his corporate and spiritual experiences through blogging at and via Facebook and Twitter.

They are companion lessons to his recent book, "The Pope & The CEO: John Paul II's Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard." The 150-page book uses amusing anecdotes, serious business experience and questions for reflection to bring church teaching to life.

"John Paul motivated me to Christianity and I want to motivate others the same way," he said.

The book is not just for CEOs, he said, but is meant to help people understand and live out "servant leadership" in all their relationships as family members, friends, workers and members of society.

"Part of what I'm trying to do is be a coach, I want to motivate, inspire and teach to help people get to the next level."

He said it took him more than a decade to find a way to integrate his faith with his professional life and risked many relationships and profits along the way.

But his experience as a guard and dedication to learning what the church had to say showed him what true leadership is with all the benefits of a happier, more rewarding life, he said.

"Business is a force for good," Widmer said. "We don't just make more, we become more."


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Business demands early poll - Australian Financial Review
Business demands early poll

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Prime Minister Julia Gillard cross paths during a division at Question Time Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Michael Smith and Jenny Wiggins

Business leaders are calling for an early election, warning that the political uncertainty created by a federal government lurching from crisis to crisis is eroding confidence and forcing them to put investment decisions on ice.

Chief executives of top-100 listed companies interviewed by the Weekend Financial Review said “enough is enough” as a string of political scandals coupled with a deteriorating economic picture meant Australia could no longer afford to have a question mark over key policy areas.

They singled out uncertainty over the carbon tax, industrial relations, the national broadband network and the mining tax as the main areas of concern that could be resolved if the Gillard government went to the polls. “Business needs some stability, we have short enough parliamentary terms as it is. If those are mirrored by internal instability along the way, it really isn’t helpful for anybody,” the chief executive of rail and ports giant Asciano, John Mullen, said.

A Nielsen poll for the Weekend Financial Review two weeks ago found 52 per cent of Australians would like an election to be held as soon as possible, up from 50 per cent in February.

The business community’s confidence in the Gillard government, already damaged by the leadership challenge by Kevin Rudd in February, has further eroded following the Peter Slipper and Craig Thomson scandals.

Senior executives in the mining, retail, energy, financial services, transport and construction industries questioned by the Weekend Financial Review said an election was the only way to stop business being undermined at a time when the European debt crisis, falling stockmarkets and weak consumer confidence were rattling sentiment.

Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes said during the week that businesses were reluctant to spend money in the present political environment.

“When Parliament are concentrating on the marginal nature of the government and the vote, and concentrating on individuals, then it doesn’t work well to give a degree of confidence for both investors and consumers,” Mr Brookes said, although he stopped short of calling for an early election.

Myer joined David Jones this past week in issuing a profit downgrade following a sudden deterioration in sales. Mr Brookes blamed uncertainty created by the carbon tax and rising living costs for fewer people shopping in his stores.

The chief executive of building materials group Adelaide Brighton, Mark Chellew, said it was time to let the public vote on a number of policies that would hurt business, such as the carbon tax.

“Enough is enough. I think the government should call an early election and let the people decide,” Mr Chellew said.

“The government is implementing a number of policies which we think are detrimental on business, and the public should have the right to make a decision about the future of this country.”

The mining community has also lashed out at the Gillard government over taxes and workplace relations.

BHP Billiton chairman Jac Nasser attacked the government earlier this month, calling for an overhaul of the industrial relations system.

Treasurer Wayne Swan has criticised mining billionaires Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest and Clive Palmer in comments that upset the resources sector at a time when it is dealing with rising labour, capital and tax costs.

BC Iron chief executive Mike Young said an election should be held “the sooner the better”, saying the government, Mr Thomson and the independents holding the balance of power had all done the wrong thing by clinging onto power.

“The country is in suspended animation at the moment and you can’t do anything. Their bare-faced determination to stay in power is just breathtaking.

“I just can’t wait until they are gone,” Mr Young said.

“It makes my blood boil that we, of all countries on Earth, aren’t holding our head up high and being very proud of what we have achieved.”

The managing director of Lend Lease’s Australian construction business, Peter Brecht, said he was worried policy decisions were being delayed.

“Politics are very difficult at the moment . . . I think it does [affect us]. It’s a confidence issue, we just try and work through that,” he said.

“We try and encourage everyone to get on with it but we don’t like to see decisions delayed or postponed. They get caught up in the politics.”

Asciano’s Mr Mullen, who has been battling industrial relations disruptions at the company’s port operations for almost two years, said constantly changing policy was not healthy.

“We studiously try to avoid backing one horse or another or making specific comments on any individual thing but it’s clear to the whole of corporate Australia that insecurity and instability is just not good for the country,” he said.

“Whichever side is in power, or whatever the situation, the chopping and changing and reversal of policies and stated objectives is a perpetual threat of any changed government.”

AGL Energy chief executive Michael Fraser stopped short of calling for an election but said the energy sector was exposed to political uncertainty.

“Businesses right across Australia want to see stability in politics and stability in policy settings so we can make long-term investment decisions,” he said.

The chief executive of insurer IAG, Mike Wilkins, said: “Certainty is what Australian business looks for. Any uncertainty is not good for confidence and a clear and solid direction is paramount from our political leaders.”

Not everyone agrees, however. Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly said earlier this month that the government’s critics should back off. Some chief executives would not go on the record to call for an election but were highly critical in private of the political situation.

Several senior chief executives, however, said in private that Ms Gillard was more impressive than her public image portrayed.

Some business leaders also privately expressed concern about the quality of the Coalition leadership.

The Business Council of Australia declined to comment on whether the government should call an early election.

But president Tony Shepherd said this week government policy must balance the needs of different groups.

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  • Cameron and Sarkozy war of words over financial transaction tax - Daily Telegraph

    "If other countries want to put in place a financial transaction tax, I do think it's an extraordinary thing to do. The European Commission has told us that would cost Europe half a million jobs. To do something that would cost so many jobs does seem to me to be extraordinary.

    The Prime Minister added: "In the spirit of this healthy competition with France... If France goes for a financial transactions tax, then the door will be open and we will be able to welcome many French banks to the United Kingdom and we'll expand our economy that way."

    Financial Companies Need A New Model - Yahoo Finance

    While the dust is still settling from the bursting of the housing bubble and the resulting credit crunch, it's not hard to make a few general statements about the circumstances that fueled much of the excess. Though the U.S. government has chosen to do little to change how financial companies are structured and managed, this seems like one of the core contributing features of the most recent crisis. It may be time, then, to consider whether the U.S. financial system would benefit from a new model for its financial companies.

    SEE: Getting To Know Business Models

    Underlying Premises
    There were many contributing circumstances to the emergence, growth and collapse of the housing bubble. Like most disasters, the problem wasn't so much a single factor as a combination of multiple reinforcing factors that ultimately led to trouble. That said, the structure of many financial companies appeared to have played a major role.

    A large percentage of the major players in the credit system - banks, investment banks and insurance companies - were all structured as public corporations. While this structure theoretically gives every shareholder a voice in how the company is run, in practice it almost never worked that way. Instead, boards of directors and senior managers acted as they saw fit, particularly when it came to the compensation and risk management philosophies of the company.

    Across the spectrum of companies, there was widespread excessive risk-taking, with virtually no accountability or personal risk involved. While an individual trader, banker or portfolio manager could be fired for a series of bad trades, and executives could be fired for hiring too many ineffective employees, the shared risk stretched no further than that job. At the same time, managers were rewarding successful employees with huge cash payouts and little apparent concern for the risk they took to produce the results.

    When it all fell apart, numerous financial corporations received millions of dollars from the government to stay afloat, but bonuses already paid out were left untouched. Consequently, the system essentially evolved into a "heads, I win; tails, you lose" scenario, where executives had everything to gain by taking on outsized risks (large salaries and cash bonuses) and very little to lose if it all went wrong.

    Are There Alternatives?
    Financial companies weren't always structured this way. For much of the business history of the U.S., banks were privately owned, investment banks (and merchant banks before them) were structured as partnerships, and many insurance companies were mutual organizations.

    While these are all different structures, they share a few common features as they pertain to financial companies. For starters, they tend to attract and retain less capital, so managers tended to focus on a relatively smaller number of businesses where they had real expertise and understanding. Likewise, with capital in short supply (and expensive), managers were much more conservative about how that capital was allocated.

    These structures all often gave senior executives huge personal financial stakes in the fate of the enterprise they managed. While not all partnerships were structured in a way that made partners individually financially liable for the company, many were. All in all, then, these structures often meant that managers had a deep personal connection to their businesses; failure of the business was often tantamount to personal financial bankruptcy or at least significant loss of wealth.

    SEE: Identifying And Managing Business Risks

    Definite Downsides
    These are not perfect organizational structures, and certainly do feel out of place in a financial sector that is far larger, more dynamic and more global than ever before.

    For starters, a higher cost of capital means that fewer worthwhile projects will be funded or pursued, and this is less efficient for the economy as a whole. After all, there has to be a happy medium somewhere between enterprising businesspersons or young couples being unable to get loans on any reasonable terms and widespread NINJA loans (no income, no job/assets).

    These structures are also inherently exclusionary and inefficient. Banks, investment banks and insurance companies are legitimate enterprises that many people want to invest in, and avoiding public shareholding altogether again removes options from the market and reduces investment and capital efficiency. What's more, small, siloed businesses are less efficient and that inefficiency filters through to the economy as more expensive capital and slower-than-necessary growth.

    Time for a Hybrid?
    Hybrids are still all the rage today in cars, and maybe governments need to consider hybrid models for financial companies. Perhaps it would be possible to structure them as modified limited partnerships where regular investors can participate as shareholders, but managers hold a different sort of stake that entitles them to a different share of profits at the cost of more responsibility and personal liability.

    In such a model, then, senior managers would essentially be forced to own this different class of shares as a prerequisite of the position. With more of their own assets on the line, perhaps they would be less eager to pursue risk blindly.

    Then again, it may be that such advanced measures are excessive. Perhaps there's a simpler way that fits within the existing structures. What if senior executives were required to hold a certain percentage of their personal financial assets in company shares and could only receive a limited amount of cash compensation in a given year (with the rest in the form of restricted or preferred shares). Such a model would, at a minimum, delay some of the gratification of excessive risk-taking and would enable boards of directors to claw back compensation or otherwise punish those whose decisions ultimately did serious harm to the corporation and its shareholders.

    SEE: $1 CEOs And What They Make Now

    The Bottom Line
    There is no perfect corporate structure, and probably no failsafe method of restraining greed or self-interest. That said, reducing the short-term cash benefits of risky behavior and putting more of a decision-maker's net worth on the line, might serve as a reasonable brake on destructive impulses.

    More From Investopedia

    MacroSolve: Does Every Business Need a Mobile App? - Yahoo Finance

    TULSA, OK--(Marketwire -05/10/12)- MacroSolve, Inc., doing business as Illume Mobile (MCVE.PK) (MCVE.PK) ("MacroSolve," "Illume Mobile" or the "Company"), a leading provider of mobile technologies, apps, and solutions for business, today announced that on May 8th, 2012, Donald Trump Jr. was featured on Fox Business' Markets Now with Cheryl Casone and Dennis Kneale discussing the world of business apps and the defense of innovation (through the context of software patent litigation).

    In the segment, Donald Trump Jr. and Fox highlight the importance of utilizing mobile technologies for businesses today.

    "Today, perhaps the most important piece of real estate that someone can have, is... on their smartphones," claims Donald Trump Jr. "To be able to control a piece of that face, is really critical for business."

    Another topic of interest discussed was software patent litigation and, in Mr. Trump's words, the defense of innovation in America. Mr. Trump was stalwart in his defense of MacroSolve's robust patent portfolio and defended a number of lawsuits against major corporations including: Facebook, Walmart and Marriott.

    "There are patent trolls and then there are true innovators," states Mr. Trump. "Before anyone was even thinking about... patents and mobile apps and communicating this way, these guys [MacroSolve] came up with the technology to be able to do that. That kind of foresight and that kind of thinking really needs to be protected in this country."

    Coming off the recent launches of a number of innovative mobile applications including one for the Trump organization, the business-to-business app company released its first quarter results demonstrating its 5th consecutive quarter of top line revenue growth.

    Illume Mobile provides custom mobile solutions, and specializes in three industry-specific mobile application platforms: sales (SaleSentral), dining (DineSentral), and personal safety (GuardianSentral). SaleSentral takes sales information and presentations mobile through the development of a customer interface used for uploading and managing content, creating a sales toolkit to use anytime, anywhere. DineSentral makes it easy to promote a restaurant's brand, maximize sales and connect with customers by utilizing rich graphical content, social media, customer loyalty, customer feedback, and integration with third party applications. GuardianSentral is an easy-to-use smartphone application used in tandem with your current campus security offering (emergency phones, campus police, etc.) to provide real-time GPS tracking of individuals who feel they are in danger.

    "Businesses of all sizes recognize the need for a mobile strategy," says Steve Signoff, CEO of Illume Mobile, "but businesses are also savvy and know that having a mobile app means more than just checking a box."

    Fox Business' Cheryl Casone asks, "Does every business need a mobile app?" Through the innovative mobile technologies being developed and made available by companies such as MacroSolve, it wouldn't make business sense not to take advantage.

    About MacroSolve
    MacroSolve, Inc., doing business as Illume Mobile, is a pioneer in delivering mobile apps, technologies, and solutions. Leveraging its intellectual property portfolio, MacroSolve enforces its landmark patent while providing mobile app products and services under the name Illume Mobile. MacroSolve is positioned to become a leader in the mobile app development services space, which is projected to become a $100 billion market in 2015 according to Research2Guidance. For more information, visit Illume Mobile at

    Safe Harbor Statement
    This press release contains projections of future results and other forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are made pursuant to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Important factors that may cause actual results and outcomes to differ materially from those contained in the projections and forward-looking statements included in this press release are described in our publicly filed reports. Factors that could cause these differences include, but are not limited to, the acceptance of our products, lack of revenue growth, failure to realize profitability, inability to raise capital and market conditions that negatively affect the market price of our common stock. The Company disclaims any responsibility to update any forward-looking statements.

    Morning business round-up: Spain's Bankia shares suspended - BBC News

    What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

    The main event in Europe on Friday was the news that trading in shares in Spanish bank Bankia was suspended in Madrid.

    It asked for them to be suspended ahead of a board meeting later on Friday to reformulate its accounts for 2011 and submit a plan to shore up its finances.

    The bank is reported to be due to ask the government for a bailout of more than 15bn euros ($19bn; £12bn).

    Bankia, which is Spain's fourth-largest bank, was part-nationalised two weeks ago because of its problems with bad property debt.

    In China, the telecoms equipment maker Huawei filed a competition complaint against US firm InterDigital with European Union regulators.

    Huawei accuses InterDigital of "abusing" its position and demanding "exploitative" fees to use its patented technology, said to be essential to 3G in mobile devices.

    It added that such moves were against the EU rules which require holders to licence their patents fairly.

    InterDigital said it was "committed" to those rules.

    International banking giant HSBC will be the latest UK firm to face a shareholder vote on executive pay later, amid growing concern about high rewards for bosses not reflecting company performance.

    The bank is holding its annual general meeting (AGM) at which shareholders get to express their views about how the company is being run.

    Chief executive Stuart Gulliver is in line for a pay package worth £7.2m.

    But shareholder advisory body, Pirc, is advising shareholders to vote no.

    Business headlines

    In economic news, Thailand reported a surprise fall in its exports for April because of falling demand from key markets such as Europe and the US.

    Shipments fell 3.7% from a year earlier. Many analysts had forecast an increase of more than 3%.

    The data comes just days after the World Bank warned that the eurozone debt crisis was a threat to export-dependent economies in Asia.

    Analysts said exports could come under further pressure in the near future.

    And in Japan consumer prices rose in April, spurred by rising fuel costs, but growth remained below the central bank's target, official data has shown.

    Prices rose by 0.2% from a year earlier, as fuel and energy costs jumped 4.7%.

    Energy costs in Japan have risen after it shut all of its nuclear reactors in wake of last year's quake and tsunami.

    However, prices excluding those of fuel and food fell, indicating that deflation remains a problem.

    The latest Business Daily podcast is the second special programme from the Future in Review conference in Los Angeles. Lesley Curwen talks to the chief futurologist at Ford Motors and the actress Julia Ormond, and discusses whether robots could replace soldiers in combat.

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