September 20, 2014

For the longest time, I thought that the best path to career and financial success was to get in
with a company and slowly but surely climb the corporate ladder. I did that in several industries, and although I did achieve some successes, I never was in a position that I truly enjoyed. Then it occurred to me that I’ll never get rich by working for someone else. Although I don’t consider myself to be wealthy financially, I have launched several small businesses and earn a comfortable living with a lot of flexibility.

When it comes to starting your own venture, there are certain character traits that are essential. Here are five traits you need to successfully start your own small business:

1. Work Ethic
You’re going to need a solid work ethic for two reasons: First, if you’re smart, you’ll begin your small business while still working at your current career. That takes a ton of pressure off of you in the beginning regarding revenue generation. Many businesses take some time to turn a profit, so it helps to keep cash flow coming in from another source until that happens. And second, starting a small business requires a ton of hard work – regardless of any overnight Internet sensation success stories you may have read about.

2. Time Management
Again, if you start your biz while at your current job, you’ll need to maximize each and every minute of your working day. Create a to-do list, cut off all Internet distractions such as social media or fantasy sports leagues, and take care of personal errands like grocery shopping or dry cleaning on your daily trek to and from work. Proper time management is crucial, as every minute you can free up is one more minute you can devote to your small business.

3. Passion
If you don’t truly believe in what you’re doing, your chances of success are minimized. My passion is helping others with personal finance issues (among other things), but if you’re not supporting a cause you truly feel enthusiastic about, you’ll have a hard time staying motivated. Often, the joy it brings you is the only thing you’ll have to fall back on when times get hard.

4. Ingenuity and Flexibility
Being creative and ingenious are also parts of small business success. You might think about starting a landscaping business, but later find that organic gardening is more popular than landscaping with ornamental. If you thought your ticket to success was social media marketing, but that hasn't worked out, you might have to branch out into other advertising options. Being willing and able to change is a key asset in small business success.

5. Perseverance
Unless you’re extremely lucky and find success rather early on, you’ll need to be patient. Patience is a virtue when it comes to launching your small business idea.

If you've thought about launching your own small business and breaking into the world of entrepreneurship, but have neither the funds nor the time to devote to it, consider using wwww.BlacksNetwork.Com or any other free website to get yourself out of the starting blocks and do free promotion or advertisement of the business. It’s a stellar strategy if you want to get into small business ownership while still working at a traditional career, and you never know what might come of it.

So, Have you ever thought about starting your own small business? If so, what’s stopping you?

August 11, 2014

(CNN) -- Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams apparently took his own life at his Northern California home Monday, law enforcement officials said. Williams was 63.

"He has been battling severe depression of late," his media representative Mara Buxbaum told CNN. "This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time."
Coroner investigators suspect "the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia," according to a statement from the Marin County, California, Sheriff's Office.

Williams married graphic designer Susan Schneider in Napa Valley, California, ceremony in October 2011. Schneider sent a written statement to CNN through the representative.

"This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beings. I am utterly heartbroken.

"On behalf of Robin's family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions."
Word of Williams' death stunned the entertainment community and beyond Monday.

President Barack Obama's statement sent from the White House summed it up:

"Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between. But he was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien -- but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most -- from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets."

Comedian Steve Martin tweeted, "I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul."

Former CNN host Larry King said he would remember Williams as "a genuine caring guy. Not just a funny man, but a guy who cared about people."

Marin County deputies responded to an emergency call from Williams' home in unincorporated Tiburon, California, at 11:55 a.m., reporting "a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing," the release from the sheriff said.

Williams was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m., it said.
Williams was last seen alive at his home, where he lives with his wife, at about 10 p.m. Sunday, the sheriff's statement said.

"An investigation into the cause, manner and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff's Office," the sheriff's statement said.

"Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made."

An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, the sheriff said.

Williams made at least two trips to rehab for drug treatment, including a visit this summer, and he underwent heart surgery in 2009.

Williams, born in Chicago on July 21, 1951, studied theater at Juilliard School before taking his stand up act to nightclubs. He was cast as Mork, an alien visitor to Earth, for a 1974 episode of television's "Happy Days."

"Happy Days" star Henry Winkler said it was "unimaginable that this is the reality today, that this incredible human being, incredible, delicate, funny, dramatic human being is gone."

Winkler said he "realized I was in the presence of greatness" at Williams' first rehearsal as Mork.

"I just realized my only job is to keep a straight face," said Winkler, who played "The Fonz." "And it was impossible. Because no matter what you said to him, no matter what line you gave to him, he took it in, processed it, and then it flew out of his mouth, never the same way twice. And it was incredibly funny every time."

The role led to the spin-off show "Mork & Mindy," which showcased Williams' usual comic improvisation talents.
He proved his dramatic acting skills in "Good Will Hunting," a 1997 film that earned him a best supporting actor Oscar.

His memorable movies over the past three decades includes "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Dead Poets Society," "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "The Birdcage." The list is much longer.

Williams credited the influence of Jonathan Winters' comic irreverence and quirky characters as a great influence on his comedy. The connection between the two was completed when Winters was cast as Williams' son on "Mork & Mindy."
When Winters died in 2013, Williams said he was "my idol, then he was my mentor and amazing friend." He tweeted that Winters was his "Comedy Buddha."

"Mork & Mindy" co-star Pam Dawber simply said "I am completely and totally devastated. What more can be said?"
WIlliams and Dawber reunited on TV earlier this year on an episode of the CBS comedy "The Crazy Ones."
Williams' fans can look forward to four more movie appearances coming to theaters, including another installment in the "Night at the Museum" franchise.

The film, set for a December release, has Williams reprising the Teddy Roosevelt role he delivered in the first two comedies.

January 23, 2015

Oil Wealth Not Always a Blessing

Not every oil rich country is able to pass along that wealth to the locals. Here is a look at the top 10 richest oil nations per ca-pita. While the smaller countries with low populations will often be made to look the wealthiest at first glance, a deeper look at actual real per ca pita income, unemployment and national poverty will give viewers a better sense of whether that oil wealth is being transferred to the public. In an ideal world, rich oil countries should have rich societies. Individual country facts come from the CIA World Factbook.

No. 1: Qatar
Qatar's oil wealth equates to $6.01 million per capita.

Qatar Facts
If you want to live in the Persian Gulf, this is the place you want to live. Home to the world city of Doha, Qatar is rich like Lichenstein.GDP per capita: $102,800Unemployment: 0.5%Population living in poverty: No official data.

No. 2: Kuwait
Kuwait's population is about the size of Chicago's. Only, it has more hydrocarbons under foot. Per capita oil and gas wealth is a whopping $4.14 million.

Kuwait Facts
GDP per capita: $43,800Unemployment: 2.2% (2004)Population living in poverty: No official data.

No. 3: United Arab Emirates
Now we're getting richer. Small and full of energy, UAE's per capita oil and gas wealth sits at $1.63 million.

UAE Facts
The Al Ain-Fujairah gas pipeline in the United Arab Emirates. Home of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the GDP per capita here is on par with that of the U.S. But UAE still has problems with poverty.GDP per capita: $49,000Unemployment: 2.4% Population living in poverty: 19.5%

No. 4: Turkmenistan
Oil and gas reserves per capita of Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea: $1.54 million.

Turkemistan Facts
A Turkmen oil platform drilling in the Caspian Sea. Despite the oil wealth, this is a poor country.GDP per capita: $8,500Unemployment: 60%Population living in poverty: 30% (2004)

No. 5: Venezuela
In the Americas, Venezuela is the Persian Gulf. It's oil and gas reserves per capita equates to $1.14 million. Venezuelans might have a lot of oil, but this is not Qatar

Venezuela Facts
GDP per capita: $13,200Unemployment: 8%Population living in poverty: 31.6% (2011)

No. 6: Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's oil and gas reserves per capita would give every local Saudi a check for $1.12 million.

Saudi Facts
GDP per capita: $25,700
Unemployment: 10.7%
Population living below poverty line: No official statistics.

No. 7: Libya
Libya has a lot of oil and gas. Per capita it comes out to $861,101. While these calculations are based on reserves not yet monetized, Libya's vast oil wealth has not been transferred to the public in any meaningful way.

Libya Facts
GDP per capita: $13,300Unemployment: 30%Population living below the poverty line: 30%

No. 8: Canada
Canada is the eighth richest oil country per ca pita. Oil and gas reserves in Canada equate to $565,049 per Canadian. Of course, we all know life in Canada is pretty good. Income wise, Brunei is better. Here's Canada.

Canada Facts
Some tar sands being dug up in Canada, one of the sources of Canada's natural resource wealth. GDP per capita: $41,500Unemployment: 7.3%Population living in poverty: 9.4%

No. 9: Brunei
Oil wealth per capita there is $521,000. Let's see what life is like in Brunei as measured by GDP per capita, unemployment and poverty in the country.

Brunei Facts
The Seria near-shore oil field in Brunei. Living in this oil rich nation is a lot better than living in Iraq.GDP per capita: $50,500Unemployment: 2.7% (2010)Population living in poverty: 4% (2003)

No. 10: Iraq
Iraq's oil wealth transfers into $515,384 per person.

Iraq Facts
GDP per ca pita: $4,600. Unemployment rate: 16%Population living in poverty: 25% (2008)

January 18, 2015

President Obama is keen to set the agenda for the remainder of his presidency

President Obama is to use Tuesday's State of the Union speech to call for tax increases on the wealthy to help the middle class, officials say.

The proposals would raise $320 billion (£211 billion) over a decade, to fund benefits such as tax credits.

The speech is the centrepiece of the US political diary and may shape both Mr Obama's legacy and the 2016 election.

But the president faces resistance to his proposals, with Republicans controlling both Houses of Congress.

With the US economy growing, President Obama will stress that it is time for ordinary US families to feel the benefits.

According to US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the plans include:

  • Closing a loophole allowing the wealthiest Americans to pass on certain assets tax free
  • Raising capital gains tax on the richest earners from 23.8% to 28%
  • New fees on US financial firms with more than $50 billion (£33 billion) in assets

The revenues would raise more than enough to fund the proposed benefits for the middle class, according to the officials.

These include tripling child tax credits, help for families with two working spouses and extra incentives to save for retirement.

Latest figures showed the US economy growing at its fastest rate for eight years

Analysis: Naomi Grimley, BBC News, Washington
There's growing confidence in the White House about the strength of America's economic recovery - as President Obama told the UK Prime Minister David Cameron last week, "we must be doing something right".

But there's also an awareness that for many middle class Americans wages still feel stagnant.

A growing theme in US politics is the need to make sure the economic recovery extends to all and that there's social mobility for those with aspirations.

Of course, as well as the freedom afforded him by the improving economic picture, there's also the fact that the president isn't seeking re-election himself.

It means Mr Obama can help set the political weather for the 2016 election, even though he knows these new tax rises will provoke opposition in the new Republican Congress.

Still, there's a desire not to frighten the horses too much. The White House is stressing 99% of these increases will fall on the richest 1%.

The president's plans are set to be resisted by the Republicans, who took control of both Houses of Congress in November elections

The speech is also set to include a plan to expanding free community college education and proposals on cyber-security.

The State of the Union speech will be President Obama's first since the Republicans seized control of the two Houses of Congress at elections last November.

'Tax hike'

His proposals have already been dismissed by some in the party.

"Slapping American small businesses, savers, and investors with more tax hikes only negates the benefits of the tax policies that have been successful in helping to expand the economy, promote savings, and create jobs," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin G Hatch said.

Administration officials hope to find some common ground with their opponents.

They also say the increase in capitals gains taxes, likely to be resisted by many Republicans, returns the rate to what it was under President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The New York Times said the decision to present the tax plan during Tuesday's speech marked the start of a debate over taxes and the economy that will shape both the president's legacy and the 2016 presidential campaign.

Joni Ernst has been picked to respond to the speech by the Republicans

October 24, 2012

People surveyed in 21 countries overwhelmingly favor President Obama over Mitt Romney. What's behind that landslide?

President Obama and Mitt Romney are locked in an incredibly tight race at home, but overseas, the vote isn't even close. A BBC World Service opinion poll found that residents of 21 foreign countries overwhelmingly support Obama, with an average of 50 percent hoping that he wins a second term and only 9 percent favoring Romney. France is Obama's biggest booster — 72 percent of respondents support him. The only country where Romney enjoyed greater support than Obama? Pakistan. So why are foreigners in the bag for Obama? Here, three theories:

1. Obama's foreign policy works
Overseas, the president has an undeniably strong record, says Jeffrey Simpson at Canada's Globe and Mail. Obama has shown he's capable of "mixing muscularity with restraint," extricating the U.S. from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, avoiding direct intervention in Syria, and resisting "the push to recklessly attack Iran" — all while relentlessly going after terrorists and playing a limited but key role in forcing regime change in Libya. Meanwhile, the world sees Romney displaying "the hubris of the powerful and the ignorance of the uninformed," thumping his chest and scaring folks overseas.

2. The world is associating Romney with Bush
In many ways, this isn't really a reflection on Romney, says Max Fisher at The Washington Post. In Pakistan, for example, people aren't embracing Romney so much as protesting Obama's drone program in areas near the Afghan border. And more broadly, Romney's overseas poll numbers "are consistent with [Sen. John] McCain's in 2008, suggesting the possibility that many foreign publics associate Republicans with George W. Bush, whose administration was deeply unpopular abroad."

3. Soaking the rich is popular overseas
The fact that France is more pro-Obama than anyone else says it all, says Matthew Balan at News Busters. France is a leftist nanny state, and Socialist President Francois Hollande is trying to slap a 75 percent marginal income tax on people earning more than 1 million euros a year, a move the Heritage Foundation's Nile Gardiner called "economic suicide." Such proposals "line up nicely with the president's platform." No wonder he polls so well there.

September 13, 2014

Source: Coca-Cola.

Warren Buffett is perhaps the greatest investor of all time, and he has a simple solution that could help an individual turn $40 into $10 million.

A few years ago, Berkshire Hathaway CEO and Chairman Warren Buffett spoke about one of his favorite companies, Coca-Cola, and how after dividends, stock splits, and patient reinvestment, someone who bought just $40 worth of the company's stock when it went public in 1919 would now have more than $5 million.

Yet in April 2012, when the board of directors proposed a stock split of the beloved soft-drink manufacturer, that figure was updated and the company noted that original $40 would now be worth $9.8 million. A little back-of-the-envelope math of the total return of Coke since May 2012 would mean that $9.8 million is now worth about $10.8 million.

The power of patience
I know that $40 in 1919 is very different from $40 today. However, even after factoring for inflation, it turns out to be $540 in today's money. Put differently, would you rather have an Xbox One, or almost $11 million?

But the thing is, it isn't even as though an investment in Coca-Cola was a no-brainer at that point, or in the near century since then. Sugar prices were rising. World War I had just ended a year prior. The Great Depression happened a few years later. World War II resulted in sugar rationing. And there have been countless other things over the past 100 years that would cause someone to question whether their money should be in stocks, much less one of a consumer-goods company like Coca-Cola.

The dangers of timing
Yet as Buffett has noted continually, it's terribly dangerous to attempt to time the market:

"With a wonderful business, you can figure out what will happen; you can't figure out when it will happen. You don't want to focus on when, you want to focus on what. If you're right about what, you don't have to worry about when"
So often investors are told they must attempt to time the market, and begin investing when the market is on the rise, and sell when the market is falling.

This type of technical analysis of watching stock movements and buying based on how the prices fluctuate over 200-day moving averages or other seemingly arbitrary fluctuations often receives a lot of media attention, but it has been proved to simply be no better than random chance.

Investing for the long term
Individuals need to see that investing is not like placing a wager on the 49ers to cover the spread against the Cowboys, but instead it's buying a tangible piece of a business.

It is absolutely important to understand the relative price you are paying for that business, but what isn't important is attempting to understand whether you're buying in at the "right time," as that is so often just an arbitrary imagination.

In Buffett's own words, "if you're right about the business, you'll make a lot of money," so don't bother about attempting to buy stocks based on how their stock charts have looked over the past 200 days. Instead always remember that "it's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price."

October 10, 2014

Amazon will open its first physical retail location in midtown Manhattan soon, according to the Wall Street Journal. Amazon has conquered online retail, so why take on the high cost and risk of a brick-and-mortar store?

Amazon has been a virtual thorn in the side of big box chains like Wal-Mart and Target for nearly two decades. So why not become a physical one?

The online retail is planning to open its first brick-and-mortar location in midtown Manhattan, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Situated on 34th Street, across from the Empire State building and on the same street as Macy’s flagship location, the store is set to open in time for the holiday shopping season. The company has not yet confirmed the report.

The vastness of Amazon’s online inventory, of course, could never fit into a Manhattan storefront. So what can shoppers expect from browsing the newly physical Amazon shelves?

According to the Journal, the space “would function as a mini warehouse, with limited inventory for same-day delivery within New York, product returns and exchanges, and pickups of online orders. The Manhattan location is meant primarily to be a place for customers to pick up orders they’ve made online, but will also serve as a distribution center for couriers and likely one day will feature Amazon devices like Kindle e-readers, Fire smartphones, and Fire TV set-top boxes, according to people familiar with the company’s thinking.”

Some, predictably, are wondering why Amazon would want to venture into the brick-and-mortar retail space when it can compete with (and in some cases decimate) major big-box chains just fine without its own stores. The company’s flexibility is part of its strength – it doesn’t have to deal with the typical costs of managing retail spaces, allowing it to offer competitive prices on almost any product it pleases. Midtown Manhattan is an expensive place for an inaugural storefront. “Amazon’s value proposition is its huge selection and shipping that comes to me,” Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru tells Forbes. “Both those aren’t going to happen at a physical store in Manhattan.”

In-store retail, too, has been losing ground to e-commerce for several years. E-commerce sales jumped 9.3 percent year-over-year during the 2013 holiday shopping season, making up $95.7 billion in total sales, according to the National Retail Federation. Growth for overall sales was a comparatively paltry 3.8 percent. “Cyber retail sales are increasing like gangbusters and we expect the clicks to make accelerated gains over the bricks,” IHS Global Insight economist Chris Christopher said in a January 2014 analysis.

Despite such gains, however, the overwhelming majority of retail purchases are still made in stores. E-commerce sales made up just 6.4 percent of total retail sales in the second quarter of 2014, according to the Commerce Department, and even at current growth rates it would take a long, long time for online sales to overtake in-store purchases. Amazon wouldn’t be the first online merchant to move into storefronts (clothiers Bonobos and Warby Parker, as well as the makeup subscription retailer Birchbox have all opened their own stores), though it would be the biggest.

But beyond another sales outlet, a physical store has the potential to be invaluable in terms of marketing. As New York magazine points out, Apple’s first store openings in 2001 were met with widespread skepticism; now, the frenzy around the company’s new product launches, with customers lining up around the block for the latest iPhone or iPad, have become news events in themselves. Apple stores are the most profitable retail spaces in the world, making about $39 million in revenue per store last year. Ebay and Microsoft have made their own moves into the physical retail space as well.

Amazon has been planning a store opening for years, according to the Journal, scouting out locations in its hometown Seattle and experimenting with pop-up shops for select products, like the Kindle.

The company, meanwhile, is facing a pair of dicey legal issues at present. The European Union is investigating Amazon for possibly benefiting from an illegal tax arrangement in Luxembourg. Here in the United States, the Supreme Court heard arguments this week in a case brought on by Amazon’s warehouse workers, who sued the company over having to spend significant amounts of unpaid time going through security screenings. The workers contend that they should be paid for their time in the screenings, which can take 25 minutes per day on average.

- By Schuyler Velasco -

November 10, 2014

Dr. Myles Munroe

A private Lear jet with nine passengers on board crashed on approach near Grand Bahama International Airport Sunday, killing everyone on the plane, including a prominent evangelical pastor and his wife.

"The Department of Civil Aviation has been advised unofficially that the aircraft was destroyed and that there were no survivors," the Ministry of Transport and Aviation said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The Lear 36 Executive Jet had taken off from the Bahamian capital of Nassau and crashed about 5 p.m. local time Sunday, as it was coming in for a landing at Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport.

Dr. Myles Munroe and his wife Ruth were killed in the crash, Kelley Jackson, a spokeswoman from the Andrew J. Young Foundation told ABC News.

Pastor Myles Munroe and his wife, Ruth.

"Ambassador Young expresses his deep sadness over the tragic death of his friends Dr. Myles and Mrs. Ruth Munroe," the organization posted on its Facebook page tonight. "He offers condolences to the Munroe family and the families of the other souls who lost their lives as a result of this shocking plane crash."

Dr. Richard H. Pinder, a Senior Vice President and Pastor of Bahamas Faith Ministries Fellowship Church, also died in the crash, Bahamas Faith Ministries confirmed to ABC news.

People inspect the wreckage following a jet crash near Grand Bahama International Airport in Freeport, Bahamas, Nov. 9, 2014.

The group was on their way to the Global Leadership Forum, which was organized by Munroe and was scheduled for this week in Freeport. A posting on Munroe's Facebook page said the event would go on for two and a half days.

"This is what Dr. Munroe would have wanted. Please keep his family and the ministry in prayers," the post said.

Dr. William M. Wilson, president of Oral Roberts University where Munroe was a student, expressed his sadness at the loss of an "outstanding ORUalumni and friend."

A spokesperson at the Bahamas Air accident investigation and prevention unit told ABC they understand that it may be the plane of a prominent minister in the Bahamas, but officials have declined to identify the victims.

Based upon the flight plan information that was registered at the point of the departure, officials are of the opinion that the plane was the only aircraft in the area at the time, so they are going on the assumption that it was a prominent minister on the aircraft, the spokesperson said.

It was not yet known what caused the crash, and police and rescue teams were on the scene, but a full investigation would only begin at daylight, officials said.

"The Department of Civil Aviation has been advised that there were some fatalities and we are awaiting confirmation from the Royal Bahamas Police Force as to whether there were any survivors," The Department of Civil Aviation said in a statement. "The Grand Bahama Airport Company Crash Fire Rescue Department responded to the incident, and the Police and Bahamas Air Sea Rescue (BASRA) are presently on the scene."

October 16, 2014

Wall Street investors hammered Netflix stock after the market closed Wednesday when the Los Gatos company revealed that a price hike this year may have slowed subscriber growth.

Netflix shares plummeted by more than 25 percent in after-hours trading after the online streaming company said it “over-forecasted membership growth,” primarily because of a $1-per-month fee increase for new subscribers instituted in May.

The company previously estimated it would add 3.69 million subscribers, but instead grew by 3.02 million.
“As best we can tell, the primary cause is the slightly higher prices we now have compared to a year ago,” Netflix said in a letter to investors.

But the company isn't going to roll back those new fees.

“We remain happy with the price changes and growth in revenue and will continue to improve our service,” the letter said. “The effect of slightly higher prices is factored into our Q4 forecast.”

Analyst Paul Verna of Internet research firm eMarketer called the investor sell-off a typical Wall Street “tempest in a teapot.”

“Netflix’s precipitous post-market stock drop is an overreaction that reflects Wall Street’s habit of excessively punishing companies” that miss forecasts, he said. “It didn’t help that this happened on a day when the Dow lost 1 percent of its value, not to mention the gains it made in 2014.”

Netflix stock mostly survived the down stock market, closing at $448.59 per share, down only 53 cents. That was even after premium pay-TV network HBO announced it is planning to stream its own content next year.

Yet despite an otherwise positive third-quarter earnings report, released after the close of trading on the Nasdaq market, Netflix stock fell by more than $115 per share after hours.

Netflix now has a record 53.06 million subscribers to its online streaming video service. The company says it expects to add another 4 million by the end of the year.

Net income was $59 million on revenue of $1.22 billion, up from $32 million on $962 million in revenue in the third quarter of 2013.

Netflix projected that its revenue would rise to $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter, although it said net income would be about $27 million. The company continued to plow profit back into expanding its international markets, where it now has about 2 million subscribers.

Investors, however, might have already been jittery about HBO announcing it would start a stand-alone video streaming service with no pay TV subscription required. The premium network wants to go after the same customers that are fueling Netflix’s growth.

But Verna said investors overreacted.

“The fundamentals of Netflix’s business haven’t changed, and the shot across the bow from (HBO) shouldn’t have caused a panic on this scale,” he said.

Still, HBO will increase competition for Netflix, said Parks Associates analyst Glenn Hower.

“If HBO can supply a large and diverse library, including their original content, for a price comparable to Netflix, Netflix is going to have a much more difficult time attracting and retaining customers,” Hower said. “Lack of HBO original content has been a criticism of Netflix, and if consumers can get it through an HBO streaming service without a TV subscription, that is where they are going to go.”

But he said Netflix has shows, including original programming like “Orange is the New Black,” that HBO doesn’t offer, “so there is definitely room for both services to coexist.”

In a Google Hangouts video conference for analysts, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he also believes the market is big enough for everyone.

“All the big networks are moving to Internet video,” he said. “It’s just becoming a very large opportunity.”

By Benny Evangelista
Benny Evangelista is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.

January 17, 2015

The U.S. Postal Service on Thursday proposed slight increases for mailing postcards and international letters. However, they desired not to alter first-class “Forever” stamps allowing them to remain at their present 49 cents.

The surges being planned would be implemented starting April 26 if the requests are granted meaning letters to international destinations would rise from $1.15 to $1.20. Postcards would rise from 34 cents to 35 cents. On initial-class mail, every single ounce more than 1 ounce would cost an further 22 cents, up from 21 cents. And letters to all international destinations would go from $1.15 to $1.20.

Despite the three cautionary reports: March 2013 Management Advisory Report; September 2012 Audit Report issued by its Office of Inspector General, and the Advisory Opinion produced by the Postal Regulatory Commission in 2012, the Postal Service is moving ahead with these changes.

Also to note is that the filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission does not affect Postal Service shipping merchandise and solutions. According to the Postal Service, the requested price increases are the newest in a series of measures “to achieve economic stability.”

“By growing volume, income and contribution, the Postal Service will continue to meet America’s mailing and shipping desires properly into the future,” the agency said in a statement. “Even though enhancing efficiency in streamlining its network and looking for legislative alterations, the Postal Service must address an outdated small business model,” it added.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and instead relies on the sale of postage, goods and services to raise the revenues needed to spend for its operations. The last change in first-class postage was a three-cent increase to 49 cents that happened Jan. 26, 2014.

Forever stamps bought now are great for first-class postage up to 1 ounce regardless of future rates. This latest round of operational cuts undermines the Postal Service’s primary obligation under the law and threatens the very integrity and concept of Universal Service.

However, before going ahead with these alterations, the Postal Service should — at the very least — offer well-supported projections of the impacts on operational efficiency and solid estimates of financial savings before embarking on this new round of cuts and closures.