Wednesday, 29.3.2017

Be a Cunning Linguist

So we can all agree, there are instances when it would be good to be fluent in another language (other than the one you’re reading now). You could avoid misunderstandings with poorly briefed Russian hit squads; order off-the-menu specials at Rio’s top cachaca dives; tell your favourite Swedish jokes while ice fishing with locals in Norway; or send knees trembling with whispered verses from Charles Baudelaire’s La Beauté. After all, Virginia Woolf said “language is a wine upon the lips,” and tiger, it’s your shout.


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Stand Out From the Pack

Did you know the first business cards appeared in 17th century Europe, where they announced the impending arrival of nobility? The more common these rudimentary cards became, the more people tried to define their status with them, using gold etching, different fonts and expensive imported paper to make a strong first impression. Today, the business card is a vital component of the modern gentleman’s urban armour – especially in Asia where they are a very real part of doing business – and if you want to ensure victory at your next American Psycho-esque corporate card off, then we have something you need to see.


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Thank God for Charlie

It’s rule number one when it comes to a business meeting with someone you’ve not met before: try to find some common ground. Breaking the ice, finding a level playing field, creating a congenial atmosphere through small talk is vital and in those situations, knowledge is the ultimate currency. You’re about to meet a valuable new contact – is he dating your vindictive ex, does he have a similar penchant for Alice in Chains, dirty martinis and off-market Dominican cigars; is he a closet Furry; or does he suffer from galactophilia. Knowing these vital gems of info could make or break the meeting. But really, who has that much time to snoop (except, it seems, your ex!)?


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Never Worry About a Presentation Again

Prezi is like PowerPoint except it’s incredible. Their video makes you want to dive into their product, and that’s a good sign for a service claiming to offer effective presentation. Most of us have had our moments when we’ve wished for a better pitch, whether presenting to sceptical colleagues, or laying out a proposal to potential investors. Nobody wants to stand in front of an audience and feel naked, and that’s where Prezi comes in. It’s your business boner.


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Hong Kong’s Most Comprehensive Insurer

Nowcompare does exactly what it says on the tin. The website is tailored to Hong Kong expats and compares life and health insurance quotes from over 200 different companies. It's not a helicopter ride over the Himalayas, cliff-jumping in Sai Kung or a stag in Macau but it will free up some cash to do all of those things - and cover your back when you end up in hospital with an unidentified rash.


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Best way to Find (or Fill) a Job in HK

We all like to help a brother out, but Refer.me goes that extra mile by essentially paying you to refer your mates for jobs. Here's how it works. The crowd sourced recruiting platform allows employers to post a job vacancy along with the bounty they're willing to pay the person who refers a successful hire. So, you can join for free and earn money by referring your pals for jobs. Your friends end up in your debt forever and you get cash rich. It's a no brainer.


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Practise Golf while Managing Your Wealth

Swiss Privilege, the wealth management specialist, not only offers financial guidance but also has a trendy office in Wan Chai with coffee, snacks and a golf simulator. Essentially, you can have a great time sauntering down the back-9 at Pebble Beach while they assist with everything from financial planning to investment options. Imagine: Clint Eastwood's trailing in your wake, the wind's blowing in your suddenly full head of hair, Halle Berry's getting out of the ocean...


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White Collar Boxing & Offshore Pensions Spotlight

iFS, the financial services specialist, has a few strings to its bow - including hosting Hong Kong's famous white collar boxing night. We're giving away tickets worth HK$2,700 to the event on March 2 when multinational execs and HK high flyers get into the ring to punch each other in the face. What more could the public want? Suits off and gloves up, it's a chance to see how your friends/colleagues react to pain, shame and public adulation.


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Asian Crowdfunding Platform like Kickstarter

Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform behind all manner of creative projects, has been a runaway success and now it's Asia's turn. In fact, ToGather.Asia is based on very similar principles as its American counterpart. Budding entrepreneurs upload their pitch, and you, the public, get to pledge your hard earned sheckles to turn it into a reality. In exchange, you'll receive whatever the project owners deem a fair trade for your dollar: a mug, a t-shirt, an album - although sadly not a big slice of equity in the 'new Facebook'.


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HK Financial Advice Specialist

If you want to retire with a Ferrari in the garage and enough cash to withstand a Pyongyang led nuclear winter, International Financial Services is the place for you. They provide bespoke financial advice for expats in Asia, helping them to get the most out of their wallets. So, whether you want to safeguard your children's education or make sure the tax man doesn't run off with your retirement fund, they'll provide truly independent financial advice.


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Laser Pointer PowerPoint Pen for iPhone

Giving a presentation isn't the coolest thing in the world (unless your name is Steve and you wear, sorry wore, black turtle necks) but it can be the most embarrassing thing in the world. You're up there talking to the screen while they're down there tapping on their phones wondering why Phyllis hasn't come in with the HobNobs. But the cardinal sin is pointing at your presentation with your finger. That's just schoolboy.


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HK’s First Workspace for Creatives & Freelancers

The Hive is Hong Kong’s first dedicated workspace for creatives and freelancers to mingle, work, create or… lance. If you’re one of the above, it’s a godsend. Working from home sounds dreamy but in reality it’s a slow death from miscellaneous news cruising, snacking and procrastibation (procrastination meets masturbation). In The Hive, you’ll be surrounded by your peers so you’ll be compelled to work. And the bottom line is at least you can’t look at XXX websites.


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Skype with Nobel Prize Winners

Expert Insight is an online service that connects you with hundreds of industry leaders for a price. You essentially pay a fee, anywhere from US$25 to several thousand dollars, for a one-on-one Skype session with an author, an economist a marketeer or any number of professionals. They’ve even got a poker champion which could be lucrative if you split the session between your friends and then hop on a ferry to Macau. You can smell the feint whiff of film rights.


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Clever Dormancy Clause Unveiled

Pacific Prime and Allianz Worldwide Care have jointly unveiled a dormancy clause which means expats can buy one health insurance policy, pause it when they obtain coverage from their employer, and then re-activate it whenever they're between jobs. It's an innovative idea because the average expat gobbles up three to four jobs every 15 years. Unless we're indestructible like Bear Grylls, we have to get a new insurance policy every time we leave one employer's coverage and haven't joined the warm embrace of the next.


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Buy or Rent HK Properties with no Agents’ Fees

Zero Agent Property is a Hong Kong website that promotes properties to rent or buy without any agents’ fees. It cuts out the middle man by linking owners directly with buyers, and when you’re dealing with millions of dollars that 1% commission can be substantial. What’s more, the effort behind that percentile is smaller than Bernie Ecclestone – it amounts to about half an hour’s paper work.


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For the Investor & the Collector

Diamond Rock Investors (DRI), the rare stone investment managers, are holding a breakfast talk in Wagyu before work on Wednesday, December 7. The breakfast is free but the diamonds aren't, which means you could be looking at a bargain or a pretty expensive start to the day. Either way, you should have as many croissants as possible.


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It’s been difficult to escape the wine boom in Hong Kong. Records have been tumbling for years but over the last few months prices have softened and with equity markets looking fragile, the next 12 months appears to be the right time to invest.


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Mind-Blowing Data Visualisations

Visual.Ly produces some of the most dynamic data visualizations on the web and if you think that’s dull check out this video. They take data - the most boring thing in the world including Gordon Brown - and make it interesting. How they do it is beyond us. They must be able to persuade people to invest in the must ludicrous projects but we’re just happy for all those people married to Excel spreadsheets. Here's a way to butter up to your boss at your next presentation.


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Programme Turns Facebook into Spreadsheet to Play at Work

HardlyWork.in translates your Facebook account into an Excel spreadsheet so you can muck around at work without raising suspicion. It’s an ingenious idea, clearly created by someone who loves social networking but hates work. It’s pretty dangerous - of all the sites in the world, an average employee will visit Facebook 7 times out of 100. God we hate Mark Zuckerberg.


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Hong Kong is renowned for its exorbitant prices so we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do for less than HKD100 as well as some of the more outrageous ways to spend that ton.


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Finest U.S. Package Forwarding Service

Forwarding packages around the world so customers can beat extortionate prices at home isn’t glamorous but it is invaluable, and no one does it better than MyUS.com. If there’s something you want from America – whether Levi’s or a lifetime’s supply of Lucky Charms – they’re number one.


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Software to Spy on Your Employees

DeskTime is a website-based service that tracks whether your employees are functioning productively or not. If you happen to be an employee rather than an employer, it’s important you keep reading, particularly if you spend much of your day on Google Chat or waiting for your favourite sport blogger to publish his daily entry. We’ll let you know where you stand.


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Get Fake Kids to Skip Work

Parents - who the hell do they think they are? Their screaming, dribbling off-spring have already taken the fun out of cinemas, the serenity out of Business Class and the curves (the right ones) out of strippers. Now, as if to add injury to insult, children make for fool-proof, rock-solid excuses so parents can ditch work; maybe for a medical emergency, maybe for a quick round of nine at Sai Kung – who knows!! We can all appreciate the bliss of parenthood but this madness needs to stop; it's not fair to the rest of us who kept it in our pants and are now working double to pick up the slack.


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Call the Power Point Presentation Gurus

It's the same old story; you're stuck in the office at 11pm on a Friday night, pouring over a laptop, your eyes bloodshot from the halogens above. By rights you should be downstairs working the magic you learned at the NecesCity Man Academy on a bevy of beauties, but instead you're stuck here with the cleaning crew, trying to put together a decent looking Power Point presentation.


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Be a Student For Life with Online School

While no one is saying that we should go back to school – those times of sexual insecurity, cruel cheerleaders and terrible cafeteria food are long behind us – learning is something that should never stop. As Henry L. Doherty put it, we should “get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life.”


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Financial Incentive to Lose Weight

So you like to take a date with Lady Luck now and then, and who doesn't. You're not exactly counting cards at Macau or running underground frog races in your hallway at night, but you won't shy away from a little wager now and then, especially if it's for a good cause.  At the same time you're still trying to motivate yourself at the gym; why does it seem like everyone at Fitness First is just out to sell a one-on-one session, and why won't they let you pin up your Hulk Hogan poster in front of the treadmill?


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The Delhi in Your Denims

We're all trying our best to be earth-friendly. We keep the 60 odd empty beer cans from last night's “gathering” aside, to be turned into new washing machines. We study those colour-coded garbage cans in LKF, to decipher into which green glass should be thrown. We turn off our lights during Earth Hour (it's more romantic that way) and we even help fire stations do the right thing with their hoses.


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Be the MVP of the MBA Scene

Few of us have a problem with success. We’re all ambitious and we’re all potential alpha males - hell, we use career ladders as pull up bars and our CVs as collateral with the bookies. But you can never have too many skills, know too much, and have too much to offer a potential employer. As Henry Ford once said, “If money is your hope for independence, you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.” And men who carry three little letters on their resumes will testify that one of the best ways to get an edge in the business world is with an MBA.


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Plan your finances with the portable PocketSmith

We all have things we want (even crave), but it’s a harsh, relentless reality that, short of a group hug, everything comes with a price tag. Here, in the eye of the financial typhoon, watching what you spend, slowing that credit card quick-draw and making smart, obtainable financial plans is the only way we’re going to ride this Mother out.


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