While most Berliners would rather fly to Portugal or Spain on vacation, they keep forgeting that Brandenburg, the province surrounding the city, offers an impressive amount of natural beauty. Brandenburg is the German province with the second least internet users in Germany (54%). Well, that figures. They are probably outdoors enjoying the woods and the lakes. Sometimes, you don't have to go that far to find beauty, it might just be in your backyard.
Please enjoy my photographs.
People often ask me how I feel about Canada, since I partially grew up there. I must admit I have flirted with the idea of returning to Vancouver. Most people who immigrate to Canada come from countries that are not as highly developed. For them it is a safe haven with a great social and civil infrastructure and political freedom, it is like the promised land. However, if you compare it to Germany and that's what you need to to do if you consider leaving Germany to live there, it's like comparing Nike to Adidas. For example, Munich has been ranking higher in the quality of life than Vancouver in 2015 (the highest ranking Canadian city). In fact, three of the top ten cities with the highest living standard are from Germany, more than any other nation in the top ten. I have put together a list of pros and cons of why you should or should not immigrate to Canada from a highly developed country.
Here are the reasons, why I would consider returning to Canada:
1. It combines all the advantages of the US and Europe
Imagine not being judged based on the way the look or what you believe in and being surrounded by enthusiastic people who have a positive outlook on life and a can-do attitude. That's why we love Americans. But then America is not a safe place, full of crazy gun owners, people embracing the gang lifestyle and tea party nutcases. In Canada you have the benefit of the first without having to endure the drawbacks of the latter. You get universal health care, no death penalty, international peace keeping missions and people who take pride in being truly tolerant and progressive.
2. It is pretty much the only country in the world where multiculturalism actually works
Canada is not a melting pot, it is an accumulation of different cultures, languages and traditions that are almost equally appreciated. Canadians of European descent are celebrating Chinese New Year alongside Chineses Canadians. It is a country where people love to eat sorts of food from Polish sausages to Korean kimchi. A place where they celebrate the cultural diversity. That's awesome.
3. It is great for outdoorsy and adventurous people
Canada is the second largest landmass in the world, with lot's of untouched nature and wild uninhabited terrain. It's a playground for those who love kayaking, fishing, backpacking and experience raw natural beauty. Dive into a pristine blue lake surrounded by beautiful cedars and sit at the camp fire watching the stars, with civilizations far, far away...
4. Canadians are really friendly and light-hearted people
In Canada you get asked a lot whether something is okay for you because they make a real effort to make you feel comfortable. People apologize if you step on their foot because they did not retrieve it quickly enough and you have never heard the word "please" so many times. You will meet strangers who smile at you, be kind and often make you laugh. It is a real pleasure to be hanging out with most Canadians.
5. If you are an immigrant, so is the next guy
If you go far back enough, almost everyone stems from immigrants in Canada. Though there are still many people with Irish, Scottish and English roots, many Canadians are also mixed with other ethnicities or originate from other European or Asian as well as African nations. There is no "in-group" as in many other more homogenous countries. Every immigrant will be welcomed with a sense of pride that they have chosen Canada as their final destination. And once you are a landed immigrant, it's really easy to gain Canadian citizenship and to adjust to Canadian society.
Here are the reasons why I would not return to Canada:
1. Canadian bureaucracy is painfully inneficient
It seems like Canadian beraucracy is particularly inneficient because for the last decades they have been solely focusing on cutting down on government jobs instead serving Canadians and the few people who are left seem to be hopelessly overwhelmed and thus either not capably or willing to really help you.
2. Hockey is like a religion in Canada, even though it is a pretty cruel sport
As a real Canadian you are supposed to be into hockey and soccer "is for sissies." Hockey is a violent contact sport and hard core fans particularly love the fights and the aggression that comes with the game, as it increases the entertainment value. Many ex-professionals have had cippeling health effects because of the physical nature of the game. Instead of political demonstrations getting out of hand, hockey fans started riots because the Vancouver Canucks lost the Stanley Cup in 1994 and 2011, carrying the aggression of the game into the city streets and randomly burning and looting shops along the way. Canada would be a much nicer place if they had chosen curling as the national sport.
3. Canada is becoming politically more Americanized
Have you ever heard about a guy called Stephen Harper? Probably not. He is a devoted fan of George W Bush and the prime minister of Canada. If it was just up to him, Canada would not have universal health care today and it would be the unofficial 51st state of the US. Stephen Harper is the opposite of everything that Canada stands for, a socially conservative Anglo Saxon guy with outdated environmental views. What happend to the sophistication and multicultural Canadian individualism of Pierre Trudeau, who back when he was a prime minister was a well known political figure around the world?
4. Beyond the large metropolitan areas Canada has not much to offer
The big Canadian cities like Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto are great. But as soon as you get into the countryside and some of the smaller suburban cities, it becomes very boring for Europeans. Imagine a town consisting of a couple of gas stations a bunch of shopping malls and fast food joints that look like those in any other city. Add a few pickup trucks and bland houses. Welcome to the Canadian periphery! So overall, if you look at it that way, Canada is not that large after all, because you don't want to live outside of the 30 or so larger cities.
5. For many Canadian women, firemen are sex symbols?!
I know this is kind of random and admittedly I am running out of negative points....Well, forget about sophistication, being sensitive and artsy. In Europe being a fireman is just a well respected blue collar job. In Canada women tend to glorify bulky men in uniforms.
Some people think they show their value by being scarce. Like a scarce resource as in the case of gold, they think by decreasing their availability and support for people around them, they will be perceived as being more valuable. Hence, you have to play phone tag with them to get a hold of them and if you do it takes ages to make appointments because there is always something "very important" in the way. If you ask them for support they will decline pointing out their lack of time. Now either you are dealing with a truly busy person who is focused on solving problems for people on a higher level or you are dealing with someone who believes in scarcity and will interact only to get direct benefits.
Adam Grant writes about how generosity with your time will lead to more personal success. In his book "Give and Take" he examines three types of people – givers, takers, and matchers. Givers will pay favors generously, while matchers look for a quid pro quo. Takers, however, are solely promoting their self interest. His research indicates that the most successful people are often givers.
Let's turn this around: Imagine someone will be there 100% percent listening to your request or issue and then make a genuine effort of helping you. They are really resourceful and will always help to get you ahead in some way or other. Now, that person will be valuable for many people. Now you might say, that people abuse that level of support and availability and instead of getting ahead yourself you will constantly help other people get ahead. But wait a sec, this is exactly what's necessary for your own succeess: The more value you create for other people the more successfull you will be. That is almost an economic law of nature.
Your choices have consequences. If you are helpful, sometimes people will not be grateful. Other times you will be repaid a hundred times. Overall research indicated, you will be more successfull because of your productive attitude which will be rewarded. Most importantly though, its not only about business. It is about the impact you have on the world. And that impact is not measured by how well known you are or how wealthy you are, it is measured by how much you made someone's life a tiny bit better.
Public relations was developed in the late 19th century. It caught on as a formal business unit at the beginning of th 20th century. Since then it has not much changed. What does classical PR look like?
This is a process that has been working more or less effectively for print publicity. However, the print media is losing traction. Now a lot of PR agencies claim to offer "online PR." What they mean is that some of the offline media will have online outlets and that they can be contacted in the same manner. Besides that they will be trying to work with a bunch of bloggers, which they will pay to publishing articles. However, you cannot pursue online media in the same way you have handled classical PR for ages. It's time for a market disruption in the old fashioned public relations sector.
The new PR is based content seeding, which is a sub-strategy of content marketing. To effectively spread content online you need to gear up the content creation. Sorry, press releases with a bunch of fancy photographs wont hack it! What you need publish are e-books written by expert authors (not by internal editors who research them superficially on the internet), you need elaborate interactive social media campaigns, viral videos, original studies, you get the picture...Never before have we dealt with such an abundance of great content, so you need to create content that sticks out and can beat the competition.
Instead of focusing primarily on a bunch of journalists and bloggers, you will want to focus multipliers on all sorts of media like twitter, facebook, online platforms, NGOs, from the government, all of which have the power to influence public opinion via online channels. And instead of contacting them with press releases and random mailings you will phone them up and cater specifically to their needs. To make the process really effective you will use a CRM to document all conversations and to work with publication pipelines. With such an effective process you can even be paid on a performance basis, based on results (publications) rather than effort (man days).
After a century of the existence of public relations it is a dead man walking and will be gradually replaced by the more online focused and effective content seeding.
Als selbständiger Unternehmer muss man sich selber um seine Altersvorsorge kümmern. Die meisten Unternehmer, die ich kenne sind risk taker und denken, dass ihr Unternehmen erfolgreich zu machen, die beste Altervorsorge ist. Aber selbst wenn das Unternehmen gegen die Wahrscheinlichkeit von einer Failure Rate von 50% erfolgreich wird, wäre es nicht smart alle Eier in einen Korb zu legen.
Nach etwas reiferen Überlegungen werden dann häufig private Altersvorsorge-Verträge abgeschlossen oder über seine Bank in Mutual Funds investiert. Beides ist ein großer Fehler, denn damit kann man sich im Alter nicht absichern.
Die private Altersvorsorge und Lebensversicherungen sind aufgrund der derzeitigen Zinslage ein Witz. Es ist auch nicht absehbar das die Zinsen auf längere Sicht wieder steigen, denn welches Land wäre bereit mit dem dadurch erzeugten höheren Wechselkurs, seine globalen Wettbewerbschancen im Export zu verspielen.
Mutual Funds sind auch keine gute Option, denn unglaubliche 72% under-performen gegenüber dem Markt. Hinzu kommen zahlreiche versteckte Gebühren wie Exchange Fees, Cash Drag, Account Fees, Purchase Fees, Transaction Costs und Sales Charges (die erkläre ich später einmal). Diese führen dazu, dass die Banken sogar daran Geld verdienen wenn der Account nicht wächst. Gleichzeitig machen die Gebühren Mutual Funds für die Banken profitabel sodass sie aggressiv vermarktet werden und um so mehr Kunden darauf hereinfallen. Für den Anleger lohnt sich die Investition wenn überhaupt nur selten.
Dann gibt es Unternehmer, die längst auf monetäre Investitionen in die Altervorsorge verzichten und stattdessen voll auf Immobilien setzen. Häufig handelt es sich dabei um eine Eigentumswohnung. Immobilien lohnen sich aber nur wenn man genug Kapital hat, dass man seine Investitionen trotzdem diversifizieren kann. Häufig wird auch hier der Fehler gemacht eine teure Wohnung in guter Innenstadtlage zu kaufen und dadurch sein Kapital zu stark ein Investitionsmedium zu binden. Außerdem sind entgegen der üblichen Volksweisheit Immobilien als Mietobjekt laut einer DIW Studie selten rentabel. Was bleibt ist die Immobilie als Spekulationsobjekt und die Hoffnung dass es zukünftig nicht wieder eine Immobilienblase gibt. Wer doch in eine Immobilie investieren möchte, sollte folgende Faktoren beachten:
Angesichts meiner bisherigen Vorschläge würde man vermuten, dass ich nicht raten werde in den Aktienmarkt zu investieren. Weit gefehlt. Ich würde nicht in einzelne Aktien investieren, denn es ist sehr aufwändig ständig auf dem Laufenden zu bleiben und die richtigen Entscheidungen zu treffen. Eine fool proof Methode ist hingegen die Investition in sogenannte ETFs. Das sind Fonds die an Aktien Indexe wie den Dow Jones oder Dax gekoppelt sind. Der Vorteil hierbei ist, das es sich um schon vorher ausgewählte und präqualifizierte Aktien handelt, die von Experten ständig neu bewertet werden. Damit umgeht man den Informationsaufwand und die große Informationsassymetrie bei individuellen Aktiengeschäften. Zudem out-performen Indexe wie schon gelernt 72% der Fonds und man kann sie für vergleichsweise geringe Gebühren anlegen (meist 1,5% Verwaltungsgebühren). Noch besser ist es, wenn man sich zusätzlich gegen einen plötzlichen Index-Verfall absichert in dem man zum Beispiel bei der Deutschen Aktionärsbank eine automatische Order Regel festlegt, das Geld aus dem Fond herauszuziehen, sobald der Index z.B. um 5% innerhalb einer vordefinierten Zeitperiode fällt. So kann man sich intelligent gegen Werteinbrüche in der Zukunft absichern und nur in den Wachstumsphasen partizipieren.
Zusätzlich lohnt es sich Aktieninvestments mit Realwerten zu ergänzen. Im Moment ist der Goldpreis relativ niedrig, weil er über eine längere Periode gesunken ist. In Krisenzeiten steigt der Goldpreis, sodass er ein krisensicheres Investment darstellt. Ganz ausgefallen aber dennoch smart kann eine Investition in nicht-Immobilien-gebundenen Grundbesitz sein, wie z.B. eine Obstwiese. Häufig werden solche Investitionsobjekte unterschätzt und sind deshalb unterbewertet.