Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business Influencers, most influential expert on Wealth, Legacy, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen LinkedIn Profile

April 13, 2018

What’s driving “gray” divorce?

What’s driving “grey” divorce? More women are risking leaving the safe harbor of their long term marriages and launching out into the unknown waters of being single again after the age of 50.

Newly single women in the "grey" demographic are discovering that the new challenges can bring a wonderful time of renewal. The challenge is to shift their old mindsets and patterns. Once they get going in the new direction and stop looking backwards, their new lives are surprisingly positive.

What is driving this "grey" divorce trend?
  1. Women are more financially independent. More than half of women ages 55 to 64 currently work. Women would rather be single or seek a new partner than remain unhappily married.
  2. Staying together “for the kids” is less of an issue when children are grown adults.
  3. Online dating creates hope for new and better relationships.
  4. Gray divorce no longer means being alone forever.
  5. With increased longevity, the prospect of another 20 or 30 years in an unhappy marriage is no longer acceptable.

April 7, 2018

What do golf and investing have in common?

But what do golf and investing have to do with each other? To start, a good golfer needs to be patient, make solid strategic decisions and be able to focus on long-term goals. Seems pretty in line with what it takes to be a successful investor. When it comes to actually playing a good game of golf, there are a number of other similarities. I "tee up" five of them here:

1. There's more than one way to succeed

Brooke Henderson chokes up a few centimeters or two on an extra-long driver to rank in the top 20 in driving distance on the LPGA tour. Jim Furyk has won nearly $68 million in his career using a swing that golf analyst David Feherty famously described as resembling "an octopus falling out of a tree." Good golfers come in all sizes and shapes.
With investing, you can go heavy on stocks, bonds or foreign exchange, or have a portfolio that consists of several asset classes. While a mix of assets can offer some level of protection compared to an all-or-nothing-type strategy, there is no single right way to invest your money — it's all about knowing your own style and comfort zones.

2. Keeping your cool

It's easy to get upset and frustrated with a double or triple bogey. And responding by taking unnecessary risks will almost certainly compound your problems. The best way to deal with any golfing setback is to try to make a solid shot, followed by another solid shot. Before you know it, you're back on track.
Investing will definitely have its ups and downs. Think about the most recent market decline. Did you panic and sell off many of your investments? Or did you double down on previous investments because you were sure that the decline created bargains? Either response could be considered an overreaction. A calm and reasoned approach to your investments, always keeping an eye on your long game, is generally considered the best way to proceed.

3. Past performance doesn't predict future performance

You'd be hard-pressed to find a golfer who doesn't agree with this one. One good round doesn't make you a golf pro and one bad round doesn't mean you should give up the game.
Same with investing. It's best not to become too confident just because of some winning investments, but don't become gun-shy if you have a couple of losers. Research is the key to understanding your investment choices.

4. Process is crucial

When you're facing a crucial situation in golf, one of the worst things you can do is tell yourself "I have to make a good shot now." That extra pressure can cause you to become tense, which can lead to a poor result. Focusing calmly on following your shot-making process can increase your chances of success greatly.
Likewise, when making an investment, it's not productive to say "I have to make money on this one." That is piling on the pressure! Instead, a disciplined process – careful research and thoughtful analysis — can help with reasoned investment decisions. If your process is sound, there's a better chance your investments will be sound as well.

5. Learn from the experts

How many times have people in your foursome offered advice on your golf game? People are generally well-intentioned, but just because something works for someone else doesn't mean it's right for you.
The same goes for those dinner parties where friendly stock tips pile up from people who just happen to know someone who knows someone. Investment advice that seems too good to be true often is. I often hear clients say I got this tip from this wealthy person and I want to invest into that stock. Do a bit more of a deep dive before getting off track from your investment strategy.
Follow me on Twitter @jacolineloewen
My books can be found on Amazon: amazon.com/author/loewen

March 22, 2018

Top Market Forecast Award for Jacoline Loewen

Jacoline Loewen
receiving the trophy from
The Ticker Club
for #1 Market Forecast 2017
Jacoline Loewen was awarded #1 Top Market Forecast by The Ticker Club, and received a trophy January 2018. 

The Ticker Club is a 100 year old club with leading members of the finance community, including the Canadian banks,  large funds such as Blackstone, Teachers and wealth managers such as Gluskin Sheff. 

Jacoline says her secret to winning was Pierre Ouimet. This is the second year UBS placed in the top 3 forecasts.

March 19, 2018

The importance of the client experience for Wealth Management

I found this to be a useful report by Scorpio Partnership on the trends of Wealth management. Below is my pick of the most important trend.

Google the phrase “client centric wealth management” (no hyphen) and you’ll be rewarded with hundreds of thousands of results. After all, the client is always at the center of the relationship between financial advisers and their investment portfolio, and wealth management firms focus on clients’ needs. Right?
Apparently not.

In a recent report, Scorpio Partnership struck at the heart of what it says is lacking in the wealth management industry: the client experience, or as one executive put it, placing “the customer at the heart” of the service experience.
“Wealth management should absolutely be built around client needs,” the report said. “Given the intimacy of the client/advisor relationship it may be hard to believe that it isn’t already, but the truth is that while many firms invest in listening to their clients, few put what they learn to work delighting customers day-in-day-out.”
As 2018 gets underway, we asked April Rudin, founder and president of The Rudin Group, about this disconnect between clients and firms; the “new” client experience; and why she believes 2018 will be the “Year of the Client.”
Below is a lightly edited transcript of the conversation.
CFA Institute:
I’m a little surprised that it’s 2018 and we find ourselves still talking about the importance of the client experience. What have you observed over the past year that makes you think this is an area that needs attention?

April Rudin:

Over the past year, I have noticed that while many wealth managers, and other financial services executives, are high-end consumers who value the client experience offered by luxury brands, for example, they struggle with translating that same experience to their own client offerings. For many firms and advisers, it means doing a 180 to see things from the clients’ perspective and how they value services, offerings, and even client communication. Something else I have seen is that some people who are using their smartphones and a variety of apps in their personal lives are reluctant or slow to adopt technology in their professional lives.
With $32 trillion (estimated) in the wealth transfer clearly underway, women and the next generation are reshaping the client experience. They value being treated and understood as individuals, yet much of wealth management remains in the “one-size-fits-all” mentality. Reconciling what clients want with what firms are offering will be the single most important area for the wealth management industry to focus on in 2018 and beyond.
The good news is that firms that get this right stand to have the greatest advantage in 2018 and beyond to grow assets under management (AUM) and gather new assets. And by the way, it’s iterative; not “one and done” — there is no single action or magic bullet. It must be an ongoing effort.
It is key for firms and advisers to keep their online/digital best foot forward. And on all channels. Today’s global investors are online and connected. They want their advisers to be as well.

March 11, 2018

Has Elon Musk's launch impacted the energy of entrepreneurs?


Money and scaling up your business is a key part of early day businesses. Self funding is one of the options, and then crafting the business and product until it is proven. Getting validation is a common characteristic of most of my best investments.

Holy Moly, Elon Musk achieved epic market validation for Space X by showing his Falcon Heavy launch to the world. 
Not only that, Elon has just executed what will become the text book case for branding with the video of the launch posted on Instagram. As I watched these videaos, the incredible achievements of reusable rockets returning to the launch pad, the cars lined up to watch just like the landing on the moon days, the thrill of seeing that iconic shot of the world with the astronaut sitting in a red Tesla, hood down, cruising through space on its way to Mars, my eyes filled with tears.

Suddenly,  Musk's crazy Tesla in space made on Earth by humans became obvious. This crazy, eclectic big dreamer, Elon Musk, just achieved his crazy goal. For attracting investors, crypto currencies seem dull by comparison.


The rocket launch highlight videos were created by Westworld co-creator Jonah Nolan. "The only way I know how to share [the Falcon Heavy launch] is a trailer," Nolan said. "It’s not for TV or a movie, it’s for the next part of the human story."
Elon Musk says your business should be about, "things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity."

This week, I am going to a startup lunch with top Toronto investors. I will be bringing that Elon Musk inspiration to fuel up my impact.

February 19, 2018

Game changer leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa

Foreword by Cyril Ramaphosa
Since Cyril Ramaphosa became president of South Africa, many people know he wrote the foreword to one of my technology books and ask me about his character. What is he like?  If I were to sum up Cyril Ramaphosa, it would be to say he is all about disruptive leadership.

Cyril has an incredible mindset which is full of appreciation. He has emotional sense, people sense, but also an economic mindset. Gold appreciates, bitcoin appreciates, Cyril appreciates. What appreciation really means is that you give value. That is Cyril. He is not worrying about how he is going to get paid back. He is constantly giving greater value with generosity.

I was very fortunate enough to know Cyril when he wrote the foreword to my book on technology's impact on businesses and society in South Africa. He wrote about the changing potential for wealth in South Africa to reach more of the people.

Cyril's reflected on his own track record which was the accelerated African dream where he went from a poor Venda boy to President of South Africa. On that journey, Cyril had the courage to set up and run South Africa's first black union. It is easy to forget the brutal power of the government at that time and organizing any group could have resulted in death. Yet Cyril's inclusive leadership style helped the black union grow in power, He gained the respect of the union members and the management teams, becoming an essential part of the mining world. Cyril ran these union organizations for many years.

After being passed over by Mandela for the leadership of the ANC, Cyril went on to become the leading business man of South Africa, married into the wealthiest African family.

I was looking at Cyril's declared investments which give his stock ownership of South Africa's blue chip companies and also his private investments. It is great to see Cyril does private equity investments into exciting businesses such as Fever Tree consulting and McDonalds. This is a business man who understands all sides of the negotiation table. This is what will be the game changer for South African politics.

How did Cyril managed this meteoric rise in his level of success?
Cyril is a giver.
He has the mindset and behaviour of a man committed to win/win. As the head of the first black union, his ability to engage all people with his humour and warmth did its magic.  Mine owners and managers started to realize that their black workers were thinking people who could be brought on board for productivity boosts and better work practices to benefit all. Their opinions could be asked and they would no longer be silent. This is a happier work world. Win/win.
  
Women in South Africa were just beginning to rise up in the business world. At that time, I already had been the strategist for Investec Bank and my first book, The Power of Strategy, was a best seller and award winner. I remember Cyril was delighted to help me with my book. His foreword is full of the promise of the wealth of South Africa.  He gave me, a female, such support which in turn made me dedicated to my time in South Africa and to contribute to its economy and more.
Cyril was always making a bet on the future without concern about the returns. He is super succesful but also super generous. He now has become the leader of South Africa and he will bring that abundance of opportunities to the economy but also the society. The speed of change is accelerating. Cyril is the leader South Africa needs. He is the change South Africa needs and deserves. I am grateful to Cyril for believing in me and for all of his support.



February 13, 2018

First step for business owners preparing for sale is to get a valuation

Perhaps that is why the recent research by Investor Watch reveals that nearly 60% of wealthy investors would consider starting their own business.

At the same time, the favorable economic environment is spurring some business owners to cash out. And it remains to be seen who will fill the void.

  • 41% of business owners plan to exit their business.
  • 80% will sell or close the business—or they’re not sure what to do. 
  • Another 20% intend to give the business to family.
Business owners who plan to sell are far too often unprepared for the process. Less than half have had their business appraised, for example. I am always shocked by how many business owners think they only need an accountant and a lawyer to sell their business, The first step of getting a valuation by a professional advisor would quickly show them the value of their business.  Equipped with a reality check on their assumed price for their business, they can then see if their cash flow of their business will be a better long term wealth strategy or time to sell and invest the payout. Having an investment banker on the team to do the sale of their business becomes obvious after the sale of the business.

At the same time that business owners are thinking of exiting, 58% of wealthy investors would consider starting a business. Together, these trends are increasing the need for advice and creating growth opportunities for Financial Advisors.

Please give me a call if you are thinking about how to maximize the wealth of your business.  
We have much to offer business owner clients and prospects. From lending, insurance and retirement plans to pre-sale planning, Employee Stock Ownership Plans and more, All good conversations to have when it comes to building your long term wealth.
 
 
Join me on Twitter @jacolineloewen
 
Check out my book for business owners wanting to sell to private equity.

February 6, 2018

Planning is a bore compared with running a business but 3 simple questions can help a lot

Business owners make their wealth through concentrated efforts. The key to successful transitions involves focusing that same energy on planning the next stage of life and putting their wealth to work through investments outside their own companies.

Planning is a bore compared with running a business. If owners want to fully benefit from their lives' work, they need to grit their teeth and start tackling those three life questions before they get answered for them by life's forces.

The problem is, most owners avoid thinking about their next stage, their businesses don't get sold properly, and they lose the wealth they spent their lives building.

"One business owner that we came across had no transition plan, no successor, a son in the business who did not have an interest in running it, and no estate plan at all," says Maria Milanetti, a partner at
MarchFifteen, a consulting practice specializing in business transitions.

"The owner was 70 years old, running a highly successful business, and utterly oblivious to the risks for his family's future wealth."

This scenario is common in Canada.

Too often, the only part of a business that can be salvaged are its assets, but not a great deal more, leaving the family in a precarious position. The economy also loses a company that could have continued under new leadership.

Why is this sad lack of transition such a common scenario for too many privately owned businesses?

Milanetti says, "It's quite natural for founders and those running the business successfully to 'want to keep a good thing going' and to feel that they need to keep running the business themselves." 
 "Often they want to 'protect' others from this responsibility."
 But their reluctance to share how they make decisions or influence stakeholders with their next generation leaders can have long-term negative effects. Milanetti acknowledges it can be difficult to start the conversation around transition or succession. She recommends starting with the following three questions:

Have you thought about the next chapter in your business?
This question may prod an owner to be able to describe verbally a picture of the business within the next five years. As an extension of this question, it can be useful to include the next generation of leaders if there are any tapped to take over the business. Ask them to share how they want to build the business in the longer term. Like the son working with the 70 year old owner encountered by Maria, the truth will come out that they have no interest. Many next generation family members are not wanting to take over the business and doing this type of exercise will bring this urgent issue into the light sooner than later.

How can we plan that future together?
Suggest setting aside some time with a facilitator or business adviser and describe how critical conversations can be shared in a relaxed, reflective and safe situation. It makes it a safer process. It also means someone else brings energy and an outsider perspective to winkle out those tough questions business like to avoid but that need to be addressed.

What will your life look like in three years?
It can not be underestimated how difficult it can be to step away from a business, even if the Chairman role is still offered with a desk at the office. The emotional challenges of giving up control over a privately owned business and transitioning into a new role as “ex-entrepreneur” – whatever this new role may be – requires reflection about one’s identity and about other family members. This is not a natural state for most high-action owners. Dealing with this identity change can be very important to helping the transition to take place. However, this can be the most tricky question to bring up as it starts to deal with the prickly topic of the business transition. Peter Pan whispers that planning for life after the business means retirement, and that's for old people, not a dynamic business owner, no matter the biological age. That way of thinking can be disastrous for a family if the owner is forced to reduce his or her time at the business or stop altogether. It is better to address changes while everyone is healthy and has the time and energy.
 
"At every juncture," Milanetti says, "We recommend planning. That is planning for the mentoring of next generation leaders, for the transition between current leadership and successors and, most importantly, planning for the owner to be clear what will make their lives meaningful in their next chapter. These are not people who are used to doing nothing. they need to see the door opening to welcoming place."
 

Jacoline Loewen is director of business development of UBS Bank (Canada)
She is also author of Money Magnet: How to Attract Investors to Your Business
You can follow her on Twitter @jacolineloewen.
  
The article above first appeared in the Globe and Mail online.

February 1, 2018

Learn from the Best

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses. - Henry Ford

January 29, 2018

10 Questions Anthony Lacavera wants us to ask

Seeing Anthony Lacavera in his casual suit and hip haircut at my formal Bay Street Investment Club made me curious. Yes, Anthony has his book to promote, but what would be his message for the room of mostly public market investors?

I was not disappointed. Anthony challenged the room of influential investors about our shared responsibility for the future of Canada. Anthony quickly picked apart the realities of our laws and our attitudes that if changed, could mean a radically different future for Canada. All of these points are expanded upon in his very good book, How We Can Win.

I have entrepreneurs as my client base, and Anthony’s book is giving me a treasure trove of discussion points for my client meetings in 2018. There are stories about Canadians such as heroes I have been fortunate enough to know such as Claudia Hepburn who helped found The Next 36, Michael Serbenis who created the Kobo, Andy Burgess of Somerset Entertainment, Michael Hyatt of Bluecat and Craig Campbell who built a security company. 

There are also discussions about the Canadian-centric issues I have heard too many times and, quite honestly, I have stopped discussing because they do not seem to change. It was refreshing to hear Anthony's passion.

These were my pick of Anthony’s many questions directed to my Bay Street Finance Club. These ten points particularly sparked me and made me grit my teeth. This year, I hope to use these to bring my best to Canada:

  1. Why do we think it normal to go for gold when it’s hockey but we are satisfied with being fourth or tenth in business ratings? The Americans go for survival of the fittest but Canadians think it is mean to crush competitors like cockroaches. Anthony says, "We need to start clawing our way up the value chain."
  2.  Why do our government leaders go to the Google offices to get their photo ops? Surely, politicians should prioritize their support of Canadian companies such as Hootsuite? Stop by the Hootsuite HQ in Vancouver, politicians, and you will be surprised by the results. 
  3. Can we stop being afraid of picking winning companies and rewarding them? This requires we get past the “everyone’s a winner” attitude and to pick one leader and focus the financial rewards.This means putting government funding in large placements into fewer businesses. We need to be comfortable that competition is positive.
  4. Why is not one Canadian VC or private equity firm invested into one of the leading Waterloo area companies, Thalmic Labs? Why does it take Americans to do the investing? Thalmic Labs comes out of the Next 36 program and are a great Canadian venture. 
  5. Why should we care where investment money originates? Globealive had the government tell him his investors had to get out of his company because they were from a different part of the world. The Middle East is not banned from my bank as potential clients and Anthony's investors certainly cleared the barriers. 
  6. Why do we have such difficult inter provincial trade barriers and what does it cost business?
  7. Why do most Canadian companies not think of being an export business? They are satisfied with being big enough. 
  8. What is Canada known for? Why do we have investors into cannabis but not into Ai, Machine learning? Uber, co-founded by a Canadian, is in MaRS and has a Canadian Ai expert leading it. Surely our VC investments should be going into these tech endeavours but we seeem to like the drug industry more.
  9. Why are Canadian entrepreneur leaders not known and celebrated?  We all know Bill Gates or Elon Musk (ironically a Canadian) of America but how about Ryan Holmes of Hootsuite?
  10. What can we do to reduce the brain drain of our tech students to America? We are losing our youth to the USA. My son is graduating from Waterloo and is off to Seattle to work for Microsoft so that point really hurts! Ouch.





Waterloo students create WatVision to help visually impaired to read touch screen

The Waterloo student teams create products in their fourth year and I was impressed with my son and his group - WatVision. 
Their product is to help visually impaired people read a touch screen. The idea developed as a visually impaired person talked about how the new coffee maker at work had a touch screen which he could not use, unlike the old coffee machine.  
This product has been created to help a visually impaired person use a touch screen. Check out the video.

The video shows Craig demoing how to use our system. Here is a breakdown of how he did it.
  1. Start the app and point your phone camera at the touch screen you are trying to use
  2. Listen to the app, it will guide you to aim the camera at the entire screen. It will give commands such as “Move Left” or “Move Up” to help the user capture the whole screen.
  3. Place the finger wearing the ring on the touch screen and begin exploring!
That’s all it takes, let the app do the reading for you. When your finger moves over text or buttons, the app reads out what its for so you as the user can decide whether you want to use it or not.
Interesting in trying it?
We are looking for participants to try out the system and give us feedback as we continue to develop. If you or someone you know has a visual impairment and would be interested in trying out the Watvision system, contact us at watvisionteam@gmail.com.

January 21, 2018

Annual Investment Luncheon at The Empire Club

2018 Investment Outlook Luncheon

I was honoured to be invited to join the head table at the Annual Investment Outlook Luncheon held at the Empire Club. We were joined by the CFL players who impressed me with their knowledge of blockchain and crypto-currencies.

2018 Investment Outlook Luncheon

January 17, 2018

Top Forecast awarded by Bay Street Finance Club to Jacoline Loewen

Jacoline Loewen with trophy for #1 Forecast
It was thrilling and humbling to be awarded the #1 Forecast.  There were 150 competing financial experts, many of whom run leading funds and who are pre-eminent names in the investment industry.

My forecast made at the beginning of 2017 was the most accurate. As a result, I get this huge trophy with darts as the symbols on top.  You can surmise why the use of darts as an understanding of the accuracy of forecasts.  Many people have made or lost their fortunes using the forecasts of experts, including Ray Dalio.  My name has been engraved on one of the markers which is an honour to join the list of top forecasters of the Canadian economy.

This finance club has been going since 1929, and will no doubt carry on for another 100 years, and so it is a great honour to be able to win top forecast. I was told that lightening does not strike twice and this is forecasting, after all. However, I have seen in my business that there is some methodology and process that certainly helps to predict the road ahead.

If you are curious about the forecast itself, there were market indicators to predict and a list of stocks to choose as going up or down.

I did have access to my bank's economic views which were different from the Canadian banks, being a global player. No doubt, access to that gave me a proverbial leg up but in the end, I did put in the time and effort to really look at the upcoming year. Now, let's see how my 2018 forecast fares!

January 7, 2018

Top 10 Questions for Families with Wealth

Family is important.
We can agree with that sentence as family relationships nudge, bump. poke at our course in life. You have heard the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships. I would add, "family relationships." Many factors shape family relationships and money is one of them. Both when it is abundant and when it is scarce, money is key in shaping family relationships.
Money and its impact causes problems in family relationships. Who gets the money? Who receives the information about the family's wealth? Who actually has the control over that wealth - is it really family wealth or one person's wealth?
Tough questions that many choose to skip with resulting drama that fills movie scripts but also real lives.
Money also brings the opportunity to discover what money means to a family. It can be an open discussion to discover how a family can work together and clarify their thinking about the purpose of the money.
Family
What is money's purpose? What does money mean to the family?
Rather than divide the family, money can have a beneficial affect on bringing together a family and have a surprisingly beneficial effect on family dynamics. Relationships can be cemented.
In fact, the hardest issues facing families are usually not the money but the family relationship based and family based. You can begin to set a positive family dynamic by asking yourself questions and your family members these probing questions about finances and philanthropy.
In my experience, there are questions to get the process started. You can pose these top ten questions to each of your family members. What is most important is to listen and observe how family members respond is more important than the answers.

  1. What challenges do we face in regards to our family and to our money?
  2. What is our vision for our family's future?
  3. What is our family's definition of success?
  4. What principles will guide our decisions about asset allocation?
  5. What has been our experience of the family working together?
  6. How do we prepare our children to steward a financial inheritance?
  7. Should we bring our son or daughter in law into the conversation on finances and philanthropy?
  8. What are our core philanthropy interests and how did these become so important to us?
  9. How may we enable the next generation to create a shared dream with a family foundation while also fulfilling the founder's vision?
  10. How do we promote a togetherness while also promoting the individualism of each family member?


What do you think of these questions? Are there any more that you would add?

January 5, 2018

How the developing world is shaking up tech from Mexico to Chile and Kenya

In New York with Wondereur for Fintech Finals

Fintech early stage companies were part of my company's Global Fintech challenge last year which I got to roll out and manage across Canada. What was surprising to our head office was the sheer number of good fintechs in Canada, not just Silicon Valley. That is what struck me as I read this article about how Silicon Valley and Canada are no longer the only place where fintechs are growing - Mexico with its lack of banking is shooting ahead with Fintechs too.

The magazine Unlimited has an interesting article on technological development outside of Silicon Valley and how fintech in the developing world is gaining traction.

I had been surprised last year, when the head of Blockchain in my company told me how Africa had played a huge role in developing blockchain as there were so few legacy banking systems in place. There you have it, straight from the horse's mouth about blockchain and developing countries technology sectors.

Here's the article...
Today earbuds can translate foreign languages in real time, while scientists are developing ‘living’ solar panels that can be printed on paper. Meanwhile, tech pioneers are setting their sights on still grander goals, like enhancing the human brain with implants raising the possibility of telepathic communication.
The pace of change in the sector continues to accelerate. In the US alone, the number of tech-related patents has doubled over the past decade.But, while expertise has been concentrated around California’s Silicon Valley, in the coming years technological disruption is increasingly likely to blossom in the developing world. Emerging markets are already undergoing a radical transformation. A decade ago the tech industry accounted for only 10% of the benchmark MSCI Emerging Markets index. Now that figure has nearly tripled to 29%, with four of the index’s five largest-capitalized companies coming from the tech sector. 
In China, the education system currently produces three million science and engineering graduates each year – five times that of the US – and the nation is already on the way to joining the long-standing tech leaders, Taiwan and Korea.In neighbouring India, already a global player in the IT services industry, the government now has the world’s largest biometric identification system, with fingerprints and iris scans of more than one billion residents. 
Yet, the technological shift is not being limited to Asia. Coordinated public and private efforts to foster tech start-ups in Chile have earned the country the “Chilecon Valley” moniker, drawing comparisons with the famous California innovation hub.Mexico has also made progress in promoting start-ups through the creation of the National Institute of Entrepreneurship, with similar programs running in Colombia and Peru, now beginning to trigger rapid start-up growth in cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Lima.Given the large population in Latin America who are without banking services, a key growth area is fintech. According to Finnovista, the number of fintech start-ups in the region recently surpassed 1,000.
Follow me on Twitter @jacolineloewen
You can read my author's profile on Amazon here.

January 3, 2018

How Babcock will Get the Leafs to Win the Stanley Cup

Mike Babcock and Jim Heller with Toronto Maple Leafs
Being a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey fan, I often hear that "The Leafs can never win!" This negative view is echoed by the media and Twittersphere. Reasons given are that the players are too young, they don't get rid of players like Bozak, if Matthews gets injured the whole team collapses, we are too reliant on one player  - that Matthews again- and where is the defense?

How does a recently-hired coach like Mike Babcock break through that mindset? Such a defeatist view of the Leafs' destiny is a deeply ingrained habit for the players to not believe it. Each player gets on the ice with their own thinking and analysis. They are pattern recognition machines checking their team members for body language and style of play in order to predict their own next ten seconds of play. Each player builds up their own habits of play and their habit of psychology during the game.

One of the first changes I noticed when Babcock arrived as the new coach was that he began to break down the habits of each player doing their own thing. He set team plays, particularly in the first ten minutes of the game. It became evident that a team doing set plays was far more effective than one star player being expected to win the game. For the players, these team formations yielded improvements quickly.

Yet, when the opponents kicked in their plays, the Leafs would still fall back on its old psychology, particularly when playing home ice, in front of the Leafs fans.

Jim Hiller - The Leafs
Belief is an important part of team sports and in the book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, the author, credits belief with the biggest part of success. Duhiggs discusses, "laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they reside in our brains. We discover how the right habits were crucial to the success of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Procter and Gamble, Target superstores and NFL winning teams." Implementing so-called keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death. Duhiggs gives the Alcoholic Anonymous process as one of the examples about how to change patterns and the controversial piece is the belief part. For habits, Duhigg writes that the highest impact piece to solid habits is belief.

I would agree.

Mike Babcock and his passionate but intense leadership style gave the team quick successes. For the first time the team wants to believe, but when things get tense, their body language slumps, they look depressed and they fall back to their own game style and their old habits.

Then came the game changer. The Capitals were in town to play the Leafs at the ACC in front of their fans. This season, the Leafs had a string of failures when on the home ice and the rumour was it was due to nerves in front of the fans. The Capitals were a particularly tense opponent as they had taken out the Leafs in the playoffs and had played an aggressive game. The game began badly as the Caps scored early. Then again. By the end of the second period, the Leafs' deflation was evident.

After the break, Babcock had got the team energized again and the Leafs managed to pull back to get just one behind the Caps. In the final five minutes, the Leafs were at the Cap's net battling it out when Babcock made a big scene. He pulled the Leaf's goalie from the net. I was shocked. What the heck... Then I could see Babcock's reasoning - to add another player to the ice to escalate the pummeling on the Caps' net. Babcock's public decision to up the ante on the final push to get the needed goal showed the Leafs their coach believed.

Babcock burnt the boats.

Unbelievable! Would his team step up to give the Caps a pounding? Not just Matthews? By golly, they did. Every player gave it their all. They played as if it was the Stanley Cup finals. There was no holding back.

The Leafs started to believe and what a final five minutes. at the eight second spot, the Caps main player scored on the Leaf's empty goal. A fan threw a hat on the ice to recognize the hat trick. Until the final moment, that night, the fans stayed riveted in their seats. They watched as each of the players gave Babcock every squeeze of their energy.

Most teams are not teams. They are a group of guys who play together. Babcock's symbolic strategy where he put himself out in front of the fans and the media for a public drubbing made a difference. I wondered what would be the mood and atmosphere in the changing room that night after pulling the goalie? Would the Leaf's mood be different if Babcock had not created that drama with the Caps?

Jacoline Loewen
Babcock changed up the feelings. (Am I allowed to say feelings when writing about sports?) He not only showed that he believed, he put his own credibility on the line. Babcock gave the Leafs fans a spectacle and my favourite photograph from 2017 - see above. The tweets and the media had a different tone. There was excitement and appreciation.

When you see belief in other people's eyes, it seems real. The Leafs players saw their fans stick around to the end and the support given. That will remain. The power of a group to reach each team member to stay strong is immense. Babcock's gesture will have been significant enough to change the psychology of the team. The next time they face the Caps, they will have the fortitude to power through the game and bring their practiced plays.

Since then, the Leafs are playing differently. A conviction is emerging about the strength of Babcock's strategy. The Leafs are playing a tighter, precision game.

Habits change with a group. Babcock's belief is compelling enough that the young Leafs players are getting behind him and giving it their extra talent. Maybe this year it will be enough to get the finals? Here's believing!