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Moving money internationally

You probably don’t send as many international wires as I do, and probably have never thought about how the dollars (or euros, pounds, shillings, etc.) move from your bank to the destination bank. What may surprise you is that the money never leaves. How this works in reality is best described with a so-called “minor” currency, e.g. the Malawi Kwacha. I have a few of these in my...

Investors with no Money to Invest

It sounds like an oxymoron, but it is not uncommon for investors to interview entrepreneurs while at the same time those investors have no money to make investments. This is one reason some funds take months to make investments, as they themselves are fundraising while simultaneously screening and doing due diligence. The reality is that fundraising as time consuming and challenging for fund...

Startup Luck

In November 2010, Nick Brown happened to find himself at a Manchester conference attending a talk by popular British psychologist Richard Wiseman, who had written a book called The Luck Factor. “Basically, the way to be lucky is to just put yourself in situations where good things can happen,” Brown remembers, “because more good things will happen to you than bad on any given day, but nothing...

One currency, two values

I have a strange attraction to worthless currencies, or those on the path to being worthless. Most people just take currencies for granted, never wondering where their value comes from nor understanding how it sometimes disappears. No one truly knows those answers, but sometimes we get accidental experiments that help us understand. The latest of those is happening now in Yemen. As described in...

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