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Marc Prosser

Bunkyō-ku, Japan
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About Marc
I am a freelance journalist based in Tokyo, Japan. I contribute articles to a number of international media and companies, including Forbes Asia and Singularity Hub. 

My main areas of expertise are science, technology and finance. However, I have spent time working at both local newspapers in the UK as well as international broadsheets, and feel comfortable writing about most subjects.
Danish English French
Interview (Video / Broadcast) News Gathering Feature Stories
Finance Politics Current Affairs

Current SBA Loan Rates for July 2024

01 Jul 2024  |  Fit Small Business
SBA loan interest rates, reviewed monthly, vary based on loan type, lender, and business qualifications. Despite an upward trend, SBA loans remain affordable with favorable terms. The article details current rates for various SBA loan programs, including 7(a), Express, CDC/504, Microloan, and EIDL, and explains their uses and qualification requirements. SBA loans generally offer lower rates compared to other lenders, making them a cost-effective option for small businesses.

Shopping for a Robot: Tips to Find Your Perfect Match

30 Jun 2024  |  blog.robotiq.com
The article provides comprehensive guidance on purchasing collaborative robots, emphasizing the importance of identifying specific needs, involving a project manager, and communicating with employees about safety and job implications. It outlines key specifications to consider, such as payload, reach, repeatability, ease of programming, and safety. The article also discusses the significance of choosing the right end-effector, sensors, and a reliable distributor. The eBook 'Shopping for your Collaborative Robot' is recommended for further detailed information.

10 Robotics Predictions for Trends That Will Dominate 2023

06 May 2024  |  blog.robotiq.com
Robotics are becoming increasingly integral in business operations due to challenges like supply chain disruption, labor shortages, and geopolitical unrest. Key trends for 2023 include data-driven automation, robots augmenting human abilities, the rise of collaborative robots, the arrival of autonomous mobile robots in logistics, and the growth of electronics assembly automation. The automotive industry has lost its lead in robot deployment to non-automotive applications, indicating a broader adoption across industries. The shortage of robotics skills may slow adoption, highlighting the importance of easy-to-use robotic solutions. Intelligent and adaptive robots are on the rise, and robots-as-a-service models are emerging to lower barriers to entry.

Custom-made bones are being 3D printed in a lab then implanted in people

11 Mar 2020  |  www.themandarin.com.au
Danish startup Particle3D is pioneering a method for 3D printing customized bone implants using a bio-ink made from tricalcium phosphate (TCP) and fatty acids. These implants are designed to fuse with the skeleton and degrade over time, reducing infection risks and eliminating the need for additional surgeries. The technology has shown promising results in animal trials and could revolutionize healthcare by providing tailored solutions for bone reconstruction. The European Space Agency is also exploring 3D printing for medical applications in space, aiming to keep astronauts healthy on long missions. Despite regulatory challenges, the potential for 3D printing in healthcare is enormous, promising significant advancements in patient treatment and recovery.

Why your 5G phone connection could mean lousy weather forecasts

10 Mar 2020  |  www.themandarin.com.au
The article explores the potential conflict between the deployment of 5G networks and the accuracy of weather forecasts. Meteorologists are concerned that 5G signals, particularly in the 24.25-24.45 GHz range, could interfere with the measurement of water vapor, leading to less accurate weather predictions. Telecommunications companies argue that the interference will be minimal. Efforts to establish noise buffers between 5G transmissions and weather signals are ongoing, with different standards proposed by various organizations. Artificial intelligence is suggested as a potential solution to mitigate the impact of 5G on weather forecasting, with companies like IBM and Monsanto investing in AI technologies for better predictions.

Flexible ‘Dragon’ drone autonomously shapeshifts to fly through tight spaces

02 Feb 2020  |  www.themandarin.com.au
A team of roboticists at the University of Tokyo has developed a flexible drone-robot named DRAGON, capable of changing shape mid-flight to navigate tight spaces. The current model, consisting of four modules with maneuverable thrusters, can stay airborne for around three minutes and make autonomous decisions to avoid obstacles. Future enhancements include increasing the number of modules to 12 and adding grippers for object manipulation. Japan's regulatory environment has slowed drone technology adoption, but the country is exploring various innovative uses for drones, including rescue missions and inspections. The DRAGON drone's flexible design offers potential advantages in navigating hazardous environments and performing inspection tasks.

How microrobots will fix our roads and save us billions

17 Jan 2020  |  themandarin.com.au
Microrobots developed in the U.K. could revolutionize road and infrastructure maintenance by performing underground repairs, potentially saving the U.K. economy around £5 billion annually. A University of Sheffield-led consortium, with Professor Kirill Horoshenkov, has received a £7.2 million grant for this purpose. The U.K. government is also investing in robotics for hazardous environments. Rolls-Royce is exploring microrobots for aircraft engine inspections, and the Femto-ST Institute has made strides in nanobot technology, including medical applications.

Tech spread misinformation in 70 countries in 2019. How can we make 2020 better?

01 Jan 2020  |  www.themandarin.com.au
Technology has significantly contributed to the spread of misinformation, making its creation cheaper and more widespread. However, it also plays a crucial role in combating misinformation. A report from Oxford University’s Internet Institute highlights how governments, political parties, and organizations have used technology to spread misinformation in 70 countries in 2019, a number that has doubled in two years.

Why Your 5G Phone Connection Could Mean Lousy Weather Forecasts

04 Dec 2019  |  singularityhub.com
The article explores the potential conflict between the deployment of 5G networks and the accuracy of weather forecasts. Meteorologists are concerned that 5G signals, particularly in the 24.25-24.45 GHz range, could interfere with the measurement of water vapor, leading to less accurate weather predictions. This could have significant consequences, such as reduced preparation time for hurricanes. Telecommunications companies argue that the interference will be minimal. Efforts to establish noise buffers between 5G transmissions and weather signals are ongoing, with varying standards proposed by different organizations. Artificial intelligence is suggested as a potential solution to mitigate the impact of 5G on weather forecasting.

How Facebook’s Libra Could Kick Off a Digital Currency War

01 Oct 2019  |  singularityhub.com
Facebook's announcement of its digital currency, Libra, has caused international concern and may accelerate a digital currency race, with China potentially leading the way with its own digital yuan. Central banks worldwide are considering digital currencies in response to the challenges posed by Libra and China's plans. Libra's potential impact includes faster, cheaper transactions and a shift in global economic power, possibly weakening the US dollar. The protection of data collected during digital currency transactions remains a significant concern.

How a Mysterious Manuscript Keeps Confounding A.I.

13 Sep 2019  |  RealClearScience
The Voynich Manuscript remains an enigma, presenting a significant challenge for artificial intelligence systems attempting to decipher its contents. Theories about its purpose range from a playbook for the Cult of Isis to herbal health instructions, but no definitive conclusions have been reached.

How a Mysterious Manuscript Keeps Confounding AI

12 Sep 2019  |  singularityhub.com
The Voynich Manuscript, a 240-page text from the 15th century, continues to elude decipherment by scholars and AI alike, despite various claims of solving its mystery. Dr. Gerard Cheshire's controversial claim that it was written in a 'Proto-Romance language' for Maria of Castile was met with skepticism and criticism. The manuscript's resistance to interpretation highlights the challenges AI faces in understanding human language, with issues such as translation, cultural references, and historical language changes. Nonetheless, AI advancements in natural language processing are aiding in language preservation and the potential deciphering of ancient languages.

How tech can help curb emissions by planting 500 billion new trees

05 Sep 2019  |  DigitalAgenda
A study by ETH-Zürich, published in Science, suggests Earth can support an additional billion hectares of trees, which could store over 200 billion metric tons of carbon once mature. Technology, including drones and AI, could address challenges in planting and monitoring these new forests. DroneSeed and Biocarbon Engineering are using drones for planting, while 20tree.ai uses AI for forest monitoring. Despite the potential, reforestation faces obstacles such as land availability, private ownership, and the need for community involvement.

Nuke Mars? Here Are Some (Hopefully Better) Alternatives

29 Aug 2019  |  Singularity Hub
The concept of terraforming Mars has been explored by scientists and science fiction writers for a long time. Elon Musk's suggestion to use nuclear weapons to initiate a greenhouse effect on Mars has gained attention but faces practical and ethical challenges. Other methods include redirecting asteroids, constructing massive space mirrors, engineering microbes, and producing industrial gases. However, a NASA study concluded that with current technology, terraforming Mars is not feasible, and any such efforts are far into the future. The article suggests that in the short term, the focus should be on addressing Earth's environmental issues, while acknowledging that exponential technological advancements could make Mars colonization more viable sooner than expected.

8 Ways to Make Your Business Proposal Stand Out

22 Jul 2019  |  SCORE
Winning new customers hinges on the effectiveness of your business proposal. Customizing each proposal for maximum engagement is crucial. Use positive, engaging words, keep the proposal concise, and focus on solving the client's problem. Highlight your unique process, be realistic with timelines, and detail the costs clearly. Make the proposal visually appealing and have it reviewed by others to ensure clarity and correctness. Tailoring your proposal to each client can significantly enhance its impact.

Are These Robots Better Than You at Sports?

19 May 2019  |  singularityhub.com
Robot technology is advancing rapidly, with robots like SoftBank's Pepper and Boston Dynamics' Handle improving capabilities in various fields. Toyota's Cue 3 robot has demonstrated superior basketball shooting skills compared to NBA players. The article highlights various sports robots, including Forpheus in table tennis and Robo Cup Robots in soccer, showcasing their impressive abilities. Despite their advancements, robots still face limitations due to their humanoid forms. However, they are enhancing human sports performance through training aids and AI analysis. The future may see robots competing directly with humans in sports.

China’s Electric Buses Save More Diesel Than All Electric Cars Combined

22 Apr 2019  |  singularityhub.com
Electric buses in China are projected to save 270,000 barrels of diesel daily in 2019, outpacing the impact of electric cars. Nearly all of China's 400,000 electric buses are in China, driven by government efforts to reduce air pollution, which causes 1.6 million premature deaths annually. Shenzhen leads with 16,000 electric buses, and over 30 cities aim for 100% electric public transit by 2020. However, the environmental benefits are nuanced, considering the source of electricity and the production and recycling of batteries. Electric vehicles are more energy-efficient and have a smaller cradle-to-grave environmental impact than diesel vehicles. The trend towards electric buses is growing globally, with the potential to stabilize energy grids and increase energy storage capacity.

China Is Taking the Worldwide Lead in Wind Power

04 Apr 2019  |  singularityhub.com
China is leading the world in wind power capacity, with significant investments in renewable energy as part of its 13th Energy Technology Innovation Five-Year Plan. The country aims to produce 50% of its energy from non-fossil sources by 2030. Despite challenges such as grid management and optimal turbine models, China continues to invest in green energy, including the construction of the world's largest transmission line and advancements in battery storage. China also leads in renewable energy patents and is exploring ambitious projects like a solar power station in space.

A Bus-Sized Robot Will Soon Be Mining the Ocean Floor

29 Mar 2019  |  singularityhub.com
A bus-sized robot named Patania II, developed by Belgian company Global Sea Mineral Resources, is set to mine rare metal-rich nodules from the ocean floor in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone. This technology, which could be crucial for renewable energy and computing, raises both excitement and environmental concerns. Japan's successful seabed mining tests highlight the potential of these deposits. However, the lack of international regulations and the potential ecological impact remain significant issues. The International Seabed Authority is working on creating a legal framework, but the rapid pace of technological advancement poses challenges for effective regulation.

Where Is Amazon Headed With Its Self-Driving Car Initiatives?

28 Feb 2019  |  singularityhub.com
Amazon is actively investing in self-driving technology, with significant investments in startups like Aurora and partnerships with companies such as Embark and Rivian. The company is also developing its own autonomous delivery systems, including the Amazon Scout and AWS DeepRacer. These initiatives aim to reduce shipping costs and integrate self-driving capabilities into Amazon's logistics and delivery operations. Amazon's broader strategy includes leveraging its AWS cloud services and machine learning platforms to support self-driving technology, potentially leading to a fully autonomous delivery process in the future.

How to Network Like a Professional

20 Feb 2019  |  tweakyourbiz.com
Effective networking is crucial in business, with first impressions being particularly important. Dressing appropriately, displaying confident body language, and proper greetings can set a positive tone for future business relationships. Being prepared with materials like business cards and resumes, having a clear mission statement, and seeking feedback can enhance networking experiences. Opportunities for networking include social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, Chamber of Commerce events, professional conferences, and college career and alumni events. Following up with new contacts through email can solidify professional relationships.

How to Finance Your New Nonprofit

19 Feb 2019  |  tweakyourbiz.com
Starting a nonprofit organization requires funding similar to a startup or small business. Key steps include creating a mission statement, writing a business plan, presenting a strong management team, measuring the organization's viability, and seeking funding through grants, fundraising groups, crowdfunding, or debt financing. Each funding source has its own conditions and suitability depending on the nonprofit's goals and structure.

How Much Does Help Desk Software Cost?

13 Feb 2019  |  tweakyourbiz.com
The article discusses the costs associated with different help desk software solutions for three fictional small businesses: TJ’s TurnTables, Strategic Social, and Core Cable. It breaks down the two-year costs for FreshDesk, Deskero, and Zoho Support based on the number of customer service agents and the specific needs of each business. FreshDesk is praised for its free plan and scalability, Deskero for its social media ticketing, and Zoho Support for its free plan and integration with other Zoho business solutions.

What Games Are Humans Still Better at Than AI?

10 Feb 2019  |  singularityhub.com
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems have made significant strides in mastering complex games, surpassing human capabilities in many instances. AI bots like OpenAI's Five and DeepMind's AlphaStar have demonstrated superior performance in games such as Dota 2 and StarCraft II, respectively. Despite these advancements, AI still struggles with longer games and adapting to unexpected strategies. The rapid development of AI in gaming is seen as a precursor to its potential in other fields, with predictions suggesting AI could outperform humans in various tasks by mid-century. The article highlights the ongoing competition between humans and AI, noting that while AI's dominance in games is growing, it also offers valuable insights and learning opportunities for human players.

This AI Can Tell Your Age by Analyzing Your Gut Microbiome

05 Feb 2019  |  singularityhub.com
The gut microbiome, consisting of bacteria and other organisms, not only aids in digestion and disease prevention but also serves as a biological clock indicating physical age. Researchers at Insilico Medicine, led by Alex Zhavoronkov, used a deep learning algorithm to analyze gut bacteria samples from 1,165 healthy individuals aged 20-90, achieving age predictions within four years. The study, pending peer review, suggests that 39 microbial species are crucial for accurate age prediction. This research could pave the way for a 'microbiome aging clock' to study the effects of diet, medicine, and lifestyle on longevity. The findings also contribute to broader research on aging and health, including the role of microbiomes in various diseases and conditions.

How Microrobots Will Fix Our Roads and Save Us Billions

25 Jan 2019  |  singularityhub.com
Swarms of microrobots are being developed to repair underground infrastructure, potentially saving the U.K. economy billions annually. Led by Professor Kirill Horoshenkov from the University of Sheffield, the project has received significant government funding. These microrobots, designed for inspection and repair, could revolutionize maintenance by reducing the need for costly road excavations. Additionally, Rolls-Royce is exploring microrobots for engine inspections, and nanobots are showing promise in medical applications. The evolving ecosystem of microrobots and nanobots suggests a future where these tiny helpers play a crucial role in various industries.

3D Printed Heads Can Unlock Phones. What Does that Mean for Biometric Security?

07 Jan 2019  |  singularityhub.com
Facial recognition technology's security is questioned after a test using 3D printed heads successfully unlocked four out of five smartphones, with only the iPhone X resisting. The test, conducted by Forbes journalist Thomas Brewster, highlights vulnerabilities in biometric security, further supported by Japanese researchers who recreated fingerprints from social media photos. The rise in biometric data usage for various applications, including unlocking phones and authenticating purchases, underscores the need for multi-layered security measures to protect personal data.

The Importance of Good Credit and 5 Ways to Obtain it

01 Nov 2018  |  SmallBizTechnology
Good credit is crucial for both personal and business financial health, impacting loan interest rates and vendor payment terms. The article outlines five strategies to improve credit scores: using credit smartly, setting up credit with suppliers, regularly checking credit reports, paying more than the minimum balance, and being diligent about credit management. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining good credit for future financial opportunities and provides practical steps to achieve this.

DeepMind’s Eerie Reimagination of the Animal Kingdom

21 Oct 2018  |  singularityhub.com
A team from DeepMind, including Andrew Brock, Jeff Donahue, and Karen Simonyan, used a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) to create lifelike images of animals, resulting in a series called BigGAN. The project utilized Google's computational resources, specifically 512 Tensor Processing Units, to produce high-quality images. While the results were impressive, some imperfections remained, such as the number of legs on creatures. The technology has potential applications in image correction and could impact the authenticity of visual media. However, the significant energy consumption of the process has been noted as a concern.

This AI Predicts Obesity Prevalence—All the Way from Space

17 Sep 2018  |  singularityhub.com
A research team at the University of Washington has developed an AI system using convolutional neural networks to predict obesity prevalence by analyzing satellite images. The study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that neighborhood features could explain a significant portion of obesity variance. The AI system's success rates varied across cities, with Memphis showing the highest accuracy. The findings suggest that environmental factors play a crucial role in obesity, potentially guiding future urban planning and public health campaigns. Similar AI applications have been used by Stanford University and Google for various predictive analyses.

This Battery Is Made of Paper and Powered by Bacteria

06 Sep 2018  |  singularityhub.com
Scientists at the State University of New York have developed a biodegradable, paper-based battery powered by bacteria, activated by water or saliva. This innovation, presented in Advanced Sustainable Systems, could revolutionize power sources for IoT devices and medical sensors, addressing issues with current non-biodegradable batteries. Researcher Seokheun Choi highlighted the potential for stacking these batteries to increase output, though significant improvements are needed for commercial viability. Other teams, including one funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are also exploring similar technologies.

China Is Building a Fleet of Autonomous AI-Powered Submarines. Here Are the Details

15 Aug 2018  |  singularityhub.com
China is developing a fleet of autonomous, AI-powered submarines for its armed forces, expected to launch by 2020. These submarines will perform various missions, including reconnaissance and mine placement, raising concerns among neighboring countries. The AI systems will make autonomous decisions, potentially escalating regional tensions in contested waters like the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The development mirrors similar projects by the US, including DARPA's Sea Hunter and prototypes by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The article highlights the broader debate on AI-driven weapons, with industry leaders like Elon Musk advocating for a ban due to potential risks.

Flexible ‘Dragon’ Drone Autonomously Shapeshifts to Fly Through Tight Spaces

11 Jul 2018  |  singularityhub.com
A team of roboticists at the University of Tokyo has developed a flexible drone-robot named DRAGON, capable of changing its shape mid-flight to navigate through tight spaces. The current version, consisting of four modules with maneuverable thrusters and powered by an Intel Euclid unit, can stay airborne for around three minutes. Future plans include increasing the number of modules and adding grippers for object manipulation. Japan's regulatory environment has slowed drone technology adoption, but the country is exploring various innovative uses for drones. DRAGON's design makes it suitable for rescue missions and inspection tasks, with potential for further applications if grippers are added.

The New Energy Storage Tech Gates, Bezos, Ma, and Branson Are Investing In

02 Jul 2018  |  singularityhub.com
A group of billionaires including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, and Richard Branson have invested in Form Energy, an MIT spinoff developing a sulfur-flow battery for energy storage. The technology promises to store energy for months at a fraction of the current cost, potentially revolutionizing renewable energy storage. Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a $1 billion fund targeting climate change solutions, has contributed to Form Energy's $11 million funding. The sulfur-flow battery's scalability and low cost could address the storage limitations of renewables, a critical challenge for the industry.

5 Space Companies Zeroing in on First Launch of Tourists Into Orbit and Beyond

10 May 2018  |  singularityhub.com
Space tourism is approaching a significant milestone with several companies planning to launch tourists into orbit and beyond. Blue Origin, led by CEO Bob Smith, aims to send six people above the Karman Line for $100,000 to $200,000 per trip. Virgin Galactic's VSS Unity spacecraft plans to offer suborbital flights for $250,000, with 700 deposits already made. Orion Span is developing Aurora Station, a luxury space hotel, with reservations sold out for the first four months despite a $9.5 million price tag. SpaceX intends to send tourists around the Moon, and Space Adventures, having previously sent individuals to the ISS, is planning a Moon launch. The impact of space travel on tourists, who may experience a shift in perspective about Earth, is also highlighted.

China Plans to Bring Artificial Rain to Area Three Times the Size of Spain

24 Apr 2018  |  singularityhub.com
China is planning a large-scale weather manipulation project to increase rainfall over the Tibetan plateau, an area three times the size of Spain. The project involves using solid fuel burners, drones, planes, artillery, and weather satellites to create artificial rain through cloud seeding. While initial results are promising, the project has faced criticism regarding its unproven technology and potential geopolitical implications. The initiative aims to combat climate change and address water scarcity, but concerns remain about its impact on regional water distribution and overall effectiveness.

4 Reasons Your Business Should Not Be Cash Only

01 Apr 2018  |  SmallBizTechnology
Businesses should not limit themselves to cash-only transactions due to consumer preferences for credit cards, the burden of rising ATM fees, the need to provide payment options, and the convenience of online shopping. Offering multiple payment methods can enhance customer satisfaction and broaden the business's reach.

Japan's maglev train could be an engineering feat – or an expensive failure

19 Feb 2018  |  Tu.no
Japan's L0 maglev train, powered by superconducting magnets, set a world record in 2015 and is planned to connect Tokyo and Nagoya by 2027, with further extension to Osaka by 2045. While proponents see it as a symbol of Japan's engineering prowess and economic revival, critics argue it is economically unviable and environmentally unsustainable compared to existing Shinkansen technology. The project faces challenges including high costs, government loans, and skepticism about its necessity given Japan's declining population and ongoing recovery from past disasters. The article also highlights the potential for maglev technology to revolutionize transportation, despite current financial and logistical hurdles.

The First Man-Made Meteor Shower Will Light Up Japan in 2019

20 Nov 2017  |  singularityhub.com
In early 2019, the first ever man-made meteor shower will take place above Hiroshima, Japan, visible within a 100-kilometer radius. ALE, the company responsible for the event, has developed a micro-satellite that releases pellets to create the meteor shower. The project aims to inspire interest in space and STEM fields. ALE has improved the satellite and pellet technology and is navigating new regulatory challenges for their aerospace entertainment satellite. Japan Airlines and Family Mart are main sponsors, with JAL considering special flights for the event. The initiative emerges during a renaissance in space technology and exploration.

7 Ways to Make Your Business Completely Paper-Free

01 Nov 2017  |  SmallBizTechnology
Small businesses can save $80 per employee annually by going paper-free, with 1 in 5 US businesses already adopting this approach. The article suggests using project management tools like Basecamp, Asana, and Trello; electronic payroll software; Google Business Suite for communication and document management; digitizing receipts and invoices; cloud storage solutions like Dropbox; CRM software for data and document management; and moving marketing strategies online with platforms like Facebook and Google Ads. These methods not only reduce costs and errors but also benefit the environment.

Blockchain: From Wall Street To Main Street

06 Sep 2017  |  Forbes
Blockchain technology, the decentralized ledger system behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, has the potential to revolutionize various industries by enabling secure, fraud-resistant transactions and smart contracts. These smart contracts can automate and enforce contractual obligations without intermediaries, impacting sectors such as real estate, finance, insurance, and healthcare. While cryptocurrencies are currently seen as speculative investments, they offer stability in regions with unstable banking systems. Major companies and financial institutions are exploring blockchain applications, indicating its move towards mainstream adoption. The future uses of blockchain remain uncertain, but its potential to transform transaction-based industries is significant.

Recent Fed Credit Survey Exposes Clear Small Business Financing Opportunities

22 Jun 2017  |  Forbes
The Federal Reserve's 2016 Small Business Credit Survey reveals that small businesses face significant challenges in accessing credit, leading many to turn to alternative and online lenders. Despite the dominance of big banks, small businesses are increasingly relying on personal finances and alternative lenders like PayPal and SmartBiz, which offer higher approval rates and more accessible loan products. The survey highlights the underutilization of SBA loans, which offer substantial benefits but are less known among small business owners. Traditional banks are adapting by partnering with alternative lenders and offering more flexible loan options to better serve the small business community.

6 Ways Business Messaging Apps Benefit Your Business

01 Jun 2017  |  SmallBizTechnology
Business messaging apps offer significant benefits, including improved employee relations, streamlined communication, cost savings, and enhanced organization. These apps help keep teams connected, especially remote workers, and provide security features to protect company data. Popular apps like Slack include features such as to-do lists and message pinning, which aid in maintaining organization and productivity. Investing in a business messaging app can boost morale, productivity, and overall efficiency within a company.

Welcome to the Competitive World of Crappy Robots

12 May 2017  |  singularityhub.com
Hebocon, a Japanese competition for intentionally poorly designed robots, has gained international popularity since its inception in 2014. Founded by Daiju Ishikawa, the contest celebrates creativity and fun over technical prowess, with robots like Amazing Quick Floor, The Airnator, and The Peanut Giver competing. The event has expanded to over 25 countries with 130 competitions, including a World Championship in Tokyo. Hebocon's philosophy encourages embracing failure and enjoying the process, a sentiment also reflected in the work of Ishikawa and collaborator Chikako Koga on Daily Portal Z. The competition has been well-received globally, with interest in its potential educational value.

Why the Fast-Paced World of Drone Sports Is Getting So Popular

05 May 2017  |  singularityhub.com
Drone sports, including racing and combat, are rapidly growing in popularity, driven by technological advancements and a maker movement ethos. Organizations like the Drone Racing League and Freedom Class are leading the way, with events broadcast globally and significant viewership. The sport's growth parallels that of eSports, leveraging new media channels for audience engagement. Innovations in drone technology and falling equipment costs are making the sport more accessible. The Aerial Sports League, with its roots in the maker community, exemplifies the creative potential and educational benefits of drone sports, inspiring the next generation of STEM enthusiasts.

How to Make Sure You Never Run Out of Inventory

01 Apr 2017  |  SmallBizTechnology
Achieving optimal inventory levels is crucial for efficient business operations. Excess inventory increases overhead costs, while too little inventory fails to meet demand and risks customer dissatisfaction. Effective inventory management involves using historical sales data, real-time tracking software, considering lead times, setting minimum inventory levels, factoring in market trends, and potentially partnering with third-party logistics companies. A proven ordering formula is provided to help businesses maintain a healthy inventory level and avoid disappointing customers.

How to Make Sure You Never Run Out of Inventory

01 Apr 2017  |  smallbiztechnology.com
Achieving optimal inventory levels is essential for efficient business operations. Excess inventory can erode profitability, while insufficient inventory can lead to unmet customer demand and potential loss of business. The article outlines six ways to use data to maintain optimal inventory levels: using historical sales data, employing inventory management software, considering supplier lead times, setting minimum inventory levels, incorporating market trends, and understanding warehouse capacity. A proven inventory management formula is also provided to help businesses calculate order quantities effectively.

Building a Website from Scratch – 5 Things You Should Know

01 Feb 2017  |  smallbiztechnology.com
Building a website is crucial for small businesses, and it can be a complex and costly process without proper knowledge. Key steps include finding a domain name, choosing a web host, selecting a web-building platform, designing the website, and driving traffic to it. Domain names can be purchased from providers like GoDaddy.com or NameCheap.com. Web hosts provide the server space for the website. It's important to choose a web-building platform that allows for easy updates and changes. Designing an attractive and user-friendly website can take several weeks to months. Driving traffic to the website can be done through various methods such as social media, content marketing, and cross-promotions with complementary businesses.

Sell High, Buy Low: Why Now Might Be A Great Time To Invest In Yourself With A ROBS

30 Jan 2017  |  Forbes
With U.S. stock markets at all-time highs, entrepreneurs might find it an opportune moment to invest in themselves using Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS). ROBS allows the use of tax-deferred retirement savings to start or buy a business without incurring income tax or early withdrawal penalties. Unlike traditional startup loans, ROBS does not involve debt, making it an attractive option for those wary of borrowing. However, it comes with its own complexities and risks, including the need for proper setup and administration to comply with IRS and Department of Labor regulations. The current economic climate, characterized by rising consumer spending and household incomes, further supports the potential benefits of using ROBS for entrepreneurial ventures.

What Do The Hiccups Of 2016 Mean For Alternative Lending In The New Year?

30 Dec 2016  |  Forbes
The article discusses the challenges and developments in the alternative lending industry during 2016, including issues faced by companies like LendingClub, Prosper, Avant, and CAN Capital. It also highlights the success of companies like SmartBiz, BlueVine, and StreetShares, and the industry's response to increased oversight with initiatives like the SMART Box. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's proposed FinTech bank charter is seen as a sign of the industry's maturity and potential for growth. The article suggests that despite setbacks, alternative lending is evolving and will continue to play a significant role in the financial sector.

Travel piece about climbing Mt. Fuji for the Danish broadsheet Berlingske.

Japan's Love Affair with Humanoid Robots

20 Oct 2016  |  Singularity Hub
The article discusses Japan's cultural affinity for humanoid robots, despite their 'creepy' appearance as defined by the 'Uncanny Valley' concept. The term, coined by robotics professor Masahiro Mori, describes the dip in human empathy for robots that look almost, but not quite, human. The author explores how cultural and religious differences, particularly in Japan, influence the acceptance of robots. Examples include Toshiba's Aiko Chihira, a receptionist robot, and AIST's Actroid F androids used in medical settings. The article suggests that exposure to robots and positive cultural representations, like Astro Boy, contribute to Japan's acceptance of robots. This contrasts with Western perceptions shaped by characters like the Terminator. The author posits that as robots become more common worldwide, especially in healthcare, global attitudes may shift to be more accepting, similar to Japan's current stance.

Investing Options When the Investment is Your Own Startup

10 Oct 2016  |  Forbes
Starting a small business requires significant investment in time, energy, and capital. Entrepreneurs can fund their startups through personal savings, personal borrowing, business borrowing, or investors. Personal savings can be liquid cash or retirement savings, with options like Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS) allowing access to retirement funds without penalties. Personal borrowing options include HELOCs, personal loans, and credit cards, while business loans, particularly SBA loans, are challenging to obtain for startups. Raising capital from family and friends can provide funding without immediate debt but comes with potential relational risks and pressures.

Toyota's Kirobo Mini Robot Is Cute -- But What's It Actually For?

06 Oct 2016  |  Forbes
Toyota has introduced the Kirobo Mini, a 10-centimeter-tall robot designed as a conversational partner. The robot is part of Toyota's investment in AI and robotics, with a focus on elder care technology. The Kirobo Mini will be sold in Japan starting at ¥39,800, plus a monthly fee for cloud services. It is equipped with cameras, speakers, and Bluetooth, and uses a cloud system to process conversations. Critics argue that the robot's capabilities are limited and its technical setup is cumbersome. The article also discusses the potential security risks associated with IoT devices like the Kirobo Mini. Additionally, the robot's marketing strategy is questioned, as it may be seen as a ploy to attract customers to Toyota's car dealerships, leveraging the trend of interactive robots in Japanese retail.

How To Invest In Fix And Flip Loans

16 May 2016  |  Forbes
Fix and flips have become a profitable business as the housing market recovered, with average returns for house flippers growing significantly. Investors can also benefit by investing in fix and flip loans, potentially earning annual returns of 12-14% or higher. Crowdfunding platforms play a crucial role in this investment opportunity, offering both debt and equity investments. Each platform has its own focus, fees, and investment structures, catering to different types of properties and investor preferences. While investing in fix and flip loans carries risks, it remains a growing industry with lucrative potential.

Is Regulation Coming to Online and Marketplace Lending?

11 Apr 2016  |  Forbes
The rapid growth of alternative and marketplace lenders has sparked discussions about potential regulation. While federal regulation is unlikely in the next year, self-regulation efforts are increasing. The US Treasury Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are in the early stages of gathering information and considering regulation. Key areas for potential regulation include interest rates and underwriting practices. Self-regulation initiatives, such as the Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights and the Marketplace Lending Association, are emerging to promote responsible lending practices. The industry is expected to continue evolving, with a balance needed between innovation and borrower protection.

Why Banks And Investors Don't Like Lines Of Credit

09 Mar 2016  |  Forbes
Lines of credit are less favored by banks and investors compared to term loans due to their uncertainty and lower profitability. Banks often have stricter approval requirements for lines of credit or do not actively advertise them. Borrowers tend to draw on credit lines when the economy tightens, which is not ideal for banks. Alternative lenders like OnDeck, Dealstruck, BlueVine, and Kabbage offer unsecured lines of credit at higher interest rates to offset risks. The Federal Reserve has observed increased credit line draws during economic slowdowns. Despite the challenges, alternative lenders have managed default rates comparable to banks, but long-term profitability in a normalized market remains to be seen.

Which Is Faster: Getting A Business Loan Or A Big Mac?

04 Nov 2015  |  Forbes
The article compares the speed of obtaining a business loan to the speed of getting a Big Mac, highlighting the increasing speed of small business lending. It discusses various lenders like OnDeck, Kabbage, Fundbox, and SmartBiz, noting their fast application and funding processes. However, it also warns about the high APRs associated with fast loans, which can lead to significant debt for small businesses. SmartBiz is presented as a more affordable option with SBA loans, though it has stricter qualification requirements.

3 Companies That Are Transforming Small Business Lending

04 May 2015  |  Forbes
SmartBiz, Fundbox, and OnDeck are revolutionizing the small business loan industry by offering innovative lending solutions and utilizing technology to improve efficiency. SmartBiz accelerates the SBA loan process, Fundbox modernizes invoice factoring, and OnDeck provides accessible short-term loans to those who may be considered risky by traditional banks. These companies exemplify a broader trend of using technology to make small business loans more readily and easily available.

How Much Would Buying a Local Restaurant Cost?

07 Apr 2015  |  Investopedia
The cost of buying a local restaurant varies widely based on factors such as type, location, and included assets. Two common valuation methods are based on gross income and seller's discretionary earnings (SDE). Restaurants typically sell for 25% to 40% of their annual sales or 1.5 to 3.0 times their SDE. The National Restaurant Association notes that high operating expenses and thin profit margins are characteristic of the industry. Buyers should compare both valuation methods to determine a reasonable price and consider negotiating the seller's asking price.

Family & Friends Loans: Keep In Mind The Following

16 Mar 2015  |  Forbes
Loaning money to friends and family can have significant financial and emotional consequences. The article discusses the importance of separating financial decisions from emotional ones and provides advice on evaluating credit risk, setting clear expectations, and positioning oneself for potential tax benefits if the loan is not repaid. The author shares a personal experience of loaning money to a friend, highlighting the pitfalls of not setting clear terms and the importance of using services like Lending Club, Prosper, OnDeck, and Kabbage to assess creditworthiness. The article also emphasizes the need for legal documentation and reasonable interest rates to ensure the IRS considers the loan a legitimate financial transaction.

SBA's First Effort To Match Entrepreneurs & Lenders Is A Flop

16 Feb 2015  |  Forbes
The Small Business Administration's (SBA) LINC initiative, intended to connect entrepreneurs with lenders and business mentoring services, has been criticized for poor execution. The program's initial rollout excluded the major 7(A) loan program and was inadequately explained on the SBA website. Despite the potential to increase demand for SBA lending products and support small business growth, the LINC program's effectiveness is currently limited. Brayden McCarthy of Fundera, a former SBA employee, expressed optimism for the future of online small business lending. The SBA's 7(A) program guarantees loans for small businesses, but many banks lack experience with these loans, making it difficult for business owners to find willing lenders. Newtek Business Services CORP, a significant provider of 7A loans, could benefit from a successful LINC program.

Is The Boom In Small Business Finance Real?

14 Aug 2014  |  Forbes
There has been a significant increase in small business finance, with numerous companies raising substantial venture capital to address the financing needs of small businesses. Traditional banks have been reluctant to lend to small businesses due to higher default rates and processing costs. New market entrants, leveraging technology and online resources, are better positioned to serve this market with lower processing costs and higher risk tolerance. Investment opportunities in this space include financing small business loans, investing in companies that provide these loans, and benefiting from the increased access to credit for small businesses. However, the market is still in its early stages, and the impact on small businesses remains to be fully realized.

Upside Down World: I Bonds Pay A Higher Fixed Rate Than EE Bonds

30 Nov 2013  |  Forbes
The article compares I Bonds and EE Bonds, highlighting that for the first time, I Bonds offer a higher fixed interest rate than EE Bonds. I Bonds have a fixed component and a floating component tied to inflation, making them a better buy under current conditions. EE Bonds, however, may be advantageous if held to maturity for 20 years, offering an effective interest rate of around 3.5%. The Treasury Department's recent rate announcement and the potential for negative inflation impacting I Bonds are discussed. An alternative investment option, 5 Year CDs, is also mentioned.

The Evolution Of P2P Loans Into Consumer Loans

22 Oct 2013  |  Forbes
Lending Club, a pioneer in consumer lending, offers a platform for individuals to borrow up to $35,000 primarily for debt consolidation and credit card refinancing. The company provides lower interest rates compared to credit cards by leveraging a mix of individual and institutional lenders. The industry is shifting from peer-to-peer lending to consumer lending, with a growing portion of investments coming from financial institutions and advisors. Financial professionals like Tom Myers and Jeff Buck invest in Lending Club Notes for their clients due to low correlation with other asset classes and high expected returns. They emphasize the importance of extensive research and limiting client exposure to 5-10% of their portfolios. The term 'peer-to-peer loans' is becoming less accurate as the investment landscape evolves.

Would I Rather Own A Home Or $50,000 Worth Of Bonds?

31 Aug 2013  |  Forbes
Marc Prosser discusses the relationship between interest rates and housing prices, arguing that owning a home provides a hedge against inflation and allows one to borrow money at a low cost. He analyzes the benefits of owning a home versus renting, considering the impact of inflation on rent and the fixed nature of mortgage payments. Prosser also compares the yield from owning a home to the yield from high-rated bonds, suggesting that buying a home with a mortgage can offer a positive return, assuming the home's value remains stable or increases.

Bill Gross vs. Jeff Gundlach

17 Aug 2013  |  Forbes
In 2013, bond investors experienced a challenging market with rising interest rates. Bond fund managers Bill Gross of PIMCO and Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital faced a test of their ability to manage funds during this period. Gross's PIMCO Total Return Fund suffered a loss of 2.91%, underperforming its benchmark and ranking in the bottom third of intermediate term bond funds. In contrast, Gundlach's DoubleLine Total Return Fund had a smaller loss of 0.89%, outperforming its benchmark and ranking in the top 6% of managers. The key to Gundlach's relative success was maintaining a lower duration in his fund, making it less sensitive to interest rate increases. Despite the larger size of Gross's fund, which could be seen as a disadvantage, the article predicts Gundlach will continue to outperform Gross for the remainder of 2013.

Bond Fund Ladders: Using Them To Prepare For Higher Interest Rates

04 Aug 2013  |  Forbes
Bond ladders are a strategy to protect against rising interest rates by investing in bonds with staggered maturity dates. BMO Financial Group suggests using bond funds instead of individual bonds to create a ladder, offering benefits such as liquidity, floating rate exposure, and potentially higher income. This approach allows smaller investors to achieve diversification and mitigate credit risk. The floating rate component is crucial for minimizing interest rate risk.

A Crazy Year For Savings Bonds So Far In 2013

20 Jul 2013  |  Forbes
In 2013, savings bonds have experienced record low interest rates, with newly purchased EE Series bonds at 0.2%, though they offer a higher yield of around 3.5% if held to maturity. The Treasury Department ceased selling paper savings bonds through banks at the end of 2012, aiming to save taxpayers approximately $70 million over five years. However, paper bonds are still available if requested as a tax refund. A notable incident involved a junk hauler finding $114,000 worth of savings bonds, which were returned to their rightful owners.

Why Are Lending Club Yields Starting To Head Down?

14 Jul 2013  |  Forbes
Lending Club has lowered its average rate by 0.2% to attract more borrowers, which may lead to lower yields for lenders. CEO Renaud Laplanche suggests that lower rates could attract higher quality borrowers, reducing default rates and potentially offsetting lower yields. The Lendit Conference highlighted the increasing involvement of institutional investors in the peer-to-peer lending space, which could further drive down rates as the supply of money exceeds loan demand. Despite the anticipated decline in returns, peer-to-peer loans still offer attractive returns, currently around 8% after defaults.

Was Bill Gross wrong about Treasuries?

06 Jul 2013  |  Forbes
The article evaluates the performance of the PIMCO Total Return Fund, managed by Bill Gross, in comparison to other bond funds like the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF and the RidgeWorth Intermediate Bond Fund. Despite recent underperformance, the PIMCO fund has shown positive returns over the past year. The analysis suggests that holding Treasury bonds was not the primary reason for the fund's underperformance. The article also discusses the fund's duration and Gross's belief that the market has overreacted, potentially making it a good time to invest in the PIMCO Total Return Fund.

Who Got Hurt The Most By The Rise In Yields?

29 Jun 2013  |  Forbes
Over the past month, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose from 2.02% to 2.53%, driven by expectations of the US Federal Reserve scaling back its easy money policy. This rise in yields led to a significant drop in bond prices, with long-term treasury bond funds like TLT losing 7.4% of their value. Municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and TIPS experienced even greater losses, with the leading municipal bond ETF MUB down 6.9%, the corporate bond ETF LQD down 6.11%, and the TIPS ETF TIP down 6.52%. The market's reaction was influenced by the liquidity and investor behavior associated with these bonds.

Jeff Gundlach: 3 Tips For Bond Investors

22 Jun 2013  |  Forbes
Jeff Gundlach, a prominent bond market expert, shared three key tips for bond investors on CNBC. He cautioned against moving investments from bonds to dividend-paying stocks, mortgage REITs, and MLPs, as these assets perform worse in a rising rate environment. Gundlach recommended long-term US government bonds, despite recent rate increases, due to the lack of inflation signs. He also predicted a significant impact on the bond market in early August, as bond fund investors might react to negative one-year returns, potentially creating a buying opportunity.

DoubleLine Opens Floating Rate Fund To The Public: Bringing Attention To Bank Loans As An Asset Class

04 Jun 2013  |  Forbes
DoubleLine has announced the public opening of its Floating Rate Fund on July 1st, 2013. The fund focuses on bank loans with floating interest rates and is part of DoubleLine's suite of mutual funds, which have garnered significant attention due to their success. Portfolio managers Bonnie Baha and Robert Cohen provide insights into the fund and the asset class, arguing for the relative value and safety of floating rate bank loans compared to high yield bonds. The fund is presented as an attractive investment opportunity, especially given DoubleLine's track record and the reasonable fees associated with the fund.

Why Is SavingsBonds.com Selling CDs?

01 Jun 2013  |  Forbes
SavingsBonds.com, a family-owned business known for providing answers about savings bonds, is now heavily promoting Certificates of Deposit (CDs) due to a significant decline in interest in savings bonds over the past decade. The article highlights that the interest rates on savings bonds have reached an all-time low, making CDs a more attractive option for investors. The author suggests that SavingsBonds.com is shifting its focus to CDs to engage its audience, given the higher interest rates offered by CDs compared to savings bonds. The article also provides insights into the current and expected future interest rates for EE Savings Bonds and I Bonds.

Investing In P2P Loans: Learn To Love Defaults And Late Payments

22 May 2013  |  Forbes
Marc Prosser shares his experience with investing in peer-to-peer loans, highlighting the necessity of embracing defaults and late payments as part of the strategy for achieving double-digit annual returns. He explains the concept of peer-to-peer loans, his diversification approach by investing in 816 individual loans, and the expectation of defaults. Prosser initially questioned his investment decision upon seeing late payments but realized that defaults are factored into the high expected return of peer-to-peer loans. He concludes that despite the visibility of defaults and late payments, the investment can still yield returns over 10%, and advises investors to diversify and consider the worst-case scenario without overreacting to defaults.

Bill Gross & Jeff Gundlach Make Bold Calls Based On Monetary Policy

18 May 2013  |  Forbes
Bond experts Jeff Gundlach of DoubleLine and Bill Gross of PIMCO are making market predictions based on central bank monetary policies. Gundlach is bullish on Japanese stocks and bearish on the yen, suggesting investments in the WisdomTree Japanese Hedged Equity Trade. Gross recommends buying gold through the SPDR GOLD Trust ETF, anticipating future inflation. Both strategies are rooted in economic theories related to money printing and its effects on currency and asset prices.

Want Positive Real Returns? Brazil Tops PIMCO Index

14 Apr 2013  |  Forbes
The article discusses the real yields of inflation-linked bonds from various countries, highlighting that Brazil offers the highest real returns according to PIMCO's index. Developed markets like the US, Japan, and Germany have negative real yields, while emerging markets, particularly in South America, show significantly higher real yields. The disparity within the European Union is noted, with Italy's real yield being much higher than the Eurozone average. The article explains that higher yields in emerging markets are due to higher nominal interest rates and inflation, suggesting that while investing in these markets may be riskier, the returns could be superior over time.

Beyond The 10 Year Treasury Yield: How To Follow The Bond Market With ETFs

07 Apr 2013  |  Forbes
The 10-year Treasury yield is often misrepresented as a sole indicator of the bond market's performance. The article explains the importance of considering the entire yield curve and other factors like credit risk. It recommends following specific ETFs such as the Vanguard Total Bond Market Fund (BND) and various iShares ETFs to get a more accurate picture of the bond market. The article also provides guidance on how to interpret the movements of these ETFs to understand changes in interest rates, the yield curve, and the performance of municipal and high-yield bonds.

A Strange Tale: How Muni Bonds Will Become Shares Of The Largest Airline

24 Mar 2013  |  Forbes
Municipal bondholders who financed airport expansions may become shareholders of the world's largest airlines due to a drama involving American Airlines' bankruptcy and a merger with US Airways. American Airlines, a major issuer of municipal bonds, declared bankruptcy in 2011, causing the market value of its unsecured private activity bonds to plummet. However, the merger with US Airways, which sought to avoid a large debt load, offered unsecured creditors preferred stock, leading to the bonds trading around their full face value. This situation is unique as most private activity bonds are asset-backed and not all are issued by for-profit companies.

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