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This interview is part of the “Tomorrow Lives Here” Conversation Series presented by Miami Business School.
–DraftKings CEO and co-founder Jason Robins grew up in Miami.
–And it was that upbringing that turned Robins into a sports fanatic from an early age.
-He took that passion into the business world with the launch of DraftKings in 2012.
-The company is in the daily fantasy sports industry and allows its customers- people who manage fantasy sports teams, to compete for cash prizes.
-In a wide-ranging conversation with Miami Business School Dean John Quelch, Robins talked about how he and his two co-founders got the company off the ground despite fierce competition, what he learned from his UM economics professor father and about the power of differentiation in startups.
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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By John Massey
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, published its most recent report on world wide military expenditures earlier this week.
Two headlines of the report pop out as significant.
The first is that Saudi Arabia has overtaken Russia in military spending, with $87.2 billion to Russia’s $66.4 billion, being behind only the United States and China, at $596 billion and $215 billion respectively. The second is that, beyond the Western Hemisphere and Africa, worldwide military spending is on the rise.
These figures can be paired with known geopolitical trends and instances in order to project what particular actors may be thinking, as well as what is the world’s security zeitgeist.
First, the somewhat surprising figure of Saudi Arabia overtaking Russia in defense spending.
Russia has been working to modernize its armed forces through: professionalization, doctrinal evolution, and working to achieve technological parity with the West (particularly, but not exclusively, in electronic warfare, unmanned vehicles, and force projection).
Indeed, Moscow has been consistently increasing its defense spending since the 2000’s, into the current year.
However, in real terms, the Russian military budget has remained largely stable. This is due to the fact that the Ruble is approximately half its value at the onset of the Ukrainian adventure.
A Ruble just isn’t worth what it used to be.
As a result, Russia’s modernization efforts are slowed for the foreseeable future, perhaps to be completed in the 2020s.
This is in contrast with Saudi Arabia’s large scale investment in weaponry to balance against Iran.
These purchases seem to indicate that Saudi intends to keep Iran at arms length in the event of hostilities, utilizing its overwhelming number of missiles.
Iran in turn, due to the lifting of EU and US sanctions, will likely attempt to counter these Saudi gains.
Of course, Saudi and Russia are not the only ones preparing for conflict.
Asia leads the way in new defense spending, with $436 billion in new spending region wide.
This is driven in large part China’s need to deter American intervention in its periphery. Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam also increased their spending in response to China’s bellicose enforcement of its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Europe is also continuing its trend of increased spending, in light of the Ukraine Crisis. NATO’s biggest European spenders, Germany, France, and the UK, did not drive any growth.
But some of the Baltic states have built up their militaries.
This is likely due to the perceived threat of future Russian attempts to secure buffer space against the stronger alliance members, and unease about the Americans honoring their security agreements.
The outliers also a tell a story of the global arms buildup.
The Western Hemisphere is largely conflict free due to an end of the Cold War, and other imperialist interventions into Latin America largely subsiding after the Roosevelt administration’s attempt at being a “good neighbor”.
American hegemony over the region is uncontested.
Africa, despite being rife with conflict in: Libya, the Sinai, the West Coast, Somalia, Sudan, and the Congo, is largely devoid of great power politics. Thus, large scale trends of regional military investment are not necessary.
These trends seem to indicate that military spending is increasingly becoming an acceptable investment of revenue in light of perceived dangers for nations from activist states.
This is potentially worrying, as periods of militarism tend to precede periods of conflict.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
Cover Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 33
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The Japanese government announced that their economy shrank by 0.8% in the second quarter of the year and therefore into recession for the fifth time in seven years.
The announcement of the figures that covered economic growth (or the lack thereof) from July to September of this year came on the heels of a 0.7% loss in the previous quarter.
The back to back contractions have sent a shockwave across the world’s third largest economy and may increase the pressure on Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his tough fiscal policies.
Abenomics as the suite of policies are referred to, is basically a shock therapy meant to revive the stagnant growth rates in Japan.
“The central plan is built on unprecedented monetary easing, government spending and business deregulation to snap Japan out of its malaise. He calls it a “three-arrow” strategy, borrowing the image from a Japanese folk tale that teaches that three sticks together are harder to break than one.”
A recent IMF study on Abenomics made it clear how much was at stake for Japan, and how hard it would be for the Prime Minister to actually pull it off.
From the IMF study:
“What was being attempted under Abenomics was unprecedented, and nothing less than a leap from a low-growth deflationary equilibrium to a new equilibrium characterized by positive inflation and higher sustained growth. This requires a parallel shift toward more risk taking, requiring changes in expectations and behavior by businesses, consumers, and financial institutions. Confidence would be key, in both Japan’s growth prospects as well as the government’s ability to carry out needed reforms.”
So what caused the retraction and most recent recession in Japan?
“A big drop in inventory was the largest factor behind a third-quarter contraction. Weak capital spending was a concern, but excluding these factors, the GDP figures were not so bad,” Takeshi Minami, the chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute told Reuters.
Despite the bad news, Japan is somewhat used to the up and down nature of growth in the country and faces larger long term causes for the crisis- including a dangerously rapidly graying nation.
But will Abe and his bold form of reform survive to find another day? Only time will tell.
Cover Photo Credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 31
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This story is part of the “My Story” series by The Young Leaders.
It was a sunny morning in Haiti on January 12, 2010 – the first day of school after winter break.
Lying on my bed, I looked at the trees dancing on the ceiling.
The neighboring rooster crowed as I finally rose, put my knees on the floor and began to pray.
My mother, as always, was cooking eggs.
She spoke to me about education: “Son, you have to do well in school to succeed in life. Life and education are a competition. Please son, do not embarrass me. Avoid the wrong crowd. Promise me that good things will happen. Make your family proud wherever you go.”
As she spoke, I wondered why she told me these things.
At the time, I wasn’t mature enough to understand, so I agreed just to make her happy.
A few minutes later, I arrived at school. Already, I had fallen in with the wrong crowd, paid no attention in class, and decided not to do my homework.
After school on that day, I played marbles with friends until one of the elders in the community saw me playing and scolded me to go home and do my homework.
I listened to the elder and went home.
When I got there, my mother asked me, “Where were you?”
I replied, “Outside,” as she shook her head, obviously worried about that I was not following her instructions.
One hour later, the earth started trembling.
I heard a noise like boulders falling from the sky.
Our television and bookshelves fell to the floor.
I was terrified and thought my life would end.
We tried running away from the house, but the ground was shaking intensely.
I didn’t know what was happening.
I thought about all the advice my mother had given me.
I heard people screaming from outside, running everywhere and trying to save others stuck under demolished houses.
When I got out of the house looking around, I realized my mother and I could have been in the same position.
After the 7.0 shock-wave, my mother, my sister and I walked on the street and saw the catastrophe. Roughly 300,000 people were killed in the event and 1.5 million were displaced.
People had lost their families and everything they owned.
We were too afraid to sleep in the house, scared it would collapse.
We had no choice but to sleep on the street. The streets became beds for everyone when it’s was night-time. Aftershocks shook the ground every five minutes.
A week later, my father came from New York to get my sister and me.
I had never imagined myself leaving Haiti but there was no other choice.
I cried, and hugged my mother tightly.
In tears, I said, “Mother I’m sorry for everything. I will succeed; I will learn English and make you proud.”
My dad smiled.
I realized I would do everything in my power to make my parents proud. That moment would drive me for years to come.
When I came to America, I was ready to excel in school.
I knew no English, and communicating in school was extremely hard.
I started reading and writing to improve my English skills.
I knew I wanted to attend college.
I started working harder in classes, coming to school early every morning to study subjects that I needed to give closed attention, so I would not fall behind students who took their English for granted.
I challenged myself to become better in school by practicing for the SAT on my own and doing extra work in class.
It paid off. By the time high school came, I was in the English Honors class and the National Honor Society.
I started an acting program in high school named DreamYard Art Center. I began acting in plays with the goal of becoming an actor and a director.
I want to continue being successful and I plan on working very hard to accomplish my goals.
These goals have already helped me to achieve things I never imagine I would have achieved, such as acting in front of 300 people.
These skills will continue to help me as I pursue my education.
I am currently a junior studying Social Work at CUNY York College.
My goal after achieving my bachelor in social work is to go for my master in education policy.
I want to start my career as a school counselor, however I would like to elevate myself as a principal as time progresses.
After my studies, I want to build a school and an art program like DreamYard Art Center in Haiti for children.
My purpose in pursuing higher education is to succeed in ways victims of the January 2010 Haiti Earthquake only dreamed about, since they never had a chance to make their dreams a reality.
When I succeed, my goal is to start an art program in Haiti for teens that want to pursue their dreams.
This terrible tragedy led me onto the right path and made me focus on my education.
But Haiti is still in my heart. And I’m going back home.
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