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More evidence about smart phones

There is more and more evidence coming out in one book and one article after another, that not only are most of us addicts to our smart phones, but they are very damaging to us.  Surveys are showing that they are reducing our concentration and of course we know they are deliberately designed, in most cases, to keep us addicted to them – not just the phones, but in particular the apps.  Social media is beginning to destroy a lot of the fabric of our society, people don’t talk to each other as much as they used to spending their entire time staring at their phones and most people are very edgy if they have not looked at their phone for the last 5 minutes.

The worst part is we will come up with any reason as to why we are not addicts and we actually need our phones for something or other while scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and quickly check one last time, for messages, on WhatsApp. (Worse some people set these apps to notify them all day of any small thing or message or post).  It is a growing problem and I plan to write about it on my blog more in the future and a lot of people are turning their own children into addicts.  It is so much easier of course to keep their children quiet by simply handing them an iPad or some or other device to get a little bit of quiet time at home, but we are slowly but surely destroying ourselves and our children by getting them hooked on these devices and apps.  I remember reading an interview recently with Bill Gates’ family saying that one of their biggest mistakes was only allowing their children to go on social media at 16 – they think they should have only allowed it at a much older age.  I have written before about how Steve Jobs, who designed all of these wonderful products at Apple, refused to have them in his own house because he knew exactly how bad, for kids, what they were designing was! 

If iPhones or social media were not good enough for the children of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who after all designed half these things and make their money out of selling them, why should it be good enough for your children?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 21-Jan-19   |  Permalink   |  10 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Lance Armstrong gets lucky

I was very interested to read in a recent interview of Lance Armstrong who is advising that despite the fact he was once worth over $100 million that he had run into financial troubles with all the legal cases, over doping and his cycling career that he was fighting.  Of course, he is that author of his own misfortune and he cannot blame anybody for that, but he got very lucky with one investment. 

About 10 years ago he invested $100,000 into an investment company and he had no idea what that company invested his money in.  He is quite excited now, with talk of Uber listing later this year (and Lyft also), to discover that the investment company invested his $100,000 into Uber!  Believe it or not, but the estimated listing price of his shares is now, 10 years later, worth $20 million!  In other words, he has multiplied the money invested by 200 times!  I cannot imagine that most people would imagine that the universe works that way, but of all the people in the world, Lance Armstrong gets the investment that multiplies 200 times in 10 years, but there you have it!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 17-Jan-19   |  Permalink   |  17 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Changing economy

It is always interesting to watch different job types go up and down with supply and demand.  The best example that I have seen in recent years is those who are skilled in graphics on computers as well as working programmes like Photoshop.  Ten or 15 years ago there were very few people who had those skills, but now there are more and more and you can go onto various websites and find people who can edit, in great detail, your photographs for $5 etc.  More and more people are acquiring the skills and so ultimately the price that one has to pay to get people with those skills is going to go down.  It is one of the big mistakes that a lot of people will learn who have what they consider children who are very talented with various computer apps or programs now.  Eventually, there will be hundreds of thousands if not millions of people in every country who are very good with those programs or apps computers and there is not going to be a demand for that number of people.  They will thus obviously be paid a lot less money as will anybody who is allegedly skilled with an iPhone or designing apps for iPhones, etc.  You have to try and stay ahead of the curve, not behind the curve, and people who are developing those skills now, in those fields, are behind the curve.  The time to have had those skills was 10 to 20 years ago and to start developing skills in those areas now is really not going to help you when so many people have them already.  Certainly, right now, the one skill that your children do not need is to be “good” at using an iPhone, iPad or a computer. The basic skills that everyone has are more than good enough and they don’t need to spend hundreds of hours on those.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 14-Jan-19   |  Permalink   |  13 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
A tribute to Johnny Clegg

I was very touched by the tribute put together for Johnny Clegg where over 50 South African musicians recorded a song of his as a tribute to him.  He is busy battling cancer now and I am guessing it must be getting very serious.  To me, and I think of true South African legends and of course South Africa has been blessed with so many, and let’s not even start with Nelson Mandela, etc, but I always also think of very talented artists like Zapiro, the political cartoonist, and to me, Johnny Clegg is the most famous South African musician ever.  He really has a brand of music that is all about South Africa and which I have spent many years of my life listening to all over the place, especially when I am in Kruger Park, not to mention going to his various concerts.  In fact, when I was chairman of the Gauteng Law Council, the Chairman got to choose a year end function that all the councillors attend and I chose a concert of Johnny Clegg and Savuka which was of course the follow-up to his original band, Juluka.

In any event, it is well worth having a look at the video of the tribute song here:

His son apparently asked Johnny what song they would like him to re-record, and to their surprise he chose “The Crossing.”  “The Crossing” is a song about passing from this world to another world - so it is about death. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 10-Jan-19   |  Permalink   |  26 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Hide your phone when you try to work

I read a New York Times article recently, which I sent to all my staff as well, about research from the Association of Consumer Research.  They found that the mere presence of a phone close to you, even if it is switched off, leads to what they call “brain drain”.  They quoted an assistant Professor in the marketing department by saying that people are automatically drawn towards their phone even if it is switched off.

They say the best thing to do, to stop this distraction, is to lock it in a drawer or ideally leave it in another room, but one way or another you must make sure that your phone is out of your sight.  People who have set or allowed notifications on their phone are making even a bigger mistake because beeps and bright lights of flashing notices distract them the whole time.  Research shows it can take you up to half an hour before you get back to resuming the task you were busy with after being interrupted.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 07-Jan-19   |  Permalink   |  30 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Don't use anything with Palm Oil

The massive coconut type palm trees you see on postcards that grow about 20 metres tall provide palm oil in their fruit typically every 2 weeks or so about 20 kg of the fruit.  That oil has often been used in soap, ice cream and other things, but now it is actually getting used in fuel for diesel engines and bio-diesel. 

The whole concept of palm oil sounds great, other than when you realise the tropical rain forest that has been destroyed so as to grow all these palm oil trees and in doing so the large amounts of carbon that was trapped in the soil and in trees in the forest that has been replaced is now getting released into the environment!  Apparently, the forests in Indonesia have been absolutely destroyed like this and that is now dramatically affecting the environment and global warming as well. 

We will never stop the problems of climate change if we don’t stop destroying forests.  It is one of those things though that you can do something about – when you buy anything look and see if it is made with palm oil and if it is don’t buy it ever again.  It is common in a lot of snacks, including things like chips, but what we cannot afford is to further damage our environment simply so that people can make more profits selling their palm oil.  Stop buying products that are made with or use palm oil and you can help save the forests and ultimately our own environment.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 13-Dec-18   |  Permalink   |  23 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Cyber security jobs

I read a recent report that by 2021 there will be 3,5 million available, but unfilled, cyber security jobs.  The report emphasised how scary it is, in terms of our power, cars and everything else that are becoming controlled by computer chips and where security is needed to avoid hackers, etc.  The cyber security jobs that are available all differ, but they are all basically about protecting companies and includes people who are known as penetration testers who have to try and hack into a computer of their company so that they can try and see where the weaknesses are as well as malware analysts who need to find out what malicious programmes do so that they can prepare their companies against the attacks.  The report indicated that for example right now there are 5,000 jobs available in New York alone for people with cyber security skills which the companies cannot even fill with qualified people. 

As the article concludes though, one of the most important things with cyber security is, “training people not to do dumb things like click on phishing links” in their e-mails.  Most of the e-mails that lead to hacks are obviously fake and our firm receives numerous fake e-mails every week with links that one has to hope staff members don’t click on.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 10-Dec-18   |  Permalink   |  27 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
What are celebrities really worth?

I enjoyed a recent article in the New York Times having a go at most of the figures that one reads on the Internet as to what celebrities are worth.  Most of these figures come from a website and what is quite interesting is that the company has no computer scientists or data specialists on its staff, so nobody has any idea as to how they get those figures.  They recently listed the Cosby Show actor, Jeoffrey Owens, as being worth $500,000 until it was discovered he was working as a packer at Walmart at which time they revised his figures downwards. 

Apparently, most of these figures are vastly inflated and nobody complains about it, because publicists prefer it if you believe that their clients are rich.  All the websites seem to get their figures from the same Celebrity Network Website and even Google, for example, if it refers to Lindsay Lohan, saying that she is worth $500,000, gets their information from Celebrity Network.  Many people will recall that Donald Trump used to have arguments as to what he was worth and apparently often tried to game Fortune 400 List by inflating reports of his wealth so that he could obtain a higher position.  In many respects, this is fairly simple to do – you buy a golf course, most golf courses are actually struggling and then you value the golf course at an amount that you cannot sell it.  I had my own experience of that with my house in Blair Atholl, Lanseria.  A few people who have left the estate seem to have left it on a basis of being virtually bankrupt and have had their houses auctioned and yet, when you were around them they all made out that they were multi-millionaires and extremely rich.  The reality is that the vast majority of them undoubtedly have mortgages on their houses that are bigger than what their houses are now worth, given the shocking state of that particular property where more than 120 houses are on the market, but only one or two are sold a year.  In other words, you cannot say somebody is worth R25 million because their house is on the market for R25 million.  It is probably worth R16 million and it might very well be that they have a mortgage bond of R20 million which actually means a deficit of a negative R4 million in terms of the house as an “asset”.  The vast majority of people are driving cars that are financed on credit, so it is very easy to fake money and it seems that when it comes to celebrities this is equally true!  We only have to think of our own athlete and murderer, Oscar Pistorius, who used to drive a McLaren car which ultimately turned out not to be his as well as boast about a property he owned in Italy which was also not his and which was just lent to him for him to stay in. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 04-Dec-18   |  Permalink   |  26 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Work in the big cities

I often have to give staff advice on careers.  I am actually very proud of the fact that a number of my staff, who never had ambitions to become attorneys, was encouraged by me to become attorneys.  That is because I spotted their potential and realised that they would do very well as attorneys, even though they came to me for secretarial or administrative jobs.  I have number of staff now who are still studying law and I have no doubt that some of them in particular will make successful attorneys.

The one word of advice that I gave a former staff member, which she did not listen to at the time, but now acknowledged that I was right, is also to make sure that you work in a big city.  To me, and remember our cities in South Africa are so small compared to some of the international cities around the world, I don’t want to work in a village.  The two cities where money is made are generally Johannesburg and Pretoria and I would not be looking to work anywhere else.  I’d take a job in Cape Town for the beauty of Cape Town or I would retire in Cape Town – and in fact I have spent some time looking at a holiday home there which I am planning to get – but you need to be where the money is. 

The bottom line is the leading advocates, medical specialists, neuro-surgeons, actuaries, attorneys, etc are not in Benoni, Roodepoort or Vereeniging.  That does not mean there cannot be some very good legal practices there, but it is too far away from the action.  Name me one top five law firms or top four accounting firms that are anywhere other than in Johannesburg?   Tell me about the massive advocates’ chambers they have in Benoni or in Roodepoort – the answer is they don’t.  The top specialists, top advocates, major courts and major companies are all based in either Pretoria or largely the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and so personally, even if it saved me money on petrol, I would never be working in the smaller town or a village.

I grew up in Durban and I am so happy we moved to Johannesburg, because to me, to be quite honest, Durban is a village where nothing goes on other than secret meetings about trying to put Jacob Zuma back into power!  There is more money, more action, more head offices of companies and more of everything in every other category in Johannesburg and the northern suburbs of Johannesburg and I cannot imagine anybody would want to grow their career in any other city.  Even if you do prefer another city, one cannot really make it big if you are practicing in the country and even if you are the best attorney in the country and you are living in a small town, you will always be hamstrung by the fact that you don’t have as many top experts, in whatever field you are in, in your town and you will forever have to travel to the big city either for the court case to be actually heard or to a big city to use the top experts and the experts who have the most experience in testifying before court.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 30-Nov-18   |  Permalink   |  36 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Coca Cola looking at the marijuana business

It was interesting to read that Coca Cola advised Bloomberg that it is closely following what is going on in the marijuana business.  They have apparently been in talks with Aurora Cannabis to develop drinks that will be mixed with CBD.  CBD is the component of marijuana that treats pain, but does not actually make you high.  At the same time many other businesses are looking at creating all sorts of products, drinks and foodstuffs anticipating a time when recreational marijuana is legal throughout American.  Recreational marijuana is now legal in Canada and the Constitutional Court in South Africa has recently made it clear that obviously it will be legal in some way or other in South Africa, but has given the issue back to Parliament for them to create new laws. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 26-Nov-18   |  Permalink   |  35 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
American political reality TV

Very few people realise, while following American politics and the battles between the Democrats and the Republicans, President Trump and the investigations of Robert Mueller, how profitable this has become for the media companies.  Journalism was in all sorts of trouble before the last election and in the last year or two most publications such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, etc have seen their subscriber numbers rise, their digital and online subscriptions rise and CNN broke through the $1 billion profit margins for the first time.  While the President may claim some media are failing, the actual reality is that they are now at their healthiest financial position in at least the last decade with CNN and MSM BC and most of the media experiencing record audiences.  The once reality star President has in fact turned political coverage almost into a reality show which many Americans and people all around the world love to follow, regardless of which side they take. 

It has even benefited the fake media, websites and other more right-wing publications, some of which even featured stories against Hilary Clinton claiming that she was running a child sex operation out of a restaurant in Washington DC – the story that unfortunately a good percentage of Americans actually believed!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 22-Nov-18   |  Permalink   |  27 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Tencent and WeChat

Most people in South Africa know that Naspers owns just less than one-third of the Chinese mega company, Tencent.  They don’t generally know what Tencent’s major product is, and that is an app called WeChat.  It is obviously a chatting site similar to WhatsApp, but has more functions than WhatsApp, but it is so much more than that and it is used all over China, not to mention Hong Kong, which of course is a part of China, but has a border between itself and mainland China, by almost everyone.  Some of the key differences to WhatsApp would be that it would allow you for example to see other users of the app in your proximity and contact them – that is if they have made themselves searchable.

It is however much, much more and for example it is used by many people to store their money and then they use the app to pay bills. While I was travelling in China recently the businessmen I was with used the app repeatedly for example to pay taxis, but also to settle restaurant bills.

It is also very common when people meet each other to simply bring up their QR code and simply scan all their contact details into your phone.  The latest service that is added is a WeChat app for the Apple watch – to my knowledge, for example, WhatsApp does not have it.  Those that have WeChat would consider it a far superior service with much more functionality than WhatsApp.  After seeing how huge WeChat is, I personally became more confident in Tencent.  What astounds me is that a company like Naspers from little old South Africa, spotted the potential in this company so many years ago, and it is something I have written about on my blog before, mentioning Flippie Meyer, who always believe in the share and Alec Hogg, who did not, both of whom I used to play golf with prior to Flippie passing away. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 19-Nov-18   |  Permalink   |  38 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It

Johannesburg based attorney specializing in personal injury matters including Road Accident Fund claims and medical negligence matters. My interests include golf, reading and the internet and the way it is constantly developing. I have a passion for life and a desire for less stress!
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Recent Settlements
Lumbar spine compression fractures R2 500 000.00
Severe hip fracture requiring total hip replacements R3 305 000.00
Head injury with disfiguring facial scaring of a young female R4 000 000.00
Whiplash and compression fracture of the spine R4 000 000.00
Broken Femora R1 914 416.00
Broken Femur and Patella R770 881.15
Loss of Support for two minor children R2 649 968.00
Fracture of the right Humerus, fracture of the pubi rami, abdominal injuries, head injury R4 613 352.95
Fracture of the right femur, Fracture of the right tibia-fibula R1 200 000.00
Broken Jaw, Right Shoulder Injury, Mild head injury R1 100 000.00
Degloving injuries to the hips, legs and ankle R877 773.00
Head injury R 2 734 295.12
Fractured pelvis R1 355 881.53
Damaged tendons in left arm R679 688.03
Fractured left hand R692 164.48
Amputated right lower leg with loss of income R3 921 000.00
Fractured left foot R600 000.00
Head injury and multiple facial fractures R5 000 000.00
Head injury, compound fracture right femur, right tib and fib fracture, and injury to the spleen R4 529 672.06
Head injury, multiple facial fractures, collapsed lung and a fracture to the right frontal bone R2 890 592.77
Loss of support R5 144 000.00


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