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Immigrants work harder

I must say that I get distressed when I see the anti-immigrant approach that we often see in South Africa.  In particular, of course we had the horrific xenophobia a few years ago and some of that sentiment continues to this day, if not as violently.  What many people forget is that, and we see this trend now in Europe and America, it does not help to complain about immigrants working harder.  You need to compete with them.  The answer to competition is not to try and kill people or chase them away!  I have hired a number of immigrants at my firm over the years, typically people from Eastern Europe, and I have generally found them to be very honest and educated workers.  I have also hired people from Zimbabwe and likewise I found them to be very hardworking and well educated people.  Part of building a successful economy involves welcoming and accepting people from other countries, and if you cannot keep up with their work capacity or abilities, then my approach is simple – move out of the way!  

We don’t appreciate how much sacrifice and effort a lot of those people have made to emigrate from their own country, to start their lives again and it takes far more courage and risk than most of us possess!  We sit safely in the same place our entire lives, only to moan about others who are trying to create a better future for themselves and in most cases for their own children.  We should only be so happy that some of them actually select South Africa to come to!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 16-Oct-17   |  Permalink   |  15 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Taking away the iPhone and taking away the iPad

I read a recent article in The Atlantic magazine, and it featured an article written by an author whose new book is called iGen.  She says that is her name for people born after 2005, and it all coincides with 2012, at which time 50% of the population all had phones.  I think what she says though relates to many who had phones before that and who are mostly aged about 16 to 20 now.

The article goes on to detail how today’s teenagers are in fact unhappier than ever before.  Usage of devices is up, suicide rates are up and everything else is down, including in particular, sleep.

It has become all too easy for modern parents to give their little darling an iPhone, possibly even an iPad as well as a computer and the children are running back and forth from one device to another.  They don’t play outside very much anymore, they seldom actually meet with their friends, and they lie in bed late at night messaging people back and forth every day.  They have accounts on Instagram, they try to keep SnapChat streaks going and they are committing suicide in higher numbers than ever before.  Incidentally, suicide numbers reduce considerably when somebody plays sport and goes to church.  The main thrust of the article is that today’s teenagers are not happier because of the devices their parents are giving them.  They are far less happy than ever before.  Their lives are being spent on these little screens, and girls in particular are getting bullied by other girls and ostracised on social media.  It is a mistake that parents are making, and I do hope that the anti-cell phone movement grows.  There are certainly already signs that more astute parents don’t give their children devices – let’s not forget that the man who was in charge of Apple, Steve Jobs, did not allow his children to have devices – they could not have iPhones or iPads.  His company simply sold them to your children.  

He knew how bad they were, he could see their negative effects and his company has presided over making money out of you, but he certainly did not let his own children have such devices.  Remember that when your child begs and pressurises you for a cell phone, start reading up on this topic because it is actually the weaker and worse parents who are giving in to this with all sorts of excuses such as they spend a lot of time at work or their child needs it to learn, etc, etc.  Your child does not need an IPad or iPhone to learn anything unless you want him or her to become skilled at computer games and online chat!  The children themselves are not happier for it, no matter what they tell you in order for you to pay to get them that device and that device ends up replacing you as parents and ruling their lives and ends up being the conduit for the bullying of your child.  Think carefully before you go down that road and also try and think more critically.  Stop making and looking for excuses for the easy way out when it comes to having kids.  It is so easy to simply, as a grandparent or as a parent, give a device and chase the child off into another room to play with the device – but are you really doing your bit when you behave like that?  The early feedback, the early statistics and indicators on the current generation would suggest that you will bring up a depressed and socially inept loser if you take the easy route.  I personally think that in about 10 to 15 years’ time most parents in developed nations will ban their children from having such devices or limit them to no more than 30 minutes a day on the devices.  I guess then, just like with the cigarette and sugar companies, those companies will have to start targeting the poor, the developing nations and start pumping cheaper versions of their products into Africa and elsewhere in much bigger numbers. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 13-Oct-17   |  Permalink   |  20 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
South Africa’s growth rate

Our growth rate during 2016 was very poor – coming in at 0,3%.  That, compared to Australia at 2,8% and the USA at 1,6%.  Remember, it has been estimated if we want to sort out the employment problems in South Africa, we would need to have a growth rate of approximately 5% a year so 0.3% isn’t going to keep pace with our high birth rate and unemployment.  

The World Bank recently halved its forecast for 2017 for South Africa.  They say that our growth for the year will probably be about 0,6%, despite the forecast optimistically given out in February of 1,3%.  What was quite interesting, and it is some point I have made before in my blog, was that the World Bank warned that any prospects of recovery in South Africa would remain fragile unless South Africa succeeds in becoming “more productive”.  We are not a particularly productive country, and while the rest of the world has benefited from an economic rebound, South Africa has not, despite the fact that the weakening of the Rand should have made it easier for our exports to break into new markets around the world.  I wonder who the ANC will blame for our lack of productivity and our slow growth rate?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 11-Oct-17   |  Permalink   |  21 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Who would you most like to meet?

We all have our idols and people who we want to meet.  I’d love to know who those are for you – and maybe even why.

For me when I was young it was Sebastian Coe, the 800m track world record holder at the time.  Since I was about 20 though it was Nelson Mandela and Tiger Woods.  Two totally different characters, both of whom need no introduction to anyone.  I am always cross with myself that I didn’t make more of an effort to write letters and make more effort to meet Nelson Mandela and have my picture taken with him.  Maybe it wouldn’t have happened but I did not try hard enough.  I saw him a few times in person and on one occasion, at the Wanderers Cricket stadium I climbed up a fence, reached over and shook his hand.  He had big hands, much bigger than mine and gave me a handshake.  Something I won’t ever forget, but I would have liked to speak to him and spend a few minutes with him at sometime in his life.  All of us South African were so blessed to have him.

Tiger Woods is the richest, most successful sports person, as well as golfer in the history of the world so far.  Nobody has ever attracted as much media attention as he, as much sponsorship money and even today, if he is shown on TV the audiences spike.  It doesn’t matter how well he is playing, despite all his injuries and operations, if he plays the “Tiger Woods Effect” occurs and viewership of a channel increases about 50% which is huge.  Whatever one may think of him, no other sports person has ever had that effect.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 09-Oct-17   |  Permalink   |  29 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
The dangers of riding a bicycle

I try to ride my bike every now and then, although generally not far.  In fact, I think the longest ride I’ve done in the last year was a 20km ride, which in bicycle terms is really not that far.  I like to get my fitness via a number of different sports – a little bit of gym, a little bit of walking, some track work on the track where I include sprints, as well as cycling.  

I have always thought the cycling is a little bit dangerous, especially on some of our roads, and generally try to cycle within estates.  I read a frightening article recently again in the New York Times, which I have on my Kindle for many years, about cycling death statistics.  Apparently, it used to be children who died most often on bicycles, but these days parents are not really letting their children ride bicycles in the streets – probably for good reason – and so their death rate has gone down.  The group that now has the leading death rate from riding bicycles are males aged 45 to 50.  These statistics obviously relate to America, but I would think that they are probably even more true of South Africa where I don’t recall when I last saw a child riding a bicycle in a street, but there are certainly lots of fanatical, generally older men, riding them.  

The biggest problem with a bicycle is pretty much the same problem that a motorbike has.  People do make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes are just small mistakes – a little bump here, a small collision there.  If you are both in cars, everybody walks away, but if one of you is on a motorbike (or motorcycle as some prefer) or a bicycle, then you may not be walking away at all.  I found that a tremendous pity because it has often been one of my favourite ways to see suburbs – for example riding around Houghton and sometimes you feel safer, certainly in some suburbs, riding around them than walking.  For example, I have gone on rides with my brother through Braamfontein and downtown Johannesburg on a weekend and I would certainly not walk on some of the streets that we rode on.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 06-Oct-17   |  Permalink   |  31 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Bottled water is not as safe as you think

I read an interesting article in a magazine called “What doctors don’t tell you” all about the water industry.  I think by now most people know, and I do hope that you know, that buying water in a plastic bottle is generally a bad idea.  Almost all bottles, even if they don’t use BPA plastic, which has been linked to cancer, generally have plastics that also pose cancer threats.  You certainly are not doing yourself a favour if you drink water out of a plastic bottle and the sooner we all stop buying water in plastic bottles the sooner the manufacturers will move on to healthier options.  

What I also found interesting was how much water is wasted to produce the water that is bottled.  It takes approximately three times the amount of water as is in the bottle during the manufacturing process, to fill the bottle.  Two hundred billion plastic bottles sold around the world annually end up in landfills or the oceans and they eventually break down and pollute our water supply even more.  They say that most of the vitamin water contains sugar or artificial sugars like Aspartane, which has been linked to neurological dysfunction.  

I am one of those people that generally does not have a problem drinking tap water, but I know that a lot of people are terrified of tap water saying that ultimately lawn chemicals, industrial waste, fertility drugs, anti-depressants and antibiotics all find their way into our water supplies and some of those chemicals still remain.  I am not quite sure what the solution is, unless you live right next to a natural spring and can get all of your water there?

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 04-Oct-17   |  Permalink   |  31 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Selling your old things on E-bay

I am a hoarder.  I keep hundreds of things, whether it is all my to-do lists, pads, old photographs, etc.  I also keep all sorts of equipment that I bought some time in the distant past and in some cases never ever used.  That is obviously a little bit of a waste of money, but like most people, when I buy something I do truly believe I really need it at that time!  I guess we are all just consumers and of course that keeps the economy going.  If we all stop buying the economy will be in a far worse condition than our South African economy already is.  

I recently decided to try and put some of my stuff up for sale and I got some tips from somebody who told me to put them up for auction on auction-type sites with a very low starting value to get more interest and an offer to accept returns – in other words, if the person is unhappy they can send it back.  I did all of that and I sold one of my Canon battery grips – which is a piece of equipment that allows you to essentially double up the battery capacity to one of your cameras.  I did not get back what it cost me, but I did get 40% back which is far more than I would have got if I continued to leave it in my cupboard as I do with most things.  The starting amount was ultimately multiplied by four and it inspired me to get together some of the other nonsense I have that I don’t use and sell that as well.  

Some of it is not nonsense – such as my last laptop, which I am sure will never attract anywhere near its real value, because people are not keen to get second-hand computers, but I can either put it up for auction and get something for it or I can leave it in my cupboard until it becomes a museum piece or a paperweight!  I strongly recommend if you have any unused items out there that you would like to sell that you go ahead and sell it!  You may well find that you have a few things around your house, while they don’t have much value, will have some value – and it is better to get something for them than never use them again!  I tend to buy a lot of gadgets that I don’t ultimately use much, and apart from that I am really overstocked on cameras and camera equipment.  I recently discovered that what I thought was three professional Canon cameras turned out to be four – so one of them is going to be sold next.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 02-Oct-17   |  Permalink   |  28 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
What have you learnt?

Today’s blog is aimed largely at my staff, but it could apply to anybody who reads this blog.  It is about asking you what you have learnt working at the company where you work right now?  Not so much about, for example in my firm’s case, what you might have learnt about the law and Road Accident Fund cases, but what you have learnt about business, how to run a business and the insight you have obtained?  

We can all experience the same thing, we can all be part of the same system – and I am not just talking about work now – but just as the witnesses to a crime, we all tend to see and learn different things and I would be very interested in your perspective. 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 29-Sep-17   |  Permalink   |  34 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Reviews of the iPhone 8

I was interested to read some of the reviews of the iPhone 8.  It went on sale for the first time on Friday, 22 September and of course differs from the iPhone X, which is the brand new one with the OLED screen, and which only comes out in November.  

What I enjoyed reading about in terms of the iPhone 8, it is how this phone compares to other phones from other companies.  The iPhone 8 is of course not going to be as fast as the iPhone X, but the iPhone 8 has a core processor score that is 25% faster than the iPhone 7 and 80% faster than the iPhone 6.  The very fastest Android phones are much slower.  In fact, Samsung’s main phone, the Galaxy S8 is not only half the speed of the iPhone 8, but it is actually still slower than last year’s iPhone 7 and the iPhone 6S which was released in 2015.  Some of the comparisons I read went on to say that basically the closest rivals for the Apple iPhones, in terms of pure power and speed, are in fact computers – and not other phones.

The explanation for this was quite interesting to read and that is Apple designed its own processors.  The competing phone companies do not design their own processors and they rely on chips that are created by other companies.  Everything that you do on the phone relates to the chip and the better the chip is, the better it works.  Chips that are specifically designed, as iPhones are, by the company for the phone will function much better than simply buying somebody else’s chip and then putting it into your own phone.  

In short, you can love another phone for all the reasons you want, you can say that you prefer it for this or that reason, but you cannot possibly ever say that it is more powerful and faster than an Apple iPhone, because it is not.  They have the fastest, most powerful phones that allow them to produce benchmark scores far higher than their competition.  At sites like Geekbench you can compare the processors, the scores that they achieve and be able to tell, for example if the iPhone X is going to be almost 6 times more powerful than the iPhone 5.  That is if we are going on single-core performance, but once you start looking at multi-core performance, it would be about 9 times more powerful.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 27-Sep-17   |  Permalink   |  27 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
What does the future hold for KPMG in South Africa?

Some of my friends are taking bets that KPMG in South Africa will be out of business by the end of this year.  That is probably a fairly wild prediction, but at the moment they have executive staff resigning and are losing clients.  Obviously, all of this is about the work they did for the Gupta’s and we have already seen what happened to the UK public relations firm, Bell Pottinger.  Meanwhile, Pravin Gordhan has warned that more, with regard to KPMG is going to come out.  The report by KPMG led to the dismissal of the former Finance Minister, and as you all know, they now admit that they “made mistakes” and that its executives managed to ignore “red flags” that came up with regard to the work that they did for the Gupta’s.  KPMG so far has not released their own internal report because they say that the report has sensitive client information about the Gupta’s.

We will have to wait and see if anything else does come out and whether any other companies drop KPMG but this is certainly highly embarrassing for them.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 26-Sep-17   |  Permalink   |  35 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Doing your own stunts can be an impossible mission

Mission:  Impossible 6 is meant to open in theatres on 27 July 2018.  It is the series based around Tom Cruise and it has certainly done very well over the years.  It is not the kind of movie I have ever taken seriously, but I tend to enjoy them and they are almost always well shot, with expensive sets in exotic locations and they are visually good to look at while relaxing.  I was surprised to read that Tom Cruise does his own stunts and in fact has now broken his ankle in a stunt for the new movie.  

Timing is everything in the movie industry and so this will really put them under quite some pressure to finish filming the movie and then editing it, etc and still open on time.  In South Africa we don’t always realise that almost all of the movies, and when they are released, are based on when an American audience is most likely to watch it and obviously the big movie season is the summer holidays in June and July and ending in August.  The worst weekend of the year – in fact, the worst weekend in the movie industry in the last 17 years – was the third weekend in August this year.  You do not want your film to be released during that time and so none of the major movies would be scheduled for then or early September.  If your movie is already scheduled for release on 28 July and your star has now broken his ankle, you will have to put everything you can together, in one way or another, to make sure that you release on time, because the difference between releasing at the end of July and releasing later in August or September would literally be hundreds of millions of dollars if your movie is expected to be successful.  It also explains why you would generally find a lot more of the rubbish and small budget movies coming out in mid- to late August through to November.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 25-Sep-17   |  Permalink   |  31 Comments Comments Share on Facebook   Tweet It
Making calls from your Apple Watch

Obviously, it was expected that sooner or later somebody, particularly somebody like Apple, would allow you to make good quality phone calls from your watch.  The Apple Watch, which I use, has now come out with Series 3 which will be available from today, 22 September.  

The watches retail for $329 in the US and we will have to wait and see what they will cost in South Africa, but of course you can also get fancier versions if, for example, you would like the Space Black Milanese Loop together with the Space Black stainless steel case (I can’t see from the website why that is so “amazing” and worth double the money to be honest), that will set you back $749.  The problem with buying the more expensive ones is of course by next year there will be a whole lot of new features, probably a new Apple Watch and yours will no longer have as much value.  

The current Apple Watch is already waterproof, it is very good at tracking your activities and I have no doubt that this version is going to succeed, and succeed in a big way.  I think there is a lot of people who are now on a walk, whp would like to be able to make a phone call, without having to carry their phone.  Of course, there is an ever-increasing level of connectivity which will drive other people nuts!  

About 2 years ago I didn’t think Apple watch was great but I think its become a market leader, sales are up and a lot more younger people, in their 20’s and 30’s are using it now.  Is the new Apple Watch, now that it has the ability to make phone calls as well, something that you would want? 

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 22-Sep-17   |  Permalink   |  28 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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