Of power and luxury: World’s wealthiest people of all time

Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are often tagged as two of the richest men in modern history, and it’s not an exaggeration that combined, they actually hold the world’s biggest wealth with their net-worth of $130 billion and $91 billion, respectively.  They own one of the largest tech companies in the world, which both play key roles in numerous investment portfolios, including offshore mutual funds based in the likes of Bermuda, Cayman Islands, and Bahamas. While these men occupy the pedestal as the wealthiest people today, digging deeper into the history of the world will reveal an astonishing discovery of richness beyond comprehension.

Here are the wealthiest human beings of all history:

Mansa Musa of Mali

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The West African conqueror led the Mali Empire in the 1300s and has amassed a wealth so massive that no one could ever describe the entirety of it. Mansa Musa is often considered as the richest person in human history, according to scholars and historians, because his empire was the largest producer of a highly-valuable precious metal: gold. The emperor was known for his lavish spending that once caused a currency crisis in Egypt during his 200,000-troop pilgrimage to the holy land of Mecca.

Augustus Caesar of Rome

Image source: marketwatch.com

The Roman Empire, before its fall, was once the most powerful in the world not only as a military force but an economic giant. Led by Augustus Caesar, Rome used to own almost 30 percent of the whole world’s economic output. The emperor alone controlled 20 percent of the empire’s economic prowess, which is estimated to have cost over $4 trillion in 2014 standard value.

Emperor Shenzong of China

Image source: wikipedia.com

The Chinese emperor lived from 1048 through 1085 under the Song Dynasty and was one of the world’s wealthiest people of all time. If you’re familiar with the history of this part of Asia, you’ll discover that among all the Chinese imperial periods, the Song was the most economically powerful not only in the continent but throughout the world. At the top of its economic peak, Emperor Shenzong’s centralized power also comes with the full control of the empire’s economic wealth, which was estimated to fall from 25 to 30 percent of the global GDP.

These farm animals are among the world’s most economically important

Image source: phys.org

Farm animals play a significant role in our society. In fact, they are among the most traded commodities in the world. They provide us food, clothing, medicine, and other products. Whether as a source of food or income, farm animals immensely matter.

Today’s modern technology has enabled farmers to improve animal welfare, enhance farming methods, and increase food production. Listed below are the most common types of farm animals raised by farmers from many developed and developing countries around the world.

  1. Chickens

There are hundreds of chicken breeds across the globe, mostly raised in factory farms and fewer ones in the backyards. Chickens are normally slaughtered or placed in the market after 6 to 20 weeks, for profit. It takes approximately 21 days for a fertilized chicken egg to hatch. Among nutritionists, chicken meat is considered to be a healthier source of protein than red meat. The world’s largest poultry farms are in China, the United States, and Australia.

  1. Cattle

Cattle are bred for two different purposes: beef cows are raised specifically for meat production while dairy cows are bred for their ability to produce fresh milk. These type of cattle have distinct physical differences, as dairy cattle are typically thinner and leaner while beef cattle are focused on building a more muscular and fatter body in order to produce high-quality of meat (beef). Although it requires huge investment in time, land and money, cattle production can be the most profitable livestock to raise for business. The United States has a massive beef market which produces nearly 20 percent of the world’s beef, followed by Brazil with 15 percent, and the European Union with almost 13 percent.

  1. Sheep

This type of domestic animal is typically shed and kept as livestock and can live for up to 10 to 12 years. They have been used for centuries for clothing, meat, and in the field of medicine. The major products we obtain from sheep are lamb (meat from sheep under 1 year of age), mutton (meat from sheep older than 1 year of age), wool (for clothing and cosmetics), and milk (ideal for making cheese and other dairy products). In terms of sheep population, countries like China, Australia, India, Sudan, and Iran top the list, while the European Union is the world’s largest sheep meat consumer.

  1. Ducks

Ducks produce larger eggs than the usual size of a chicken’s egg, and contain higherprotein but with less cholesterol. Duck production is dominated by China which boast of a vast number of duck breeds. The country was able to produce more than 700 thousand ducks in 2005.

  1. Pigs

Domestic pigs are raised mainly for their meat (pork). According to Statista, net production of pork worldwide amounted to about 109.85 million tons carcass weight in 2016, with mainland China being the world’s largest producer. With this type of domestic animal, it is important to provide enough space for their shelter, fresh air with warm temperature, and proper hygiene.

How demographics affects the economy

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A 2016 research focused on economically powerful countries like the United States and Japan has revealed a significant relationship between demographic changes and the trend of economic growth. The study further suggests that the dramatic shift towards an aging population can possibly lead to a decreasing GDP growth over the next decades.

The question of whether or not demography affects the economy is not a new one. The fact that economic growth greatly depends on productivity gains is a clear indication that the increase or decrease in workforce population can have a significant effect on a country’s economic output.

However, it’s important to point out that the effect of population growth can either be positive or negative depending on the circumstances. For countries with a large population, stable workforce and enough resources, the number can be a huge asset for economic growth. On the other hand, nations with a larger population, limited resources coupled with a high unemployment rate will tell a different story.

The effect of an aging workforce

Demographics, as some economists conclude, is the hardest to overcome among a list of factors that affects growth not only in the U.S. but also in other countries with a steadily and slowly declining working-age population.

While experts agree that demographics is one of the key determinants of whether or not an economy has the potential for growth, they believe that that alone will not determine the fate of a nation’s economic growth.

This is because, as the world progresses, so as the technological advancements which are also being introduced into the workplace, increasing productivity and ensuring a steady workforce.

REPOST: 30 Under 30 2018 Retail And E-Commerce: These Young Entrepreneurs Are Changing The Way We Shop

The retail and e-commerce industry is an extremely competitive sector of the economy, but even so, these innovative and highly talented young entrepreneurs are successfully winning the game. How are they doing it? Here’s the full story from Forbes:

You can only stop to smell the roses if they’re still alive. And a garden-variety bouquet doesn’t last longer than one week in a vase.

The roses from the green-thumbed Seema Bansal on the other hand, last a full year in full bloom without water.

“We treat them with our proprietary wax-based solution,” explained Bansal, 26, who bootstrapped New York-based e-commerce business Venus ET Fleur with her now-fiancé Sunny Chadha, 28, in 2015. “But the rose’s texture, its shape and a little bit of its scent remains.”

In 2017, Venus ET Fleur expects to do in the region of $7.5 million in revenues thanks to sales of their long-lasting rose arrangements, which typically sell for between $300 and $1,500 and come in any Pantone color, including silver, green and lavender. By the end of the year, they’ll open a second distribution center in Los Angeles.

Bansal and Chadha lead this year’s crop of impressive young founders on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for 2018 in the retail and e-commerce category.

These entrepreneurs and executives have raised millions of dollars in venture funding between them. They’ve built game-changing e-commerce platforms, apps, and bots. They’ve launched exciting new products across categories as varied as vibrators, kitchenware and nail art.

They’re pioneers of the subscription economy. They’re figuring out what a transparent supply chain looks like in the age of mobile shopping. And they range in age from just 14 to 29.

Roses from Seema Bansal’s Venus ET Fleur live an entire year in full bloom without water.

There’s Ali Kriegsman, cofounder of Y Combinator-backed startup Bulletin. She and cofounder Alana Branston take vacant, marked-down real estate and offer online retailers a physical space to rent — like coworking spaces, but for bringing small vendors together in one storefront.

The company charges $300 to $2,000 a month and takes 30% of sales. Kriegsman and Branston have raised $2.2M in VC funding to date.

Another standout? Iyore Olaye, a young star at Walker & Co., the venture-backed tech company creating beauty products for people of color. As lead product engineer, she heads up research and development for men’s grooming brand Bevel and haircare line FORM.

Some of these Under 30s are revolutionizing e-commerce in categories often forgotten by mainstream retail.

Brad McDonald, for example, cofounded Chicago-based Agroy. The company allows farmers to buy fertilizer, seed and more online, updating what was an age-old co-op buying model in the agriculture sector. In 2016, its first year, Agroy did over $2 million in sales.

Meet all this year’s retail and e-commerce list-makers here, and learn more about the wunderkinds changing the world across all Forbes’ categories here.

Three powerful women-leaders who are breaking stereotypes

We have seen many powerful women in modern history and their stories have inspired and taught the world a lesson: leadership and success can come to anyone who is willing to work and fight for their dreams, regardless of gender, class or race. And that even includes running an entire country, reinventing economic policies, attracting foreign investments, and building a stronger nation as a whole.

Let’s learn a thing or two from today’s most influential women-leaders who managed to break the glass ceiling with their courage, brilliance, and wisdom.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

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Perhaps anyone in the modern world has heard of the name Angela Merkel. As a woman leader of one of the world’s superpowers, Merkel’s influence is not to be underestimated. She has a doctorate in Physics and it was the focus of her career before she decided to finally enter politics and become the first female Chancellor of Germany.

Branded as last stronghold of Western liberal power and is currently on her fourth term, she guided Germany through an economic recession and her influence helped maintain a solid European front in the height of Brexit.

Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia

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Julia Gillard was one of the most prominent figures behind the successful 2010 coup that overthrew Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Gillard was later on elected and became Australia’s very first female Prime Minister.

Just three weeks in the office, she called for snap elections in order to rebuild the deteriorating support for her party and victoriously guarded a 76-74 majority in parliament that gave her the power to form a minority government.

Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh

Image source: thehindu.com

Bangladesh’s three-time premier lived a life of courage and survival before she was first elected in 1996.  A coup d’état in 1975 tells of one of the most tragic stages of her life when 17 of her family members including her parents and three brothers were killed by assassins. Hasina later on survived an assassination attempt from a grenade blast that ended the lives of over 20 people.

A 2001 Transparency International report, however, led to her ousting after Bangladesh was named the most corrupt country in the world. Nonetheless, Hasina found herself back in power after getting 230 out of 299 parliamentary seats in 2009. Currently, Hasina is on Forbes’ ranking, securing the 36th spot among the world’s most powerful women.

Most influential First Ladies in the world

Behind every successful nation’s leader is a strong and determined First Lady – and many of these great women have broken the stereotypes by actively working in the frontlines, promoting charitable and social causes while their husband ran the country.

Times have changed in that instead of just working in the background, the world’s most influential First Ladies have made their own history and changed the nation with their passion and dedication. Let’s meet some of these memorable women below:

  1. Eleanor Roosevelt
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Eleanor Roosevelt is known as the most important First Lady in American history. Unlike any other first lady, she spent her time travelling and making public appearances: labor meetings, speeches against sexism and racism, and even press conferences on human rights for women and children.

She’s a pioneer in her own right, transforming and redefining the role of the First Lady and her husband’s death did not stop her from continuing her cause.

President Harry Truman, believing in her passion, appointed her to be America’s delegate to the UN Assembly – wherein she later on became the chair to the organization’s Human Rights Commission.

  1. Maria Eva Perón
Image source: mentalfloss.com

Argentina’s beloved former First Lady was often referred to as “Evita” especially during her rise in the international pop culture scene with the musical Evita in 1976. Evita won her husband’s victory during the 1946 presidential bid through her powerful and often strong populist rhetoric during her weekly radio shows, addressing the poor to support and vote for Juan Perón.

She was the first woman in the country’s history to participate and appear on a public campaigns trail and although it had offended many powerful people, the citizens boldly showed their love and support for the future First Lady.

  1. Queen Rania of Jordan
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Although the country of Jordan is technically a unitary state (under its constitutional monarchy), for the purpose of this list we have included Queen Rania, the queen consort of Jordan, for her exemplary contributions to her nation, championing women rights, promoting peace and helping the nation recover from the most tragic refugee crisis in the country’s history.

REPOST: The 13 US cities where young people are buying the most homes

Millennials are nearing the peak of their careers and many of them are starting to have their own families. Buying properties, especially a house, then becomes a necessity. The article below from Business Insider features the top cities in the US considered to be the most affordable destinations for young homebuyers:

As they get into their late 20s and 30s, more millennials are settling down, starting families, and buying homes.

In fact, writes economist Mark Fleming on the First American Financial Center blog, millennials will be driving the demand for housing in the near future. Contrary to previous generations, however, they are staying in cities rather than buying houses in the suburbs or rural areas, according to research by think tank City Observatory, as reported by the New York Times.

Cities in the midwest, such as Chicago (pictured here), Des Moines, Saint Louis and Minneapolis are popular and relatively affordable destinations for young homebuyers.

Where are they going? A study by LendingTree, the online loan marketplace, analyzed 500,000 mortgage requests and offers from applications between August 2016 and February 2017 to find the cities with the highest percentages of mortgage applicants who are 35 or younger.

Below, we’ve listed the percentage of mortgage applications coming from the 35-and-under crowd, the average down payment supplied by those who are approved from that group, and the average mortgage amount these millennials take on.

13. Denver, Colorado

Percentage of millennial homebuyers: 43%

Average down payment: $50,306

Average mortgage: $284,967


12. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Percentage of millennial homebuyers: 43%

Average down payment: $19,058

Average mortgage: $170,486


11. Wichita, Kansas

Percentage of millennial homebuyers: 44%

Average down payment: $18,956

Average mortgage: $170,462


10. Omaha, Nebraska

Percentage of millennial homebuyers: 44%

Average down payment: $29,637

Average mortgage: $192,215


See the full list HERE.


The digital space and the rise of millennial entrepreneurs

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Majority of today’s millennials work in offices. However, most of them are very much eager to pursue careers outside the corporate world. In fact, a growing number from this generation is starting to build their own businesses—many of which have promising concepts or taking on unconventional paths. What’s holding back most of these individuals from becoming full-time entrepreneurs, however, is the lack of sufficient resources and a sound business plan. But that is changing rather quickly.

Most millennials are still in their 20s and have inherited an already flawed world. The financial crisis of the late 2000s has made these young, talented people more cautious about their every move but not to the point that they will suppress their appetite for adventurous endeavors. They take risks, but they do it with restraint and are somehow more open to failure than Baby Boomers were. Growing in a ‘transition age’ between the old and the new, this generation has become emboldened by technology and molded by major world events.

Image source: talk-business.co.uk

Social media plays a key role in the rise of millennial entrepreneurs. This low-cost but remarkably effective marketing and customer interaction platform is making it possible for the young to build their business strategically, starting small and hopefully ending up big. Social media is perhaps this generation’s defining aspect, so much so that the world’s biggest online networking site was actually invented by a millennial, Mark Zuckerberg.

While big success stories aren’t too common (yet) among the millennial generation as far as business making is concerned, the digital space is making it easier for them to expand their market, boost their brand, and offer a wider range of products or services. The millennials are a new generation of business people, who mainly capitalize on technology to serve their target markets and are banking on the older generations’ mistakes to make more prudent business decisions.

The millennials are also a unique group of consumers. In fact, they are currently the most prized costumers by companies of all sizes. But because millennial businesses know their own market much more deeply, they have the upper hand to dominate this demographic. The result is a dynamic and thriving business playfield that the world has never seen before.

REPOST: The 5 Advantages You Have If You’re an Immigrant Entrepreneur

Some of the world’s largest and most successful companies were founded by first-generation immigrants. Apparently, having cross-cultural experience and diverse funding options, among other factors, are key to thriving even in foreign business environments. Entrepreneur provides more insights on this:

Uber has transformed local transportation in American cities and SpaceX aims to enable Americans to travel to Mars. Chobani is America’s favorite yogurt, while the latest fashion trends from Forever 21 shape the way we dress today. What do these innovative companies share in common? They were all founded by immigrant entrepreneurs.

In the Internet Trends 2017 report prepared by Mary Meeker of KPCB, she shared that 50 percent of the most highly valued technology companies were founded by first-generation immigrants, creating a total of over 48,000 jobs. Also, 60 percent of the most highly valued companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook were founded by first- or second-generation Americans, creating a total of over 1.5 million jobs.

There is a popular belief that it is difficult to start a company in America as an immigrant. Beyond the challenge of getting a work visa, many aspiring entrepreneurs cite lack of network, language barriers and cultural differences as barriers to starting a company. However, in my conversations with many successful immigrant entrepreneurs, there are several key advantages to being a foreign-born entrepreneur. Here are some advantages I would like to urge aspiring entrepreneurs to consider.

1. You have cross-cultural experience you can leverage upon.
 In an interview with Peter Arvai of Prezi, he cited his cross-cultural experiences of living in Sweden, Singapore, Japan, Hungary and America as a huge reason he was able to start Prezi, one of the most popular cloud-based presentation tool today used by over 85 million users globally. Experiencing different cultures allows foreign-born entrepreneurs to synthesize the uniqueness of different cultures and use them to their advantage, and in Arvai’s case, he was able to create a hugely successful global business.

2. Your hunger for success is your biggest advantage.
 Immigrant entrepreneurs are used to working longer hours, pushing harder and reaching for the extra milestone. As a foreign-born entrepreneur, you have had to overcome various challenges and barriers to stay on in America, to assimilate locally, and to give up what you have already achieved in your home country. As a result, you have became stronger and more used to the ups and downs of entrepreneurs. Therefore, you will be more resilient and hungry to achieve success, and to complete what you have set out to do.

3. There are increasingly more funding resources available to immigrant entrepreneurs.
 There are increasingly more resources available to immigrant entrepreneurs. Y Combinator, the widely successful incubator that has produced companies including Airbnb, Stripe, Dropbox and Reddit, has shared that it has funded startups from over 60 countries to date and always encourages them to move to Mountain View in California. Immigrant-focused venture capital funds such as Unshackled have also been emerging to focus on helping immigrant entrepreneurs overcome challenges that they face including visa issues, or hiring local employees. There are also increasingly more startup incubators focused on immigrant entrepreneurs including Blk 71 SF and Nordic Innovation House which are in support of Singaporean and Nordic entrepreneurs, respectively.

4. You can use your roots as a leverage for your business.
 America is a melting pot of different culture that is open to diverse cultures. Therefore, many foreign-born entrepreneurs have been able to leverage their cultures, food and diverse background to start a successful business. Growing up with the thicker, strained yogurt in Turkey, Hamdi Ulukaya founded Chobani, as he believed that Americans would prefer the flavor of this yogurt to the more watery and sugary flavors available back in 2002. Phil Jaber credited his founding of Philz Coffee to growing up in Palestine where he became an entrepreneur at 8 years old, selling homemade Palestinian coffee to passersby from his family front yard.

5. There are increasing more opportunities for entrepreneurs to obtain a visa.
 Other than the commonly known H-1B visas, there are an array of other visas suitable for entrepreneurs. Before President Barack Obama left office, he initiated the “startup visa” to allow foreign-born entrepreneurs to stay in America. Called the International Entrepreneurs Rule, the visa allows foreigners to apply for “parole status” to stay and build fast-growing startups in the U.S, and it will go into effect March 14, 2018 (It was initially supposed to launch on July 17, 2017, but it got pushed back by the Trump Administration). In addition, there is the O-1 visa, which is granted to individuals of extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, business or athletics, and the L-1 visa, which is granted to intra-company transfers from a foreign country into the United States. Also, an innovative nonprofit called Global EIR has pushed for a new program to allow immigrant entrepreneurs to partner with local universities and have these institutions sponsor their visas.

Therefore, as you consider your next step to either start a business or to work for someone, please re-think the various advantages you can leverage. Conventional wisdom may suggest that it is better to take the safe route or even return to your home country to pursue your entrepreneurial dream, but before you choose that route, remember that you can readily tap upon the unique strengths that you possess.

Who are the world’s most generous billionaires?

While it is possible to be a philanthropist even with a small wealth, it is even much easier to become one as a company executive, tycoon, celebrity, or an inheritor of a large business empire.  Being wealthy is not just a showcase of one’s power and influence in the world of business (and even politics), but also a massive opportunity to help the deprived and rebuild lives. But among these ultra-rich individuals, who among them are the most charitable? Here are the top five:

Bill Gates

For years, the planet’s wealthiest man has been among the top philanthropists in the world. In 2015 alone, he donated $1.3 billion to charity, with lifetime donations totaling to $31.5 billion at that point. The Microsoft founder established his foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000 and its endowment was more than $44 billion at the end of 2014, making it the biggest transparently operated private foundation in the world. It aims to eradicate poverty and improve healthcare on a global scale.

Warren Buffett

An investing legend and top-notch entrepreneur, Warren Buffett has pledged to donate most of his wealth through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2011, the Oracle of Omaha was one of the authors of the Giving Pledge, an initiative that encourages ultra-rich individuals and families to give away a large slice of their wealth to charitable causes.

Azim Premji

One of India’s wealthiest people, Azim Premji works hard to reform India’s education and skills development systems. The outsourcing mogul has donated a huge portion of his wealth to improve schools in his country and funded a university that awards degrees in teacher training.

Li Ka-shing

For this Hong Kong-based magnate, giving is his ‘third son.’ In fact, he has pledged to donate one-third of his assets to support philanthropic endeavors. His charity organization, the Li Ka Shing Foundation, promotes social progress by supporting projects that improve access to quality education, enhance medical services, encourage cultural diversity, and advocate community involvement. He thinks of his organization as “one of the ideas [he is] most proud of.”

Mark Zuckerberg

A tech genius and certainly among the most impressive millennial success stories, Mark Zuckerberg has promised to donate 99 percent of his wealth to charity in his lifetime. The Facebook founder has been very active in healthcare-related endeavors. He donated $25 million in the fight against Ebola and around $75 million to San Francisco General Hospital. Of course, education and technological innovation are also among the focus areas of his philanthropic activities.