The State of the Global Economy: Cheap Credit and the Housing Market09 Aug

The State of the Global Economy: Cheap Credit and the Housing Market
Prepared by: Stephen McMullin and Srujan Linga

The Global Catalyst Group examines the relationship between cheap credit and the housing market. Further, GCG discusses the implications of a post-cheap credit society in the United States.

Questions include:

  • How important is the health of the housing market?
  • How important is the velocity of money (The ability for easy lending/spending)?
  • What will the changes in the economic landscape do to the political landscape?

The following materials were discussed to support our conversation:

The 2009 Outlook: Nouriel Roubini (NY Stern School of Business)

Libertarians: A third party? *Please excuse the political undertones (feel free to skip the last 1min and 30 seconds)


The State of the Global Economy: A look into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan09 Aug


The State of the Economy: A look into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan

Prepared by: Alex Johnston and Donald Ball

Obama’s new stimulus plan holds great promise to reinvigorate the economy, but at what cost? The Global Catalyst Group dissects some of the proposed funding measures in his plan. Two main questions are answered:

  • Which funding proposals are most likely create the greatest return for the American people and why?
  • Which funding proposals are most likely create more problems than they solve and more importantly, how could they be improved?



The State of the Global Economy: Historical Lessons Learned from 1907, 1929, 1987 and 200109 Aug


Historical Lessons Learned from 1907, 1929, 1987 and 2001
Prepared by: Ryan Coleman and Kevin Walsh

Guest: Peter Anderson

GCG explores the causes of the Panic of 1907, Crash of 1929 and the Bubble of 2001 to uncovered key lessons learned. Based on historical knowledge and precedence, GCG explored the various opportunities that were capitalized on after each “Bust” and attempts to identify and determine the major opportunities that exist after the 2008 Credit Crash.

Key questions include:

  • What major themes are present throughout the the four different periods?
  • What were the key triggers of each of the events?
  • What opportunities were taken advantage of and profited from after the bust?
  • Looking forward what major opportunities exist after the events of 2008?



Leadership Discussion: High Tech Crowdsoucing Driving Innovation and Opportunity with Liam Cleaver09 Aug


High Tech Crowdsoucing Driving Innovation and Opportunity

Prepared by Ryan Coleman and Kevin Walsh

The Global Catalyst Group revisits the reoccurring topic of crowdsourcing. Our guest for the call, Liam Cleaver is the Program Director of IBM’s Innovation Jams. Liam will share with us the background, technology and theory behind IBM Jams. Innovation Jams are online brainstorming events hosted over the course of 72 hours and synthesis the ideas, thoughts, recommendations and opportunities of thousands of participants across the world.  IBM hosted Jams that incorporated over 300,000 members of its global workforce and has dedicated more than $100 million to fund the development of ideas present from Innovation Jam  Events.

IBM’s InnovationJam 2008 took crowdsourcing to its truest form by “tapping the collaborative insight of leading thinkers from thousands of companies to help advance the vision of IBM’s CEO Study, “The Enterprise of the Future.” The event hosted 90,000 login’s and over 32,000 post over a 90 hour period.
Read more at:


  • Discover the fundamentals behind IBM’s Innovation Jams
  • Explore the intrinsic benefit of companies hosting events like Jams on a) innovation and b) corporate culture
  • Identify key attributes of successful crowdsoucing and corporate wide brainstorming sessions (Risk associated with/Opportunities/Key Management Principles)

Guiding questions:

  • How can we translate internal or corporate crowdsourcing into consumer driven innovation?
  • What opportunities exist by innovating through crowdsourcing in the high tech industry?
  • Based on previous conversations and insight into IBM’s Innovation Jams, what business opportunities present themselves through platform creation to facilitate crowdsourced innovation in emerging industries (3D Printing, Nano Tech, Bio-Medicine)
  • Based on the IBM case study what key lessons surfaced as essential to creating innovation programs like InnovationJams.
Economy, Education, Tech

Educational Development in Developing Countries09 Aug

Picture 19

Can introducing a laptop to every child foster educational as well as economic growth in developing nations?

Prepared by Marcus Howard and Srujan Linga

There is no doubt that there is a large education gap between the established and developing nations of the world. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) attempts to begin closing this gap by introducing technology to students in rural nations through the implementation of a $100 laptop to every student. Started by Nicholas Negroponte, director of the Media Laboratory at MIT, their mission is to empower the child of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. Started in 2005, OLPC has provided just over 500,000 laptops to children in Africa, Asia, and parts of Europe.

While ambitious in their mission; their initiative has not been without setbacks. OLPC has been fraught with several financial, political, and structural pitfalls. First, widely marketed $100 price point for the laptop costs them just under $190 to produce. Second, while the technology may be present in many of the OLPC classrooms, there are few teachers trained sufficiently enough to utilize the technologies and/or to help students troubleshoot. Third, many object that OLPC’s approach to education does not take into account the varying cultural and political norms and attempts a “one size fits all” approach to education and technology. Finally, OLPC is facing an increase in competition by companies like Intel due to demands by consumers in developed nations for a cheaper laptop.

Education is quickly growing to be a priority not only in developing nations but in the United States as well. Given the vast availability of free technology that spans every area of education, providing a free laptop to children in developing countries can potentially provide great value to everyone involved. Is OLPC a viable solution to this very pertinent problem?

Video 1:

Video 2:

Finding a solution:

Education in developing countries should be a priority. While OLPC has served as an ambitious foundation to tackling the problem there is still more work to be done.

During our conversation, the Global Catalyst Group discussed:

  • How can we further utilize open source software and technology to enrich the educational experience of students in developing countries?
  • What are some ideas to combat the “One size fits all” approach that serves as one of the major objections to the OLPC model?
  • Is there real “value added” in providing laptops to children in developing nations when the teachers haven’t the training or educational experience to masterfully navigate through the technology?
  • Is technology truly the answer to the growing educational gap between developing and established nations?

Below are some additional resources to help with learning about the project, it’s progress, and some of its setbacks.

The OLPC website:

Keynote by Nicholas Negroponte on OLPC


Foreign Aid in Developing Nations09 Aug


What are the challenges and possibilities for foreign aid programs?

Prepared by Alex Johnston and Don Ball

For the video inclined, TED has two lectures which should open up the discussion about the needs which aid fails to meet:

The experts square off on the need for more foreign aid: sachseasterly8may8,1,3796907.htmlstory?coll=la-util-op-ed

How is aid administered?

(see attached, “The Future of Aid”),

(see attached, “Why Foreign Aid is Hurting Africa.”  (in particular “A constant stream of “free” money is a perfect way to keep an inefficient or simply bad government in power. As aid flows in, there is nothing more for the government to do — it doesn’t need to raise taxes, and as long as it pays the army, it doesn’t have to take account of its disgruntled citizens. No matter that its citizens are disenfranchised (as with no taxation there can be no representation). All the government really needs to do is to court and cater to its foreign donors to stay in power.”)

Aid and debt, trade, and accountability.

(see attached, “Too Big to Fail.”)

  • Under what circumstances is aid necessary or beneficial?
    Under what circumstance can it do more harm than good?
  • Does foreign aid undermine accountability?

Consider some of the primary motivations behind aid:

  • Altruism, humanitarian, pr, trade promotion, soft power/political favors, political stabilization, investment opportunities, economic ties, military alliances, tax benefits,etc?

What are the best vehicles for aid and under what circumstances are
they appropriate?

  • Government to government (traditional infrastructure,
    trade/custom/quota agreements, peacekeeping, disaster relief, etc)
  • Private to private (private investment, NGO-driven
    health/education/infrastructure programs, etc)
  • Government to private (health research, subsidies or insurance for investment, etc)

Closing discussion:

What parties are most capable of raising, managing and distributing aid? What are some case studies where different forms of aid have been successful? What are some case studies where different forms of aid have been detrimental?What can we learn from these case studies? How does the emergence of new investor and donor nations (e.g. China) affect the aid landscape?What alternative are available to aid-based development strategies?Given growing public sector debt and private sector frailty due of the financial crisis, can we expect to see big changes in the aid  landscape?


Leadership Discussion: Green building and Construction09 Aug

Any consideration of the future of green industries, green policies, or the green movement itself must take into account the built environment. The built environment has a profound impact on our natural environment, economy, health, and productivity.
In the United States alone, buildings account for:
•    72% of electricity consumption,
•    39% of energy use,
•    38% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions,
•    40% of raw materials use,
•    30% of waste output (136 million tons annually), and
•    14% of potable water consumption.
This Leadership Discussion was with Emile Chin-Dickey, LEED-AP, Sustainability and Energy Design Principal. Mr. Chin-Dickey manages Sustainability Consulting and Energy Design projects for the firm.
GCG discussed the Leadership in Energy Efficient Design was developed by the US Green Building Council as a system to certify the greenest buildings in the world. LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

Key questions we would like to investigate:
What are some of the challenges and drawbacks to green construction and building?
What are the business opportunities in Green design for residential and commercial construction?
How are companies and governments capitalizing on green design movements?
How can green design/construction be coupled with other policy or economic goals to encourage implementation?

Education – What Makes a Great Teacher?09 Aug


What are great teachers and programs doing to engage students?

Prepared by Don Ball and Justin Tsang

Framing the problem of Education:

“Education is the most important thing to get right.”
-Bill Gates

Watch: (starting at 7minutes 59 seconds to end of video):

Key takeaways:

The top 20% of students have gotten a good education in the United States. These are the best educations in world and these students have gone on to create the revolutions to keep the US in forefront. Those top 20% are starting to fad and the balance of education is getting worse. Furthermore, the economy is only providing opportunities to for those with advanced educations.

Over 30% of children never finish high school. For minorities this percentage is over 50%. If you graduate from HS and you also come from a low income family you have less than a 25% chance of completing a college degree, and a higher percentage to go to jail then get a four year degree.

Key takeaways: Students must begin using engaging technologies in collaborative, inquiry-based learning environments, with teachers who are willing and able to use technology’s power to assist them in transforming knowledge and skills into products, skills, and new information.

The next generation wants to:

  • Create
  • Consume
  • Remix
  • And share information with each other

Building a solution to the problem: Looking forward

  • Who are the teachers that you have that are great? What makes them different?
  • What is the best way to reward great teachers?
  • How would you retain great teachers if you were an administrator?
  • What could be done to replicate great teachers?

Watch: Clip from 60 Minutes:

“KIPP is not just a school, but a way of life…”

“Today, more than 80% of KIPP students are going to college.”

KIPP Schedule: Monday through Friday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM, Saturdays, and even school in the summer…KIPP students spend 70% more time in school than other students.

  • What is KIPP’s education model?
  • What is KIPP doing differently?
  • How does KIPP instill accountability in students, teachers, and parents?
  • Do you know similar models whether domestic or international that have similar success to KIPP?

Optional: Redefining the Possible:


Patient Choice09 Aug

Picture 18

Patient choice, in all its forms, is one of the most controversial topics in healthcare today. Whether it is a debate on a patient’s right to assisted suicide, access to unapproved treatments or ability to refuse lifesaving treatment for themselves or a child, patient choice is sure to provoke an emotional response. In this week’s call, we’ll explore the limitations of a patient’s rights versus the obligation of doctors, insurers or the government to ensure the well-being of the patient and society as a whole.

Guiding questions include:

1. Should a patient have a right choose a treatment regiment that will likely be ineffective? What if the treatment regimen will likely harm the patient?

2. Should a parent or legal guardian of a child under 18 have the same medical choices for their child as they do for themselves? E.g., the ability to avoid a prescribed treatment regimen?

3. Should a doctor be able to assist in the suicide of a mentally capable patient? Is this ethically right? Is it ethical for a doctor to comply with a patient’s desire to avoid life-saving treatment? Are these two scenarios different? If so, why?

4. How much risk should doctors (or the law) allow patients to take on when deciding on a treatment regimen? Should this apply to treatments unapproved by the FDA? If so, what is the role of the FDA?


Arguments for and against assisted suicide

About Physician-assisted Suicide

Woman first to use Washington’s Assisted Suicide Law

Abigail Alliance v von Eschenbach [Wikipedia]

Abigail Alliance v von Eschenbach:  A Debate

Judge rules teen must get cancer treatment

Parents’ Rights, Judges Rules

Government, Healthcare, Interviews

Healthcare Conversation with Richard and Joseph Hsieh09 Aug


We are pleased to have the following two guest speakers for our call this Sunday. They are professionals focusing in the healthcare space. And yes they are in fact brothers. Richard is in healthcare investment banking. Joseph is a neurosurgery resident with a background in healthcare policy and public health. We will begin with introductions of each GCG member, and the introduction of our guests. Then start asking questions to begin our discussion. The moderator will initially begin with the following questions:

  • What do you think are the greatest challenges facing the US healthcare delivery system today?
  • What do you think of the White House’s current healthcare reform policy? Is it feasible? Is it the best proposal?
  • What are the greatest barriers to the healthcare reform?
  • What models of healthcare delivery are currently operating at the micro level here or abroad that you think we all could learn from?
  • How are or how should small business respond to the changing financial environment of healthcare funding, financing, and delivery?
Richard Hsieh is currently an associate at Edgemont Capital Partners, which provides investment banking, corporate financial analysis and consultation for healthcare companies in the areas of business acquisitions and mergers, pharmaceutical licensing, private placements of debt and equity, financial valuations of business assets and fairness opinions.Previously he was an analyst with MTS Healthcare Partners (“MTS”), a New York-based healthcare merchant bank, where he worked with middle market and large capitalization healthcare services companies. While with MTS, he executed a range of strategic advisory assignments including merger, acquisition and spin-off transactions. His favorite professional accomplishment was being able to participate in the UnitedHealth acquisition of PacifiCare in 2005. He was raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California and moved to the east coast to attend New York University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, concentrating on policy.
Joseph C. Hsieh is a senior neurosurgery resident at the University of Chicago Hospitals, and has done primary research on heath and neurosurgery policy.  He completed his BAS in biology and psychology and MS in biology at Stanford University, MBA at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, MPH at the School of Public Health at UCLA, and MD at Harvard Medical School.  He recently served full time as the Plante public policy fellow for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons in Washington D.C. and is continuing his work as socioeconomic fellow for the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies.

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The Global Catalyst Group seeks to gather persons of unique potential into a community dedicated to thought leadership, shared resources, and mutual improvement. Through deliberate collaboration, collective mentorship and continuous dialogue we believe that we can support and stretch one another with meaningful insight and thoughtful guidance. We encourage our membership and partners to exercise, together, their ambition, creativity, and both their professional and social networks to pursue a greater purpose than oneself. We challenge them to leave a legacy and we support one another towards this end.

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