Beyond the comfort zone

Perspectives

ME PoV Fall 2011 issue

Beyond the comfort zone

The Fall 2011 issue tackles several actual hot issues: from the color of a strategy, to the housing needs in Saudi Arabia, the price of oil, FATCA and many more.

About this issue

“What does not kill us makes us stronger” said Nietzsche famously. This self-explanatory adage is often used in the sports world, where athletes are constantly trained and pushed beyond their comfort zone in order to make them stronger, faster, better. These days it seems as if the business and finance worlds could also benefit from a bit of Nietzscheian philosophy.

As the world as we know it (or have known it for the last 10 years since 9/11) seems to be dismantling, we find ourselves having to push beyond our comfort zone. Financially, we face a double-dip recession. Politically, we face new challenges as we face new powers in the Middle East. Technologically, we face Apple without Steve Jobs. Everywhere we look for comfort, we are nudged out of our seat.

Click the link on the left to access the Winter 2012 issue. Alternatively, you can read each article separately by clicking below.

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Back to the future

A look back at the last decade reveals a tremendous level of oil price instability experienced by producers, consumers and global economies alike. In the last six months alone, the price of oil has had to weather a sputtering global economic recovery, geo-political upheaval (in the wake of the Arab Spring) and uncertainty within OPEC on production rates.

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Facing up to FATCA

Since its enactment in U.S. tax law in March 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has generated significant controversy amongst financial institutions across the globe. However, despite repeated calls for its repeal, financial institutions everywhere are having to accept the inevitable: FATCA is here to stay.

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What is the color of your strategy?

The creators of blue oceans, in sharp contrast to companies playing by traditional rules, never use the competition as a benchmark. Instead they make it irrelevant by creating a leap in value for both buyers and the company itself.

Companies don’t have to venture into distant waters to create blue oceans.Most blue oceans are created from within, not beyond, the red oceans of existing industries.

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Family businesses time to act

Not all family-owned businesses are created equal, with striking differences as relates to industry, owner involvement, structure and perhaps most importantly, success. On the one hand are world-class businesses competing with key market players, which not only benefit the family but the community as a whole and on the other hand lay the remains of what once was a family-owned business. The wide spectrum between the two offers valuable lessons for those smart enough to learn from their experiences.

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Living in Saudi Arabia

Will the Saudi Government’s recent announcement to fund the construction of 500,000 new housing units solve the issue of low-income housing demand in the Kingdom? We examine the issues and the challenges faced by those seeking a roof above their heads.

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The growing pains of Islamic Finance

Does nature trump nurture? As the Islamic Finance industry moves beyond the infancy stage of the last decade, we consider the neighborhood in which the industry has grown up to date and reflect on whether it may have contributed to the challenges, or ‘growing pains,’ namely lack of development and innovation, that the industry is experiencing today.


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Tearing up the box

Growing up in rural Oklahoma, I learned to tinker with things at an early age. Boredom and time can either be a recipe for innovation or for disaster, and in my case it was a mix of both. Often, with nothing else to do in my hamlet of Sharon, Oklahoma, then a thriving metropolis of 257, I resorted to tearing up perfectly good products to see how they worked and if I could make them better.

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Corporate governance in the public sector

A taboo word only a few years ago, corruption is now hitting the headlines across the Middle East with specific focus across GCC states, as the fight against financial malpractices and other offences builds up.

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