Posts tagged with "CEO"

Back to College by Mina Tocalini

Tips to Keep Finances High as a Startup Owner

One of the primary challenges of running a brand new business is trying to keep finances as high as possible, while also taking risks to ensure that the business remains relevant in a competitive industry. To a startup, just about every decision made is a potential risk, as there are plenty of ways for things to go wrong. Thankfully, the potential reward is often high enough that the risks tend to even out as time goes on.

That said, a startup needs a steady stream of finances to keep going — though not every inexperienced startup owner is prepared to keep a stern eye on their finances. In such cases, preparation is the name of the game. Here are some top tips to help keep finances as high as possible as a startup owner.

On the topic of covering your bases

They often say that to make money, the first order of business would be to understand how to spend money. There are few things that encapsulate such a saying more than the use of insurance options for the company. No matter the chosen industry, it is crucial that you have a firm understanding of the insurance you need for your business.

For example, as a realtor, it is all about matching clients up with the perfect home. But, it can be extremely challenging to accomplish that without the necessary real estate agent insurance, found at Next. Small businesses have to take note, as there are specific types of small business policies that can help startups keep a solid level of coverage, without losing too much money.

The benefits of hiring an experienced accountant

Those looking to manage their finances as tightly as possible would do well to hire a professional such as an accountant, as startup management can often mean a mountain of paperwork for the unprepared. That being said, the idea of hiring an experienced accountant is not just to keep the paperwork and finances in order — it is also about understanding which moves to make next as a company.

Not only do experienced accountants have years of practice under their belts, but they can also provide valuable advice based on their wealth of business knowledge. It always pays to utilize experienced professionals to fill the gaps.

Maintain consistency with social media

To obtain a steady stream of revenue as a startup, one of the best ways to get the job done would be to show prospective clients and supporters that the company is worth supporting. For example, maintaining an active account on social media shows online users that the company is always willing to interact with their audience. Even if the services might not be quite there yet, a company that remains consistent in its desire to make improvements based on feedback is often what wins the day.

While keeping finances out of the red while simultaneously taking risks as a startup can be a challenging tightrope to balance on, it doesn’t have to be a miserable process. Making use of the best practice methods above is enough to guarantee a solid foundation.

Sandra's Wine Life

QxA Sandra Guibord

How Sandra Guibord Pivoted to Success During the Pandemic& Sandra’s Wine Life’s Valentine’s Day Wine Recommendations

What was your career like pre-pandemic?

For the past 20 years, I have been a wine educator as CEO & Founder of Sandra’s Wine Life. The in-person education aspect of my business involved leading wine seminars for large corporates, entertaining large groups of high-net-worth clientele for private banks, accounting firms, technology firms, and non-profits.

What changed about your business when the pandemic hit?

In Spring, 2020 when all my in-person presentations were canceled, I knew I had to transition to virtual events. All of my corporate clients now needed an intimate connection platform with which to reach their customers. I create Sandra’s Wine Life’s Virtual Wine Seminars to entertain small groups of advisers and their select clients.

What inspired you to make this change rather than just take a few months off?

On a Zoom call with my ski friends, we were commiserating over cocktails about our beloved ski season being cut short from the pandemic. Zoom was new to me, but it was such an easy platform to use and I realized how easy it could be to connect with people all over the world. Right away I knew that it was the path I needed to take to jumpstart my company.

How is business going?

The wine seminars have been an extreme success. I am conducting presentations at least three nights a week all year long – and I’ve had some re-bookings already from clients I just gave seminars for in September as their clients have been very responsive. Seeing the great excitement generated from these seminars is incredibly rewarding.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

My service is more valuable than I realize.

When I started Sandra’s Wine Life, I viewed my service as simply entertainment. I have grown to realize that my services are quite valuable as a business generation tool for my clients, particularly in these pandemic times. My virtual seminars are an opportunity for agents to reach out and effectively connect to their clients. I create an environment that is relaxed and enjoyable to set the mood and facilitate open conversation. This might seem a small thing, but as there is so much to be distracted by about in these times, having the ability to keep people upbeat and in the moment right now is a skill that has proved very valuable, and it’s also very enjoyable for me to be able to provide.

People are not always nice.

Unfortunately, I have seen behavior at wine conferences and other industry events that can be reminiscent of a high school cafeteria. As an attractive woman who is friendly and approachable, people will make assumptions that I don’t take my business seriously and that I’m not as committed to my craft or qualified. I ignore their behavior and simply do what I do to move my business and initiatives forward. In my accomplishments, I prove them wrong.

Don’t be shy about developing your network.

If you never ask or reach out to those in your network, you could be missing out on enormous opportunities. For example, Thomas Preti Catering has separately been providing food to match my wine pairings to some of my clients for as long as 10 years. Just a few months ago I first approached him with an idea about the two of us teaming up to provide food and wine pairings together for exciting virtual events such as Wine & Opera with International Opera Performers, Wine & Cinema tastings. Immediately he was on board. Now I kick myself for being shy about reaching out years ago!

Your perspective and brand tone can change dramatically as your life changes. Lean into it.

When I first started Sandra’s Wine Life, I was a single woman in New York City, and as such I focused on the demographic that I was a part of. As life evolved, adding children, increased obligations and more Corporate services, the focus of my company also evolved to incorporate my perspective on how wine fits into life and its moods and situations, broadened to home entertainment, business dinners, family holidays, International travel and large-scale corporate entertaining.

Be patient and stay the course.

Over the last 20 years, I have had to go to great lengths to keep my business alive. I have had to be creative, carve out time that didn’t exist, continue selling my services, collaborate with others, and learn a number of new skills on the fly — and with great enthusiasm! I did this all while raising children, dedicating myself to growing my former husband’s business and without having any encouragement or support. My business was always my voice and I needed to keep it alive and growing slowly so when the time came that I could fly. The time finally came, and when it did, I was truly ready. Now I’m flying and loving every minute!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day – and Galentine’s Day. How should our readers celebrate?

  • Impress your date with romantic chocolates alongside Champagne.
  • Treat your best girlfriends to pizza and Pinot Noir.
  • Send Mom a bottle of her favorite Chardonnay.
  • Cook a romantic spicy seafood pasta dinner for two with a luxurious Brunello.
  • For that “new” special person in your life, a picnic with Prosecco and cheese is friendly and thoughtful – and pandemic friendly.
  • If you’re in a restaurant and in doubt, White Burgundy or Pinot Noir are great food-friendly choices that are smart to order.

What are your top wines for celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?

I will be sharing plenty of wine tips similar to these and much more in my forthcoming book, titled ‘Wine Identity’, due out this Spring. Look for more news on this shortly! In the meantime, you can check out my Instagram at @sandraswinelife each Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET for my weekly #WineWednesday recommendations, where I’ll share details about my favorite wines of the week and practical tips on how to enjoy them.

Marvin Liao Joins FanVestor’s Advisory Board

Top venture capitalist and former Yahoo! senior executive Marvin Liao has joined the Advisory Board of global fintech fan investment and commerce platform FanVestor, the announcement was made today by company CEO Michael Golomb.

“Marvin’s expertise and proven track record are unmatched in the industry.  He managed one of the most successful accelerators, maturing and investing in more than 400 start-ups,” comments Golomb. “This combined with his vast global professional experience working at Yahoo! spearheading the company’s expansion in all important global markets make him a valuable addition to FanVestor’s Advisory Board.”

On the Advisory Board, Liao joins recently appointed members former President/CEO, DASAN Zhone Solutions Yung Kim and former PINTEC executive Alan Qiu.

Marvin Liao is an investor, executive coach, and formal advisor to several large family offices. Previously, he was a Partner at Venture Capital Fund 500 Startups, running the San Francisco-based accelerator program, as well as investing in seed-stage start-ups. He has invested in over 414 pre-seed and seed-stage startups during the six years spent there.

Liao also spent over a decade as a senior executive at Yahoo!, boasting an extensive operating experience expanding businesses across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Liao presently serves on the boards of directors and advisory boards of several Internet advertising and ad technology companies around the world. He also is a mentor for a number of global accelerator programs.

FanVestor offers all-in-one commerce, auction, investing, and sweepstakes platform designed specifically to meet the needs of celebrities. Founded by Michael Golomb, an innovator in the world of business and fintech, FanVestor’s robust technology platform will allow current and former athletes, media and music celebrities, fashion icons, and artists to leverage their influence by offering their fans an opportunity to participate in their latest projects or charitable initiatives.

The company’s leadership team and Board of Directors is highlighted by COO Larry Namer, founder of E! Entertainment, and also includes former News Corp. executive Marty Pompadur, former CEO of Warner Brothers Music, Phil Quartararo, and former President of Korea Telecom, Yung Kim, and several other successful executives.

Juvenile Law Center – Board of Directors

By Cassandra Yany

Juvenile Law Center announced Wednesday the appointment of four new members to the Board of Directors. Khaliah Ali, Daniel Okonkwo, Robert Parker and Eli Segal will join the governing body of the national organization, based in Philadelphia. The center is the country’s first nonprofit public interest law firm for children’s rights.

Meet the new members:

Khaliah Ali

Khaliah Ali, the daughter of boxing legend and social justice activist Muhummad Ali, is a fashion designer, author and humanitarian. She first connected with Juvenile Law Center after she read about the child abuse crisis at Glen Mills Schools in Delaware County, PA where she resides. This led her to begin speaking and writing in support of the organization’s fight for children in juvenile facilities.

“I am so honored to serve on Juvenile Law Center’s board,” Ali said. “Additionally as the daughter of the late boxer Muhammad Ali, I am honored to help curate my father‘s legacy through such a laudable cause.”

R. Daniel Okonkwo, Esq.

R. Daniel Okonkwo, Esq. is an attorney and public policy expert with significant experience in the policy, advocacy and nonprofit sectors. Okonkwo is the Vice President (Relationship Manager) in the Office of Nonprofit Engagement at JPMorgan Chase and Co., where he is responsible for building relationships with key stakeholders and grantmaking in the Mid-Atlantic region. He also manages a national grant portfolio that focuses on nonprofit capacity building and civil rights organizations.

“I am thrilled and honored to join Juvenile Law Center’s Board of Directors,” said Okonkwo. “The organization has been at the forefront of the work to ensure that young people are protected from unjust treatment in the various systems that impact their lives. Juvenile Law Center is an organization that I have admired for a long time and I look forward to supporting their work on behalf of young people across the country.”

Robert P. Parker

Robert P. Parker spent 14 years as a partner in the Litigation Department of Paul, Weiss before joining a D.C.-based technology/litigation focused firm in 2013. His practice centers on complex civil matters involving technology, regulatory and commercial issues. Parker represents some of the world’s most established companies, as well as start-up enterprises in a variety of commercial and litigation matters. He is ranked among Washington D.C.’s Super Lawyers in the area of IP litigation and has previously served as the chairman for the National Council of Adoption’s Board of Directors.

“Too often, children and teens become lost in the juvenile justice system – civil and criminal. The impact on their lives, their families, and society at large is beyond calculation,” said Parker. “I am delighted to join Juvenile Law Center’s efforts to ensure that no more juveniles get lost in our courts or in their placements.”

Eli Segal

Eli Segal is a partner at the law firm of Troutman Pepper, where he focuses on representing journalists in First Amendment matters, colleges and universities in their unique legal issues, and other businesses and individuals within the spectrum of commercial litigation. He is the co-chair of Troutman Pepper’s First Amendment and Newsroom practice.

“I volunteered at Juvenile Law Center years ago during college and law school and am thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute again to the organization’s vitally important work,” said Segal.

Juvenile Law Center says it is proud to welcome these distinguished individuals to its Board of Directors. “Our Board of Directors is an integral part of Juvenile Law Center and it is a joy and privilege to work with them,” said Sue Mangold, the Chief Executive Officer. “We are thrilled to welcome Khaliah Ali, Daniel Okonkwo, Robert Parker and Eli Segal. Each is already engaged in our work and brings valuable expertise and experience to our board.”

About Juvenile Law Center

Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for youth in the foster care and justice systems.

Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the first non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. We fight for youth through litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, consulting, and strategic communications. Widely published and internationally recognized as leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center has substantially shaped the development of law and policy on behalf of youth. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth advance racial and economic equity and are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, and reflective of international human rights values. For more information about Juvenile Law Center’s work, visit www.JLC.org.

Netflix CEO illustrated by Maria Soloman for 360 MAGAZINE.

Netflix Co-CEO on Ads

by Justin Lyons

Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings sat down with Variety recently to discuss his new book and everything regarding Netflix. From business strategies to hiring strategies to creative strategies, Hastings seemed to be quite open about his ideas for the streaming service.

One of the biggest questions everyone seems to have about Netflix revolves around its revenue strategy. The home of shows like “Stranger Things,” “Orange is the New Black,” “House of Cards” and other award-winning, binge-inducing shows has been ad-free since its inception.

Hastings said the decision to rely entirely on a subscription model is more of a judgement call than a strict rule for Netflix.

“You know, advertising looks easy until you get in it. Then you realize you have to rip that revenue away from other places because the total ad market isn’t growing, and in fact right now it’s shrinking,” Hastings told Variety.

Hastings went on to say there’s more opportunity for growth in the consumer market than there is in the advertising business, also citing 20 years of success to back his point.

A 2019 report from eMarketer said Google, Facebook and Amazon received upwards of two-thirds of advertising dollars in the United States, so it would make sense to believe the room for growth in advertising is limited.

The New York Times reported in April that Netflix gained nearly 16 million subscribers early in the year, pushing the total number of subscribers to more than 182 million.

Hastings also touched on production during COVID-19’s shutdown, saying Netflix was able to shoot some originals, like the fourth season of “The Crown,” before shutting down production. He added that Netflix is currently producing in Europe and Asia.

While producing in Europe and Asia is more practical than producing in the United States right now, it also goes along with goals Hastings has for Netflix.

He said he wants Netflix to become a first-class developer all around the world, not just in Hollywood. Hastings said shows like “Dark,” from Germany, and “La Casa de Papel,” from Spain, have aided that movement.

On the future of Netflix, Hastings said, “What’s next is becoming a great Turkish developer of content, becoming a great Egyptian developer of content and sharing that with the world.”

He closed the interview with a discussion about other streaming platforms. Hastings compared Netflix to Starbucks, serving a specific product, while Amazon is more of a Walmart, serving every need.

With the number of streaming services growing exponentially, it might be easy to assume doom for the original streaming platforms. Even with Disney+ reaching 60 million subscribers, Hastings isn’t worried, calling the streaming industry a “healthy situation.”

“Because you’ll continue to push each other to innovate and entertain people. It’s only in the old communist states of the 1960s when you’d have a single network. No one wants to create that,” Hastings said.

A rising tide lifts all boats, right? There is no doubt that Netflix remains king of the streaming industry, and we can probably assume we’re safe from ads on Netflix for now. That, along with the possible development of more content from other countries and cultures, makes it an exciting time to be a Netflix subscriber.

For now, we’ll continue to rely on Netflix’s ad-free experience while studios that rely on theatrical releases are slowed down.

To read the entire interview from Variety, you can click right here.

Cash and wallet illustration for 360 Magazine

The Business Comeback After COVID-19

Business Turnaround Expert Cites Keys to a COVID-19 Comeback

By Merilee Kern, MBA ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor

The September 11th attacks. The Great Recession. The COVID-19 pandemic.

All three of these seismic and tragic events have resulted in heartbreak to humanity, including loss of life and our emotional well-being – both individually and collectively. Of course, accompanying these global crises were monetary meltdowns reminiscent of the Great Depression that commenced in 1929 and lingered until the late 1930s.

After a “relatively” calm 70 years, the United States economy has suffered three devastating developments inside the last two decades, alone. There have been wars fought throughout the world and inflation escalations along the way, to be sure, but the start to the 21st century has suffered escalating and unusually concentrated economic calamities – some that have profoundly altered the very fabric of our lives, both personally and professionally.

Indeed, on the business front, such periods have been among the most – perhaps the unequivocal most – trying of times. Amid current circumstances as the coronavirus rages on around the globe, I recently connected with internationally-renowned business restructuring executive James “Jim” Martin, founder of ACM Capital Partners with offices in Charlotte, Denver and Miami. Having spent the last three decades leading international middle-market companies through periods of distress and transition to actualize stability and growth, Martin is uniquely well-positioned to share insights on how business can rally to best assure a “COVID comeback.” Here’s what he had to say.

MK: First, before addressing the current coronavirus situation, what can you tell us about how you’ve helped companies navigate previous “rough waters?”

JM: Relative to the September 11th attacks back in 2001, I’ll share a representative example of a strategic pivot that didn’t just help a company survive, but actually drove profit. After that horrendous event, I stepped in to assist a large aviation maintenance repair-and-overhaul facility whose revenue had been cut fully in half immediately following the attacks – the result of many carriers permanently parking older aircraft (including the 727 fleet). The sizable challenge presented was to maintain a 1000-person labor force while allowing the industry the necessary time to recover. To do so, we created a captive subcontracting company to which we transferred one-third of our labor force. During our troughs, we contracted this labor to our competitors and, during peak periods, we utilized this labor for ourselves. Thus, not only were we able to retain our skilled, well-oriented labor force during the recovery, but that very staff actually provided additional, supplemental profit. The end result was that we sold the business for $138 million, which provided our new investors with a 33 percent internal rate of return (IRR).

Less than a decade after 9/11, amid The Great Recession in 2008, I entered another industry that proved to be among the most brutalized by a global economic downturn: automotive supply. My client was a key supplier to the “Big 3” U.S. auto manufacturers.

At the start of 2008, the industry forecast was the production of 18 million vehicles in North America. Come summer, however, it was clear the automakers would not come near reaching that forecast due to the financial crisis. This did not come as a complete surprise to us, though, because – amid our firm’s protocols – we had had already fully immersed ourselves in our client’s industry and employed forecasting tools alerting us of trends … this one in the wrong direction. So, we were privy to the situation well before management and others within the industry. By late June 2008, we instituted cost-cutting maneuvers and furloughs that enabled the company to withstand the industry’s brutal second half of ’08 that would result in two of the “Big 3” automakers filing for Chapter 11. Despite the industry producing less than half – as much as eight million – of its original vehicle-production forecast, our client not only survived, but ultimately grew and prospered.

MK: Turning attentions to COVID-19, what do you feel is integral for businesses to survive and recover?

JM: For businesses to recover from the coronavirus shutdown, it’s going to take a two-pronged approach: both financial and human capital. Starting with the financial, it will be a “loan-ly” world for those not well-versed in the intricacies of SBA, PPP and other “economic disaster” lending. Consider how expeditiously those programs were rolled out. Then consider how even more quickly they were scooped up. Did anyone really read those loan documents in full, or even halfway through, initially – or even to this day?

My guess is at least half of the companies receiving COVID-related loans took a very “CliffsNotes” approach to these agreements. The result is there’s a solid chance funds were used incorrectly, which is going to make a lot of the loans, shall we say, less “forgivable.” For example, if your company’s payroll roster is shorter today than it was pre-virus, the portion of the loans forgiven is likely to be less.

And while your mind may rush to claiming ignorance and throwing yourself upon the mercy of the government to which you already pay taxes, realize that third-party capital is likely to participate in this market through securitization. This means that thousands of SBA loans could be bought, then packaged to be sold to the secondary market, at a discounted rate, no less. If this happens, understand that the purchasers will have the full intention of holding their borrowers (i.e. small business owners) to paying back 100 cents on the dollar.

So, those companies who received loans and are required, but unable, to pay them back in full may be exposed to either foreclosure or, worse, a “loan to own” scenario. In other words, much like the agreement that comes with your big-tech user agreements, like those prompting users to “click agree,” the fine print matters.

What this means to recovery is that, once again, cash is king: gather it, preserve it, cease lines of credit, liquidate what you can, negotiate costs down with suppliers. If you’re struggling to pay you suppliers, you can look into purchase order financing options in order to improve your cash flow. And if your company had a healthy bottom line pre-COVID, than a professional familiar with these trenches can help you look to refinance or bring in equity.

With all of that said, the key to a COVID-19 recovery is going to be adhering to the rules of a lender’s road, as well as the ability to navigate the red tape when you veer off that road. If you have read all the fine print and properly managed your loan, congratulations! You’ve acquired some really cheap capital. For those who didn’t do their research, however, this road to recovery likely will need some paving.

MK: What about the human capital you mentioned?

JM: Yes, and then we arrive at the human capital. Lots of companies today are excessively top-heavy. Remember the part about removing emotions from this process? Companies that quickly recognize cuts need to be made will be better positioned to recover than those who dawdle. Again, compiling and preserving cash is going to best position a business for recovery.

This is an instance where it’s especially beneficial to know when to pull triggers (best if earlier than others) and to make decisions that are not based on emotions—a tall order for many CEOs, which is why many turn to turnaround experts. However it’s undertaken, what’s certain is that reducing human capital is painful, but it is also often necessary and almost always beneficial.

The upside is that, when the virus no longer exits, businesses can already be well-positioned for a fairly quick recovery. Maybe not v-shaped sans a vaccine, but quick relatively speaking due to the downturn having been so specific to one singular causing factor.

MK: Tell us a bit about your role as – and general value of – a turnaround expert when turmoil strikes a business.

JM: During times of difficulty, owners and executives can greatly benefit from specialized knowledge that’ll help them best navigate those unchartered waters that are often entangled in a lot of red tape. So, turnaround experts bring to the table a litany of tried-and-true “been there, weathered that” experience and expertise. There’s simply no substitute for engaging with a partner whose entire mandate is ensuring your company’s survival and success during some of the most grim and challenging times it might experience – those professionals who are willing to spend sleepless nights figuring out how to ensure the company meets payroll; who’ll work around the clock to keep the company’s doors open; and who can tackle challenges without being hindered by emotions that understandably weigh on a business owner or manager. It takes this kind of specialized expertise, experience and grit to lead companies through periods of distress and transition, to stability and growth.

No stranger to corporate chaos, during Martin’s own three decades as a globally-regarded turnaround expert, he has reportedly created and restored nearly $1.5 billion in value to lower middle-market companies; raised an additional $1 billion in capital; and managed mergers and acquisitions in excess of $500 million – all collectively representing his company restructuring portfolio valuation in excess of $3 billion.

Today, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on business operations far and wide, take heed that there are various key strategic and creative tactics that can help businesses not only weather the storm, but even emerge stronger and more financially secure on the other side.

About Merilee Kern:

Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the nationally-syndicated “Savvy Living” TV show. As a prolific consumer and business trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. You can connect with Merilee at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv

Follow Merilee Kern:  Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIN

Working From Home illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Google Employees Home Until Summer 2021

By Eamonn Burke

Google has just announced that it will keep its employees working from home until July 2021, extending the previous mandate that was set to end after 2020. According to a spokesman, the reasoning by Google CEO Sundar Pichai for this extension was “To give employees the ability to plan ahead” and to help them “balance work with taking care of yourselves.” Certain employees, as stated in the previous plan, will be allowed to return sooner. Google has also partially opened some offices in other countries, although the extension applies to all major offices in places like the U.K and India.

Over 200,000 employees, across Google and its parent company Alphabet, will be affected by the decision made by Pichai last week after a conference with Google Leads.

Although other major tech companies like Microsoft and Apple still promise to bring employees back this year, the move is predicted to influence many similar companies to move in a similar direction as Google. The CEO of one such company, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, expects that they will begin to move permanently toward remote work.

Rolls-Royce illustration by Mina Tocalini

Rolls-Royce Online Game

In honor of the newly unveiled Wraith Kryptos Car Collection, Rolls-Royce launches an entertaining and interactive online game, for members of the public and enthusiasts around the world to enjoy. On top of just being an enjoyable and unique game, ten lucky players who complete the game first will win their very own personalized Rolls-Royce tread plate.

The Wraith Kryptos Collection was revealed at the beginning of July and has been exciting cryptography lovers and automobile admirers ever since. Consisting of just 50 examples, these very special motor cars have cryptic messages embedded within the fabric of the car. Finally, once car-owners decipher the code, they are invited to submit their findings to Rolls-Royce’s highly exclusive members’ club, the Whispers Application.

The online game has been devised to entertain and amuse Rolls-Royce enthusiasts who may not have the Wraith Kryptos Collection vehicle themselves. Anyone with a penchant for cryptography and luxury cars may enter the challenge. Consisting of four different levels, players are initially invited to guide an orb through a maze by tilting their mobile device in the direction they wish to travel, in a time-pressured challenge. Next, a series of questions will reveal just how keen the cryptographer player really is. The third level will test the observation skills of the participant. The final phase consists of cryptographic ciphers, designed to boggle players’ minds.

Positive Goya Illustration

Goya Boycott

By Eamonn Burke

A boycott of Goya foods, a major producer of beans and an essential good for many families, has launched after its CEO Robert Unanue praised President Trump in a speech at the White House on Thursday:

“We are all truly blessed … to have a leader like President Trump who is a builder,” said Unanue.

Immediately, many prominent Hispanic figures such as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced Goya and Unanue, and hinted in a tweet she would boycott the company. Julian Castro, a former Housing and Urban Development Secretary, urged people do to the same despite the prominence of Goya in Latin American homes. The resistance comes from the public as well, as the hashtags #boycottGoya and #Goyaway have trended in recent days. Meanwhile, President Trump took to Twitter saying “I LOVE @GoyaFoods!”

Unanue, however, is not apologizing for endorsing Trump and is labeling the boycott as a “suppression of speech”. He was proud to support Trump, and also to say that Goya would be donating 2 million cans of food to American Food Banks. He also stated that he would be “honored” to be a part of the Hispanic Property Initiative, which was signed by Trump at the event with a goal of expanding “access by Hispanic Americans to educational and economic opportunities.” The CEO also has a extensive history of donating to Republican candidates and initiatives.

“If you’re called by the president of the United States, you’re going to say, ‘No I’m sorry, I’m busy, no thank you?’ I didn’t say that to the Obamas and I didn’t say that to President Trump.” said Unanue in an interview with Fox News on Friday. Republicans like Ted Cruz and Matt Schlapp and publicly defended the CEO while denouncing “cancel culture” on Twitter.

The unwavering support of Unanue is perplexing, when considering Trump’s history against Latinx people. In 2016, his presidential campaign was largely structured on restricting immigrants, especially from Mexico. In one speech he referred to the people coming from Mexico into the U.S. as “rapists.” He has relentlessly tried to end DACA, a program which protects immigrants, and offered little support to Puerto Rico in the midst of hurricane devastation. The Trump administration works closely with ICE and has detained immigrants at the US-Mexico border in concentration camps with inhuman men conditions.

It is also confusing when considering Goya’s history as a company. Goya is currently the largest Hispanic-owned company in the nation, but it began as a small store in Manhattan run by Spanish immigrants

As for President Trump, who is already unpopular with Hispanic voters, it is possible that he sees a reduction in the 26% of Latinx voters who support him.

Rolls-Royce illustration by Mina Tocalini

Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection

For the new Wraith Kryptos Collection, Rolls-Royce invites clients to decipher encrypted messages within unique new Collection Car

Rolls-Royce Collection Cars are poetic embodiments of artistry and skill, envisioned at the hands of the marque’s accomplished designers. They are illustrative of the Bespoke Collective’s mastery of their craft, and extremely limited in number. Incorporating only the finest materials and contemporary applications, Rolls-Royce Collection Cars are executed with creative passion and technical precision. These cars capture clients’ imaginations around the world, joining the chronicles of some of the greatest and most storied Rolls-Royces ever to have been created.

Design is naturally the starting point for these endeavours. For the new Wraith Kryptos Collection, one designer’s passion for cryptography led to Wraith becoming a willing canvas for an intricate and clandestine design. The Wraith Kryptos Collection, which will consist of just 50 motor cars, incorporates a labyrinth of complex ciphers into its beguiling façade.

Rolls-Royce Bespoke Designer, Katrin Lehmann, said, “The name Kryptos is derived from Ancient Greek, referring to something unseen, hidden and coded, mythical even. Ciphers can be traced through millennia, capturing the imagination of some of the world’s most brilliant minds. As a designer, I’ve always been fascinated by the notion that you can communicate messages that are understood by only an elite few, using symbols, pictograms, and ciphers. Finding the key becomes integral to appreciating the full meaning of an item that can otherwise be viewed simply as a work of art.”

The Wraith Kryptos Collection carries within it an encrypted cipher that evolves throughout the car for the clients’ pleasure and amusement, leading them on a journey of discovery and intrigue. To the uninitiated, these ciphers appear, on the surface at least, to be an alluring design purely for aesthetic purposes and devoid of any discernible pattern. However, for those that look closer, those few who hold the key, they will embark on an experience that leads to an enlightening conclusion.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “The brilliant and creative minds of our Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective have excelled once again, creating an extraordinarily contemporary and compelling iteration of Wraith. The Wraith Kryptos Collection is a statement of dynamism. On closer examination, a series of messages are hidden behind a unique Rolls-Royce cipher. I look forward to seeing whether any of our clients will crack the code!”

As a matter of fact, the code is so secret that only the designer and the CEO at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood know the full resolution of the sequence. The answer has been placed in a sealed envelope, in the safe of the CEO, at the Home of Rolls-Royce, in Goodwood, West Sussex. Clients will be invited to submit their efforts at cracking the code via the members only Rolls-Royce mobile app, Whispers.

The cryptographic journey begins with the Spirit of Ecstasy, which has graced the bonnet of the marque’s motor cars for over a century. An engraving with green enamel detailing introduces the Rolls-Royce cipher on the base of the enigmatic figurine. Below, recrafted bumper inserts draw the eye lower, subtly modifying both the gesture and posture of Wraith, giving this Collection an identity of its own.

The alluring colors offered in the collection hints at the car’s inner-most secrets. Delphic Grey, a Bespoke exterior hue consisting of a solid Anthracite base colour has a hidden effect – only in sunlight do the blue and green mica flakes appear. This effect is accentuated by a hand-painted double coachline, the upper being painted in the newly developed Kryptos Green while the lower acts as a shadow in Dark Grey, both depicting clues relating to the interior code. Completing the exterior aesthetic are part polished wheels, with Orbit Grey coloured centres featuring a coloured pinstripe.

Inside, stepping over the illuminated treadplates, the cipher evolves deep into the fabric of the motor car. One is immediately greeted by the accented Bespoke Kryptos Green leather hue, which has been developed to incorporate a metallic effect, set against either Selby Grey or Anthracite. In perhaps the most apparent clue, elements of the cipher are embroidered into Wraith’s headrests, where the customary ‘double-R’ emblem can so often be found. For the driver’s enjoyment, an intriguing screen print flows across the metal fascia, spanning the width of the interior.

Rolls-Royce is delighted to unveil this new generation of Collection Car; one that brings with it an entertaining challenge that will be sure to delight. 

Rolls Royce, 360 Magazine
Rolls Royce, 360 Magazine
Rolls Royce, 360 Magazine
Rolls Royce, 360 Magazine