MINT is probably as much fluff as BRICS

If you were disappointed by the BRIC hype, you are not alone. A lot of investors were even more upset when it was revealed that BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) became BRICS not because South Africa was truly an emerging economy, but because there was a hue and cry over not adding an African country and adding Nigeria (the other fast growing economy in Africa) was not going to sound very well, they added South Africa.

If you have lost money trying to invest in these economies (the growth has not sustained and unless you invested massive amounts of money, you probably lost it through index funds), don’t fall into the trap replacing them. It is yet another catchy acronym: MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey).

Mexico: I mean, seriously! Yes, things are slightly better than before, but if you read the news carefully, there is a civil war underway between militias, drug cartels, and law enforcement (no one knows if they are on the side of the people or the criminals).

Indonesia: This is a country that reminds me of Brazil in BRICS. Not too poor, lots of people, and a rising middle class. I can’t imagine how they can sustain the growth when Indonesian Rupiah is in free fall.

Nigeria: Be careful investing in a company because you cannot trust any financial information. Granted that this is a country rich in resources but almost all the businesses are run by thugs and crooks. So not right for individual investors.

Turkey: We have heard this music before. The country is undergoing enormous turmoil and the fight between the progressives and mullahs is about to get ugly leading to multi-year chaos.

Case study of Henrique de Castro

Henrique de Castro is one of the most qualified people in the world of management consulting and as a management consultant myself I have always admired him. He is originally from Portugal and received his MBA from the very prestigious IMD in Switzerland. Like most of us, he started his career at a management consulting firm, in his case, McKinsey, the finest. From there, he moved on to Dell, Google, and Yahoo.

Now, I have repeatedly written about the mess that Yahoo has been in for over a decade now. My belief is that it will be nearly impossible to save the company in its current form. So, in a desperate attempt, Marissa Mayer fired de Castro. Fair enough.

Well, it is interesting to watch how ugly things can get. de Castro was not born yesterday. He is a seasoned businessman, but look what an ex-colleague told The Times, “…was fond of using spreadsheets but was weak in his knowledge of Google’s products.” Amanda Richman, president of investment and activation at Starcom USA, used even more mumbo-jumbo to trash him, saying, “Henrique wasn’t as market-facing as his predecessors or competitors.” Ouch! It gets worse. The Times calls him “…not a charismatic salesman willing to schmooze with Madison Avenue marketers.” As if he is a recent graduate of a community college. His ex colleagues tell the paper that “…he was a poor communicator with an arrogant, abrasive manner.” A guy who has made most of his professional living working in English is described now by some of his associates as “hard to understand.” So many people are now piling on him that NYT reports that things were so bad at Google that HR got involved after too many complaints from employees.

Boys and girls, it seems that there is a war out there in the workplace. Be careful. There are so many hungry lions ready to eat you alive.