Monthly Archives: May 2014

2014
05/27

Category:
Revenue

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Salesforce Beats In Its FQ1 With Revenue Of $1.23B, Up 37%

In the first quarter of its fiscal 2015, Salesforce turned in earnings that beat expectations. Revenue for the period totaled $1.23 billion, of which $1.15 billion came from subscription and support, and $79 million from professional services. Total revenue was up 37 period compared to the year-ago period.

Investors expected Salesforce to report $1.21 billion in revenue.

Salesforce also beat non-GAAP earnings-per-share predictions, bringing in an adjusted $0.11 per share in the quarter. The street had expected $0.10 in non-GAAP EPS. On a GAAP basis, Salesforce lost $0.16 per share.

Shall we reconcile? Heres the companys verbiage detailing the difference between its GAAP and non-GAAP earnings per share:

The companys non-GAAP results exclude the effects of $131 million in stock-based compensation expense, $44 million in amortization of purchased intangibles, $11 million in net non-cash interest expense related to the companys convertible senior notes, and $9 million related to the loss on conversions of our convertible 0.75% senior notes, due 2015, and is based on a projected long-term non-GAAP tax rate of 36.5%.

Its up to you to decide how you want to weigh non-cash costs that are commonly stripped from the EPS figures of quickly growing technology companies.

Salesforce rose after reporting its earnings around 3 percent in after-hours trading, but has since receded to a more modest 0.6 percent gain. Salesforce ended the quarter with cash and equivalents of $1.53 billion. The company is worth around $32.3 billion.

The company expects its fiscal second quarter to include revenue of $1.285 to $1.29 billion, GAAP earnings per share of $0.13 to $0.12, and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.11 to $0.12.

Looking further ahead, the company raised its full-fiscal-year revenue guidance from $5.25 billion to $5.30 billion, to $5.30 billion to $5.34 billion.

(A short aside: Why do non-cash costs matter? Dilution has a cost, and so entirely discounting stock-based compensations as an expense is a neat way to move employee pay off of profit, and thus boost earnings per share. But its still a cost!)

2014
05/27

Category:
Revenue

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GoPro Files For $100M IPO With 2013 Revenue Of $985.7M, Up 87.4% From …

This afternoon GoPro filed its S-1 document with the SEC, detailing its financial performance as it looks to go public. The company states that it will raise up to $100 million in the offering, trading on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol GPRO.

The companys revenue expansion has been impressive, with top line in 2011 of $234.23 million leading to 2012 top line of $526.01 million and finally, in 2013, revenue of $985.73 million.

The company is GAAP profitable to boot, reporting $60.57 million in profit in 2013, up from a more modest $32.26 million in 2012. The companys adjusted EBITDA a very, very non-GAAP number for 2013 totaled $133.72 million.

How many cameras does the maker ship each year? In 2013 that figure was 3,849 (net of returns), up from 2,316 in 2012, and 1,145 in 2011. Ok, I forgot to convert those figures, by, ahem, a factor of 1,000. Thanks to @BobCasey for pointing out the error. Now, the real figures: 2011: 1.14 million units. 2012: 2.31 million units. 2013: 3.84 million units.

Given that sunny set of facts, whats the rub? The first quarter of 2014 was not as strong as its comparable period in 2013. Revenue for the three-month period this year came in at $235.71 million. In the year-ago quarter that sum was $255.05 million. Profits also fell, from a first quarter-2013 total of $23.03 million to a slimmer $11.04 million.

As with any S-1, GoPro handicaps its results, saying frankly that investors should not consider our recent revenue growth as indicative of our future performance. In future periods, our revenue could decline or grow more slowly than we expect. Its boilerplate of a sort, but its also accurate. Investors will have to decide if the first quarter slowdown is a blip, or indicative of a post-peak quarter.

Whatever the case, with GAAP profits and nearly 10 figure revenue, GoPro is a big, and valuable company.

Want some vanity metrics? Theyve got them: 20,000 a day are uploaded using the companys GoPro Studio product. 6,000 daily YouTube uploads are tallied as well.

The company has more than $100 million apiece in cash and debt. The offering is being underwritten by a sheaf of banks, including JP Morgan, Citigroup, and Barclays.

IMAGE BY FLICKR USER giovanni CC BY 2.0 LICENSE (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

 

2014
05/26

Category:
Revenue

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Ten revenue ‘down the toilet’ says news chief Peter Meakin

Network Ten news and current affairs director Peter Meakin said the broadcasters revenue was down the toilet, as he prepared to brief staff on the axing of breakfast program Wake Up and some news bulletins.

Ten has axed its early, morning and late news bulletins along with about 150 staff across news and operations, with a voluntary redundancy program taking place over coming weeks.

Clearly the board has had a look at it and this is the decision theyve made and I guess we have to live it, Mr Meakin told Business Day.

2014
05/26

Category:
Wise Credit Decisions

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Spotlight on Economics: Examining the source of farm equity

I spent a short time working as a commercial lender in a small, rural bank. As a new lender, I was encouraged to grow my loan portfolio. With that goal in mind, I perhaps was a little too eager to approve any loan request that walked through my door. Fortunately for me, my boss was a seasoned lender and was able to guide me toward making wise credit decisions.

At one point, a farmer approached me about a loan request and brought in his financial statements for me to examine. I looked at them and was impressed with his net worth. He had experienced cash-flow issues during the past few years, but his net worth position helped overcome the cash-flow issues.

I put the loan package together and presented it to my boss, but she quickly noticed a problem. I was using market values to calculate net worth. The farmer had a tract of land that bordered prime recreational land. Based on the current economic conditions, the land was valued extremely high. Basing the value of the land on agricultural values vs. recreational values, the farmers strong net worth quickly disappeared. I realized then the importance of understanding sources of equity, or net worth.

The most basic accounting equation, which underpins the balance sheet, is assets minus liabilities equals net worth, or owners equity. Net worth is an indicator of wealth and financial position. However, net worth is complicated because of the problems caused by changes in asset values.

To understand this better, it is helpful to identify the composition of net worth. Net worth is composed of three pieces. The first piece is contributed capital. This can be thought of as the money invested in the business by the owner. The second piece is retained earnings. Retained earnings is defined as the accumulated net earnings of the business that have not been withdrawn or distributed. The final piece is valuation equity. Valuation equity is the change in asset values often defined by the difference between market and cost values.

This quick accounting 101 lesson was necessary to illustrate one of the threats facing farmers. Farmers have been able to strengthen their balance sheet, thanks to favorable prices and growing conditions combined with sharp increases in land values. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City have noted that the US farm balance sheet is the strongest it has been since the 1970s.

As we look at the current situation, land values have increased dramatically throughout the Midwest. Average land values in North Dakota went from $670 per acre in 2007 to $1,910 per acre in 2013. We also have seen farm assets go from an average of close to $1 million up to $1.9 million. At the same time, the average producers liabilities have stayed relatively constant.

During the past few years, farmers also have seen a dramatic change in net worth. The average net worth went from $600,000 in 2007 to just more than $1.3 million in 2012.

The question becomes: Is that change in net worth driven by changes in asset values or retained earnings? In 2007, the average net farm income was $192,200. In 2012, the average was $367,317. With this increase in farm income, have farmers been putting those earnings back in the farm or has the change in net worth been driven by appreciating farmland values?

My colleague Frayne Olson and I have analyzed data from 1998 through 2012 to help find the answers. We divided the data into two time periods: 1998 through 2006 and 2007 through 2012. The shift that occurred in agriculture in 2007 would provide a reference point.

Based on our results, farmers during the most recent time period (2007 through 2012) are relying more on retained earnings to build net worth than asset revaluation. In other words, most farmers have been using their earnings wisely.

Perhaps a partial explanation for this change could be lenders shifting focus to earnings-based decisions vs. asset-based decisions. The 1980s farm crisis illustrated the dangers of asset-based lending decisions. Although proper assets must be in place to justify a credit decision, lenders also are requiring sufficient earnings/cash flow to secure credit.

So what does this mean for the future? What happens if land prices fall? What happens if prices do not rebound? I wish I had a crystal ball and could forecast the future accurately. Although I am unable to forecast the future, I believe that we can agree that commodity and input prices will continue to be volatile, which highlights the need for sound financial management.

The hope is that farmers, lenders and researchers can use the lessons from the 1980s financial crisis and the recent agricultural boom to help avoid any future crises.

2014
05/25

Category:
Finance

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Breaking Yaroslavsky proposes reforms in county campaign finance system

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is asking the county to require candidates to file campaign finance statements electronically, reducing reliance on mechanical tasks. Pictured is the November 2012 scene at the county registrar- recorders offices in Norwalk as ballots are loaded into computers.

2014
05/21

Category:
Credit Cards

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Police: Walmart rejects man’s eight credit cards, accepts ninth – it was stolen

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) Chesterfield Police are looking for two men accused of using other peoples credit card information to go on a shopping spree.

One suspect used eight different credit cards at the Walmart in Hancock Village Shopping Center on April 15, according to police. Each card was rejected.

A ninth card he tried was accepted, police said.

At the same time, a second suspect tried to use four credit cards before a fifth card was accepted.

The thieves were quick, because before the cards could be cancelled, the same suspects made purchases from the GameStop in the same shopping center, Chesterfield County/Colonial Heights Crime Solvers said. During interviews with the victims, it was learned they did not lose possession of their credit cards, yet their accounts were programmed onto the cards used by the suspects.

Police described the suspect as white males. They were seen in a light-colored sedan leaving the shopping center.

2014
05/21

Category:
Filing Bankruptcy

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White-Collar Crimes: How to Avoid Bankruptcy Fraud and the Legal Trouble It …

Uninformed debtors can face bankruptcy fraud without intending to. Here are some tips to avoid being indicted for fraud and to ensure adherence to the law.

Chandler, AZ — (SBWIRE) — 04/30/2014 — Bankruptcy fraud is a white-collar crime that has serious legal consequences such as fines of up to $250,000 or up to five years in prison, or both. Thomas H. Allen, an Arizona bankruptcy attorney is defending one of his clients, John K. Hoover with wife Deborah and son John Brandon against bankruptcy fraud and has been indicted Friday, April 25th 2014. The case is still ongoing.

Though some do it on purpose, unaware debtors commit bankruptcy fraud without even realizing it. Whene considering filing for bankruptcy, it is important to be educated on how to avoid fraud to avoid legal trouble.

Seek for a Professional Help. Hiring a licensed bankruptcy attorney can help with bankruptcy paperwork. It is important to make sure that no fraud will be committed even by accident. Though bankruptcy can be filed even without an attorney, a lawyer is still a necessity if the case is complicated.

Tell All, Bare All. Disclosing all assets is imperative. Failing to list all can result to the dismissal of the bankruptcy case. In addition to fraud, perjury can also be charged if the judge concludes that assets were purposely hidden. Under oath, people should be careful in whatever they declare.

Ward Off Scam Artists. Never trust any individual or organization that promises to save from foreclosure. The trick is letting the debtors sign documents that allow con artists to file bankruptcy under the debtor’s name for a monthly fee. Once the bankruptcy case is active, the creditor’s stop calling, making the debtor’s believe that the debts are being paid off by the scam artist’s company. Goodwill is very hard to find nowadays, so be careful.

File for Bankruptcy Only in One State. It is a characteristic of bankruptcy fraud to be filed multiple times in different places. So even if one lives and works in two different places or own a real estate in more than one state, filing bankruptcy in more than one state is considered fraudulent.

Hands Off to Credit Cards. Stop making credit card purchases upon filing for bankruptcy. Creditors have the right to dispute any credit card debt one had, 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy. Having credit ard purchases with the intention of having all the debt wiped clean by filing bankruptcy is a fraudulent behavior. Keep in mind that everyone is guarded by the federal law. It should not be abused.

Bankruptcy is a heavy blow to anyone in the business world. But it sure is worse to have the court summon anyone for a bankruptcy fraud.

About Nielsen Law Group
At Nielsen Law Group, their mission is simple – they provide uniquely proactive, practical and personal service to every client. They use a wide range of legal knowledge and services to assist individuals, families and businesses in Arizona and California find resolution to their legal, tax and business issues. Their personal approach and affordable fees have allowed them to build long standing relationships with their clients built on commitment and integrity.

They have offices in Chandler, Tempe, Gilbert, Queen Creek, AZ and Redlands, CA. Their attorneys and professional staff combine their in-depth knowledge of the law with practical and efficient strategies to determine the most effective approach to each client’s unique situation.

They have extensive experience across a wide range of disciplines varying from Chapters 7 amp; 13 Bankruptcy, Corporate Structures/Formation, Debt Settlement, Short Sales/Foreclosure Prevention, and Taxes/IRS Issues.

They ensure that clients are thoroughly informed of their options and are committed to providing each client with legal services tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. They focus their efforts on their client’s desired result and advocate for them aggressively.

For more information on this press release visit: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/white-collar-crimes-how-to-avoid-bankruptcy-fraud-and-the-legal-trouble-it-brings-500706.htm

2014
05/21

Category:
Credit Cards

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Getting Teens to Understand the Money Behind Credit Cards

If most teens are anxious to grow up, then getting their own credit card, or at least some version of payment plastic, may be the brass ring of adulthood. And like a lot of other things these days, from makeup to cellphones, teens are getting their hands on prepaid cards and debit cards earlier and earlier — sometimes before they even hit middle school. We know they want plastic, but are they ready for it?

Maybe not. According to a 2011 Charles Schwab survey, while 42 percent of teens already have their own debit or ATM card, only 35 percent of teens feel like they know how to manage a credit card. Even fewer understand how credit card interest and fees work. One in four US teens thought a debit card was for borrowing money from the bank, not spending their own.

Reality check: Sooner or later, a credit card is in your kids future. (The Credit CARD Act of 2009 puts age 21 as the minimum, although teens with their own income can get approved at age 18.) Thats why some parents have opted for a trial run with the training wheels version: a prepaid card, debit card, or co-signed credit card for teens as young as 12 or 13.

But when and how to do it? Theres no hard and fast rule. Michelle Dosher, a spokeswoman for the Credit Union National Association, signed her eighth-grade son up for a debit card We saw this as an age that our son would be starting to do more things with friends and that we wouldnt always be with him to pay for things, she says.

Bill Hernandez, the president of SpendSmart Payments, which markets a prepaid MasterCard to teens, agrees that around 13 is a good age to teach them to use plastic, although he adds that a lot of kids have it earlier.

But to Laura Levine, president and CEO of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, some teens arent capable of handling plastic until theyre older. Some parents arent either. Sometimes I say that the question isnt whether the student is ready for this, but whether the parent is, Levine says, pointing out that parents who sign their kid up for a debit, prepaid, or joint credit card account should expect to provide hands-on monitoring of their childs spending. We dont turn the car keys over to our kids and say, Lets see if you can learn how to drive this thing. With a credit card its the same thing.

Why teens dont understand plastic
Part of the problem for teens is that spending with plastic makes money invisible. From the time our children are preschool age and they come with us to the store, they never see money change hands, says Levine. They might see us swipe a card, but they think, Oh, this is a magic card, you swipe it and you get whatever you want.

To be fair, invisible money syndrome affects grown-ups too, who tend to spend more money when they pay with a credit card than when they pay with cash. One of the reasons I got into trouble in my 20s was there was such a disconnect for me between that piece of plastic and money, says Beverly Harzog, author of Confessions of a Credit Junkie: Everything You Need to Know to Avoid the Mistakes I Made. It felt like everything was free and I would just worry about it later.

To counteract the effect, financial literacy experts counsel parents to start younger kids out with cash allowances, so they learn that money is tangible, has value and can be exchanged for things they want. And try narrating at least some of your plastic transactions when you know your kid is watching — by saying something like, I put my paycheck in my bank account, and when I use my debit card it automatically takes out the money, or, Every time I swipe my credit card the bank keeps track, and at the end of the month I get a bill that I have to pay.

Picking the best starter card
No matter how old your kids are when they get their first card, picking the right one boosts their chances of handling it successfully and avoiding major disasters. Consider these options:

Debit cards. Theyre Harzogs pick for teens starting out, partly because debit cards are connected to a teens own checking account, which makes the process of depositing and withdrawing money more concrete. I think theres real value in taking your kid when theyre a teenager to the local bank, introducing them to the manager, and letting them see how banks operate, says Harzog. If they want to make a deposit, go with them and show them how to do it. Being physically there helps them mentally connect the money they put in the bank with the money theyre spending. They realize, I can use this debit card to buy pizza but itll come out of my account.

Teen-proof it: Get overdraft protection on the debit card. Your teen will get charged a fee if he tries to write a check or make a debit purchase without enough in checking to cover it, but otherwise your son or daughter could get hit with a huge nonsufficient funds fee for literally purchasing a bottle of soda, says Dosher. It then can snowball — every little purchase from then on can trigger another NSF fee until the teen figures out that there isnt enough money in his or her account. Ask if your bank or credit union offers a free student checking account with no minimum balance requirement; just make sure it offers access to online or mobile banking, which will help you keep tabs on how much your kid is spending.

Prepaid cards. Although they function like debit cards — you deposit money, then spend only what you have — prepaid cards dont require a bank account and tend to have more features than a regular debit card, including instant emergency money loading (handy when the car breaks down). Among the one in 10 adults who regularly use prepaid cards, 73 percent feel its safer than cash, and 72 percent say they like that it makes it impossible to spend money you dont have. Hernandez suggests that for young teens, prepaid cards are even better than cash because parents can track spending, and because they cant get in real trouble with it. Its a very safe way for them to learn about how to use plastic versus cash.

Teen-proof it: Opt for a card with parent-friendly features. For instance, the SpendSmart Prepaid MasterCard sends parents real-time texts about spending and lets them lock the card instantly. Just watch out for hefty fees for everything from ATM withdrawals to inactivity.

Co-signed credit cards. For your teen to get a real credit card, youll have to co-sign for it, which can get dicey: If he blows off paying the bill, itll ding your credit score too. But unlike simply adding your child as an authorized user to your card, getting him his own helps him build a credit history, manage credit and learn to responsibly pay end-of-the-month bills. Some card issuers, however, including Capital One and Citi, dont allow co-signed cards for teens; most others wont consider it for a child under age 18.

Teen-proof it: Make sure you opt for a card with no monthly fees and a low credit limit, such as $500. Help your kid create a plan for paying the bill on time, but check the online account yourself and be prepared to do a little nagging if necessary.

4 ways to know your teen is ready for a card
Age may not be a perfect indicator of when your teens ready for his own card, so look for a few other signs he can handle it:

1. Hes a saver. Seventy-seven percent of teens think of themselves as big savers as opposed to big spenders. As long as your teens one of them, he probably wont go crazy with a credit card.

2. She got a job. When they get older, particularly when they have a first part-time job, open a checking account for them and get them a debit card, suggests Harzog.

3. He understands basic financial concepts, like budgeting. Most schools dont offer a financial literacy curriculum, so enduring a few DIY lessons might be the price your kid pays to get his own card. Check out MoneyAsYouGrow.org for ideas on what your teen should know now.

4. She makes her own spending decisions. If you want your kid to learn to make smart financial choices, you cant micromanage every expenditure. According to Levine, a kid whos used to buying stuff on her own, even if its just during a trip to the mall with friends, is probably more ready. Are they out making some of these decisions on their own? Thats a good point to introduce cards as a tool.

See related: Why Johnny cant save money — and what schools should do about it, 4 signs your teen isnt ready for credit cards, Video: Teaching teens about money

2014
05/21

Category:
Credit Cards

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Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express Card

Following last years card issuing partnership with American Express, Wells Fargo recently announced on May 6th a new rewards credit card called the Propel 365. Along with its travel rewards counterpart, the Propel World, the Propel 365 is part of Wells Fargos initiative to penetrate the credit card market with more compelling rewards offerings.

The new Propel 365 joins other tiered rewards credit cards such as the Chase Freedom and the Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards to target category-sensitive consumers. With the Propel 365, Wells Fargo and American Express have provided incentives for purchases at gas stations, restaurants, and bars. The most noteworthy feature of the Propel 365, however, is the relationship bonus for existing Wells Fargo retail banking clients – one of the best in the landscape. All in all, we find this newest addition to be a compelling credit card for Wells Fargo banking customers who spend significantly on gas. Well walk through this and more of the features, rewards, and comparisons in Wells Fargos latest credit card.

The Propel 365 American Express Card Features

2014
05/21

Category:
Finance

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Why This Woman Left A Career In Finance To Pursue Her Passion For Yoga

On Friday, May 2, Elizabeth Nurse took a leave of absence from her job in the world of financial accounting to pursue something very different: A career in nonprofit yoga.

Nurse, a 26-year-old Boston resident, completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training two years ago, and since then she’s immersed herself in the world of yoga. From getting involved in as many yoga-related volunteer projects as possible to posting photos of her practice on Instagram, Nurse found herself increasingly dedicated to yoga as time went on.

“Sometimes I felt like [yoga] was my life,” Nurse told The Huffington Post. “It was harder for me to focus on finance because I was so passionate about what I was doing outside of work.”

A year before leaving her job, Nurse started Yogella, a nonprofit that provides online yoga classes and plans charity events to raise money for worthy causes. After investing a tremendous amount of time and energy in Yogella — and having a great time along the way — she realized it was time to leave behind the career she thought she’d always wanted in order to dedicate herself to what she truly loved.

Getting Started

As an analytical and logical person by nature, Nurse knew she couldn’t say goodbye to her stable job and great health benefits without a plan — so she started small.

“I started off just posting my own practice on Instagram, and I found there was a huge social media industry that existed with people who loved yoga,” she said. “Before I knew it, I had this whole community that I was a part of and that I was also providing content for.”

Once she realized how much interest her practice was generating, Nurse started thinking bigger and began exploring the world of online yoga, which allows people to connect and practice yoga through online streaming.

“I did a lot of research about startups before I left, starting your own business and nonprofits,” she said. “So I really did build a structure for myself before I decided to give my leave of absence.”

A Huge Wakeup Call

Although Nurse was dedicating almost all of her non-working hours to yoga, she didn’t feel brave enough to take her passion to the next level until she was jolted by a car accident on the way home from a yoga retreat.

“I left without a scratch, but I could have lost my life or been really damaged,” Nurse said. “And it pushed me to think differently. If something that terrible had happened, would I want to know my life ended doing something I was only lukewarm about? Or would I really like to be doing something else?”

At the end of two weeks, she still felt exactly the same way — and she decided to give her employer a months notice. She can still technically return to finance later, but shes focusing on yoga full time for now.

Taking It To The Next Level

Although Nurse only let go of her career a week ago, she’s already received a huge amount of support, both from former co-workers and the yoga community. She now spends her days attending and teaching local yoga classes and working to connect with other nonprofits, companies and teachers. As optimistic as she is about the next step of her life, Nurse is staying practical about her journey.

“I’m setting goals and benchmarks for myself and the nonprofit, she said. I know what I want to achieve in the next year and the next five years. I think the very statistical part of me knows there’s a high chance that something won’t work out if you start a business — the majority of businesses fail.”

Luckily, it seems like Nurse is off to a good start. In addition to being a 501c3 licensed nonprofit, Yogella has a social media following of more than 14,000 supporters and has already collected hundreds of subscribers with users hailing from 27 different countries.

I hope that at the very least Yogella will be able to help one person every day, Nurse said. I believe Yogella gives them that chance to take their practice off the mat and back out into the world. And I really would like to leave something behind that will give back for much longer than I’m on this earth.

Check out Yogella here, and follow Nurse on Instagram.

If you or someone you know is taking steps to live a life thats simpler, saner and more fulfilling, we want to hear about it. To submit a Letting Go nomination, email thirdmetric@huffingtonpost.com.