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Showing posts from August, 2012

9 Business Ideas for Romania

Romania's business laws are not exactly the most friendly on earth, but if you force yourself to go through the red tape, you can be the ' Administrator'  of your own business sooner than you think. Just make sure you sign every single page of every single document, back and front, even on the blank sides. Basically once you do that, you're in good shape. I recommend retaining the services of a good lawyer (I can recommend if you'd like), and smart accountants (I can also recommend one of those). You won't be dealing with them every day - or even every month - but you gotta have them in your corner. I don't want to go into too many technical details because I want to keep this post light and airy, like a brand new office with no furniture in it. Here's the only other detail you need to know. You can choose to open your business as a PFA ( Persoana Fizica Autorizata) , Romania's equivalent of a Sole Proprietorship, or a SRL ( Societate cu Raspundere

What Normal Means in Romania

Everything's back to normal, Base's back again for the fourth time. Won two elections and survived two impeachment referendums. You gotta give the man some credit. "Thank you for not voting"  Before you take this endorsement too seriously, just know I'm not trying to incite any ill-will, just to establish a dialogue. Basically, I'm trying to figure out why so many Romanians are so set on this 'Jos Basescu!' thing. And believe me when I say I'm not asking because I think he makes a great president of Romania and that he's a great leader who deserves to be there. I'm asking in light of the reason this whole referendum scandal has come about to begin with, and the alternative that we are/were facing. Here's how I see it. I came here hating them all, they're a bunch of hyenas feeding off a carcass as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't matter what colours they wear and  on which side of the political spectrum they are sitt

Life is Like Fishing

There are tricks to anything we do. Whether it's a specific trick of the trade or a nifty way of extracting a cork from a bottle , it's always about simplifying something that seems difficult. I've already written about hustling, and about trying, and doing, because there's not enough of it here in Romania. At the same time I realize that if you don't know how to hustle and you're not used to being persistent every time you try something, you're not going to be doing much. And that's fine. Not everyone has that pitbull personality, I sure as hell don't. I force myself to do almost everything I do, like writing this post. I was about to take a break today, but forced myself to sit here and type instead. Now I'm glad I did because it's going a lot better than when the page was a blank, white space. Another thing that's not always fun is my job. We're not a big company with an endless Google AdWords budget, and trust me, when you'r

Winning Battles, or, The Flag Story (Part 2)

It's becoming a week of sequels. Yesterday it was a second installment in the 'Why Did I Come Back' series and today it's a follow-up to the Flag Story I posted more than a year ago. Don't worry, I'm not running out of material like Hollywood, it just happened this way. Unfortunately it took a while for me to follow up, don't forget that I'm Romanian too! But a few weeks ago I happened to look at the front of the student building from where the infamous flag was hanging and guess what, it was still there looking worse than ever. Truth be told, I'd been looking at it all along, a few times a week over the past year. It just pissed me off more each day but I kept thinking that there's no point in going there without a solution. And, because I didn't really have a plan, the anger just simmered week after week. Last week on my way to work I thought, what the hell, I'll go by and see what tovarash Bodea has to say now that's he had

Why Did I Come Back? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this entry I got pretty philosophical about things, which is something I tend to do when given a lot of white space, a keyboard - or a pen- and time. I focused on many of the external factors that led to my move here; my experiences in Western society had a lot to do with it, but I guess the hardest reality to face is always one's own. The "What Am I Doing With My Life?" moments were getting more frequent. I had more than enough work with two (real) jobs, but neither was fulfilling. Despite the double salary and my carefree lifestyle, I felt deeply unaccomplished whenever I got into a bout of introspection. If the point of life is to wake up, go to work, bring home the bacon, party on weekends (and weekdays, for those in the know), and repeat, I was livin' it up. Hard! But that's how the world becomes ignorant and numb to the Big Picture. To me, the ultimate change is on a global scale. I'm not trying to change the world just yet though, but

How Improving Romanian Football Will Change Romania

This weekend got my wheels turning. First, my girlfriend and I hitchhiked to the next county over to visit my childhood town of Blaj and we had a lengthy discussion about the state of Romanian football with the guy who picked us up in his flatbed truck. Then, I got the idea for this post after reading a sports paper somebody left on the train on the way back to Cluj. Among analyses of upcoming matches, players, and betting odds, there was a piece about FC Vaslui, one of the better teams in the league. Narrowly missing the title of Romanian champions last season, Vaslui has been drawn to play Inter Milan in the play-off to the Europa League group stages later this month. They will be soundly beaten. But there was something else that caught my eye. The article indicated that the team's owner, a former player and referee  now turned agriculture investor, Adrian Porumboiu, has an estimated fortune of a 1Bn Euro. While I'm not a fan of telling how they should spend their money, I ha

Infiltrated by the Mafia, A Silicon Pipe Dream

Last week, the Ministry of Economy, Commerce, and the Business Medium (MECMA, in Romanian) put out a press release outlining their plan for the building of a massive IT centre in Cluj a la Silicon Valley. Their goal is to create something massive enough to achieve a 5% increase in the country's GDP. They take into consideration the following criteria: 1. Cluj is among the top three cities in Romania where companies' revenue is generated in IT and the first in terms of revenues coming from exports (of IT services). 2. The presence of two of Romania's largest universities whose students may constitute part of the human resources foundation. 3. The government is prepared to offer serious support in all aspects of this development strategy. They add that various government ministries will collaborate at different stages to sustain the construction and growth of the IT centre and that at parliament level, they will be amending laws in support of Small and Medium Enterprise

Europe is Stupid

There's this article I read a few days ago, and I just can't seem to shake it off. It weighs heavily on my mind because it's true and affects a large part of my life -work. Then I read this other article and thought, maybe all those bad things from the first article are actually good things in the long run . In truth, both of them make very valid points. In the first, the author dissects the ways in which Europe is bad for (new) business with almost surgical precision. I recommend it, it's a fine piece of analysis that also goes a long way towards explaining the mess in which Europe now finds herself. In the second article, we find a review about two books that basically say, 'Capitalism is bad, mmkay.' Well, not exactly, but it does discuss the negative impact on society by some of the by-products of capitalism, namely 'a love of money, markets and material things.'  If I may simplify the situation though, I'd put it like this: A love of mon

What Happens When Clowns Are Running The Show

The last few weeks leading up to this retarded referendum have got me down a bit. I don't like to see people riled up when they don't need to be. It's as if lately, I forgot why I love feeling like a tourist in my own country. When I came back, in April 2011, you could've told me that this very referendum was about to take place and I would've laughed. I had no idea who was who, what they stood for, or what they were planning to do. What I did know was that they were a gang of corrupt hyenas playing at politics and paying lip service to the EU whenever it suited them. I couldn't believe the shit I was hearing every time a politician here opened his mouth, it was always so ridiculous it was funny. I maintained a casual detachment because quite simply, I couldn't take these guys seriously. This attitude lasted about a year, but little by little I learned who was who and what they're about and made the mistake of paying attention. I forgot that these bu