Opportunity among unrest

In an age where the next terrorist attack could come at any moment, or civil unrest might disrupt major markets there is still a trend of optimism among many executives.

In a recent study by McKinsey, respondents reported that they are as bullish on the global economy as they were three months ago. Nearly half said global economic conditions have improved in the past six months.

This 4th of July be patriotic, but look abroad too.

Patriotism is especially pertinent this holiday week, but for business owners large and small, there is more opportunity abroad than ever. A weakening US dollar means oversees customers can afford to purchase more and invest in your brand.

The Wall Street Journal reports that emerging markets are projected to grow by 4.7% this year, which is more than double the U.S. and Europe.

Photo by Bill Oxford/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Bill Oxford/iStock / Getty Images

Castus was featured in "Chronicle: Only in Pittsburgh"

We are honored to be featured among some of Pittsburgh’s most innovative companies and leaders as part of WTAE's focus on regional growth.

Chronicle: Only in Pittsburgh showcases the key role this city will play in shaping the world over the next several decades. From the investment of cutting-edge companies to groundbreaking medical advancements, Pittsburgh is poised to lead the charge to future innovation.

Thanks to WTAE, Andrew Stockey, and Ascender for the opportunity to be part of a great story. And congratulations to all of the local businesses who are working hard and seeing success!

You can watch the full feature online by following this link. (Castus is featured at the 26min mark).


That time in Russia I was famous

Anyone that has traveled for work knows it's not actually glamorous. Long flights, small hotel beds, stuffy conference rooms, and sketchy WIFI. Sounds awesome, right? Sure, there are ways to make it more enjoyable and there are some amazing sightseeing opportunities (sometimes) but it's never quite like being "home". So I often look for ways to pass the time and enjoy myself whenever possible. More often than not, this results in me engaging in dialogue with the locals.

On one such occasion, I had just landed in Moscow at the end of a very long travel day. I was tired and a little punchy. After exchanging hand signals and some broken English with a taxi driver, I found myself headed to my hotel in the backseat of a car that smelled like a washroom. We were only a mile into our trip when the driver and I met eyes in the rear view mirror.  I smiled, he said "where from?" To which I responded "United States....Pittsburgh". "Oh...Pittsburgh?" he says. Thinking quickly for some relevance, I followed "Yes.....Pittsburgh Penguins. Hockey. Evgeni Malkin?" There was silence. The driver was digesting my fragmented sentence and train-wreck of thoughts. Then, in an instant, his face lit up. Almost swerving the car from the road, he turned around and shouted "Evgeni Malkin.....you, Evgeni Malkin!"

Before I could respond honestly, I realized the absurdity of the situation. How could I be mistaken for Evgeni Malkin?? I don't look Russian, I don't speak Russian, and I have as much experience playing hockey as I do playing the ukulele. I'll never know if it was the jet-lag or the fact that I knew I would never see this guy again, but I slowly said "No......I...PLAY with Evgeni Malkin".

We arrived at the hotel; my driver jumped out, opened my door, grabbed the bags, and eagerly dove back into the front seat. He re-emerged with a scrap of paper and a pencil. In a moment that can only be described as pure hilarity, my new biggest fan handed me the writing utensil and said "Please sign!"  There was really only one thing left to do...

I scribbled my name, wrote "#28" next to it, and gave him a firm handshake.  After checking into the hotel I strolled to the elevator and texted my (much more sports-minded) brother, "Who is number twenty-eight on the pens?" As the elevator door closed...."Nobody. That number is not on the roster this year" came the response.