Alis: New board collection out, 1

Very very nice board collection out now.

Advertising Agency: TBWA, Copenhagen, Denmark

Creative Director: Tobias Lykke Aggergaard

Art Director / Copywriter: Mikkel Møller

Photographer: Morten Bengtsson

Photo editing: Kim Bredahl / Werkstette

Published: January 2014

via Business Feeds

Megogo: See the sound, 3

Megogo launches a special cartoon and movie display project called "See the sound" for people suffering from hearing disorders.

Advertising Agency: Michurin Creative Agency, Kiev, Ukraine

Creative Director / Copywriter: Iryna Mietnieva

Art Director: Andrey Zhulidin

Illustrator: Vladimir Lisin

Published: April 2014

via Business Feeds

Megogo: See the sound, 2

Megogo launches a special cartoon and movie display project called "See the sound" for people suffering from hearing disorders.

Advertising Agency: Michurin Creative Agency, Kiev, Ukraine

Creative Director / Copywriter: Iryna Mietnieva

Art Director: Andrey Zhulidin

Illustrator: Vladimir Lisin

Published: April 2014

via Business Feeds

Megogo: See the sound, 1

Megogo launches a special cartoon and movie display project called "See the sound" for people suffering from hearing disorders.

Advertising Agency: Michurin Creative Agency, Kiev, Ukraine

Creative Director / Copywriter: Iryna Mietnieva

Art Director: Andrey Zhulidin

Illustrator: Vladimir Lisin

Published: April 2014

via Business Feeds

Cable Industry Frets Over Future of Your Television Bundle

U.S. Economy Slows to a Crawl in First Quarter of 2014

General Motors: SEC among authorities looking into ignition-switch recall

Congress, New York and Florida also investigating GM

Thirteen deaths linked to problem in older small cars

US securities regulators are looking into General Motors' delayed recall of more than 2 million cars with a deadly ignition switch problem.

GM disclosed in a quarterly report on Thursday that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made inquiries about the recall. Congress, federal highway safety regulators and attorneys general for the states of New York and Florida also are investigating.

Continue reading...

via Business Feeds

Latin American Film Institute: Night at Museum

For many reasons, we prefer small crews.

Limited availability for the 1st semester.

Advertising Agency: Cheil, São Paulo, Brazil

Creative Director: Fred Sartorello

Art Directors: João Gabriel Gragnani, Thiago Fernandes

Copywriter: Rubens Marinelli

via Business Feeds

Latin American Film Institute: Ghost Rider

For many reasons, we prefer small crews.

Limited availability for the 1st semester.

Advertising Agency: Cheil, São Paulo, Brazil

Creative Director: Fred Sartorello

Art Directors: João Gabriel Gragnani, Thiago Fernandes

Copywriter: Rubens Marinelli

via Business Feeds

Latin American Film Institute: Daredevil

For many reasons, we prefer small crews.

Limited availability for the 1st semester.

Advertising Agency: Cheil, São Paulo, Brazil

Creative Director: Fred Sartorello

Art Directors: João Gabriel Gragnani, Thiago Fernandes

Copywriter: Rubens Marinelli

via Business Feeds

Locomotiva Discos: Keep music uncompressed, 2

Advertising Agency: Cheil, São Paulo, Brazil

Creative Director: Fred Sartorello

Art Directors: João Gabriel Gragnani, Thiago Fernandes

Copywriter: Rubens Marinelli

Illustrator / Photographer: Studio Mutato

via Business Feeds

Locomotiva Discos: Keep music uncompressed, 1

Advertising Agency: Cheil, São Paulo, Brazil

Creative Director: Fred Sartorello

Art Directors: João Gabriel Gragnani, Thiago Fernandes

Copywriter: Rubens Marinelli

Illustrator / Photographer: Studio Mutato

via Business Feeds

Portfolio Night: Israel

Feed the industry.

On May 21st you're the main course. Reserve your spot on the menu at

Advertising Agency: The Hive, Toronto, Canada

Creative Director: Simon Creet

Art Director: Paul Parolin

Associate Creative Directors: Paul Parolin, Jess Willis

Copywriter: Jess Willis

Photographer: Matt Barnes / Westside Studio

via Business Feeds

Portfolio Night: Simon

Feed the industry.

On May 21st you're the main course. Reserve your spot on the menu at

Advertising Agency: The Hive, Toronto, Canada

Creative Director: Simon Creet

Art Director: Paul Parolin

Associate Creative Directors: Paul Parolin, Jess Willis

Copywriter: Jess Willis

Photographer: Matt Barnes / Westside Studio

via Business Feeds

Portfolio Night: Brent

Feed the industry.

On May 21st you're the main course. Reserve your spot on the menu at

Advertising Agency: The Hive, Toronto, Canada

Creative Director: Simon Creet

Art Director: Paul Parolin

Associate Creative Directors: Paul Parolin, Jess Willis

Copywriter: Jess Willis

Photographer: Matt Barnes / Westside Studio

via Business Feeds

The Smarter Way To Check Your Email

I wrote recently about the futility of trying to reach inbox zero. Since email expands to fill the available space, the best approach is to plan in important things first--creative work, mentoring, dreaming--and then let email fill in around the edges.

But even if you agree with that philosophy, there are practical considerations. What if most during-the-day communication in your office occurs via email? And what if responding to emails actually is a big part of your job? Are there smart ways to check email in those cases?

Business Feed :

Jean-Michel Basquiat Creates His Own Racial History In 'Undiscovered Genius Of The Mississippi Delta'

Social media - above or below the line?

Social media - above or below the line?/ Social Media{{}}In today’s online marketing world, I’ve been wondering if the old marketing divide — above or below the line — still applies. Are these distinctions still relevant or has the line blurred?

Back in the day, above the line advertising — in print, on billboards and on air — was all about driving awareness and brand-building. Meanwhile, direct marketing — such as mailshots and telemarketing — was all about personalisation and conversions.

Today, email newsletters and social media straddle this line completely — they allow us to talk to the world and have a one-to-one conversation. Online marketing has to achieve both widespread awareness and real results — all at the same time. So, is there such a thing as above or below the line anymore?

Are you talking to me?

Recently, I got an email from a business contact, someone I have know quite well, asking me if I wanted to get together for a catch-up. The subject line had my name in it and the title asked if we could meet up. But as I read on, I realised the email was a standard (albeit personalised) message that had been sent to lots of people.

This is a classic case of blurring the lines. Yes, email can be a form of direct marketing but when you send a standard letter to a group of people you are no longer marketing one-to-one. You are broadcasting. And your message must reflect that. You can’t have it both ways.

It’s exactly the same when I get an email from someone who I don’t know from Adam asking me to connect with them on LinkedIn. It looks like a personal message but the truth is that this person has probably sent hundreds if not thousands of these requests. They are broadcasting. And I hit “ignore”.

Broadcasting is not dead

Twitter’s tagline is “broadcast yourself”. And yet it allows you to respond directly to people, retweet their messages and build individual relationships — all while sharing your thoughts with a larger group.

So is Twitter above the line or below the line? The fact is that it’s a mixture. To get it right you need to apply the rules of above the line advertising and adhere to new, more personal, social mores.

It’s the same with email marketing. If you send a newsletter to a niche group, you can personalise it, target your messages and use a friendly, conversational tone of voice. But you know, and your recipients know, that you are broadcasting. And there’s nothing wrong with that — unless the one person you really want to reach would rather hear from you directly.

Businesses once spent shed-loads of money devising, testing and rolling out ad campaigns that would raise their profile and build their brand. Now they can broadcast thousands of online messages every year — and the main cost is time.

At the same time, though, social media “broadcasting” can be thoughtless and boring. It’s so easy that many businesses forget to be strategic.

The online evolution

But attitudes to social networks are changing. There was a time when businesses, much like teenagers, sought to attract as large a following as possible on Twitter and Facebook — going after so-called “vanity metrics”.

But it can be tricky to hit the right note with large and disparate groups of followers. As Jonah Peretti, ceo and co-founder of Buzzfeed has pointed out, bland messages to these general audiences tend to get a “so what?” response. You can read more about these trends in this blog by Angela Everitt.

Recent research by Pitney Bowes has found that 60% of UK consumers would abandon social media sites like Facebook if mass marketing were to bombard their personal wall.

In addition, the arrival of “dark sharing” or private messaging seems to support the idea that social media users don’t necessarily want all their online social interactions to take place in public.

It seems that after the initial attraction of the “above the line” broadcasting possibilities offered by the likes of Twitter and Facebook, “below the line” opportunities — targeting messages, attracting niche followings, building one-to-one relationships — are now coming to the fore.

There’s no doubt that online marketing platforms straddle the old marketing divide. But valuable lessons learned over many years around above and below the line marketing are still relevant today. The media has changed but perhaps your messages — no matter how you send them — should sit firmly on one side of the line or the other.

Rachel Miller is the editor of Marketing Donut.

via Business Feeds

Microsoft beats expectations with nearly unchanged revenue

Posting a decline in net income for the quarter and $20.40bn in revenue, the tech company's new leadership outdid estimates

Microsoft Corp posted flat revenue and a decline in net income for the January-March quarter. Revenue gains from its Windows operating system and cloud computing services like Azure were offset by the lack of special upgrade offer revenues from a year ago.

The results beat analyst expectations and the company's shares rose $1.01, or 2.5%, to $40.87 in after-hours trading. They had closed up 17 cents at $39.86 in the regular session.

Continue reading...

via Business Feeds

Here’s How Lee Odden Writes

image of Lee Odden with Authority Intensive colors and branding

He’s appeared in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and the New York Times.

He’s presented in Hong Kong, London, San Francisco, and New York City.

He is a fixture at annual events like Search Engine Strategies, BlogWorld Expo, and WebmasterWorld Pubcon.

His list of keynote addresses is equally impressive:

  • Search Congress (Barcelona, Spain)

  • Fusion Marketing (Antwerp, Belgium)

  • Social Media Junction (Auckland NZ)

  • Search Exchange (NC, US)

  • MN Blogger Conference (MN, US)

  • Online Marketing Summit (MN, US)

In 2010 he was named one of the top Social Media Strategists to watch. In 2008 he placed #15 on a list of the top 100 online marketers. And he’s ranked in the top ten of the Twitter Power 150 list.

This prolific writer also has a book to his name (Optimize: Win more customers with Social Media, SEO and Content Marketing) and is the editor behind Online Marketing Blog … a highly decorated online marketing website.

  • Content Marketing Institute named it the #1 content marketing blog three times

  • Social Media Examiner named it the #2 social media blog

  • AdAge listed him in their Power 150 List

To say Lee knows the intersection of search, social media, and content marketing is an understatement.

This is what John Jantsch, Owner, Duct Tape Marketing, said about him:

Lee Odden knows more about online tools and strategies than most ever will. But, he also has a great knack for sharing, demystifying, and teaching these seemingly technical topics in ways that allow anyone to make practical use of them.

No surprise Lee is on the advisory board for Search Engine Strategies, and a past board member of the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association, DMA Social Media Advisory Council, and DMA Search Engine Marketing Council.

And last but not least, Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a content, social, and search marketing agency with B2B companies including McKesson, LinkedIn, and Dell.

And did I mention Lee is speaking at Authority Intensive? It’s true. And trust me: he will bring it.

But enough with the introduction. I’m going to let the writer speak for himself now.

About the writer …

Who are you and what do you do?

“Who am I?” It sounds so existential. Essentially, I’m a guy that’s really interested in the intersection of people and technology. A journey of curiosity has led me through a few different careers to my current role as the CEO and co-founder of TopRank Online Marketing.

For the past 13 years, I’ve been able to travel all over the world, write for hundreds of thousands of readers, consulted for numerous Fortune 500 companies, work with a team of smart and creative marketers at our agency, and learn something new just about every day.

If someone from the future had visited me in college and said I’d end up writing and giving public presentations for a living, I’d have spit my mouthful of beer right out. I mean Sprite.

For our marketing agency, I’m responsible for our own marketing and quite a bit of writing and content creation. Whether it’s writing articles, working with influencers to create conference ebooks, or presenting at industry events, I like to keep my hands dirty with content projects.

Fundamentally I’m a marketer, but also a proud dad, a traveler, a foodie, and a beardie.

What is your area of expertise as a writer?

The majority of my writing (1.2 million words over the past 10 years – sheesh!) is through blogging at where I cover the intersection of digital marketing and public relations.

In general, the types of content I create ranges from blog posts to articles in industry publications, to ebooks and reports. I’ve also contributed to a few books and written one myself called Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing.

Where can we find your writing?

While I’ve contributed to a wide variety of sites ranging from MarketingProfs to Content Marketing Institute and ClickZ, most of what I write on a regular basis is at Online Marketing Blog. I do plan on building out a new blog at later this year.

The writer’s productivity …

How much time, per day, do you read or do research?

It really varies. Because I have a number of responsibilities and travel quite a bit, I spread research and reading time throughout the day. I’d guess about two hours a day researching.

Before you begin to write, do you have any pre-game rituals or practices?

I do have a routine to write at certain times of the day, but nothing in terms of rituals. Maybe I should start one.

I could eat an orange before every blog post and prank call Brian Clark before every magazine article.

Do you prefer any particular music (or silence) while you write?

As much as I like music, it’s pure distraction for me when I write. I can definitely achieve a state of flow more quickly without music or with white noise.

How many hours a day do you spend writing (excluding email, social media, etc.)? What is your most productive time of day?

I write about three hours a day on average. That can really vary when I travel though. The most productive time of day for me to write is whenever I can get quiet, uninterrupted time, which happens mostly when I fly on a plane – early or really late.

Do you write every day or adhere to any particular system?

I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Oh, all right. I used to write all of the blog posts for our blog and still write the majority of them; so writing every day has been a necessity. My system is a hybrid approach of fulfilling the content plan on designated topics and taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves through experiences, news, and interactions with our community. Fortune cookies can work too.

Do you believe in “writer’s block”? If so, how do you avoid it?

Writer’s block is my nemesis. I’ve dealt with writer’s block off and on for the past five years or so. Changing the situation can work in the short term, but what has worked for me in the long run is to focus on creating rich engagement opportunities with other like-minded and differing points of view — both online and off.

I think the richer your interactions with a community, the more ideas will flow and the more questions there are that need to be answered.

Community is a goldmine for combatting writer’s block.

The writer’s creativity …

Define creativity.

To me, creativity is seeing and communicating ideas in ways that are unique, compelling, and unexpected.

Who are your favorite authors, online or off?

When I was a kid, science fiction was my thing and I read quite a bit of Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, J. R. R. Tolkien, and also got into some Franz Kafka.

Can you share a best-loved quote?

“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Napoleon Hill.

How would you like to grow creatively as a writer?

After all the writing I’ve done, I still don’t feel like I’m a very good writer. So really, any improvement would be growth for me.

I would like to do a much better job of incorporating different levels of story across multiple content types and media over a longer timeframe. I’m doing a lot of research into transmedia storytelling right now.

Who or what is your Muse at the moment (i.e. specific creative inspirations)?

Stan Lee. I’ve been revisiting a lot of the Marvel comics I grew up with as a kid and now see the storytelling and visual elements in a whole new light.

What makes a writer great?

I think great business writers are excellent at “info-taining” readers and using stories to relate business topics that both inform and help the reader feel what the writer is conveying.

The writer’s work flow …

What hardware or typewriter model do you presently use?

My 13” MacBook Air is my digital typewriter. I also use iPads and an iPhone for research.

What software do you use most for writing and general workflow?

I love Evernote for writing and organizing research. It syncs to the cloud so I can easily research and keep notes from anywhere to a single location available to any of my devices.

Do you have any tricks for beating procrastination? Do you adhere to deadlines?

Clearly, judging by my timing with this questionnaire, I suck at deadlines. Procrastination or just getting well-organized is ongoing for me. This is why I will be hiring a marketing assistant.

I have made some progress though. I try to set deadlines and work backwards, breaking down how much to have done and when. I also keep 5-6 articles in progress at any given time to combat the rarity of uninterrupted time. For me, finishing off an 800-word article I’ve been nibbling at for a few weeks is much easier than sitting down and researching and writing an article in one or two hours.

How do you stay organized (methods, systems, or “mad science”)?

Evernote and Google Docs are my magic.

How do you relax at the end of a hard day?

Being with my kids, out to dinner with the family, go for a 30-mile bike ride.

Just for fun …

Who (or what) has been your greatest teacher?

Experimenting and figuring out insanely difficult situations and failing and succeeding has been my greatest teacher.

What do you see as your greatest success in life?

Family is the most important thing to me, so creating a great life for them has really meant a lot. I am very thankful to everyone on our team, clients, and peers that helped make that happen over the years.

Professionally, it is incredibly satisfying when people introduce themselves at conferences and tell stories about how they’ve used our blog posts, articles, and book to advance their careers and grow their businesses. I never expect it and am awed when it happens.

What’s your biggest aggravation at the moment (writing related or otherwise)?

Overcommitting to projects I am involved with personally. I need to say no and delegate more often.

Choose one author, living or dead, that you would like to have dinner with.

Toughie! Benjamin Franklin? No, let’s go with Dr. Suess.

If you could take a vacation tomorrow to anywhere in the world, where would you go (cost or responsibilities are no object)?

I want to go to Nepal and also Brazil, but Hawaii is winning out. North Shore on Oahu would do the trick.

Can you offer any advice to fellow writers that you might offer yourself, if you could go back in time and “do it all over?”

Brute force trial and error writing takes way too long! Take some classes, get a mentor or two and practice as much as you can. Stick with what you’re most passionate about and be persistent.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

All work and no play makes Lee a dull boy.

Please tell our readers where they can connect with you online.

And finally, the writer’s desk …

Although Lee does most of his writing on an airplane, he’s still got a little sanctuary he likes to hunker down in and get some work done.

And if Lee’s mind wanders while working, his trusty sidekick Puffy keeps him line.

Then there’s always the monster book on Shakespeare to jostle his creative juices if he gets bored.

Image of Lee Odden desk

And thank you for sharing The Writer Files …

More Q&As are in the works from writers who inspire us, and if you care to explore our archives, you can find more inspiration here.

If you’ve already subscribed to Copyblogger via email or RSS, the next installment will be delivered to you just like the rest of our daily content. If not, go ahead and subscribe right now so you don’t miss a thing.

Now set some ambitious deadlines and get back to work! See you out there.

And if you’d like to join in on the discussion around this post, we’d love to see you in the conversation over on Google-Plus.

Editor’s Note

We are thrilled that Lee Odden will be speaking at our content marketing and networking event — Authority Intensive — taking place May 7-9, 2014, in Denver, Colorado. It’s currently sold out, but stay tuned for details on next year’s Authority Intensive!

About the author

Demian Farnworth

Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media's Chief Copywriter. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

The post Here’s How Lee Odden Writes appeared first on Copyblogger.

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RSS Business Feeds

Economy chugs to modest GDP gain in February


Canada's economy expanded by 0.2 per cent in February, right in line with what economists were expecting.

via Business Feeds


A More Nuanced Measure of Growth - by Jerry Jasinowski

Last week, those clever economists at the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the same bunch that brings us the quarterly report on GDP - albeit always with adjustments to come later - announced they will henceforward include a quarterly report on gross output for 22 industry sectors which up until now was issued once a year.

This initiative will be of special interest to those of us who track manufacturing because it attempts to gauge that part of the economy that actually makes things - the total sales from the production of raw materials through intermediate producers to final wholesale and retail trade. The GDP by contrast measures the consumption part of the economy - the total value of all finished goods and services used by consumers, businesses and governments.

Gross output - stay with me here -- is principally a measure of an industry's sales or receipts which can include sales to final users in the economy (GDP) or sales to other industries (called intermediate inputs). Gross output can also be measured as the sum of an industry's value added plus intermediate inputs. Taken together, gross output, intermediate inputs and value added by industry provide a comprehensive and consistent picture of each industry's performance in the economy. The BEA data say that manufacturing accounted for 21 percent of GDP growth in 2013 though it accounts for only 12.5 percent of gross GDP - confirming manufacturing's outsize role in our economy.

The GDP last year reached $17 trillion. The gross output was almost double that, more than $30 trillion, and the data suggest it offers a better insight into what is actually going on in our economy. During the depths of the Great Recession nominal GDP declined only about 2 percent while nominal gross output tanked, wrote Mark Skousen in the April 23 Wall Street Journal, falling sharply by 8 percent. Based on what we know now, that would suggest the latter datum was a more telling economic indicator than GDP.

Skousen pointed out that consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of GDP, but "if you use gross output as a broader measure of total sales or spending, it represents less than 40 percent of the economy. The reality is that business outlays - adding capital investment and all business spending in intermediate stages of the supply chain - are substantially larger than consumer spending in the economy."

I will go out on a limb here and predict that this new emphasis on gross output will greatly strengthen the utility of the quarterly GDP report because it is a much more reliable indicator of what is happening in the real world. In fact, I believe its real impact will be subtle and gain in importance as time passes. With its focus on production rather than consumption it will convey the vital message that it is the production of goods and services that best determines our economic vitality, not their consumption.

This has been the core of my message throughout most of my professional life and I see this initiative by the BEA as a confirmation of that view.

Jerry Jasinowski was President of the National Association of Manufacturers for 14 years and later The Manufacturing Institute. You may quote from this with attribution. Let me know if you would like to speak with Jerry. April 2014

Business Feed :

U.S. Economy Stalls More Than Economists Predicted It Would

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy barely grew in the first quarter as exports tumbled and businesses accumulated stocks at the slowest pace in nearly a year, but activity already appears to be bouncing back.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 0.1 percent annual rate, the slowest since the fourth quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. That was a sharp pullback from the fourth quarter's 2.6 percent pace.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected growth to slow to a 1.2 percent rate. The slowdown partly reflected an unusually cold and disruptive winter, marked by declines in sectors ranging from business spending to home building.

The Commerce Department's first snapshot of first-quarter growth was released just hours before the Federal Reserve wraps up a two-day policy meeting.

While harsh weather could partially explain the weakness in growth, the magnitude of the slowdown could complicate the U.S. central bank's message as it is set to announce a further reduction in the amount of money it is pumping into the economy through monthly bond purchases.

The first-quarter slowdown, however, is likely to be temporary and recent data have suggested strength at the tail end of the quarter.

Economists estimate severe weather could have chopped off as much as 1.4 percentage points from GDP growth. The government, however, gave no details on the impact of the weather.


After aggressively restocking in the second half of 2013, businesses accumulated $87.4 billion worth of inventory in the first quarter, the smallest amount since the second quarter of 2013.

That was a moderation from the $111.7 billion amassed in the fourth quarter that has resulted in manufacturers receiving fewer orders. Inventories subtracted 0.57 percentage point from GDP growth in the first quarter.

Trade also undercut growth, taking off 0.83 percentage point, partly because of the weather, which left goods piling up at ports. Exports fell at a 7.6 percent rate in the first quarter after growing at a 9.5 percent pace in the final three months of 2013.

Together, inventories and trade sliced off 1.4 percentage point from GDP growth.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, increased at a 3.0 percent rate, reflecting a spurt in spending on services linked to the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Spending on goods, however, slowed sharply, indicating that frigid temperatures during the winter had reduced foot traffic to shopping malls. Consumer spending had increased at a brisk 3.3 percent pace in the fourth-quarter.

Harsh weather also undercut business spending on equipment. While investment in nonresidential structures, such as gas drilling, rebounded, the increase was minor.

Investment in home building contracted for a second straight quarter, in part because of the weather. But a rise in mortgage rates over the past year has also hurt.

A second quarter of contraction in spending on home building suggests a housing recession, which could raise some eyebrows at the U.S. central bank. A bounce back is, however, expected in the April-June period.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Business Feed :

Fast Food Pulls a Fast One

Our tax dollars are subsidizing both the fast-food workers who need the help and the companies' CEOs who don't.

Bad enough that the empty calories of many a fast-food meal have all the nutritional value of a fingernail paring. Even worse, the vast profits this industry pulls in are lining the pockets of its CEOs while many of those who work in the kitchens and behind the counters are struggling to eke out a living and can't afford a decent meal, much less a fast one.

Yes, you have heard this before. Over the last year or so, you've probably seen news coverage of the strikes and other job actions fast-food workers have taken against their employers. Maybe you've even read about the wage theft lawsuits that have been filed against McDonald's and Taco Bell, or the recent settlements in New York State against McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza that have led to payments to employees of more than $2 million.

But, much in the way that Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century lays out the hard data backing up everything we've believed about the reality of vast income inequality in America, a trio of new reports confirms with solid statistics what we've suspected about the fast-food industry -- that those in charge are gobbling up the profits voraciously while their workers are forced into public assistance. What's more, our tax dollars are subsidizing both the fast-food poor who need the help and the fast-food rich who don't.

First, a recent data brief from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) notes, "Lower-wage industries accounted for 22 percent of job losses during the recession, but 44 percent of employment growth over the past four years. Today, lower-wage industries employ 1.85 million more workers than at the start of the recession." In other words, as the New York Times more succinctly put it, "The poor economy has replaced good jobs with bad ones."

Michael Evangelist, author of the NELP report, told the Times, "Fast food is driving the bulk of the job growth at the low end -- the job gains there are absolutely phenomenal. If this is the reality -- if these jobs are here to stay and are going to be making up a considerable part of the economy -- the question is, how do we make them better?"

A study from the public policy and advocacy group Demos, Fast Food Failure, confirms that, "The fast food industry is... one of the highest growth employers in the nation" but needs to address "imbalanced pay practices in order to mitigate the damaging effects of income inequality."

The numbers are stunning. According to Demos, "In 2012, the compensation of fast food CEOs was more than 1,200 times the earnings of the average fast food worker. Proxy disclosures recently released by fast food companies reveal that the ratio remained above 1,000-to-1 in 2013."

The average fast-food CEO made $23.8 million last year, four times what the average was in 2000, while fast-food workers "are the lowest paid in the economy. The average hourly wage of fast-food employees is $9.09, or less than $19,000 per year for a full-time worker, though most fast-food workers do not get full-time hours. Their wages have increased just 0.3 percent in real dollars since 2000."

That $19,000 is below the "poverty threshold" for someone supporting a family of three, and on average, fast-food workers actually make less than $12,000 because they don't get called into work for a full forty hours a week. The Demos report also cites numbers from a University of Illinois/University of California-Berkeley analysis that "87 percent of front-line fast food workers do not receive health benefits through their jobs. Since fast food employers do not pay for the critical needs of low-wage workers and their families, public programs foot the bill.

"According to the same study, more than half of front-line fast food employees are enrolled in a public assistance program, at a cost of nearly $7 billion per year." Those are public assistance programs for which we're paying and which the fast-food giants count on to keep their profit margin high while not paying employees what they need to care for their families.

Which brings us to the third report, this one from the progressive Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and titled, Restaurant Industry Pay: Taxpayers' Double Burden. Double burden because in addition to the money in food stamps, Medicaid and other government assistance impoverished fast-food workers need to survive, taxpayers also are underwriting CEO compensation.

What? The IPS report explains that it's pulled off by means of "a loophole that allows all U.S. publicly held corporations to deduct unlimited amounts from their income taxes for the cost of executive stock options, certain stock grants, and other forms of so-called 'performance pay.' In effect, these companies are exploiting the U.S. tax code to send taxpayers the bill for the huge rewards they're doling out to their top executives."

IPS calculated the pay of the CEOs at the 20 largest corporate members of the National Restaurant Association -- known as "the other NRA," the restaurant industry's multimillion spending lobbyist. Among those 20 are the CEOs of McDonald's, Chipotle, Starbucks, Dunkin' Brands and Yum! Brands, which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. IPS discovered that over the past two decades, these executives "pocketed more than $662 million in fully deductible 'performance pay,' lowering their companies' IRS bills by an estimated $232 million. That would be enough to cover the average cost of food stamps for more than 145,000 households for a year." In fact, the bigger the executive payoff, the less the fast-food company pays in taxes. Talk about a Happy Meal. You want fries with that?

So going back to that question Michael Evangelist, author of the NELP report, asks -- how can we make things better? For one, as IPS recommends, we can close the performance pay loophole. The Stop Subsidizing Multimillion Dollar Corporate Bonuses Act in Congress caps deductibility of employee compensation at $1 million, period. This could generate $50 billion in revenues over ten years, according to the House and Senate Joint Committee on Taxation. And California Congresswoman Barbara Lee has introduced the Income Equity Act. It cuts off corporate tax deductions for any executive's pay that's more than 25 times the salary of the company's lowest paid worker or $500,000, whichever is highest.

If you think that's unprecedented, IPS points out that both the Affordable Care Act and the TARP bank bailout sets a $500,000 deductibility cap "on pay for bailout recipients and health insurance firms. The deductibility caps on health insurance firms, designed to discourage these corporations from using profits from premiums to overcompensate their executives, go into effect this year."

Second, of course, raise the minimum wage, preferably to $15 an hour. As per the IPS report, "Minimum wage increase supporters highlight the potential stimulus effects of putting more money into the pockets of low-wage earners. Unlike those at the top end of the income scale, minimum wage workers tend to spend all of their earnings" -- just to meet basic needs. "Every extra dollar that goes to a low-wage worker adds about $1.21 to the national economy. This economic stimulus would pump money into local economies and help create new jobs."

Ultimately, though, it's the companies that must take action. Yet some of their CEOs say they favor a wage hike but still allow the National Restaurant Association to continue doing their dirty work for them, lobbying fiercely, as they are right now in Congress against any minimum wage hike at all (this is the same gang that for more than twenty years has kept the minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers at a paltry $2.13 an hour).

Time for the CEOs to put their money where it counts, "to arrest the damage," as that Demos report says, "from pay disparity and restore the focus on long-term interests of the firm." Time to show some foresight, for as wages remain stagnant, purchases will go unmade, the health and wellbeing of workers will continue to decline and with that deterioration, the service and reliability on which the companies ultimately depend for profitability will crash as well.

If things continue as they are, the only thing fast about the fast-food business will be the speed of its fall.

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Battle-Hardened Journalist Reveals What Makes Press Releases Stand Out

If you're looking for a content promotion and white hat link building technique that can be done at scale, you need to consider public relations. Geoff Hill, an award-winning journalist, explains the essentials of an outstanding press release.

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US Economy Slowed to 0.1 Percent Growth Rate in Q1

Samsung Resumes Clippers Ads After NBA Bans Donald Sterling [THE BRIEF]

adam silver donald sterling press conference

Good morning, AdLand. Here's what you need to know today:

Ad Age has a good story on how big brands are reacting to NBA commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after he was caught on tape making racist remarks. Samsung, which had suspended its ads during Clippers games, will resume running them now that Sterling has been banned.

ESPN's Bomani Jones has a pretty great counterpoint to all the brands (and fans) who have hemmed and hawed over Sterling's remarks, pointing out that nobody seemed to care that Sterling was a racist when, as a realtor, he was sued by the Department of Justice for refusing to rent to black people.

Twitter reported its first quarter earnings yesterday, and its stock is down despite posting revenues that beat analyst expectations and more than doubled what the company pulled in during the same quarter a year ago. That's because the service's user base only grew to 255 million monthly active users from 241 million, missing analysts' expectation of 257 million.

An anonymous individual claiming to be a former Google employee said the search giant stole from publishers on its AdSense network by banning them for dubious reasons right before Google was supposed to pay them. Google vigorously denied the scheme to Valleywag, calling the claims "complete fiction."

In other Google news, the company said it would remove ads for certain "crisis pregnancy centers" after a pro-choice group conducted an investigation finding the ads violated Google's policy against deceptive advertising. NARAL Pro-Choice America found that 79 percent of the crisis pregnancy centers that advertised on Google said they provide medical services and abortions, when they are actually designed to offer counseling services aimed at steering women away from abortion.

MillerCoors is ending its relationship with Saatchi & Saatchi New York, which had been the lead agency on the Miller Lite account since 2012.

Adweek reports that the Digital Advertising Alliance has plans to unveil a one-click button that would allow people to opt out of behaviorally-targeted online advertising.

TBWA\Chiat\Day executive producer Justin Taylor is leaving to work at Nike as global digital brand director for basketball.

Previously on Business Insider Advertising:

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China's economy overtaking the US does not tell the whole story

China is an economic giant but on the measure that really matters to people living standards it remains a poor country

A century of American economy is about to come to an end. China is on the point of overtaking the US as the world's biggest economy. If Washington called the shots in the 20th Century, Beijing will be doing the same in the 21st.

These are the bald conclusions from reports showing that China is hard on the heels of the US in terms of its share of global GDP and that it won't be long given current trends in growth rates - before the positions at the top are reversed.

Continue reading...

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Google Says It No Longer Scans Student Gmail Accounts for Ads


Google claims it has stopped scanning students' accounts to serve them ads, according to a report.

The apparent move, reported in The Wall Street Journal , comes after a group of students from California sued Google earlier last year over the issue.

The suit, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claims Google's activity violates state and federal privacy laws since the students are under 18. In particular, the scanning may violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA]. FERPA, which was issued in 1974, ensures the privacy of records of students under the age of 18. The Department of Education's recent guidance on the issue also appears to indirectly state that Google's Gmail practices run afoul of FERPA. Read more...

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New Pollution Cologne Gives The Phrase 'You Smell Like Garbage' A Whole New Meaning

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens To Talk Campaign Finance

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is among those urging Congress to rein in the ever-increasing spending on elections.

The retired justice was scheduled to testify Wednesday during a Senate committee hearing on campaign finance rules, which have been eased since 2010 court decisions that opened door for super PACs that can accept unlimited donations.

Stevens strongly disagreed with those rulings. Since his retirement, the justices have gone a step further in increasing donors' influence and striking down an aggregate limit on total giving.

"The voter is less important than the man who provides money to the candidate," Stevens told The New York Times in a recent interview. "It's really wrong."

At issue are the millions of dollars that influence elections — if not determine their outcome — with various degrees of openness. Recent Supreme Court rulings have permitted individuals and corporations to write unlimited checks to independent political committees, while other groups can accept cash without disclosing the donors' identities for months or years, if ever.

Democrats have been vocal in criticizing the new rules and those who take advantage of them, including some of their allies. Republicans, meanwhile, have embraced the system and used the rules to power well-funded groups such as Americans for Prosperity.

"While this hearing can't change the way campaign laws work overnight, it is a much-needed first step," said Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine who sides with the Democrats. "It's far past time we shine a bright light on the dark money dominating campaigns."

Groups such as the conservative Americans for Prosperity, for instance, operate under rules that allow them to keep donors' identities secret, unlike those who give to groups like the Republican National Committee. The conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch have backed Americans for Prosperity with millions, but understanding their impact in real time is impossible because they technically do not operate as political groups.

"No matter who you are, or whether you live in a red state or a blue state, you deserve to know who's funding the ads on your TV during an election year," King said in a statement ahead of the hearing he is leading. "But tracing the origin of campaign money — so-called dark money — has become nearly impossible."

King is pushing a bill that would require that all campaign contributions of $1,000 or more be recorded with the Federal Election Commission within 48 hours — a huge shift from the current rules, which require senators to file their fundraising tallies every three months.

That measure faces scant chance of becoming law, given that senators routinely reject calls for them to file their campaign finance reports electronically. Most still file their reports on paper.

But there is a growing frustration about the increasingly level of cash making its way through politics.

For instance, the Karl Rove-supported American Crossroads super PAC raised almost $5.2 million last month from three organizations and 21 individuals. The average donation was more than $218,000. The largest donation — $2 million — came from former Univision owner Jerry Perenchio. A trust tied to Oklahoma coal executive Joseph Craft III gave $500,000, as did Arkansas-based investment manager Warren Stephens and Kentucky-based self-storage mogul B. Wayne Hughes.

Despite their unrelenting criticism of the Kochs and Rove, Democrats are not bypassing the super PAC circuit.

Fred Eychaner, the founder of Chicago-based Newsweb Corp., wrote a $4 million check to the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic group with ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The group raised $11 million during the first three months of the year, including $2 million from James Simons, founder and chairman of investment firm Renaissance Technologies.

Wednesday's hearing by the Senate Rules Committee is the first since the Supreme Court's ruling that lifted limits on how much total money individual donors can give to candidates. The court left in place a limit on how much individual candidates can take from each donor, but the justices cleared the way for donors to give the maximum amount to every candidate.

Stevens has spoken out against that decision and, in a new book, has proposed a constitutional amendment that would limit how much money candidates and their supporters can spend on elections.

Others joining Stevens include FEC vice chairman Ann Ravel, former FEC Chairman Trevor Potter, and Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute.

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Rick Perry Scores Big Win As Toyota Moves Headquarters To Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — With eight months left in office, Gov. Rick Perry is away from Texas almost as much as he's home — hitting the road hard to tout his state as America's best place to do business.

The Republican isn't shy about job poaching in other states, and scored a big win when Toyota announced this week it was moving its U.S. headquarters from California to suburban Dallas. That the world's largest automaker is leaving the nation's leading blue state for its No. 1 red one is a victory Perry can crow about as he gears up for an expected second White House run. "It's a walk-off home run for Perry," said Republican political strategist Mark McKinnon, a top adviser in the presidential campaigns of John McCain and George W. Bush. "His jobs and economy narrative is now complete and real."

Rebounding from his gaffe-marred presidential run in 2012, Perry is doubling down on the argument that his low-tax, low-regulation approach as governor since 2000 has been the driving force behind Texas' tops-in-the-nation job growth. He was in New York last week, trying to lure top employers with the prospect of higher corporate profits.

But the pitch has its downside, as some rivals two years ago pointed out — including Texas' having a disproportionate number of low-wage jobs and leading the nation in the rate of residents without health insurance at about 1 in 4.

Also unmentioned was that some Democratic-led states have experienced hot economies even with more progressive policies on taxes and social programs. Minnesota's unemployment rate in March was 4.8 percent compared to Texas' 5.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Maryland, another prime Perry target, had a 5.6 percent unemployment rate.

Nonetheless, Perry has intensified his employer recruitment efforts in states with Democratic governors in the past 14 months, even appearing in radio and television ads poking fun at "big-government" states. In addition to New York, other such missions have taken Perry to Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri and Illinois.

He made two such trips to California — though Toyota didn't mention recruitment by Perry as prompting its move. Sweetening the deal was an incentive fund overseen by Perry's office offering Toyota a whopping $40 million for the roughly 4,000 jobs Texas is gaining.

Perry has also recently been in England and Israel, bragging about Texas' economic prowess, and TexasOne, the public-private partnership that funds such excursions, has visits planned soon to Chicago, Brazil, Chile and China.

Those close to the governor shrug off the notion that he's promoting himself more than his state. "You can accomplish important state and job-creation goals while also accruing political benefits as well," said Ray Sullivan, Perry's former chief of staff.

Added Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed: "He's the best cheerleader for Texas."

Critics, though, say it's little coincidence that the trips distract attention from a grand jury in Austin that's hearing accusations he abused his power in a struggle with the local district attorney. "Maybe he should focus on getting his office back on track before he worries about running for office in 2016," the Texas Democratic Party said in a statement Tuesday.

TexasOne says its efforts have helped convince companies to announce the creation of nearly 45,000 new jobs in Texas since 2004, though not all of those positions eventually materialized. Toyota was the first major corporation lassoed.

No one disputes Texas' job growth numbers, which are Perry's top political selling point. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the state created a third of all net new jobs across the country between 2003 and last year, and unemployment statewide remains well below the 6.7 percent national rate.

Unemployment is much higher in California. But Good Jobs First, a Washington-based watchdog group that has criticized Perry's job poaching in other states, points out that studies also show Texas is the third-largest source of companies and jobs moving to California.

"Every year Texas loses some companies and gains some," said Greg LeRoy, Good Jobs First's executive director. "It's been a net winner, for sure, but not a huge one."

While in New York, Perry challenged New York Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo to a debate on economic policy. Cuomo demurred, but the offer had symbolic value coming from Perry, whose debate brain-freeze helped cripple his 2012 White House campaign.

Perry also held his own while debating Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland on CNN in September.

"If Governor Perry can step up his debate performances, I can see where he'll have a lot of appeal," said Holly Lintner, executive director of the National Federation of Pachyderm Clubs, a Missouri-based conservative group. "He certainly has the look and the charisma, the qualities to be president."

When asked about 2016, Perry always offers some variation of the same answer: "America's a great place for second chances."

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Do's And Don'ts Of Email Writing

When it comes to e-mail, everyone has their own set of do's and don'ts and their own pet peeves. Whether we use it at work or at home, most of us use e-mail to get things done. Although it's easy to go on automatic pilot when you open your inbox, you can significantly improve your productivity and success by paying careful attention to how you write your e-mail messages.

These dos and don'ts can make your reader's experience more pleasant and your messages more effective:


Keep your message as brief as possible. It shows respect for your reader, and you have a better chance of being read and responded to.

  • State right up front why you're writing, within the first two lines of the message. Don't count on recipients to read to the end to figure out what you want.

  • Use a concise and specific subject line. A good subject line helps readers prioritize messages and find them later. If your message is especially important, consider putting "important" or "response needed" in the subject line.

  • Limit your e-mail to one topic only. When you cover multiple topics in a single message, you risk burying important information.

  • Be courteous. We're all in a hurry, but it doesn't take long to type "please" and "thank you," and you'll get better results.

  • Remember that e-mail isn't private, and be discreet about the content. It doesn't seem to matter how many times people hear this advice; there's always someone in the news learning the hard way by having their e-mails subpoenaed or plastered all over the front page of the newspaper. Don't ever put anything in an e-mail that you would be uncomfortable sharing with the entire world.


  • Don't send an e-mail when a phone call would be more appropriate. Don't engage in rounds of e-mail when a quick phone call could resolve the question.

  • Don't write anything private, confidential or potentially incriminating in an e-mail. (Yes, I know I said the same thing in the section above; I'm saying again here.)

  • Don't introduce a new topic in the middle of an e-mail thread. If you're changing the subject, create a new message with a different subject line.

  • Don't copy people on an e-mail unless there's a good reason for it. Our inboxes are full enough without e-mails we really don't need to see.

  • Don't forget to proofread. Of course you're in a hurry, but taking a moment to proofread before you hit the send button can save lots of time in the long run.

It's important to consider your reader's needs and expectations whenever you write, but for e-mail it's especially important. Before you hit the send button, ask yourself how you would feel about receiving the e-mail you're about to dispatch; if the thought makes you cringe, revise the message. Putting yourself in your reader's shoes can help you avoid the most common e-mail mistakes and ensure you're communicating effectively.

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Nearly 20 Million Downloads Later, Dots Looks to Build a Gaming Franchise


Patrick Moberg didn't set out to make the most addictive mobile game of 2013. He didn't set out to make a game at all.

Moberg's goal was just to experiment with different user interaction designs for Tapestry, a short story app from Betaworks, the incubator where he worked as a hacker-in-residence. Somewhere along the way, playing with different design elements, Moberg says he "sort of forgot the words." The short stories were replaced by something far more fundamental: dots. Thirty-six dots, to be exact.

He designed a simple 6X6 grid of colorful dots, which players connect in straight lines while pleasant noises play in the background and a timer counts down 60 seconds. The game felt like a throwback to Bejeweled or even Connect Four, but the design and mechanics were fresh. It was released for iPhone at the very end of April 2013 and quickly took off Read more...

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Tax is All About Trust

By Pascal Saint-Amans

Pascal Saint-Amans

Following the financial crisis in 2008, millions of citizens faced hardship as they set about repairing the damage done to their economies and to public finances. For most people, the necessary sacrifice was bearable as long as it was shared fairly by everyone in society. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that this was not the case when it came to some large global companies.

It is well known that trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. It is just as obvious that, in times of crisis, people find it harder to accept anything on trust alone. Since 2008, those two elementary truths have had the effect of propelling taxation to the heart of public policy discourse. This is no surprise. After all, a healthy tax system is an essential requirement for a resilient society.

The trouble is, the international tax system designed almost a century ago to prevent double taxation (companies being taxed at home and abroad on the same transaction) had been overtaken by modern business methods and could now be manipulated by some companies to pay low, single-digit, effective tax rates. Profits could be shifted in and out of jurisdictions to reduce tax bills, leading to an erosion of tax bases in the process. Citizens, who have shouldered higher taxes everywhere, could not understand why companies, some of which were blamed for causing the financial crisis, were being allowed to get away with it. Corporate tax issues, which in the past may have got a passing mention in the financial press, became front page news.

Trust in the international tax system was evaporating fast, and governments were under pressure to take action, even unilaterally. Otherwise, it would have taken a generation to rebuild an international tax system based on consensus. That matters because cross-border investment and world growth require an efficient tax system that prevents double taxation, tax avoidance and abuse.

The need to move quickly to sustain and restore trust in the international system was clear. Our work on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) has been founded on the clear determination of G20 leaders to modernize the world's tax system on a multilateral basis. This could not be done by OECD countries alone if it was going to work. That is why we have involved non-OECD countries from the outset, with everyone working together on an equal footing. Responsible business leaders also back the work we are doing. After all, large firms have come to realize that the way they arrange their tax affairs now has a direct impact on their reputation and their trustworthiness. But to restore trust, it is not the only tax issue to address. Just as citizens are not prepared to accept large-scale tax avoidance by global businesses, they will not tolerate a situation in which the wealthy few can hide their money with impunity in tax havens.

Unlike legal fiscal planning by large firms, this behavior involves illegal tax evasion that is commonly linked to other crimes. However, the effect is the same: ordinary law-abiding people are left with the impression that they have to bear the cost of rebuilding society alone, while the rich shirk their responsibilities.

In April 2009 the G20 declared that the era of bank secrecy was over. Since then the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which is based at the OECD, has delivered an ambitious program of evaluations and reviews to ensure adherence to the existing standards of exchange of information, both in principle and in practice. The Forum issued its first set of comprehensive country ratings in November 2013. A new standard, intended to deliver a truly global model for the automatic exchange of financial account information, will be issued in mid-2014. More than 40 countries have already committed to early adoption of the standard. Taken together these measures represent a comprehensive and robust response to the scourge of offshore tax evasion.

However, trust is needed on several levels for implementation to go smoothly. Take tax inspectors. The OECD's Forum on Tax Administration brings together the heads of tax administration in 45 countries, including the G20. These 45 people lead 2 million tax officials who collect most of the world's taxes. Their job demands placing emphasis on building positive relationships based on trust.

Building up capacity in tax administration can also help in restoring trust. This is particularly important in emerging economies, where acquiring the skills needed to address international tax issues is not always easy. Enabling them to address tax issues involving big business would not only improve tax receipts but also their own citizens' trust in tax systems as a whole and their readiness to comply.

Finally, trust underpins the OECD's work too. Nothing we have accomplished in the fight against tax evasion since 2009 could have been achieved without the trust that has been built between our smart, hard-working staff and the countries and institutions they collaborate with.

Pascal Saint-Amans is Director, Center for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD

Find out more:

OECD Forum 2014

OECD's 2014 Forum on May 5-6 will reflect on our vision for Inclusive Growth that combines a focus on strong economic performance with outcomes that matter for people's quality of life.

©OECD Yearbook 2014

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Adidas Reinstates Clippers Deal Now That Don Sterling Is Banned

BERLIN, April 30 (Reuters) - German sportswear firm Adidas has reinstated its partnership with the Los Angeles Clippers after the National Basketball Association banned its owner Donald Sterling from the game for life for racist comments.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on Tuesday Sterling, 80, will be barred from any role in the operations of his franchise or from serving as one of the league's governors.

"We fully support the league's decision. As a long-term partner of the NBA, we are proud that the Commissioner is taking serious action to ensure prejudice is not tolerated in the game," Adidas said in a statement.

Adidas, the world's second biggest sportswear firm, had suspended the Clippers partnership on Tuesday morning after widespread outrage over recorded comments by Stirling criticizing a woman friend for "associating with black people".

The comments drew outrage from players, fans, politicians and commercial sponsors, several of whom said they were cutting ties with the team, even after the NBA moved to expel Sterling.

Adidas does not break down sales by sport but it has just a fraction of the basketball market, which is dominated by U.S. rival Nike. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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The Perils of Perfectionism

Perfectionism makes people healthier and happier--but only if it is self-motivated.

The pursuit of perfection can be startlingly bad for companies. But what about individuals? Doesn't a passionate drive to self-improvement yield benefits?

Yes and no.

In a recent academic study, perfectionism was associated with feeling better and being more healthy--but only when the need to achieve was self-motivated. People who are highly self-motivated to keep improving tend to be healthier and happier, not least because they have a sense of self-efficacy. They they influence the course of their own lives.

When Perfectionism Goes Wrong

But when the pressure to perfect comes from external sources--colleagues, bosses, friends--then the outcome is different. People lose motivation. In this case, the pursuit of perfection leaves them physically less healthy, less happy and less capable of constructive thought.

Those who feel buffeted by events outside their control can gradually develop a sense of helplessness, that their lives are not their own. This doesn't generate great work.

In managing people, this distinction becomes critical. It means that you very much want your workforce to seek perfection, but for their own sakes, not for yours. The companies that impose perfectionism may imagine themselves effective when in fact their high standards deplete each individual's sense of autonomy. The workforce may comply. But it will be at huge cost to themselves and to the business.

It might seem obvious that the way to get everyone to set their sights higher is to set ever more challenging targets and goals. What the academic research shows, though, is that you will do far better to create the conditions in which your people want to set their own high standards.

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