Business News Feed - Ram Trucks in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

Ram Trucks' Guts and Glory campaign in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition 2015

Advertising Agency: Richards Group, Dallas, Texas, USA

Creative Director: Jimmy Bonner

Art Director: Rob Baker

Photographer: Andy Glass

Retoucher: Taylor James

Published: February 2015

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Tired of being underpaid, Apple, Yahoo bus drivers vote to unionize


The bus drivers who shuttle Yahoo, Apple, eBay, Zynga and Genentech employees to and from their offices voted to unionize Friday after complaining about being overworked and underpaid.

The Compass Transportations drivers voted 104-38 to join the Teamsters union Friday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle .

The decision comes more than three months after Facebook bus drivers voted to also join the Teamsters union in November

Teamsters representatives plan to continue to court Silicon Valley drivers, who they say are not benefitting from the overall growth in the region Read more...

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Want to Help Your Business Prepare for The Future? Go Retro.

Why "old school" may be better than new wave.

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Founders Salary: How Much Should You Take?

When it comes to paying yourself a salary as an entrepreneur, how much should it be? The answer isn't as simple as one-size-fits-all.

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Warren Buffett says Berkshire Hathaway has 'right person' as successor

Buffett Letter

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, told investors on Saturday that the company had found his successor, and the company's vice chairman, Charlie Munger, identified two Berkshire executives as candidates.

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6 predictions about the future of video and job interviewing


Imagine it’s 2025 and you’re preparing to interview candidates for an open position. Are you setting up your office for the interview? Or are you charging up the latest wearable technology and getting ready for a live video chat — right from your wrist?

Close to two-thirds of hiring managers already are using video interviews to locate and hire top talent, according to an OfficeTeam study. As this trend continues to grow, what can we expect for the next phase of video interviewing?

There’s no doubt the modern workplace is transforming into a video chat-focused world. Because of this, employers need to adopt the latest video interviewing trends to help them identify the best talent for their organizations Read more...

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Regain your dignity after these embarrassing new job blunders


Starting a new job is an exciting adventure. But it's also riddled with landmines of potential awkwardness — think getting lost on the way to the copier or mistaking your new colleague for the mail guy. The gaffes and blunders may be inevitable, but they can still catch you off guard if you're not prepared.

The best teacher is experience, and luckily for you, I've had my share of cringe-worthy new job encounters over the years. Here are few of my favorites and how I recovered with my dignity — and my job — intact after each horrific incident

1. The CEO I didn't know

It was literally my first day on the job, and one of my colleagues was walking me around the office to introduce me to everyone. Our office wasn't particularly large, but after working in a 10-person shop for the past several years, having more than 60 people in the office was overwhelming. Read more...

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10 Steps to Fight Inertia

Disruption seems to be proxy for the new normal today in nearly every industry. This is an uncomfortable state of affairs to many of us who are creatures of habit--which is most people, as scientists tell us that we are basically hardwired this way. Psychologists have given it a name: enculturation. Most of us would rather stay in our comfort zones than search for what is new, exciting and, just possibly, better.

What happens, however, when disruption lands on our doorstep, either at home or work? Do we pretend for a while that this disruption will not affect us? If so, this strategy usually only lasts for a short time until we can no longer remain in denial. Then we either wait for the meteor to strike or find a way to innovate and create solutions.

Organizations and entire industries are not so different from us in their response to change. Since many hiring managers hire in their own images, it's no wonder that companies and entire industries eventually find themselves facing a reality existing outside their comfort zones. "Thinking outside the box" workshops either have not been utilized or implemented over the past several decades.

Two options exist for companies and industries that are caught in this inertia trap: either maintain the status quo and hope that no Apple, Google or Facebook comes onto the scene to disrupt it, or fully commit to pursuing innovative, creative ideas that may even disrupt their tried-and-true business model.

It is tough to initiate the second approach, as we as a nation find it much easier to use the left-brain, linear and logical skills of strategic planning as it has been done for the past few decades, than to embrace the right-brain, intuitive "big picture" type of strategic thinking. (The higher up individuals are in the organizational chart, by the way, the more likely they are to opt to maintain the status quo.)

In some organizations today, it is even difficult to call for brainsorming sessions for new ideas and products, as past history from these brainstorming sessions indicates that often they did not produce the promised results. A reluctance to throw out specific ideas in fear of retaliation from senior managers present can hamper the brainstorming process, along with potentially good ideas having been lost in the process because the participants were all talking at the same time.

Once again, it's not easy to discard the complacent, habitualized, conventional thinking process and invent a new approach to brainstorming that will yield better results. I personally know that it can be done, however. I have facilitated sessions with both large and small, Fortune 500 and even global companies, where teams have activated neural pathways in their brains in a new, exciting way.

Scared of leaving your comfort zone?

If so, here are 10 actions you can take to dislodge your organization from its conventional thinking rut.

1. Identify and discuss the key problems your organization faces.

2. Frame these key problems into questions.

3. Send these questions to a disparate group of employees and customers to think about, and record their answers on paper.

4. Invite this group into an Ideation session (an improved version of brainstorming where key issues can be resolved).

5. Enlist the talents of a nonpartial, skilled problem solver to facilitate the process.

6. Make the process fun, collaborative and outside conventional boundaries.

7. Incorporate a strategic democratization by allowing participants to vote for the ideas they find most compelling.

8. Build task forces around these ideas.

9. Start small with pilot projects.

10. Review, ratify and implement the big, transformational insights.

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Wheelin' and Dealin' From a Truck

Anne Kadet This week, when it looked like the deep freeze would never end, fashion boutique owner Jessie Goldenberg made a brilliant move: She drove her entire business to Tampa.When your store is on wheels, you can do that.Ms. Goldenberg’s shop, Nomad, occupies all 120 square feet of a former uniform-delivery truck she found on Craigslist.Shoppers climbing a flight of foldout wooden steps to the truck’s rustic interior discover racks of dresses, scarves, jeans, tops and hats on either side of the narrow aisle. Against the driver’s cab, there’s a checkout station and a tiny dressing room behind a flowered curtain. Bob Dylan plays in the background.“You wouldn’t know you’re in a truck,” says Ms. Goldenberg, who frequently parks her store on the streets of Manhattan’s Flatiron District and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.Inspired by the food-truck movement, there now appears to be roughly a dozen truck-based stores rolling around New York, including a mobile sunglasses boutique, a florist and a pet-grooming salon. Given the city’s fast-rising commercial rents, we’ll likely see more. The typical cost of launching a truck store—$20,000—is about one-tenth the cost of opening a small storefront, according to industry sources.That’s not the only advantage. Ms. Goldenberg says her store attracts curiosity seekers who make a purchase just so they can say they bought something off a truck. “People like the novelty of it,” she says.A truck store also serves as its own rolling billboard. “You can market yourself easier, better and faster on wheels,” says Elline Surianello, who outfitted a customized Mercedes Sprinter van with hydraulic barber chairs to create a mobile version of LeMetric, her Midtown salon specializing in wigs and extensions.Perhaps the city’s most notorious mobile operation is Health Street’s rolling DNA-testing clinic, better known as the “Who’s Your Daddy?” truck ever since CEO Jared Rosenthal plastered the sly slogan on his vehicle.Mr. Rosenthal says when he launched, he played up his operation’s drug-testing service with a giant urine-cup logo: “That didn’t do so well.”A 2012 redesign struck a chord. Folks posted photos of his truck on Facebook and Instagram. Now, he’s set to be featured in a VH1 reality series. Still, the street life can be tough. Mr. Rosenthal deals with traffic, flat tires, dead batteries, break-ins, parking tickets and perpetual maintenance. “If you start a business in an office, the office doesn’t ever really need an oil change,” he says. Weather also takes its toll. Many of the city’s truck-based operations closed their doors these past few weeks. No one wants to shop in a truck when it’s 10 degrees out. Stacey Jischke-Steffe, president of the American Mobile Retail Association (yes, this actually exists), says there are about 400 truck stores rolling around the country, but relatively few in New York. Not only do the city’s weather and parking conditions pose challenges, but this is a tough town when it comes to the law. It can take years to obtain the city’s general-vendor’s license required to sell on the street. And according to the Department of Consumer Affairs, even if you get a permit, it’s still illegal to sell (nonedible) merchandise off the back of a truck—or from any parked vehicle, for that matter. Truck-shop owners say they try to ward off possible complaints and police action by parking far from competitors and avoiding residential streets.Truck-based operations are nothing new in New York, of course. Folks in the Bronx are long familiar with the mobile law offices of John C. Dearie, where malpractice and accident lawyers take depositions and dispense advice in trucks outfitted with green-leather armchairs, wall sconces and crown moldings.Brooklynites, meanwhile, know the clanging bells of the knife-sharpening trucks. Mike Pallotta of Mike & Son Sharpening Service, says his is a family business going back generations; his knife grinder is more than 100 years old. Business has declined to the point where it’s more of a weekend hobby than a job.“People used to come running out with their knives,” he says. “Now they come running out with their cameras.”But some newer efforts are thriving. Former bankruptcy lawyer Oren Shapiro has big plans for the truck-based flower shop he launched last Mother’s Day. He envisions his Mrs. Bloom’s Mobile operation, which can be seen dispensing tulips, daisies and roses outside Westchester and Connecticut train stations, as a national franchise.While he expects franchise owners to make an initial investment of $100,000, it’s a relatively low-risk proposition, he says. If a chosen location flops, just motor on. Try that with a storefront.Jenny Fisco, who launched her mobile fashion boutique Gypsy a GoGo last summer after closing her storefront party-supply business, says she enjoys the freedom and low overhead of her new operation. Her current store is a 15-year-old former Con Ed truck furnished with a tin ceiling, faux-wood floor and shelving found at garage sales. Total cost: $12,000. It’s a bit makeshift, but a fitting backdrop for her mix of new and vintage wear, which she terms “boho rocker.”“Now,” she says, “I just have to worry about auto insurance.”

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A-Z of the general election 2015

The general election campaign starts officially on 30 March, but the early skirmishes have already begun. Here, from the pink bus to new media and gaffes to opinion polls, is your indispensable guide to the words, thoughts and, not least, promises that will shape the political conversation over the next two monthsContinue reading...

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Silicon Valley likes to promise ‘digital socialism’ – but it is selling a fairy tale | Evgeny Morozov

The tech industry says it can tackle inequality, and governments are keen to let it try. The choice that citizens now face is not between the market and the state, but between politics and non-politics

The outside world might regard Silicon Valley as a bastion of ruthless capitalism but tech entrepreneurs fashion themselves as believers in solidarity, autonomy and collaboration.

These venture humanitarians believe that they – and not the wily politicians or the vain NGOs – are the true champions of the weak and the poor, making the maligned markets deliver material benefits to those on the fringes of society. Some of the valley’s in-house intellectuals even cheer the onset of “digital socialism,” which – to quote digital thinker and environmentalist Kevin Kelly’s 2009 cover story in Wired“can be viewed as a third way that renders irrelevant the old debates.”

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Why a cutback in oil production is sorely needed

How deep is the hole the oil industry is currently stuck inside? To figure that out, you only need to look as far back as last week, which saw another two trainloads full of oil derail and storage numbers that put U.S. crude stocks at record highs

Every new pipeline leak or train derailment puts the environmental risk of moving ever greater amounts of oil into even sharper relief. At the same time, storage tanks that are bursting at the seams say everything you need to know about the troubled economic returns currently plaguing the energy business.

Despite a falling rig count, U.S. oil production is now running at more than 9 million barrels a day, its highest level since the early 1970s. In Canada, where companies are also slashing spending plans, total output this year is still slated to increase by hundreds of thousands of barrels a day.

Not long ago, hearing about those types of production gains would be music to the ears of investors. Today, the tune is decidedly more bearish. Increased crude production from shale plays and Alberta's oil sands is only compounding the problems of an already glutted world oil market.

By most estimates, producers are pumping around 2 million barrels a day more than is needed to meet global demand. According to a recent analysis by Bloomberg, more oil is now being held in U.S. storage tanks than at any point during the last eighty years. The refusal of high cost marginal suppliers to put the brakes on production growth, let alone actually shut-in any output, suggests that oil prices, already cut in half since last year, could have even further to fall.

The dismal outlook for North American producers is once again being reflected in the price differential between benchmark U.S. crude and world oil prices. The spread between West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude, which was narrowing, is now beginning to open back up. The gap is particularly challenging for Canada's oil sands producers, who can charge even less for every barrel of hard-to-refine bitumen

The more output that oil sands producers manage to churn out these days, the less their bitumen is worth. It's clearly not a business model the market finds too attractive. The cool reception to a $1.5 billion share offering just announced by Cenovus is hardly bullish for the prospects of future financings. The way falling commodity prices are putting a hurt on balance sheets that's grim news for the other companies that will surely need to tap the public markets before this current downturn shows any signs of turning around.

Further production growth also means more hundred-car tanker trains will be rolling through suburban neighbourhoods across the continent. With each one comes a growing risk of derailment, as well as the accompanying explosions like those that happened last week in northern Ontario and West Virginia.

Among the more disturbing aspects of those accidents is the involvement of new-and-improved tanker cars that are scheduled to replace the aging DOT-111 models. While Ottawa has just announced new regulations to make rail operators more accountable for spills by raising minimum insurance levels and requiring the bulking up of a compensation fund, such initiatives still won't do anything to prevent more derailments from occurring. Indeed, rail shipments of crude, which have already quadrupled in Canada in the last few years, are expected to more than triple to 700,000 barrels a day by the end of 2016.

Instead of loading more surplus oil onto rail cars to be hauled to already over-stuffed storage tanks, both investors and communities across North America would be better off seeing the industry cut back on production. For companies that have already sunk a lot of money into drilling programs, however, cutting production will put their cash flow position into an ugly place. Although they may realize that less production would be good for everyone in the long run, getting out of their own way is proving tough to do. For the industry as a whole that will only serve to draw out the time before prices start to firm up. For the rest of us it means more oil trains will continue to roll through our back yards.

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The Leadership Paradox

Peter Drucker, who many consider the father of modern management, once said, "We know almost nothing about management, that is why we write so many books on the subject." The same might be said for leadership. There are more than fifty thousand titles available and hundreds more being published almost every month. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually on countless workshops and courses to train leaders. The question is, with all of these writings, workshops and investments in leadership development why are there apparently so few leaders at the same moment the demand for leadership is increasing?

A cursory review of organizational and management theory and consulting industry offerings over the last 50 years will reveal a series of ideas, models and approaches for attempting to bring about changes in the ways people work: organizational culture, new ways of measuring performance, various systems for controlling people and processes, creating new 'paradigms', reducing costs, improving quality, reengineering, coaching and of course leadership. Most recently, the distinction 'transformational' leadership has become vogue along with various other 'transformational' approaches to change. There is a growing recognition of the need for breakthroughs, new 'mindsets' and the ever-popular call to 'think outside of the box'.

It is easy to become cynical and relegate all of these conversations to being the 'flavor of the month' and explain them away as futile attempts to change human behavior or institutional 'reality'. We might justify them as worth trying even if, in most cases, the investment falls short of the intended outcomes. The Wall Street Journal reported a number of years ago that in spite of billions of dollars invested, an estimated 70% of 'reengineering' projects fell short of expectations when implementing new designs, primarily because of 'human and cultural' resistance to change and/or a lack of leadership.

I have a radically different view. I believe and can make the case for most of these efforts having succeeded to one degree or another, and even those which failed having contributed to our understanding of what doesn't work and more importantly beginning to show us the underlying paradigm that inherently blinds us to possibility and often thwarts change. True transformation occurs only when are able to create a new paradigm that includes but is not limited by the old. Doing so begins by calling into question the conventional wisdom we hold about leadership and challenging our existing assumptions about 'causality' in general and the source of leadership in particular.

In my experience a large part of the problem is that most of the books and models are attempting to describe or explain leadership and what leaders do after the fact. This would be analogous to attempting to understand coaching by looking at the score board. Very few academics and consultants have focused their inquiry on what was present before history and circumstance acknowledged a leader or created the 'story' of how an individual leader achieved success. Even though many leadership models will offer a list of qualities such as courage, charisma or perseverance as keys to being a leader they fail to show pathways for developing those qualities, which leaves the prevailing belief that at the end of the day, leaders are born differently than the rest of us or in one way or another are special or 'gifted'.

I suggest we need to step back and consider leadership as a phenomenon, and ask what we mean when we use the term. For example, it is almost impossible to imagine a leader as a solitary entity -- there are always others to follow. If this is so, then perhaps leadership is more of a social phenomena than the product of an individual's vision or some set of competencies. Perhaps leadership is a product of relationship and shared commitments and concerns --- the group calls forth its leader. Perhaps leadership is inherently paradoxical in that it is inclusive of both the individual and the group or team or community. If this is so, then leadership is a context, a powerful opening for innovation and something new to emerge. From this perspective, leadership isn't about process, or technique, or some set of skills beyond the capacity to be authentic and committed to a possibility larger than oneself. Leadership from this perspective is about BEING a leader while surrendering to the power and possibility of those we lead.

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AM Days, ICON15, Many More Events Fill March Calendar

The Big EventEDIT

The Marketing, Myths, and Magic — Demystifying the Marketing Pipeline event will be taking place this week starting Tuesday, March 3. This is a chance to learn your marketing strengths and get tips to become better at what you do. It’s just one of the many events packing the March calendar.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Marketing, Myths, and Magic—Demystifying the Marketing Pipeline

March 3, 2015, New York City, N.Y.

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