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Industry watch: What I have learned from Acer founder Stan Shih

Acer founder Stan Shih founder has been engaged in the IT industry for 50 years. That's not easy. He deserves our respect not because he is a senior industrial leader but because he has been always optimistic and enthusiastic. I often ask for his advice which always tends to be positive thinking. Rarely have I heard him say, "No chance"!.....»»

Category: topSource: digitimesDec 4th, 2021

5 Trends That Will Move Mortgages and Housing in 2022

(TNS)—In the Amazon age, consumers are more pampered—and less patient—than ever. Tap your phone and, voilà—hot food from your favorite restaurant arrives in minutes. High-end electronics appear on your doorstep in hours. However, the mortgage industry has yet to deliver anything like that level of instant gratification. The typical time from application to consummation of […] The post 5 Trends That Will Move Mortgages and Housing in 2022 appeared first on RISMedia. (TNS)—In the Amazon age, consumers are more pampered—and less patient—than ever. Tap your phone and, voilà—hot food from your favorite restaurant arrives in minutes. High-end electronics appear on your doorstep in hours. However, the mortgage industry has yet to deliver anything like that level of instant gratification. The typical time from application to consummation of a mortgage is 50 days, according to ICE Mortgage Technology, a glacial pace compared to the swiftness of most other things in modern life. “The mortgage space is many decades behind everyone else,” says Chris Boyle, a longtime executive at mortgage giant Freddie Mac and now president of home lending at Roostify. Boyle’s company is one of many aiming to hasten the mortgage process so that closing times might someday be measured in days rather than weeks. Roostify is part of a new breed of property technology, or “proptech,” companies that aim to pull home loans and property sales into the digital age. Here are trends to watch in 2022. 1. Mortgages: Getting to Yes Faster Digital players want to close your mortgage more swiftly—although even the optimists say the process will continue to unspool over a period of days and weeks, rather than the seconds and minutes used as benchmarks in other corners of the economy. One obvious obstacle, according to Jess Kennedy, co-founder of Beeline: Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who set the rules for most mortgages, have built-in seven-day minimums for many of their processes. While proptech companies acknowledge they won’t be able to wire the money within hours of your mortgage application, they’re focusing on a different goal—giving consumers a yes or no instantly. Beeline, a lender that does business in two dozen states, promises to let borrowers know exactly where they are in the process at any moment. “We liken it to the Domino’s Pizza Tracker,” Kennedy says. Roostify, which works to speed the mortgage process on behalf of lenders, has a similar approach. “You want to give the consumer certainty,” Boyle says. Roostify focuses on time savings by automating paper-intensive parts of the process, like verifying tax returns and pay stubs. Having an actual human look at every document adds days and weeks to the timetable, Boyle says. But automation takes lenders only so far. The complexity of mortgage applications poses challenges for lenders that hope to fully automate their approvals. Every application is unique, and loan applications from self-employed borrowers and real estate investors can stump even veteran loan officers. In other words, programming a robot to shepherd a $300,000 loan through approval ain’t easy. “Every single application is a snowflake,” Kennedy says. “It’s really hard to create a system that can account for every beautiful snowflake.” 2. Home Appraisals: Analysis Goes Virtual The U.S. housing market is booming despite a chokepoint: There just aren’t enough property appraisers to visit and evaluate all the houses changing hands and being refinanced. Hoping to find at least a partial solution to that problem, the overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will begin accepting more “desktop appraisals” in early 2022. The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced in October that remote valuations will take the place of some traditional appraisals, which require appraisers to visit properties that serve as collateral for mortgages. Paul Ryll, founder of Oscar Mike Mobile Appraisals in Greenville, South Carolina, welcomes the change. By not visiting a property in person, appraisers should be able to crank out more valuation reports, he says. “There’s no reason an appraiser can’t do that in 72 hours. It should drastically reduce the turn times,” Ryll says. “As appraisers, we need to embrace the change.” Even if they don’t tour homes in person, appraisers still will rely on a variety of data sources, including property photos posted in the multiple listing service. 3. Cash Offers: New Breed of Firms Wants to be Your ‘Rich Uncle’ During the coronavirus housing boom, bidding wars became commonplace. When sellers weigh multiple offers, they tend to favor the sure thing of a cash offer over the slightly less certain bid that’s contingent on financing. As a result, cash buyers often can score a slight discount compared with buyers who are relying on financing. And cash buyers might be able to drive a harder bargain around inspection contingencies. That has led to a number of companies making cash offers on behalf of buyers who don’t really have $300,000 or $400,000 in the bank. Companies such as Homeward, Ribbon, Unlock and Better.com make cash offers on behalf of borrowers who later finance their deals. One of the new breed of “power buyers” has a catchy take on the offering. “Think about us as a rich uncle,” says Adam Pollack, co-founder and chief executive of Accept.inc. “We want to turn every buyer into a cash buyer and every offer into a cash offer.” These companies raised millions in 2021, and they’ll continue ramping up in 2022. 4. iBuyers: After a Setback, Still Going Strong In 2020, as the pandemic first threatened the U.S. economy, iBuyers, or instant buyers, slowed their roll. Then, with the housing market booming, they became aggressive buyers of homes in Sun Belt markets. In 2021, Opendoor, Offerpad and Zillow Offers paid sellers premiums for their homes. Skeptics wondered whether Zillow’s generous offers and modest fees made business sense. In early November, Zillow conceded that it was paying too much for properties, even in a market characterized by soaring home values. Zillow grabbed headlines when it shut down its Zillow Offers unit. Zillow, creator of the vaunted Zestimates of home value, seemingly learned the hard way that technology isn’t always the answer to a brick-and-mortar business like flipping houses. “They just got in over their head, couldn’t scale, didn’t understand the complexity,” says Ken Johnson, a housing economist at Florida Atlantic University. Yet the other iBuyers are still in business. Stefan Peterson, co-founder of Zavvie, a real estate technology company that works with brokerages to help sellers compare offers from iBuyers, says the remaining iBuyers will dial back the generosity. “It’s been kind of an open secret that iBuyers were making very strong offers,” Peterson says. “They seem to be coming back down to earth, but they’re still very close to 100 percent of (market value).” 5. Blockchain: Not Coming to Housing Yet, but Perhaps Someday Perhaps the hottest area of technology is blockchain, the innovation that underlies bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. For now, the real estate industry is focused on more mundane tasks, such as shaving a few days off mortgage closing timelines. But Geoffrey Thompson, chief blockchain officer at proptech firm Roofstock, sees a growing role for the hot technology. “Purchasing a home is vastly different from owning a digital asset, and navigating the securities laws in this area can be tricky,” he says. “In 2022, I expect new experiences to surface that connect blockchain to real-world assets and make purchasing real estate more seamless, efficient and possibly even fun.” He even sees non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, expanding beyond digital art and collectibles into old-fashioned real estate. “In the short- or medium-term, it may be feasible to buy and sell real-world properties in the form of NFTs,” Thompson says. ©2021 Bankrate.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC The post 5 Trends That Will Move Mortgages and Housing in 2022 appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaJan 1st, 2022

Top 20 Media Stories CNN"s Brian Stelter "Overlooked" On His Show Dedicated To Media Stories

Top 20 Media Stories CNN's Brian Stelter 'Overlooked' On His Show Dedicated To Media Stories Of all the year-end roundups coming out, the one that caught our eye for pointing out the worst examples of MSM hypocrisy comes from Joseph A. Wulfohn via Fox News, who notes the top 20 major media stories that were utterly ignored by CNN's Brian Stelter - whose entire job is to cover controversies involving the media. Yet, "Stelter turned a blind eye to many headlines that were far from flattering to his liberal allies in the industry," writes Wulfohn - who notes that this is nothing new for the CNN host. "Most famously, he completely avoided ABC News' shocking coverup of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, omitting it from his "top ten media stories" of 2019." Without further ado, here are 2021's top 20 major media stories ignored by Brian Stelter: Judge bans MSNBC from the Kyle Rittenhouse trial The entire nation was intensely monitoring the trial of teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged with murdering two people amid the Kenosha riots following the 2020 police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake. But the day before Rittenhouse was acquitted on all counts, Judge Bruce Schroeder made headlines by barring MSNBC from the courthouse after police caught a freelance NBC News producer following the jury bus when he ran a red light.  Stelter swept the controversy plaguing CNN's closest liberal competitor under the rug. -Fox News In fact, CNN has essentially sheltered MSNBC from scrutiny - which has appeared just 34 times in Reliable Sources' 2021 transcripts vs. Fox News, which appeared 695 times (via Grabien search results). Stelter ignored Joy Reid's spat with rapper Nicki Minaj over her vaccine hesitancy, as well as MSNBC analyst and NYT editorial board member Mara Gay, when she said that the sight of American flags on the back of trucks was "disturbing," which caused the Times to issue a statement in her defense. Yet, crickets from Stelter. As Wulfohn notes, the respect seems to be mutual, as MSNBC offers 'little to no coverage' of any controversy at CNN. Trump-era media narratives that fell apart  In March, the media pundit avoided the Washington Post's major correction to its bombshell January report about a phone call between then-President Donald Trump and a Georgia elections investigator, urging her to "find the fraud" and that she would be a "national hero" if she did, which turned out to be not true. WASHINGTON POST PANNED FOR MASSIVE CORRECTION TO TRUMP-GEORGIA ELECTION STORY: 'SO, THEY MADE UP QUOTES' The CNN star had nothing to say about the collapsed narrative alleging Trump ordered Lafayette Square Park to be cleared of protesters so he could pose in front of the riot-torched St. John's Church last year. An inspector general investigation concluded U.S. Park Police and the U.S. Secret Service deemed it necessary to remove protestors from the park in order to install anti-scale fencing. -Fox News The Washington Post issues stunning corrections on articles involving the Steele dossier Yet, Stelter couldn't be bothered when the dossier his network breathlessly peddled was completely debunked after Christopher Steele source Igor Danchenko was accused of lying to the FBI, leading to a flood of corrections from WaPo. The first two stories, published in March 2017 and February 2019, were changed when the newspaper’s executive editor, Sally Buzbee, said she could no longer stand by their accuracy. The Post added editor’s notes, amended headlines, removed sections identifying Sergei Millian as the source and deleted an accompanying video summarizing the articles.  Lengthy editor's notes were additionally placed on at least 14 other articles.  The Steele dossier helped fuel the Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy for years and dominated CNN and MSNBC's coverage. -Fox News The New York Times forced to admit Babylon Bee is not ‘misinformation’ This one was a biggie - after the Times ran a story in March characterizing the satire site The Babylon Bee as "misinformation." In fact, they called it a "far-right misinformation site" that "sometimes trafficked in misinformation under the guise of satire." Under the threat of a lawsuit, the Times issued a correction in June which backpedaled their claim. "An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to the Babylon Bee, a right-leaning satirical website, and a controversy regarding the handling of its content by Facebook and the fact-checking site Snopes. While both Facebook and Snopes previously have classified some Babylon Bee articles as misinformation, rather than satire, they have dropped those claims, and the Babylon Bee denies that it has trafficked in misinformation," reads the correction. Paging Stelter? Nope. Don Lemon's texts emerge during the Jussie Smollett trial Former "Empire" star Jussie Smollett shocked the nation in 2019 when he claimed he was the victim of a vicious hate crime in Chicago, which the national media hyped while offering little to no skepticism. It wasn't long before Chicago Police Department suspected Smollett had orchestrated a hoax.  Nearly three years later, Smollett stood trial and was ultimately convicted on five counts of disorderly conduct. However, before the verdict was in, Smollett revealed during his testimony that he was tipped off about the CPD's doubts into his claims by his pal, CNN anchor Don Lemon. -Fox News Neither Lemon nor Stelter mentioned the incident on their CNN shows. The turmoil of The Lincoln Project If CNN is the king of propaganda, anti-Trump PAC The Lincoln Project is a close second. They also have a pedophile problem in common. In January, news broke that Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver was accused of sexually harassing 20 young men online, one of whom was just 14 when it began. All of Weaver's former colleagues denied knowledge of the predatory behavior, and Weaver himself has since resigned and vanished from the public. In addition to ignoring this, Stelter also failed to mention questions over the group's murky financial dealings - and where millions of dollars raised to fight Trumpism actually ended up. The marathon of controversies sparked an exodus among the group's prominent leaders and even calls from co-founder George Conway, who had left the group in 2020, to be shut down.  However, the Lincoln Project was able to weather the storm and managed to keep the lights on thanks to the lack of media coverage its scandals received.  More recently, Stelter failed to address the Lincoln Project's widely panned race stunt it took credit for in the days leading up to the Virginia gubernatorial election. In a move that co-founder Steve Schmidt even condemned as "recklessly stupid," the Lincoln Project sent five people – one of them a Black man – to dress as Tiki-torch bearing White nationalists in front of Republican Glenn Youngkin's campaign bus in Charlottesville, in what was viewed as a desperate smear effort to liken his supporters to racists. -Fox News USA Today allows Stacey Abrams to stealth-edit column to water down past support for Georgia boycott This spring, Georgia was at the center of an intense national debate over its election reform legislation that was signed into law after the 2020 election with prominent Democrats calling it racist and comparing it to "Jim Crow." A movement to boycott the Peach State was ignited and one of its backers appeared to be Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.  In an op-ed published by USA Today in March 31, Abrams argued that boycotts were an effective form of protest, writing, "The impassioned response to the racist, classist bill that is now the law of Georgia is to boycott in order to achieve change." But after Major League Baseball announced it was moving its All-Star Game out of Atlanta, Abram's op-ed went through a stunning transformation, watering down her support for boycotts historically without issuing any editor's note acknowledging the changes. A spokesperson for Gannett, USA Today's parent company, told Fox News, "We regret the oversight in updating the Stacey Abrams column. As soon as we recognized there was no editor’s note, we added it to the page to reflect her changes. We have reviewed our procedures to ensure this does not occur again." The journalistic malpractice was ultimately ignored by CNN's media hall monitor. -Fox News Joe Rogan's explosive interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta This one might actually be #1, as podcast giant Joe Rogan cornered CNN's top doc over the network's disingenuous framing of Ivermectin as a 'horse dewormer.' "Calling it a horse de-wormer is not the most flattering thing, I get that," said Gupta. "It's a lie on a news network - and it's a lie that they're conscious of. It's not a mistake. They're unfavorably framing it as veterinary medicine," Rogan shot back. "Why would you say that when you're talking about a drug that's been given out to billions and billions of people? A drug that was responsible for one of the inventors winning the Nobel Prize in 2015?" the 54-year-old Rogan continued. "A drug that has been shown to stop viral replication in vitro - you know that, right? Why would they lie and say that's horse de-wormer? I can afford people medicine, motherfucker. This is ridiculous." Watch: Joe Rogan asks Sanjay Gupta if it bothers him that CNN outright lied about Rogan taking horse dewormer to recover from covid. This is fantastic: pic.twitter.com/PEgJqIXhSD — Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 14, 2021 CNN then doubled down on their stupidity, issuing a statement which said "The only thing CNN did wrong here was bruise the ego of a popular podcaster who pushed dangerous conspiracy theories and risked the lives of millions of people in doing so." Radio silence from Stelter... Rolling Stone, MSNBC stars peddle false narrative of ivermectin overdoses overwhelming Oklahoma hospitals After Joe Rogan announced that he'd kicked Covid in just a few days using a cocktail of drugs, including Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic prescribed for humans for over 35 years, with over 4 billion doses administered (and most recently as a Covid-19 treatment), the left quickly started mocking Rogan for having taken a 'horse dewormer' due to its dual use in livestock. Rolling Stone's Jon Blistein led the charge: Then, Rolling Stone's Peter Wade took another stab - publishing a hit piece claiming that Oklahoma ERs were overflowing with people 'overdosing on horse dewormer.' As people take the drug, McElyea said patients have arrived at hospitals with negative reactions like nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, and cramping — or even loss of sight. “The scariest one that I’ve heard of and seen is people coming in with vision loss,” the doctor said. -Rolling Stone It was all a lie...  as NHS Sequoyah, located in Sallisaw, Oklahoma - issued a statement disavowing McElyea's claims. Of course, the lie was peddled by MSM notables, including Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid. Stelter? Reliable sources? His job running cover, as opposed to exposing MSM lies should be clear as day by now. New York Times sports reporter ousted after failing to disclose book deal with Michael Phelps New York Times sports reporter Karen Crouse landed herself in hot water in July for failing to disclose the book deal she made with Michael Phelps while she herself was covering the Olympic swimmer.  In June, Crouse authored a glowing piece that painted the 23-time gold medalist in a highly positive light with multiple tidbits about Phelps mentoring youth athletes.  But a month after the piece was initially published, it was updated with a scathing editor’s note.  "After this article was published, editors learned that the reporter had entered an agreement to co-write a book with Michael Phelps. If editors had been aware of the conflict, the reporter would not have been given the assignment," the editor's note read. "Our guidelines state that no staff member may serve as a ghost writer or co-author for individuals who figure or are likely to figure in coverage they provide, edit, package or supervise," a New York Times spokesperson told Fox News. "As the editors’ note makes clear, the arrangement was a conflict of interest. This was a significant lapse in judgment. We are reviewing this matter and will take appropriate action once the investigation has concluded." After initially being suspended, Crouse announced weeks later she was leaving the Times after 16 years with the paper. The controversy received no on-air mention by Stelter, a former media reporter for the Times. -Fox News USA Today botches fact-check claiming Biden didn't check his watch during dignified transfer ceremony "Stelter typically reveres fact-checks conducted by his media allies, but there was one in particular that mysteriously never reached the "Reliable Sources" radar," writes Wulfohn. Biden was slammed by Gold Star families after he checked his watch several times during a ceremony for 13 service members that were killed during his botched Afghanistan pullout. Gold Star Father Darin Hoover, whose son Marine Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover was killed in Kabul, alleges that President Biden looked down at his watch when all 13 fallen service members arrived at Dover Air Force Base: "That happened on every single one of them." pic.twitter.com/PC83XWNWsx — Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 31, 2021 USA Today attempted to "fact-check" the report, claiming that Biden had only checked his watch after the ceremony. Not so. And USA Today was forced to issue a correction which read: "This story was updated Sept. 2 to note that Biden checked his watch multiple times at the dignified transfer event, including during the ceremony itself." Meghan McCain's dramatic exit from "The View" 2021 was a year of many high-profile media departures, among them the exit of "The View" co-host Meghan McCain.  McCain turned the ABC daytime talk show into must-watch television for the on-air clashes she had with her liberal co-hosts throughout much of the Trump administration, as well as the first six months into the Biden administration.  While she was vocal with her opposition to Trump, her conservative stance was repeatedly met with hostility from Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin.  But McCain's exit received no mention on "Reliable Sources." -Fox News Jeffrey Toobin's awkward return to CNN Need we say more? Stelter certainly didn't. We just want to reintroduce Jeffry Toobin after a bit of a hiatus *fap fap fap fap* Jeffrey had to take time off *fap fap fap* After an unfortunate incident during *fap … fap fap* A zoom meeting. Welcome back, Jeffrey. *fapfapfap* Jeffrey, stop pic.twitter.com/piS3vp778L — Geoffrey Ingersoll (@GPIngersoll) June 10, 2021 Chris Cuomo's mounting scandals When CNN announced it had fired its primetime star Chris Cuomo after the network learned of a second sexual harassment allegation leveled against him, Stelter spoke critically of his fallen colleague and the "headaches" he created for CNN as he aided his brother, now-ousted Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. This, however, was a drastic shift in tone since the CNN lackey spent months defending the anchor and downplaying the blatant violation of journalistic ethics, most infamously on "The Late Show." But while Stelter was occasionally forced to address the Cuomo saga on "Reliable Sources," there were other controversies that plagued the CNN host he overlooked. For example, he made no mention of Cuomo's first accuser, veteran TV producer Shelley Ross, who alleged that he grabbed her buttock at a 2005 work function when the two of them were colleagues at ABC News. -Fox News And finally... CNN's own producer arrested for child sex crimes The "Reliable Sources" host would be the first to revel whenever an employee at a conservative media outlet landed in hot water, but he was noticeably mum about the alleged pedophile walking the halls of CNN. John Griffin, a senior producer for CNN's flagship morning program "New Day," was arrested by the FBI after a grand jury in Vermont indicted him for shocking child sex crimes.  After initially being suspended, Griffin was later fired by CNN.  "The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing. We learned of his arrest Friday afternoon and terminated his employment Monday," a CNN spokesperson told Fox News Digital. -Fox News And, as usual, silence from Stelter! Tyler Durden Mon, 12/27/2021 - 13:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 27th, 2021

Industry watch: What I have learned from Acer founder Stan Shih

Acer founder Stan Shih founder has been engaged in the IT industry for 50 years. That's not easy. He deserves our respect not because he is a senior industrial leader but because he has been always optimistic and enthusiastic. I often ask for his advice which always tends to be positive thinking. Rarely have I heard him say, "No chance"!.....»»

Category: topSource: digitimesDec 4th, 2021

How ‘Subscribe to Me’ Became the Future of Work

Creators are bumping up against the limits of the platforms they use In August, Savannah’s entire monthly income was at stake. OnlyFans, the social media platform where she built her career, making an average of $2,000 a month from subscribers, had just announced it would be removing content like hers from the site. But there was little she could do about it. She remembers thinking: “OK, well, this is another Thursday, I might as well finish my Chick-Fil-A, and I’m just gonna chill here and wait for us to get some sort of response.” Savannah, 24, is part of a vibrant, supportive community of online sex workers that underwrite OnlyFans’s considerable financial success; it’s now valued at over $1 billion. But in a move that may foreshadow changes to come, that community was shaken when OnlyFans announced it would be banning explicit content on the site. “The sky falls on OnlyFans, like, every three or four months,” Savannah says, wryly. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] She could’ve gotten a more standard job when she graduated from college in 2020 with a business degree—maybe at a bank, as a mortgage loan officer. But while career-hunting, she was working three part-time jobs and her boyfriend at the time suggested trying out OnlyFans. She opened an account in January 2020, posting sassy videos and photos that showed off her passion for Star Wars cosplay and her cheeky sense of humor to attract subscribers. “It was nerve-wracking,” Savannah admits. At first, the subscribers just trickled in; she made $80 that month. Then the pandemic lockdowns started, and Savannah’s online star began to rise. “It was an extreme case of right place, right time,” she says. “Everyone was suddenly locked inside. And they were horny. And it just all came together.” By September 2020, she had earned enough money to buy her own house—a goal that had always seemed elusive with a traditional career path. “I never, ever thought that I would be stable enough to buy a house, period, in my lifetime,” she says. That sense of stability was put to the test by the new August policy—briefly. OnlyFans backtracked just days later. For many, online sex work is easy to ignore or view as the internet’s titillating sideshow. Historically, though, the conditions of sex work serve as an indicator of the health of a society, and the inconclusive OnlyFans incident could predict the future of the growing digital creator economy and its workers. Annie Flanagan for TIME“Not only has it absolutely changed the trajectory of my life forever, but I have fun, I’m my own boss,” says Savannah. Savannah considers herself half sex worker and half “online creator,” a burgeoning and nebulous category of workers who have turned to online platforms to profit off their talents and speak to niche audiences. But the creator economy that took off around 2011 with YouTube has evolved as creators seek autonomy over their intellectual property and freedom from brand sponsorships and social media restrictions. Writers, gamers, academics, sex workers, chefs, athletes, artists: anyone with a point of view, or a video to share, has flocked to sites like Twitch, OnlyFans, Patreon and Substack in hopes of selling their skills directly to their fans. A September study from the Influencer Marketing Factory estimates some 50 million people around the world participate in this economy, broadly—that’s a third the size of the entire U.S. workforce. The study valued the creator market north of $100 billion in 2021. Direct subscription creators are a fraction of that, but a rapidly growing one. There are over a million creators on OnlyFans; streaming platform Twitch boasts over 8 million active streamers; Patreon, which hosts pay-to-view visual and written content, says it has over 200,000 active accounts. And the money generated by this new class keep going up, with OnlyFans announcing it has facilitated over $3 billion in payouts to accounts since their founding five years ago. Patreon says its creator accounts have racked up over $2 billion. Twitch’s in-app purchases neared $200 million in the first half of 2021 alone. Creators skew Millennial and Gen Z; digital natives are, after all, more prepared to capitalize on and take risks online. One study from research firm PSFK suggested that over 50% of Gen Z Americans are interested in becoming an “influencer” as a career. But some of the most successful subscription creators—historian Heather Cox Richardson, musician Amanda Palmer, photographer Brandon Stanton, and model Blac Chyna—are in their 30s or older, and were well established in their careers before selling their skills online, a fact that lends the subscription creator economy more credence. These days, Savannah—who goes by Savannah Solo on her Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and OnlyFans pages—counts hundreds of thousands of subscribers to her public profiles, and 6,500 paying subscribers to her more risqué content on OnlyFans. She doesn’t want to stop. “Not only has it absolutely changed the trajectory of my life forever, but I have fun, I’m my own boss, I wake up and I put on makeup and I wear a stupid costume and make fun content. You can decide if you want to be a persona—or if you just want to be yourself,” she says. But, as she has learned in August, the reality of a creator career is more complicated. Annie Flanagan for TIMESavannah looks through OnlyFans messages while laying at home on Oct. 18. The problem with platforms The job title “creator” is a new invention, born in the past decade thanks to the rise of self-publishing opportunities. First there was YouTube, the ür-influencer platform. Then came Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. These web2 behemoths offered anyone the ability to build a fanbase with little more than an internet connection (and, for the most successful, access to a way to photograph or video themselves). At first, little money was transferred into the hands of the creators; success in the form of wide viewership was a badge of honor, not a moneymaking scheme. That changed with the rise of models in which creators received a cut of advertising associated with their content (like pre-roll video ads on YouTube) and sponsored content and ambassadorship programs (like many of Instagram’s influencer programs). This kept content free for fans while still paying the creators—and it’s the model that still dominates the market. But positioning image-conscious brands in between fans and creators who value authenticity is not always a natural fit. Brands drop creators when they post something the brand doesn’t like. Creators lose autonomy when they spend all their time crafting sponsored content. Enter the paid social media model, in which audiences can contribute directly to their favorite creators. “From the creators’ point of view, it gives them more control and empowerment,” says OnlyFans CEO and founder Tim Stokely, about the potential for direct-to-creator paid social media to be the economic engine of the online future. The company is famous for featuring sex worker creators like Savannah, but Stokely is pushing the platform’s PG accounts, where users can subscribe to a chef’s cooking videos or a trainer’s workouts. Read More: Why OnlyFans Suddenly Reversed its Decision to Ban Sexual Content Twitch was early to this game, launching in 2011. “The digital patronage model we see popping up today in other iterations exists because of Twitch’s early entry in and focus on the creator economy,” says Mike Minton, Vice President of Monetization at Twitch. Twitch prefers to consider itself a “service” rather than a platform: it serves creators with access to audiences and monetizes their viewership, and serves fans by making it easy to watch and contribute. But it’s not all profit for creators. Hidden in the slick appeal of be-your-own-boss social media entrepreneurialism is the role of the platforms themselves, and sticky questions of ownership. Twitch, for instance, provides the necessary infrastructure for popular gamers to stream hours of high-resolution content to mass audiences of live viewers. But it also takes a 50% cut of any subscriptions. OnlyFans says the 30% it takes helps offset the costs of the security and privacy features that adult content in particular requires. Patreon takes from 5 to 12%, depending on your plan; Substack takes 10%, minus processing fees. Consummate middlemen, these companies have created low barriers to entry while still gatekeeping, at least financially. “There’s a history of artists being taken advantage of, and artists have to keep criticizing and keep skepticism at a high level,” says Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon. “I think that’s mission critical. Artists have to be educated, and choose wisely and watch platforms carefully.” Patreon, for its part, offers its users full access to their email lists in an attempt to offer greater control over their audience relationships. Patreon has had its share of controversy: a 2018 kerfuffle surrounded their choice to ban certain politically-extreme voices from the platform; payment snafus and hikes in processing fees have ruffled feathers; and their current content policies exclude sexually explicit work, to the frustration of some. The company is eager to try to keep up with creator-favored trends, however, announcing plans to integrate crypto payments and considering developing “creator coins,” and developing a native video player to more directly compete with YouTube. Stokely doesn’t try to promise financial stability or freedom to OnlyFans’ million-plus creators, especially given the complications of banking regulations (on which the company blamed the brief August ban of sexual content). He knows that change is inevitable, but he does promise one thing: OnlyFans will not become “littered with paid posts and adverts” like the free platforms. Annie Flanagan for TIME“I wake up and I put on makeup and I wear a stupid costume and make fun content. You can decide if you want to be a persona—or if you just want to be yourself,” Savannah says. Navigating an unsteady landscape Writer and musician Amanda Palmer, 45, is intimately acquainted with the challenges of creative autonomy. Palmer, the frontwoman of indie rock duo the Dresden Dolls, extricated herself from an album deal a decade ago, choosing to embrace independence—with all its financial risks—and gather income from her fans directly. “There’s been a general shift in consciousness, that people are no longer scratching their heads when an artist or a creator comes to you directly and says, Hey, I need 10 bucks,” she says. “You’re seeing it in right wing podcasting. And you’re seeing it in feminist journalism on Substack. And you’re seeing it with musicians and gamers on Patreon, and you’re seeing it with porn stars on OnlyFans.” Palmer started a Patreon in 2015, where she now posts bits of music, videos and blog posts to 12,000 paying subscribers. The direct, monetized line of communication with her fans has meant she could weather the pandemic storm—when she couldn’t play live concerts—using honesty and openness in the content she shares as bartering coin for their cash. She says she has made over $5 million in subscriptions to support her creative endeavors, although her net profit mostly just pays rent and living expenses. Still, it has been an effective solution to the conundrum of monetizing fame and artwork for a niche audience. Read More: The Livestream Show Will Go On. How COVID Has Changed Live Music—Forever Palmer’s experience with Patreon is a prime use-case for the company: a non-major artist finds financial freedom through direct-to-consumer content sharing. “Because of what’s happened over the last 10 years, there’s now hundreds of millions of creative people who identify as creators, putting their work online and already making a lot of money and want to be paid and want to build businesses,” Conte says. “Patreon is tiny; compared to the amount of creators in the world, we’re a speck.” But with $2 billion in payouts over the years, it’s proved to be a meaningful speck for a collection of creators. Conte says that about half the money that Patreon processes goes to creators who are making between $1,000 and $10,000 per month. “It’s not Taylor Swift rich, it’s not Rihanna rich. It’s a middle class of creativity: a whole new world of creators that are being enabled by this,” he says. It’s a group like Palmer: people who have a specific viewpoint, a built-in audience and an effective grasp on how to optimize their dynamic with fans. Still, even Palmer, who has “very warm feelings” about Patreon, recognizes that it can’t be trusted forever. “I’ve been ringing the warning bells for years about how dangerous it is to get into bed with a for profit company, and use them as the only avenue to reach your audience, right? Because it is dangerous, because at any moment, Facebook can take that away from you, at any moment, Patreon could sell up to Facebook and decide to change all of the rules of engagement. I really hope that doesn’t happen. But there are no guarantees in this dog eat dog tech world,” she says. “In order to protect myself, I always keep a lot of phone lines open with my community.” Annie Flanagan for TIMESavannah looks through photos with her assistant Cay. Healthy skepticism, and solidarity In her Instagram photos, Jahara Jayde doesn’t look real: technicolor eyes, luminous, airbrushed skin, ears elongated into elven tips. In her five-plus-hour Twitch streams every evening, though, she’s a bit more human, video chatting in real time with her thousand-plus viewers and slurping noodles from an unseen bowl as she plays Final Fantasy XIV through her dinnertime. When she streams, it’s just her and her subscribers. But she has discovered how vital it is to have a community of creators in this business, too. Twitch averages nearly 3 million concurrent viewers; in 2020, people watched nearly 20 billion hours of content on the site. By nature of its freewheeling live video DNA, it’s a place that is hard to regulate and populated by a wide array of characters. “I deal with racism on all of the platforms,” says Jahara, a 30-year-old BIPOC woman, citing in particular a recent influx of “hate raids” targeting BIPOC and LGBTQ+ creators on Twitch. Some creators even led a day-long streaming boycott to draw attention to the issue. Twitch has had to regulate the use of certain words and emotes (their version of custom emojis) in user chats in order to limit problematic language and content. Because of—and despite—that, Jahara has built a keenly supportive, tight-knit community that is expanding the definition of what it means to be a gamer or a creator, and who gets rewarded for the work. She’s a member of The Noir Network, a collective of Black femmes who work in content creation and help each other navigate the often-confusing Wild West of digital work, one that she is committed to continuing with. She loves the work, she just wants to make it better. Read More: The Metaverse Has Already Arrived. Here’s What That Actually Means Jahara didn’t mean to become a full-time gaming streamer when she first tried out Twitch in August 2020; she was already a business analyst with a side gig as a Japanese tutor, making use of her college degree. But soon she was gaining steam with eager subscribers: she got 300 in a month, more than enough to start monetizing her streams. “I was like, Oh, maybe I could be good at this,” she says over the phone from her home in Arizona. After just four months on Twitch, Jahara quit her day job. These days, thanks to Twitch’s subscription system, she brings in about $2,000 a month. With her tutoring clients, who she picked up because of her Twitch, she’s now matching her prior income. “And it’s awesome, because it’s doing the two things that I absolutely adore,” she says. “Ever since I was a little kid, my dad used to bring me into his room and talk to me about how I should work for myself, and the entrepreneurial spirit,” she says. She surprised herself by being able to take his advice. She has the freedom to be herself professionally, the flexibility to take care of her four-year-old daughter in the mornings before preschool, and the hope that her fiancé will eventually be able to leave his job as a manual laborer to support her online presence full time. (He already takes and edits all her photos, and does her marketing.) To her, it feels good to be a part of something. “I get a lot of messages, parents and teens and kids that tell me, like, ‘My daughter saw your photos, and her friends told her that she couldn’t copy that character because it’s not the same color as her, but now she’s excited to do it,” Jahara says. “People tell me that they feel more comfortable, they feel represented and they feel seen just by being able to see my face in the space. It wasn’t something that I expected when I set out for it. But it’s something that definitely keeps me going every day.” It’s networks like that one that have helped organize and provide a modicum of power to creators who are learning as they go. Longtime adult performer Alana Evans, 45, has an inside view of how this works; as president of the Adult Performance Artists Guild, she has helped hundreds of performers navigate issues with tech platforms including Instagram, Tiktok, and, of course, OnlyFans. “I was seeing hundreds of performers lose their pages, for very obscure reasons; you would be given an email that had vague reasons as to why maybe you were deleted, and they were absorbing all of their money,” she says. She and her organization have been able to help many rehabilitate their accounts. But these days she preaches the gospel of diversification, and of making sure that performers do their due diligence about who owns and profits from the platforms they share on. Beyond that, Evans has her sights set on the big picture: working through legal avenues to classify anti-sex-work restrictions, like those set by payment companies, as “occupational discrimination.” It’s only once they deal with the banking side of things, Evans explains, that online sex workers will be able to participate in the creator economy fully and safely. Read More: U.S. Workers Are Realizing It’s the Perfect Time to Go on Strike Creators in the music industry are trying to find power by banding together, too. By day, David Turner, 29, is a program manager at the music streaming service SoundCloud. By night, he publishes a weekly newsletter, called Penny Fractions, that goes into the nitty-gritty of the streaming industry; it’s been his pet project for over four years now. After publishing with Patreon for a few years, Turner realized only a small segment of the most popular creators were truly generating the income the platform touted. “They don’t care about me,” he says over the phone from Brooklyn. Now, Turner hosts his newsletter on an independent service and serves on the board of Ampled, a music services co-op whose tagline is “Own Your Creative Freedom.” Collectivization, as Turner sees it, is the safest way for this next generation to protect themselves from the predations of the market. Other decentralized social platforms like Mastodon and Diaspora, music streaming services like Corite and Resonate and sex-worker-backed sites like PocketStars have popped up to provide alternatives to the more mainstream options. Their selling point: bigger payouts to creators, and opportunities for creators to invest in the platforms themselves. But mass adoption has been slow. If the calling card of the independent platform is their bottom-up approach, that is also their limiting factor. By nature, they are scrappier, less funded and less likely to be able to reach the wide audiences that the top user-friendly sites have already monopolized. Annie Flanagan for TIMESavannah dresses up in Star Wars cosplay as Padmé. The future for creators When OnlyFans made its policy change in August, collectivization is what got sex workers through. Alana Evans helped lead the charge. To Evans, who has been in the industry for decades, it was just the latest iteration of exploitation from more powerful overlords. She saw her community speaking up against the change—particularly on Twitter, where sex workers and performers quickly renounced the policy and began proactively publicizing their accounts on other, friendlier platforms. To her surprise, their vocal opposition worked and OnlyFans moved quickly to find a solution. But Evans knows that this latest golden era of online work is already ending. “The writing is on the wall,” she says. Even successful creators like Savannah have begun actively promoting accounts on alternate platforms like PocketStars and Fansly. They know no solution, and no single site, will be forever. “The advice I’ve been given is to expect it all to crumble, and to have to rebuild again,” Savannah says. That advice isn’t specific to OnlyFans; it’s echoed by Amanda Palmer about Patreon, and Jahara about Twitch. As platforms inevitably seek a better bottom line, the creator workforce has no choice but to trust the tech companies will do right by them. In the meantime, they’re taking a note from the labor movement that has risen up in other industries this year: solidarity works......»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 1st, 2021

A day in the life of the cofounder of Grab, the ride-hailing giant that beat Uber in Southeast Asia and is eyeing a $40 billion listing in the US

Anthony Tan is famous for optimizing his schedule, such as by taking calls on the treadmill. He's been quoted saying he doesn't have time to watch movies. Anthony Tan started Grab in Malaysia in 2012. It now operates across Southeast Asia and is headquartered in Singapore.Edgar Su/REUTERS Anthony Tan is the cofounder of Grab, a ride-hailing company with 25 million monthly transaction users. Grab is based in Singapore, and it now offers a variety of services beyond car rides. Tan, a father of four, starts his day a 6 a.m. and has an early, hour-long dinner with his family every night. Anthony Tan cofounded Grab as a ride-hailing company in 2012.Edgar Su/REUTERSA Harvard graduate and the son of a Malaysian auto-conglomerate owner, Tan started Grab as an alternative to Malaysia's infamous public taxis, which were once ranked the worst cab service in the world. The ride-hailing app grew to rival Uber in Southeast Asia and eventually pushed it out of the region in 2018.Now headquartered in Singapore, Grab aims to be a super app that offers anything from insurance to grocery deliveries to courier services. Grab has almost 25 million monthly transaction users, the company said, and around 7,000 employees, based on figures it released.With Tan, 39, at the helm, Grab is also looking to go public in the US at a $40 billion valuation.The tech CEO is famous for optimizing his schedule for maximum efficiency, such as by taking calls on the treadmill, and has been quoted saying he doesn't have time to watch movies.Here's a look at how Tan gets it all done in a day.6 to 8 a.m: Tan starts his day early with some quiet time. He plays with his kids before heading to the gym for an hour-long workout.Anthony TanTan sticks to an early morning routine of stretching, reading the Bible, praying, and checking his emails from the night before.Then he spends some time playing and cuddling with his four kids. "They're still in the phase where their parents are superheroes, which I savor all I can," said Tan.At 7 a.m., he goes to the gym, sometimes with his wife, Chloe.8 to 9 a.m: Tan starts work at home with an oat milk manuka latte made by his wife.Anthony Tan"In the pre-COVID days, which feels like a distant memory now, I would be traveling every other day to a Southeast Asian country like Indonesia or Thailand," Tan said.He lives in Singapore, where pandemic restrictions are still gradually being eased. Staying home because of COVID-19 has given Tan more time to spend with his family, he said, but it also means his schedule is more crammed with Zoom meetings.Tan works at home from a standing desk is right next to his kids' playroom. It also faces his living room, where there's a mini kids' gym. His workspace placement is intentional because he wants to be able to see his children while he works. And he's got no qualms about his kids making noise during his meetings. "My colleagues are used to this," he said.9 to 10 a.m: Tan attends an online training session for his leadership team about experimentation at work.Anthony TanEveryone working at Grab, including the leadership team, commits time on their schedules to participate in workshops, Tan said. 11 a.m. to noon: Tan calls Grab's country operations and public affairs teams to discuss pandemic-related changes.An oxygen concentrator donation to Indonesia from Grab.Anthony TanTan and his team talk over Grab's operational changes as different countries in the region alter their individual movement restrictions amid the pandemic."We usually do these calls during our monthly business review meetings, but with the Delta variant of Covid, we've had to hold more regular calls for now as we respond to the growing number of cases across the region," said Tan.Noon to 1:30 p.m: Tan has lunch with Teng Wen Wee, the founder of Lo and Behold Group, a collection of restaurants that uses his company's food services.Jordan Lye/Getty ImagesTan has nasi lemak — rice that's cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves and is typically served with peanuts, sliced cucumbers, sambal chili, and other ingredients.He uses the lunch meeting to get feedback from Wee on Grab's food delivery service as their companies work through Singapore's social distancing measures. Singapore, a country of around 5.45 million people, on Monday raised the number of people allowed at social gatherings from two to five but many restaurants are still struggling.Tan likes taking work lunches, he said, whether with business partners or during one-on-ones with his staff, because there's "nothing like bonding over food."1:30 to 2:30 p.m: Tan hops on a call with a fellow Harvard Business School graduate, who works in a different industry and asked him for some advice.Grab"My journey has been paved by many leaders who I look up to who have provided me with great guidance over the years, and in turn, I believe in sharing knowledge to help others grow and succeed," Tan said.2:30 to 3:30 p.m: Tan has a Zoom meeting with board members of a consortium between Grab and a local telecom.GrabGrab has partnered with Singaporean telecom Singtel to develop a digital bank, and the board discussed plans to keep the project in line with government regulations, said Tan.On the call with him is Hsieh Fu Hua, the board director of GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund."Board meetings are not stuffy events, unlike what one might see on TV. There's usually good energy, and we cover a lot of territory in each session, such as strategy, governance, budgeting, talent, and marketing," Tan said.3:30 to 3:45 p.m: Tan orders a teatime snack between meetings and has a chat with the deliveryman.GrabTan snaps up some coffee and pastries for his break. He also ordered some rice with dishes for his family — from Grab, of course.He said he comes from a traditional Chinese family and likes "hot and hearty soups," but is trying out different types of cuisines.4 to 6 p.m: Tan wraps up his meetings and visits one of Grab's cloud kitchens — commercial kitchens for takeout or delivery services only.GrabGrab's cloud kitchen at Aljunied in eastern-central Singapore offers foods like beef bowls, Japanese maki, and the nasi lemak that Tan had earlier for lunch.Tan discusses several business ventures with his team, like a Food Priority Delivery service where users can pay extra to get their meals faster. If their food arrives late, they get a voucher. Tan said it's like a service guarantee for Grab's food delivery.6 to 7 p.m: Tan has a hard stop for meetings and calls at 6. He and his family set aside an hour to eat dinner together.Grab"It's a habit to eat early now, and my wife and I are known to always host the earliest dinners," Tan said.Then, Tan and his wife Chloe go through some pointers he learned from the leadership seminar earlier. Today, the takeaway points focused on the six fundamental motivations for people's behavior.  7 to 8:30 p.m: Tan gets his kids ready for bed and reads them a bedtime story, which he says is "a rare treat."Grab"No matter how intense the day has been, how many difficult decisions and conversations I've had that day, I just need to sit with the children for five minutes and listen to their hilarious stories to reset myself," Tan said.Life as a CEO has meant that Tan gets to spend less time with his family than he would like. A silver lining of the travel restrictions during the last two years is that he's been at home more, he said.8:30 to 11:30 p.m: Tan calls a few business partners in the US and clears his emails from a second work-from-home desk in his bedroom.GrabAfter dinner, Tan gets back to work and takes some calls with people from different time zones. One of those calls is with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who's a partner with Grab and an unofficial advisor to Tan and his company."I go through plans for the next couple of hours. The extra quiet allows me to focus and do some deep work," Tan said.11:30 p.m: Tan has an end-of-day stretch, reads a book, and then goes to bed.GrabHe's been reading "Principles" by Ray Dalio, which Tan said is one of his favorite recent reads."It's important to get culture right," Tan said. "Dalio talks about how we should create a culture where it's okay to make mistakes, but not okay not to learn from them."By now, the house is quiet. Tan spends a few minutes finishing up his book, and then retires for the night.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 24th, 2021

A day in the life of the cofounder of Grab, the ride-hailing giant that beat Uber in Southeast Asia and is eyeing a $40 billion IPO in the US

Anthony Tan is famous for optimizing his schedule, such as by taking calls on the treadmill. He's been quoted saying he doesn't have time to watch movies. Anthony Tan started Grab in Malaysia in 2012. It now operates across Southeast Asia and is headquartered in Singapore.Edgar Su/REUTERS Anthony Tan is the cofounder of Grab, a ride-hailing company with 25 million monthly users. Grab is based in Singapore, and it now offers a variety of services beyond car rides. Tan, a father of four, starts his day a 6 a.m. and has an early, hour-long dinner with his family every night. Anthony Tan cofounded Grab as a ride-hailing company in 2012.Edgar Su/REUTERSA Harvard graduate and the son of a Malaysian auto-conglomerate owner, Tan started Grab as an alternative to Malaysia's infamous public taxis, which were once ranked the worst cab service in the world. The ride-hailing app grew to rival Uber in Southeast Asia and eventually pushed it out of the region in 2018.Now headquartered in Singapore, Grab aims to be a super app that offers anything from insurance to grocery deliveries to courier services. Grab has almost 25 million monthly users, the company said, and around 7,000 employees, based on figures it released.With Tan, 39, at the helm, Grab is also looking to go public in the US at a $40 billion valuation.The tech CEO is famous for optimizing his schedule for maximum efficiency, such as by taking calls on the treadmill, and has been quoted saying he doesn't have time to watch movies.Here's a look at how Tan gets it all done in a day.6 to 8 a.m: Tan starts his day early with some quiet time. He plays with his kids before heading to the gym for an hour-long workout.Anthony TanTan sticks to an early morning routine of stretching, reading the Bible, praying, and checking his emails from the night before.Then he spends some time playing and cuddling with his four kids. "They're still in the phase where their parents are superheroes, which I savor all I can," said Tan.At 7 a.m., he goes to the gym, sometimes with his wife, Chloe.8 to 9 a.m: Tan starts work at home with an oat milk manuka latte made by his wife.Anthony Tan"In the pre-COVID days, which feels like a distant memory now, I would be traveling every other day to a Southeast Asian country like Indonesia or Thailand," Tan said.He lives in Singapore, where pandemic restrictions are still gradually being eased. Staying home because of COVID-19 has given Tan more time to spend with his family, he said, but it also means his schedule is more crammed with Zoom meetings.Tan works at home from a standing desk is right next to his kids' playroom. It also faces his living room, where there's a mini kids' gym. His workspace placement is intentional because he wants to be able to see his children while he works. And he's got no qualms about his kids making noise during his meetings. "My colleagues are used to this," he said.9 to 10 a.m: Tan attends an online training session for his leadership team about experimentation at work.Anthony TanEveryone working at Grab, including the leadership team, commits time on their schedules to participate in workshops, Tan said. 11 a.m. to noon: Tan calls Grab's country operations and public affairs teams to discuss pandemic-related changes.An oxygen concentrator donation to Indonesia from Grab.Anthony TanTan and his team talk over Grab's operational changes as different countries in the region alter their individual movement restrictions amid the pandemic."We usually do these calls during our monthly business review meetings, but with the Delta variant of Covid, we've had to hold more regular calls for now as we respond to the growing number of cases across the region," said Tan.Noon to 1:30 p.m: Tan has lunch with Teng Wen Wee, the founder of Lo and Behold Group, a collection of restaurants that uses his company's food services.Jordan Lye/Getty ImagesTan has nasi lemak — rice that's cooked with coconut milk and pandan leaves and is typically served with peanuts, sliced cucumbers, sambal chili, and other ingredients.He uses the lunch meeting to get feedback from Wee on Grab's food delivery service as their companies work through Singapore's social distancing measures. Singapore, a country of around 5.45 million people, on Monday raised the number of people allowed at social gatherings from two to five but many restaurants are still struggling.Tan likes taking work lunches, he said, whether with business partners or during one-on-ones with his staff, because there's "nothing like bonding over food."1:30 to 2:30 p.m: Tan hops on a call with a fellow Harvard Business School graduate, who works in a different industry and asked him for some advice.Grab"My journey has been paved by many leaders who I look up to who have provided me with great guidance over the years, and in turn, I believe in sharing knowledge to help others grow and succeed," Tan said.2:30 to 3:30 p.m: Tan has a Zoom meeting with board members of a consortium between Grab and a local telecom.GrabGrab has partnered with Singaporean telecom Singtel to develop a digital bank, and the board discussed plans to keep the project in line with government regulations, said Tan.On the call with him is Hsieh Fu Hua, the board director of GIC, Singapore's sovereign wealth fund."Board meetings are not stuffy events, unlike what one might see on TV. There's usually good energy, and we cover a lot of territory in each session, such as strategy, governance, budgeting, talent, and marketing," Tan said.3:30 to 3:45 p.m: Tan orders a teatime snack between meetings and has a chat with the deliveryman.GrabTan snaps up some coffee and pastries for his break. He also ordered some rice with dishes for his family — from Grab, of course.He said he comes from a traditional Chinese family and likes "hot and hearty soups," but is trying out different types of cuisines.4 to 6 p.m: Tan wraps up his meetings and visits one of Grab's cloud kitchens — commercial kitchens for takeout or delivery services only.GrabGrab's cloud kitchen at Aljunied in eastern-central Singapore offers foods like beef bowls, Japanese maki, and the nasi lemak that Tan had earlier for lunch.Tan discusses several business ventures with his team, like a Food Priority Delivery service where users can pay extra to get their meals faster. If their food arrives late, they get a voucher. Tan said it's like a service guarantee for Grab's food delivery.6 to 7 p.m: Tan has a hard stop for meetings and calls at 6. He and his family set aside an hour to eat dinner together.Grab"It's a habit to eat early now, and my wife and I are known to always host the earliest dinners," Tan said.Then, Tan and his wife Chloe go through some pointers he learned from the leadership seminar earlier. Today, the takeaway points focused on the six fundamental motivations for people's behavior.  7 to 8:30 p.m: Tan gets his kids ready for bed and reads them a bedtime story, which he says is "a rare treat."Grab"No matter how intense the day has been, how many difficult decisions and conversations I've had that day, I just need to sit with the children for five minutes and listen to their hilarious stories to reset myself," Tan said.Life as a CEO has meant that Tan gets to spend less time with his family than he would like. A silver lining of the travel restrictions during the last two years is that he's been at home more, he said.8:30 to 11:30 p.m: Tan calls a few business partners in the US and clears his emails from a second work-from-home desk in his bedroom.GrabAfter dinner, Tan gets back to work and takes some calls with people from different time zones. One of those calls is with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who's a partner with Grab and an unofficial advisor to Tan and his company."I go through plans for the next couple of hours. The extra quiet allows me to focus and do some deep work," Tan said.11:30 p.m: Tan has an end-of-day stretch, reads a book, and then goes to bed.GrabHe's been reading "Principles" by Ray Dalio, which Tan said is one of his favorite recent reads."It's important to get culture right," Tan said. "Dalio talks about how we should create a culture where it's okay to make mistakes, but not okay not to learn from them."By now, the house is quiet. Tan spends a few minutes finishing up his book, and then retires for the night.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 24th, 2021

Bitcoin: A Second Chance For The Muslim World?

Bitcoin: A Second Chance For The Muslim World? Authored by Asif Shiraz via BitcoinMagazine.com, Bitcoin is the sound money that the Muslim world needs to accelerate into the future... The Ottoman suppression of the printing press is a poster child case of intellectual stagnation in the Muslim world. Although there was no outright ban, there is no denying of a massively missed opportunity here: A civilization’s failure to adopt a groundbreaking technological change happening right next door. In its golden age, this same civilization that gave the world universities and hospitals, optics and algebra, even a precursor to the printing press itself, got so left behind in the later acceptance of technology, that its very own holy book, the Quran, waited for its first mass publication almost 300 years after Johannes Gutenberg chugged out the printed Bible. THE DECLINE But Islam’s Genesis Block was entirely different in character: A spirited but sundry assemblage of women and men whose most remarkable trait was their openness to new ideas. The idea of one God in a multitude of divine contenders. The idea of one bitcoin in a multitude of shitcoins … oops... sorry... mixing up my chronology! So anyway, this fraternity of early Islam, along with its keen aspiration of ushering in a just social and economic order, is also remarkable in a novel way for its time: It represents a death cross of reason’s moving average overtaking that of intuition in religious history. Bringing intellectual inquiry at par with mystical experience, it paved the way for its scions to delve into scientific skepticism, empiricism and experimental inquiry, with Robert Briffault going so far as to say that “Roger Bacon was no more than one of the apostles of Muslim science and method.” But eventually, the music stopped, and the market corrected! There are many explanations for the downfall, most of them partially true, spanning decades and centuries, but if we want to point fingers, as human nature dictates, at some symbolic event, then it must be the Mongol destruction of the House of Wisdom, #SackOfBaghdad. In the age of manuscripts, so many books from Baghdad’s libraries were flung into the Tigris that a horse could walk across on them and the river ran black with scholars’ ink and red with the blood of martyrs. As the Muslim Ummah lost so many intellectuals and intellectual capital in this tumultuous period, its reaction has been, (understandably), like that of an intern finding herself in control of mission critical servers, where all the senior sys admins suddenly stepped down, died or disappeared. Your best reaction is this: I’m not touching this system, and the only commands I’ll ever execute are those handed down by the four illustrious system admins — founders of the established schools of jurisprudence. And so Islamic scholarship for hundreds of years has been in a maintenance mode. In Pakistan alone, over 12,000 Madrasa routinely teach the rules and regulations of exchanging gold and silver, centuries after its daily use has been replaced by fiat. SURVIVAL OF CORE TENETS But herein lies a wonderful irony. This code-freeze on innovation, which we otherwise disapprove of, did work to an extent as it was intended: It protected the core principles from being callously compromised or deliberately diluted in the hands of opportunists. Just like the extra caution and consensus in changing the U.S. constitution protected the principles of freedom and equality enshrined in it: Islamic law, too, enshrined core financial principles, that have been a thorn on the side of would-be reformers attempting to legalize fiat and modern banking in the name of Islamic Finance. The 12,000 semi-literate Madrasa students, parroting the provisions of the fair exchange of gold and silver from a 17th century syllabus citing a 9th century scholar, unwittingly become more correct than a Harvard doctorate in finance indoctrinated in the misguided larceny of fiat money! All because Muhammad ﷺ mandated sound money, just like Mises and Hayek after him, a tenet immutably crystallized in Fiqh — Islamic Jurisprudence. A business man himself, the Prophet of Islam possessed a sharp acumen for economics and finance. In modern parlance, he quickly rose the corporate ladder to become one of the youngest CEOs of his time tasked with turning around the failing business empire of the urbane female entrepreneur, Khadija. Impressed with the Prophet’s personality, Khadija quickly proposed to him, creating a power couple that changed the course of history. Just like Jesus turned out the money-lenders from the Second Temple, the Prophet of Islam, too, had a disdain for usury and outlawed most of the accompanying capitalist machinations, that contribute to the gross wealth disparities like 10% owning 76% of the assets. So he created some fundamental rules that constitute the bedrock of Islamic financial principles: Forbade usury (Riba), including interest. Still respecting the time value of money, the prohibition’s intent is to create a financial regime where profit and risk is shared between the entrepreneur and the investor. From a sound money perspective, it prohibits the core operation of issuing interest bearing bonds and T-Bills against which the central bank can inflate the money supply. Forbade uncertainty (Gharar), embodied in his famous quote, “Do not sell a fish which is still in the water.” Eliminates the possibility of fractional reserve, since outstanding debt cannot be monetized and traded further with, unless it’s paid. It also closes the tap on a myriad of derivative instruments that further inflate the money supply. Forbade speculation (Maisir), which includes outright gambling. Some scholars consider speculative market activity, like the Dogecoin phenomena, under the ambit of this ruling. Mandated sound money. The rules of obligatory charity tax in Islam are denominated in sound money. Muslim governments take the market price of gold, convert them to fiat prices, and announce the converted value to the public to pay the religious obligation of Zakat. But from a legal standpoint, it permanently establishes gold and silver (as well as a whole class of other products) as perpetual, religiously recognized money in Islam. These prohibitions are strong enough in Islamic theology that anyone who violates them is technically, “at war with Allah and his Prophet.” Which is why the Madrasa’s syllabus clings to “nature’s money” (Thaman-e-Khalqi): gold and silver. But of course, big governments, Muslim or otherwise, are a chip off the same block: Self-interest reigns supreme over ethical principles. In Pakistan alone, the religious case against fiat banking has been delayed and obstructed for over 40 years in the courts. The politics of deficit financing are so attractive that no one wants to surrender this magical money making wand. Voldemorts, all of them! In spite of these prohibitions, and in countries where religion dominates social values, Muslims still grew comfortable with paper money because it initially disguised itself as “warehouse receipts for gold” which duped the scholars into permitting it, but the jurisprudence failed to catch up with the subsequent thinning of this asset backing into its current meaningless extent. REFORM ATTEMPTS As the domino roll of national independences took place, four different threads of activity around banking spread in Muslim countries. First, the mainstream implementation of modern banking took root in every Muslim State, implemented in toto like its Western counterparts. Second, Islamic banking attempted to reshape things a little. Scholars familiar with both economics and Shariah attempted to “Islamize” banking via the new academic discipline of “Islamic finance.” But instead of faithfully creating platforms for risk-sharing and equity-based financing, it just followed the Medieval Triple Contract–like approach to practically clone existing financial products, accompanied by a plethora of research papers to justify it. Like a comedic quote from the cold war era, “Communism is the longest and most painful road from capitalism to capitalism,” contemporary Islamic finance, too, turned out to become the most painful and circuitous route from traditional banking to traditional banking, decorated with Arabic names! How the professional bankers duped these scholars and hijacked this effort is excellently explained by Harris Irfan in a podcast with our own Saifedean Ammous. Third, a large but silent majority of toothless Islamic scholars continues to exist who view all forms of banking with suspicion, but the growing chasm of knowledge gap between their education and the complexities of modern finance makes them unable to take back the narrative. Lastly, a much smaller band of Islamic scholars exist, like followers of the Sufi order of a British convert and his Basque disciple, as well as a scholar from Trinidad, who successfully identified the fundamental problem with modern banking from a Shariah perspective: its monetary foundation. You cannot “Islamize” a bank if you do not fix the money it operates on! Hence, their attempt to resuscitate the traditional Islamic gold dinar as a sound money alternative to fiat. GOLD DINAR: THE REAL ISLAMIC ALTERNATIVE Fiat money and its permissibility can be viewed through an important concept in Islamic theology, the Maqasid-e-Shariah: the goals or purpose of Shariah law. To illustrate this with a controversial example, consider a Shariah law which says you cannot punish a man or woman for adultery, unless you bring four eye witnesses to the sexual act (which is normally impossible). While Islam abhors adultery, the Maqasid is an attempt by scholars to understand why, instead of having a law that easily and swiftly punishes it, there exists one that makes it practically impossible to prosecute. They rationalized that it must be to shield people’s privacy and one-off slipups from society's nosy interference and appetite for punishment. According to Muhammad Asad, “… to make proof of adultery dependent on a voluntary, faith-inspired confession of the guilty parties themselves.” So the Maqasid points to some socially valuable goal that the law intends to achieve. The rationale of the financial laws of Shariah are similarly explained in terms of their goals: a just distribution of wealth, a money free from devaluation, a business contract free from usurious exploitation, and a regulatory regime that increases people’s wealth and well-being. Through a very elementary intuition, it is obvious that fiat currencies violate this principle of honesty and justice in the society: Money issuers steal the purchasing power of the people and devalue their money. To put a formal Quranic stamp to this reasoning, we can take verse 3:75, “There are some among the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) who, if entrusted with a stack of gold, will readily return it.” The modern Islamic bank, if entrusted with money equivalent to a stack of gold, returns you only 90% of its worth in purchasing power, owing to inflationary erosion, thus it’s part of a system that clearly violates the Maqasid. Islamic banks have thus thoroughly failed to espouse the core principle of risk sharing and eliminating interest (since interest exists in the very issuance process of the money they are built on). The only real Islamic alternative ever proposed was the Gold Dinar Movement. Starting in parallel (and in many respects earlier) than Islamic banking, (with the first modern Dinar minted in 1992), it was incisively accurate in its assessment and proposed remedy to the money problem: “The Return to the Gold Dinar.” This was an earlier time, when the golden tool in the fight against fiat was literally gold, which was then popularized by Austrian economics, advocated by upright leaders like Ron Paul, and adopted by grassroots activists like Bernard von NotHaus. The Muslim world saw its own spate of activism for sound money, led by its most vocal proponent, Umar Vadillo, and associated initiatives like Wakala Nusantara, Dinar First and my own Dinar Wakala. The Kelantan State government’s launch of Gold Dinar was our own El Zonte moment, full of euphoria and promise that made waves globally. The passion and courage of this vibrant lot of Warrior Sufis represented the best of modern-day Muslims: Profoundly knowledgeable people, engaged in grassroots activism, to fix the most pressing challenges of the contemporary world. However, the primary strength of gold, its physical indestructibility, came in the way of its adoption: Logistic and regulatory hindrances prevented free flow of physical gold coins across national boundaries. In the words of its founder, Shaykh Abdalqadir, “The defense mechanisms of today’s late capitalism and its crisis management surrounding the buying, moving and minting of gold have surrounded it with prohibitive pricing and taxation.” It continues to serve as a galvanizing symbol of the fight against Riba, but making it a practical inflationary hedge, or a broader Ummah-level movement for sound money, proved an elusive goal. Without the Gold Dinar, the horizon seemed all but bleak, except that a glimmer of hope came from the most unexpected of places: Where scholars, economists and revolutionaries had failed, nerds succeeded! Enter Emir Satoshi! ADVENT OF BITCOIN For us in the Gold Dinar Movement, Bitcoiners are our brothers in arms: fighting the same enemy, securing the same goal. This is what I have always advocated to my fellow activists in the dinar movement, from as far back as 2012. Our Prophetﷺ, as well as the Rashidun Caliphs, never debased money, nor profited from seigniorage, but gave us the right to choose our own mediums of exchange. This is fundamentally antithetical to the monstrosity of legal tender laws, which Islamic scholars have been duped into legitimizing under various pretexts (highlighting the need for increased financial literacy in this lot). This freedom to choose a currency constitutes the common ground that both us and the Bitcoiners can rally around together. “The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust,” writes Satoshi. He recognized the problem with fiat and set out to fix it with Bitcoin, a miraculous epiphany that has let loose this growing, global band of fervid, somewhat bumptious Maximalists, as similar in essence and ethos to us, as they look different in appearance. I see Bitcoiners, not only in their pluck and guile, but also in the sly ingenuity of their weapon of choice, as nothing less than a modern-day David taking on the Goliath of traditional banking! From a Muslim perspective, the operating verse of the Quran in critique of the Bitcoin movement becomes 49:13, “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Aware.” In the realm of monetary matters, the most righteous and noble are those who support sound money. It is appropriate that Allah stresses his own divine attributes in the verse, as a warning that our religiously colored conception of righteousness may not necessarily be the same as that of the knowing, the aware. (The literal term Taqwa, means something that protects you from the wrath of God.) And to the best of my belief, protecting and uplifting the poor, the downtrodden from the entrapments of a prejudiced financial system is surely a winner with the God of Abraham! A SECOND CHANCE We Muslims had set out to establish a just and fair society, and for some time, to quote David Graeber, succeeded: “Once freed from its ancient scourges of debt and slavery, the local bazaar had become, for most, not a place of moral danger, but the very opposite: the highest expression of the human freedom and communal solidarity, and thus to be protected assiduously from state intrusion.” But gradually, as our political and intellectual leadership in the world waned, we now find ourselves economically bankrupt, submerged in a rigged financial system, and enslaved to the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A major reason for this impoverishment was the widening gap of modern knowledge. The following vicious cycle of three circularly dependent factors is another way of modeling our current reality: Low capital allocation for education. A generally weak economy leaves little allocation for investment in education of both scientific and humanities disciplines, which is required for a productive human capital. Low human capital. The first factor results in low quality of education in the populace then manifests politically in bad national decisions, engagement in conflicts, economic mismanagement, acquisition of debt and failure to curb corruption. Economically, this unskilled workforce has low productivity, scarce entrepreneurship and ineffective technology adoption. Religiously, it permits violence and extremism to breed along sectarian fault lines. Low economic output. The second factor results in continued economic tribulations, since the whole society is now in KTLO mode, instead of “adding new features.” Which leads us again to item one. It is the standard cycle of poverty played out at a macro scale, which many competing power bases believe they can break. The military, the Mullahs, and the Liberals, far away, even the CIA has prescriptions on how to solve our problems. But such temporary political and economic interventions bear no lasting results, since nations are built by worthy men and women, over a span of many years, who, given a free and peaceful environment, fall back on their innate drive for excellence to create a better world. It is the job of the revolutionary and his meteoric jolt, or at a smaller scale, your social entrepreneur giving a small push, that breaks a segment of society free from this vicious cycle: A closed ecosystem of wealth circulation, comprising of learned individuals, equipped with better technology and empowered with more capital, shielded from outside influence, and stabilized by a fair social contract, to launch the virtuous symbiosis of economic prosperity and human development which prop each other to newer heights. This break can start in many ways: a national independence, some strong leadership, or in case of Islam, the founding of a new religion. Islam’s own trajectory gives us a generalized three-stage pattern on which any revolution can be modeled, an excellent blueprint for our bitcoin adoption. Education: A new world view is conceived, and people are educated toward it for voluntarily placing their faith on it — Iman. Separation: The model is physically deployed, separated from existing systems, so it can grow and thrive without any negative external influences — Hijra. Protection: When the model grows strong enough to threaten the status quo, but still weak enough to be fully destructible, it needs protection, usually requiring armed conflict — Jihad. We in the Gold Dinar Movement believed that the break in this vicious cycle will come from financial empowerment: When Muslim people and governments adopt sound money, free from the shackles of the IMF, it will allow our bankrupt economies to manage enough disposable income that can be invested in other avenues in society, putting us on a path to progress and human development. Gold would bring back the Golden Age, producing men and women who are worth their weight in gold! But it could not. Let me explain why, and how bitcoin makes it possible. BITCOIN: A TOOL FOR REVOLUTION Following our three-stage model of a revolution, let’s review how bitcoin resolves the challenges of each step. 1. Education The common man, humble about his knowledge of finance, expects, like John Galbraith remarked, a “deeper mystery to the process of money creation.” But which really is so simple, he goes on, that “the mind is repelled.” But the chasm in traditional and modern education keeps our scholars from being able to religiously evaluate the fiat system, for which they need three vital credentials: a traditional Mufti qualification, specialized research in the Fiqh of Muamalat, and a study of modern economics. Only a handful achieve this, like the globally revered Usmani, who become thought leaders in Islamic finance: The rest take the easy way out and follow what they posit. I once asked a certified Shariah advisor on LinkedIn, if he knew what fractional reserve banking meant. I expected some abstruse, rule-bending justification for it but was taken aback by his honest admission that he simply didn’t know what it was! So the first challenge was to educate both the people and the scholars about the fiat system. Then to enlist serious academic and industry practitioners to devise a working alternative based on gold and silver. Then to have its demand trickle down into the masses to eventually morph into enough political pressure for the government to adopt it, much to its own detriment. Highly unlikely. Except that with bitcoin, educating the people now becomes much more focused and result oriented. The wider goal of educating people about finance and economics remains indispensable in both gold and Bitcoin-based sound money solutions. But with bitcoin, we don’t have to wait for a third-world academia and archaic-minded scholars to sell the solution to an unwilling government: We take the narrative, and the prerogative of action, back from them. We go tactical, orange pill the masses with an Urdu translation of the bitcoin standard, and focus on what is minimally essential to achieve within our means: Teaching Muggles... sorry…. No-coiners, the very basics of money mechanics, the role of bitcoin in our strategic response, and the know-how to stack satoshis in a cold wallet! The rest will follow! Coming to think of it, my initial printing press analogy is poignantly relevant. The press encapsulated years of knowledge in a simple package easily disseminated to thousands, which could have overcome our knowledge gap had we adopted it earlier. Bitcoin, too, encapsulates the quintessential wisdom of centuries of humanity’s experience in what constitutes good money and allows it to be spread easily across the world. It is both knowledge, and a tool crafted out of that knowledge. If we miss the boat on it, we will not only lose to “usury capitalism,” but the Bitcoin movement, too, will be deprived of huge potential support from a quarter of the world population. We must join the rest of humanity in a last ditch attempt at wealth equality. 2. Separation After educating people about money mechanics and bitcoin, the second step is the Hejira, our separation from the existing system. An Islamic scholar, Abdassamad Clarke defined “usury capital,” as “the use of capital that is both generated by usury and operated according to usurious principles, which permits a tiny clique of individuals, by the principle of fiat money amplified by leverage, to wield extraordinary power and accumulate unheard of wealth in such a manner as to subject the rest of humanity as menial servants in their project of self-enrichment, whether in the tyrannies of the East or the so-called free-market capitalism of the West.” The fundamental philosophical difference between Islamic and Western economics is how we view interest. Islam holds firm to the classical Judeo-Christian prohibition, believing that the time value of money is more fairly accounted for in equity finance style risk sharing of the invested capital, instead of a guaranteed return favoring the capitalist. Among other things, its side effect is prohibiting both the monetizing of our “future income” to issue fiat, and prohibiting the money-multiplier effect of fractional reserve, through the rulings of Riba, Bai-al-Dain and Bai-al-Madum. Bitcoiners and libertarians rely on an entirely different philosophical foundation to reach partially the same conclusion in regards to fiat, that it’s perverse, unjust and socially destructive. The end goal for both is the same: To separate ourselves from the fiat system and carve out an entirely new, independent financial system: The original idea of decentralized finance (DeFi)! Unfortunately, the bubble effect we so dislike in TradFi — traditional finance — is now itself widespread in the non-Bitcoin crypto world, what Ellen Farrington cites as the immense amount of “rehypothecation, leverage, and securitization,” which if misused can cause systemic risks that affect everyone. The practical reality of contemporary DeFi in the non-Bitcoin world is quite far from its theoretical goal. Looking at this aspect of “crypto,” some Islamic scholars took the liberty of invoking the gambling prohibition clause, something whose motivation we can sympathize with, even though we disagree with the conclusion. A lack of regulation at the administrative level cannot be countered by religious pronunciation of Haram status. It’s kind of like declaring cars as Islamically forbidden, merely because some people are driving them too fast and killing others. But presently, we are far less interested in how scholars view “crypto” than we are regarding bitcoin. The DeFi world’s shiny new investments offering unsustainable returns, its shady ICOs and the casino-like frenzy and get-rich-quick dreams of novice retail investors are far removed from what we advocate, from what we are daring to call a second chance for the Muslim world: A Bitcoin-based sound money adoption as a medium of exchange and store of value! But what is nevertheless commendable in the crypto world (led, of course, by Bitcoin) is the attempt to create this entirely new, independent miniverse of alternative, decentralized finance, isolated from the existing system. Building and expanding this decentralization, based on Bitcoin, is the essence of the second step of our revolutionary blueprint: the Hejira. Migrating from the old to the new. As Iqbal would have said, “Blow away this transitory world, and build a new one from its ashes” — khakastar se aap apna jahan paida karay. The only serious prior attempt for sound money among Muslims was the Dinar movement. But it only works in a physical jurisdiction: Where to mint, where to store, how to transport, how to coordinate electronic payments, how to deal with banking regulations, taxes and government interference? Theoretically, it was possible to instantiate an entirely independent ecosystem of issuance, storage, transport and trade using gold, but real progress on it was very slow. At the same time, the Bitcoin ecosystem has matured so much to be classifiable as an independent and isolated system, free from all interference from legacy finance. The Core Bitcoin Timechain, Lightning and Layer 2 smart contract solutions, and the globally distributed miner, node operator and supporter community, all combine to form a platform on which we can build and experiment with truly Islamic financial contracts of the form that are not possible with TradFi. In this ecosystem, we can resuscitate Islamic social and financial institutions like the Bait-ul-Maal, the Suq, the Waqf, the Guilds, the Hawala, the Wahdiya, the Qirad and the Musharaka, free from the restrictions of any government, securities commission or central bank. 3. Protection And once this isolated system is deployed, we need to protect it. A story is told in Islamic lore, that when Abu Dharr Ghifari came looking to meet the Prophet, Ali told him to walk a few paces behind him, and if he senses anyone suspicious he will stoop down to tie his shoelaces and Abu Dharr should continue walking ahead. Kind of like a coinjoin to obfuscate where he was actually going. When you are small, you must remain in stealth mode and operate under the radar. Later on, when the small state of early Islam was established in a nearby city, it needed a number of armed conflicts to defend itself from being nipped in the bud! Deploying a sound money system, too, may need a precarious window in which the sapling would need fierce protection before it grows into a tree. The hellacious powers issuing the yuans and dollars of the world are way too formidable for any third-world nation state to get away with a head-on collision. In fact, we cannot even withstand assaults from individual speculators, let alone a concerted effort by the global financial cabal to preserve its status quo. El Salvador and the like are definitely interesting trailblazers to watch out for here, but it is too early to tell. If a sufficient number of first-world citizens band together to defy their government in adoption of sound money, the response of fiat-powered regimes would (probably) be much more restrained in handling them versus some rogue state from a third-world country attempting to defy the dominant currency. I was told by a prominent Islamic banker that when Mahatir toyed with the idea, he was sent a very stern signal to “cease and desist” by the powers that be! So, can a Muslim government adopt and get away with either the dinar or bitcoin? I believe only in the latter. Only bitcoin has the necessary technological edge in terms of its unstoppability and indestructibility that can substitute for the need of a national military power strong enough to protect a traditional sound money built on gold. THE ISLAMIC STATE VERSUS BITCOIN But many Islamic revivalists believe otherwise and their goal is usually larger in scope than financial reform alone. It is a more holistic quest to resuscitate the political, social and legal structures of precolonial Islamic governments. Encouraged by the spectacular rise of early Islam that dared challenge superior powers like Byzantine and Sassanids, they believe it possible to recreate the traditional theocracy along similar lines, one of whose side effects would be to eradicate fiat currency also. Such ambitious projects downplay the urgency of fixing our financial system: No need to separately struggle for it if it comes as a natural corollary to the larger political renaissance. Now the specter of such pan-Islamic revival has been thoroughly demonized in Western imagination, owing from our own side to violent extremism, owing from their side to a deep-rooted Islamophobia, and owing generally to ideas (or realities?) like the clash of civilizations. But my Bitcoiner friends — whose libertarian ethos is so refined to even self-censure the slightist hint of authoritarian enforcement in El Salvador’s legal tender adoption of bitcoin — will surely agree that it is entirely within the rights of the Muslim world to voluntarily experiment, on their land, with whatever form of government they fancy: caliphates, sultanates or kingdoms! But the reality of this dream in the minds of the majority of modern Muslims is quite different from what the world perceives. The moderate Muslim just wants Islamic principles to be the guiding source of their political and social order. But the strength of this desire is often encashed by opportunists, resulting in two recent distorted models of political Islam: 1.The Iranian model: Somewhat broad-based and sustainable but toothless and symbolic. They are the political twins of Islamic banks, offering no real change to the common man, except moral policing. Financially, there even exists the oxymoronic Central Bank of the Islamic Republic. Why would you have an Islamic bank if you were truly an Islamic republic? 2. Second, is the Taliban and ISIS model: Narrow-based, extremist and unsustainable, divorced from the comity of nations. ISIS did reportedly issue the Gold Dinar but to no one’s avail, except perhaps as a recruitment propaganda. News out of Kabul promises a more restrained and balanced government this time around, but is it a genuine change of heart or just political expediency? So, while the Muslim world waits for a true Islamic reformation, and the world holds its breath on how the next such attempt turns out, my issue with this ubiquitous political quest in the Muslim imagination is just NGMI — it’s not gonna make it! We can’t stall the effort of immediate financial reform on some future promise of a bigger change happening to facilitate it. As an Urdu saying goes, na nau munn tayl hoe ga, na Radha naachay gi: Neither shall the king be able to provision nine gallons of lamp oil, and nor will the stage ever be lit enough for his dancing girl, Radha, to perform! Nevertheless, assuming for a moment that a mature, viable, modern Islamic government does get established by some geopolitical miracle, faithful to Islam’s core tenets, and broad-based in popular support, the next and more pertinent question becomes: Will it have sufficient political, and if necessary, military power, to deploy a gold-based sound monetary system in their country, and then get away with the sanctions and isolation that follow? And this is where bitcoin, once again, outshines other alternatives. The one trait that sets it apart from all “crypto”, and indeed, all monies in human history: true, sovereign-grade censorship resistance, from both your own government and foreign powers. Without needing any battalions or bombs, bitcoin enables us to fight the good fight ourselves and win. And if the broader Islamic reformation materializes, bitcoin can support it, too, for bypassing potential sanctions and increasing national wealth! God has a knack for defeating evil by the simplest of designs — the mighty Goliath with a slingshot, the persecutors of the Prophet with a humble spider — as if to compound the humiliation of defeat by the plainness of its bearer. Who could have thought that the Kremlins, Zhongnanhais and White Houses of the world would be made helpless by the confluence of two elementary ideas: proof of work and difficulty adjustment! But this simple, easily overlooked and less understood killer combination of traits makes bitcoin an undefeatable tool in the hands of us, the 99%. We do not need to wait for anyone. We can do it ourselves with bitcoin. THE WAY FORWARD While the wallet addresses, exchange accounts, market cap, and of course, the hype around crypto is constantly rising in Muslim countries, much of this activity is from the perspective of a shiny new investment vehicle, a get-rich-quick bandwagon to which everyone wants to hitch! This has engendered the animated debate of investor protection, scam avoidance and the whole academic deliberation of whether they are at all Halal owing to a perceived lack of intrinsic value and being free from government control. While all of these objections on bitcoin from the Shariah perspective have been thoroughly refuted by various scholars and are easily searchable on the internet, the continuance of this superfluous debate is dangerously distracting: In the process, we are losing sight of the higher frequencies of this amazing once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. Aye ahle-e-nazar zauq-e-nazar khoob hai laikinJoe shay ki haqeeqat koe na dekhay woe nazar kiya We need bitcoin, not because it’s a great investment (which incidentally it is), but because it’s a great store of value and a medium of exchange: A free medium of exchange, which can uplift us collectively if we just adopt it, en masse, as our money. To my fellow Muslims, here is a parting thought. We love and honor our Prophet to such an extent that even the minutest of his actions, Sunnahs, is recorded, revered and repeated, even if it be as simple as the table manners of cutting some fruit. But here is another Sunnah of bigger import: success. The change that he set out to achieve in the world, he did achieve it. As he breathed his last in the arms of Ayesha, he had already delivered on the promise he had made to his companions in the lowest ebb of their persecution: “... a traveler from Sana to Hadrarmaut will fear none but Allah.” Although bordering a little on logical fallacy, I would point out that he didn’t cite something more symbolic like the establishment of the Caliphate, or the conquests, or the subsequent power. He chose to cite, as evidence of success to what they were suffering for, the establishment of a certain social order: One in which an anonymous citizen would not fear physical or financial insecurity. I say anonymous, not a private citizen, because the choice of the word “traveler” is very telling. While you are known in your city, protected by your identity, and potential clout from a corporation or clan, it is suddenly removed when you are in a strange land. They do not even know your name, unless you tell them: You are just a wallet address. But this traveler is not afraid of loss of wealth, or being robbed, or not having the right passport, or the right vaccine passport! He can move himself, and he can move his money. We Dinarists and Bitcoiners always equate inflation with theft. Whether you snatch 50 rupees from a poor man, or the free fall of your currency leaves him with 50 rupees less of a purchasing power, it is the same. While every ill is not caused by our monetary system, there is the obvious administrative incompetence and a dismal economic performance to account for — but inflation is definitely a huge factor. And all our high talk, slogans, research papers, reform movements, activism and militarism have deviated from this one Sunnah: The success of delivering safety to this traveler again. Bitcoin can help us succeed. Like now! Not 20 years later. Not when some promised leader will part the seas for us again. But now, when the poor illiterate, helpless man on the street looks at us educated and privileged elites and asks: What did you do to level the playing field for me? The Islamic banker may say, “Oh, I developed this intricate Shariah compliant profit and loss sharing contract for you, approved by the council of scholars, and backed by the gold dinar, just wait for it to be deployed.” I will say, “Dude, here, let me help you buy a few satoshis and get you a Lightning wallet so you don’t have to revert back to the rupee when paying for your next meal!” I think you should do the same. Bitcoin deserves a fresh look from us Muslims. Let’s think about it. Let’s use it correctly. Let’s spread it. Let’s understand it. Let’s use Bitcoin. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/30/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 30th, 2021

Transcript: Soraya Darabi

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Soraya Darabi, TMV, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: Soraya Darabi appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Soraya Darabi, TMV, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Her name is Soraya Darabi. She is a venture capital and impact investor who has an absolutely fascinating background working for, first with the New York Times Social Media Group then with a startup that eventually gets purchased by OpenTable, and then becoming a venture investor that focuses on women and people of color-led startups which is not merely a way to, quote-unquote, “do good” but it’s a broad area that is wildly underserved by the venture community and therefore is very inefficient. Meaning, there’s a lot of upside in this. You can both do well and do good by investing in these areas. I found this to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also, if you’re at all interested in entrepreneurship, social media startups, deal flow, how funds identify who they want to invest in, what it’s like to actually experience an exit as an entrepreneur, I think you’ll find this to be quite fascinating. So with no further ado, my conversation with TMV’s Soraya Darabi. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. My special guest this week is Soraya Darabi. She is the Co-Founder and General Partner of TMV, a venture capital firm that has had a number of that exits despite being relatively young, 65 percent of TMV’s startups are led by women or people of color. Previously, she was the cofounder of Foodspotting, an app named App of the Year by Apple and Wire that was eventually purchased by OpenTable. Soraya Darabi, welcome to Bloomberg. SORAYA DARABI; GENERAL PARTNER & FOUNDER; TMV: My goodness, Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: I’ve been looking forward to this conversation since our previous discussion. We were on a Zoom call with a number of people discussing blockchain and crypto when it was really quite fascinating and I thought you had such an unusual and interesting background, I thought you would make a perfect guest for the show. Let’s start with your Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at the “New York Times” when social media was really just ramping up. Tell us about what that was like. Tell us what you did in the late aughts at The Times. DARABI: Absolutely. I was fresh faced out of a university. I had recently graduated with mostly a journalism concentration from Georgetown and did a small stint in Condé Nast right around the time they acquired Reddit for what will soon be nothing because Reddit’s expecting to IPO at around 15 billion. And that experience at Reddit really offered me a deep understanding of convergence, what was happening to digital media properties as they partnered for the first time when nascent but scaling social media platforms. And so the “New York Times” generously offered me a role that was originally called manager of buzz marketing. I think that’s what they called social media in 2006 and then that eventually evolved into manager of digital partnerships and social media which, in essence, meant that we were aiming to be the first media property in the world to partner with companies that are household names today but back in the they were fairly unbalanced to Facebook and Twitters, of course, but also platforms that really took off for a while and then plateaued potentially. The Tumblers of the world. And it was responsibility to understand how we could effectively generate an understanding of the burgeoning demographics of this platform and how we could potentially bring income into The Times for working with them, but more importantly have a journalist that could authentically represent themselves on new media. And so, that was a really wonderful role to have directly out of University and then introduce me to folks with whom I still work today. DARABI: That’s quite interesting. So when you’re looking at a lot of these companies, you mentioned Facebook and Twitter and Tumbler, how do you know if something’s going to be a Facebook or a MySpace, so Twitter or a Tumbler, what’s going to survive or not, when you’re cutting deals with these companies on behalf of The Times, are you thinking in terms of hey, who’s going to stick around, wasn’t that much earlier that the dot-com implosion took place prior to you starting with The Times? DARABI: It’s true, although I don’t remember the dot-com implosion. So, maybe that naivete helped because all I had was enthusiasm, unbridled enthusiasm for these new companies and I operated then and now still with a beta approach to business. Testing out new platforms and trying to track the data, what’s scaling, what velocity is this platform scaling and can we hitch a ride on the rochet ship if they will so allow. But a lot of our partnerships then and now, as an investor, are predicated upon relationships. And so, as most, I think terrific investors that I listen to, who I listen to in your show, at least, will talk to you about the importance of believing and the founder and the founder’s vision and that was the case back then and remains the case today. RITHOLTZ: So, when you were at The Times, your tenure there very much overlapped the great financial crisis. You’re looking at social media, how did that manifest the world of social media when it looked like the world of finance was imploding at that time? DARABI: Well, it was a very interesting time. I remember having, quite literally, 30-second meetings with Sorkin as he would run upstairs to my floor, in the eighth floor, to talk about a deal book app that we wanted to launch and then he’d ran back down to his desk to do much more important work, I think, and — between the financial crisis to the world. So, 30-second meetings aside, it was considered to be, in some ways, a great awakening for the Web 2.0 era as the economy was bottoming out, like a recession, it also offered a really interesting opportunity for entrepreneurs, many of whom had just been laid off or we’re looking at this as a sizeable moment to begin to work on a side hustle or a life pursuit. And so, there’s — it’s unsettling, of course, any recession or any great awakening, but lemonade-lemons, when the opening door closing, there was a — there was a true opportunity as well for social media founders, founders focusing on convergence in any industry, really, many of which are predicated in New York. But again, tinkering on an idea that could ultimately become quite powerful because if you’re in the earliest stage of the riskiest asset class, big venture, there’s always going to be seed funding for a great founder with a great idea. And so, I think some of the smartest people I’d ever met in my life, I met at the onset of the aftermath of that particular era in time. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned side hustle. Let’s talk a little bit about Foodspotting which is described as a visual geolocal guide to dishes instead of restaurants which sounds appealing to me. And it was named App of the Year by both Apple and Wired. How do you go from working at a giant organization like The Times to a startup with you and a cofounder and a handful of other coders working with you? DARABI: Well, five to six nights a week after my day job at the “New York Times,” I would go to networking events with technologists and entrepreneurs after hours. I saw that a priority to be able to partner from the earliest infancy with interesting companies for that media entity. I need to at least know who these founders were in New York and Silicon Valley. And so, without a true agenda other than keen curiosity to learn what this business were all about, I would go to New York tech meetup which Scott Heiferman of meetup.com who’s now in charge LP in my fund would create. And back then, the New York Tech Meetup was fewer than 40 people. I believe it’s been the tens of thousands now. RITHOLTZ: Wow, that’s … DARABI: In New York City alone. And so, it was there that I met some really brilliant people. And in particular, a gentleman my age who’s building a cloud-computing company that was essentially arbitraging AWS to repopulate consumer-facing cloud data services for enterprises, B2B2C play. And we all thought it would be Dropbox. The company ultimately wasn’t, but I will tell you the people with whom I worked with that startup because I left the “New York Times” to join that startup, to this day remain some of the most successful people in Silicon Valley and Alley. And actually, one of those persons is a partner at our firm now, Darshan. He was the cofounder of that particular company which is called drop.io. but I stayed there very quickly. I was there for about six months. But at that startup, I observed how a young person my age could build a business, raise VC, he was the son of a VC and so he was exceptionally attuned to the changing landscape of venture and how to position the company so that it would be attractive to the RREs of the world and then the DFJs. And I … RITHOLTZ: Define those for us. RREs and BFJs. DARABI: Sorry. Still, today, very relevant and very successful venture capital firms. And in particular, they were backing a lot of the most interesting ideas in Web 2.0 era when I joined this particular startup in 2010. Well, that startup was acquired by Facebook and I often say, no, thanks to me. But the mafia that left that particular startup continues to this day to coinvest with one another and help one another’s ideas to exceed. And it was there that I began to build the confidence, I think, that I really needed to explore my own entrepreneurial ideas or to help accelerate ideas. And Foodspotting was a company that I was advising while at that particular startup, that was really taking off. This was in the early days of when Instagram was still in beta and we observed that the most commonly posted photos on Instagram were of food. And so, by following that lead, we basically built an app as well that activity that continues to take place every single day. I still see food photos on Twitter every time I open up my stream. And decided to match that with an algorithm that showed folks wherever they were in the world, say in Greece, that might want spanakopita or if I’m in Japan, Okinawa, we help people to discover not just the Michelin-rated restaurants or the most popular local hunt in New York but rather what’s the dish that they should be ordering. And then the app was extremely good was populating beautiful photos of that particular dish and then mirroring them with accredited reviews from the Zagats of the world but also popular celebrity shots like Marcus Samuelsson in New York. And that’s why we took off because it was a cult-beloved app of its time back when there were only three geolocation apps in the iTunes apparently store. It was we and Twitter and Foursquare. So, there was a first-mover advantage. Looking back in hindsight, I think we sold that company too soon. OpenTable bought the business. A year and a half later, Priceline bought OpenTable. Both were generous liquidity events for the founders that enabled us to become angel investors. But sometimes I wish that that app still existed today because I could see it being still incredibly handy in my day-to-day life. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. So did you have to raise money for Foodspotting or did you just bootstrapped it and how did that experience compare with what that exit was like? DARABI: We did. We raised from tremendous investors like Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures whom I think of as being one of the best angel investors of the world. He was on the board. But we didn’t raise that much capital before the business is ultimately sold and what I learned in some of those early conversations, I would say, that may have ultimately led to LOIs and term sheets was that so much of M&As about wining and dining and as a young person, particularly for me, you and I discussed before the show, Barry, we’re both from New York, I’m not from a business-oriented family to say the least. My mom’s an academic, my father was a cab driver in New York City. And so, there are certain elements of this game, raising venture and ultimately trying to exit your company, that you don’t learn from a business book. And I think navigating that as a young person was complicated if I had to speak economically. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. What is purposeful change? DARABI: Well, the world purpose, I suppose, especially in the VC game could come across as somewhat of a cliché. But we try to be as specific as possible when we allude to the impact that our investment could potentially make. And so, specifically, we invest in five verticals at our early stage New York City-based venture fund. We invest in what we call the care economy, just companies making all forms of care, elder care to pet care to health care, more accessible and equitable. We invest in financial inclusion. So this is a spin on fintech. These are companies enabling wealth creation, education, and most importantly literacy for all, that I think is really important to democratization of finance. We invest in the future of work which are companies creating better outcomes for workers and employees alike. We invest in the future of work which are companies creating better outcomes for workers and employers alike. We invest in purpose as it pertains to transportation. So, not immediately intuitive but companies creating transparency and efficiency around global supply chain and mobility. I’m going to talk about why we pick that category in a bit. And sustainability. So, tech-enabled sustainable solutions. These are companies optimizing for sustainability from process to product. With these five verticals combined, we have a subspecies which is that diverse founders and diverse employee bases and diverse cap table. It is not charity, it’s simply good for business. And so, in addition to being hyper specific about the impact in which we invest, we also make it a priority and a mandate at our firm to invest in the way the world truly look. And when we say that on our website, we link to census data. And so, we invest in man and women equally. We invest in diverse founders, almost all of the time. And we track this with data and precious to make sure that our investments reflect not just one zip code in California but rather America at large. RITHOLTZ: And you have described this as non-obvious founders. Tell us a little bit about that phrase. DARABI: Well, not obvious is a term you hear a lot when you go out to Silicon Valley. And I don’t know, I think it was coined by a well-known early PayPal employee turned billionaire turned investor who actually have a conference centered around non-obvious ideas. And I love the phrase. I love thinking about investment PC that are contrary because we have a contrary point of view, contrarian point of view, you often have outlier results because if you’re right, you’re taking the risk and your capturing the reward. When you’re investing in non-obvious founders, it should be that is the exact same outcome. And so, it almost sort of befuddled me as a person with a hard to pronounce name in Silicon Valley, why it was that we’re an industry that prides itself on investing in innovation and groundbreaking ideas and the next frontier of X, Y, and Z and yet all of those founders in which we were investing, collectively, tended to kind of look the same. They were coming from the same schools and the same types of families. And so, to me, there was nothing innovative at all about backing that Wharton, PSB, HBS guy who is second or third-generation finance. And what really excites me about venture is capturing a moment in time that’s young but also the energy is palpable around not only the idea in which the founder is building but the categories of which they’re tackling and that sounded big. I’ll be a little bit more speficic. And so, at TMV, we tried to see things before they’re even coming around the bend. For instance, we were early investors in a company called Cityblock Health which is offering best in class health care specifically for low income Americans. So they focus on the most vulnerable population which are underserved with health care and they’re offering them best in class health care access at affordable pricing because it’s predominantly covered through a payer relationship. And this company is so powerful to us for three reasons because it’s not simply offering health care to the elite. It’s democratizing access to care which I think is absolutely necessary in term out for success of any kind. We thought this was profoundly interesting because the population which they serve is also incredibly diverse. And so when you look at that investment over, say, a comparable company, I won’t name names, that offers for-profit health care, out-of-pocket, you can see why this is an opportunity that excites us as impact investors but we don’t see the diversity of the team it’s impact. We actually see that as their unfair advantage because they are accessing a population authentically that others might ignore. RITHOLTZ: Let me see if I understand this correctly. When you talk about non-obvious find — founders and spaces like this, what I’m hearing from you is you’re looking at areas where the market has been very inefficient with how it allocates capital … DARABI: Yes. RITHOLTZ: … that these areas are just overlooked and ignored, hey, if you want to go on to silicon valley and compete with everybody else and pay up for what looks like the same old startup, maybe it will successful and maybe it won’t, that’s hypercompetitive and hyper efficient, these are areas that are just overlooked and there is — this is more than just do-goodery for lack of a better word. There are genuine economic opportunities here with lots of potential upside. DARABI: Absolutely. So, my business partner and I, she and I found each other 20 years ago as undergrads at Georgetown but we went in to business after she was successful and being one of the only women in the world to take a shipping business public with her family, and we got together and we said we have a really unique access, she and I. And the first SPV that we collaborated on back in 2016 was a young business at the time, started by two women, that was focused on medical apparel predominantly for nurses. Now it’s nurses and doctors. And they were offering a solution to make medical apparel, so scrubs, more comfortable and more fashionable for nurses. I happen to have nurses and doctors in my family so doing due diligence for this business is relatively simple. I called my aunt who’s a nurse practitioner, a nurse her life, and she said, absolutely. When you’re working in a uniform at the hospital, you want something comfortable with extra pockets that makes you look and feel good. The VCs that they spoke to at the time, and they’ve been very public about this, in the beginning, anyway, were less excited because they correlated this particular business for the fashion company. But if you look back at our original memo which I saved, it says, FIGS, now public on the New York Stock Exchange is a utility business. It’s a uniform company that can verticalize beyond just medical apparel. And so, we helped value that company at 15 million back in 2016. And this year, in 2021, they went public at a $7 billion market cap. RITHOLTZ: Wow. DARABI: And so, what is particularly exciting for us going back to that conversation on non-obvious founders is that particular business, FIGS, was the first company in history to have two female co-founders go public. And when we think of success at TMV, we don’t just think about financial success and IRR and cash on cash return for our LPs, of course we think about that. But we also think who are we cheerleading and with whom do we want to go into business. I went to the story on the other side of the fence that we want to help and we measure non-obvious not just based on gender or race because I think that’s a little too precise in some ways. Sometimes, for us non-obvious, is around geography, I would say. I’m calling you from Athens, as you know, and in Greece, yesterday, I got together with a fund manager. I’m lucky enough to be an LP in her fund and she was talking about the average size of a seed round in Silicon Valley these days, hovering around 30 million. And I was scratching my head because at our fund, TMV, we don’t see that. We’re investing in Baltimore, Maryland, and in Austin, Texas and the average price for us to invest in the seed round is closer to 5 million or 6 million. And so, we actually can capture larger ownership of the pie early on and then develop a very close-knit relationship with these founders but might not be as networked in the Valley where there’s 30 VC funds to everyone that exist in Austin, Texas. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And so, yes, I think you’re right to say that it’s about inefficiencies in market but also just around — about being persistent and looking where others are not. RITHOLTZ: That’s quite intriguing. Your team is female-led. You have a portfolio of companies that’s about 65 percent women and people of color. Tell us how you go about finding these non-obvious startups? DARABI: It’s a good question. TMV celebrates its five-year anniversary this year. So the way we go about funding companies now is a bit different than the way we began five years ago. Now, it’s systematic. We collectively, as a partnership, there are many of us take over 50 calls a month with Tier 1 venture capital firms that have known us for a while like the work that we do, believe in our value-add because the partnership comprised of four more operators. So, we really roll up our sleeves to help. And when you’ve invested at this firms, enough time, they will write to you and say I found a company that’s a little too early for us, for XYZ reason, but it resonates and I think it might be for you. So we found some of our best deals that way. But other times, we found our deal flow through building our own communities. And so, when I first started visit as an EM, an emerging manager of a VC firm. And roughly 30 percent of LP capital goes to EM each year but that’s sort of an outsized percentage because when you think about the w-fix-solve (ph) addition capital, taking 1.3 billion of that pie, then you recognize the definition of emerging manager might need to change a bit. So, when I was starting as an EM, I recognize that the landscape wasn’t necessarily leveled. If you weren’t, what’s called the spinout, somebody that has spent a few years at a traditional established blue-chip firm, then it’s harder to develop and cultivate relationships with institutional LPs who will give you a shot even though the data absolutely points to there being a real opportunity in capturing lightning in a bottle if you find a right EM with the right idea in the right market conditions which is certainly what we’re in right now. And so, I decided to start a network specifically tailored around helping women fund managers, connecting one another and it began as a WhatsApp group and a weekly Google Meet that has now blown into something that requires a lot of dedicated time. And so we’re hiring an executive director for this group. They’re called Transact Global, 250 women ex-fund managers globally, from Hong Kong, to Luxembourg, to Venezuela, Canada, Nigeria, you name it. There are women fund managers in our group and we have one of the most active deal flow channels in the world. And so two of our TMV deals over the last year, a fintech combatting student debt and helping young Americans save for retirement at the same time, as an example, came from this WhatsApp deal flow channel. So, I think creating the community, being the change, so to speak, has been incredibly effective for us a proprietary deal flow mechanism. And then last but not least, I think that having some sort of media presence really has helped. And so, I’ve hosted a podcast and I’ve worked on building up what I think to be a fairly organic Twitter following over the years and we surprise ourselves by getting some really exceptional founders cold pitching us on LinkedIn and on Twitter because we make ourselves available as next gen EMs. So, that’s a sort of long-winded answer to your question. But it’s not the traditional means by any means. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. Are you — the companies you’re investing in, are they — and I’ll try and keep this simple for people who are not all that well-versed in the world of venture, is it seed stage, is it the A round, the B round? How far into their growth process do you put money in? DARABI: So it is a predominantly seed fund. We call our investments core investments. So, these are checks that average, 1 and 1.5 million. So for about 1.25 million, on average, we’re capturing 10-15% of a cap payable. And in this area, that’s called a seed round. It will probably be called a Series A 10 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And then we follow on through the Series A and it max around, I think, our pro rata at the B. So, our goal via Series B is to have, on average, 10% by the cap. And then we give ourselves a little bit of wiggle room with our modeling. We take mars and moonshot investments with smaller checks so we call these initial interest checks. And initial interest means I’m interested but your idea is still audacious, they won’t prove itself out for three or four years or to be very honest, we weren’t the first to get into this cap or you’re picking Sequoia over us, so we understand but let’s see if we can just promise you a bit of value add to edge our way into your business. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And oftentimes, when you speak as a former founder yourself with a high level of compassion and you promise with integrity that you’re going to work very hard for that company, they will increase the size of their round and they will carve out space for you. And so, we do those types of investments rarely, 10 times, in any given portfolio. But what’s interesting in looking back at some of our outliers from found one, it came from those initial interest checks. So that’s our model in a nutshell. We’re pretty transparent about it. What we like about this model is that it doesn’t make us tigers, we’re off the board by the B, so we’re still owning enough of the cap table to be a meaningful presence in the founder’s lives and in their business and it allows us to feel like we’re not spraying and praying. RITHOLTZ: Spraying and praying is an amusing term but I’m kind of intrigued by the fact that we use to call it smart money but you’re really describing it as value-added capital when a founder takes money from TMV, they’re getting more than just a check, they’re getting the involvement from entrepreneurs who have been through the process from startup to capital raise to exit, tell us a li bit about how that works its way into the deals you end up doing, who you look at, and what the sort of deal flow you see is like. DARABI: Well, years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a world-class advertiser and I was at his incredibly fancy office down in Wall Street, his ad agency. And he described to me with pride how he basically bartered his marketing services for one percent of a unicorn. And he was sort of showing off of it about how, from very little time and effort, a few months, he walked away with a relatively large portion of a business. And I thought, yes, that’s clever. But for the founder, they gave up too much of their business too soon. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And I came up with an idea that I floated by Marina back in the day where our original for TMV Fund I began with the slide marketing as the future of venture and venture is the future of marketing. Meaning, it’s a VC fund where the position itself more like an ad agency but rather than charging for its services, it’s go-to-market services. You offer them free of charge but then you were paid in equity and you could quantify the value that you were offering to these businesses. And back then, people laughed us even though all around New York City, ad agencies were really doing incredible work and benefiting from the startups in that ecosystem. And so, we sort of changed the positioning a bit. And now, we say to our LPs and to our founders, your both clients of our firm. So, we do think of ourselves as an agency. But one set of our marketplace, you have LPs and what they want is crystal clear. The value that they derive from us is through a community and connectivity and co-investment and that’s it. It’s pretty kind of dry. Call me up once a year where you have an exceptional opportunity. Let me invest alongside you. Invite me to dinners four times a year, give me some information and a point of view that I can’t get elsewhere. Thank you for your time. And I love that. It’s a great relationship to have with incredibly smart people. It’s cut and dry but it’s so different. What founders want is something more like family. They want a VC on their board that they can turn to during critical moments. Two a.m. on a Saturday is not an uncommon time for me to get a text message from a founder saying what do I do. So what they want is more like 24/7 services for a period of time. And they want to know when that relationship should start and finish. So it’s sort of the Montessori approach to venture. We’re going to tell them what we’re going to tell them. Tell them what they’re telling them. Tell them what we told them. We say to founders with a reverse pitch deck. So we pitch them as they’re pitching us. Here’s what we promise to deliver for you for the first — each of the 24 months of your infancy and then we promise you we’ll mostly get lost. You can come back to use when your business is growing if you want to do it tender and we’ll operate an SPV for you for you or if you simply want advice, we’re never going to ignore you but our specialty, our black belt, if you will, Barry, is in those first 24 months of your business, that go-to-market. And so, we staffed up TMV to include, well, it’s punching above our weight but the cofounder of an exceptionally successful consumer marketing business, a gross marketer, a recruiter who helps one of our portfolio companies hire 40 of their earliest employees. We have a PR woman. You’ve met Viyash (ph), she’s exceptional with whom, I don’t know, how we would function sometimes because she’s constantly writing and re-editing press releases for the founders with which we work. And then Anna, our copywriter who came from IAC and Sean, our creative director, used to be the design director for Rolling Stone, and I can go on and on. So, some firms called us a platform team but we call it the go-to-market team. And then we promise a set number of hours for ever company that we invest into. RITHOLTZ: That’s … DARABI: And then the results — go ahead. RITHOLTZ: No, that’s just — I’m completely fascinated by that. But I have to ask maybe this is an obvious question or maybe it’s not, so you — you sound very much like a non-traditional venture capital firm. DARABI: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Who are your limited partners, who are your clients, and what motivates them to be involved with TMV because it sounds so different than what has been a pretty standard model in the world of venture, one that’s been tremendous successful for the top-tier firms? DARABI: Our LP set is crafted with intention. And so, 50% of our investors are institutional. This concludes institutional-sized family offices and family offices in a multibillions. We work with three major banks, Fortune 500 banks. We work with a couple of corporate Fortune 500 as investors or LPs and a couple of fund to funds. So that’s really run of the mill. But 50 percent of our investors and that’s why I’m in Athens today are family offices, global family offices, that I think are reinventing with ventures like, to look like in the future because wealth has never been greater globally. There’s a trillion dollars of assets that are passing to the hands of one generation to the next and what’s super interesting to me, as a woman, is that historically, a lot of that asset transferred was from father to son, but actually, for the first time in history, over 50 percent, so 51% of those asset inheritors are actually women. And so, as my business partner could tell because she herself is a next gen, in prior generations, women were encouraged to go into the philanthropic or nonprofit side of the family business … RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And the sons were expected to take over the business or the family office and all of that is completely turned around in the last 10 years. And so, my anchor investor is actually a young woman. She’s under the age of 35. There’s a little bit of our firm that’s in the rocks because we’re not playing by the same rules that the establishment has played by. But certainly, we’re posturing ourselves to be able to grow in to a blue-chip firm which is why we want to maintain that balance, so 50 percent institutional and 50 percent, I would call it bespoke capital. And so, the LPs that are bespoke, we work at an Australian family office and Venezuelan family office and the Chilean family office and the Mexican family office and so on. For those family offices, we come to them, we invite them to events in New York City, we give them personalized introductions to our founders and we get on the phone with them. Whenever they’d like, we host Zooms. We call them the future of everything series. They can learn from us. And we get to know them as human beings and I think that there’s a reason why two thirds of our Fund I LPs converted over into Fund II because they like that level of access, it’s what the modern LP is really looking for. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about some of the areas that you find intriguing. What sectors are really capturing your attention these days? What are you most excited about? DARABI: Well, Barry, I’m most excited about five categories for which we’ve been investing for quite some time, but they’re really being accelerated due to the 2020 pandemic and a looming recession. And so, we’re particularly fascinated by not just health care investing as has been called in the past but rather the care economy. I’m not a huge fan of the term femtech, it always sounds like fembot to me. But care as it pertains to women alone is a multitrillion dollar opportunity. And so, when we think of the care economy, we think of health care, pet care, elder care, community care, personal care as it pertains to young people, old people, men, women, children, we bifurcate and we look for interesting opportunities that don’t exist because they’ve been undercapitalized, undervalued for so long. Case in point, we were early investors Kindbody, a reproductive health care company focused on women who want to preserve their fertility because if you look at 2010 census data, you can see that the data has been there for some time that women, in particular, were delaying marriage and childbirth and there are a lot of world-famous economists who will tell you this, the global population will decline because we’re aging and we’re not necessarily having as many children as we would have in the past plus it’s expensive. And so, we saw that as investors as a really interesting opportunity and jumped on the chance to ask Gina Bartasi who’s incredible when she came to us with a way to make fertility preservation plus expenses. So she followed the B2C playbook and she started with the mobile clinic that helps women freeze their eggs extensively. That company has gone on to raise hundreds — pardon me — and that company is now valued in the hundreds of million and for us, it was as simple as following our intuition as women fund managers, we know what our peers are thinking about because we talk to them all the time and I think the fact that we’re bringing a new perspective to venture means that we’re also bringing a new perspective to what has previously been called femtech. We invest in financial inclusion. Everyone in the world that’s investing fintech, the self-directed financial mobile apps are always going to be capitalized especially in a post Robin Hood era but we’re specifically interested in the democratization of access to financial information and we’re specifically interested in student debt and alleviating student debt in America because not only is it going to be one of the greatest challenges our generation will have to overcome, but it’s also prohibiting us from living out the American dream, $1.7 trillion of student debt in America that needs to be alleviated. And then we’re interested in the future of work, and long have been, that certainly was very much accelerated during the pandemic but we’ve been investing in the 1099 and remote work for quite some time. And so, really proud to have been the first check into a company called Bravely which is an HR chatbot that helps employees inside of a company chat a anonymously with HR representatives outside of that company, that’s 1099. That issue is like DEI, an inclusion and upward mobility and culture setting and what to do when you’re all of a sudden working for home. So that’s an example of a future of work business. And then in the tech-enabled sustainable solutions category, it’s a mouthful, let’s call that sustainability, we are proud to have been early investors of a company called Ridwell, out of Seattle Washington, focused on not just private — privatized recycling but upcycling and reconnaissance. Where are our things going when we recycle them? For me, it always been a pretty big question. And so, Ridwell allows you to re and upcycle things that are hard to get rid of out of your home like children’s eyeglasses and paints and battery, single-use plastic. And it shows you where those things are going which I think is super cool and there’s good reason why it has one of the highest NPS scores, Net Promoter Scores, of any company I’ve ever worked with. People are craving this kind of modern solution. And last but not least, we invest in transportation and part because of the unfair advantage my partner, Marina, brings to TMV as she comes from a maritime family. And so, we can pile it, transportation technology, within her own ecosystem. That’s pretty great. But also, because we’re just fascinated by the fact that 90 percent of the world commodities move on ship and the biggest contributor to emissions in the world outside of corporate is coming from transportation. SO, if we can sort of figure out this industry, we can solve a lot of the problems that our generation are inheriting. Now, these categories might sound massive and we do consider ourselves a generalist firm but we stick to five-course sectors that we truly believe in and we give ourselves room to kick out a sector or to add a new one with any given new fund. For the most part, we haven’t needed to because this remain the categories that are not only most appealing to us as investors but I think paramount to our generation. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. Give us an example of moonshot or what you called earlier, a Mars shot technology or a company that can really be a gamechanger but may not pay off for quite a while. DARABI: We’ve just backed a company that is focusing on food science. Gosh, I can’t give away too much because they haven’t truly launched in the U.S. But maybe I’ll kind of allude to it. They use crushed produce, like, crush potato skins to make plastic but biodegrades. And so, it’s a Mars shot because it’s a materials business and it’s a food science business rolled off into both the CPG business and an enterprise business. This particular material can wrap itself around industrial pellets. Even though it’s audacious, it’s not really a Mars shot when you think about the way the world is headed. Everybody wants to figure out how do we consume less plastic and recycle plastic better. And so, if there are new materials out there that will not only disintegrate but also, in some ways, feed the environment, it will be a no-brainer and then if you add to the equation the fact that it could be maybe not less expensive but of comparable pricing to the alternative, I can’t think of a company in the world that wouldn’t switch to this solution. RITHOLTZ: Right. So this is plastic that you don’t throw away. You just toss in the garden and it becomes compost? DARABI: Yes, exactly. Exactly. It should help your garden grow. So, yes, so that’s what I would call a Mars shot in some ways. But in other ways, it’s just common sense, right? RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about your investment vehicles. You guys run, I want to make sure I get this right, two funds and three vehicles, is that right? DARABI: We have two funds. They’re both considered micro funds because they’re both under 100 million and then we operate in parallel for SPVs that are relatively evergreen and they serve as opportunistic investments to continue to double down on our winners. RITHOLTZ: SPV is special purpose investment … DARABI: Vehicles. Yes. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And the PE world, they’re called sidecars. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. So how do these gets structured? Does everything look very similar when you have a fund? How quickly do you deploy the capital and typically how long you locked for or investors locked up for? DARABI: Well investors are usually in private equity are VC funds locked up for 10 years. That’s not usual. We have shown liquidity faster, certainly, for Fund I. It’s well in the black and it’s only five years old less, four and a half years old. So, how do we make money? We charge standard fees, 2 on 20 is the rubric of it, we operate by. And then lesser fees for sidecars or direct investments. So that’s kind of how we stay on business. When you think about an emerging manager starting their first fund, management fees are certainly not so we can live a lavish rock and roll life on a $10 million fund with a two percent management fee, we’re talking about 200K for the entire business to operate. RITHOLTZ: Wow. DARABI: So Marina and I, not only anchored our first fund with their own capital but we didn’t pay ourselves for four years. It’s not glamorous. I mean, there’s some friends of mine that thing the venture capital life is glam and it is if you’re on Sand Hill Road. But if you’re an EM, it’s a lot more like a startup where you’re burning the midnight oil, you are bartering favors with your friends, and you are begging the smartest people you know to take a chance on you to invite you on to their cap table. But it somehow works out because we do put in that extra effort, I think, the metrics, certainly for Fund I have shown us that we’re in this for the long haul now. RITHOLTZ: So your fund 1 and Fund 2, are there any plans of launching Fund III? DARABI: Yes. I think that given the proof points between Fund I and Fund II and a conversation that my partner and I recently had, five years out, are we in this? Do we love this? We do. OK. This is our life’s work. So you can see larger and more demonstrable sized funds but not in an outsized way, not just because we can raise more capital now but because we want to build out a partnership and the kind of culture that we always dreamed of working for back when we were employees, so we have a very diverse set of colleagues with whom we couldn’t operate and we’ll be adding to the partnership in the next two or three years which is really exciting to say. So, yes, the TMV will be around for a while. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. I want to ask you the question I ask any venture capitalist that I interview. Tell us about your best and worst investments and what did you pass on that perhaps you wish you didn’t? DARABI: Gosh. The FOMO list is so long and so embarrassing. Let me start with what I passed on that I regret. Well, I don’t know she really would have invited me to invest, but certainly, I had a wonderful conversation a peer from high school, Katrina Lake, when she was in beta mode for Stitch Fix. I think she was still at HBS at the time or had just recently graduated from Harvard. When Katrina and I had coffee in Minneapolis were we went to high school and she was telling me about the Netflix for clothing that she was building and certainly I regret not really picking up on the clues that she was offering in that conversation. Stitch Fix had an incredible IPO and I’m a proud shareholder today. And similarly, when my friend for starting Cloudflare which luckily they did bring me in to pre-IPO and I’m grateful for that, but when they were starting Cloudflare, I really should have jumped on that moment or when my buddy Ryan Graves whom I still chat with pretty frequently was starting out Uber in beta with Travis and Garrett, that’s another opportunity that I definitely missed. I was in Ireland when the Series A term sheet assigned. So there’s such a long laundry list of namedropped, namedropped, missed, missed, missed. But in terms of what I’m proud of, I’d say far more. I don’t like Sophie’s Choice. I don’t like to cherry pick the certain investments to just brag about them. But we’ve talked about someone to call today, I’d rather kind of shine a light — look at my track record, right? There’s a large realized IRR that I’m very proud of. But more on the opportunity of the companies that we more recently backed that prevent damages (ph) of CRM for oncology patient that help them navigate through the most strenuous time of their life. And by doing so, get better access to health care. And we get to wrote that check a couple of months ago. But already, it’s becoming a company that I couldn’t be more excited about because if they execute the way I think Shirley and Victor will, that has the power to help so many people in a profound way, not just in the Silicon Valley cliché way of this could change the world but this could actually help people receive better care. So, yes, I’m proud of having been an early investor in the Caspers of the world. Certainly, we’re all getting better sleep. There’s no shame there. But I’m really excited now today at investing in financial inclusion in the care economy and so on. RITHOLTZ: And let’s talk a little bit about impactful companies. Is there any different when you’re making a seed stage investment in a potentially impactful company versus traditional startup investing? DARABI: Well, pre-seed and seed investing isn’t a science and it’s certainly not a science that anyone has perfected. There are people who are incredibly good at it because they have a combination of luck and access. But if you’re a disciplined investor in any asset class and I talk to my friends who run hedge funds and work for hedge funds about 10 bets that they take a day and I think that’s a lot trickier than what I do because our do due diligence process, on average, takes an entire quarter of the year. We’re not making that many investments each year. So even though it sounds sort of fruity, when you look at a Y Combinator Demo Day, Y Comb is the biggest accelerator in Silicon Valley and they produce over 300 companies, three or four times a year. When you look at the outsized valuations coming out of Y Comb, it’s easy to think that starting company is as simple as sort of downloading a company in a Box Excel and running with it. But from where we sit, we’re scorching the earth for really compelling ideas in areas that have yet to converge and we’re looking for businesses that may have never pitched the VC before. Maybe they’re not even seeking capital. Maybe it’s a company that isn’t so interested in raising a penny eventually because they don’t need to. They’re profitable from day one. Those are the companies that we find most exciting because as former operators, we know how to appeal to them and then we also know how to work with them. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. Before I get to my favorite question, let me just throw you’re a curveball, tell me a little bit about Business Schooled, the podcast you hosted for quite a while. DARABI: So, Synchrony, Sync, came to me a few years ago with a very compelling and exciting opportunity to host a podcast with them that allowed me a fortunate opportunity to travel the country and I went to just under a dozen cities to meet with founders who have persevered past their startup phase. And what I loved about the concept of business school is that the cities that I hosted were really focused on founders who didn’t have access to VC capital, they put money on credit card. So I took SBA loans or asked friends and family to give them starter capital and then they made their business work through trying times and when you pass the five-year mark for any business, I’m passing it right now for TMV, there’s a moment of reflection where you can say, wow, I did it. it’s incredibly difficult to be a startup founder, more than 60 percent of companies fail and probably for good reason. And so, yes, I hosted business school, Seasons 2 and 3 and potentially there will be more seasons and I’m very proud of the fact that at one point we cracked the top 20 business podcasts and people seem to be really entertained through these conversations with insightful founders who are vulnerable with me about what it was like to build their business and I like to think they were vulnerable because I have a good amount of compassion for the experience of being founder and also because I’m a New Yorker and I just like to talk. RITHOLTZ: You’re also a founder so there’s going to be some empathy that’s genuine. You went through what they’re going through. DARABI: Exactly. Exactly. And so, what you do, Barry, is quite similar. You’re — you host an exceptionally successful business podcast and you’re also an allocator. You know that it’s interesting to do both because I think that being an investor is a lot like being a journalist. In both professions, you won’t succeed unless you are constantly curious and if you are having conversations to listen more than you speak. DARABI: Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret since it’s so late in the podcast and fewer people will be hearing this, the people I invite on the show are essentially just conversations I want to have. If other people come along and listen, that’s fantastic. But honestly, it’s for an audience of one, namely me, the reason I wanted to have you on is because I’m intrigued by the world of venture and alternatives and impact. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people have been somewhat disappointed in the results of ESG investing and impact investing that for — it’s captured a lot more mindshare than it has captured capital although we’re seeing signs that’s starting to shift. But then the real question becomes, all right, so I’m investing less in oil companies and more in other companies that just happen to consume fossil fuels, what’s the genuine impact of my ESG investing? It feels like it’s sort of de minimis whereas what you do really feels like it has a major impact for people who are interested in having their capital make a positive difference. DARABI: Thank you for saying that. And I will return the compliment by saying that I really enjoyed getting to know you on our one key economist Zoom and I think that you’re right. I think that ESG investing, certainly in the public markets has had diminished returns historically because the definition has been so bizarre and so all over the place. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And I read incredible books from people like Antony Bugg-Levine who helps coin the term the Rockefeller Foundation, who originally coined the term you read about, mortgage, IRR and IRS plus measurement and it’s so hard to have just standardization of what it means to be an impact investor and so it can be bothered but we bother. Rather, we kind of come up with our own subjective point of view of the world and we say what does impact mean to us? Certainly, it means not investing in sin stocks but then those sin stocks have to begin somewhere, has to begin with an idea that somebody had once upon a time. And so, whether we are investing in the way the world should look from our perspective. And with that in mind, it doesn’t have to be impact by your grandpa’s VC, it can be impact from modern generation but simply things that behave differently. Some folks with their dollars. People often say, well, my ESG portfolio is underperforming. But then if you dig in to the specifics, are you investing in Tesla? It’s not a pretty good year. Did you back Beyond Meat? Had a great year. And so, when you kind of redefine the public market not by a sleeve and a bank’s version of a portfolio, but rather by company that you think are making demonstrable change in the world, then you can walk away, realizing had I only invested in these companies that are purpose driven, I would have had outsized returns and that’s what we’re trying to deliver on at TMV. That’s the promise. RITHOLTZ: Really, really very, very intriguing. I know I only have you for a few minutes so let’s jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of our guests starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days. Give us your favorite, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any podcast that are keeping you entertained during the pandemic. DARABI: Well, my family has been binging on 100 Foot Wave on HBO Max which is the story of big wave surfer Garrett McNamara who is constantly surfing the world’s largest waves and I’m fascinated by people who have a mission that’s sort of bigger than success or fame but they’re driven by something and part of that something is curiosity and part of it is insanity. And so not only is it visually stunning to kind of watch these big wave surfers in Portugal, but it’s also a mind trip. What motivates them to get out of bed every day and potentially risk their lives doing something so dangerous and so bananas but also at the same time so brave and heroic. So, highly recommend. I am listening to too many podcasts. I listen to, I don’t know, a stream of things. I’m a Kara Swisher fan, Ezra Klein fan, so they’re both part of the “New York Times” these days. And of course, your podcast, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Well, thank you so much. Well, thank you so much. Let’s talk a little bit about who your early mentors were and who helped shape you career? DARABI: It’s going to sound ungrateful but I don’t think, in like a post lean in definition of the word, I ever truly had a mentor or a sponsor. Now, having said that, I’ve had people who really looked at for me and been incredibly gracious with their time and capital. And so, I would absolutely like to acknowledge that first and foremost. I think about how generous Adam Grant has been with his time and his investments for TMV in Fund I and Fund II and he’s a best-selling author and worked on highest-rated business school professor. So shout out to Adam, if he’s listening or Beth Comstock, the former Vice Chair of GE who has been instrumental in my career for about a decade and a half now. And she is also really leaning in to the TMV portfolio and has become a patient of Parsley Health, an early investment of ours and also an official adviser to the business. So, people like Adam and Beth certainly come to mind. But I don’t know, I just — I’m not sure mentors really exist outside of corporate America anymore and part of the reason why we started Transact Global is to kind of foster the concept of the peer mentor, people who are going through the same thing as you at the same time and allowing that hive mentality with an abundance mentality to catalyze people to kind of go further and faster. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about some of your favorite books and what you might reading right now. DARABI: OK, so in the biz book world, because I know your listeners as craving, I’m a big fan of “Negotiation Genius.” I took a crash course with one of the authors, Max Bazerman at the Kennedy School and it was illuminating. I mean, he’s one of the most captivating professors I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing lecture and this book has really helped me understand the concept of the ZOPA, the Zone of Possible Agreement, and how to really negotiate well. And then for Adam whom I just referenced, of all of his incredible books, my favorite is Give and Take because I try to operate with that approach of business. Give more than you take and maybe in the short term, you’ll feel depleted but in the long term, karma pays off. But mostly, Barry, I read fiction. I think the most interesting people in the world or at least the most entertaining at dinner parties are all avoid readers of fiction and history. So I recently reread, for instance, all of my favorite short stories from college, from Dostoyevsky’s “A Gentle Creature” to “Drown” Junot Diaz. “Passing” by Nella Larsen, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” by Fitzgerald. Those are some of my very favorite stories of all time. And my retirement dream is to write a book of short stories. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite intriguing. Are they all available in a single collection or these just, going back to your favorites and just plowing through them for fun? DARABI: Those are just going back to my favorites. I try to re-read “Passing” every few years which is somehow seems to be more and more relevant as I get older and Junot Diaz has become so incredibly famous when I first read “Drown” about 20 years ago which is an original collection of short stories that broadened my perspective of why it’s important to think about a broader definition of America, I guess. And, yes, no, that’s just — that was just sort of off the top of my head as the offering of a few stories that I really love, no collection. RITHOLTZ: That’s a good collection. And we’re down to our final two questions. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who was interested in a career in either venture capital or entrepreneurship? DARABI: Venture capital or entrepreneurship. Well, I would say, learn as early as possible how to trust your gut. So, this could mean a myriad of things. As an entrepreneur, it could mean under the halo effect of an institution, university or high school or maybe having a comfortable day job, tinker with ideas, get feedback on that idea, don’t be afraid of looking or sounding dumb and build that peer network that I described. People who are rooting you on and are also insatiably curious about wonky things. And I would say that for venture capital, similar play on the same theme, but whether it’s putting small amounts of money into new concept, blockchain investing, or whether it’s meeting with entrepreneurs and saying maybe I only have $3,000 save up but I believe in you enough to bet amongst friends in Brooklyn on your concept if you’ll have me as an investor. So, play with your own money because what it’s really teaching you in return is how to follow instincts and to base pattern recognition off your own judgement. And if you do that early on, overtime, these all become datapoints that you can point to and these are lessons that you can glean while not taking the risk of portfolio management. So, I guess the real advice to your listeners is more action, please. RITHOLTZ: Really very, very intriguing. And our final question, what do you know about the world of venture investing today that you wish you knew 15 or 20 years ago when you first getting started? DARABI: Twenty years ago, I was a bit of a Pollyanna and I thought every wonderful idea that simply is built by smart people and has timed the market correctly will work out. And I will say that I’m slightly more jaded today because of the capital structure that is systematically allowing the biggest firms in the world to kind of eat up a generous portion of, let’s call it the LP pie, which leaves less capital available to the young upstart VC firms, and of course I’m biased because I run one, that are taking outsized risks on those non-obvious ideas that we referenced. And so, what I wish for the future is that institutional capital kind of reprioritizes what it’s looking for. And in addition to having a bottom line of reliable and demonstrable return on any given investment, there are new standards put into play saying we want to make sure that a portion of our portfolio goes to diverse managers. Because in turn, we recognize that they are three times more likely to invest in diverse founders or we believe in impact investing can be broader than the ESG definitely of a decade ago, so we’re coming up with our own way to measure on sustainability or what impact means to us. And if they go through those exercises which I know is hard because, certainly, I’m not trying to add work to anyone’s plate, I do think that the results will more than make up for it. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. Thank you, Soraya, for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Soraya Darabi who is the Co-Founder and General Partner at TMV Investments. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of the prior 376 conversations we’ve had before. You can find those at iTunes or Spotify, wherever you buy your favorite podcast. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps me put these conversations together each week. Tim Harrow is my audio engineer. Paris Walt (ph) is my producer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager, Michael Batnick is my head of research. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~     The post Transcript: Soraya Darabi appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 20th, 2021

Why Whitney Isn’t Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I’m Not Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense 1) In yesterday’s e-mail, I shared Facebook’s (FB) defense to the […] Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I'm Not Persuaded By Facebook's Defense 1) In yesterday's e-mail, I shared Facebook's (FB) defense to the latest charges of bad behavior by whistleblower and former employee Frances Haugen, as articulated by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as a friend who knows the company well. My take: I'm not buying what they're selling... Zuckerberg's post is laughably bad. In the face of Haugen's compelling testimony and her release of thousands of pages of damning internal company documents – which has led to overwhelming, bipartisan criticism – Zuckerberg's 16-paragraph, 1,316-word post doesn't once acknowledge any problem, much less any contrition, much less any indication that he and his company might need to do even a few things differently. His tone deafness is matched only by his arrogance. My friend, on the other hand, at least acknowledges that "there is a huge problem," but says, "I disagree Facebook is blind to it." (Quick correction: I misquoted him yesterday here: "This extends to idiots on Facebook's board as well by the way." Here's what he wrote: "I have no opinion on FB's board – I was referring to board members at other companies who try to tell the CEO how to run a company when they have no idea what is really happening. That is why a board's role is to hire and fire the CEO, not to run the company.") In most of his response, however, he criticizes Haugen, saying that she: ... had no direct reports, never met a senior executive at Facebook, started with extreme bias, and then only found/extracted information that confirmed it. She never worked in the areas she is "so knowledgeable about" – like teens – so has no idea what Facebook is trying to do... ... she is basically as knowledgeable as a tabloid – at best. It's like the janitor telling Zuckerberg how to run Facebook... She's an idiot looking for five minutes of fame. Industry veterans are cringing. I couldn't disagree more. First, Haugen was hardly the "janitor." She's a Harvard Business School graduate with more than 10 years of experience in the social media sector, nearly two years of which was at Facebook (from 2019 to 2021 – see her LinkedIn profile) – plenty of time to see what was going on. As for the argument that she wasn't a C-suite executive and therefore wasn't in the loop for high-level decisions, I'd argue the opposite... She was perfectly positioned to be a whistleblower both because of the group she was in – the Civic Integrity unit, which was responsible for preventing the spread of election misinformation and addressing other bad behavior – as well as her level: as a Product Manager, she was senior enough to see what was really happening, but not so high up that she wouldn't know the details. Moreover, Haugen's testimony, to both 60 Minutes and Congress, was compelling. I've been watching 60 Minutes since I was a kid in the 1970s, and she was one of the most impressive people I've ever seen on the show. And my opinion is widely shared: Senators on both sides of the aisle praised her, as did Mike Isaac of the New York Times, who wrote: We're moving into hour three of Ms. Haugen's testimony and she hasn't shown any signs of flagging. Confident, poised, and accurate, for my money she is one of the most impressive critics of Facebook I've seen appear on Capitol Hill. Lastly, Haugen's testimony is corroborated by: a) thousands of pages of internal company documents she copied... b) the long, sordid history of Zuckerberg and Facebook, dating back to the very founding of this company (for more on this, read this shocking article: How Facebook Was Founded) – also, note that my friend wrote that Haugen "said nothing we all didn't already know"... and c) many other former company insiders. For example, here's an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times by Roddy Lindsay, a former Facebook data scientist: I Designed Algorithms at Facebook. Here's How to Regulate Them. Excerpt: Washington was entranced Tuesday by the revelations from Frances Haugen, the Facebook product manager-turned-whistle-blower. But time and again, the public has seen high-profile congressional hearings into the company followed by inaction. For those of us who work at the intersection of technology and policy, there's little cause for optimism that Washington will turn this latest outrage into legislative action. Even more damning are the comments of Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and a former head of security at Facebook: Brazen Is the Order of the Day at Facebook. Excerpt: I think the overall theme of the leaked documents and the Wall Street Journal series is that since 2016 Facebook has built teams of hundreds of data scientists, social scientists and investigators to study the negative effects of the company's products. Unfortunately, it looks like the motivational structure around how products are built, measured and adjusted has not changed to account for the evidence that some Facebook products can have a negative impact on users' well-being, leading to a restive group of employees who are willing to leak or quit when the problems they work on aren't appropriately addressed. I agree with Stamos' recommendation: I think Zuckerberg is going to need to step down as CEO if these problems are going to be solved. Having a company led by the founder has a lot of benefits, but one of the big problems is that it makes it close to impossible to significantly change the corporate culture. It's not just Zuckerberg; the top ranks of Facebook are full of people who have been there for a dozen years. They were part of making key decisions and supporting key cultural touchstones that might have been appropriate when Facebook was a scrappy upstart but that must be abandoned as a global juggernaut. It is really hard for individuals to recognize when it is time to change their minds, and I think it would be better if the people setting the goals for the company were changed for this new era of the company, starting with Zuckerberg. With new leadership, you could see the company adopting safety countermetrics on the same level as engagement and satisfaction metrics, and building a product management culture where product teams are not only celebrated for their success in the marketplace but held accountable for the downstream effects of their decisions. Zuckerberg is, of course, never going to step down voluntarily, and given that he controls 58% of the voting shares, how could he ever be removed? Here's how: the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") – which, thanks to Haugen, is now investigating Facebook for misleading investors – could force him out. I don't think it's likely – but it's not impossible. I think there's a 25% chance that Zuckerberg is no longer CEO within two years... Responses To My Letter To Sheryl Sandberg 2) I received huge amounts of feedback in response to my open letter to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Below is some of it, with my responses in some cases... "Instead of lambasting Sheryl and Mark (unfairly in my eyes), you should have sent your letter to Congress. Congress (and then the courts) has full responsibility for regulating our communication systems. All best (& I love reading your newsletter – I really do & enjoy pics also)." – Paul B. My reply: Thanks for your feedback, Paul. In fact, I sent my letter to a dozen members I know in the House and Senate, one of whom replied: "Wow, wow, wow. Thanks for sharing. I hope it is read." Another replied: "A powerfully written letter. I agree with every word of it, although I doubt that Facebook will find the wisdom to follow your advice. I am going to sign up for your newsletter "I agree with your assessment of Facebook (and your letter to Sheryl Sandberg), but your recommendation for them to rehire Haugen will never happen. She is considered a traitor by Facebook and they will never rehire a traitor. Based on Zuckerberg's reply, I'm skeptical that they are willing to address and fix the issues until the government force them to do so." – Sid My reply: I agree. "I'm so glad you compared them to the Sacklers. I hope this wakes them up." – Alex B. [But another reader disagreed...] "Good email but would recommend not equating people with Sacklers in the future unless they are literally killing people by knowingly promoting something dangerous (like Oxycontin). To me, the Sacklers fall into a group of historical miscreants that can only be used narrowly for an analogy – otherwise, it's overkill and can dilute from your point. Sandberg may read your email and dismiss it, saying to herself, 'We are not the Sacklers.' You could also substitute Hitler for the Sacklers and you can see my point. I'd only use Hitler as an analogy for a leader who is mass killing people, like Pol Pot. My two cents. Always enjoy your daily email!" – Bruce Z. My reply: Hi Bruce, to be clear, I didn't say they currently are equivalent to the Sacklers, but rather they "are on a trajectory to have legacies that rival the Sacklers." To understand why I say this, read the following articles: Facebook Admits It Was Used to Incite Violence in Myanmar Sri Lanka: Facebook apologizes for role in 2018 anti-Muslim riots Hate Speech on Facebook Is Pushing Ethiopia Dangerously Close to a Genocide NGO: Facebook approved ads inciting violence in N Ireland Bangladesh: Fake news on Facebook fuels communal violence When Social Media Fuels Gang Violence Civil rights leaders condemn Zuckerberg, Facebook for fueling racial hatred and violence Domestic violence and Facebook: harassment takes new forms in the social media age "I really do not understand what the fuss is about. If I hear or see something on radio or TV that I find to be dangerous or offensive I turn the channel. Nobody is forced to use Facebook or Instagram, or Snapchat or any of the other social media platforms. Just delete the apps. If you don't want your children to use them, then delete them from their phones. Take some personal or parental responsibility. I truly do not want someone else deciding what I can listen to or watch. Let me decide." – T. H. My reply: Hi T.H., in a perfect, rational world, I'd agree with you. But in the real, messy world, I can't. "I have found it very hard to get anyone who works at Facebook to engage openly about anything at the company, even in a social/casual off the record context. I can't think of another company whose employees are so unwilling to speak off the record. It makes me wonder if they really know deep down how bad what they are doing is." – B.B. "Thank you Whitney for sharing a BIG story of our time. I agree with some of the defensive remarks – the issue of 'bad actors,' misinformation, and hate speech on social media is not unique to FB, but FB is certainly guilty of providing a platform that has allowed all of the above to be promoted on its platform. "It took the World Jewish Congress five years of complaining to FB to finally get them via Sheryl Sandberg to put in more strict algorithms regarding Holocaust denial and misinformation on FB – five years of effort! Now, FB users are directed to factual information when they make up falsehoods about it. But this only pertains to the U.S. and U.K., so the fight continues with FB to get them to implement this in Arabic and other languages and countries. This is incredibly frustrating and hurtful. "Why are the Mullahs in Iran permitted to use Twitter (TWTR) to spread Islamist and hate speech, for example? So as much as I dislike government interference into business practices, I do see a necessity given the extent of damage being done. "Thanks for all you do to share carefully researched information that provide opportunities to empower our lives." – Andrea L. "I spent 15 years in the Valley, much of it in the same orbits as the leadership at Facebook (I'm being vague purposefully). I actually can't say for sure they are well-intentioned." – Matty G. "Thanks Whitney on behalf of the multitudes who have truly mixed feelings about Facebook. We're thrilled about the connections we relish with wonderful people, but deplore the damage it has done to our society and body politic." – Andrew S. "I'm on board with [your] evaluation and solution 100%. Let's hope they both have the courage to right the ship. The country that I love and have fought for is losing its grip. Let's show some respect. Thank you very much." – Ken J., former Ranger "Zuck and the rest knew what they were doing. They were complicit in all of it in order to rake in ad revenue. Wall Street Capitalism only measures 'good' in terms of money. I think you are right: they will do a PR apology tour and that's all." – Grant P. "Isn't Zuck a bit too narcissistic to care? The company was born in betrayal. Ironic that such a complete asocial person is in charge of the way we socialize in this country. I think he'll do anything he can get away with and is too arrogant to think there will be consequences." – Leigh S. "Hello Whitney... I am one of those folks who believes when someone does something good, it should be recognized. You and I are very different in our perspectives about most subjects. I read your letter to Facebook just a few minutes ago. "Your letter to the COO was simply and completely what they needed to hear. Although I still have a FB account, I have not actively used FB in over three years. It seemed the vitriol just got worse and worse, regardless of the subject matter, but especially politically. I decided I would not be a part of that, as it can consume you, if you allow it to take up your time. You have to realize that every person has a viewpoint, and it is not likely you will be successful in changing someone's mind, although it does happen on an infrequent basis. "I commend you for reaching out to them, as I am sure others will do. I have a concern that the size of this organization will make government intervention likely. I am not a fan of big government, big brother, as it were, but this situation, if they do not turn it around on their own, government may be the only answer. All the best." – Larry F. "You said everything I was thinking, but ever so much better. I will hope the letter is taken to heart and sweeping changes made so FB can continue to be the great business that it COULD be but has failed so badly to be." – Stacey G "I think you nailed it, my friend! Well, reasoned and direct, to the point, your letter will hopefully bring the FB team and Ms. Haugen together again to make a better, stronger company that serves our social interactions in an honest and forthright manner." – Chuck M. "After reading Zuckerberg's lengthy response I am more convinced that he and the FB team know exactly what they are doing and the harm they are causing. A CEO that wants to be regulated rather than taking the necessary steps to clean up their business strategies is only creating cover for themselves. Unfortunately FB is not only damaging to young girls but to our society as a whole. Through their technology and algorithms they easily manipulate the masses of uniformed customers to be persuaded in any direction they chose. Unfortunately this is like leading blind sheep to slaughter. Yes FB needs to be regulated but not in a way Zuckerberg would approve of. He knows Congress isn't capable of passing any type of regulation to make FB clean up its act and this gives him plenty of cover to continue their unethical business practices." – David L. Other Reader Feedback 3) Lastly, here is one reader's response to Zuckerberg's post: Here are some questions that came to mind when I read Zuckerberg's message: He wrote: Many of the claims don't make any sense. My reply: Which ones don't make any sense? And which ones do make sense? He wrote: If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? My reply: Because you need to do the research to maximize 'engagement.' This is clearly consistent with profit maximization. He wrote: If we didn't care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space – even ones larger than us? My reply: Is this demonstrably true? What companies in your space are larger? He wrote: If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we're doing? My reply: What is this "industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting?" Where can I learn more about these standards? If FB transparency standard is so high, then where are the reports of your research? He wrote: And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the U.S. while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world? My reply: Which countries are not becoming more polarized? Excluding authoritarian regimes, are there any? Just saying things doesn't make them true – though if we've learned anything in recent years, it's that saying things over and over again can convince large numbers of people that they are true. Prime examples – claiming rampant election irregularities when none exist; vaccines are the government's plots to control the population; pizza-gate. – Randy J. Thank you, as always, to my readers for sharing their insightful and provocative thoughts! Best regards, Whitney P.S. I welcome your feedback at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com. P.P.S. My colleague Enrique Abeyta is looking to hire a junior analyst to help him launch his upcoming newsletter, Empire Elite Crypto, later this fall. If you geek out on cryptos and enjoy writing, we'd like to hear from you. Send us your résumé and a one-page write-up of your favorite crypto investment idea right here. Updated on Oct 7, 2021, 2:11 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 7th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Transcript: Hubert Joly

       The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Hubert Joly, Best Buy CEO, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   BARRY RITHOLTZ,… Read More The post Transcript: Hubert Joly appeared first on The Big Picture.        The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Hubert Joly, Best Buy CEO, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Hubert Joly is the man who helped turn around Best Buy when they were floundering about a decade ago. The stock has since returned 10X from when he joined as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He is the author of a fascinating new book, “The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism.” He’s really a fascinating guy, has an amazing background, both as a consultant for McKinsey and being on a number of different boards and running a number of different companies. Everybody who’s looked at his work always put him amongst the best CEOs, top 100 this, top 30 that, really just a tremendous, tremendous track record. And I had a fascinating time speaking with him. I think if you’re at all interested in anything involving leadership or the next era of capitalism or why the old-school Neutron Jack approach to just firing everybody and cutting costs away to restore profitability no longer works, you’re going to find this to be a fascinating conversation. So, with no further ado, my interview with Hubert Joly. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: This week, my special guest is Hubert Joly. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy. He is currently the Senior Lecturer on Business at Harvard Business School. He is on the boards of directors at Johnson & Johnson and Ralph Lauren and has been named one of the top 100 CEOs by Harvard Business Review, one of the top 30 CEOs by Barron’s and one of the top 10 CEOs to work for in the U.S. by Glassdoor. Hubert Joly, welcome to Bloomberg. HUBERT JOLY, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School: Well, thank you, Barry, very much looking forward to our conversation. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s start with a little bit of your background, you’ve been the CEO of three major companies. Tell us about how that came about. Take us to the beginning or early days of your career. JOLY: Yes, Barry. I started my career with McKinsey & Company in France and then also in the U.S. Essentially, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, that, I thought, it’d be a great training ground and I ending up staying a dozen years at the firm, done a great deal and had wonderful opportunities to lead great companies. At first, I left McKinsey to lead a client that was EDS, Electronic Data Systems in France and I ended up doing a number of turnaround and transformations of companies in industry sectors that were challenged by technology. So, in videogames, in travel, and then, of course, ended up with Best Buy. And I’ve ended up working a variety of industry sectors and those specializations there and every move was a move that was based on — it was – there was somebody with whom I had developed relationship that played a critical role. And so, for example, when I left Vivendi Universal to become the CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the CEO of (inaudible), which was one of the two shareholders, had been a client of mine and where we have stayed friends. So, Barry, one of the key lessons is that try to minimize the number of people you annoy or irritate along the way and try to focus on doing a great job when you are and then I hope that God provides in the end, which is, I think, the lesson for me of my career. RITHOLTZ: So, I want to spend more time talking about your career. But I have to ask, how did you find yourself moving from France to the United States, what led to that and what was that transition like? Because every time I’m in Paris, I always end up saying to myself, God, I could live here. JOLY: Yes. Thank you for that, Barry. So, the first time I moved to the U.S. in 1985, I was with McKinsey & Company. I’d gone to school in France and there had been discussion of should I do an MBA in the U.S. and after a while, McKinsey said no, you really don’t need to do that. But if you want to spend time in the U.S., we’ll send you to one of our offices. So, I ended up in the San Francisco office, quite the years where the minors were at the top of their game, right? So, that — it’s quite fascinating. And then the last time I moved to the U.S. was in ’08, 2008, when I became the CEO of Carlson Companies. So, I moved there from Paris, France to Minneapolis, Minnesota. And I love France. I think it’s a great country. I love the U.S. What I love about the U.S. is that since Jefferson, we’ve been optimistic. It’s been the dream of a better life and it’s this optimism. Let me tell you, in France, you talk about a problem that has never been solved. People will say, well, who are you to talk about it. Nobody has been able to solve it, right. But in the U.S., if a problem has never been solved, immediately, your friends is like, this is interesting, let’s see whether we can solve it. I love this optimism in this great country and I’m now a dual citizen, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Very — really, really interesting. So, let’s talk a little bit about how one becomes a good CEO. Is it effectively on-the-job training or is it a function of your experience and ability that makes you a great leader? JOLY: Yes. There’s the myth that you’re born a leader. I think that every leader was born, of course, but none of us were born leaders and I think it’s a learning journey. And for me, it’s been — yes, I’m learning by doing, learning on the job, learning from great mentors. One thing I learned the most about — with McKinsey was watching my client’s lead and I learned so much from a number of them. Learning from colleagues, at Best Buy, I learned so much from the frontliners and some of our great executives and then our coach. So, let’s slow down here. Can we agree, Barry, that exactly 100% of the top 100 tennis players in the world have a coach. RITHOLTZ: Sure. JOLY: I think the same is true for all of the NFL teams, all of the Champions League teams. What about us executives, right? And so, it’s interesting that now, for CEOs and senior executives have coaches much more popular. But 10 or 15 years ago, not so much. And I’ve benefited enormously, my first coach was the inimitable Marshall Goldsmith. I’ve learned a ton from him. He helped me deal with feedback and focus on getting better and asking for advice. And without Marshall, I would not be – it is infomercial before and after picture, it’s most improved. RITHOLTZ: Marshall Goldsmith was where? Was that at McKinsey or? JOLY: It was — the first time I worked with Marshall was in 2009. I had just became the CEO of Carlson Companies and my head of HR, Elizabeth Bastoni, told me, would you like to work with a coach and my first reaction was, am I doing anything wrong, is everything wrong with this? He said, no, no. I know Marshall, he helps in a great deal get better. His clients are – were, at that time, Alan Mullally of Ford and Jim Kim of the World Bank. I said, that’s cool, I want to be a member of that club. And Marshall was so helpful because when I was getting feedback, you do a 360 and you hear the goods and then you hear the other parts and my reaction initially was, what’s wrong with them, right? What are they talking about? And Marshall helped me — and the way he helped was — so, I did the 360. He gave me first all of the good things that people have said and says, spend the time to swallow this, digest this. And then the next day, he gave me the other stuff and he said, here’s the scoop, you don’t need to do anything with it, right? There’s no god that says that you need to get better at any of these things but you can — but you get to decide what you want to work on and get better at, right? And think about, so, here’s a question that we could ask, right, think about things that you’d like to get better at, right, and if you cannot think about anything, try humility, right, as a potential area. And then what Marshall made me do is talk to my team and said, thank you very much for all of the feedback you’ve given me and then based on what you said, I’m going to start to work on three things, number one, number two, number three, and I’m going to follow up with each of you to ask you for advice on how I can get better at these three things and then a few months from now, I’ll follow up to see how I’m doing. Now, believe me, Barry, first time I did this, this was excruciating pain having to admit to my team that I was not perfect. They knew it. They knew I was not perfect but having to say it out loud and then I wanted to get better at something. But this getting better at something makes it very positive. And then — so, later on, when I joined Best Buy, I repeated that signaling to every one of the executives that it was OK to want to get better at something. And so, later on, everybody at Best Buy had a coach and we were all helping out each other on getting better at our job, which is what I think you need to do. So, coaching — executive coaching plays a key role in my life. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And I recall seeing Marshall Goldsmith’s name on a book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” and a quick Google search shows me that like you, he also is a professor. He teaches at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and has quite an impressive CV. But I want to stick with the concept of coaching and mentors, what did you learn at McKinsey who helped you when you were there sort of develop into the CEO that you are today? JOLY: Yes. So, there was — for me, there were two phases, Barry, at McKinsey that we serve, before the partnership and then the partnership. So, in my first say six years as an associate and then a manager, I learned a lot about problem-solving, communications, serving functional matters and so forth. So, I could say I learned a bunch of technical skills. But when I became a partner, the opportunity I got was sit down next to the CEO of the clients, watch them do their thing and listen and learn from them and that makes me — I got a great deal, right, because they were paying us and I was learning from them, right? Couldn’t get a better deal than that. And so, I will always remember, there was a client in, Jean-Marie Descarpentries was the CEO of a computer company Honeywell Bull and this is the guy who told me that the purpose of the company is not to make money, right? It’s an outcome, right? In business, you have three imperatives. You have the people imperative, which are the right teams. We have the business imperatives, which are the customers or clients and then great products and services. And then there’s a financial imperative and, of course, you have to understand that excellence on the financial imperative is the result of excellence on the business imperative, which itself is the result of excellence on the people imperative. So, it’s people, business, finance and finance is an outcome. And by the way, it’s not the ultimate goal because if you think about a company as a human organization, a bunch of people working together, they’re probably in there to create something in the world, right, and we can dig into this but that was — and believe me that was 30 years before the BRT statement of 2019 that we said we need (ph) in August the second anniversary. And so then, it was — the practical implications around this is that when you do your monthly review with your team, start with people and organization. Don’t start with financial results. If you should start with financial result, you’re going to spend your entire time on financials and you want to understand what’s driving these results whereas if you start with people and organization, you have a chance to spend time on that, then business, customers, products and then the CFO will make sure that you’ll spend enough time on the financial results. So, for me, that was a game changer and I applied this throughout my career and you could say whether it was in videogames or in travel or hospitality or in Best Buy, this focus on people first and treating profit as an outcome was a big driver performance. And this has not smoked anything illegal when I say this, Barry. As you know, the share price of Best Buy went from beyond low, it was $11. Recently, it’s been between 110 and 120. So, time spent in nine years, that’s not bad. Maybe you could have done better, Barry, but it’s OK, I think. RITHOLTZ: No. I don’t think I could have done better than 10X and PES no longer illegal in New York. So, you could smoke whatever you like. We’re going to — by the way, those three steps that you just mentioned are right from the book and we’re going to talk a little more about the book in a few minutes. But before we get to that, I have one last question to ask you which has to do with the fact that Best Buy, you mentioned it’s up 10X, it’s a publicly-traded company. Before you were at Best Buy, you are also at a giant company but it was privately held. Tell us a little bit about what that transition was like having to answer to shareholders and Wall Street. How did you manage that? Very different experience from everybody I’ve spoken with over the years. JOLY: Yes. Barry, so, I’ve worked in a public company, Best Buy. I’ve worked in a family-owned company, this was Carlson Companies. I’ve worked in a partially private equity-owned company, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, one equity partner of JPMorgan with 45 different shareholders and frankly, I think it’s pretty much all the same. You have shareholders whether they are large entities like Fidelity or Wellington or it’s a private equity player or it’s a family, they have expectations and needs and, by the way, all of them are human beings, right, by the way and that’s focused on the high-intensity trading that all the longs and all the shorts, they are human beings, and I’ve had – even though I say profit is an outcome and is not the ultimate goal, shareholders, even in stakeholder capitalism, are very important stakeholders. They’re taking care of our retirement. So, we love them for that. And so, when I was a CEO of Best Buy, I so enjoyed spending time with our shareholders sharing with them what we’re doing, answering their questions, they’re smart. It was always taking things away and the key was pay attention, listen and then pay attention to the say/do ratio. Best Buy had lost its credibility because they were saying a lot but not doing much, right? So, with my wonderful CFO sharing the column with me, we’re going to say less and do more and that’s how we’re going to build our credibility and we would be very transparent, share our situation, the opportunities we saw, what we’re going to do, and then we update them in our progress. And so, I really enjoy the competition. But in many ways, Barry, I think public, private equity or a family is largely the same. It’s people, we have to respect them and take care of their needs. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Hubert Joly. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive at Best Buy, a company that he helped turn around over the course of his tenure there. Let’s talk a little bit about that. If you would have asked me a decade ago what the future look like for Best Buy, I would have said they were toast that Amazon was going to eat their lunch and they were heading to the garbage pile. Tell us what the key was to turning the company around so successfully. JOLY: You’re, right. Everybody thought we’re going to die. There was zero buy recommendation on the start in 2012 and what I found as I was examining the opportunity to become the CEO because my first reaction when I was approached was this is crazy, right? This is the same reaction as you described. But what I found is that there was nothing wrong with the markets or the business outside. All of the problems were self-inflicted. In fact, the customers needed Best Buy because we needed a place where to see and touch and feel the products and ask questions. And the vendors ultimately needed Best Buy. They needed a place where to showcase their products, the fruit of their billions of dollars of R&D investments. The problems were self-inflicted. Prices were not competitive. The online shopping experience was terrible. Speed of shipping was bad. The customer experiences in the stores have deteriorated. The cost structure was bloated and, and, and. That’s great news because if a problem is self-inflicted, you can fix it. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: And so the first phase was all about fixing what was broken and the advice I had been getting, Barry, was cut, cut, cut. We’re going to have to close stores, cut headcounts. We did the opposite. All of the stores were profitable. So, frankly, there was no point of closing stores in a significant fashion. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: It was very — the first phase was a very people centric approach, listening to the frontliners. My first week on the job, I spent it in the store in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I think in France, we would say St. Cloud but over there it’s St. Cloud so there you go. And really listening to the frontliners, they had all of the answers about what needed to be done. And so, my job was pretty easy, it was do what they have to — what they said we needed to do like fix the website, make sure the prices were competitive and so forth. The second on the people centric approach, build the right team at the top and then instead of focusing on headcount reduction, focus on growing the top line by meeting the customer needs and fixing what was broken in the customer experience and treating headcount reduction really as a last resort. And then focus on mobilizing the team on what we need to do for the customers. That sounds soft but that was our opportunity and that’s what we need to do in the first two or three or four years. And then once we have saved the company, it was about how do we — where do we go from here, how — what kind of company do we want to build for the future. And that’s why we focused on designing our purpose as a company. We said we’re actually not a consumer electronics retailer. We are a company in the business of enriching life through technology by addressing key human needs, which we’ll talk more about this. But this was transported because it’s expanded our addressable market and have to mobilize everybody. And as a company, we have to work on making this come to life in all of our activities and really creating an environment where – I think the summary at that time was we unleashed human magic. We had a hundred thousand people plus, I think spring in their step, connecting would drive them in life with their job and doing magical things for customers. And frankly, Barry, I learned so much along the way and, again, all of this sound soft but go back to — we went from $11 to 110 or 120. That was the key. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. So, let’s talk a little bit about what you guys had done in the physical stores. The big threat to Best Buy was people showrooming, meaning showing up to look it up products and then buying it for a little cheaper at Amazon. How did you — and this is the line from the book, quote, “How did you kill showrooming and turned it into showcasing?” unquote. JOLY: Yes. So, everybody was talking about showrooming at that time. The frequenct was not that high actually but of course, it was incredibly frustrating for the blue shirt associates in our store to spend time with you, Barry, we love you but we spent 30 minutes with you answering all of your questions about the TV and then you buy it online. So, after 30 days at the company, we actually decided that we were going to take price off the table by lining up places with Amazon and giving the blue shirts the authority on the spot to match Amazon prices. And so, I took price off the table … RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: … and the customers, once they were in our stores, they were ours to lose. RITHOLTZ: Right. When you want to drive home with the TV in the back of the car instead of waiting a couple of days from it to come from Amazon, immediate gratification has to be a huge benefit you guys have as the physical store. JOLY: Exactly. And then, yes, of course, the (inaudible) but you’re still going to die because your cost structure is too high, it’s higher than Amazon or Walmart. So, we did take $2 billion of cost out. RITHOLTZ: Wow. JOLY: But the way we won in the end was we just had aha moment of, as I said, showcasing. If you are a Samsung or HP or Amazon and Google products, you need a place where to showcase your products, right, because you spend billions of dollars on R&D and if it’s just I’d say vignette on a website or box on a shelf, you’re not going to excite the customers. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: You need a place where to showcase your products. And so, we did deals. The first one was with Samsung where we had a meeting in December of 2012, Barry. J.K. Shin, the then CEO of Samsung Electronics came to visit us in Minneapolis in December of 2012 and over dinner, we did a deal where in a matter of months, you would have 1,000 Samsung stores within our stores where you could showcase these products. It was just across the aisle from — we already had an Apple store within the store and it was good for the customers because they could see the products, they could compare with Apple. It was good for Samsung, right, because the alternative for them first was to build 1,000 stores in the U.S., it takes time, it’s difficult, and. of course, we have this great location and great traffic. And good for us because it was part of our OPM strategy, other people’s money strategy, right, because there were some good economics for us. And so, that allowed us to offset the cost advantage in Walmart or Amazon we have and then over time, we did deal with all of the world’s foremost almost tech companies, including Amazon for crying out loud, and that was the game changer. And we look — if you look at our stores today, they are shiny because — we have all of these shiny objects and you can see and experience all of these products. So, that was really a game changer. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about both Samsung and Amazon. First, I’m always surprised that people don’t realize what a giant product company Samsung is. It’s not just phones but it’s phones, its TVs, it’s washers, dryers. I mean, Samsung basically anything in your house is a product that Samsung makes and not just entry-level washer, dryers or refrigerators. I think was it last year or two years ago, they bought Dacor, which is like a subzero, high-end manufacturer of kitchen appliances. So, when you set up the store within a store with Samsung, tell us about what that did and how did that impact Samsung’s sales at Best Buys? JOLY: Sure. Yes. I mean, you’re right to highlight this great company. The first deal we did with them was focused on phones and tablets and cameras. So, in a matter of months, they had these stores within our stores and it really put them on the map. It is I think — if you go back to the ’90s, Samsung was not the same company. They were really low end and the chairman at that time, so, the father of the current — of J.Y. Lee now, came to the U.S. and said, at some point, I want Best Buy to carry us and it would be the ultimate goal. And now, they’re one of our top five vendors, probably better than top five. And so, it really gives them the physical presence and to prove that it’s worth for them was then we did the same in the TV department and then in the appliance department. So, it’s been a series of wins for them. And once we have announced the deal with Samsung, other — we had similar conversation with Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, we had a conversation at CES and then two months later, we did the Microsoft stores within Best Buy and then it went on and on. And Tim Cook at Apple told me that he didn’t really like what we were doing, he understood it but he didn’t really like it and Apple has been a very important vendor to Best Buy. So, what we decided to do with them is do more. And so, it was stronger partnership. So, Best Buy is not simply carrying products and partners with the world’s foremost tech companies and with some of these companies and partners on product development, new product introduction and because there’s so much innovation that drives the business, it’s a critical role we play. We also partner in service, Best Buy sells AppleCare, an authorized Apple service provider. So, these partnerships really changed the game. And in the U.S., I think it’s not arrogant to say that Best Buy is the only player which these large companies can do these meaningful deals. So, it really changed the trajectory. RITHOLTZ: I have to ask you about the Geek Squad. Whose idea was that and how significant is it to the company? JOLY: Sure. Robert Stephens was a student at the University of Minnesota, was the — is the founder of Geek Squad in 1994. Very creative guy. The name itself is good — is cool, the logo and so forth, and then Best Buy acquired the company in 2002 when it was quite — still quite small and now, of course, it’s become really big, it’s 20,000 employees. And it’s the key elements of Best Buy’s differentiation because Best Buy is not just in the business of selling you something. We’re — our target customer — people who are excited about technology need technology but also need help with it. And so, with the Geek Squad and the blue shirts, we’re able to advise you when you’re looking at what to do but also help you implement in your home, helps you figure out if something is not working across, right? Of course, let’s take an example. If Netflix is not working tonight at your house, Barry, is it because of Netflix, is it piping to the home, is it the router, is it the streaming device, is it the TV, honey, what is it, right? And we’re honey, right, and we’re going to be able to help you across all of these vendors. And so, that’s a big differentiator for the company. So, really genius. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Hubert Joly. His new book is called, “The Heart of Business.” Let’s talk a little bit about writing a book which is quite an endeavor. What motivated you to sit down and say, sure, I’ll write a book? JOLY: Well, this is not a traditional field book. So, this is not a memoir. This is not about the story of the Best Buy turnaround per se. It was reflection, Barry, and it’s really been something I’ve been thinking about for the last 30 years that so much of what I’ve learned at business school, what McKinsey or the early years of my career is wrong, dated or incomplete. And when sit back today or in the last couple of years, even though I’m the eternal (ph) optimist, I have to say it out loud, the world as we know it is not working, right? We’re in this multifaceted crisis, you have, of course, the health crisis and economic crisis, suicidal issues, racial issues, environmental problems, geopolitical tension, it simply is not working. And what’s the definition of madness, right? It’s doing the same thing and hoping for different outcome. And for me, on my FBI’s most wanted list, is two people. One is Milton Friedman, shareholder primacy, and two is Bob McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense and executive at Ford who’s the — almost the inventor top-down scientific management. These approaches don’t work and I think they got us in trouble and there’s a growing number of us, right, and certainly, I’m not the only one, who believe that there’s a better formula that business can be a force for good that — it’s the idea that business should pursue a noble purpose and take care of all of the stakeholders that you put people at the center. You embrace all stakeholders in some kind of declaration of future dependents. There’s no need to choose between employees and customers and shareholders. It’s by taking care of customers and employees and the community that generate great returns for shareholders. We treat profit as an outcome and this formula, people call it stakeholder capitalism or purposeful leadership, I think everybody now talks about it and embrace it, most people. There’s still a few who don’t agree. But the challenge then is how do you do this, how do you make this happen and, Barry, I felt that with my experience and the credibility of the Best Buy turnaround, I could add my voice and my energy to call this necessary foundation of business and capitalism around purpose and humanity and provide like a guide for any leader at any level frankly who is keen to move in that direction but like the rest of us, we would help. And so, that was the genesis of the book and the subtitle of the book is leadership principles, right, for the next era of capitalism and the book is full of very concrete examples and stories and illustrations. There’s questions at the end of each chapter that people can use to reflect and act at their company. So, that’s the book. RITHOLTZ: Speaking of the book, it got a terrific review from all — of all people, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. How did that come about, how did Bezos give you a review and what’s the relationship like between Best Buy and Amazon these days? JOLY: Sure. Best Buys has always sold Amazon products because we think about Amazon as the retailer, of course, as a cloud company but Amazon is also a product company, right? They have the Kindle and, of course, all of their Echo products. And Best Buy have always sold Amazon’s products in the stores. Other retailers say it otherwise but we felt these were great products and we’re here to serve customers. I got to know Jeff firstly through the business council. Both of us were members there on the executive committee and once, I was invited to discuss our turnaround and how we had approached that transformation and Jeff was in the first row and being very kind. But then we did this significant partnership where I think it was in 2018. Amazon gave Best Buy exclusive rights to Fire TV platform, which is their smart TV platform, to be embedded into smart TVs. So, any smart TV with the Fire TV embedded in it, Best Buy is going to control that. It’s only going to be sold at Best Buy or by Best Buy and Amazon. And when we did the announcement for this deal, we did it in a store in Beverly, Washington, and Jeff came and we had some media there and Jeff said, TV is a considerate purchase. You got to see the TV. Best Buy is the best place in the world we you can do this. That’s why we’re doing the partnership and we built this stress-based relationship. And, of course, the media was — this was a jaw-dropping moment and Jeff is a very generous man. It’s interesting because it raises another question which is how do you think about competition. As you lead a company, do you obsess about competition or do you obsess about your customers and what you can become. And that’s one of the things that Jeff and and I share which is you obsess about your customers and becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Of course, at Best Buy, we look at Amazon. We wanted to — actually, in the sense, we neutralize them, right, because same prices, same great shopping experience and we ship as fast as they do. So, let’s call it a draw on the online business and then we have unique asset. And so, you’re not obsessed about your competition. In fact, in some cases, you partner with them and I think the world — other than the COVID pandemic, there’s another pandemic in the world which is the fear or the obsession about zero-sum games. The only way that Amazon could win is if Best Buy loses or vice versa. The only way this podcast can be successful, Barry, is if you win and I lose. That’s crazy, right? You get to collaborate and create great outcomes and I think in this world as leaders, we have to think about how we can create when win, win, win outcomes for our customers, our employees, our vendors, the community and ultimately, their shareholders. RITHOLTZ: And to put some flesh on those bones, some numbers on it, in 2007, before the financial crisis, Best Buy had done about $35 billion in revenue. In 2020, they were somewhere in the neighborhood of 47 billion and this year, I think the company is looking for an excess of 50 billion. So, clearly, that’s been heading in the right direction. Let’s talk a little bit about your experience on other boards. You’re in the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson and you’re on the board of directors at Ralph Lauren. What have you learned from those firms that were applicable to Best Buy and what do you bring to the table for those companies? JOLY: Yes. So, I joined — the first board I joined was Ralph Lauren in 2009 and I was the CEO of Carlson Companies, which was Carlson Wagonlit Travel, TGI Fridays and then a bunch of hotels, Regent and Radisson. The reason why I was interested in joining another board was to try to become a better CEO in the relationship with my board and sitting on somebody else’s board, you can see the needs of the board and then you can see how the CEO and their team are dealing with you. So, that was a great experience because when you become CEO and you deal with the board, you have zero experience, right, dealing with the board. So, that’s one of the things you learn on the job. So, that was a great way for me to learn. And these two companies, J&J and Ralph Lauren, they’re two amazing companies. J&J, I joined recently. I joined about 18 months ago. And so, watching Alex Gorsky and his team navigate the pandemic, their Credo-based approach. I mean, they’re the inventor of stakeholder capitalism before (inaudible), right, with their Credo that they created in 1943 that’s focused on all of the stakeholders. They’re one of the most innovative companies. So, they show the value of doing meaningful innovation for the benefit of, in their case, their patients. This is a wonderful entrepreneur. The company was founded in ’67 and it’s a great company, one of the most iconic brands on the planet. So, how do drive this and how do you balance left brain and right brain and, of course, enjoying cooperating with Patrice Louvet, the CEO, who is a terrific guy. And so, learning — I’m like a sponge, I love learning (ph) from others. What I bring, I would frame it along the lines of what I was looking for my board to do when I was CEO and I was not looking for the board to give me all of the answers and do my job, right? But I use the board — I wanted — I build a board that would give me complementary skills. So, I wanted to have the best people on the board that would have skills that would be additive to our management team and use the board as a sounding board to — I would get 80 percent of the value of the board meeting in preparation to the board meeting. And then getting reaction at the sounding board. When you are in the weed, sometimes, you’re missing something and then being able to access unique expertise from my board. So, what I try to bring on these boards is I try to be a resource for the management team, a sounding board, and helping them with their most important issues. I really enjoyed that. I’m in the state now where I started a new chapter as you highlighted, I’m no longer a CEO but it’s a matter of giving back and helping the next generation of leaders be the — become the best version of themselves they can be. So, I do that through boards and through executive education at Harvard Business School, also coach and mentor of a number of CEOs and executives. So, it’s — I just love doing that. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing now. Tell us about the class you’re teaching at Harvard. JOLY: So, on Monday, August 30th, that is the first day of school for the incoming MBA class. So, I’m one of the professors in the first year. I teach marketing, which is about — it’s focused really on how do you grow a company focusing on the customers. So, that’s one of the things I do. I’m also part of the faculty that’s — as a program for new CEOs. So, twice per year with a small bunch of new CEOs, I did this when I became CEO, that come here for three days and we try to help them out. I’m also part of the faculty that’s doing a program called Leading Global Businesses and last but not the least, I’m really passionate about this, we’re designing and we’re going to pilot program for companies and then also in the MBA program called Putting Purpose to Work and Unleashing Human Magic. So, many companies on this purpose journey today. And so, there’s going to be a series of workshops for the top 30 people, custom programs, one company at a time, and we’re going to try to support them in their journey. We’re doing our first pilot this fall and to look forward to learning from that experience. And I think we’re just in the early innings of that new era of capitalism. So, so much to learn. I’m super excited to be part of that journey with a number of companies. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. I have to ask you the obvious question, is your book a book you assigned to your students? What do you have them read? JOLY: So, HBS is a school where there’s really not, for the most part, mandatory reading of any books. So, I know that last year, before the book was established, my wonderful Section E from the MBA program, they all got a copy of the manuscript and they had great conversations, too. Sometimes, the book gets distributed to the participants of the executive education programs. But in the MBA, there’s little mandatory reading. It’s all about, as you know, the case study methodology, which is a wonderful way to learn because it’s hard to learn just from reading. Reading, I mean, I encourage people to read the books for sure but it’s by practicing that you really learned, right? So, that’s the HBS way. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. And one of the things that Bezos specifically mentioned was that he thought your turnarounds at Best Buy was going on eventually become a Harvard Business School case study. What are your thoughts on that? JOLY: Well, we’re actually working on that with Professor Gupta and it’s going to be taught for the first time. This is going to be fun, right? It’s going to be the last case of the marketing class in December. And so, of course, in my section, it’s going to be ironic. I’m going to be Professor Joly and I’m going to be one of the protagonists. There’s been other cases on Best Buy but this one is going to be much on the turnaround and transformation. So, that’s going to be fun. I’ve also taught it — we’ve also taught it in some of the executive education programs. So, Jeff – I know Jeff is right, there’s a Best Buy case now at Harvard Business School. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite interesting. So, you mentioned purposeful leadership. Let’s delve into that a little bit. How does one become a purposeful leader who’s focused on creating the sort of environment where others can flourish and perform at their best? JOLY: Yes. This is, for me, such an important information and I grew up believing that as the leader, what was important was to be smart, right, where I went to school and to — some of the best schools and in the early years of my career, this is the left brain would highlight being the smartest person in the room. I’ve learned over the years that this is not what drives great outcome over time. I had an entire reflection and we slowed down. One of the things that is important to do is reflect on why do we work. Is work markedly a mixed reputation, right? We work — is work a punishment because some dude send in paradise, right, or is work something we do so that we can do something else that’s more fun or is work part of our fulfillment as a human being, part of our quest for meaning, right, to talk about Victor Frankl. And one of the things that I really invite myself to do and every leader to do is reflect on this. What’s going to be the meaning of my life professionally? How do I want to be remembered? One of the things we ask the CEOs to do in the CEO program in Harvard is write your retirement speech or with my wife when I — when we coach or mentor CEOs, we ask them to write their eulogy. What would you like other people to say on that day when you’re not here to listen? And I think this is so meaningful because people talk about the purpose of the corporation. I think it starts with our individual purpose, right, because motivation is intrinsic, right? And so, how can you lead others if you cannot lead your life and yourself? For me, that’s the beginning. And very practical, one of the turning points in our journey at Best buy, Barry, was every quarter, we would get together as an executive team for an offsite and one day, I asked every one of the executive team members to come to the offsite with a picture of themselves when they were little, maybe two or three years old. We got some really cute pictures, Barry, I can tell you that and over dinner, we spent the evening sharing with each other our life story and what drives us in life, what’s the meaning of our life. And what came out of that discussion, several things, one is we realized that all of us were human beings, not just a CFO or CMO or CHO, and that, with a couple of exceptions, all of us had the same kind of goals in life, which is it is the golden rule, do something good to other people. And that was transformational because we said, well, we’re the executive team of Best Buy. At that time, Best Buy — we had saved Best Buy and it was — where do we go from here? Why don’t we use Best Buy as a platform to do something good in the world and become a company that customers are going to love, employees are going to love, community is going to love and, of course, shareholders are going to continue to love. And so, there’s a similar idea in my mind which is connecting what drives us as individuals with the purpose of the company and the thing for companies that are embarked on the purpose journey, they write down their purpose but if they just try to cascade it down and communicate it to everybody and say, why don’t you — why aren’t you excited about this new purpose, right, it doesn’t work. We really have to start with what drives every individual and the company and then you realize that, yes, what is your role. So, in the book, I talked about the five Bs of purposeful leadership. The first B is be clear about your — what we are talking about, be clear about your own purpose, be clear about the purpose of people around you and how it connects with what you’re doing at the company. The second one is be clear about your role as a leader. It’s not to be the smartest person in the room but to create the environment in which others can be the best version of themselves. And, of course, if you’re leading a significant company and Best buy has more than 100,000 people, the only thing that happens is the thing that you decide that you come up with, you know it’s going to go far, right? So, it’s all about creating this environment which is significant mind shift. It’s also about — yes, Barry? RITHOLTZ: I was going to say, I’m struck by your comments and this comes through the book about showing vulnerability, inspiring people, embracing your humanity. I think back to the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, whose nickname was Neutron Jack for how frequently he would lay off people and close divisions and fire other executives. When you were putting your philosophy to work at Best Buy, were you aware that this is a radical break from what had come before you? JOLY: Yes. And to quote — so, to go back to France in 1789, at the moment of the Storming of Bastille, there is Louis XVI asked La Rochefoucauld, is this a revolt, and La Rochefoucauld’s response says, no, sire, this is a revolution. And I think that’s what it is and it’s really shifting things. People are not the problem. They’re the source and they’re also the ultimate goal. And I think that most people agree with this, Barry, the challenge is not agreeing with this now, I think it’s really doing it and it’s — I can speak from experience. If you were to look at my face, you would see all of these scars on my face. Learning from experience and trying to get better at this is a lifelong journey of learning to be vulnerable. I was raised — being taught that I — you couldn’t say I don’t know and now, in the world we live, did you have a manual for the COVID pandemic, did you have a manual for back-to-the-office, Barry? No. So, it’s clear that we don’t know. So, we have to be able to say my name is Hubert and I need help and we’re going to work together to figure it out. So, there’s a C change in leadership, meaning from a place of purpose and with humanity and a great deal of humility. RITHOLTZ: So, I want to talk about the pandemic in a moment. I want to stick with this revolution that you mentioned. There’s a quote from the book that I really like, quote, “The Milton Friedman version of capitalism got us here. But now, this model is failing.” Explain to us how it got us here, why it’s failing now and what comes next. JOLY: I used this to highlight the idea which mainly has been Milton Friedman’s, only I get was the context when he spoke. But the obsession with profits being the only thing that matters is proven to be poisonous and excessive focus on profit is poisonous and there’s several reasons for this. One is when we look at the reported profit of the company — by the way, if anybody believes that U.S. GAAP really tries to equate economic performance, study your accounting again, it’s not even trying, it’s a set of principles. There’s many things that GAAP profit does not capture, including your negative impact on the environment or how well your sales force is trained. The other thing is that it focuses on an outcome. So, in medicine, the (inaudible) analogous is my MD was focused on my temperature, right, and I don’t want a doctor that’s purely focused on my temperature because maybe he’s going to put the thermometer in the fridge or in the oven, right, depending. I want somebody who’s going to be interested in what’s driving my health and try to help me get healthy. And so, we got confused by this obsession and that was (inaudible) and, of course, there’s extreme cases. Enron is one of them but — where we lost track of why we’re on this planet and responsibility with doing the right thing. So, this new model, the reinvention of business probably going back to some of our roots, right, with the idea that business is here to purse enabled (ph) purpose. And this is not about socialism, this is about doing something good in the world that could be responding to needs of customers in a way that’s responsible. It’s about putting people at the center embracing all of the stakeholders in a harmonious fashion, refusing zero-sum games and treating profit as an outcome. I think that’s the formula that’s employed by some of the best companies on the planet. And as leaders, we need to go back to that and to learn new things because we’re so influenced by some of the techniques we learned last century, including this top-down management approach and using it extensively. So, that’s something you’re going to learn over time. There’s research by the MIT that shows that financial incentive deteriorates performance, which is the opposite of what we’ve learned, right? But if you feed somebody with carrots and sticks, beware because you’re going to get a donkey, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: And in a world where you need creativity and people to be their best, motivation is going to be intrinsic. So, that’s what you need to be able to touch and get to the environment where people want to be their best and make a meaningful contribution in their work. So, I think this is a very exciting phase. This is an urgent phase because I’m concerned probably like you and many others that we have a few ticking timebombs and I have three wonderful granddaughters. I want to do my best to try to, quote-unquote, “make the planet” be a better world, right, than the current trajectory. RITHOLTZ: And this is very consistent, I have a fuller understanding of your philosophy that profit should be an outcome and not just the goal in and of itself. You’ve really put some meat on those bones. JOLY: Yes. Thank you, Barry, and there’s practical implications of that again and starting your monthly business meetings or even your board meetings with people and organization and then customers and business and then basically (ph) with with financial results. You should take care of the first two, the profits will follow. So, it’s a significant practical and philosophical transformation. Talking about quotes here, we quoted Milton Friedman, but I love this quote from the Lebanese prophet, Kahlil Gibran, who said that work is love made visible. RITHOLTZ: That’s a wonderful quote. And let’s talk a little bit about visibility of some of the changes you did. By the time you stepped down from the board of directors in June of last year, Best Buy’s board of 13 directors had, for the first time ever, a majority of women and three African-American directors. Tell us how you brought about this increase of diversity. What about diversity throughout the rest of the company and what was the impact of so much inclusion and a shift away from the older homogenous types of boards? JOLY: I think, Barry, it’s clear for every one of us today that having diversity is going to get to a better business outcome and I do believe that has there been Lehman brothers and sisters instead of Lehman brothers, we would have had a different outcome. But if you also take it a very practical fashion, in one of our stores in Chicago that’s in the Polish neighborhood, if the blue shirts don’t speak Polish, they’re not going to sell much. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: Or when we had Brazilian tourists in Orlando, the blue shirts didn’t speak Portuguese, they were not going to sell much. So, having diversity of every dimension, talent, skills, profiles, gender, race, the country’s color is changing very rapidly, it’s becoming black and brown, we have to represent — it’s very simple, we have to represent the diversity of the customers we serve. If we don’t, bad things happen. And so, there’s a business imperative, there’s also a moral imperative when we see the state of the country. So, from a gender standpoint, as I said, I have three granddaughters, I want them to have the best opportunities, and why would it make sense to only recruit from a quarter of the population, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: The board’s — I’ll say the board’s composition was a great place to focus now. It’s not the only one. When we rebuilt the board study in 2013, we want to have the best skills. We were determined to be diverse. So, we had an early focus on gender diversity and when I started to focus more on ethnic diversity, probably starting in 2016, 2017, I met — I had a great meeting with Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments and … RITHOLTZ: Sure. JOLY: … she’s now the Chair of Starbucks, everyone knows Mellody, she’s amazing, one of the things she told me is that people cannot be who they cannot see. And so, starting at the top and having a board that would signal the direction was important. So, what’s really — and changing the composition of the board is not that hard with only 10 or 12 or 13 people, how hard can it be? So, we told the headhunter don’t bother giving us resumes of non-black directors, right, and if you believe that you are unable to find great black candidates, well, say that’s OK, we won’t have a problem with that. We’ll just work with another firm. It’s not a problem. And so, we recruited three amazing directors and we got them on the board that they’ve concluded (ph) in this direction and I think it makes a huge difference. And, of course, Best Buy is headquartered in Minneapolis and following the killing — the murder of George Floyd, it’s pretty simple, if you — if the city is on fire, right, if the community is on fire, you just can’t open stores, right? You can’t run a business. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: So, in this country, we have this big racial issue that has been going on for centuries. I think generation has the opportunity to end systemic racism and that’s something we, I think, business can play a big role in this. So, that was determined and that’s what we did. RITHOLTZ: Let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all our guest starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days, give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime, what’s keeping you entertained during the pandemic? JOLY: I have so much electronic equipment in our place that I’m doing a lot of streaming. I love — I always listen to music. I’m a movie buff. I have a collection of probably 800 movies on my (inaudible) setup. Our favorite I would say recently has been “Good Doctor.” I think that’s Season 5, it’s starting at the end of September. We’re very excited about this. And then from a podcast standpoint, I like listening to HBR’s Idea Cast. That’s a weekly – a great weekly podcast. Whitney Johnson has a great leadership podcast called “Disrupt Yourself.” And then I have to mention, there’s a young teenager, well, teenager would be young anyway, right, but let’s call him a teenager, Logan Lin has got a FinanZe podcast that focused on the Z generation. My God, the guy is so cool. So, everybody joins and downloads FinanZe spelled F-I-N-A-N-Z-E and that’s Logan Lin. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. We hinted at some of your mentors but let’s jump into that in more depth. Tell us some of the people who helped to shape your career. JOLY: There’s so many, Barry. Jean-Marie Descarpentries, a client of mine, had this big influence on me teaching me so much about how to put people first and treating profits as an outcome. There were two great friends, yes, who happened to be monks in a religious congregation in the early ’90s. That was a turning point. They asked me to write a couple of articles with them on the theology and philosophy of work which is where I got a lot of my roots in terms of work as part of our search for meaning as individuals, as human beings. It changed my perspective on work. Another turning point, too, in my early 40s, you could say throughout the book, it was at the top of my first mountain, right, had been a partner at McKinsey & Company. I was on the executive team of Vivendi Universal, by many measures., I’ve been successful, right, except I think the top of that first mountain was very dry which was not fulfilling. There was no real meaning. So, I call it my midlife crisis, right? So, instead of going on to an island, I did — I stepped back and I did the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. So, you could say the founder of the Jesuits, of course. You could say he was one of my mentors that was really helpful to help me discern my calling in life, which today or since then has been to try to make a positive difference on people around me and use the platform I have to make a positive difference in the world which is what I’m doing now teaching and mentoring and so forth. And then we mentioned Marshall Goldsmith, my first coach and a good friend. Later on, I also worked with Eric Pliner at YSC. When the board — so, Marshall was doing my annual — having that board with my annual evaluation and the board realized that Marshall and I were such good friends and said, we need somebody more objective now. And we got Eric Pliner, who is now the CEO of YSC, worked with me but also his firm works with every one of our executives and helps us with executive team’s effectiveness and that was quite transformative. You should have spent more time earlier on not just on building the right team but enhancing our team effectiveness and I learned a lot working with Eric in that journey. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about everybody’s favorite question, tell us about some of your favorite books and what are you reading right now. JOLY: I read three books this summer. The first one is by Rakesh Khurana who’s now the President of Harvard College and it’s called “From Higher Aims to Hired Hands” which is the history — exactly for me, the history of business education in the U.S. over the last 120 years and how the business school curriculum were saved and how — and why he believes and I do believe as well that we need to evolve it not just learning techniques but also with — it’s not just about learning something or learning to do something, it’s also learning to be, which is I think an entire journey. I also read “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson and a book by my colleague, Tsedal Neeley, “Remote Work Revolution” which is, of course, a very timely book. Best book ever read, I have to mention Marcel Proust being French, “In Search of Lost Time.” It’s only 3,000 pages. So, if you have a minute or two, I encourage you to get to it. Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is another favorite. And you mentioned the Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” And finally, I have to mention my wife’s book called “Aligned: Becoming the Leader You’re Meant To Be” and her name is Hortense Le Gentil. It’s one of the best leadership books that I’ve ever read and, of course, a little bias maybe. RITHOLTZ: Maybe you’re a little bit bias. So, you work with grad students and college students, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college graduate who is interested in a career either as an executive or leadership or even in retail? JOLY: I think the advice is the same as we give the new CEOs is write your retirement speech or even better, write your eulogy. And I know my good friend John Donahoe, who’s now the CEO of Nike, did this when he graduated and he’s always kept it. And I understand he goes back to it every year and it’s hard. (Inaudible) between the ages of 26 and 34, early in your adult life, you don’t necessarily know everything but try to write it and see what journey you want to be on and how you want to be remembered. That would be one plot. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world’s of leadership and executive management today that you wish you knew a couple of decades ago when you were first getting started? JOLY: Well, there’s so much over the years. I think it has to do with profits being an outcome not the goal. It’s about importance of looking at drivers of performance. It’s about my role as a leader is not to be the smartest person in the room but to create the right environment. Not about being perfect. Nobody’s perfect. And I think the quest for — maybe I’ll finish with this, the quest for perfection can be very dangerous, can be evil, right, because if you’re trying to be perfect, guess what, you’re not going to be successful. You’re going to be incredibly demanding and harsh with people around you because you expect them to be perfect. And so, you have to be laxed and be kind with yourself and others around you and be able to open up and share what you are struggling with, understand what they’re struggling with and help each other out. That’s the — I think to me, that’s — it’s such an important consideration. The quest of perfection can be very dangerous. Be kind to yourself. During the pandemic, we learned so much, right? We used to fly around Barry, long time ago on planes, right, and we were told by the steward or the stewardess, if the oxygen mask comes down, put it on yourself first before you help others. So, as we continue to go through challenging time, taking care of yourself as a leader, making sure you meditate, you reflect, you exercise, you ask for help either from your personal board of directors, your best friends, that’s the key thing, that’s going to be the way that we can then help others. So, take care of yourself first. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. We have been speaking with Hubert Joly, former Chairman and CEO at Best Buy and currently a lecturer at Harvard Business School. Thank you, Hubert, for being so generous with your time. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of our previous 376 former discussions that we’ve had. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, Acast, wherever you feed your podcast fix. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads, you can find those at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @Ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week, Charlie Vollmer is my audio engineer extraordinaire, Atika Valbrun is my project manager, Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my researcher. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio   ~~~   The post Transcript: Hubert Joly appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 27th, 2021

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

A Former SAC PM"s Advice To Traders: "Sit Tight, Be Right"

A Former SAC PM's Advice To Traders: "Sit Tight, Be Right" By Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research Today’s story is about patience. Whether you are trading or investing, 2022 will require more calm thoughtfulness than any year in recent memory. History shows that as crises fade into the rearview mirror, market volatility (and the opportunities it brings) declines. Also, there is a real tug of war now between fundamentals and Fed policy. Lastly, the best places to make money in stocks (cyclicals, in our view) are volatile and rarely well-structured industries or companies. Bottom line: 2022 is a “measure twice, cut one” sort of year. * * * Strange as it may sound, I learned most of what I know today on this topic while working for Steve Cohen at the old SAC Capital. Yes, it was a (very) fast money trading shop. And yes, Steve’s trading process demanded absolute adherence to a specific set of rules and mindset. Price action, not opinion or emotion, defined right and wrong. But SAC is also where I learned the old trader’s saying, “Sit tight, be right”. If your process is sound, from idea generation to risk management and exit discipline, then patience determines profitability. Simply put, big trades often take time to work. Everyone at SAC had their own approach to cultivating patience, which in the context of the firm’s trading bent often meant simply distracting themselves rather than staring at their daily P&L. Steve might invite his family to lunch and actually take an hour off the desk with them if he was worried about being shaken out of a large position intraday. Other traders occupied their time by planning where to go for lunch or dinner (traders think about food a lot). As for me, I would spend hours on a forward calendar of catalysts that might offer new trading ideas (analysts think about data a lot). Many years after leaving SAC, a hedge fund performance analytics firm showed me some research that put the importance of patience into even starker relief. Hedge funds, as a whole, are good at finding winning ideas. Their performance would often be better, however, if they held those ideas longer. Academic work on institutional investor (long only and hedge funds) behavior shows that the problem is structural. So much of money management marketing is pitching new ideas to gather assets that “old ideas” (those currently in the portfolio) get crowded out too early in order to take stakes in new names. I bring all this up because 2022 feels very much like a year where patience will be the defining factor when it comes to outperformance. Whether you are bullish or bearish on a market, sector, investment theme or individual idea, it will take longer to get paid for your point of view than the last several years. Three reasons I think that’s true: 1: US equity market volatility historically declines in the years after a shock. The chart below shows the CBOE VIX Index back to 1990. As highlighted, there have been 4 notable VIX spikes since then. In each case volatility declined for several (3-9) years thereafter. In March 2022 we will be 2 full years into the post-pandemic market recovery. Volatility has already been declining. The VIX today is only 20, for example, even with the selloff and January’s choppy action. 2: There are times when fundamentals (i.e., corporate earnings) matter and then there are times when changes in macro conditions matter more. At the bottom in March 2020, macro mattered; fiscal and monetary policy supported the US economy during the Pandemic Crisis. From Q2 2020 to Q4 2021, US corporate earnings took over the market narrative. The S&P 500 earned 23 percent more in 2021 than it had pre-pandemic. Wall Street analysts were slow to acknowledge that fact, which allowed for a long series of earnings beats. We are now entering a period where the Federal Reserve will engage in a never-before-seen experiment: raising interest rates off zero and reducing the size of its balance sheet in the same year. All this sets up 2022 as a tug of war between the relative certainty of strong corporate earnings and the absolute unknown effect of novel Fed policy. As we outlined earlier this week, the setup here reminds us a lot of 1994. Back then, the Fed embarked on a surprise series of aggressive rate hikes and investors simply had no idea what that would do to the US economy. Now, Fed communication may be better - they have telegraphed liftoff and runoff quite clearly – but the market is still left wondering what results will come from their decisions. 3: The sectors that have been working – and we still like – are not what one would call easy stories to love. Large cap Financials (+6 pct YTD) are cheap but face structural challenges from venture capital funded FinTech disruptors. Large cap Energy (+14 pct YTD) is an ESG nightmare, and you have to believe (as we do) that traditional carbon-based energy has several years of new demand highs ahead of it. Airlines (+7 pct YTD), which Jessica just highlighted earlier this week, are no one’s idea of a stable or well-structured industry. As much as we like cyclical sectors, we know there will be sudden and violent rotations out of them through 2022. They have a tailwind but owning them in 2022 is not the same as holding Big Tech in 2020 – 2021. If nothing else, their competitive positions are not as strong. In trading parlance, you are “renting” these names rather than buying a forever home for capital. Summing up: 2022 is set to bring us lower average US equity volatility, a see-saw dynamic between fundamentals and Fed policy, and rotation into cyclical (and often volatile) sectors with little to offer besides earnings leverage. It will be a year for patience and, just importantly, discipline. Sit tight, be right. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

An Industry-Backed Group Thinks the Metaverse Can Avoid the Ills of Social Media. Here’s How

The OASIS Consortium, a think tank that brings together execs of metaverse platforms, published some of the first comprehensive safety standards for Web 3. A version of this article was published in TIME’s newsletter Into the Metaverse. Subscribe for a weekly guide to the future of the Internet. You can find past issues of the newsletter here. Today marks the one-year anniversary of the 2021 insurrection, when thousands of protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol to dispute the election of President Joe Biden. They injured at least 140 officers, planted pipe bombs and vandalized lawmakers’ offices. Their actions ended in five deaths and tested the mettle of American democracy. Crucially, they organized on social media. An internal Facebook report even acknowledged that the company “helped incite the Capitol Insurrection” by failing to stop the spread of “Stop the Steal” groups and rhetoric. On Jan. 6, users were submitting reports of “false news” at a rate of nearly 40,000 per hour. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] In October, Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta, signaling a full embrace of their belief in the world’s metaverse future. Many critics—including the whistleblower Frances Haugen—feared the move was little more than a tactical distraction from the many harms that have come from the company’s profit-driven decision-making. And Haugen, speaking with my colleague Billy Perrigo, worried that Facebook’s new immersive platform would only exacerbate its existing safety flaws, if left unregulated. Tiffany Xingyu Wang says she shares that concern. Wang is the chief strategy & marketing officer at the AI company Spectrum Labs and the founder of the think tank OASIS Consortium. The OASIS Consortium was founded last year, and pulls together leaders deeply invested in the metaverse: from gaming, dating apps and immersive tech platforms like Roblox, Riot Games and Wildlife Studios to address safety and privacy in Web 3. Wang believes in the power of the metaverse and the benefits of virtual worlds, but also fully understands the damage they could wreak if left to grow unchecked. “You can think of the Jan. 6 insurrection as a result of not having safety guardrails 15 years ago,” she tells me. “This time in the metaverse, either the impact will be much bigger, or the time to get to that catastrophic moment will be much shorter.” But Wang’s solution is not to seek government intervention—but instead work with metaverse builders to self-regulate and think about safety first in a way that most social media platforms did not. Today, the consortium published its first-ever Safety Standards, which it hopes will be a blueprint for how metaverse companies approach rules around safety going forward. “There’s no consensus or definition of good: Most platforms I talked with do not have a playbook as to how to do this,” Wang says. “And then that’s not even mentioning the emerging platforms. There’s a huge gap in terms of fundamental governance issues, which is not a tech problem.” You can find the full standards here. They cover how emerging tech companies should handle privacy, inclusion, interactions with governments and law enforcement; they recommend companies appoint an executive-level officer of trust and safety, partner with hate speech nonprofits and invest in moderation tools. OASIS’s ambition is that “hundreds or thousands” of companies will pledge to adopt the standards going forward. The standards also open the door for OASIS to preside over a grading system for platforms, similar to how buildings are graded on energy efficiency or how companies can be certified as B Corporations—signaling a commitment to social responsibility. Here are some of Wang’s biggest concerns—and potential solutions—that informed OASIS’ metaverse safety standards. Current online safety problems could be exponentially worse in the metaverse Some of the leading thinkers about the metaverse, including Matthew Ball, have listed a few key traits of the metaverse, including that it will be immersive (i.e., you go into a 3D internet instead of looking at it through screen), persistent (platforms never pause or resent, and you interact with them and their inhabitants in real time) and interoperable (you will be able to transfer your digital identity and goods across distinct platforms). While metaverse builders believe each of these traits will benefit users, Wang argues that each also poses significant risks. “Immersiveness increases the impact of any toxicity. Persistence increases the velocity of toxicity. And the interoperability part makes content moderation very hard, because toxicity is very industry-specific. Dating, gaming and social platforms, for example, can have different types of behaviors,” she says. Current social media platforms already have enough trouble tamping down on hate speech, while Facebook video moderators have spoken out about suffering from trauma and burnout from having to watch hours of harrowing content daily. The OASIS Safety Standards stipulate that platforms should spend ample resources from the jump to define, and then prevent hate speech, abuse, and other forms of toxicity from being able to enter immersive digital spaces. The use of AI to rapidly and accurately track misbehavior will be crucial, but must be supported by an actual team of people that grapples with false positives, grey areas and user appeals, Wang says. The adoption of rigorous safety rules will be an uphill battle In the tech world, safety and privacy have long been afterthoughts in favor of revenue, growth and innovation. For many years, one of Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite mottos, for instance, was “move fast and break things.” The grave flaws in this approach were revealed in the Facebook Papers—leaked internal reports—that showed Facebook deprioritized the fight against misinformation, allowing propaganda and misinformation to spread. Wang predicts this profit strategy for metaverse platforms will be far less successful, because of the uphill battle they face to gain new adopters and existing suspicions surrounding the space. If platforms are plagued by safety and privacy concerns from the jump, then “users will not come because they hear it’s toxic: Imagine 4chan and 8chan on the metaverse,” she says. “When it becomes so physically impactful, you will have more reasons for regulators to step in. The government will just shut it down. So safety is key to the survival of the metaverse.” But despite the publishing of the Facebook Papers and the waves of bad press around the company, Meta’s VR app Oculus was the most-downloaded app in the U.S. on Christmas Day. Many of the top metaverse and gaming platforms–including Decentraland, Fortnite, or Twitch–have yet to pledge to adopt the standards. The metaverse will have even more of your personal data Digital companies already track vast amounts of data about us for their own gain. This dynamic, as the journalist Franklin Foer writes in World Without Mind, “provides the basis for invisible discrimination; it is used to influence our choices, both our habits of consumption and our intellectual habits.” Wang says that the data collection in a 3D world could be even more dangerous. Virtual platforms might rely on users having high-quality cameras and microphones in their rooms, and could theoretically track all of movements and purchases across virtual worlds. “The volume of PII, or personal identifiable information, a platform can collect is staggering,” she says. “It’s an issue that keeps me awake.” So later this year, Wang says that OASIS will launch a separate privacy board to deal specifically with this issue and devise guidelines for metaverse platforms. Representation is a key aspect of safety Some metaverse optimists argue Web 3 will help usher in some new utopian, discrimination-free, post-race world. Wang, though, points to an MIT and Stanford study that showed that AI facial recognition worked significantly better for light-skinned men than dark-skinned women. “The machines discriminate,” she says. “If the code of conduct for a platform is written by a very specific privileged group of the society, then it’s impossible for you to be inclusive and cautious about what potential racism and hate speech could happen against underprivileged groups.” The OASIS standards stipulate, then, that companies need diverse hiring practices, especially when it comes to staffers who label and categorize data and moderator content. Pledges to do good aren’t enough There are already several companies that have pledged to use the OASIS standards at its launch, including the gaming platform Roblox, the music streaming company Pandora/Sirius XM, the livestreaming and social networking conglomerate The Meet Group, and the mobile gaming company Wildlife Studios. But Wang is well aware that promises alone are far from adequate. The next step will be to hold platforms accountable when they make mistakes or aren’t living up to their promised standards. That begins with a grade assessment system, which OASIS hopes to roll out in the second quarter of 2023 in conjunction with audit firms. “A company can request grades to very specifically know where they are, so they can actually improve their practices internally,” Wang says. Geoff Cook, the CEO of the Meet Group and a member of OASIS’s safety advisory board, says he looks forward to the formal process of certification and implementing any suggested policy changes that might arise. “​​The work of keeping our communities safe is never over,” he said in an email. OASIS also plans to work with international governments and agencies to distribute the standards. The think tank already has opened up a dialogue with the Australian government, for example. In a statement, Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, wrote that “pairing our interactive self-assessment with the Oasis User Safety Standards has so much promise in helping to build a digitally sustainable future.” But Wang hopes that the companies of Web 3 will first start with intensive self-regulation. “People are reaching this point of collective consciousness that the current web is not sustainable,” she says. “The role of OASIS is to foster a healthy conversation with governments and private sectors who want to self-regulate.” The standards will be ever-evolving Given the speed at which technology surrounding the metaverse is developing, Wang says it is crucial for the OASIS safety standards to be reviewed biannually. Wang says the think tank will take a “multi-stakeholder approach” to continually tweak its rules; she mentioned deepfakes, in which video or audio files are falsified or manipulated, as a particular area that needs addressing. “We started to talk with nonprofits who give us very specific advice in certain areas. We haven’t really fully looked into deepfakes because the applications and tech are evolving very fast,” she says. Green energy standards are a blueprint for tech’s self-regulation The adaptation of safety standards like those from OASIS may seem like an impossible goal, given the toxicity of the current web and the libertarian bent from many tech pioneers. But for a glimmer of optimism, Wang points to the way that the norms around clean energy have recently shifted. “Fifteen years ago, I was a clean energy investor, when mining coal, oil and gas was mainstream,” she says. “And look at where we are today. Just like LEED energy efficient buildings became the de facto standard for how we build buildings, I want safety, privacy and inclusion to be three core pillars to how we operate in a digital society.” Subscribe to Into the Metaverse for a weekly guide to the future of the Internet. Join TIMEPieces on Twitter and Discord.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 6th, 2022

Meet the next generation of luxury entrepreneurs selling millions in real estate, creating art galleries, and building fashion empires

A new crop of luxury entrepreneurs has popped up, creating the businesses they want to see taking over the sector. (L-R), Alex Assouline, Destinee Ross-Sutton, Marina Raphael, Avi Hiaeve.Emilia Brandao; Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton 2020; Marina Raphael; Avi & Co; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider Luxury spans many sectors including, fashion, travel, real estate, and nightclubs.  However, the industry is changing: People want more sustainability and faces that are more diverse. Insider regularly talks to the young people who are making their mark in luxury and challenging the market.  Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Luxury is a pretty hard sector to tap into — and even years of notoriety doesn't necessarily mean years of financial stability or economic success. The coronavirus pandemic only heightened many of those issues, as brands and retailers throughout the world have been forced to close or declare bankruptcy. Even before the pandemic, however, there were calls for a changing of the guard in the luxury sector. People want more sustainability, leaders who are more tech-savvy, faces that are more diverse, and clothes that come with a meaning and a purpose.Rather than wait around for those currently in charge to change, a new crop of luxury entrepreneurs has popped up, creating the businesses they want to see taking over the sector. These are names and the faces that will come to define and helm the next generation of luxury spending. Insider has been speaking to the new rising faces in luxury about the future of their respective spaces, touching on topics such as the investment value in high-priced watches, and where they hope to see the world after the pandemic subsides. The interviews are being compiled here: Millennial entrepreneur Brandon Blackwood shares how $7,000 and Instagram helped him build a handbag empire that's on track to book $30 million in revenueBrandon BlackwoodBrandon BlackwoodBrandon Blackwood, 29, is the founder of his eponymous handbag line that went viral last year after making a tote that said: "End Systemic Racism." Since then, other styles of his bag have gone viral and he's launched a spring campaign featuring celebrities and influencers like Ryan Destiny, Normani, and Jaime Xie. So far, the brand booked more than $14 million in revenue this year and is on track to close 2021 with $30 million. The 24-year old jewelry designer, whose rings have been spotted on Serena Williams and Meghan Markle, uses half her profits to fund female entrepreneursShilpa YarlagaddaCourtesy of Shilpa Yarlagadda; Taken by Shoji Van KuzumiShilpa Yarlagadda, 24, is the cofounder of Shiffon, the fine jewelry brand that invests its proceeds back into female-funded businesses. For the upcoming election, the brand has partnered with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote foundation for limited-edition hoop earrings to represent the hoops women have to go through for basic rights. In an interview with Business Insider, she talks her career journey, the importance of mentorship, and her partnership with Obama. Inside the world of 'Bling Empire's' Jaime Xie, the tech heiress forging her own path as a fashion influencerJaime XieYoshi UemuraXie told Insider she had never even seen reality TV before joining the cast of Netflix's hit show "Bling Empire." Now she's one of its standout stars and is best known for her fashion and style. Born in Silicon Valley, she said tech wasn't really her thing, and she's always wanted a career in fashion. Now she's an influencer, jet-setting to Paris and Milan, sporting the hottest ready-to-wear looks. In an interview, she gives Insider a peek at her glamorous life. Real estate heiress Danielle Naftali, who is just 27, helped convince a mystery buyer to shell out $35 million for an NYC penthouse during the pandemicJonathan GrassiDanielle Naftali, 27, is expected to take over her father's real estate company Naftali Group, which develops some of New York City's most luxurious properties. But even she had to start at the reception desk. To Insider she breaks down working her way up and how she helped convince a buyer to shell out over $30 million for an apartment during a pandemic. Pajama sets are the new 2-piece suit. A millennial brand explains the wild pandemic year when sales spiked 400% .Joel Jeffery (L) and Molly Goddard (R)Desmond & DempseyHusband-wife duo Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffrey are known for their high-end pajama line Desmond & Dempsey, which also saw record growth during the pandemic as people sought to buy more comfortable clothing. To Insider, they talk about the brand's beginnings and how they hope to further capitalize on the billion-dollar markets of both wellness and comfort wear. Meet the millennial designer and CEO who wants to make comfort clothing the new power dressingMisha NonooCourtesy of Misha NonooDesigner Misha Nonoo thinks comfort clothes will also be part of the new way to power dress. To Insider, she spoke about her career beginnings, her latest collection, and what she thinks the future of sustainable fashion will be in a post-pandemic world. How fashion's 'patient zero' turned her fight with Covid into a new hygiene and wellness lineNga NguyenCourtesy of Nga NguyenAfter being diagnosed with COVID-19 last year, Nga Nguyen was deemed the fashion industry's "patient zero" as she was the first known case in the world of jet-set high fashion to catch the virus. But she's light at the end of the tunnel. To Insider she talks about her new wellness line, inspired by her run-in with the virus, and shares her expectations on what role hygiene products will play in a post-pandemic world. How a 28-year-old sold his first jewelry design for $25,000 and within 3 years built an exclusive client roster including RihannaEmmanuel Tarpin.Emmanuel TarpinCalling in from Paris, Emmanuel Tarpin spoke about his rise in the jewelry industry, how he nabbed two of the industry's top honors, and got Rihanna to fall in love with his work.How a 22-year-old heiress launched a handbag line and within 3 years landed the Netherlands' Queen Maxima as a fanMarina Raphael.marina raphaelAt just 22, Marina Raphael has already built a luxury handbag business that counts the Queen of the Netherlands as a fan. In an interview with Business Insider, she spoke about learning Italian, teaching herself design, and her plans to build the next-big-thing in luxury — as well as being a sixth-generation member of the Swarovski crystal dynasty.Swarovski crystal heiress Marina Raphael explains how she achieved record-breaking sales by selling smaller handbags, donating to charity, and using snail mail to reach customersMarina Raphael with her SS21 collection(1)Marina RaphaelRaphael caught up with Insider again in March of this year to talk about how her brand saw record growth during the pandemic. To cope with the time, she changed her marketing strategies and even reduced the size of her handbags as production took a hit due to closures. Still, the brand came out stronger than ever before. How one millennial CEO built a luxury eyewear brand that's been spotted on everyone from Jeff Bezos to Brad PittCourtesy of Garrett LeightGarrett Leight is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Garrett Leight California Optical. His father, Larry, was the founder of the sunglass brand Oliver Peoples. In an interview with Business Insider, Garrett talks about opening his own eyewear brand and keeping his family legacy alive. Pauline Ducruet isn't so different from other 26-year-old entrepreneurs — she just happens to be Grace Kelly's granddaughterPhoto by Francois Durand/Getty ImagesPauline Ducruet is the founder of the gender-neutral fashion line, Alter Designs. She also happens to be a granddaughter of Grace Kelly through her mother, Princess Stephanie of Monaco. In an interview with Business Insider, she talks about the importance of sustainability in fashion, and how the pandemic almost wiped out her business. A millennial car customizer who counts Lebron James and Kendall Jenner among his clients explains why he's expanding his business with a luxury shoe lineVik Tchalikian.Vik TchalikianVik Tchalikian is best known as the car customizer for the stars and boasts a client list that includes Kendall Jenner, LeBron James, and Billie Eilish. In an interview with Business Insider, he talks about how he used his car knowledge to start up a luxury shoe line. Two Gen Zers turned a $2,000 investment into an art gallery that sells $600K pieces. They want to usher in a new generation of art collectors.Alexis de Bernede (L) and Marius Jacob (R)Darmo ArtBased in France, Alexis de Bernede and Marius Jacob are the founders of Darmo Art gallery. Last summer, their two art shows netted six figures each, and they are now planning future exhibitions in Paris, the French Riviera, and at the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm, an exclusive report in Germany. Millennial fashion designer Alexandra O'Neill is seeing cocktail dress sales skyrocket as customers prepare for the new Roaring 20sCourtesy of Alexandra O'NeillAlexandra O'Neill is the founder of luxury brand Markarian and made headlines last year after First Lady Jill Biden wore a custom Markarian piece for Inauguration. Since then, the company has seen sales skyrocket. What's more, O'Neill held her first New York Fashion Week presentation in September, showing off a collection inspired by Lauren Bacall in the movie "How to Marry a Millionaire." Meet the Black millennial art curator who worked on a Zendaya photoshoot, had her portrait featured in Beyoncé's 'Black Is King,' and was just tapped by auction house Christie's to curate an exhibitDestinee Ross-Sutton.Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton 2020The art industry is notoriously white. Enter, Destinee Ross-Sutton, the 24-year-old art curator who already counts a Zendaya photoshoot and a Christie's exhibit under her name. A shining moment for her this year was when she discovered that a painting of her was featured in Beyoncé's "Black IS King." In speaking with Business Insider, Ross-Sutton talks about her mission to increase diversity and inclusion in the art world.The 28-year-old heir to a luxury publishing house explains how he creates some of the most exclusive — and expensive — private libraries in the worldAlex Assouline.Emilia BrandaoAlex Assouline is a creative library designer who helps create some of the most exclusive — and expensive — libraries in the world. The heir to his family's publishing house, Assouline also helps make stunning coffee books on subjects ranging from feminism to the palace of Versailles. In an interview with Business Insider, he talks about the art of library designing and which books he is helping to make next. Meet the 'VIPER Girls,' the female nightlife entrepreneurs who couldn't get a credit card 4 years ago and now field requests to work the Super Bowl(L) Kelsi Kitchener and (R) Celeste Durve.Courtesy of Kelsi Kitchener and Celeste DurveKelsi Kitchener, 28, and Celeste Duvre, 24, are the cofounders of the guest experience company VIPER, which works with some of the biggest celebrities and brands in the world. Known as the Viper Girls, they manage all points of the overall guest experiences at events. In an interview with Business Insider, Kitchener and Duvre talk about the founding of their company, and being young women in an industry that's long been touted as a "boys club." A 25-year-old set her eyes on taking over the high-end smoking accessories market — and it's workingCourtesy of Smoking JacketChiara di Carcaci, 25, is the founder of Smoking Jacket, a high-end cigarette accessories company that counts a Getty heiress as a fan. In an interview with Business Insider, di Carcaci talks about why she decided to start a luxury cigarette brand, and her ambitions to expand it into a full-service lifestyle company. A 28-year-old fashion brand director explains how ruthless attention to detail has landed Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez as clientsKyle Bryan.Courtesy of Kyle BryanIn an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Kyle Bryan, brand director at the luxury label LaQuan Smith, breaks down his plans on helping create the next big American fashion house. "A lot of women and celebrities will directly reach out to LaQuan and say, 'I would love for you to make me something,'" he said. "That's how some of our best stuff has even happened."Nisha Persaud's side hustle is creating at-home manicure boxes that are beloved by celebs and have been featured in luxury campaignsDanisha "Nisha" PersaudDanisha "Nisha" PersaudWhen the pandemic made it impossible for Nisha Persaud to get her nails done last year, she created at-home manicure kits to bring the nail salon to her. Since then, she's netted more than $100,000 in revenue and her work has been reposted on social media by Cardi B, received a shoutout by Megan Thee Stallion in a video, and gifted to the model Teyana Taylor for her baby shower. Meet the millennial cofounders of Apparis, the cult-favorite vegan coat brand that raised $3 million in funding this year and just launched a collaboration with Juicy Couture(L) Lauren Nouchi and (R) Amelie Brick.ApparisAmelie Brick, 37, and Lauren Nouchi, 29, are the cofounders of Apparis, an apparel company best known for its vegan coats. In an interview with Business Insider, they talk about why they decided to start a high-end vegan coat line, how the pandemic led them to expand into homewear, and why they decided to launch a collaboration with Juicy Couture. Meet the millennial cofounder of a jewelry brand that has partnered with the NFL and NBA and is on track to make $50 million in revenue this yearChristian Johnston.Courtesy of Christian Johnston cofounder of GLDChristian Johnston is the cofounder of the jewelry brand GLD, beloved by the likes of Justin Bieber and rapper Wiz Khalifa. The company has also done partnerships with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and Disney's Marvel. In an interview with Business Insider, Johnston talks about growing his jewelry company, which is now on track to make $50 million in revenue this year. Hogoè Kpessou worked as an Uber Eats driver before she launched her handbag brand last year. Now she's on track to net seven figures.Hogoè KpessouHogoè KpessouLuxury designer Hogoè Kpessou is best known for her backpacks emblazoned with a gold bumblebee. Before starting her eponymous company, she worked weekend shifts at a local restaurant and delivered food for Uber Eats. Today, she estimates her brand will hit seven figures in revenue in the beginning of 2022. YIMBY with a conscience: Meet the 26-year-old real-estate heir who wants to make affordable housing a reality in the Biden eraDonahue Peebles IIIPeebles CorporationDonahue Peebles III is set to one day take over his father's real estate and development empire, The Peebles Corporation. Speaking to Insider, he talks about his passion for helping make housing more affordable, gives his thoughts on gentrification, and shares his expectations for what's to come under a Biden presidency. Meet the millennial CEO who wants to redefine the ownership of men's clothing, and convinced Alexis Ohanian and Nas to investRegy PerleraCourtesy of SeasonsRegy Perlera is the co-founder of Seasons, an app that allows men to rent designer clothing. He tells Insider that renting clothing is one way to reduce your carbon footprint, and contribute to the circular economy. In 2019, Seasons raised $4.3 million in funding from investors such as Alexis Ohanian's Initialized Capital, Notation Capital, and the rapper Nas.A millennial entrepreneur who runs a high-end watch retailer explains why now is the time to invest in watches — and which timepieces are the most valuableAvi & Co.Avi Hiaeve, owner of the high-end watch retailer Avi & Co., met with Business Insider earlier this year to talk about his watch business as well as give tips for those looking to start investing in luxury watches. "The celebrities and the artists and all of them, they're not wearing watches under $100,000 anymore, everything they want is over $100,000. It's really gone through the roof," he explained to us. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

8 Top CEOs Give Their Predictions for the Wild Year Ahead

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders… (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders from across the world of business to share their priorities and expectations for the year ahead. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, wants to leverage the advances his pharmaceutical company has made in fighting COVID-19 to tackle other diseases, while Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has made improving access to healthcare one of her goals over the next year. GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan says building trust will be at the heart of decision-making at the crowdfunding platform—both with workers and its wider community. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Innovation is key to Intel CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger and Forerunner Ventures founder and managing partner Kirsten Green. And Rothy’s CEO Stephen Hawthornthwaite, Albemarle CEO Kent Masters, and Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, shared their suggestions for how companies and policymakers can respond to persistent supply chains problems. Read on to see how some of the most powerful people in business envision the coming year. (These answers have been condensed and edited for clarity.) What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you expect in the year ahead? Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer: The scientific advancements made by Pfizer and others over the past year have brought us very powerful tools to battle the worst pandemic of our lives. But, unfortunately, we don’t see everyone using them. I am concerned about the limited infrastructure and resources in the poorest countries as they struggle to administer their supply of COVID-19 vaccines to their people. Some of these countries have asked us to pause our deliveries of doses while they work to address these issues. While I am proud of the work Pfizer has done to make vaccines available to low- and lower middle-income countries over the past year, we need to find new ways to support the World Health Organization as they work with NGOs and governments to address these infrastructure issues. Getty ImagesAlbert Bourla, CEO, Pfizer Over the next year I’d like us to help find solutions to issues like the shortage of medical professionals, vaccine hesitancy due to limited educational campaigns, lack of equipment and even roads to allow timely delivery of vaccines. Throughout every chapter of this pandemic, we have been reminded of the importance of collaboration and innovative thinking. We need to work harder than ever before to address these health inequities so that people around the globe are protected from the virus. Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel: Throughout the history of technology, we’ve seen the pendulum swinging between centralized and decentralized computing. And there is still a tremendous untapped opportunity in edge computing as we bring greater intelligence to devices such as sensors and cameras in everything from our cars to manufacturing to the smart grid. Edge computing will not replace cloud; we’re swinging back to where decentralized compute becomes the primary growth for new workloads because the inference and AI analysis will take place at the edge. Technology has the power to improve the lives of every person on earth and Intel plays a foundational role within. We aim to lead in the opportunity for every category in which we compete. Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens: The pandemic affirmed Walgreens as a trusted neighborhood health destination to help our customers and patients manage their health. We provide essential care to our communities, including administering more than 50 million COVID-19 vaccines as of early December 2021. The opportunity ahead of us at Walgreens Health—our new segment launched this past fall—is to create better outcomes for both consumers and partners, while lowering costs across the care continuum. A year from now I want to look back on this time as an inflection point and a moment in time where real, lasting change happened—that we will all have collectively banded together to get through the pandemic and at the same time delivered real change toward improving accessible and affordable healthcare. I feel inspired and hopeful that some good will come out of this very difficult time in our country and the world’s history. Jason Redmond—AFP/Getty ImagesRosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens, speaks in Seattle, Washington on Mar. 20, 2019. Tim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe: We’re going to see continued disruption in the world and the workplace in 2022—this will require more people to come together to help each other. Our opportunity is to use our voice and platform to bring more people together to help each other with all aspects of their lives. Asking for help is hard but coming together to help each other is one of the most important and rewarding things we can do in life. We are continuously improving our product to make it easier for more people to both ask for and give help, whether it’s helping an individual fulfill a dream, working on a global cause like climate change, or supporting a family during a difficult time. Kirsten Green, founder and managing partner of Forerunner Ventures: We are nearly two years into the pandemic, and it is still ongoing. We must embrace this new normal and figure out how to make that reality work for our businesses, our consumers, and our people. Thankfully, we often see innovation come out of these periods of change and fluctuation. At the same time, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that the world has evolved, and it is still important to understand that the ‘reset’ button just got hit for a lot of people. Values, goals, and core needs are being reevaluated and reestablished, and we as a society need to figure out how to move forward during a volatile period. Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles: Our industry needs to help drive the American economic recovery amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The top priority remains getting goods to American consumers and creating a more fluid supply chain. We also need to address the growing trade imbalance. Imports are at all-time highs while U.S. exports have declined nearly 40% over the past three years in Los Angeles. We have to help American manufacturers and farmers get their products to global markets. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, our team is working to get our fair share of federal funds to accelerate projects to improve rail infrastructure, local highways and support facilities. The Port of Los Angeles is the nation’s primary trade gateway, yet east and gulf coast ports have received most of the federal funding in the past decade. The best return on port infrastructure investment is in Los Angeles, where the cargo we handle reaches every corner of the country. Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle: Challenges will likely continue to include competition for top talent, supply chain disruptions due to possible pandemic impacts to raw material availability and logistics, and potential inflation impacts to material and freight costs, all of which we’re monitoring closely so we can respond quickly. With the global EV market growing rapidly, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us for years to come. Next year, we’ll advance our lithium business through new capacity ramp-ups in Chile, Australia and China, and restart the MARBL Lithium Wodgina hard rock resource in Australia to help feed our new conversion assets and meet customer needs. We’re also keenly focused on organizational goal alignment and continuous improvement to drive greater productivity through our global workforce next year. What do you expect to happen to supply chains in 2022? Gelsinger: The unprecedented global demand for semiconductors—combined with the impact of the global pandemic—has led to an industry-wide shortage, which is impacting technology providers across the industry. Intel is aggressively stepping in to address these issues and build out more capacity and supply around the globe for a more balanced and stable supply, but it will take time and strong public-private partnerships to achieve. Read more: From Cars to Toasters, America’s Semiconductor Shortage Is Wreaking Havoc on Our Lives. Can We Fix It? Brewer: We learned a lot over the past two years and companies are taking action with investments in capacity, resiliency and agility for supply chains across the world. We will continue finding creative ways to increase manufacturing and shipping capacity. Manufacturers will continue expanding capacity and increasing the diversity in their supplier base to reduce reliance of single sourcing. Companies will continue to invest to increase resiliency through expanded inventory positions, extended planning horizons and lead-times, and increased agility in manufacturing and logistics capabilities to fulfill customer needs. As the marketplace changes, we must be agile and adapt quickly as we respond to shifts in consumer behavior. Investments in technology, such as real time supply chain visibility and predictive/prescriptive analytics, will enable companies to deliver the speed and precision expected by today’s consumer. Seroka: Goods and products will get to market. The maritime logistics industry must raise the bar and make advances on service levels for both our import and export customers. Retailers will be replenishing their inventories in the second quarter of the year. And by summer, several months earlier than usual, we’ll see savvy retailers bringing in products for back to school, fall fashion and the winter holidays. Despite the challenges, retail sales reached new highs in 2021. Collectively, supply chains partners need to step up further to improve fluidity and reliability. Stephen Hawthornthwaite, CEO of Rothy’s: In 2022, pressure from consumers for transparency around manufacturing and production, coupled with pandemic learnings about existing supply chain constraints, will push businesses to condense their supply chains and bring in-house where possible. I also predict that more brands will test make-to-demand models to better weather demand volatility and avoid supply surpluses—a benefit for businesses, consumers and the planet. Nimbleness and a willingness to innovate will be crucial for brands who wish to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world. At Rothy’s, we’ve built a vertically integrated model and wholly-owned factory, enabling us to better navigate the challenges that production and logistics present and unlock the full potential of sustainability and circularity. Courtesy of Rothy’sStephen Hawthornthwaite, chairman and CEO, Rothy’s Green: The pandemic crystallized what a lot of us knew to be true, but hadn’t yet evaluated: There’s not nearly as much innovation in the supply chain as a flexible world is going to need. What we’re seeing now is a giant wake-up call to the entire commerce ecosystem. This is more than a rallying cry; it’s a mandate to reevaluate how we’re managing our production processes, and 2022 will be the start of change. Expect a massive overhaul of the system, and expect to see more investment building innovation, efficiency, and sustainability into the supply chain space. Read more: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Masters: As the pandemic continues with new variants, we expect global supply chain issues to persist in 2022. To what degree remains to be seen, but I would expect impacts to some raw materials, freight costs, and even energy costs. On a positive note, we can successfully meet our customer obligations largely because of our vertically integrated capabilities. This helps us continue to be a reliable source of lithium, as well as bromine. Worldwide logistics issues are a factor, but more marginal in the supply question when the determining factor is the ability to convert feedstock to product and bolster the supply chain. In lithium, we have active conversion facilities running at full capacity now. As we bring more capacity online (La Negra III/IV, Kemerton I/II, Silver Peak expansion, and our Tianyuan acquisition in China) while making more efficient use of our feedstocks, it will help strengthen the global supply chain. How will the labor market evolve and what changes should workers expect in the coming year? Brewer: The labor market will continue to be competitive in 2022. I often say to my team: as an employer, it’s not about the products we make, it’s not about our brand. It’s about how are we going to motivate team members to feel good about themselves, fulfilled and passionate about their work, to contribute at their highest level of performance. How do we create a culture that means Walgreens Boots Alliance is the best place to work—so our team members say, “Yes, pay me for the work that I do, but help me love my job.” In the coming year and beyond, broadly across the market, we will see that managers will continue to become even more empathetic and listen more actively to their team members as people. Workers will expect that employers and their managers accept who they are as their whole, authentic selves, both personally and professionally. Read more: The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Finally Getting Companies to Take Burnout Seriously. Is It Enough? Gelsinger: Our employees are our future and our most important asset, and we’ve already announced a significant investment in our people for next year. As I’ve said, sometimes it takes a decade to make a week of progress; sometimes a week gives you a decade of progress. As I look to 2022, navigating a company at the heart of many of the pandemic-related challenges, we must all carefully consider what shifts are underway and what changes are yet to come. It will continue to be a competitive market and I expect you’ll continue to see companies establish unique benefits and incentives to attract and retain talent. We expect the “hybrid” mode that’s developed over the past years to become the standard working model going forward. Al Drago/Bloomberg—Getty ImagesPatrick Gelsinger, chief executive officer of Intel Corp., speaks during an interview at an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Dec. 9, 2021. Bourla: The past couple of years have challenged our workforce in ways that we never would have imagined. Companies have asked employees to demonstrate exceptional flexibility, commitment, courage and ingenuity over the past two years—and they have risen to the challenge. I predict that we are likely to see an increase in salaries in the coming year due to inflation—and I believe this is a good thing for workers, as it will help close the gap in income inequality. That said, financial rewards are no longer the only thing that employees expect from their employers. Increasingly, people want to work for a company with a strong culture and a defined purpose. As such, companies will need to foster and promote a culture in which employees feel respected and valued for their contributions and made to feel that they are integral to furthering the purpose of their company. Businesses that are able to create such a culture will not only be able to attract the best talent, but also maximize the engagement, creativity and productivity of their people by enabling them to bring their best selves to every challenge. Green: For many years, Forerunner has been saying, “It’s good to be a consumer. Consumers want what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and they’re getting it.” That same evolution of thought has now moved into the labor market: It’s a worker’s market, not a company’s market, and the relationship between the worker and the employer needs to evolve because of that. Workers should expect to get more flexibility, respect, benefits, and pay in some cases—but they still need to show up and deliver impact at work. It’s a two-way street, and we need to tap into a broader cultural work ethic. As a society, we need to be more holistic in our approach to meeting both company and worker needs. Read more: The Pandemic Revealed How Much We Hate Our Jobs. Now We Have a Chance to Reinvent Work Seroka: There’s a need for more truck drivers and warehouse workers in southern California. President Biden’s new Trucking Action Plan funds trucker apprentice programs and recruit U.S. military veterans. It’s an important step forward to attract, recruit and retain workers. Private industry needs to look at improved compensation and benefits for both truckers and warehouse workers. We need to bring a sense of pride and professionalism back to these jobs. On the docks, the contract between longshore workers and the employer’s association expires June 30. Both sides will be hard at work to negotiate and reach an agreement that benefits the workers and companies while keeping cargo flowing for the American economy. Courtesy Port of Los AngelesGene Seroka, executive director, Port of Los Angeles. Masters: I think there will still be a fight for talent next year. It’s a tight labor market overall and Covid-19 restrictions are a challenge in some regions. Albemarle has a really attractive growth story and profile, especially for workers interested in combatting climate change by contributing in a meaningful way to the clean energy transition. We are embracing a flexible work environment, much like other companies are doing, and upgrading some benefits to remain an employer of choice in attracting and retaining the best people on our growth journey. And, of course, we should all expect pandemic protocols to continue next year to ensure everyone’s health and safety. How do you see your role as a leader evolving over the coming year? Bourla: We are entering a golden age of scientific discovery fueled by converging advancements in biology and technology. As an industry, we must leverage these advancements to make disruptive changes in the way we discover, develop and bring new medicines to patients. Since I became CEO of Pfizer, we have been working to reimagine this process by operating as a nimbler, more science-driven organization, focused on delivering true breakthroughs for patients across our six therapeutic areas. In the past few years, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver on this promise of bringing true scientific breakthroughs through our colleagues’ tireless work in COVID-19. But there is more work to be done to address the unmet need in other disease areas—and now is the time to do it. In the year ahead, my leadership team and I will focus on leveraging these advancements in biology and technology, as well as the lessons learned from our COVID-19 vaccine development program, so that we may continue to push this scientific renaissance forward. This is critical work that we must advance for patients and their families around the world who continue to suffer from other devastating diseases without treatment options. Gelsinger: We are in the midst of a digital renaissance and experiencing the fastest pace of digital acceleration in history. We have immense opportunities ahead of us to make a lasting impact on the world through innovation and technology. Humans create technology to define what’s possible. We ask “if” something can be done, we understand “why,” then we ask “how.” In 2022, I must inspire and ensure our global team of over 110,000 executes and continues to drive forward innovation and leadership on our mission to enrich the lives of every person on earth. Brewer: Purpose is the driving force at this point in my career. I joined Walgreens Boots Alliance as CEO in March of 2021, what I saw as a rare opportunity to help end the pandemic and to help reimagine local healthcare and wellbeing for all. Seven months later, we launched the company’s new purpose, vision, values and strategic priorities. My role as CEO now and in 2022 is to lead with our company’s purpose—more joyful lives through better health—at the center of all we do for our customers, patients and team members. I’m particularly focused on affordable, accessible healthcare for all, including in traditionally medically underserved communities. Healthcare is inherently local, and all communities should have equitable access to care. John Lamparski—Getty Images for Advertising Week New YorkTim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe, speaks in New York City on Sept. 26, 2016. Cadogan: The last two years were dominated by a global pandemic and social and geopolitical issues that will carry over into 2022. The role of leaders in this new and uncertain environment will be to deliver value to their customers, while helping employees navigate an increasingly complex world with a completely new way of working together. Trust will be at the center of every decision we make around product development and platform policies—do the decisions we are making align with our mission to help people help each other and do they build trust with our community and our employees? Green: Everything around us is moving at an accelerated pace, and being a leader requires you to operate with a consistent set of values while still leaning into opportunity. Arguably, the pandemic has been the most disruptive time in decades—a generational disruption on par with the Depression or WWII. People’s North Stars are in the process of transforming, and leaders need to figure out what that means for their companies, their cultures, and their work processes. How does this change require leaders to shift their priorities as a business? Courtesy, Forerunner VenturesKirsten Green, founder and managing partner, Forerunner Ventures Masters: My leadership style is to make decisions through dialogue and debate. I encourage teams to be curious about other perspectives, be contrarian, actively discuss, make decisions, and act. I wasn’t sure how well we could do this from a strictly remote work approach during the pandemic, but watching our teams thrive despite the challenge changed my mind. Our people adapted quickly to move our business forward. We’ve worked so well that we’re integrating more flexibility into our work environment in 2022. With this shift to hybrid work, it will be important for all leaders, myself included, to empower employees in managing their productivity, and ensure teams stay engaged and focused on our key objectives. We’re facing rapid growth ahead, so our culture is vital to our success. I’ll continue to encourage our teams to live our values, seek diverse viewpoints, be decisive, and execute critical work to advance our strategy. Courtesy of Albemarle Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle Seroka: Overseeing the nation’s busiest container port comes with an outsized responsibility to help our nation—not just the Port of Los Angeles—address the challenges brought about by the unprecedented surge in consumer demand. That means taking the lead on key fronts such as digital technology, policy and operational logistics. On the digital front, our industry needs to use data better to improve the reliability, predictability, and efficiency in the flow of goods. Policy work will focus on improving infrastructure investment, job training and advocating for a national export plan that supports fair trade and American jobs. Operationally, we’ll look for new ways to improve cargo velocity and efficiency......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 2nd, 2022

Adobe"s chief product officer predicts the 5 biggest tech trends of 2022

Read Adobe CPO and Behance founder Scott Belsky five predictions for the way the tech world will change in 2022. Scott Belsky challenges himself to make projections of future tech trendsEric Einwiller Scott Belsky is the founder of Behance and the chief product officer at Adobe. As 2021 comes to a close, he predicts five major trends to emerge in the tech industry next year. This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author. Every year I challenge myself to synthesize the themes in technology and culture for which I have most conviction, and attempt to project where they will take us next. I am sharing them as a way to connect more dots, meet more founders, and solicit input that will further develop these ideas. No surprise, some of the companies I mention within these trends as examples are in my own portfolio or part of my work building creative products. But I have challenged myself to share ideas still-on-the-cusp of breakout rather than the obvious trends and winners:1. The next generation of top talent will have "Polygamous Careers," transforming the corporate world as we know itOur brains, interests, and potential have never been single-threaded nor confined to a singular interest or skill. And yet, the traditional labor market since the industrial revolution has placed us in one job at a time  —  for years at a time. The entire system, from college recruiting and healthcare to LinkedIn profiles and annual tax forms, is geared for monogamous careers. I have come to believe two things, after a circuitous career as a founder, author, traditional VC, active angel, and product leader at a large company:  I am most happy when my many interests and skills feel fully utilized  —  both professionally and personally, and in the modern hyper-networked world that gives us all broad exposure to fuel our many interests, fewer of us can be singularly defined. I firmly believe that professional fulfillment will increasingly be the result of feeling fully utilized.The next generation of talent entering the workforce will overwhelmingly opt for what I've come to call "polygamous careers."The desire to generate income and feel fulfilled from multiple projects will increase retention (you don't leave a job if your "other interests" are being fulfilled elsewhere), increase workplace productivity (no more face time…people will be busier and more efficient), and help many projects and companies engage top talent that would otherwise be out of reach. One's profession will be a portfolio of projects, whether you're a designer, engineer, salesperson, or investor. The idea of "exclusivity" in an offer letter will be laughable faster than we think.A few transformative products and technologies will support the rise of polygamous careers. Polywork is a modern take on LinkedIn that builds out your profile at the more granular project and achievement level as opposed to the job level. So, "Pushed Code," "Updated an iOS app," or "Spoke at a conference" is the new "Got a new Job." In a polygamous career, these milestones matter more. Another company I am excited about is Braintrust, a decentralized "talent owned" network where any company can engage a group of freelancers and directly work with a coordinated group of talent without any middleman or take rate.My hope for the future is that more people will enjoy the benefits of "Tune-In Jobs" (where you are deeply engaged with the work you do) vs. "Tune-Out Jobs" (where we're more focused on the clock). The world is moved forward by those who tune in.2. The rise of immersive experiences will mainstream 3D creationI promised myself I wouldn't say it…but "Metaverse." Ultimately, what this means is that we will increasingly play games, connect with friends, and work with colleagues in a fully immersive virtual reality. Such spaces will have the largest movie screens you've ever seen, they will defy the laws of physics, and they will literally enable you to explore your dreams. The jury is still out on which devices will mainstream such experiences at school, work, and home, but they are coming and we will all jump in just as we did with mobile phones. However, such experiences will be boring and fall completely flat unless they are filled with rich, engaging, three-dimensional, interactive, and personalized content. Engaging content is what unlocks the potential of new mediums, and immersive will be no different.The only problem is that 3D content is notoriously hard to make. Historically, to build a 3D object you needed sophisticated modeling programs with a lot of math, and then a whole suite of other products to illustrate and render. Imagine doing this for an entire virtual reality experience.At Adobe, we've learned that most designers want to start with a stock 3D object as opposed to building one from scratch. We've built out an entire suite of products called Substance 3D that includes a product that lets you sculpt a 3D object (much like clay) wearing a virtual reality headset, and then refine it further in desktop products to make it look real. With our efforts and numerous startups tackling this opportunity, coupled with the capacity of our mobile phone cameras to scan objects into 3D assets, we will all be creating in virtual reality as immersive experiences go mainstream.3. "The Stakeholder Economy" will turn customers (and employees) of businesses into ownersWhat many folks term "web 3" is really just a blockchain-driven model to administer, govern, earn, and trade ownership stakes of the next generation of platforms and businesses.I can't help but imagine the same technology being applied to the long tail of smaller businesses both on and offline. Imagine if your favorite online publications, e-commerce brands, and small businesses in your town were able to frictionlessly distribute ownership to every stakeholder without the need for expensive IPOs are major structural changes. Perhaps we will all own a piece of the many online businesses and marketplaces we frequent, as well as our favorite local restaurant, ice cream shop, and coffee house. Imagine every subscriber to your newsletter becoming a stakeholder as well as a reader, and what that would do to viral marketing? When you like a brand or service, you can buy tokens or earn them by contributing labor in the form of clearly defined and measurable tasks.Our tokens would entitle us to vote on certain decisions (flavors of the month?), serve as an engagement vehicle, turn us into passionate unpaid marketers, and would carry (perhaps even grow) a residual value that can be sold on an open 24/7 market to new residents and customers (or speculators seeking exposure to mom and pop shops in stable communities)  —  or perhaps these tokens can even be redeemed for merchandise? Perhaps you'd be able to buy your ice cream with (tokens in the) ice cream (shop). Might the benefits of collective ownership of small companies be the biggest threat to big companies? If every stakeholder of these businesses was deeply incentivized to help build, improve, market, and patronize the brands, perhaps that would become a competitive advantage against the big guys.4. Artificial Intelligence will make personalization too good to opt-outMy growing contrarian view about the trend of privacy and opting out of ads is that artificial intelligence will make personalization so damn incredible that opting out will be the equivalent of using an old flip phone or going to a restaurant and getting served a random dish. This is especially true for the next generation that prefers transparency over privacy. , "Ads" conjures up the era of annoying banner ads and pop-ups. But "personalized experiences" are the new advertising, and most of us would prefer it whether we admit it or not.We already want personalized experiences:  We want local restaurants to know our names and preferences. We want shoe stores to remember our size. We want online food markets to hide the food we're allergic to.If you subscribe to my view that technology, it takes us back to the way things once were  —  but with less friction and at a far greater scale. We'll want AI-driven immersive experiences to know us well, but not at the expense of our security and comfort.As always (at least in my mind), design is the solution. UX design, policies, and practices will be at the forefront of building customer relationships that let us hyper-personalize future experiences at scale without compromising trust.5. The next generation will have a nomadic decade of life and work, and will love itWhen I graduated college, my first task was finding an apartment with a somewhat arbitrary set of roommates. There was no popular notion nor tolerance for remote work, Airbnb didn't exist, and every apartment lease was at least a year long but only affordable with a longer commitment. Fast forward, the vast majority of start-ups  —  and even many big companies  —  are remote friendly or remote only. There are also all types of apartment-swapping networks and all price ranges of Airbnb's that enable us to choose locations a few weeks at a time. So, my prediction is that young adults in their twenties increasingly choose to spend a decade of their lives living between a set of rented or swapped spaces around the world, working remotely, and immersing themselves in communities and cultures. Such an experience would truly change their lives and foster the type of creativity, openness to diversity, and self-exploration that enriches personal and professional outcomes. What kinds of products and networks can make this more accessible and affordable to all? Whatever products and employers lean in this direction will prosper.Of course, this opens up the Pandora's box of remote work. New companies can be built for this era, but can old companies be retrofitted with a culture and set of practices that work for this new way of life? Or is there a growing chasm between companies that are and aren't willing to accommodate? Ultimately, we all either follow the trail of great talent or fall behind.Scott Belsky is an entrepreneur (Behance, 99U), and chief product officer of Adobe. author (The Messy Middle, Making Ideas Happen), and early-stage investor in 80+ startups (including several mentioned in this article) and is an all-around product obsessive.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 1st, 2022

3 Cooled-Off Cathie Wood Stocks Set for a Big Rebound in 2022

Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK) didn't have a great 2021 but these three stocks, DocuSign, Inc. (DOCU), Zoom Video Communications (ZM) and Tesla, Inc. (TSLA), have to potential to do well in 2022. The pandemic is a blessing in disguise for many. Cathie Wood, the founder of Ark Innovation ETF ARKK is certainly among them. Wood, who is known for accumulating disruptive tech stocks for ARK Invest's exchange-traded funds (ETFs) saw huge returns in 2020.However, this year hasn’t been that great for her flagship fund, Ark Innovation ETF, as inflation worries have taken a toll on high-growth stocks. That, however, hasn’t dented the confidence of the famed growth investors. These three cooled off stocks — DocuSign, Inc. DOCU, Zoom Video Communications ZM and Tesla, Inc. TSLA still have enough potential to rebound in a big way in 2021.Ark Innovation StrugglingWood was one of the few successful growth investors last year. Her collection of growth-oriented ETFs reaped benefits from the pandemic, with Ark Innovation ETF rallying over 150%. Ark Innovation ETF has more than $21 billion in assets,However, the high-growth area, particularly tech stocks, took a bad hit earlier this year and even after making a solid return has still left Ark Innovation ETF in the red on a year-to-date basis. High-returning stocks from 2020 like Teslahave so far been lower this year.Not the End of the RoadThe stocks that helped Ark Innovation ETF rally more than 150% in 2020 have been hit hard. The ETF has lost over 20% of its value in 2021 on growing inflation fears that have unsettled high-growth stocks. More than 50% of the ETF’s largest holdings are down between 37% and 52% this year.Yet, Wood is confident of bouncing back in 2022. She expects Ark’s investment in some of the biggest disruptive tech stocks to help the ETF rebound significantly, with a 30% to 40% compound annual rate of return over the next five years.Our PicksDisruptive tech stocks have helped the ETF generate huge returns so far and the momentum is likely to rebound in 2022 despite some major roadblocks in 2021. Here are three Cathie Wood stocks that hold promise.Tesla is one of the few stocks from the ARK Innovation ETF portfolio that has managed to put up a great show. Shares of TSLA have outperformed the industry over the past year. Tesla hit a milestone in the third quarter of 2021, with gross auto margins attaining a record high. Riding on robust Model 3/Y demand, Tesla saw record Q3 production and deliveries despite global microchip shortage. TSLA’s energy generation and storage revenues are also helping its earnings prospects. Moreover, low debt to capitalization is likely to increase the electric vehicle maker’s financial flexibility. Tesla’s expected earnings growth rate is more than 100% for the current year and 30.4% for next year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 1.2% over the past 60 days. Shares of TSLA have gained 55% year to date. Tesla sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).Zoom came into prominence in 2020, following the coronavirus outbreak and emerged as one of Ark Innovation ETF’s best performers. ZM gained continued traction as more people worked and learned remotely during the peak of the pandemic. This saw its customer base growing strongly.Although the company somewhat lost its sheen in 2021, the stock still has immense potential. Zoon’s annualized revenues during third-quarter 2021 was $4.2 billion, or 58.4% higher than in second-quarter 2020, when it was fast gaining popularity after the COVID-19 outbreak.The company has lately been getting competition from rivals like Microsoft and Cisco but it still holds promise. ZM’s expanding international presence is a key catalyst. Moreover, Zoom has also been making efforts to eliminate the security and privacy loopholes as well as new hardware and Zoom From Home solution’s launch are expected to help in expanding its presence. Zoom has underperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis. ZM’s expected earnings growth rate is 44.9% for the current year and 19.5% for the next five years. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 0.8% over the past 60 days. Shares of ZM have lost 44.3% year to date. Zoom carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.DocuSign is another company that redefined business during the pandemic. The pandemic demanded contactless transactions including remote signature. DocuSign, which was already into this, captured the market. However, DOCU has been taking a beating lately. After peaking at $310.05 in September, the share price fell to $156.52 on Dec 27 — almost a 50% drop.However, the acquisitions of Seal Software and Liveoak Technologies in 2020 are expected to add functionality to DocuSign Agreement Cloud and help the company significantly. DOCU remains focused on continuously acquiring eSignature customers — now around 13,000. DocuSign has underperformed the industry on a year-to-date basis. DOCU’s expected earnings growth rate is more than 100% for the current year and 10.7% for next year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 14.5% over the past 60 days. Shares of DOCU have lost 29.6% year to date. DocuSign carries a Zacks Rank #3. Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through November, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks gained an impressive +962.5% versus the S&P 500’s +329.4%. Now our Director of Research is combing through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank to handpick the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these stocks when they’re released on January 3.Be First to New Top 10 Stocks >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK): ETF Research Reports DocuSign (DOCU): Free Stock Analysis Report Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (ZM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 28th, 2021

The Gen Zer who launched a website for artists to buy and sell high-end bongs believes people will soon collect them like fine china

Riley McDonnell wants to build the Sotheby's of glass bongs and pipes. This year alone, his company has done $500,000 in transactions. Riley McDonnell, the 24-year-old founder of the high-end-bong marketplace GlassPass.GlassPass Riley McDonnell, 24, is the founder of GlassPass, a marketplace for high-end bongs and pipes.  He believes glass bongs will be a collectors' item one day like fine china.  This is part of Insider's entrepreneur series "Star, Rising," which highlights early entrepreneurs. Name: Riley McDonnellAge: 24Location: San Francisco Business: A marketplace for glass-art enthusiasts, which focuses on high-end bongs and pipes. Backstory: When McDonnell launched GlassPass in 2017, he was still a sophomore at the University of Southern California and wanted to create a place where glass enthusiasts, mostly those creating luxury bongs and pipes, could safely buy, sell, and auction their art."Our vision is to be the go-to spot for glass lovers," McDonnell said. "As legalization gets nearer, I believe high-end glass art will become a commonplace collectible item in many homes, similar to fine china or luxury watches." Products on GlassPass.GlassPassWall Street analysts expect the cannabis industry in the US to be worth $100 billion by the end of the decade. Sales topped a record $17 billion last year, and the market is already worth more than $28 billion.In other words, GlassPass wants to become the Sotheby's of the marijuana marketplace. In 2019, it began selling hoodies and bong mats, and in March, the company launched its official marketplace app, with plans to release more limited-edition drops, create a social-networking community, write editorials, and even host virtual events.But naturally, the company wants to get into crypto first. Growth: GlassPass, which takes a percentage of all transactions, processed more than $500,000 in sales and sold about $30,000 in merchandise this year, per documents the company gave Insider. The company's app has over 20,000 users and has grown nearly 30% month over month since March, McDonnell said, and the company is set to launch cryptocurrency payments by the end of December.The company has over 30,000 Instagram followers, with high-profile followers in the glass community including Mothership Glass and Sovereignty Glass. A screenshot of GlassPass.GlassPassBefore GlassPass: McDonnell worked as an associate account executive at Amazon Web Services before leaving in April to focus on GlassPass full time. Challenges: Each phase of the company has posed different challenges, McDonnell said. For example, he said the company tried to launch a website in 2019 but found it was "buggy, unattractive, and outdated," so he and his team built a mobile app instead. Then, it took six months, in the middle of a pandemic, to find a bank that would process the payments made on the app."Throughout all of our challenges, the only constant was our community," he said. "When we faltered, failed, or delayed a release, they never skipped a beat and encouraged us to keep going." Business advice: "Focus on what you know," McDonnell said. "What you don't know can always be learned later or supplemented." Business mentor: McDonnell said he typically turned to the GlassPass community for help. He uses Instagram polls, for example, to gauge customer sentiment toward new product features and designs. Why now is the best time to start a business: It's never been easier to start a business, McDonnell said, especially as access to technology increases. "You can Google anything and find people to build things, without even having to leave your house," he added. "With a passion, a vision, and networking, I believe you can do anything with the tools available at your fingertips."McDonnell works at home.GlassPassOn hiring: GlassPass, which has about 20 people on staff, is split into two main departments: development and social media. The company hopes to expand and hire more. "Our development team is solid, but we need to expand more on the business side in the future, which we've already started working on," McDonnell said.On managing burnout: McDonnell does his best to eat well, meditate, and get good sleep. He also tries to make time for activities such as hiking, playing guitar, playing video games, and hanging out with friends. He loves spending time with his dog and tries to keep his thoughts trained on the present. "Don't focus on what you don't have. Focus on what's there," he said. "And don't long for the past."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 28th, 2021

How to mine cryptos like bitcoin, ether, and doge: Your complete guide to the tech setups, potential profits, and risks involved

We spoke to multiple crypto miners who broke down the costs, equipment setups, profits, and risks that are associated with mining. Crypto mining is seeing a surge in interest as people scramble to participate in the market.Nurphoto/Getty Images Interest in crypto mining surged in 2021 as people participated in the industry's upside.  Miners are essential to crypto because they help maintain blockchains and record transactions. Insider regularly interviews miners of various cryptos to detail their setups, earnings, and costs. You can read all about it by subscribing to Insider. The cryptocurrency boom of 2021 attracted interest from people looking for how to profit from the nascent asset class. Staking coins to earn interest and spending them in metaverses were just some of the ways that more crypto investors jumped on the bandwagon. Additionally, crypto mining remains one of the most viable ways to participate in the upside of digital currencies. In practice, miners' computers compete by solving complex mathematical equations that help verify digital currency transactions and update the shared ledger called the blockchain. Their reward for solving these problems is a share of the cryptocurrency that's associated with the blockchain they are part of. Since cryptos are decentralized, meaning that no governing intermediaries are recording each transaction, miners are essential to keeping the crypto ecosystem alive. But mining is not without current and future roadblocks. The environmental impact of its electricity usage is a persistent concern. In 2021, miners fled China after the government banned mining in some provinces. And, the infrastructure bill that proposed more stringent tax-reporting requirements for miners showed that more regulatory firestorms could come.   Additionally, mining is not a golden ticket to crypto riches. Payouts vary and are subject to the volatility that's synonymous with this budding asset class. Equipment and electricity costs can also bite off any earnings. Despite these hurdles, crypto mining could continue to grow as digital currencies stretch further into the mainstream. The global market-research firm Technavio estimated that the market for ASIC hardware and graphic processing units (GPUs) will grow by $2.80 billion at a compounded annual rate of over 7% from 2020-2024.Insider has interviewed several miners who explained their processes from start to finish. We learned how they initially got smart on cryptocurrencies, the specific equipment they got started with, how they manage electricity costs, the amount of crypto they earn as rewards for maintaining the blockchain, and much more.  BitcoinMining the world's most popular cryptocurrency is one way to earn it at a potentially lower cost while participating in its upside.The practice may conjure up images of long LED-lit rows of computers, similar to the high-frequency trading systems that are out of the financial reach of most retail investors. But these facilities do not represent the full spectrum of bitcoin mining.  Insider has interviewed mining experts who run the gamut, from the founder of a company with facilities in three states to a TikToker who went viral for his $875 mini rig.      Read more:How to mine bitcoin: The founder of a mining farm breaks down the costs of electricity and equipment, how to pool, and the profits he earns in the processA key bitcoin lightning network developer shares how he makes $4,500 a month just in fees from running a node. He and 3 other crypto experts lay out how to run profitable nodes.An $875 mini bitcoin-mining rig is viral on TikTok. The video's creator told us 3 reasons why it's an appealing alternative for crypto traders, and explained its limitations.Ether The second-largest crypto by market cap recently underwent a software upgrade called the London hard fork that contained five Ethereum Improvement Proposals, or code changes. The most important one for miners was arguably EIP-1559, which mandated a minimum base fee that all users must pay to execute their transactions. Under the new system, these fees will be burned from the network instead of being rewarded to miners. In short, the upgrade means that ether miners, whose revenues had surpassed that of bitcoin miners, will be paid less. We're tracking the unfolding impact of this new development, as well as how ether miners continue to earn passive income. Read more:How to mine ethereum: A 25-year-old who pays $42 a month in exchange for half an ether monthly explains how he does it — and an expert breaks down the effect of the blockchain's recent upgrade on minersHow to mine ether for maximum profits: The CEO of a company that operates 7 mining farms breaks down how to pick the right equipment and manage electricity costs for optimal gainsOther altcoins: Doge and heliumAltcoin mining has become a hobby for people like Dason Thomas, who became interested after seeing TikTok videos of others and recognizing mining as an avenue to build wealth. Thomas' equipment includes 12 Antminer l3+'s that mine scrypt algorithms, a type of cryptography used in hashing various altcoins including dogecoin and litecoin. He also has a mini dogecoin miner that he bought for $699. This relatively cheap entry point illustrates how easy it can be to get started earning cryptos without buying them directly.Read more:How to mine shiba inu for free: A college student used his old laptop to download software that rakes in the crypto dailyHow to mine doge: An 18-year-old TikTok influencer shares his process for earning crypto without directly buying via a $700 rig — and explains how it works for other altcoins including litecoinHelium mining is surging in popularity as people clamor to get into crypto. A software engineer who bought 100 miners at $350 apiece explains how he set up his system, how much he's earning, and how to maximize gains.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 27th, 2021