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NHTSA asks Tesla why it didn"t issue recall over "Autopilot" software update

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla this week to explain why the company did not issue a recall notice last month when it implemented a safety-related software update to its “Autopilot” program......»»

Category: topSource: foxnewsOct 13th, 2021

Tesla Must Answer For Failure to Recall Autopilot Software After Crashes

(DETROIT) — U.S. safety investigators want to know why Tesla didn’t file recall documents when it updated Autopilot software to better identify parked emergency vehicles, escalating a simmering clash between the automaker and regulators. In a letter to Tesla, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the electric car maker Tuesday that it must recall… (DETROIT) — U.S. safety investigators want to know why Tesla didn’t file recall documents when it updated Autopilot software to better identify parked emergency vehicles, escalating a simmering clash between the automaker and regulators. In a letter to Tesla, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the electric car maker Tuesday that it must recall vehicles if an over-the-internet update deals with a safety defect. “Any manufacturer issuing an over-the-air update that mitigates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file an accompanying recall notice to NHTSA,” the agency said in a letter to Eddie Gates, Tesla’s director of field quality. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The agency also ordered Tesla to provide information about its “Full Self-Driving” software that’s being tested on public roads with some owners. The latest clash is another sign of escalating tensions between Tesla and the agency that regulates vehicle safety and partially automated driving systems. In August the agency opened an investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot after getting multiple reports of vehicles crashing into emergency vehicles with warning lights flashing that were stopped on highways. The software can keep cars in their lane and a safe distance from vehicles in front of them. Messages were left early Wednesday seeking comment from Tesla. NHTSA opened a formal investigation of Autopilot after a series of collisions with parked emergency vehicles. The investigation covers 765,000 vehicles, almost everything that Tesla has sold in the U.S. since the start of the 2014 model year. Of the dozen crashes that are part of the probe, 17 people were injured and one was killed. According to the agency, Tesla did an over-the-internet software update in late September that was intended to improve detection of emergency vehicle lights in low-light conditions. The agency says Tesla is aware that federal law requires automakers to do a recall if they find out that vehicles have safety defects. The agency asked for information about Tesla’s “Emergency Light Detection Update” that was sent to certain vehicles “with the stated purpose of detecting flashing emergency vehicle lights in low light conditions and then responding to said detection with driver alerts and changes to the vehicle speed while Autopilot is engaged.” The letter asks for a list of events that motivated the software update, as well as what vehicles it was sent to and whether the measures extend to Tesla’s entire fleet. It also asks the Palo Alto, California, company whether it intends to file recall documents. “If not, please furnish Tesla’s technical and/or legal basis for declining to do so,” the agency asks. Philip Koopman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, said NHTSA clearly wants Tesla to issue a recall. “They’re giving Tesla a chance to have their say before they bring the hammer down,” said Koopman, who studies automated vehicle safety. When automakers find a safety defect, they must tell NHTSA within five working days, and they’re required to do recalls. NHTSA monitors the recalls to make sure they cover all affected vehicles.. Automakers are required to notify all owners with letters explaining the repairs, which must be done at company expense. A public recall allows owners to make sure the repairs are done, and so people buying cars are aware of potential safety problems. NHTSA’s actions put all automakers on notice that when they do software updates via the internet, they have to be reported to the agency if they fix a safety problem. It’s another new technology that the agency has to deal with as numerous automakers follow Tesla with internet software capability. “Now every company has exposure every time they do an over-the-air update because NHTSA may come back weeks later and say ‘wait a minute, that was a stealth recall,’” Koopman said. Tesla has to comply with the request by Nov. 1 or face court action and civil fines of more than $114 million, the agency wrote. In a separate order to Tesla, NHTSA says that the company may be taking steps to hinder the agency’s access to safety information by requiring drivers who are testing “Full Self-Driving” software to sign non-disclosure agreements. The order demands that Tesla describe the non-disclosure agreements and say whether the company requires owners of vehicles with Autopilot to agree “to any terms that would prevent or discourage vehicle owners from sharing information about or discussing any aspect of Autopilot with any person other than Tesla.” Responses must be made by a Tesla officer under oath. If Tesla fails to fully comply, the order says the matter could be referred to the Justice Department. It also threatens more fines of over $114 million. Tesla has said that neither vehicles equipped with “Full Self-Driving” nor Autopilot can drive themselves. It warns drivers that they must be ready to intervene at all times. Shares of Tesla rose slightly in Wednesday morning trading. It was unclear how Tesla and CEO Elon Musk will respond to NHTSA’s demands. The company and Musk have a long history of sparring with federal regulators. In January, Tesla refused a request from NHTSA to recall about 135,000 vehicles because their touch screens could go dark. The agency said the screens were a safety defect because backup cameras and windshield defroster controls could be disabled. A month later, after NHTSA started the process of holding a public hearing and taking Tesla to court, the company agreed to the recall. Tesla said it would replace computer processors for the screens, even though it maintained there was no safety threat. Musk fought with the Securities and Exchange Commission over a 2018 tweet claiming that he had financing to take Tesla private, when that funding was not secured. He and the company agreed to pay $20 million each to settle allegations that he misled investors. Musk branded the SEC the “shortseller enrichment commission,” distorting the meaning of its acronym. Short sellers bet that a stock price will fall. The new demands from NHTSA signal a tougher regulatory stance under President Joe Biden on automated vehicle safety compared with the previous administrations. The agency had appeared reluctant to regulate the new technology for fear of hampering adoption of the potentially life-saving systems......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 13th, 2021

NHTSA Concerned Tesla Is "Employing Practices To Impede" It Its Investigation

NHTSA Concerned Tesla Is "Employing Practices To Impede" It Its Investigation As the NHTSA's broad reaching investigation of Tesla's Autopilot continues, it appears the company isn't going to make it easy for the regulator. The NHTSA said this week that it is "concerned that Tesla may employ practices that could impede the agency’s access to safety-related information, including information relevant to NHTSA’s above-referenced investigation of Tesla vehicles," according to Bloomberg. Safety investigators have also asked Tesla why the company didn't file recall paperwork after it updated its Autopilot software to better identify parked emergency vehicles.  The NHTSA said in a letter to Tesla it has to recall vehicles if over the air updates "mitigate a safety defect". “Any manufacturer issuing an over-the-air update that mitigates a defect that poses an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety is required to timely file an accompanying recall notice to NHTSA,” the agency wrote. The agency is referring to Tesla's “Emergency Light Detection Update” that had “the stated purpose of detecting flashing emergency vehicle lights in low light conditions and then responding to said detection with driver alerts and changes to the vehicle speed while Autopilot is engaged.” The regulator has also asked questions about the company's early release of its Full Self Driving beta versions, Bloomberg reported Wednesday morning. Recall, we reported at the beginning of September that the NHTSA had added a 12th crash into the scope of its investigation. On top of that, the regulator was demanding that Tesla provide an "exhaustive" amount of data about Autopilot before October 22 - which may be the data dump in question.  Last month, Phil Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, characterized the regulator's request for data as "really sweeping".  He continued: "This is an incredibly detailed request for huge amounts of data. But it is exactly the type of information that would be needed to dig in to whether Tesla vehicles are acceptably safe.” The NHTSA recently said it had opened a formal investigation into the company's Autopilot feature. It said it is opening a probe into Tesla's Model X, S, and 3 for model years 2014-2021. The broad range of models and model years means that this could be the broad investigation that Tesla skeptics have been requesting for years.  And regarding today's headline: should we really be surprised that the very same company that has laughed in the face of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Presidential administration and employees who have complained about racism is also now laughing in the face of the NHTSA?  You can read the NHTSA's most recent letter, in full to Tesla, here.  Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 11:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Ozy Media’s Carlos Watson Addresses The Company’s Downfall

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Ozy Media Co-Founder Carlos Watson on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, October 4th.  Following are links to video on CNBC.com: [soros] Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ozy Media’s Watson On Path Forward: We’re Going To Have To Change Substantially […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Ozy Media Co-Founder Carlos Watson on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F, 6AM-9AM ET) today, Monday, October 4th.  Following are links to video on CNBC.com: [soros] Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ozy Media’s Watson On Path Forward: We’re Going To Have To Change Substantially Ozy Media’s Watson Addresses Numerous Scandals Leading To Company’s Downfall ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: Welcome back to “Squawk Box.” Our next guest is here to give us a first-person account of the dramatic rise and fall of Ozy, a roughly 8-year old new media company that collapsed last week following reporting The New York Times about a series of allegedly misleading statements and actions. We’ve been talking about it all week, Ozy Media Co-Founder Carlos Watson is here with us on the set. Carlos, good morning to you. CARLOS WATSON: Morning. SORKIN: We have so many questions that have been unanswered and I’m hoping you can help us with. The first though— WATSON: Do you mind if I start at the top though? SORKIN: Well I think what you’re about to say because we just heard that, and we talked about it as a collapse. On Friday, the company said effectively they’re, it was going out of business. WATSON: Said we’re going to suspend operations and begin an orderly wind down but over the weekend, good conversations with investors, with advertisers. I was warmly surprised to hear from a number of folks readers, viewers, others, and as embarrassing sometimes as it may feel to do, I realized that we were premature. I realized we have something special here. I think that there’s a really good opportunity and part of what last week showed me is not only that we have lots of things that we have to do to improve. We do and I know we’re going to talk about some of those today. But I very genuinely feel like we have a meaningful important voice in what is maybe the most transformative decade and a half century, and I want Ozy to be around and be a part of it. I want people to read our newsletters. I want them to watch our TV shows. I want them to enjoy our podcast. I want them to come to our live events. I think all of that matters. SORKIN: Okay for them to do that, if that’s going to be the case, they’re gonna have to trust you and they’re gonna have to trust the Ozy brand. WATSON: Right. SORKIN: So, let’s talk about that trust because I think there’s, there were so many questions raised by the reporting that that was in the New York Times last week plus lots of other reporting in other places. And let’s just say this, lots of Ozy was real. I just wanna say that out loud, which is to say, the newsletters exist, the festival exists, the advertising exists. You’ve won an Emmy, that exists. But I think there’s other questions about whether the numbers were inflated. We heard about this phone call between your co-founder and Goldman Sachs apparently impersonating somebody from YouTube. We’ve talked about the advertising that suggested that said one thing, but the quotes necessarily, didn’t necessarily come from where they said they were coming from. I think we need to just try to the extent that you can clear the error, explain it— WATSON: Sure. SORKIN: Let’s do that. Let’s start with this phone call though because that’s what sort of set this whole thing off. Your co-founder had a phone call with Goldman Sachs as you were trying to raise money and effectively took them off of a Zoom, and then apparently started to impersonate within it with a fake email address as well, somebody from YouTube. What happened? WATSON: I don’t know. I wasn’t there. But I do know that I got a call from the YouTube folks after it saying something strange had happened, and we figured out what happened. I immediately called back to the folks at Goldman, right away, not four days later as I think someone wrote at one point and, and look, it’s heartbreaking, it’s wrong, it’s not good, it’s not okay. I love Goldman, I worked there, I’ve got a lot of friends there, you know, to this day several months afterwards. I’m grateful to them that, you know, we’ve formed a new advertising partnership and so, you know, hopefully there was some sense of trust regained, but there’s no doubt about it that that was not okay and that fractured a lot of trust not just there, but obviously, you saw what happened in a very tumultuous week last week, SORKIN: But part of what was happening in that instance from what I understand is, you had represented, and the company had represented at one point that your show was going to appear originally on A&E, by the way represented to me because I appeared on your show, and when I first got that email from the producer, it said this show was on going to be on A&E with 95 million households and I remember sitting down actually when I was about to do your show and I said to the producer in the, in the ear I said, “By the way, when does this air?” Thinking it’s going to air on A&E and she said something like, “We, you know, we’re really leaning in hard to online media, this is actually a YouTube Original.” But what it now appears like is it actually wasn’t a YouTube Original either. And in fact, that was somewhat of what the discussion or the issue was with Goldman Sachs, that you were uploading these videos to YouTube, but a YouTube Original is something where you say they’ve effectively commissioned the program. WATSON: So lots of miscommunication in that but I want to clarify that one because I think that that was definitely one where we lost a lot of trust. We originally conceived the show with A&E, you’ve seen the announcements that we have, have a partnership with them or a multi-year partnership. You know we’ve done shows on A&E, on their sister network History Channel, on Lifetime Channel, did good things. And originally during the summer, the conversation was with them. We created a sizzle reel together. We talked about which guests and things like that. And as the summer moved on, we realized that they were on a different timetable than we were and so, we shifted to YouTube. Now in the back of our mind we thought there still could be an opportunity for us to come back to them, but we clearly shifted to YouTube. I know that for you and for a number of other people, you got emails on that. That was wrong. I don’t know whether that was a mistake or whether that was intentional but whatever it is, that was wrong. SORKIN: But the executive producer that you hired believed that he was making a show for A&E and in fact, suggested on the record in the New York Times this week, or last week, that the show, every time he was told that he wanted to call someone at A&E, he was told effectively not to. WATSON: You know, I don’t know about that but I have to say this, I made a really bad decision last week and I didn’t respond to your text. I didn’t respond to texts lots of other people I know and I wish I had engaged with the media, had good conversations because I felt like after that piece, it was kind of like open season for people to throw whatever crazy half-truth and put it out there. Now, to be really clear, some of the things that came out last week were mistakes that we made, I know that we’ll talk about those too, but that’s a good example of one that I think that’s true. That same producer you’re talking about is the same producer who’s texted me multiple times since then with multiple exclamation points saying congratulations on the show bringing Matt Damon on, congratulations on the show now appearing on Amazon Prime. So, look, there’s no doubt about it that last summer, as the show started, we originally hoped that we were going to do with A&E and it ended up shifting to YouTube and, and, and I am sure that we did not communicate that well and I own that and that’s— SORKIN: But you use the word half-truths. I think there’s more than a half-truth or, or a half-lie in that which is the producer actually said to you specifically that you were lying to the staff about the fact that this show was supposed to be on A&E and then apparently lied again when you said it was gonna be a YouTube Original. WATSON: I disagree. I don’t think that’s true. So, both pieces of what you’re saying, which is the idea that he said to me that I was lying— SORKIN: Right. WATSON: And number two that I then said to the staff that it was YouTube Original, right. Clearly it wasn’t a YouTube Original and knowing what a YouTube Original was, it clearly wasn’t that. And let me— SORKIN: But why did they believe that it was a YouTube Original? Why were they telling me by the way that it was YouTube Original? WATSON: I hope that it was only a mix up of words, right. I hope that’s all it was. It may not have been but I hope there was only a mix up of words. But Andrew, what I don’t want to have obscured is that we didn’t do one or two episodes of the show, we’ve done 200 episodes and when Scarlett Johansson has come on, when Dr. Fauci has come on, when H.E.R. has come on, when Mark Cuban has come on, when Malcolm Gladwell has come on. SORKIN: But no one is— WATSON: Hold on one second. They come on knowing that they’re coming on a terrific YouTube show that has a chance to reach a really dynamic audience. SORKIN: Nobody’s disputing the quality of the program but by the way you just mentioned this being on Amazon Prime which became another issue is that you advertised it was the first show, first talk show on Amazon Prime. You were uploading that show to Amazon Prime. I remember seeing that ad for the first time thinking wow good for Carlos, Amazon Prime has commissioned him. That’s amazing. And then I found out when I read the story, that in fact you were just simply uploading it like anybody could. WATSON: It’s not. No, no, no, timeout guys and again, thank you for this time. I know we are going to spend a lot of time, Joe, do you mind if I hit this first and then come to you? JOE KERNEN: I’m just seeing like a pattern and I’m just wondering who is in charge that decided— WATSON: You know what? Let me, let me answer that and let me come back there because that also ties to the question of regaining trust and there’s a larger question, that’s totally legitimate question. So, to be really clear, getting on Amazon Prime, not everyone can upload it. That’s a very rare thing and this suggestion in one of the articles is just like any random yahoo can do that. You can’t do that, you should talk to the folks at Amazon and not believe some of the, you know, not very good reporting about that so it is a big deal. Number two, our understanding from them is that we were the only talk show and part of what was special about that is that they hadn’t done it otherwise and they weren’t in a place yet where they were willing to put their own money, but what they were willing to do in terms of a large upfront payment, but what they were willing to do and what they do for a few people is allow you to be part of Amazon Prime where you take risk and they take risk and the more views you have, the more you get paid. SORKIN: But to put a fine point on it. WATSON: Hold on. Hold on. SORKIN: They then asked you to stop advertising this point. WATSON: Well, but they asked to stop everything because what they said to us and what they said to me is because we are not convinced that we’re definitely gonna get in the talk show business and if you advertise it like that, you’re gonna have lots of other people, their agents and everyone calling, so they didn’t say take it down because it’s not true, they said take it down because we don’t want you stimulating more pitches for us in a space that we haven’t committed to yet. Let’s see how you do. If you do well with the interesting guests you have, whether it’s a Priyanka Chopra, whether it’s a Mark Cuban, a Lloyd Blankfein, whomever, then great and we’ll see where we go from there. So, please with all of these things let’s have the conversation, right, because we definitively made some mistakes and Joe I know we want to have a larger conversation about whether mistakes were ingrained in who we are or whether, like a lot of young companies, we made mistakes but that was the 20% not the 80% of who we are, but let’s go through all of these because I think that’s a super important point. We are on Amazon Prime, it’s a very difficult place to get. There are only two ways to get in there, you can either get a meaningful upfront payment and they drive it or for a few people, they say you’re special enough and if you want to take risk, and we’ll take risk, we’ll do that together and we bet on ourselves and we did it and our understanding and talking to them is that we were the only talk show and their hesitation about having it out there was not that it wasn’t true but that they didn’t want to stimulate more demand and so I want to clear that up and I think that’s important. SORKIN: Okay, Becky’s got a question for you. BECKY QUICK: Carlos, really quickly, back to the issue of— WATSON: Becky, I apologize, I’m not hearing you yet. QUICK: Oh sorry, maybe they can turn on the microphone. Can you hear me now? SORKIN: Can you hear her? WATSON: I don’t hear her yet. QUICK: Okay, maybe it’s not back. Joe’s got a question, why don’t you let him ask. KERNEN: Mine, I’m just wondering, the, the aggressive marketing that caused sort of to oversell and you could call it aggressive or someone was downright just this falsehoods about where, you know, you buy some advertising somewhere and then the entity suddenly the LA Times is saying — who was that, who because it happened again and again, again, do you have a head of marketing or— WATSON: But let me start with a macro place Joe and I’m saying this in order to address this and address it comprehensively because it’s important. KERNEN: Right. WATSON: Again, as you said before and as you know because I’ve been here with you before. We have a real business. We have real newsletters that millions of people get. We have real TV shows that people watch, we’ve won an Emmy. We have real podcasts that have been in the top 10 on Apple. We have real festivals that people come to. We have tried to market these very different franchises, about 25 in all, we’ve tried very hard to market them well. I would tell you that one of the mistakes we made is that sometimes we were too aggressive in marketing them unequivocally and I own that, not anyone else, I own that. That’s my mistake. I’m the CEO, I’m responsible that we tried our best. Now, do, if you’re asking me do I think that we got it wrong 50% of the time or 80% of time? No. If you ask me do I think we got it wrong 20% of the time? Yeah, we probably did and that’s on me and I own that and one of the things I hope will be true of that going forward is we’ll be much better about that, much crisper about that. KERNEN: So, 80% of the marketing was, was true, I don’t think that’s true. WATSON: Why do you not think it’s true? KERNEN: I just heard of some of the best— WATSON: Look, it was an incredibly salacious week and I do think at some point I hope you will invite me back to talk about the state of journalism, and I want to talk to Andrew and Becky about that too. I thought last week there was, there was not only real critique and there was, and make no mistake about it, I own the things that we need to do better on data, the things we need to do better on marketing, the things we need to do better on leadership and culture. I clearly own that and clearly have thoughts about where we can go from there. But in addition to that, I thought there was a wild piling on that was inappropriate, and that left you, and a lot of other people saying, is this everything about Ozy? Even Andrew, Andrew I look back, you sent me a text after you were on my show and you said, I’ve never had so many people tell me that they were watching the show, where did you get that magic from. You remember sending me that text? SORKIN: I remember looking at the, I think what I said to you, I think was— WATSON: No, no, no, I— SORKIN: You can get it because I remember being amazed by how many people were watching it on YouTube. WATSON: You told me in the text, you said and I’m happy to bring it. SORKIN: You can. WATSON: You said on the text to me and I’ll read it here to you if you like. You said to me— SORKIN: I was amazed how many people were watching it. WATSON: You said to me quote on August 29th at 7:54pm, “You have a big audience on YouTube, I keep hearing from various people who say they saw it.” I keep hearing from various people saying that they saw it. “I’d love to talk to you.” SORKIN: Right. WATSON: So that’s what you said, keep hearing from people. So, look, I just, I need you guys to be fair about this and thoughtful about this and not just go with this kind of one way digital mob. SORKIN: I know and Becky’s got a question but I want to ask you one other, which relates to the newsletter franchise, one of the things you’ve talked about is having 26 million people getting this newsletter. And I don’t disbelieve that you have 26 million addresses in your database. You can buy some of those, you can do some of that organically. But I also saw an investment deck that you had. WATSON: You can partner. SORKIN: Right, you can partner. WATSON: And I’ve partnered before on newsletter efforts with The New York Times. SORKIN: But I did see, I saw an investment deck that said you had a 25% open rate on those 26 million newsletters, subscribers. That is a very high open rate for what I don’t believe is a fully organic list. Can you, can you speak to that? Was it really, do you really have a 25% open rate on 26 million newsletters? WATSON: We do not. But, but I hope what it said and I don’t know which deck you’re referring to, I hope what it said is that for our best most regular people that it was 25%. So, of that 26 million, that 10 to 12 million who were the most regular, I hope what it said is that we have a 25% open rate, I hope that’s what it said. SORKIN: This was a deck for your, for your Series D, which brings me to another question. The investors who invested after this now infamous call between your executive and Goldman Sachs. Were they made aware of the call and the questions that have been raised that we’re now talking about today? WATSON: You know what, because you know that that is fraught and there are a lot of questions, I’m not going to go into that but I will say this and I think this is really important and when we talk about investments you know this with private companies, when you invest in a private company, you don’t just have one conversation or there’s not one data point. You and I both know that it can be a three to 12-month process. You and I both know that you often, if you’re the potential investor, you often have dozens of conversations both ones at the company sets up but also ones that you do yourself and that there are lots of data points and you go through that and you sync it all through and I’m confident that all of our investors and I’m confident that they talk to customers. I’m confident they talk to members of our team. I’m confident that they talk to other competitors. I’m confident that they consumed our newsletters and our TV shows and our podcasts, and many of them would come in the earlier days to our festivals as well so I want to say that because I know we keep having this conversation— QUICK: Hey Carlos. Just on that point though— WATSON: As though— QUICK: On that, on that point— WATSON: Becky, sorry, Becky can I just say one more thing— QUICK: But on that point, I just want to clarify what the point that you’re making right now. We know that the situation the conversation with Samir Rao, that that was a situation that you say where it was a mental break. Was there, were there any other occasions where investors were given misleading information in any of these conversations that you’re talking about right now or was that a one-off event? WATSON: Becky, I hope and I hope and I believe that that was a one-off event. I mean it’s a tragic event, it’s a horrific event, it’s a wrong event. And, and so I hope and trust that that was a that was a one-off. And so, but let me say something else because I think, again, this is important and it started at the beginning of the conversation Andrew. Like, I think it’s completely inappropriate and not thoughtful these kind of comparisons to Theranos. You and I both know that Theranos didn’t have a real product. And again, you’ve been on my TV shows. You’ve seen the Emmy that we won. You’ve received our newsletters at least heard of so— SORKIN: No, no, I— WATSON: So I want to make sure that we have like a grounded, thoughtful conversation and so investors who were thinking about us, considering us, getting to know us by the way, we’re also investing in other companies who were investing in Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, they were investing in Business Insider, they were investing in, in the Atlantic and all sorts of other companies and so these are people who aren’t just sophisticated investors but often investors who know the media space, maybe even better than I do. SORKIN: The point that Ben Smith made in today’s column was though, that it was a group think. It was everybody trying to be part of a club and that they actually didn’t do their diligence at all. WATSON: Yeah, so let’s, what I’d say is that I think Ben Smith should never have had a chance to write this piece. I’ve shared with a number of people before that two years ago in August of 2019, Ben Smith sent an email to me and his then CEO Jonah Peretti said I think you guys should get together for the purposes of talking about them buying me. We spent three months in conversation. They had me meet all of their top leaders, folks in marketing, folks in finance, folks in analytics, they went through our numbers backwards and forwards, they put together a joint presentation, and they made us after the end of that, in November, right before Thanksgiving, spending all that time doing diligence, Joe they made us an offer of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars for a company that Ben Smith now sets up as though it’s a house of cards and it was just group think. How is that possible that Ben Smith who’s been in new media for that many years, kicked off a process, followed up with me and they ended up making an offer for nearly a quarter of a billion dollars, $225 million, for something that they now say was group think and it was made up. And when we said no to him once and said no to him twice, two weeks later he quit, went to the Times and his first column in March of 2020 was, I guess, new media can’t work, I guess I’ve got to join the Times. Just because it didn’t work for him, not okay for him now to take a potshot at us and did he tell his editor that he was conflicted when he was writing about us. Did he tell his editor that he still owns lots of stock in Buzzfeed and that he tried to buy us? He didn’t. I don’t think that’s okay. I don’t think that’s okay, I don’t think he should have been able to write that piece and write the other pieces and create this false narrative that because Ozy doesn’t look like something he wants it to be and because we said no to him multiple times— SORKIN: But clearly you’re acknowledging that there are things that you, you and the company have done that are misleading. That were fair game for, for a journalist to write about. WATSON: 100% that we should have done better. Three of the areas and there may be more than three, but we definitely should have been better with data because so many of the data tools, only look at digital only, and we’re not a digital media company. I call us a modern media company because we’ve got TV shows, newsletters, podcasts and festivals. So we should have figured out that multi-platform data, we should have been better on the marketing. Joe, we got it wrong, it’s not okay what we did, it’s not, but I don’t think it was 80% of the time, I think it was probably more like 20% of the time and I would tell you that there’s some things around leadership and culture that I need to be better at and we need to be at. QUICK: Carlos, can I just, can I just clarify on that point? The things that you say you own because you were the leader you own it because people under you were doing things you didn’t know about or people under you were doing things that you did know about? WATSON: Becky, that’s such a broad question and, you know, that’s such a broad question. QUICK: No, I’m trying to be specific. It’s right for a leader to say it happened on my watch, it’s my fault. But is it your fault because you didn’t know or your fault because you did— WATSON: Fair. Let me give you a couple. So one on the data, I should have figured out a third party group that could have done, not just digital like Comscore does because Comscore only looks at website traffic or mainly looks at website traffic, but even though it was hard I should have figured out a solution as I now have and we have a third party that has done a preliminary look and hopefully they’ll finish up in the next couple of weeks and we will share it broadly with people and going forward, every month, we will share our data. We’ve got nothing to hide, we’ve got good things there. And so yes, I own that I didn’t make sure that that happened. And I knew that that was critical to us and we did the best we could. We did it piecemeal, but I should have had someone external as an example do it, do it consistently and share it with people in an easy consumable way. QUICK: But I’m sorry when we’re talking about made up marketing numbers, did you know that was happening or not? WATSON: I don’t believe we had made up marketing numbers, Becky. I don’t believe we had made up marketing numbers, and so I’ve heard people say that repeatedly but what it is, in my mind, is it’s Ben Smith and people like him who only believe that what happens on Twitter and websites matter and discount newsletters and discount podcasts and discount TV shows and discount festivals, and so their belief is, if you’re not doing that, if you’re not active on Twitter and doing snarky things on Twitter, then you don’t have a real media company and I, I constitutionally reject that. In fact, a big part of the reason why we’re going to continue going forward is because I don’t think it’s a good world where the only kind of media companies you have or the kind of media companies that get Ben Smith excited, what about the rest of us. SORKIN: I just want to say because I asked you about the email opens before and I’m looking at the deck, I’ll show it to you right here. 25% email opens. Ozy email average 25% open rate, 2.5 times industry and 3% CTR. It doesn’t have a star next to it that says just the people who are actively engaged with you in some way, and— WATSON: You know, I need to look at that more closely but let’s make sure that we do something here, which is that I don’t want, if you and I looked at any small company— SORKIN: Right. WATSON: Or a large company, we would find a handful of things that aren’t great. Just to be really clear, we would, we would find and just because something is sloppy or stupid, doesn’t mean it’s illegal, right. I just want to be really clear about that— SORKIN: Look I’m not, I recognize mistakes can be made, I think the question is whether there’s a pattern and series of mistakes and I think that is the, the larger issue. I’ll raise another one with you, Sharon Osborne, you made a comment on this program, by the way, saying that she was a friend and investor in the company. WATSON: I didn’t say she was a friend. SORKIN: I think we can probably go back and get the tape. WATSON: You know what, play the tape then. Please, go ahead, play the tape. SORKIN: I don’t know if we have the tape— WATSON: You know what, cue up the tape. This is an Obama Romney moment. Cue up the tape. Show me the tape. SORKIN: As we wait for the tape if we can get it. WATSON: So here’s, here’s what I said and here’s what is true. We have a wonderful music and ideas festival that I’ve invited you to many times. Becky you were going to come, as you recall, and you were going to do something. We had a conversation about that you couldn’t do it, we went back and forth with folks to try and see if we could get you to be a moderator of one of the things— QUICK: Yeah, it was something I couldn’t do. WATSON: It’s called OZY Fest and Sharon Osborne and the folks said that that was too close to the name of something they did called Ozzfest. They ended up suing us. We went back and forth and the final resolution was that they would get stock in our company, they would ultimately get about 50,000 shares. And so, I think on this show and maybe a couple of others, in my mind people who own shares in our company, are investors— SORKIN: But you do recognize an investor— WATSON: Hang on, hang on. Hey can I finish? SORKIN: You tell somebody that they’re an investor, they typically do that proactively and you didn’t say by the way, they happened to get shares instead of cash. WATSON: Andrew. SORKIN: I mean there’s a difference. There’s a difference. WATSON: Andrew, no doubt that there’s a difference but also if you put the blink test on this, the Malcolm level blink test, do you think I’m really saying to serious investors invest because Sharon Osborne? Like do you really think that’s like a calling card, like seriously, is that a calling card like just the blink test here. You really think that’s what I was doing or do you think you and I were having a light moment and we were making a joke and I said that, like play the tape. I’m sure it’s a light moment and there’s no one I’m going to say, hey, you know why you should invest because Sharon Osborne is in Ozy. I’m not gonna say that we were probably having a light moment I hope you’ll play the tape. SORKIN: What do you say to people, and I want to go back if we could to this though, you’re going to try to continue this company and, and keep going. WATSON: And it will be tough and it will be tough, as you said we will to, Joe, we will have to regain trust. SORKIN: The investors apparently have left the company. I mean Ron Conway effectively said I’m giving back the shares. WATSON: And again, I need you, Andrew, as sophisticated as you are about this stuff, like, you know, that we’ve raised millions of dollars of capital and Ron Conway put in $50,000. And so for you to keep banding about Ron Conway— SORKIN: It’s the first time I’m mentioning his name. WATSON: Hey, hey, today, right. But you mentioned it before last week so for you to keep banding that about like that’s a substantive big decision, like that’s not accurate and that’s what I meant before Joe about these things that are misleading. So, I’m sorry to see them go. He’s a terrific investor. SORKIN: But why do they, why do they abandon the company if things are as, as good as you say they are. Marc Lasry, by the way, defended you initially said that he thought that this mental health issue was real, said that it was dealt with appropriately. You know, 72 hours later, he’s gone. Why? Tell us about that conversation then. WATSON: Can’t, can’t speak to that except to say it’s heartbreaking. I am a big fan of Marc’s. I’ve been lucky to get a chance to work with him. He was great as an investor, as a board member, as a chairman. He joined me here on this show, as you know, I think more than once. He helped me with a number of our key business development efforts and so he was great and I’m, I, you know I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I’m sure he and I both wish last week hadn’t happened. I think we both felt like Ozy had had some incredible momentum this year, which is part of the reason why he became chairman. I think we both hoped that a lot more will happen but part of my opportunity going forward is to make sure that we build back stronger, that we create something that he and others can be proud of and, you know, Joe, you probably remember Tylenol situation, years ago, right. And that was a moment of leadership, that was a moment when it looked like an important company was going to go away. KERNEN: Timber. WATSON: You remember that? KERNEN: I remember it well. WATSON: And so, you know, look at our best and we, we may not get there, right, this is gonna be hard but at our best, this will be our Lazarus moment, right, at our best, and we may or may not see— SORKIN: So, tell us, what do you think you need to do at this point. By the way, you’re gonna have to get, I assume, maybe more, more investors though I know you have some cash still on hand, you’re gonna have to bring back the advertising community to ultimately support this and then readers and the public. WATSON: And so I think the first thing I have to do is think about my team. SORKIN: How are they gonna stay with you by the way? WATSON: You know what? That that’s a good question. That’s a good question. SORKIN: Have you talked to them? WATSON: I’ve talked to some of them. Obviously this has all happened very quickly. It’s a terrific team, they were as traumatized last week as I was as heartbroken as I was. I mean, whenever you want to say, you and I both know that when you ever you met people from Ozy, they loved Ozy. They weren’t kind of going through the motions, it wasn’t just like they loved Ozy, right, and so and so— SORKIN: But by the way, there were a number of reports last week from at least ex-employees who clearly didn’t love Ozy. WATSON: Fair enough. Of the, of the nearly thousand people we’ve hired over the last decade, part time and full time from freelance reporters to software engineers to people doing our festivals, crews on our TV shows and other folks, we did have people. And people ran with stories from for example one gentleman who we fired for lying multiple times but they set him up and allowed his quote Potemkin village or things like that to run wild as though he was a credible source, I don’t think that’s okay. Right. And so, I’m happy to have conversations about that and I’m happy to walk through that. But here’s the bottom line when you ask me what I need to do next, got to make sure that our team is in a good place and that’s not going to be easy and you and I both know that, have to make sure that we regain the trust of investors that’s not going to be easy either, have to make sure that we deliver really premium products. So at the end of the day, if we don’t have a newsletter that people want to read, if we don’t have TV shows that people want to watch, we don’t podcasts that people put on their headsets and go for a safe swim like we don’t have anything. If we don’t have an OZY Fest, that you can come to we don’t have anything so that’s going to be important. And the last thing I would say that’s going to ultimately be really important is we have to change. We have to change substantially on data, on leadership and culture, on marketing. SORKIN: Carlos Watson, we very much appreciate you being here. WATSON: You know what I wish I’d come last week— SORKIN: But one thing I can tell you is that I do wish you luck, I really do. WATSON: Thank you. Thank you. I hope I get a chance to come back. SORKIN: Thank you, Carlos. KERNEN: Thank you. WATSON: Thank you Joe. Thank you Becky. Updated on Oct 4, 2021, 1:30 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 4th, 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

General Motors (GM) Seals Deal With Hertz, Unveils 3 New E-Motors

General Motors (GM) unveils three new electric motors for its Ultium-based EVs, set to debut on the all-new 2022 GMC Hummer EV. General Motors GM recently inked an agreement with Hertz to help provide additional loaner cars to dealerships amid the global shortage of microchip.Reportedly, Hertz, a rental car giant, will primarily pivot on furnishing loaner vehicles to Chevy Bolt EV customers. Further, Hertz will provide the additional loaner vehicles at the automaker’s current rate as an add-on to the GM Dealer Courtesy Transportation Program.General Motors recently extended an existing recall for the Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Bolt EUV to all models and model years, including the revamped 2022 Chevy Bolt EV and all-new 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV. General Motors had issued the recall as the company had discovered two manufacturing defects in the battery cells supplied by South Korea's LG Energy Solution, its long-time electric vehicle (EV) partner. These include a torn anode tab and folded separator, which, in rare circumstances, could lead to a battery fire. To resolve the issue, General Motors had stated that the early Bolt models would have the entire battery packs replaced, while the newer models would have only the defective modules within the pack replaced. This had forced the auto biggie to suspend the production of new cars, until LG fixed the manufacturing lines and started supplying defect-free battery cells.This was followed by General Motors recently announcing that the production of the Chevy Bolt EV and Bolt EUV battery packs were resumed, with the replacement battery modules to be shipped out to dealers by mid-October. General Motors is also planning to issue a new state-of-the-art diagnostic software update, developed to locate the potential defects in the charging and battery packs, while enabling it to prioritize damaged batteries for replacement. Chevrolet dealers will commence installing the new software update in vehicles tentatively over the next 60 days.Like most other automakers, General Motors continues to fight the semiconductor chip dearth, used in the various car parts, since the beginning of the current calendar year. This had forced the automaker to temporarily halt production across several plants in North America.Nonetheless, the automaker was able to successfully navigate the chip crunch, as was evident by the company’s plans to ramp up production and deliveries of nearly all its vehicles, announced in June. General Motors was able to resume operations in nearly all of its assembly plants by diverting the scarce chip parts to the vehicles that are in the highest demand and generate the biggest profits.Other automakers scrambling with this supply-chain issue include Ford F, Toyota TM and Honda HMC.In a separate development, General Motors yesterday unveiled three new electric motors for its Ultium-based EVs at the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference. The motors will power the automaker’s future EVs and debut on the 2022 GMC Hummer EV.The motors — a 180-kilowatt front-drive motor, a 255-kW rear and front-drive motor, and a 62-kW all-wheel-drive assist motor — are designed in-house by General Motors and can be configured in several different ways for different power and torque needs. Also, the motors can be used on a wide range of vehicles, spanning from performance cars to work trucks.Additionally, General Motors has developed the software for Ultium Drive’s motor controllers, which, per the auto biggie, is crucial to catering to the propulsion needs of various vehicle types with a minimal set of components. This new controller is also going to be first integrated in the GMC Hummer EV.The power electronics of General Motors’ Ultium-based EVs will be integrated directly into the Ultium Drive units, thereby bringing down costs, weight and manufacturing complexity, while increasing the performance and reliability.The company’s years of expertise and skill in electric drive system development are aiding it to transit quickly from conventional vehicles to EVs. The Ultium Drive components will allow the company to more quickly ramp up the EV production and adjust the production mix to cater to the rising market demand. Moreover, the company’s vertical integration in the EV space, incorporating both hardware and software, has helped take its EV game a notch higher, giving it significant competitive advantage over its peers.General Motors currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report Toyota Motor Corporation (TM): Free Stock Analysis Report Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC): Free Stock Analysis Report General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

An error with Square"s point of sale system cost workers hundreds of dollars in tips

"Their customer service wasn't available, and it's our biggest paycheck day," a barista told the Washinton Post. "The timing of it all was just awful." Florida, Orlando, Little Saigon, Sticky Rice Lao Street Food, employee processing Square credit card reader, remote payment Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images An update to Square's point of sale systems removed tipping functionality for several hours. The removal happened over the weekend and reportedly cost workers hundreds of dollars in tips. "Their customer service wasn't available, and it's our biggest paycheck day," said one impacted barista. See more stories on Insider's business page. An hours-long error in Square's point-of-sale software cost workers hundreds of dollars in tips across the US over the weekend.The system's tipping screen, which appears after a customer has inserted a card or tapped their phone, disappeared on Saturday morning after a software update, workers in restaurants and small shops in various cities told The Washington Post, which first reported on the issue.Saturday is one of the busiest times of the week for many restaurants, cafes, and shops. Workers in San Diego, New York, and Miami told The Post that other parts of Square's systems also became unresponsive on Saturday."Their customer service wasn't available, and it's our biggest paycheck day," one Houston-based barista told The Post. "The timing of it all was just awful."Square representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but the company did post updates about the glitch on its website on Saturday. The updates showed that it took the company about four hours to resolve the issue."For about 3 hours on Saturday, Sept. 18th, our systems experienced an issue that prevented some sellers from being able to sign into their accounts or accept tips," a Square spokesman told The Post in an email. "We understand how important it is to never miss a sale and how critical tip collection can be for our sellers' teams."The spokesman said that Square apologized and is set to share more information on stopping similar issues from occurring in the future.Andrew Sinclair, owner of Mad Lab Coffee in Hollywood, told The Post that his employee lost out on an estimated $150 to $250, and plans to pay him back, but hoped that Square would reimburse him the money.Meanwhile, Trina Perez, owner of Buzzed Coffee Truck in Salt Lake City, told The Post that she estimated that her employee missed out on about $150 in tips because of the glitch. It is unclear if Square plans to reimburse its clients.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 22nd, 2021

Microsoft Agrees to Human Rights Review of Deals With Law Enforcement and Government

Microsoft Corp., which has faced pressure from employees and shareholders over contracts with governments and law enforcement agencies, agreed to commission an independent human rights review of some of those deals. The move came in response to a June filing of a shareholder proposal asking the company to evaluate how well it sticks to its… Microsoft Corp., which has faced pressure from employees and shareholders over contracts with governments and law enforcement agencies, agreed to commission an independent human rights review of some of those deals. The move came in response to a June filing of a shareholder proposal asking the company to evaluate how well it sticks to its human rights statement and related policies. Microsoft committed to a review of any human rights impacts that its products have on those including communities of Black, Indigenous and People of Color in contracts for police, immigration enforcement and unspecified other government agencies, according to correspondence from the company viewed by Bloomberg. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Microsoft pledged to publish the report next year, and the shareholders, who include faith-based investors like Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, have withdrawn their proposal ahead of Microsoft’s annual shareholder meeting next month. Microsoft spokesman Frank Shaw confirmed the company will undertake the review. “In response to shareholder requests, Microsoft Corp. will commission an independent, third-party assessment to identify, understand, assess, and address actual or potential adverse human rights impacts of the company’s products and services and business relationships with regard to law enforcement, immigration enforcement, and other government contracts. The assessment will include consultation with BIPOC communities, including immigrants, and other groups representing communities most impacted by Microsoft’s surveillance products, law enforcement and government contracts,” the company said in a statement. As government, military and police contracts have become targets of scrutiny and activism, Microsoft employees have circulated letters demanding the company abandon a deal to build versions of its HoloLens augmented reality headsets for the U.S. Army as well as raising concerns about business with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella has stood behind software sales to the U.S. military, but paused selling facial recognition technology to police departments, although the company sells other programs to law enforcement. The California-based religious order agreed to lead the shareholder proposal because it wanted to make sure the company’s products don’t “cause human rights harms, including perpetuating systemic racial inequities,” Sister Joanne Safian, said in a statement. Microsoft told the investors the review will be conducted by the law firm Foley Hoag LLP. The proposal was filed by Investor Advocates for Social Justice, a nonprofit representing faith-based institutional investors. Microsoft didn’t specify which contracts will be examined, but shareholders “expect” it will include what the group said are about 16 active contracts with ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “This will be an ambitious and complicated process and we’re certainly putting our faith in Microsoft and Foley Hoag to be conscientious,” said Michael Connor, executive director of Open MIC, a nonprofit shareholder advocacy organization that worked with IASJ on the proposal. “They’re asking for input from affected rights holders, which was a very big request on our part and they agreed to that.” Human rights concerns have been raised by shareholders in areas related to labor and in the apparel industry around manufacturing conditions but are newer to the technology companies, he said. Open MIC has also made similar requestsof Amazon.com Inc., related to its facial recognition technology, as well as Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc., without a positive response from the companies or a win at shareholder meetings, Connor said. Open MIC is also working on two other shareholder resolutions related to Microsoft, including one that asks the company to stop selling facial recognition software to all government agencies. “Tech companies take the position that all tech is good, and while we as shareholders recognize that tech can be helpful, there are also many downsides,” Connor said. Microsoft earlier this month agreed to let more repair shops fix its devices in response to a push from As You Sow, a nonprofit shareholder activism group, and consumer advocates......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 14th, 2021

Why do my apps keep closing? How to troubleshoot malfunctioning apps on any mobile device

If an app keeps closing on your mobile device, there are several ways to troubleshoot the problem and prevent it from happening. You may need to try a handful of troubleshooting methods to fix apps that close unexpectedly. DenPhotos/Shutterstock If an app keeps closing on your mobile device, there are several ways to troubleshoot the problem and prevent it from happening. To make sure the app isn't buggy or incompatible with the latest version of the operating system, install the latest updates. Restart the mobile device, and if the problem persists, you can reinstall the app, clear the cache, and free space on the phone or tablet. Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories. Like any computer, your mobile device is susceptible to occasional software glitches, and that can result in apps on your phone or tablet crashing or closing unexpectedly. While there's no single way to fix that problem, there are a handful of potential solutions you can try. How to troubleshoot when your apps keep closing If an app crashes, restarting it will often solve your problem. But if you have an app that repeatedly crashes or closes without warning, restarting the app isn't going to solve the problem because it's likely to crash again. But don't worry; there's a good chance you can solve your problem with the troubleshooting steps below.Keep in mind, though, there's always a possibility that you installed a buggy app that won't behave on your mobile device - at least not until it's updated by the developer. Make sure the app is up to dateIf you notice that a particular app crashes often, you should check to see if you are running the latest version. Often, older versions of an app aren't fully compatible with your phone or tablet's latest operating system, or might suffer from glitches that have been eliminated in the latest release. On iOS, start the App Store and tap your account icon at the top-right corner. Then scroll down and see if the app in question is awaiting an update. If so, tap Update and wait for the update to complete. See if there's an update available for an app that crashes often. Dave Johnson If you have an Android device, start the Play Store and tap the account icon at the top right. Then tap Manage apps & devices, and tap Updates available. If you see the app, tap Update. Quick tip: If the app is very old and hasn't been updated in a long time, it might have been abandoned by the developer. Consider ditching the app in favor of a newer, more current alternative. Clear the app data for the problematic appIf the app is up to date but continues to misbehave, there might be some corrupt data in the app's cache. If you are using an Android phone or tablet, you can clear the cache with a few taps (but keep in mind that you will lose any data the app was storing on the device and you'll need to log in again as if you've never run the app before). The steps may vary a bit depending upon which version of Android you are running, but here's the general procedure:1. Start the Settings app.2. Tap Apps & Notifications.3. Go to the list of apps (you might need to tap See all apps) and select the problematic app.4. Tap Storage & cache.5. Tap Clear storage and confirm you want to do this.6. Start the app and log in, if needed. Clearing the cache might keep a problematic app from crashing repeatedly. Dave Johnson If you're using an iPhone, there's no way to clear the cache without uninstalling the app, so go ahead and uninstall the app from your iPhone or iPad, and then reinstall it from the App Store and sign back in if needed. Restart your mobile deviceIf you've exhausted your options with the app, it's possible the problem is with other software on your device. To test this possibility, restart your phone or tablet (turn it off and then back on again). On an Android device, you can generally restart it by pressing and holding the Sleep button on the side until you see a shutdown menu, or pull down the control panel from the top of the screen and find a shutdown command in the control panel. The process to shut down an iPhone varies based on the model you have. If it has been a long time since you restarted your mobile device, that might be all it takes to solve your app issues. Dave Johnson Uninstall and reinstall the appOne last option you can try before taking more drastic measures: It's possible there's something wrong with the installation of the problematic app. If you're already running the latest update, you might try to uninstall the app and reinstall it to get a "clean" version of the app. If you followed the steps to clear the cache on an iPhone, you've already uninstalled and reinstalled the app, so there's nothing more to do here. But if you have an Android device, you can tap and drag the app to the top of the screen over Uninstall. After it's removed, reinstall it from the Play Store and try again. Uninstall, then reinstall an app to see if a fresh install solves your problem. Dave Johnson Free up some storage space on your deviceWith the relatively generous storage space built into most modern phones and tablets, this probably won't be a consideration for many people. But if you are very low on space, some resource-intensive apps might misbehave when they don't have enough memory to function properly. The solution? Free up some storage space. On the iPhone, you can see how much space is available in the Settings app and the clear space on your iOS device by deleting unused apps or data. On an Android device, the process is quite similar; you can free up space on Android by deleting unwanted apps, clearing app caches, deleting files in the Downloads folder, and more. Check to see if you are dangerously low on storage space. Dave Johnson It's buggy - contact the developerStill no luck? You've exhausted virtually all the most fruitful troubleshooting steps, so the reality might be that the app is buggy, fundamentally incompatible with your mobile OS, or conflicting with other apps. If you haven't been using the app for long, you should reach out to the developer to report the issue and see if you can get a refund. Contact the developer from the app store. On an iOS device, start the App Store, find the app in question and scroll to the Ratings & Reviews section. Keep scrolling and you should see App Support to the right of Write a Review. That's where you should find a way to reach out to the developer. Go to the app store to find out how to contact the developer. Dave Johnson On Android, open the Play Store and find your app. Look for the Developer contact link under the reviews - it should contain, at minimum, an email address to contact. How to update apps on your Android device manually or automaticallyHow to download apps on an iPhone for free in the App Store, where you can browse the top free appsWhat is Google Play? The online store for Android devices, explainedHow to update iPhone apps on iOS 13 manually, or set them to update automatically when new versions are releasedRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report For the second day in a row, an overnight slump in equity futures sparked by concerns about iPhone sales (with Bloomberg reporting at the close on Tuesday that iPhone 13 production target may be cut by 10mm units due to chip shortages) and driven be more weakness out of China was rescued thanks to aggressive buying around the European open. At 800 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.24%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.50 points, or 0.4% ahead of the CPI report due at 830am ET. 10Y yields dipped to 1.566%, the dollar was lower and Brent crude dropped below $83. JPMorgan rose as much as 0.8% in premarket trading after the firm’s merger advisory business reported its best quarterly profit. On the other end, Apple dropped 1% lower in premarket trading, a day after Bloomberg reported that the technology giant is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units due to prolonged chip shortages. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Suppliers Skyworks Solutions (SWKS US), Qorvo (ORVO) and Cirrus Logic (CRUS US) slipped Tuesday postmarket Koss (KOSS US) shares jump 23% in U.S. premarket trading in an extension of Tuesday’s surge after tech giant Apple was rebuffed in two patent challenges against the headphones and speakers firm Qualcomm (QCOM US) shares were up 2.7% in U.S. premarket trading after it announced a $10.0 billion stock buyback International Paper (IP US) in focus after its board authorized a program to acquire up to $2b of the company’s common stock; cut quarterly dividend by 5c per share Smart Global (SGH US) shares rose 2% Tuesday postmarket after it reported adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate Wayfair (W US) shares slide 1.8% in thin premarket trading after the stock gets tactical downgrade to hold at Jefferies Plug Power (PLUG US) gains 4.9% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley upgrades the fuel cell systems company to overweight, saying in note that it’s “particularly well positioned” to be a leader in the hydrogen economy Wall Street ended lower in choppy trading on Tuesday, as investors grew jittery in the run-up to earnings amid worries about supply chain problems and higher prices affecting businesses emerging from the pandemic. As we noted last night, the S&P 500 has gone 27 straight days without rallying to a fresh high, the longest such stretch since last September, signaling some fatigue in the dip-buying that pushed the market up from drops earlier this year. Focus now turn to inflation data, due at 0830 a.m. ET, which will cement the imminent arrival of the Fed's taper.  "A strong inflation will only reinforce the expectation that the Fed would start tapering its bond purchases by next month, that's already priced in," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. "Yet, a too strong figure could boost expectations of an earlier rate hike from the Fed and that is not necessarily fully priced in." The minutes of the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting, due later in the day, will also be scrutinized for signals that the days of crisis-era policy were numbered. Most European equities reverse small opening losses and were last up about 0.5%, as news that German software giant SAP increased its revenue forecast led tech stocks higher. DAX gained 0.7% with tech, retail and travel names leading. FTSE 100, FTSE MIB and IBEX remained in the red. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entra shares gain as much as 10% after Balder increases its stake and says it intends to submit a mandatory offer. Spie jumps as much as 10%, the biggest intraday gain in more than a year, after the French company pulled out of the process to buy Engie’s Equans services unit. Man Group rises as much as 8.3% after the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund announced quarterly record inflows. 3Q21 net inflows were a “clear beat” and confirm pipeline strength, Morgan Stanley said in a note. Barratt Developments climbs as much as 6.3%, with analysts saying the U.K. homebuilder’s update shows current trading is improving. Recticel climbs 15% to its highest level in more than 20 years as the stock resumes trading after the company announced plans to sell its foams unit to Carpenter Co. Bossard Holding rises as much as 9.1% to a record high after the company reported 3Q earnings that ZKB said show strong growth. Sartorius gains as much as 5.9% after Kepler Cheuvreux upgrades to hold from sell and raises its price target, saying it expects “impressive earnings growth” to continue for the lab equipment company. SAP jumps as much as 5% after the German software giant increased its revenue forecast owing to accelerating cloud sales. Just Eat Takeaway slides as much as 5.8% in Amsterdam to the lowest since March 2020 after a 3Q trading update. Analysts flagged disappointing orders as pandemic restrictions eased, and an underwhelming performance in the online food delivery firm’s U.S. market. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks posted a modest advance as investors awaited key inflation data out of the U.S. and Hong Kong closed its equity market because of typhoon Kompasu. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2% after fluctuating between gains and losses, with chip and electronics manufacturers sliding amid concerns over memory chip supply-chain issues and Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets. Hong Kong’s $6.3 trillion market was shut as strong winds and rain hit the financial hub.  “Broader supply tightness continues to be a real issue across a number of end markets,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Katy L. Huberty wrote in a note. The most significant iPhone production bottleneck stems from a “shortage of camera modules for the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max due to low utilization rates at a Sharp factory in southern Vietnam,” they added. Wednesday’s direction-less trading illustrated the uncertainty in Asian markets as traders reassess earnings forecasts to factor in inflation and supply chain concerns. U.S. consumer price index figures and FOMC minutes due overnight may move shares. Southeast Asian indexes rose thanks to their cyclical exposure. Singapore’s stock gauge was the top performer in the region, rising to its highest in about two months, before the the nation’s central bank decides on monetary policy on Thursday. Japanese stocks fell for a second day as electronics makers declined amid worries about memory chip supply-chain issues and concerns over Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets.  The Topix index fell 0.4% to 1,973.83 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.3% to 28,140.28. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s loss, decreasing 1.3%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 608 rose and 1,489 fell, while 84 were unchanged. Japanese Apple suppliers such as TDK, Murata and Taiyo Yuden slid. The U.S. company is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product, according to people with knowledge of the matter Australian stocks closed lower as banks and miners weighed on the index. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1% to close at 7,272.50, dragged down by banks and miners as iron ore extended its decline. All other subgauges edged higher. a2 Milk surged after its peer Bubs Australia reported growing China sales and pointed to a better outlook for daigou channels. Bank of Queensland tumbled after its earnings release. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to 13,025.18. In rates, Treasuries extended Tuesday’s bull-flattening gains, led by gilts and, to a lesser extent, bunds. Treasuries were richer by ~2bps across the long-end of the curve, flattening 5s30s by about that much; U.K. 30-year yield is down nearly 7bp, with same curve flatter by ~6bp. Long-end gilts outperform in a broad-based bull flattening move that pushed 30y gilt yields down ~7bps back near 1.38%. Peripheral spreads widen slightly to Germany. Cash USTs bull flatten but trade cheaper by ~2bps across the back end to both bunds and gilt ahead of today’s CPI release. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell by as much as 0.2% and the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers; the Treasury curve flattened, mainly via falling yields in the long- end, The euro advanced to trade at around $1.1550 and the Bund yield curve flattened, with German bonds outperforming Treasuries. The euro’s volatility skew versus the dollar shows investors remain bearish the common currency as policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank remains for now. The pound advanced with traders shrugging off the U.K.’s weaker-than-expected economic growth performance in August. Australia’s sovereign yield curve flattened for a second day while the currency underperformed its New Zealand peer amid a drop in iron ore prices. The yen steadied after four days of declines. In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range with WTI near $80, Brent dipping slightly below $83. Spot gold pops back toward Tuesday’s best levels near $1,770/oz. Base metals are in the green with most of the complex up at least 1%. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,346.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 459.04 MXAP up 0.2% to 194.60 MXAPJ up 0.4% to 638.16 Nikkei down 0.3% to 28,140.28 Topix down 0.4% to 1,973.83 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,561.76 Sensex up 0.8% to 60,782.71 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 7,272.54 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,944.41 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,768.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.23% to 94.30 German 10Y yield fell 4.2 bps to -0.127% Euro little changed at $1.1553 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Vladimir Putin wants to press the EU to rewrite some of the rules of its gas market after years of ignoring Moscow’s concerns, to tilt them away from spot-pricing toward long-term contracts favored by Russia’s state run Gazprom, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Russia is also seeking rapid certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany to boost gas deliveries, they said. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles will be removed from his role as the main watchdog of Wall Street lenders after his title officially expires this week. The EU will offer a new package of concessions to the U.K. that would ease trade barriers in Northern Ireland, as the two sides prepare for a new round of contentious Brexit negotiations. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is on course to raise taxes and cut spending to control the budget deficit, while BoE Governor Andrew Bailey has warned interest rates are likely to rise in the coming months to curb a rapid surge in prices. Together, those moves would mark a simultaneous major tightening of both policy levers just months after the biggest recession in a century -- an unprecedented move since the BoE gained independence in 1997. Peter Kazimir, a member of the ECB’s Governing Council, was charged with bribery in Slovakia. Kazimir, who heads the country’s central bank, rejected the allegations A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mixed following the choppy performance stateside with global risk appetite cautious amid the rate hike bets in US and heading into key events including US CPI and FOMC Minutes, while there were also mild headwinds for US equity futures after the closing bell on reports that Apple is set to reduce output of iPhones by 10mln from what was initially planned amid the chip shortage. ASX 200 (unch.) was little changed as gains in gold miners, energy and tech were offset by losses in financials and the broader mining sector, with softer Westpac Consumer Confidence also limiting upside in the index. Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) was pressured at the open as participants digested mixed Machinery Orders data which showed the largest M/M contraction since February 2018 and prompted the government to cut its assessment on machinery orders, although the benchmark index gradually retraced most its losses after finding support around the 28k level and amid the recent favourable currency moves. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) also declined as participants digested mixed Chinese trade data in which exports topped estimates but imports disappointed and with Hong Kong markets kept shut due to a typhoon warning. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady with price action contained after the curve flattening stateside and tentative mood heading to upcoming risk events, although prices were kept afloat amid the BoJ’s purchases in the market for around JPY 1tln of JGBs predominantly focused on 1-3yr and 5-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Edges Higher on Weaker Dollar Before U.S. Inflation Report RBA Rate Hike Expectations Too Aggressive, TD Ameritrade Says LG Electronics Has Series of Stock-Target Cuts After Profit Miss The mood across European stocks has improved from the subdued cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.5%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) despite a distinct lack of newsflow and heading into the official start of US earnings season, US CPI and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and trade in modest positive territory across the board, with the NQ (+0.5%) narrowly outperforming owing to the intraday fall in yields, alongside the sectorial outperformance seen in European tech amid tech giant SAP (+4.7%) upgrading its full FY outlook, reflecting the strong business performance which is expected to continue to accelerate cloud revenue growth. As such, the DAX 40 (+0.7%) outperformed since the cash open, whilst the FTSE 100 (-0.2%) is weighed on by underperformance in its heavyweight Banking and Basic Resources sectors amid a decline in yields and hefty losses in iron ore prices. Elsewhere, the CAC 40 (+0.3%) is buoyed by LMVH (+2.0%) after the luxury name topped revenue forecasts and subsequently lifted the Retail sector in tandem. Overall, sectors are mixed with no clear bias. In terms of individual movers, Volkswagen (+3.5%) was bolstered amid Handelsblatt reports in which the Co was said to be cutting some 30k jobs as costs are too high vs competitors, whilst separate sources suggested the automaker is said to be mulling spinning off its Battery Cell and charging unit. Chipmakers meanwhile see mixed fortunes in the aftermath of sources which suggested Apple (-0.7% pre-market) is said to be slashing output amid the chip crunch. Top European News The Hut Shares Swing as Strategy Day Feeds Investor Concern U.K. Economy Grows Less Than Expected as Services Disappoint Man Group Gets $5.3 Billion to Lift Assets to Another Record Jeff Ubben and Singapore’s GIC Back $830 Million Fertiglobe IPO In FX, the Dollar looks somewhat deflated or jaded after yesterday’s exertions when it carved out several fresh 2021 highs against rival currencies and a new record peak vs the increasingly beleaguered Turkish Lira. In index terms, a bout of profit taking, consolidation and position paring seems to have prompted a pull-back from 94.563 into a marginally lower 94.533-246 range awaiting potentially pivotal US inflation data, more Fed rhetoric and FOMC minutes from the last policy meeting that may provide more clues or clarity about prospects for near term tapering. NZD/GBP - Both taking advantage of the Greenback’s aforementioned loss of momentum, but also deriving impetus from favourable crosswinds closer to home as the Kiwi briefly revisited 0.6950+ terrain and Aud/Nzd retreats quite sharply from 1.0600+, while Cable has rebounded through 1.3600 again as Eur/Gbp retests support south of 0.8480 yet again, or 1.1800 as a reciprocal. From a fundamental perspective, Nzd/Usd may also be gleaning leverage from the more forward-looking Activity Outlook component of ANZ’s preliminary business survey for October rather than a decline in sentiment, and Sterling could be content with reported concessions from the EU on NI customs in an effort to resolve the Protocol impasse. EUR/CAD/AUD/CHF - Also reclaiming some lost ground against the Buck, with the Euro rebounding from around 1.1525 to circa 1.1560, though not technically stable until closer to 1.1600 having faded ahead of the round number on several occasions in the last week. Meanwhile, the Loonie is straddling 1.2450 in keeping with WTI crude on the Usd 80/brl handle, the Aussie is pivoting 0.7350, but capped in wake of a dip in Westpac consumer confidence, and the Franc is rotating either side of 0.9300. JPY - The Yen seems rather reluctant to get too carried away by the Dollar’s demise or join the broad retracement given so many false dawns of late before further depreciation and a continuation of its losing streak. Indeed, the latest recovery has stalled around 113.35 and Usd/Jpy appears firmly underpinned following significantly weaker than expected Japanese m/m machinery orders overnight. SCANDI/EM - Not much upside in the Sek via firmer Swedish money market inflation expectations and perhaps due to the fact that actual CPI data preceded the latest survey and topped consensus, but the Cnh and Cny are firmer on the back of China’s much wider than forecast trade surplus that was bloated by exports exceeding estimates by some distance in contrast to imports. Elsewhere, further hawkish guidance for the Czk as CNB’s Benda contends that high inflation warrants relatively rapid tightening, but the Try has not derived a lot of support from reports that Turkey is in talks to secure extra gas supplies to meet demand this winter, according to a Minister, and perhaps due to more sabre-rattling from the Foreign Ministry over Syria with accusations aimed at the US and Russia. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures see another choppy session within recent and elevated levels – with the former around USD 80.50/bbl (80.79-79.87/bbl) and the latter around 83.35/bbl (83.50-82.65/bbl range). The complex saw some downside in conjunction with jawboning from the Iraqi Energy Minster, who state oil price is unlikely to increase further, whilst at the same time, the Gazprom CEO suggested that the oil market is overheated. Nonetheless, prices saw a rebound from those lows heading into the US inflation figure, whilst the OPEC MOMR is scheduled for 12:00BST/07:00EDT. Although the release will not likely sway prices amidst the myriad of risk events on the docket, it will offer a peek into OPEC's current thinking on the market. As a reminder, the weekly Private Inventory report will be released tonight, with the DoE's slated for tomorrow on account of Monday's Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices, meanwhile, are relatively stable. Russia's Kremlin noted gas supplies have increased to their maximum possible levels, whilst Gazprom is sticking to its contractual obligations, and there can be no gas supplies beyond those obligations. Over to metals, spot gold and silver move in tandem with the receding Buck, with spot gold inching closer towards its 50 DMA at 1,776/oz (vs low 1,759.50/oz). In terms of base metals, LME copper has regained a footing above USD 9,500/t as stocks grind higher. Conversely, iron ore and rebar futures overnight fell some 6%, with overnight headlines suggesting that China has required steel mills to cut winter output. Further from the supply side, Nyrstar is to limit European smelter output by up to 50% due to energy costs. Nyrstar has a market-leading position in zinc and lead. LME zinc hit the highest levels since March 2018 following the headlines US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. CPI YoY, est. 5.3%, prior 5.3%; MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Sept. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.0%, prior 4.0%; MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Sept. Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -0.9%, revised -1.4% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap So tonight it’s my first ever “live” parents evening and then James Bond via Wagamama. Given my daughter (6) is the eldest in her year and the twins (4) the youngest (plus additional youth for being premature), I’m expecting my daughter to be at least above average but for my boys to only just about be vaguely aware of what’s going on around them. Poor things. For those reading yesterday, the Cameo video of Nadia Comanenci went down a storm, especially when she mentioned our kids’ names, but the fact that there was no birthday cake wasn’t as popular. So I played a very complicated, defence splitting 80 yard through ball but missed an open goal. Anyway ahead of Bond tonight, with all this inflation about I’m half expecting him to be known as 008 going forward. The next installment of the US prices saga will be seen today with US CPI at 13:30 London time. This is an important one, since it’s the last CPI number the Fed will have ahead of their next policy decision just 3 weeks from now, where investors are awaiting a potential announcement on tapering asset purchases. Interestingly the August reading last month was the first time so far this year that the month-on-month measure was actually beneath the consensus expectation on Bloomberg, with the +0.3% growth being the slowest since January. Famous last words but this report might not be the most interesting since it may be a bit backward looking given WTI oil is up c.7.5% in October alone. In addition, used cars were up +5.4% in September after falling in late summer. So given the 2-3 month lag for this to filter through into the CPI we won’t be getting the full picture today. I loved the fact from his speech last night that the Fed’s Bostic has introduced a “transitory” swear jar in his office. More on the Fedspeak later. In terms of what to expect this time around though, our US economists are forecasting month-on-month growth of +0.41% in the headline CPI, and +0.27% for core, which would take the year-on-year rates to +5.4% for headline and +4.1% for core. Ahead of this, inflation expectations softened late in the day as Fed officials were on the hawkish side. The US 10yr breakeven dropped -1.9bps to 2.49% after trading at 2.527% earlier in the session. This is still the 3rd highest closing level since May, and remains only 7bps off its post-2013 closing high. Earlier, inflation expectations continued to climb in Europe, where the 5y5y forward inflation swap hit a post-2015 high of 1.84%. Also on inflation, the New York Fed released their latest Survey of Consumer Expectations later in the European session, which showed that 1-year ahead inflation expectations were now at +5.3%, which is the highest level since the survey began in 2013, whilst 3-year ahead expectations were now at +4.2%, which was also a high for the series. The late rally in US breakevens, coupled with lower real yields (-1.6bps) meant that the 10yr Treasury yield ended the session down -3.5bps at 1.577% - their biggest one day drop in just over 3 weeks. There was a decent flattening of the yield curve, with the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to 0.34%, its highest level since the pandemic began as the market priced in more near-term Fed rate hikes. In the Euro Area it was a very different story however, with 10yr yields rising to their highest level in months, including among bunds (+3.5bps), OATs (+2.9bps) and BTPs (+1.0bps). That rise in the 10yr bund yield left it at -0.09%, taking it above its recent peak earlier this year to its highest closing level since May 2019. Interestingly gilts (-4.0bps) massively out-performed after having aggressively sold off for the last week or so. Against this backdrop, equity markets struggled for direction as they awaited the CPI reading and the start of the US Q3 earnings season today. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and the STOXX 600 (-0.07%) had both posted modest losses as they awaited the next catalyst. Defensive sectors were the outperformers on both sides of the Atlantic. Real estate (+1.34%) and utilities (+0.67%) were among the best performing US stocks, though some notable “reopening” industries outperformed as well including airlines (+0.83%), hotels & leisure (+0.51%). News came out after the US close regarding the global chip shortage, with Bloomberg reporting that Apple, who are one of the largest buyers of chips, would revise down their iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by 10 million units. Recent rumblings from chip producers suggest that the problems are expected to persist, which will make central bank decisions even more complicated over the coming weeks as they grapple with increasing supply-side constraints that push up inflation whilst threatening to undermine the recovery. Speaking of central bankers, Vice Chair Clarida echoed his previous remarks and other communications from the so-called “core” of the FOMC that the current bout of inflation would prove largely transitory and that underlying trend inflation was hovering close to 2%, while admitting that risks were tilted towards higher inflation. Atlanta Fed President Bostic took a much harder line though, noting that price pressures were expanding beyond the pandemic-impacted sectors, and measures of inflation expectations were creeping higher. Specifically, he said, “it is becoming increasingly clear that the feature of this episode that has animated price pressures — mainly the intense and widespread supply-chain disruptions — will not be brief.” His ‘transitory swear word jar’ for his office was considerably more full by the end of his speech. As highlighted above, while President Bostic spoke US 10yr breakevens dropped -2bps and then continued declining through the New York afternoon. In what is likely to be Clarida’s last consequential decision on monetary policy before his term expires, he noted it may soon be time to start a tapering program that ends in the middle of next year, in line with our US economics team’s call for a November taper announcement. In that vein, our US economists have updated their forecasts for rate hikes yesterday, and now see liftoff taking place in December 2022, followed by 3 rate increases in each of 2023 and 2024. That comes in light of supply disruptions lifting inflation, a likely rise in inflation expectations (which are sensitive to oil prices), and measures of labour market slack continuing to outperform. For those interested, you can read a more in-depth discussion of this here. Turning to commodities, yesterday saw a stabilisation in prices after the rapid gains on Monday, with WTI (+0.15%) and Brent Crude (-0.27%) oil prices seeing only modest movements either way, whilst iron ore prices in Singapore were down -3.45%. That said it wasn’t entirely bad news for the asset class, with Chinese coal futures (+4.45%) hitting fresh records, just as aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange (+0.13%) eked out another gain to hit a new post-2008 high. Overnight in Asia, equity markets are seeing a mixed performance with the KOSPI (+1.24%) posting decent gains, whereas the CSI (-0.06%), Nikkei (-0.22%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.69%) have all lost ground. The KOSPI’s strength came about on the back of a decent jobs report, with South Korea adding +671k relative to a year earlier, the most since March 2014. The Hong Kong Exchange is closed however due to the impact of typhoon Kompasu. Separately, coal futures in China are up another +8.00% this morning, so no sign of those price pressures abating just yet following recent floods. Meanwhile, US equity futures are pointing to little change later on, with those on the S&P 500 down -0.12%. Here in Europe, we had some fresh Brexit headlines after the UK’s Brexit minister, David Frost, said that the Northern Ireland Protocol “is not working” and was not protecting the Good Friday Agreement. He said that he was sharing a new amended Protocol with the EU, which comes ahead of the release of the EU’s own proposals on the issue today. But Frost also said that “if we are going to get a solution we must, collectively, deliver significant change”, and that Article 16 which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures could be used “if necessary”. Elsewhere yesterday, the IMF marginally downgraded their global growth forecast for this year, now seeing +5.9% growth in 2021 (vs. +6.0% in July), whilst their 2022 forecast was maintained at +4.9%. This masked some serious differences between countries however, with the US downgraded to +6.0% in 2021 (vs. +7.0% in July), whereas Italy’s was upgraded to +5.8% (vs. +4.9% in July). On inflation they said that risks were skewed to the upside, and upgraded their forecasts for the advanced economies to +2.8% in 2021, and to +2.3% in 2022. Looking at yesterday’s data, US job openings declined in August for the first time this year, falling to 10.439m (vs. 10.954m expected). But the quits rate hit a record of 2.9%, well above its pre-Covid levels of 2.3-2.4%. Here in the UK, data showed the number of payroll employees rose by +207k in September, while the unemployment rate for the three months to August fell to 4.5%, in line with expectations. And in a further sign of supply-side issues, the number of job vacancies in the three months to September hit a record high of 1.102m. Separately in Germany, the ZEW survey results came in beneath expectations, with the current situation declining to 21.6 (vs. 28.0 expected), whilst expectations fell to 22.3 (vs. 23.5 expected), its lowest level since March 2020. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly: When An Airline Falls Behind, It’s Hard To Catch Up

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Tuesday, October 12. Following are links to video on CNBC.com: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Southwest CEO: When An Airline Falls Behind, It’s […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE:LUV) Chairman & CEO Gary Kelly on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET) today, Tuesday, October 12. Following are links to video on CNBC.com: .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 Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio 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 Southwest CEO: When An Airline Falls Behind, It’s Hard To Catch Up Southwest CEO On The Airline’s Covid Vaccine Push, Flight Fiasco JIM CRAMER: Southwest shares are edging higher this morning, thank heavens. The airline is hoping to normalize the schedule by tomorrow. Normalize is an odd term because I expect normal from Southwest. The wave of cancellations in the past few days, wave in cancellations let’s go back earlier in the spring. This is suboptimal. So, joining us now is Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly. Gary, I got to tell you, you do not shy away. I said you got to come on and here you are. Gary, because you are so good and so deserving of the respect, could you please tell us what you see going on because this is not you and it's not southwest. GARY KELLY: Hey, morning Jim. Great to be with you. Yeah, I know it's been a really rough weekend and obviously I really feel for our customers and our people that are trying their best to serve our customers but when an airline gets behind, it's hard to catch up. So, if you go back to Friday, basically the FAA had a series of delay programs that were implemented that covered all of Florida, every single one of our stations including a seven-hour ground stop at Orlando. You'll have to ask the FAA what was the cause of all of that, but about half of our airplanes touch the state of Florida. We’re one of the largest airlines in the country. So, by the end of the day we had significant numbers of airplanes and flight crews that were totally out of position and as any, again, any aviation expert knows it just takes several days to get everything back aligned so we had a pretty good day yesterday. Far fewer cancellations than what we were experiencing Saturday and Sunday. And today was pretty much shaping up to be a normal day. As usual we have other issues that we have to deal with whether it's weather or other ATC delays across the country but for the most part, today's pretty much back to normal. CRAMER: Okay, Gary, I understand that the weather-related issues. Florida didn't really see that much cancellations from other companies in your industry, but there's a lawsuit that was filed, filed Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, it’s in the Northern District of Texas. And what disturbed me about it, this was earlier this year, is they say that basically you're using illegal tactics are a form of asymmetrical warfare negotiations. Gary, Gary, you know when you read this and then you read about the Texas governor says, listen we can't, we're gonna be against mandates. I see. Well, wait, wait a second, maybe vaccines are an issue, maybe labor problems of which Southwest Air has not historically had so you understand how we quickly just pivot from Florida and FAA to wondering what happened here with the pilots? KELLY: Well yeah, again, I think that we're uniquely affected because we have so many of our flights that touch Florida. All the airlines were impacted on Friday, it was just more of an impact on us and it just took us longer to recover. But all of our employees worked very hard through the weekend and it's, it's tough on our customers but it's also tough on our people so they did a phenomenal job. There's absolutely no, no issue in working with our employees. Talking about the vaccine mandate, oh yeah, I mean there are some that have very strong views on both sides of that issue and, you know, it's not as I think you probably know, I've never been in favor of corporations imposing that kind of a mandate. I'm not in favor of that, never have been. But the executive order from President Biden mandates that all federal employees and then all federal contractors which covers all the major airlines have to have a mandate vaccine in place by December the eighth so we're working through that. We're urging all of our employees to get vaccinated. If they can't, we're urging them to seek an accommodation either for medical or religious reasons and my goal obviously is that no one loses their job. The objective here obviously is to improve health and safety, not for people to lose their jobs. So, yes, we have some very strong views on that topic but that's not what was at issue with Southwest over the weekend. CRAMER: Alright but I still want to go over this. United has only 3% people who are not vaccinated. Delta, you have a $200 monthly surcharge healthcare if you don't get vaccinated. What do you have to make it so people get vaccinated and if they don't, what is the procedure? KELLY: We're encouraging them and we're offering the equivalent of two days pay for them to turn in their vaccination card that compensates them obviously for the time that it takes and any aftereffects, you know, from the vaccine. So, it's an encouragement and not, not any kind of a stick if you will. CARL QUINTANILLA: Gary, all the same, the, the cancellations are being used by some to argue that this was a huge vaccine protest in the words of Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter in the past 24 hours. I mean, how much can you push back on that? You say it was not an issue but to what degree did it contribute to this problem at all? KELLY: Zero. I mean, again, we look at all of our employee behaviors in terms of absenteeism, in terms of people volunteering to come in and pick up what's referred to as open time, and they're very, they're all very normal. The president of our pilots union has been out talking to the media confirming all of that so I think people again that, that understand how airlines work, when you get behind, it just takes several days to catch up and the fact that we're basically caught up yesterday and today supports, you know, the, the assertion that we're making here but we were significantly set behind on Friday and it just takes several days to catch up. CRAMER: Gary, I feel awful doing this but I got to go back in June. Two days, technical issues, 500 flights canceled. I want to step back for a second. You’re Southwest Air. I frankly don't care that there were problems with Florida, with FAA, you’re Southwest Air. You solve these things. You have two outages, again, you had one in June. Maybe Southwest Air has to change its ways that it can't be just shut down because of what Orlando, maybe you shouldn't do that maybe you need to go more hub and spoke. This is your, your airline and everyone knows, never, never, no cancellations, no problems. The fact that I have to ask about labor, the fact that I have to ask about the outages, something's wrong at Southwest Air. KELLY: Well I think very fair criticism Jim and so I was simply answering the question of what happened here over the weekend, you know, not whether we should have been better prepared or have done something differently. So, we operate a linear route network, we don’t hub and spoke. We’re the probably the largest airline in terms of seats offered in the state of Florida. Again, every single airport in the state of Florida was impacted by this. So, it's, it's very unique. It's very unusual. It wasn't anything that Southwest caused. If you go back to the June outage, that was, that was us. That was a technology outage and those are, those are few and far between. But it's been a rough summer and I'm not offering any excuses. Our customers didn't get their best from Southwest Airlines is not what we want. We definitely are, we definitely have some staffing challenges as well that we've talked about before so we have moderated our flight schedule and accelerated our hiring plans so there were definitely steps underway to, to mitigate the issue. We were thinly staffed coming into the weekend and that certainly didn't help things as we were trying to recover but point well taken, and, you know, it's, as usual, any company is a work in progress and we've always got opportunities to improve and you get no argument from me that this is not, not the kind of service that we want to offer from Southwest. CRAMER: Fair enough. DAVID FABER: Hey Gary, it’s David. I mean when, when it comes then to those opportunities to improve, where is your, and by the way the next CEO, where is the focus going to be on that improvement given what you've seen both this weekend and obviously from June? I know not necessarily related, separate issues but still. KELLY: Yeah not related at all but I think in the, in this particular case, it would help for us to have better tools to recover. So, there, there aren't perfect optimization tools to re-flow airplanes when we have a setback like we did on Friday. And then, secondly, there's technology that's required to reschedule our flight crews, so we have flight attendants, we have pilots, we have airplanes and once it gets behind, it's just difficult to get that back together so I think the opportunity is to improve on that process. It's called repair. It's complicated, but we definitely have some good opportunities there, you know, for the future. QUINTANILLA: Gary, finally there's some commentary from some of the other carriers today about the holiday season, preparing for robust travel period. Are you seeing that kind of booking in Q4? KELLY: Yeah, I think, you know, on the business side of things, you have the Delta variant, the surge in cases that occurred, you know, beginning back in June and then eventually that has an impact on air travel and it suffers so that wave has turned over and we've definitely seen some improvement in, in bookings there so yeah we're looking forward to a strong holiday season. And we just want to be very focused on offering a high-quality schedule and experience for our customers. CRAMER: I want to go deeper on this weather issue. IBM has a weather product, the Wall Street Journal seemed to indicate that maybe it was not up to snuff. There are questions about whether you had spent enough money on IT during the 500 flight cancellation in June. Are you underspending on IT and have you over furloughed and therefore having trouble getting people back? KELLY: All great questions. I think the answer is, you know, a very emphatic no, we're not underspending. We suspended investing in some of our initiatives early on when the pandemic first unfolded in March, but we very quickly got back on track once the CARES Act Payroll Support Program came through and made sure that we continue to make those investments. The two technology outages that occurred back in June were human error so it wasn't a lack of technological capability, it was simply, in one case, not adhering to a procedure. So, it happens to companies, you know, occasionally we just don't want it to happen very often and obviously every time something like that happens, we, we tried to learn from it. We've deployed new technology for reservations, we're in the process of deploying new maintenance, record keeping software that supports all of our aircraft, one of the largest projects we've ever undertaken, probably the largest deployment in the airline industry in history. So, we have wonderful technology, we have a wonderful technology department. They’re, they're very well resourced. I think what like a lot of companies, we definitely are having some hiring challenges. We're trying to get 5,000 people hired by the end of this year, we're about halfway there. But overall technology's in pretty good shape in terms of staffing and for the most part, our staffing challenges have moderated. I’d still like to have more cushion in the operation so we can absorb the kind of blow that we saw last Friday better. CRAMER: Alright, thank you Gary Kelly, Chairman & CEO of Southwest Air. Good luck to you sir. Appreciate you coming on “Squawk on the Street.” KELLY: Thank you sir. You bet. Updated on Oct 12, 2021, 1:14 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 12th, 2021

The 5 best kitchen knives we tested in 2021

These knives are the only ones you need in your kitchen. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Putting your knife set together piecemeal is the best way to go, and a quality chef's knife is absolutely essential. The Wusthof Classic Ikon 8" Chef's Knife is our favorite, but we also like Victorinox, Shun, and more. There may be no more important tool in your kitchen than your chef's knife. It is the one-stop-shop for all of your slicing, chopping, dicing, and trimming needs. Sure, there are other kitchen knives well worth their steel, but we can't stress this enough: if you're going to put your money into any one knife, or if you're considering buying a knife set, think about a single, high-quality chef's knife to start.While we do offer a guide to the best knife sets - and recommend some budget-friendly options like the Victorinox Fibrox Pro set (a staple in many commercial kitchens) - you can end up with a lot of filler pieces if you go the pre-packaged route. Everyone we've spoken with on the matter, from famed butcher Pat LaFrieda to late gourmand and chef Anthony Bourdain, has been quick to the point: most knife sets are a waste of money. And having knocked around enough commercial bars and kitchens myself, I can't agree more. Rarely do you see a chef, sous chef, or line cook, fiddling with anything but a chef's knife.For this guide, we focused on chef's knives for the reasons above, but we also ran through dozens of paring, boning, utility, and bread knives to recommend one of each of those as well. Here are the best kitchen knives of 2021Best overall: Wusthof Classic Ikon 8" Chef's KnifeBest budget: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8" Chef's KnifeBest paring: Victorinox 3.25" Straight Paring KnifeBest bread: Victorinox Fibrox Pro 10.25" Serrated Curved Bread KnifeBest utility/boning: Shun Sora 6" The best chef's knife overall Owen Burke/Insider Hefty but balanced, The traditional German design of Wüsthof's Classic Ikon 8" Chef's Knife suits most hands and stands up to just about every kitchen task.Length: 6", 8", 10"Blade: High-carbon stainless steelHRC: 58Handle: Polyoxymethylene (POM)Pros: Great for chopping and dicing, agreeable handle for most, rust- and chip-resistantCons: Requires regular sharpeningThe Wüsthof Classic Ikon Chef's Knife is the most traditional western knife there is: It's big, it's heavy, and it's made with relatively soft, rust-, and chip-resistant stainless steel. As far as quality knives go, this is the knife we've found to handle the most difficult tasks while also still offering agility and precision.Before we go further, we should mention one caveat: Ahead of investing in a chef's knife, know that of all the kitchen knives you might purchase, it is the most personal choice you're going to have to make.No matter which knife you choose, your chef's knife is the one you'll rely upon most. It offers the most surface area for larger chopping and slicing jobs, and it also handles the most force for hardier root vegetables, meat, and poultry. Different designs might favor chopping and dicing over slicing (and vice-versa), but we like the only slightly rounded belly of the Wüsthof Classic Ikon, which strikes a happy medium for the two tasks.We also like the modified handle of the Ikon series knives in general, which isn't quite German, but not quite Japanese, either. It seems to be a hybrid of the two and fits most hands comfortably (we placed our top pick in several different palms).All in all, this is a great knife for the average household in which kitchen knives aren't generally taken care of, and no matter who gets a hold of this thing or what they do with or to it, you'll be able to bring it back up to snuff. That and the fact that it's a relatively thin and agile blade as far as German knives go make it the best all-around pick based on our testing. The best budget chef's knife Owen Burke/Insider Popular in busy commercial kitchens and homes alike, Victorinox's Fibrox has a highly ergonomic handle and stands up to rough use like few others.Length: 7.9"Blade: High-carbon stainless steelHRC: 55Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Maneuverable, comfortable handle, decent edge retentionCons: Not razor-sharp straight out of the factory, takes some work to sharpen, not perfectly balanced Victorinox's entire Fibrox line is a favorite in commercial kitchens because its knives are among the few that can pass through numerous line cooks' hands and accidental trips through the dishwasher unscathed. The Fibrox Chef's Knife is budget-friendly, but it's also perfect for short-term rentals, first apartments, and more generally, people who don't necessarily want to spend time taking care of their kitchen tools. My kitchen sees a lot of "chefs," and for that reason, I have my knives squirreled away separately from the communal kitchen knives, which are entirely from Victorinox. This way, I don't have to worry about someone slicing a lemon and leaving an expensive knife on the counter, not only wet but coated in citric acid, or trying to pry open a lid via a Japanese blade, which is horrific to think about. And even though the Fibrox Chef's Knife has withstood the abuse mentioned above (and more), there's neither a single stain nor chip on it. Sure, it's a bit scratched (coarse sponges are terrible for stainless steel, but more on care below), but all I do is give it a sharpening every couple of months, which with diligence gets it sharper than it was from the factory, and it performs impressively.We also find it to be a little on the safer side thanks to the ultra-grippy Fibrox handle, which is easy to hold even when wet or greasy.Read more about the Fibrox line in our guide to the best knife sets (even though we generally don't recommend sets, this one is an exception). The best paring knife Owen Burke/Insider A paring knife is a simple tool for lighter tasks, and Victorinox's 3.25" Straight Paring Knife offers everything you need of it and nothing you don't.Length: 3.25"Blade: 440 stainless steelHRC: 58-60Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Resilient, relatively rust-proof, dishwasher-safeCons: Very lightweight, requires regular sharpeningYou really, really don't need to spend a fortune on a paring knife. We think Victorinox's 3.25" Straight Paring Knife does the job about as well as anything because it's not the blade you're going to rely on for heavier-duty tasks.  Hulling strawberries, slicing a small bit of garlic, and peeling and seeding fruit is about all you're going to use it for, and while they're not the most demanding tasks, this knife handles them every bit as well as you'd hope anything would. Sure, you can spend a lot more and get a weightier paring knife, but it's far from necessary.And while, again, it's about as cheap as any kitchen knife gets, it's also much more resilient than pricier picks. Years ago, one of our testers admitted to running it through the dishwasher regularly, and has found only one small speck of rust since. The only other issue that arises with this knife is that you'll have to sharpen it as regularly as our budget pick for a chef's knife. Depending upon how often you put it to work, that could range from every month to every few months. Otherwise, keep this knife clean and dry like any other and it will work and last like any other. The best bread knife Owen Burke/Insider A long, thin blade with shallow serrations makes the surprisingly affordable Victorinox Fibrox 10" Bread Knife a precise tool for slicing bread and more.Length: 10.25"Blade: 440 stainless steelHRC: 55Handle: Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE)Pros: Nicely weighted (for a budget-friendly knife), great gripCons: Not as heavy as top-of-the-line bread knives, not as sharp out of the factoryIt's debatable whether you want to spend much on a bread knife depending on how often you'll be using it, but Victorinox's Fibrox Bread Knife is a quality tool at a reasonable price. It withstands the same amount of rough use as the rest of our recommendations from that line, but thanks to the larger handle and longer blade it carries a little more weight than the more budget-friendly options we considered. In our tests, which involved slicing less-than-forgiving, homemade, no-knead bread, it fared as well as everything we tried until we reached the $200 range, which is an absurd price for a bread knife for most people. That pretty much settled it. We also can't lend enough praise to the Fibrox handles in general, which everyone seems to appreciate, and apart from their ergonomic qualities, instill a sense of security with their non-slip grips.Because this blade is not only thin but also only shallowly serrated, you won't have as much trouble sharpening it on your own as you would with, say, a deep-scalloped one that doesn't take to a simple pull-through sharpener as well. It also turns out that this knife isn't bad for slicing softer fruits and carving meat and poultry.If you're looking for something a little more on the affordable side, our previous pick (which we retested against this one) is the Mercer Culinary Millennia Wavy Edge 10-inch Wide Bread Knife. It has a slightly thicker blade and a deeper serration, so it's not going to be as precise, but it's got a similar handle and costs half the price. The best utility knife Owen Burke/Insider With VG Max steel wrapped in layered Damascus steel, Shun's Classic 6" Utility Knife is sharper and retains a better edge than most German-style knives, and is perfect for trimming and more precise cuts.Length: 6"Blade: VG-Max Damascus steelHRC: 62Handle: Pakka (plastic and wood composite)Pros: Extremely sharp, great edge retention, rust-resistant, very well-balancedCons: Slightly brittle and easier to chip than German steel, small, D-shaped handle favors right-handersA utility knife needs to be extra sharp for more precise cuts and trimming without tearing foods, and Shun's Classic 6" Utility Knife uses VG-Max Damascus steel, effectively offering the best of both worlds between Japanese-style and German-style blades.Damascus steel is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel (in this case, VG-Max) at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly. The material is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, not to mention its signature swirly "damask" pattern that tends to woo one and all. While its beauty is something to behold, the important takeaway is that you get a knife that holds a stronger edge than carbon steel but flexes better than stainless steel. While we veered away from Japanese steel for our chef's knife top pick, and didn't recommend a Damascus or VG Max steel option because of the cost, a smaller utility knife from Shun makes that type of pricier steel more affordable.Apart from being remarkably more rust-resistant than other Japanese and Japanese-style knives we tried, this knife isn't so brittle that we've had trouble with chipping or dinging. Still, you'll want to keep it away from harder foods and surfaces, and especially bones. Where this knife shines is with smaller, in-between tasks where a chef's knife is overkill and a paring knife is painfully laborious. Think slicing tomatoes or dicing shallots. It's not a necessary knife for everyone, but behind those two knives and a bread knife, it's the next most important one for most kitchens. On that note, it did offer enough flexibility for me to not necessarily fillet, but skin and trim boneless meat. Shun's knives are made with a material known as Pakka wood, which is really a wood-and-plastic composite that looks an awful lot like walnut. Purists might cringe, but it gives the look without bringing along the worry of the handle splitting.If you're really averse to owning a Japanese knife for one reason or another (either the handle or the extra care required), look to the utility knife version of our top-recommended chef's knife, the 6" Wüsthof Ikon. What else we tested Owen Burke/Insider Shun: Probably the most popular Japanese knife in the US, Shun offers relatively affordable VG- and Damascus-steel knives. Apart from recommending the brand's utility knife, one of my personal favorite knives is the 8" Chef's knife.Korin: Another mid-range Japanese knife similar to Shun, Korin is a favorite of Pat LaFrieda and Andrew Zimmern, and is competitive with Mac.J.A. Henckels: One of the veritable classics in German knives, J.A. Henckels' knives were a little thicker in the blade than our other picks, but you really can't go wrong here.Dexter-Russell: Similar to Victorinox's Fibrox series, Dexter-Russell offers a line of similarly iconic white-handled knives at a great price point, and which you'll find in commercial kitchens all over. We just found that the handles on the Fibrox knives are much grippier.Mac: This company makes an outstanding chef's knife, especially for the price. The only reason we couldn't recommend this as an overall pick was its delicacy. At the hands of most people, this knife isn't going to stay in great shape for long. If you care for your knives, on the other hand, we can't recommend it enough.Made In: These, like many other DTC-brand knives, are made with X50CrMoV15 steel and are a great deal for the price. Like the others, they didn't exactly wow us, but we found nothing really wrong with them, either. The rounded handle seems to work well with many hands.Material: These knives are made with "high-carbon" steel, but we wouldn't call it high-quality. They have a hybrid handle that should suit most hands, and they're easy enough to sharpen and perfectly serviceable knives.Misen: More X50CrMoV15 steel and a great deal for the price. These are extremely popular for a reason, and we like them plenty, too.Our Place: Another DTC brand making X50CrMoV15 steel blades, Our Place's knives are more than satisfactory. We liked the hybrid handle, but not as much as others. If the handle looks like it'll suit you, these are nicely designed and balanced knives.Steelport Knife Co.: This is a much fancier, carbon-steel option for someone who wants to invest in a gorgeous and impossibly sharp blade. We love it, but we also recognize that it requires care.  Our methodology Owen Burke/Insider We finely sliced tomatoes and onions with chef's knives, minced garlic and shallots with utility and paring knives, hulled strawberries with paring knives, and sliced hard-crusted no-knead bread with serrated slicing knives. We then dulled each blade by rapping them repeatedly on a glass cutting board (word to the wise, never use one of these) and returned to each knife's respective task to note any dulling or chipping.We also made sure to put each knife into as many different hands as possible, ranging from professional cooks to hobbyists.Lastly, we consulted a series of chefs, butchers, and metallurgists, including Chef Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen, Pat LaFrieda, and Michael J Tarkanian, a professor of metallurgy at MIT.A word on Japanese knivesWe took Japanese knives out of the running for our top chef's knife pick. While they're a personal favorite, they're notoriously difficult to maintain, and therefore not suited for most kitchens. Simply put, if you're starting to invest in your kitchen knives, we don't want to recommend a fine knife that will easily be misused."High-carbon stainless steel" is a bit of a buzzword in reaction to the popularity of Japanese-style knives, which can attain notoriously sharper edges than their German-style counterparts. The delicacy of Japanese knives has to do with the hardness of the standard high-carbon stainless steel, which allows for a finer and sharper but proportionally brittler edge.Still, if you're the type of person who takes particularly good care of your tools (and aren't sharing a kitchen with someone who won't), you may prefer a Japanese knife. But know that they require meticulous cleaning and drying, as well as careful storage, or they'll end up with rusted and/or chipped blades.Other considerations:Edge retention: Our knife-testing process involved slicing fresh tomatoes and taking note of the ease with which each chef's knife handled the task. After we had sufficient data, we took each chef's knife to a glass cutting board and ran it over the surface 200 times. Some knives held their edge, others not so much. We looked at the edges after running the knives and noted if there were any visible changes. We then returned to the tomatoes, cutting a few more and seeing how much resistance we felt compared with the performance of the knives straight out of the packaging. Knives that held their edges passed on to further rounds of consideration.Alloy, and the HRC (hardness rating): We consulted several experts in the field, but the most informative source we encountered was Michael J Tarkanian, a professor of metallurgy at MIT. With his help, we were able to cut through the marketing and the scientific terminology behind different alloys and what allows a knife to retain an edge.We looked for a hardness rating of around 60 HRC, which offers great edge retention while still allowing for an edge of around 15 degrees (though up to 20 degrees, which is duller than 15, was still considered sufficient).Ergonomics: For a knife to work well, you have to be able to hold it comfortably in your hand. We asked several people to pick up knives and decide which ones were the easiest to grip; across the board, they went for the ones with heavier, rounded, almost bulbous handles.Balance: The weight of the handle and the blade is also somewhat critical. Pricier knives almost always offer better balance because that extra cost goes into using denser and often more desirable materials, like layered Damascus steel. A well-balanced knife with a good blade will cut through vegetables with minimal pressure, like our top pick from Wusthof. A not-so-well-balanced knife will take a little force to get started. What we look forward to testing Owen Burke/Insider We're looking forward to testing Santoku knives and more Japanese chef's knives for our next update. While they're superior in certain ways, they don't stand up to the rough handling that they'll endure at the hands of the average home cook, so we'll have separate picks coming soon. Until then, we're big fans of Shun, Global, Korin, and MAC. Just know that while you might not have to sharpen them as much as softer-steeled German blades, they're slightly more prone to rust (due to higher carbon levels) and chipping (due to their increased hardness).We're also going to recommend a boning knife for those who need to trim and debone meat but in the meantime, Victorinox's Fibrox Pro is an affordable option, and the Wüsthof Classic Ikon is a pricier step up which we like so far. FAQs Owen Burke/Insider How to choose a knifeThe most important thing about a knife, and especially a chef's knife, is how it fits in your hand. So long as you spend at least $50 on a chef's knife, it's going to be sharp (and sharpenable) enough to get most any job done. Decide what kind of handle you want first. German-style knives are generally more molded to the palm with a pronounced butt end, while Japanese-style knives are almost uniformly cylindrical and smaller. Both designs work for everyone; it just depends on the feel you prefer and, to some degree, how you hold the knife.The type of steel you choose should be based on the kind of care you're (realistically) going to give your knife. If you don't envision yourself sharpening and perfectly drying and storing your knife after every use, German stainless steel (e.g., 440, 420) is going to be much more forgiving, though softer and quicker to dull.If you are a tool fanatic and know that you'll take good care of your knives and are also confident that they won't find their way into the wrong hands, carbon steel is a great pick because it's incredibly sharp. Just know that it's likely to rust and chip more easily.In between, you have VG-10 and VG-Max (proprietary to Shun, but about the same as VG-10), which have added alloys (tungsten, vanadium) that make them a little more stain-resistant and less brittle. They're great for those who want a Japanese-style knife without having to care so devoutly for it.Then there's Damascus steel, which is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly. Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance, and we recommend it, but be wary of too-good-to-be-true deals. A lot of manufacturers will etch the mesmerizing swirls into a blade without performing the time-consuming and expensive hammering process.Why (or why not) buy a knife setIn general, things that come in sets tend to involve compromised quality, and often contain filler pieces. In the case of knife sets, you're probably going to receive a bunch of knives and other gadgets (including a large woodblock) that you may never use. A lot of newer (and older) DTC brands recognize that consumers are growing wiser and learning that sets are generally a ripoff. As a result, there are lots of two- to five-piece sets on the market. If you're looking in the budget range, we're all for them, and we've pretty much tried them all. The steel is almost always the same quality, so choose based on the handle style you like.Otherwise, though, sets don't make a lot of sense for most people. Invest in a chef's knife, first and foremost, with which, by the way, you can tackle all of your kitchen tasks, minus maybe slicing bread. Next, a paring knife is probably the most sensible purchase, but since it's not doing a lot of the heavy work, we say go cheap. That said, feel free to spend what you'd like; there is something to be said for a weightier, sharper blade in the case of every knife.A slicing and/or bread knife may or may not be important to you depending upon whether or not you consume much bread or slice much meat. You can find one that does the job for as little as $20, or, again, the sky's the limit. For most people, we like the $40-$60 range.Beyond the above, you're getting into specific tasks most people don't really take on at home. Fillet knives, boning knives, santoku knives, and shears are all further considerations. Even if you want all of those knives, you're still likely better off purchasing them piecemeal. It'll be more affordable, and you'll also be able to budget so that you can put your money where it counts. Glossary Owen Burke/Insider Heal: The corner of the blade where the edge meets the bolster.Edge: The sharpened, business side of the blade.Tang: The part of the blade that runs to or through the handle. "Full-tang" is a common term, which means the blade steel is a single piece of steel that runs through the handle.Rivets: The pins holding the handle together (more common in German handles).Bolster: Above the heel, a spacer where the blade meets the handle, and an area to grab or choke up on when performing finer tasks.Tip: The pointy, or front end of the knife opposite the handle.High-carbon steel: Steel with at least 0.55% carbon content.Stainless steel: An alloy of iron, chromium, and sometimes other metals. This is a very general term, but it's the basic steel with which German knives are made.VG10, VG-Max: A high-carbon steel blended with tungsten and vanadium, and sometimes other metals to lend flexibility and rust resistance.Damascus Steel: A two-plus-millennia-old process, Damascus steel is made by forging and hammering carbon-rich steel at a low temperature, cranking up the heat, and then cooling it abruptly, repeatedly (generally dozens of times). Damascus steel is known for its flexibility and corrosion resistance while still retaining a superior edge, which is why it is traditionally (and famously) used for samurai swords. Check out more related guides Too many knives. Owen Burke/Insider The best knife setsThe best knife sharpenersThe best cutting boardsThe best knife blocksThe best bushcraft and survival knives Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

Rabo: Global Supply Chains Simply Will Not Be Able To Cope With Even More Stimulus

Rabo: Global Supply Chains Simply Will Not Be Able To Cope With Even More Stimulus By Michael Every of Rabobank The Story is the Story Today is a US payrolls Friday. I have covered 277 of these releases. A handful were of any lasting interest, signalling something the market didn’t already know beforehand, and a few dozen more were higher/lower enough to get a few days of trading from. The expectation is 500K, which I remind everyone is way, waaay lower than the implied “1 million a month” that was promised at the start of the year. And that is all I feel I need to add, given there will be 279 to follow, and so on (and on). Meanwhile, ongoing stories vastly outweigh the significance of any data. The US debt-ceiling can is being kicked to 3 December. Hurrah for cans and hurrah for kicking! None of the larger problems on fiscal stimulus are being addressed, however. Indeed, the latest news is that Senator Manchin is insisting $1.5trn is as high as he will go. However, there are also suggestions that this may not mean choosing between three key programs Progressives want, but would instead see the 10-year timeframe compacted. In other words, a smaller headline bill with all the inflationary demand-boosting effects up front for a few years (presumably into the next election cycle…). And against a backdrop of global and US supply chains that simply will not be able to cope. That’s a story we will keeping seeing all over. Global food prices in September already leaped again according to the FAO. That might not be seen in certain locations which no longer allow the FAO website to be accessed. However, the global story is still there even if the data aren’t. Energy prices are up too as the White House did not release strategic oil reserves, as some had thought it would: WTI oil sits at 78.84 at time of writing; natural gas in Europe is at an awful rather than unbelievably awful level. As Bloomberg reports, “China’s Energy Crisis Envelops an Already Slowing Global Economy”, with barely a global industry not feeling the impact as goods supply dries up and prices soar. In China, problems at Evergrande are also cascading through the property sector, making up 30% of GDP. There are now defaults at other firms, and property bonds/HY credit is wobbling badly – and the CNY market, not just the USD. Local governments also just lost 40-50% of their revenue as property sales froze, which will have its own knock-on effects. Yes, this still isn’t a “Lehman moment” for banks: but it shows what happens when you pull the plug from a debt-laden sector built almost solely for speculation. Yet ideologically, there appears no turning back. Those who ‘bought the EG dip’ must be sweating bricks and mortar. China returns from holiday today, and we will see how local markets react. But one day is not a trend: turning off credit to a highly leveraged sector with sales drying up is. As large a story is the Wall Street Journal exclusive that US forces have been in place in Taiwan for at least a year, training troops. Given sky-high geopolitical tensions --and ahead of Taiwan’s national day this weekend-- this may not be a surprise, but it is a shock. Indeed, just as stories are more important than data now, this story is the story. Such military knowledge was tightly guarded: so how did the Wall Street Journal stumble onto it? It looks more likely to have been a deliberate leak. In which case, logic suggests: 1) a battle in the White House between the hawks and doves; or 2) both camps think China is really considering action against Taiwan, and this is a signalling device to try to prevent that happening. Either is worrying. So was the Global Times editor’s Twitter response: “Why just two dozen members? Why secretly? The US should send 240 servicemen publicly, in US military uniform, and make public where they are stationed. See whether the PLA will launch a targeted air strike to eliminate those US invaders!” Meanwhile, the CIA is opening a China centre to focus on its ‘key rival’, and a US submarine just collided with something in the South China Sea and has had to return to base in Guam: note the US only has three submarines in that class, globally. The former action is the entrenchment of a “Chilly Conflict” (because we can’t say ‘Cold War’); the latter, we hope, was an accident, not something ‘Hot’. Moreover, Reuters has another exclusive, that a NASDAQ-listed US electronics firm allegedly used Xinjiang labourers transported to its plant in Quinzhou in south China. That could re-open the US human-rights issue again, and suggests production anywhere in China could be subject to US action if it involves “a transfer program described by some rights groups as forced labour.” Is this story just coincidence? Europe may think this ‘geopolitical stuff’ is very far away even after the chilling impact of France’s AUKUS snub, and the Russian gas debacle, and the drop off in supply from the China that it has no intention of decoupling from. However, it has its own problems closer to home. The EU will brief the UK on “very far-reaching” proposals for dealing with Northern Ireland within the next fortnight,  but the threat of the UK triggering article 16, and then goodness knows what else, still lingers. Moreover, Poland’s constitutional court has ruled Polish law overrides EU laws. A professor of International and European law at Erasmus university is quoted as saying “This is a legal revolution.” Some are even muttering about “Polexit” even if, like many Polish names, it is hard to pronounce. This action will see Brussels talk about cutting off cash to Warsaw, along with implied threats to trade, as with the UK. So, the EU can do realpolitik…in an ‘office bully’ way. It just doesn’t know how to deal with the world outside the office, where the bullies are armed. Against all this backdrop, the RBA released their Statement on Monetary Policy today. It has the usual value-for-money analysis, including: “In Australia, and some other countries, there have been large increases in housing prices and an acceleration in borrowing,” --no, really?!!-- adding, “Vulnerabilities can increase if housing market strength turns to exuberance.” You mean we aren’t exuberant already? What is - 40% y/y house-price inflation? Shoe-shine boys telling you the next hot suburb to buy in? (We are there already if so.) Yes, Completely Redundant APRA are again playing around with macroprudential regulations. However, recall the last time they acted on this front, the entire property market wobbled, and they immediately U-turned. There is no China-style “common prosperity” policy at play (or “bogan prosperity”?). Moreover, this surely applies to the rates market, which now seems to think there are string of RBA rate-hikes coming long before the 2024 date the Bank has publicly set. Really? With supply-shocks soaring and geopolitical tensions matching? If so, the hikes will probably last as long as APRA’s LARPing at being China usually does. But anyway, back to waiting all day for #278 in the payrolls series. Happy Friday. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 08:20.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

The multimillion dollar payouts of Twitch"s top 100 streamers leaked: Here"s how much your favorite creator is reportedly making

The highest paid streaming channel on Twitch earned nearly $10 million in two years from Amazon alone, according to data leaked by alleged hackers. A screenshot of the "Critical Role" Twitch channel, which took the top spot among highest-paid Twitch channels. Twitch Amazon's Twitch was hacked, which resulted in a major data breach. A list of the highest-paid channels and how much they were paid was reportedly included in the hack. A channel operated by voice actors took the top spot, with just shy of $10 million in earnings across the last two years. Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories. In the last 24 months, the highest-paid channel on Twitch reportedly earned just shy of $10 million from the Amazon-owned company.That doesn't include what the channel's owners earned from the popular YouTube channel they operate, which cuts versions of Twitch content for YouTube users, and before any advertising partnerships or other forms of revenue. The channel, Critical Role, is operated by a self-described "bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors" who stream everything from elaborate "Dungeons & Dragons" campaigns to talk shows to lo-fi music. Critical Role is among a group of 100 popular Twitch streaming channels whose revenue data appears to have been part of a massive Twitch data hack. Though Twitch confirmed the hack on Wednesday afternoon, the company didn't further detail what data was taken in the security breach.A torrent of a 125-gigabyte file of data pulled from the hack is circulating on the anonymous message board 4chan.As the contents circulated on Wednesday, people began highlighting choice details from the data - such as the 100 highest-paid Twitch channels:-KnowSomething (@KnowS0mething) October 6, 2021The list is full of big name streamers, like Félix "xQc" Lengyel and Imane "Pokimane" Anys, the vast majority of which are said to have earned over $1 million in Twitch revenue across the last 24 months.The people claiming responsibility for the breach said in a 4chan post that the point of the hack was to "foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space" because Twitch's community is "a disgusting toxic cesspool."They also detailed the main contents of the hack: the source code for Twitch going back years, an unannounced digital game storefront meant to rival heavyweights like Steam, and years of financial records of Twitch streamers, in addition to the software development kits for various Twitch apps and adjacent software.Twitch confirmed the data breach in a statement sent to Insider which was also posted on Twitter."We can confirm a breach has taken place," the statement said. "Our teams are working with urgency to understand the extent of this. We will update the community as soon as additional information is available. Thank you for bearing with us."Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

The 5 best Fitbit trackers and smartwatches of 2021 to improve your health and fitness

We tested Fitbit's entire lineup of activity trackers and smartwatches to find the 5 best, including the Versa 3, the Charge 4, and the Sense. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky All of Fitbit's wearables track steps, calories burned, workouts, and sleep patterns, often automatically. We compared every current Fitbit to find the best in the lineup, from its smartwatches to its basic trackers. Our top pick, the Versa 3, has all the smartwatch basics plus built-in GPS, a huge display, and long battery life. A fitness tracker or smartwatch is an incredible tool to help you pay more attention to patterns in your health, get serious about fitness training, or even just increase your daily step count.One of the brands at the forefront of the industry is Fitbit, a company whose wearables track everything from daily steps and workout pace, to sleep patterns and stress levels. A Fitbit helps you better understand when to push yourself in a workout, when to take a moment to decompress, or when the fatigue or irritability you feel is from poor sleep.As an avid runner, personal trainer, and fitness journalist, I've tested more fitness trackers than I can count, even before they became a staple on people's wrists. My first tracker, the Fitbit Flex, would light up with a few red dots to notify me I'd hit my daily step goal. This was revolutionary information at the time and I loved it.Fitbit's lineup of trackers looks far different today, chock-full of innovative trackers and smartwatches meant for a variety of people. To narrow down the best, I decided to test every Fitbit available. I used them on runs, hikes, running errands around town, and even while sleeping to compile those best fit for any lifestyle. I've also included insight into how to shop for a Fitbit, as well as the testing methodology I used. If you're deciding which Fitbit is best, here's a quick breakdown of the most mainstream contenders: Fitbit Versa 3Fitbit Versa 2Fitbit Inspire 2Our review Best overallBest budget smartwatchBest for the basicsAverage price $230$180$100Battery Life6 days6 days10 daysFeaturesAutomatic activity tracking20 exercise modesSleep trackingWater-resistant up to 50mBuilt-in GPSBuilt-in music storageLarge display for mindful minutesAmazon Alexa or Google Assistant connectionAutomatic activity tracking15 exercise modesSleep trackingWater-resistant up to 50mLarge display for mindful minutesAmazon Alexa or Google Assistant connectionAutomatic activity tracking20 exercise modesSleep trackingWater-resistant up to 50mDrawbacksWatchband can stickPhone sync can take timeNo built-in GPS or music storageSlightly less modern display compared to Versa 3No built-in GPS or music storageSmaller screenIf you still have questions, check out my more in-depth reviews below, along with a few other options for different needs.Which is the best Fitbit to buy?Best overall: Fitbit Versa 3Best for health-tracking: Fitbit SenseBest for fitness-tracking: Fitbit Charge 4Best budget activity tracker: Fitbit Inspire 2Best budget smartwatch: Fitbit Versa 2 The best Fitbit overall Fitbit With automatic activity tracking and a huge screen, the Versa 3 has nearly all the perks of the Fitbit line at a not-totally-absurd price point plus a stylish design. Pros: Automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, built-in GPS, water-resistant up to 50 meters, oxygen saturation reading, mindful minutes, battery lifeCons: Occasionally uncomfortable, sometimes needs to be manually syncedBattery life: 6 daysCharge time: 12 minutesExercise modes: 20Built-in: GPS and music storageThe Versa 3 stands out for its bright, colorful face and big display that clearly shows any stats. There are a lot of pros to this watch:During a run or bike ride, the large display is especially great for quick glances at your pace in real time as you move. You can also easily check other stats — total time, average pace, heart rate zones — just by tapping the watch face, even mid-activity. The device buzzes to let you know when you've switched between fat burn, cardio, or peak zones. In the Fitbit app, you can see the complete overview of your cardio numbers, including time spent in those various heart rate zones, active zone minutes, average, minimum, and maximum heart rate, calories burned, and steps taken. With all this data, the Fitbit also determines your VO2max, the top marker of fitness level.The Versa 3 has built-in GPS, so you can also go for a run or walk without your phone, which I particularly love to unplug and focus on your steps without losing the data behind how many I got in today.The Versa 3 also has automatic activity tracking, which is such a nice feature when you forget to hit start on your runs. In addition to straight cardio workouts, you also have easy shortcuts to tracking Bootcamp, Pilates, yoga, circuit training, and weight workouts. The sleep tracking on the Versa 3 also stands out among other devices in the line, as it reveals your time awake, in REM, deep sleep, and light sleep, plus the percent of the time you spend below resting heart rate (aka "restoration"). All these stats lead to an overall sleep score that makes it easy to see the quality of your sleep.You also get health-promoting tips based on sleep and activity, like when the watch told me I spend more minutes in deep sleep on days my step count hits more than 11,000 (fascinating!).The final thing worth mentioning about Fitbit, in general, is the Relax app. This comes on each watch, but it's best on the Versa 3 because you just have to press play and it gives you a pretty visual of the Versa's large screen. You then just follow along for deep inhales and exhales. You can check the mindfulness tap on the Fitbit phone app to see what your starting and ending heart rate is, as well as log how you're feeling from very calm to very stressed.The Versa 3 (as well as the Sense) will connect to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to help you check off errands or set reminders, without your computer or phone. You can even pay through the watch.Lastly, you can control music from Spotify, Pandora, or Deezer, and even answer calls right on the watch face. If you have an Android, you can send voice-to-text responses, too. The only big downfall to the Versa (and the Sense) is that sometimes the watchband stuck to my skin — especially at night or when I didn't dry it off after a workout. I do have sensitive skin, but it left a mark at one point, which went away quickly.Also, because I close all the apps on my phone pretty often, sometimes I'd need to manually sync the watch to the phone app to see my full list of stats. This sometimes took longer than I wanted it to, especially after software updates.Lastly, this is certainly not the cheapest watch on our list, but it still comes in below competitor models like the Apple Watch. The best Fitbit for monitoring health Fitbit The Sense smartwatch has a ton of added features, focusing on heart health and stress management, giving you a more holistic look at your well-being. Pros: Automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, built-in GPS, water-resistant up to 50 meters, oxygen saturation reading, mindful minutes, EDA scan, ECG readings, stress management scoreCons: ExpensiveBattery life: 6 daysCharge time: 12 minutesExercise modes: 20Built-in: GPS and music storageThe Sense offers a more complete picture of your health, tracking not just your physical activity but also your mental state. For starters, the Sense offers automatic exercise and sleep tracking, and the stats that come with those readings. More excitingly, this smartwatch offers electrodermal activity (EDA) readings. This is a measurement of tiny electrical changes on the skin which is meant to indicate your stress levels. To get a reading, you open the EDA scan app on the watch, hold your palm on the screen, and then do a mindfulness session as it reads your EDA. After, the watch will tell you how many EDA responses it calculated (fewer means you were calm), plus your starting and ending heart rate. It gives you an option to log how you're feeling (calm or stressed), too. Using those EDA readings, heart rate data, sleep patterns, and your exercise for the day, the Sense will also give you a stress management score. I was surprised by how low my score was when I actually felt stressed, but I chalk that up to a balance of physical activity and a healthy amount of sleep. Lastly, the Sense also reads your blood oxygen levels at night and can act as an electrocardiogram (ECG) reader with the accompanying app. This means with the touch of the screen, the watch analyzes your heart rate and looks for atrial fibrillation (or AFib, which shows an irregular heart contraction and can signal a major health issue).  The less flashy but super-useful features including the ability to answer calls via Bluetooth, sync your calendar, pair the watch with Alexa or Google Assistant, and pay through your watch.To get all these features, you do have to pay a rather hefty price, and it can take some time to add things like EDA scanning to your regular health routine. But if you're trying to seriously clean up your overall health or want accountability to stay on track, the Sense's many features are worth the price. The best Fitbit for tracking fitness Fitbit The Charge 4 hits a budget-friendly price point while offering stellar activity tracking in a smaller footprint than a smartwatch. Pros: Automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, built-in GPS, water-resistant up to 50 meters, mindful minutes, slim design, long battery lifeCons: Black-and-white display, smaller screen, no music storageBattery life: 7 daysExercise modes: 20Built-in: GPS If you want a tracker to record your workouts and daily movement with a few nice-to-haves, but you don't care about fancy features like a big, colorful screen; answering calls via your watch, or connecting with Alexa or Google Assistant, then the Charge 4 is your match. This tracker records and displays you all the stats you want from your workout: current and average exercise pace, distance, heart rate zones, total time, steps taken, and calories burned. Within the Fitbit app, you can also see a map of your run, complete with intensity zones showing where your heart rate climbed highest and dipped lowest. The Charge 4 has built-in GPS, so you can run without your smartphone if you want your hands free or the battery is low, which is rarer for a tracker this small.You also still have the option to sync your calendar and get alerts on events, plus you can read text messages and see when you're getting calls. The Charge 4 also comes with access to the Relax app for two minutes of deep breathing with dots to follow for each inhale and exhale instead of a video. This device also has Fitbit's in-depth sleep tracking.The battery life on the Charge 4 is longer than either Versas or the Sense. The design is smaller and takes up less space around your wrist, which is nice for more petite people. However, that also makes the screen smaller for reading and navigating, which can be a huge drawback for some.  The best budget Fitbit tracker Fitbit If you want a straightforward activity tracker to tell you how much you've moved today and how good of a workout you got, the Inspire 2 offers the best of Fitbit's basic features at under $100.Pros: Automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, water-resistant up to 50 meters, mindful minutes, slim design, battery lifeCons: No built-in GPS, smaller screenBattery life: 10 daysExercise modes: 20Built-in: NoneThis mini-sized watch has the best of Fitbit's signature features, including automatic sleep and activity tracking, constant heart rate tracking, and mindfulness encouragement via the Relax app. Better yet, it has the longest battery life of all the Fitbits — and it's under $100. You can also get smartphone notifications like calendar alerts, texts, and calls on the Inspire 2 (though you can't answer your phone directly on the watch).The slim design is nice for people who aren't used to something on their wrist, and the minimalist display, while small and harder to read for some people, makes it easy to see what's important without being inundated with stats and info.The biggest downfall is that you need your phone every time you head out for a walk or run in order to track mileage and other stats. But that's not even a huge concession for most people. The best budget Fitbit smartwatch Fitbit If you want the big screen of the Versa 3 and the Sense but don't need to answer calls from your watch or have a built-in GPS, the Versa 2 is a fabulous option to save a little money ($50).Pros: Cheaper than the Versa 3 or Sense, automatic activity and sleep tracking, in-depth exercise and sleep stats, 24/7 heart rate tracking, heart rate zones, water-resistant up to 50 meters, mindful minutes, long battery lifeCons: no built-in GPS, music storage only works with Deezer and Pandora's premium serviceBattery life: 6 daysExercise modes: 15Built-in: Limited music storageThe Versa 2 has the big, bright screen of Fitbit's leading smartwatch models (i.g., Versa 3 and Sense), albeit with a little less modern-looking display (though the clock face and straps are all customizable).It automatically tracks activity and sleep, offers a sleep score, has 24/7 heart rate tracking, and offers guided breathing exercises. It displays real-time pace and distance when you're on the move. The Versa 2 has 15 exercise modes to record, which is 5 less than the newer models, but still includes all the biggies like running, biking, hiking, swimming, weights, and Bootcamp. You can connect the watch to Amazon Alexa and control music via apps like Spotify. You also get phone notifications like texts and calls (you can't answer calls through the watch, though you can use voice replies to texts) and can pay with the watch.The major thing you're giving up by opting for the older model is built-in GPS. That means you'll need your phone with you when you go out for a run, walk, bike ride, or hike. But realistically, most of us take our phones with us running for safety or communication, so this might not be as big of a deal-breaker as it sounds. Plus, built-in GPS drains your battery faster, so you'll score a longer battery life. What we're looking forward to testing Fitbit Luxe: Fitbit recently announced a new fashion-forward fitness tracker to its lineup, the Luxe. The device is about the size of the Charge 4, but with sleek metal finishes and luxe wrist bands, and the more advanced features of the Versa 3. The device is currently on pre-order and will ship this spring. Our tech team will be testing the device, so check back for updates on how it compares to its predecessors. How to shop for a Fitbit Fitbit was one of the first brands in the fitness tracking space when it came out with its step counter. Since then, its devices have evolved with the needs of its customer base, allowing it to maintain one of the top spots in a growing market of fitness trackers and smartwatches. There are good options from other brands like Suunto, Apple, and Garmin but Fitbit continues to deliver high-quality products that excel in a few key areas:User-friendly featuresEase-of-use is everything when it comes to any technology, but especially a device you intend to use every day. Fitbit's found success as a brand thanks to its easy-to-use interfaces and superior activity and sleep tracking. What makes Fitbit such a successful brand — and one worth the money — is that all its devices, no matter the price point or type (tracker versus smartwatch), come with all the foundational features you want in a health and fitness tracker. This includes the ability to automatically track sleep and activity, which is the best thing about the brand, in my opinion.Then, all the models track pace, distance, and calories burned during your workouts, and calculate your heart rate training zones, including fat burn, cardio, and peak. For sleep, you not only get the total hours you slept, but the time you spent in deep and REM sleep, plus the percentage of time you spent below your resting heart rate. With some models, these stats are easier to access than others — namely, the Sense, Versa 2, and Versa and 3 because their larger screens are easier to read at a glance. But even with the smaller, more narrow faces of the Charge 4, the numbers are very large which is really nice to have. The Inspire 2 is definitely the hardest to glace stats quickly off of.The Fitbit app itself, accessed via your phone, is easy to navigate and clearly displays steps, miles, active zone minutes, daily calorie burn, mindfulness days, exercise, and activity per hour. It also reminders you to take 250 steps per hour. Additionally, you can track your menstrual cycle, food and water intake, and weight (though these require more manual entries). Easy-access add-on featuresFitbit now also offers a Premium membership, through which you get access to guided meditations, video workouts, goal setting and challenges, and more in-depth health insights, particularly for your blood oxygen level readings, heart rate variability, and breathing rate. All of these features are accessed through the Fitbit app, so this is mostly just a plus for Fitbit as a brand. However, most of the new Fitbit devices come with a complimentary free trial, after which it's $10/month or $80/year, and the upgrade unlocks special features for some devices. The Sense, for example, includes a six-month free trial of Premium, which also offers special mindfulness and mediation features through the watch's special electrodermal activity sensor. The Inspire 2 comes with a year-long free trial. The Versa 3, Versa 2, and Charge 4 all come with a 3-month free trial.Superior battery lifeEach Fitbit in the line has top-notch battery life, lasting days even with auto-activity and auto-sleep tracking turned on, so you don't have to worry about charging it every night. Officially, the battery for all Fitbits featured lasts from six days up to 10 days, depending on the device and your usage. In my experience, the Versa 2, Versa 3, and Sense last an average of six days on one charge, the Charge 4 for seven days, and the Inspire 2 a whopping 10 days.Versatile customization optionsFor starters, there are the devices themselves: The Fitbit line is a range of smartwatches and other wearables, all with different features and price points, so you can choose the one that best fits your style and health goals. Then, Fitbit offers plenty of options to customize the look of your device. Each watch or tracker comes with a basic band, but all have different colors and material bands you can purchase for customization, from stainless steel mesh for a professional look to expressive prints to more breathable sports bands. The only watch on our list that doesn't offer a sport-specific band is the Inspire 2.You can also customize the watch faces, both for aesthetics and readability, and to personalize shortcuts on the devices and what's displayed on the main app page. The Sense and Versa 3 have the most options for watch faces; you can even download third-party designs or use your own photos, which you can't do with the other models. How I test Fitbits Fitbit; Alyssa Powell/Business Insider In addition to testing past iterations of Fitbit trackers and smartwatches when they were launched, I tested each on the list below for several days (some weeks, even) wearing them 24/7 in most cases. I wore each during different types of workouts, from runs and walks to strength sets and yoga. I also wore the trackers to bed and for mindfulness sessions. Here are the key features I looked for when testing:Workout trackingTo successfully record stats during a workout and easily check these as you go, it's important that a watch clearly displays numbers, and quickly and continuously connects to the GPS, particularly if it's built into the watch. I judged the trackers and watches on whether I could easily see my current pace, distance, and time, and if I had quick access to see other metrics like average pace and heart rate. Additionally, I ran another fitness tracking app on my phone to test the accuracy of the watch's distance and pace. For every Fitbit featured, the numbers were always relatively close (and within the normal range you'd find if you compared almost any other fitness tracker). Because Fitbit offers automatic tracking, I also did a few workouts without manually pressing the start button to confirm that it picked up my movement, which it almost always did. Tracking and comfort while sleepingI wore each of these watches and trackers to bed to test the automatic sleep tracking. I checked these stats in the morning to make sure it recorded my time in bed and wake-up times throughout the night. I also wore the devices when occasionally taking naps throughout the day, which they also picked up on. The devices needed to be comfortable enough to wear all night in order to get those stats, too. While the bands occasionally stuck to my skin if I got sweaty at night, it never disturbed my sleep — I only ever noticed this after waking up. Battery lifeI tested the battery life of each Fitbit by charging it to 100% battery and wearing it through workouts, nights of sleep, and throughout the day to see how long each would last. They all surprised me, too — the life lasted even after several workouts, including those using the built-in GPS (which typically drains batteries quickly). The Inspire 2 was the most impressive for battery life. App usabilityOne huge perk of Fitbit is the built-in stress-reducing apps, so how easy these were to use was a key part of testing. I tried Fitbit's mindfulness program, the Relax app, on all devices, and the EDA scan app on the Sense, which contributes to stress management numbers. I looked for ease of use, visuals, and the stats provided after recording a mindfulness session, like changes in heart rate.  The best deals on Fitbits from this guide Depending on the model, you can get pretty lucky when Fitbit deal searching. The Sense, Charge 4, and Inspire 2, for instance, see regular price drops throughout the year, discounting them by up to $50. We also see a ton of all-time lows during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, like the Charge 4 available for only $120. To track your steps and exercise — and to help keep your budget on track, too — we rounded up the best deals you can take advantage of. Below, find sales on models like the Versa 3, Sense, and Charge 4. Here are the best deals we found.Here are the best Fitbit smartwatch and tracker deals available now.Charge 4 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Sense (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

"It"s Just Not True" - Zuckerberg Responds To Claims Facebook Puts "Profits Over People"

"It's Just Not True" - Zuckerberg Responds To Claims Facebook Puts 'Profits Over People' Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who revealed herself as 'the Facebook whistleblower' in an interview with '60 Minutes' that ran Sunday night before appearing before Sen. Dick Blumenthal's powerful Commerce subcommittee, has managed to catalyze the biggest scandal in Facebook's brief history - even bigger than the whole data privacy/Cambridge Analytica that led to a series of Congressional hearings back in 2018. The information Haugen leaked to WSJ clearly show Facebook was fully aware of the drawbacks and risks related to its various platforms. So, as clips of her performance play on repeat across America's cable news channels, Facebook CEO/Founder Mark Zuckerberg is speaking up to respond. In a note sent to Facebook employees before being posted publicly, Zuckerberg insisted that Haugen's main criticism - that Facebook routinely puts profits ahead of socially-responsible behavior - is a "false narrative" and "just not true." "It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted," Zuck said in the note. "At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true." In the statement, Zuck said he was particularly bothered by the implication that Facebook disregards the safety of children, particularly teen girls. "When it comes to young people’s health or well-being, every negative experience matters,” the CEO wrote. “We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I’m proud of the work we’ve done.” Zuck concluded by thanking Facebook employees for their hard work and expressing his gratitude during this difficult time. Hopefully - for Zuck's sake - employees won't be motivated to leak more embarrassing internal research to the press. During yesterday's testimony, Sen. Blumenthal accused Facebook of being "morally bankrupt", and demanded that Zuckerberg return to the Hill once again to testify in person, something Zuckerberg is loathed to do (which is probably why the company already sent its 'head of safety'' Antigone Davis to rebut the allegations and answer questions from lawmakers during a hearing last week). Ironically, Facebook suffered one of its longest and biggest outages yet yesterday, with its services cut off to the world for a large chunk of the day. As for Zuck's statement, Edward Snowden tweeted early Wednesday that Zuck's 1,300-word post was "on brand, really" as the CEO once again tried to frame his company as the real victim here. Zuckerberg responds to a global outage and national scandal by claiming @Facebook is the real victim here, and modestly proposing Congress consider: A) legally restricting teen use of internet services B) identify verification mandates C) limiting teen privacy On-brand, really. pic.twitter.com/0hMRf5HpKf — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) October 6, 2021 Readers can find Zuck's complete note below: * * * I wanted to share a note I wrote to everyone at our company. Hey everyone: it's been quite a week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with all of you. First, the SEV that took down all our services yesterday was the worst outage we've had in years. We've spent the past 24 hours debriefing how we can strengthen our systems against this kind of failure. This was also a reminder of how much our work matters to people. The deeper concern with an outage like this isn't how many people switch to competitive services or how much money we lose, but what it means for the people who rely on our services to communicate with loved ones, run their businesses, or support their communities. Second, now that today's testimony is over, I wanted to reflect on the public debate we're in. I'm sure many of you have found the recent coverage hard to read because it just doesn't reflect the company we know. We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. It's difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don't recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted. Many of the claims don't make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? 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? 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? And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the US while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world? At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true. For example, one move that has been called into question is when we introduced the Meaningful Social Interactions change to News Feed. This change showed fewer viral videos and more content from friends and family -- which we did knowing it would mean people spent less time on Facebook, but that research suggested it was the right thing for people's well-being. Is that something a company focused on profits over people would do? The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don't want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don't know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction. But of everything published, I'm particularly focused on the questions raised about our work with kids. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the kinds of experiences I want my kids and others to have online, and it's very important to me that everything we build is safe and good for kids. The reality is that young people use technology. Think about how many school-age kids have phones. Rather than ignoring this, technology companies should build experiences that meet their needs while also keeping them safe. We're deeply committed to doing industry-leading work in this area. A good example of this work is Messenger Kids, which is widely recognized as better and safer than alternatives. We've also worked on bringing this kind of age-appropriate experience with parental controls for Instagram too. But given all the questions about whether this would actually be better for kids, we've paused that project to take more time to engage with experts and make sure anything we do would be helpful. Like many of you, I found it difficult to read the mischaracterization of the research into how Instagram affects young people. As we wrote in our Newsroom post explaining this: "The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. In fact, in 11 of 12 areas on the slide referenced by the Journal -- including serious areas like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating issues -- more teenage girls who said they struggled with that issue also said Instagram made those difficult times better rather than worse." But when it comes to young people's health or well-being, every negative experience matters. It is incredibly sad to think of a young person in a moment of distress who, instead of being comforted, has their experience made worse. We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I'm proud of the work we've done. We constantly use our research to improve this work further. Similar to balancing other social issues, I don't believe private companies should make all of the decisions on their own. That's why we have advocated for updated internet regulations for several years now. I have testified in Congress multiple times and asked them to update these regulations. I've written op-eds outlining the areas of regulation we think are most important related to elections, harmful content, privacy, and competition. We're committed to doing the best work we can, but at some level the right body to assess tradeoffs between social equities is our democratically elected Congress. For example, what is the right age for teens to be able to use internet services? How should internet services verify people's ages? And how should companies balance teens' privacy while giving parents visibility into their activity? If we're going to have an informed conversation about the effects of social media on young people, it's important to start with a full picture. We're committed to doing more research ourselves and making more research publicly available. That said, I'm worried about the incentives that are being set here. We have an industry-leading research program so that we can identify important issues and work on them. It's disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don't care. If we attack organizations making an effort to study their impact on the world, we're effectively sending the message that it's safer not to look at all, in case you find something that could be held against you. That's the conclusion other companies seem to have reached, and I think that leads to a place that would be far worse for society. Even though it might be easier for us to follow that path, we're going to keep doing research because it's the right thing to do. I know it's frustrating to see the good work we do get mischaracterized, especially for those of you who are making important contributions across safety, integrity, research and product. But I believe that over the long term if we keep trying to do what's right and delivering experiences that improve people's lives, it will be better for our community and our business. I've asked leaders across the company to do deep dives on our work across many areas over the next few days so you can see everything that we're doing to get there. When I reflect on our work, I think about the real impact we have on the world -- the people who can now stay in touch with their loved ones, create opportunities to support themselves, and find community. This is why billions of people love our products. I'm proud of everything we do to keep building the best social products in the world and grateful to all of you for the work you do here every day. * * * Source: Facebook Tyler Durden Wed, 10/06/2021 - 08:27.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 6th, 2021

Futures Tumble As Nat Gas Prices Explode, Stagflation Fears Surge

Futures Tumble As Nat Gas Prices Explode, Stagflation Fears Surge In our market comments on Tuesday we were stunned by the resilient surge in tech names and the broader market, even as yields soared on the biggest jump in breakevens since the presidential election, noting that something is very broken with this picture. Well, one day later normalcy is back: US stock index futures tumbled as much as 1.3% on Wednesday before paring some losses, after soaring oil and gas prices (rising as much as 40% in Europe today alone) fed into fears of higher inflation and fueled concerns of sooner-than-expected tapering, which in turn pushed 10Y yields just shy of 1.57%. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 309 points, or 0.9%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 49 points, or 1.12%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 181 points, or 1.23%, to the lowest level since June 25 on a closing basis, signaling more downside for tech shares after Tuesday’s short reprieve Up to Tuesday’s close, the S&P 500 index logged its fourth straight day of 1% moves in either direction. According to Reuters, the last time the index saw that much volatility was in November 2020, when it rose or fell 1% or more for seven straight sessions. The selloff was much more severe in Europe, with the Stoxx 600 falling as much as 2% to a 2 month low, with every industry sector firmly in the red as the region’s natural gas prices soared to catastrophic levels... ... even as the European Union pledged swift action to ensure the spiking costs don’t stifle the economy (it just didn't explain precisely what it would do). Asian stocks also dropped amid continued China property contagion fears. The 10-year TSY yield touched their highest since June, slamming shares of mega-cap FAAMGs; tech shares led the stocks selloff Apple (AAPL US -1.5%), Facebook (FB US -1.6%), Microsoft (MSFT US -1.6%), Tesla (TSLA US -1.4%) down in U.S. premarket trading. Economy-sensitive parts of the market also came under pressure, with lenders such as Bank of America Corp , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley shedding more than 1% each. Boeing and industrial conglomerates Caterpillar Inc and 3M Co dropped between 0.8% and 2.0%. Ironically, even though Brent remained well above $82, energy names also slumped with Exxon sliding 1% on what appears to be profit taking to plug margin holes elsewhere. American Airlines’ shares fell 3.7% in U.S. premarket session after Goldman cut its recommendation for the stock to sell. Meanwhile, Palantir Technologies extended its gains to rise 9.3% as the company said it won a U.S. Army contract to supply data and analytics services. Here are some of the other notable market movers: Gogo (GOGO US) drops 5.3% in U.S. premarket trading after Morgan Stanley downgrades to underweight, with competitive landscape expected to pressure valuation and free cash flow over coming year American Airlines (AAL US) slides 3.6% in U.S. premarket trading on Goldman Sachs downgrade, according to Bloomberg data U.S. Steel (X US) down more than 5% in U.S. premarket trading on Goldman Sachs downgrade, according to Bloomberg data Calyxt (CLXT US) shares jump 5.4% premarket after the company said it will focus on engineering synthetic biology solutions for customers across the nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, pharmaceutical, advanced materials, and chemical industries Indus Realty Trust (INDT US) fell postmarket Tuesday after launching a 2 million stock offering Noodles & Co. (NDLS US) shares rose 2% in Tuesday postmarket trading after Stephens started coverage with an overweight rating, saying the restaurant chain is poised for strong growth that should lead to higher multiples Allison Transmission (ALSN US) is accelerating the development of electrification technology for integration into the U.S. Army’s ground combat vehicle fleet Palantir (PLTR US) shares rise 14% in U.S. premarket trading after the the software company said Tuesday it was selected by the U.S. Army to provide data and analytics for the Capability Drop 2 program "Right now you’re seeing inflation risk really start to percolate and I do think that you’re going to see that really eat into margins as we go through the fourth quarter into 2022,” Erin Browne, multi-asset portfolio manager at Pimco, said on Bloomberg Television. “The energy crisis that’s starting to loom in Europe is a real risk that is being underestimated by the market right now." “The spike in energy prices continue fueling expectations of higher inflation for longer. Therefore, central banks will be forced to cool down the overheating in inflation rather than trying to boost recovery,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. “Any weakness in the jobs figure could send the U.S. equities back below their 100-dma levels, as soft economic data could no longer revive the central bank doves." As such, all eyes will be on the U.S. private payrolls data, due at 8:15 a.m. ET. The numbers come ahead of the more comprehensive non-farm payrolls data on Friday, which is expected to cement the case for the Federal Reserve’s slowing of asset purchases. Meanwhile, a stalemate over Republicans and Democrats about the debt limit showed no sign of abating, with President Joe Biden saying that his Democrats might make an exception to a U.S. Senate rule to allow them to extend the government’s borrowing authority without Republican help. European stocks fell even more, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index plunging 2% to lowest since July 20; Travel, autos and retail names are the weakest sectors although all Stoxx 600 sub-indexes are off at least 1%, tech was also underperforming. As noted above, gas prices remain a focal pressure point with several measures hitting record levels. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Adler shares extend decline to 21% in Frankfurt after Viceroy Research publishes a report saying it is short Adler Group SA and its listed subsidiaries. Deutsche Telekom shares fall 4%, close to the level at which Goldman Sachs offered about EU1.5b worth of shares, as part of a deal to swap some of Softbank’s T- Mobile stake for one in Deutsche Telekom. Ambu shares fall as much as 8.1%, most since Aug. 17, after company cut its FY financial outlook. IP Group shares drop as much as 8.1%, their worst day in nine months, after CEO Alan Aubrey and CIO Mike Townend retire. GN Store Nord shares rise as much as 7.5% as it agrees to buy SteelSeries, a maker of software-enabled gaming gear, from Nordic private equity company Axcel for an enterprise value of DKK8b on a cash and debt-free basis. Tesco shares rise as much as 4.6% to an eight-month high after Britain’s biggest supermarket operator said it will buy back GBP500m of stock and raised its FY profit forecast. HSBC rises as much 2.5% as UBS upgrades the Asia-focused lender to buy from neutral, saying the market is taking a risk by being underweight. PageGroup shares jump as much as 6.9%, most since April, as the staffing firm boosts its profit forecast. Peer Hays also gains. Dustin shares jump as much as 11%, most since April 13, after the IT solutions provider’s Ebit for the fourth quarter beat the average analyst estimate. Atlantic Sapphire gains as much as 15% as Pareto sees improvements ahead. Asian stocks headed for their longest losing streak since August as a selloff in the heavyweight tech sector deepened amid rising Treasury yields. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.8%, in its fourth day of decline, with Samsung and Tencent among the biggest drags. A benchmark tracking Chinese technology stocks in Hong Kong closed at a record low. Japan’s Nikkei 225 and South Korea’s Kospi were the biggest losers, sliding more than 1% each. China Tech Stock Gauge Falls to Test Record Low as Yields Rise Investors have yet to digest issues such as the inflation outlook, among other concerns including gridlock over the U.S. debt ceiling and higher global energy prices. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is approaching year-to-date lows seen in August.  “At the moment, given all the uncertainties regarding the growth, inflation and policy outlooks, we are still in the middle of the tempest, so to speak,” Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets, said by email.  Indonesian, Malaysian and Philippine stock benchmarks were among the region’s best performers. In Japan, the Topix closed 0.3% lower while the Nikkei225 capped its worst daily losing streak since July 2009 and entered a technical correction, as Japanese equities tumbled while Treasury yields climbed. Fast Retailing Co. and Tokyo Electron Ltd. were the largest contributors to a 1.1% loss in the Nikkei 225, which fell for an eighth-straight day. The gauge, which had risen as much as 1.4% earlier in the day, closed more than 10% down from its September high. The broader Topix dipped 0.3%, erasing an early 1.6% advance, driven by losses in automakers. Banks climbed on the spike in Treasury yields. Japanese stocks had opened the day higher, following a rebound in U.S. shares. Both major gauges fell for a seventh day Tuesday amid market disappointment with the new government and a host of threats to global economic growth. ‘Kishida Shock’ Hits Japan Markets Wary of Redistribution Plan “Technicals such as RSI and Bollinger are showing that these moves may have been overdone in the short term, but Japan is hostage to the continued global concerns regarding inflation, supply chains and Chinese credit along with PM Kishida’s ‘new capitalism’ concept,” said Takeo Kamai, head of execution services at CLSA Securities Japan Co Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 7,206.50, reversing an earlier advance of as much as 0.4%. Banks contributed the most to the benchmark’s decline after Australia’s banking regulator raised loan buffers in a bid to cool the nation’s booming housing market. a2 Milk was the worst performer after a class action lawsuit was filed against the company. Whitehaven was the top performer, rising for a fourth straight day.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3% to 13,166.44. The nation’s central bank raised interest rates for the first time in seven years and signaled further increases will likely be needed to tame inflation. The RBNZ lifted the official cash rate by a quarter percentage point to 0.5%. In rates, Treasuries were off their worst levels of the day after the 10Y yield rose briefly topped 1.57%, and remained cheaper by more than 2bps across long-end. The 10-year yield was around 1.55%, cheapest since June 17; U.K. 10-year cheapens by further 1.8bp vs U.S., German 10-year by 0.5bp. In the U.K., the 10-year breakeven rate climbed above 4%, twice the Bank of England’s target, spurred by soaring energy costs. Money markets have almost fully priced a rate hike as soon as December, in what would be the central bank’s first increase in over three years. Peripheral spreads widen to core with long-dated BTPs widening ~3bps to Germany. In FX, USD is well bid with risk assets trading poorly. Bloomberg dollar index rises 0.5%, pushing through last Friday’s highs. NZD, NOK and AUD are the weakest in G-10. Crude futures trade a narrow range near Asia’s opening levels. WTI is down 0.4% near $78.60, Brent briefly trades above $83 before dipping into the red. Spot gold extends Asia’s weakness to print fresh lows for the week near $1,745/oz. Base metals are in the red. LME copper the worst performer, dropping 1.9% to trade near the $9k mark. In commodities, crude futures trade a narrow range near Asia’s opening levels. WTI is down 0.4% near $78.60, Brent briefly trades above $83 before dipping into the red. Spot gold extends Asia’s weakness to print fresh lows for the week near $1,745/oz. Base metals are in the red. LME copper the worst performer, dropping 1.9% to trade near the $9k mark Elsewhere, Bitcoin traded around the $51,000 mark. Looking at the day ahead, data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the ADP’s September report on private payrolls from the US. From central banks, we’ll also hear from the ECB’s Centeno. Market Wrap S&P 500 futures down 0.9% to 4,294.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.5% to 449.34 MXAP down 0.7% to 191.25 MXAPJ down 0.8% to 622.40 Nikkei down 1.1% to 27,528.87 Topix down 0.3% to 1,941.91 Hang Seng Index down 0.6% to 23,966.49 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.2% to 59,596.78 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,206.55 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,908.31 Brent Futures up 0.1% to $82.67/bbl Gold spot down 0.7% to $1,747.69 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.32% to 94.28 German 10Y yield up 2 bps to -0.168% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1560 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Boris Johnson’s insistence that higher pay for U.K. workers is worth the pain of supply chain turmoil is generating buzz among Conservative Party members that he’s planning to raise the minimum wage in a keynote speech on Wednesday European energy prices extend their blistering rally as the supply crunch shows no sign of easing and the European Union pledged a quick response to keep the crisis from damaging the economy Chinese Fantasia Holdings Group Co., which develops high-end apartments and urban renewal projects, failed to repay a $205.7 million bond that came due Monday. That prompted a flurry of rating downgrades late Tuesday to levels signifying default. The stumble stirred broader angst in volatile markets amid public holidays in China and uncertainty about Evergrande President Emmanuel Macron nominated Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau for a second term, opting for stability in one of the most important appointment decisions on European Central Bank policy making for years to come The German Green Party is seeking to start exploratory talks with the SPD and liberal FDP party on forming a governing coalition, Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock said Saudi Arabia reduced oil prices for its main buyers, a day after OPEC+ sent crude futures surging by sticking to a plan for slow and steady supply increases A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk: Asia-Pac bourses traded mostly lower after failing to sustain the initial momentum from Wall St, where all major indices gained as investors bought back into tech and with sentiment helped by better-than-expected ISM services PMI, while continued upside in oil prices and a higher yield environment also underpinned energy and financials. This initially lifted the overnight benchmark indices although gains in the ASX 200 (-0.6%) were later reversed as the strength in energy and tech was overshadowed by weakness in the broader market including underperformance in the top-weighted financials sector after the regulator announced a loan curb measure targeting mortgage lending. Nikkei 225 (-1.1%) faded its opening gains and brief foray into 28k territory with auto names among the laggards amid ongoing production disruptions and with PM Kishida’s new cabinet beginning on shaky ground as polls showed his approval rating was at just 55% heading into the upcoming election, which was also the lowest for a new leader in 13 years, while KOSPI (-1.8%) gave up initial spoils with firmer than expected CPI data supporting the case for another hike by the BoK this year. Hang Seng (-0.6%) conformed to the soured mood amid weakness in property and biotech with participants also focusing on Chief Executive Lam’s final policy address of her current term where she proposed measures to address the housing issue, although this failed to lift the property sector as Evergrande concerns lingered after Hong Kong property agencies sued the Co. to recover overdue commissions and with shares in its New Energy Vehicle unit suffering double-digit percentage losses. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from T-notes and despite the downturn in stocks, while the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today added to the lacklustre demand with the central bank instead offering to buy JPY 125bln in corporate bonds from October 11th with 1yr-3yr maturities. Top Asian News China Tech Stock Gauge Falls to Record Low as Yields Rise Top Glove Says Cooperating in Investigation Over Worker’s Death China Resources Unit Said to Be in Talks for JLL China Business Asian Stocks Drop as Tech Selloff Deepens Amid Rising Yields Stocks in Europe have extended on the losses seen at the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 -2.4%; Stoxx 600 -1.8%) with risk aversion intensifying from a downbeat APAC session as markets grapple with the prospect of stagflation, the energy crunch, Evergrande woes, and geopolitics. US equity futures have conformed to the losses across stocks with the ES (-1.3%) RTY (-1.5%), NQ (-1.5%) and YM (-1.0%) all softer, whilst the former two dipped under 4,300 and 2,200 respectively. From a news-flow standpoint, fresh catalysts have been light. Euro-bouses see broad-based losses whilst the FTSE 100 (-1.6%) is somewhat cushioned (albeit under 7k) by a softer sterling alongside some heavyweight individual stocks including HSBC (+3.3%) following a broker move, and Tesco (+4.5%) after topping H1 forecasts, raised guidance and a GBP 500mln share buyback scheme. Sectors in Europe are all in the red. Banks are the best of the bunch amid the favourable yield environment. On this note, SocGen suggested that the banking sector should benefit from the rise in yields and limited exposure to China, higher energy and supply-chain bottlenecks, while that market consolidation offers some opportunities in the European tech and industrial sectors. Back to sectors, the downside sees some of the more cyclical sectors including Travel & Leisure and Auto names. In terms of some individual movers, Deutsche Telekom (-5.6%) is hit after a bookrunner noted a share offering of some 90mln shares priced at a discount to yesterday’s close. Top European News German Greens Seek Talks With SPD, FDP on Post-Merkel Government European Industry Buckles Under a Worsening Energy Squeeze Polish Central Bank Unbowed Despite Price Spike: Decision Guide Bayer Shares Turn Lower After Initial Gains on Roundup Win In FX, the Dollar is firmly back in the driving seat and the index is eyeing YTD highs having reclaimed 94.000+ status amidst another sharp downturn in risk appetite just a day after what some pundits were dubbing as a ‘turnaround Tuesday’. Instead, Asia-Pacific bourses were reluctant to pick up the baton from Wall Street and the failure to keep the ball rolling against the backdrop of ongoing strength in gas and oil prices has rattled EU equities to the extent that the Dax has lost grip of the 15k handle and FTSE is down below 7k regardless of the fact that the UK benchmark has some positive impulses beyond the obvious revenue implications for the energy sector. Back to the DXY 94.448 is the best so far ahead of 94.500 for sentimental reasons and the current y-t-d peak just a fraction above at 94.504. In terms of fundamentals, next up for the Greenback is ADP as one of the usual pointers for NFP, while Fed speak comes from Bostic who is down to talk twice today. NZD/AUD - Ironically perhaps, the Kiwi is underperforming even though the RBNZ matched market expectations with a 25 bp OCR hike overnight, and this could well be described as a classic ‘buy rumour, sell fact’ reaction given that the move was all priced in. Moreover, the accompanying statement has not altered expectations for further measured tightening and this could compound the inclination to re-position/take profit/cut longs to the detriment of the Nzd. Indeed, the Kiwi has retreated from around 0.6980 vs its US rival to circa 0.6878 and is struggling to tread water on the 1.0500 mark against the Aussie that is also losing out to its US rival on the aforementioned risk dynamic, as Aud/Usd hovers towards the bottom end of 0.7295-0.7227 parameters ahead of AIG’s services sector index. CAD/GBP - Also somewhat perverse, though a measure of the degree that the market mood has changed since yesterday, the Loonie and Sterling are both struggling to derive much from the latest advances in WTI or Brent. In fact, Usd/Cad approached 1.2650 having breached the 50 DMA (1.2626) and pulling away from a cluster of decent option expiries that start at 1.2520-25 (1 bn) and continue through 1.2550-60 (2.1 bn) to 1.2600 (1 bn) and end between 1.2720-30 (1.5 bn, while Cable has reversed through 1.3600 and the 10 DMA (1.3592) with little assistance from a sub-consensus UK construction PMI. EUR/CHF/JPY - All unable to escape the Buck’s clutches, with the Euro down to a minor new 2021 low and probing barriers at 1.1550, while the Franc is treading water around 0.9300 and the Yen is thriving to keep tabs on 111.50 due to its renowned safe-haven properties, and with the prop of JGB yields reaching multi-month peaks, albeit in catch-up trade with US Treasuries and other global bonds. SCANDI/EM - Little solace for the Nok via Brent almost touching Usd 83.50/brl at one stage, though it is holding a firm line following its ascent beyond 10.0000 vs the Eur, while the Sek has largely taken mixed Swedish data and Riksbank rhetoric from Skingsley in stride (caution warranted and now is not the time to change monetary policy), but EM currencies are all floundering with the Try sliding to yet another record trough and on course to hit 9.0000. Ahead, the Zar will be looking for something supportive from SARB Governor Kganyago via a webinar on the economy, jobs and growth. RBNZ hiked the OCR by 25bps to 0.50% as expected and the committee noted further removal of monetary policy stimulus is expected over time. RBNZ added that it is appropriate to continue reducing the level of stimulus and that future moves are contingent on the medium term outlook for inflation and employment, while policy stimulus will need to be reduced to maintain price stability and maximum sustainable employment over the medium term. Furthermore, it noted that cost pressures are becoming more persistent and capacity pressures are still evident, but added that demand shortfalls are less of an issue than the economy hitting capacity constraints and that economic activity will rebound quickly as alert level restrictions ease. (Newswires) In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are choppy in early European trade with a downside bias amid the risk tone, but ultimately, prices remain near recent highs with the WTI Nov contract north of USD 78.50/bbl (78.25-79.78/bbl) and Brent Dec around 82/bbl (vs USD 81.92-83.47/bbl range) at the time of writing. Nat gas has once again been the focus in the energy complex, with the UK Nat Gas future surging some 40% intraday at one point, although its US counterpart has lost some steam. A lot of attention has been the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to alleviate some of the supply/demand imbalances in the gas market heading into the winter period. Yesterday, an EU lawmaker suggested that the pipeline does not comply with EU rules, although an EU court adviser noted that Nord Stream 2 could challenge the energy rule and the decision is not final. European natural gas futures climbed to a fresh all-time high. Back to crude, it’s worth being cognizant of the underlying demand that could be fed via the higher gas prices as other energy sources are more sought after, including diesel generators for electricity usually produced by Nat Gas. Over to metals, spot gold and silver are pressured by the firmer Buck with the former back under USD 1,750/oz and at session lows at the time of writing. The downbeat tone has also taken a toll on the base metals complex, with LME copper again dipping below the USD 9,000/t from a USD 9,135/t intraday peak. US Event Calendar 7am: Oct. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -1.1% 8:15am: Sept. ADP Employment Change, est. 430,000, prior 374,000 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Risk appetite returned to markets yesterday, but not without some astonishing moves in commodities and inflation markets alongside a selloff in bonds. On top of that, we also had a fresh round of signals that supply-chain issues and inflation were beginning to have real economic impacts, thanks to the global September PMI readings. The most eye catching stat of the last 24 hours is probably that the UK’s index linked bonds are now implying that the April 2022 YoY UK RPI print will be c.7%. Thanks to DB’s Sanjay Raja for pointing this out to me. That’s the point in time where Ofgem next updates its price cap for utility bills. This comes after further astonishing moves in natural gas. In the UK, gas prices were up +19.54%, marking the biggest daily percentage increase in over a year and a +183.3% move since the start of August. 10 year UK breakevens closed at an incredible 3.979% (+9.6bps on the day). To be fair this is based on RPI not the CPI that other index linked markets are. As of early next year the UK is moving to a CPI-H benchmark so these numbers will come down but it’s still an astonishing reflection on expectations for 10-year average inflation numbers. Benchmark European natural gas futures weren’t much different and were up by +20.04% to a record €116.02 per megawatt hour. That’s also the biggest daily percentage increase in over a year, and the absolute increase of €19.37 is actually more than the level at which natural gas was trading as recently as Q1 this year! That leaves natural gas prices up more than six-fold since the start of the year, and up more than three-fold since the start of July. In comparison the US gas future was “only” up +9.20%, but still reached its highest closing level since December 2008. And oil itself saw another round of gains, with Brent Crude (+1.60%) rising to its highest in almost 3 years, at $82.56/bbl, whilst WTI was up +1.69% to $78.93/bbl, its highest since 2014. This fresh round of price surges has led to another spike in inflation expectations across multiple countries even in 10 year markets, so way beyond the transitory stage. We’ve already highlighted the UK number but the 10yr German breakeven (+7.6bps) saw its biggest daily increase in nearly a year, hitting a fresh 8-year high of 1.796%. Its Italian counterpart (+8.3bps) hit a new high for the decade at 1.715%. Even in the US, where breakevens have been trading in a fairly tight band recently, we saw a +6.8bps rise to 2.460%, which is its highest closing level in 4 months. With breakevens moving sharply higher, this was clearly bad news for sovereign bonds, which sold off on both sides of the Atlantic across different maturities. Yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +4.7bps to 1.53%, with the entirety of that move resulting from higher inflation expectations rather than real rates, which actually fell on the day (-2.0bps). Over in Europe, gilts saw the biggest declines as investors continue to anticipate a potential BoE rate hike in the coming months, with 10yr yields rising by a further +7.3bps, whilst the spread of UK 10yr yields over bunds actually widened to its biggest level since the day of the Brexit referendum in 2016. That said, yields were also moving higher on the continent, with those on 10yr bunds (+2.6bps), OATs (+2.5bps) and BTPs (+3.0bps) all moving to their highest level in 3 months. The case for inflation was given further support by the September PMI releases, which pointed to supply-chain issues across multiple countries. In the Euro Area, the composite PMI was revised up a tenth to 56.2, but the release said that input prices were rising at the joint-fastest on record. Over in the US, the composite PMI was also revised up half a point from the flash reading to 55.0, but the release similarly mentioned labour shortages and capacity constraints holding back growth. The US composite PMI of 55.0 was its lowest level in a year, albeit still above the 50-mark that separates expansion from contraction. The September US ISM services reading rose 0.2 to 61.9 (59.9 expected) with the report suggesting that delta variant concerns are easing as 17 of the 18 industries reported growth over the last month. However, there were still comments in the report highlighting supply chain issues and some inability to retain or hire labour. In spite of the renewed inflation concerns clouding the Q4 outlook, the major equity indices managed to post a decent rebound from Monday’s losses, although it’s worth noting that many were only recouping those declines rather than advancing to new heights. The S&P 500 was up +1.05%, so still just beneath where it started the week after Monday’s -1.30% decline, whilst the NASDAQ was up +1.25% and the FANG+ recovered +2.23%. It was the 4th straight day that the S&P 500 moved more than 1% in either direction, the longest such streak since November 2020. While yesterday saw a broad-based rally with 21 of the 24 S&P 500 industries gaining, financials were the big outperformer thanks to higher yields. The US Financials sectors added +1.78%, whilst in Europe the STOXX Banks index (+3.99%) hit a post-pandemic high, well outpacing the broader STOXX 600 (+1.17%). Overnight in Asia, most markets continued to slide with the Nikkei (-1.00%), Kospi (-1.00%), Hang Seng (-0.71%) and Australia’s ASX (-0.68%) all moving lower on the back of higher energy prices and inflation concerns. In Japan the Nikkei extended losses for an eighth consecutive session on concerns that new PM Fumio Kishida could be outlining a redistribution plan that includes higher taxes, including on capital gains, although he’s yet to outline the specifics of the policy. Separately the Reserve Bank of New Zealand joined the club of central banks raising rates, hiking by 25bps in a move that was the first rate rise in seven years, as they also indicated more hikes might be warranted. In terms of the latest on Evergrande, the firm is still yet to release details of the “major transaction” we mentioned on Monday, with the company’s shares still suspended, whilst Fantasia saw its long-term rating cut to selective default by S&P yesterday, down from CCC. US futures are pointing to further declines later with those on the S&P 500 down -0.39%. Turning to the ongoing debt ceiling saga, the US Senate has a cloture vote scheduled for today to suspend the ceiling, but Republican leadership are confident they can block the measure and force the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally using the budget reconciliation process (which only requires a simple majority of votes in the Senate). So this would tie a move on the debt ceiling into the reconciliation bill that includes President Biden’s “Build Back Better” economic plan. However, the Democrats are maintaining that the reconciliation process takes too long, with the Treasury estimating it will run out of funding around October 18, and have made the case that both parties have a duty to raise the ceiling, since it reflects debts racked up under administrations of both parties rather than just the Democrats. Irrespective of the debt ceiling though, it does continue to sound like there’s movement toward a deal amongst Congressional Democrats on the size of the plan, withSenator Manchin (a key Democratic moderate) reportedly not ruling out a $1.9-2.2 trillion spending plan price tag, which is also the level that President Biden had been floating to House Democrats last week. Speaking of the Senate, yesterday Senator Elizabeth Warren had yet more strong words for Fed Chair Powell. Warren has already said she opposes giving Powell a second term as the Fed Chair, and yesterday’s speech criticised him for his lack of oversight of the trading activity of Federal Reserve officials. She said Powell has “failed as a leader” and that there are “legitimate questions about conflicts of interest and insider trading” around the actions of certain Fed Officials. This follows her actions on Monday, when she called the SEC to investigate Federal Reserve officials for insider trading. At the same time, Chair Powell asked its inspector general to conduct a review of trades made by Federal Reserve members to ensure they complied with the law and Fed rules. While a White House spokesperson said yesterday that President Biden continues to have confidence in Chair Powell, Senator Warren may be setting up to float an alternative candidate for Chair in the coming weeks ahead of Powell’s term ending early next year. To the day ahead now, and data releases include German factory orders for August, the German and UK construction PMIs for September, Euro Area retail sales for August, and the ADP’s September report on private payrolls from the US. From central banks, we’ll also hear from the ECB’s Centeno. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/06/2021 - 08:07.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 6th, 2021

Mark Zuckerberg says whistleblower"s claims that Facebook places profit over people "don"t make any sense." Read his full response to the whistleblower"s testimony.

"I think most of us just don't recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted," Zuckerberg told Facebook staff in his statement. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in Washington D.C. on Oct. 23, 2019. Andrew Harnik/AP Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress on Tuesday. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to the hearing with a 1,300-word statement. Zuckerberg said multiple claims made during the hearing "don't make any sense." See more stories on Insider's business page. Facebook CEO Zuckerberg has criticized testimony from former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, who told a US Senate committee on Tuesday that the company consistently placed profit over people, allowing its algorithms to perpetuate harm in pursuit of growth."At the most basic level, I think most of us just don't recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted," Zuckerberg said as part of a 1,300-word Facebook post, which he said he'd circulated to employees. He said that "many of the claims" at the hearing didn't "make any sense."A recurring theme in Tuesday's hearing was whether Facebook was harmful to children. Haugen presented evidence of an internal research paper from Instagram in which 32% of teen girls said that when they were feeling bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. Zuckerberg repeated a previous statement from the company that the paper had been taken out of context, and had found Instagram also had a positive effect on teens' mental health. He also seemed to suggest that if people criticized similar research, companies would stop doing it."It's disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don't care. If we attack organizations making an effort to study their impact on the world, we're effectively sending the message that it's safer not to look at all, in case you find something that could be held against you," Zuckerberg said.He said it was unrealistic to expect social media companies to ignore child users."The reality is that young people use technology. Think about how many school-age kids have phones. Rather than ignoring this, technology companies should build experiences that meet their needs while also keeping them safe. We're deeply committed to doing industry-leading work in this area," he said. Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen arrives to testify before a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, in Washington. Drew Angerer/Pool via AP Zuckerberg also rejected the claim that Facebook optimized its algorithms for content that provokes strong emotion because that type of content gets the most engagement."The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don't want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don't know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed," Zuckerberg said.He also asked a string of rhetorical questions."If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? 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?," Zuckerberg said.He did not clarify which company or companies he was referring to that were larger than Facebook.During her testimony, Haugen told the Senators that Zuckerberg had full control over what goes on at Facebook because he holds more than half of all voting shares for the company. "In the end the buck stops with Mark, there is no one currently holding Mark accountable but himself."Read Zuckerberg's full statement here:Hey everyone: it's been quite a week, and I wanted to share some thoughts with all of you.First, the SEV that took down all our services yesterday was the worst outage we've had in years. We've spent the past 24 hours debriefing how we can strengthen our systems against this kind of failure. This was also a reminder of how much our work matters to people. The deeper concern with an outage like this isn't how many people switch to competitive services or how much money we lose, but what it means for the people who rely on our services to communicate with loved ones, run their businesses, or support their communities.Second, now that today's testimony is over, I wanted to reflect on the public debate we're in. I'm sure many of you have found the recent coverage hard to read because it just doesn't reflect the company we know. We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. It's difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don't recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted.Many of the claims don't make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? 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? 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? And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the US while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world?At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true. For example, one move that has been called into question is when we introduced the Meaningful Social Interactions change to News Feed. This change showed fewer viral videos and more content from friends and family -- which we did knowing it would mean people spent less time on Facebook, but that research suggested it was the right thing for people's well-being. Is that something a company focused on profits over people would do?The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don't want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don't know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction.But of everything published, I'm particularly focused on the questions raised about our work with kids. I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the kinds of experiences I want my kids and others to have online, and it's very important to me that everything we build is safe and good for kids.The reality is that young people use technology. Think about how many school-age kids have phones. Rather than ignoring this, technology companies should build experiences that meet their needs while also keeping them safe. We're deeply committed to doing industry-leading work in this area. A good example of this work is Messenger Kids, which is widely recognized as better and safer than alternatives.We've also worked on bringing this kind of age-appropriate experience with parental controls for Instagram too. But given all the questions about whether this would actually be better for kids, we've paused that project to take more time to engage with experts and make sure anything we do would be helpful.Like many of you, I found it difficult to read the mischaracterization of the research into how Instagram affects young people. As we wrote in our Newsroom post explaining this: "The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. In fact, in 11 of 12 areas on the slide referenced by the Journal - including serious areas like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating issues - more teenage girls who said they struggled with that issue also said Instagram made those difficult times better rather than worse."But when it comes to young people's health or well-being, every negative experience matters. It is incredibly sad to think of a young person in a moment of distress who, instead of being comforted, has their experience made worse. We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I'm proud of the work we've done. We constantly use our research to improve this work further.Similar to balancing other social issues, I don't believe private companies should make all of the decisions on their own. That's why we have advocated for updated internet regulations for several years now. I have testified in Congress multiple times and asked them to update these regulations. I've written op-eds outlining the areas of regulation we think are most important related to elections, harmful content, privacy, and competition.We're committed to doing the best work we can, but at some level the right body to assess tradeoffs between social equities is our democratically elected Congress. For example, what is the right age for teens to be able to use internet services? How should internet services verify people's ages? And how should companies balance teens' privacy while giving parents visibility into their activity?If we're going to have an informed conversation about the effects of social media on young people, it's important to start with a full picture. We're committed to doing more research ourselves and making more research publicly available.That said, I'm worried about the incentives that are being set here. We have an industry-leading research program so that we can identify important issues and work on them. It's disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don't care. If we attack organizations making an effort to study their impact on the world, we're effectively sending the message that it's safer not to look at all, in case you find something that could be held against you. That's the conclusion other companies seem to have reached, and I think that leads to a place that would be far worse for society. Even though it might be easier for us to follow that path, we're going to keep doing research because it's the right thing to do.I know it's frustrating to see the good work we do get mischaracterized, especially for those of you who are making important contributions across safety, integrity, research and product. But I believe that over the long term if we keep trying to do what's right and delivering experiences that improve people's lives, it will be better for our community and our business. I've asked leaders across the company to do deep dives on our work across many areas over the next few days so you can see everything that we're doing to get there.When I reflect on our work, I think about the real impact we have on the world - the people who can now stay in touch with their loved ones, create opportunities to support themselves, and find community. This is why billions of people love our products. I'm proud of everything we do to keep building the best social products in the world and grateful to all of you for the work you do here every day.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

The 6 best true wireless earbuds in 2021

True wireless headphones free you from cables so you can listen to music anywhere. These are the best true wireless earbuds you can buy in 2021. Jabra; Apple; Amazon; Sony; Rachel Mendelson/Insider Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky The best wireless earbuds balance portability, sound quality, comfort, and features. Jabra's Elite 85T manage to do all that for a great price, making them our top pick overall. Read more about why you can trust our tech team to recommend the best products. True wireless earbuds are headphones that fit neatly in your ear and are completely without wires. Because they're so small and wire-free, these earbuds can be easily transported and stored in small charging cases when you're not wearing them, not to mention they're more comfortable and lightweight than on-ear or over-ear headphones.There's no shortage of true wireless earbuds available, making any buying decision difficult. The sheer convenience of this type of headphone makes them suitable for everyday use, on-the-go listening, workouts, and noisy environments. The best models offer the right balance of sound quality, comfort, cost, and battery life. After testing and comparing several pairs of true wireless earbuds, we selected the best models you can buy in 2021. Our picks cover a variety of needs and budgets, offering recommendations based on overall value, sound quality, specific platforms, and more.Here are the best true wireless earbuds:Best wireless earbuds overall: Jabra Elite 85TBest premium wireless earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM4Best mid-range wireless earbuds: Amazon Echo BudsBest budget wireless earbuds: Belkin SoundformBest wireless earbuds for Apple users: AirPods ProBest wireless earbuds for Android phones: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 How we test wireless earbuds We take product testing seriously, and we aim to use consistent, reproducible testing methods. For audio products like headphones and wireless earbuds, we assess their sound quality by listening to a wide range of music genres. To replicate the most likely scenario that our readers would be using wireless earbuds, we stream music from common mobile devices, both iOS and Android, with popular music streaming services. We also test the ease of setup and use. An extra note on sound quality on wireless earbuds: We don't base our assessment on how "accurate" their sound is. "Accurate" headphones tend to be studio-grade or monitor headphones that have flatter sound signatures, and they aren't very pleasing for general listening. Those kinds of studio-grade headphones tend to be designed for audiophiles or professionals. We're making recommendations for "most of us" who simply want a good, convenient pair of wireless earbuds we can use with our computers and mobile devices. For noise-cancelling performance, we find common noisy environments and try new models against our top picks one after the other in the same testing period. We are currently devising a way to validate the battery life claims that companies make about their wireless earbuds and headphones. However, we haven't found that any claims have been dramatically inaccurate so far. The best wireless earbuds overall Best Buy The Jabra Elite 85T have high-end audio quality and noise-cancelling performance for a great price.Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1Battery: 5.5 hours for buds; 19.5 hours in charging case; 25 hours totalCodecs: SBS, AACDurability: IPX4 water resistancePros: Great audio quality, good noise cancellation, customizable sound, Bluetooth Multipoint, comfortable fit, wireless charging case, water resistantCons: Can be prone to interference (very rare) Jabra's Elite 85T are the first headphones that pop into my mind when someone asks me what wireless earbuds they should buy. That's largely because they're such good all-rounders that do almost everything well for a good price. Audio quality and noise cancellation are very good, they fit well, they come with a wireless charging case, and they're water-resistant. Battery life is fairly average at five and half hours for the buds with ANC activated, but the wireless charging case holds 19.5 hours of charge, making for a total of 25 hours. You can get up to 31 hours with ANC turned off. Phone calls are fine, but they'll struggle in noisy environments, where my test calls were disjointed and full of "can-you-hear-mes." That's par for the course in noisy places with most wireless earbuds and even full-size headphones — you need to spend more and get the Sony WF-1000XM4, or full-size WH-1000XM4 or Bose 700 if this is a priority for you. There was one instance during testing where the Elite 85T faced interference — they hated being next to a TV in an office waiting room, and they crackled to the point that it was better to simply take them off. This was the only instance I encountered this issue, so it's likely isolated. Best premium wireless earbuds Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider The Sony WF-1000XM4 are best-in-class for sound quality and noise cancellation, but they're best suited for those willing to pay their high price. Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2Battery: Eight hours continuous music playback with ANC on; 12 hours with ANC off; 16 hours battery charge in wireless charging caseCodecs: SBC, AAC, LDACDurability: IPX4 water resistanceRead the full review for the Sony WF-1000XM4 herePros: Superb audio quality and noise cancellation, customizable sound, long battery life, comfortable ear tips, wireless charging case, good phone call quality, water resistantCons: Pricey, lack Bluetooth Multipoint, app could be easier to useIf you're looking for the best pair of wireless earbuds and you're willing to spend up to $280, Sony's WF-1000XM4 come highly recommended. Audio quality and noise-cancelling performance are only rivaled by the Bose Quiet Comfort Earbuds, but for the same price as the Bose, we'd rather recommend the Sony WF-1000XM4 for their slightly better battery life. Sony also has excellent EQ settings in the Sony Headphones app that helps you get the best out of the earbuds. We also prefer the foam ear tips on the WF-1000XM4, as they make for a more secure ear-plug-style fit that ensures a tighter seal. The Bose may be more comfortable in the ears, but users who have difficulty getting earbuds to fit properly may have more trouble getting a proper seal with them. You also get a long eight-hour battery life with ANC activated on the buds themselves, and the wireless charging case's 16 hours makes for a total of 24 hours. You can get up to 36 hours with ANC turned off. The WF-1000XM4 are also water-resistant, and offer good phone call quality with some ability to reduce ambient noise, so the person you're calling can hear you better. The best mid-range wireless earbuds Lisa Eadicicco/Insider Amazon's Echo Buds 2 offer almost everything you'd want in wireless earbuds for a little less than most competitors.Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0Battery: Five hours music playback with ANC and AlexaCodecs: Realtek RTL8763C Bluetooth System on Chip with integrated audio codecDurability: IPX4 water resistanceRead the full review for the Amazon Echo Buds 2 herePros: Good sound quality and noise cancellation for the price, customizable sound, sleek and comfortable designCons: Not as much bass as pricier earbuds, sometimes feel loose while exercising without wing tips, no multi-device connectivityIf $230 for our overall top pick — the Jabra Elite 85T — is a little out of budget, Amazon's Echo Buds 2 are a great alternative. They offer good sound that can be customized, noise cancellation, and water resistance for a cheaper price.The Echo Buds 2 come with four different tips compared to the usual three you get with most earbuds, so you're likely to find a great fit. Plus, the optional included wingtips add security to the fit for workouts.  Battery is about average at five hours for the buds with ANC enabled, or six and a half hours with ANC off. With the case, you get 15 hours total with ANC on, and 19.5 hours with ANC off. For $20 extra, Amazon offers a model with a wireless charging case. The best budget wireless earbuds Amazon Belkin's Soundform wireless earbuds deliver impressive sound for the money, and they're water-resistant, too.Connectivity: Not specifiedBattery: Five hours for the buds; charging case holds 19 hours; total 24 hoursCodecs: Not specifiedDurability: IPX5 water resistancePros: Impressive sound for price, touch controls, water resistance Cons: No ANC, microUSB charging case At such a budget-friendly price, we'd be too nitpicky to say anything wrong about the audio quality on the Belkin Soundform. Sure, it's not quite as rich and bass-y as pricier earbuds, but you're still getting good clarity, and they don't sound hollow — a common trait in cheaper earbuds. And they certainly have some punch, too. You're not getting noise cancellation, but the ear-plug-style ear tips do a decent job at muffling ambient noise. You do get IPX5 water resistance, which is great to see on such an affordable pair of earbuds. Combined with their lighter weight, they'd make an ideal pair for working out, as well as daily use. You get touch sensors for media controls, volume control, and picking up phone calls. They can even summon Siri on iOS devices. Battery life is rated at five hours for the buds themselves, and the charging case holds 19 hours of charge, making for 24 hours of total battery life.To charge the case, the Soundform use microUSB — a fading standard that's being replaced by the more modern USB-C connection. That's not a big deal, especially considering the affordability of these wireless earbuds. The best wireless earbuds for Apple users Crystal Cox/Business Insider Apple users who want to get the most out of Apple's ecosystem should consider the AirPods Pro.Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0Battery: 4.5 hours on the buds; total of 24 hours with charging caseCodecs: AACDurability: IPX4 water resistanceRead the full Apple AirPods Pro review here.Pros: Integrate with the Apple ecosystem, decent sound and noise cancellation, water resistant, wireless charging case, comfortable and more universal fit than standard AirPodsCons: Inferior earbud battery life compared to competitionThe vast majority of wireless earbuds will work on any Apple device with a Bluetooth connection, and you'll find better sound quality, noise cancellation, and battery life for the price. But no other wireless earbuds complement your Apple devices like the AirPods and AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro pair seamlessly with iPhones and Apple Watches, and they can connect to Macs simultaneously to switch back and forth to various Apple devices automatically. As expected, Siri is fully supported, and you can take advantage of Apple's Audio Sharing feature that lets you share what you're listening to with another user's pair of AirPods. Anyone who's had fitting issues with the standard AirPods will find solace with the AirPods Pro and their silicone tips, which fit deeper in your ear canal, but don't quite have an ear-plug fit. As a result, they're comfortable and light in the ear. Their water resistance also makes them a suitable option for working out. And if the AirPods Pro are a little over budget, the cheaper standard AirPods also come with seamless Apple ecosystem support. You just lose noise cancellation and water resistance, and audio quality isn't as good. Best wireless earbuds for Android phones Best Buy The Galaxy Buds 2 deliver incredible sound and noise-cancelling performance, but the app is limited to Android devices only.Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2Battery: Five hours music playback with ANC, 20 hours total with wireless charging caseCodecs: Scalable (Samsung proprietary), AAC, SBCDurability: No IP rating for water resistancePros: Amazing audio quality for the price, incredibly effective noise-cancelling, small and discreet, comfortable fit, wireless charging caseCons: No IP-rated water resistance, app for controls isn't available on iOS, doesn't support Bluetooth multipoint for multiple devices connectionsSamsung's Galaxy Buds 2 are total winners in the $150 range. If you're an Android user and can't find a good deal on the Jabra Elite 85T, the Galaxy Buds 2 are the next best option. The Galaxy Buds 2 deliver satisfyingly rich and clear sound that's widely customizable to match any style of music or personal preference. It's amazing such tiny things can produce such big sound while nicely balancing powerful bass and clarity.  Noise-cancelling performance is very good, and even threatens Jabra and Sony's on their more expensive earbuds. Customizable touch controls on the buds make it easy to quickly switch to ambient mode so you can hear what's going on around you. Seeing as they're so small, they barely stick out of your ears. Fit is snug, secure, and comfortable, and the buds come with three tip sizes. Battery life is fairly average, but the wireless charging case is rare in this price range. You get five hours on the buds themselves with ANC on, and 20 hours total with the case included. The only thing to watch out for is the lack of an official IP rating for water resistance, which makes us nervous about recommending the Galaxy Buds 2 for those who want to use them for workouts. They might be totally fine with a little sweat, but we can't say for sure without the proper specs to back them up. What else we considered We also tried out the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, and they actually come highly recommended in the premium category, next to the Sony WF-1000XM4. Their audio quality and noise-cancelling performance are comparable to the WF-1000XM4, and they come with nearly identical features like water resistance. The main reason the Bose didn't quite make it to the top of the list is because the sound profile is very much Bose's, and it's harder to sculpt the sound to the way you like it.We also tried the Jabra 75T, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+, and the Beats Studio Buds, all of which are in the $120 to $150 price range. These are all great options, and they would be worthy alternatives to the Amazon Echo Buds 2. Just note that the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1+ don't have noise cancellation. We also tried the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, which we loved at first. However, their value proposition has diminished since we've tested more capable and better-priced wireless earbuds.We're currently testing the hype-driven Nothing Ear (1) wireless earbuds, which come at an enticing $100 price with a beautiful design. They're competing for the mid-range spot that Amazon's Echo Buds currently occupy. However, their limited availability makes them more difficult to recommend. The best deals on wireless earbuds from this guide Apple AirPods are one of the most sought-after wireless earbuds on the market. However, they don't fit all needs. They may be convenient for everyday listening with an iPhone, but other brands are a better fit for Android devices or specific uses, like working out. Most of the year, our picks are discounted to a little less than retail price; the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Pro are often $20 off, for example. During Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day, they'll likely be down even more. Below, we rounded up the best deals on wireless earbuds from top brands, including Samsung, Apple, and Cambridge Audio.Elite 85t True Wireless Earbuds (small, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Walmart)Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us. Check out our other headphone buying guides Amazon The best over-ear headphonesThe best noise-cancelling headphonesThe best earbudsThe best cheap headphones Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

NHTSA Rejects 2019 Petition To Examine Tesla Auto Fires

NHTSA Rejects 2019 Petition To Examine Tesla Auto Fires The NHTSA, apparently content on doing as little as possible while Teslas across the country catch fire and/or slam themselves into inanimate objects while on Autopilot, has rejected a 2019 petition to open a formal investigation into Tesla vehicle fires, a federal filing revealed on Monday. The regulator had opened a formal review in October 2019 of a petition filed by the offices Edward C. Chen, "on behalf of Tesla owners over non-crash fire concerns including reports of three fires in China," according to Reuters. In 2019, the agency said it was reviewing whether or not Tesla should have recalled 2,000 of its cars instead of issuing a software update to address a defect that may have been causing or exacerbating battery fires. The petition argued that Tesla was "using over-the-air software updates to mask and cover up a potentially widespread and dangerous issue with the batteries in their vehicles." In its denial of the petition, the NHTSA said: "Tesla’s investigation of the non-crash fires in China did not identify a root cause or positively link the incidents to any design or manufacturing defect conditions. The available data indicate that non-crash battery fires in Tesla vehicles are rare events." "No fires related to the subject condition have been observed globally since three fires in China and Hong Kong over a 48-day period from late-March to mid-May 2019," the regulator added. The NHTSA is still in the midst of a broad, formal investigation into Tesla's Autopilot that covers more than 700,000 vehicles. While that is likely a far more consequential outcome, we are not holding our breath for any type of profound decision. After the regulator's inaction for the last decade, how could we? Tyler Durden Tue, 10/05/2021 - 13:18.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 5th, 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