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Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 24th, 2023

Insiders say RAINN, the nation"s foremost organization for victims of sexual assault, is in crisis over allegations of racism and sexism

22 current and former staffers said that RAINN, which has deep ties to Hollywood and corporate America, is facing an internal reckoning. Scott Berkowitz, RAINN's co-founder and CEO, began his career in politics, advising former Sen. Gary Hart's 1984 presidential campaign at just 14 years old.RAINN; Kris Connor/Getty Images; Alyssa Powell/Insider22 current and former staffers say the organization favored by Hollywood and corporate America is in crisis. 'How can RAINN be helping survivors externally, when they're traumatizing survivors and their own employees internally?'April Cisneros says the first time she was sexually assaulted at her private Christian college was in 2015, while she was playing piano in the school's conservatory. A music tutor came into the small practice room and began to touch her. The second time, one year later, she remembers waking up in a hotel room near campus after drinks with classmates. One man was forcing his hand into her pants while another ejaculated on top of her. The incidents were devastating, and further compounded by a conservative religious community that lacked empathy for her pain or a framework to understand it. "Maybe it's demons attached to you that attracted this fate," she recalls one pastor telling her. Others placed the blame on her, wondering if she set the right boundaries with men. While studying abroad at Oxford University in 2016, in an effort to get far away from what she suffered back home, Cisneros attempted to take her own life.Soon after, she Googled for help, and the website for the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, or RAINN, flashed across her computer screen. RAINN, which was founded in 1994 as a nonprofit, bills itself as the nation's largest anti-sexual-violence organization, operating a 24-hour hotline for victims and pushing for state and federal policies to punish sex offenders and support survivors. It has deep ties to corporate America and Hollywood, partnering with Google and TikTok and media like "I May Destroy You" and "Promising Young Woman," both of which center on sexual assault. (Insider itself utilizes RAINN's hotline; our publishing system automatically appends a referral link to RAINN at the bottom of every story about sexual assault.) In 2019, it reported nearly $16 million in revenue. It says its programs have helped 3.8 million people, and 301,455 people called its hotlines last year.The organization was a beacon in a difficult time, and Cisneros soon threw herself into supporting it. She cycled 1,500 miles across the country for a fundraising drive; later, after the Trump administration rolled back Title IX protections for campus-sexual-assault victims, she decided to get involved more directly. April Cisneros biked across the US to raise money for RAINN.April Cisneros"I was so angry," Cisneros told Insider. "I just remember thinking, 'Well, why don't I just, like, go try to be a part of the solution?'" She began working for RAINN in 2018 as a communications associate.But she soon discovered that it looked very different from the inside. Instead of the supportive, inclusive victims' advocacy organization that offered her hope in the depths of her depression, Cisneros found herself in a demoralizing workplace overrun by what she described as racism and sexism. She recalled that during the filming of a video about survivors' stories, her boss asked a participant to smile while recounting a sexual assault. "If you don't," Cisneros remembered her boss saying, "it'll look like you have a bitch face."Cisneros is among 22 current and former RAINN staffers who spoke to Insider and described a roiling crisis over race and gender in the over-200-person-strong nonprofit. These people described a culture in which a routine training was beset by racist caricaturing, executives ignored employees' requests for change, and people who were deemed political risks — including sexual-assault survivors — were silenced. According to these accounts, in one instance, a supervisor badgered an employee during the time she took off to recover from an abortion. In another, an Asian staffer was replaced on a project with a white man after their boss deemed him a better fit because of his race and gender. One staffer sent a resignation letter, obtained by Insider, in which she bemoaned "toxic managerial behavioral patterns" and worried that "young employees like myself, many of them survivors themselves, are currently being treated like their rights at work do not matter, like their comfort and security and health at work doesn't matter, like the skills they bring to work are worthless."RAINN declined to make its founder and president, Scott Berkowitz, available for an interview. In a statement, the group said it had made great strides in diversifying its workplace and addressing the concerns of its employees of color. It accused the current and former staffers who came forward to Insider of providing "incomplete, misleading, and defamatory" information about "a handful of long-outdated and disproven allegations.""RAINN is proud of the work our committed staff do, day in and day out, to support survivors of sexual violence," the statement read. "As an organization, we owe it to our committed staff to provide a work environment where they feel safe, appreciated, and heard … Over the last several years, like most organizations, RAINN has worked to expand and implement comprehensive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and goals. We regularly update staff on our progress toward achieving those goals, and solicit feedback on potential areas of improvement. While there is always room to build on our efforts, we are continually working to foster an open dialogue between employees and leadership to ensure ideas and concerns can be heard and addressed."RAINN hired Clare Locke LLP, a boutique libel law firm that has gained a reputation for representing clients facing #MeToo allegations, including Matt Lauer and the former CBS News executive Jeffrey Fager, to respond to Insider's inquiries. During Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, the firm's cofounder Libby Locke came to his defense, writing: "No wonder Judge Kavanaugh is angry. Any man falsely accused of sexual assault would be."When Insider asked RAINN whether Clare Locke's work was consistent with the organization's mission and values, the firm's partner Thomas Clare emailed a statement attributed to RAINN: "Given your questions contained outright lies about RAINN and our staff, and publication of those claims is potentially defamatory, we hired defamation counsel. We recognize we have a right to legal representation, and our attorneys have helped us disprove your ridiculous and libelous allegations."Some RAINN employees fear that the corporate dysfunction has poisoned the work of the largest sexual-violence organization in the country, which they continue to view as crucial, despite their own experiences. "How can RAINN be helping survivors externally when they're traumatizing survivors and their own employees internally?" Cisneros said.How RAINN became Hollywood and corporate America's go-to partner Through savvy marketing and hard work, RAINN has become to sexual assault what Planned Parenthood is to reproductive health: the premier, full-service resource for people struggling with a crisis and the ultimate destination for donations to help people who have been victimized.The global embrace of the #MeToo movement, and the contemporary focus on the depth and pervasiveness of sexual assault, has further aided RAINN's ascension. Companies in crisis often turn to the organization to telegraph their commitment to social responsibility. After dozens of women sued Lyft, claiming they were assaulted by its drivers, the company worked with RAINN to roll out extensive safety initiatives and contributed $1.5 million to its coffers.Hollywood has also embraced the organization. RAINN was cofounded by the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Tori Amos, who promoted the organization's hotline at her concerts and sat on its advisory board. In 2018, Timotheé Chalamet pledged his earnings from Woody Allen's "A Rainy Day in New York" to groups including RAINN, as did Ben Affleck from productions affiliated with Harvey Weinstein. Christina Ricci, a star of Showtime's breakout hit "Yellowjackets," has served as an official spokesperson since 2007, and the platinum-selling pop artist Taylor Swift has donated to the organization, something it publicized from its social-media accounts.—RAINN (@RAINN) April 8, 2021 But Berkowitz has largely stayed out of the public eye. He began his career as a political wunderkind, advising Sen. Gary Hart's 1984 presidential campaign at just 14 years old. A profile in his grandparents' hometown newspaper in Pennsylvania said he was personally responsible for collecting $100,000 in donations for Hart — a feat achieved in between classes at American University, where he was already a sophomore. After graduation, Berkowitz continued to work in and around politics. His experience in the field, he said in a 2019 interview with RAINN, taught him about the "extent of the problem" of sexual violence in the United States and the opportunity to fill this "service gap.""I knew next to nothing about the issue," Berkowitz said. "It just seemed like a good idea." Christina Ricci has been a RAINN spokeswoman since 2007.Michael Kovac/WireImage/Getty ImagesEarly on, Berkowitz ran the day-to-day operations, and his early fundraising prowess served him well. After a series of sexual assaults at the infamous Woodstock '99 festival, promoters and record labels did damage control by giving RAINN 1% of the proceeds from the festival's CD and video releases. "In raw self-interest, the money and attention that would come from it would allow RAINN to promote the hotline better, provide more counseling, print more brochures," Berkowitz told the Village Voice. RAINN's budget swelled in tandem with its brand. Total revenue rocketed from more than $1.2 million in 2009 to nearly $16 million in 2019. Berkowitz's compensation grew from $168,000 to over $481,000 over the same period. Even though RAINN's tax returns list Berkowitz as its president and indicate that he was paid nearly a half a million dollars in the year ending in May 2020, RAINN says that he is not in fact an employee and does not receive a salary. Instead, for reasons that RAINN did not explain, he is paid through A&I Publishing, a company solely owned by Berkowitz that contracts with RAINN. "Scott Berkowitz is paid solely as an independent contractor through A&I Publishing and does not receive any salary or benefits," it said. "He has never received any employee compensation from RAINN."RAINN's tax records tell a slightly different story. The group has reported paying a total of $561,500 in consulting fees for "strategic and financial oversight" to A&I Publishing from 2001 to 2006, during which time Berkowitz drew no salary from RAINN. Since 2007, though, RAINN has reported directly paying Berkowitz a total of $3,529,000. (RAINN says he "is recused from all board consideration of his compensation.")Over the same period, RAINN also began reporting payments to A&I to service $288,000 in debt that it owed the consultancy at 5% interest. RAINN's tax records don't reflect that the organization ever received any cash from A&I; instead, the loan is described in its 2006 tax return as "issuance of debt for prior year services." RAINN says the loan, which has been repaid, stems from "deferred payment for fees" that RAINN owed A&I "for a number of years."'How does an organization like RAINN make such an egregious mistake?'With the Woodstock '99 deal, Berkowitz struck on a highly successful strategy — corporate penance — and he would often return to it. But he also looked to the public sector for funding opportunities.One of RAINN's largest sources of revenue — $2 million a year — is its contract to run the Department of Defense's Safe Helpline, which offers confidential, anonymous counseling to members of the military who have been affected by sexual violence. Multiple staffers who spoke with Insider said Berkowitz was exceedingly sensitive about maintaining the contract. They said that he had gone to great lengths to stay in the Department of Defense's good graces and that they believe RAINN has at times been overly deferential to its interests. Michael Wiedenhoeft-Wilder in February 2022.Evan Jenkins for InsiderMichael Wiedenhoeft-Wilder, a former flight attendant and roller-rink operator who previously served in the Navy as a medic, said that in 1982, just months after he enlisted, a Navy physician raped him. The doctor, who outranked Wiedenhoeft-Wilder, threatened him with prison time if he came forward. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder said it was the first of multiple sexual assaults he suffered, all of which resulted in a diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder.Wiedenhoeft-Wilder stayed silent about the assault for nearly 30 years. He became depressed and experienced paranoid suspicions that the government was spying on him, ready to silence him if he ever told the truth about his assault.But decades of therapy empowered Wiedenhoeft-Wilder to eventually come forward. He discovered the Safe Helpline, which then led him to RAINN's Speakers Bureau, a roster of more than 4,000 volunteer survivors who share their stories with the media, student groups, and other organizations. When Wiedenhoeft-Wilder signed up with the bureau, his story was selected for publication on RAINN's website. In October 2019, he worked with April Cisneros, who helped manage the Speakers Bureau, to prepare the story.But the story was abruptly killed. Cisneros said Berkowitz decided to pull Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's account once he realized that it involved an officer assaulting an enlisted man."Once we actually wrote up his story, Scott was like, 'No, we're not even getting into this,'" Cisneros told Insider, adding that Berkowitz refused to send the story to the Department of Defense for review, as it routinely did with accounts of military sexual assault. Cisneros said Berkowitz told members of the communications team that promoting the testimony of a man who had been assaulted by one of his superiors could harm the military's reputation and upset the Department of Defense. Cisneros told Insider she believed that Berkowitz did not want to risk losing the government's funding.Wiedenhoeft-Wilder was shocked. He had spent time with Cisneros revisiting the details of an assault that haunted him for 30 years, all for nothing."I've spent the last several days trying to deal with the devastating news that the article about my military sexual trauma being canceled for someone else," he told Cisneros in an email on October 31 that Insider reviewed. "How does an organization like RAINN make such an egregious mistake? Do you have any idea how this mistake has affected me? It's absolutely devastating. Just one more failure for me.""I feel victimized all over again," he wrote. "What did I ever do to you people to deserve this!"Cisneros, worried about Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's mental health, forwarded the exchange to Berkowitz and Keeli Sorensen, then the vice president of victim services, she said. "Maybe you just tell him you made a mistake," Cisneros recalled Sorensen telling her. She felt Sorensen's suggestion was, in effect, to "[fall] on my sword for RAINN."Cisneros told Insider that she told Wiedenhoeft-Wilder a lie about a scheduling conflict and blamed the mix-up entirely on herself. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder didn't believe her. "I know she wasn't telling me the truth," he told Insider. "I knew it wasn't her fault. It was a really weird, very strange thing to do to someone."Cisneros was heartbroken. She felt that she'd betrayed Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's trust and was distressed because she felt an anti-sexual-violence organization had asked her to deceive a rape victim. "What's so sad is people treat him like he's so paranoid about being silenced by the military, but that paranoia is at least … legitimate," Cisneros said. "And it happened again at RAINN."Sorensen denied having any involvement in the incident and said she was "not authorized in any way to instruct Ms. Cisneros in this matter," adding that Berkowitz had "total authority" with respect to the publication of Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's story. She said she did not know why Berkowitz pulled the testimony."I had no part in the matter," Sorensen said, "but it's my recollection, based on my conversation with Ms. Cisneros, that she had promised Mr. Wiedenhoeft-Wilder that she would publish their story before having secured final approval from Mr. Berkowitz."RAINN also said that if Cisneros had promised Wiedenhoeft-Wilder a spot on its website, it had "no knowledge of that and she was not authorized to make that commitment."Cisneros disputed that. She said that she provided Berkowitz with details of Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's story before reaching out and that he approved. "Scott gave me the greenlight to move ahead with the process if [Wiedenhoeft-Wilder] expressed interest," Cisneros said."We have no recollection as to why this survivor's story did not run in the fall of 2019," RAINN said, adding that some isolated quotes from Wiedenhoeft-Wilder's interview — stripped of their military context — were shared on RAINN's social-media accounts. The statement pointed to other stories from survivors of sexual assault in the military that RAINN had published; none of those featured scenarios in which an attacker outranked their victim.Evan Jenkins for Insider"We are not aware of the Department of Defense expressing concern over RAINN's coverage of military survivors," RAINN said, "nor is it standard practice for RAINN to consult with [the department] regarding the material and resources it publishes unless they directly mention Safe Helpline. RAINN frequently publishes the stories of military survivors and will continue to do so as it works to carry out the organization's mission to eradicate sexual violence from every corner of society."Anxiety around RAINN's relationship with the Department of Defense came up again in 2019. Six former staffers said one RAINN employee felt compelled to frantically retract public comments she had made in support of Black trans victims of violence amid the Trump administration's efforts to expel trans people from the military. The woman suddenly and mysteriously departed the organization on the day her remarks were published.(The woman's identity is known to Insider, which is not naming her because doing so may expose her to professional harm. The woman declined to comment for the record.) On March 7, 2019, to mark International Women's Day, the employee was one of "8 everyday women" featured by The Lily, a women-focused website published by The Washington Post. The Lily post listed the woman's age, background, position at RAINN, and responses to a questionnaire about her favorite fast-food chains and movies. But she came to fear that her seemingly uncontroversial answer to one question could become a professional liability.InsiderThe answer came a few months after the Trump-era transgender military ban went into effect, reanimating debates over trans rights. Two sources told Insider that the woman told them that RAINN's leadership expressed alarm over her contribution to the article and was frustrated that the woman had spoken to the media without getting consent from leadership.One source told Insider that Jodi Omear, then RAINN's vice president of communications, said minutes after reading the article that it was "too controversial" and that she worried it "could jeopardize our contract with the Department of Defense." The source said Omear escalated the article to Berkowitz and the human-resources director, Claudia Kolmer, because she was confident they would feel the same.Omear told Insider that because the former staffer had been under her supervision, it would be "inappropriate" to comment on her exit from the organization.On the day the questionnaire was published, the woman called the reporter at The Lily who'd conducted the interview and asked her to remove the reference to RAINN, as well as her comments about trans people, according to four sources familiar with the situation. The writer agreed. Insider viewed an original version of the interview that contained the employee's affiliation and comments about trans rights; the version currently published online does not.Two former employees said the woman was escorted out of the office by human resources the day the story was published. RAINN said that "it is standard practice that an employee separating from the organization is accompanied by a RAINN human resources representative when leaving the premises in order to collect their office keys, security fob and other credentials," adding that it "reached a separation agreement" with the woman a week after the story was published.One staffer who sat near her described the woman as a "fabulous" employee who was heavily invested in the projects they were set to work on together."It was one of the reasons why it was so shocking," the staffer said. "Like, where'd she go?"In its statement, RAINN claimed that the woman's remarks were an unauthorized attempt to speak on behalf of the Pentagon. "[The RAINN staffer] spoke with a Washington Post reporter on-the-record, on behalf of RAINN and the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, which she was not authorized to do," the statement said. "Contractually RAINN is barred from speaking on behalf of the Department of Defense or Safe Helpline." The Lily billed the interview as an opportunity to "step inside the lives of 8 everyday women." Aside from identifying her employer and job description — a format applied to other women featured in the post — the woman's interview did not touch on RAINN or the Department of Defense. Instead, she answered questions about her favorite body part and what she would change about her upbringing if she could.Still, RAINN said, the woman broke the rules: "The issue at hand centered around a clear violation of RAINN policy. RAINN supports all transgender survivors and has worked to remove the barriers to reporting sexual violence in LGBTQ communities, and to elevate the stories of transgender survivors, particularly for transgender persons of color for whom sexual violence is all too prevalent."Asked why, if that were the case, the woman would ask The Lily specifically to remove her comments about trans victims, RAINN said it was "unaware of any evidence indicating [the woman] was pressured to retract or remove" the comments. "RAINN is always mindful of honoring its contractual obligations not to speak on behalf of the DoD and the Safe Helpline," it said. "The fact someone commented on other subject matter or issues was irrelevant."A white male staffer was deemed a better fitJackii Wang joined RAINN's public-policy team in 2019, hopeful that she could use her experience working in national congressional offices to advance legislation that would help sexual-assault survivors. But she said her boss, RAINN's vice president of public policy, Camille Cooper, instead saddled her with administrative responsibilities like writing greeting cards. Wang said Cooper regularly discounted her ideas and "berated" her when they disagreed on issues the younger staffer considered minor. It became "psychologically terrifying," Wang said. Wang didn't immediately view that as discriminatory — multiple staffers said many of Cooper's employees complained of similar treatment. But during a performance review in December 2019, Wang said, Cooper attempted to explain her perception of Wang as defiant by rattling off stereotypes that Wang felt were "very targeted towards my Asian identity.""Camille asked me questions like, you know, 'Is your family very strict?' 'Do they expect perfectionism from you?' ... 'What was your childhood like?' Do I have problems with authority because of my family background?" Wang told Insider. What started as an implication became explicit, Wang said, when Cooper announced she would pull Wang off a lobbying assignment.Jackii WangDaniel Diasgranados for InsiderAt the time, RAINN was working on a Florida bill that would close a loophole in the state's statute of limitations for teen survivors. Cooper called Wang and another staffer into her office and told the two women she had decided to send a white male colleague in Wang's place, Wang said. Wang asked why."And she was like, 'Well, you know, because he's a white male,'" Wang recalled.Wang was mortified. While she had experience working with Florida legislators, her male colleague wasn't even registered to lobby in the state. Wang and the other staffer said Cooper argued that he would connect better with white conservatives in the state."He can talk about baseball. He can really, like, connect with these men," Cooper said, according to Wang and the other staffer present. "And these men really hate women.""Her reasoning for picking a white man over me for the project is that he'll be received better," Wang said. "But if that's the logic that she's following, then, like, I guess I shouldn't work anywhere because white men are received better everywhere."Neither Cooper nor the man responded to requests for comment.Wang said she reported the incident to Kolmer, the human-resources director, and Berkowitz in March 2020, along with a detailed recounting of other complaints about Cooper's leadership. But Wang said Kolmer never took serious action. When Wang quit that June, she sent Berkowitz a blistering resignation letter. "As you know, she has harassed and bullied every single person on our team, including an intern, and has blatantly discriminated against me," Wang wrote.Berkowitz thanked Wang for her time and for informing him, and asked Kolmer to discuss the issues Wang raised. Cooper continues to serve as a vice president, the face of RAINN's policy arm.RAINN said that Wang was too junior a staffer to lead a statewide lobbying effort and called her claims of discrimination "false and defamatory.""RAINN took Wang's allegations seriously and investigated the matter thoroughly," the statement said. "Ultimately it was determined that the basis of Wang's claims of discrimination were unfounded."RAINN did not deny Wang's claim that Cooper told her a white man would connect better with conservative legislators.Cooper wasn't the only executive to receive complaints. One current staffer and one former staffer described a meeting in which Jessica Leslie, the vice president of victim services, defended Berkowitz's unwillingness to address the concerns of staffers of color."You have to understand where he's coming from," they remember Leslie saying. "I mean, he's a white man, and you're all people of color — like, he's really nervous around you."One of the staffers was furious. "We just wanted to have a conversation. We're not about to berate the man," she told Insider. "This is not true," RAINN said. Its statement said that at a Safe Helpline shift managers meeting, a group of managers asked Leslie if Berkowitz would meet with them. When Leslie asked them to craft an agenda first, RAINN said, the shift managers asked Leslie if Berkowitz wanted an agenda because he was "uncomfortable talking to women of color." "The shift managers created this narrative," RAINN said, "not Leslie."Through an attorney, Leslie said she agreed with RAINN's responses and called the allegations against her "demonstrably baseless."A racist training, a pay disparity, and an email uprisingStaffers of color told Insider that they were often underpaid compared with their white counterparts; one, a nonwhite Latina woman who asked to remain anonymous, said she made $35,000 a year and lived in public housing to keep her head above water. After she quit for a higher-paying opportunity, RAINN filled her job with a white staffer who earned roughly $20,000 more, Cisneros said, adding that the white staffer disclosed her salary. (Three additional sources with knowledge of her salary corroborated Cisneros' account.) RAINN said the salary discrepancy was a result of both the role being "restructured" to include "significantly more responsibility" and the fact that the white staffer had an advanced degree.Four current and former RAINN staffers recalled that after RAINN's white office manager left for a new job, her replacement, a Black woman named Valinshia Walker, was asked to perform janitorial tasks that were not in her predecessor's job description — including scrubbing floors on her hands and knees, washing dishes, and disinfecting conference rooms. "Let me be very clear: [Walker's predecessor] never washed dishes from the sink. Ever," one former staffer said. "Val? You would come in, and Ms. Walker was cleaning the conference room. Like, wiping down all the tables. Spraying down the chairs. Doing the kitchen, she's washing dishes from the sink … You would see her walking around with the mask on and gloves because she literally cleaned. Like a cleaning lady."Walker declined to comment for the record. "The beliefs of your sources are simply not true," RAINN said, adding that Walker was hired as the "office coordinator," which had a different set of responsibilities than the "office manager" she replaced. "Maintaining a clean office has always fallen under the responsibilities of the HR and admin staff as a whole, this includes the office manager and office coordinator," the statement said. "We are not aware of any instances where Walker was asked to handle cleaning responsibilities beyond those that were part of the office coordinator's regular duties."Staffers also recalled what became a notorious and hamfisted mandatory sexual-harassment training in early 2020 led by an outside employment attorney hired by RAINN. According to more than a dozen employees, the attorney used a series of racist stereotypes to illustrate examples during the training."So let's just say, you know, there's Nicki [Minaj] and Cardi B are employees, and they're at their desks, and they start twerking," Cisneros recalled the lawyer saying. "Is that inappropriate workplace behavior?"At one point, Cisneros said, the lawyer proposed a hypothetical scenario in which a Latino-coded man — participants recalled his name was "Jorgé" or "José"—  kissed a coworker. The lawyer asked if the behavior could be appropriate "because this is Latino culture." "Your information regarding this training is inaccurate," RAINN said. "The examples in this legal training were all past legal cases using fictitious names." It added that staff concerns "were immediately addressed and the training was subsequently modified based on their feedback."Sarcia Adkins, a shift manager for the Department of Defense Safe Helpline who attended the training, was furious. She wrote an email to multiple executives, including Sorensen, Kolmer, and Berkowitz, on March 5 demanding action from the organization. "I wanted to get up and walk out at various points and it was one of the more traumatic experiences I've had at RAINN as a woman of color," she wrote. Kolmer acknowledged her complaints and promised to meet with Adkins alongside Berkowitz and Sorensen to discuss changes to the training and her issues with the nonprofit's culture.Adkins said that Kolmer didn't follow up that March but that Sorensen did reach out to schedule a one-on-one meeting. RAINN said Adkins agreed to meet Sorensen but "did not show up, without notification or explanation," and "did not follow up after she skipped the meeting." Several months later, after a former colleague intervened, Adkins did meet with Berkowitz and Sorensen. Adkins told Insider she was underwhelmed. "They pick what they want you to talk about," she said.The dysfunction came to a head during the summer of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd sparked a series of bitter internal conversations about RAINN's track record on race. In June 2020, Berkowitz sent an email with the subject line "A Note to the RAINN Family" to the entire staff. In it, he acknowledged the unrest and pledged to support the company's Black staffers.Sarcia Adkins replied to the email with a list of demands and copied the entire organization. She asked for mandatory cultural-competency training and a commitment to hiring Black employees for leadership positions. (RAINN says that 43% of its top seven staffers are people of color.) Adkins — who has been with RAINN since 2014 — asked Berkowitz why he hadn't reached out following the deaths of Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and dozens of other victims of police violence."RAINN has never been a place [that] acknowledges or uplifts their black staff, not just people of color, and the injustices we face in the world and within the structure of RAINN," Adkins wrote.Following the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, Scott Berkowitz sent an email to staffers acknowledging the resulting unrest and pledging to support the company's Black staffers. But employees at RAINN began responding en masse, including one person who asked why a similar message was not sent after other police killings of Black people.Provided to InsiderIn 2021, in response to the outrage over the George Floyd email, the organization began internally releasing draft proposals on diversity, equity, and inclusion with goals the organization planned to achieve or had already accomplished. The laundry list of objectives, which Insider reviewed, included a plan to "develop new relationships to ensure a diverse pool of internal and external candidates for all open positions" and "collect more data to identify the causes of turnover."But people working in the organization say little has been achieved, or even attempted."Hiring practices are not getting better," said a current RAINN staffer, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. "There's been no management training. Turnover is horrendous." In its statement, RAINN recounted the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts it began implementing in 2021, including "expanded recruiting," "revised exit interviews," and "researched training on DEI-related issues.""The summer of 2020 sparked important cultural conversations in companies and organizations across the United States, RAINN among them," the statement said. "As we've seen nationwide, there is more work to be done. Over the past two years, RAINN worked with experts and garnered input from staff to develop and implement Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policies and goals … Changes implemented to date include increasing diversity within senior management to better reflect our staff diversity and the people we serve, implementing an anonymous third-party ethics hotline where employees can voice concerns without fear of reprisal, offering expanded professional development and internal promotion opportunities, and increasing health and mental health benefits for employees, the four top priorities identified by staff."As evidence of its success in addressing the concerns of its employees of color, RAINN provided Insider an email that Aniyah Carter, a staffer on the Department of Defense Safe Helpline, wrote to the vice president of communications, Heather Drevna, in June 2020. Carter, who is Black, had been one of the most outspoken staffers demanding change at RAINN after Berkowitz's George Floyd email fiasco. When Drevna sent a follow-up email to staff announcing an employee survey and more personal and sick days, Carter replied with a note of thanks."I just want to personally thank you and the senior team for this," she wrote. "It's one thing to listen to and hear us. It's another thing to take action. I am proud of the responses of my colleagues and I am grateful for the swift action from leadership. It is my sincere hope that we continue to make a necessary shift in the right direction. Please let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance."Scott Berkowitz at the "Tina The Tina Turner Musical" Cocktail Reception, co-hosted by Anna Wintour in support of RAINN, on January 31, 2020.Tiffany Sage/BFA/ReutersWhen Insider asked Carter about the email, she said any movement in the right direction quickly stalled."They sent an email and that was it," Carter told Insider. "So my 'sincere hope' was crushed. It's so insulting for me. When this first happened and you were optimistic and gave us the benefit of the doubt, you say it here," she said, mocking RAINN's use of her email. "And it's like, OK, but two years later here we still are. And I've mentioned how I'm frustrated, but you're going to take words from two years ago feeling optimistic about the future and spin it as if that applies to today? Seriously? That was very upsetting because it makes me feel like this is more about optics than, like, how your staff really feels."'OK, well, who's gonna do the press clips?'When April Cisneros arrived at RAINN, she began working for Jodi Omear. Cisneros said she quickly ran up against Omear's domineering management style, which often seemed dismissive of and belittling to other women. Besides the "bitch face" comment, Cisneros said, Omear joked about how office dress codes could reduce the risk of sexual assault by preventing people from wearing provacative outfits. "I understand we're not supposed to blame the victim," Cisneros recalled Omear saying, "but, like, what do you expect to happen if you're in a dimly lit room and people of the opposite sex [are] wearing pants with holes in them?" Omear did not deny making either comment but told Insider that when training people who lacked experience with on-camera work, she directed them to "over-exaggerate facial expressions." She also said she "advocated for casual professional attire across the organization."Cisneros' low point at RAINN occurred in January 2019, when she unexpectedly became pregnant. She decided to take a sick day to visit a doctor. She told Insider she informed Omear the day before and outlined when her unfinished work would be completed.Omear became angry, Cisneros said, demanding to know why she didn't give more notice and insisting on further details. Omear called Cisneros at 9 p.m. demanding answers. Cisneros broke down and told her boss about the surprise pregnancy. According to Cisneros, Omear replied, "OK, well, who's gonna do the press clips?"The next day, as Cisneros met with her doctor, her phone buzzed with calls and texts from Omear. Between the stress of an unplanned pregnancy and Omear's incessant check-ins, Cisneros said, she "started bawling" under the stress.  A day later, Cisneros received a prescription for a two-day medical abortion. She requested an extra day off to recover, but Omear continued to pester her, texting and calling Cisneros for updates on RAINN's monthly marketing report. Cisneros said she finished the report from home while waiting for the bleeding to die down. (A RAINN staffer who was familiar with the incident corroborated Cisneros' version of events.)Omear told Insider that it would be "inappropriate" to comment on Cisneros specifically and did not directly answer a series of questions about Cisneros' allegations. "In general, when working with communications staff, especially in a fast-paced environment on such an important issue, it is/was important to ensure that other team members were able to cover assignments to meet any potential deadlines and organizational needs," she said in an emailed statement.RAINN said that it "was not aware of this incident happening in real time" and that it "supports employees taking time off and does not support managers encroaching on sick time."Omear's conduct was the final straw for Cisneros, and she wrote to human resources to complain. Cisneros said Claudia Kolmer told her in a meeting that the conflict "was a big misunderstanding" and that she should have come clean about her pregnancy sooner. (RAINN said that Kolmer told Cisneros that different managers have different preferences about how they should be notified of sick time and that "Cisneros was never asked to share sensitive personal or medical information.")Dissatisfied, Cisneros unloaded on Omear to Kolmer, accusing her boss of making inappropriate complaints about the loud breathing of a colleague who used a wheelchair and the habit of another colleague, who was blind, of walking into Omear's office by mistake, Cisneros said. (Another former RAINN employee corroborated the complaints to Insider.) Cisneros also said she told Kolmer that Omear made lewd remarks about the attractiveness of a sexual-assault victim set to make a public-service announcement. Omear denied making the lewd comments. She also denied complaining about disabled colleagues but said that she did recall "thanking one of my staff for helping" a blind colleague "when she couldn't find her way around the office."Cisneros rallied the entire RAINN communications department to put together a detailed list of other allegations of inappropriate behavior by Omear, which she collected in a memo for Kolmer and Berkowitz.Omear left RAINN that July, ostensibly to launch her own communications consulting firm. But Cisneros said Berkowitz told her that he had pushed Omear out in response to Cisneros' efforts. "We want you to know we're letting her spin her own story," Cisneros said Berkowitz told her. "But this is a direct result of the conversation you all have with us."The experience nonetheless angered staffers. Cisneros left RAINN the next year.Another colleague, Martha Durkee-Neuman, wrote a scathing resignation letter shortly after Omear announced her exit, addressing it to Omear, Berkowitz, and Kolmer."Jodi leaving of her own accord with no accountability is not justice," Durkee-Neuman wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Insider. "It is not justice for the countless people that she has fired or driven from RAINN. It is not justice to pretend that nothing has happened, that staff were not forced to go to HR over and over and over until something was finally done." "I do not believe any of this work of justice or restoration will happen at RAINN, so unfortunately, this is no longer the right organization for me," she added."After the communications team raised concerns [about Omear] with Claudia Kolmer," RAINN said, "RAINN worked swiftly and diligently to investigate the staff's complaints. RAINN took appropriate action to address the findings of that investigation and Omear separated with RAINN shortly thereafter."Martha Durkee-Neuman's resignation letter.Martha Durkee-Neuman'What is left?' On November 19, 2021, Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of charges related to the shooting deaths of two people at a civil-rights rally in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Some time later, Leslie, then the interim vice president of RAINN's victim-services department, addressed the organization's Black staffers. "I am deeply saddened by the pain and violence that has continued to plague our Black neighbors and communities," she wrote. "I want to recognize how this may be affecting you, as you navigate your day and the work you do at RAINN." She then touted the racial diversity of the victim-services department.Nearly 18 months had passed since the organization sent around its email about the death of George Floyd. Despite various promises and initiatives, in the eyes of many staffers, little had changed. But here it was again, another email promising to listen to staffers of color. Employees were enraged.Aniyah Carter, the Safe Helpline worker whose email RAINN provided to Insider, reminded her boss that nearly two weeks had passed since the verdict. "By now, we have already had to check in with ourselves so that we can continue our day-to-day lives," she wrote. "And while the opportunity to check in with managers is still absolutely available (and encouraged), the reminder to do so would have been more beneficial if it occurred when this took place." Carter also highlighted the gap she saw between leadership's stated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and its on-the-ground support of its employees of color, a sentiment echoed by other staffers who spoke to Insider.Daniel Diasgranados for InsiderFor Cisneros, the repeated failure of the organization to address the concerns of its staff speaks to something darker, and she is worried about how the culture at RAINN is affecting its ability to help abuse survivors."If church can't help, if school can't help, if the police can't help, if the hospital can't help, if my family can't help, my friends can't help — and now this nonprofit that is specifically saying that it's here to help people like me can't help?" she said."Like, what is left?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

With Schools Ditching Merit For Diversity, Families Of High Achievers Head For The Door

With Schools Ditching Merit For Diversity, Families Of High Achievers Head For The Door Authored by Vince Bielski via RealClear Wire, Alex Shilkrut has deep roots in Manhattan, where he has lived for 16 years, works as a physician, and sends his daughter to a public elementary school for gifted students in coveted District 2.  It’s a good life. But Shilkrut regretfully says he may leave the city, as well as a job he likes in a Manhattan hospital, because of sweeping changes in October that ended selective admissions in most New York City middle schools.  These merit-based schools, which screened for students who met their high standards, will permanently switch to a lottery for admissions that will almost certainly enroll more blacks and Latinos in the pursuit of racial integration.   Shilkrut is one of many parents who are dismayed by the city’s dismantling of competitive education. He says he values diversity but is concerned that the expectation that academic rigor will be scaled back to accommodate a broad range of students in a lottery is what’s driving him and other parents to seek alternatives. Although it’s too early to know how many students might leave the school system due to the enrollment changes, some parents say they may opt for private education at $50,000 a year and others plan to uproot their lives for the suburbs despite the burdens of such moves.   “We will very likely leave the public schools,” says Shilkrut, adding that he knows 10 Manhattan families who also plan to depart. “And if these policies continue, there won’t be many middle- and upper middle-class families left in the public schools.”  A National Battle Over Merit  The battle in New York City is an example writ large of a high-stakes gamble playing out in cities across the country – essentially a large experiment in urban education aiming to improve the decades-old lag in performance of mostly black and Latino students. By ending screened admissions that segregate poorer performers and instead placing them in lottery schools with higher achievers, the theory goes, all students benefit.     But the research cuts both ways on the academic impact of mixed-ability classrooms, and many New York City parents say they don’t want to roll the dice on their kids’ education. If a large number of families do exit the city’s public schools in 2023, it would mean another financial blow to a system that has already lost more than 100,000 students since the beginning of the pandemic. Yet some of these parents may decide to remain in the public system and augment their kids’ education with advanced after-school classes, a common practice.  “When desegregation policies have been adopted in other cities, some parents who object stick it out and adapt,” says David Armor, a professor emeritus at George Mason University who has extensively researched integration policies. “But I would expect some degree of middle-class flight in New York City given how the lottery is going to change the academic composition of the middle schools.”   Diversity advocates – school educators, local politicians, and progressive nonprofits and parents – dismiss the threat of an exodus as scaremongering while they score wins. In Park Slope, Brooklyn, an affluent, progressive NYC neighborhood, it was parents who led the charge to end selective middle schools several years ago in a prelude to the citywide policy shift this fall. But Park Slope isn’t representative of the more moderate politics of much of the city like Manhattan’s District 2, where most parents at a recent series of community meetings strongly backed selective education.   Nationwide, about 185 school districts and charters in 39 states have adopted integration policies, ranging from redrawing school boundaries to preferential admissions for low-income and black and Latino students, according to the Century Foundation, an advocacy group. A quarter of them have been implemented since 2017.   “Students benefit educationally and socially from racially and economically integrated schools,” says a report from New York Appleseed, an advocacy group that lobbied for the removal of admission screens. “Society and our political systems benefit from the reduction in racial prejudice.”    But advocates don’t win them all, suffering a remarkable setback in progressive San Francisco in 2022. After the Board of Education angered some parents, particularly Asian Americans, by shifting Lowell, the city’s premier selective high school, to a lottery system during the pandemic, a grassroots campaign formed and successfully recalled three members in a landslide vote. The new board voted to keep screened enrollment at Lowell.  NYC Rolls Back Selective Ed  The retreat from selective middle schools in New York City gained momentum during the pandemic. Prior to COVID, almost 200 of the city’s middle schools, or nearly half the total, used enrollment screens, typically grades and test scores, to select high achievers.   Whites and Asians won a disproportionate number of seats in these competitive schools, creating a form of segregation based on academic performance. For instance, at Salk School of Science, a junior high in District 2, these groups accounted for three-fourths of the enrollment, with blacks and Latinos taking less than a quarter of the seats even though they make up two-thirds of all students in NYC’s system.  During the pandemic, middle schools suspended screened admissions because standardized testing had been temporarily paused – and that gave diversity advocates an opening to lobby for a permanent end of selective middle schools.   NYC Department of Education Chancellor David Banks, a black man who rose up the ranks from school security officer, recently got a taste of bitter politics of integration after making a politically incorrect comment in favor of merit-based education. The blunt-spoken chancellor was pilloried as “evil” on Twitter for saying that students who work harder deserve to go to a top school compared to those who need water thrown on their face to get them to class. As a former principal, Banks was speaking from experience.   But perhaps due to the political pressure, rather than ordering the restoration of screening, Banks punted. He told his superintendents who run more than 30 districts to solicit feedback from parents and then decide whether to bring them back.  In October, the superintendents mostly sided with progressives, dropping screened admissions permanently in more than 130 middle schools and restoring the practice in almost 60 of them for enrollment in fall 2023. Some parents cheered the sea change, arguing it’s wrong to pressure young children in 4th grade to compete for selective middle schools.  “Screens end up excluding black students and English language learners and those from low-income families,” says Nyah Berg, the executive director of New York Appleseed. “It’s fundamentally unsound to judge the worthiness of a student who is nine years old to attend a middle school based on their test scores and grades.”  But many other parents, particularly in District 2, are appalled by the rollback of meritocracy. The district covers a large swath of Manhattan, from the affluent Upper East Side and Midtown to Greenwich Village and the financial district. It is also home to a disproportionate share of high performing students.  One District 2 mom, who taught in city public schools for six years, says she and her husband have already bought a house in Riverside, Conn., where schools provide accelerated education. They plan to move there if they can’t afford a private school in the city.  “It’s 100% certain that our children won’t go to an unscreened school,” says the mother, who asked not to be named because she has two kids in public elementary school. “It’s heartbreaking because I grew up in the city and went to public schools. But the standards are falling now.”  The major problem with mixed-ability classrooms, particularly in an unscreened urban school, is the remarkably large difference in skill levels that teachers will likely encounter, says Jonathan Plucker, a professor of education at Johns Hopkins University who researches student achievement gaps. Some middle school students may be at least three years behind their grade level and others three years ahead, making it next to impossible for a teacher to give struggling students the attention they need while challenging advanced students with specialized curriculums.    “The idea that everyone benefits in a mixed-ability classroom is an ideological statement that flies in the face of all the evidence we have, which is very mixed,” Plucker says. “And not just for advanced students. It’s not clear that struggling students benefit either.” The Exodus The New York City school system, the nation’s largest, has been losing students for years. With about 1.1 million students at its peak, the system began shedding students in about 2016, which some experts attributed to a decline in the birth rate.   The drop-off accelerated in this and other cities nationwide during the pandemic. Many parents left after seeing the harm done to their children by remote learning when teachers, backed by their union, refused to return to the classroom. Families of all races, particularly blacks, and all income levels exited public schools for charters, homeschools, and mostly for an education outside New York City in New Jersey and in southern states like Florida.  By 2022, the city’s schools were down to about 900,000 students, a remarkable 10% drop from two years earlier.   Nothing is more dangerous to the city’s schools than the loss of students. State funding is based on head count, and the decline already forced Mayor Eric Adams to cut more than $200 million from the education budget this summer.    Future cutbacks may jeopardize a major reform approved in September that requires the city to reduce the size of its large classes – high school classes now capped at 34 students will go down to 25. The goal is to lift the abysmally low English and math test scores of city public school students, with more than half of them failing to achieve proficiency in these key areas in 2022. “I have no doubt that some parents in areas like the Upper East Side will leave the city because of the elimination of screens,” says Ray Domanico, a longtime researcher of the city’s school enrollment both within the system and now at the conservative Manhattan Institute. “With significantly fewer kids enrolled today, the city shouldn’t be pushing policies that could drive more families away.”  When the City Lured Families Back  Selective middle schools were created decades ago to keep middle-class families in the city as crime was pushing them to the suburbs in large numbers. By the 1990s, as the soaring murder rate began to recede and more people moved into less inhabited areas of District 2, parents began to demand better schools, Domanico says.  “The school system chose to respond to those families by setting up screened schools,” he says. “The city wanted to appeal to better-educated parents of all racial groups who had good jobs.”  In District 2, officials rolled out screened middle and high schools that quickly gained a reputation for excellence, including the Salk School of Science on East 20th Street in 1995.   The schools helped lure white and Asian families to the district. In the following two decades, the number of white students in the district rose to 26% in 2020, up from 19% in 2003, according to state enrollment data. More Asian students enrolled in the district too, bringing their total to 22%, while the number of black students fell to 14% from 22%. Latinos, the largest group, declined as well.    Chien Kwok, a Chinese-American, was part of that transformation of District 2. He was working in China when his child was accepted into a gifted and talented elementary program in the district, prompting his family to move back to Manhattan.    “District 2 had a real draw for parents,” says Kwok, the treasurer of the district’s Community Education Council, which gives parents a voice in school policy. “You could work in the city, send your kids to a great gifted and talented elementary program, then to an awesome screened middle school, and high schools are the best. It was a meritocratic feeder system that is now destroyed.”  Parents Back Selective Admissions   The battle over District 2 middle schools came to a head this fall. At four community meetings attended by the district’s superintendent, Kelly McGuire, a large majority of parents and advocates spoke in favor of restoring screened admissions. The meetings added weight to resolutions already passed by the district’s CEC supporting competitive admissions.     So in late October, when McGuire announced he was imposing a permanent lottery for admission at all of the about 17 middle schools that had used screens, parents were flabbergasted.   It didn’t help his cause that the day before his announcement, McGuire’s wife, Judith Kafka, a professor of educational policy at City University of New York, co-wrote an opinion piece against screened admissions. She said that competition for admission hurts all students, and quoted a parent in Park Slope who prefers a lottery because it ends the stress that comes with striving for high marks and a seat in a good school.    Parents in District 2 were offended by the article. To them, it suggested that McGuire always intended to ignore their views and instead wanted to persuade them using his wife as a surrogate.   At a community meeting in November following McGuire’s decision, parents directed their fury directly at the superintendent.   “I am now looking for private schools for my son,” said CEC member Danyela Souza Egorov. “But so many families in our district have reached out to me that they cannot afford it. It's deeply unfair that your plan does not meet the needs of these families.”   McGuire responded that he did hear the community’s call for accelerated learning. But rather than restoring competitive schools that stress out families, the superintendent said he’s creating a new honors math course in four middle schools for those who qualify, and all schools will offer eligible 8th graders an advanced biology course and algebra, which is sometimes taught in 9th grade.  For reading and writing, McGuire said, middle schools will continue to differentiate instruction, in which students pick books and essay topics to match their own proficiency levels.  The changes, he told parents, “dramatically increase the number of accelerated learning options for students in our district.”  CEC member Kaushik Das didn’t agree, calling McGuire’s honors offerings “meager scraps.”  When Mixed-Ability Schools Fail  Parents see a big difference between the defunct selective schools, once full of strivers and bright minds, and the new mixed-ability schools that will try to tailor instruction to learners of widely differing skills and motivation.   Hunter Dare’s daughter learned this lesson at Simon Baruch, which became a District 2 lottery school during the pandemic. The sixth grader was three years ahead of her peers in math in a classroom with some students working at the second-grade level. The teacher’s response was to give the girl an algebra textbook for self-study and promised to work with her when time permitted. But that never happened.   She was bored in her other classes as well, and was handed only 15 minutes of homework a day.   “It was bad because she wasn’t challenged and she just lost interest in school and started slipping backwards, not doing things she was supposed to do,” says her father.    Dare was considering leaving the city for a better school for his daughter. But she got lucky in the 2022 lottery and was placed in the Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Queens, which Dare calls one of the few remaining highly rigorous middle school programs in the city. His daughter’s motivation is back as she tackles at least two hours of homework a night.   Another mother in District 2 calls her son’s experience during the pandemic at the unscreened Robert Wagner middle school “a disaster.” In English class on most days, she said, 25 students spent much of the period reading a variety of unchallenging fantasy and sports books. So there was little opportunity for a dynamic class discussion around a compelling literary topic. Instead, the teacher walked around the classroom and briefly talked individually to students. They avoided tackling difficult authors from Toni Morrison to William Shakespeare whose works require more elucidation and class discussion.   “Advocates say students learn best in mixed-ability classrooms, but in fact nobody really learned much from their reading in my son’s class, and that’s terrible,” says the mother, who asked not to be named because her children are still in public schools.   She says she won’t put her younger child in an unscreened District 2 middle school after seeing one up close. Instead, the family will likely decamp to Connecticut, where they recently bought a home.  Tyler Durden Fri, 01/06/2023 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 6th, 2023

How chief sustainability officers are bringing more accountability and less waste to their companies — and the world

In 2021, companies that appointed a CSO tripled compared to the previous year, according to a PwC survey. Several factors are driving the trend. Kazi Awal/InsiderSandra Noonan is Just Salad's chief sustainability officer.Just Salad Many companies have hired chief sustainability officers, or CSOs, in recent years. Their job is to drive projects that help organizations meet their sustainability goals. Here's a look at how some top CSOs are making strides in their organizations. This article is part of the "Financing a Sustainable Future" series exploring how companies take steps toward funding and setting their own sustainable goals. As companies commit to being more environmentally conscious and launch initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and water use, they often need someone to drive these programs. To face these challenges many organizations are hiring chief sustainability officers, or CSOs. These leaders collaborate with company executives and stakeholders to develop and oversee an organization's approach to sustainability. In 2021, companies that appointed a CSO tripled compared to the previous year, according to a PwC survey. Wells Fargo appointed its first CSO, Robyn Luhning, in April, and UnitedHealthcare Group named Patricia Lewis as its first CSO in February.Several factors are driving the trend. Ann Tracy, chief sustainability officer at Colgate-Palmolive, said mostly it's pressure from stakeholders, employees, and consumers, who are more likely to pay more for brands that are sustainable, according to an IBM Institute for Business Value study. Investors are increasingly weighing environmental, social, and governance factors, while governments also pushing to disclose related metrics, including a proposed rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US.  When organizations fall behind on ESG progress, they risk losing investors and customers. "The need for ESG leadership to help get companies organized is critical," said Tracy, who's been with Colgate-Palmolive for more than 30 years and transitioned into the CSO role that the company created in 2020 after releasing its 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Strategy. "When companies make commitments and pledges, stakeholders want to see action." Public sustainability commitments ensure accountabilitySpencer Reeder, director of government affairs and sustainability at Audi of America, said the company has made public commitments to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% by 2025 and produce its last internal combustion engine vehicle in 2025 in favor of electric vehicles. This enables him to stay on track and hold Audi accountable to meet its sustainability goals. "I'm able to stand up for the brand and what we're doing, but also continue to push internally to be more innovative and aggressive on emissions, water consumption, and using more sustainable materials," he said, adding that he's required to report progress on sustainability initiatives. CSOs need a "place at the strategy table" to be effective, said David Larcker, director of the Corporate Governance Research Initiative at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The role needs to be a key part of executive leadership, meet with the company's board of directors, and have a budget, and CSOs should be embedded in the company's operations — otherwise, it's "window dressing," he said. When Reeder joined the company in 2018, he gave a "science talk" to the leadership team to raise awareness about the need to move to electric vehicles to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. Spencer Reeder is the director of government affairs and sustainability at Audi of America.Audi"Based on that initial investment and support from the leadership, I feel there's great receptivity to any idea that I bring forward around sustainability," he said. "We've made changes that have been considered for over a decade and just couldn't get over the threshold that now within the last couple of years, have been able to move forward." Reeder is continuing to make strides. He recently spearheaded an internal carbon pricing program, in which Audi charges itself $200 per ton of carbon emissions — higher than the current interim federal social cost of $51 a ton — with an intention of offsetting emissions from employee commuting and business travel.Tracking progress on sustainability to drive culture change Sandra Noonan joined the fast-casual restaurant chain Just Salad as chief sustainability officer in 2019. She was a loyal customer and appreciated the company's Reusable Bowl program and its sustainability initiative. She said concern for the environment is especially crucial for restaurants since about a third of global greenhouse gas emissions are tied to the food system. "I had a lot of leeway to shape the CSO role," she said. Reporting directly to the company's CEO and the fact that sustainability is in "the bones of the company" empowers her to tackle problems like reducing single-use packaging and food waste.In 2021, the Reusable Bowl program kept more than three tons of waste out of landfills. The company also estimated that more than 90% of its food packaging was made from recycled or renewable materials."I get involved in figuring out how we operationalize our ideas and our targets," Noonan said. "I also spend a lot of time on metrics and looking at our greenhouse gas emissions breakdown and going, 'OK, what programs would reduce our footprint?'" To mitigate food waste, Just Salad partners with Too Good To Go, a platform that connects customers with restaurants that have food surplus, and some locations also compost leftover food. In March, Just Salad's carbon labels showing the emissions estimates for each menu item received verification by Planet FWD, a carbon management platform. By talking directly with customers and working with Just Salad's marketing team to spread the word about its sustainability programs, one of Noonan's top priorities is to make Just Salad "a voice for culture change and changing norms that are harmful to nature."Educating customers and stakeholders about the value of sustainable behaviors While inspiring a culture change is a goal for CSOs, changing customer behavior can be a challenge. "Even though consumers want to be more sustainable, many don't want to compromise on convenience, on price, and on quality — and they don't want to change their behavior," Colgate's Tracy said. Overcoming this "consumer intention action gap," according to Tracy, depends on consumer education. Colgate's "Save Water" public awareness campaign, which urged people to turn off the tap while brushing their teeth, has saved an estimated 206 billion gallons of water and 10.8 million metric tons of carbon emissions since 2016. And last year, about 85% of Colgate-Palmolive's packaging across categories and materials was recyclable. Ann Tracy is chief sustainability officer at Colgate-Palmolive.Colgate-PalmoliveTo reduce plastic waste, the brand launched a recyclable toothpaste tube earlier this year and shared the technology with the industry, including competitors. Colgate also debuted the Keep toothbrush, which features an aluminum handle that consumers keep and a replaceable brush. Tracy said that finding creative ways to educate and influence teams across a company about sustainability is central to a CSO's work. She works closely with the company's chief financial officer on sustainability accounting and balancing the cost and benefits of sustainable products since consumers don't want to pay more. CSOs may experience pushback within their companies and skepticism from consumers at times, Tracy said, but the job is "by and large trying to drive positive impact and hopefully helping Colgate be presented in a positive light for the work we do and the accomplishments we've made."  @media (min-width: 960px) { #piano-inline-content-wrapper .content-header .figure.image-figure-image { min-width: 100%; margin-left: 0; } } Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

The Tucker Carlson origin story

Tucker Carlson's journey from prep school provocateur to Fox News flamethrower, according to his friends and former classmates. Tucker Carlson during a CNN National Town Meeting on coverage of the White House sex scandal, on January 28, 1998.Richard Ellis/Getty Images Tucker Carlson is remembered as a provocateur and gleeful contrarian by those who knew him in his early days. His bohemian artist mother abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will. At a Rhode Island prep school and at Trinity College, classmates remember him as a skilled debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audiences. On Oct. 29, 1984, New York police killed an elderly Black woman named Eleanor Bumpurs in her own home. Bumpers, who lived in a public housing complex in the Bronx, had fallen four months behind on her rent. When officials from the city housing authority tried to evict her, she refused, and they called the police. Five officers responded by storming into her apartment. Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, grabbed a butcher knife as two officers pushed her against a wall with their plastic shields and a metal pole. A third officer fired two shots from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking Bumpurs in her hand and chest.Eleanor Bumpurs' death dominated the city's news for two months and led the NYPD to revise its guidelines for responding to emotionally disturbed individuals.At St. George's prep school, some 175 miles away in Rhode Island, the incident deeply haunted Richard Wayner. He was one of the school's few Black students and had grown up in a residential tower not far from where Bumpurs had lived. He earned straight As and was so admired that in 1984 his peers elected him senior prefect, the prep equivalent of student body president, making him the first Black class leader in the school's 125-year history. Harvard soon beckoned.Wayner was frustrated with how the St. George's community seemed to ignore the conversations about racial justice that were happening outside the cloistered confines of Aquidneck Island. It bothered Wayne that almost no one at St. George's seemed to know anything about Bumpurs' killing. "You had your crew, you put your head down, and you tried to get through three or four years of prep school with your psyche intact," Wayner said of those days.As senior prefect, one of the duties was to deliver an address each week at the mandatory Sunday chapel service. One Sunday, perched from the chapel podium, Wayner described the shooting as a sea of white faces stared back at him. He concluded with the words: "Does anyone think that woman deserved to die?"Near the front of the chapel, a single hand went up for a few brief seconds. It was Tucker Carlson.Eleanor Bumpurs was shot and killed by the New York Police Department on October 29, 1984APThen a sophomore, Tucker had a reputation as a gleeful contrarian – an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk. "Tucker was just sort of fearless," said Ian Toll, a St. George's alumnus who would go on to be a military historian. "Whether it was a legitimate shooting may have been a point of debate but the fact was that Tucker was an underclassmen and the culture was to defer to the seniors." Wayner himself never saw Tucker's hand go up, and the two kept in touch over the years. (Note on style: Tucker Carlson and the members of his family are referred to here by their first names to avoid confusion.)  Four decades later, glimmers of that prep school provocateur appear on Tucker's Prime Time show on Fox, which garners an average of between 3 to 4 million viewers a night. His furrowed visage and spoiling-for-a-fight demeanor are all too familiar to those who have known him for decades. In the words of Roger Stone, a Republican political operative, frequent guest, and longtime friend of Tucker's: "Tucker Carlson is the single most influential conservative journalist in America… It is his courage and his willingness to talk about issues that no one else is willing to cover that has led to this development."Tucker's name has even been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. "I mean, I guess if, like, I was the last person on earth, I could do it. But, I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy." he said on the "Ruthless" podcast in June, dismissing this possibility.Tucker's four decades in Washington, and his transition from conservative magazine writer to right-wing television pundit, have been well documented. But less well known are his early years and how they shaped him: his bohemian artist mother, who abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will; the Rhode Island prep school where he met his future spouse; and his formation into a contrarian debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audience with his attention-getting tactics.Tucker declined to participate in an interview with Insider, saying in a statement. "Your level of interest in the boring details of my life is creepy as hell, and also pathetic," he wrote. "You owe it to yourself and the country to do something useful with your talents. Please reassess."California roots Tucker Carlson's West Coast roots burrow as deep as a giant redwood. He was born in San Francisco in May 1969 as the excesses of the Sixties peaked and the conservative backlash to the counterculture and the Civil Rights movement started to take shape. Tucker's mother, Lisa McNear Lombardi, born in San Francisco in 1945, came from one of the state's storied frontier families. Lisa's mother, Mary Nickel James, was a cattle baron heiress. Her great-great-grandfather had owned 3 million acres of ranchland, making him among the largest landowners west of the Mississippi. Her father Oliver Lombardi was an insurance broker and descendant of Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants. Lisa enrolled at UC Berkeley, where she majored in architecture. She met Richard Carlson, a San Francisco TV journalist from a considerably less prosperous background, while still in college. Lisa and Richard eloped in Reno, Nevada in 1967. The couple didn't notify Lisa's mother, who was traveling in Europe with her new husband at the time. "Family members have been unable to locate them to reveal the nuptials," a gossip item published in the San Francisco Examiner dished.Tucker arrived two years later. A second son, Buckley, was born two years after that. As Richard's career began to flourish, the family moved first to Los Angeles and then, in 1975, to La Jolla, a moneyed, beach-front enclave about 12 miles north of San Diego. When Lisa and Richard divorced a year later, in 1976, Richard got full custody of their sons, then 6 and 4. According to three of Tucker's childhood classmates, Lisa disappeared from her sons' lives. They don't recall Tucker talking about her, or seeing her at school events. Marc Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate who went on to be executive producer of the Tony Kornheiser Show, says the two didn't talk much about Tucker's relationship with his mother and he got the impression that Tucker and Richard were exceptionally close. When Sterne's own parents split up that year, he said Tucker was supportive and understanding. Lisa spent the next two decades as an artist – moving first to Los Angeles, where she befriended the painter David Hockney, and later split her time between France and South Carolina with her husband, British painter Michael Vaughan. In 1979, Richard Carlson married Patricia Swanson, heiress to the Swanson frozen foods empire that perfected the frozen Salisbury steak for hassle-free dinners. She soon legally adopted Tucker and Buckley.  When Lisa died in 2011, her estate was initially divided equally between Tucker, his brother Buckley, and Vaughan. But in 2013, Vaughan's daughter from another marriage found a one-page handwritten document in Lisa's art studio in France that left her assets to her surviving husband with an addendum that stated, "I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each." A protracted battle over Lombardi's estate involving Vaughan and the Carlson brothers wound up in probate court. The Carlsons asserted the will was forged but a forensic witness determined that Lisa had written the note. The case eventually went to the California Appellate Court, which allowed the Carlson brothers to keep their shares in 2019."Lisa was basically sort of a hippie and a free spirit," said one attorney who  represented the Vaughan family and recalled having conversations about the case. "She was very liberal and she did not agree with Tucker's politics. But she stuck the will in the book, everyone forgot about it, and then she passed away."In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Tucker described the dissolution of his family as a "totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all." Several pieces of art produced by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderLisa When Lisa left her husband and two young sons, she was escaping suburban family life in favor of the more bohemian existence as an artist. One of Tucker and Buckley's former teachers said their mother's absence "left some sour grapes." "I felt they sided with the father," Rusty Rushton, a former St. George's English teacher said. After the divorce, Lisa returned to Los Angeles and tried to break into the city's thriving contemporary art scene. She befriended Mo McDermott, an LA-based British sculptor, model, and longtime assistant to David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A few years before he met Lisa, the scene was captured in Jack Hazan's 1974 groundbreaking documentary "A Bigger Splash," which followed Hockney and his coterie of gay male friends idly lounging around the pool in his Hollywood Hills home."When love goes wrong, there's more than two people who suffer," said McDermott, playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself, in a voiceover in the documentary.Lisa and McDermott became a couple and Lisa won admission into Hockney's entourage. Hockney lived a far more reclusive lifestyle than his pop art compatriot Andy Warhol but some four dozen or so artists, photographers, and writers regularly passed through his properties."She was more like a hippie, arty kind of person. I couldn't ever imagine her being a mother," said Joan Quinn, the then-West Coast editor of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, who knew Lisa during those years and still owns several of her works. "She was very nervous all the time… She was ill-content."The pair were often seen at Hockney's Hollywood Hills home and at Friday night gallery openings on La Cienega Boulevard. They collaborated on playful, large-scale wood sculptures of animals, vegetables, and trees. A handful of their pieces could be seen around Hockney's hillside ranch."Hockney had me over to meet them. He wanted a gallery to handle their work," said Molly Barnes, who owns a gallery in West Hollywood and gave the pair shows in 1983 and 1984. "They were brilliant and David loved Mo. He thought they were the best artists around.""She was quiet and intellectual and somewhat withdrawn," Barnes said. "She had come from a lot of money and that reflected on her personality. She wasn't a snob in any way but she had the manners of a private school girl and someone who was fighting the establishment."A sculpture by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderNone of them recall Lisa discussing her two sons. McDermott died in 1988. After his death, Hockney discovered that McDermott had been stealing drawings from him and selling them. Hockney said the betrayal helped bring on a heart attack. "I believe I had a broken heart," Hockney told The Guardian in 1995. (Hockney did not answer multiple inquiries about Lisa or McDermott.)In 1987, Lisa met Vaughan, one of Hockney's peers in the British art scene known as the "Bradford Mafia." They married in February 1989 and for years afterward they lived in homes in the Pyrenees of southwest France and South Carolina's Sea Islands.Lisa continued to make art, primarily oversized, wooden sculptures of everyday household items like peeled lemons and dice, but she exhibited her work infrequently. She died of cancer in 2011, at which point Carlson was a decade into his media career and a regular contributor on Fox News. Richard In contrast to Lisa's privileged upbringing, Richard's childhood was full of loss. Richard's mother was a 15-year-old high school girl who had starved herself during her pregnancy, and he was born with a condition called rickets. Six weeks later, his mother left him at an orphanage in Boston called The Home for Little Wanderers. Richard's father, who was 18, tried to convince her to kidnap the infant and marry him, but she refused. He shot and killed himself two blocks from her home.A Massachusetts couple fostered Richard for two years until he was adopted by a wool broker and his wife, which he described in a 2009 reflection for the Washington Post. His adoptive parents died when he was still a teenager and Richard was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He later enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in an ROTC program at the University of Mississippi to pay for college.In 1962, Richard developed an itch for journalism while working as a cop in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 21, and the future NBC political correspondent Catherine Mackin, helped him get a copy boy job at the Los Angeles Times. Richard moved to San Francisco three years later and his career blossomed. He started producing television news features with his friend, Lance Brisson, the son of actress Rosalind Russell. They filmed migrant farm workers in the Imperial Valley living in cardboard abodes in 110 degree weather, traipsed the Sierra Nevada mountains to visit a hermit, and covered the Zodiac Killer and Bay Area riots (during one demonstration in 1966, they sent television feeds from their car where they trapped for four hours  and a crowd roughed up Brisson, which required four stitches under his left eye). Another time, they rented a helicopter in search of a Soviet trawler but they had to jump into the Pacific Ocean when the chopper ran low on fuel near the shore and crashed.In 1969, Richard and Brisson co-wrote an article for Look Magazine that claimed San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto had mafia ties. Alioto sued the magazine's owner for libel and won a $350,000 judgment when a judge determined the article's allegations were made with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for whether they were true or not." (Richard was not a defendant in the case and has stood by his story. Brisson declined an interview.)Richard moved back to Los Angeles to join KABC's investigative team two years later. One series of stories that delved into a three-wheeled sports car called the Dale and the fraudulent marketing practices of its founder, Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, won a Peabody award in 1975. The series also outed Carmichael as a transgender woman. (Richard's role in Carmichael's downfall was explored in the HBO documentary "The Lady and the Dale.") Soon after arriving as an anchor for KFMB-TV, San Diego's CBS affiliate, Richard ran a story revealing that tennis pro Renee Richards, who had just won a tournament at the La Jolla Tennis Club, was a transgender woman."I said, 'You can't do this. I am a private person,'" Richards, who years later would advise Caitlyn Jenner about her transition, urged the television journalist to drop his story, according to a 2015 interview. "His reply? 'Dr. Richards, you were a private person until you won that tournament yesterday.'" By the time he left the anchor chair in 1977 to take a public relations job with San Diego Savings and Loan, Richard had soured on journalism. "I have seen a lot of arrogance and hypocrisy in the press and I don't like it," he told San Diego Magazine in 1977. "Television news is insipid, sophomoric, and superficial… There are so many things I think are important and interesting but the media can be counted on to do handstands on that kind of scandal and sexual sensation."Years later, Richard said that he never tried to encourage his eldest son in politics or journalism, but that Tucker had a clear interest in both from an early age. "I never thought he was going to be a reporter or a writer. I never encouraged him to do that," Richard told CSPAN of his eldest son in 2006. "I actually attempted not to encourage him politically, either. I decided those are the things that should be left up to them."A LaJolla, California post card.Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty ImagesA La Jolla childhoodAfter the divorce, Richard and his boys stayed in La Jolla in a house overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Friends of Tucker's would later say that the trauma of their mother's absence brought the three of them closer together.  "They both really admired their dad. He was a great source of wisdom. He's one of the great raconteurs you'll ever meet. They loved that glow that came from him," said Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate. "They both looked up to him, it was clear from my eyes."In an essay included in his book "The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism," Tucker described Richard as a kind parent who imbued family outings with a deeper message.One of Tucker's earliest memories, he writes, was from just after the divorce, when Tucker was seven and Buckley was five: the brothers gripping the edge of a luggage rack on the roof of his family's 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon, while their father gunned the engine down a dirt road."I've sometimes wondered what car surfing was meant to teach us," Tucker wrote. "Was he trying to instill in us a proper sense of fatalism, the acknowledgement that there is only so much in life you can control? Or was it a lesson about the importance of risk?... Unless you're willing to ride the roof of a speeding station wagon, in other words, you're probably not going to leave your mark on the world."More often, the boys were left unsupervised and found their own trouble. Tucker once took a supermarket shopping cart and raced it down a hill in front of their house with Buckley in its basket. The cart tipped over, leaving Buckley with a bloody nose. He also recalled building makeshift hand grenades with hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil – using a recipe from their father's copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook"  and tossing them onto a nearby golf course."No one I know had a father like mine," Tucker wrote. "My father was funnier and more outrageous, more creative  and less willing to conform, than anyone I knew or have known since. My brother and I had the best time growing up."Richard sent Tucker to La Jolla Country Day, an upscale, largely white private school with a reputation as one of the best in Southern California, for elementary and middle school. In his book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution," Tucker described his first grade teacher Marianna Raymond as "a living parody of earth-mother liberalism" who "wore long Indian-print skirts," and sobbed at her desk over the world's unfairness. "As a conservative, I had contempt for the whiny mawkishness of liberals. Stop blubbering and teach us to read. That was my position," he wrote. "Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.""I beg to differ," Raymond countered in an interview, saying that she was also Tucker's tutor during the summer after first grade and was even hired again. "I'm a great teacher. I'm sure he liked me." For her part, she remembered Tucker as a fair-haired tot who was "very sweet" and "very polite." (When The Washington Post reached out her her, she said Carlson's characterization had been "shocking.")  Friends from La Jolla remember that Tucker loved swimming the mile-and-a-half distance between La Jolla Shores Park and La Jolla Cove, jumping off cliffs that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, riffing on the drums, and playing Atari and BB gun games at the mall with his friends. "He was a happy kid. We were young, so we used to go to the beach. We did normal kid stuff," said Richard Borkum, a friend who is now a San Diego-based attorney. When they weren't at the beach or the mall, Borkum and another friend, Javier Susteata, would hang out at the Carlson home listening to The Who, AC/DC, and other classic rock bands. Borkum said the adults at the Carlson household largely left them alone. "I'm Jewish and Javier was Mexican and I'm not sure they were too happy we were going to their house," Borkum said.Another friend, Warren Barrett, remembers jamming with Tucker and going snow camping at Big Bear and snorkeling off Catalina Island with him in middle school."Tucker and I literally ate lunch together every day for two years," Barrett said. "He was completely the opposite of now. He was a cool southern California surfer kid. He was the nicest guy, played drums, and had a bunch of friends. And then something must have happened in his life that turned him into this evil diabolical shithead he is today."LaJolla is a upscale beach community outside of San Diego. Carlson and his family moved their in 1975.Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSan Diego's next mayorRichard, meanwhile, was exploring a second career in public service. By 1980, he had risen to vice president of a bank headed by Gordon Luce, a California Republican power broker and former Reagan cabinet official. The following year, Richard's public profile got a boost when he tangled with another veteran television journalist, CBS's Mike Wallace. The 60 Minutes star had interviewed Richard for a story about low-income Californians who faced foreclosures from the bank after borrowing money to buy air conditioners without realizing they put their homes up for collateral. Richard had his own film crew tape the interview, and caught Wallace saying that people who had been defrauded were "probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos." The remark made national headlines and Wallace was forced to apologize.Pete Wilson, the U.S. Senator and former San Diego mayor, encouraged Richard to run for office. In 1984, Richard entered the race to challenge San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's re-election. "He was a very well-regarded guy," Hedgecock told Insider. "He had an almost Walter Cronkite-like appearance, but because he was in local news he was all about not offending anybody. He didn't have particularly strong views. He was nice looking, articulate, and made good appearances, but what he had to say was not particularly memorable other than he wanted me out of office."Sometimes Tucker tagged along for campaign events. "He would always show up in a sport coat, slacks and a bowtie and I thought that's really nice clothing for someone who is a kid," Hedgecock remembers. He was a very polite young man who didn't say much."Five days before voters went to the polls, Hedgecock went on trial for 15 counts of conspiracy and perjury, an issue that Richard highlighted in his television campaign ads. Richard still lost to Hedgecock 58 to 42 percent despite pouring nearly $800,000 into the race and outspending Hedgecock two to one. (Hedgecock was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and resigned from office in 1985 but his convictions were overturned on appeal five years later.)People are seen near a beach in La Jolla, California, on April 15, 2020.Gregory Bull/AP PhotoPrep school In the fall of 1983, a teenaged Tucker traded one idyllic beachfront community for another.At 14, Tucker moved across the country to Middletown, Rhode Island, to attend St. George's School. (Buckley would follow him two years later.) The 125-year-old boarding school sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and is on the other side of Aquidneck Island where Richard Carlson went to naval school. The private school was known as a repository for children of wealthy East Coast families who were not as academically inclined as those who attended Exeter or Andover. Its campus had dorms named after titans of industry, verdant athletic fields, and a white-sand beach.Senators Claiborne Pell and Prescott Bush graduated, as did Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and poet Ogden Nash. Tucker's class included "Modern Family" actor Julie Bowen; Dede Gardner, the two-time Oscar-winning producer of "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight"; and former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. Billy Bush – "Extra" host, and cousin to George W. Bush – was three years behind him.Tuition at St. George's cost $13,000 per year in the 1980s (it's now up to $67,000 for boarding school students) and student schedules were tightly regimented with breakfast, classes, athletics, dinner, and study hall encompassing each day. Students were required to take religion classes, and attend chapel twice a week. Faculty and staff would canvass the dorms on Thursdays and Sundays to ensure no one skipped the Episcopal service. Tucker impressed his new chums as an hyper-articulate merrymaker who frequently challenged upperclassmen who enforced dorm rules and the school's liberal faculty members."He was kind of a California surfer kid. He was funny, very intelligent, and genuinely well-liked," said Bryce Traister, who was one year ahead of Tucker and is now a professor at the University of British Columbia. "There were people who didn't like Tucker because they thought he was a bullshitter but he was very charming. He was a rascal and a fast-talker, as full of shit as he is today."Back then Tucker was an iconoclast more in the mold of Ferris Bueller than preppy neocon Alex P. Keaton, even if his wardrobe resembled the "Family Ties" star. Students were required to wear jackets, ties, and khakis, although most came to class disheveled. Tucker wore well-tailored coats and chinos, pairing his outfit with a ribbon-banded watch and colorful bowtie which would later become his signature. "He was always a very sharp dresser. He had a great rack of ties. He always knew how to tie a bowtie but he didn't exclusively wear a bowtie," said Sterne, Tucker's freshman year roommate. "He always had great clothes. It was a lot of Brooks Brothers." Their crew crew held court in each others' dorm rooms at Auchincloss, the freshman hall, kicking around a Hacky Sack and playing soccer, talking about Adolph Huxley, George Orwell, and Hemingway, and dancing to Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, and U2 on the campus lawn. Televisions weren't allowed so students listened to their Sony Walkman swapping cassette recordings of live concerts. Tucker introduced several bands to his friends."He loved classic rock and he was and still is a big fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead," said Sterne, who saw a Dead show with Tucker at RFK Stadium in 1986.Sometimes the clique got slices at Aquidneck Pizza and played arcade games in town, hung out in history instructor William Schenck's office, and smoked pot and Marlborough Red cigarettes on a porch in the main building's common room that faced the ocean, according to multiple sources. When the school administrators banned smoking indoors the following year so they congregated behind the dumpster behind the dining hall. Vodka (often the brand Popov) mixed with Kool-Aid was the drink of choice and students stockpiled bottles under their beds.Tucker was an enthusiastic drinker, half a dozen classmates recall. In his book, "The Long Slide," Tucker credits Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for enticing him to try drugs in 10th grade, The experience gave him "double vision and a headache." By the time he got to college, Tucker writes, "I switched to beer."By the late 1990s Tucker stopped smoking. He eventually cut alcohol too in 2002 after drinking so much while covering George W. Bush in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary that he accidentally got on the wrong plane, according to a friend.Most of Tucker's fellow students remember him best as a skilled speaker."He was always eager to take the less palatable side of the argument and argue that side," said Mahlon Stewart, who attended prep school and college with Tucker and is now a geriatric specialist at Columbia University. "Back then it was comedic. I thought it was an act.""His confidence was just amazing. He could just put out some positions and be willing to argue anything no matter how outlandish," Keller Kimbrough, a former classmate who's now a professor at the University of Colorado. "We were talking about politics and religion one time Tucker pulled this card out of his wallet and said, 'Well actually I'm an ordained minister, I'm an authority on the subject.' This was a stunt. He could literally play the religion card." "When he got the job at Fox I just thought 'Wow that's perfect for him, that's exactly what he can do.'"Their dorm room discourses were never serious. Tucker would pick a side in a debate between whether the color red or blue were better, and the crowd would erupt whenever he made a good point, friends said.  "Even at age 15 he was verbally dexterous and a great debater," Ian Toll said. "His conservative politics was fully formed even back then. He believed in strong defense and minimal government."His teachers saw a pupil who was primed for law school."Language and speaking came naturally to him. He took pleasure in it," said Rusty Rushton, Tucker's former English teacher. Tucker's politics, though, "seemed fluid to me," Rushton said. "I don't think of him as a deeply ensconced ideologue."He ditched soccer after sophomore year to act in a school theater production of Ayn Rand's courtroom thriller "Night of January 16th" (Julie Bowen starred as the prosecuting attorney. Tucker played a juror). But Tucker found his voice in competitive debate when he eventually joined the school's debate club. The team traveled to other private school campuses to compete against schools like Andover, Exeter, and Roxbury Latin in tournaments."He won some debate and basically did a victory lap afterward and got in the face of all the faculty there," one alum from a rival school who debated against Tucker said. "After defeating the student team, he started challenging the faculty, and said, 'Do any of you want to take me on? Are any of you capable of debating me?'"SusieIn the fall of Tucker's sophomore year, a new headmaster arrived at St. George's, Rev. George Andrews II. Andrews' daughter, Susie – who Tucker would eventually marry – was in Tucker's class. According to school tradition, a rotating group of underclassmen was charged with serving their classmates dinner and, one night in late September, Tucker and Susie had the shift at the same time. "They were sitting at a table at the far end of Queen Hall just leaning in, talking to each other," Sterne recalled. "You could see the sparks flying, which was cool."Susie floated between the school's friend groups easily. When she was seen mingling with Tucker, some questioned what she saw in him."People were saying, 'Come on Susie, why are you dating Tucker?' He's such a loser slacker and she was so sweet," Traister said. The pair started dating at the age of 15 and quickly became inseparable. Tucker gained notoriety on campus for repeatedly sneaking into Susie's room on the second floor of Memorial Schoolhouse, the school's stately administrative office that housed the headmaster's quarters. He had less time for his dumpster buddies now that the couple hung out on the campus lawn, attended chapel and an interdenominational campus ministry organization called FOCUS. His senior yearbook included a photo of Tucker squinting in concern to a classmate, with the caption "What do you mean you told Susie?While Susie was universally liked within the St. George's community, her father was polarizing.Andrews led the school during a turbulent period – it was later revealed – when its choirmaster Franklin Coleman was accused of abusing or having inappropriate conduct with at least 10 male students, according to an independent investigation by the law firm Foley Hoag in 2016. (Two attorneys representing several victims said 40 alumni contacted them with credible accounts of molestation and rape accusations at the hands of St. George's employees between 1974 and 2004 after a 2015 school-issued report detailed 26 accounts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. (Coleman was never criminally charged and he has not responded to Insider's attempts to reach him.) Over his eight-year tenure as school music director, from 1980 to 1988, Coleman invited groups of boys to his apartment for private parties. Sometimes he shared alcohol and pot with some of them, gave them back and neck rubs, showed pornographic videos, traveled with them on choral trips and stayed in their hotel rooms, and appeared nude around some of them, the report found. Several of Tucker's classmates and former faculty said they had no reason to believe he would have been aware of the accusations. "There were rumors circulating wildly that Coleman was bad news. The idea was he would cultivate relationships with young men," Ian Toll, a St. George's alum, said. "Anyone who was there at that time would have likely been aware of those rumors."Andrews told Foley Hoag investigators he was not aware of any complaints about Coleman until May 1988 (by then, Tucker had finished his freshman year in college) when school psychiatrist Peter Kosseff wrote a report detailing a firsthand account of misconduct. But Andrews acknowledged to investigators the school could have been aware of "prior questionable conduct" before then, the report said. Andrews fired Coleman in May 1988 after the school confronted Coleman with allegations of misconduct and he did not deny them. According to the investigation, Andrews told students Coleman resigned due to "emotional stress" and that he had the "highest regard and respect for him." On the advice of a school attorney, Andrews did not report the music teacher to child protective services. He also knew that his faculty dean wrote Coleman a letter of recommendation for a job at another school, according to investigators. Andrews left the school a few weeks after Coleman departed. By September 1989, he was named headmaster at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Florida which he led for 18 years. (Andrews declined to speak about Tucker or his tenure at either school.) St. George's, meanwhile, reached an undisclosed settlement with up to 30 abuse survivors in 2016. Coleman found work as a choir director at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa Bay, Florida before he retired in 2008. Tucker Carlson attended St. George’s School, a boarding school starting at age 14.Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesTrinity In the fall of 1987, Tucker enrolled at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where Rev. Andrews had also attended.Nearly two-thirds of Trinity's student body back then originated from private schools and many came from wealthy backgrounds. Tuition in 1987 cost $11,700 plus an additional $3,720 for room and board—around $27,839 in today's dollars."When the Gulf War broke out" in 1990, one Trinity alum who knew Tucker recalled, "there was a big plywood sign in front of the student center that read, 'Blood for Oil,' and someone else threw a bucket of paint on it."The posh campus was situated in the middle of Hartford, Connecticut, the state's capital and one of its poorest cities. Discussions about race and inequality were sometimes at the forefront of campus politics, but many students avoided engaging in them entirely."There were issues about whether black students should only date other black students, that kind of thing," said Kathleen Werthman, a classmate of Tucker's who now works at a Florida nonprofit for people with disabilities. "My sophomore year, for new students, they had a speaker talking about racism, and one of the students said, 'I never met a black student, how are you supposed to talk to them?' And the idea that only white people can be racist was challenged too."Susie was at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His brother remained in Rhode Island and other prep school friends had fanned out across the East Coast. Tucker moved into a four-bedroom dormitory overlooking the main quad. One suitemate, Neil Patel, was an economics major from Massachusetts who played intramural softball. (They would co-found the Daily Caller together two decades years later.) Other roommates played on the varsity soccer team and they formed a tight-knit group."I remember being struck by him. He was the same way he is now," said Rev. Billy Cerveny, a college friend of Tucker's who's now a pastor at Redbird Nashville. "He was a force of nature. He had a sense of presence and gravitas. You might get into an argument with him, but you end up loving the guy."Tucker often went out of his way to amuse his friends. Once during the spring semester, several activists set up a podium and microphone beneath his dorm window to protest the CIA's on-campus recruitment visits. The demonstration was open-mic so Tucker went up to the stage and told the crowd of about 15 people, "I think you're all a bunch of greasy chicken fuckers.""I think people laughed. He did," Cerveny said. "There was always a small collection of people any time there was an issue who tried to stir the pot in that way. Some people were dismissive and other people loved it, thinking 'Oh we're getting a fight here.'"As a sophomore, Tucker and his friends moved into a dingy three-story house on Crescent Street on the edge of the campus. He ditched his tailored jackets, khakis, and bowties for oversized Levi jeans, t-shirts, and untucked oxford shirts. Tucker commandeered a low-ceilinged room above the front porch with so many windows he had to hang up tapestries to keep out the sun. The tiny alcove had barely enough space for an eight-foot futon and several bookshelves Tucker built himself stacked with books he collected. Friends remember Tucker receiving an 8-by-10 manilla envelope that his father sent through the mail once or twice a month containing dozens of articles from newspapers and magazines.One of Tucker's friends, Cerveny, remembered stopping by Richard's home in Washington, D.C. and finding evidence of his hobbies, including the world's second largest collection of walking sticks."His house was filled with rare canes he collected from all over the world," Cerveny said. "The hallways had really amazing rows of canes hung on hooks that were specially made to mount these things on the house. One used to be a functional shotgun, another one was made out of a giraffe. His dad would pull out newspaper clippings of WWII Navy aircraft carriers. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I had never seen anything like that. Who collects canes?"During sophomore year, Tucker's friends decided to rush Delta Phi, a well-to-do fraternity also known as St. Elmo's. The Greek scene had a large presence on campus — about 20 percent of men joined them even though Trinity was a liberal arts school — and St. Elmo's had a reputation as freewheeling scamps. Once a year, a St. Elmo's brother would ride his motorcycle naked through the campus cafeteria. (Faculty voted in 1992 to abolish Greek life saying they were sexist and racist, and school administrators instead forced fraternities to become co-ed.)But Tucker refused to come aboard. Some classmates thought it was because he didn't want to be hazed."Tucker was not a joiner like that," Mahlon Stewart said. "He wouldn't have set himself up for whatever humiliation would have been involved. He would not have put up with that." But Cerveny, who pledged the fraternity, said it was a matter of faith."I remember explicitly him saying 'Look, I want to focus on what my faith is about and I thought this would be a big distraction,'" Cerveny said. "But he was very much in the mix with us. When we moved to a fraternity house [on Broad Street], we asked him to live with us."Tucker occasionally dropped in on his friends' fraternity events and occasionally brought Susie when she visited or Buckley when he drifted into town. Other times they hung out at Baker's Cafe on New Britain Avenue. Mostly Tucker stayed in his room."He was basically a hermit. It wasn't like he was going to a ton of parties" one Trinity St. Elmo's brother said. "He was not a part of the organizational effort of throwing big parties, or encouraging me to join the fraternity." Susie, who didn't drink or smoke, was a moderating influence. "Tucker and Susie had their moral compass pointing north even back then," Sterne said. "Tucker's faith was not something he was focused on in his early years but when he met Susie and he became close to her family, that started to blossom and grow in him. Now it's a huge part of his life."By the time his crew moved to another house on Broad Street, they each acquired vintage motorcycles and tinkered with them in their garage. Tucker owned a 1968 flathead Harley Davidson that barely ran and relied on a red Jeep 4X4 to transport friends around town (the Volkswagen van he had freshman year blew up). He smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, sipped bourbon, and occasionally brewed beer in the basement, including a batch he named "Coal Porter," according to GQ.When he wasn't reading outside of his courses or tinkering with his carburetor, Tucker took classes in the humanities and ultimately majored in history. Tucker dabbled in other fields including Russian history, Jewish history, Women's Studies, and Religious Studies, sitting in the back of lecture halls with his friends. Ron Kiener, who taught an introductory level course in Judaism, recalled Tucker performing "poorly" but earning a credit. "He did not get a stellar grade from me," Kiener said. "Based on what he says now he surely didn't get very much out of my courses."But Leslie Desmangles, who led courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Myth, Rite, and Sacrament, said Tucker was engaged and likely did just enough to pass his courses even if he wasn't very studious or vocal in class discussions."He was interested in understanding the nature of religious belief and studying different cultures and religions but I'm not sure if he had an interest in diversity," Desmangles said. "He was genuinely interested in ritual since a lot of the Episcopal church is highly ritualistic."Tucker's fascination with religion extended to his extracurricular activities too. He and several friends joined Christian Fellowship, a Bible study group that met weekly and helped the school chaplain lead Sunday services. Some members even volunteered with ConnPIRG, a student advocacy group on hunger and environmental issues, and traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the Gulf War. But Tucker steered clear of campus activism. He spent his free time reading and seeing Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Sting perform when they came through Connecticut. Sometimes he skipped school to follow his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, on tour.He took an interest in Central American politics too. At the end of freshman year, Tucker and Patel traveled to Nicaragua. "We did not have a place to stay or any set plans," Tucker told the Trinity Tripod, his college paper, in March 1990. "It was very spontaneous. We are both extremely political and we felt that getting to know the country and some of its citizens would give us a better perspective on the situation." In February 1990, Tucker returned with three friends to Managua for 10 days to observe Nicaragua's elections. The National Opposition Union's Violetta Chamoro, which was backed by the U.S. government, defeated the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Daniel Ortega who had been in power since 1979. A month later Tucker and his classmate Jennifer Barr, who was separately in Nicaragua to observe elections and distribute medical supplies to the Sandinistas, shared their perspectives about their visits to a small crowd at the Faculty Club for the school's Latin America Week. Tucker thought press coverage of the election was too left-leaning and criticized the media for skewing a conservative victory, according to Barr."I don't think it was necessarily true," Barr said. "He was dismissive [about my views]. I did get a sense that he believed in what he was saying, and it was very different from my experience and my understanding of the race."Tucker's stance on U.S. politics at the time was less didactic. As the 1992 presidential election loomed his senior year, Tucker touted the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, a Texas business magnate, to his friends although it did not appear that Tucker was an ardent supporter."Tucker would go on and on about how Ross Perot was the answer to this or that, as a joke, and every one would participate" one St. Elmo's brother said. "He liked the way Ross Perot was basically throwing a wrench into the system. He wasn't a serious Ross Perot proponent. He was cheering on somebody who was screwing up the system."In Tucker's college yearbook, below his tousle-haired, bowtie wearing thumbnail photo, was a list of his extra-curricular activities: "History; Christian Fellowship 1 2 3 4, Jesse Helms Foundation, Dan White Society." Neither of the latter two – named, respectively, after the ultra-conservative North Carolina Senator, and a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978 – ever existed. Tucker admired Helms for being a "bull in the china shop" of Congress, one classmate said. Some friends believed Tucker slipped in the off-color references as a lark."It's like a joke you and a friend would put in a series of anagrams that only you and two friends would remember and no one else would," the St. Elmo's friend said. "It's so niche that only someone like Tucker is thinking things like that or would even know the name of the person who killed Harvey Milk. He paid attention to things like that."Others claimed Tucker was the victim of a prank."It would not at all surprise me if one of the other guys in the [fraternity] house filled it in for him, and not just an inside joke, but pegging him with something that he got grief for," another close friend said. Protesters rally against Fox News outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesAn outsider among insidersBy the spring of 1991, Tucker's academic performance had caught up with him. He had accumulated a 1.9 grade point average and may have finished with a 2.1 GPA, according to one faculty member who viewed a copy of his transcript. Tucker would eventually graduate from Trinity a year late. Falling behind was not uncommon. About 80 percent of Trinity students completed their degrees in four years, according to Trinity College records. (A Trinity spokeswoman would not comment on Tucker's transcript due to FERPA laws, which protect student privacy.Tucker's post-collegiate plans fell through too. Tucker applied to the CIA that spring. The spy agency passed."He mentioned that he had applied and they rejected him because of his drug use," another college friend said, while declining to be named. "He was too honest on his application. I also probably should say I don't know whether he was telling the truth or not." Once the school year was over, Tucker and Neil Patel hit the road on a cross-country motorcycle ride. After that: Washington DC.  Tucker's family left Southern California for Georgetown after President Reagan named his father head of Voice of America. In June 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Richard ambassador to the Seychelles and the Carlson family upgraded to a nicer house in Georgetown with a pool in the basement. That summer, with Tucker's father and stepmother often out of town, the Carlson household was the center of Tucker's social lives, the place they retired to after a night drinking at Georgetown college dive bars like Charing Cross and Third Edition, and pubs like Martin's Tavern and The Tombs, immortalized in St. Elmo's Fire. In August, Tucker and Susie got married in St. George's chapel and held a reception at the Clambake Club of Newport, overlooking the Narragansett Bay. Back in Washington, Tucker's prep school, college, and his father's Washington-based networks began to mesh. Tucker took a $14,000-a-year job as an assistant editor and fact checker of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published at the time by the Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading conservative think tank. For the next three decades, Tucker thrived in the Beltway: He joined The Weekly Standard and wrote for several magazines before appearing on cable news networks as a right-of-center analyst and host at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. His father embarked on a third career as a television executive where he ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and his brother became a political operative and a pollster. By the time Tucker reached the core of the conservative media sphere, a slot on Fox News's primetime opinion lineup, he shed friends from his youth who couldn't grapple with the hard-right turn he veered once he became the face of the network.One friend was not surprised with Tucker's act. In the spring of 2016, during the heat of Donald Trump's presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton and a few months before "Tucker Carlson Tonight" premiered on Fox, Tucker had lunch with his old prep school classmate Richard Wayner who made the speech about Eleanor Bumpurs all those years ago. Wayner believed Tucker's gesture from his pew was never serious. "As a 9th or 10th grader in a chapel full of people in a conversation, he was trying to get attention," Wayner said.The two stayed in touch over the years and Tucker at one point suggested he write a handful of pieces for the Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion site that Tucker co-founded and ran in the 2010s. As they settled into their table at a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse, the two chatted about Wayner's experience on the board of St. George's (which Susie was about to join) and their respective careers. Tucker was floating around at Fox, and Wayner, now an investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said the conversation drifted toward salaries."He was asking, 'How much do you make on Wall Street' and was like, 'Wow, Wall Street guys make a lot.'" Wayner said. When they left the restaurant and headed back toward the Fox News headquarters, several people recognized Tucker on the street even though he had jettisoned his trademark bowtie years ago. Wayner saw Tucker making the pragmatic decision to follow a business model that has made his conservative media counterparts a lot of money."I don't think he has a mission. I don't think he has a plan," Wayner said. "Where he is right now is about as great as whatever he thought he could be.""Tucker knows better. He does. He can get some attention, money, or both." he added. "To me, that's a shame. Because he knows better." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

How a Madison, Wisconsin-based nonprofit is engaging the city in efforts to reduce waste and create more sustainable infrastructure

Sustain Dane aims to promote sustainability and equity in the city, like reducing waste in schools and energy use in affordable housing. Kazi Awal/InsiderThe Sustain Dane team.Courtesy of Sustain Dane Sustain Dane, named after Madison's county, is a nonprofit that was founded in 1999. The organization is focused on recycling programs in schools and around the city. It's also making improvements to affordable housing units to make them more sustainable. This article is part of a series focused on American cities building a better tomorrow called "Advancing Cities." The mission of Sustain Dane, a Madison, Wisconsin-based nonprofit founded in 1999, is to accelerate sustainability and equity efforts across the city and surrounding areas. Claire Oleksiak.Courtesy of Sustain Dane"We approach this work holistically, which means environmental health, equity, and social well-being — and finding projects that can be implemented that are raising the whole community together," Claire Oleksiak, the organization's executive director, told Insider. Sustain Dane focuses on education, energy efficiency in affordable housing, recycling, and managing waste. Its name is a reference to Dane County, the home of Madison. Oleksiak said the nonprofit works closely with local city governments, businesses, and residents to achieve, plan, implement, and execute sustainability projects. The organization, which has five full-time employees and paid interns throughout the year, also provides funding in some cases to carry out some of the community-wide projects. "We get to be nimble," she said. "We have more flexibility to innovate or move quicker than you can in a larger organization or a government structure." Here's a look at some of Sustain Dane's projects. Making affordable housing more energy-efficient and healthy for residentsAffordable housing in Madison uses 33% more energy than other housing stock, often because it's older. Sustain Dane is working on a project with the city and the local nonprofit Elevate to upgrade 100 of these units to be more sustainable through a program called Efficiency Navigator. The program provides $10,000 to $20,000 for upgrades like efficient lighting, insulation improvements, air sealing, water conservation systems, removing unhealthy building elements, and improved heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Upgrading the homes will boost water and energy savings by 10% to 20%, according to the organization.The first phase of the program involved building assessments and coordinating with contractors, Oleksiak said. Now they're in the implementation phase. A recent project involved adding insulation to the exterior walls of a brick, multifamily building. "The residents said as soon as they walked back into their units, they felt it was warmer and more comfortable," she added. The program also includes a diverse contractor accelerator to provide opportunities for contractors from underrepresented groups to train and work on these projects.Reducing food waste in schools and restaurants Milk carton recycling in partnership with Sustain Dane.Courtesy of Sustain DaneSustain Dane partners with local school cafeterias to collect milk cartons and recycle them, as well as educates teachers, staff, and students on recycling.Oleksiak said the organization is also conducting food waste audits to help schools uncover how much food per meal is wasted and find solutions to the problem, such as menu changes, a composting program, and a sharing system where students can take home leftover food.Outside the classroom, Sustain Dane is educating about a dozen restaurants on their food waste streams and how to reduce waste by reducing portion sizes and expiration date labeling, and helping them track their progress. In May, Sustain Dane plans to launch a composting program with the city at local farmers' markets, where residents can drop off food scraps to be taken to a farm for composting."The city has a goal of reduction in food waste," Oleksiak said. "They have challenges with those logistics of collection and farm partnerships, and we're able to act as a bridge to help bring everyone together." Educating businesses and residents on sustainability projectsThe Sustain Dane Accelerate Sustainability Workshop 2022.Courtesy of Sustain DaneIn 2021, 21 organizations and 26 individuals participated in Sustain Dane's Accelerate Sustainability Workshops, which help businesses and individuals kickstart their own sustainability projects in areas like renewable energy, energy efficiency, waste reduction, and equity and wellness. Sessions cover Madison's climate action plan and case studies of projects that have worked for other businesses and organizations. Participants can also get help completing a sustainable project, such as installing LED light bulbs or solar panels, composting, or challenging employees to use alternative transportation.Additionally, the organization engages residents via volunteer events throughout the year, such as trash pick-up or tree planting. Its Master Recycler program helps residents teach their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers about improving recycling and community-wide sustainability efforts — including what's recyclable and what isn't.Sustain Dane employees giving out a Master Recycler award.Courtesy of Sustain DaneOleksiak said all of Sustain Dane's work is approached as a "journey, an open door," and residents are a key part of that."This is a really supportive community, and there's no perfect way to be sustainable," she said. "It's just about continuing to use it as a consideration for how we support each other and how we thrive." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 21st, 2022

San Francisco Homeless Insider Tells All

San Francisco Homeless Insider Tells All Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, Why progressives defend and finance open drug scenes... In my new book, San Fransicko, I describe why progressives create and defend what European researchers call “open drug scenes,” which are places in cities where drug dealers and buyers meet, and many addicts live in tents. Progressives call these scenes “homeless encampments,” and not only defend them but have encouraged their growth, which is why the homeless population in California grew 31 percent since 2000. This was mostly a West Coast phenomenon until recently. But now, the newly elected progressive mayor of Boston, Michelle Wu, has decided to keep open a drug scene at Mass and Cass avenues, even though it has resulted in several deaths from drug overdoses and homicides. Progressives defend their approach as compassionate. Not everybody who is homeless is an addict, they say. Many are just down on their luck. Others turn to drugs after living on the street. What they need is our help. We should not ask people living in homeless encampments to go somewhere else. Homeless shelters are often more dangerous than living on the street. We should provide the people living in tents with money, food, clean needles, and whatever else they need to stay alive and comfortable. And we should provide everyone with their own apartment unit if that’s what they want. But this “harm reduction” approach is obviously failing. Cities already do a good job taking care of temporarily homeless people not addicted to drugs. Drug dealers stab and sometimes murder addicts who don’t pay. Women forced into prostitution to support their addictions are raped. Addicts are dying from overdose and poisoning. The addicts living in the open drug scenes commit many crimes including open drug use, sleeping on sidewalks, and defecating in public. Many steal to maintain their habits. The hands-off approach has meant that addicts do not spend any amount of time in jail or hospital where they can be off of drugs, and seek recovery. Now, even a growing number of people who have worked or still work within the homeless services sector are speaking out. A longtime San Francisco homeless service provider who read San Fransicko, and said they mostly agreed with it, reached out to me to share their views. At first this person said they wanted to speak on the record. But as the interview went on, and the person criticized their colleagues, they asked to remain anonymous, fearing retribution. Why “Housing First” Failed The main progressive approach for addressing homelessness, not just in San Francisco but in progressive cities around the nation, is “Housing First,” which is the notion that taxpayers should give, no questions asked, apartment units to anyone who says they are homeless, and asks for one. What actually works to reduce the addiction that forces many people onto the streets is making housing contingent on abstinence. But Housing First advocates oppose “contingency management,” as it’s called, because, they say, “Housing is a right,” and it should not be condition on behavior change. But such a policy is absurdly unrealistic, said the San Francisco homeless expert. “To pretend that this city could build enough permanent supportive housing for every homeless person who needs it is ludicrous,” the person said. “I wish it weren’t. I wish I lived in a land where there was plenty of housing. But now people are dying on our streets and it feels like we’re not doing very much about it.” The underlying problem with Housing First is that it enables addiction. “The National Academies of Sciences review [which showed that giving people apartments did not improve health or other life outcomes] you cited shows that. San Francisco has more permanent supportive housing units per capita than any other city, and we doubled spending on homelessness, but the homeless population rose 13%, even as it went down in the US. And so we doubled our spending and the problem got worse. But if you say that, you get attacked.” How did progressives, who claim to be evidence-based, ever get so committed to Housing First? “Malcolm Gladwell’s [2006 New Yorker article] “Million Dollar Murray,” really helped popularize this idea,” the person said. “But it was based on an anecdote of one person. It works for who it works for but is not scalable. [Governor] Gavin [Newsom] made a mistake [as San Francisco’s Mayor 2004-2011] which was that we stopped investing in shelter. But that’s because all the best minds were saying, ‘This is what’s going to work.’” One of the claims made defenders of the open drug scenes is that people who live in them are mostly locals who were priced out of their homes and apartments and decided to pitch a tent on the street. In San Fransicko, I cite a significant body of evidence to show that this is false, and that many people come to San Francisco from around the U.S. for the city’s unusually high cash welfare benefits, free housing, and tolerance of open drug scenes. The insider agreed. “People come here because they think they can. It’s bullshit that ‘Only 30 percent [of homeless] are from out of town.’ At least 20,000 homeless people come through town every year. Talk to the people on the street. There’s no way 70 percent of the homeless are from here. Ask them the name of their high school and they guess, ‘Washington? The one around the corner?’ But you can’t even talk about that without being called a fascist.”  The people living on the street suffer from serious addiction, this person said. “During the first point in time count [census of homeless population] in 2007, one-third had a disability, mental illness, or addiction, while last time, it was over two-thirds. The population fundamentally changed, whether from the drugs, or the time on the street. It doesn’t matter because a lot of the problems on the street are drugs-related. Neither San Francisco nor any other municipality can solve the housing policy without changing federal policy.” Life in the open drug scenes is brutal, this person confirmed. “Most homeless encampments are not communities but have paper-thin relationships based on their disease. It’s hard to have healthy relationships when you’re just trying to keep your head above water because you’re so dope dependent.” What San Francisco and other progressive cities are doing isn’t working. “People in those encampments have food brought to them, port-a-potties brought to them, and all they need to do is put drugs in their arm all day. They get really really sick and they die. Portugal didn’t make it so you can do whatever you want. The consequences of your action are treatment driven, but there are consequences. Here there are no consequences. And so we make it worse.” This person was harshly critical of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health for allowing drug overdoses to rise to over 700 per year. “They say, ‘It’s not our fault because it’s fentanyl.” But it’s only gotten worse.” This person stressed they were in favor of harm reduction policies like giving addicts clean needles in exchange for them giving back dirty ones, but not just giving out needles. “I’m all in favor of needle exchange, but not of needle distribution. Ask people to return the needles they’ve been given. There are people who don’t have it together enough. I get that. But when you tell people we’re going to give you whatever you want, to do whatever you want… Sleeping on a sidewalk is a crime. There are things you can’t do. You can’t shoot up on the street. The laws are there for a reason.” Why Progressives Create Homelessness So ⁦@SFPD⁩ just arrested ⁦@christinevans⁩ for interfering with their work of displacing folks in a large encampment under the freeway during a pandemic as Delta is spreading. I was talking to an unhoused pregnant woman when they threatened to arrest me too. pic.twitter.com/NBANKCWA0Y — Kelley Cutler (@NutCheese) July 27, 2021 Open drug scenes look like natural disasters, but they are the result of specific city policies. These policies including giving money, food, and drug paraphernalia to addicts to support their addiction. But even if progressives didn’t give people those things, many addicts would still live in open drug scenes. As such, the main reason “homelessness” is so much worse in progressive West Coast cities is because progressives hotly oppose efforts by cities to close the open drug scenes and move addicts into shelters and rehab. By blocking the closing of open drug scenes, which is referred to as “clearing an encampment,” people in need of help don’t get it. “The San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness recently [July 2021] protested an encampment clearing where a woman was pregnant,” the insider told me. “As soon as everybody left, the woman went into a shelter, after having been on the streets for three months. She went indoors. It’s like, ‘What are you fighting for? The right of this person to stay on private property and be pregnant?’” One of the questions I tried to answer in San Fransicko was when it was that street addicts started living in tents. I concluded that it started with the “Occupy Wall Street” protests in 2011, when progressive activists in San Francisco, Oakland, and other cities lived in tents in front of government buildings to protest capitalism. This person confirmed this account. “You’re right that the tents popped up after Occupy,” they said. “But it wasn’t just that the Occupy activists gave the homeless their tents. It was that the homeless saw well-heeled whites sleeping in tents. It got moralized.” The most influential homeless advocate in San Francisco, and perhaps the United States as a whole, is the head of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, Jennifer Friedenbach. Over the last three decades, Friedenbach has taken control over San Francisco’s homelessness budget and other policies. She blocks the closure of open drug scenes, calls people who disagree with her fascists and racists, and organizes protests at the homes of politicians. Time to house all San Franciscans, don’t you think? pic.twitter.com/PA5fFGivhN — Jennifer Friedenbach (@fbach4) May 18, 2021 A typical example of Friedenbach’s tactics could be seen in posters she promoted in May. The headline read, “See a tent? Just fucking leave it alone, thanks. Maybe instead of complaining about a homeless person’s only shelter from the elements, you could do something about the economic conditions that put them there in the first place?” The main reason San Francisco lacks sufficient homeless shelters is because Friedenbach and other Housing First advocates have long opposed them. They have demanded that money go to providing people with their own apartment units. The reason, Friedenbach explained to me, is that “if you ask unhoused people, they’re not screaming for shelter. They’re screaming for housing.” In the spring of 2021, Friedenbach published an op-ed opposing a proposal considered by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to create, within eighteen months, sufficient homeless shelters and outdoor “Safe Sleeping Sites” for all of the city’s unsheltered homeless. “One can simply take a look to New York City,” she wrote. “Their department spends about $1.3 billion dollars of its budget on providing shelter for their unhoused population while thousands remain on the street. . . . As a result, New York has a higher rate of homelessness than San Francisco.” But the claim was misleading. New York shelters the vast majority of its homeless, whereas San Francisco leaves the vast majority of its homeless unsheltered. “New York [City] has made the decision that everyone should have an exit from the street,” noted Rafael Mandelman, a San Francisco county supervisor. “San Francisco has consciously chosen not to make that commitment. And the conditions on New York’s streets versus San Francisco streets are somewhat reflective of what that means.” Friedenbach controls how San Francisco spends its astonishing $850 million annual budget. “Jenny built her power base by becoming a master of the budget’s “add back” process,” said the San Francisco insider. “The night before the budget is announced, it gets reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, but they’re trying to get out of there by midnight, and that’s when these ‘community asks.’ The board goes and trims stuff out of the mayor’s budget and does “add backs'' of money for struggling nonprofits. Jenny has mastered that process. And so if you’re a nonprofit executive director, and you want money in the add back process, which everyone does, you have to go through Jenny.” This person said that Friedenbach also operates behind the scenes. “She controls fake front groups like the Homeless Service Providers’ Coalition and the Justice Budget Coalition,” said the insider. “She knows the issue well. A lot of people look to her.” But more importantly, Friedenbach, like many progressive defenders of open drug scenes, demonize the people who stand up to her. “They shut down the discussion,” the insider said. “Everybody is just like, ‘Police bad. Public health good.’ It’s Animal Farm. But the city’s homeless outreach team can’t do their jobs without the cops. That’s the stuff that shuts down any meaningful discussion.” Why do they do it? Radical anti-system ideology. “There’s a San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness hat which says, ‘Coalition on Homelessness: On The Frontlines of Class Warfare,’” said the insider. “They feel like they’re fighting class warfare. They tell people to not take shelter.” I documented in San Fransicko that Friedenbach and other homeless advocates are motivated in significant measure by their belief that capitalism, not addiction, is responsible for the suffering on the streets. After I appeared on Joe Rogan, a clinical psychologist who for two decades ran programs for homeless veterans at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, which included homeless vets, emailed me. “I agree with all you say about the ‘homeless’ people who are actually mislabeled mentally ill and drug addicts,” wrote Dr. Mark Zaslav. “I like your comparison of the ‘ideology’ of people who “advocate” for the homeless to a religion gone haywire. But I wanted, as a psychologist, to add another point for your consideration.  This is the fact that this leftwing religion is based on split-off hatred and contempt for civilization itself.  When I attended substance abuse conferences in San Francisco run by community leaders, it became clear to me that these people had no understanding of mental health disorders like addiction – they regarded “homeless” addicts as heroes of some kind.   “Thus, each drug addict defecating on the streets in the Tenderloin was a massive middle finger to some imagined white male with a briefcase.  The premise of your solutions, which make so much sense, assume that adherents to the now reigning ideology want things solved.  They do not.  They want people inconvenienced by addicts – the homeless become quote literal scared cows who roam society reminding everyone of the sins of capitalism. “You mentioned Noam Chomsky.  These people are angry and full of hate.  They have tapped into a form of blindness among the voters of places like San Francisco or California itself – these are angry people endlessly telling themselves they are compassionate while projecting their hatred toward the ‘bourgeoise.’ I am afraid this does not end well. “ The San Francisco homelessness insider agreed, and despaired over the religious fervor in which the people who work at the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, the San Francisco Public Health Department, and many elected members of the Board of Supervisors are gripped. “Maybe homelessness is part of capitalism and racism,” said this person. “I can’t solve that and neither can any nonprofit organization. I can’t stand seeing people suffering on the streets. What are we going to do right now?” .*  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Our research and writing depends on individuals like you. Please consider subscribing now so we can expand our work in the coming year Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 29th, 2021

Transcript: Soraya Darabi

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

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 20th, 2021

Swisher v. Scaramucci: Is Elon Musk Killing Twitter?

This week’s Intelligence Squared U.S. debate asks the question: Is Elon Musk Killing Twitter? Journalist Kara Swisher argues Yes. Investor Anthony Scaramucci argues No. Wired’s Steven Levy and Insider’s Monica Melton chime in as well with questions. Is Elon Musk Killing Twitter? Kara Swisher vs Anthony Scaramucci Debate Transcript Guests: Arguing Yes: Kara Swisher Arguing […] This week’s Intelligence Squared U.S. debate asks the question: Is Elon Musk Killing Twitter? Journalist Kara Swisher argues Yes. Investor Anthony Scaramucci argues No. Wired’s Steven Levy and Insider’s Monica Melton chime in as well with questions. Is Elon Musk Killing Twitter? Kara Swisher vs Anthony Scaramucci Debate Transcript Guests: Arguing Yes: Kara Swisher Arguing No: Anthony Scaramucci Moderator: John Donvan John Donvan: Hi, everybody, and welcome to Intelligence Squared. I’m John Donvan. And in this program, we are debating the impact that one man is having on the future of an enterprise you have all heard of. That enterprise is called Twitter. And the man, I know you’ve heard of him, is Elon Musk. 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Boy, have we heard of him and from him, especially since he became sole owner of Twitter last fall, paying $44 billion for it, firing half of its employees, and vowing for the 230 million users of Twitter to make it better. His words: "Twitter has extraordinary potential, I will unlock it." So, has Elon Musk done that or are the steps he's made so far a lot of missteps? That is what we are debating. To be more specific, the Yes/No question: is Elon Musk killing Twitter? We recorded this one before a live virtual audience. You will not hear them but just wanted you to know that they were there. So, let's get to the debate, starting with my introduction of our two debaters. So, let's meet our debaters. Arguing Yes, Elon Musk is killing Twitter, here is host of "On with Kara Swisher," co-host of the podcast "Pivot," and editor-at-large of New York Magazine, Kara Swisher. Kara Swisher: Thank you. John Donvan: And arguing No, that Elon Musk is not killing Twitter, we have the founder and managing partner of Skybridge, former White House communications director, and host of the podcast "Open Book," Anthony Scaramucci. Thanks for joining us. Anthony Scaramucci: Thank you. John Donvan: Before we start the debate, I'm interested in your personal connections to Elon Musk because you both know him. And you've both interacted with him. And we just, as a matter of curiosity, want to sort of get a sense of how you know him. So, Anthony, why don't you go first on that? Anthony Scaramucci: Well, you know, my one of my closest friends, Antonio Gracias, is on the board of two of his companies. So, it would be SpaceX and Tesla, he was an early investor in PayPal. And so, I'm gonna say that I know Elon tangentially. We've interacted a few times over the years, but I don't have a personal relationship with Elon. Obviously, I'm very impressed with him as an investor and as a business executive. John Donvan: And what about you, Kara? Kara Swisher: Oh, I've known him since the last century, actually, when he was at a company called X.com. It was a startup, he had had other startups, he had a sort of yellow pages directory company that he sold and made a little bit of money from, and then he moved on to X. And it was competing at the time with PayPal, and where they were quite big competitors. And I covered them for The Wall Street Journal. They merged and later sold to eBay. So, I've known him for a very long time. And while the rest of them went off and did other things, he started investing in lots of interesting things like space and cars, which was unusual, because everybody else was doing a dating service and something stupid with their money. And so, he was doing some interesting things. So, I knew him for a long, long time, and covered him while he was building these companies. And I've interviewed him, I don't know dozens of times and including many live appearances at some of my events. And we've texted and emailed over the years. John Donvan: So, for neither of you is he a distant figure, you both have some connection to him. So, let's get to the debate itself. We'll go in three rounds. And our first round is going to be comprised basically of opening statements and Kara Swisher again, you are arguing Yes, in answer to the question, is he killing Twitter? So, take three to four minutes to tell us why you're a Yes. Kara Swisher: Okay. Okay, I wrote something up. So, I hope you don't mind. I think the question is not is Elon killing Twitter, but is owning Twitter, killing Elon, essentially, at least the brand, which I think has seen more deterioration in the last six months than anyone I can think of. In doing so he's created the perfect storm of self-inflicted harm. He's shot himself in the foot and then the other foot and he went back to the first foot. And while it'd be easy to focus solely on his demented daily tweets spewing homophobic misinformation to bear-hugging despicables to firing people with the stylings of the very worst of robber barons, I think the only thing you can do here is follow the money which I'm going to focus on. First of all, he blew up a stable $5 billion ad business in a few months. It wasn't that good, but it was still $5 billion losing huge opportunities like the World Cup and the holiday season. The site’s ad experience is now like 2 a.m. on cable with a series of grifty ads and come-ons and more porn than ever, which some people might like. Number two, he adopted misguided advice from one of his dumber minions to focus the company on an enterprise software company. It's failed to launch anything stable or unable not to troll corporate clients. You saw that when they did Twitter Blue and everybody faked companies. He's gotten himself into class action lawsuits and how he cloddishly handled the firing of Twitter employees. As former Twitter Blue head Tony Hale wrote: "New York's hottest club is a Zoom call with the lawyers for the Twitter class action suit." It will be a drag on him and all his companies, even if he throws lawyers at it, as he always tends to do. He's been involved in lots of lawsuits over the years, this is a big one. He's allowed the conversation to get uglier by allowing 60,000 of the very worst to return to Twitter to, wait for it, improve the conversation. That's akin to Voldemort letting all the prisoners out of Azkaban prison. He said he would make decisions for these different people via a council which doesn't exist, never happened, and it turns out it's just him late at night mainlining Cheetos, Ozempic, and conspiracy theories. So, a group of managers making decisions managers are paid to make has been replaced by essentially one guy. According to internal sources, usage has started to decline among active users, which make up a small part of the population and a large percentage of the tweets. Mine, for example, have gone from a couple hours a day to under one and it's declining every single day. I only use it for marketing and nothing else now, which as a platform I used rather actively, including where I met Anthony Scaramucci, where I trolled him for quite a lot of time. And he has such a good sense of humor that he allowed me to do so, and we've become I think friends in some way. It's allowed competitors to emerge, like Mastodon, which has been compared to a waiter handing you a gun, pointing at a cow and saying, "Get dinner." So, he's given lots of opportunity for a number of competitors to get in here when Twitter could have dominated here with someone like Elon at the top. Speaking of nothing burgers, the Twitter files. Nine, he's taking other businesses with him. Tesla has owned a lion's share of the electric light vehicle registrations in the U.S. according to a number of different measurement services, but that's down 79% in 2020. There's a surge of competition including lower price models. One Wedbush Securities person wrote, "Musk must take a more-hands on approach in 2023 at the company, as a Twitter distraction along with the current demand situation it's falling off, is a perfect storm for the stock." Tesla stock is down 70%. Even though it's way ahead in EV production, in batteries. It has four plants globally. All kinds of competitors are now– he's leaving it open to competitors to launch models from Lucid and others. He's certainly trying to do so, but his eye is definitely off the ball there and they're facing the more competition they've ever had in a really bad economic environment. And lastly, follow the money. Let me read from Bill Cohan [William D. Cohan]. Just he just wrote a piece yesterday about this. 'The banks, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America will be reporting what it's doing with the debt it has,' the $13 billion in debt, 'and what the banks will be revealing, if I'm right,' this is according to Bill Cohan, 'is that thanks to the demand of the Federal Reserve, Wall Street's prudential regulator, the Twitter bank debt has been marked on the books of both Morgan Stanley and Bank of America at 50 cents on the dollar.' That means the $13 billion of Twitter debt is now worth about half that amount, or 6.5 billion thanks to a combination of rising interest rates and Twitter's shrinking EBITA, as well as questions about whether Elon will be able to make roughly $600 million of interest payment due on the Twitter bank debt in April. And following the logic here, if the bank debt is only worth half its face amount, it has now been recorded as such, it means Twitter equity, which is owned mostly by Elon and a bunch of his rich friends is virtually wiped out after a mere two months under Elon's rule. To put it bluntly, this is an astounding and virtually unprecedented outcome in the world of leveraged buyouts. But he is doing something about income inequality, I guess. Anyway, that's my argument. John Donvan: Thanks Kara, Kara Swisher. And now, the No answer comes from Anthony Scaramucci. Anthony, it's your turn. Anthony Scaramucci: Well, I'll start out by saying that if the definition of friendship is that you can be critical of somebody and still like and enjoy their personality, then we are definitely friends, Kara, because you have been very critical of me. And I do like and enjoy your personality. And I will say this, you've made my life more interesting as a result of our relationship. But I think the specific question, Is Twitter, dying, yes or no? And I'm going to say no, for several reasons. And the main reason is something that Warren Buffett has said long ago about businesses, if it's a high-quality business, even a very bad management team or bad decisions, the high-quality business can endure, they'll take the high-quality business any day. And I think the facts are indisputable about Twitter being a high-quality business in the following sense. It is a pervasive part of our Zeitgeist, now. It is the town square, proverbially. And I think there are more active users today if you look at their numbers. This is an important metric for social media, as we both know. In addition to that, things happen on Twitter. The interaction, the FTX debacle as an example, a lot of micro-journalists covered nuances to that story on Twitter. The World Cup, while not advertising there–and we'll get into the advertising in a second. Lots of the drama that played out in social media related to the World Cup happened on Twitter. And of course, most recently, the Damar Hamlin situation in the NFL, which my heart goes out to him and his family. And seems that he's doing well, also happening on Twitter. So, I think it's indisputable that we're talking more about Twitter as a result of Elon Musk, and the user base is up, you know, you and I both know, Twitter Spaces is a pretty effective medium today, sort of replaces Clubhouse, if you will. When Elon's on Twitter Spaces, there could be upwards to 100,000 people in that town square listening and potentially asking questions. So, you are bringing up things, though, that I think are true. And so, I do, I do want to validate those things. I think you said once on CNN, I was watching, that he may have spent $44 billion for a $7 billion company. That may or may not be true. I think the financials, if they're marking down the debt, certainly people believe that there's a deterioration in the financials. And both of us know, because of our years of experience, either on Wall Street or in journalism, that large scale corporations are typically risk averse. And they certainly don't want to be caught in a negative spotlight. And there's something that Elon Musk is doing right now, that would cause those people to pull away and I just want to spend one minute on it. And then we'll go back to the debate. And that is our discussion in Zeitgeist about free speech. Ultimately, you're either a believer of free speech or not, I know that you are a believer, you know, I am. I once worked for a president of the United States that called the press the enemy of the people. Of course, I had to write an op-ed in The Hill, responding to that saying, 'Mr. President, the press is not, in fact, the enemy of the people.' But what free speech actually does for our society is not only keeps our politicians honest, but it creates economic innovation. John Donvan: More from Intelligence Squared U.S. when we return. Welcome back to Intelligence Squared U.S., let's get back to our debate. Anthony Scaramucci: We teach our second-grade children that they can think and speak freely, they go on to create Facebook and Twitter and Google and Apple Computer. In societies where that free speech is suppressed, where they're not allowed to talk about their government, or certain potential dramatic things that are going on in this society. They get curtailed, and then they end up stealing our intellectual property rights. So, for me, what Elon Musk is doing, by opening it up. You mentioned 60,000 criminals coming out of the asylum, I think we've got a big problem in our society, right now, I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood, lower middle-class neighborhood. And I can tell you, there's a very large group of people in our society now that feel left out. And if you're going to shut those people off on Twitter or shut those people off on other realms of social media, I think that's very long-term damaging, if anything, we have to embrace those people and figure out a way to bring them back into the social contract. And I think Elon Musk is trying to do that. I see him as a radical moderate, by the way, self-described in terms of my conversations with him. And I think it's early, we'll have to see how this thing plays out. But it's far from dead. In fact, if anything, it's more vital than ever. And over the next 6, 12, 36 months, I think we'll see really good progress ahead for Twitter. John Donvan: Anthony, I have a very quick question of clarification, when you say you think Twitter is more vital than ever, are you saying it's more necessary than ever? Or are you saying it's more thriving than ever? Anthony Scaramucci: Well, I think it's a combination. Certainly advertising, corporate advertising revenues are down. The business itself has been impaired. But if you look at social media data in terms of the usage and the vibrancy of the network, that, in fact, is up. And so, it's a mixed bag, but yes, I do believe it's more vital than ever. And I think he's going to figure it out. I think it's very early in the process of him taking the company. John Donvan: Alright, thanks, Anthony. So, thanks to both of you for your opening statements. And what I think I hear are two kinds of arguments about what we mean by the survivability and the viability of Twitter. One is an argument for the business for the numbers and the direction that's taking, and the other is a description of Twitter's vitality and vibrancy having to do with its place in the culture and its relevance, its appeal to people as a place to continue to go to as a kind of public square as it's been described. So those are two different framings. They do overlap, but I want to separate them just for the start of the conversation and start with the business argument that you made Kara. Kara, do you anticipate this company being on the road to bankruptcy? Is it that extreme? Kara Swisher: Well, he's talked about it himself. I didn't– not the one to say it. Who knows if he's telling the truth when he says that? Because he often just spouts out something just to cause, you know, and Anthony should know about this, just to say something to cause a news cycle to happen. So, he's talked about bankruptcy. I don't believe it will be bankrupt, because he's one of the world's richest people. I don't believe he's the world's richest man anymore because of what's happening here. But I do think that he has plenty of rich friends who will save him from disaster. But he does have to come up, at some point, you don't love throwing good money after bad, but he will come up with money over the next year at least to pay off these bank debts. I think the danger is that this bank debt goes on Wall Street, and it's bought up by an Apollo or someone else who were much tougher on. They don't want to have lunch with Elon Musk, as other rich people, as you noticed in the text tend to want to do including Sam Bankman-Fried wanted to sort of hang out with Elon. So, I think it depends on who gets a hold of this thing. If he's unable to– if this debt goes on the market, and if he's unable to pay his debt obligations– I don't think the latter is going to happen. But he certainly puts himself at risk. That said, he could buy the debt himself and throw more of his money at this thing, and then own it completely. So, there's ways that he can keep it in business. It's just, it never was a very good business. And now it's a really bad business. And as to Anthony's thing about vitality, it's a very small business, even though it gets the attention of the media and politicians. Most people do not live their lives on Twitter. And so, it's a very small business that has a very outsized profile because of the users who are on it. John Donvan: Anthony, your response to that? Anthony Scaramucci: Again, so you know, I always want to be fair to Kara and the facts. I think she's right about the size and scale of the business. You know, listen, I have– I think Kara has 1.4 million Twitter followers. I have a million Twitter followers. I am on Twitter; I do look at it. I do scroll through it, and I sometimes tweet, I think it would be impossible– and she would have to answer this better than me as a journalist. But I think most journalists would find it to be relatively impossible not to have access to that site, because there are things that are going on. Kara will remember this. There was someone in Pakistan that basically said on Twitter, 'I hear the rumblings of helicopter, there seem to be aircraft over my house.' Shortly thereafter, Osama bin Laden's house was invaded. And so, there's relevancy to Twitter, again, going back to the original premise: is Twitter dying or not? We can debate whether it's a large or small business, we can debate whether or not Elon Musk has impaired the business. But is it dying or not? I'm going to take the position that no, it is not dying, even if Elon Musk were to leave the business and we were to write a story about the abject failure of his management team, I think Twitter goes on to live. And I think Twitter has found its niche in the society where celebrities are on there, politicians are on there, average users are on there to gather information. John Donvan: And you think that that position is somewhat ironclad? You think that's unassailable, that that can't be changed by anything? Anthony Scaramucci: Well, nothing in our lives, unfortunately, is unassailable. But I do think that this has levels of resiliency as a result of the organic nature of Twitter over the last 15-ish years. Kara Swisher: On that, Anthony, I have a couple words for you: AIM, AOL, Yahoo, MySpace. You ever heard of ‘Oy?’ – Yo, excuse me– Yo, Peach. It goes on and on and on. And now unfortunately, the conversation has moved away from Twitter and so– it was a small conversation. It never took advantage of the opportunities that it had, because of a lot of reasons. It was badly managed before. But now it's sort of malevolently managed and so it's trying to take a business that it had and change it into something else. It is, you know, you don't want to use a rocket thing, but he's building the rocket in flight. And he's also doing things that are causing the rocket to go the other direction, which is downward. And so, you wonder how these decisions are being made and who they're being made by? And it turns out, it's just literally one guy and so that's a real problem when you don't have a team around. John Donvan: Why– What do you mean by downward? Kara Swisher: Well, I think, you know, you don't kill– I'm perplexed as to why you would insult advertisers when you have a very– an okay advertising business. It's certainly tiny in comparison– John Donvan: Remind listeners what exactly you're referring to? Kara Swisher: He started tweeting. Well, it was so random and so abrupt each time. When he got there, he started insulting advertisers, and told them– and said they were un-American not to– I think that was one of them. He had, like, there's so many. It's like Trump, there's so many I don't remember the last one he did. But he basically insulted advertisers and said they were woke if they didn't advertise on Twitter. It seems to me that they would advertise on you know, 'Satan.com,' if it would sell them a Fitbit. I just– I feel like advertisers will go anywhere. And so, he insulted them. And then they got him on a call with advertisers where he seemed to have been somewhat medicated in some fashion, where he was somewhat nice to them. And then the very next day, he insulted them again. And so, a lot of these people, they really don't want controversy. They just want to sell things, and they're not woke, they're capitalists. He did that with a– He's doing that very Trump-like in insulting people. Sometimes, it doesn't make any sense why he's doing it. And maybe Anthony can talk to this because he's been with someone who does that. It is a strategy to do that, on some level, is to create chaos almost continually. So, you take away– it's sort of jazz hands in a weird way. Anthony Scaramucci: Alright, so let me just respond to the AOL, MySpace. If we're taking that standard, then listen, everything, the Roman Empire, you know, you pick– Kara Swisher: The Roman Empire! Anthony Scaramucci: We can go– I mean, it did decline, Kara. So, you know what we do know– Kara Swisher: I did, I heard. I read that.   Anthony Scaramucci: You know, in General Electric, who had started in the Dow, I think it was out of the Dow for a few years in the 1920s, and was the longest tenured Dow member, is no longer part of the Dow. So, we do know that none of these businesses are eternal. I guess what I'm saying is, in the next half a decade to decade is Twitter dying, I think it's not dying. I think if anything, it will become more relevant. And I think ultimately, as he executes this plan, and whatever the erratic nature is of his personality, we can go back to the situation with Elon Musk in 2008, where he was on the verge of bankruptcy in two companies: SpaceX and Twitter. He was able to use his guile, his relationships to save those two companies. Those two companies propelled him to be the richest person in the world. We just went through one of the worst market environments in 50 years. At least the first half of 2022 was the worst since 1970. The entire year was the worst that we've had in stock market since 2008. The NASDAQ as we both know, is down 30%. So, Elon Musk's high-growth, Tesla stock down a lot, no surprise to me. If you're going to make the case that it's down even more as a result of his erratic behavior– If Elon Musk was listening to this and he asked me that as a friend, I would say, "Yes, it is." You've got to figure out a way to comport yourself better. You don't want to be accused of being Donald Trump, by anybody, just trust me. It's not a good comparison. Because ultimately, anybody that worked for Donald Trump knows about the insanity and knows about the instability. And so, Elon Musk is a brilliant guy. He's a brilliant visionary. You certainly know him better than me. John Donvan: Well, let me jump in. Anthony Scaramucci: Let just finish this one sentence. When I step back and look at his vision for the company, despite whatever missteps he's having right now, I'm making the bet on Elon Musk, this could be 2008 SpaceX and Tesla. Kara Swisher: What is that actual vision? Because a lot of these things he's doing– Listen, I had been very critical of Twitter for years and had suggested subscriptions, we've suggested something that was more of a value, you know, a value proposition that you could pay for that'd be worth it like Amazon Prime is. I certainly pay for it. I'm very happy paying for it, because it's worth it to me. I know a lot of his ideas are retreads of ideas that lots and lots of people have had, and he's unable to execute on any of these ideas. And everyone, because he's Elon Musk, thinks he's a genius and therefore, because he's good at rockets and cars, which are physical, and have physical aspects, that he's going to be fantastic at media. Media is hard. And this is a media company. And so, I think it's a very different situation. He's got to find another business or sell something that's worthwhile in order to make it a business. Or else it’s just a plaything for a rich person. John Donvan: Kara, you're somewhat answering the question I was going to ask both of you because Anthony was kind of alluding to this. That he has been highly unpredictable in the choices he made in terms of businesses to take on and the ways that he did that. And the question was going to be: could this be one more case of that? That it's looking sort of erratic at the moment, but he's pivoting? Obviously, he's floated ideas like the blue checkmark and then pulled it off and then put it back again, that he's responding to mistakes quickly, that that's kind of his way. And that there's something about him, this thing that you refer to as the genius that I think you think is overrated, but nevertheless, it's there. Kara Swisher: I don't think it's overrated. I think it's just you assume because someone is good– It's like saying, "I'm gonna be good at basketball because I'm good at journalism." It's just not the same. I'm not good at basketball, by the way. But you know, it's just one of these things that we just take it for granted. Steve Jobs, who really truly was a visionary, stayed in his lane and kept expanding from that. Now, he certainly said controversial things over the years. Mostly– his biggest– compared to Elon Musk, he parked badly. That's really pretty much the controversy around Steve Jobs. There's a bunch of them, but one of the things that's– He stayed within his lane, and you understood the daisy chain of what he was doing. Here, it's just, it's erratic. Let Kanye West on, kick him off, do this, do that, and everything is– nothing– everything is hypocritical to everything else. And so, it doesn't make– it becomes exhausting. Twitter was already exhausting. Now it's, I find– I am a very heavy Twitter user. I was– my numbers are going down from, again, a couple hours a day, to an hour a day to six minutes. John Donvan: Why is that? Kara Swisher: Because it's exhausting. I turned off comments on Twitter, because I suddenly started getting– I put up something around the shooting in Colorado. And I got the most repulsive group of comments, which I'd never gotten. And I don't need it. I don't. I don't have the time. John Donvan: Anthony, are you still tweeting as before? Anthony Scaramucci: You know, I'm a yes. I mean, the answer is: I'm tweeting as before. I'm probably– you know, I get yelled at by my wife staring at my phone too much, so I'm probably not looking at it as much as I used to. But I think Kara's bringing up an interesting point about a circle of competence. And if you're inside the circle of competence, you do way better. And if you're outside the circle of competence, you may do less better. And so, I just want to validate something that she's saying because she is right, the media is quite different. Because you get an image in the media, it is very hard to change or turn that image. Okay. And so, the media, the mainstream establishment media, has declared a personal foul on Elon Musk and a personal foul on Twitter. Okay, why are they doing that? That's what you have to ask yourself the question of: are they doing that because he's bringing back controversial characters? Whether it's Michael Flynn, Carpe Donktum, Donald Trump, is that the reason why they're doing it? Are they doing it because they don't like his personality and some of the things that he's saying? Okay, and I think, again, if I was on Elon's board, what I would be saying to him, "Hey, listen, it is a little bit different than rockets. And it's a little bit different than cars. Because if you're in the media business, whether you like it or not, the media is going to have a say about your business. You're going to have a constant slew of critics, analyzing and critiquing your business." But you guys asked about the vision, let me just give it in less than a minute. Because I did read through the PowerPoint presentation. And through Cathie Wood's fund– I just should also point this out: I am an investor, although it's a very small amount of money, in Cathie Wood's fund that's been directed towards Twitter. The vision for the company, and Kara may say this is a retread, but I at least find it interesting that he wants to broaden the base of the social media. He wants to be more inclusive as it relates to the free speech dynamic. And he eventually wants to create a 'super app,' which is somewhat similar to WeChat, where you could have a payment structure going through Twitter. And you could have other things going on inside of Twitter, in terms of way more robust, WhatsApp-like communication. And so, when I look at all those different things, and I look at the install base of Twitter, if he gets that right– John Donvan: Let me just– I want to jump in for a point of clarification, Anthony, because you've been arguing against the argument that Twitter is dying. What we're really arguing is whether Musk's impact on Twitter is good or bad for it, is driving it to higher or lower places. Anthony Scaramucci: Well, temporarily, it's driving it lower. I think Kara is right about that again. The question was, “Is it Twitter dying?” I'm saying no, it's not dying. John Donvan: No, no, the question is: is Musk killing Twitter? Anthony Scaramucci: Is Musk killing– Musk is temporarily hurting Twitter. But I believe that Musk will be an agent for formidable positive change. John Donvan: When he wrote– when he wrote his letter to the board last year, he wrote, "Twitter has extraordinary potential. I will unlock it." Do you think he is unlocking potential there now, Anthony? Anthony Scaramucci: But you see that– but you see this is the problem with our society, okay. We're– you know, you talk about technology? We're in 100,000-year-old pieces of machinery that haven't evolved in 100,000 years. My iPhone went from one to 14 in 15 years, but we think linearly. So right now, if he's not doing well, we think that's going to be the permanent state, the same way we thought in 2008 that Tesla and SpaceX were going out of business. John Donvan: Okay, I think that's a fair point. I want to take that very point to Kara. Kara Swisher: Tesla's not at a– Tesla is buoyed by this stock that is way out of line with the other stocks and there are competitors now catching up to him. He's still ahead. Let me be clear, they're still way ahead. But it's like Netflix. Right as Disney and others started getting involved in streaming– Anthony Scaramucci: No, no. But, Kara, I'm making the point that Tesla looked like it was out of business in 2008. Kara Swisher: Yes, but making those comparisons aren't the same thing. Let me just say, when you say 'super app,' let me give you an– Guess what the 'super app' is. TikTok, right now. New apps will come in and do this. 'Super apps' have never worked in this country. It works in China. It has never worked in this country. Do you trust Elon Musk with your payments, money? I don't. I would trust Apple with it. I would trust Amazon with it way before I would do that. Each of these companies has tried to do a 'super app' or is doing a version of it. It's another retread idea that is very difficult to pull off. Because you need people, you need people behind you. You need to build this up. You have to get people using it. Let me just tell you, young people are not flocking to Twitter to use their 'super app.' And they're not going to. They're using Snapchat for communications. They're using TikTok for entertainment. They're using Facebook less and less. John Donvan: Is that Musk's fault, though? Is that Musk's fault? Kara Swisher: No, it's just the– it's just the state of competition. Now he's in a state of competition in cars, where GM, Ford, Mercedes, Volkswagen, everybody is in now the business and now they're, you know, they're not doing as well as Tesla. But they will do as well as Tesla. John Donvan: This is Intelligence Squared U.S. More debate in a moment. John Donvan: Welcome back to Intelligence Squared U.S. I'm John Donvan. Let's get back to our debate. I want to go to the point that, Anthony, you made in your opening. You said, as sort of a side point, about the fact that Musk is saying that he wants to restore free speech to the platform. Critical of some of the people who were taken down, Kara– obviously describing them as 60,000 deplorables coming back to the site. But the fact is that– Kara Swisher: Despicables. John Donvan: –Despicables, I apologize. I want to talk about its impact as we head into a new election cycle. Where Twitter is in this process. Where we are and what Musk's challenge will be in moderating or not moderating. He's obviously not a free speech absolutist because– Even since he's taken over, he's kicked people or suspended people over the platform for criticizing him and for impersonating him. So, just how free speech-y is he, really, Anthony? And where does that– where does that take us and, you know, the role of Twitter in our political cycle right now? Anthony Scaramucci: You're the moderator. You're supposed to be impartial and indifferent to the to the question, but you're fortifying me right now. And so, just want to caution you about that, because what you're basically saying is the upcoming election, Twitter is going to have this unbelievable influence in the upcoming election. And I obviously believe that it will. And so here we are. Eighteen months from now, Twitter will be very vibrant and a very big part of the upcoming election. John Donvan: So, you're saying, I'm taking your side? Anthony Scaramucci: You're making my point, you're making my point, John, that Twitter is not dying. So, I just want you to go back to your impartial position that you are supposed to be in. But I thank you for making the point. John Donvan: Well done. Well played, Anthony. Anthony Scaramucci: But here we are right now. We're discussing this, okay. And so, there's big problems. Okay. We all know that there's robotic technology on Twitter, we know there's Russian and Chinese and other adversarial states– adversarial disinformation on Twitter. We know that there's got to be a cleanup of that. We also know that there's electioneering that's done on Twitter that's loaded with disinformation. Look at this guy, George Santos as an example. He's almost the apotheosis now of The Great Lie being manifested into an individual. But here's what I would say to everybody listening. Okay. We are a free speech country. It was grounded in free speech for a lot of different reasons. But the main one would be for all of us to be free. And a result of which, when you're in a free speech country, you do have qualifications. We do know the case law, about free speech, hate speech is not protected. A threat to the public is not really protected. You know, the debate about yelling fire in the theater would be an example of that. So, we know that there has to be guardrails on free speech that you brought up the fact that Elon Musk doesn't like people being critical of him. And so, he took some of them off the platform, and he deplatformed them. But if you remember, it was a– temporary deplatform. I think one thing we can say about Elon Musk and maybe Kara will agree or disagree. But when he gets things wrong, good entrepreneurs, typically when they get something wrong, they don't stay– Kara Swisher: –Why get it– Anthony, why get it wrong in the first place? It just seems like the peak of a man at night who had too much sugar. Like that's what happened. Anthony Scaramucci: That may be the case. And I ceded those points to you, that there's some managerial erraticism that's going on. And you are right about that. But I'm talking about the broader point about the vitality of Twitter, and what will Twitter look like in 2024 and 2028, etc. And I also bring up the point, is– even with the erratic behavior, does Elon Musk manifestly get things right? Is he a value generator for his investors and for himself? And you've made the point. Yes, and rockets. Yes, and cars. But likely not in the media– John Donvan: Anthony, let me jump in because to return to the point you were making that his commitment to, to make it very blunt, to allow people like Donald Trump back in after they were suspended and others– Kara Swisher: Who's not coming, who's not showing up. John Donvan: Who you said, were in your communities, that there's a sort of disconnect and disaffection with the wokeness that you said was, to some degree, you feel influencing the decisions that Twitter made prior to Musk's takeover. And I want to know, is the return of those individuals, and I'm not sure if I'm characterizing how you would put it correctly, but the broadening of the spectrum of allowed speech on the site, going to be one of the things that he makes better about Twitter? Anthony Scaramucci: I hope, I hope so. But let me say this, you okay, John? And I got this wrong. Donald Trump got it right. So, you should really listen. I grew up in an aspirational blue-collar family. Thirty-five short years later, those very same families, they went from economically aspirational, to economically desperational, okay? And we've left them out of the story. And they're very angry about it. And somebody like Donald Trump saw that. And he became an avatar for their anger. Now, he didn't offer any policy solution for them. But when he was sticking a finger in the eye of the media establishment, the political establishment, the business establishment, they loved it. And I'm just making the point that if you want a fairer, better, broader society, we have to get those people back into the fray. Kara Swisher: But you see, Anthony, the issue is– they're not– those people aren't on Twitter. They're not using Twitter, look at the– look at the recent election, rife with election denialism on that platform, on Twitter, and many other platforms. What did the voters do? They didn't vote for that. They voted out those people, the people that were screaming. Kari Lake screams on Twitter, didn't work for her, you know. Michael Flynn screams wherever he happens to be, didn't work for him. So, I don't think it has an impact. Because I don't think these people are using the platform. Anthony Scaramucci: Kara, you just made my argument even better then, because you're just saying that those people, them being brought back on Twitter, somebody like Michael Flynn, they're not really having that big of an impact. Kara Swisher: Now it isn’t because it's a tired product. That's what I'm arguing is that it's a product that's now noisy and angry. Anthony Scaramucci: I want to beat these people– I want to beat these people in the free marketplace of ideas. I want to beat Michael Flynn or Donald Trump in the free marketplace of ideas. You brought out that Donald Trump's not back on Twitter. He's not for a specific reason. He's getting paid on Truth Social not to be back on Twitter. John Donvan: Okay, we're wandering a little bit now from the topic of whether Musk is killing Twitter. And I have to break in, Anthony, because we need to move along– Anthony Scaramucci: –Go ahead. John Donvan: –to bring in some members of the press, media– Kara Swisher: –Okay. John Donvan: –to join the conversation now. So, I want to welcome Steven Levy. Thanks for joining us. Tell people who you are and then enter the conversation please with a question. Steven Levy: Yeah. Hi. This is a fascinating debate. I'm editor-at-large at Wired Magazine. I've been writing about technology for a long time, following Twitter for a long time. And so first for Kara, you know, to me– we ask is Elon killing Twitter. As a Twitter user, I'm super concerned about whether this is going to still be usable for me. And throughout Twitter's history, it really has been the users to shape how Twitter works. They invented all kinds of stuff like the reply, the retweet and other things. And I'm wondering whether Twitter, despite Elon, might not be some sort of cockroach, where the users can figure out how to get around whatever mischief he does and, you know, erosions he does to the platform. So, I'm wondering, you know, how do you respond to say, you know, look, as a user, there's a way I can kind of like, fix my– who I follow and other things change to make that happen? Kara Swisher: I think you can do that. Sure, sure. But because, like a lot of products, you know, from using stuff, I have a box full of products that I used to use that I don't use anymore. A lot of physical products, a lot of software products, that just became either onerous or difficult or something better came along. And so, I do think you can sit there and fiddle with it. But one of the dirty secrets of Twitter for media people, as you may know, as I know, having run sites is that it doesn't really give you much business and one of the reasons you want to use this is so that you get people to listen and read what you're doing. Maybe virtue signal to other journalists of what you're up to and things like that. But in general, if I had to look at the stuff which actually got me money, like made money as a journalist, it was always Apple podcasts for example, references from them, or Facebook or LinkedIn. Twitter was always way down on that scale. And so, the question is, do you realize, suddenly, that you're putting way too much work into something that doesn't give something back? And I do think the more exhausting it gets, and the easier that other competitors make things that are attractive, the more you move to them– it's the same thing with cars. As there's more choices for Tesla, Tesla's market share is going to inevitably and should go down, because people, you know, don't want the Tesla look. They want to be in a Porsche, they want to be in, like me, a Chevy Bolt, they want to have a lesser price of something. And so, I think he's opening it up to other competitors in a lot of ways and he's made the experience more difficult to use. And why would you want to do work arounds? He himself said it. He said it to advertisers that day when he was nice to advertisers. He said, if you use it for an hour, and you feel bad, why would you come to that product? Exactly. John Donvan: Okay. Thanks, Steven. And you had a question also for Anthony. Steven Levy: Yeah, another thing that's been going on in Twitter for a long time, and early in its time, and when it first began to take off, it was sort of an assumption that they would get a billion users, right, which is really what it takes for a social media site to break through and become successful more than what Kara says is an okay business. Now, they've never been able to do that. And it seems to me that what Elon is doing by, you know, sort of arguing for his subscriptions, which is a great way to kill the number of people you have, basically creating this privileged class, which is going to like flood your timeline, if you don't pay $8, you're not getting the whole experience. It seems to me between that and the things he does, which people just don't like and make your timeline more toxic, it's going to be even tough to keep what he has now, let alone build up to that billion, which would make it a successful enterprise. How do you answer that? Anthony Scaramucci: It's one or the other, right? He's either a cockroach, where he's going to survive the nuclear blast or these types of things. So, I'm just saying to me, maybe he's just an upsetting cockroach. You know, ultimately, you know, what you're looking at is a short-term window of the Elon Musk behavior as owner of Twitter. And I'm saying to you, if you look at Elon Musk's past behavior, as owner of SpaceX and Tesla, there were near death experiences of both those great companies. And he was able to figure it out and execute bold and grand visionary strategies for those companies. The question before us right now: is Elon Musk killing Twitter? And I'm saying Elon Musk may be hurting Twitter in the short term, but I think long term, if you look at his management skill set and his capability, he is going to regrow and create great vibrancy in Twitter. I'm saying three things. I'm saying that the business is incredibly durable. I cede that to Kara that it's smaller than he would like it to be, but it's incredibly durable. Number two, it's very relevant. We're already talking about 2024. And number three, his track record is such that I do not want to bet against him. And I believe he's going to create this free intellectual marketplace of ideas that's growing and very vibrant. It may not become the 'super app' that he wants, but I bet it could become a 'Superboy-ish' app, as opposed to a 'Superman-ish' app, and I'm betting on him. John Donvan: Want to bring in Monica Melton also to jump in with a question and can you tell folks who you are and go for it? Monica Melton: Hi, everyone. I'm Monica Melton, a senior tech editor at Insider Business, formerly Business Insider. Kara, you nicely laid out how Twitter may be killing Elon. While Anthony, you mentioned Elon sort of leveraging relationships to propel himself after 2008. But do either you think Elon's reputation not only as a techno king, but as a businessperson in general is being irreparably harmed by the chaos he's created at Twitter? How does he realistically come back from this moment? Kara Swisher: Well, I don't think anyone's irreparably harmed in this society, honestly. I mean, look, Bill Gates used to be Darth Vader, and now he's the biggest giver of philanthropy. I think people can recover their reputation. And there's a whole lot of forgiveness around certain business behavior. I mean, there's certain people that aren't– Harvey Weinstein's not coming back, but lots of people can, so I don't think it's irreparable. I just think that why do it? You know, he sort of styled himself after Iron Man, right? That's what he was trying to go for here. And I think that's a very pleasant way to think of him. And I think a lot of stuff he's done, as I've said, time and again, is visionary and really interesting. That said, there's something happening here there's something– some demons that follow this guy that he has to create controversy and contrarianism just for the sake of it. And I don't know his personal life. I don't know what's going on. But one of the people I interviewed who worked for him, Yoel Roth, said it was– when you deal with them 90% of the time, it used to be very reasonable. And I think Anthony's right, it was very reasonable and interesting and sometimes odd things, he'd say odd things off the top of his head. And then 10% of it was really quite mad, like angry for no reason, overly sensitive to criticism. That part seems to have grown enormously. Unless it's all a performative act, and the other parts seem to have died down. I wish he had just stuck with the part that made him that way. He was the one most capable of doing this. And what he's doing now makes no sense to me, and it's turned his brand into something that's really unattractive. It's having impact on Tesla. It's having impact on lots of things. John Donvan: I have to call for time, we're gonna wrap up this round. I want to thank Steven and Monica, for joining us in the conversation. In our final round, you each get 90 seconds to summarize your position or move it forward on why you're a Yes or why you're a No. Anthony, I'm going to let you go first. You're the No on the question of whether Elon Musk is killing Twitter. So take 90 seconds, please. Anthony Scaramucci: Well, you know, I'll probably take less than 90 seconds, because I think I've made my points and I'll make three last ones. We'll be looking at Twitter for the 2024 election, we certainly will be looking at what candidates are writing on Twitter. And we'll be looking for what journalists are potentially reporting or getting out onto Twitter first, because that seems to be a medium of delivery for journalists that are trying to break stories. Number two, I do believe Elon Musk is a very successful and very effective executor and manager. And despite his current erraticism, I think he's going to self-correct. And I think he's going to find his way to making that 'Twitterverse,' if you will, better. And the last point, I think it's the most important point, you can call it the 'cockroach theory' or whatever you want to call it.   This is a durable business; it may be smaller than he wants it to be. But it's a durable business, and it can take a lot of hits before it quote unquote, gets killed off. So Elon Musk is not killing Twitter. If anything, we'll be looking at Twitter, in the 2024 presidential election. Kara Swisher: I'm sure we'll be looking at that. I think the politicians will be the last people out the door, to turn out the lights there. They enjoy, they're narcissistic, and they get to yell at each other. It's a perfect medium for that. The question is, 'is it an actually good product?' And it is not as good a product as it was. And they have no signs of showing anything that's valuable to a vast majority of people, except for political journalists and politicians. And increasingly, celebrities are coming off of it. Journalists that don't have anything to do with politics are coming off of it. It's become somewhat of an amusement. Now it's become a more toxic amusement, it's like sort of watching stuff that– or eating stuff that isn't very good for you, at some point, you sort of feel sick, doing it. He's got to make it a great product. That's the only way out of this as it is with most things. If it's not a great product, it, like all the other bad products, will die as every other tech product has died over time. We're not using all those things because either something better came along, or the product just wasn't as good, it wasn't as enjoyable, wasn't as relevant. You have to be relevant to a vast amount of people to be successful. And when you say you can't do that? Whatever you think of the Chinese ownership of Tiktok, it's an incredibly enjoyable product. It's really fun to use. It's addictive. It's interesting, it's creative, and he's got to do those things. Instead, he wastes his time in some sort of weird personal vendetta against himself. That's really what's so sad about it, is that, you know, I sometimes feel like that he just– I feel like some days, he just needs a hug, so he could stop doing this and actually make something beautiful. He has done in the past. He's absolutely capable of it. I'm not so sure media is as easy as building a rocket. I know it sounds crazy. But he's got to really stop the nonsense and make a product that's worth it to people and worth paying for. It's a very basic thing of capitalism. This is not about wokeism. This is not about the mind virus and all these other tiresome, petty grievances against people, it's about making a great product and making a product that people want to pay for or use in some way that's enjoyable to them. And it's as easy as that. And so, and by the way, tech is the young eats its old. What's coming next is what's going to be the cool thing, not Twitter. Twitter's had enough lives. And we'll see if he can transform for a little while longer, but it's not going to be much longer. John Donvan: And that concludes our debate. And not only did I really, really enjoy this conversation, but the way that the two of you conducted it totally embodies what we aim for when we do these debates, the fact that the two of you could disagree, and still be so, not just respectful, but amicable with one another. We appreciate that you did homework on this and that you came and you actually listened to one another. So, thank you very much for being part of this debate with us. Anthony Scaramucci: Well, it's an honor to be here, John. Kara Swisher: Thank you. John Donvan: Thank you for tuning into this episode of Intelligence Squared, made possible by a generous grant from the Laura and Gary Lauder Venture Philanthropy Fund. As a nonprofit, our work to combat extreme polarization through civil and respectful debate is generously funded by listeners like you, the Rosenkrantz Foundation and friends of Intelligence Squared. Robert Rosencrantz is our chairman. Clea Conner is CEO. David Ariosto is head of editorial, Julia Melfi, Shea O'Meara, and Marlette Sandoval are our producers. Damon Whitmore is our radio producer, and I'm your host, John Donvan. We'll see you next time. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity. Please excuse any errors......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 20th, 2023

Avian Flu Is Crushing Farmers

Avian Flu Is Crushing Farmers Authored by Salena Zito via The Epoch Times, The public’s pocketbooks have been hit hard by the skyrocketing cost of eggs in the last few months. Prices have doubled and, in some places, tripled over what they cost a year ago—if you can even find them in your local grocery store. The average cost of a dozen eggs in the United States is over $4.25, more than twice what it was just a year ago. Options such as cage-free eggs or organic go for over $7. Inflation is a part of the reason, but the agriculture industry says the bigger cause is the outbreak of the avian flu here in the United States a year ago; nationwide, it has affected nearly 60 million birds—nearly 5 million of them here in Pennsylvania. American consumers love their eggs. The food staple is highly regarded by every walk of life for its simplicity and accessibility; for some families, it is their major source of protein. For others, it is the most important ingredient in baking and the central element in preparing casseroles, pasta, and numerous other dishes. For many of us, it is hard to make a meal without an egg, so of course consumers are deeply affected by this. However, there is another side of that story that we are not examining. That is the equally devastating economic impact this is having on American poultry farmers and all of those who work with them. Their lives, livelihoods, and family legacies have been upended and even destroyed by the avian flu, a worldwide outbreak that shows no signs of subsiding. Stopping the spread of avian flu is like chasing a ghost. The virus spreads easily through wild birds—in particular migratory birds that fly across the country, spreading it along the way with droppings that infect farm animals. Farmers have to take drastic measures. Any interaction with the public is risky. And if even one bird is infected within a 6-mile radius of where an outbreak has occurred, the consequences can be devastating. Chris Pierce, a member of a multiple-generation poultry farm family and president of the poultry management group Heritage Poultry in Annville, said he works with 120 poultry farms in Pennsylvania with management services that provide veterinarian nutritionists to assist the health and productivity of the farmer’s flocks that they service. “The biosecurity measures all of the farmers infected or not, like not having visitors on your properties—covering your workers from head to toe in bio suits and constantly and meticulously disinfecting equipment, clothing, buildings, walls, tires—is expensive and mind-numbing,” he said. “Even the simplest thing such as a fertilizer truck or a delivery from UPS or Amazon or your children’s school bus can track the disease onto a farm and destroy their flocks, their income and their family’s legacy.” “We’ve lost two of our family farms out of the 120 with the avian influenza in April of 2022,” he said. “If you are an area poultry farmer, your focus is on keeping birds healthy and caring for them because the birds cannot care for themselves. So that involves making sure all of the equipment in the barns, the feeders, the water system, the ventilation, the lighting systems is all safe because as an egg farmer, your No. 1 priority is the health and safety of your birds. It’s your income.” Pierce says those are the things a poultry farmer can control. “When a disease you cannot control hits your farm, like the avian influenza, that can happen when there are 30,000 snow geese flying over your farm that have feces coming out. That’s when the uncertainty starts to unravel their lives and livelihoods,” he said. Pierce also points to neighbors’ bird feeders and bird baths or homesteaders or families who purchase chickens to save money who don’t take the same stringent precautions as farmers do. These can inadvertently become a spreading source of the avian flu. Pierce said having to isolate from everyone has devastated many of these farmers who rely on community and social gatherings such as church services, school functions, and festivals as part of their emotional well-being. The measures these farmers take are so drastic that many of them refuse to leave their farms for fear of picking up a particle on the tread of their tires or their shoes and then bringing it back to their farms and infecting their flocks. “Then there is this constant fear and really a sense of hopelessness that despite all of the precautions, all of the economic and emotional toll, all of the hardships that this epidemic has had on poultry farmers, even more birds are going to die this upcoming season,” Pierce said. Pierce is correct to be worried about the isolation, uncertainty, and fear that farmers are experiencing. These emotional impacts are rarely discussed in the farming community and in our culture, even though farmers and ranchers are nearly twice as likely to die by suicide as any other occupation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pierce said farmers are always affected by things that are out of their hands. “The weather, politics, global markets, commodities, trade, and the whims of newest food fad that influences the American consumer,” he explained. “The avian flu just adds to that uncertainty.” For the first time in recent memory, poultry farmers in Pennsylvania, of which there are thousands, were not featured at the Pennsylvania Farm Show because of the deep precaution that local poultry farmers took to keep their flocks free of infection. Chris Herr is the executive director of PennAg Industries, the trade group that represents over 500 agribusinesses and farms across Pennsylvania. He said he spent several days as a volunteer late last year euthanizing poultry whose farm had been infected. “It takes a toll on you, having to senselessly kill these birds,” he said, adding that he has spoken to several farm families who don’t know if they can take another year of this. “The emotional impact of this isn’t just the killing of the poultry; it is also not being able to leave your farm. You know that fear is gripping to someone who understands that one trip to the store in town and a dropping from a migrant bird or something airborne might infect your entire livelihood.” Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro (D-Pa.) was recently touring the massive Pennsylvania Farm Show with his newly named agriculture secretary, Russell Redding, a holdover from the Wolf administration. Both men said the issue remained a top priority heading into the new governor’s administration. “There is the cost to the consumer, which is a big concern, but there is also the concerns of our poultry farmers that we our making our priority,” said Shapiro. Pierce said that Redding, along with the state legislature, did a phenomenal job last Spring. “What they did and the challenges they had were handled very well. I am concerned as we head into what looks to be yet another year of this avian influenza this spring—can they do it again?” said Pierce. This spring, the flu is expected to maintain its intensity across Pennsylvania. Indeed, Pierce mentioned that 20 percent of the testing done on the eggs in this country were conducted in the state’s labs. “Our state is the No. 1 state in the country in USDA organic poultry,” Herr said. “This is an important industry, and it’s a point of pride for a lot of these farmers whose family has been doing this for two, three, four generations.” Pierce says there are thousands of poultry farms in Pennsylvania alone. Some are small 30-acre farms; some are much larger. “There are a lot of niche markets in Pennsylvania,” he said. “We need to be able to have all of them communicate with each other. One outlier can take down an entire industry.” Tyler Durden Thu, 01/19/2023 - 16:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 19th, 2023

I flew on Singapore"s mammoth A380 in premium economy to Germany and the service was great, but the seat had one major flaw I couldn"t overlook

Singapore operates the world's second-largest fleet of A380 superjumbos, which feature four cabins – economy, premium economy, business, and first. Taylor Rains/Insider Singapore Airlines operates the second-largest fleet of Airbus A380 jets. I recently flew on the mammoth plane in premium economy from New York to Frankfurt. While I thought the service and food were delicious, I couldn't ignore the subpar headrests. Singapore Airlines is considered one of the best carriers in world.Singapore Airlines A350-900.KITTIKUN YOKSAP/ShutterstockWith a diverse fleet of commercial jets, from the Boeing 737 narrowbody to the giant Airbus A380, the airline connects Singapore to over 75 destinations worldwide.Singapore Airlines Boeing 737-8 aircraftSingapore AirlinesSource: Singapore AirlinesIn fact, the airline operates the world's longest flight on its Airbus A350 workhorse, which journeys nearly 19 hours nonstop between New York-JFK and Singapore.Singapore Airlines Airbus A380.Urbanandsport/NurPhoto/Getty ImagesSingapore prides itself on its high standard of comfort and customer service.Singapore Airlines flight attendants.ROSLAN RAHMAN / Contributor / Getty ImagesIn 2022, the carrier won several awards from airline ranking website Skytrax, including being named the world's best first class and the world's best cabin staff.First-class seating on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, which can be combined with the neighboring suite to create a huge room with a double bed and two loungers.ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images.Source: Skytrax, These are the 20 best airlines in the world, according to one survey of travelers: See the full listConsidering its reputation, I wanted to see if the airline lived up to the hype. Here's what my Singapore A380 flight from New York to Frankfurt in premium economy was like.My flight to Frankfurt was the first of two legs to Singapore. Singapore's routing is a "fifth freedom right," which allows the airline of one nation (Singapore) to transport passengers between two other countries (the US and Germany, in this case.)Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew 19 hours on Emirates from Dubai to New York via Italy and wouldn't hesitate to do it again over the 14-hour non-stop flightI arrived at New York-JFK's Terminal 4 at around 5:15 p.m. for my 8:15 p.m. departure, and I'm glad I arrived early because the check-in line was extremely long.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile I automatically checked in on the app thanks to the airline's unique feature, I still had to retrieve my boarding pass from the ticket counter.According to the airline, an agent needed to verify my passport and confirm my credit card, the latter being a fraud prevention tactic.Taylor Rains/InsiderFortunately, I didn't have to wait too long in line because I was flying in premium economy, which had a dedicated queue.Taylor Rains/InsiderHowever, the economy line — which could see as many as 343 passengers per A380 flight — was overwhelming. I recommend those flying in regular coach to arrive super early to avoid any stress.The line was extended to the back wall of Terminal 4, leaving a gap in between to create a walkway for passengers heading to security.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: SeatGuruCheck-in was relatively simple, though my carry-on bag ended up being over the seven-kilogram (15.4-pound) limit.Taylor Rains/InsiderThis was actually the first time my carry-on bag was weighed by an airline. I found the weight restriction surprisingly low, and it would be difficult to fly to Singapore without checking luggage.Spirit Airlines has checked my carry on bag size, and weighed my checked luggage. But even the low-cost carrier — as well as others like Frontier and Allegiant — hasn't weighed my carry on.Taylor Rains/InsiderBut, I was able to transfer some things to my personal item to get my bag within limits — and then I was off to security.I received both boarding passed for the two legs to Singapore, the first via Frankfurt.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile the regular TSA line was also very long, I was able to bypass it with TSA Pre-Check, which to this day is one of the best investments I've ever made.TSA Pre-Check is only $78 for five years, or $100 if you also want Global Entry.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: CBPAfter killing a little time at an Irish pub, I headed to gate A6 for boarding.Taylor Rains/InsiderBeing a premium economy flyer, I was one of the first groups to board behind the first class suites…A grand staircase led up to the first class suites on the second level.Taylor Rains/InsiderSingapore Airlines' Airbus A380 and its famous first-class suite are leaving NYC — see inside the luxurious cabin…and business class.Taylor Rains/InsiderBoth luxury cabins are located on the superjumbo's second level. Business class passengers can board via a separate jetbridge that connects to the upper door.Two jet bridges upon landing in Frankfurt. There was also a third jetbridge that attached to one of the central boarding doors.Taylor Rains/InsiderPremium economy is located towards the front of the aircraft and features 44 recliners in a 2x4x2 configuration.The first row has more legroom, but the screens are further away and there is no underseat storage.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: SeatGuruMeanwhile, the economy cabin takes up the rest of the plane in a 3x4x3 layout.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: SeatGuruMy ticket was booked about a month before departure, so it was slim pickings when I selected my seat. Fortunately, there was a single window seat available — 34A — which became my temporary home for about seven hours on the trek to Frankfurt.Seat 34A is on the left side of the aircraft if facing towards the front of the plane.Taylor Rains/InsiderI got settled into my seat with the help of the cabin crew who stowed my luggage. The overhead bins are situated high and can be difficult to reach for shorter humans like myself.Taylor Rains/InsiderMy first impression of the seat was very positive. The loungers were big, and the orange and gray color scheme was aesthetically pleasing to the eye.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe seat offers 38 inches of pitch and 19.5 inches of width. So, at only 5'3", I found myself with more than enough legroom and could stretch my legs all the way out with no issue.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: SeatGuruAs I started exploring the full product, I realized the seat offered more than just a lot of space.Premium economy seats H and K on the opposite side of the plane.Taylor Rains/InsiderWaiting for me at my seat was a large pillow and plush blanket…Taylor Rains/Insider…as well as a large water bottle.Taylor Rains/InsiderMoreover, there was a big 13.3-inch flat screen TV loaded with dozens of shows, movies, music, and games…Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: Singapore Airlines…a handheld remote to control the inflight entertainment…Taylor Rains/Insider…a large tray table…Taylor Rains/Insider…a footrest…Taylor Rains/Insider...a legrest...Taylor Rains/Insider..and a deep recline.One of the premium economy seats in the fully reclined position.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe lounger also came with a huge seatback pocket big enough to fit my medicine bag, laptop, and electronics case…Taylor Rains/Insider…noise-canceling headphones…Taylor Rains/Insider…pockets for each passenger's cell phone…Taylor Rains/Insider…as well as a reading light, a universal power outlet, and two USB ports per person — one next to the TV and one behind the armrest.Taylor Rains/InsiderTwo sets of cup holders lie between the seats, one by the armrest and a second by the legrest.Taylor Rains/InsiderI was particularly impressed with the ample storage. There was a small area between the seat and armrest, and space between the seat and fuselage, which is where I stored my linens until I was ready to sleep.The space between the fuselage and the seat in front of me.Taylor Rains/InsiderHowever, I had one major gripe with the premium economy product — the headrests.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile they are supposed to be adjustable, they simply did not fold all the way in to create a full cocoon for my neck.The headrest only folded in about 50-60 degrees, rather than folding fully perpendicular to the seat.Taylor Rains/InsiderIt's possible it was a malfunction with my specific seat, or simply because the seat is so wide that my head has to lean further to reach the wing.A representative showing me how to fold the wings in during my tour in April.Taylor Rains/InsiderRegardless, this made sleeping much more difficult, and the large gap between the seat and the fuselage made it hard to rest my head that way as well.Taylor Rains/InsiderIn fact, after flying economy on the second leg to Singapore, I found I slept better because the headrests folded all the way in and my neck felt supported.The economy right headrest wing is folded nearly all the way here. The seats in economy are narrower, so it's possible the smaller space made my neck feel more cozy and cradled compared to premium economy's wide seat.Taylor Rains/InsiderNevertheless, premium economy shined over regular economy in about every other area, particularly the added amenities and perks.Taylor Rains/InsiderAbout 10 minutes after takeoff — which was right on time — the cabin crew came around with nuts, as well as drinks like champagne, orange juice, water, wine, and beer.Taylor Rains/InsiderI thought this was speedy, excellent service, and a great appetizer before dinner.The view out the window during takeoff.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe first meal was served about 30 minutes into the flight, and there were three options: a beef dish, chicken fried rice, and prawns — I chose the latter.Taylor Rains/InsiderI got my food very quickly because I pre-ordered on the app, which was more convenient than waiting for the galley cart to get to my row.The orzo salad with chicken served with the prawns.Taylor Rains/InsiderOverall, I thought the main dish was delicious. It also felt like a unique food for an airline to serve.Taylor Rains/InsiderMy meal also came with an orzo salad, bread and butter, cheese, crackers, and a drink.Taylor Rains/InsiderFor dessert, we were given vanilla ice cream. However, I'll admit it was still frozen when served and I had to wait a while before I could eat it.Taylor Rains/InsiderThroughout the meal, the flight attendants were prompt with their service, regularly collecting trash and refilling cups.Nice silver cutlery was served with dinner.Taylor Rains/InsiderAfter dinner, I propped my legs up, reclined my seat, and put on a movie as I fell asleep. I liked that the TV adjusts out so travelers can still see the screen when the seat in front is fully reclined.Taylor Rains/InsiderI slept on and off for about two hours before waking up for the second meal service, which was about one hour before landing. We were given a choice of pizza or a chicken sandwich with honey mustard.Taylor Rains/InsiderI tried the pizza, which was tasty. But, after the big dinner and my body still being on New York time, I didn't have much of an appetite for the heavy options. Personally, I'd prefer something lighter like what most airlines serve as breakfast on a red-eye flight, like yogurt.Taylor Rains/InsiderGranted, Antony McNeil, Singapore's food and beverage director, told Insider that the carrier's meals are designed to make passengers feel fuller for longer — and it clearly works.Singapore’s global food & beverage director, Antony McNeil.Taylor Rains/InsiderI spent the rest of the flight watching a movie and using the inflight WiFi. The service is complimentary for KrisFlyer members in both premium and regular economy.Taylor Rains/InsiderSource: Singapore AirlinesI also visited the lavatory before landing, which was one of the nicest ones I've ever seen, with wood-like finishings…Taylor Rains/Insider…and a full-body mirror.Taylor Rains/InsiderOverall, I enjoyed my experience on Singapore. The seat was plush, the food was good, the crew members were friendly, and the flight was on time.Premium economy curtain separating the cabin from regular economy.Taylor Rains/InsiderThough, I can't ignore the issue with the headrest. It's a little detail, but it made the difference as I would prefer a good headset over a legrest and footrest.Taylor Rains/InsiderI think if Singapore can fix this issue, then premium economy would be nearly perfect.Taylor Rains/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 13th, 2023

Donald Trump"s longtime money man, Allen Weisselberg, quickly gets coveted cot in "safest place" at Rikers

The Trump Organization's ex-CFO breezed through intake at Rikers. His new digs allow hot pots for 'home' cooking, an expert says. A security fence surrounds Rikers Island correctional facility in New York, left. Allen Weisselberg, longtime CFO at former president Donald Trump's business, the Trump Organization, at his payroll tax-fraud sentencing in Manhattan on January 10, 2023, right.Jeenah Moon/AP, left. Curtis Means/DailyMail/AP, right. Former Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg breezed through intake at NYC's infamous Rikers jail.  He is now in what one expert called the "safest and nicest" unit in Rikers. Weisselberg can use a hot pot to heat commissary soup and will likely get a kitchen job. Donald Trump's former CFO has quickly snagged a coveted cot in what one expert calls the best unit in New York City's infamous Rikers Island jail complex.Allen Weisselberg was sentenced Tuesday to five months at Rikers for running a complex and lengthy payroll-tax fraud scheme at the former president's company."He's in the safest and the nicest area to serve in Rikers," jail-reform advocate Five Mualimmak-Ak said of Weisselberg's new digs in the complex's West Facility. Weisselberg's speedy assignment to the unit was announced Wednesday morning on the city Department of Correction website.The West Facility houses only Rikers inmates serving sentences of under one year, Mualimmak-Ak said.Weisselberg, 75, will have no contact with Rikers' more dangerous general jail population, which includes detainees awaiting trial for murder and other serious violent crimes.Advocates and journalists have documented rampant violence and understaffing at the jail, with the New York Times reporting that gangs have forced inmates to participate in "fight nights."Weisselberg, 75, will live at West Facility in either a small, individual cell or in a dorm, Mualimmak-Ak said. Its inmates are considered so trustworthy and non-violent, they are allowed to share a hot pot, used to heat water for coffee, tea, and soup mix from the commissary, he said."In any other unit that hot water would be a weapon," he explained.A dorm in the West Facility of Rikers, where the ex-CFO of Donald Trump's real-estate company is serving 5 months for masterminding a decade-long payroll tax-fraud scheme.Five Mualimmak-Ak/InsiderThe former Trump Organization executive breezed through intake and was assigned housing well within 24 hours of Tuesday's tax-dodge sentencing in state court in Manhattan, the correction website shows.Intake more typically takes days, and sometimes as long as a week, Mualimmak-Ak said.A Department of Correction spokesperson declined to give any details of Weisselberg's admission process or housing assignment.During intake on Tuesday, Weisselberg, 75, was fingerprinted, received a medical exam, and filled out paperwork at a separate facility, the Eric M. Taylor Center, according to a source familiar with Weisselberg's movements."He was processed relatively quickly," compared to other inmates and detainees, said the source, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about his case.The West Facility is constructed of high-tech plastic fabric stretched over aluminum frames, according to the DOC website.An exterior shot of the West Facility, new home at Rikers jail for Allen Weisselberg, longtime CFO for former President Donald Trump.Five Mualimmak-Ak/InsiderBuilt in 1991, it's one of the newest buildings at the complex, the website says.If he stays in that unit, Weisselberg will serve out his 5-month sentence — 100 days with good behavior — in what's known by inmates as "the bubbles—" modular buildings built by the Utah-based Sprung corporation.Like all inmates there to serve a sentence, Weisselberg will be required to work, most likely in the West Facility's kitchen or bakery, said Mualimmak-Ak, who in 2021 helped advocate against long-term solitary confinement at city jails."It's a smart move for correction to place him there," said Mualimmak-Ak, who works as program director for LIFE Camp, a city-based nonprofit that helps young people and families impacted by violence."He won't be sleeping next to somebody who's facing 25-to-life for murder." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 11th, 2023

How anti-abortion activists, corporate bigwigs and conflicted parties co-opted a little-known society to buy priceless access to the Supreme Court

Joining the board of trustees of the Supreme Court Historical Society provides priceless access to justices -- at a surprisingly affordable rate. Rachel Mendelson/InsiderHow anti-abortion activists, corporate bigwigs, and conflicted parties co-opted a little-known society to buy priceless access to the Supreme CourtIn late 2000, the Supreme Court Historical Society was in dire straits. Founded by Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1974 to preserve artifacts and support scholarship related to the court's history, the small, stodgy nonprofit had taken stock of its finances and found a yawning gap between its ambitions and its means. Its president at the time, Leon Silverman, a former assistant deputy United States attorney general, announced in the group's quarterly newsletter that things needed to change. He wrote that the society needed "to place substantial and immediate emphasis on its Annual Fund campaign and should consider adding a corporate sponsor program with assistance from corporate officers on the Society's Board of Trustees" to "identify sympathetic corporate and foundation donors." Going forward, he added, the society would select new trustees for its board of directors largely based on their ability to provide "financial support" for the organization. Before Silverman raised the alarm, the society hadn't attracted much attention — or money — from people outside the legal profession, Insider's review of the nonprofit's trustees throughout the 1990s found. Most of its donors were legal-history buffs and aging philanthropists.But it wasn't long before new faces started showing up at society events and board meetings.In 2003, the Ohio real-estate developer Don Wright joined the board of trustees. In 2007, so did Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza. By 2010, they were joined by the GOP megadonor Harlan Crow, the son of the real-estate magnate Trammell Crow. These new members were part of a wave of right-wing ideologues, corporate representatives, and wealthy conservative power brokers who flocked to the Supreme Court Historical Society over the past two decades, Insider's analysis found, using the little-known group to gain unprecedented access to one of the most elusive and secretive judicial bodies on the planet. The donors leveraged relatively small sums of cash into privileged face time with the very Supreme Court justices who were in some instances deciding cases to which their companies or affiliated advocacy organizations were parties.An analysis of the society's donors published by The New York Times in late December identified at least $6.4 million in donations since 2003 coming from groups or individuals that argued cases before the court. (The Times had previously reported that one donor, the anti-abortion activist Rob Schenck, claimed to have used the society to infiltrate Justice Samuel Alito's inner circle and gain access to information about a pending decision.)Insider's investigation into nearly three decades' worth of Supreme Court Historical Society records found that the extensive network of donors and trustees with vested interests before the court was rife with right-wing religious activists and corporations. In exchange for as little as a few thousand dollars in contributions to the nonprofit, these people received easy access to events where Supreme Court justices would be. Among the new donors were Monaghan, the founder of a stable of nonprofits and political action committees advocating against abortion access, including one that was a party to a case before the Supreme Court last year; Jay Sekulow, a longtime member of President Donald Trump's personal legal team; Sidney Powell, the attorney who's promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory; and Crow, the scion of a real-estate fortune who in 2009 gave $500,000 to a conservative consulting firm founded by the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas.Supreme Court Historical society trustee Jay Sekulow, center, represented President Trump during the latter's impeachment trial in 2020.OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty ImagesNeither the historical society nor the Supreme Court responded to questions and requests for comment sent with detailed descriptions of Insider's reporting. But in interviews with Insider, people close to the historical society argued that the nonprofit's influence pales in comparison to better-known avenues of access to Supreme Court justices. Alumni of the law schools at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and New York University, for instance, can attend events with justices sometimes several times a year.Others disputed that schmoozing with justices at society events could be an avenue for influence. "I can't imagine anyone trying to gain any insight or any special favors through the historical society," said Chuck Dietz, the former general counsel of the Fortune 500 manufacturing company 3M. Dietz served as a trustee from 1991 through the early 2000s and was listed as a major donor in a society newsletter in 2021. Getting time with a justice, he said, meant that "you visit, you small-talk, that's it." Four other people close to the society echoed the view that the nonprofit's events would be an unlikely way to grow close to the justices. The US Supreme Court is seen behind fences in Washington, DC, on May 11, 2022.Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty ImagesAn in for ideologues, at an affordable priceBut if Supreme Court justices are intended to be above the political fray and carry a noble air of inaccessibility, the historical society offered partisan activists such as Wright, Monaghan, and Crow an inroad at a surprisingly affordable price. Less than $10,000, two recent trustees said, could ultimately earn a donor a spot on the board. Wright, Monaghan, and Crow have had ideological interests in the decisions of the court. They shared a history of conservative activism and have been major donors to right-wing Christian causes. In many instances, they have called for the Supreme Court justices to take an expansive view of religious liberties that would limit abortion access and enshrine Christian values in government. Monaghan, the octogenarian pizza magnate, has founded a slew of right-wing nonprofits dedicated to ending legal abortion. One of the groups he founded, the Thomas More Law Center, has filed dozens of amicus briefs on cases pertaining to abortion access, the separation of church and state, and marriage equality — including at least four while Monaghan served as a trustee between 2007 and 2013. Thomas More Law Center has also been a named party in two cases seeking a hearing before the Supreme Court. The court declined to hear one of the cases, which challenged the Affordable Care Act, in 2011. In the other, in 2021, the court sided with the law center and a group funded by the Koch brothers in saying that states could not compel nonprofits to reveal their donors. Neither Monaghan nor the law center responded to requests for comment.Anti-abortion advocates cheer in front of the Supreme Court after the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was announced in 2014. The decision, holding that family-owned corporations could not be required to pay for employees' contraceptive healthcare, was widely seen as a victory for the Christian right.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesCrow, the Texan megadonor who owns a formidable collection of statues of dictators, is best known for his close friendship with Justice Thomas — a friendship that has at times seemed to be fueled by Crow's largesse. Crow spent millions to build a museum in Thomas' hometown, a project said to be close to the justice's heart. In 2009, Crow gave Thomas' wife, Ginni, $500,000 to start a lobbying group linked to the Tea Party.Crow is a major backer of libertarian think tanks and political action committees. A cofounder of the anti-tax Club for Growth, he is also on the board of the American Enterprise Institute, which has offered backing to legal efforts aimed at overturning provisions of the Voting Rights Act and affirmative action, including two cases that will be decided by the court in the coming term. Crow did not respond to a request for commentSchenck said in testimony before Congress last month that Wright, who died in 2020, was one of the people who infiltrated the society under Schenck's direction. (Schenck did not respond to requests for comment.) Wright and his wife, Gayle, grew so close to Alito, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas through their involvement with the historical society that they hosted the justices for vacation getaways, went on hunting trips, and privately ate meals together.Schenck has said that at a dinner in 2014, Alito told the Wrights about the court's decision in a consequential case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, before it became public. (The New York Times reported in November that it had seen documents corroborating Schenck's account of the dinner.) The case, codifying that employers could decline to cover health plans that included birth control, was widely seen as a victory for the religious right.Alito and Gayle Wright have denied that the justice ever shared information about a pending case. Alito did not respond to a request for comment on his involvement in the Supreme Court Historical Society. Gayle Wright could not be reached by phone or email, and messages left with her real-estate-development company went unanswered. While Don Wright was a trustee, Faith and Liberty, Schenck's religious nonprofit that for years was known as Faith and Action, had a stake in numerous cases before the court. Another trustee and Schenck ally, the personal-injury lawyer Bernard Reese, submitted seven briefs to the court on behalf of Faith and Liberty, arguing against abortion rights and in favor of prayer and religious monuments in public institutions. Reese died in 2021. Schenck did not respond to requests for comment.Selling access is the 'entire fundraising model'Though Wright, Monaghan, and Crow were some of the clearest examples of the new wave of right-wing ideologues who joined the society, they were hardly alone. While the society itself avoided partisanship and included left-leaning trustees and Democratic administration alumni, it increasingly attracted trustees whose proximity to the judges could represent conflicts of interest.The society's enabling of donors with pending business before the court to mingle with justices is "ethically risky," said Gabe Roth, a judicial-reform advocate who serves as the executive director of Fix the Court. Though the society may have started as "a mutual-benefit society with a fun lecture circuit," he said, it has transformed "to something potentially nefarious." Do you have a tip or insight to share? Contact reporter Katherine Long via phone or the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-206-375-9280), or at klong@insider.com. Contact reporter Jack Newsham via Signal (+1-314-971-1627), or at jnewsham@insider.com.The slow infiltration of the historical society may have been especially pernicious in part because of the group's low profile and stodgy reputation. "Court personnel assumed the society properly vetted its trustees," Schenck testified last month before Congress, saying he hoped his operatives' "status as trustees might assuage suspicions about" their motives.Donald Sherman, the senior vice president and chief counsel for the left-leaning government-accountability nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, described selling access to Supreme Court justices as the historical society's "entire fundraising model." Top society donors, such as far-right Christian attorney Kelly Shackelford, receive awards ceremonially presented by Supreme Court Justices at the nonprofit's annual dinner.Supreme Court Historical SocietyThe society prints photos in its quarterly newsletter of justices handing out awards to top donors — then asks for donations. Justices attend nearly every one of the society's events: its annual dinner, held in the capacious marble entryway to the Supreme Court's chambers; its fundraising gala at the Plaza Hotel in New York; its lecture series; and its less formal discussion groups. Leon Silverman, who was the society's president for 11 years, said in one newsletter that the justices' "attendance at these events gives members an opportunity to meet them in a relatively informal setting."Insider did not find evidence that the society's benefactors discussed pending cases with justices at society events. Whether that took place, though, is immaterial, advocates for judicial transparency say. As the society's wealthy trustees and donors — many of whom have business before the court — wine and dine justices, opportunities for conflicts proliferate. Supreme Court justices are not governed by the same ethics and transparency standards that apply to lower courts and are not required to recuse themselves from ruling in a case where they have a conflict of interest. That means justices can rule on these cases without the public or the opposing party in the case ever knowing about their conflicts.That lack of transparency explains how a quaint nonprofit with an earnest mission can easily become "a thinly veiled effort by interested parties to inappropriately influence the justices," Sherman said. "You don't have to scratch too hard beneath the surface to understand how actual conflicts can arise."An unusual level of accessAt a rally in front of the Supreme Court last summer to celebrate the Court's overturning of Roe v Wade, a YouTube livestreamer attending the event asked the anti-abortion crusader Peggy Nienaber a question."You actually pray with the Supreme Court justices?" the livestreamer said."I do," Nienaber, an employee of the right-wing public-interest law firm Liberty Counsel, replied. "They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them."In the just-released majority opinion, Justice Samuel Alito had cited a legal brief written by Liberty Counsel in support of eliminating the federal right to legal abortion. Rolling Stone described how Nienaber had prayed with Alito, Scalia, and Thomas — sometimes in their chambers. Nienaber did not respond to requests for comment.Peggy Nienaber, second from right, seen here praying on the steps of the Supreme Court in 2007 after the court upheld a ban on partial-birth abortion, has said she prayed with justices in their chambers.Jonathan Ernst/Getty ImagesThe revelation that an employee of a conservative activist group with an interest in a case pending before the court had such intimate access to the justices sparked newfound interest in the Supreme Court's murky ethical boundaries.The relationship between Liberty Counsel and the justices doesn't end with Nienaber. Liberty Counsel's founder, Mat Staver, has been on the board of the Supreme Court Historical Society since at least 2008, issues of the society's newsletter indicate. Nienaber does not appear to be a member.In an email to Insider, Staver said he had not attended a society event since "at least 2019." (The society moved most of its programming online between 2020 and 2022 because of the coronavirus pandemic.) "Being a member of the Society is not at all about influencing the Justices," Staver said. Liberty Counsel brought a case that appeared before the Supreme Court last year. In a 9-0 decision, the court sided with the religious nonprofit that Boston had erred when it refused to allow a Christian group to fly a flag with a cross on it from a City Hall flagpole.Louis Virelli, a professor at Stetson University's law school who wrote a book about Supreme Court recusals, said the Liberty Counsel case presented the clearest example he'd seen in his career of a conflict of interest at the high court.Even if a justice didn't talk about anything related to that case, Virelli said, Liberty Counsel was "clearly interested" and "several members of the organization spent intimate, private time with justices" while they were deliberating whether to rescind a federally recognized right to an abortion.He said that if, as Schenck has alleged, the Supreme Court Historical Society were to enable members such as the Wrights to host justices for private dinners and lavish getaways while the court decides cases in which their groups have a vested interest, that would create "a very serious concern about the justices' ability to remain impartial."A foothold for the Christian rightOther conservative public-interest attorneys arguing high-profile religious-liberties cases have gained a foothold on the society's board of trustees in the past two decades.Jay Sekulow, who in 2019 represented Trump before the Supreme Court in the president's failed bid to keep his tax filings out of the reach of New York's attorney general, became a trustee in 2003. Sekulow, the director of the conservative legal organization the American Center for Law and Justice, has argued more than a dozen cases before the Supreme Court, largely with the aim of expanding religious groups' abilities to pray, proselytize, and protest in public places. Sekulow did not respond to requests for comment.In 2003, Sekulow and Joe Moderow, then the general counsel of UPS, used the weight of their organizations' lobbying arms to convince Congress to mint a commemorative coin in honor of former Chief Justice John Marshall. A portion of the coin's sales, roughly $2.5 million, went to the historical society.Justice Clarence Thomas, right, and wife Ginni Thomas, shown here arriving for a 2019 state dinner at the White House, are entangled with several trustees of the Supreme Court Historical Society.AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyAnother trustee, Kelly Shackelford, the founder of the Christian legal firm First Liberty Institute, has successfully represented clients before the Supreme Court, such as in the case in which the court ruled last summer that a Maine law prohibiting the use of public funds to pay for religious schools was unconstitutional. Shackelford also represented the Washington State football coach Joe Kennedy in a 2021 case where the court ruled that public-school employees have the right to pray during school sports activities on school grounds.In an email to Insider, Shackelford disputed that being a society trustee afforded access to justices. The society supports "a good cause," he said, describing Insider's reporting as "baseless innuendo."Another co-counsel on the Kennedy case was also a society trustee: Paul Clement, the star litigator and former solicitor general who famously quit two white-shoe law firms rather than stop defending the gun industry or the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned federal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples. Clement did not respond to a request for comment.Shackelford also sits on the board of the Center for National Policy Action, an influential right-wing nonprofit whose members include old-guard Republicans, Tea Party activists, and ardent Trump backers. After the 2020 presidential election, CNP Action called on its members, including leaders of the National Rifle Association and the Federalist Society, to pressure lawmakers into challenging the election results and appointing alternate slates of electors.Also on CNP Action's nine-person board: Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas. (Shackelford said he never attended a board meeting with her.)!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 7th, 2023

Transcript: Charlie Ellis

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Charlie Ellis on Vanguard’s Rules of Investing is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters… Read More The post Transcript: Charlie Ellis appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Charlie Ellis on Vanguard’s Rules of Investing is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, what can I say? Charlie Ellis is a legend in the world of finance, whether it was at Greenwich Associates, or as chair of the Yale endowment, or a board member at Vanguard. He has seen pretty much everything in the world of investing. His career spans the entire modern era dating back to, you know, the Paul Volcker era, and what took place during the boom periods of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and how technology has changed the world of investing. He’s just one of these people who is so thoughtful and insightful about everything. It’s just always a pleasure to chat with him. I found our discussion to be absolutely fascinating, and I think you will also. With no further ado, my conversation with Greenwich Associates’ Charlie Ellis. The last time we spoke, we really were talking about the retirement crisis, and we spent a little bit of time discussing Vanguard. But this new book is so interesting and so filled with details that only an insider can have. Let’s delve into it a little bit. Tell us what first led you to Vanguard. How did you get involved with them? CHARLIE ELLIS, FOUNDER AND FORMER MANAGING PARTNER, GREENWICH ASSOCIATES: Well, it started a long time ago, 1966, I was working with a securities firm in New York, and Wellington was a client in Philadelphia. And I would go down to Philadelphia and meet with John Neff, Jack Bogle and the others, and I got convinced that these were very bright and interesting people doing interesting things. But old Wellington was not really a great and interesting place. It was a balanced portfolio. The assets were going down year by year by year. As people said, you know, it’s just out of date, I’m going to get a performance fund. I’m going to beat the market. These guys will never get out of the slow that they’re in. But still, there was something special about Jack and John. So — RITHOLTZ: The irony of that is in 1966, hey, we were about to start, you know, a long period of equity underperformance. You would have guessed, had you known that a balanced fund, the stock and bond portfolio was going to do a lot better than just the pure stock funds over the next 16 years. ELLIS: That’s the way the world works. Just when you least expect it, something goes in a different direction. I’ve really liked the guys. When Jack said he was going to be leaving after the merger made in heaven, with the Boston group, Jack, you really are stretching it. This is a very unlikely proposition. You’ve got less than 30 people working with you. You’re in charge of the back office activities. That’s an activity you never ever personally enjoyed at all. You always assigned that to somebody else. And he would say to me, don’t worry about it. Jim Reid (ph), he’s going to take responsibility for that. RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: I don’t have to do it. You’re not allowed to do anything in investment management, and then allow it to do anything in sales. The mutual fund business is all about sales and investing. What are you going to do? And the answer was, I’m going to hang in there and find a way to make this thing work. RITHOLTZ: And the fascinating story is the argument that he concocted around indexing, first, it’s not investment management because, hey, we’re not making any decisions. We’re just buying all the stocks in the index. And second, there’s no sales. People are going to come to us. So therefore, this is outside of the deal he cut with the folks at Wellington. ELLIS: Right. And it was just barely enough over a period of several months to convince his board of directors it’s okay to do that. RITHOLTZ: And he just kind of skated through. They barely approved it. ELLIS: Very close run. But Jack was a very argumentative, persuasive, always had the facts supporting whatever case like a really good litigating lawyer. He was always able to make his own case very, very, very well. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about that initial fund. The plan was to do an IPO to raise $200 million in new client assets for the funds. How much did they end up actually raising? ELLIS: This is the first index fund. RITHOLTZ: The first index fund? ELLIS: It’s a very interesting story. Going to raise a pretty serious amount of money, it was very hard to get Wall Street to agree to do the underwriting. And then it was really hard to get salespeople in the various cities to say, yeah, I’m going to pitch this to my clients for a very good reason. Everybody knew in those days, the purpose of investment management is to beat the market. Everybody understood that was the game. So you’re looking for a manager who’s going to beat the market. Everybody talked that way. And here’s a guy coming along, saying, hey, I got a really good idea for you. I’m not going to beat the market. Jack would have argued, well, wait a minute. 75% of the active funds are underperforming what they said they were going to do. If I meet the market, match it, I’m going to beat most of them. I’ll be in the top quartile as a consequence. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But Jack, you’re going to charge a sales load of 8% on this index fund, so people’s first day are 8% behind the market, how are they ever going to catch up with the market? Don’t let that bother you. We’ll find a way to make it work out. But that was a killer, and people would look at him and say, straight faced, I’m not going to go to my clients and say, go into this investment opportunity, you’re guaranteed to be behind the market for the rest of the time that you hold on to it. RITHOLTZ: Now, some of the data that Jack had showed that the active managers, all of whom were high fee, not even counting the fees after a period of time, the vast majority, some 95%, lag the market. And then once you work the fees and after 10 or 15 years, they’re way behind the market. Why did it take so long for that concept to be recognized by investors? ELLIS: We’re all governed by our beliefs, and beliefs are much more powerful than data. And as we’ve seen in politics, as we’ll see in all kinds of other subject areas, what people believed is what drives them to their behavior and decisions. Don’t bother me with the facts, is a reality of human beings. So if you’re fact-based, you got to be prepared for people to say, you’re crazy, that doesn’t make any sense. I know what’s right. RITHOLTZ: And when you look back to the 1970s and ‘80s, you know, we’ve taken for granted how much data is available today, how easy it is for us to access historical returns for various indices versus inflation, versus dividends, versus everything. That technology and that information wasn’t all that readily available 40, 50 years ago. ELLIS: What do you mean it wasn’t readily available? It wasn’t available, period. I mean, we go back a little bit of personal history. I was privileged to have the responsibility for representing Greenwich Associates consulting with Wall Street firms. The smartest people on Wall Street in terms of picking up an understanding, this is really good information, I can really put it to work. John Whitehead at Goldman Sachs, who was unbelievably demanding and rigorous as a client, but I loved working for him because he always took everything very, very seriously. And there’s one other person, Mike Bloomberg at Salomon Brothers, and Mike took the information and convert it into decisions on a regular basis. That put him in a very strong position competitively, but it also proved to him the value of having good hard information. And you can’t deny, anybody can have good hard information and not use it. He was really good at using it. And that’s characteristic of why he’s been so extraordinary and as successful as years and years and years later. RITHOLTZ: So all of this is really fascinating. What made you 19 books and decide to say, hey, you know, it’s time to tell the inside story of Vanguard, what led you to saying now’s the time? ELLIS: I was a director of Vanguard. I had worked with Vanguard as a strategy consultant before being a director. And I was deeply convinced that this was for almost any American investor, the right way to do your investing. And that it was low cost, yup; high value, yup; reliably delivered in a systematic way. And that looking at it as a director, it seemed to me very, very clear that Vanguard was way underestimated by almost everybody. The clients of Vanguard underestimated how good a deal they were really getting. People who weren’t clients of Vanguard were crazy not to know what the facts were. They can make their own decision, but they should know at least what the facts are. Here’s a better way of being able to get good investment, guidance and information. And as a director, I said, you know, I think we really are making a big mistake not to make it clear to our own people how good a deal they’re getting. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, you know, everything about Vanguard as an organization is modesty, and particularly with Jack Brennan, who was very much, Mr. Modesty, and it just didn’t take off. And then after I left the board, Jack and I were both advisors to a very, very large investment fund, and so it gave me an opportunity to make the pitch to him one more time. And he said, you know, I think you’re right. I think this would be good for investors. I said, but Jack, it’s going to be good for Vanguard too. He said, yeah, but it’s really good for investors. So let’s go ahead. RITHOLTZ: So I like the concept of Vanguard’s culture as unique in the world of finance, low cost, high integrity. And tell us a little bit about the Vanguard culture. ELLIS: Well, it starts with one very simple proposition, nobody is making a profit. Every other investment organization got a problem that somebody is taking money out of the pot every day, every month, every year as a profit. That’s the American way. It’s a good incentive. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But here’s a group who’s highly motivated, they’re doing all kinds of leadership things, and nobody is taking a profit. Everybody who’s an investor in Vanguard is an owner of Vanguard. The only owners of Vanguard are the investors in Vanguard. So it’s a nice tight little situation where you eat your own cooking and you’re doing what’s really right because it’s what’s really right for everybody. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So given how the world has changed over the past few decades, have you noticed any changes in the culture at Vanguard over that period? ELLIS: Honestly, no. It’s astonishing. It’s still Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts gathered together every day to do — as they like to say, to do the right thing. And that’s the only metric by which they make a judgement. What’s the right thing to do for our investor clients? Because it’s their shop and we’re here to do the right thing for them. RITHOLTZ: So when we look around at the world of low cost indexes, they’re all pretty much the same. They’re cheap. They tend to hold almost identical portfolios. What makes the Vanguard version of this so different? How does Vanguard brand itself in what is essentially a commodity product? ELLIS: It’s really fascinating, essentially, a commodity product. If you have a client, they will understand and appreciate. They get good service, not fabulous service, but good service at low cost, on a very unreliable basis. And there’s a group of people who are working full time to protect them from anything dumb or getting conned. Not bad. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about the enigma that is Jack Bogle. He spent the first 25 years of his career on the active side of the street. It seems like it’s almost a coincidence that Vanguard was even launched. Tell us about that. ELLIS: A lot of different ways you’d commit to answer your question. First, Jack engineered what was supposed to be the great merger made in heaven, combining old fashioned Wellington with all of the integrity that it might have had in days gone by, heavy sales load, heavy on sales activities, not so good on investing, combined with a hot ticket group in Boston. And it looked like that would be a winning proposition for everybody. Only problem, culture, personality, way of thinking, way of doing business. Jack always wanted to have complete control of everything. The guy said the Thorndike, Doran, Paine & Lewis Partnership, which is now the core of modern Wellington, believed deeply in a consensus development as friends talking things out, figuring out together what’s the best thing to do, take a long term point of view. The two cultures did not mix. And Jack insisted on his culture being dominant because that was key to his personality. And that made it worse, not better. And then he insisted more on having it his way, and that made it even worse. And so, finally, they got to the point of saying you have to go. RITHOLTZ: And essentially, they deposed him. They tossed out the king, eventually winning a vote at a board level where he was removed from Wellington, the investment firm. But Jack had a clever backdoor way around it. He was still a participant and part of the board, where there were numerous independent directors. And the way the mutual fund industry is set up, the administration of the funds and the management of the investments are two different creatures. So he was able to stay with the admin side. Tell us a little bit about that. ELLIS: You’ve said such a nice job of summarizing it, there’s almost nothing to say other than you got it exactly right. RITHOLTZ: Oh, I got a couple of chapters just on that. ELLIS: Jack Bogle understood that the directors had certain kinds of power that could not be taken away. And they were because of the SEC and the whole concept of regulation of mutual fund industry, representatives of the investors in the mutual funds. That was a very strong base. And so, legally, the directors were responsible for figuring out what to do about investing, then the directors were responsible for figuring out what to do about sales. That’s legally. That’s not the way it actually worked. The way it actually worked is the directors did exactly what they were told by the management company, because otherwise they wouldn’t get the very nice fees that they were getting and they wouldn’t have the privilege of coming to the meetings, and so on and so on. RITHOLTZ: All the directors were buddies of the folks running the investment. ELLIS: Why else would you choose one? RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: Obedient directors, friends of the firm, all this sort of stuff, it’s really not a nice part of the history. It’s very different today. But 25, 30 years ago, it was a different world. So Jack had worked out that the directors would have responsibility for making the final decision on things that were important enough so that they had some real gravitas and some real strength. And he had a very close relationship with several of the directors. And several of the directors had a high regard for Jack as a man of integrity, and so they were very strong in support for him. Guys like Chuck Root for an example. He was the head of TF&C, the actuarial firm, and a really distinguished talent in the Philadelphia business community. And basically thought that Jack was good guy with strong intentions, and maybe too strong a personality sometimes, but a good guy for the long run, and was clear going to support him. And Jack had similar relationships with people who give him support, just enough so that he could get the vote on his side for things that had to do with administration. Interesting phenomenon. One of the guys said he was most focused on getting to be sure that he would get the right support, management consultant named Warden who was doing some terrific work for European companies, trying to understand American business after the Second World War, and built up a very nice franchise. He died and if he hadn’t died, the vote might have — RITHOLTZ: The night before the vote. ELLIS: If it hadn’t happened that way, vote might have gone the other way, so that close. Jack won by marginal vote, the right to be able to do the administration. What a win. You think about Pyrrhic victories, what a win. Let me just be sure I understand this. I’m Jack Bogle. The one thing I don’t care about at all, have no interest in whatsoever is fund administration. RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: That’s my sole business. And I’m going to have less than 30 people working with me. And the crowd of funds that I’m managing are basically going downhill because redemptions are larger than new sales. That’s not much to start with, but — RITHOLTZ: Not at all. ELLIS: — you’ve got to understand at the start, there’s a magic missing ingredient. Jack’s ability to be ferociously angry and beautifully articulate for any case he ever wanted to make was a major competitive factor. And then a couple of things were lucky breaks, money market funds came out and you could charge 1% on a money market fund, which is a lot to charge for something. This is plain vanilla on some money market fund. But a money market fund was sure to be a winner compared to the bank CDs that were limited by regulation to 5% interest. Then Paul Volcker was driving the interest rates up to 8%, 10%, 12%, even 14% on money market instruments. All you had to do as a money market fund manager is buying the standard stuff, Treasury bills, commercial paper and the like. You could put together a portfolio that’s producing a very high income, and the banks that had all the money were limited to that 5.5%. So then when they float out of the banks into the mutual funds, and Vanguard made itself obvious choice by having slightly lower fees, and then lower fees, and then lower fees as their assets built up. So they had low fees for an identical product. Then you don’t have to be that smart to figure out, hey, wait a minute, these are identical products — RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: — and one is low cost, why not? RITHOLTZ: Why not? So let’s also talk about what was then thought of as a fairly radical concept, neutralizing the mutual funds business. Tell us a little bit about that idea, where instead of being profit-driven, the profits would eventually flow back to the owners, the investors in the funds, through lower fees. ELLIS: Well, you just said beautifully. RITHOLTZ: Well, you know, I’ve been — ELLIS: The proposition. RITHOLTZ: I’ve been educated with this book, so it’s deep in my thought process. ELLIS: And you know, once you get 2 and 2 is 4, it’s easy to remember and put to work. But the secret here over and over and over again is ferocious drive to not fail, which was Jack, ferocious drive to be recognized as Mr. Wonderful, which was a very important part of Jack Bogle all through his career, but — RITHOLTZ: Saint Jack. ELLIS: — to get more and more and more important as he got deeper into Vanguard. Those two phenomena show up over and over and over again. RITHOLTZ: So given how successful the mutualization was, why didn’t any other asset managers copy the structure? It seems like — ELLIS: Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, what’s the American way? I start a business to make a profit. If I do a good job, people will come to my business. I’ll get bigger, I’ll make more profits. So I do a good job, I keep getting more. And it’s a positive cycle. Okay. What would attract anybody to get into a business where you do a really good job and you break even? You do a really, really good job for years and you breakeven. You do a really, really, really good job for year after year after year for all kinds of people, and you breakeven. You mean you never ever make a profit? That’s right. You never ever make a profit. Well, what’s in it for me? RITHOLTZ: Well, you — ELLIS: And that is a stopper for almost everybody who starts a business. If you can’t make a profit, why in the world would you get going? RITHOLTZ: Well — ELLIS: It goes back to Adam Smith and all the way through since then. RITHOLTZ: You do end up achieving a certain size where there are economies of scale, and you pay yourself a very nice salary. Hey, maybe you don’t go public, maybe you don’t sell the firm. But you sleep at night and you know you’re doing the right thing for your clients. There’s got to be some appeal for that. ELLIS: Now you’re getting to why is the culture at Vanguard so steadily the same and why do people at Vanguard enjoy being where they are? First, they really like doing a good job and doing the right thing in doing a good job. It’s amazing. People really do like being honest. People really do like delivering good value. People really do like doing a great job for other people as customers. And particularly if you make clear, when you join Vanguard, you’re never going to get rich. It is not going to happen. So if that’s the main item on your agenda, go somewhere else. And there are plenty of places as Wall Street, where they’ll say you want to get rich? Come here. So if you don’t want to get rich, but you do want to do something you’re proud of every day, with a group of people who are just like you, proud of what they’re doing. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, pretty soon you start to say, you know, there’s something to this, maybe being a Jesuit is not all that bad an idea. Then pretty soon, you start finding, hey, wait a minute, this works. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about not just Jack Bogle, but the era and the team he assembled that was so crucial to Vanguard’s success. Tell us a little bit about how this, you know, 1927 Yankees came together. ELLIS: Great question. First, Jack was a man with a mission. And if you spent time with him, you could be infected with that sense of mission and purpose. And if that rang the bell for what you wanted to do with your working career, it was almost magic because there wasn’t very much competition from other people doing things in the investment world. Secondly, this was a man of tremendous conviction about what was going to be the right thing to do. Sometimes that worked very much at the advantage of Vanguard. There were some times when it worked just the other way and it was a real negative, but decisive. Whichever way, it was characteristic of Jack. As a personality, he could put on the charm in a way in which almost anybody would melt. And then, of course, there were hard-hitting times when he was absolutely determined that everybody was going to do this or that. You were already onboard and you sort of say, well, you take the good with the bad, we can work this one out, so on and so on. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. Tell us a little bit about Jack Brennan, the man who succeeded Bogle as the second CEO of Vanguard. He’s really quite a fascinating character. ELLIS: Well, he had a terrific impact. And if you look at the impact in terms of assets under management, what Bogle did in his time, Brennan did 10 times as much in his time — RITHOLTZ: Wow. ELLIS: — 10 times as much. And he did it by putting together a team of other people, empowering them to be strong and effective of what they were doing. Then it goes back to a couple of different root factors; Boston, Irish, Catholic, training. His dad was told by his guidance counselor in high school, no kid, you’re not going to become a mechanic. You’re going to go to school because you’re too good and too smart to stop your life right at this, graduating from high school. You’re going to college. And that was a breakthrough. And Jack’s father became a consequential banker in the Boston area. But he always stayed clear to his basic roots. Jack Brennan grows up as a son of that kind of straightforward guy, and becomes a very, very straightforward guy himself. The second characteristic is he was a very good athlete, and he was very good at lacrosse in particular. And one day his kids were asking him, well, Dad, were you the highest scorer? He said, that’s not the right question. What do you mean, Dad? They gave him a copy of the Dartmouth Indian, the student newspaper, Brennan 28 assists — RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: — 8 goals. He said it’s not whether you score, it’s whether your team scores. RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: And that’s Jack Brennan all the way through. He’s all about bringing the team forward. As he said himself, being famous is not on my agenda. RITHOLTZ: Right. Right. ELLIS: And it’s very clear. Most people have never heard of Jack Brennan. He’s probably the most important person in the development of Vanguard as an organization. RITHOLTZ: That’s quite a statement. I don’t disagree, but I don’t think most people are aware how he professionalized Vanguard, how he brought in a huge team of people. But he also found all sorts of both cost savings and growth that as good as Bogle was, it was just outside of his expertise. ELLIS: Yeah. And what Jack Bogle always said, I’m a small company guy. And Jack Brennan understood to be the really right Vanguard in the future, you’re going to have to be a big organization. Second, you’re going to have to have a lot of computing power because technology is the secret to keeping costs low, low, low in the long run. Jack Bogle would say over and over again, computers are too damn expensive. And he was right on the day that you buy them, but if you can only think of them as that moment — RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: — you’re not going to be able to get a payoff. If you think of them as going on for 5 years or 10 years and going to use them as tools to bring the cost of the operation down, it’s a completely different answer. And so Jack Brennan was absolutely key to the whole idea of using technology, particularly computers, and moving in advancement to that direction. Second thing is he’s very good at distributing responsibility and hiring in outstanding individuals to do in a quiet way, the things that needed to get done. So shift from one person to a team, and the team has got maybe a dozen key players on it. Then you get something that’s got tremendous capacity to manage a larger and larger organization which Vanguard had to become in order to get the economic power that it has today. RITHOLTZ: Right, to keep driving costs lower. So Brennan and Bogle were very close. Eventually to Brennan’s dismay, the relationship fell apart. Tell us a little bit about that episode. ELLIS: Well, easy analogy would be father and son, older guy, younger guy, Mr. Outside Jack Bogle, Mr. Inside Jack Brennan. So long as that was the working relationship, things were great. But Jack Bogle always thought of Vanguard as my company. And when you have a possessive view like that, you can talk yourself into making serious mistakes. He had agreed with Jim Rabe (ph) way back when that the longest that anybody ought to work at Vanguard would be maybe till 70. So let’s have 70 be our retirement age. They get closer and closer and closer to it, and Jack Bogle said, well, yeah, but it doesn’t apply to the chairman. It doesn’t apply to me. It can’t be really the right thing in the board of director. He said, no, it really is the right thing. In fact, the company has already gone past your skill set. RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: And Jack Brennan has got the skill set, and he’s proving it over and over and over again. We want to make that change in a very clear way. I don’t want to make that change. Then Jack Bogle really, really resisted it. Finally, it turned out he was deeply upset about not having made a fortune the way Ned Johnson had made a fortune at Fidelity. So they gave him a substantial settlement to leave with good behavior and a great opportunity for him to start Bogle Research, which turned out to be a marvelous success for Jack Bogle and for people who are paying attention in that direction, but take him out of the controls position on Vanguard, so it could basically grow in its natural way as a major phenomenon. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about John Neff, another name that made a huge difference early on, doesn’t really get talked about all that much. Tell us what he did and why he was so pivotal to Vanguard’s success. ELLIS: People don’t talk about John Neff today. But in the ‘60s and the ‘70s and the ‘80s, people talked about John Neff because he had the best record of any mutual fund manager in the country. RITHOLTZ: Wow. ELLIS: And you could argue that one of the great managers at Capital Group had an even better record, but Capital broke up the funds into multiple different portfolio managers, so it was not public. But among the public recorded, John Neff had the best performance over the long term. Wow. Does that make a difference when you’re looking at year after year after year after year? With some exceptions sometimes for two or three years, but over any long-term investment, he had the best record of anybody in the investment business. RITHOLTZ: What about Gus Sauter? He was the first chief investment officer at Vanguard Group, highly regarded. Tell us a little bit about his contributions. ELLIS: A terrific quant with a great deal of modesty and a wonderful ability to think things through. And Gus Sauter was critical to development of the ETF business, and critical to the development of the indexing business and the capacity to manage with the quantitative group, substantial fractions of the actively managed portfolios because he could replicate what an active manager might do. And one of his quiet, soft spoken, it’s not about me, it’s about the interesting work that my team is doing; the team builder and just terrific technology understander, who was able to put things together in a way that was really wonderful. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned how important Jack Brennan was. Let’s talk a little bit about Bill McNabb. He was running Vanguard right in the heart of the financial crisis. He’s the one who basically told all the crew members, hey, nobody is getting fired, just get on the phone, speak to the clients, and don’t worry about your jobs. We’re all safe. Tell us a bit about his decision-making and how important he was not just during the financial crisis, but, you know, I think Vanguard was about $800 billion pre crisis. And now, it’s 10x. It’s $8 trillion. Tell us a little bit about what Bill McNabb brought to the table. ELLIS: The secret to Bill McNabb is modesty, competence and discipline. And if you look at how would you understand that, think of him as he was for many, many years, a rower. In crew, there are no fabulous individual performers. It’s all about how the whole group of eight people rose simultaneously to a level of perfection. And if they get it really, really right, perform in a way that you can’t match. And that’s what Bill McNabb was all about, is disciplined, steady, reliable performance. And aw-shucks personality on the outside, but Mr. Trustworthy on the inside, and everybody knew he was the kind of solid citizen that you would like to have your sister marry, or you’d like to have your mother marry, or you’d like to have your daughter marry, one of those things. He’s just Mr. Good guy. And while every other firm in the investment business was cutting costs because the market was down and looked like it was going to go down a lot, he said, no, we’re not going to cut costs at all. Nobody is losing their job. We’re all going to stay here together because the number of customers is not going down. It’s just that the profitability of the business is going down, and we are not a profit-minded organization. We’re a service-minded organization. We’re all about the customers because they are owners, that we’re going to stay right steady on through. And that made a terrific impact internally. But of course, it also meant that they had a wonderfully strong organization coming out of the financial crisis and that was a big help too. RITHOLTZ: Yeah, perfectly positioned. Tell us about Charlie Root, what was his role as an advisor and a board member. ELLIS: He was the head of the major actuarial consulting firm in Philadelphia, very disciplined thinker, and an organizationally-minded person, and one of those people that you’d love to have as a director of your corporation. Unfortunately, shortly after some of the most important decisions, he was cleaning out the gutters in his home and the ladder he had climbed up to the gutters on, started to slip a little bit to the side. RITHOLTZ: Uh-oh. ELLIS: And I’m afraid that has caused his death. And it was a real loss to Vanguard and a real loss to the Philadelphia community. RITHOLTZ: There’s one person I really have to ask about and that’s you. You were a director of Vanguard for over a decade. You were a strategy consultant. Tell us about how you felt your role was and what your contributions were during that era. ELLIS: In all fairness, I have to feel — RITHOLTZ: Look at you, you’re blushing. I can’t believe this. ELLIS: I really enjoyed being a director. We didn’t get paid very much. I have to admit the food that we were served at meals was really pretty crummy. But it was all part of the keep the cost down, keep the cost down attitude. Management was so candid and so open with us as directors. It was a privilege to be working with them. And it didn’t hurt that I was sitting side by side with Burt Malkiel, who is one of those outstanding people in the investments world. And Burt has just turned 90. RITHOLTZ: Wow. ELLIS: And his great book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, has just come out with a new, very considerably updated version. And to sit with him and to realize, on item after item after item, Burton and I agreed, Burton and I agreed, Burton and I agreed. So it was a wonderful privilege and opportunity to be able to be candid, direct, blunt spoken, and to have a really capable guy sitting right beside you, I think you’re on the right track, keep going, keep going. And to have a management team that was so glad to hear what we had to say, even when it might be really in disagreement with them or might be slightly in disagreement with them, they’d love to having the candor coming from the outside. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about the current state of Vanguard. But I have to preface it with Jack Bogle’s CMH, not EMH, not the efficient market hypothesis, but the costs matter hypothesis, which really dates back to his Princeton thesis. It wasn’t so much about active versus passive, it was about expensive versus inexpensive. Tell us a little bit about how that impacted the development at Vanguard. ELLIS: First, you got to understand that Jack Bogle was a master of the personality franchise development business. When nobody else gave a damn about becoming clearly identified in a very specific way, Jack cared greatly about that. And it goes back to when he likes to tell the story on himself, at least did tell the story on himself whether he likes it or not. When he was in school, he came in second in his academic performance. And he went around to each one of his teachers, pleading with them to really examine and modify his grade so he could come in first. He wanted to be the valedictorian, not the salutatorian. Now, why would he care so much about that? It is not the be all and end all of the world. It’s because of his personality. Something deep inside him drove him to always enhance things, make things look better, make things look better, make things look better. And so all the way through the story of Vanguard, you’ll find Jack Bogle doing things or saying things to make the record look much more positive about what he contributed than the reality. And one of the awkwardness is the franchise building was done so beautifully, so consistently, so skillfully by a master of that craft, that it’s still 20 years later, 30 years later, carries on. And most people if you ask them, when you think of Vanguard, who do you think of? Bang, they’ve got it. Well, Jack Bogle was terribly important to the starting. Nobody could have started the organization without being Jack Bogle, partly angry, partly talent, partly skills of various particular characteristics, one of which was building the personal franchise. Nobody could have started Vanguard. But if Jack Bogle had stayed in control, it would never have become the organization it is today. It would be substantially smaller. It would be deeply outclassed by people who use automation to make their offering a better and more effective proposition. And we wouldn’t see the Vanguard that’s been developed since then. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about that Vanguard, very huge in ETFs, big overseas investing, lots of other things that Vanguard and Bogle didn’t see eye to eye about. How often did the company disagree with its founder? ELLIS: Interesting question, and I’m not sure I could do it in terms of numerical quantitative. But if you look back the concepts that Jack Bogle really believed in, computers, he thought were terribly expensive. That would have been a stopper today. RITHOLTZ: Real, for sure. ELLIS: He couldn’t do it. RITHOLTZ: Right. He really believed in he’s making the decisions. It’s too complicated of a business. There are too many things going on. There are too many different responsibilities for one person to do all of the decision-making. If you look at Vanguard today, you’re looking at a substantial organization that’s going through a substantial transformation towards becoming more of an effective organization, at serving clients’ interests, and doing a better and better job for the people who are already the investor-owners of Vanguard. So they are not making a major commitment internationally. They are not spending a lot of money to build a future business. In other countries, they’re looking for places where the resistance by the banking establishment or the financial establishment in those different countries is more open to non-local competition. But it’s hard to find, very hard to find. They’ve made some changes that we’re keeping up with the times. They’ve got a substantial institutional business. If you’re in the investment business as an institution, you really want to know something about private equity. If Vanguard doesn’t have private equity, that’s going to take them out of the running. So they’ve developed a really interesting joint venture, where they’re able to get access to a very competent private equity investment organization at a very controlled cost. They’re not aiming to be the very best, but second quartile of performance on a reliable basis, with broadly diversified capability. Okay, that will work very nicely. They’re doing the same sort of a change in going towards more and more advice. And anybody who has been in the investment management business, as you have been, looking back on things, you can tell almost everybody would be well-advised to have been more a long-term investor, make fewer choices and decisions, figure out what’s really right for you. And at the same time, you’d recognize that every individual is unique. Nobody is exactly the same. Now, if you look at personality, for example, your eyeglasses, I wear eyeglasses; your shoe size, my shoe size; your shirt sizes, color, size, sleeve length. Pretty soon you realize Barry’s clothes are different from mine because Barry is different from me. And he ought to wear the clothes that are right for him, and I want to wear the clothes that are more right for me. I might get advice from my wife or something on what to wear, but we’re two different guys. RITHOLTZ: We’re actually dressed shockingly similarly with our collared shirts and a blue sweater on top. But doesn’t that kind of raise the point of, well, everybody is different. But everybody needs to save for retirement to pay for their kids’ college, to leave something to the next generation. It shouldn’t vary radically. The broad strokes should all be fairly similar, shouldn’t they? ELLIS: In terms of the macro proposition, you’re exactly right. But everybody is different from everybody else in age, income, wealth, attitude towards life, how many years you want to keep working, things like risk tolerance. RITHOLTZ: Sure. ELLIS: Everybody differs. So it turns out that almost everybody is specifically individually themselves different from somebody else, specifically individually themselves. And as a result, advice to individuals is increasingly obviously a useful part of the total investment proposition. And Vanguard is moving in that direction, and capable probably of more power in a direction that anybody would ever understand or estimate. RITHOLTZ: I read a crazy statistic somewhere, I don’t recall if it was in the book or elsewhere, in the state of Pennsylvania, the certified financial planners, something like 96% of them in the state work for Vanguard. That’s just a crazy number as they’ve pushed into the advisory business and hiring all of these CFPs. ELLIS: They’ve made a major commitment to serving the investor with what they really need. And most people really ought to have a good investment plan, but they don’t. Most people ought to have a clear definition of their long-term purpose as investors, other than I want to do better than the market, or I want to do at least as well as the market, or I want to do well or something vague and general like that. Very hard to get people to be very specific about what do they really, really want to do and why. And if you’ve got a good advisor, you can do a lot to improve on your results by figuring out together, what makes sense to you that’s available in the marketplace, and making the right decisions of what’s available and realistic as opposed to dreams that may or may not come true. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about two areas that are a little controversial. One is the thought that as indexing became more and more appealing and attracted more and more assets, Jack Bogle was a little concerned about oligopoly, about potential any trust issues. At what size is passive or indexing too large? ELLIS: I think it’s a wonderful question. But if you don’t mind, I’m going to say it’s the wrong question. RITHOLTZ: Okay. ELLIS: The right question is when will active investors say to themselves, as the professionals, the people who are making their living as active investors, say to themselves, I think I’m going to get a different career? I think I’m going to leave this business and go in a different direction. At what age will they say to their children, look, it was okay for me in my time, but it’s not a good place for you. Don’t do it, don’t do it. At what point are you going to see fewer people taking courses on investment management at business schools? We’re nowhere near that. RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: We’re putting more people through the learning process of how to be pretty damn good as an analyst through business school courses, and then out into the industry that are coming out of the industry through retirement. And that’s where the market is really controlled for market efficiency, or correct pricing. There’s really smart people. If you go back 50 years ago, there were a small number of people who made their living as analysts, and a small number of people made their living as portfolio managers, maybe as many as 500 people in the world. And today, it’s somewhere between one and a half and 2 million people. RITHOLTZ: Wow. ELLIS: That’s a big change, and there have been lots of other changes. The one that I think is the most powerful, here we are at Bloomberg Radio, think about how many people own a terminal, a Bloomberg terminal that will give you any answer to any question you ever want to ask for the rest of your life within seconds. RITHOLTZ: It’s all data and technology. ELLIS: It’s all over the place. Everybody has computing power in their pocket that is much as a 360, which was IBM’s magical power force 50 years ago. And everybody has access to the Internet and it’s instantaneous communication worldwide. And thank goodness, we speak the English language because that’s the language of investing worldwide. But it means that there’s a huge transformation that’s taking place, and it has made the markets more and more skillful at finding the right price. But makes it harder for active managers. And as you and I’ve talked about before, active managers underperform the chosen segment of the market they went after. And now, we’re somewhere between 85% and 90% of active managers fall short of their intention. And when they fall short, they often get desperate and fall very short by Hail Mary passes and other kinds of dramatic efforts. RITHOLTZ: The paradox of skill is the better the professionals get; it becomes increasingly harder to even beat the market. So that’s quite fascinating. One other question that’s a little controversial, we’ve seen some pushback to ESG, environmental, social, governance investing and the voting of proxies. How does an entity like Vanguard manage these issues on behalf of their huge 30 million clients and their $8 trillion in assets? ELLIS: Very simple. They do what you would like to. If you were a corporate executive, what would you like to have your shareholders do? Pay attention to the votes, be quite consistent about always voting. And as you know, most people don’t vote at all. And then many institutional investors say, it’s not our decision to make because we’re on behalf of others. So your very best client, if you’re a corporate executive, best shareholder is to be somebody who is in it for the long run. And if you’re a Vanguard and indexing, you’re in it permanently for the long, long, long run, cares about certain basic principles and they do, and they advertise what those principles are. For example, they believe that a board of directors should have an incentive in the company stock. They’re very strong to have diversification of personality and background. Okay, fine. Those are pretty much straightforward things. Nobody would have any trouble with that. Yeah. And they’re very much in favor of certain kinds of incentives, but not others. And most people look at and say, yeah, those are the right things to be in favor of. So it’s one after another after another items where Vanguard and State Street, and BlackRock are all three in agreement, basically, that good governance is an important characteristic of a board of directors, and they really want to see that going. What is it that you wouldn’t like about the way in which the voting is done? It’s a terrifically powerful answer. What wouldn’t you like? And there is nothing that you wouldn’t like. Now, is it possible that a group could quietly somehow skillfully get together and agree, let’s do something that’s really not going to be right for our investors? Yeah, you could say mechanically, it’s possible. But there’s Canada for an example, it’s a country right next to one of the most powerful military organization, nations in the world. Are the Canadians afraid the Americans are going to attack again? Of course not. In fact, we cooperate in our activities. RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: Yeah. Okay. What would happen if somebody at any one of the indexing leaders were to do something that was not quite Boy Scout/Girl Scout right down the line? They get called out. I think they’d called out. Would it be the newspapers? Yes. Would it be on Bloomberg Radio? Yes. Would you have an interview with somebody who had called them out? Yes. One of those perfectly marvelous situations where you’re forced to do what you damn well want to do. RITHOLTZ: State Street, Vanguard, BlackRock, they all have pretty good businesses. Why would you want to mess with that? Really, really fascinating stuff, Charlie. Let’s jump to some of our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests. And I want to start with the last time I saw you was before the pandemic, what have you been doing during the pandemic? And tell us what what’s been keeping you entertained. ELLIS: Well, part of the entertainment value is that our children, our daughter and her husband and their two kids under 5 have moved into our house. So we’ve had the privilege of watching little kids again, and I have to tell you that is a dream come true. It’s a lot of fun. Second thing is we have an agreement in our family that we’re worried about the children and COVID. So we don’t do very much at all in the way of travel. And I used to be five days a week get on a train into Manhattan — RITHOLTZ: Right. ELLIS: — as a way of doing business. I’ve been in New York City three times in three years. RITHOLTZ: Wow. ELLIS: It’s really something else. And so I’m delighted to be here today. But in our family, I have to drive in, and then turn around and drive back. Then as you know, the traffic is not all that convenient, and so on and so on. But things like that have been distractions. I’ve enjoyed the privilege — Zoom has made a wonderful difference to my life and I’m sure to most other people, the freedom to be able to do repeat messages and communication in a serious way through Zoom. It’s really been terrific. The third thing is I’ve got a real bee in my bonnet that I want to be able to try to be helpful to people. And so doing investment advice is just as easy for me, located where I am. Once you make the communication contact, it works out fine. And I’ve really enjoyed being able to provide some useful investment advice to individuals as we’re going along. And then the third thing is I’ve been quite active in writing. I’ve written for the Financial Times several different pieces and I’ve written a couple of different books. I’ve got three books in the process of coming out. So have I been busy? Yeah, I’ve been busy. RITHOLTZ: So one of the things I always like to ask people is about their mentors who helped shape your career. ELLIS: Well, the most important person probably is Nellie Walsh, my sixth grade school teacher, who called me on the carpet one day and I was terribly surprised because I thought I was doing just the right thing. And she said, you were wrestling with Peter Neely, weren’t you? Well, I was. But that’s because of I couldn’t get him to stop throwing the snowballs with cinders in with the little kids, and he was picking on the little kids and I didn’t think that was fair. And she said, Charles, she never called me Charlie, always Charles, I think more of you, I expect more of you that you would lower yourself to the likes of Peter Neely. You may go. And ever since then, I’ve been held to a higher account, higher standard, higher expectation in every way to be responsive to Nellie Walsh. And more serious, people in the investment world, Joe Lasser, who was the director of Research at Wertheim, a traditional Wall Street firm. He believed deeply in security analysis, and was a very strong advocate of the CFA program. And so he got me in a training group to take the CFA exam as soon as we could. That was an important breakaway time. Another would be Coyler Crum who was a terrific professor of Investment Management at Harvard Business School. I enjoyed very much working with him. You could argue also, Ben Graham and David Dodd because of their wonderful book, Security Analysis, which was the first affirmation of professionalism in the financial analysis and securities pricing industry. And it really made a big difference to me. One of the great privileges of my life was to work, when I was working in Wall Street, and then working for Greenwich Associates for 30 years, working all day, every day with some of the smartest, most capable people in the world. And they were all involved in investment management. And if any one of them competed, all the others competed, and they all wanted to try to find ways to be better. And they’re all willing to tell you any insights that they had. And they’re all willing to provide a chorus of teachers and guidance in terms of what’s going on in investment management. And for me, that’s really the most important single place for learning that I had, and what a privilege all day, every day, is to be with the smartest people in the room, who are trying to figure out investment management. Then when you add it all together, you realize they’re competing with themselves. And they’re not going to be able to beat each other on a systematic and regular basis, voice that make a big difference to your way of thinking. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned Graham and Dodd, and their books on Security Analysis. Tell us some of your other favorites and what else you’ve been reading more recently. ELLIS: Well, more recently, I have to tell you, I haven’t found a book on investment management that I thought was really compelling. You could argue, no, come on, there is a very recent book. That’s the new edition of an established book, Burton Malkiel’s A Random Walk Down Wall Street. It’s got to be one of the best books that’s ever been written about investment management, and about the markets and how to think about them. A wonderful guy and a wonderful book, and has done so much for so many people. Then if you look at other books that I would like to read, then you tend towards history, biography. and I’m always looking for suggestions of more books to read in that general field because I think you’ll learn so much about the way human beings do things, if you study about them, study about them, and study about them. And so I’m a nut for trying to learn from others. RITHOLTZ: I like the suggestions. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college graduate who is thinking about a career in investment management? ELLIS: Here I have a very strong opinion that you should think very candidly about why you’re interested. We all know for an example, that it’s a very well paid line of work. Most people don’t really appreciate how well paid it is, but it is wonderfully well paid. Secondly, you don’t have to retire at 65. In fact, many people work into their 70s. Many people even work into their 80s. At 85, I’m still working. I have just very wonderful privilege of not having to stop work at some arbitrary date like 65 or 60. Now, that’s a characteristic. When you look at the lifetime compensation of being in the markets all the time and free to pick anytime you want to, to pick a stock individually, that can be for some people, a very attractive characteristic. So if you like to make some substantial financial success, that’s one reason. If that’s your motivation, I think you’re in trouble. Because, yes, of course, you will make a substantial amount of income. But it’s not the most important part of your life. When you get to the end of life and you’re off standing in front of St. Peter at the pearly gates, and he said, well, you had your life, you were very lucky to be born at all. But there you were, and you chose the investment management world. What did you really do during that that you’re proud of? I made a lot of money. That’s not a good answer to a really great question. So be sure that if you’re going into the investment management field, that you know, is it because you want to make a lot of money, or is it because you like the idea of competing all the time with some of the smartest, most hardworking people in the world, which could be a terrific motivator and you could understand, or is it because you want to serve people and help them with what they’re trying to figure out about what they want to accomplish? If you’re the latter group, then you’re going to be in a profession and you will also get paid well, but your compensation will come primarily from being good as a profession. That lasts a lifetime. But you have to be clear about what is your motivation. RITHOLTZ: Really, really very interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world of finance and investing in Wall Street today that you wish you knew 50 or so years ago? ELLIS: Well, you know, it’s pretty obvious in a way, I wish I’ve understood how much change was going to take place in the investment management activity and field. Computers for an example, when I first got started, there were no computers being used — RITHOLTZ: Wow. ELLIS: — or maybe in the back office, but they were clunky kinds of operations. And the idea that there would be the transformation of information worldwide is available to you instantaneously through Mike Bloomberg’s wonderful invention, the terminal, that the Bloomberg Terminal has transformed the world of information gathering. The Internet has transformed the world of information gathering. And as a consequence, the world of investing is now worldwide. And everybody in the world is competing with everybody else in the world in the investment management fields. So I wish I’ve understood how dramatic a change there would be, because it would make a big difference. If you understood that, you’d have the forces of change working for you and you could have made a completely different transformation of life. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. Charlie, thank you for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Charlie Ellis, author of the new book Inside Vanguard: Leadership Secrets From the Company That Continues to Rewrite the Rules of the Investing Business. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of the previous 475 podcasts we’ve done over the past eight years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, wherever you get your favorite podcasts from. Be sure and sign up for my daily reading list at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. You can follow all of the Bloomberg podcasts at podcasts on Twitter. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Justin Milner is my audio engineer. Atika Valbrun is my project manager. Paris Wald is my producer. Sean Russo is my head of Research. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END   ~~~   The post Transcript: Charlie Ellis appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureDec 30th, 2022

At least 17 Republicans are checking out their presidential prospects, diminishing Trump"s shot at getting a free pass for the 2024 nomination

At least 17 Republicans have shown they're interested in the 2024 presidential nomination, even though Trump has already declared he's running. Former President Donald Trump arrives to speak during an event at Mar-a-Lago on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Donald Trump is the only Republican who has made a '24 run official. But many others have been floating the possibility of entering the GOP contest. From Pence to Haley, here's how Republicans are laying the groundwork for presidential runs. It's beginning to look a lot like 2016. Former President Donald Trump is the only Republican so far who has announced a 2024 presidential run, but numerous others are signaling that they're toying with the same idea. They're doing all the things they're supposed to do to test their chances: Visiting early primary states, writing books, showing up on the Sunday shows, campaigning with other Republicans ahead of the 2022 midterms, and weighing in publicly on President Joe Biden's policies — and even Trump's latest controversies. The next step will be hiring teams in Iowa and New Hampshire, Doug Heye, a longtime GOP aide and strategist, told Insider."You have got a stable of people who are essentially putting themselves all in the starting gates and all have their own timetable about when and if they decide to run," he said. December would be a "frustrating month" for political watchers because "no one is going to move that much," said Kristin Davison, vice president and general consultant at Axiom Strategies. But hopefuls would be floating what she called "trial balloons" — in which they publicly raise the prospect of a run to see how donors and the press will react. Whoever seizes the nomination will likely face Biden, though he has yet to formally declare his candidacy. But, Heye said, "it's a real possibility" that the GOP lineup will be large like it was in 2016.The stakes for losing the nomination aren't all bad, even if Republicans might come out of it with an unforgettable Trump nickname. After all, one of the people running for president could end up getting chosen as running mate or get a seat on the new president's Cabinet.And there are other perks to formally seeking the White House, such as raising one's profile and having a better shot at the presidency during a future cycle. Candidates could also wind up selling a lot more books or leave politics to get a prime TV or radio show. "It's a long, difficult process," Heye said, "and you're more likely to lose than not."Trump's legal, political, and personal liabilities have been piling up in the last month, leading many in the GOP to say the party needs not just a fresh face but to be led by a candidate who can actually win. Insider identified 17 people who could seek the Republican nomination in 2024, including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Tim Scott of South Carolina who are up for re-election this cycle and will therefore be in campaign mode anyway. Each will have to effectively answer the "why I'm running for president" question and find their lane in the party — which will inevitably include defining, or redefining, their relationship with Trump. "I don't think you can discount any of them at this point," Heye said. "It's too early to determine who outside of Trump is a frontrunner." Scroll through to see the lawmakers listed here in alphabetical order. Outgoing Rep. Liz Cheney of WyomingRep. Liz Cheney, a Republican of Wyoming, campaigned with Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat of Michigan, at an Evening for Patriotism and Bipartisanship event on November 1, 2022 in East Lansing, Michigan.Bill Pugliano/Getty ImagesCheney, 56, is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and one of Trump's toughest Republican critics.She voted to impeach Trump after the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, and served as vice chair of the House select committee investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.Cheney's actions have come at a cost under the heavy weight of Trump's ire. House Republicans punished her by stripping her of her leadership post, and she lost her US House seat to Trump-backed GOP challenger Harriet Hageman during the state's August primary.But she hasn't been deterred. Cheney said on NBC's "Today" that she would do "whatever it takes" to keep Trump out of the White House in 2024, including "thinking about" running for president herself. "I wouldn't be surprised to see her run for president," Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told Insider in August. Cheney voted with Trump on policy when he was in office, and remains a conservative, telling the Reagan Foundation and Institute in June that she believes "deeply in the policies of limited government, of low taxes, of a strong national defense." But Cheney said she sees a breaking point with the Republican Party, telling the Texas Tribune Festival in September that she would leave the GOP if Trump became the 2024 nominee.This could mean she'd run for president as an Independent. Already, she has shown she's willing to campaign against Republicans who falsely deny that Biden won the 2020 presidential election.This year, Cheney converted her House campaign finance committee into an anti-election denier leadership PAC called The Great Task. The PAC spent $500,000 on a TV ad in Arizona that urged voters to reject Republicans Kari Lake and Mark Finchem, who were running for governor and secretary of state, respectively. During the 2022 midterms, Cheney endorsed incumbent Democratic Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia. Both won their races. "We had to make sure that we prevented election deniers from taking power," she told The Washington Post's Global Women's Summit in November. Many outsiders see long odds for Cheney, though a poll conducted in Utah found she could be a top contender there. Outgoing Rep. Adam Kinzinger of IllinoisRep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol holds a hearing in Washington, DC, on July 21, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteLike Cheney, Kinzinger, 44, has spent much of the last year focused on the January 6 committee and drawing Trump's ire. He's the only other Republican on the House committee investigating the riot, and will be retiring from his seat at the end of this Congress, after six terms. Kinzinger told HuffPost in April that he "would love" to run against Trump for the 2024 GOP nomination, but more for the fun of it than to actually win."Even if he crushed me, like in a primary, to be able to stand up and call out the garbage is just a necessary thing, regardless of who it is," he said. "I think it'd be fun."In a move that could be signaling he's planning on doing just that, Kinzinger in early 2021 launched his anti-election denier leadership PAC, called Country First. Kinzinger sponsored several bills that became law, including measures to prevent opioid addiction and a bill to help veterans with medic training transition to EMT work as civilians. Kinzinger served in the Air Force and remains a pilot in the Air National Guard. Sen. Ted Cruz of TexasSen. Ted Cruz, a Republican of Texas, speaks at a rally for Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker on November 10, 2022 in Canton, Georgia.Megan Varner/Getty ImagesCruz, 51, was the last Republican standing against Trump during the 2016 presidential nomination and had even announced that he'd pick former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate. But Cruz — whom Trump nicknamed "Lyin' Ted" — lost following a nasty primary in which Trump levied highly personal attacks against the senator, including disparaging his wife's looks and falsely suggesting that Cruz's father had something to do with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Once Trump was in office, however, Cruz was one of the president's  biggest defenders. He voted to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania and helped to secure Trump's acquittal in his second impeachment trial. In recent months, Cruz has been spending time in New Hampshire and campaigned with retired football star Herschel Walker in the Georgia Senate runoff. While in the Senate, Cruz led the successful effort to zero out the unpopular fine on the uninsured created by the Affordable Care Act.More recently, Cruz used Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court confirmation hearing to score points for a potential 2024 run, questioning her about school curriculum on race. Before coming to Congress, Cruz was solicitor general in Texas, a role that involves arguing cases before the Supreme Court. When Insider asked whether Trump's latest missteps had provided an opening for him to jump into the 2024 presidential race, Cruz chuckled a bit before laying out what sounded like a near-term agenda. "I think the Senate is the battleground … and I'm going to do everything I can to lead the fight right here," Cruz told Insider before launching into a tirade about his mounting frustration with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision making. He made no specific mention of 2024, but also didn't work in the word "no" anywhere.Cruz told the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas that he'll seek reelection in Texas in 2024 when his term is up, though state law allows him to run for both offices at the same time.Former Gov. Chris Christie of New JerseyFormer New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoChristie, 60, is famously said to have missed his moment for the White House because he didn't run for president when he was getting a lot of attention as New Jersey's governor in 2012, and instead fizzled out in 2016 when faced with Trump and numerous other contenders. But that hasn't stopped him from weighing another go at it. As recently as October, during an appearance on "Real Time with Bill Maher," Christie confirmed that he was considering a 2024 run.  In the last 18 months, Christie has been prominently involved in midterm campaigning and on the same speech circuit as other GOP hopefuls, including the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. He also put out a book in 2021, titled "Republican Rescue: Saving the Party From Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden." Christie served two terms as a Republican governor in a blue state where Democrats controlled the legislature. In that role, he expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and passed bail reform.But he got flak over a handshake with then-President Barack Obama during Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, and was hurt politically after members of his administration created traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge.Christie became a lobbyist in 2020, when he had several healthcare clients but cut ties a year later, according to the lobbying disclosure database, in what could be a sign that he's lining up for a run.   Today, Christie blames Trump for the GOP's losses the last three election cycles and spent months saying Republicans "have to be the party of tomorrow, not the party of yesterday" if they ever want to win another election. His tone on Trump is a stunning turnaround for a man who was one of Trump's closest outside advisors when he was in the White House and was even on the shortlist to be Trump's chief of staff. Christie turned on Trump after January 6, saying the president violated his oath of office. More recently, he told The New York Times that Trump's candidacy was "untenable" and that the former president had had "poor judgement" after he dined at Mar-a-Lago with white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes. He also told the Washington Examiner that Republicans "fail the leadership test" when they don't call out Trump. Gov. Ron DeSantis of FloridaRepublican gubernatorial candidate for Florida Ron DeSantis speaks during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022.Giorgio VIERA / AFP via Getty ImagesDeSantis, 44, has an enviable mantle for the presidency in the Florida governor's office — and he's making the most of it. He famously and unapologetically reopened Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic, before federal health officials said he should. He banned certain teachings on race in workplaces and schools, and flew unsuspecting migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. DeSantis also signed a contentious parental involvement and sex ed bill into law that critics call "Don't Say Gay." Instead of backing down over the outcry, he punished Disney for threatening to repeal it.Then there were the historic tax cuts in Florida with promises of more as well as viral videos bashing what he calls the "corporate media." All of these actions have portrayed the governor as a fighter. That's not the only part of his public persona on display. Often in tow is his beautiful, young family. His former newscaster wife, Florida's first lady Casey DeSantis, has been instrumental in his rise. To the New York Post, pictures of the DeSantis family on Election Night was "DeFuture." Others see a conservative JFK. But the politician DeSantis most often gets compared to is Trump. Numerous news profiles have described DeSantis as "Trump without the baggage," or as a more disciplined Trump. Yet after leaning on Trump during his first gubernatorial victory in 2018, DeSantis showed he could win big on his own, scoring a historic, 20-point victory in Florida in November without Trump's endorsement.As for presidential clues, DeSantis is also out with his first memoir in February: "The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival." During the midterms, he extended goodwill to other Republicans by campaigning with them. Back at home, he raked in a record amount of cash for a gubernatorial race. If the GOP primary were decided today, numerous polls show, DeSantis is the only person that gets close to Trump. DeSantis, a former conservative House member, has not pledged to serve out all four years of his second term. All of that has angered Trump. He has called DeSantis "Ron DeSanctimonious" and threatened to release damaging information about the governor. DeSantis has refused to punch back at Trump publicly, instead blaming the media and saying, "When you're leading, when you're getting things done, you take incoming fire."South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemSouth Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11, 2021.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesNoem, 51, has been on a Trump-related roller coaster ride as of late. In January 2021, the embattled former president tried to get her to primary fellow South Dakota Sen. John Thune, a lawmaker Trump took to calling a RINO (which stands for "Republican in name only") after Thune balked at his baseless claims of election fraud. Noem bowed out of joining Trump's revenge campaign, opting to focus on her own re-election plans. Once 2022 rolled around, she leaned hard into the GOP culture wars, promising voters that she'd bar transgender athletes from participating in women's sports, stamp out any "critical race theory" instruction in local schools, and decimate any "radical political ideologies" that annoyed her evangelical Christian base.Come July, Noem told CNN she'd be "shocked" if Trump tapped her to be his 2024 running mate. But she didn't rule out sliding into the VP slot — or mounting a challenge of her own. Since winning a second term in November, Noem has started taking on bigger foes, including the People's Republic of China. —Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) November 30, 2022 Her state government-wide ban against the use of social media app TikTok scored her fawning interviews on conservative outlets including Fox News and Newsmax, beaming her into the homes of potential admirers who don't happen to reside in the Mount Rushmore State. Noem seems far less enthusiastic about Trump these days, telling reporters that the twice-impeached, scandal-plagued former president isn't Republicans' "best chance" at retaking the White House in 2024. She issued this prediction just days after Trump announced he was running again.  Former UN Ambassador Nikki HaleyFormer UN Ambassador Nikki Haley during a news conference in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, October 26, 2022.Matt Rourke/AP PhotoHaley, 50, has made it clear she's interested in the presidency. At the Republican Jewish Coalition in November, she told the crowd she was thinking about a presidential run "in a serious way" and would announce a decision "soon.""I've won tough primaries and tough general elections," she said. "I've been the underdog every single time. When people underestimate me, it's always fun. But I've never lost an election. And I'm not going to start now." The remarks were a turnaround from Haley's comments last year, when she said she wouldn't run for president if Trump were to seek the White House in 2024. Haley said at a Turning Point USA event that she'd take the winter holidays to make a decision. Early in her career, Haley joined her family's clothing business before leading the National Association of Women Business Owners.She served in the South Carolina House for three terms then was the state's governor for six years. In that time Haley delivered the GOP response to Obama's 2016 State of the Union Address.She pushed for the removal of the confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol after a gunman killed nine Black people at Emanuel Church in Charleston. Also as governor, Haley would not support a bill requiring transgender people to use the restroom that corresponded with the gender on their birth certificate. But in 2021 she wrote a commentary in the National Review saying transgender inclusion in sports was an "attack on women's rights."Haley was UN Ambassador under Trump for two years, and successfully pushed for the US to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and defended Trump's decision to do so.In 2019 she published a memoir, "With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace." Her experiences give her the coveted pairing of having both executive and foreign policy chops, which are often viewed as crucial to the presidency. Aside from Trump and Pence, few other contenders would have such a profile. As a woman of Indian descent, she could also help bring in suburban women voters who graduated from college and expand the GOP coalition among people of color. Her nonprofit group, called Stand for America, Inc., is seen as a campaign in waiting and raised about $8.6 million in 2021, according to Politico. And she founded the Stand for America PAC after her time in the Trump administration. Haley campaigned and fundraised in high-profile races during the 2022 midterms, including in Pennsylvania and Georgia. Haley told the National Republican Committee the day after the January 6 riot that Trump was "badly wrong" in his speech to supporters and that his "actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history." Sen. Josh Hawley of MissouriSenator Josh Hawley (R-MO) speaks during the confirmation hearing for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 22, 2022.JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)Hawley, 42, has reached for the spotlight whenever possible while Congress is in session.From famously saluting the January 6 protestors on the day of the violent siege at the Capitol to holding Brown Jackson's feet to the fire as she raced to join the Supreme Court, the first-term lawmaker works to portray himself as the perennial outsider who's only here to shake things up. He's played up the part by voting to overturn the 2020 election results on behalf of MAGA vote-magnet Trump, butting heads with McConnell on the way the upper chamber is run, and blaming short-sighted leaders for running the party into the ground. "When your 'agenda' is cave to Big Pharma on insulin, cave to Schumer on gun control & Green New Deal ('infrastructure'), and tease changes to Social Security and Medicare, you lose," Hawley, bemoaned on Twitter following a demoralizing midterms performance by flawed GOP candidates, which he blamed on "Washington Republicanism." The potential 2024 contender followed up with some suggestions, floating an alternative vision he said would help "unrig the system."   "What are Republicans actually going to do for working people? How about, to start: tougher tariffs on China, reshore American jobs, open up American energy full throttle, 100k new cops on the street," Hawley, who was also Missouri's former attorney general, tossed out on his social media feed. Asked by Insider about his intentions of formally jumping into the 2024 presidential race, Hawley laughed out loud for a few seconds. "I hope to run for reelection to the Senate in 2024. If the people of Missouri will have me," he said. Nowhere in there did Hawley say "no." Outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan of MarylandGov. Larry Hogan of Maryland.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesEven before the bruising 2022 midterms, Hogan, 66, was warning that Republicans couldn't continue down the path they are on. "I am not about to give up on the Republican party or America," he wrote on Twitter in early December. "None of us can. It's too important."The two-term governor who beat a 2015 cancer scare has been fired up about plotting his next act. Hogan, a centrist Republican, is already making the rounds in early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire. A nonprofit group aligned with him reported raising $2 million in 2021, some of which was spent on "supporter acquisition" and "audience building." And Hogan recently scored some face time with GOP mega donors at this year's Republican Jewish Coalition leadership meeting — mentioning to political reporters covering the event that he and other potential 2024 hopefuls were there because "maybe there's a little blood in the water." Trump was notably absent at the event, but did video-conference in. As governor, Hogan signed a gun control bill into law and has said that while he opposed abortion, he wouldn't move to gut the state's guarantee on reproductive rights. During the COVID-19 pandemic he instituted a statewide mask mandate, then lifted restrictions in May 2021. While he has yet to formally declare a 2024 run, Hogan has begun billing himself as a "commonsense conservative" who GOP voters sick of losing may want to consider."I think there are 10 people who want to be the next Donald Trump, and I think there may be a different lane," Hogan said while stumping in Manchester, New Hampshire, adding, "I'm going to do everything I can to get the country back on track." He cast a write-in vote for Reagan in the 2020 election and called for Trump to be impeached or resign after January 6. Outgoing Gov. Asa Hutchinson of ArkansasArkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson attends the National Governors Association summer meeting, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Portland, Maine.Robert F. Bukaty/AP PhotoHutchinson, 72, hasn't been shy about criticizing Biden or Trump. After Trump's 2024 announcement, he said the former president's "self-indulging message promoting anger has not changed," and also disavowed the Fuentes and Ye meeting at Mar-a-Lago.Hutchinson has taken at least five trips to Iowa through America Strong & Free, the nonprofit of which he's the honorary chairman and spokesperson."I am seriously looking at a run in 2024 because America and the Republican Party are not in the best place," he said in a statement provided to Insider. "I know how to get us back on track both in terms of leadership and facing the challenging issues of border security, increased violent crime and energy inflation." He'll make a decision in January, he told KARK.As governor for the last eight years, he has pushed to make the state a leader in computer science, and signed several tax cuts into law, including lowering the state income tax rate from 7% to 4.9%. Hutchinson also signed bills into law blocking businesses from requiring customers and workers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinations, and blocked state and local officials from obligating masks — a move he later said he regretted. He asked state lawmakers to create a carve-out for schools, but the Arkansas House rejected the proposal. While he signed an abortion ban into law in 2019 that took effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, he said on CNN that he personally believes in exceptions for rape and incest."Many out there appreciate a 'consistent conservative,' even one they don't agree with all the time," Hutchinson told Insider. "I am not interested in the 'outrage of the day,' and I am committed to using my consistent conservative principles to guide me and our nation on important policy decisions." Hutchinson began his government career as a US attorney for the Western District of Arkansas under President Ronald Reagan, then went on to serve in the US House for three terms. President George W. Bush tapped him to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration, after which he served as undersecretary in the Department of Homeland Security. He has criticized Biden on illegal immigration, inflation, student loan forgiveness, and said on CNN that the president's September speech about democracy "singled out a segment of Americans and said basically they're our enemy."Hutchinson also has the distinction of being especially press friendly at a time when numerous Republicans have copied Trump's style of lashing out against journalists. "The media plays an important role in our democracy," Hutchinson told Insider. "I've never shied away from tough questions, and I have always been willing to defend my positions and conservative principles with the hard questions coming from the press."Former Vice President Mike PenceFormer Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition on Friday, November 18, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoPence, 63, has begun to distance himself from his former boss, while also promoting his new book, "So Help Me God." He told ABC's "World News Tonight" that Trump "decided to be part of the problem" by not immediately calling off the insurrectionists during the January 6 riot, after he declined to help invalidate Biden's lawful win. Pence also pushed back against Trump on WVOC in South Carolina after he called for terminating the Constitution, and came out forcefully after Trump had dinner with Fuentes."President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table," he said on November 28. An adviser to the former vice president told Insider that, should Pence decide to run, the team has discussed several policy areas to differentiate himself, including Trump's bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, the First Step Act, and that he'll continue to be "very outspoken on the issue of life."In contrast, Trump didn't mention his three Supreme Court picks when he announced his 2024 presidential run, even though they helped overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that previously guaranteed a national right to abortion. Pence wouldn't have to worry about name ID during a presidential run. Still, his new book and a campaign would allow him to reintroduce himself to voters by talking about his work in the US House and then as governor of Indiana. He already has made numerous trips to early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina. Further, he'll be able to amplify policies that carried his fingerprints during the Trump administration, including his oversight of the US's pandemic response.Pence was a sought-after midterm surrogate, traveling to dozens of states. In May, he went to Georgia to help incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp beat Trump-backed primary challenger David Perdue.Pence's vision for the future of the party is laid out in his Freedom Agenda and Advancing American Freedom, the nonprofit aligned with him that serves as a type of campaign in waiting. The policies include reducing mail-in voting and implementing universal school choice, which allows public education funds to pay for K-12 students to select alternatives to public schools. While Pence didn't testify before the January 6 select committee, his senior aides including former chief of staff Marc Short and legal advisor J. Michael Luttig walked investigators through some of the scenarios that led up to the attack. In November, Pence said on Fox's "Hannity" that he would make a 2024 decision after discussing it with his family during the holidays. Former Secretary of State Mike PompeoFormer Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Friday, November 18, 2022, in Las Vegas.John Locher/AP PhotoPompeo, 58, told Chicago donors in September that he already had teams in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.His outside campaign in waiting is called Champion American Values Fund, and Pompeo has been doing press appearances to talk about his forthcoming book, "Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love." Pompeo represented Kansas in the US Congress and was also former CIA director under Trump. After the end of the administration, he lost weight, which sparked speculation that he was interested in a White House run. Similar to Haley, Pompeo would enter the contest with a foreign policy background. He has openly criticized Biden, including after the president's September speech on protecting democracy. "He essentially said if you're pro-life or you're opposed to a certain set of policies, you're a threat," Pompeo told the New England Council's "Politics and Eggs" breakfast.  Biden, he said at the event, could be summed up as having "woke ideas, weak resolve, and waffling leadership."Trump should not have taken classified documents to Mar-a-Lago, he said, but added that the "raid on Mar-a-Lago was indecent and improper." Pompeo told conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt in November that Trump's announcement wouldn't affect whether he decides to run for president, adding that he'd make a determination in the spring. "We need more seriousness, less noise, and leaders who are looking forward," Pompeo said, "not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood." Sen. Marco Rubio of FloridaWilfredo Lee/AP PhotoRubio, 51, has come out hot after cruising to a third term in November, castigating GOP leaders for totally blowing the midterms. "We have a historically unpopular Dem President, record inflation, a violent crime wave & total chaos at the border & not only did we fail to win a majority, we lost a seat. And the Senate GOP response is going to be to make no changes?" Rubio fumed in a December 7 Twitter post. His anger hadn't abated when Insider caught up with him at the US Capitol. "I don't know how you come back from what we have just encountered and conclude that the status quo and business as usual is how we want to proceed," Rubio said of the need for drastic changes within the GOP. While conceding that he doesn't have "all those answers," Rubio suggested that Senate Republicans take a hard look at "the mechanics of elections, policy, the legislative agenda, and all of that." "I think that's something we should all be involved in talking about," Rubio said of the sorely needed soul searching. Rubio, who is of Cuban descent, was speaker of the Florida House before heading to Washington. He has sponsored numerous bills that have become law, including doubling the child tax credit and co-authoring the Paycheck Protection Program that helped keep small businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.On top of that, he's got a powerful perch as the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee. Political operatives have credited him with helping the GOP grow its influence with Hispanic voters, NBC News reported. Asked by Insider whether he had it in him to take another run at the former president after getting clobbered by the insult-flinging Trump in 2016, Rubio said he just really needs to take a breath. "We'll have time over the holidays and into the new year to sort of focus on everything going on in my life and here in the Senate," Rubio told Insider, adding that he hasn't "really focused in on" returning to the presidential proving grounds at the moment. Perhaps voters will learn more about future plans in his forthcoming book, "Decades of Decadence." Sen. Tim Scott of South CarolinaSen. Tim Scott, a Republican of South Carolkina, speaks at a fundraiser in Anderson, South Carolina on August 22, 2022.Meg Kinnard/AP Photo, FileScott, 57, hinted at a presidential bid during his midterms victory speech, even though he previously said he wouldn't run against Trump. "My grandfather voted for the first man of color to be elected as president of the United States," he said on November 8, referring to the vote his grandfather cast for Obama. "I wish he had lived long enough to see perhaps another man of color elected president of the United States. But this time, let it be a Republican and not just a Democrat. So just know: All things are possible in America."Scott, who previously served in the US House, is the only Black Republican in the Senate. He said his six-year term in the Senate beginning in January will be his last, but he hasn't ruled out a presidential run and is making all the right moves to position himself for the undertaking. Despite his own election, he has taken several trips to Iowa and spent time campaigning on behalf of other Republicans. He also released a memoir, "America, a Redemption Story: Choosing Hope, Creating Unity" and is one of the top fundraisers in the Senate — which includes support from small and online donors — even though he defended a safe seat this cycle.Major donors have contributed to Opportunity Matters Fun, a pro-Scott super PAC.Scott was among those leading the push for the successful passage of the bipartisan First Step Act and his measure to create Opportunity Zones that bring private investments into economically distressed communities was part of the 2017 tax reform law. He garnered national interest after delivering the GOP response to Biden's address to Congress in April. Afterward, McConnell said the senator represented "the future of the Republican Party." Scott has been open about the racism he has faced over the course of his life. "I get called Uncle Tom and the n-word by progressives, by liberals," he said in response to Biden's address. He has shared that police have pulled him over numerous times, despite him not violating any traffic laws. He sat down with Trump at the White House to discuss systemic racism and publicly called on Trump to call back certain statements he made on race. Haley, who was South Carolina governor at the time, appointed Scott to the Senate in 2013 after the seat opened up. Miami Mayor Francis SuarezTaylor Hill / Contributor Getty ImagesSuarez, 45, confirmed in October that he's considering a presidential run."It's something that I would consider given the right circumstances and given the right mood of the country," Suarez said at a Punchbowl News event. Miami has been getting a lot of attention given the surge of people moving to Florida — and tech companies and crypto startups in particular headed to Miami under Suarez's encouragement. He even told Twitter CEO Elon Musk that he should consider relocating the company's headquarters from San Francisco.Suarez's office sent over a list of accomplishments for the mayor, saying the city was No. 1 in job and wage growth, and had 1.4% unemployment. The Financial Times called Miami "the most important city in America." The mayor made historic increases to the city's police department, increased funding on climate-resistant infrastructure, and passed a rental tax credit for seniors. Suarez didn't vote for Trump during the 2020 election and in the 2018 gubernatorial race in Florida he voted for Democrat Andrew Gillum over DeSantis. But Suarez said Trump also has been kind to him. The two spoke at a wedding recently, he said, and Trump told him he was the "hottest politician in America after him.""I don't know if he meant physically hot or if he meant I was getting a lot of buzz," Suarez said. "But he was very nice." Suarez is of Cuban descent and leads the National Conference of Mayors. When asked about how he might stand out in a presidential race, Suarez said he might be able to speak to "a variety of minority communities that are going to be important if Republicans want to grow their base for a generation." Gov. Chris Sununu of New HampshireGov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire.Jon Cherry/Getty Images for ConcordiaSununu, 48, was just reelected to a fourth term in New Hampshire, where governors are reelected every two years and there are no term limits. "I haven't ruled anything in or out," he told Politico's "Playbook Deep Dive" podcast when asked about running for president in 2024. "I haven't ruled out a fifth term. I haven't ruled out running for higher office."Sununu is a centrist Republican who has the distinction of being in favor of abortion rights, at a time when many states are banning abortion. He came close to running for the US Senate in 2022, but told the Washington Examiner that other senators told him their main job was to be a "roadblock" in office — and he wasn't interested in that.Sununu also called Trump "fucking crazy" at the Gridiron dinner, a journalism event. "Let's stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November," Sununu said in November at Republican Jewish Coalition meeting.He told the Washington Examiner after the midterms that there should be new GOP leadership — not just in the White House but inside the Republican National Committee."Did they achieve on the level of results that we all thought we were going to get?" he asked. "No. So, why would we stick with the same team assuming we're going to get a better result?"Sununu is part of a political dynasty. His father was governor of New Hampshire who then went on to work in the George H.W. Bush administration as chief of staff. His brother was in the US House and US Senate. Gov. Glenn Youngkin of VirginiaGov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.AP Photo/Steve Helber, FileYoungkin, 56, tried his hand at playing kingmaker in over a dozen 2022 gubernatorial contests and mostly came up short. The newly-minted Republican who rocketed to stardom in late 2021 by keeping Virginia purplish with his electrifying win over Democratic fixture Terry McAuliffe tried to work that same Trump-light magic into contests all around the country. The result: only four of the 15 Republican gubernatorial candidates Youngkin got involved with won their races. It's unclear whether Youngkin had any effect on the reelection bids of blowout winners like Kemp or Noem.By the same token, it's debatable whether he could have dragged Lake, Michigan's Tudor Dixon, or any of the other 2020 election deniers across the finish line given their full-on embrace of Trumpism. While he remains reluctant to badmouth the embattled former president, Youngkin clinched his 2021 win by keeping Trump at bay while still reaching out to the MAGA base. Trump, on the other hand, has tried to take full credit for Youngkin's win and lashed out at the newcomer for not being more appreciative. Trump's already working on trying to clip a Youngkin presidential bid from ever taking wing, panning him and DeSantis as ingrates who have no chance of beating him. Trump also reverted to his old tricks after the politically damaging 2022 midterms flop, hitting Youngkin with a bizarre, racist rant on Truth Social. Given that Virginia only allows governors to serve non-consecutive terms, it makes sense for Youngkin to seek opportunities elsewhere.The Washington Post reported that Youngkin spent part of his summer huddling with Republican mega donors in New York. And while he remains mum on any official plans for 2024, Politico said Youngkin's putting in place the types of fundraising groups a presidential candidate would want to have at the ready.Youngkin is a former co-CEO of the Carlyle Group. As governor, his first official action was to sign an executive order prohibiting Virginia schools from teaching "critical race theory." More recently, he's been pushing to reimburse individuals and businesses who paid fines for violating state COVID-19 restrictions under his Democratic predecessor.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 10th, 2022

How the Waltons — America"s wealthiest family and heirs to the Walmart empire — live their lives

The Walmart heirs own lavish homes and work with the Walton Family Foundation to give back to their community. The siblings all together.AP/April L. BrownThe Walmart heirs' combined worth is roughly $229 billion, according to Bloomberg.The family grants money and resources to support education, environmental efforts, and their home community through the Walton Family Foundation.In public, the Waltons live pretty modest lifestyles despite their wealth. Here's how they spend their fortune.The combined wealth of the Walmart heirs — which includes Rob, Jim, and Alice, as well as John's wife, Christy, and their son Lukas — is roughly $229 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index.While some work in the family business — whether that's serving on the company board or working to manage the family's wealth — others chose to pursue areas of personal passion.Sam Walton, the original man behind the company that now encompasses both Walmart and Sam's Club, set his family up for financial success when he divided the ownership before he died.He wasn't a man of flashy luxury, but you can see how his children are living a slightly more lavish life now. Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Arkansas in 1962.Sam Walton wearing an original Wal-Mart name tag.Associated PressHe married Helen Robson on Valentine's Day in 1942, and together they had four children: Rob, John, Jim, and Alice.The couple had a romantic Valentine's Day wedding.April L. Brown/Associated PressBy the time Sam died in 1992, he had set up the company ownership in a way that minimized the estate taxes anyone on the receiving end of his will had to pay.Sam was very organized with his finances.Rick Wilking/ReutersSource: FortuneHe set up his ownership of Walmart's stock in a family partnership — each of his children held 20% of Walton Enterprises, while he and Helen each held 10%. Helen inherited Sam's 10% tax-free when he died.The stocks were carefully divided among the family.Courtesy of WalmartSource: FortuneSamuel Robson "Rob" Walton is the oldest Walton child.Rob served as chairman of Walmart for many years.ReutersHe served as chairman of Walmart until 2015.He retired in June 2015 but remained a director.Rick T. Wilking / Stringer / Getty ImagesRob recently made a splash by leading an ownership group to buy the Denver Broncos.The team is having a rough 2022 season.Joe Mahoney/APHis ownership group, which includes his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner, and son-in-law, Greg Penner, purchased the NFL team for a record $4.65 billion in summer 2022.Empower Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado.Getty ImagesRob has a house in Paradise Valley, Arizona, near the base of Camelback Mountain.The beautiful Paradise Valley, Arizona.Tim Roberts Photography/ShutterstockIn the past, protesters have rallied outside of his Arizona home to advocate for better wages and benefits for Walmart workers.Protesters at a Walmart in Boynton Beach, Florida.J Pat Carter/Associated PressRob also has a large collection of vintage cars.Walton's personal collection not pictured.Ben Pruchnie/Getty ImagesIn 2013, he ran his Daytona Coupe, which was worth $15 million at the time, off the tracks and wrecked it. The car was one of only five ever made.The car was totaled in the crash.AP Photo/Tom MihalekJohn was the second-oldest child. He died in a plane crash in 2005.John (right) with his mother (center) and brother, Rob (left).April L. Brown/Associated PressHe was married to Christy Walton and had one son, Lukas.Lukas is now 36 years old.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeJohn left about 17% of his wealth to his wife, and he gave the rest to charity and to his son.John was very charitable.APSource: Business InsiderJohn served in Vietnam as a Green Beret. When he returned from the war he held a series of jobs — like the Walmart company pilot, a crop duster, and the owner a few yachting companies — before becoming a Walmart board member.John (second from left) pictured with members of his family.AP Photo/Spencer TireySource: FortuneIn 2013, Christy decided to sell their Jackson Hole mansion. She also sold the family's ranch for an undisclosed price in 2016 after listing it for $100 million in 2011.The family's Jackson Hole mansion.Jackson Hole Real EstateSource: Curbed and Ranch Marketing AssociatesThe 8,606-square-foot home was put on the market for $12.5 million.An aerial view of the mansion.Google MapsSource: CurbedJames "Jim" Walton is the youngest son.Jim Walton is now 73 years old.WalmartHe is chairman of the board of the family's Arvest Bank, which has assets that total more than $26 billion.One of many Arvest Bank locations in Bentonville, Arkansas.Google MapsSource: BloombergHe also served on the Walmart board before being replaced by his son Steuart in 2016.Jim served on the board for more than a decade.Rick T. Wilking /Stringer/GettyNow, he presides over Walton Enterprises — the private company that deals with the investments and finances of the Walton family only — from modest offices in Bentonville, Arkansas.Jim now manages the family's finances.Google MapsSource: FortuneThe youngest sibling, Alice Walton, is worth $63.8 billion, according to Bloomberg. She has been divorced twice and has no children.Alice is passionate about collecting art.AP/April L. BrownAlice has never taken an active role in running the family business.Alice Walton with Jim Walton in 2013.REUTERS/Rick WilkingInstead, she became a patron of the arts, which she fell in love with at a young age.Alice followed her passion and devoted her life to collecting art.D Dipasupil/Getty ImagesWhen she was 10, she bought her first work of art: a reproduction of Picasso's "Blue Nude" for about $2, she told The New Yorker.Picasso's "The Blue Room."Evan Vucci/Associated PressSource: The New YorkerShe has an immense private art collection, with original works from Andy Warhol and Georgia O'Keeffe.Alice has built a massive collection.AP Images/Kirsty WigglesworthAlice opened a museum in Bentonville called Crystal Bridges in 2011 to house her $500 million private art collection.The museum displays both paintings and sculptures, like this one by Alexander Calder (center).Danny Johnston/Associated PressThe collection includes a Georgia O'Keeffe painting that Alice spent $44.4 million on in 2014 — the biggest sale for a woman's piece of art in history.Georgia O’Keeffe, "Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1" (1932), Sotheby's.Courtesy of Sotheby'sSource: The ObserverWhen it opened, Crystal Bridges had four times the endowment of the famous Whitney Museum in New York.A view of the Whitney Museum from the High Line.Eduardo Munoz/ReutersThe museum's grounds are filled with flora ...The lucious gardens outside the museum.Danny Johnston/Associated Press... and surrounded by streams that make it look like the buildings float on water.The serene setting of the museum.Jacob Slaton/ReutersIt's so beautiful that people use it as a wedding and special-events venue.It can host both indoor and outdoor ceremonies.Weddings at Crystal Bridges/YouTubeSource: Crystal BridgesAlice is also a breeder of horses.Besides art, she loves spending time with horses.Associated PressHer Millsap, Texas, property, Rocking W Ranch, sold to the Three Amigos Investment Group of Kermit, Texas, in September 2017 for an undisclosed amount.Her property was elegantly decorated.Courtesy of WilliamsTrewSource: Star-TelegramIt had an initial asking price of $19.75 million, which was reduced to $16.5 million. The working ranch had over 250 acres of pasture and outbuildings for cattle and horses.It was also next to a large lake.Courtesy of WilliamsTrewSource: WilliamsTrewHer other, 4,416-acre Texas ranch was previously listed at a reduced price of $22 million.A huge firepit was built in the backyard.Courtesy of WilliamsTrewSource: FortuneThe modest, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home overlooks the Brazos River.A sunset near Brazos River.Dave Mosher/Business InsiderAlice also owns a two-floor condo on New York's Park Ave., which she bought for $25 million in 2014.Park Avenue pictured above at night.Getty Images/Arata PhotographySource: Business InsiderIt has more than 52 large windows overlooking Central Park plus a media room, a winding staircase, and more than 6,000 total square feet of space.View of Central Park from the southeast.evenfh/ShutterstockSource: Business InsiderIn January 2016, Alice donated 3.7 million of her Walmart shares — worth about $225 million at the time — to the family's nonprofit, the Walton Family Foundation.The Walton Family Foundation website.Facebook/Walton Family FoundationSam and Helen started the foundation as a way to teach their children how to give back and how to work together.The children learned from an early age to be generous with their money.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeThe charity awards millions of dollars in grants, each helping a cause that aligns with the foundation's values. According to its website, the foundation awarded $749.5 million in grants in 2020.Alice Walton.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeThe foundation has three main areas of focus:A project put on by the Walton Family Foundation.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeThe foundation's focus on education was led by John. His brother Jim said John was really interested in being able to give parents choices when it came to their child's schooling.The foundation was dedicated to supporting children's education.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeSource: Walton Family FoundationRob spearheaded the foundation's venture into environmental outreach. One of the first grants they gave helped develop a sustainable fisheries label.Rob launched the environmental and sustainability branch of the foundation.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeSource: Walton Family FoundationA commitment to the family's home of Arkansas is another large part of the foundation. Whether it's creating a system of mountain-bike trails through the Ozarks or developing the grounds around Crystal Bridges, the Waltons are celebrating the community that helped their family get to where they are.The Bentonville town square.Walton Family Foundation/YouTubeSource: Walton Family FoundationWalmart Inc., which owns Walmart and Sam's Club, is the largest retailer in the US in terms of revenue, with sales of roughly $573 billion per year.The storefront of a Walmart.Business Insider/Jessica TylerSource: FortuneWhen Walmart has a good quarter, the Waltons make hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends.The siblings all together.AP/April L. BrownSource: Forbes and The GuardianThe company reported in November 2022 that third-quarter same-store sales in the US had risen 8.2% compared with the year prior.Shoppers leaving Walmart with lots of gifts.AP/Gunnar RathbunSource: WalmartEven though the Walton family is raking in billions as a result of the company's success, they remain relatively under-the-radar in terms of flashing their wealth — much like their patriarch, Sam, did in the early years.JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: FortuneRead more:Walmart is testing higher starting salaries for some employees in 500 stores as the war for talent heats upWhat Walmart, Costco, and other famous retailers looked like when they first openedThe average Amazon shopper still earns more than Walmart's, and it reveals a key challenge for the e-commerce giantWalmart's ad execs to know, hot DTC companies, iHeartMedia breaks heartsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 9th, 2022

Venues, Catering and Entertainment

230 Fifth Rooftop Bar An exceptional space for meetings and events, 230 Fifth is New York’s largest outdoor rooftop garden and enclosed penthouse lounge. One floor is fully enclosed, while its rooftop garden is open to the sky. It has large umbrellas for sunny or rainy days and is partially heated on colder nights. Located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, 230 Fifth boasts breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline, including the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Offering guests high-speed Internet, state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, and large screen projectors and TVs, it can accommodate private functions for 25 to 1,200 guests in its 33,000-square-foot space. Every event, regardless of its size or style, is custom tailored to each client’s needs and tastes. Inquiries are welcome, and a contact person will be pleased to answer any questions that clients—current and potential—may have about the New York City penthouse space. Address: 230 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10001 Phone: 212-725-4300 Email: info@230-fifth.com Website: 230-fifth.com 3 WEST CLUB Both historic and timeless, the 3 West Club offers everything one could want in an event space—and much more. Centrally located off Fifth Avenue and steps away from Rockefeller Center, it is one of Manhattan’s hidden gems. With six event and meeting spaces, along with a stunning rooftop area, the 3 West Club is extremely flexible, as it accommodates 10 to 350 people. And, with 28 well-appointed rooms, it provides guests the option to stay overnight as well. Whether you are planning a corporate event, an intimate meeting, a gala dinner, a conference, or a nonprofit reception or fundraiser, the 3 West Club has the versatility to create a customized, memorable and extraordinary experience. Address: 3 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019 Phone: 212-582-5456 Email: events@3westclub.com Website: 3westclub.com 583 PARK AVENUE Located on Park Avenue and 63rd Street, 583 Park Avenue, a New York City event space, is a landmark building that has been restored and made available for private events, alongside corporate and nonprofit events. Built in 1923 and designed by the renowned architectural firm Delano & Aldrich, 583 Park Avenue is reminiscent of a bygone era. Complete with a grand, pre-function space, including floor plans like the Arcade, the Ballroom and the Balconies, it also offers guests a remarkable amount of flexibility for all types of special events. Address: 83 Park Ave., New York, NY 10065 Phone: 212-583-7200 Email: events@583parkave.com Website: 583parkave.com/ APELLA BY ALEXANDRIA Apella is New York City’s most innovative meeting and event space. Located within The Alexandria Center for Life Science, Apella offers 10 thoughtfully designed rooms with contemporary interiors, advanced technology and expansive East River and city skyline views. Providing up to 20,000 square feet of event space, Apella features 10 private suites, in order to accommodate two to 300 attendees, as well as upwards of 1,250 guests for large-scale celebrations. Furthermore, Apella’s thoughtfully appointed spaces provide an open, yet highly secure setting for executive board meetings, industry conferences, corporate retreats and product launches, while also offering on-site technology that ranges from 250 Mbps high-speed WiFi to 11,000-lumen, 1080p laser projectors. Address: 450 E. 29th St., Second Floor, New York, NY 10016 Phone: 212-706-4100 Email: info@apella.com Website: apella.com/ BARCLAYS CENTER Positioned at the crossroads of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, Barclays Center is Brooklyn’s world-class home for sports and entertainment. The arena features one of the most intimate seating configurations displayed in a modern, multi-purpose arena, and has first-class amenities, including 101 luxury suites, as well as numerous premium club spaces, including the 40/40 CLUB & Restaurant by American Express and Qatar Airways Courtside Club. Whether guests are hosting a corporate outing or company meeting, along with a press conference, product launch or fundraising event, Barclays Center can accommodate groups of a wide array of sizes—from hundreds to thousands upon thousands. And it has a variety of concessions, ranging from hot dogs and cheesesteaks, to lobster rolls and barbeque, as well as four bars. Address: 620 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217 Phone: 917-618-6100 Email: guestservices@barclayscenter.com Website: barclayscenter.com BEACON THEATRE The legendary Beacon Theatre is a historic New York City landmark, renovated to its original glory during the late 2000s, thereby returning it to its initial Roaring Twenties grandeur. A venerable rock room for generations of New Yorkers, the Beacon Theatre is equipped with advanced technology and mystical charm, enabling it to provide guests an intimate setting for unforgettable concerts and events. A 2,600-seat venue, the theatre was built in 1929 and designed in the art deco style by architect Walter Ahlschlager. It was also designated a New York landmark building by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1979 and acquired by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. in 2006. Address: 2124 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 Phone: 212-465-6500 Email: msgepr@msg.com Website: msg.com/beacon-theatre BOWLMOR CHELSEA PIERS Located at Pier 60, just off the West Side Highway, Bowlmor Chelsea Piers is New York City’s ultimate entertainment destination—a place where the party-inspired glow of 40 blacklight bowling lanes and massive lane-side video walls meets the flashing lights and lively sounds of your favorite arcade games. After you hit lanes, it’s time to suit up and experience the thrilling fun of Urban Mission Laser Tag in Bowlmor’s state-of-the-art arena. The perfect place to play, party and partake, Bowlmor Chelsea Piers features a private, eight-lane bowling suite in addition to a semi-private loft space that features flat-screen TVs, lounge seating and vintage games. Let Bowlmor’s talented party professionals help plan your next event—and experience (or relive) the fun of the city’s best venue for office parties, private parties, kids’ birthday parties and every occasion in between. ddress: Chelsea Piers-Pier 60, New York, NY 10011 Phone: 212-835-2695 Website: bowlmor.com/location/bowlmor-chelsea-piers BOWLMOR TIMES SQUARE Enter Bowlmor Times Square’s 90,000-square-foot venue and discover 48 lanes, featuring HD video walls, brilliant blacklights and posh lane-side seating, in addition to an all-star arcade that has some of the city’s coolest interactive games. A tribute to the New York City of yesterday and today, it boasts seven uniquely themed bowling lounges—each one depicting a particular place and time in the history of New York City. Guests can bowl, dine and celebrate amid the scenery of a Prohibition-era speakeasy, an art deco palace, a Pop Art-inspired gallery or an iconic city neighborhood like Chinatown, Central Park or Coney Island (featuring graffiti murals by renowned street artist Jonas Never). Address: 222 W. 44th St., New York, NY 10036 Phone: 212-680-0012 Website: bowlmor.com/location/bowlmor-times-square BROOKLYN MUSEUM The Brooklyn Museum, one of the country’s most extensive and comprehensive art museums, is an extraordinary venue located in the heart of one of the world’s most creative and exciting urban centers: the borough of Brooklyn. The museum’s spaces provide stunning, one-of-a-kind backdrops for private events, including wedding ceremonies and receptions, cocktail parties and corporate events. Address: 200 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn, NY 11238 Phone: 718-638-5000 Email: information@brooklynmuseum.org Website: brooklynmuseum.org/ CENTRAL PARK ZOO The Central Park Zoo is a unique event space that’s perfect for cocktail receptions and seated dinners. With the capability to seat up to 700 guests, the zoo’s open space has the flexibility for any event, as it provides a nearly 200-foot-long, clear-top seasonal tent, along with options to add on connecting tents. Furthermore, it offers guests moss-covered colonnades, which provide them additional covered space, along with a tranquil backdrop to any of their photos. Exclusive access to exhibits is also available for guests, depending on sunset times. Address: 64th St. & Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10021 Phone: 212-439-6500 Email: events@wcs.org Website: centralparkzoo.com   CITY CRUISES ANCHORED BY HORNBLOWER Bring your event to life with a picture-perfect backdrop and experience the iconic New York skyline from a whole new perspective! Whether you’re planning an employee outing, a corporate milestone or an elegant business dinner, our professional planners, flexible packages and superior guest services will help effortlessly execute your event. City Cruises delivers a wide range of experiences, characterized by high-quality cuisine, onboard entertainment and spectacular skyline views. Cruising year-round from both New York and New Jersey, guests can savor the moment and connect with each other, while sailing past the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and more! Meet our New York Fleet: Premier Cruises Step aboard the all-glass European-inspired Bateaux New York for an upscale and unforgettable dining experience, featuring a chef prepared three-course plated meal, live band entertainment with an acoustic trio, a vocalist and grand piano, a refined atmosphere, personalized service and unobstructed views of the iconic city skyline. Signature Cruises Whenever you’re looking for a fun and festive way to get out on the water, a signature cruise is your answer. Come aboard and experience breathtaking New York City skyline views, delicious buffet-style meals, attentive service, DJ entertainment, a rooftop lounge and onboard games. Private Yachts With sensational skyline views and completely customizable options, the Atlantica, Manhattan Elite and Lexington offer great ways to host a unique event aboard your own private yacht. Guests will enjoy an upscale experience that’s characterized by elegant, high-quality cuisine and an intimate atmosphere. Address: Pier 61, Chelsea Piers, West 23rd and 12th, New York, NY 10011 Phone: 866-817-3463 Contact: Veronica Caverly, team market manager Email: veronica.caverly@cityexperiences.com Website: citycruises.com/NewYork CLASSIC CAR CLUB MANHATTAN Interested in hosting an event that’s located within a truly unique waterfront setting? Welcome to Classic Car Club at Pier 76 in Hudson River Park. Conveniently located across from Jacob Javits Center and Hudson Yards—and one block from the 7 train on Manhattan’s west side—the venue features 8,000 square feet of unobstructed space, 30-foot ceilings and 20-foot operable glass doors that open up to a sprawling, 3,200-square-foot outdoor terrace, which overlooks the Hudson River. A fleet of classic and exotic cars can either be made available for display or cleared out, depending on your preference. Classic Car Club has hosted events for groups as few as 30 people, as many as 1,400—and everything in between. And an open floor plan allows the space to accommodate as intimate and intricate of an event as you wish to have. Address: 1 Pier 76, 408 12th Ave., New York, NY 10018 Phone: 212-229-2402 Email: info@classiccarclub.com Website: classiccarclubmanhattan.com DAVE AND BUSTER’S Dave and Buster’s is a multifaceted entertainment venue that features creative cuisine, custom cocktails and team-building activities, along with multiple meeting room options, complete with state-of-the-art audiovisual technology. A one-stop shop for all your needs, Dave and Buster’s is conveniently located in Times Square and accessible to a majority of New York City’s transit options. It infuses fun with the necessity of teambuilding for companies who are looking to build relationships, inspire competitiveness and offer the gift of fun to their employees and clients. And it is the perfect setting for meetings, cocktail events, product launches, and client and employee appreciation events. Address: 234 W. 42nd St., Third Floor, New York, NY 10036 Phone: 646-495-2015 Email: pete.thornfield@daveandbusters.com Website: daveandbusters.com/locations/new-york-city-times-square EMPIRE STEAK HOUSE Empire Steak House stands out from the rest when it comes to food, service and ambience, as it provides guests the finest cuts of steaks, the freshest seafood and an extensive wine and cocktail list. Empire Steak House has two restaurants conveniently located on the east and west sides of Midtown Manhattan—on 50th Street and 54th Street. Also offering dedicated private dining coordinators, guests can plan and personalize their events, leading to unforgettable experiences. Whether guests are hosting a corporate event or celebrating a special occasion, Empire Steak House’s goal is to ensure quality and hospitality, so that planners will enjoy their event as much as their guests do! Addresses: Empire Steak House East: 151 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022 Empire Steak House West: 237 W. 54th St., New York, NY 10019 Phone: 212-582-6900 (east side) 212-586-9700 (west side) Email: info50@empiresteakhousenyc.com Website: empiresteakhousenyc.com LIBERTY SCIENCE CENTER Planning an intimate dinner, a conference or a company holiday celebration? Gather in a soaring open atrium or a dramatic, glass-enclosed private room overlooking New York City and the Statue of Liberty. Liberty Science Center is just minutes from Manhattan. Its meeting spaces and theaters are fully equipped for multimedia presentations, and its staff will expertly handle every detail. Host your next unforgettable event at Liberty Science Center. Address: 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City, NJ 07305 Phone: 201-253-1378 Email: specialevents@lsc.org Website: lsc.org/about-us/plan-an-event   MANHATTAN CENTER Modern and Versatile Infrastructure with World Renowned Elegance 50,000 square feet of flexible space conveniently located on 34th street between 8th and 9th avenues State-of-the-Art Technology to include audio, video, lighting, and television facilities Perfect for any event ranging from galas, receptions, and conferences to product launches, televised events, and large scale productions Mention this ad for special pricing. Address: 311 W 34th St (Between 8th and 9th Aves), New York, NY 10001 Neighborhood: Midtown Phone: 646-293-1077 Contact: Jessica Rothstein Berman, vice president of sales Email: jrb@mc34.com Website: mc34.com   MANHATTAN MANOR Situated in the heart of bustling midtown, the Manhattan Manor holds one of Times Square’s best kept secrets. An independent, dedicated special events space for 20 years with one of the newest, most modern, divine spaces in New York. 7,000 square feet of luxurious space with gorgeous French doors, skylights, exposed brick, chandeliers, and spectacular views from Central Park to Times Square. Manhattan Club is located on the second floor of Manhattan Manor with beautiful wooden paneling, custom lights, a classic oak bar, views along seventh avenue, silk curtains, and two built-in screens and projectors. It offers the perfect balance of elegance and practicality. Skylight Room is the newest member of Manhattan Manor having been completed in 2019. Complete with skylights on three sides, 7 original chandeliers, a fireplace, mahogany floors, French Doors overlooking 52nd street and Seventh Avenue and views of the Ball Drop, it offers an original space that can be completely adapted to your unique event. Combined with the professional in-house Catering staff and exquisite cuisine, this is most certainly a place to discover and experience. Venue Capacity: Manhattan Club– 250 Seated, 200 with Dance Floor Skylight Room – 260 Seated, 210 with Dance Floor Address: 201 West 52nd Street. Between Broadway and 7th Avenues Neighborhood: Times Square/Midtown Phone: 212-489-9595 Contact: Amanda Pilar Smith Email: amanda@manhattan manor.com Website: manhattanmanor.com THE ALTMAN BUILDING The Altman Building is proud to celebrate over 22 years as a premier New York City landmark and historic event venue. Established in 1896 as the carriage house for the B. Altman department store, The Altman Building is now a versatile, private event space, boasting 14,000 square feet over two floors. And its venue entrance is ground level and virtually column-free, providing unparalleled flexibility in event production—from large conferences and summits, to intimate social events and weddings. Offering a capacity of 400 to 750 guests, the unique Chelsea venue also strives to implement its motto daily: “Our Venue, Your Vision.” Address: 135 W. 18th St., New York, NY 10011 Phone: 212-741-3400 Email: sales@altmanbldg.com Website: altmanbldg.com THE GLASSHOUSE Opened in summer 2020, The Glasshouse offers guests breathtaking views, cutting-edge technology and impeccable service. Its 75,000-square-foot space holds up to 1,850 guests and features waterfront-facing outdoor terraces, sweeping 360-degree views of Manhattan, pre-function spaces, VIP lounges and a state-of-the-art production infrastructure. In addition, its penthouse space has been designed as a canvas without bounds, as it provides guests the flexibility to host an array of large and small corporate, social and nonprofit events. Featuring a built-in production infrastructure—AV, lighting, rigging, broadcast ready conduit, ultra-high bandwidth Internet and power distribution—The Glasshouse also has soundproof partitions that enable multiple room configurations for various event sizes. Address: 660 12th Ave., Floor 6, New York, NY 10019 Phone: 212-242-7800 Email: info@theglasshouses.com Website: theglasshouses.com/the-glasshouse   TUDOR CITY STEAKHOUSE Space and privacy are prized, key components for a private party, yet they’re also rare commodities in New York City. Luckily, Tudor City Steakhouse offers the best of both worlds, allowing you to host your events in the heart of Manhattan—with various private dining options that will comfortably accommodate your party. Tudor City Steakhouse has the space, along with the taste, to exceed your events’ needs. We’re looking forward to making your party the most memorable and enjoyable experience possible! Venue Capacity: Indoor seated capacity: 150; standing: 250; outdoor patio area: seated and standing 40; roadway area: seated: 60, standing 75 Address: 45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017 Phone: 212-682-4000 Contact: Aida Lekic Email: events@tudorcitsteakhouse.com Website: tudorcitysteakhouse.com 3D Virtual Tour and Aerial Video | Tudor City Steakhouse | Steakhouse in Midtown East, New York UPSTAIRS AT THE KIMBERLY HOTEL As The Kimberly Hotel’s highly regarded rooftop lounge, Upstairs at The Kimberly is a 3,000-square-foot space that boasts 360-degree views, retractable glass ceilings and walls, and ambient heated floors. Additionally, it has a main room that promises to be as elegant and inviting in the winter months as it is sunny and sophisticated during the summer season. Upstairs offers customizable menus, creative cocktails, indoor and outdoor space, and the perfect ambiance, ensuring it is a great location for any event. An evening “Upstairs” will be an experience like no other, as the lounge is focused on providing guests a refined service in a relaxed, luxurious setting. And it also offers a one-of-a-kind rooftop experience, leading to their desires to come back again and again. Address: 145 E. 50th St., New York, NY 10022 Phone: 212-702-1685 Contact: Jordana Maurer, director of sales and events Email: jmaurer@kimberlyhotel.com Website: upstairsnyc.com WAVE HILL A year-round destination with stunning views of the Hudson River and Palisades, Wave Hill is an extraordinary venue located just 30 minutes north of Manhattan. Due to the serene beauty of its celebrated gardens, along with its modern amenities, Wave Hill is an ideal location for your conference, corporate retreat or full-garden rental. Furthermore, Wave Hill House—its historic Hudson River mansion—fully engages your attendees’ senses by “bringing the outside in.” The mansion can accommodate 10 to 200 guests and is ADA-accessible; pricing includes flexible conference furniture, a wireless sound system, basic AV and high-speed Wi-Fi for your attendees. Additionally, multiple spaces (with varying capacities) are available at one of New York City’s most serene, beautiful locations. Enhance your retreat experience with an after-hours cocktail hour or dinner. Address: 675 W. 252nd St., Bronx, NY 10471 Phone: 718-549-3200 x 209 Contact: Carolyn Liv, director of corporate partnerships and conferences Email: carolynl@wavehill.org Website: wavehill.org YANKEE STADIUM Yankee Stadium is a cultural icon whose legacy is as rich as its character, and whose history is as striking as its façade. A year-round venue, this storied stadium has more than 60,000 square feet of event space for both publicly ticketed and private events. In addition, it offers you a part in its future, as it’s available to host corporate and social gatherings—from upscale parties to intimate get-togethers. Share in the tradition of Yankees greatness by hosting a legendary event, amid a backdrop in which legends are made. Address: E. 161st St., Bronx, NY 10451 Phone: 646-977-8400 Email: events@yankees.com Website: yankees.com/events.....»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkDec 5th, 2022

Transcript: Marcus Shaw

    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Marcus Shaw, CEO of AltFinance, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in… Read More The post Transcript: Marcus Shaw appeared first on The Big Picture.     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Marcus Shaw, CEO of AltFinance, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have another special guest. His name is Marcus Shaw. He has really a fascinating career and a focus these days. He really began as a traditional engineer/finance person working at IBM as a network engineer before he got his MBA at Duke. And from there, he did the usual research and investment banking gigs throughout a lot of Wall Street before the opportunity came to help entrepreneurs develop and grow their businesses in places like Alabama and Tennessee, which ultimately led him to participate in the founding of a new firm called AltFinance, which was created by really a group of, for lack of a better word, finance royalty. It’s Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital. It’s Tony Ressler of Ares, Marc Rowan of Apollo Global. These three gentlemen said we’re lacking the ability to tap into a very rich, diverse talent pool, including historically black colleges and universities. Venture capital, private equity, just were not recruiting for those spaces. And so they stood up a firm called AltFinance, whose main purpose was to help alternative asset managers tap into that rich pool of potential hires. Marcus Shaw works with them, and he’s the CEO of AltFinance. I found this to be really a fascinating conversation about how to access the most skilled partners and employees, what can be done to shake up a relatively staid industry that has lagged behind its peers in terms of recruiting and other things, and really how to help have a major impact in the world of finance. And I found this conversation to be fascinating and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my interview with Marcus Shaw. MARCUS SHAW, CEO & PRESIDENT, ALTFINANCE: Barry, thank you so much for inviting me. RITHOLTZ: I’m excited to chat with you. So let’s talk a little bit about Wall Street and diversity. Wall Street has been pretty bad at recruiting black talent. It’s been a stated objective for decades. Why is finance so bad at this? SHAW: Barry, I think that it’s a complex question that requires actually a complex solution and a multifaceted solution. I would say the most general issue here is that folks don’t have the networks and the access to careers in finance from across the country. Right? So if you grew up in New York, yeah, you’ll probably know some people that worked in the industry and you may have some relationships. You may go to school with somebody. Your parent may work there. And that’s whether you’re white or black. All right. But if you don’t, if you grew up in a market, where there’s not an investment bank, there’s nothing other than a branch bank for one of the multi-dimensional financials, then you’re not really going to have an understanding of what that career looks like at a young age. And so as you get ready to go to college, and you start thinking about what your career going to look like, it’s going to be primarily academic for you. And so I think that’s always a challenge that they’re not a ton of people that are in the seats, that are getting access to, in this case, black students from across the country. They’re giving them a look and this is what a career could look like for you. This is what an opportunity could look like for you. Here’s what the realm of possibilities is. And this primarily is how you get there, here’s a path to get there. That’s the biggest challenge. RITHOLTZ: So tell us about AltFinance, what is its mission? And why is this a better mousetrap than the way things have been done before? SHAW: So AltFinance is focused on building diversity in the alternative investment industry. RITHOLTZ: Alternatives being venture capital, private equity, anything else? SHAW: Private credit, real estate investing, hedge funds, everything kind of outside of traditional stock and bond investment, right, the things that are more private and market-driven often. And so our goal is to increase diversity in that space by working with partnerships at historically black colleges and universities, by providing students from HBCUs opportunities to have co-curricular programming, understanding, you know, exactly what you need to know to be successful in that role. Also to provide mentorship for students so that they’re not operating in a vacuum, so that when they have questions, there are people in the business, people that have experienced in the business that they can talk to. And also by working and partnering with schools to provide financial support to help increase capacity not only for students, but also for the institutions themselves. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about how AltFinance was initially funded and created. You have Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital, Marc Rowan of Apollo, Tony Ressler of Ares. These are like three heavy hitters at giant legendary firms. That’s a heady group to work with. What led them to say we need help accessing black talent, and we’re not getting it from anywhere else, we have to do it ourselves. SHAW: What I think all three gentlemen, you know, Howard, Marc, and Tony all recognize is that relationships help drive value. And so you got to have relationships with the schools and the places where there is a lot of black talent, and I think they saw HBCUs as an opportunity for that. I think what’s important, though, and what’s key is that we found ourselves at a very interesting point in time, in 2020, in the wake of George Floyd, in the middle of COVID. And so I think, everybody around the world, business leaders from across multiple industries were trying to think about how can we make the world a better place? How can we address racial equity in a way that’s specific to the businesses that we operate in? And I think that’s the key, right? This was not just about, you know, going out and being philanthropic, right, and making one time gifts. This was about how can you be strategic in building partnerships over the long term, that are going to have a systemic impact in the industry in which you operate. And that’s where I really think that the three firms led by, again, Howard, Tony, and Marc really found something that was special and something that was, you know, a better solution to a question that Wall Street has been dealing with for years. RITHOLTZ: So is it safe to say that Wall Street, in general, but alternatives like private equity and venture capital, were not recruiting at historically black colleges and universities? Was that void out there forever? SHAW: I think that it was not systemic, right? There was no systemic recruiting at HBCUs, in a way that was going to be sustainable, right? And I think that a lot of that was driven by needing to take some time and figure out how do we engage with these universities. We know we’ve got talent there. We’ve got density of talent, which is the important thing. And so I think giving us time to reflect on what had happened over the past few years was a really strong case for let’s go, let’s be direct and intentional. Let’s work with presidents of these universities. Let’s work with the deans, let’s work with the students to develop a strategy together, that’s going to rise the tide for everybody. RITHOLTZ: So I want to get into the details of what you guys actually do with students. But before I get there, you mentioned Tony, Howard and Marc, what led them to say, hey, let’s stand up some entity so we can set up an institution to correct just a recruiting shortfall we’ve had for years and years. Like that’s an unusual group of guys to get together and say “Let’s see if we can dent the universe a little bit.’ SHAW: Yeah. So I think there are two factors. Number one, and I think they both reflect strong leadership at the firms. Number one, you had, you know, somewhat of a groundswell from within the firm, certainly at leadership that said we need to figure out a way to do something. And I think as great leaders do, I think Howard and Tony and Marc were receptive to that. And also, it was perfect timing because they were thinking, how can we drive impact? How can we impact and affect change in our own way? And so it starts off with senior leaders at the firm and you know, these heads of industry working together to figure out, what can we do? Then you bring the relationships together. So Howard, Marc and Tony have known each other, but also many of their senior leaders have known each other as well. RITHOLTZ: Right, right. SHAW: And so the main thing that you have to do is say we want to take down any competitive barriers in which we operate during our standard business. And we recognize that what we’re trying to solve for is bigger than our individual company. It’s really about the industry. And if you can get to that point, which they did, very quickly, I mind you, then you can instantly start to put together something as powerful as AltFinance. And that happened, and it happened fairly quickly. But I think it took a lot of time and a lot of vulnerability, and a lot of transparency. And I think that’s really symbolic of what AltFinance represents. RITHOLTZ: So now let’s drill down a little bit and talk about what you exactly do with students. Do you guys provide coaching or mentorship? What do you do to help kids who probably aren’t all that familiar with what private credit is, and put them on a career path until alternative investments? SHAW: So there’s a framework that I use, I use it with entrepreneurs, I use it with talent anywhere I see it. First, you identify really good talent, right? Kids that have an interest in investing. Although they may not know the nuance of what investing asset class that they’re most interested in, or, you know, they’re young, they may not have the experience of understanding multi-cycles in the market, but they have an interest in investing. They have academic strength, right, some real intellectual rigor and horsepower. And so you look at kids that perform well, no matter what they do. You know, the kid can be a philosophy major, they can be a finance major, but they’re doing well in the pursuit that they’re following. And then we look for students that are coachable, right? RITHOLTZ: Coachable? SHAW: Coachable. Coachable is key. RITHOLTZ: Really? SHAW: It’s an apprentice model business. You know, there’s nobody that comes into this business, and comes in right out of college as a partner. Even if they’ve got all the resources in the world, nobody is going to come in as a partner. By and large, most people start this business as an analyst and they work with associates, and those associates working with VPs and principals, and managing directors and so forth. So you need people that are going to be willing to work through the apprenticeship model, that are willing to come in, you know, well compensated, a great network of people that they’re going to be around, but they’re still going to have to listen and be coached up in order to benefit the team in the company. And so we look for those things, people that have an interest in investing, people that have intellectual horsepower, and people that are coachable. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. So it’s not so much specific qualifications that are needed as qualities that will allow the students you select to succeed going forward? SHAW: Yeah. I think by and large, I mean, I would say that those qualities, you know, we recognize them through qualifications, right? So I look for people who have strong GPAs, and people that are taking some rigorous coursework, even if that coursework is not in finance. I look for people that have done extracurricular work, or you know, manage their own little portfolio, or have stock ideas or businesses ideas that they want to pitch. And then I look for people who also have references that say, “You know what, this young man, this young woman has been really coachable in the time that I’ve had them in school.” RITHOLTZ: So generally speaking, alternative assets, that’s a tough gig to get into regardless of where you go to school. Private equity, venture capital, hedge funds, real estate, down the whole list, not easy, how much harder is it to get into that space if you’re coming from an HBCU? SHAW: I think it can be difficult, and not because of anything that’s attributable to the student themselves. I think it can be difficult because no matter where you’re coming from, you need to know somebody to get into this business. And so the first key is how can you create networks that allow HBCU students to have mentors, to have advocates that are in the industry, that learn and know them well, know their strengths, know their weaknesses, know, you know, their ambition and their aspirations, and can speak to that and help guide them to certain careers inside of alternatives where they can be successful. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the work you’ve done, start with CEO of The Company Lab, what was CoLab’s mission and why Tennessee? SHAW: My wife and I decided to move to Tennessee back in 2016. She joined a practice down there and we had family in Tennessee, and it was really a unique opportunity to move around. We’ve moved around a bunch and have enjoyed all the different places that we lived in the country. Chattanooga is a fascinating city, really steeped in some rich history, but also a city that faces some challenges as they grow from a very small city to a more significant city in the U.S. economy. When I moved down there, I was still working with MLT, and then an opportunity came up to take a pretty significant role within the community as a CEO of The Company Lab. The Company Lab was the entrepreneurship and economic development center for Chattanooga and the surrounding areas, which include North Georgia, North Alabama, and Southeast Tennessee. It was incredible to really focus on local opportunities for entrepreneurs, for investors. for economic development, and really see how the fabric of a city with, you know, about a couple of hundred thousand people can develop, when you have people that are really dedicated to fostering that growth. RITHOLTZ: Was this like a private public partnership? Tell us a little bit about the structure of that. SHAW: It was a private public partnership. It was set up as a nonprofit that had some funding coming from the state, some funding coming from foundations, and then some funding coming from corporate entities that also found economic development in the region very important RITHOLTZ: What’s some of the economic sectors within that area? What is Chattanooga known for? SHAW: So Chattanooga is known for a couple of things, right? Key brands, number one, Coca-Cola Bottling is the company that really helped to jumpstart the city. And so Jack Lupton was kind of the patriarch of that company, and sold that company back to Coca-Cola in the mid-90s. RITHOLTZ: They were two separate companies for a while. SHAW: That’s right. So, yes, there were a number of bottling companies that would bottle Coca-Cola product and distribute it throughout the country or throughout the region. And the one in Chattanooga, Coca-Cola Bottling was one of the larger ones in the mid-century. Again, it was sold back to Coca-Cola as they consolidated those businesses, and left a pretty strong economic footprint in Chattanooga. Chattanooga was also the home of Moon Pie and Little Debbie, right? And a number of consumer products that are very familiar brands that we know about, but did not know that they were from Chattanooga. And so what I saw in Chattanooga was a rich history around entrepreneurship that necessarily hadn’t found its way into the modern day, right? We didn’t see a lot of great companies coming out of Chattanooga in the late ‘90s during the tech bubble, and so forth. RITHOLTZ: So what did you accomplish when you were there? Do you feel like you moved the needle at all? SHAW: Well, we moved the needle tremendously. You know, there were some companies that were there when I took the seat, companies like Bellhop, that’s a tremendous company and kind of operates in the Uber of moving, right. So you have fantastic moving company and a fantastic culture. There was a company FreightWaves that has done fantastic work. People kind of equate it to the Bloomberg of trucking. And so they’ve got a — RITHOLTZ: FreightWaves? SHAW: FreightWaves. FreightWaves. RITHOLTZ: W-A-V-E-S? SHAW: That’s correct. And Craig Fuller who’s the founder and CEO down there was a good friend, but also a really strong business person who’s done some great work. We brought Steve Case in Rise of the Rest to Chattanooga. RITHOLTZ: Sure. SHAW: And FreightWaves was actually the investment that they made in Chattanooga, and has done great work. The company has grown. They’ve employed hundreds of people with meaningful salaries. And that’s what it takes to move the needle in a place like Chattanooga, and there are hundreds of cities like that around the country. RITHOLTZ: So how do you go from Tennessee to Alabama at the Montgomery TechLab? SHAW: So as I was leaving CoLab, in Tennessee, I saw what was going on in Montgomery, and I saw that Montgomery had great leadership. The mayor down there, Steven Reed, has done a fantastic job in Montgomery. I also saw that they had some really unique assets. They’ve got a fantastic Air Force installation down there. They’ve got the state capitol there in Montgomery. They got a really diverse population. And so what I really did was take the thesis that we were working with in Chattanooga, and adjust it so that it applied to Montgomery. And so in a couple of years down there, we’ve been able to bring some really incredible companies to Montgomery, to see the type of value that they have there. But we’ve also, in this most recent cohort, and the team down has done an incredible job, helped grow companies that are there in Montgomery, focusing on tech solutions and tech services, to help them expand and recognize assets even outside of the region. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned tech, I tend to think of the West Coast as the, you know, center of tech in the U.S. The Northeast is the center of finance. The Southeast, how should we think about that in terms of the business sectors that they should be known for? SHAW: So I think there are a couple of things. Number one, manufacturing has been strong in the Southeast for a number of years. RITHOLTZ: A lot of car companies really, right? SHAW: A lot of car companies. There’s a lot of pro-business environment for companies with big labor forces in the Southeast. You’re able to operate at a more efficient standard of living in terms of cost. And so you see a lot of car manufacturers operating down there. Also, transportation and logistics, Chattanooga was probably one of the biggest hubs for transportation logistics in the country. Anything that’s coming through the Southeast via truck is coming through either 81 or 75 or 24. All of that comes through Chattanooga. And so that was something that we saw. You’ve got companies like U.S. Xpress and Covenant that operate in Chattanooga. RITHOLTZ: Didn’t FedEx or UPS have a big logistics center? SHAW: So FedEx is out in Memphis, Tennessee, so on the other side of the state. But those trucks, again, will all come through Chattanooga. And so when you think about, you know, the south and you think about industries that are moving, it continues to be manufacturing and logistics. Also, healthcare is really popping up. Nashville and Atlanta are two very large healthcare hubs. Some of that is due, unfortunately, to demand, right, where you have health outcomes that are probably a little more severe in some of the Southeastern states in the United States. And so you need strong healthcare to meet the needs of the population. RITHOLTZ: It’s interesting we’re talking about different parts of the country. A lot of the bigger firms want to see the end of remote work or hybrid work. But I would imagine that that creates opportunities for parts of the country like Chattanooga, and Nashville, and Montgomery, where there are a lot of big companies that may not be located there, but they want to tap the pool of talent that’s there. SHAW: So we’ve seen that, and talking with leaders in a number of cities throughout the south, and even throughout other areas in the middle of the country that have not traditionally had the type of talent there, or the draw to those cities. You definitely saw a surge of people, I would say, during the COVID period, that were moving to cities where there was a lower cost of living, but a strong quality of living, and they could work remote. And so I think there’s been a benefit to those cities, and that you’re getting people that are moving. You know, Nashville had a ton of people that were moving to Nashville primarily from California, and that really strengthened the work or the labor force in Nashville. What you do see on the other side of the coin, though, is that for companies that are there locally, it can be a detriment because you have people that are there in the city and may take jobs outside of the region instead of taking jobs there in the region. And so there’s a delicate balance, right, to the impact, particularly for small to mid-size markets, where you have a labor force that’s needed in the market, that’s finding opportunities outside of the market, even if they continue to live. RITHOLTZ: Let’s spend a little time going over some of your history. Your family is from Mississippi, but you grew up a little bit of a military brat? Tell us about those experiences. SHAW: Yes. So my dad is actually from Mississippi. My mom was from North Carolina. My dad was a naval officer who retired shortly before I was born. So I spent most of my time growing up in Maryland, right outside of D.C. RITHOLTZ: So you didn’t do the whole army brat travel around the country? SHAW: I didn’t do that. But I did hang out on military bases a lot. So all my friends would change every three years when they PCS, right. So I had kind of the opposite side of the travel, which is being the friend that was always left behind. RITHOLTZ: Right. That’s really intriguing. What did your dad retire from doing? What was his — SHAW: So my dad had two careers in his life. He grew up in Mississippi. He’s picking cotton, believe it or not, when he was 7 years old. He was born in 1929. RITHOLTZ: Seven? SHAW: 7 years old. Right. RITHOLTZ: Wow. SHAW: We talk about skipping generations. He went into the Navy in 1945, and spent 27 years in the Navy. He retired and went to work at the Library of Congress as personnel. He was able to get his undergrad, master’s, PhD all through the GI Bill while he was in the Navy. RITHOLTZ: Wow. SHAW: But I always say my father is a real hero of mine because he truly did skip three generations in one lifetime. RITHOLTZ: Wow. That’s really impressive. Was mom working? Was she a homemaker? SHAW: My mother was a 50-year school teacher and taught public school in D.C. for 50 years — RITHOLTZ: 50. Wow. SHAW: — and really was an inspiration for the way I think about learning and understanding the value of education. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about education. You went to Sidwell Friends School, that’s some rarefied company, isn’t it? SHAW: There’s some good people that have gone there. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. Who did you go to school with? Any famous names that you know of? SHAW: Marcus Shaw is one. But, no, I had great, great folks in my class. Baratunde Thurston, who you may have heard of, author and producer that spent time with The Daily Show; Jon Bernthal who’s a great actor; Tommy Kail who was the director of Hamilton and some other big plays. RITHOLTZ: Wow. SHAW: But you know, everybody in our class was phenomenal. Also, folks like Chelsea Clinton, and later, the Obama girls went to Sidwell. So some rarefied air indeed, but a great group of students and a great group of friends. RITHOLTZ: So you go from there to get a mathematics degree from Morehouse College, then onto Georgia Tech for an electrical engineering degree, with little football mixed in. Tell us a little bit about your academic career in college. SHAW: So when I went to Morehouse, I was excited. I went down there with a few friends. It was a great mix to be able to go to a school, like Sidwell, and then go to an HBCU as esteemed as Morehouse was. It was really a great opportunity for me to have a bunch of different experiences. My story around playing football is probably my great interview story. I was playing cards with a bunch of guys right at the beginning of the school year, and made a bet that I could kick a 50-yard field goal. So we go out on the field, we jumped the fence, I lined up, take about 20 steps back, kick a field goal from 50 yards. One of the coaches comes out and yells at us to get off the field. We’re trespassing. As we’re leaving, he tells me to come out to the walk-on tryouts at the end of the week. RITHOLTZ: How close did you come to a 50-yard field goal? SHAW: Oh, I knocked it down. RITHOLTZ: No kidding. SHAW: I made it, man. He didn’t want me to come out because I missed it. He wanted me to come out because I made it. And you know, I went on to play four years in Morehouse and had some strong accolades there. But really, even that experience was about building great friends that I played football with. And many of those gentlemen have gone on to do incredible things as well. RITHOLTZ: Why is it not surprising that a math nerd is also a placekicker? It seems to be like the field goal seems to be one of the most mathematical parts of football. SHAW: Well, it’s pure geometry. RITHOLTZ: Right. SHAW: So 1.3 seconds from the snapper to putting the ball down and getting the ball off the ground, the angle that has got to come up, you know, is pretty significant in terms of your probability of making it. So I looked at it as an exercise in physics, geometry, you know, a little bit of chemistry, depending on the texture of the football. So I thought I was a natural. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. And then you go on, get your master’s at Duke School of Business. What led you in that direction, given the mathematics and electrical engineering undergraduate? SHAW: So I went to IBM after completing my undergrad degree at Georgia Tech in electrical engineering. I had a great time there, learned a lot, but really wanted to understand the way that we were selling business, right, understanding more about the business of IBM, and how we thought about the products and services that I was delivering as an engineer. Not to mention one of my, you know, very good friends that played football with me in Morehouse, was a year ahead of me in business school, he said, “You’re pretty smart, you should check out business school.” And fortunately enough, I had a great school in Duke that was right there in Durham. My wife was in med school at UNC. And I didn’t have to move to go to a great business school, which was really refreshing. And it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about business there and kicked off a new career. RITHOLTZ: From there, you ended up going into a decade of equity research and investment banking at shops like Bank of America, Piedmont, others. What led to that aspect of finance? SHAW: So I always tell folks this is one of the great turning points in my life. When I went to business school, I was pretty confident that I was going to come out of business school and go back to IBM. I was going to stay an engineer, wanted to learn more about marketing and you know, some operations around technology. There was a point right before the start of my first year in business school, so this is 2003, I had an opportunity to go to a camp, two-day camp at Goldman, that was focused on providing insights in investment careers for people that did not have an investment background. And you know, they fly you up, you’re a smart kid, put you up in a nice hotel. And I met a woman who covered enterprise software at Goldman, and she gave me really great insight into how I could leverage the industry knowledge that I had developed at IBM. And so, really, it was one person on an off-conversation, you know, down on Broad Street, 20-plus years ago, that led to my career. She said, “Equity research is a great place where if you know a lot about the business, and you learn a lot about finance, you can be impactful. You can earn a good living. You can really understand the markets and meet great people.” RITHOLTZ: As opposed to the opposite which is knowing a lot about finance, and then having to learn a whole industry from the outside, it’s a very different perspective than starting with the industry knowledge from the inside. SHAW: That’s right. And that perspective is something that I think we’ve got to learn to embrace more because, you know, finance is challenging, but it’s not difficult, right? It requires putting in work and getting reps in order to start to understand patterns and be able to anticipate things that you will see in the market, or things that you’ll see at a company. But really understanding the core of industry is what makes a master of business, right? I mean, that’s how you really start to hone the skills that you need in order to make true alpha out in the market as an investor. RITHOLTZ: So tell us what you did it at shops like Bank of America, what was your focus? SHAW: So I covered telecom services at Bank of America. During my time at IBM, I worked on several telecom networking projects and really understood the industry, things like spectrum and things like wireless that were coming of age at that time, I understood pretty deeply. And you know, through my understanding of finance, I was able to say, these are businesses that I think will do well. these are businesses that are positioned to do well. And once the market understands that, the stocks will perform. I had great mentors at Bank of America, a great team that I worked with, and really set me up for a great start in finance. RITHOLTZ: So you have a little bit of a health scare when you’re relatively young, and it changes your career trajectory. Tell us what led you to stepping off of the merry-go-round? SHAW: Yeah. Barry, it’s an incredible story and one that I think also defines a lot of where my life has led. So you know, I was at a firm in D.C. and covering tech media telecom, a bunch of regulated industries as well, and was having some chest pain. And a bunch of traders had, you know, what we call walking pneumonia, but it takes everything to get a trader off the desk, right? I mean, the whole desk will get pneumonia before they leave. And I was pretty sure that’s what I had and was coughing for a few days, and had some pain in my chest, go to the hospital. They take an X-ray. They see that I’ve got some swelling and a little bit of cloudiness there in my lungs, and they gave me a Z-Pak, an antibiotic. They think that I might have had pneumonia. My wife who’s a physician, as I shared with you before, you know, comes to the hospital, to the emergency room. She asked me what they said, I said, you know, as an equity research guy, I think I know it all, “I’ve gotten pneumonia. You know, they saw it on the X-ray.” What I didn’t– RITHOLTZ: It’s like, “Let me see those films.” SHAW: She’s like, “Let me see what’s going on.” Exactly. RITHOLTZ: She didn’t buy it? SHAW: Well, she didn’t buy it because she’s a doctor and she’s very good at her job. Like, I say all the time. I’ve got a great wife, but I got the best doctor that anybody could have in their house. I had some leg pain earlier in the week. RITHOLTZ: Left side? SHAW: Yeah, left side. RITHOLTZ: Ooh. SHAW: So we know where this is going, right, Barry? RITHOLTZ: All right. Yeah, you can just ignore that. That will sort itself out. SHAW: I thought it was a charley horse. RITHOLTZ: Really? SHAW: I played a little basketball with buddies. This was right at the end of a Thanksgiving holiday. And I got a group of buddies, lifelong friends, we always play basketball together. And I thought it was a charley horse. Pain in the leg went away. A couple of days later, I’m having this pain in my chest and I take myself to the hospital. She goes, “Did you tell them about your leg?” And I said, “No.” She goes into the head of the emergency room’s office. RITHOLTZ: Really? SHAW: The guy comes back out and he says, “How come you didn’t tell me about your leg?” I said, “Well, my leg doesn’t hurt anymore. It’s my chest. I got pneumonia. That’s what X-ray said.” This is where equity research guys talk themselves into a hole. They think they know more than they do. RITHOLTZ: Right. SHAW: I know a lot about telecom. I know nothing about healthcare. All right. So the guy comes out and he says, “Well, we got to give you what we call a D-dimer.” Right. There’s a test for blood clots essentially. RITHOLTZ: Right. SHAW: They do the tests. I am at this point, the second sickest person, highest priority in the emergency room. RITHOLTZ: Wow. SHAW: They rolled me in. They gave me an MRI. They see the blood clots in my lungs. They see some remnants in my leg. I’m immediately, you know, brought into the hospital and I’m there for several days. They gave me blood thinner. They want to make sure that these clots don’t — RITHOLTZ: So no bypass or anything crazy like that? SHAW: No, no, no, no, no. So what I had was a blood clot, right? So I did not have a heart attack. I’m in the stroke center there at the hospital in D.C. And for me, it was really a point where you start thinking about your life in a different way. RITHOLTZ: It had to be terrifying when your wife comes in and the head of the ER says, “Stat. Let’s get this guy taken care of immediately.” SHAW: It is, but not as scary until you realize what’s really happening. And that, you know, there’s things that they call the widow-makers, which are these bilateral blood clots that you get across the aortic valve. And I mean, you just go away. RITHOLTZ: You’re done. Right. SHAW: You’re done. Right? As somebody that kind of steeped in mathematics, probabilities, investment, you’re always thinking about the future. And you know, my great story from that is that I actually upgraded a stock Pandora Media from the ICU in the hospital. RITHOLTZ: I bet they loved that. SHAW: Yeah. To which my wife responded, you know, “If you die writing a research report, I’ll kill you.” Right. So this is where you start putting it together, you put a little bit of life together, and you start thinking like an investor, and you start investing in yourself and thinking about, you know, how are you going to measure the return in your life? And for me, I’ve done well as an analyst. You know, we did well. And I said I really I want to find ways that I can impact and help others with the years that I have left because it could have gone away right then in there. RITHOLTZ: So is that what led to Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and then AltFinance? Tell us about what took place when you got out of the hospital? SHAW: Yeah. So got out of the hospital, stuck around for a few more months at the firm that I was working. And then decided to do some other things, and that included doing some work with small- to medium-sized businesses, providing some outsourced CFO type of service, to really understand how some of these small businesses worked. An organization that I looked at doing some work with was Management Leadership for Tomorrow. And John Rice and the team at MLT do a great job. They have absolutely moved the needle and changed the trajectory for thousands of Black, Latino and Native American students over 20-plus years. I knew John a little bit and knew about the work that he had done. I had written recommendations for mentees of mine into that program. And John asked me to come out and you know, “Can you help raise some money, right, running business development?” And for me, that was a step away from the industry. And what I recognized is I got tremendous fulfillment out of seeing young people that were, you know, 10, 20 years younger than myself, but helping them get to the next level, helping give them the opportunities that that woman gave me from Goldman, when she said, “Here’s the path you should think about taking.” RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’re listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. We’re talking to Marcus Shaw. He is the CEO of AltFinance, a firm which seeks to increase diversity across alternative asset management firms. So we’ve been talking earlier about the lack of recruiting and the lack of diversity, historically, on Wall Street. But let’s talk about the other side. You often speak to groups of smart college kids, and you ask them, hey, what do you guys know about private equity, or credit, or venture capital? What sort of answer do you get when you ask those college students those questions? SHAW: So the most interesting thing that I’ve seen in assessing college students and talking to them is that students generally have very little knowledge of the companies that are operating in the private equity, private credit markets, real estate. They know some of the venture capital firms because I think venture capital has done a great job of a PR over the past 10 years or so. I mean, everybody wants to be a venture capitalist and an entrepreneur. I always attribute that to a low interest rate environment where — RITHOLTZ: Oh, no, go back to the 1990s when venture capitalists were rock stars also. SHAW: That’s right. That’s right. Well, also, though, you know, a period there where you had the Fed being a little accommodative, right? I think that by nature and by design, many of the firms that operate in private equity and private credit space don’t want to be known. But our students know many of the holding companies, right. And that’s what’s really interesting, that they know the publicly-traded companies, they know the private companies, but they don’t know the holding companies for the private companies. RITHOLTZ: You use the example, and I think it’s fascinating, Rihanna partnered with a private equity firm for her fashion line. The students know who Rihanna is and they know how wildly successful she’s become, but they don’t know who the financers are. SHAW: That’s right. That’s right. RITHOLTZ: And how do you get them to look behind the curtain and/or under the hood and see that capitalist is what’s driving the business? SHAW: I think the key to that, and we check for this when we’re interviewing students for our program, is intellectual curiosity, right? That’s the key to being an investor. Are you always thinking about peeling back another layer to the onion? You go in a store; you see a great product. Hmm, where is that product made? Who’s the company that owns that? Is there’s several different pieces to the product? Where are they getting the components from? Where are they sourcing them from? Who owns that company? Who finances those companies? That’s the way we’re teaching students to think because that brings about the type of intellectual curiosity that you need to have when ultimately, you want to put some capital behind a company that you really like. RITHOLTZ: So let’s go back to first principles. Why are companies interested in diversity? What’s in it for them? SHAW: So I think there are a number of reasons why companies are and should be interested in diversity. We have hundred million students out here, coming through, you know, K through 12, and university system that are operating at a higher level than we were 20 years ago. Students are very smart, independent of their color, their background, their religion, their gender orientation, right? What we know is that students are being educated at tremendous levels today. They have so much more access, that their intellectual curiosity is going to be really fueled by a lot more information that’s delivered in a more equitable way. If I’m hiring for talent, I want access to all of that. I want to know the brightest kid from every corner of the country, boy, girl, gay, straight, black, white, it doesn’t matter. I want to know that student because that student can help me. That student can help me build and invest, and find opportunities and generate alpha, and bring more clients into my business. And so if I’m a senior leader at a company, I think that’s the business operative, right? I’ve got to have the brightest talent, the talent that’s most differentiated and intelligent, and also helpful. I think the social part of this is that, you know, a lot of these dollars are public dollars, that companies are managing. My mother, again, a 50-year school teacher who put money into her retirement for 50 years. It would benefit her, and it would benefit the other teachers and firefighters and police officers that represent diverse communities, to have people who are investing their money look like them as well, RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So this is more than just a checkbox on any list. Companies are actually looking to expand their diversity and inclusion practices because they see a genuine benefit to both their decision-making process and their businesses. SHAW: I think that’s the obvious answer. And that’s why with AltFinance, you know, this is a long-term plan. We’ve got a 10-year commitment from our three initial partner firms. And so this is not about checking the box; this is about changing the paradigm for recruiting talent in this industry. RITHOLTZ: So this industry has been notoriously laggard when it comes to diversity. But there are lots of other industries, technology has been accused of having a diversity issue. Medicine, law, pretty much wherever you look, United States has its own history, with some of its dark pockets. What other sectors could benefit from an organization like AltFinance, or what else can we focus on? SHAW: Yeah. I think there are a number of sectors that could benefit from this strategy, even sectors like tech that have already developed some strategies. I think, again, we’re focused around education, exposure and experience, the three elements that are going in to preparing students for careers. This is not just about scholarships, right? You give a student a scholarship, but then you don’t really give them access to the people at your firm that are going to help that student not only get a job at that firm, but feel a sense of belonging, right, once they get to that firm, so that they maximize their individual output. That’s what you’re trying to go for. Right? I’ll tell you a story about a student. So we have a student in our program. And when you talk about counseling and coaching, it was a phenomenal story. A student, very bright student who had the ability to graduate in three years, and worked last summer at a fairly reputable consulting company. And I asked the student, I said, “Why are you in a hurry to graduate? You students got a pretty good scholarship package.” Student comes from a background where, you know, he’s having to support family still at home. I mean, you know, a tough situation, and he wanted to get out in the workplace where he can earn. I said, “Trust me, if you stay for your full four years, you’ll have the opportunity through this program, to get access to a career in alternatives. You had a great opportunity last summer. You’ll come out. You could make 2x, even 3x if you stay and pursue this opportunity in alternatives.” So the young man stayed, had multiple opportunities, selected one. But here’s the real power of the network. As he’s making his decision to which role he’s going to take and you know, at one of three mega funds, he calls up his mentor who is not at one of the firms that he has an offer from. And he says, “Well, what do you think I should do?” In the course of that conversation, not only does he get guidance from the mentor, the mentor connects him with another gentleman who used to work at one of the firms, in the same group that he was going to. Now, he has a decision that he’s made, that’s been informed by two people that he did not know a year ago. That’s the dinner table. RITHOLTZ: And we will take those conversations for granted if specially someone grown up in a New York area, where you know people who work in finance or people’s parents were in finance, that network just doesn’t develop elsewhere without focused exposure to it. SHAW: That’s right. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. So you’re at Bank of America a decade ago. You had some important teams you worked with, and you led some groups. How do you see Wall Street having changed over the past 10 or 20 years? Were the signs on the road that things were getting better? Were they ripe for moving in the right direction? Or is Wall Street just calcified and needed to really be shaken up? SHAW: Well, Barry, I think that question really highlights something that’s amazing to me. Number one, that I’ve been in this business, you know, a long time. RITHOLTZ: It goes by quick, doesn’t it? SHAW: It goes by very fast. And number two, how much things change, you know, in a fairly short amount of time. You know, when I started my career in finance, I was the only black person in my group, in my division. Okay. Another young woman came shortly after. We had a great relationship. In fact, she’s been a lifelong friend. And I, you know, was a mentor to her. And — RITHOLTZ: Was that something that was very consistent? You were the only black guy working at the other shops you worked at, or at least the only person in the department? SHAW: Well, for a couple of firms. I also did work at a minority-owned firm down in North Carolina, and it was refreshing. I mean, actually, you know, some of the brightest people that I ever worked with, and much of my investment philosophy and the thesis, the way I think about investing was developed there, amongst an incredibly diverse group of investors who had, you know, tremendous experience and success. RITHOLTZ: Really intriguing. So given that you were at some big firms early 2010s, you know, what was it that led Wall Street to finally being ripe to accept changes? SHAW: I think there is an inevitable pressure from society that helps drive change. And I think Wall Street, while we talk about it, in this compartmentalized concept of its Wall Street. It’s in New York. It’s, you know, the bull down on Wall Street, right? And it’s the movies that we see. In reality, the funds that Wall Street is managing, the capital that it’s managing is coming from all over the country. RITHOLTZ: Right. SHAW: It’s coming from people that look like me. It’s coming from people that look like you. It’s coming from people that look like our parents and our children. So at the end of the day, and I think we saw this in 2008, I think we saw it again during COVID, that at the end of the day, these companies are accountable to the people, right, and to the people that are their investors, their LPs, and entities that their LPs represent, and their clients. And so I think that what we’ve evolved into is a more human Wall Street that is more inclusive by nature. And I do believe that what we’re seeing now, right, we will continue to see because we’ll have people that come through AltFinance, but also people more senior that are at the table and helping make decisions on where and how we invest in people, and where and how we invest in companies. RITHOLTZ: So that leads me to a pretty straightforward question, which is, first, how do you measure your own success with AltFinance? And second, how to people like Oaktree, Apollo, and Ares, how did they ask you to track your progress? What metrics do they look at, to say, hey, we’re getting our money’s worth for standing up this company and giving them a decade long horizon? SHAW: So I’ll address the latter first, right. Number one, so I came in in September. We started our first cohort of our fellowship in January. We now have the second cohort. I’ve got 75 students from HBCUs that are now building relationships, getting education, getting exposure, and ultimately getting experience to the alternative investment industry. That is fascinating. We’ve got students in our program that have their first full time offer with alternative investment firms, that will graduate in 2023, in May. So we’re already in a few months really hitting the cover off the ball. That’s the quantitative element, right? Those are the KPIs up on the dashboard that are saying, you know, how many students are you getting to exposure to these jobs? How many students are getting these jobs? What I also measure and this is through the conversation with students, how many students are building confidence, skills, and relationships that will help improve their wealth and economic mobility as they grow? How many students are having a conversation around the learning session that we do on interest rates, and then calling mom or dad at home and saying, “You know what, you know, what’s the interest rate on your credit card? Did you refi your house? How should I think about my student loans?” Right. They are really taking an active position in the way that they think about their personal finance, but also the way they think about investing. And I hear those conversations and have those conversations with students almost on a daily basis, and that’s what fulfills me and lets me know we’re moving in the right direction. When I look down the road in 10 years, I believe that I will have hundreds of students that are actively working in alternative investments, but I’ll have thousands that are knowledgeable and have relationships with people in this business, and are better off for it. RITHOLTZ: So we’ve been talking a lot about alt investments. Are there parallel entities to AltFinance for traditional asset management, investing banking, stocks, bonds, IPOs, et cetera? It seems like there should be something similar to what you’re doing for that space as well, which arguably, is even bigger than AltFinance. SHAW: So I think there are some organizations that have, you know, been active and providing similar opportunities for students for traditional banking, right. I mean, when you think about what Reginald Lewis did, you know, almost 30 years ago, and breaking grounds for blacks in investment banking. I think that we’re doing some of that today in the alternative space. Remember, we had our first group of fellows. We had 33 fellows in our first cohort. RITHOLTZ: What year was that? SHAW: So this is January of 2022. This is just, you know, a few months ago, right? And I asked the students, all right, how many of you know Morgan Stanley, Goldman, Citigroup? Everybody raises their hand. They all know it. They see the commercials. They get the commercials on the Internet. I asked, how many of you know Ares, Apollo, or Oaktree? One student, so roughly 3%. These students are brilliant, all high performers, all strong academic performers. I mean, they will not fail to get a job. They could get a job doing anything. But they did not have the awareness of how the pathway to enter one of the most rewarding careers in investing. RITHOLTZ: Really? SHAW: And that’s a key. And so when I look at other industries, and what other organizations are doing, we are squarely focused on helping move the needle in the alternative investment space, places where people can help do deals, be long-term owners. It’s not about, you know, the transactional element of investment banking, right? Be an owner, a direct owner of a brand that you know, but you never knew who the holding company was. I have 75 students now that can answer that question of what’s the pathway. RITHOLTZ: How much larger can you expand this to be? SHAW: So Barry, we will expand the fellowship program ultimately to be round 100 or 120 students, and you know, each year, about 40 or so in each class. We are also partnering with the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania to develop an institute, the Wharton AltFinance Institute, which will be an online community and platform providing, again, curriculum and content and community, as well as resources to help students at any HBCU gain access to again education, exposure, and opportunities for experience in the space. And so through the institute, we’ll be able to scale some of the best parts of our fellowship, which is a real high touch part of our programming. But we will scale that to the students that are at HBCUs that we don’t partner with directly. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite fascinating. I know I only have you for a couple of minutes more. So before I let you go, I want to ask the standard questions that I ask all of my guests, starting with, what have you been streaming these days? What’s been keeping you entertained post lockdown? SHAW: Yeah. So Barry, I would say I tend to read a lot and follow a lot obviously in news channels on finance. On podcasts, I mean, I love Howard Marks, The Memo, and I read his memos that he puts out. But I love what he’s doing in the podcast format that he’s developed. But I listened to a lot of sports. I’m a huge Jalen & Jacoby fan. I love what those guys are doing in terms of sports and entertainment. And so, you know, probably not as heavy as some of the other answers you get. But I love sports talk radio. RITHOLTZ: That’s interesting. Tell us about some of your early mentors who helped shape your career. SHAW: So, you know, a couple of the mentors that I had, there was a woman named Stacy Gorin who hired me actually at IBM. And it’s amazing to think this is over 20 years ago. Stacy was a long-term executive at IBM and has now moved to a consulting firm. But what she really helped me focus on early in my career was continuous improvement, right. You think about it as an engineer a lot, right, kind of the Kaizen principle, right, that Toyota use. But personal improvement of yourself, right, how do you continue to develop as a person? If you’re strong technically, how do you develop into a person that people feel comfortable managing others, and feel comfortable being managed by. And so as I developed into an executive and then CEO, I always reflect on those lessons that she gave me early on, about being vulnerable, and being coachable, even being coached up, right. So having somebody that reports to you have the ability to coach you up on things where you can be more helpful for your organization. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned books and you like to do a lot of reading, tell us what some of your favorites are and what are you reading right now. SHAW: Yeah. So you know, a book that I go to often and I reread this probably once every couple of years is Peter Bernstein’s “Against the Gods.” RITHOLTZ: So good. SHAW: It’s fascinating to think about this concept of risk, and how it’s affected us since the very beginning of time, right. And then, really how we have taken risk from something that was deified, right, kind of this religious concept, and turned it into an economic tool that we can arbitrage for personal gain. Unbelievable, well written, I love the historical context and bringing into the future. And so that’s one that I go to often. I’ll tell you a book that I want to pick up and the title here is John Mack’s new book. And I thought it’s interesting because, you know, John is somebody that I don’t know, personally, but I’ve always respected kind of the way that he organized and ran businesses. And you know, it’s of note that he’s dealing — you know, I think has talked publicly about the aging process that he is going through himself. And I found that particularly endearing because it’s something that I’ve dealt within my family. And to recognize that, you know, in this business, we’re still human and we’re not excluded from the human process. And so that’s the book, John Mack’s new book is one that I certainly want to pick up. RITHOLTZ: “Up Close and All In: Life Lessons from a Wall Street Warrior” is that it? SHAW: That is it. That is it. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. That’s a hell of a title. SHAW: Hell of a guy. RITHOLTZ: This is kind of a funny question because I ask this to everybody, but essentially, I’m asking you a question which is what AltFinance does, but I’ll ask it anyway. What advice do you give to a recent college grad who was interested in the career in either investments or alternative finance? SHAW: So there are two things that I tell all of our students. Number one is bigger picture and probably pretty simple, you’ve got to have intellectual curiosity. You can never run out of questions. I mean, you run incredible podcasts. You can never run out of questions. You’ve always got to have something that you’re thinking about in terms of what’s the next layer. How can I think about in a different perspective? How can I put myself in somebody else’s shoes and think about it? And how does that change the value of what I’m looking at? Right? I think that’s critical to being successful as an investor. Number two is something that somebody shared with me and that’s actually John Rice who runs MLT and is a partner and a great friend, and really one of the great leaders in the D&I space. When you’re young and you’re bright, you’ve got to take risk early in your career. And in fact, not taking risk is actually the riskiest thing you can do. It’s a little bit of a parable, right? But — RITHOLTZ: When you’re young, you can recover from failure. You don’t have that same luxury when you’re older. SHAW: It’s so hard to appreciate that when you’re, you know, 20 or 21. When you’re — RITHOLTZ: You’re afraid of failure. SHAW: When you’re afraid of failure, when you should actually be seeking failure. Right? You should not be doing anything when you’re 22 or 20 or 21 that you can’t fail it. RITHOLTZ: Right. Playing it safe is risky. SHAW: It is risky. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world of investing and AltFinance today you wish you knew 20 or so years ago when you were really exploring the field in its earliest days? SHAW: So the biggest thing I would say procedurally that I see in the investment hiring cycle is that you got to be ready for the gig before you get it, which means that the recruiting process for alternative investment, even if you’re going to investment banking as an analyst, it may start before you actually start that job. There may be people that are reaching out to you, trying to assess your interest, and what you’re going to do after banking. And that was, you know, I say, one of the secrets of the industry that, you know, I was well into my career before I knew that’s how people were getting recruited into the industry. And so you got to have your ear to the ground, right? You got to know who’s who, where the players are, who you should be expecting emails and calls from. And when you get those emails and calls, you got to be ready for it. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting answer. We have been speaking to Marcus Shaw, CEO of AltFinance. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of the previous 400 or so we’ve done over the past eight and a half years. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, wherever you get your podcasts from. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Sign up for my daily reading list at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put this conversation together each week. Justin Milner is my audio engineer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager. Paris Wald is my producer. Sean Russo is my researcher. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. END ~~~   The post Transcript: Marcus Shaw appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2022

How the Mozilla Foundation’s Mark Surman Is Rethinking Venture Capital

Mozilla Ventures, which will inject much-needed investments into companies that 'can ultimately push the internet in a better direction.' (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Right now seems like a moment of unique opportunity for many internet entrepreneurs. Hundreds of thousands—maybe millions—of Twitter users are searching for a platform to make their new online home, amid Elon Musk’s scorched-earth upheaval of the platform. But, for many of Twitter’s traditional users, nothing seems to fit the bill. Mastodon is too complicated. Facebook is for boomers. LinkedIn is too professional. One of the many reasons a viable alternative isn’t ready to swoop in is that the traditional venture capital (VC) firms that have funded Silicon Valley’s biggest hits often prioritize the prospect of return on investment over sound ethical decision-making. If a Twitter-alternative were to facilitate healthy conversation, eschew targeted advertising, and make it more difficult for polarizing content to go viral, the company behind it would simply be less profitable. As a result, founders looking to raise investments for similar projects often fall at the first hurdle. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] That, at least, is the opinion of Mozilla, a hybrid organization that includes a non-profit foundation and the corporation behind privacy-focused web browser Firefox. On Nov. 2, Mozilla set out to change that state of affairs by launching its own venture capital arm, Mozilla Ventures, which will inject much-needed investments into companies that “can ultimately push the internet in a better direction,” according to a statement accompanying the launch. With an initial funding round of $35 million, Mozilla Ventures isn’t as flush as the VC giants of Silicon Valley. But Mark Surman, the Mozilla Foundation’s president and executive director, is optimistic that the money will have a big impact on projects attempting to make the internet safer. “Venture capital as it’s currently formed, that pursuit of profit at all costs, leads eventually to things like the Twitter debacle and the monopolies that we have today,” Surman told TIME in an interview on Oct. 27, the day Elon Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter. “So it’s not only that there’s a consensus that we need a different kind of tech industry, I think it’s also clear we need a different kind of investing to get different outcomes.” Mozilla Ventures has already announced its first three investments, with more to be announced next year. One of the beneficiaries is Block Party, an app that helps users protect themselves from harassment on social media. Its founder, Tracy Chou, was named a TIME woman of the year in 2022. “We’re gonna use [the money] to hire and execute faster on the things we want to do,” Chou told TIME. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. Why are you launching Mozilla Ventures? We see a lot of startups who want to tackle things like privacy, trustworthy AI, and alternatives to Twitter. The founders are there. We’ve met a lot of them in the last couple of years. But they really struggle to find capital that lines up with their values and that will support them in being ethical tech companies. It feels like there’s a consensus that we need to push the tech industry in a different direction. The question now is, how is that going to happen? And it’s clear that some of that could happen through regulation. But it also has to happen through people building different products that still delight people and that people want to use, but also products that respect people and protect people. There’s very few people who aren’t going to say, ‘I want the internet to work differently’ right now. But venture capital as it’s currently formed, that pursuit of profit at all costs, leads eventually to things like the Twitter debacle and the monopolies that we have today. So it’s not only that there’s a consensus that we need a different kind of tech industry, I think it’s also clear we need a different kind of investing to get different outcomes. So how is Mozilla Ventures different? At the simplest level, it is going to be investing through the lens of the Mozilla manifesto. So there’s 14 principles, like privacy, human dignity, transparency, and so on. And we look at a company through that lens first. Is there something in their vision and their product that advances one of those principles? And is what they’re doing not harming any of them? We’re putting the same mission filter we put on ourselves, on these companies. And then we look at, is there a good founder? Is there a good team? Do they understand the market? Is there a likelihood that they’ve got a niche and a business? That’s really the only thing that’s different: applying the values we apply to our products to companies we might invest in. And then, doing the normal kind of review of whether it’s a good investment. What companies have you already invested in? So there’s three companies we’ve already invested in. One is called Secure AI Labs, which is about doing biomedical research with patient data in a way that is hyper privacy friendly. It’s also aligned with the interests of patients because it works with nonprofit patient advocacy groups. There’s a big opportunity in AI and big data for pharmaceutical biomedical research for health breakthroughs, but a huge problem with this is [that it’s] some of the most sensitive information about us. So it’s about crossing a chasm between something that’s a real big promise of AI, and something that’s a huge privacy problem with AI, by building a trusted layer in the middle. The second is a company called Block Party, founded by Tracy Chou, who’s well known as a spokesperson on online safety. She has had to confront online harassment herself. Block party is basically a tool to help people mitigate online harassment, at this point on Twitter, but looking at moving to other platforms as well. It’s kind of like a personal safety tool for living in the internet world. And then the third is a password management company called heylogin. And, you know, their innovation is really to make password management hyper simple. Everybody thinks we need better individual security and that means better passwords, two factor authentication—all that stuff. But password managers are really a pain in the butt. And so they leverage the encryption technology that already exists on smartphones, and then the biometric, facial or thumbprint recognition as a way to lower the friction on a password manager. Unlike Apple or Google keychains, it works across platforms. I want to zoom out here. Elon Musk has bought Twitter. Facebook’s valuation has gone through the floor. Do you think that this moment right now is a unique moment of opportunity for new ventures? Yeah, I definitely think this is a unique moment of opportunity. One, because what’s going down shows the absolute pressing need for alternatives, and those alternatives are not going to emerge unless there’s founders and companies who build them. And the founders are not going to build them unless there’s money aligned with their vision. We’ve been in an era of insane growth and profits in the tech industry. In the current moment, I question whether that’s going to slow down for a moment or for a long time. But even if it slows down, tech is part of our lives and is going to be profitable. So a venture fund that isn’t necessarily looking for the huge crypto multiples, but is just looking for good business and good investment and good returns, that, I think, is the era that we may be entering. There’s still good investments, but not wacko. And not profit at all costs. The profit-at-all-costs mentality of looking for huge multiples on venture money has driven the growth of the surveillance economy, the hoarding of data, untrustworthy AI, all those things. So I think we need to still be about commerce and creating wealth, but we don’t need to be wacko, as I say. Where does this take Mozilla as an organization? What’s Mozilla’s vision for the future? And how does this fit into it? Mozilla’s vision for the future is that we can have an internet that is joyful and delightful, but also respectful and private. And we’re working on new products beyond Firefox, to help make that possible. But we also know that even if Mozilla is wildly successful at creating responsible tech products—even if we had 10 of them, we need 100. We need 1,000. We actually need more than us to be successful at this. So the play here is hopefully we can help some of those founders and teams be the next Firefox in the current era, but also encourage other investors to look at the opportunity and the need......»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 14th, 2022

Elon Musk"s tenure as Twitter"s new owner has gotten off to a controversial start. Here"s how the billionaire went from getting bullied as a child to becoming one of the most successful and controversial men in tech.

Over the last five decades, Musk has launched multiple companies, become a tabloid figure, and taken the crown as the world's richest person. Hannibal Hanschke-Pool/Getty Images Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is Twitter's new owner. So far, his decisions at Twitter have drawn both criticism and support.  He was born in South Africa, has been married three times, and has nine known children.  Musk is a controversial leader who has incited lawsuits and SEC investigations.  Elon Musk is never short on controversy, and the start of his tenure as Twitter's new leader is no exception. Since his $44 billion deal to buy the social network closed in October, Musk has introduced a contentious update to Twitter's verification process, laid off 50% of the company's staff, and reportedly reversed those layoffs for some workers. The site joins a growing list of companies tied to the world's richest man, who leads multiple massive organizations. Over the past five decades, Musk has become the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, founder of The Boring Company, and cofounder of OpenAI and Neuralink, all while focused on his long-term goal: escaping Earth and colonizing Mars.It hasn't always been a smooth road for Musk — he almost went broke more than once and incited lawsuits and government scrutiny.Here's how he became one of the most divisive figures in the business world. This is an update to an article originally published in August 2016. Katie Canales and Matt Weinberger contributed to an earlier version of this story. Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa.A general view of the Union Building is seen in Pretoria, South Africa.Siphiwe Sibeko/ReutersMusk's mother, Maye, is a professional dietitian and model. She has appeared on boxes of Special K cereal and the cover of Time magazine. In 2017, at the age of 69, she landed a contract with CoverGirl.Elon and Maye Musk.Getty Images/Charles EshelmanSource: The New York TimesAfter their parents divorced in 1979, the 9-year-old Musk and his younger brother, Kimbal, decided to live with their father. It wasn't until after the move was made that his notoriously troubled relationship with his dad began to emerge. "It was not a good idea," Musk said in a Rolling Stone interview about moving in with his father.Musk's brother, Kimbal.Fred Prouser/ReutersSource: Rolling StoneIn 1983, at the age of 12, Musk sold a simple game called "Blastar" to a computer magazine for $500. Musk described it as "a trivial game ... but better than Flappy Bird."Matt Weinberger/Business InsiderSource: WaitButWhyStill, Musk's school days weren't easy — he was once hospitalized after being beaten by bullies. The bullies threw Musk down a set of stairs and beat him until he blacked out.Matt Rourke/APSource: "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future"After graduating from high school, Musk moved to Canada with his mother, Maye; his sister, Tosca, and his brother, Kimbal, and spent two years studying at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.Michael Dwyer/APSource: Queen's UniversityBut he finished his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, earning degrees in physics and economics.Musk at Caltech in 2012, where he gave a commencement speech.Damian Dovarganes/APWhile studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Musk and a classmate rented out a 10-bedroom frat house and turned it into a nightclub. The move, which Musk undertook with Adeo Ressi, was one of his first entrepreneurial experiments.Students walk through the University of Pennsylvania campus.Stock Photo/Getty ImagesSource: VogueAfter graduation, Musk traveled to Stanford University to study for his Ph.D — but he barely started the program before leaving it. He deferred his admission after only two days in California, deciding to test his luck in the dot-com boom that was just getting underway. He never returned to finish his studies at Stanford.Facebook/Stanford UniversitySource: ForbesWith his brother, Kimbal, Elon Musk launched Zip2. A cluster of Silicon Valley investors helped to fund the company, which provided city travel guides to newspapers like The New York Times and Chicago Tribune.Kimbal Musk.Wikimedia CommonsSource: Rolling StoneWhile Zip2 got off the ground, Musk literally lived in the office and showered at a local YMCA. The hard work paid off when Compaq bought Zip2 in a deal worth $341 million in cash and stock, earning Musk $22 million.REUTERS/Noah BergerSource: Stanford UniversityMusk next started X.com, an online banking company. He launched the company in 1999 using $10 million of the money he got from the Zip2 sale. About a year later, X.com merged with Confinity, a financial startup cofounded by Peter Thiel, to form PayPal.Peter Thiel (left) and MuskPAUL SAKUMA/APSource: InvestopediaMusk was named the CEO of the newly minted PayPal — but it wouldn't last long. In October 2000, he started a huge fight among the PayPal cofounders by pushing for them to move its servers from the free Unix operating system to Microsoft Windows. PayPal cofounder and then CTO Max Levchin pushed back, hard.Max Levchin (left), the former chief technology officer of PayPal.Getty / Drew AngererSource: FortuneWhile Musk was en route to Australia for a much-needed vacation, PayPal's board fired him and made Thiel the new CEO. "That's the problem with vacations," Musk told Fortune years later about his ill-fated trip in late 2000.AP Photo/Mark J. TerrillSource: FortuneBut things worked out for Musk — he made another windfall when eBay bought PayPal in late 2002. As PayPal's single biggest shareholder, he netted $165 million of the $1.5 billion price eBay paid.APSource: MoneyEven before the PayPal sale, Musk was dreaming up his next move, including a wild plan to send mice or plants to Mars. In early 2002, Musk founded the company that would be known as Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, with $100 million of the money received from the PayPal sale. Musk's goal was to make spaceflight cheaper by a factor of 10.Mario Anzuoni/ReutersSource: Rolling StoneOne early SpaceX vehicle was named after the song "Puff the Magic Dragon." The name of the spacecraft, the Dragon, was Musk's jab at skeptics who told him SpaceX would never be able to put vehicles into space.Space X's Dragon spacecraft.Flickr/SpaceXSource: Elon Musk/TwitterSpaceX's long-term goal is to make colonizing Mars affordable. Musk has said that SpaceX won't file for an initial public offering until what Musk calls the "Mars Colonial Transporter" is flying regularly.Tech Insider/Recode/NASASource: ForbesMusk has also been keeping plenty busy here on Earth, particularly with Tesla Motors. In 2004, Musk made the first of what would be $70 million of total investments in Tesla, an electric car company cofounded by veteran startup exec Martin Eberhard.Martin Eberhard and Elon MuskPhoto by Chris Weeks/WireImageSource: WiredMusk took an active product role at Tesla, helping develop its first car, the Roadster. The all-electric Roadster debuted in 2006 when Musk was serving as Tesla's chairman. He's now also its CEO.Tesla Roadster.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderAs if that wasn't enough, Musk came up with the idea for SolarCity, a solar energy company. Musk gave his cousins Peter and Lyndon Rive the working capital to get SolarCity off the ground in 2006. (In late 2016, Tesla bought SolarCity in a $2.6 billion deal.)SolarCity cofounder Lyndon Rive (left) and Musk.Mark Von Holden/APSource: VentureBeat, InsiderIn 2007, Musk staged a boardroom coup at Tesla, first ousting Eberhard from his CEO seat and then from the company's board and executive suites entirely.ASSOCIATED PRESSSource: WiredIn 2008, with the financial crisis seriously limiting his options, Musk personally saved Tesla from bankruptcy. Musk invested $40 million in Tesla and loaned the company $40 million more. Not coincidentally, he was named the company's CEO the same year.ReutersSource: InsiderBut between SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, Musk nearly went broke. He describes 2008 as "the worst year of my life." Tesla kept losing money, and SpaceX was having trouble launching its Falcon 1 rocket. By 2009, Musk was living off personal loans just to survive.Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk stands on the podium as he attends a forum on startups in Hong Kong, China January 26, 2016.REUTERS/Bobby YipSource: VentureBeatMusk's personal life was in upheaval too: Musk and his wife Justine, a Canadian author, got divorced in 2008. The couple got married in 2000 — their first son, Nevada, died of SIDS at 10 weeks old (the Musks later went on to have twin and triplet boys).Justine Musk.Jason Merritt / Getty ImagesSource: Marie ClaireMusk started dating actress Talulah Riley later that year. They went on to get married in 2010, then divorced in 2012. In July 2013, they remarried. In December 2014, Musk filed for a divorce but withdrew the paperwork. In March 2016, Riley filed for divorce; that divorce was finalized in October.Talulah Riley (left) with Musk.Pascal Le Segretain / Getty ImagesSource: Vanity FairRight around Christmas 2008, Musk got two pieces of good news: SpaceX had landed a $1.5 billion contract with NASA to deliver supplies into space, and Tesla finally found more outside investors.APSource: Ars TechnicaBy June 2010, Tesla held a successful initial public offering. The company raised $226 million in the IPO, becoming the first car company to go public since Ford in 1956. To get his finances back on track, Musk sold shares worth about $15 million in the offering.CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk waves after ringing the opening bell at the NASDAQ market in celebration of his company's initial public offering in New York June 29, 2010.REUTERS/Brendan McDermidSource: WiredMusk's career was starting to get noticed in other circles, too, most notably in Hollywood. Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Tony Stark in the "Iron Man" movies is at least partially based on Musk. Musk even had a cameo in "Iron Man 2."Elon Musk in Iron Man 2Marvel StudiosSource: VoxBy the end of 2015, SpaceX had made 24 launches on assignments like resupplying the International Space Station, setting lots of records along the way. In 2016, the SpaceX Falcon 9 made the first successful ocean landing of a reusable orbital rocket.SpaceX/Flickr (public domain)Source: The VergeThe Falcon Heavy, the successor to the Falcon 9 and the most powerful rocket SpaceX has built to date, completed a successful maiden launch in February 2018. The Falcon Heavy carried a unique payload: a dummy dubbed "Starman," and Musk's personal cherry red Tesla Roadster, which were launched toward Martian orbit.Thom Baur/ReutersSource: SpaceX, InsiderMusk can't stop coming up with new ideas, either, like the Hyperloop. A super-high-speed train that travels in a vacuum tube, the Hyperloop could theoretically transport passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: SpaceX, InsiderIn a similar vein, Musk started another company in 2016 — The Boring Company, which has a mission to dig a network of tunnels under and around cities for high-speed, no-traffic driving. The Boring Company's first tunnel network for commercial use, located in Las Vegas, opened in April 2021.Robyn Beck/Pool via REUTERSSource: Insider And in late 2015, Musk cofounded OpenAI, a nonprofit dedicated to researching artificial intelligence and ensuring it doesn't destroy humanity. He later announced that he would step down from the board to avoid any potential conflicts of interest with Tesla, which has made strides into artificial intelligence for its self-driving car technology.jurvetson / FlickrSource: InsiderMusk founded one more company, this one in 2017: Neuralink, which is trying to build devices that can be implanted inside the human brain.Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y in 2019.AP Photo/Jae C. HongSource: The Wall Street JournalMusk dated "Aquaman" actress Amber Heard, but the two broke up in 2017 after a year of dating. Musk later said in an interview with Rolling Stone that the breakup was very hard on him.Getty ImagesSource: Rolling StoneThe year was a bit rocky from a political standpoint as well. Musk joined President Trump's business advisory council, a move that caused a huge public backlash. He initially defended the move, but he quit after Trump pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Musk said he tried to convince Trump not to withdraw.Musk (center) with Steve Bannon (left), the former White House Chief Strategist, and President Donald TrumpAP/ Evan VucciSource: InsiderIn the spring of 2018, there was a new development in Musk's personal life — he and the musician Grimes struck up a relationship. They reportedly hit it off after they both made the same nerdy joke about artificial intelligence.Elon Musk and Grimes attend the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018.Neilson Barnard/GettySource: InsiderMusk ran into some trouble in 2018 when he sent a tweet declaring he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share and had already secured funding. Just a few days later, the SEC sent Tesla subpoenas about the company's plans to go private and Musk's comments.Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderBy September, the SEC had formally filed a lawsuit against Musk, accusing him of making "false and misleading statements." Musk settled with the SEC, which resulted in both him and Tesla paying a $20 million fine and Musk agreeing to step down as chairman of Tesla's board. Additionally, Tesla was required to appoint a committee to oversee Musk's communications.Tesla CEO Elon Musk.Matt Rourke/AP PhotoSource: InsiderIn November 2019, Musk debuted a new Tesla vehicle: the Cybertruck, Tesla's first — and very highly anticipated — pickup truck. Since the unveiling, Musk has been spotted a few times cruising around in the truck, including on a night out to dinner at Nobu with Grimes.News: Tesla CybertruckReutersSource: Insider, InsiderOne month later, Musk won a victory in court when a jury ruled he was not guilty of defaming the British diver Vernon Unsworth. Unsworth had filed a defamation lawsuit in 2018 after Musk called him a "pedo guy" on Twitter.Cave diver Vernon Unsworth lost his defamation case against Elon Musk.REUTERS/David McNewSource: InsiderGrimes dropped a bombshell in January 2020 when she posted a photo of herself where she appeared pregnant. The musician later confirmed that she was expecting a baby with Musk.Jason Kempin/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderMusk has been outspoken about the coronavirus crisis in the US since early March 2020 when he first tweeted that panic over the virus was "dumb." Since then, he's tweeted misinformation about the virus and called US shelter-in-place orders "fascist."Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: Insider Despite having a substantial real estate portfolio, Musk recently said that he "will own no house" and would sell almost all of his physical possessions. He has since reportedly sold several of his California properties.One of Musk's southern California homes.Lucy Nicholson/Reuters; Sotheby’s International Realty; Yutong Yuan/Business InsiderSource: Insider, InsiderOn May 4, 2020, Grimes gave birth to a baby boy who the couple named X Æ A-Xii Musk, or "X Ash A-12 Musk." The couple calls him "X" for short.Grimes/Instagram Stories; Business InsiderSource: InsiderSpaceX had two major milestones in 2020: First, in May, SpaceX partnered with NASA to complete its first launch of astronauts into space. Then, in November, SpaceX completed its first "operational" human spaceflight by sending four astronauts to the International Space Station for a six-month stay.Elon Musk celebrates after the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft on NASA's SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020.REUTERS/Steve NesiusSource: InsiderTesla also had a good year: It joined the S&P 500 in December, which caused its stock to soar, and the company's market value reached over $894 billion.Tesla's Battery Day event.TeslaSource: Markets InsiderIn late 2020, Musk announced that he had moved to Texas over a spat with the state of California over coronavirus lockdowns. He's since said he wants to create a city around SpaceX's launch facilities known as "Starbase."Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a visit to Germany.Michele Tantussi/ReutersSource: InsiderIn May, Musk hosted "Saturday Night Live" for the first time. Grimes and his mother, Maye, both made appearances on the show.Elon Musk hosted "SNL" on May 8, 2021. His mom, Maye Musk, during his monologue.Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderIn September 2021, Page Six reported that Musk and Grimes had broken up after three years of dating. He said at the time that they were "semi-separated" but still loved each other and "are on great terms."RW/MediaPunch/IPxSource: InsiderMusk's longtime spat with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos reached new heights as SpaceX and Bezos' rival company, Blue Origin, have bickered over NASA contracts and their competing satellite projects. When Musk surpassed Bezos to become the world's richest person, he taunted Bezos with the silver-medal emoji.MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty/Axel SpringerSource: Insider, Insider, InsiderDespite a rocky year for Tesla's stock, Musk has a net worth of $223 billion, making him the world's richest person ahead of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Bernard Arnault — and Bezos.Rashid Umar Abbasi/ReutersSource: Bloomberg, Business Insider, ForbesIn March 2022, the world found out Musk had his first daughter, Exa Dark Sideræl Musk, with Grimes via a surrogate. The baby was born in December 2021.Mike Windle/Getty Images for CoachellaSource: Insider, Vanity FairGrimes says she and Musk aren't back together, but their relationship is "very fluid," and they plan to have more children together.Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderIn April 2022, Musk became Twitter's largest stakeholder, owning a 9.2% stake in the company.A man uses a smartphone in New York City, in this picture taken November 6, 2013.REUTERS/Mike SegarSource: InsiderAfter resisting a purchase attempt, Twitter accepted Musk's offer to buy the social network for $44 billion on April 25, 2022.Elon MuskBill Pugliano/Getty ImagesSource: InsiderOn May 13, 2022, Elon Musk tweeted that his deal to buy Twitter was "temporarily on hold" while he investigates how many of Twitter's comprise bots and fake accounts. Twitter says it is less than 5%.APSource: ReutersIn May 2022, Insider reported that a flight attendant for SpaceX was paid $250,000 to settle a sexual misconduct claim against Musk in 2018. The flight attendant accused Musk of exposing himself to her during a massage. Musk has denied wrongdoing, and told Insider there is "a lot more to this story."Elon Musk on March 9.Photo by Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderIn July 2022, Insider reported that Musk had twins with one of his top executives, Shivon Zilis, last November, just weeks before Musk and Grimes had their second child together via surrogate. Zilis works for Neuralink, where Musk is co-CEO.Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImagesSource: InsiderMusk has tweeted about the falling birthrate in the US and what he calls the "underpopulation crisis," saying he is "doing my part." Musk also announced plans in July 2022 to increase childcare benefits at his companies.APIn July, Musk's lawyer sent a letter to Twitter saying he want3e to terminate his deal to buy the company. The letter cited multiple attempts by Musk to try to get more information about the number of fake and spam accounts using Twitter.Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesTwitter then sued Musk to enforce his original agreement to buy the company. Musk countersued, kicking off a months-long legal battle.Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, is pushing for a harder-driving culture at the company.Carina Johansen/Getty ImagesIn early October, weeks before the trial was set to begin, Musk offered to go ahead with the deal to buy Twitter and end the legal battle in a surprising twist.Elon Musk.Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Getty ImagesElon Musk officially closed the deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion, becoming the owner of the social platform in late October. His first act was to fire Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and a number of other top executives at the company.Former Twitter CEO Parag AgrawalKevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesMusk's tenure at Twitter has gotten off to a controversial start. He has introduced a plan to start charging users $8 per month for a "blue check," altering the company's verification process. He has also laid off roughly 50% of its staff. Musk tweeted that he had no choice because Twitter was losing "$4M/day."Elon Musk enters the Twitter headquarters in San Francisco carrying a kitchen sink.Getty ImagesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 8th, 2022

Cure Generational Poverty By Providing Rich Experiences To Youth

Developing the critical skills, attitudes, and behaviors children need to succeed as adults requires consistent, supportive relationships and positive developmental experiences in and out of school, according to a report by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework states that children need to develop a […] Developing the critical skills, attitudes, and behaviors children need to succeed as adults requires consistent, supportive relationships and positive developmental experiences in and out of school, according to a report by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework states that children need to develop a sense of agency, integrate a sense of identity, be productive, effective, and adaptable in order to succeed in college and a career, form healthy relationships, make wise choices, and become engaged citizens. Among these qualities are four foundational components: 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Find A Qualified Financial Advisor Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. “Self-regulation,” or being aware of and able to manage one’s attention, emotions, and behaviors to achieve goals. “Knowledge and skills” refer to one’s ability to understand oneself and the world as well as perform tasks. “Mindsets” are the way everyday experiences are processed. “Values” are the moral code of conduct and long-term beliefs. The Wallace Foundation funded a study that found that children and youth benefit from development experiences involving action as well as reflection in order to develop agency, an integrated identity, and several key skills. In order to understand themselves and the world around them more fully, young people need strong, supportive, and sustained relationships with adults and peers. Additionally, the report offers educators, youth practitioners, parents, and families recommendations about when, where, and how factors to successfully develop. In addition, children’s social and cognitive experiences in and out of school influence their brain growth and their propensity to learn new languages and explore the world. What is a Rich Experience? In order for a child to have a rich experience, the following characteristics must be present: Learning. For kids, every new experience is an opportunity to learn. Immersion. In order to learn from an experience, a child must engage both her heart and mind. Takeaways. Transforming a bad experience into a good one is another great lesson in finding a takeaway. Having fun. Students are more likely to participate and take risks when teachers use engaging and fun activities. The process of learning is also enjoyable and memorable if students are having fun while doing it. One of the most important things young people are seeking is purpose. Adolescents who have a greater sense of purpose are happier and more hopeful. In some scholars’ definitions, “purpose” is an abiding aim that directs your behavior, gives meaning to your life, and has an impact on the world beyond your own. Whether children feel a sense of purpose depends on the type of experiences they have as children. The Childhood Experiences that Lead to a More Meaningful Life Focus and Self-Control Scheduling, habits, and routines help children learn self-control and focus, as well as create a sense of security — especially for children living in poverty. You should discuss what your child can expect each day with him or her. Provide your child with a space where shoes, coats, and personal belongings can be stored. In today’s noisy, distracting world, quiet activities like reading books, participating in sensory activities, or completing puzzles can help your child focus and slow down. Adversity The negative experiences we have early in life may affect our development of direction — even decades later. A study by psychologist Patrick Hill and his colleagues examined over 3,800 primarily white adults between the ages of 20 and 75. Among the early childhood adversities they reported were: Emotional abuse Physical abuse Socioeconomic disadvantage Family structure disadvantages, such as parents divorcing or dying. Health disadvantages, for example, poor early physical or emotional health. A sense of purpose as adults. It was found by Hill and his colleagues that people who experienced greater adversity as a child. particularly health disadvantages were less purposeful. “Individuals who experience early adversity are not ‘doomed’ to a lower sense of purpose later in life,” the researchers write. “Instead, early adversity may be better viewed as a potential risk factor.” Some people, however, find that tough times as children inspire them to pursue a particular calling, like working with children or eradicating poverty. “Some individuals may gain greater clarity on their life direction upon reflection on these adverse events,” Hill and his colleagues suggest. Perspective Thinking The ability to think from another’s perspective does not come naturally to most children. But it is something that can be learned. In the books you read, make observations about the character’s feelings and motivations. Conflict A child’s sense of purpose might even be affected by the conflict between their parents and children. Hill and his colleagues conducted another study that included over 1,000 six to twelve-year-old children and their parents. Children from these families were followed until they reached their twenties by the researchers. Most of them were white, working-class families from the Pacific Northwest. The children were asked to complete questionnaires about how much conflict, anger, and fun they had with their parents when they were in elementary school. A questionnaire was also filled out by the children as they became adults, in order to measure their satisfaction with their lives, their goals, and their stress levels. How did things turn out? No matter how stressed and satisfied with life young adults were, those who had conflict with their mothers in their early years had a diminished sense of purpose as adults. “Frequent conflict saps the child’s energy and enthusiasm, and in turn likelihood to live an active, engaged lifestyle, which has been suggested as a primary pathway by which individuals find what makes their lives purposeful,” Hill and colleagues contend. Communication To build healthy social-emotional skills, including understanding and communicating with others, children need high-touch, personal interactions every day. Although children develop these skills at different rates, they must learn how to recognize social cues and listen attentively. In order to communicate effectively, they must consider what they want to say and how to do it most effectively. Building these skills can be as simple as talking to an interested adult. Taking time to listen and respond to your child every day will make a big difference in their development. Attachment and Separation-Individuation Hill and colleagues explored how purpose might be impacted by another aspect of the parent-child relationship in an earlier study. In addition to parental attachment, they measured separation-individuation. In the study, parental attachment was measured by asking children to say things like, “I usually talk to [my mother or father] about my problems and concerns.” Parental attachment refers to the bond between a child and their primary caregivers that is based on their warmth and responsiveness. During adolescence and early adulthood, separation-individuation is the process of developing an independent, mature sense of self. A measure of separation-individuation problems was “I need other people around me to not feel empty.” In an online survey conducted by a Canadian university, over 500 primarily white undergraduates ages 17-30 described their relationship with their parents and their sense of purpose. Students who sensed purpose generally had a stronger attachment to their parents and had fewer separation-individuation problems than those with a lower sense of purpose. The result was a greater sense of mastery and control-they felt in control of their own lives. In the view of Hill and his colleagues, “Having a sense of purpose could assist emerging adults with the process of defining themselves while maintaining adaptive relationships with their parental figures.” Making Connections The ability to see patterns and connections between seemingly disparate things is what allows us to learn. In order to understand the world, we need to make connections. When children sort basic household items such as toys and socks, they begin to see connections and patterns. Simple acts, such as selecting clothing suitable for the weather, promote connections between them. There are also abstract connections in life that can be pointed out. For example, you’ve got to do more than just say, “That box of cereal costs $5.” Hand them some money and have them hand it over during checkout. Nature Positive childhood experiences, such as early memories of nature’s beauty, can prepare children for a purpose in life later on. In Japan, researchers Riichiro Ishida and Masahiko Okada recruited nearly 70 college students aged 18 to 35. As part of the questionnaire, participants were asked about their purpose, their early life, and their youth experiences, including nature-related questions such as “Do you remember having feelings associated with nature? ” Researchers found that more purposeful students had stronger memories of nature’s beauty during their early childhoods and early adolescence. This relationship requires further research. Having a diminished sense of self, which comes with purpose — may allow a child to “engage with some aspect of the world beyond the self.” Which just so happens to be a foundational part of purpose. Critical Thinking In today’s complex world, adults make decisions every day about a wide range of issues. As such, play is an excellent way to develop critical thinking skills. Provide your child with time to play alone or with friends each day. As part of this play, children might take on roles as superheroes, build structures, play board games, or play sports, such as tag and hide-and-seek. Play builds critical thinking skills through hypotheses, risk-taking, trying out ideas, making mistakes, and finding solutions. Exposure to Diverse Activities As children get older, early childhood experiences may influence not only whether or not they develop purpose at all, but also what kind of purpose they gravitate towards. Kendall Cotton Bronk conducted a study with nine 12 to 23-year-olds with an exceptional sense of purpose. Over the course of five years, her team interviewed them three times for three hours each. “According to the exemplars, they would not have discovered noble purposes in the areas they did had they not been involved in those areas early on, often as children,” Bronk said. “As parents, teachers, and other adults interested in fostering noble purpose among youth, then it is important to expose young people to a wide variety of activities.” An 18-year-old in the study told how she became interested in cancer research when she was five after volunteering for a fundraising event at the mall with the American Cancer Society. In the study, another 18-year-old with the purpose of creating and promoting jazz music shared, “I got into music when I was nine because my next-door neighbor . . . had a piano, and he taught me how to play Pink Panther and Greensleeves and stuff like that.” A related study by Ishida and Okada found that adults who remember receiving praise and praise from their parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors during childhood are more likely to have a stronger sense of purpose in life. In the early years of childhood, children may not be able to recognize the importance of a specific activity. They may instead find their strengths and ways to contribute gradually as they participate in the activity, slowly building their commitment. Self-Directed, Engaged Learning When a child loves learning, he or she will never be bored in life as an adult. Encourage children to read, play, and explore in an open-ended way to foster a love of learning. Encourage curiosity in your children by taking them to the library or even allowing them to make some messes at home. Budget-friendly Ways to Create Rich Experiences Bolster their academic skills. You can infuse math into mealtime, for instance. When preparing meals, children can count, measure, estimate, compare, and recognize shapes. Count the number of cups and utensils your family will need, and ask your child to measure and count ingredients. Enhance their communication skills. Having an adventure in your living room would be a great idea. Imagine you are riding a magic carpet, a submarine, or a school bus to your next adventure with your kids. Have them share their ideas about where they’d like to go, and take turns coming up with stories about your adventures. Ask kids creative questions based on what you see and describe what you see. Promote social-emotional development. Stay in touch with your emotions on a regular basis. When adults are stressed and worried, young children can easily pick up on that stress. As such, each day, spend time checking in and connecting with your child. Ask them, “How did your day go” and “what do you plan to do tomorrow?” Live richer on a budget. To live a rich life, you don’t need a lot of money, notes GoBankingRates. Despite the fact that it can be difficult to feel like you’re living well while cutting costs, you don’t have to sacrifice everything you enjoy. In the end, living on a budget doesn’t mean giving up everything you enjoy. You can still live a rich life if you follow these steps. Figure out what makes your life rich. Donna Freedman, long-time personal finance writer and author of the “Your Playbook For Tough Times” book series, said a rich life isn’t determined by money. “Money is essential to survival, but it’s not all there is to life,” she said. For example, spending time with loved ones. Finesse your budget. Your budget might have more room than you think for the things that you enjoy. Review your spending to see if there are any costs you can reduce. “Chances are you may be wasting money without realizing it,” money-saving expert Andrea Woroch said. Look for low-cost and free ways to live rich. For little to no cost, it is possible to get what you need, want or enjoy. If you live in an area where there is a Buy Nothing Project Facebook group, Freedman suggests checking it out. People can give away everything from furniture to musical instruments to children’s toys and clothes in these groups. Find frugal alternatives. Travel may not be possible. You can still tour museums and explore new cities through books or virtual tours. Be grateful for what you do have. Focus on what you do have and what is going right in your life. Maybe you would like to upgrade your phone but can’t afford it. Take pride in having a phone that works. Find them a mentor. Mentorship can provide stability and opportunities for those who may not have access to guidance or the right environment to help them discover and reach their goals. There are even some programs, such as Friends of the Children-Detroit, that aim to help children break the cycle of generational poverty. “The way I describe Friends of the Children is we are a long-term mentoring program that’s evidence-based that matches children, one-to-one, with a paid professional mentor with the goal to end generational poverty,” says Nicole McKinney, executive director of Friends of the Children-Detroit. The program strives for three long-term goals: Upon completion of the program, each child receives his or her GED or high school diploma. Preventing juveniles from entering the criminal justice system. Teen pregnancy prevention. Based on the needs of each child, the program is specially designed to promote achievement. Another option is MENTOR. According to its site, “MENTOR was created more than 30 years ago to expand that opportunity for young people by building a youth mentoring field and movement, serving as the expert and go-to resource on quality mentoring. The result — a more than 10x increase in young people in structured mentoring relationships, from hundreds of thousands to millions.” Take advantage of free or low-cost camps. As previously mentioned, spending time outside can help develop purpose in children. Furthermore, outdoor family activities and communal playtime can improve your child’s motor skills. Unfortunately, when leaving in generational poverty, this might be an option. For instance, a parent may be working multiple jobs and can not take their children to the park. Also, there may be easy access to green spaces. Fortunately, there are several free and low-cost programs that can provide such experiences, such: The YMCA. Although they are not free, they are very affordable. In New Hampshire, there are a variety of camp opportunities, such as Camp Lawrence for boys and Camp Nokomis for girls. In addition, Ohio is home to three Countryside YMCA locations. The Salvation Army. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 can enroll in the Salvation Army’s summer camps. There are no free camps, but each one costs no more than $50 a week for each child. Several discounts reduce the cost for your second child to $40 and for your third child to $30 if you send multiple children. Police Athletic League. In terms of summer camps for low-income families, the Police Athletic League is one of the best options. Summer camps are offered by PAL for children aged 5-13 at no cost. There may be a PAL location nearby since there are over a dozen locations across the country. The Fresh Air Fund. New York City’s Fresh Air Fund provides summer camp adventures for low-income communities. Additionally, there are non-profits like the Boys & Girls Club. Across the country, there are after-school programs that include homework assistance, art instruction, STEM activities, music, theater, sports, cooking, and special interest clubs. Besides computers and WiFi, there is also a social time for children to meet new people or be with friends. FAQS What is poverty? Aside from dollar amounts, quality of life also plays a part in poverty discussions. In poverty, there is struggle and deprivation every day. There is often a lack of quality education for children living in poverty. It may be due to a lack of quality schools, the inability of their parents to afford school fees, or the need for their children to work in impoverished families. Consequently, poverty becomes a generational cycle if children are not provided with a quality education. A poverty-stricken family can’t afford to visit a doctor or get medical treatment. As a result, there is often no electricity, limited shelter, and little to no food to eat. Poor nutrition can lead to stunting and wasting in young children, which will negatively affect their development for the rest of their lives. What causes poverty? It’s not just a lack of water, food, shelter, education, or health care that causes poverty. Poverty can also be caused by social inequalities such as gender discrimination, poor governance, conflict, exploitation, or domestic violence. As a result of these inequities, people or society can become poor as well as be unable to access social services that could help them to improve their situation. What is the cycle of poverty? Poverty is a trap that can be hard to escape. An individual must have access to educational opportunities, clean water, medical facilities nearby, as well as financial resources in order to escape poverty. Unless these elements are in place, poverty will carry on from generation to generation. Families with poor finances will not be able to send their children to school, which will impact their children’s ability to earn an income as adults. Conflict and natural disasters can enhance the poverty cycle or exacerbate it. People in impoverished communities are more vulnerable and often lack basic resources when a natural disaster strikes, therefore further entrenching their poverty or jeopardizing their newly emerging community. How many children in the US live in families with low incomes? In the US, 38 percent of children under 18 years old live in families with low income, and 17 percent – nearly one in five – live in poverty. As a result, kids make up 32 percent of the poor in our nation; they represent 23 percent of the population. There are a lot more kids living in families just above the poverty threshold. Low-income or poor families do not happen by accident. Children who experience economic insecurity are likely to have parents with low education and low employment, as well as racial or ethnic background. Race, geography, and other factors play a role in determining children’s economic insecurity experiences. What can we do to end generational poverty? In order to break generational poverty, education seems to be the most effective method. By creating a path for these families to reach new dreams, we can help them find hope in the future. It is necessary to implement many different programs in order to end generational poverty. A wide range of services is available to end generational poverty, including Head Start, vocational training, housing assistance, food assistance, and after-school programs. It’s crucial to provide basic courses like financial literacy and soft skills training as well. Overall, education, training, financial support, nutrition, and some human kindness can break the poverty cycle. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old, while attending the University of Utah, he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months, he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time, he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and Finance Expert by Time. He is the Founder and CEO of Due......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 1st, 2022