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Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 14th, 2022

Abcam Plc Results for the 12- and 18-month periods ended 31 December 2021

Growing demand for Abcam's portfolio of in-house products drives calendar 2021 revenues up by 22% at constant exchange rates Acquisition of BioVision completed 26 October 2021 CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, March 14, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Abcam plc (NASDAQ:ABCM, AIM: ABC)) (‘Abcam', the ‘Group' or the ‘Company'), a global leader in the supply of life science research tools, today announces its final results for the 18-month period ended 31 December 2021 (the ‘period'). The Group's accounting reference date changed from 30 June to 31 December during the year1, therefore these financial statements report on both a 12- and 18-month period. SUMMARY PERFORMANCE £m, unless stated otherwise   12 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (unaudited)(‘CY2021') 12 months ended 31 Dec 2020 (unaudited)(‘CY2020')   18 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (audited) Revenue   315.4 269.3   462.9 Adjusted gross profit margin*, %   72.2% 70.0%   71.8% Reported operating profit   7.1 1.0   24.4 Adjusted operating profit**   60.4 50.6   95.5 Adjusted operating margin, %   19.2% 18.8%   20.6% Share-based payments related to pre-CY2021 schemes   (12.9) (13.3)   (22.0) Like-for-like adjusted operating profit (post share-based payments related to pre-CY2021 schemes)***   47.5 37.3   73.5 Like-for-like adjusted operating margin***, %   15.1% 13.9%   15.9% Net (Debt) / Cash****   (24.1) 211.9   (24.1) * Excludes the amortisation of the fair value of assets relating to the inventory acquired in connection with the acquisition of BioVision. ** Adjusted figures exclude impairment of intangible assets, systems and process improvement costs, acquisition costs, amortisation of fair value adjustments, integration and reorganisation costs, amortisation of acquisition intangibles, share-based payments and employer tax contributions thereon, the tax effect of adjusting items and credits from patent box claims. Such excluded items are described as ‘adjusting items'. Further information on these items is shown in note 4 to the consolidated financial statements. *** In previous reporting periods, share-based payments have not been included within adjusting items. With the approval of the Profitable Growth Incentive Plan (‘PGIP') during CY2021, management considers it to be more appropriate and more consistent with its closest comparable companies to include all share-based payments in adjusting items. To aid comparison with our previous presentation of results, we have included the adjusted operating margin in the table above on a like-for-like basis, excluding this change (‘Like-for-like'). **** Net Cash comprises cash and cash equivalents less borrowings. CY2021 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS1,2 Revenue growth of +22% (+17% reported) at constant exchange rates, compared to CY2020, including a 1%pt contribution from the acquisition of BioVision +38% total in-house CER revenue growth (including Custom Products & Licensing3 and   £2.6m of incremental revenue from BioVision) (+32% reported) Revenue from in-house products and services contributed 61% of total revenue (including Custom Products & Licensing3 and £2.6m of incremental revenue from BioVision) Adjusted2 gross margin increased by over 200 basis points to 72.2% (CY2020: 70.0%), benefiting from the contribution of higher margin in-house products and volume leverage resulting from the increase in revenue Adjusted2 operating profit of £60.4m (excluding share-based payments), equating to an adjusted operating margin of 19.2% (CY2020: 18.8%) Adjusted2 operating margin on a like-for-like4 basis improved over 300 basis points to 16.5% in H2 '21 (Jul-Dec), from 13.3% in H1 '21 (Jan-Jun) Statutory reported operating profit increased to £7.1m from £1.0m in CY2020 Net cash inflow from operating activities increased to £62.9m (CY2020: £58.9m) BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS Focus on serving customers' needs globally as research activity levels continued to normalise and demand for Abcam products increased Positive customer transactional Net Promotor Score ('tNPS') of +56 (CY2021) and product satisfaction rates at all-time highs Completed the acquisition of BioVision, Inc (‘BioVision'), a leading innovator of biochemical and cell-based assays, in October 2021, for cash consideration of $340m (on a cash free, debt free basis) High employee engagement, with the business ranked in the Top 5 in the Glassdoor UK Employees' Choice Awards in January 2022, for the second year running Strengthened and expanded leadership in commercial and operational teams with senior hires in Commercial, Brand, China, and Supply Chain Expanded the Group's global presence, with the opening of new and enlarged sites in China, the US (Massachusetts, California, Oregon), Singapore, and Australia Upgraded supply chain systems at three locations, implemented new data architecture, and began transition to a new e-commerce platform, with completion of the digital transformation due in 2022 Completed the secondary US listing on Nasdaq's Global Market in October 2020 (supplementing existing listing on AIM on the London Stock Exchange) Expanded Asia, digital, and life science industry experience on the Board of Directors, with the appointments of Bessie Lee, Mark Capone and Sally Crawford, as Non-Executive Directors SHARE TRADING, LIQUIDITY AND LISTING Following our listing on Nasdaq in October 2020, the number of Abcam shares traded as ADSs on Nasdaq has doubled. While only 10% of our shares trade in the US market, it represents 25% of liquidity The Board continues to review options to increase share liquidity and intends to consult with shareholders on these options in due course CY2022 GUIDANCE Global lab activity continues to recover, though some uncertainty remains CY2022 trading performance YTD is in line with our expectations Expect total CER5 revenue growth of c.20% (including BioVision) with mid-teens organic CER revenue growth Expect continued adjusted gross margin improvement from the contribution of higher margin in-house products and full year impact of the BioVision acquisition Expect total adjusted operating cost growth (including depreciation and amortisation) at mid-teens percentage, as we slow rate of investment and leverage recent investments LONG TERM GOALS TO CY2024 CY2024 revenue goal target range increased by £25m to £450m-£525m, adjusted to incorporate BioVision6 and current operating performance Adjusted operating margin and ROCE targets remain unchanged Commenting on today's results, Alan Hirzel, Abcam's Chief Executive Officer, said: "I am grateful to everyone at Abcam for their dedicated effort through this most challenging time and thank our customers and partners for their ongoing trust and support. We have had another successful year operationally and financially despite the ongoing challenges. As we look ahead to 2022, we expect to create more innovation and success out of the past two years of investment as we installed elements of Abcam's long term growth strategy. The scientific community remains our guide and with their support we are becoming a more influential and trusted brand globally." Analyst and investor meeting and webcast: Abcam will host a conference call and webcast for analysts and investors today at 13:00 GMT/ 09:00 EDT. For details, and to register, please visit corporate.abcam.com/investors/reports-presentations A recording of the webcast will be made available on Abcam's website, corporate.abcam.com/investors Notes: On 2 June 2021, Abcam announced that it had changed its accounting reference date from 30 June to 31 December. Following this extension, these financial statements are for the 18-month period ended 31 December 2021. To assist understanding of the company's underlying performance, like-for-like financial information for the 12-month periods ended 31 December 2021 (‘CY2021') and 31 December 2020 (‘CY2020') have also been provided. These results include discussion of alternative performance measures which include revenues calculated at Constant Exchange Rates (CER) and adjusted financial measures. CER results are calculated by applying prior period's actual exchange rates to this period's results. Adjusted financial measures are explained in note 2 and reconciled to the most directly comparable measure prepared in accordance with IFRS in note 4 to the interim financial statements. Custom Products & Licensing (CP&L) revenue comprises custom service revenue, revenue from the supply of IVD products and royalty and licence income. In previous reporting periods, share-based payments have not been included within adjusting items. With the approval of the Profitable Growth Incentive Plan (‘PGIP') during CY2021, management considers it to be more appropriate and more consistent with its closest comparable companies to include all share-based payments in adjusting items. To aid comparison with our previous presentation of results, we also calculate adjusted operating margin on a like-for-like basis, excluding this change (‘Like-for-like'). Average CY2021 exchange rates to GBP as follows: USD: 1.378; EUR: 1.159, RMB: 8.891, JPY: 150.7 Last 12-month BioVision recurring revenues of £17.8m at point of acquisition, adjusted for non-recurring COVID-19 related revenues, and sales to Abcam during that period. The information communicated in this announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014. For further information please contact: Abcam + 44 (0) 1223 696 000 Alan Hirzel, Chief Executive OfficerMichael Baldock, Chief Financial OfficerJames Staveley, Vice President, Investor Relations       Numis – Nominated Advisor & Joint Corporate Broker + 44 (0) 20 7260 1000 Garry Levin / Freddie Barnfield / Duncan Monteith       Morgan Stanley – Joint Corporate Broker + 44 (0) 207 425 8000 Tom Perry / Luka Kezic       FTI Consulting + 44 (0) 20 3727 1000 Ben Atwell / Julia Bradshaw   This announcement shall not constitute an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities. This announcement is not an offer of securities for sale in the United States, and the securities referred to herein may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Any public offering of such securities to be made in the United States will be made by means of a prospectus that may be obtained from the issuer, which would contain detailed information about the company and management, as well as financial statements. Forward Looking StatementsThis announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any express or implied statements contained in this announcement that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements, including, without limitation statements of targets, plans, objectives or goals for future operations, including those related to Abcam's products, product research, product development, product introductions and sales forecasts; statements containing projections of or targets for revenues, costs, income (or loss), earnings per share, capital expenditures, dividends, capital structure, net financials and other financial measures; statements regarding future economic and financial performance; statements regarding the scheduling and holding of general meetings and AGMs; statements regarding the assumptions underlying or relating to such statements; statements about Abcam's portfolio and ambitions, as well as statements that include the words "expect," "intend," "plan," "believe," "project," "forecast," "estimate," "may," "should," "anticipate" and similar statements of a future or forward-looking nature. Forward-looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected, including, without limitation: a regional or global health pandemic, including the novel coronavirus ("COVID-19"), which has adversely affected elements of our business, could severely affect our business, including due to impacts on our operations and supply chains; challenges in implementing our strategies for revenue growth in light of competitive challenges; developing new products and enhancing existing products, adapting to significant technological change and responding to the introduction of new products by competitors to remain competitive; failing to successfully identify or integrate acquired businesses or assets into our operations or fully recognize the anticipated benefits of businesses or assets that we acquire; if our customers discontinue or spend less on research, development, production or other scientific endeavours; failing to successfully use, access and maintain information systems and implement new systems to handle our changing needs; cyber security risks and any failure to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our computer hardware, software and internet applications and related tools and functions; we have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting and failure to comply with requirements to design, implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could have a material adverse effect on our business; failing to successfully manage our current and potential future growth; any significant interruptions in our operations; if our products fail to satisfy applicable quality criteria, specifications and performance standards; failing to maintain our brand and reputation; our dependence upon management and highly skilled employees and our ability to attract and retain these highly skilled employees; and the important factors discussed under the caption "Risk Factors" in Abcam's prospectus pursuant to Rule 424(b) filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") on 22 October 2020, which is on file with the SEC and is available on the SEC website at www.sec.gov, as such factors may be updated from time to time in Abcam's other filings with the SEC. Any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement speak only as of the date hereof and accordingly undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. Abcam disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this announcement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than to the extent required by applicable law.The Group has changed its year end to December 31 and, as a result, this year's results present an 18-month accounting period, which ended on 31 December 2021. The comparison to the previously reported 12 months ended 30 June 2020 presents substantial period-on-period increases due to the longer period of account in the current reporting period and provides little helpful insight into the underlying performance of the business. To provide more useful commentary, both the CEO and CFO reviews largely focus on the financial and operating performance of the business in the 12 months ended 31 December 2021 (‘CY2021') compared to the 12 months ended 31 December 2020 (‘CY2020'). The audited financial statements in the back of this report contain statutory results for the 18 months ended 31 December 2021 and a comparison to the year ended 30 June 2020. CEO Report Moving forward with courage and hope As we continue to grapple with the challenges of our times, I am convinced that for all of us in the science community, the only way to move forward is with courage and hope. Over the last several decades, the positive impact of life science on the human condition has been profound. For example, across every income level and every country where there has not been a catastrophe, life expectancy has increased by nearly 20 years since the 1960s. Life science, medical discovery and innovation have been central to this health and social progress. In the last two decades, since the sequencing of the human genome, research in life sciences has more than doubled, and with it the potential to make even more progress. New discoveries can take 10 years or more to make a tangible difference and I am hopeful that our children will reap greater benefits in health and lifespan in the years to come. As I think about these inspiring achievements, alongside the development of our own business, I am determined to ensure Abcam continues to innovate and play a key role in helping our customers reach their scientific and career goals. We remain resolutely focused on enabling scientists to make breakthroughs faster, with better quality research tools and a passion for collaboration. It won't stop there either. We see a greater role for Abcam to accelerate the transition of discovery to clinical and social impact. I have always believed in the power of collaboration and the global response to the pandemic has shown the benefits of such collaboration. With the challenges ahead we will find ways for researchers, funders, publishers, tools companies, translational researchers, clinicians, diagnostics companies, pharmaceutical companies, and regulators to work together in common purpose as one. Improvements our business has made in product performance and consistency and our expanding network of commercial relationships are significantly reducing the time from first discovery to a better patient outcome. We look to put more effort toward this collaborative approach as we build our business. This collaborative spirit is also championed within our teams. Efforts we have been making to improve inclusion and diversity have amplified more voices through groups led by our people and outreach activities in our communities. Despite everything we faced in 2021, and the disturbing geopolitical aggression in Europe at the start of 2022, we see this period as an exciting time for proteomics research. I remain confident that Abcam is well positioned to influence and improve the journeys from discovery to impact, while sustaining value creation for all stakeholders. Our performance We achieved the major strategic, operational and financial goals we set for the business in the period and continued to make significant operational changes and to implement our growth strategy. Feedback from our customers was excellent, with a customer tNPS of +56 (CY2021). Sales of our in-house products grew strongly as we scaled up our capability here. Because these are sold at a higher margin, we started to feel the benefits of increased operational leverage. The business transition to 2024 is nearly complete and we will soon be able to fully reap the benefits of what we have been building over recent years.   Indeed, the biggest contributor to Abcam's growth and value and the main reason why we are winning more market share is the portfolio of proprietary products developed and manufactured at Abcam. This burgeoning in-house library of recombinant antibodies, immunoassays, conjugation products, proteins, and cell lines is offering customers the right products, to the right pathways, with a promise to go the distance from discovery to clinic. Customer demand for this portfolio drove in-house product revenue to £174m in CY2021 (CY2020: £129m), equivalent to 41% annual CER growth (36% excluding BioVision). Our investment of 14% of revenue (own product) back into R&D (including capitalised product development) is helping us sustain the growth and higher customer satisfaction in these areas. The BioVision acquisition in October 2021 added one of our largest suppliers to the in-house portfolio, with strengths in biochemical and cell-based assay kits. Business integration is moving ahead as planned and we expect it to provide further innovation opportunities within this portfolio. Risks around the global pandemic remain – as evidenced by the emergence of the Omicron variant in late 2021 – but data suggests that overall lab activity increased consistently during 2021 in our largest markets. Progress toward our strategic goals We aim to deliver consistent, durable growth and performance in a responsible way. Despite the continued disruption of COVID-19, we have seen sustained progress during the period as we continue to deliver on the growth strategy announced in November 2019. Strategic KPI performance (in-house product revenue growth and customer transactional net promotor score) was positive, feedback on our products has never been stronger, and we continue to make market share gains worldwide. At the same time, we are focused on ensuring the significant investment made in our innovation capabilities, systems and processes, facilities, and people support our long-term growth aspirations. As we seek to further strengthen our position as the partner of choice for our customers and partners, we have made further progress against each of the following strategic goals to drive sustained organic growth set out in 2019: 1. Sustain and extend antibody and digital leadership 2. Drive continued expansion into complementary market adjacencies 3. Build organisational scalability and sustain value creation Innovation and our impact on scientific progress Our product portfolio enables breakthrough proteomics discovery by our customers and partners. They are working to innovate and discover proteomic mechanisms such as the role of signaling and regulatory proteins in biological pathways – ultimately leading to diagnostics and treatments for diseases such as cancer and immune deficiency disorders. Their success depends on rigorous product performance and reliability, and it's these factors that continue to guide our innovation efforts. Since 2019, we have put more resources into innovating faster in antibodies and immunoassays, and we have complemented these areas with new product categories such as conjugation kits, proteins/cytokines, engineered cell lines, and now a range of BioVision cellular and biochemical assays. In total, new products introduced since 2019 represented approximately 7% of 2021 revenue (CY2021) and our own-product revenues (including Custom Products & Licensing) contributed over 60% of total revenue in the last 12 months. We are confident that our customer data insights and our approach to innovation and marketing underly this strong growth driver from internal innovation. In CY2021, our teams developed and launched over 2,500 high-quality antibody products, including recombinant RabMAb antibodies, antibody pairs, SimpleStep ELISA kits and new formulations that enable faster labelling and assay development. These new product introductions combined to meet two objectives for our new product development: fill unmet needs in research and increase product quality. As we have developed our high throughput innovation capability, we have also made bolder moves to delist third party supplied product that doesn't meet our customer quality needs. Together, these actions have substantially improved Abcam's quality and our overall brand preference. According to the most recently available industry data, these innovations and other initiatives have led Abcam to become the most cited antibody company. Abcam products were cited more than 70,000 times in scientific journals in 2020 and the business now has a citation share of over 22%, up approximately two percentage points on the previous year (source: CiteAb, based on over 300,000 recorded citations for 2020 as of February 2022). Most importantly, we have seen a continued strengthening of customer feedback during the period, with product satisfaction rates at all-time highs (rolling 12-month period to 31 December 2021). Extending Abcam's leadership in research antibodies has provided a strong foundation to expand into adjacent product categories used in protein research. We took our first adjacent product category move in 2014 with the introduction of proprietary immunoassays. In total these (non-primary antibody) product categories now contribute over 30% of total revenue. In CY2021, total CER revenue growth from these categories was 32% demonstrating the progress made developing these capabilities and the growing customer interest in these high-quality product portfolios. Other, newer product categories have had less time to develop than either our antibody or immunoassay portfolio, but we are seeing similar growth performance and opportunities here. Extending the impact of our innovation through partnership and collaboration Across the translational research, drug discovery and clinical markets, we are focused on strengthening our position as a leading discovery partner to organisations looking to access high quality antibodies and antibody expertise for commercial use within their products and assays – a philosophy we refer to as ‘Abcam Inside'. The period has seen good progress in this regard, with continued growth in the adoption of our products for use on third party instrumentation platforms, or by partners for their use in the development of clinical products. We established several new platform partnerships during the period while significantly expanding existing co-development programmes with current partners, including recently announced strategic partnerships with Alamar and Nautilus Biotechnology. We also grew our specialty antibody portfolio – signing 85 new outbound commercial agreements in CY2021 with organisations that have the potential to lead to new diagnostic or therapeutic tools in years to come. To date, approximately 1,000 of our antibodies are now validated for commercial use on third party platforms or as diagnostic tools, with over 3,000 more currently undergoing evaluation by our partners. We believe both areas remain significant long-term opportunities for the Group. Building a scalable enterprise Over the last two years our teams have been putting ideas, know-how, and capital to work installing new capabilities as we build scalability into our operational infrastructure, including our manufacturing and logistics footprint and IT backbone and digital capabilities to support our growth. At the same time, global supply chains have faced significant challenges primarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These additional pressures have been resolved by additional investment in manufacturing equipment and processes, while also introducing additional shift patterns in order to achieve better use of our resources. Further progress is expected as we pursue changes to our processes, including quality control, kit development and logistics as well as benefits expected from our integrated business planning process. We also completed several important global footprint initiatives in the period, with site moves or upgrades completed in Boston, Fremont, and Eugene in the USA; Hangzhou and Shanghai in China; Adelaide in Australia; Amsterdam in the Netherlands as well as relocating our Hong Kong operations to Singapore. These initiatives enable more efficient customer service, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics processes; create additional capacity needed to meet our growth objectives; and reduce risks that were identified in our ongoing risk management process. Across our IT and digital infrastructure, roll-out of the final stages of our ERP renewal programme continued, covering manufacturing and supply chain. Systems have now been successfully deployed across the Group's major manufacturing hubs, with final deployments in other small sites due for completion in 2022. At the same time, development of the next generation of our customer-facing digital platform has continued. The new platform is being designed to enable a step change to the customer experience, supporting dynamic content, a more personalised experience and driving enhanced search and traffic. Beta-testing in select markets was launched during the year and we remain on track to launch the new site in 2022. Sustaining social and financial value creation Our impact flows from our vision and purpose, which ultimately lead to a positive impact on the world: helping the scientific community accelerate breakthroughs in human healthcare. The more successful we can be as a business, therefore, the greater the difference we can make in the world. Our vision to be the most influential life sciences company comes with a commitment to the highest ethical standards, not just in our own conduct, but across our value chain. We have made further progress against each of our four priority areas (those seen as most important to sustaining value creation, namely: Products; People; Partners; and Planet) and were pleased to be ranked first by Sustainalytics, a leading ESG ratings agency, across its universe of more than 1,000 healthcare companies globally. Full details of our commitments, performance and progress will be provided in our 2021 Impact Report to be published in April and made available on our corporate website (corporate.abcam.com/sustainability). Of course, the ability of Abcam and our industry to continue to thrive will depend on future generations of scientists and so it's exciting to see that more young people than ever are taking STEM subjects. I am proud of Abcam's support in this area through our work with In2Science UK and The Henrietta Lacks Foundation. We have also made significant progress on our diversity and inclusion during the period. A new D&I strategy was launched alongside the establishment of multiple Employee Resource Groups, an enhanced family leave policy, and the introduction of diversity and inclusion targets that are tied to senior management compensation. These and other initiatives ensure that we are building an exceptional workplace for our teams, and it was pleasing to once again be recognised by Glassdoor as one of the top 5 employers in the UK in 2021. Attractive outlook We remain on track to achieve the five-year plan that we set out in 2019. In 2022, we will complete a few large-scale tasks to help us scale the business over the next decade. Once those are complete, the agenda for the year will largely focus on refining what we have installed, learning from the market, and making adjustments to drive double digit revenue growth and improve profit margins. With the addition of BioVision and adjustments for ongoing revenue, plus our confidence in the performance of the business, we have raised our revenue target for 2024 to a range of £450m-£525m, representing growth rates that are two to three times our underlying market and reflect the durable growth of Abcam. None of this attractive outlook could happen without great energy and effort by everyone involved. I thank our colleagues for their unwavering dedication, our customers for the trust they place in us, and our board of directors and our shareholders for their continued support. Alan HirzelCEO CFO Report The Group has changed its year end to 31 December. As a result, this year's results will present an 18-month accounting period, which ended on 31 December 2021. As a result, the comparison to the previously reported 12 months ended 30 June 2020 presents substantial period-on-period increases due to the longer period of account in the current reporting period and provides little helpful insight into the performance of the business during 2021. In order to provide a more useful comparison, this review largely focuses on the comparison of the 12 months ended 31 December 2021 (‘CY2021') to the 12 months ended 31 December 2020 (‘CY2020'). The audited financial statements in the back of this report contains the statutory results for the 18 months ended 31 December 2021 and a comparison to the year ended 30 June 2020. In preparing the CY2020 and CY2021 balances, the Group has applied consistently its accounting policies as disclosed within note 1. Although CY2020 and CY2021 are not audited financial periods within these financial statements, the balances have been extracted from the Group's underlying accounting records and reconciled in line with previously disclosed statements. For further information on the composition of CY2020 and CY2021, refer to the ‘Basis of preparation' section in the back of this report. The CFO's Report and Financial Review includes discussion of alternative performance measures which are defined further in the Notes to the Preliminary Financial Information. These measures include adjusted financial measures, which are explained in note 1b and reconciled to the most directly comparable measure prepared in accordance with IFRS in note 4. Further detail on the Group's financial performance is set out in the Preliminary Financial Information and notes thereto. Constant exchange rates ("CER") growth is calculated by applying the applicable prior period average exchange rate to the Group's actual performance in the respective period. Continued strong performance The Group reported revenue for CY2021 of £315.4m (CY2020: £269.3m), a CER growth rate of 22%. This figure includes a contribution of approximately one percentage point, or £2.6m, from BioVision following the acquisition's completion on 27 October 2021. Growth in revenue from our own, in-house (catalogue) products was 41% (CER) for CY2021, including a four-percentage point contribution from BioVision. While laboratories continued to relax COVID-19 related restrictions during the period, and data indicates overall lab activity levels increased through 2021, activity had not fully returned to pre-COVID levels by the end of the period due to the emergence of the Omicron variant in late 2021. Adjusted operating profit (before all share-based payment costs) for CY2021 was up 19%, to £60.4m (CY2020: £50.6m). This equates to an adjusted operating profit margin (excluding share-based payments) of 19.2% (CY2020: 18.8%). After share-based payment charges related to share incentive schemes in force prior to the start of the year, of £12.9m, like-for-like adjusted operating profit was £47.5m, equivalent to an adjusted operating profit margin of 15.1% (CY2020: 13.9%). Total revenue and adjusted operating profit for the 18 months ended 31 December 2021 was £462.9m and £95.5m respectively. The Group's statutory results for the 18 months ended 31 December 2021 are covered in more detail in our audited financial statements contained herein. Investing in future growth Despite the disruption inflicted on our customers and industry by COVID-19, the long-term opportunities for growth across our markets continue to strengthen and, consistent with the strategic plans we set out in November 2019, we have further invested in our business through the period to capture these opportunities. Our global team increased to approximately 1,750 colleagues by the end of 2021 (31 December 2020: 1,600) and, overall, total adjusted operating costs in CY2021 rose 21% to £167.3m. We also committed a further £47m in capital expenditure (net of landlord contributions) during CY2021 to growth and scaling opportunities across the business, including capitalised product innovation, global footprint enhancements – including the opening of our flagship US site in Waltham, Massachusetts – and the implementation of the final stages of our ERP implementation. Underpinning our invest-to-grow strategy is our robust balance sheet and financial position. Net cash generation from operating activities increased to £62.9m in CY2021 (CY2020: £58.9m) and we ended the period with a small net debt position of £24.1m. Operational leverage and increased profitability As expected, over the last two years the Group's profit margins have been suppressed by the effects of both COVID-19 and the implementation of the Group's five-year growth plan. Many of our major investment plans are now substantially complete, and as we look forward, we expect to see the rate of investment reduce and the resultant delivery of operational leverage as the value of our investments are realised. We are pleased with the progress made over the most recent six-month period, where our adjusted operating margin (excluding share-based payments) was 20.3% as compared to 17.8% for the first six months of CY2021 (or 16.5% in H2 compared to 13.3% in H1 on a ‘like-for-like' basis, including share-based payments relating to pre-2021 share plans). As we look forward, we expect this operating leverage to continue to levels consistent with those levels laid out in our five-year growth plan, with a goal to reach over 30% in CY2024. Acquisition of BioVision In July 2021, we announced the signing of an agreement to acquire BioVision for $340m on a cash-free, debt-free basis. The purchase closed in October 2021, and we are now working on the integration, building on our combined expertise, and enhancing our presence in cell based and metabolic assays. To support the financing of the acquisition, we drew down approximately £120m on our revolving credit facility in October 2021. US Nasdaq listing The Group successfully added a secondary US listing on Nasdaq in October 2020, supplementing its existing admission to trading on the London Stock Exchange's AIM market whilst raising approximately £127m ($180m). The listing supports the Group's plans to enhance liquidity in our shares, attract a greater number of US-based life science and growth investors and provide the Group with an acquisition currency in the US market. We were pleased with the demand for the offering from long-term, life science investors. Interest has grown since, with the number of American Depository Receipts (ADRs) in issue doubling. The board continues to review options to increase share liquidity and to ensure investor demand is met, and intends to consult with shareholders on these options in due course. Outlook, 2022 guidance and long-term goals to 2024 We have made good progress in many areas during the year and our top line performance has seen good momentum coming out of the pandemic. Whilst short-term returns on our core business have inevitably been reduced by COVID-19 and our investments, I am confident in a continuation of the trajectory we have seen over the last six months, and the potential return our organic and inorganic investments will generate over the medium- and long-term. CY2022 Guidance Global lab activity continues to recover, though some uncertainty remains, with trading performance in the first two months of CY2022 in line with our expectations. For CY2022 overall, we currently estimate total reported revenue to increase by approximately 20% on a constant exchange rate basis, including the impact from the acquisition of BioVision, with organic CER growth of mid-teens. We expect continued adjusted gross margin improvement through CY2022, due to the contribution of higher margin in-house products and the full year effect of BioVision transaction. Total adjusted operating costs (including depreciation and amortisation) are expected to grow at a mid-teens percentage rate, as we slow the rate of investment and leverage our recent investments. Long-term goals to CY2024The Group expects to deliver improving operating leverage as the pace of investment graduates. We are increasing our 2024 revenue goal by £25m to £450m-£525m, adjusting to incorporate BioVision and our current operating performance. Our adjusted operating margin and ROCE targets remain unchanged. This commentary represents management's current estimates and is subject to change. See the Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements on page 3 of this release. Summary Performance   Reported Results   Adjusted Results   18 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (audited)£m 12 months ended 30 June 2020 (audited, restated) £m 12 months ended 31Dec 2021(unaudited)£m 12 months ended 31Dec 2020 (unaudited)£m   18 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (audited)£m 12 months ended 30 June 2020 (audited, restated) £m 12 months ended 31Dec 2021 (unaudited)£m 12 months ended 31Dec 2020 (unaudited) £m Revenue 462.9 260.0 315.4 269.3   462.9 260.0 315.4 269.3                     Gross profit 329.2 180.2 224.6 188.5   332.3 180.2 227.7 188.5 Gross profit margin (%) 71.1% 69.3% 71.2% 70.0%   71.8% 69.3% 72.2% 70.0%                     Operating profit 24.4 10.4 7.1 1.0   95.5 54.0 60.4 50.6 Operating profit margin (%) 5.3% 4.0% 2.3% 0.4%   20.6% 20.8% 19.2% 18.8%                     Earnings per share                   Basic earnings / (loss) per share 7.7p 6.0p 1.9p (0.4)p   33.2p 20.5p 20.8p 18.0p Diluted earnings / (loss) per share 7.6p 6.0p 1.9p (0.4)p   32.9p 20.3p 20.6p 17.8p                     Net (debt)/cash at end of the year1 (24.1) 80.9 (24.1) 211.9   (24.1) 80.9 (24.1) 211.9 Return on Capital Employed 3.1% 1.6% 0.9% 0.1%   12.0% 8.3% 7.6% 6.6% 1. Excludes lease liabilities Calendar Year Results The Group has prepared the following Calendar Year results to enable a more consistent like-for-like review of the trading performance of the business. The Calendar Year results are an Alternative Performance Measure and cover the trading period for the 12 months ended 31 December 2021 (CY2021) compared with the 12 months ended 31 December 2020 (CY2020). The basis of preparation applied to the Calendar Year results together with a reconciliation to the Group's Statutory IFRS Results are provided at the end of this report. Consolidated statement of profit and loss for the 12 months ended 31 December   CY2021(unaudited)   CY2020(unaudited) £m Adjusted Adjusting items Reported   Adjusted Adjusting items Reported Revenue 315.4 - 315.4   269.3 - 269.3 Cost of sales (87.7) (3.1) (90.8)   (80.8) - (80.8) Gross profit 227.7 (3.1) 224.6   188.5 - 188.5 Selling, general and administrative expenses (150.6) (39.1) (189.7)   (120.6) (23.9) (144.5) Research and development expenses (16.7) (11.1) (27.8)   (17.3) (25.7) (43.0) Operating profit 60.4 (53.3) 7.1   50.6 (49.6) 1.0 Finance income 0.3 - 0.3   0.4 - 0.4 Finance costs (2.7) - (2.7)   (3.6) - (3.6) Profit / (loss) before tax 58.0 (53.3) 4.7   47.4 (49.6) (2.2) Tax credit / (charge) (10.8) 10.5 (0.3)   (8.8) 10.1 1.3 Profit / (loss) for the financial period 47.2 (42.8) 4.4   38.6 (39.5) (0.9) Consolidated cashflow statement for the 12 months ended 31 December £m CY2021(unaudited) CY2020(unaudited) Operating cash flows before working capital 68.2 63.0 Change in working capital 4.0 (7.8) Cash generated from operations 72.2 55.2 Income taxes paid (9.3) 3.7 Net cash inflow from operating activities 62.9 58.9 Net cash inflow / (outflow) from investing activities (291.5) (153.7) Net cash inflow from financing activities 111.4 116.0 Net (decrease) / increase in cash and cash equivalents (117.2) 21.2 Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period 211.9 189.9 Effect of foreign exchange rates 0.4 0.8 Cash and cash equivalents at end of the period 95.1 211.9       Free Cash Flow * 6.0 5.6 * Free Cash Flow comprises net cash generated from operating activities less net capital expenditure, cash flows relating to committed capital expenditure and outflows in respect of lease obligations Financial review Revenue   18 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (audited)£m 12 months ended 30 Jun 2020 (audited) £m   12 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (unaudited)£m 12 months ended 31 Dec 2020 (unaudited)£m 12 month % Change CER CY2021 % Split** Catalogue revenue by region               The Americas 163.7 96.8   112.4 95.3 26% 38% EMEA 121.5 68.4   82.3 73.2 15% 28% China 84.4 39.1   57.1 42.7 34% 19% Japan 28.4 18.8   18.6 19.3 5% 6% Rest of Asia Pacific 34.8 20.0   23.4 21.0 17% 8% Catalogue revenue sub-total* 432.8 243.1   293.8 251.5 22% 100% In-house catalogue revenue* 245.0 114.4   171.5 128.8 39% 58% Third party catalogue revenue 187.8 128.7   122.3 122.7 4% 42%                 Custom products and services 8.4 6.3   5.7 5.7 6% 30% IVD 8.9 4.7   6.3 5.9 15% 33% Royalties and licenses 10.2 5.9   7.0 6.2 20% 37% Custom Products & Licensing (CP&L) sub-total 27.5 16.9   19.0 17.8 14% 100%                 BioVision 2.6 -   2.6 -     Total reported revenue 462.9 260.0   315.4 269.3 22%   * Includes BioVision product sales sold through Abcam channels post closing of the transaction on 26 October 2021 but excludes incremental BioVision sales sold through non-Abcam channels of £2.6m. ** Numbers may not add up due to rounding In the 18-month statutory reporting period ended 31 December 2021, the Group generated revenue of £462.9m, which represents an increase of 78% on the results for the 12 months ended 30 June 2020, reflecting the extended accounting period. The Directors believe underlying business performance is better understood by comparing the performance for the 12 months ended 31 December 2021 (CY2021) and the 12 months ended 31 December 2020 (CY2020). In CY2021 revenue was £315.4m, representing CER growth of 22% and reported growth of 17%, after a 5%pt headwind from foreign currency exchange. The acquisition of BioVision added approximately 1%pt to revenue growth. Revenue growth continues to be driven by a recovery in laboratory activity from the depressed levels experienced in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and by increasing demand for our growing portfolio of in-house products. Catalogue revenue grew 23% CER in CY2021 compared with CY2020 (18% reported), with revenue growth from our in-house products of 41% CER including BioVision (35% reported) or 36% CER excluding BioVision. Except for Japan, which suffered greater COVID-19 related disruption, all major territories grew at double digit rates, with China, which now accounts for 19.4% of revenue, the fastest growing region with CER growth of 34%. Custom Products & Licensing (‘CP&L') revenue, rose 14% on a CER basis (7% reported). Within CP&L, IVD and royalty and license sales grew double digit on a CER basis as the number of out-licensed products and commercial deals continues to grow, whilst custom projects returned to growth as customer activity levels improved following a more muted period of activity due to COVID-19. Gross margin   18 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (audited)% 12 months ended 30 Jun 2020 (audited)%   12 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (unaudited)% 12 months ended 31 Dec 2020 (unaudited)% Reported Gross Margin 71.1 69.3   71.2 70.0 Amortisation of fair value adjustments 0.7 -   1.0 - Adjusted Gross Margin 71.8 69.3   72.2 70.0 Reported gross margin for the 18 months ended 31 December 2021 was 71.1%. Reported gross margin for the period was impacted by the fair value adjustment of BioVision inventory following the acquisition, totaling £6.0m. Approximately half, or £3.1m, of this cost was amortised in the period, with the balance of £2.9m to be amortised in CY2022. Before this impact, adjusted gross margin for CY2021 increased by just over 2 percentage points to 72.2% (CY2020: 70.0%), reflecting a favourable movement in product mix towards high margin in-house products, as well as volume leverage resulting from the increase in revenue. In-house product sales (including CP&L revenue) contributed 61% of total revenue in CY2021 (CY2020: 54%). Operating profit Operating profit for CY2021 increased to £7.1m (CY2020: £1.0m). Adjusted operating profit for the same 12-month period increased to £60.4m (CY2020: £50.6m), representing an adjusted operating profit margin of 19.2% (CY2020: 18.8%) reflecting the Group's planned investment, the impact of COVID-19, and the step up in depreciation and amortisation. The calculation of adjusted operating profit has been updated to exclude share-based payments of £20.0m and £13.3m in CY2021 and CY2020 respectively. A reconciliation between reported and adjusted operating profit is provided in note 4 to the financial statements. Reported operating profit for the 18 months ended 31 December 2021 was £24.4m (12 months to 30 June 2020: £10.4m). Operating costs and expenses   Reported   Adjusted*   18 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (audited)£m 12 months ended 30 June 2020 (audited, restated) £m 12 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (unaudited) £m 12 months ended 31 Dec 2020 (unaudited)£m   18 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (audited)£m 12 months ended 30 June 2020 (audited, restated)£m 12 months ended 31 Dec 2021 (unaudited)£m 12 months ended 31 Dec 2020 (unaudited)£m Selling, general & administrative (263.3) (131.5) (189.7) (144.5)   (211.5) (111.5) (150.6) (120.6) Research and development (41.5) (38.3) (27.8) (43.0)   (25.3) (14.7) (16.7) (17.3) Total operating costs and expenses (304.8) (169.8) (217.5) (187.5)   (236.8).....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 14th, 2022

There’s a Problem With How We Train Truckers

New training guidelines years in the making lack a major safety component: minimum behind-the-wheel training time for truckers, despite an increase in fatal crashes involving big-rigs In most states, aspiring barbers have to spend 1,000 hours or more in training before they get a license. To drive a 40,000-pound truck, though, there’s no minimum behind-the-wheel driving time required, no proof of ability to navigate through mountains, snow, or rain. There’s just a medical exam, a multiple-choice written exam, and a brief driving test—which in some states can be administered by the school that drivers paid to train them. As trucking companies hustle to hire more drivers in response to supply chain issues, though, the roads could be getting more dangerous—and there were 4,895 people killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2020, 33% more than in the 3,686 fatalities in 2010. In the coming months, the minimum age to be licensed to drive commercial trucks interstate will drop from 21 to 18 for thousands of drivers as part of a pilot program announced by the Biden administration. And on Feb. 7, standards for driver training that have been in the works for three decades were set to finally go into effect, but they don’t include a critical component: a minimum number of hours of behind-the-wheel training. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Read more: There’s Not a Trucker Shortage; There’s a Trucker Retention Problem “We don’t want to do the hard things in this industry, which is spending extra money, taking extra time to train people to safely operate trucks,” says Lewie Pugh, who owned and operated a truck for 22 years and is now executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. His association has long pushed for higher training standards, which they say would help the high-turnover industry retain workers. The ramifications of sending inexperienced drivers on the road are evident in the fiery crashes along the nation’s highways that kill people in smaller vehicles and tie up traffic for hours. In April 2019, four people were killed in Colorado when Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who had little experience driving on mountainous terrain, lost control of his truck. Aguilera-Mederos, who was 23 at the time, had earned his commercial driver’s license in Texas and was heading to Wyoming when his brakes failed coming down a mountain on I-70. Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter, later reduced to 10 years by the Colorado governor. But the responsibility shouldn’t only lie on the driver’s shoulders, argues his lawyer, James Colgan. “My client never received any formal training in mountain passes and how to deal with them,” Colgan told me. The trucking company “let this inexperienced driver take a mountain pass—they actually encouraged it.” “My client never received any formal training in mountain passes and how to deal with them.”  David Zalubowski—APWorkers clear debris from Interstate 70 on April 26, 2019, in Lakewood, Colo., following a deadly pileup involving a semi-truck hauling lumber. The truck driver who was convicted of causing the fiery pileup that killed four people said he had no experience navigating mountain roads; his 110-year sentence was later reduced to 10 years. The trucking company that hired Aguilera-Mederos, Castellano 03 Trucking LLC, has since gone out of business and was not held accountable in the case. Aguilera-Mederos had only earned his commercial driver’s license 11 months before the crash, and his regular driver’s license two years before that, according to court transcripts. He had been working for Castellano 03 Trucking for three weeks when he found himself barreling down a mountain at 80 m.p.h. with a 75,000-pound load and no brakes. “I held the steering wheel tight and that’s when I thought I was going to die,” he told investigators. Why There Aren’t Training Rules Now Concerned with a high level of truck driver crashes, Congress in 1991 ordered the Federal Highway Administration to create training requirements for new drivers of commercial vehicles. Highway safety advocates sued after no requirements had been created by 2002, but after a number of court cases, there were still no driving training requirements by 2012, when MAP-21, a law passed by Congress, mandated new standards.. In 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration—the FHA’s successor agency— brought together a committee to negotiate guidance for minimum training requirements. The panel came up with a long list of recommendations, including at least 30 hours training behind the wheel and some amount of time driving on a public road. The behind-the-wheel rules were a stipulation that only two members of the 25-member committee opposed. Both represented lobbying groups for the trucking industry, which argued that there was no scientific evidence showing that behind-the-wheel training led to safer drivers, says Peter Kurdock, general counsel for the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, who was on the committee. One major carrier, Schneider, which supported minimum behind-the-wheel training , said it “often” encountered newly-licensed drivers who had never operated a commercial motor vehicle on a highway or interstate. But when the final rules were released in 2016, a minimum number of behind-the-wheel hours had been dropped. The agency said it was not able to find data that proved the value of such training and that it was important to avoid imposing extra training costs on proficient drivers. (In the same document, the agency acknowledged that 38% of commercial motor vehicle drivers said they did not receive adequate entry-level training to safely drive a truck under all road and weather conditions, according to a 2015 survey from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.) Read more: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain “That is some of the most invaluable experience that a new truck driver learns—sitting behind the wheel with someone who is an experienced driver saying, ‘This is about to happen. This is how you avoid this critical safety situation,’” Kurdock says. “We feel it’s a significant failing of the rule.” People seeing a commercial pilot’s license, by contrast, have to have at least 250 hours of flight time; if they want to work for passenger airlines, they have to have 1,500 hours of flight time. The advisory committee’s recommendations, originally scheduled to take effect in 2020, were delayed and now are due to begin Feb. 7, 2022. They create a training-provider registry and require would-be drivers to sign up with a school that is on the registry. But to be listed on the registry, schools are allowed to self-certify that they qualify. “What’s actually changing?” the American Trucking Association asks, on a section of its website devoted to the new regulations. “For organizations that have a structured program in place today, the truth is – not much.” Colgan, the lawyer, says more stringent training would skewer the economics of trucking, which ensures that the company that can charge the cheapest rates often gets the business. “It comes down to the almighty dollar—if you required truckers to be trained like that, it would slow everything down,” he says. The American Trucking Assn. did not return calls requesting comment for this story. “We don’t want to do the hard things in this industry, which is spending extra money, taking extra time to train people to safely operate trucks.”If anything, there’s a push to speed things up in the trucking industry as supply chain issues create demand for more drivers to haul more stuff. On Feb. 2, the FMCSA said it would allow trucking schools in all states to administer the written portion of CDL tests for drivers, in addition to the driving test, a reversal of previous guidance, which could get new drivers on the roads faster. In November 2021, 11 Republican Senators asked the FMCSA to let 18-year-olds obtain commercial driver licenses for interstate trucking. “Inaction to grow America’s pool of truck drivers threatens to drive up shipping expenses, prolong delays, and burden already-strained consumers with additional costs,” they said in a letter. Andrew Hetherington for TIMETrucks outside Atlanta GA on February 5th 2022. Partly in response to that letter, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden in November 2021 ordered the Secretary of Transportation to create a pilot apprenticeship program for 18-to-20 year-olds within 60 days. “Segments of the trucking industry have been pushing for teenage truckers to drive interstate for years, but the most recent supply chain challenges are being used as a way to push forward that proposal,” Cathy Chase, the president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, told me. How A Trucker Learns The problems with training aren’t just about a lack of standards. The first year that people spend driving a truck usually consists of long weeks on the road making low wages, a far cry from the six-figure salary and independent lifestyle pitched to new students. Many drivers who get their commercial driver’s license (CDL) drop out once they get a taste of that life. Over the course of four years, only 20% of the 25,796 drivers who started with CRST, a carrier that promised free training and a job afterward, actually finished the training and started driving independently, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in Massachusetts over the company’s debt collection practices. (CRST agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle the lawsuit, but a former CRST driver has objected to the settlement and is still pursuing claims against the company.) “What our current system of training does is it throws people into the deep end with no support into the absolute worst and toughest and most dangerous jobs and just burns them out,” says Steve Viscelli, a sociologist and the author of The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream. “Segments of the trucking industry have been pushing for teenage truckers to drive interstate for years, but the most recent supply chain challenges are being used as a way to push forward that proposal.”Because new drivers are so expensive to insure, most get trained at big, long-haul trucking companies that are self-insured. These companies recruit would-be drivers by offering to pay for them to get their CDLs in exchange for a promise to work for the company once they’re licensed. Obtaining a CDL takes a few weeks. Only after that do most newly licensed drivers spend significant time on the road, when they’re paired with more experienced drivers who are supposed to show them the ropes. This saves the companies money, because federal regulations stipulate that truck drivers can only drive 11 hours straight after 10 hours off. Putting two drivers together lets one take the wheel while the other sleeps in the truck and enables companies to move freight in half the time it would take a solo driver. In addition, newly licensed drivers are paid cents per mile to haul the loads, providing a major source of cheap labor. But the system means that new drivers are spending weeks sharing a truck with a stranger who has the upper hand in their relationship and the power to hurt their job prospects, because the trainer tells the company if the trainee is ready to drive on their own. Often, one person sleeps while the other drives, dimming prospects for the student to actually learn from the trainer, even though the trainer gets a few extra cents per mile to accompany a trainee. Some trainers barely have any more experience than the students. This is done in tens of thousands of trucks across the country, and horror stories abound. Read more: How to Reduce Your Family’s Emissions and Live Greener Kay Crawford, a 25-year-old who signed up to become a truck driver during the pandemic after getting sick of the low pay and danger of being a sheriff’s deputy, says she was sexually harassed numerous times by her trainers. One kept telling her he needed a woman and propositioned her; another refused to meet her anywhere but her hotel room. The company did nothing once she reported the incidents. The training coordinator said, ‘I got you work, you’re not accepting it, and I have 14 other students I need to get in a truck,’” she told me. After three separate bad experiences with trainers, Crawford decided to give up on trucking. She’s still hounded by the school, which says she owes it $6,000, despite her sexual harassment claims. “At that point, trucking pretty much disgusted me,” she said. Despite having her CDL, she can’t get a new job because she’s not insurable without long-haul trucking experience, she said. Her experience isn’t uncommon. One CRST student alleged that her trainer raped her in the cab of her truck and the company then billed her $9,000 for student driver training; company employees testified that CRST only considered sexual assault claims to be valid if they were corroborated by a third party or recorded. The case, Jane Doe v. CRST, was settled last year and though CRST agreed to pay $5 million, it did not admit wrongdoing. Despite dozens of legal battles like that one, training has changed little in decades. (There is now a second Jane Doe v. CRST complaint making its way through the courts, filed by another woman who said she was sexually assaulted by her trainer.) Brita Nowak, a longtime truck driver, said that her trainer hit and slapped her when she was learning on the road with a big carrier two decades ago; when she reported him, “they called me a pill,” and asked for proof of her assault, she said. She didn’t have any proof and had to put up with the abuse until her trainer hit an overpass and damaged the truck; then, she says, the company switched her to another trainer. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEOwner-operator Brita Nowak outside Atlanta, GA, on February 5th 2022. Even some people who have good trainers say that they earn less than the minimum wage in their first year of trucking, which makes the sacrifices of being so far from family for long periods of time hard to bear. Crawford said she never made more than $500 a week; even in training, she spent long unpaid hours waiting to load or unload. The Massachusetts lawsuit against CRST alleged that new drivers made between $0 an hour and $7.19 per hour between 2014 and 2015 because CRST deducted money from their paychecks for housing, physical exams, drug tests, and training reimbursement. “These are bad companies, I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to them,” says Desiree Wood, the founder and president of REAL Women in Trucking, which advocates for better standards for drivers. CRST did not respond to a request for comment. Hardly a week goes by on her group’s Facebook page without women complaining about trainers who aren’t helping them learn how to drive, or who are creating dangerous conditions for them on the road. One woman, Memory Collins, told me that she was so exhausted from a lack of sleep two days into training that she felt unsafe driving. She pulled off the highway only to find there was no place to safely stop. She woke her sleeping trainer, who helped her get back on the highway, but a week later, the company told her she’d hit a car while trying to turn around and fired her. When she called other companies to try to get hired, she was told she was too much of a liability. “You have some people who come out of training and know how to drive, others come out of training not prepared, and know they’re not prepared, and just hope they’ll be ok,” says Elaina Stanford, a truck driver who came up training through a big company. Truck driver training has been turned into a “profit center” for some big companies, says Viscelli, the sociologist. Some people training to become truck drivers get federal workforce development money to pay for their tuition, which saves companies having to cover training costs. Then, the companies pay the newly licensed drivers beginner rates, and when they quit because of the miserable conditions, the cycle is repeated. “They have figured out how to make that inexperienced, unsafe labor profitable,” Viscelli says, of the trucking companies. In 2020, local workforce boards in California invested $11.7 million of federal money on truck driver training schools, five times what they spent the year before. An effort to improve training The Biden administration says it is trying to improve training. Its Trucking Action Plan, announced in mid-December, launched a 90-day program that aims to work with carriers to create more registered apprenticeships in trucking. It’s also specifically focusing on recruiting veterans into trucking. Registered apprenticeships are the gold standard for workforce training and could improve trucker training, says Brent Parton, a senior advisor at the Labor Department overseeing the program. With a registered apprenticeship, would-be truckers get a guarantee that a trucking company will pay for their CDL and for on-the-road training, and that they will commit to certain wage increases over time. These type programs do exist in trucking, mostly set up by unions like the Teamsters who still can guarantee good jobs in trucking. The Teamsters have a program that holds truck driver training on military installations, taking six weeks to help drivers get a CDL and learn to drive on the road. They get union jobs with ABF Freight after they’ve completed the program, making more money than most entry-level drivers. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEOwner-operator Brita Nowak outside Atlanta, GA, on February 5th 2022. But most trucking companies don’t have the time or money to invest in extensive training. The concern among advocates is that the new apprenticeships, including the program to license 18-to-21-year olds to drive interstate commerce, will be akin to slapping a new label on the subpar training that exists. “We’re hoping this isn’t a title for what we’re already doing,” Pugh, of OOIDA said. The White House says its new program will be different, and that this is the first step in creating trucking jobs that people will want to keep for life. But advocates already have doubts. One of the first companies that signed up to work with the White House on its registered apprenticeships was CRST. In the last two years, it’s agreed to pay out at least $17 million in settlements over lawsuits filed against it for wage theft and incidents that occurred while training people who wanted to become truckers......»»

Category: topSource: timeFeb 7th, 2022

The Problem With How We Train Truckers

New training guidelines years in the making lack a major safety component: minimum behind-the-wheel training time for truckers, despite an increase in fatal crashes involving big-rigs In most states, aspiring barbers have to spend 1,000 hours or more in training before they get a license. To drive a 40,000-pound truck, though, there’s no minimum behind-the-wheel driving time required, no proof of ability to navigate through mountains, snow, or rain. There’s just a medical exam, a multiple-choice written exam, and a brief driving test—which in some states can be administered by the school that drivers paid to train them. As trucking companies hustle to hire more drivers in response to supply chain issues, though, the roads could be getting more dangerous—and there were 4,895 people killed in crashes involving large trucks in 2020, 33% more than in the 3,686 fatalities in 2010. In the coming months, the minimum age to be licensed to drive commercial trucks interstate will drop from 21 to 18 for thousands of drivers as part of a pilot program announced by the Biden administration. And on Feb. 7, standards for driver training that have been in the works for three decades were set to finally go into effect, but they don’t include a critical component: a minimum number of hours of behind-the-wheel training. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “We don’t want to do the hard things in this industry, which is spending extra money, taking extra time to train people to safely operate trucks,” says Lewie Pugh, who owned and operated a truck for 22 years and is now executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. His association has long pushed for higher training standards, which they say would help the high-turnover industry retain workers. The ramifications of sending inexperienced drivers on the road are evident in the fiery crashes along the nation’s highways that kill people in smaller vehicles and tie up traffic for hours. In April 2019, four people were killed in Colorado when Rogel Aguilera-Mederos, who had little experience driving on mountainous terrain, lost control of his truck. Aguilera-Mederos, who was 23 at the time, had earned his commercial driver’s license in Texas and was heading to Wyoming when his brakes failed coming down a mountain on I-70. Aguilera-Mederos was sentenced to 110 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter, later reduced to 10 years by the Colorado governor. But the responsibility shouldn’t only lie on the driver’s shoulders, argues his lawyer, James Colgan. “My client never received any formal training in mountain passes and how to deal with them,” Colgan told me. The trucking company “let this inexperienced driver take a mountain pass—they actually encouraged it.”   David Zalubowski—APWorkers clear debris from Interstate 70 on April 26, 2019, in Lakewood, Colo., following a deadly pileup involving a semi-truck hauling lumber. The truck driver who was convicted of causing the fiery pileup that killed four people said he had no experience navigating mountain roads; his 110-year sentence was later reduced to 10 years. The trucking company that hired Aguilera-Mederos, Castellano 03 Trucking LLC, has since gone out of business and was not held accountable in the case. Aguilera-Mederos had only earned his commercial driver’s license 11 months before the crash, and his regular driver’s license two years before that, according to court transcripts. He had been working for Castellano 03 Trucking for three weeks when he found himself barreling down a mountain at 80 m.p.h. with a 75,000-pound load and no brakes. “I held the steering wheel tight and that’s when I thought I was going to die,” he told investigators. Why There Aren’t Training Rules Now Concerned with a high level of truck driver crashes, Congress in 1991 ordered the Federal Highway Administration to create training requirements for new drivers of commercial vehicles. Highway safety advocates sued after no requirements had been created by 2002, but after a number of court cases, there were still no driving training requirements by 2012, when MAP-21, a law passed by Congress, mandated new standards.. In 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration—the FHA’s successor agency— brought together a committee to negotiate guidance for minimum training requirements. The panel came up with a long list of recommendations, including at least 30 hours training behind the wheel and some amount of time driving on a public road. The behind-the-wheel rules were a stipulation that only two members of the 25-member committee opposed. Both represented lobbying groups for the trucking industry, which argued that there was no scientific evidence showing that behind-the-wheel training led to safer drivers, says Peter Kurdock, general counsel for the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, who was on the committee. One major carrier, Schneider, which supported minimum behind-the-wheel training , said it “often” encountered newly-licensed drivers who had never operated a commercial motor vehicle on a highway or interstate. But when the final rules were released in 2016, a minimum number of behind-the-wheel hours had been dropped. The agency said it was not able to find data that proved the value of such training and that it was important to avoid imposing extra training costs on proficient drivers. (In the same document, the agency acknowledged that 38% of commercial motor vehicle drivers said they did not receive adequate entry-level training to safely drive a truck under all road and weather conditions, according to a 2015 survey from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.) “That is some of the most invaluable experience that a new truck driver learns—sitting behind the wheel with someone who is an experienced driver saying, ‘This is about to happen. This is how you avoid this critical safety situation,’” Kurdock says. “We feel it’s a significant failing of the rule.” People seeing a commercial pilot’s license, by contrast, have to have at least 250 hours of flight time; if they want to work for passenger airlines, they have to have 1,500 hours of flight time. The advisory committee’s recommendations, originally scheduled to take effect in 2020, were delayed and now are due to begin Feb. 7, 2022. They create a training-provider registry and require would-be drivers to sign up with a school that is on the registry. But to be listed on the registry, schools are allowed to self-certify that they qualify. “What’s actually changing?” the American Trucking Association asks, on a section of its website devoted to the new regulations. “For organizations that have a structured program in place today, the truth is – not much.” Colgan, the lawyer, says more stringent training would skewer the economics of trucking, which ensures that the company that can charge the cheapest rates often gets the business. “It comes down to the almighty dollar—if you required truckers to be trained like that, it would slow everything down,” he says. The American Trucking Assn. did not return calls requesting comment for this story. If anything, there’s a push to speed things up in the trucking industry as supply chain issues create demand for more drivers to haul more stuff. On Feb. 2, the FMCSA said it would allow trucking schools in all states to administer the written portion of CDL tests for drivers, in addition to the driving test, a reversal of previous guidance, which could get new drivers on the roads faster. In November 2021, 11 Republican Senators asked the FMCSA to let 18-year-olds obtain commercial driver licenses for interstate trucking. “Inaction to grow America’s pool of truck drivers threatens to drive up shipping expenses, prolong delays, and burden already-strained consumers with additional costs,” they said in a letter. Andrew Hetherington for TIMETrucks outside Atlanta GA on February 5th 2022. Partly in response to that letter, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden in November 2021 ordered the Secretary of Transportation to create a pilot apprenticeship program for 18-to-20 year-olds within 60 days. “Segments of the trucking industry have been pushing for teenage truckers to drive interstate for years, but the most recent supply chain challenges are being used as a way to push forward that proposal,” Cathy Chase, the president of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, told me. How A Trucker Learns The problems with training aren’t just about a lack of standards. The first year that people spend driving a truck usually consists of long weeks on the road making low wages, a far cry from the six-figure salary and independent lifestyle pitched to new students. Many drivers who get their commercial driver’s license (CDL) drop out once they get a taste of that life. Over the course of four years, only 20% of the 25,796 drivers who started with CRST, a carrier that promised free training and a job afterward, actually finished the training and started driving independently, according to a class-action lawsuit filed in Massachusetts over the company’s debt collection practices. (CRST agreed to pay $12.5 million to settle the lawsuit, but a former CRST driver has objected to the settlement and is still pursuing claims against the company.) “What our current system of training does is it throws people into the deep end with no support into the absolute worst and toughest and most dangerous jobs and just burns them out,” says Steve Viscelli, a sociologist and the author of The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream. Because new drivers are so expensive to insure, most get trained at big, long-haul trucking companies that are self-insured. These companies recruit would-be drivers by offering to pay for them to get their CDLs in exchange for a promise to work for the company once they’re licensed. Obtaining a CDL takes a few weeks. Only after that do most newly licensed drivers spend significant time on the road, when they’re paired with more experienced drivers who are supposed to show them the ropes. This saves the companies money, because federal regulations stipulate that truck drivers can only drive 11 hours straight after 10 hours off. Putting two drivers together lets one take the wheel while the other sleeps in the truck and enables companies to move freight in half the time it would take a solo driver. In addition, newly licensed drivers are paid cents per mile to haul the loads, providing a major source of cheap labor. But the system means that new drivers are spending weeks sharing a truck with a stranger who has the upper hand in their relationship and the power to hurt their job prospects, because the trainer tells the company if the trainee is ready to drive on their own. Often, one person sleeps while the other drives, dimming prospects for the student to actually learn from the trainer, even though the trainer gets a few extra cents per mile to accompany a trainee. Some trainers barely have any more experience than the students. This is done in tens of thousands of trucks across the country, and horror stories abound. Kay Crawford, a 25-year-old who signed up to become a truck driver during the pandemic after getting sick of the low pay and danger of being a sheriff’s deputy, says she was sexually harassed numerous times by her trainers. One kept telling her he needed a woman and propositioned her; another refused to meet her anywhere but her hotel room. The company did nothing once she reported the incidents. The training coordinator said, ‘I got you work, you’re not accepting it, and I have 14 other students I need to get in a truck,’” she told me. After three separate bad experiences with trainers, Crawford decided to give up on trucking. She’s still hounded by the school, which says she owes it $6,000, despite her sexual harassment claims. “At that point, trucking pretty much disgusted me,” she said. Despite having her CDL, she can’t get a new job because she’s not insurable without long-haul trucking experience, she said. Her experience isn’t uncommon. One CRST student alleged that her trainer raped her in the cab of her truck and the company then billed her $9,000 for student driver training; company employees testified that CRST only considered sexual assault claims to be valid if they were corroborated by a third party or recorded. The case, Jane Doe v. CRST, was settled last year and though CRST agreed to pay $5 million, it did not admit wrongdoing. Despite dozens of legal battles like that one, training has changed little in decades. (There is now a second Jane Doe v. CRST complaint making its way through the courts, filed by another woman who said she was sexually assaulted by her trainer.) Brita Nowak, a longtime truck driver, said that her trainer hit and slapped her when she was learning on the road with a big carrier two decades ago; when she reported him, “they called me a pill,” and asked for proof of her assault, she said. She didn’t have any proof and had to put up with the abuse until her trainer hit an overpass and damaged the truck; then, she says, the company switched her to another trainer. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEOwner-operator Brita Nowak outside Atlanta, GA, on February 5th 2022. Even some people who have good trainers say that they earn less than the minimum wage in their first year of trucking, which makes the sacrifices of being so far from family for long periods of time hard to bear. Crawford said she never made more than $500 a week; even in training, she spent long unpaid hours waiting to load or unload. The Massachusetts lawsuit against CRST alleged that new drivers made between $0 an hour and $7.19 per hour between 2014 and 2015 because CRST deducted money from their paychecks for housing, physical exams, drug tests, and training reimbursement. “These are bad companies, I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to them,” says Desiree Wood, the founder and president of REAL Women in Trucking, which advocates for better standards for drivers. CRST did not respond to a request for comment. Hardly a week goes by on her group’s Facebook page without women complaining about trainers who aren’t helping them learn how to drive, or who are creating dangerous conditions for them on the road. One woman, Memory Collins, told me that she was so exhausted from a lack of sleep two days into training that she felt unsafe driving. She pulled off the highway only to find there was no place to safely stop. She woke her sleeping trainer, who helped her get back on the highway, but a week later, the company told her she’d hit a car while trying to turn around and fired her. When she called other companies to try to get hired, she was told she was too much of a liability. “You have some people who come out of training and know how to drive, others come out of training not prepared, and know they’re not prepared, and just hope they’ll be ok,” says Elaina Stanford, a truck driver who came up training through a big company. Truck driver training has been turned into a “profit center” for some big companies, says Viscelli, the sociologist. Some people training to become truck drivers get federal workforce development money to pay for their tuition, which saves companies having to cover training costs. Then, the companies pay the newly licensed drivers beginner rates, and when they quit because of the miserable conditions, the cycle is repeated. “They have figured out how to make that inexperienced, unsafe labor profitable,” Viscelli says, of the trucking companies. In 2020, local workforce boards in California invested $11.7 million of federal money on truck driver training schools, five times what they spent the year before. An effort to improve training The Biden administration says it is trying to improve training. Its Trucking Action Plan, announced in mid-December, launched a 90-day program that aims to work with carriers to create more registered apprenticeships in trucking. It’s also specifically focusing on recruiting veterans into trucking. Registered apprenticeships are the gold standard for workforce training and could improve trucker training, says Brent Parton, a senior advisor at the Labor Department overseeing the program. With a registered apprenticeship, would-be truckers get a guarantee that a trucking company will pay for their CDL and for on-the-road training, and that they will commit to certain wage increases over time. These type programs do exist in trucking, mostly set up by unions like the Teamsters who still can guarantee good jobs in trucking. The Teamsters have a program that holds truck driver training on military installations, taking six weeks to help drivers get a CDL and learn to drive on the road. They get union jobs with ABF Freight after they’ve completed the program, making more money than most entry-level drivers. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEOwner-operator Brita Nowak outside Atlanta, GA, on February 5th 2022. But most trucking companies don’t have the time or money to invest in extensive training. The concern among advocates is that the new apprenticeships, including the program to license 18-to-21-year olds to drive interstate commerce, will be akin to slapping a new label on the subpar training that exists. “We’re hoping this isn’t a title for what we’re already doing,” Pugh, of OOIDA said. The White House says its new program will be different, and that this is the first step in creating trucking jobs that people will want to keep for life. But advocates already have doubts. One of the first companies that signed up to work with the White House on its registered apprenticeships was CRST. In the last two years, it’s agreed to pay out at least $17 million in settlements over lawsuits filed against it for wage theft and incidents that occurred while training people who wanted to become truckers......»»

Category: topSource: timeFeb 7th, 2022

Insiders reveal what it"s really like working at Amazon when it comes to hiring, firing, performance reviews, and more

Amazon employs 1.3 million people, and it can be a tough place to work. Here's what it's like to work at the world's largest e-commerce company. Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy.David Ryder/Getty Images; Isaac Brekken/AP Images for NFL, File; Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images; Ohannes EiseleAFP via Getty Images; Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider Insider is investigating Amazon's workplace amid a major effort to unionize the company. The e-commerce and cloud giant has a complex performance-review system some employees say is unfair. Amazon is investigating allegations of gender bias in its Prime division after Insider reporting. See more stories on Insider's business page. Amazon is the second-largest US employer and still one of the fastest-growing in the country. It offers income and benefits to well over 1 million people, and it's been a source of jobs and shopping convenience during the pandemic.With that level of influence, Amazon's operations have come under intense scrutiny, which has prompted a nationwide unionization effort. The following covers everything you need to know about what it's like to work at the company.How Amazon culls its workforceUnder outgoing CEO Andy Jassy, Amazon's cloud unit has built up an impressive roster of cloud security partners — but they often also work with competitors Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.Reuters/Richard BrianInsider is investigating Amazon's system for improving, or ousting, employees deemed underperformers. Once managers label workers as struggling, they are put on a "Focus" coaching plan. If they fail there, the workers are moved to another program called "Pivot," and then finally to an internal company jury that decides their fate at the company.The system has been criticized by some current and former employees, who say it is unfairly stacked against them and can encourage managers to give bad reviews to good staff. Amazon says it gives managers tools to help employees improve and advance in their careers. "This includes resources for employees who are not meeting expectations and may require additional coaching. If an employee believes they are not receiving a fair assessment of their performance, they have multiple channels where they can raise this," a company spokesperson said recently.Amazon has a goal to get rid of a certain number of employees each year, which is called unregretted attrition. Some managers at the company told Insider they felt so much pressure to meet the target that they hire people who they intend to fire within a year.Read more Inside Amazon's complex employee-review system, where workers feel left in the dark and managers expect to give 5% of reports bad reviewsFlow chart: An exclusive look at Amazon's controversial system for fixing or ousting underperforming employeesHundreds of Amazon employees join an internal Slack channel to criticize its opaque performance-review systemSome Amazon managers say they 'hire to fire' people just to meet the internal turnover goal every yearLeaked documents show Amazon Music wants to scrap a controversial companywide performance review system that some say unfairly fires employeesThe company has been hit with allegations of biasKyodo News via Getty ImagesThere's been a rash of lawsuits filed against Amazon alleging gender and racial bias. In May, five current and former female employees sued the company Amazon, claiming "abusive mistreatment by primarily white male managers."In February, Charlotte Newman, a Black Amazon manager, filed a suit alleging gender discrimination and sexual harassment. And last year, a high-profile female engineer called on the company to fix what she saw as a "harassment culture," Insider reported."We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment of any kind," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. "We immediately investigated Ms. Newman's sexual harassment claim and fired her harasser."The investigation resulted in "corrective action and additional training requirements for those in her reporting line," the spokesperson added. "We also reviewed Ms. Newman's interview process, leveling and onboarding, and determined that she was properly placed in her role at the company. We are currently investigating the new allegations included in the lawsuit."Read more Amazon Prime employees say women get few promotions and there's a culture of aggressive male-dominated managementAmazon is investigating allegations of gender bias in its Prime team after Insider reportingAmazon faces 5 lawsuits from warehouse and corporate employees alleging discrimination and retaliationAmazon's warehouses churn through workersRobotic Amazon warehouses use robots to ferry shelves of items around the warehouse floor. Above, a photo taken in an Amazon warehouse in the UK.Isobel Asher Hamilton/InsiderThe company's fulfillment centers employ hundreds of thousands of people, offering pay and benefits that are competitive versus other retail-industry jobs. But the work can be grueling, some staff don't stick around long, and there are growing efforts to unionize this modern blue-collar workforce.Amazon warehouses are partly automated, using robots that zip around the shop floor fetching pallets of merchandise and bringing them to employees who pick the correct items and pack them for shipping. The company hires thousands of extra temporary workers each year to support a surge in orders during the holiday shopping period.During the pandemic, online orders have jumped at an unusual time for Amazon. It prompted an unprecedented hiring spree last year but caused tension with workers concerned about entering warehouses that could spread the virus. These issues came to a head earlier this year, when employees at a fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, voted on whether to form a union. The effort failed, but there's a bigger union push gathering steam.In his final shareholder letter as CEO earlier this year, Jeff Bezos defended Amazon's working conditions, but said the company needed "to do a better job for our employees."Read more6 current and former Amazon warehouse employees explained why they think turnover is so highAmazon warehouse workers are reportedly almost twice as likely to face serious injuries compared to rivals like WalmartAmazon defeated a vote to form a union at its warehouse in Bessemer, AlabamaThe International Brotherhood of Teamsters voted in late June about organizing Amazon workersAmazon's delivery network relies on thousands of driversSmith Collection/Gado/Getty ImagesThe company partners with UPS, FedEx, and the US Postal Service, but it also operates a massive fleet of in-house delivery vehicles. These vans are driven by a combination of employees, third-party courier services, and contract workers.Amazon is known for imposing strict time constraints on drivers and tracking how many times they stop and how fast they drive. While the company factors in break times — a 30-minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks — some drivers say they either can't or don't want to take them.Earlier this year, a US lawmaker tweeted that Amazon workers have to pee in bottles. The company denied this, but multiple drivers confirmed it was part of the job. Amazon later apologized and said drivers have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic and being on rural routes, adding that the issue has been exacerbated by closed public bathrooms during the pandemic.Read moreAn Amazon driver lost her job after the company's algorithm fired her. A day in the life of an Amazon delivery driverAmazon drivers describe paranoia of working with surveillance cameras that monitor them constantlyI'm an Amazon delivery driver who's had to pee in water bottles and eat lunch in my vanHow to get a job at AmazonJob seekers line up to apply during "Amazon Jobs Day" at a fulfillment center in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August 2017.Brian Snyder/ReutersAmazon remains an important employer that is growing quickly. Unlike some of its Big Tech rivals, the company offers a range of positions, from highly technical roles to blue-collar jobs. It's recruiting methods range from massive job fairs to tough one-on-one interviews.The company ranks among the top employers among technical students. In a survey published last year, Amazon came 10th in a survey of engineering students, beating out Intel and IBM but trailing Tesla and SpaceX.Read more How to master Amazon's ruthless interview process and get a job there, according to insidersThe Amazon executive in charge of recruitment reveals what it takes to get a job at the e-commerce giant4 mistakes to avoid if you want to succeed in Amazon's application processRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022

One Lesson From the Theranos Scandal: We Need Age Diversity on Corporate Boards

A few months after I graduated from Stanford’s business school in 2013, Theranos was generating buzz on campus—and not all of it was good. One evening, I found myself in a dinner party conversation with a group of some of the university’s brightest scientific minds. When talk landed on the still mostly-unknown medical technology startup… A few months after I graduated from Stanford’s business school in 2013, Theranos was generating buzz on campus—and not all of it was good. One evening, I found myself in a dinner party conversation with a group of some of the university’s brightest scientific minds. When talk landed on the still mostly-unknown medical technology startup that had raised nearly $100 million in venture capital since getting its start on campus a decade earlier, this group of grad students and postdocs—from fields such as bioengineering and microbiology—were roasting the company, despite its apparent success. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Some of them knew Theranos and its team well. Others were only familiar with the company’s product. All of them were highly skeptical. One by one, they took turns lamenting what they saw as the implausibility of the technology Theranos was promising. I had only heard of Theranos because of its board of directors, which at the time included a retired four-star general, at least one former Fortune 500 CEO, and a former U.S. Senator, among others. I was awestruck at the star-studded list of political and business titans but also curious about what these individuals knew about blood testing. As we would all come to learn years later, they didn’t know enough. As the jury deliberates in the fraud trial of Theranos’ founder Elizabeth Holmes, too little attention has been paid to the failure of Theranos’ board and the lessons to learn from it. As more capital flows into private companies that are far away from mainstream public scrutiny and under increasing pressure to support lofty valuations, there will be more Theranoses. In this new era of corporate malfeasance, they will be less likely to engage in accounting trickery and more likely to exaggerate the promise of their “disruptive” technology, overstate their growth, or misuse their customers’ data. What hasn’t changed is that their boards of directors will be the first line of defense. But corporate America’s boards haven’t evolved much since the 20th century. Too white and too male, they are being forced by social pressure and regulatory mandates to recruit more women and people of color. These boards are also too old and out of touch, rife with industrial-era yes-men who are beholden to their CEOs and ill-equipped for the digital age. Among companies in the S&P 500, the average board director is 63 and trending older, according to research from The Conference Board. Too many of today’s corporate directors lack the relevant experiences to meaningfully oversee executive teams, spot early signs of overreach, or steward their companies through coming business challenges. More racial and gender diversification is a good start, but far from enough. Future-looking boards also need to get younger, more independent and better-skilled in emerging areas, such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and automation. The best way to do this is for institutional investors, regulatory agencies, and banks to band together to influence boards to require these four things: Be transparent about board composition Boards of publicly traded companies are disclosing more than ever before. In 2021, 59% of S&P 500 companies disclosed the racial composition of their boards, up from 24% in 2020. Private company boards should provide even more comprehensive demographic disclosures. As an early-stage investor in several dozen startups, I encourage companies I’ve invested in to measure and manage board composition across metrics that not only include race and gender but also age, skills, expertise, management style, political ideology, and geography. Quantifying this information is the first step in understanding how the board’s demographics might make it susceptible to blindspots, and disclosing it will allow for better accountability. Post board openings publicly Right now, board recruitment happens entirely behind closed doors. Companies fill openings through their existing networks or executive search firms, reinforcing board homogeneity. Instead, companies should be more transparent about when they are recruiting for board seats. The easiest way to do that is to publicly advertise openings when they arise. In fact, not doing so is intentionally exclusionary. Public listings open pipelines to candidates outside of the organization’s existing network. Seek out more independent directors The fastest path to improving board composition is to increase the share of independent board directors, those without a pre-existing relationship with the company. Research shows that more independent directors correlate with more transparency and boards with greater independence engage in less corporate misconduct. When independent directors have relevant industry expertise, having more of them is associated with increased earnings transparency and improved returns from acquisitions. In recent years, independent directors have trended younger. Roughly 16% of new independent S&P 500 directors in 2021 were under 50, compared to only 10% across all directors, according to executive search and consulting firm Spencer Stuart. While both the NYSE and the Nasdaq require a majority of a listed company’s board directors to be independent, no such requirements exist for private company boards, where only 25% of board directors are independent. Create age-related interview quotas Companies should implement an age-related interview quota for new board seats. Similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires that NFL teams interview at least two candidates from underrepresented groups for certain coaching and executive roles, companies should require that boards interview candidates whose age range is currently underrepresented. In a 2017 survey from PwC, age was the highest rated diversity criteria among current board directors, with more than 90% saying it was “very” or “somewhat” important. Board-focused Rooney rules aren’t new, but adding age as an explicit diversity criteria would be. In a world where Reddit threads can make or break a stock, every company is vulnerable to ransomware, and diversity is a universally-accepted asset, corporate directors need technological savvy, an ability to challenge traditional corporate orthodoxy and intuitive knowledge about the markets they are serving. Increasing disclosure, being more transparent, increasing independence, and getting younger are the best ways to make that happen......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 4th, 2022

Corporate Boards Are Too White, Too Male–And Too Old. Here Are 4 Ways to Fix That

A few months after I graduated from Stanford’s business school in 2013, Theranos was generating buzz on campus—and not all of it was good. One evening, I found myself in a dinner party conversation with a group of some of the university’s brightest scientific minds. When talk landed on the still mostly-unknown medical technology startup… A few months after I graduated from Stanford’s business school in 2013, Theranos was generating buzz on campus—and not all of it was good. One evening, I found myself in a dinner party conversation with a group of some of the university’s brightest scientific minds. When talk landed on the still mostly-unknown medical technology startup that had raised nearly $100 million in venture capital since getting its start on campus a decade earlier, this group of grad students and postdocs—from fields such as bioengineering and microbiology—were roasting the company, despite its apparent success. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Some of them knew Theranos and its team well. Others were only familiar with the company’s product. All of them were highly skeptical. One by one, they took turns lamenting what they saw as the implausibility of the technology Theranos was promising. I had only heard of Theranos because of its board of directors, which at the time included a retired four-star general, at least one former Fortune 500 CEO, and a former U.S. Senator, among others. I was awestruck at the star-studded list of political and business titans but also curious about what these individuals knew about blood testing. As we would all come to learn years later, they didn’t know enough. As the jury deliberates in the fraud trial of Theranos’ founder Elizabeth Holmes, too little attention has been paid to the failure of Theranos’ board and the lessons to learn from it. As more capital flows into private companies that are far away from mainstream public scrutiny and under increasing pressure to support lofty valuations, there will be more Theranoses. In this new era of corporate malfeasance, they will be less likely to engage in accounting trickery and more likely to exaggerate the promise of their “disruptive” technology, overstate their growth, or misuse their customers’ data. What hasn’t changed is that their boards of directors will be the first line of defense. But corporate America’s boards haven’t evolved much since the 20th century. Too white and too male, they are being forced by social pressure and regulatory mandates to recruit more women and people of color. These boards are also too old and out of touch, rife with industrial-era yes-men who are beholden to their CEOs and ill-equipped for the digital age. Among companies in the S&P 500, the average board director is 63 and trending older, according to research from The Conference Board. Too many of today’s corporate directors lack the relevant experiences to meaningfully oversee executive teams, spot early signs of overreach, or steward their companies through coming business challenges. More racial and gender diversification is a good start, but far from enough. Future-looking boards also need to get younger, more independent and better-skilled in emerging areas, such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and automation. The best way to do this is for institutional investors, regulatory agencies, and banks to band together to influence boards to require these four things: Be transparent about board composition Boards of publicly traded companies are disclosing more than ever before. In 2021, 59% of S&P 500 companies disclosed the racial composition of their boards, up from 24% in 2020. Private company boards should provide even more comprehensive demographic disclosures. As an early-stage investor in several dozen startups, I encourage companies I’ve invested in to measure and manage board composition across metrics that not only include race and gender but also age, skills, expertise, management style, political ideology, and geography. Quantifying this information is the first step in understanding how the board’s demographics might make it susceptible to blindspots, and disclosing it will allow for better accountability. Post board openings publicly Right now, board recruitment happens entirely behind closed doors. Companies fill openings through their existing networks or executive search firms, reinforcing board homogeneity. Instead, companies should be more transparent about when they are recruiting for board seats. The easiest way to do that is to publicly advertise openings when they arise. In fact, not doing so is intentionally exclusionary. Public listings open pipelines to candidates outside of the organization’s existing network. Seek out more independent directors The fastest path to improving board composition is to increase the share of independent board directors, those without a pre-existing relationship with the company. Research shows that more independent directors correlate with more transparency and boards with greater independence engage in less corporate misconduct. When independent directors have relevant industry expertise, having more of them is associated with increased earnings transparency and improved returns from acquisitions. In recent years, independent directors have trended younger. Roughly 16% of new independent S&P 500 directors in 2021 were under 50, compared to only 10% across all directors, according to executive search and consulting firm Spencer Stuart. While both the NYSE and the Nasdaq require a majority of a listed company’s board directors to be independent, no such requirements exist for private company boards, where only 25% of board directors are independent. Create age-related interview quotas Companies should implement an age-related interview quota for new board seats. Similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires that NFL teams interview at least two candidates from underrepresented groups for certain coaching and executive roles, companies should require that boards interview candidates whose age range is currently underrepresented. In a 2017 survey from PwC, age was the highest rated diversity criteria among current board directors, with more than 90% saying it was “very” or “somewhat” important. Board-focused Rooney rules aren’t new, but adding age as an explicit diversity criteria would be. In a world where Reddit threads can make or break a stock, every company is vulnerable to ransomware, and diversity is a universally-accepted asset, corporate directors need technological savvy, an ability to challenge traditional corporate orthodoxy and intuitive knowledge about the markets they are serving. Increasing disclosure, being more transparent, increasing independence, and getting younger are the best ways to make that happen......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 4th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), Dave: You do lack self control, but I learned and laughed making my way thru this. ~ Larry Summers (@LHSummers), former Secretary of the Treasury Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Introduction I’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. What began more than a dozen years ago as a synopsis of the year’s events in markets and finance for a few friends morphed beyond my control into a Year in Review (YIR)—an attempt to chronicle human folly and world events for the entire year. It captures key moments before they slip into the brain fog. The process of trying to write a coherent narrative helps me better understand WTF just happened and seminal moments that catch my eye. By far my favorite end-of-year recap for the last ten years. Finished it yesterday. Once again David hasn’t disappointed. He’s on my I want to go to dinner with list. ~ Jim Pallotta (@jimpallotta13), money manager and former owner of Boston Celtics I’m game, Jim, even if it’s just a pretzel, nachos, and a brewski. The title, “Crisis of Authorities,” is a double entendre. On the one hand, previously trusted authorities that we relied on to better understand the world are long gone. Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Tim Russert have been replaced with Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Brian Stelter. Oops. Scratch Chris Cuomo. Ponder the following: which acronymed organization do you still trust? FBI? CIA? FEMA? DOJ? CBS? ABC? Fox? CNN? At one point I would have comfortably offered up the CDC, FDA, and NIH. Portions of those three should be razed. Social media offered up one acceptable answer: KFC. The second, more deeply disturbing meaning is that smoldering socialism has veered toward authoritarianism, a seismic shift that is global and quite possibly unstoppable. 2021: The year liberals threw eggs at black politicians, republicans pushed to legalize pot, conservatives declared “my body, my choice”, and libertarians muttered, “just shoot me now.” I am suffering future shock—the struggle to adapt to an abruptly changing world. Topics that seemed farcical not long ago are less entertaining now. Silly events in public schools and college campuses loosely defined as political correctness have morphed into religious wars. Progress was made in the Cancel Culture Wars. They tried to get Joe Rogan and couldn’t put a glove on him. The populace and the workers at Netflix went after Dave Chappelle and learned that not everybody kowtows: If this is what being canceled is like, I love it… To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands. ~ Dave Chappelle, wisdom Politicians groping for their vig—10% for the Big Guy—have mutated into total MAC (Mutually Assured Corruption). Social contagions are more virulent than biological pathogens. Attempts to stem the movements are emblematic of proto-authoritarianism of the past. I am unable to keep up—unable to even catch my breath on some days. Following up after listening to a widely distributed QTR podcast, a friend and long-time YIR reader asked, “Are you OK?” I said I was fine, but on further reflection realized I was not so sure. You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. ~ Winston Churchill (@DeadGuy) I have lost friends and made new ones all because of the Great Partisan Divide. (Please excuse the caps throughout; everything now seems to demand a proper name and acronym.) My colleagues have put to rest doubts about whether I am nuts, noting that I am contrarian on all topics. Of course, they don’t hear about the ones for which I have no gripe, but their assertions are not entirely wrong. Friends let me be me, but there is something isolating about it. By contrast, I have many friends in the digital world for which the Venn Diagram of Ideas has a much greater overlap. You can have friends without ever seeing them in the flesh, but these digital pals become bucket-listers for me to meet. Some accept my invitation to have dinner on my deck overseeing Cayuga Lake. Try explaining to your wife that you are having dinner with some guy you met on the internet. This has included famous people like David Einhorn, Tony Deden, Cate Long, and Doug Noland as well as walk-ins whom I knew nothing about until they showed up with a bottle of wine. They have, without fail, brought rewarding evenings of lively chat. Disclaimer: Opinions and ideas expressed herein are not my own. I also don’t use asterisks, so you are just going to have to grow a f*cking pair. If this message is lost because you have sh*t for brains, my advice is to stop reading now. Philosophy. I have let go of the belief that I know truth, because I am relentlessly doubting the veracity of the data from which my narrative derives. In the Age of Narratives, all I can offer is Dave’s Narrative. There is also no topic in the Year of Our Lord 2021 in which my opinion is non-partisan because all opinions are now partisan. Consequently, I may come off as a right-wing white supremacist who moonlights as a Russian operative while serving up nostrums characteristic of an anti-war ex-hippie. This guy is so left wing that he doesn’t even understand his own bias. ~ Rich Weatherford, commenter on a podcast   The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him. ~ Richard Benchley My attempt to create a Unified Theory of Everything is very much like building a jumbo jet in mid-flight. In science, when your model is right, it starts playing like the tail end of a game of Solitaire or a jigsaw puzzle—the cards and pieces naturally fall into place. If the nothing makes sense no matter how hard you try, it may be time to tear down that Rube Goldberg structure and start from a fresh perspective. My greatest strength and weakness are an ability to entertain almost any idea—entertain conspiracy theories and scamper down rabbit holes—until I hit paydirt or hardpan. Feel free to call me a conspiracy theorist; it helps me identify narrow-minded boneheads. What baffles me is why “conspiracy” is so pejorative. Men and women of wealth and power conspire. Anybody who cannot concede that point is an intellectual dingleberry (or works for the Deep State!) Alex Jones got more right than CNN. ~ Dave Smith, comic and possible presidential candidate   Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. ~ Matt Taibbi I am an openly white, right-leaning, closeted hand-sexual male with audacious opinions. I promise, however, that I will sling barbs without regard to race, creed, or color. If I think you are a douche bag, I will say so. When anger consumes me, however, it gives way to angst because somebody may have suckered me into playing a role in some higher authority’s master plan to disrupt the American Dream. As we are being dazzled by the Harlem Globe Trotters, recognize that we are the Washington Generals. Remember the olden days when the wealthy and powerful nefariously assaulted the unsuspecting populace? If caught, scandal followed, heads rolled, and we moved on, leaving us plebes with the sense that justice was served. Since the government was small relative to GDP, the systemic corruption represented a few percent of the system. It’s now growing like a tumor and devoid of consequences for the powerful. In the Age of Narratives, we snarf down platters of propaganda served by powerful media empires. This bread and circuses is free but leaves us marinating in ignorance. It’s a trap Mickey: the cheese is not free! The Western media is now the arm of the State, no better than Pravda. Failed business model led the media into the oldest profession. How many narratives have we fallen for? How many have you fallen for? I think you owe it to yourselves to replay the tape from years past and ask whether you were duped. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest (see Books) suggests we are hard-wired to trust. As social animals, we cannot function if we don’t. It’s difficult to push back but push back we must. The more highly politicized the topic—climate change, pandemics, vaccines, elections, central banking, foreign wars—the greater the urgency to repel. I offer up one of several quotes from Gore Vidal, a thought-leader canted profoundly left whom I have come to view as the intellectuals’ George Carlin: Our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own. ~ Gore Vidal Sources and Social Media. I am a Twitter long hauler with 70,000 followers but haven’t yet figured out how to monetize the micro-fame enough to buy a mocha Frappuccino. I do, however, find it a useful sounding board. One tweeter—probably a Twitter bot—captured the essence: If you need something researched for free and you don’t feel like doing it just post a tweet about it that’s mildly incorrect and wait. ~ @InternetHippo My Twitter long hauling has occasionally been interrupted by Twitter time-outs. They range from 12 hours to ponder the err in my ways for posting an inappropriate link to Bichute or The Lancet, to a full week for calling Tony Fauci “a skanky whore.” A permanent ban would (will) be painful because I have old and new friends there—Rudy: I love ya man!—who enrich my life with their wisdom. New posse members joining the already eclectic mix include @JonNajarian (getting me closer to winning CNBC Twitter Bingo), scholar and author @BretWeinstein (see Books), actor @AdamBaldwin, polymath rapper @ZubyMusic, and waves of bitcoin hodlers. Favorite news sources include podcasts—I am an audiophile—as well as blogs and newsletters by Tony Greer, James Grant, Jesse Felder, Bill Fleckenstein, Automatic Earth, Grant Williams, Ron Griess of The Chart Store, Chris Martenson, emails from a woman named Denise, and the 500 lb. gorilla of the internet—Zerohedge. I know I’ve missed many more. Apologies. The trouble is, you think you have time. ~ Buddha Figure 1. Toddler hacks the US Strategic Air Command; nuclear war was averted. Topics Untouched. As usual, I am up to my ass in debris on the cutting room floor writing this beast. Some topics simply proved unworthy; others were not ready yet. One of the great merits of blogging is that blogs stand alone; write them when you wish. A once-a-year narrative, by contrast, demands some sort of theme or glue, and, frankly, you can’t write The Wealth of Nations in November. By December the tank read “Empty”, but there were topics I had to finish. I actually started getting minor migraines. What follows are thumbnail sketches of a few stories that were left largely untold. There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen. ~ Vladimir Lenin By late 2020, it was clear that I had overlooked China as the global provocateur. They are Orwell’s hole in the air—the blurry schlieren in the jungle as the Predator arrives to tear out Arnie’s organs. The Chinese have infiltrated all aspects of the West’s geopolitical and economic system. Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven (see Books) is an excellent primer. I’ve heard second hand that the military top brass believes we are already at war but just don’t realize it yet. I regret punting the most important story, but they invented the punt for a reason. I’ve taken a pass on campus politics, cancel culture, and all things politically correct. I know how much joy it brought many of you to find out how much you wasted sending your children to college, but this was an off-year. Cancel culture may be fading because, to put it bluntly, nobody likes a bunch of clueless douche bags. Critical race theory (CRT) with its deeply Marxist underpinnings and intentions is a bad idea whose time has come. In a law school, there are scholarly components. As it seeps into the K–12 zone it becomes a steaming load of crap. If you have kids, you should go to school board meetings and get arrested for speaking up or, what is now called, being a domestic terrorist. It masquerades as objective science but was written as—all right, I’ll use the word—propaganda. ~ Steven Koonin (@SteveKoonin), former Cal Tech physicist, Obama Science Advisor, and author of Unsettled? The 2019 YIR tackled climate change.ref 1 I thought I might be augmenting it this year, but I will simply leave it by noting a few high-water marks. Steve Koonin, former Cal Tech physicist, expert modeler of complex systems, and Obama chief science advisor wrote the book Settled?. (See Books.) Like many other “climate deniers” his creds are beyond reproach. Steve had chaired the American Physical Society’s committee of 12 elite scientists that examined the state of climate science. After paying some lip service to Mankind’s contributions, Steve eviscerated the models and absurdities comprising the Climate Change Narrative. This, of course, caused a seismic shift in the scientific community’s view of our global climate initiatives. Just kidding. Nobody gave a shit because trillions of dollars have already been spent on it and an estimated $150 trillion more will be handed out to anybody willing to feign belief in the Scriptures. I also had a long talk with a Stanford University psychologist and media expert who went down that rabbit hole and became a denier. Nothing will get in the way of this $150-trillion-dollar juggernaut. All hail Greta! By the way, Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans appears to have snuck back on YouTube after being banned for truthiness. It is a good documentary.ref 2 Despite numerous podcasts with Holy Rolling Bitcoin Hodlers with their Scriptures under arm trying to sell me currency warranties, I remain on the sidelines (a no-coiner, pejoratively speaking). I cannot add much to this heated debate except to congratulate them for riding Metcalf’s Law to riches. I suspect their next test will be a Tether insolvency or a good ol’ fashioned credit crunch, prefacing the final Battle of the Bastards pitting the Hodlers versus The State unwilling to forfeit control of the money supply. All of this presumes cryptos aren’t just a fad. I wish you laser-eyed crazies well. Dude –you deserve a Pulitzer for your coverage of the George Floyd Story, and I’m going to tweet that out. ~ Tony Greer (@TgMacro), TGMacro In the 2020 YIR I wrote extensively on why Chauvin would be a tricky conviction.ref 3 At least two of us thought it worthy. The trial went off without a hitch. The media’s minor lipservice given to why angry mobs in the street would make it hard for the jury to remain unbiased while obsessing over why he should be convicted no matter what. The jury did their job. The part that was missed was the witness nullification. I must confess to not watching much, but nobody—as in not a single person in court—wanted to provide the testimony that got Chauvin acquitted. You could hear witnesses choose their words carefully. I’m not even sure the defense team wanted the win. Oh well, I wouldn’t underwrite Derek’s life insurance policy. Prosecutor: But you decided you needed to run because of the fire of [inaudible]: why? What was so urgent? Kyle Rittenhouse: There was a fire. Enter the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. In shades of the Covington Scandal, even the President of the United States fondled the scales of justice to ensure the right outcome. The talking heads served up narratives that were fact-free clickbait to pay the bills. The prosecution was so comically bad—moments of great levityref 4a,b,c—that I began to wonder if they were tossing the case intentionally. Both the judge and the prosecution appeared to be intentionally setting up a mistrial. Kyle is gonna have a college essay to die for. Good luck getting it past all but Liberty University’s admissions committee.ref 5 In a related story, Nick Sandmann of Covington fame got his third quarter of a billion dollar settlement for defamation of character. Early negotiations are rumored to involve a 50:50 split of CNN by Sandmann and Rittenhouse. Figure 2. Judge David Collum and Kyle Rittenhouse playing Call of Duty-Modern Warfare. And now to bullet a few drive-by shootings: The Epstein story could have been resurrected from the 2019 YIRref 6 with the arrest of Head Pimp, Gishlaine “Gizz” Maxwell, caught hiding in a New Hampshire mansion already surveilled by the FBI, but it is just starting. I’m guessing she will be convicted of a 1997 minor traffic(king) violation, punished with time served, and retire comfortably on the MPP (Mossad Pension Plan) to live out her days in seclusion with her manly girlfriend, Jessica Schlepstein. Durham’s investigation of the Steele Dossier could heat up but hasn’t yet. Indictments are working their way from the bottom up. I won’t believe that plot has legs till I see it running. Nobody in power ever pays for their misdeeds. The Pandora Papers showed galaxy-class criminality of the global elite socking over $11 trillion dollars away in off-shore accounts, but prominent Americans were notably absent.ref 7 The media assured us that there are no crooks of such sociopathy in America.ref 8 The story had the shelf life of a souffle. John McAfee offed himself (or not). There were rumors that he had a kill switch that would hew vast stands of powerful people including voter fraudsters.ref 9 Well, McDeadGuy, we’re waiting. It won’t matter anyway because…oh never mind. Major Themes of 2021. Enough already: what are you going to talk about? I cover the usual topics on the economy and investing and take a bat to market valuations again. Broken Markets are a prominent because they’ve never been more broken. Covid-19 and the vaccine get serious facetime as the opening act of a much bigger drama. The events at the January Insurrection offers more plot thickener as one of the most important single days in American history. That anagnorisis arrives when the voice says, “The call is coming from inside the house!” The final scene will be the rise of global authoritarianism—total global domination—and you squeal… I did nazi that coming. WTF just happened? Figure 3. Change comes with little warning. Contents Part 1  Introduction My Year Investing – Gold, Energy, and Materials  Gold and Silver The Economy Inflation The Fed Valuations Broken Markets Part 2 (Coming Soon) Covid-19 – The Disease Covid-19 – The Response Vaccine – The Risks Vaccine – The Rollout Part 3 (Coming Soon) Biden – Freshman Year One Scorecard Capitol Insurrection Rising Authoritarianism Conclusion Acknowledgment Books My Year This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. ~ Winston Churchill I read a book on narcissism. Although I flunked yet another test having checked a paucity of the boxes, there were a couple of categories demanding a big Sharpie. Narcissistic tendencies underly all achievement so there’s that too. This section is where I wander through the last calendar year of my life looking for college-essay material. It can be skipped by all but the most loyal readers (three at last count). That isn’t writing at all, it’s typing. ~ Truman Capote Self-Improvement. OK. Let’s call it attenuated personal decay. I had dropped 26 pounds of comorbidity in 2020 and another 10 pounds in 2021. I am by no means emaciated yet. I was pestered by London money manager Mitch Feierstein into playing a seminal round of golf after decades of neglect and was hooked. While watching the final hole of the FedEx Open, Cantalay hits a 371-yard drive, a 217-yard 6 iron 10 ft from the cup and two-putts for a birdie and $15 million. I’m thinkin’, “Hey: I can birdie a par 5 with a few Mulligans!” .....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 3rd, 2022

10 non-fiction books from 2021 that explain the world — and unpack America"s obsession with "freedom"

A slew of great writers had the same idea for books analyzing "freedom" about a decade ago, and a bunch of them were published the year lockdown lifted. Freedom was on the mind in 2021.Brendan McDermid/Reuters Lockdown lifted in 2021, and many of the best non-fiction books had "freedom" on the mind. From current events to the Cold War to the American Revolution itself, authors examined what "freedom" means to Americans. Here are 10 non-fiction books from 2021 that explain the world — and America back to itself. American non-fiction was obsessed with "freedom" in 2021.It was fitting for a year when vaccines largely freed the country to move around again, certain emerging variants notwithstanding.Freedom is a concept that's difficult to pin down, though.The freedom to go to the restaurant of your choice may now depend on having an iPhone with a vaccine passport or a copy of your vaccination card. Is that real freedom? The freedom to continue working from home, meanwhile, is one that workers across the country are fighting hard to preserve.The theme of how Americans have defined freedom was explored in books on the last decade ("Wildland"), the 20-year-long War on Terror ("Reign of Terror"), popular culture during the Cold War ("The Free World"), even the founding of the country itself ("American Republics"). Insider's Economy team has worked hard throughout the year to explore all the ways economic change manifest in surprising ways.One of the biggest stories of the year is the plunging birth rate, a lifestyle choice many American women of my generation are making that carries a sad truth: They aren't economically free to have as many children as they want. Another giant story is the great resignation, in which millions of workers are choosing their next job very carefully, or not at all. This is an economic crisis to many, but isn't that also a kind of freedom?Here are the 10 non-fiction works that were as obsessed with freedom this year as the rest of us were.1 - "The Free World" by Louis MenandMacmillanIf you've been reading The New Yorker for the past decade, you've been reading Louis Menand.His day job is teaching English at Harvard, but every few months he'll publish an essay on some aspect of intellectual history. It turns out he was slowly writing this history of the first 20 years of Cold War culture, when America displaced Europe as the center of western intellectual life and when, he argues, pop culture really mattered.John Cage, Jackson Pollock, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, and many others were giant figures who reaffirmed and challenged America's role as the defender of freedom in the west. A near decade in the making, it just happened to land in a year when countless other great writers were contemplating just what freedom means, anyway.2 - "Wildland" by Evan OsnosMacmillanAnother New Yorker writer's book a near-decade in the making, Evan Osnos's "Wildland" is focused on contemporary, even unfinished events.He spent much of the early 2000s as a foreign correspondent in China, gathering anecdotes for his excellent stranger-in-a-strange-land profile, "Age of Ambition." But then he came home, and as the stories in "Wildland" make clear, he found himself struggling to recognize what he found.He especially struggled with how Americans' belief in their own freedoms is increasingly threatening the wellbeing of their fellow citizens. The book includes a close-up look at Sen. Joe Manchin, a figure who represents his thesis: that America's cult of individualism is spiraling out of control, producing a true wild land.3 - "Reign of Terror" by Spencer AckermanPenguin Random House"Freedom isn't free" was a memorable catch phrase from the early years of the war on terror. It expressed a mindset that freedoms had to be sacrificed in the name of safety.All those sacrifices are painstakingly catalogued in this book by Spencer Ackerman, a dogged national security reporter who has covered the beat for most of the past 20 years."Reign of Terror" is another 2021 book that was the result of a decade or more of work, and it's the book Ackerman has really been writing all along, a dark and harrowing look at an American culture totally transformed by its response to 9/11. 4 - "White Freedom" by Tyler Edward StovallPrinceton University Press"Freedom is only for white people," is how to sum up the argument of "White Freedom."It's a sign of how far the discourse on racial economic inequality has come that the overwhelming evidence within is almost unsurprising. What's unsettling is its suggestion that a core belief system of freedom from the past is still with us: That the people with less freedom throughout American history have supported the ability of more privileged people to have it.Wherever you stand on issues like Black Lives Matter or critical race theory, author Tyler Edward Stovall argues that everyone deserves the same kind of freedom that was only available to white men for most of American history. So why don't they have it yet?Stovall, a Fordham professor of History and dean of its Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, died earlier this week.5 - "The Dawn of Everything" by David Graeber and David WengrowMacmillanWhat if every human being has just always wanted to be free? That's the question animating this lengthy, exhilarating, controversial book.It argues, at times implausibly, that everything you learned in school is wrong, that the traditional arc of human progress itself just wasn't straightforward. The coauthors, David Graeber and David Wengrow, cite a wealth of recent archeological and sociological evidence to argue that agriculture didn't lead directly to urbanism and modern nation-states, and that history hasn't been a linear path toward more human freedom.What if people enjoyed greater freedom thousands of years ago and we've gone wrong since then? What if everything you know about freedom is based on the wrong assumptions? It's worth considering.Graeber, a professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and a figure associated a decade ago with the Occupy Wall Street movement, died in late 2020.6 - "American Republics" by Alan TaylorWW Norton & Co.A scathing revisionist history of the American Revolution,"American Republics" illustrates just how unlikely it was that the United States came together at all.Echoing Colin Woodard's "American Nations," which argued that there is no one American identity, but rather a near-dozen tribal identities, Alan Taylor brings back to life the essentially separate entities that founded the US, with different cultures and incentives and economic priorities.There was no guarantee it would work out, even decades after the revolution, he argues, suggesting that there's no guarantee it will work out almost 300 years later.7 - "Mike Nichols" by Mark HarrisPenguin Random HouseThey don't make 'em like they used to.Mike Nichols was a character out of a Louis Menand essay, a man who only could have lived in the increasingly distant 20th century. A Jewish immigrant from wartorn Europe, he reinvented himself into the quintessential New Yorker, a cocaine-sniffing, hard-drinking visionary who threw great parties, co-invented improv comedy, directed the biggest shows on Broadway, and flew to LA to film groundbreaking movies like "The Graduate."He was the man who had Meryl Streep on speed dial, the one who gave notes on how to turn "The Odd Couple" into a hit, and we won't see his like again. Harris, whose husband Tony Kushner worked closely with Nichols, gives you a front-row seat to a lost New York and a lost era of renaissance men.8 - "True Believer" by Abraham RiesmanPenguin Random HouseIf Stan Lee, the self-professed guiding light of Marvel Comics, were alive, he would hate this book by comics journalist Abraham Riesman.It's such a dark portrait of him that one of the most damning voices is his own brother, Larry Lieber, who is left after decades of contributions to iconic characters such as Spider-Man with no fortune to show for it, living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, cursing the name of his sibling and employer.It strongly argues that Lee was not the creative genius behind Marvel, although it doesn't account for why the great Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko did their best work with Lee and didn't come close to it afterward.It's essential reading for anyone who's ever enjoyed a Marvel comic or movie and wonders what mind it came from, or didn't.9 - "The Barcelona Complex" by Simon KuperPenguin Random HouseLionel Messi left Barcelona FC this year. The greatest soccer player of at least his generation was raised from age 13 to play for the greatest club of the 21st century, so how could it go so wrong?Simon Kuper must not have believed his luck.The great soccer journalist-turned-economics columnist had spent years plugged into Barcelona, starting as a front-row seat to the best-run club in Europe, only to watch as it turned into the one of the worst.At its heart it's a sports book, but in true Kuper fashion it's an anthropological analysis with a particular Dutch influence, as the soccer club traces its glory years back to the influence of Johann Cryuff, a great from the Netherlands whose deeply unpleasant personal manner Kuper recounts in an enthralling chapter with the message, "don't meet your heroes."What you won't find is any interview with Messi, who Kuper notes has never said anything of interest to any journalist.10 - "Shutdown" by Adam ToozePenguin Random HouseAdam Tooze makes data talk.His epic on the financial crisis, "Crashed," read something like a version of "The Power Broker" whose main character is the Federal Reserve instead of Robert Moses.That makes this followup a thrill for anyone interested in the mechanics of how the economy was reinvented in 2020. The Columbia professor comes to a decidedly left-wing conclusion: The financial system of the last 40 years has been exposed as unfit and it's time for something new.It made me wish that Tooze was helping someone in government come up with that new thing instead of dissecting it.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 19th, 2021

Maxwell Trial Day Four: The Five Stages Of Grooming, Contractor Remembers "Underage Girls"

Maxwell Trial Day Four: The Five Stages Of Grooming, Contractor Remembers 'Underage Girls' imagine doing a court illustration of ghislaine maxwell while she stares directly at you and draws you right back pic.twitter.com/zGQBSkSbzl — ¬(abcdentminded) (@abcdentminded) December 2, 2021 Authored by Dave Paone via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The morning began with testimony from Paul Kane, the director of finance at Professional Children’s School in New York City. Prosecuting attorney Andrew Rohrbach questioned Kane about student files. Each student at the school has a file that includes financial aid, transcripts, college applications, and recommendations. The prosecution’s witness from Dec. 2, an alleged victim referred to only as “Jane,” attended this school. This was quickly objected to by defense attorney, Laura Menninger, as hearsay. It was overruled. Menninger also argued to the court that there is third-party handwriting on the application and its accuracy is not verified. The evidence was offered again, and objected to again, leading to a sidebar. Ultimately, it was admitted under seal. Written on the application, under “financial responsibility,” was “Mr. Jeffery Epstein.” Under cross-examination by Menninger, Kane testified he was not sure if Epstein did indeed pay for the tuition. The prosecution called its first expert witness, Dr. Lisa Rocchio, a clinical and forensic psychologist. She rattled off her list of qualifications, including treatment and evaluation of children who’ve suffered sexual abuse. Rocchio disclosed that she’s being paid for her services by the prosecution. She spoke in great detail about “grooming,” which is a series of deceptive practices to engage children in sexual activities. Rocchio explained the five stages of grooming. The first is the selection and identification of a victim, usually from a vulnerable population. The second is access and isolation, usually a location where children are regularly present. Lies and deception to gain trust are third. The perpetrator will meet the needs of the potential victim, making him or her “feel unique, or special in some way,” accompanied by money and access to things they don’t have. Fourthly, the perpetrator will desensitize the victim to touch, “slowly and gradually moving the line” of what’s appropriate. Hugs may escalate. The perpetrator will also normalize sex, possibly with dirty jokes at first, then risque movies that evolve into pornography, and then actual sexual abuse. And lastly, by maintaining a relationship through control over the victim, the perpetrator has less of a chance of being exposed. Rocchio added victims are often from families with financial difficulties, or single parents. She spoke of “delayed disclosure,” where the younger the victim, the less likely he, or she, will disclose the abuse, but will eventually do so in adulthood. The five stages of grooming, as well as Rochhio’s additional testimony, corroborated Jane’s testimony from Dec. 2, mirroring it on just about every aspect. During Rocchio’s direct testimony, there were several objections from defense attorney Jeffery Pagliuca. Judge Alison Nathan referred to two of them as “conflicting objections.” Under cross-examination, Pagliuca attempted to discredit the five stages of grooming, starting by saying there are scientific disagreements about the subject, specifically her version of it. He had her admit she hasn’t given any of the witnesses a physiological evaluation and she’s being paid up to $45,000 for her services to the prosecution. Pagliuca moved on to how delays in disclosure are sometimes reliant on unreliable memory. There were three objections to this line of questioning from prosecuting attorney Lara Pomerantz. All were sustained. Pagliuca asked Rocchio about “confabulation,” where the brain connects the dots of events, and blanks that are filled in aren’t accurate. This was followed by another objection that was sustained. There were two more objections to the next two questions. Both sustained. Pagliuca objected to an answer to a question he asked. He went on to argue that behavior that fits into Rocchio’s definition of grooming could be perfectly normal. Rocchio replied that only if it’s not intended to lead to sexual abuse. Pagliuca ended with a study about grooming presented to nearly 400 students. The study had five vignettes that included grooming and one that didn’t. Many of the students could not identify which were the grooming behaviors and which one was not. The prosecution’s final witness of the day was Juan P. Alessi, who first started working for Epstein as a subcontractor at his Palm Beach, Florida, residence in 1990. In 1991, he was hired full-time. He testified his job responsibilities “changed gradually over the years.” Ultimately, he oversaw much of the Palm Beach staff, including cleaners, maintenance, and gardening. His wife was also employed by Epstein. Alessi testified that he reported directly to the defendant, Ghislaine Maxwell. Just as the prosecution did with Epstein’s pilot, Lawrence P. Visoski, Jr., who testified earlier this week, attorney Maurene Comey spent a lot of time having Alessi describe each room in the house, even going over diagrams of the interior and exterior. Alessi testified there were “many, many, many females” he saw “hundreds of times” by the pool, and 75-80 percent of them were topless. They interacted with Maxwell. After several years on the job, said Alessi, he and his staff were required to perform “extensive preparation,” of the house, sometimes with only a few hours’ notice. Alessi said he was given “a tremendous amount of instruction” from Maxwell, which was mostly verbal. However, in 2001 or 2002, he received a printed booklet, entitled “Household Manual.” He stated it included 30, or more, pages of checklists for proper presentation of the house. Alessi reviewed the booklet while on the witness stand. Since the edition of the manual was dated after he had left the job, he went through it, page by page, stating which pages, or portion of pages, he recognized. He recognized a majority of the booklet. During cross-examination, Pagliuca argued since Alessi had left Epstein’s employment after this booklet was printed, this edition was not the one submitted as evidence. Alessi discarded his copy after his employment ended in 2002. Under redirect, Comey went over specific entries in the manual. They included, “Do not discuss personal problems with guests,” “Remember that you see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing except to answer a question directed to you,” and “NEVER [in both bold and uppercase] discuss Mr. Epstein’s, or Ms. Maxwell’s, activities or whereabouts. Respect their privacy.” Alessi testified that he saw what appeared to be two underage girls at the Palm Beach residence. One he remembered as Jane, and the other as Virginia Roberts. He estimated both their ages as 14 or 15. He met Jane in 1994 and saw her at the house with her mother at least three times, but then without her mother four or five times. Since Alessi also worked as a driver, he had driven Epstein, Maxwell, Jane, and Maxwell’s Yorkie, Max, to the airport and witnessed all of them boarding the plane. He related the same story with Roberts. Comey presented Alessi with one of the several address books—referred to as “directories”—which Epstein and Maxwell used regularly. Alessi reviewed it Wednesday night. He believed it was from after his employment, because his name wasn’t in it, and it was thinner, and with a smaller font than the ones he remembered. Alessi identified Jane’s real name and contact information in it. Pagliuca asked Alessi to take note of the boxes, circles, and arrows that were handwritten in the directory, as well as the Post-It notes protruding from the pages. Alessi confirmed he did not know who wrote the notations or added the Post-Its. Pagliuca hypothesized that someone could have photocopied an original directory, bound the pages, possibly removing some, and that Alessi has no personal knowledge of how it was produced and kept for the past 19 years. Comey had Alessi review a phone message book, which kept a carbon copy of each handwritten message. Alessi was often the one who answered the phone. Alessi stated which messages were in his handwriting, which were in his wife’s, and which were unknown to him. Once again, the dates of some messages were after Alessi’s employment. Pagliuca argued no one knew where the completed books went after they were placed in a closet and objected to the evidence being admitted because the handwritings weren’t authenticated. The evidence was admitted. Since it was not ready for viewing, the prosecution will circle back to it when it is. Part of Alessi’s job was to clean the room after Epstein had a massage. Alessi testified earlier that Epstein often had three massages a day, by professional masseuses. Once, while cleaning after a massage, he found a sex toy, which he rinsed off—while wearing gloves—and placed in Maxwell’s wicker basket. The basket included pornographic tapes and a black, leather “costume.” As Visoski testified, the house in Palm Beach was decorated with many photos of topless women, which appeared to be taken poolside at the house. He believes they were shot by Maxwell. In 2004, two years after his employment for Epstein ended, Alessi was having both financial and marital problems. He returned to the Palm Beach estate and snuck in through a sliding door. “I made the biggest mistake of my life,” he said. Alessi stole $6,300 in $100 bills. According to Alessi, Epstein rang him up and said, “We need to talk.” Alessi met with Epstein, who had a photo of the crime in progress. They came to an agreement: Epstein considered the money a loan, which Alessi paid back. While Alessi spoke to the police, there were no charges filed. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 11:06.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021

3 ways employers can decenter whiteness in the workplace and promote inclusivity

"Too many employees of color in corporate America are held back as they are held against white standards of leadership," says CEO Jean Lee. Jean Lee, president and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA).Jean Lee Jean Lee is president and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, an organization focused on improving DEI in the workplace. Decentering white-centric expectations at work is key to improving equity for people of color, Lee says.  Employers should focus on overcoming hiring bias and rethinking talent retention and promotion criteria.    When Brittanie Rice first showed up to interview at the offices of a major aerospace company, she traded her trademark twists for a slicked-back bun. It was safer that way.  Although she wore her hair naturally in her daily life, she knew corporate America operated on a different set of standards — and that she risked judgement if she didn't fit them. As she put it, "I can't really be looked down upon because of how I wear something that is as natural as the hair on top of my head."  This is just one of the ways employees of color often contort themselves to fit the white-centric assumptions and expectations about professionalism that govern our workplaces. These standards dictate everything from the way they speak, to the way they dress, to the work they are given. And the end result is always the same: an environment that makes it harder for people of color to do their best work.  As the President and CEO of the MCCA, I often hear from lawyers of Black, Asian, and Hispanic/Latinx descent who are tired of navigating a corporate America that wasn't designed with them in mind. One lawyer, who regularly fielded questions about her appearance as the only Black woman on her team, recently told me: "I have to work 20 to 30% harder thinking about microaggressions, while others can spend their full energy focused on their work."  What's the cost of a corporate culture that excludes large segments of the workforce?  The answer: Too much. That's why we see investors demanding racial audits of companies they invest in, and policymakers in states like California and Washington mandating greater board diversity. That's why the SEC may require diversity disclosures as part of companies' environmental, social, and governance (ESG) obligations to improve accountability.  But one group hasn't fully embraced this shift: corporate leaders. Since George Floyd's murder, I've seen waning interest on diversity issues — or worse, a quiet dismissal of employees of color and their experiences. Diversity leaders are underfunded, under-supported, and saddled with unrealistic expectations that focus on programmatic window-dressings. Overcoming hiring bias  Time and again, I've seen well-meaning allies across corporate America fail to adopt inclusive recruitment practices.  They'll search for diverse candidates by recruiting from elite schools, where students of color are already underrepresented due to a host of well-studied historical and contemporary factors. These disparities are magnified in areas like the legal field, where many of the largest corporations recruit people who previously worked in elite law firms, and where — surprise — white lawyers are overrepresented, since those firms themselves recruited from the same exclusive, top schools.  And so, the cycle goes. This cycle reinforces the white standard that only graduates of top schools are qualified for top roles, without accounting for the reality that qualified candidates of color may have faced barriers to reaching those schools.  As a leader, you need to step outside your current process to meet qualified candidates. As the MCCA's Bias Interrupters Survey Report shows, this means: Considering candidates from beyond the Ivy League and focusing on schools that cater to people of color and candidates from non-professional backgrounds.Tracking the candidate pool from start to finish and analyzing the data to determine where candidates from underrepresented groups are falling out of the hiring process.Setting tangible targets and insisting on a diverse applicant pool – and, it doesn't yield the results, collect data on the process to understand gaps.Establishing clear grading rubrics and ensuring that all candidates are measured on the same scale.  Retaining talent by being better ourselves  I still remember one white male manager who approached me after one of our Interrupting Bias workshops. Somewhat embarrassed, he said quietly, "I had no idea that women of color faced so many barriers in the office. How can I make sure my white managers understand these issues?"  We all have unconscious biases. And until we recognize that a professional culture centered  around whiteness creates barriers for all who don't fit that mold, we will continue to reinforce those biases — in everything from inequitable job assignments to microaggressions.  Here's my advice. To find solutions, start building awareness of what inequity looks like by:  Auditing your retention policies to ensure, for example, that more glamorous assignments are spread evenly across employees and developmental opportunities are equitable.Implementing processes to ensure managers are distributing assignments equitably. Conducting manager workshops to help mid-level managers recognize bias.Establishing a regular check-in cycle between managers and employees to give employees the space to safely voice concerns. Educating top leaders on systemic barriers that perpetuate inequities so they can find solutions to systemic bias.Revamping a biased promotion structure  "She's not assertive enough in meetings."  That was the feedback given for an Asian American colleague's performance review, and the justification provided for why she was passed over for a promotion — not once, but twice. It was only after she pointed to her body of work and explained that her mindfulness was being confused for meekness — perhaps due to stereotypes related to her ethnicity — that her concerns were heard, and she was promoted  Too many employees of color in corporate America are held back as they are held against white standards of leadership. Are some employees considered "inspired" for speaking passionately, while others are deemed "aggressive"? Are some communication styles valued over others, like sharing an idea during a meeting instead of over email afterwards? These are all signs that a workplace is measuring success within a white corporate mold.  Employers can break this mold by:  Implementing specific and transparent performance criteria for the promotion process.Providing team managers with targeted training to spot bias and involving them in each step of the evaluation process. Holding reviewers accountable for providing evidence to justify their evaluations. Separating personality issues from skillsets to limit bias against women and people of color.Educating and holding top leaders accountable for eliminating or reducing systemic barriers in promotion.  Homogeneity does not exist in a vacuum. A lack of diversity is the result of systems, processes, and standards that benefit white male professionals and exclude so many others. Changing these white standards will take work from all of us — advocates and people from diverse backgrounds. But true systemic change requires the active involvement and leadership of those in positions of power, and only then can we unleash the full potential of our workforce.  Jean Lee is president and chief executive officer of the MCCA, the leading national organization focused on improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace by providing strategic solutions based on scientific research and data analytics.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 29th, 2021

Virgil Abloh, Off-White founder and artist director of Louis Vuitton is dead at 41. Here"s a look at the life of the luxury designer.

Virgil Abloh is one of modern fashion's most popular designers, known for his efforts revolutionizing luxury streetwear. Virgil Abloh was one of the most popular designers of today.Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images) Virgil Abloh, 41, was one of modern fashion's most popular designers. He was known for being Louis Vuitton's menswear artistic director and the founder of Off-White. He died on November 28 after a two-year battle with a rare form of heart cancer.  Virgil Abloh, 41, died on Sunday after a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer. Abloh was regarded as one of the pioneers of high-end street fashion, or what he called the "post-streetwear movement," with roots in the classic streetwear that originated in hip-hop and skating culture. When the lines between luxury and streetwear were torn down, Abloh's influence was everywhere, from Balenciaga selling puffer jackets to Dior collaborating with Nike on limited edition Air Jordans to Louis Vuitton partnering with Supreme to Gucci working with legendary Harlem designer Dapper Dan.As Business Insider previously reported, Louis Vuitton named Abloh its artistic director for menswear in 2018. This made him one of the few Black people to ever lead a top fashion house, and the first Black American to lead a French one. Aside from Louis Vuitton, Abloh's own line, Off-White, established a reputable name for itself. Through Off-White, Abloh launched collaborations with partners such as Nike, Ikea, and even McDonald's. Keep reading to learn more about one of the most popular — and controversial — figures in the fashion industry. Virgil Abloh was one of the most popular designers in the modern age. Known for his line, Off-White, he was also the artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear.hoto by Victor Boyko/Getty ImagesVirgil Abloh gained prominence in the last decade with the rise of luxury streetwear, with some noting him as being the trend's pioneer. He was the founder of Off-White, one of the top luxury streetwear brands in the world. Aside from its own collections, the brand and Abloh collaborated with furniture store Ikea, water company Evian, luggage brand Rimowa, Jimmy Choo, Sunglass Hut, and even McDonald's. Abloh had 6.9 million followers on Instagram and was good friends with his often-creative partner Kanye West. His designs have been seen on everyone from Rihanna, Beyonce, and model Hailey Baldwin. Who is Virgil Abloh?Bennett Raglin / Stringer / Getty ImagesAbloh was born in Rockford, Illinois, on September 30, 1980. His parents were immigrants from Ghana, and his mother was a seamstress, while his father was the manager of a paint company. According to a previous article by Friedman, it was Abloh's mother who taught him how to sew. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a BS in civil engineering in 2002. He then went on to receive a master's in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006.Matthew Sperzel / Contributor / Getty ImagesAccording to Vogue's Steff Yotka, the rumor is that, in 2002, on the day of Abloh's graduation from University of Wisconsin-Madison, he skipped his final critiques to meet with Kanye's then-manager John Monopoly. He told The Cut in 2017 that he didn't really know he could be a creative full-time. "I felt that a random Black kid from the suburbs of Chicago shouldn't be doing that," he said.In his senior year, he took his first art history class, in which he learned about the Renaissance and Italian painter Caravaggio. "It flipped my head backward," he continued. "I'd spent so much time thinking practical things."While finishing his master's degree at IIT, Abloh said, he saw a building that was under construction by renowned architect Rem Koolhaas. This helped spark his interest in fashion.Daniel Zuchnik/Getty ImagesIt was also during this time that he began to design his own clothes, and work on a blog known as The Brilliance. Source: The CutIn 2009, Abloh began a 6-month internship at Fendi in Rome alongside Kanye West.Kanye West (L) and Virgil Abloh (R)Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty ImagesLouis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke once told The New York Times that he was "impressed" with Abloh and West and how they "brought a whole new vibe to the studio and were disruptive in the best way."He then went on to say that Abloh brought in a "new vocabulary to describe something as old-school as Fendi." Burke added that he would be following Abloh's career.Source: The New York TimesIt was also around this time when Abloh and West began to be seen with the fashion crowds in Paris.Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty ImagesAbloh and West were seen outside of a Comme des Garçons show in Paris, photographed by Tommy Ton for Style.com.Abloh told W magazine in 2017 that, at the time, they were just "a generation that was interested in fashion and weren't supposed to be there" and that they "saw this as our chance to participate and make current culture. In a lot of ways, it felt like we were bringing more excitement than the industry was."Source: VogueIn 2009, Abloh married his high school sweetheart, Shannon Sundberg.Virgil Abloh (L) and his wife, Susan Sundberg (R)Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images)They lived in Chicago with their two children. Source: Inside WeddingsIn 2010, West appointed Abloh as creative director of his creative agency, Donda.Peter White / Contributor / Getty ImagesSource: VogueThe following year, Abloh earned a Grammy nomination for his art direction of Kanye and Jay-Z's album, "Watch the Throne."Jay Z (L) and Kanye West (R)GUILLAUME BAPTISTE/AFP/GettyImages)Source: VogueIn 2012, Abloh opened his first brand, Pyrex Vision.Photo by Francois Durand/Getty ImagesAs reported by Yotka at Vogue, Abloh had simply taken deadstock Ralph Lauren shirts, screen printed his company's name on it along with the number 23, and sold them for $550 each. Source: VogueIn 2013, Abloh closed Pyrex and opened Off-White. The company is based in Milan, and focuses primarily on streetwear. Abloh defined the brand as "the gray area between black and white as the color Off-White."Jeremy Moeller / Contributor / Getty ImagesOff-White is known for its quotation marks around words, as pictured above. In an interview with W magazine, Abloh said he "loved" the idea that Off-White "can be questioned" and said he knew that one day, someone would "critique that Off-White is un-inspirational."The brand is sold at Selfridges and Bergdorf Goodman, and has been sold at Barneys and Colette. He also had boutiques in Tokyo, Beijing, New York City, and Hong Kong. In 2014, Abloh launched a women's wear line for Off-White, and began to show its collections during Paris Fashion Week.Christian Vierig / Contributor / Getty Images"The end goal is to modernize fashion and steer a [fashion] house because I believe in the modernization of these storied brands," he said in a 2017 interview with The Cut. He went on to say at a lecture at Columbia that "[Off-White is] not a brand ... it's a faux-luxury product."In 2015, Off-White was named a finalist for the prestigious LVMH Prize, although it lost to fellow designers Marques'Almeida and Jacquemus, respectively.Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Contributor / Getty Images"Fashion is kinda a joke," he said in a 2017 interview with The Cut. "I don't get too bogged down in the clothes. For me, it's one big art project, just a canvas to show that fashion should have a brand that has someone behind it who cares about different contexts. Social things."That same year, Beyoncé wore one of his sweatshirts in a music video with Nicki Minaj. The year 2017 was monumental for Abloh: He announced a collaborative exhibition with artist Takashi Murakami at the Gagosian, opened his first New York store, collaborated with Warby Parker and Jimmy Choo, and released a shoe with Nike.Victor Boyko/Getty ImagesHe has also collaborated with artist Jenny Holzer for a political collection inspired by refugees, immigration, and Planned Parenthood. The exhibition with Murakami opened in October 2018. "Young architects can change the world by not building buildings," he said at a lecture at Columbia in 2017. "You don't have to be a designer to be a designer," is his contradictory credo.Source: Vogue, VogueIn 2017, Abloh won the British Fashion Award for Urban Luxe Brand.Stephane Cardinale/Getty ImagesSource: New York TimesIn 2018, Virgil was appointed artistic director of Louis Vuitton's menswear. He was also listed as one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World.TPN / Contributor / Getty Images"It is an honor for me to accept this position," he said in a statement announcing his appointment. "I find the heritage and creative integrity of the house are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times." Abloh also designed the outfit Serena Williams wore to the 2018 U.S. Open. This outfit, along with the look he designed for Beyoncé as a choice to wear on the cover of Vogue, was chosen to be on exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.Source: GQ, Chicago Tribune, New York TimesIn 2019, Abloh was chosen to be on the board of the CFDA. He was also nominated for a CFDA Award for Menswear Designer of the Year, for his work with Off-White.Kristy Sparow / Contributor / Getty ImagesSource: CFDA, Footwear NewsThat same year, he gave an interview with Dazed magazine where he said that streetwear was "probably going to die soon."Matthew Sperzel/GC Images / Getty ImagesAs Business Insider previously reported, Abloh gave an interview with Dazed where he predicted that streetwear was going to die "soon.""In my mind, how many more T-shirts can we own," he told Dazed. "How many more hoodies, how many sneakers?"He then went on to say: "We're gonna hit this like, really awesome state of expressing your knowledge and personal style with vintage," he said. "There are so many clothes that are cool that are in vintage shops and it's just about wearing them."Abloh came under fire last year for only donating $50 dollars to help bail out protesters that were arrested during the George Floyd movement.Dominique Charriau/WireImage / Getty ImagesAbloh wrote on Instagram, "The Miami community ~ I'm crazy inspired. For kids in the streets that need a bail funds [sic] for George Floyd protests, ... If it heals your pain, you can have it."He then posted a screenshot of the $50 he donated to a bail fund. He made the donation after receiving backlash for attacking looters who broke into the store of one of his friends, designer Sean Wotherspoon. In a comment on Instagram regarding the looting, he said:"You see the passion blood sweat and tears Sean puts in for our culture. This disgusts me. to the kids that ransacked his store and RSVP DTLA, and all our stores in our scene just know, that product staring at you in your home/apartment right now is tainted and a reminder of a person I hope you aren't. We're apart of a culture together. Is this what you want?? When you walk past him in the future please have the dignity to not look him in the eye, hang your head in shame."However, Abloh's small donation sparked more backlash, as many people brought up the fact that $50 isn't even enough to buy a pair of socks from his brand Off White.It was also pointed out that the people were arrested for protesting police brutality against black men, such as Abloh. And he was then accused of not doing all he can to help out the Black community whose culture propelled him to fame. —jade bentil (@divanificent) June 1, 2020—Ourfa Zinali (@ourfazinali) June 1, 2020—Derek Guy (@dieworkwear) June 1, 2020 It was also noted that other celebrities, such as Chrissy Teigen, have donated as much as $200,000 to help protesters. In February 2020, New York Times Fashion Director Vanessa Friedman wrote an article asking if Abloh could be considered the "the Karl Lagerfeld for Millennials."New York Times Fashion Director Vanessa FriedmanSean Zanni / Contributor / Getty ImagesHigh-fashion Twitter quickly broke out into group discussions, and the conversation escalated once Abloh responded to Friedman, saying he would like to give a "lecture" on the article because "riffing online is far too low hanging fruit for such an easy and massive 'case & point."Freidman responded by simply saying, "Come do it at the Times Center."Abloh then sent Friedman an image from Joseph Beuys' 1974 art piece "I Like America and America Likes Me," in which the artist spent 8 hours with a coyote as a commentary on American society in the 1970s. Beuys said the coyote was America's spirit animal and that the piece commented on a nation divided along multiple lines, including the Vietnam War and relations between the majority and minority populations.Friedman's response: "Am I the coyote in this picture? Are you Beuys? Are these relevant questions?" Abloh did not directly respond to those questions of Friedman's. Friedman's question prompted a discussion and even a response from Abloh himself.Virgil Abloh was one of the most popular designers of today.Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)Friedman made a pretty compelling case as to why Abloh could at least, in some ways, be regarded as the "millennial" Karl Lagerfeld. Both, she wrote, made their marks "in part by embracing irony.""Like Mr. Lagerfeld he has made a community that can seem like a cult of personality around himself," she wrote. "Like Mr. Lagerfeld, he speaks in rolling sentences and is a pleasure to listen to, especially in a world where the most celebrated names often seem to be tying themselves up in knots at the prospect of answering a question." "Mr. Lagerfeld was criticized for doing too much, a lot of it not well enough, as is Mr. Abloh. So far, Mr. Abloh has proved himself best as a designer when building atop a foundation established by someone else," she continued. "His Vuitton is more interesting than his Off-White, which often seems like a pallid copy of other people's ideas, just as Mr. Lagerfeld's Chanel was more effective than his namesake label."Source: New York TimesStill, his influence on the industry cannot be denied.(L) Model Karlie Kloss, (C) Virgil Abloh, (R) Model Gigi HadidJulien M. Hekimian / Stringer / Getty ImagesAs Business Insider previously reported, many luxury houses followed in the streetwear foundation that Abloh helped build. Balenciaga was selling puffer jackets and chunky sneakers, while hoodies and oversized logos were everywhere.The "post-streetwear movement" saw Dior collaborating with Nike to make limited-edition Air Jordans, Louis Vuitton launching a collaboration with Supreme, and Gucci working with legendary Harlem designer Dapper Dan.The lines between streetwear and luxury were torn down; suddenly, they were one and the same. Aside from designing, Abloh was also a DJ, a creative and artistic director, and a social media influencer. He also had a collection of famous friends, and many people who aspire to dress, look, and be like him. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 29th, 2021

Huxley"s New World, Part 2: The War On Science

Huxley's New World, Part 2: The War On Science Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation, Huxley makes it crystal clear that he considers the world to be overpopulated, and that science and progress cannot be free to advance without limits. In Part 1 the question was discussed what was Aldous’ real intention in writing the Brave New World; was it meant as an exhortation, an inevitable prophecy or as an Open Conspiracy? An Open Conspiracy closely linked to not only H.G. Wells, who clearly laid out such a vision in his book by the same title, published in 1928, but a vision also in the vein of Aldous’ famous grandfather Thomas Huxley “Darwin’s bulldog” and mentor to Wells. It is from here that we will continue to discuss what exactly were Aldous’ views on such matters, did he in fact believe in the need for a scientific dictatorship? A scientific caste system? Was he actually warning the people that such a dystopia would occur if we did not correct our course or was it all part of a mass psychological conditioning for what was regarded as inevitable, and that Aldous’ role was rather to “soften the transition” as much as possible towards a “dictatorship without tears”? The War on Science “ ‘A New Theory of Biology’ was the title of the paper which Mustapha Mond had just finished reading. He sat for some time, meditatively frowning, then picked up his pen and wrote across the title-page: ‘The author’s mathematical treatment of the conception of purpose is novel and highly ingenious, but heretical and, so far as the present social order is concerned, dangerous and potentially subversive. Not to be published.’ … A pity, he thought, as he signed his name. It was a masterly piece of work. But once you began admitting explanations in terms of purpose – well, you didn’t know what the result might be. It was the sort of idea that might easily decondition the more unsettled minds among the higher castes – make them lose their faith in happiness as the Sovereign Good and take to believing, instead, that the goal was somewhere beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere, that the purpose of life was not the maintenance of well-being [as happiness and comfort], but some intensification and refining of consciousness, some enlargement of knowledge. Which was, the Controller reflected, quite possibly true. But not, in the present circumstance, admissible.” – Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” This is the credo for all scientific dictatorships, to forbid any search for knowledge whose purpose is the discovery of a universal truth, something that “is beyond, somewhere outside the present human sphere.” Something that is and will remain always true, and not just true so long as people are led to believe it is so. Thus, a scientific dictatorship must deny purpose by all means and promote an artificial “cushy” conception of happiness and comfort, since the former makes for very bad servants/slaves and the latter for very good ones. Purpose leads to unpredictability in the status quo, there are no sureties for an oligarchic system of governance in a world that is motivated by a purpose towards truth, beauty, and knowledge, as Mustapha Mond succinctly lays out. It is also the case that whenever one discovers a universal truth, it unifies rather than divides, truth is thus the very enemy of tyranny, for it offers clarity. And one can no longer be ruled over when they can see a superior alternative to their oppression. Therefore, under the rule of tyranny, truth must when possible be snuffed out, otherwise it is contorted until it is no longer recognizable, it is broken into fragments of itself in order to create factions, schools of opposing thought that are meant to confuse and lead its followers further astray. To deny purpose is thus the necessary condition to rule within a scientific dictatorship. Whether its controllers believe in purpose or not is irrelevant, since it is simply not admissible. The question thus is, where does Aldous fit into all of this? For starters let us take a look at Aldous’ family roots to see if indeed the apple did not fall too far from the tree… Aldous’ grandfather T.H. Huxley (1825-1895) had made a name for himself by the age of twenty-five and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1950. Within a span of just a few years he would rise to become a leading member of Britain’s scientific establishment. By the late 1700s, discoveries in geology began to contradict the accepted religious view of Creation. It was increasingly found that steady changes were the primary cause of most geological formations which developed over very long spans of time and that these changes had even led to the extinction of certain organisms/creatures. This was the first time that the biblical view of Creation was ever challenged as a mainstream argument within the sciences. By the first part of the 1800s the scientific community was primarily in agreement that living processes and their environments did indeed “evolve.” In the 1820s Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) and Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772-1844), once friends, had come into severe disagreement over the origins of anatomical forms which lead to a historic debate in 1830, raising issues that have yet to be resolved to this day. In 1838, upon reading Thomas Malthus’ “An Essay on the Principle of Population,” (who is known for calling for the courting of the plague to address the crisis of overpopulation), Darwin formulated his theory for “evolution” based on the “natural selection” of the fittest, he coined the term as an analogy of what he termed the “artificial selection” of selective breeding, with reference in particular to the practice of horse breeding. Darwin saw a similarity between farmers picking the best stock in selective breeding, and a Malthusian “Nature” selecting from chance variants. That is, Darwin’s ideas of “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest” implied no directionality to evolution but rather was based upon Nature’s selection of random variants. But how does one part of an organism evolve without affecting the other parts of said organism? According to Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, there is an inherent “potential” in evolution; the potential for change is inherent within the organism, and the shaping of its many parts occurs in a harmonic, coherent way. That is, change moves in a purposeful manner, not a random manner. The evolution of wings for flight, the eyes for sight, the nervous system for thought; Geoffroy was stating that these were not the result of countless minute mutations occurring and being selected upon separate from the other, but that the transformations were occurring with the very intention to create forms of flight, sight and thought. By Darwin rejecting this thesis, he created a paradox within his own theory. Either the potential for change is inherent in the organism in which many parts are able to change in a harmonic/coherent way, or it is not. However, if it is the latter, as Darwin claims it to be, random change of any part by itself without acknowledgement of the whole would more often than not lead to the death of the organism, as seen in studies of embryo formation, or would create a Dr. Moreau’s Island of freaks (which by the bye is another novel by our anti-hero H.G. Wells). The elegant creations we actually do see arise through evolutionary processes would be an extreme rarity in such a world of randomness. With everything we know today of the incredibly intricate details of biochemistry, the coordination of metabolic processes which occur in their thousands of “parts” would all need to evolve as randomly separate processes and yet, would also need to occur simultaneously and in conjunction with the other functioning parts. This would make Darwin’s concept for the selection of random variants within a coordinated functioning whole fundamentally impossible. Not only is the evolution of the eye one of the miracles of evolution, it has countless variations upon itself, such that there is no one standard model for what is an “eye.” Are we thus to believe that this has randomly occurred not only once but thousands of times in each species with its own distinct variation of what is an “eye”? In the early 1850s, Huxley had been introduced to Darwin and by the middle of the 1850s they were in close collaboration. Though Huxley never fully took to Darwin’s theory, he did become an avid defender and promoter of it nonetheless. At the time there was strong opposition to Darwin and Huxley within Europe and the United States. James Dwight Dana (1813-1895), a contemporary of T.H. Huxley, was among the American leadership that opposed this view, and argued that evolution did progress with a directionality, using examples such as the observation that biological organisms were proceeding towards greater “cephalization.” That is, that evolution was forming a general trend towards increasingly sophisticated nervous systems that could respond and interact with their environment. Thus, evolution was towards greater forms of complexity with more sophisticated forms of function. However, Thomas Huxley, “Darwin’s bulldog” was vehemently against this view of purposeful directionality in Nature. It did not matter that Darwin’s theory was just that, a theory, which still failed to explain much that was being observed in the evolutionary process. Although it is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss this in further detail (for more refer here), one cannot deny two major changes that occurred in “modern science” as a result of T.H. Huxley’s avid promotion of Darwin’s theory of evolution, that 1) Nature, and thus one could say the Universe, was not governed by purpose but rather by randomness, and that 2) man was but a beast, no longer to be among the children of God, no longer regarded as partaking in anything that was divine or sacred. And if man is but a beast what does he care for higher truths? What more does a beast need than the simple forms of comfort and happiness? Modern Science begets Modern Religion begets a Modern Utopia? Before we go on to speak about Aldous’ brother Julian Huxley, I will say just a few words on his father Leonard. Leonard Huxley published in 1926 his “Progress and the Unfit,” which was subsequently used to promote the Eugenics movement, to which H.G. Wells and Leonard’s son Julian were outspoken avid supporters of. Leonard also wrote favourably of his father T.H. Huxley’s views and that of Charles Darwin. In his book, Leonard discusses how modern-day science is only to look at the interdependence of body and mind, that the existence of the soul has been discredited by modern science, and thus that conditions for improvement on the human condition must solely rely upon the social and biological. He goes on to state that modern society has too long tolerated the proliferation of the feeble minded and so creates an ever-lasting burden for itself. He claims that mental defectiveness (which ranged from criminal behaviour, insanity, physical deformities and forms of mental retardation to addictions such as alcoholism and gambling, homelessness, owing massive debt etc. etc.) were all to be considered heritable qualities. Thus, those in possession of such unwanted qualities should be segregated from society or sterilised. He acknowledges that such measures may appear immoral, but that it is only immoral when coercion is used against persons of “normal intelligence,” for those who are deemed abnormal, unable to use reason, such standards of morality do not apply. This also appertained to what were considered to be the “lower” races, to which, T.H. Huxley was outspoken in his view that the “white race” was indeed the most superior race of all and that the “black race” was amongst the most inferior. With “modern science,” what stood in the way of the “mechanics of enforced good breeding” if humankind were to be regarded as no different from other beasts? And if we were judged to have no soul, the application of so-called “morality” was up for interpretation if not deemed entirely irrelevant. Julian Huxley (1887-1975), the older brother of Aldous, after serving in WWI became a Fellow at New College Oxford, serving as Senior Demonstrator in the University Department of Zoology. In 1925 he moved to King’s College London to work as Professor of Zoology. However, after only two years he resigned his chair to work full-time for H.G. Wells and his son G.P. Wells on “The Science of Life.” For those who are not too familiar with the views of H.G. Wells, I think it apt to share a quote, from part of his “new Bible” trilogy, “Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought” published in 1901: “It has become apparent that whole masses of human population are, as a whole, inferior in their claim upon the future, to other masses, that they cannot be given opportunities or trusted with power as the superior peoples are trusted, that their characteristic weaknesses are contagious and detrimental to the civilizing fabric, and that their range of incapacity tempts and demoralizes the strong. To give them equality is to sink to their level, to protect and cherish them is to be swamped in their fecundity. “ I assure you, there is plenty more where that came from. “The Science of Life,” which was also a part of Wells’ “new Bible” trilogy, was to give a popular account of all major aspects of biology as known in the 1920s. It is credited in introducing modern ecological concepts and emphasised the importance of behaviourism and Jungian psychology. At the very end of the 900 page volume, it is written: “To have a world encumbered for a time with an excess of sterile jazz dancers and joy riders may be a pleasanter way to elimination than hardship and death. Pleasure may achieve what force and sword have failed to do. The world can afford it; it is not a thing to fret about. It is only a passing fashion on a grand scale this phase of sterilized “enjoyment.” The great thing is that it should be able and willing to sterilize itself…The types that have a care for their posterity and the outlook of the race will naturally be the types which will possess the future.” This, believe it or not, is H.G. Wells at his best behaviour, amply toned down so to speak. To Wells this is a rather humane proposition, since those who are considered of defective biological stock are simply to be sterilised but are otherwise free to mingle within society, free to live out a comfortable life of pleasures in all their degeneracies with no threat that such contaminants will continue on in the future breeds of humankind. Thus, the age of pleasure will be more effective than the age of the sword (such as WWI), at diminishing the lower castes into a more “manageable” number. Within a generation, the human stock will be purified and a “Modern Utopia,” another book of H.G. Wells, can finally begin. Earth will become a paradise full of plenty, largely made up of a higher caste of reasonable, intelligent, healthy and attractive individuals and we will finally obtain world peace and harmony, until perhaps the next purge…. Besides Julian Huxley acting as Vice-President from 1937-1944 and President from 1959-1962 of the British Eugenics Society, he was also the first director-general of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1946, to which he wrote its mandate “UNESCO: Its Purpose and Its Philosophy” that same year. In it Julian lays out the need for a world government as the only means for avoiding war, and that the full sovereignty of separate nation states should be transferred over to this world government accordingly, under one political unity to which he expands upon, writing: “At the moment, it is probable that the indirect effect of civilization is dysgenic instead of eugenic, and in any case it seems likely that the dead weight of genetic stupidity, physical weakness, mental instability and disease proneness, which already exist in the human species will prove too great a burden for real progress to be achieved. Thus even though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that is now unthinkable may at least become thinkable.” (For more on this refer here.) In 1928, H.G. Wells publishes his “The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints for a World Revolution,” where he calls for the reform of religion into a “modern religion,” which was only fitting now that science had become a “modern science.” In his concept of modern religion, he states that it will be necessary to strip religion down to its raw elements of service and subordination. Wells also wrote “The New World Order” in 1940, and no doubt, was a guiding influence on Julian’s outlook when he wrote the manifesto for UNESCO. The reader should also know that T.H. Huxley was the mentor of H.G. Wells and introduced him to the writings of Thomas Malthus and Charles Darwin. [Refer to Part 1 of this series for an in-depth discussion on how H.G. Wells influenced the works of Aldous Huxley.] The 20th Century Descent of Man At the very start of the 20th century, the influential International Congress of Mathematicians organised a conference in Paris, France 1900. It was at this conference that David Hilbert, a leading mathematician at Göttingen University was invited to speak on the future of mathematics, where he stressed the need for the field of mathematics to “prove that all axioms of arithmetic are consistent” and to “axiomatize those physical sciences in which mathematics plays an important role.” What Hilbert was calling for in his challenge for the future of mathematics was that all scientific knowledge be reduceable to the form of mathematical “logic” so to speak; that it be contained within a minimum of accepted truths and rules of derivation, which could be proven by consistent and complete formal mathematical proofs. Thus, all scientific knowledge would in the future be deduced from such mathematical models, there was nothing left to “discover” in the typical sense of what defined scientific investigations during the 19th century and earlier, they only need refer to the appropriate mathematical model. In 1900, Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead set out to meet Hilbert’s challenge which resulted in the “Principia Mathematica,” published thirteen years later. Although Kurt Gödel would disprove the entire premise for the “Principia Mathematica” with his “incompleteness theorems” which show the limits of provability in formal axiomatic theories, the “Principia Mathematica” is one of the most influential works of the 20th century, on not only shaping modern logic but also formed the basis for the latter development of cybernetics and systems analysis by Russell’s student Norbert Wiener during WWII. Before you conclude that Russell himself didn’t personally believe that irrationality was a fundamental force in the Universe simply because he tried formalizing said Universe, it is worth reading a section of his bitterly misanthropic view of humanity presented in his 1903 “A Free Man’s Worship”: “That man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins- all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand… Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” Whether deterministic or random in view, the goal was the same, to promote a concept of the Universe that had no governing purpose, no directionality and no morality, that it was essentially a mechanism, discoverable by a few simple laws. This was not something new, the Enlightenment had already done much to emphasize individualism, skepticism and “science” reduced to the confines of empiricism and agnosticism. With such a view our connection to the Universe becomes inconsequential, with the Universe seen as something cold, unknowable and ultimately dead or dying. Such a concept only further enforces that there is no real meaning to anything, there is no purpose, at least, it is not a purpose that we have any place in. During the First World War, Aldous Huxley spent much time at the Garsington Manor, home of Lady Ottoline Morrell, a lover of Bertrand Russell, who believed (as Aldous and Julian would also), in the concept of open marriage. Although T.H. Huxley knew Russell’s parents, Lord and Lady Amberley, it was at the Garsington Manor that Aldous first met Bertrand Russell and the Bloomsbury Group. It is also where he met his first wife Maria Nys, a wartime Belgian refugee who had been invited to stay with Lady Ottoline Morrell. Maria, who was bisexual, had entered into a several year love affair with Lady Ottoline starting at the age of sixteen. Maria did finally accept Aldous’ proposal and they were married in 1919 keeping an open marriage. The Bloomsbury Group or Set, which met regularly at Lady Ottoline’s was an association of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists which reflected in large part the influence of G.E Moore (who wrote the “Principia Ethica” in 1903) and Bertrand Russell who were amongst the founders of analytic philosophy. Alfred North Whitehead was also a member of the group. As Dorothy Parker, American poet and writer, described them in a famous quote of hers, “they lived in squares, painted in circles and loved in triangles”. Aldous Huxley would maintain a loose association with the Bloomsbury Group. It appears Aldous had a similar approach to Russell as he did with Wells, although he seems to have a serious dislike for both men, he nonetheless was greatly influenced by their works. In 1932, Russell exclaims in a letter to his publisher that the “Brave New World” was “merely an expansion of the two penultimate chapters of his ‘The Scientific Outlook,’ “ adding that “the parallelism applies in great detail, e.g., the prohibition of Shakespeare and the intoxicant producing no headache.” Russell went so far as to contemplate charging Aldous with plagiarism, to which his publisher dissuaded him from pursuing. In Russell’s “The Scientific Outlook” published in 1930 he describes a caste system with the need for two separate modes of education, one for the elite ruling class and the other for the slave class. The ruling class is to be concerned with improving the scientific technique, while “the manual workers [are to be] contented by means of continual new amusements.” Aldous echoes this sentiment in his “Brave New World Revisited,” where he writes: “The older dictators fell because they could never supply their subjects with enough bread, enough circuses, enough miracles and mysteries.” Although it is said that Aldous wrote the “Brave New World” as a satire of the works of H.G. Wells, and what appears to be the works of Russell as well, as already shown in Part 1 this is not true. Aldous is incorporating the ideas of Wells and Russell into his works, and though he may find these men dislikeable, he nonetheless never actually contradicts their views in any of his writings or lectures. The entire premise for his “Brave New World Revisited,” published in 1958, instead reinforces those very views. Aldous makes it crystal clear that he considers the world to be overpopulated, that this is a crisis that must be checked, and that science and progress cannot be free to advance without limits. He restresses these very themes again in his last novel “The Island” as well. In “Brave New World Revisited” he writes: “The annual increase of numbers should be reduced. But how? We are given two choices – famine or pestilence and war on the one hand, birth control on the other…how can those who ought to take the pill, but don’t want to, be persuaded to change their minds?…In reducing the birth rate of those industrially backward societies where such a reduction is most urgently needed?…Or consider the backward societies that are now trying to industrialise. If they succeed, who is to prevent them, in their desperate efforts to catch up and keep up, from squandering the planet’s irreplaceable resources as stupidly and wantonly as was done, and is still being done, by their forerunners in the race?” Here we need only replace the word “pill” with “sterilisation” and not much has changed. In fact, as published in The Guardian, “Huxley was in favour of genetic breeding programmes to arrest the multiplication of the unfit. In a particularly unsavoury article, published in 1930 in the Evening Standard, he confessed anxiety about the proliferation of mental defectives and called for their compulsory sterilisation.” Brave New World was written one year later in 1931. It looks like the apple did not fall too far from the tree after all… [Part 3 will discuss Aldous’ role in shaping the Esalen Institute, the Vedanta Society, his relationship to William Sargant and the CIA’s MKUltra, and how Aldous’ form of ideological spirituality went on to shape the drug-counter-culture movement.] Tyler Durden Mon, 11/01/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 2nd, 2021

DEI trailblazers: 16 diversity executives transforming the workplace in post-George Floyd corporate America

From Nike to Google to Bank of America, Insider's top diversity execs of 2021 have led transformative equity progress under immense pressure. From Nike to Google to Twitter, here are Insider's top diversity trailblazers of 2021. American Express; JP Morgan; Facebook; Nike; Alyssa Powell/Insider The echoes of Black Live Matter protesters may have died down since the summer of 2020, but America's CEOs know the pressure to advance racial equity still hovers over them since the murder of George Floyd.Chief diversity officers were hired at record rates to shoulder the brunt of demands placed on companies shortly after Floyd's death. Indeed found that listings for diversity roles jumped 56% between September 2019 and September 2020. LinkedIn data confirmed that the summer of 2020 saw a spike in the hiring of these roles. The year 2021 was the first test to see whether companies would make real progress. These chief diversity officers - often people of color - have enacted incredible change since then. And the work they do is complicated and exhausting. They are the shepherds of what could be a new era in corporate America. Insider is proud to present its second annual list of diversity officers changing the country. Collectively, these executives are helping break barriers for hundreds of thousands of workers while also challenging their CEOs to make their policies and business practices more inclusive. Rosanna Durruthy, vice president of global diversity, inclusion and belonging at LinkedIn Linkedin's Rosanna Durruthy. Courtesy of Rosanna Durruthy Key accomplishments: A result of Durruthy's diligence, LinkedIn announced in July that it would pay the global cochairs of its employee resource groups $10,000 per year for their work, in addition to their salary. "Historically, ERG leaders take on leadership roles and the associated work in addition to their day jobs, putting in extra time, energy, and insight. And despite the tremendous value, visibility and impact to the organization, this work is rarely rewarded financially," Durruthy said. "The work of ERGs is more important than ever." This past year, LinkedIn also created the option for users to share their preferred pronouns, a big move to make the jobs platform more inclusive, especially for transgender and nonbinary professionals. LinkedIn aims to double the number of Black and Hispanic leaders and managers on its US team over the next five years. Durruthy is also focused on increasing leadership training that focuses on inclusion and diversity. In their own words: "As a leader and an LGBTQ woman of color, it's been really important for me to be in conversation with my peers and to allow them to know that I see them as being responsible for helping create the change we're all endeavoring toward."  Brian Lamb, global head of diversity and inclusion at JPMorgan JPMorgan's Brian Lamb. JPMorgan Chase Key accomplishments: This year, Lamb, Jamie Dimon, and a group of other executives deployed funds from the firm's record-making 2020 $30 billion pledge to address racial injustice. The investment aims to boost the number of Black and Hispanic homeowners, create more affordable housing, and support small businesses through loans.  In September, JPMorgan committed an additional $100 million to Black and Hispanic-led minority depository institutions and community-development financial institutions. A month later, JPMorgan announced to Insider it was pressuring the businesses it works with to increase spending with Black- and Hispanic-led companies. Business professors and economists predicted the bank's efforts would have a ripple effect in the economy, boosting capital spent on minority-owned businesses.  In their own words: "Patience isn't a virtue for me. I'm inspired to live with purpose and positively impact the lives of others — to be bold in our thinking and hold myself and others accountable to both their personal and professional responsibility to drive sustainable change."  Melonie Parker, chief diversity officer at Google Google's Melonie Parker. Google Key accomplishments: With efforts overseen by Parker, Google added diversity, equity, and inclusion materials to orientation for all new hires along with training for managers on how to promote inclusion of employees who are neurodiverse, or people with different ways of brain processing, such as people with ADHD or autism. Google also made significant strides in hiring diverse candidates. It increased Black representation in its US workforce by nearly 20%, from 3.7% to 4.4% and increased Hispanic hiring by a third, from 6.6% to 8.8%, according to the company. Parker also interviewed former first lady Michelle Obama at Google's first Women of Color Summit aimed at promoting mentorship, sponsorship, and career development for women of color at the company.  In their own words: "I believe we need to further expand the horizon of what we do to support employees of color. To me, that means clearer pathways to leadership, mentorship opportunities, more safe spaces both on campus and virtually, and also more DEI exercise for white employees, because it is truly everybody's responsibility to create a welcoming and gainful environment for underrepresented employees." Lesley Slaton Brown, chief diversity officer at HP HP's Lesley Slaton Brown. HP Key accomplishments: Over the past year, Lesley Slaton Brown helped the tech giant increase the number of Black executives at the vice president level and up by 50% and the number of female executives by 32%. Additionally, over 60% of new US hires were from underrepresented groups, including women, people with disabilities, people from underrepresented races and ethnicities, and military veterans.In their own words: "My mantra, is 'Everyone in!' Everybody, especially leaders, must understand the business value of DEI. It's integral to drive meaningful change in the short term and long term." Tim Dismond, chief responsibility officer at the commercial real-estate firm CBRE CBRE's Tim Dismond. CBRE Key accomplishments: As a result of Dismond's efforts, over 50% of the company's promotions and nearly half of new hires in the past year were women, people of color, LGBTQ people, or people with disabilities.He also led an effort to increase spending with suppliers owned by people of color, women, or other historically marginalized group. Across 2020 and 2021, the company is projected to spend more than $1 billion with diverse suppliers. In their own words: "As a Black man, I'm not immune to the undertones of bias in professional settings, and while my experience is not unique, by sharing and showing vulnerability I can effect change and help others feel safe to share their experiences and perspectives."   Dalana Brand, VP of people experience and head of inclusion and diversity at Twitter Twitter's Dalana Brand. Twitter Key accomplishments: Brand has pushed Twitter to further diversify its leadership over the past year. Representation of women in leadership roles increased from 35.4% to 37.7% and Black representation in leadership positions increased from 5.6% to 7.3%.  Brand was also influential in Twitter announcing that employees have the option to work from home indefinitely. The move has helped attract and retain talent for whom working from home is best, such as working parents or people with disabilities.In their own words: "It's not enough for us to simply have diverse teams. We cannot check the box and keep on with our own careers because what we know is that diverse folks will remain excluded from opportunity unless we are intentional about inclusion."  Sonia Cargan, American Express' chief colleague inclusion and diversity officer American Express' Sonia Cargan. American Express Key accomplishments: This year, Cargan made pay equity a top priority. AmEx investigated salaries across gender, race, and ethnicity and made changes to correct any discrepancies, achieving 100% pay equity for colleagues across gender globally and across race and ethnicity in the US. Cargan said the company is working to achieve pay equity across race and ethnicity globally.Cargan was also instrumental in AmEx creating a new office of enterprise inclusion, diversity, and business engagement that works directly with the company's executive committee to weave DEI practices into business strategies. In their own words: "We understood that to drive real change, we needed to further intensify our focus and make inclusion and diversity the heart of not only our workplace but how we do business."  Tara Ataya, chief people and diversity officer at Hootsuite Hootsuite's Tara Ataya. Hootsuite Key accomplishments: After a powerful conversation with other Hootsuite leaders last year about how to better support employees, Ataya guided the company's redesign of its benefits package to make it more inclusive. The company now covers gender-affirmation surgeries, fertility treatment, and financial-counseling services under its health and employee-assistance plans, benefits that are highly coveted and not often offered. Hootsuite also expanded its mental-health counseling services to include more therapists of color. The company also conducted a third-party pay equity report and achieved pay equity. In their own words: "It's about time we see this level of change. Greatness comes from being challenged to be better and do better. I think it is so important that organizations understand the importance of and the business case for DEI in the workplace." Maxine Williams, chief diversity officer at Facebook Facebook's Maxine Williams. Courtesy of Maxine Williams Key accomplishments: Because of Williams' leadership, Facebook has seen a significant increase in women in technical roles (from 15% in 2014 to 24.1% in 2020), as well as Black people in nontechnical roles (from 2% in 2014 to 8.9% in 2020). In 2020, Williams helped Facebook achieve a 38.2% increase in Black leaders, according to the company's latest DEI report. In addition, Williams built a diversity advisory council, a group of 18 employees from diverse backgrounds across the globe who meet quarterly to consult on the company's content policies, products, and human-resources programs.In their own words: "Build DEI into business processes and products from day one. Don't wait for the right time. That time was yesterday." Jarvis Sam, Nike's vice president and head of global diversity, equity, and inclusion Nike's Jarvis Sam. Nike Key accomplishments: Sam drove Nike's plan to increase representation of historically marginalized communities at the leadership level. Over the past year, he helped the company increase representation of women and people of color and at the director level and above by 2 percentage points. Women now make up 43% of directors and above, and people of color make up 27%. Sam also created new coaching programs for vice presidents across all departments to gain new skills, including skills around DEI. Some 56% of the 2020 participants were promoted to new roles within the year.  In their own words: "We have to lift as we climb. If we're not bringing others along with us, we aren't doing our job right." Toni Thompson, VP of people and strategy at Etsy Etsy's Toni Thompson. Etsy Key accomplishments: Over the past year and a half, the company has doubled down on its efforts to hire and promote more people of color thanks to pressure from Thompson. Black, Latino, and Native American hires made up 20% of new hires in 2020, and Black, Latino, and Native American people now comprise 12.2% of Etsy's total workforce, according to the company's most recent diversity report. In addition, employees from these underrepresented communities now comprise 8.7% of Etsy's leadership. The company is on track to reach its goal of doubling the percentage of Black, Latino, and Native American employees by 2023.Thompson helped Etsy expand its mentorship opportunities for women and people of color in engineering. She also launched a third-party pay-equity analysis, which found no discrepancies in pay based on race, ethnicity, or gender, consistent with their first report conducted in 2018. In their own words: "It's very natural for companies to be laser-focused on the financials and goal achievement that influence the financial health of the company. There are many HR and DEI efforts that support the top and bottom line, but it's hard for people to make those connections. I'm thankful the executive team at Etsy gets it, but many leaders at other companies don't."  Kara Helander, managing director and chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer at The Carlyle Group The Carlyle Group's Kara Helander. The Carlyle Group Key accomplishments: In early 2020, Helander led the charge at the private-equity firm to set a new goal of having 30% of board directors at all of its portfolio companies hail from historically underrepresented groups within two years of ownership. The head of DEI also developed and implemented a new set of criteria for assessing employees up for promotion to managing director, with individuals taking part in an assessment that evaluated their skills in inclusive leadership and management.  In addition, she implemented a change that DEI will be integrated into compensation as part of managers' formal year-end assessments going forward. Helander wants to continue diversifying the financial firm. In 2020, 63% of people hired in the US were women or ethnic minorities, according to the company. In their own words: "Each and every person in an organization can contribute to advancing diversity and inclusion. Accountability is key to sustaining positive change."  Lorie Valle-Yanez, head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at MassMutual MassMutual's Lorie Valle-Yanez. MassMutual Key accomplishments: Valle-Yanez shepherded MassMutual's investments in racial justice to the tune of more than $200 million, with $150 million going to diversifying the businesses the company works with and $50 million to spur job creation among diverse entrepreneurs in Massachusetts.The financial company also released its first public DEI report, which includes a detailed breakdown of its leadership and workforce demographics. In their own words: "The biggest change since George Floyd has been the increased engagement and ownership coming from so many people in the company who are raising their hands and wanting to be part of the change."  Antoine Andrews, chief diversity and social-impact officer at Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey) Momentive's Antoine Andrews. Momentive Key accomplishments: Andrews was a key figure in Momentive's recent decision to financially recognize employees who lead the company's ERGs, though the company declined to disclose by how much. Working with CEO Zander Lurie, Andrews also shaped Momentive's initiative calling on its suppliers and vendors to increase diversity in their leadership. In their own words: "Stamina is the characteristic most needed to combat inequity, racism, and all other negative 'isms.' Those of us who do this work can easily get tired, frustrated, and discouraged when progress isn't made or is happening slowly. Change requires us to be in shape mentally and physically."  KeyAnna Schmiedl, global head of culture and inclusion at Wayfair Wayfair's KeyAnna Schmiedl. Lyndsay Hannah Key accomplishments: Schmiedl helped Wayfair conduct a third-party pay-equity survey and worked to achieve pay equity for all 16,000 employees across race, disability status, and gender and sexual identity. In addition, Schmiedl led the charge to tie executive compensation to DEI goals.She also helped diversify Wayfair's leadership. The company increased the share of women in leadership positions by 7 percentage points in six months from 25% at the end of the 2020 fourth quarter to 32.8% at the end of June. The company also hired its first two directors of Indigenous descent. In their own words: "I am more consistent in being authentically me from meeting to meeting, interaction to interaction, and I've experienced more folks in the workplace bringing more of their humanity to everyday interactions. I'm having more raw conversations."  Cynthia Bowman, chief diversity and inclusion and talent acquisition officer at Bank of America Bank of America's Cynthia Bowman. Bank of America Key accomplishments: Bowman played a key role in producing Bank of America's $1 billion, four-year commitment made in June 2020 to address underlying economic and social disparities that were exacerbated during the pandemic. In March, Bowman, CEO Brian Moynihan, and other executives expanded this commitment to $1.25 billion over five years to further support investments to advance racial justice through grants to historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and civil-rights organizations. Bowman has helped the financial giant deepen connections with HBCUs and HSIs over the past year and a half. Because of these efforts, the bank's 2021 entry-level class is at least 50% people from historically marginalized backgrounds.  In their own words: "There is no question that achieving strong operating results on equity — the right way — starts with our teammates. Our diversity makes us stronger, and the value we deliver as a company is strengthened when we bring broad perspectives together to meet the needs of our diverse stakeholders."  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2021

People who eat meat report lower levels of depression and anxiety than vegans do, a recent analysis suggests

An analysis of 20 studies suggests eating meat is correlated with better mental health. That doesn't mean meat-free diets cause depression, though. A man eats his lunch at Holycow steak house in Jakarta, Indonesia on December 7, 2012. Reuters/Enny Nuraheni A recent analysis suggests a link between meat-free diets and poorer mental health. The results show that meat eaters report lower rates of depression and anxiety than vegans and vegetarians do. But that does not mean that abstaining from meat causes depression or anxiety. A meat-free diet is linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety than omnivorous eating, according to a recent analysis in the journal Food Science and Nutrition.That analysis examined 20 studies on meat consumption and mental health, and found an association between vegetarianism or veganism and poorer mental-health outcomes."How many people have you met that are both happy and diet all the time?" Urska Dobersek, a psychologist at the University of Southern Indiana who co-authored the analysis, told Insider. "Probably very few - and there is a strong, scientific reason for that - restrictive diets make people unhealthy and unhappy in the long term."Any potential causal link, however, is still debated. Although some studies suggest that nutritional deficiencies associated with vegan diets can be linked to depression, it's possible that depression and anxiety may precede someone's decision to go meat-free."Meat avoidance may be both the 'chicken' and the 'egg' when it comes to mental illness," Dobersek said.Cutting meat from your diet isn't likely to improve mental health An employee prepares steak tips at Stew Leonard's grocery store. Taylor Rains/Insider The research included in the new analysis spans the years from 2001 to mid-2020, and includes nearly 172,000 participants across four continents. Of that group, about 158,000 people ate meat and 13,000 did not.All but two of the studies relied on questionnaires in which respondents self-reported whether they ate meat or not, then answered prompts about whether they experienced anxiety and depression.The analysis concluded that "meat abstention is clearly associated with poorer mental health."That was true regardless of a person's sex, though the researchers weren't able to see the whether other factors influence the correlation - such as a person's age, the particular types of meat they eat, their socioeconomic status, their history of mental illness, or how long they've abstained from meat. Still, the finding builds on previous research demonstrating similar trends, so Dobersek said she wasn't surprised. Her own team, in fact, published an analysis last year that suggested abstaining from meat is associated with a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and self-harm.An August analysis from a team in Germany, meanwhile, also found that vegetarians were more depressed than meat eaters. "The idea that we can become healthier, or happier, by eliminating foods and beverages is simplistic, unscientific, and not supported by valid evidence," Dobersek said.Does veganism precede depression? Or the other way around? Luhv Vegan Deli in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Aleeya Mayo However, there's no evidence a meat-free diet directly leads mental health to decline."We cannot say that meat-free diets cause mental illness. What we did find is that the research doesn't support the idea that eliminating meat can improve mental health," Edward Archer, who co-authored the 2020 paper with Dobersek, previously told Insider.Although several studies have found that vegetarians are more depressed than meat-eaters, other research has shown the opposite. There's also the question of chronology: Do people stop eating meat first, then develop a higher risk of depression? Or do more people who are already depressed chose to become vegan or vegetarian? Very few studies offer answers, though research from 2012 suggested that depression may precede a switch to vegetarianism.Other possible explanations for the link, according to Dobersek and Archer, could be that people try meat-free diets to address existing mental health issues, or people with depression may be more likely to empathize with animals and make nutritional choices based on personal ethics."Individuals struggling with mental illness often alter their diets as a form of self-treatment," Dobersek said. "And it appears that many people choose veganism as an ethical response to the cruelty inherent in 'nature' and human societies."It's possible, too, that individuals who are depressed or anxious about climate change are more likely to make dietary choices that lower carbon emissions. Globally, the livestock industry is responsible for about 15% of annual emissions. Dobersek noted, though, that strict vegan diets can sometimes lead to nutrient deficiencies, especially in pregnant women. That, in turn, can increase the risk of physical and mental illness. For example, vitamin B-12, folate, and Omega-3 fatty acids are only in animal products, and a deficit of those nutrients is linked to depression, low energy, and poor metabolism.The debate remains contentious A steak with vegetables. BURCU ATALAY TANKUT/Getty Images When Dobersek's 2020 analysis came out, some who read it thought it demonstrated that meat-eating improves mental health, but Archer said "that's patently false."Additionally, critics of those same findings pointed out that Dobersek had recieved more than $10,000 in grant money from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association "to conduct a systematic review on 'Beef for a Happier and Healthier Life.'"The new analysis, too, was funded in part by a grant through the beef association. The authors noted, however, that the sponsor did not influence the research design, data collection, or study conclusions. Dobersek said she thinks the results could still have implications for how dietary guidelines are created and communicated. "With each edition, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans became more restrictive," she said. (In 2020, for instance, federal recommendations suggested Americans limit their intake of red meat, whereas no such recommendation was in the 2005 version.)"Yet the US population has become more diabetic, more anxious, and more depressed," Dobersek continued. "I do not think this is a coincidence." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2021

Physicians & The Vaccine Tyranny

Physicians & The Vaccine Tyranny Authored by 'Blaise Edwards, M.D.' via AmericanThinker.com, I find myself in the position that I must use an alias for fear of reprisal.  Those days may be quickly coming to an end, as hospitals are denying requests for vaccine exemptions with impunity.  I will likely soon be out the door, with nothing to lose.  Even if I survive this round, if the “pandemic” continues, it won’t be long before I am shelved like a can of spam. Doctors need to be called out.  From early in the pandemic, it was like a mass hypnosis or forgetfulness of everything we had learned in medical school.  Immune system knowledge was shelved and replaced by government dictates.  The thought of early outpatient treatment with “off label” drugs that could modulate the immune system was forbidden.  We essentially told patients that they had to go home and wait until they were sick enough to be hospitalized, then treatment would begin.  Imagine telling all diabetics that there is no metformin, Glucophage, or insulin.  Would we really wait until patients are in diabetic ketoacidosis, and then treat them only at the hospital?  It is medical malfeasance of a grand scale. We physicians gave up our training and our reasonable medical thought process.  The reasons are multiple.  First, it was the easy way out.  Second, many of us are employed and fear reprisal.  Third, despite what the public thinks, we physicians are not bold leaders, we tend to be sheep, and are afraid of having an entire institution ostracize us or our colleagues to think us crazy. As we got to the point of vaccine rollout, doctors were not using the scientific method, questioning and challenging prevailing hypotheses.  They kept their heads down, closed clinics, converted to telemedicine, and pushed only the jab. I had conversations with doctors who are supposed experts in virology and immunology denying the lasting immunity of natural infection.  Conversations about natural immunity: “I have antibodies.” “But they will wane.” “But I have memory cells.” Dumbfounded look.  Really, are these the leaders we want? Other conversations about the safety of vaccines: “The vaccine is safe.” “No, we would have shut down any trial in the past after even 100 deaths.” “This is more serious.” “But the survival rate is about 99.6%.” “It's killing people.” “So is the vaccine” “You can’t believe VAERS.” “It was set up to help protect the public, and if anything, it is underreporting side effects.” “You’re a conspiracy theorist.” Or conversations about early treatment “You must get the vaccine, it is the only “proven” treatment, there are no other treatments.” “Really, ivermectin has eradicated COVID in India, parts of Mexico, Japan….” “It is a horse dewormer.” “It won a Nobel Prize in medicine, is a WHO essential drug, and has been around for decades with a great safety profile.” “No, only the vaccine works.” “But it is failing” “You are a denier and a conspiracy theorist.” “Sigh….” Lately, it has been all about getting 100% of the population jabbed.  For what reason?  I am not sure, and some of the more detailed and investigated theories scare me.  I shudder to think.  But last year’s heroes are being labeled selfish and villainous for not getting the vaccine.  Hospital systems have abandoned their community’s health and ignored early successful outpatient treatment in favor of huge government subsidies for inpatient and ICU treatment.  The success of these treatments was not great, but that is another article.  Now we have the same hospital systems turning their backs on their own employees.  Basically, health providers have a choice, get shot, or get fired.  How does that help?  Both vaxxed and unvaxxed can spread the virus, so it doesn’t help anyone.  It only helps the hospital to get more government money by meeting quotas. I, for one, will remember that when we faced a real crisis, the hospitals and many physicians chose money and profit over their own community’s best interest.  Perhaps it is time for groups of physicians to get back to running their own healthcare clinics and hospitals.  We used to have a code of ethics.  We used to put patients first.  Not anymore. As for physicians, those who are blindly following the government edicts are culpable in a moral atrocity.  Bullying and deriding patients who chose to refrain from this still experimental therapy is an abomination.  (You will say it isn’t experimental anymore, to which I would say that just because the government broke its own rules regarding approval, doesn’t make it legal or right).  Patients have sincere beliefs for making their choice.  Respect their thoughts.  Do you yell as much at smokers, drinkers, fornicators, drug abusers, etc?  No, I think not. I think you chose to fit in because it gives you a sense of righteousness. And going so far as to encourage vaccination in children and pregnant women is crazy.  There is blood on the hands of any physician who does this.  With children, there is no benefit to the vaccine, only harm.  They would serve themselves and society better with natural immunity.  The vaccine hasn’t been studied on women and their babies.  It is pregnancy category X (unknown) but being pushed wholesale on these poor women without proper studies.  Shame on you, doctors who are doing this.  I certainly have lots to answer for when I meet my maker, but this is on another level. I beg physicians to get back to basics, remember all the epidemiology and immunology that bored us to tears in school.  Investigate the real literature and take a stand.  Society needs us to do this.  Even if you have been vaccinated, help those who are fighting for their lives.  Stand up against this forced vaccine tyranny.  Support those who have legitimate reasons for declining the jab. If you don’t stand up now, who will stand up for you when you are faced with your choice of yet another booster or your job. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/24/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 24th, 2021

6-figure diversity-executive jobs are in high demand. This is what to ask yourself before applying, according to 4 diversity leaders in finance, biotech, and more.

Diversity executives shared the top challenges and rewards of their job and what to consider before pursuing a career in the field. Job listings for diversity and inclusion executives have spiked since summer 2020. mentatdgt/Shutterstock Jobs in the diversity and inclusion industry have exploded since the racial reckoning of 2020. The sector can be lucrative, with executive salaries ranging from $181,464 to $259,647. Senior executives advise aspiring professionals to ask themselves a few key questions. See more stories on Insider's business page. In the aftermath of 2020's racial reckoning, people are holding CEOs accountable to the racial-justice promises they made. To help them carry out this important work, business leaders are hiring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) consultants at record rates.There's been a 71% increase worldwide in all DEI job listings over the past five years, with the role of "head of diversity" growing by more than 107%, according to LinkedIn data. In August 2020, US searches for jobs in DEI were up 35% year on year. Likewise in the UK, searches were up 19%, according to Glassdoor's research on the diversity and inclusion industry.And the job can be lucrative. Median pay for DEI executives normally ranges from $181,464 and $259,647, according to Salary.com. While there is a special risk of burnout in the field, DEI consultants told Insider it could also be especially rewarding. If you're considering pursuing a DEI executive position, here are key questions to ask yourself, according to professionals in the field. Rondette Amoy Smith, head of diversity and inclusion for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Nomura Rondette Amoy Smith. SW3 Photography Smith, who grew up in a lower-middle class immigrant family in New York, was always keenly aware of the inequality around her."I realized no matter how smart I was, or how many great excellent scores I got, two things that weren't quite available to me were opportunities because I didn't have a lineage of people who were from wealth or from big corporations," she told Insider. "My parents came from especially humble beginnings, so in addition to opportunity, I also didn't have access."She wanted to work to dismantle that inequality. Smith is now head of diversity and inclusion for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at the investment bank Nomura. She previously held roles at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. She said that starting out, she would never have dreamed of wearing braids, "that I would have my natural curly hair out."A career in DEI is highly rewarding, she said, but it's important to ask yourself a few questions before you decide to pursue a career in the field:Am I truly passionate about the role?Am I willing to have hard conversations? Am I a natural empath? Am I willing to build my network and relationships? Am I capable of being a genuine ally to people? Quita Highsmith, chief diversity officer and vice president at Genentech Quita Highsmith. Genentech Highsmith oversees diversity and inclusion efforts for over 13,000 employees at the biotech company Genentech. She assumed the role in January 2020, but she's been working on diversifying the biotech industry for over a decade. In 2017, she cofounded an initiative to make the company's research more inclusive.She said her thirst for making society more equitable started at an early age, when she experienced racism and harassment. She and her sister were among just a few Black students at their elementary school in Louisville, Kentucky. Every morning, a white teacher at the school would open the side door so that they could come in to avoid being harassed at the front door by students and parents."I learned early on the importance of not only being an ally but being a changemaker, someone who will actively stand up and speak up for change," Highsmith said.  Her role today is a combination of those things. She's working to meet Genentech's goals, which include doubling Black and Hispanic representation at the director and officer leadership level by 2025."This is a tough job because you have to be so many things to the full organization, which can often lead to burnout," she said. "However, having full leadership support keeps me motivated on the challenges."People interested in the field of DEI should ask themselves these key questions, she said: What is my motivation for DEI work, and how can I bring my lived experiences and unique perspectives to the table in this role?Am I willing to ask the tough questions and have uncomfortable conversations to advance equity and make space for those who are underrepresented?How do I respond to failures and celebrate small victories? Am I OK with aiming for progress over perfection?While Highsmith said a college degree isn't necessary to land a DEI role, it definitely helps. Taking an additional certificate course in DEI topics will also make your application more competitive."I would recommend that you get comfortable with asking questions, executing bold and innovative ideas, bringing your authentic perspectives to work, and inspiring and encouraging others from whatever position you are currently in," she said. Lybra Clemons, head of DEI at Twilio Lybra Clemons. Twilio Clemons was working at a research nonprofit when a colleague introduced her to a book, "Our Separate Ways," by Ella Bell and Stella Nkomo. The book features eight years of research that compared the careers of 120 Black and white female managers in the US. Through personal stories, it shows how different their roads were.That book led Clemons to her calling."It changed my life. It was the first time I saw people talking about corporate DEI in a truly intersectional way — not just women's issues in corporate America or Black issues in corporate America — but really looking at the business world with an intersectional lens," she said. "So I left the nonprofit and went to work for American Express in a DEI role, and the rest is history."Since then, Clemons has worked in DEI for over 15 years, driving corporate diversity and inclusion work for companies like Morgan Stanley and PayPal before going to the cloud-communications platform Twilio in September 2020.She knows achieving equity in corporate America is a long game. "One of the biggest challenges I've come to terms with is that no DEI lead will ever be fully 'successful,'" she said. "DEI work is a moving target, so the best a DEI lead can do is to leave each place better than how they found it."While it can take years to see the fruits of your labor in this field, Clemons said, it's incredibly rewarding to hear stories of how DEI initiatives have changed people's lives. Before you pursue a DEI role, she recommends asking yourself these questions: What are my expectations for success? What kind of goals do I want my DEI implementations to achieve, and what do I need from my company and colleagues to reach them?Is my approach to DEI holistic? Is the company I'm looking at going to let me approach my job from multiple lenses?Can I find an organization that will level and resource me appropriately? Will I have a seat at the table where businesswide decisions are being made?  Opeyemi Sofoluke, coauthor of "Twice as Hard" and diversity lead at Facebook Opeyemi Sofoluke. Francis Augusto Sofoluke began focusing on diversity and inclusion work at JP Morgan in 2016 after working in project management for several years.She said she had initially worked in different parts of the business, doing diversity work outside her day-to-day duties."I was committed to working in business-resource groups because it's something that I was passionate about," she said.You have to really care about the work, she added."If you don't care, and if you're not truly genuine about the work, it will eventually show," she said. "And so this is a space that you give a lot of your time to. You give a lot of your energy, and often, you may work long hours or because you care so much — you're dedicated to seeing this change through."This is what she recommends anyone interested in a similar role ask themselves:What am I doing outside work to show I care? Am I trying to educate myself? Am I showing up for my community? How much do I care?What is my vision of success? How do I want to influence my company?  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

How 4 Black Alabama women went door-to-door persuading people to get jabbed in one of the least vaccinated US states

Alabama is one of the least vaccinated states. As four Black women have found, community ties can cut through an avalanche of misinformation and fear. Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson, second from left, during a door-knocking vaccine drive on June 30 in Birmingham, Alabama. Elijah Nouvelage / AFP via Getty Images Alabama has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the US. Black community leaders have been going door-to-door to fight misinformation and get shots in arms. Four told Insider the work was draining but had worked because their communities trusted them. See more stories on Insider's business page. Dorothy Oliver has about six people left to go.Since COVID-19 vaccines were introduced, customers at her general store haven't been able to stop by without Oliver gently prodding them about getting the shot. And if you're not grocery shopping, she'll phone you up."I have made a million phone calls, I'll put it like that," she told Insider.The retiree runs one of the few shops in Panola, Alabama, a predominantly Black rural community of about 400 people, many of whom she says feel largely overlooked by health authorities.But thanks to her and a handful of volunteers, nearly all of them have had their shot. Dorothy Oliver on the phone in the short film "The Panola Project." The Panola Project / The New Yorker At time of writing, Alabama hovered in 41st place on The New York Times' list of states in order of vaccination, with about 52% of the population fully vaccinated. In Sumter County, which straddles the Mississippi border southwest of Tuscaloosa and includes Panola, that number drops to 42%. And until Oliver got busy, it looked as if it would have been the same in Panola.The hamlet is about 35 miles from the nearest vaccination center, and people were too fearful, were too disengaged, or simply didn't have enough information to organize a shot, she said.Oliver was particularly worried for the older folks, who have less access to online information but are at higher risk from COVID-19. So she decided to do something about it."I said, well, you know what? I need to go head-on and start talking to these older people to make sure that you know - people would put a lot of bad stuff in their heads, you know?" she said.Oliver is backed up by an old partner in community action, Drucilla Russ-Jackson, a Sumter County commissioner. Russ-Jackson pulled together resources from the state health board and the National Guard.Oliver's and Russ-Jackson's efforts were documented in The New Yorker's short film "The Panola Project" by Rachael DeCruz and Jeremy S. Levine.Strategy consisted mainly of rational conversations and kindly pressure."You cannot go to them saying, 'You've got to do this, uh-uh,'" Oliver told Insider, mimicking an aggressive tone. "You've got to go tell them in a calm manner and let them know how serious this is."Humor also played its part with reluctant people, as Russ-Jackson, the county commissioner, told Insider. "I tell them, 'OK, well, I'll just get my dress ready so I can go to your funeral.'"Hesitancy, fear, and access Tyson during a door-knocking outreach effort on June 30 in Birmingham. Elijah Nouvelage / AFP via Getty Images The persistent idea that Black people are among the most vaccine-hesitant groups was dented by a July poll by Ipsos and Axios that found white conservatives were more resistant still.Like Oliver and Russ-Jackson in Panola, Sheila Tyson, a commissioner in Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham, became a vaccine advocate early on, going door-to-door with volunteers about once a week. Her area covers both low-income Black communities as well as white ones.For Tyson, the barrier to getting people of color vaccinated was at least as much to do with access as hesitancy."When we go into the Black low-income areas, a lot of them have started taking the shot, it's picking up," she said."But when we go into the white low-income areas, a lot of them, they believe in Trump so bad and in taking that horse medicine and all that."She was referring to ivermectin, a drug with approved uses in both people and animals that has become widely touted in some circles as a COVID-19 treatment despite no conclusive evidence it is effective as such.Tyson noticed that despite emerging white right-wing resistance to COVID-19 vaccines, authorities "put it in the white areas first.""I was raising so much hell around here," she continued.As Bloomberg reported in February, a rollout that ignored racial disparities soon produced a glaring problem. The majority-Black poorest district in Birmingham - part of Tyson's district - waited for vaccines while a nearby town, the state's wealthiest, got them. A close-up of a Panola resident receiving the vaccine in "The Panola Project." The Panola Project / The New Yorker And then, Tyson said, many white conservatives didn't even want it. "You know, these dumbasses," she told Insider. "It pissed me off so bad. They didn't want to take the shot. We wanted the shot."When she goes door-to-door in low-income white areas, she often asks the sheriff to keep a presence nearby, "because we do get cussed out and stuff," she said.Some of the white people she talks to tell her the coronavirus was put out by Democrats to kill Black people and Hispanics, she said. "And when that couldn't kill us, they put out the shot to kill us," is the rationale, she said.But among communities of color, such fictions are overshadowed by real histories of medical racism that continue to have an influence.Often mentioned in Tyson's conversations are the story of Henrietta Lacks - the Black Virginian whose cancer cells were harvested without her permission - and the 1932 Tuskegee study in Alabama.The study, which left a group of Black men untreated for syphilis as part of a 40-year experiment, took place less than an hour from where Tyson goes door-to-door with vaccine outreach.In Panola, Oliver said a common response she had from young people was that they were somehow test subjects. "'They didn't do enough scientific on this stuff,'" she paraphrased. "'They didn't work on it long enough.'"One resident who appeared in the New Yorker film, named LaDenzel, hesitated a long time."He said: 'Miss Dorothy, I'm just scared. I'm just actually scared,'" Oliver told Insider.Meet people where they are Tyson accompanying volunteers and staffers during a door-knocking outreach effort to inform residents about a coming COVID-19 vaccination event in Birmingham. Elijah Nouvelage / AFP via Getty Images Tyson has also sent volunteers, like a 63-year-old retired teacher named Materia Johnson, to staff information desks at places like food drives and job fairs. It's the same tactic Tyson has used for years to sign up unregistered voters.Johnson has heard every excuse in the book from behind her table, whether worries about side effects or the fear the vaccine was developed too fast. The young, she said, are most resistant.One 26-year-old woman told her she was planning to rely on "natural supplements," believing that she would never get sick anyway, Johnson said."It's that age group, you know, I think they're just getting misinformation out on the internet and amongst their friends," Johnson told Insider.Johnson's tactic is to ask people, quite simply, "If you come down with COVID, what is your plan?" and then break down the many pitfalls and logical fallacies in any plan other than getting vaccinated.But the effort is mentally draining, she said. "I talked to my friends about how disturbing it was for me to just to hear their reasons for not being vaccinated," she told Insider. One person in 10 getting vaccinated on account of her work is "a good day," she said."They're basically calm and steadfast in their beliefs," she said. "It's just: 'This is what I believe. And then you can't convince me otherwise.'"Relationships are as important as informationJohnson's information table is just one tactic to get shots in arms.Oliver keeps a list, and has driven out to remote Panola homes to flush out people she has not heard back from. Prize draws have been popular in both places - one of which Russ-Jackson said she paid for personally.But the most successful methods have one important thing in common, according to Lee McIntyre, a philosopher and ethicist at Boston University.McIntyre has written extensively about public trust in science and how scientists can respond to misinformation. What really is at work here is the decades-deep well of trust Tyson, Russ-Jackson, and Oliver have built up in their community work, he said."In this case, it's not just about doubt - it's about distrust," he told Insider. "Doubt can be overcome with factual information, but trust has to be built through engagement and personal relationships." Oliver sweeping her grocery-store floor in the short film "The Panola Project." The Panola Project / The New Yorker Tyson told Insider that the people she talked to often didn't trust or watch the news but that she pulled up reliable articles on her phone to show them anyway. Because they know and trust her, she observed, the facts presented by the news outlets suddenly gain power.Oliver feels the same way. "That's why I was so successful in my area, because a lot of them know me," she said.It's not easy work, as Tyson said, but she framed it as just another battle."I have had to work like hell for everything I have ever got in my whole life," she said. "Nothing came easy for me. I feel like this is something else, this is just another challenge, another stepping-stone in the road I've got to cross."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 29th, 2021

How 4 Black Alabama women went door to door convincing people to get jabbed in one of the least-vaccinated US states

Alabama is one of the least vaccinated states. As four Black women have found, community ties can cut through an avalanche of misinformation and fear. Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson, (second from left) during a door-knocking vaccine drive on June 30, 2021, in Birmingham, Alabama. Elijah Nouvelage / AFP via Getty Images Alabama has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the US. Black community leaders have been going door-to-door to fight misinformation and get shots in arms. Four told Insider the work is draining, but has worked because their communities trust them. See more stories on Insider's business page. Dorothy Oliver has about six people left to go.Since the COVID-19 vaccine was introduced, customers at her general store haven't been able to stop by without Oliver gently prodding them about getting the shot. And if you're not grocery shopping, she'll phone you up. "I have made a million phone calls, I'll put it like that," she told Insider. The retiree runs one of the only shops in Panola, Alabama, a predominantly Black rural community of about 400 people many of whom she says feel largely overlooked by health authorities.But thanks to her and a handful of volunteers, nearly all of them have had their shot. Dorothy Oliver on the phone in the short film The Panola Project The Panola Project / The New Yorker At time of writing, Alabama hovered in 41st place on The New York Times list of states in order of vaccination, with around 52% of the population fully vaccinated. In Panola's Sumter County, that number drops to 42%. And until Oliver got busy, it looked like it would have been the same in Panola. The hamlet is around 35 miles from the nearest vaccination center, and people were either too fearful, too disengaged, or simply didn't have enough information to organize a shot organized, she said.Oliver was particularly worried for the older folk, who have less access to online information but who are at higher risk from COVID-19. So she decided to do something about it. "I said, well, you know what? I need to go head on and start talking to these older people to make sure that you know - people would put a lot of bad stuff in their heads, you know?" she said.Oliver is backed up by an old partner in community action, Drucilla Russ-Jackson, county commissioner for Panola's Sumter County. Russ-Jackson pulled together resources from the state health board and the national guard.Oliver's and Russ-Jackson's efforts were documented in The New Yorker's short film "The Panola Project" by Rachael DeCruz and Jeremy S. Levine. It documented how the pair systematically drummed up takers for the shot at a specially-organized vaccine drive in Panola. It mainly consisted of rational conversations and kindly pressure. "You can not go to them saying 'you've got to do this, uh-uh,'" Oliver told Insider, mimicking an aggressive tone. "You've got to go tell them in a calm manner and let them know how serious this is."Humor also played its part with reluctant people, as Russ-Jackson, the county commissioner, told Insider. "I tell them, 'okay, well, I'll just get my dress ready so I can go to your funeral.'"Hesitancy, fear and access Tyson (L) during a door-knocking outreach effort on June 30, 2021, in Birmingham, Alabama. Elijah Nouvelage / AFP via Getty Images The persistent idea that Black people are among the most vaccine-hesitant groups was dented by a July Ipsos/Axios poll that showed white conservatives were more resistant still. Like Oliver and Russ-Jackson in Panola, Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson became a self-appointed vaccine advocate soon after it became available, going door-to-door with volunteers around once a week. Her area covers both low-income Black and white communities. For Tyson, the barrier to getting people of color vaccinated was at least as much to do with access as hesitancy."When we go into the Black low-income areas, a lot of them have started taking the shot, it's picking up," she said."But when we go into the white low-income areas, a lot of them, they believe in Trump so bad and in taking that horse medicine and all that."She was referring to ivermectin, a drug for people but also used on animals which has become popular despite no conclusive evidence that it is an effective COVID-19 treatment.Despite emerging white rightwing resistance to the vaccine, "[authorities] put it in the white areas first," Tyson said. "I was raising so much hell around here."As Bloomberg reported in February, a rollout that ignored racial disparities soon produced a glaring problem. The majority-Black poorest district in Birmingham - part of Tyson's district - waited for vaccines while a nearby town, the state's wealthiest, got them, the outlet reported. A close-up of a Panola resident receiving the vaccine in the short film The Panola Project The Panola Project / The New Yorker And then, Tyson said, many white conservatives didn't even want it. "You know, these dumbasses," she told Insider. "It pissed me off so bad. They didn't want to take the shot. We wanted the shot."When she goes door-to-door in low-income white areas, she often asks the sheriff to keep a presence nearby, "because we do get cussed out and stuff," she said. Some of the white people she talks to tell her that the virus was put out by the Democrats to kill Black people and Hispanics, she said. "And when that couldn't kill us, they put out the shot to kill us," is the rationale, she said.But among communities of color, such fictions are overshadowed by real histories of medical racism that continue to have an influence, Tyson said. Often mentioned in her conversations are the story of Henrietta Lacks - the Black Virginian whose cancer cells were harvested without her permission - and the 1932 Tuskegee experiment.The Tuskegee study, which left Black men untreated for syphilis as part of a 40-year experiment, took place less than an hour from where Tyson goes door-to-door with vaccine outreach.In Panola, Oliver said a common response she had from young people was that they are somehow test subjects. "'They didn't do enough scientific on this stuff,'" she paraphrased. "'They they didn't work on it long enough.'"One resident who appeared in the New Yorker film, named LaDenzel, hesitated a long time."He said, 'Miss Dorothy, I'm just scared. I'm just actually scared,'" Oliver told Insider, paraphrasing LaDenzel.Meet people where they are Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson (L) accompanies volunteers and staffers during a door-knocking outreach effort to inform residents about an upcoming COVID-19 vaccination event June 30, 2021, in Birmingham, Alabama. Elijah Nouvelage / AFP via Getty Images Tyson has also sent volunteers, like 63-year-old retired teacher Materia Johnson, to staff information desks at places like food drives and job fairs. It's the same tactic Tyson has used for years to sign up unregistered voters. Johnson has heard every excuse in the book from behind her table, from worries about side effects to the fear the vaccine was developed too fast. The young, she said, are most resistant. One 26-year-old woman told her that she was planning to rely on "natural supplements," believing that she would never get sick anyway, Johnson said. "It's that age group, you know, I think they're just getting misinformation out on the internet and amongst their friends," Johnson told Insider. She also noted that former President Donald Trump had done little to get people enthused. Johnson's tactic is to ask people, quite simply: "If you come down with COVID, what is your plan?" and then break down the many pitfalls and logical fallacies in any plan other than getting vaccinated. But the effort is mentally draining, she said. "I talked to my friends about how disturbing it was for me to just to hear their reasons for not being vaccinated," she told Insider. One person in 10 getting vaccinated on account of her work is "a good day," she said. "They're basically calm and steadfast in their beliefs," she said. "It's just, 'this is what I believe. And then you can't convince me otherwise.'"Relationships are as important as informationJohnson's information table is just one tactic to get shots in arms.Oliver keeps a list, and has driven out to remote Panola homes to flush out people she has not heard back from. Prize draws have been popular in both places - one of which Russ-Jackson said she paid for personally. But the most successful methods have one important thing in common, according to Dr Lee McIntyre, a philosopher and ethicist at Boston University.McIntyre has has written extensively about public trust in science and how scientists can respond to misinformation. What really is at work here is the decades-deep well of trust Tyson, Russ-Jackson, and Oliver have built up in their community work, he said. "In this case, it's not just about doubt, it's about distrust," he told Insider. "Doubt can be overcome with factual information, but trust has to be built through engagement and personal relationships." Dorothy Oliver sweeping her grocery store floor in the short film The Panola Project The Panola Project / The New Yorker Tyson told Insider that the people she speaks to often don't trust or watch the news, but she pulls up reliable articles on her phone to show them anyway. Because they know and trust her, the facts presented by the news outlets suddenly gain power, she feels. Oliver feels the same. "That's why I was so successful in my area because a lot of them know me," she said. It's not easy work, as Tyson said, but as a Black woman she framed it as just another battle."I have had to work like hell for everything I have ever got in my whole life," she said. "Nothing came easy for me. I feel like this is something else, this is just another challenge, another stepping stone in the road I've got to cross."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 29th, 2021

Financiers With US$29 Trillion Ask 1600 Companies For Science-Based Targets Ahead Of COP26

220 global financial institutions holding US$29.3 trillion in assets call on world’s highest impact companies to urgently set science-based emissions reduction targets in line with 1.5°C warming scenarios;1 Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Number of investors and lenders writing to corporate CEOs grows 60% year on year, targeting companies responsible for more emissions than the EU and US combined;  Boeing, Alaska Air, Fedex and Catalyst Paper Corporationamong high-emitting companies specifically requested; Coordinated by non-profit CDP, the 2021 SBT Campaign is […] 220 global financial institutions holding US$29.3 trillion in assets call on world’s highest impact companies to urgently set science-based emissions reduction targets in line with 1.5°C warming scenarios;1 if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Number of investors and lenders writing to corporate CEOs grows 60% year on year, targeting companies responsible for more emissions than the EU and US combined;  Boeing, Alaska Air, Fedex and Catalyst Paper Corporationamong high-emitting companies specifically requested; Coordinated by non-profit CDP, the 2021 SBT Campaign is the world’s largest investor engagement campaign specifically requesting companies to set science-based targets through the SBTi2; Following last year’s campaign, over 154 new companies with emissions equal to Germany joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) - 8% of all those targeted by the campaign. Companies with science-based targets in place have typically cut emissions by 6.4% per year, well above the average rate needed for 1.5°C alignment Financial Institutions Are Calling On Businesses To Set Science-Based Targets September 28, 2021 (New York): Financial institutions holding US$29.3 trillion in assets are today calling on the world’s most impactful businesses to set science-based emissions reduction targets in line with 1.5°C warming scenarios, ahead of COP26 in November.3 The request is signed by 220 financial institutions across 26 countries, and whose collective assets are worth more than the GDP of the U.S., China ore the entire EU.4 It represents significant growth in support by 60% on last year, with an increase of 51% in assets behind the call to action. The group includes some of North America’s biggest investors and lenders including Manulife Investment Management, Neuberger Berman, Lazard Asset Management, Wespath Benefits and Investments and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. They are pressing 433 North American companies (361 U.S and 72 Canadian companies) to set emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative to ensure that corporate ambition is independently verified against the de-facto industry standard for robust and credible climate targets. From July 2022, these must be aligned with a 1.5°C pathway to be approved. The 2021 CDP Science-Based Targets campaign is coordinated by the non-profit CDP, which runs the world’s largest environmental disclosure platform. Joining the financial institutions in asking for SBTs this year are 26 CDP supply chain members - large corporate buyers using CDP to green their supply chain – including L’Oréal, Renault Group, Bayer, AstraZeneca and HP Inc, with US$500 billion in annual procurement. CDP sent the letter to over 1,600 companies worldwide, including Anhui Conch Cement, China’s biggest cement manufacturer, Hyundai Motor Company, Duke Energy, Associated British Foods, Nippon Steel, Tata Steel, Lufthansa and Samsung.  In North America, Boeing Company, Alaska Air Group, FedEx Corporation, Caterpillar inc. and Catalyst Paper Corporation were among the companies sent letters. The businesses targeted have a market capitalization of over US$41 trillion, make up 36% of the entire MSCI World Index, and account for 11.9 million tonnes of emissions (scope 1 and scope 2), equivalent to more than the annual total of the U.S. and European Union combined.5 Over 20% of companies by global market capitalization are already part of the SBTi.6 Adaptation To Climate Change Are Critical To Corporate Success Sophia Cheng, Chief Investment Officer at Cathay Financial Holdings, said:  “Cathay FHC has participated in CDP Non-Disclosure Campaign for four years and we believe timely transition and adaptation to climate change are critical to corporate success in the low-carbon future. SBT is a valuable scientific tool well received by the international community and offers a useful evaluation framework for corporates planning toward net zero emissions.” Barnaby Wiener, Head of sustainability and Stewardship at MFS Investment Management, commented:  “Climate change is creating risks and opportunities for all businesses. In order to effectively respond to the climate challenge companies must have a plan and act. As long-term investors seeking to allocate capital responsibly, we expect our portfolio companies to develop, commit to and execute on science-based emissions reduction plans aligned with the Paris Agreement. The CDP Science-Based Targets Campaign is well aligned with our engagement priorities and we believe a collective voice carries further. For MFS it is an easy decision to participate.” Last year’s CDP Science Based Targets campaign contributed to strong momentum of the number of companies joining the SBTi. 154 companies, with emissions approximately equivalent to Germany’s annual total and a market capitalization of US$5.2 trillion, joined since this time last year. It represents 8.1% of the companies targeted in this campaign last year. 56% of companies asked by CDP reported that the campaign had a direct influence over their decision, while 96% reported that general investor pressure led to them setting a target.7 The campaign also shows the major role played by European financial institutions in corporate engagement on climate issues. 75% of all investors and lenders signing the letter are based in Europe (including the UK), with 79% of the total assets. Asset managers and pension funds are the most supportive of the campaign, making up nearly 9 out of 10 organizations. Achieving Net Zero By 2050 Laurent Babikian, Joint Global Director Capital Markets at CDP, said:  “2021 has been a year when global financial institutions have committed en masse to achieve net zero by 2050. But these goals are impossible to achieve without the companies they lend to and invest in having robust science-based targets that drive rapid decarbonization in the entire value chain in line with a maximum of 1.5°C of global warming. It is that simple, and when so many investors and lenders are collectively saying the same thing, companies must act or risk seeing their cost of capital rise. Not having an SBT raises a red flag that they are failing to manage climate risk. Ahead of COP26, we must see greater ambition from the companies accountable for the bulk of global emissions if we are to achieve a net-zero emissions economy, and mitigate the most serious impacts of climate change, which have been all too visible in 2021 so far.” Globally, over 1775 companies are already part of the SBTi, among which over 550 have approved targets in line with 1.5°C. Analysis has shown that the typical company with a target has cut emissions by 6.4% per year – well above the 4.2% linear reduction rate required to meet the Paris agreement’s 1.5°C goal. Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Managing Director and Co-Founder of the Science Based Targets initiative, said:  “Money talks and this call from global financiers is loud and clear. A decarbonised business model is the only sensible business choice for a climate safe and prosperous economy. The call for rapid decarbonisation is clear, not only from the scientific community, but also, from the financial community. We are calling now on all companies to set science-based decarbonisation targets and for financial institutions to build on the leadership shown in these campaign and to also set science-based climate targets for their investment and lending portfolios. This is essential if we are to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero before 2050 – and vital for the future of humankind.” Over the last two decades, CDP has created a system that has resulted in unparalleled engagement on environmental issues worldwide with investors and businesses alike. This campaign combines CDP’s track record, and expertise as a founding partner of the SBTi, to use investor authority to take disclosure and carbon mitigation further. While companies can set science-based targets at any point throughout the year, CDP will be engaging these companies to join the SBTi before September 2022, when the impact of this campaign will be evaluated. About CDP CDP is a global non-profit that runs the world’s environmental disclosure system for companies, cities, states and regions. Founded in 2000 and working with more than 590 investors with over $110 trillion in assets, CDP pioneered using capital markets and corporate procurement to motivate companies to disclose their environmental impacts, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard water resources and protect forests. Over 10,000 organizations around the world disclosed data through CDP in 2020, including more than 9,600 companies, worth over 50% of global market capitalization, and over 940 cities, states and regions, representing a combined population of over 2.6 billion. Fully TCFD aligned, CDP holds the largest environmental database in the world, and CDP scores are widely used to drive investment and procurement decisions towards a zero carbon, sustainable and resilient economy. CDP is a founding member of the Science Based Targets initiative, We Mean Business Coalition, The Investor Agenda and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. Visit cdp.net or follow us @CDP to find out more. 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Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 28th, 2021

Transcript: Hubert Joly

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

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 27th, 2021