Blog Entries posted by TheWorldNewsOrg
There are all sorts of things going on right now that would make even the most steadfast non-worrier break a sweat. Michael Snyder outlined 11 of them in this article, but four in particular, are of note.
Last week, the “spread between the U.S. 2-year and 10-year yields” turned negative for the very first time in 12 years. An inversion of the yield curve has occurred prior to every single U.S. recession since the 1950s, and this is one of the most important economic signals that we have seen yet… …Just like we witnessed in 2008, fear and volatility have returned to Wall Street in a major way. In fact, so far this month we have already seen the 4th and 7th largest single day point declines in U.S. stock market history… …According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the probability that a recession will happen within the next 12 months is now the highest that it has been since the last financial crisis… …President Trump is suggesting that the Federal Reserve should cut interest rates by 100 basis pointsand that the Fed should restart quantitative easing as soon as possible. Both of those moves would be considered to be “emergency measures” that should only happen if a major economic downturn was imminent. (source)
When we lose a great innovator or leader, there’s a big void that forms in all of us. This longing for what we lost causes us to become infatuated with finding “the next so and so” to fill their shoes--like the numerous players that have been called the next Michael Jordan, but haven’t lived up to the legacy.
Unfortunately, no matter how well that person can emulate their predecessor, it will never be the same. Innovation has to come from a place of hungry desire to change the world in your own way; not the way someone before you had laid out.
For this reason, innovation very often comes from the “little-guy” or “a nobody”--the person or team working out of their garage with the vision to change their industry and and the high aptitude for risk.
As companies form, take on capital, and begin growing into a large corporation, there are a lot of barriers which prevent them from taking those same risks. Whether it is a strict board of directors, poor company culture, or the fear of losing it all, established companies lack the ability to make risky, innovative moves.
In 2011, Apple lost more than Steve Jobs. They lost their unique, rebellious nature. With Steve in charge, they had a win-at-all-costs attitude, that went against business norms and the expectations of their investors and board. Similar to the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys in the late 80s, who were notorious for getting in fights during games but winning championships, Steve was set on changing the world and he didn’t care how it would get done.
One particular case is the time Steve gave Carly Fiorina and HP their own branded iPod, so that HP/Compaq computers would allow iTunes Music store to be the go to for media instead of Windows Media Player. Shortly thereafter, Apple upgraded to the next version of iPod, thus making HP’s version outdated.
With Tim Cook at the helm, we’ve seen Apple transform into a luxurious IoT jewelry store, essentially offering the world nice jewelry that connects to the internet. Tim is an operations and execution type guy. Obviously, he isn’t running Apple into the ground any time soon, being that they are the most profitable company in the US, but he doesn’t have the same rebellious attitude as Steve.
By letting systems for optimization and heavy focus on profits lead the company, a lot of the creativity dies. Instead, they are more focused on incremental improvements to their existing devices--adding a diamond here or there.
Since 2011, the iPhone’s design has changed once, the transition between 5 and 6. Yes, they’ve made it waterproof, eliminated the headphone jack, and upgraded the camera for the tenth time, but there is really no big innovation in that--just incremental improvements.
Motorola took the biggest risk, something we would’ve seen out of Jobs, with their creation of the modular phone: Moto Z. Motorola clearly beat Apple in phone innovation.
Although the Touch Bar in MacBook Pro looks promising, the entire device is far from innovative. By taking away the USB port and the SD card reader, we lose the fundamental capabilities we need to succeed.
How can Apple transition back to being the innovators?
Quite frankly, Apple’s time as the world’s foremost innovator may be over.
Steve Blank mentions in an article that as an operations-focused CEO, Tim Cook got rid of a lot of the chaos and turbulence in Apple and replaced it with process and structure. This is great for predictability (for the investors), but gives rise to the creative death spiral.
Steve Jobs knew this would happen when he appointed Tim Cook as CEO. In this video, Jobs talks about sales and marketing people taking over companies and pushing the creative, product oriented people out of the decision-making forums. He goes on to say, “As a result, the companies forget what it means to make great products.”
Realistically, they are missing the top-down mindset of creative chaos. The idea that you shouldn’t attack any problem with the same process you attacked the last problem. It’s about letting that chaos of ideas overwhelm your thoughts. Making connections between seemingly random things. And when you hit those roadblocks, controlling the situation by taking a break, trusting the chaotic approach, and not falling back into an old process.
Jobs loved to have walking meetings to hash out ideas and reclaim that creative flow.
You have a better chance at two balls colliding, by throwing a hundred of them down the stairs than you do by tossing one in the air and throwing another one at it. Innovation comes from making connections that don’t seem possible; by doubting the way something is currently done and replacing it with a new way.
These connections aren’t made through systematic processes. Innovation stems from controlled chaos. Einstein was famous for his messy desk covered in idea-filled papers...not an orderly notebook of theories.
The chaotic part of creativity can come from the influx of inspiration. Realizing the importance of external inspiration, I created Quick Theories--a brief, weekly newsletter of creative insights. So, if you feel like you can handle another stream of creative inspiration, you can sign up here: quicktheories.com
by QuHarrison Terry
just raised $100 million and is working to refinance more than $1 billion in debt. The parent of Kmart and Sears is also pursuing an additional $200 million in funding and plans to shave off $200 million in costs. If those efforts aren’t successful, says CEO Eddie Lampert, the company is willing to explore “all other options” to strengthen its balance sheet. One of numerous brick-and-mortar retailers hit by the “retailpocalypse,” Sears closed multiple stores in 2017 and announced even more just last week
Happy, committed and productive. That is how most companies would like their staff to be. But few companies would go so far as giving their workers one day off a week in order to achieve it.
That, however, was the approach of the New Zealand will writing company Perpetual Guardian. The firm has just completed an eight week trial, giving their 200 or so employees an extra day off every week, while all pay and employment conditions remained unchanged.
The results speak for themselves. Despite the reduced hours, workers were 20% more productive and much happier. Chief Executive Andrew Barnes called the experiment an "unmitigated success".
The experiment was measured by Jarrod Haar, Professor of Human Resource Management at Auckland University of Technology. He found job and life satisfaction increased on all levels, both at home and at work, with employees performing better and enjoying their jobs more than before the experiment began.
The findings were exactly as the firm’s Chief Executive Andrew Barnes had predicted. Indeed he says the decision to test the new way of working was “the right thing to do”, after looking at several global productivity reports.
The experiment has many implications, reigniting questions about productivity and a culture of long working hours, as well as the way in which part-time workers are valued and rewarded.
All hours aren’t equal
One thing that is already clear is that longer hours do not necessarily mean greater productivity.
South Korea, for example, ranks near to the bottom of OECD countries for labour productivity despite having a culture of working very long hours. Similarly, within Europe, Greece has one of the longest working weeks, but comes out bottom in the OECD’s measure of GDP per hour worked.
Japan is another example of a country where a culture of long working hours does not tally with increased productivity. Japan is now deliberately cutting down on overtime, and using tactics such as turning the lights out at the end of the working day, in order to reverse this trend.
A long day’s work
There have also been a number of trials which look at increasing productivity by shortening the working day rather than the working week.
In Sweden, for example, the government has trialled allowing workers at a retirement home to work six hour days. Although the employees reported an improved quality of life, with less stress and more time to spend with their families, it was also an expensive experiment for the local council who had to hire extra workers to make up for the shortfall in hours.
Iceland conducted a similar trial, allowing some Reykjavik city workers to reduce their working week by four or five hours. In that experiment, productivity continued at the same level, meaning costs remained the same as well. The employees also had greater work satisfaction and fewer days off sick.
These two studies suggest that it may be the nature of the work which is critical in deciding whether reducing the length of the working day is cost-effective. For shift workers such as nurses, security guards or careworkers a continual presence is needed, meaning the employer will need to find somebody else to cover the jobs.
But for office workers it may be a case of Parkinson’s law which states that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” Or to put that a slightly different way, workers will become more efficient if there is less time to complete a task.
Ironically, of course, part-time workers are often paid less than their full-time colleagues, even though many working parents will also recognize the truth that they achieve in four days what others do in five.
Part-time work can also help increase the diversity of the workforce, and is reported to be one of the reasons behind online retailer Amazon’s experiment with shorter days.
The quest for work-life balance
Helen Delaney, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School says the success of the Perpetual Guardian trial in New Zealand was down to the involvement of staff in planning the experiment.
“Employees designed a number of innovations and initiatives to work in a more productive and efficient manner, from automating manual processes to reducing or eliminating non-work-related internet usage,” she told the Guardiannewspaper.
The company’s chief executive is now going to discuss with his board whether the four-day week should be introduced permanently.
Meanwhile government policy-makers would also do well to consider the results when they are looking at how to both increase productivity and improve the nation’s work-life balance.
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/working-fewer-hours-makes-you-productive-new-zealand-trial?utm_source=Facebook Videos&utm_medium=Facebook Videos&utm_campaign=Facebook Video Blogs
I agree wholeheartedly.
By Travis Bradberry, Jan 4, 2018
Even the most likeable and well-mannered among us can still look like jerks in an email. Writing an email that comes across just like you do in person is a fine art.
During a conversation, you adjust your tone, facial expression, gestures and posture in order to fit the mood of what you’re conveying. You do this because people tend to be much more responsive to how you say things than to what you actually say.
Email strips a conversation bare. It’s efficient, but it turns otherwise easy interactions into messy misinterpretations. Without facial expressions and body posture to guide your message, people look at each word you type as an indicator of tone and mood.
Most of the mistakes people make in their emails are completely avoidable. The following list digs into these subtle mistakes and hidden blunders.
The compulsive CC And Reply All
CCing people all the time is one of the most annoying things you can do via email. I’d say it’s the most annoying, but this honor is bestowed upon the excessive “reply all.” If someone sends an email to you and a bunch of other people, do you really think every recipient needs to get another email from you saying “thanks”? They don’t, and when you do this, it sends people climbing up a wall.
The trick for knowing when to CC someone is to treat your email as if it’s an in-person meeting. The question then becomes this: “Would it be necessary or helpful to have this person come to the meeting?” If the answer is no, then don’t waste his or her time with an email. As for reply all, just don’t do it. Even if someone else in the thread replies all, you’re still annoying everyone to death when you join the fray. If you have something to say, it’s better to send this directly (and privately) to the original sender and let him or her decide if the group should know about it too.
All too often, the cause of email conflict is an imbalance between the effort in the initial email and the effort in the response to that email. When someone types up a detailed paragraph outlining important issues, they expect you to respond carefully. Sending back “Got it” or “Noted” just doesn’t do the trick. Without knowledge of your intent and tone, brief responses come across as apathetic and even sarcastic to the receiver. This is unfortunate because this is rarely the sender’s intent.
The best way to avoid being misinterpreted in a brief response is to share your intent. Even responding with “I’m a little busy but should be able to read it later this week” comes across much better than “Got it,” which a lot of people will interpret as indifference.
The “URGENT” subject line
Subject lines that say “URGENT” or “ASAP” show complete disregard for the recipient. If your email is that urgent, pick up the phone and give the person a call. Even in the rare instance when an email actually is urgent, labeling it as such in the subject line is unnecessary and sets a strong, negative tone.
The key to avoiding “URGENT” subject lines is twofold. First, if the issue is best dealt with in any form other than email, then that’s how you should be dealing with it. Second, if this is not the case, then the issue lies in your ability to create a strong subject line. After all, people check their email frequently, so as long as your subject line catches their eye, it will get the job done. Instead of labeling the email as urgent, ask yourself why the email is urgent. The answer to this question is your new subject line. If a client needs an answer today, then simply make your subject line “Client Needs Response Today.” This maintains the sense of urgency without setting a rude, desperate tone.
The Debbie downer
Sending emails that consistently tell people what they do wrong and what they shouldn’t be doing really takes a toll. Even if you are trying to offer constructive criticism, you need to avoid negativity in your emails at all costs. Since people are unable to hear your tone directly, they read into the connotations of words and create a tone in their head as they go along. Negatives become especially negative in email form.
Whenever you find yourself using negative words like “don’t,” “can’t,” “won’t” or “couldn’t,” turn them into positives. Making this change transforms the entire tone of the message. For example, instead of saying, “You can’t complete reports like this in the future,” say, “Next time you complete a report, please…” When you must deliver negative feedback, don’t do it in an email. Just hop on the telephone or walk down the hall.
It’s easy to think of email as a way to get something done quickly, but when you do this to the extreme, you come across as inhuman. You wouldn’t walk into someone’s office and hand them a report to do without acknowledging them somehow. Jumping straight into the nitty-gritty might seem like the most effective thing to do, but it leaves a lasting negative impression.
Fixing this one is simple. Just take an extra second to greet the person you’re writing to. You don’t have to ask your recipient about his or her weekend. Just a simple acknowledgment of the individual as a human being is all it takes. This keeps the tone much more respectful than it would be if you were to simply send assignments.
Bringing it all together
The trickiest thing about emailing is making certain that people perceive your message the way you intend them to. You must be socially aware to pull this off. That is, be willing to take the time to consider how things look from your recipient’s perspective before you hit “send.”
It's just as inspiring to follow a vision that resonates with us as it is to have our own. Because it’s the followers, not the visionary, who bring the vision to life. It's our responsibility to find a leader, find a company, find a vision, that we believe in and work to help build.
Walmart is raising its minimum wage to $11 and expanding benefits in the wake of US tax reform. The bump, which begins next month, comes on top of wage increases already planned. Employees will also see expanded maternity and parental leave benefits, and some eligible workers will get a one-time $1,000 bonus. Other companies — including JetBlue, Waste Management, and Bank of America — have made similar announcements since the December passage of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul.
Department store Kohl’s will join forces with grocery and convenience stores to fill empty space in its stores, CNBC reports. Roughly 300 stores have been “right-sized” over the past few years, meaning they were made operationally smaller. Kohl hopes bringing in grocers or other retailers could generate more foot traffic. It would also help it compete against the likes of Target and Walmart.
Orwell’s 1984 is becoming ever more fact than fiction. An increasing number of companies are using devices to track their employees’ movements and conversations. The Financial Times’ Pilita Clark met with Ben Waber, chief executive of Humanyze, which claims it can boost company revenue by tracking what employees actually do all day. Waber’s devices hang around people’s necks and feature microphones and sensors, which clock where they are and who they’re talking to (although not what they’re saying). But that’s not the strangest employee-tracking gadget Clark’s come across. “Other companies are developing smart office chairs that know if you are sitting on them … which adds a whole new meaning to the idea of the bottom line.”
Italy's ancient city of Pompeii has opened three restored buildings.…
We’re suckers for that classic fantasy of the American dream. White picket fence, an immaculate lawn that resembles the outfield at Fenway Park…and most of all, a house to call your own.
But the GOP’s tax plan tosses that dream a curveball by decreasing the amount by which you can take the mortgage interest deduction.
“That means nothing to me”—you
Not yet, it doesn’t. But hear us out.
For over a century, the U.S. allowed its citizens to write-off the interest you pay on a mortgage from your taxable income. Let’s take a closer look at how this works (warning—some math lies ahead):
After a down payment, you took out a loan on a stunning 3 BR in Iowa City for $400,000 at a 5% interest rate. So, you’ll be paying *crunches numbers in head* $20,000 a year in interest. Pretty steep, but the neighborhood does have a jivamukti yoga studio.
You’ve also got a solid job writing emails for about $70,000 a year. What this tax break allows you to do is subtract the $20k in interest from that income.
When all is said and done, you save $5,000 a year in taxes just for owning a home.
Enough math for one morning, back to the tax bill
The existing U.S. laws permit you to deduct interest from the first $1 million of your mortgage. Now, that’ll be lowered to $750,000. And since the new bill doubles the standard deduction (a lump sum), you might choose to go that route instead of itemizing each deduction individually (the only way you can take the mortgage interest deduction).
It’s enough of a change that Zillow estimates the deduction makes sense for only 14.4% of U.S. homes, a steep drop from 44% currently.
Which is pretty upsetting to the real estate community. The National Association of Realtors warns that house prices will sag under slack demand for expensive houses, and a study backs them up: under the new policy, home prices will decrease 4% by mid-2019...and up to 10% in the most expensive markets.
After all, convincing someone to buy a house (a big one, in this case) is a lot easier if you can put more cash back into her pocket.