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Business Have Been Practicing Social Responsibility For Decades, But Is That Really A Good Thing?

The jury is out on whether corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs will one day make the world a better place. But this much is pretty clear: They’re already benefiting the companies that have implemented them. And in some unexpected ways.

Specifically, CSR has become the weapon of choice for what is known as, in corporate speak, the three R’s: Investor Relations, Human Resources, and Public Relations.

But before we dive into details, a CSR mini-lesson is in order. First off, CSR isn’t an overnight sensation. Over the past couple of decades, companies have been embracing the idea that they need to do more than just make a profit for shareholders. Do-good efforts slowly evolved from passive and limited corporate philanthropy programs—giving to the United Way, for example—to broader and more active CSR programs. Those would take on major social issues like Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women program, which in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (World Bank) has delivered $1.45 billion in loans to women-owned businesses in developing countries.

Now, they have evolved even more. Many companies are now incorporating impact-on-society considerations into core business activities. For example, Starbucks only uses “ethically-sourced coffee.” Programs like these are often focused on “sustainability.” In August, 181 CEOs of the country’s largest corporations signed a Business Roundtable statement committing to managing their companies not just for shareholders, but also for customers, employees, suppliers, and communities.

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Photo Illustration by Ryan Olbrysh for Newsweek; Getty 9; Buzz Courtesy of General Mills, Cesars Courtesy of Caesars Entertainment

The idea behind all of these efforts is the well-worn slogan “doing well by doing good,” which means that being a positive force in the community will enhance a company’s reputation, which in theory will pay off in more sales, lower costs and over the long term, more money for shareholders.

Can you even measure something like this? Stephen Hahn-Griffiths, chief reputation officer of the Reputation Institute in Boston, says you can. He reels off a string of statistics, like “40% of the reputation of a company is related to corporate responsibility” and says his organization’s research proves that reputation is a leading indicator of stock market capitalization, or the total value of a company’s shares. In other words, he adds, “CSR has a multiplier effect” when it comes to a company’s value. But CSR can be risky. And take a little guts.

According to analysts, CVS’s 2014 decision to stop selling tobacco products cost it $2 billion a year in sales and caused the stock price to drop. (Investors took a $1.43 billion hit that year according to Martin Anderson of UNC Greensboro.) In 2010, Campbell Soup announced it was reducing the salt levels in many of its soups, a decision they reversed the following year when sales fell by 32%.

Meanwhile, in 2018, Dick’s Sporting Goods stopped selling assault rifles. On a panel at this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, CEO Ed Stack said that decision cost them customers and employees. He notes that many of the customers who applauded the decision at the time seem to have forgotten, but those who were in opposition have not. “Love is fleeting,” he says. “But hate is forever.”

But many companies feel the do-gooder dividend outweighs the risks, both in relations with consumers and in day-to-day operations.

Brad McLane, who recruits high-level positions at RSR Partners, says, “Companies aren’t doing it just to say they have it. My clients are incorporating it into how they do business—what ingredients they use, where they source, how they design products.” Megan Kashner, clinical professor at the Kellogg School of Management’s Public-Private Interface agrees. She’s says that we’ve moved from “greenwashing programs that mimic CSR” to an era of “authentic CSR.” Greenwashing is the practice of making misleading claims that make a company appear more environmentally or socially conscious than it is, for example, when BP began touting itself as being environmentally conscious through a $200 million public relations campaign, only to have a string of environmental disasters—some of which, according to a government report, were caused by corporate cost-cutting to boost profits.

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BP is the subject of protests by Greenpeace activists over oil drilling in the North Sea. Christian Charisius/picture alliance/Getty

Simon Lowden, Pepsico chief sustainability officer, says, “It’s woven into how we operate as a business. For instance, we need to maintain our license to operate in water-stressed regions, so we’d better focus on being responsible stewards of water. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s important to our business.”

CSR is particularly useful in human resources. Rebecca M. Henderson, holds the John and Natty McArthur Chair at Harvard and is finishing a book on this topic, Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire. She says: “CSR has a tremendous impact on the morale of employees. Authentic purpose, which may mean occasionally sacrificing profits, accesses a whole range of emotions difficult to get at otherwise, like trust and engagement.”

In other words, it gets through. And that is a good thing. It leads to higher levels of productivity and employee retention.

CSR can also be a big factor in recruiting, particularly for younger employees, says Eric Johnson, executive director of graduate career services at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He says, “Social impact is a big piece of the recruiting process. Probably 50 percent of that initial conversation is about what the company is doing to make the world better.”

“Beer companies used to talk about fun and sports. Now they talk about their programs to save water in the world. Social impact can tip the scales. Is a student going to choose an $85,000-a-year job over a $125,000 job because of social impact? I doubt it. But my observation is that jobs heavy in social impact often pay up to 10 percent less than comparable jobs that don’t.”

Professor Kashner adds, “These newly minted MBAs care and they care about the type of work they’re going to be doing. Maybe previous generations drew a line between work and personal life and values, but those boundaries no longer exist.” Korn Ferry, the giant executive recruiting firm, recently surveyed the professionals in its network. “Company mission and values” was the No. 1 reason (33 percent ) they’d choose to work for one company over another.

CSR is increasingly part of the conversation with individual shareholders and investors, like the world’s largest investment firm, BlackRock, which manages $6.5 trillion dollars for its clients. In his last two annual letters, CEO Larry Fink has called on companies to do more and said that BlackRock will evaluate companies on more than just financial numbers. His 2018 letter said, “As divisions continue to deepen, companies must demonstrate their commitment to the countries, regions, and communities where they operate, particularly on issues central to the world’s future prosperity.” Many investment firms now have someone in charge of building portfolios around companies based on their performance on Environmental, Social and Governance or ESG. (Measuring which companies are woke is an industry in and of itself.)

One aggregator of ESG ratings, CSRhub.com, lists 634 data sources. They range from the very broad (for example, Alex’s Guide to Compassionate Shopping) to the very specific (for example, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety).

For public relations, CSR is both an offensive and a defensive weapon. CSR can be used to pre-empt the conversation in areas where companies have been criticized. Procter & Gamble’s “Ambition 2030 program is heavy on recycling and biodegradability.

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A 50-foot cigarette is “snuffed out” by CVS in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty

But CSR can also be a useful defense. It not only builds up a stock of goodwill with the media and the public, but it generates good news that crowds out the bad. Large corporations are going to get a certain amount of press and awkward questions each day—better that press and those questions be about CSR than, say, worker safety or GMOs. For example, in 2018 when Johnson & Johnson was accused of knowingly selling baby powder with harmful levels of asbestos, Harvard professor Bill George wrote a stirring defense of the company, focusing not on the merits of the claim, but on J&J’s “Our Credo,” a commitment to integrity and customers written in 1943 (and likely the first CSR document ever produced.)

Still, not everyone is convinced. There are many who adhere to the late economist Milton Friedman’s argument that the sole purpose of the corporation is to make more money for shareholders, who can then choose for themselves whether or not they want to save the world.

Judith Samuelson, vice president of Aspen Institute and founder of their Business and Society Program, who’s worked with many of the companies currently leading the way in CSR, says, “The shareholder primacy viewpoint hasn’t gone away. And even if attitudes have changed, measures haven’t. Many executives, including CEO’s, are still paid in stock, and those who manage portfolios for institutional investors are still bonused on the value of those portfolios.”

Samuelson worries that “Companies may think these (current) programs are enough and not make fundamental change.” Kashner is more optimistic. She cites work that says large public companies are increasingly incorporating CSR metrics into executive compensation contracts.

Those who oppose CSR programs argue that trying to do two things at once, like making a profit and serving society, will destroy the effectiveness of companies.

Samuelson scoffs at this. “Of course companies can do more than one thing. Public companies have to manage multiple objectives all the time. No public company in the world would last a week if the only people they cared about were shareholders. What about customers? Employees?”

She believes that CSR really boils down to responsible decision making, doing what it takes for companies to succeed in the long term. Whatever, CSR is here to stay. It’s become part of the fabric of investing, company operations, and business school curricula.

It’s now being tracked and measured, and in business, what gets measured gets done.

By

Source: Business Have Been Practicing Social Responsibility For Decades, But Is That Really A Good Thing?

22M subscribers
Alex Edmans talks about the long-term impacts of social responsibility and challenges the idea that caring for society is at the expense of profit. Alex is a Professor of Finance at London Business School. Alex graduated top of his class from Oxford University and then worked for Morgan Stanley in investment banking (London) and fixed income sales and trading (NYC). After a PhD in Finance from MIT Sloan as a Fulbright Scholar, he joined Wharton, where he was granted tenure and won 14 teaching awards in six years. Alex’s research interests are in corporate finance, behavioural finance, CSR, and practical investment strategies. He has been awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Socially Responsible Investing and the FIR-PRI prize for Finance and Sustainability, and was named a Rising Star of Corporate Governance by Yale University. Alex co-led a session at the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, and runs a blog, “Access to Finance” (www.alexedmans.blogspot.com), that aims to make complex finance topics accessible to a general audience. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx

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These Married Co-Founders Poured Their Life Savings Into Their Company. Then a Mistake Almost Cost Them Everything

In 2017 Farzan Dehmoubed, a marketer, and his wife Jennifer, a schoolteacher, created the Lotus Trolley Bag, a set of washable bags with attached rods that can be hung inside a shopping cart. The bags, with features like secure pockets for egg cartons and wine bottles and an insulated pocket for frozen foods, quickly became the top-selling reusable bag on Amazon, and are now sold in stores like Wegman’s, Albertson’s, Kroger, and TJ Maxx. But getting to that point required overcoming a mishap that nearly sunk their startup. –As told to Kevin J. Ryan

We invested $45,000 into our first inventory. It sold out in 10 days. We were really excited. We called up our manufacturer and placed another order. We wired them $50,000–everything we made on the first batch and more.

Six weeks later a big container arrived. We had our friends and family help us unload it. We opened up the boxes and looked at the product, and it was nothing like the first set of bags. It looked the same from a distance, but when you actually looked at the stitching and the quality of the printing and the logo, it was not what we had ordered. My wife and I looked at each other and said, “This can’t be real.”

I remember thinking to myself, ‘We can fix this, maybe it’s just some loose thread.’ But it wasn’t salvageable. We placed a complaint with the manufacturer, even though we knew it wouldn’t go anywhere, since we were just a family business with very little leverage. We later learned it had outsourced the order to save pennies on the dollar.

We decided pretty quickly we couldn’t sell the bags. We didn’t feel comfortable putting our name on them. That meant we would have to take the $50,000 loss. I don’t think Jenn and I talked for the rest of the day. It took a day or two to absorb the shock. 

Even though the manufacturer promised us they would do better the next time around, we weren’t going to be fooled twice. I flew to multiple manufacturers in Vietnam until we found a new one we were happy with. We hired a third-party quality check company. When the goods were ready to ship, they would go in and do an audit: open up each box and check them, and send us videos. We kicked ourselves for not doing that in the first place.

We placed a new $50,000 order, which required emptying our life savings and practically maxing out our credit cards. It was two months before the new inventory came. We were pretty upfront with our customers during that time. We told them very frankly: The bags didn’t come out the way we ordered them, the shipment is going to be delayed, and we really thank you for your patience.

I think letting your customers know you’re just like them, and that you’re just trying to provide a product that they’ll be happy with, goes a long way. People related to us. They were very understanding.

We still had a lot of orders canceled though, and we gave discounts to customers who had been patient. We were nervous when the new container came–if the product was bad, we would have lost everything. But it was exactly what we’d ordered. We sold out almost right away. Because of the discounts, we didn’t make much money at all on that order, but we had our reputation.

Not putting that product on the market was one of the best decisions we ever made. If we had, I can guarantee you we wouldn’t be where we are right now. It would have killed our reviews. It would have ruined our brand.

We now have a 4.6-star rating on Amazon with more than 700 five-star reviews. We’re on pace for $3 million in sales this year. We just launched our second product, a reusable produce bag, and those same early consumers are buying it.

As a business owner, you have to make your decisions for the long-term. For us to take that financial hit was scary, but we had bigger goals in mind. We got through it. And we made a lot of loyal fans in the process.

By Kevin J. RyanStaff writer, Inc.

Source: These Married Co-Founders Poured Their Life Savings Into Their Company. Then a Mistake Almost Cost Them Everything

7.98K subscribers
Every business has risk associated with it. In this video Mr. Ashok Ajmera in very simple words talks about various kind of risks and how to manage them which can be very useful in any business.

How to Show Your Customers That Small Business Saturday Isn’t the Only Time to Shop Local

Who has time to shop small?

I’m the president of a company, a wife, a mother, and an active member of my community. I get stressed out just thinking about the commitment it takes to go to stores in my small town and shop. Truth be told, I don’t have time to do much purchasing that can’t happen on a flight or after I’ve put the kids to bed — even for groceries. If that’s the case for me, I know that it’s the same deal for your potential customers. That’s why, as business owners, it’s important to educate the community about shopping local.

I live in Sonoma County, where the Kincade fire recently devastated the region. Local businesses have been hit especially hard by the fires themselves and by PG&E power outages. The last time I was at the grocery store, it occurred to me that I shouldn’t be buying strawberries from seven states away or a different country. I need to put my money where my mouth is and shop local businesses. I love farmers’ markets, but struggle to make time to get there. I still have to buy groceries, so I’ve switched from my nearby Safeway to a store that sources food only from within Sonoma County called Oliver’s Market.

That’s just one way that I’ve found that I can give a boost to small businesses without going out of my way. In honor of Small Business Saturday, here are others ideas for how to help your area entrepreneurs this holiday season.

Challenge customers to eat local for Thanksgiving and other meals.

I already talked about how I’m doing this every day, but even confirmed local diners sometimes find it challenging for the big events.Your job is to convince your customers that it’s worth the effort.

Do you have a cracker company that would be perfect for a celebratory cheese plate? Consider partnering with a local dairy to get the word out. Whether you’re a turkey farm, are smoking up the best hams in town, or have a small business selling tamales to add variety to shoppers’ holiday tables, your community needs your flavors right now.

Dessert is easy. There are plenty of people looking for local bakeries ready to fill up a flaky crust with pecans or chocolate cream. Being mindful of where your food comes from isn’t just good for local business people, either. It’s better for the environment (bye-bye food miles) and is likely to be healthier, too.

Buy from small businesses on Amazon.

Most of us think of Amazon as the big, bad brother. I mean, it’s been accused of being a monopoly. You can’t get any further away from being a small business. But in reality, there’s more to it than that.

Amazon Sellers are small-business people. They are just using the biggest platform they can to get their products to the masses and I respect that. One user I know is Crystal Swain-Bates, whose excellent line of children’s books ensure black children are highlighted throughout stories. Goldest Karat Publishing made her an Amazon featured seller. For the holidays, I especially love Amazon Handmade, a community just for artisans to sell their handcrafted wares.

But I promise this isn’t just an ad for Amazon. I also love Etsy. You can search it by location so you can specifically choose gifts made by someone in your community. I’m always surprised by all the cool handiwork my neighbors are presenting.

Make time to go analog.

Yes, I know I said I’m too busy to shop downtown, but I can make an exception a few times a year. Heading to Main Street has many advantages. If your business is brick-and-mortar, congratulations. If not, it might be high time to get involved in a holiday market or two.

Connect with real, live people with whom you can have lasting relationships for years to come. As you get to know their likes and dislikes, you’ll help them learn to shop smarter — and with you.

Look at your own company.

OK, you’re not buying your business a Christmas present, but when it comes to shopping for yourself and your team’s daily needs, you can keep small and local in mind. For example, at my company, we use a local business for many of our printing needs. It’s harder than going to Office Depot, but well worth it. In our Houston division, we just moved offices, and we’ve made it a point to work with local designers to get everything on point.

Whether it’s candies or technology, we try to shop among the people who need us most. In my experience, that’s how you find the best gifts of all, just shop small.

By Elizabeth GorePresident and chairwoman, HelloAlice.com

Source: How to Show Your Customers That Small Business Saturday Isn’t the Only Time to Shop Local

Script: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. Absolutely crucial. Vital. They make it unique and they make you happy to live where you live. It brings a little flair to the towns that we have. On November 26th, you can make a huge impact by shopping small on Small Business Saturday. One purchase. One purchase is all it takes. Pledge to shop small on Small Business Saturday. It will help support your community. And that is a big deal. It’s pretty big. So, pick your favorite local business and join the movement. I pledge to shop small: at Big Top Candy Shop; at Juno Baby Store; Allen’s Boots; Sammy’s Camera. You don’t have to buy the whole store. Make the pledge to shop small. Pleeeease. On Small Business Saturday. [SHOP SMALL] [SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY – NOV. 26] [American Express – founding partner]

Your Bank Could Be Holding Your Business Back From Growth. Here’s When You Should Consider Breaking Up

The bankers you work with may seem like great men and women, and they probably are truly nice people. They greet you by name, ask about your spouse and kids and appear to take a real interest in how well your enterprise is doing. Their financial products may be meeting your needs to a T.

But how strongly do you feel about your relationship with your bank? How do you think they’ll cooperate with you when the stuff hits the fan — which it most certainly will at some point? That’s the real test.

True colors

Here’s a true-life example: I’ve been working with an entrepreneur who finds himself in a down cycle. The company’s business plan is sound, the management team is experienced, and the product remains viable, so the problem isn’t terminal. But it may be awhile before the company’s prospects brighten.

The company works with a popular bank, which is starting to get nervous about its loans and is considering adding demanding conditions or even calling the loans.

The entrepreneur, however, feels a sense of loyalty to the bank, which has worked with him for several years. I have counseled him to consider other options. The reality is that bankers seven states away that he’s never met, not his local team — are the ones making the decisions.

He’s holding fast– and that’s a big mistake.

The entrepreneur has the opportunity to move to a smaller, regional bank. That bank’s rates may be slightly higher, but they’re more interested in a relationship.

And there’s certainly value in being in the room with the actual decision-makers — for both sides. Yes, your financials are going to be the primary determinant in lending decisions, but the human element can sway an on-the-fence lender to your team. Meantime, you’ll be able to tell a lot about the banker by meeting in person. Sometimes, it’s okay to trust your gut.

Loyalty only takes you so far

I get why entrepreneurs are loyal to bankers that have brought them success, but passing up the opportunity for a better financial situation is a kin to resting on your laurels.

As an entrepreneur, your best chances for success are by finding every possible edge you can. Incremental gains add up nicely over time, you should be taking advantage of them.

As for your spurned banker — they will get over it. Yes, that’s cynical, but that’s the way the business world works, especially with the larger banks. Remember also that your financial needs are a living, changing thing. What worked for you at one point may not be the most appropriate thing for you now.

The most successful entrepreneurs and companies are never satisfied with the status quo. Neither should you.

By: Ami Kassar CEO, MultiFunding.com

Source: Your Bank Could Be Holding Your Business Back From Growth. Here’s When You Should Consider Breaking Up

38K subscribers
Are you struggling in your business? Does each month feel like it’s a mad dash to figure out who’s going to get paid? I want to teach you what I do to turn around businesses to make them profitable again. Are you an entrepreneur? Get free weekly video training here: http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter + Join me on FB: http://FB.com/DanMartell + Connect w/ me live: http://periscope.tv/danmartell + Tweet me: http://twitter.com/danmartell + Instagram awesomeness: http://instagram.com/danmartell I’m the guy that gets the call when a business is in trouble… … when a business is on the verge of bankruptcy. Friends call me. Banks call me. If I’m lucky, the entrepreneur calls me before it’s too late. The truth is, it’s always challenging for me to see another entrepreneur failing… … especially when they have major debt owed, personal guarantees and their biggest dreams hanging in the air as collateral. It’s even more heartbreaking when kids are involved. It crushes me inside. That being said, the game plan to turn things around is ALWAYS the same. The #1 thing it takes is uncomfortable discussions, honest assessments and quick decisions. Hard? You have no idea. However, staring at the light waiting for the train to hit you isn’t the right move either. Recently I was able to take a company losing tens of thousands each month, to profitable in 14 days. In this week’s video I provide a step by step process for getting you off the tracks, and pulling a sharp 180 regardless of the challenges you’re facing. When it comes to the steps and process they go like this: 1) Get clarity on the numbers (scary as hell, but necessary) 2) Test the business model 3) Cut deep but not the bone 4) Focus on the customers 5) Write the rules 6) Build it back up The truth is, this strategy is something most companies should use to evaluate their real success. Too many times I’ve had founders tell me their business is doing “GREAT” only to ask a few questions and have them realize they’re way below the market norm. Stop being romantic about your business and get serious about how you’re measuring your progress. Leave a comment below with your business, industry and top question you have about your business model or challenges and I’ll be sure to provide some insights to help you evaluate your progress! Dan “saving businesses daily” Martell Don’t forget to share this entrepreneurial advice with your friends, so they can learn too: https://youtu.be/JyfE6jzcOGI ===================== ABOUT DAN MARTELL ===================== “You can only keep what you give away.” That’s the mantra that’s shaped Dan Martell from a struggling 20-something business owner in the Canadian Maritimes (which is waaay out east) to a successful startup founder who’s raised more than $3 million in venture funding and exited not one… not two… but three tech businesses: Clarity.fm, Spheric and Flowtown. You can only keep what you give away. That philosophy has led Dan to invest in 33+ early stage startups such as Udemy, Intercom, Unbounce and Foodspotting. It’s also helped him shape the future of Hootsuite as an advisor to the social media tour de force. An activator, a tech geek, an adrenaline junkie and, yes, a romantic (ask his wife Renee), Dan has recently turned his attention to teaching startups a fundamental, little-discussed lesson that directly impacts their growth: how to scale. You’ll find not only incredible insights in every moment of every talk Dan gives – but also highly actionable takeaways that will propel your business forward. Because Dan gives freely of all that he knows. After all, you can only keep what you give away. Get free training videos, invites to private events, and cutting edge business strategies: http://www.danmartell.com/newsletter

Billionaire Investor Peter Thiel Is Doubling Down On Bitcoin – Here’s Why

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors have been struggling this year to both justify past crypto investments and make new ones.

The bitcoin price, under pressure from the likes of Facebook’s libra project and the ever-present threat of a regulatory crackdown, soared in the first six months of the year only to fall back again.

Some investors have not been put off by bitcoin’s roller-coaster year, however, with billionaire PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel among new backers of Layer1, a renewable energy-focused bitcoin mining operation based in San Francisco.

This week, Layer1 revealed it has raised $50 million at a $200 million valuation from Thiel, Shasta Ventures and other undisclosed bitcoin and cryptocurrency investors, adding to a previous $2.1 million seed round that included Thiel, as well as venture capital company Digital Currency Group.

Layer1 is aiming to challenge the perceived wisdom that bitcoin mining the in the U.S. will not be able to compete with regions such as China, where some 60% of bitcoin mining operations are currently located, with some research suggesting that number could be even higher.

Layer1, which has pivoted to renewable energy bitcoin mining from a previous focus on the development of programmable money and store-of-value applications, wants to bring wind-powered bitcoin mining rigs to West Texas by early next year.

“According to industry research, over 60% of bitcoin’s hash rate and 100% of bitcoin hardware production are located in China,” Layer1’s cofounder and chief executive Alexander Liegl wrote in a blog post announcing the fresh funding.

“Less than 5% of bitcoin’s hashrate and 0% of hardware production are located in the United States.”

China dominates not only bitcoin mining but also the manufacture of computer chips and other equipment needed for the process.

Bitcoin mining uses huge amounts of electricity to both fuel the powerful computers required and keep them cool, making hotter climates in developed nations less appealing.

“The future of bitcoin mining lies in the heart of the United States: Texas,” Liegl wrote.

“This is where world-class electricity prices, friendly regulation, and an abundance of renewable energy sources meet. It is here that we are rapidly scaling our mining operations to bring as much hash rate as possible back to the United States.”

Layer1 has been buying up land in Texas to build its own electricity substations and is creating its own processing chips with a Beijing-based semiconductor company as it puts together its mining machine infrastructure.

Renewable energy bitcoin mining is being used by others around the world, with Germany-listed Northern Bitcoin mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies deep within a Norwegian former metal mine using hydroelectric power and natural cooling.

However, there have been previous failed attempts to bring large-scale bitcoin mining to North America.

Earlier this month, Virginia-based bitcoin mining firm BCause Mining filed for bankruptcy after pledging to invest $65 million in to its U.S. business in 2018.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

 

Source: Billionaire Investor Peter Thiel Is Doubling Down On Bitcoin—Here’s Why

193K subscribers
Recorded on September 5, 2019. Peter Robinson opens the show by asking Thiel’s views on his own essay “The Straussian Moment.” (Essay link: https://www.evernote.com/shard/s542/c… responds by saying that people today believe in the power of the will but no longer trust the power of the intellect, the mind, and rationality. The question of human nature has been abandoned. We no longer trust people’s ability to think through issues. Thiel notes that this shift began to take place in 1969, when the United States put a man on the moon; three weeks later Woodstock took place, moving the culture in the direction of yoga and psychological retreat. Thiel further adds that there was still hope that things would open up for the world in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed, but that the leaders of China and other East Asian countries did not accept that openness would solve their problems. Instead they learned the opposite lessons from those events: that if you open things up too much, then things fall apart. Thiel ends the interview by noting that there is nothing automatic or deterministic about how history happens, and he expresses his views that economic growth plays a vital role in a country’s future. For further information: https://www.hoover.org/publications/u… Interested in exclusive Uncommon Knowledge content? Check out Uncommon Knowledge on social media! Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UncKnowledge/ Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/UncKnowledge/ Instagram: https://instagram.com/uncommon_knowle…

Why Attitude Is More Important Than IQ

When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude). Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.

Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed. People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

uncaptionedCommon sense would suggest that having ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is easy. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms. According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with the growth mindset this way,

“Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’” Regardless of which side of the chart you fall on, you can make changes and develop a growth mindset. What follows are some strategies that will fine-tune your mindset and help you make certain it’s as growth oriented as possible.

Don’t stay helpless. We all hit moments when we feel helpless. The test is how we react to that feeling. We can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag us down. There are countless successful people who would have never made it if they had succumbed to feelings of helplessness: Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas,” Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a TV anchor in Baltimore for being “too emotionally invested in her stories,” Henry Ford had two failed car companies prior to succeeding with Ford, and Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC’s Cinematic Arts School multiple times.

Imagine what would have happened if any of these people had a fixed mindset. They would have succumbed to the rejection and given up hope. People with a growth mindset don’t feel helpless because they know that in order to be successful, you need to be willing to fail hard and then bounce right back.

Be passionate. Empowered people pursue their passions relentlessly. There’s always going to be someone who’s more naturally talented than you are, but what you lack in talent, you can make up for in passion. Empowered people’s passion is what drives their unrelenting pursuit of excellence. Warren Buffett recommends finding your truest passions using, what he calls, the 5/25 technique: Write down the 25 things that you care about the most. Then, cross out the bottom 20. The remaining 5 are your true passions. Everything else is merely a distraction.

Take action. It’s not that people with a growth mindset are able to overcome their fears because they are braver than the rest of us; it’s just that they know fear and anxiety are paralyzing emotions and that the best way to overcome this paralysis is to take action. People with a growth mindset are empowered, and empowered people know that there’s no such thing as a truly perfect moment to move forward. So why wait for one? Taking action turns all your worry and concern about failure into positive, focused energy.

Then go the extra mile (or two). Empowered people give it their all, even on their worst days. They’re always pushing themselves to go the extra mile. One of Bruce Lee’s pupils ran three miles every day with him. One day, they were about to hit the three-mile mark when Bruce said, “Let’s do two more.” His pupil was tired and said, “I’ll die if I run two more.” Bruce’s response? “Then do it.” His pupil became so angry that he finished the full five miles.

Exhausted and furious, he confronted Bruce about his comment, and Bruce explained it this way: “Quit and you might as well be dead. If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there; you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

If you aren’t getting a little bit better each day, then you’re most likely getting a little worse—and what kind of life is that?

Expect results. People with a growth mindset know that they’re going to fail from time to time, but they never let that keep them from expecting results. Expecting results keeps you motivated and feeds the cycle of empowerment. After all, if you don’t think you’re going to succeed, then why bother?

Be flexible. Everyone encounters unanticipated adversity. People with an empowered, growth-oriented mindset embrace adversity as a means for improvement, as opposed to something that holds them back. When an unexpected situation challenges an empowered person, they flex until they get results.

Don’t complain when things don’t go your way. Complaining is an obvious sign of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset looks for opportunity in everything, so there’s no room for complaints.

Bringing It All Together

By keeping track of how you respond to the little things, you can work every day to keep yourself on the right side of the chart above.

Do you have a growth mindset? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am the author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart, a consultancy that serves more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies and is the world’s leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training (www.TalentSmart.com). My books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. I’ve written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review. I’m a world-renowned expert in emotional intelligence who speaks regularly in corporate and public settings. Example engagements include Intel, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Fortune Brands, the Fortune Growth Summit, The Conference Board: Learning from Legends, and Excellence in Government. I hold a dual Ph.D. in clinical and industrial-organizational psychology. I received my bachelor of science in clinical psychology from the University of California – San Diego.

Source: Why Attitude Is More Important Than IQ

The Business Case for Positive Company Culture

Carin Taylor, chief diversity officer at Workday, shared some of the results during a Business Leader Forum at the most recent Workday Rising. Nearly 40 percent of all respondents indicated that unfairness or mistreatment played a major role in their decision to leave a company; 30 percent of women of color felt they had been passed up for a promotion; and a large percentage of Asian and Caucasian men and women felt they were treated unfairly by leadership and management…………

Source: The Business Case for Positive Company Culture

4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing Tech for Your Business – Jonathan Herrick

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Technology is often thought of as the antidote to business woes. Once you get the right tech in place, the thinking goes, you’ll start doing whatever it is you do much faster, better and more efficiently. The thing about technology, though, is that new advancements hit the market daily.

Just think about how much artificial intelligence has advanced in a very short period of time. We went from Microsoft’s now-iconic Clippy to Google unveiling a chatbot with humanlike tendencies, Apple releasing an augmented reality upgrade to counter smartphone addiction and researchers from Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania developing an autonomous robot that can complete high-level tasks by sensing its surroundings.

Innovations such as these aren’t just fueling competition in the tech industry. They’ve made many companies question their relevance. Some would argue that they’ve led to a full-blown fear of missing out on the latest tech.

So not only are the options near endless (Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen estimates that upward of 30,000 products launch each year), but the pressure can also be so strong that you might invest in a solution that isn’t a great fit. And when you’re lacking the underlying strategy that ensures technology adds value, you have no real way to tell whether it was worth the investment at all.

An ounce of cure?

Even when you do pull the trigger on tech, the right choice may not stabilize the business like you thought it would. Sure, chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service, even using a caller’s preferences and past order history to inform interactions. But if you often have to engage in complicated, nuanced conversations with your customers, a chatbot probably won’t be able to deliver.

Similarly, smart devices can provide companies with real-time data. If you were to install sensors in your brick-and-mortar store, for instance, you could track customer traffic patterns to determine the best locations to place displays. But at the same time, employing them opens you up to risk. Should sensitive information in your system fall prey to hackers, you could be looking at a class-action lawsuit.

All that’s to say: If you’re going to chase technology, you must ensure that it’s not only a good fit for your business needs, but also that you fully understand the risks and rewards. This, then, leads to the question: How do you choose and use tech advancements to move your startup forward? The following tips are a good place to start:

1. Go full Sherlock on the competition.

Competitive analyses have been around for decades, but even still, few companies widen the scope beyond potential threats, barriers and vulnerabilities. If you already monitor rivals, why not see what technology they’re leveraging? AI has a way of making all things equal and allows a startup to go head-to-head with its Moriarty. Besides, more than 50 percent of business and tech professionals are considering implementing AI, according to Forrester Research. But again, invest only in technology that fills a hole or makes business sense.

2. Seek validation from your VIPs.

You know your customers. Most marketing, communication and product development decisions are already based on what appeals to them. But these customer insights can also help prioritize your technology needs and shed light on where to improve the user experience.

For instance, statistics from Kik reveal that chatbots have a fairly limited audience, with 60 percent of users being in their teens and the majority (81 percent) living in the United States. So if you speak to an older audience, chatbots might not be the best fit. Think long and hard about your product and audience before investing in any technology.

3. Make your money matter.

Choosing tech is like any other business decision: You need to do your due diligence. Yet research from the Queensland University of Technology published in The Conversation has shown company leaders often make poor decisions when it comes to technology because they don’t accurately weigh the benefits with the costs. You’ll be bound to your investment — and it’ll be an investment — for years to come. So consider what you gain by choosing one thing over another. Will it free up time to focus on other priorities? Or is it just a novelty with a short shelf life?

4. Don’t assume your job is finished after implementation.

Many advanced technologies require more than a financial investment; they demand your time. You can’t rely on technology to take over completely. When machines are left to generate tailored messaging from customer data, for example, there’s definitely room for error. Remember when Microsoft’s AI chatbot set off a racist tweet storm?

To avoid such a mistake, you must add a human component to all interactions and constantly do A/B tests to determine the best options. According to the previously mentioned research from the Queensland University of Technology in The Conversation, businesses grow when technology and human capabilities come together to meet consumer needs.

Trying to be on the cutting edge of technology is a great ambition for any business — big or small. But as you sleuth out your options, make sure to spend some time actually evaluating whether this tech will move your company forward.

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