Tag Archive: Forbes


I’d like to warn the best of them, the iconoclasts, the innovators, the rebels, that they will always have a bull’s-eye on their backs. The better they get, the bigger the bull’s-eye. It’s not one man’s opinion; it’s a law of nature.” – Nike founder Phil Knight

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena …” – President Teddy Roosevelt

There are no statues devoted to critics.

Our increasingly complex data-driven society is overloaded with analysts, reviewers, chroniclers, interpreters – creating nothing of meaningful value – but they are always quick to cast stones at those who try to make the world a better place.

As Phil Knight said in his New York Times best seller Shoe Dog, “Entrepreneurs have always been outgunned, outnumbered.”

A perfect example – not the first one and certainly not the last – is the use of a series of infographics to depict an engineering/entrepreneur who tried and tried and succeeded brilliantly, but is portrayed by his failures.

A May 26 MarketWatch piece by Sally French includes a five-part infographic, which catalogs a litany of failures by Tesla co-founder, SpaceX founder, SolarCity co-founder and PayPal co-founder Elon Musk.

When asked to describe himself by Steve Croft of CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Musk responded that he regarded himself simply as an engineer. Almost DailyBrett has worked with engineers for years, attempting to transform their anal exactitude, never-ending acronyms and nomenclature into plain English.

What characterizes engineers is their willingness, their compulsion to throw ideas at the wall. Some will stick, and others … oh well.

Elon Musk is not afraid to fail. He is more scared by the prospect of not even trying.

Alas, Musk is human. Five of his SpaceX rockets blew up. He was ousted from PayPal on his honeymoon. He made $180 million from his stake in PayPal. He invested this money and presumably much more in SpaceX and Tesla, both were hemorrhaging cash. He was not only broke, but in way-over-his-head debt in 2008.

Today, Musk is Forbes’ #80 wealthiest individual on the planet with an estimated worth of $13.9 billion. His Tesla is the pure-play leader in energy-efficient electric cars, ion-Lithium batteries and solar. Is Tesla an electric car company that helps combat climate change? An energy company that shuns fossil fuels? Or is it, Elon Musk’s company?

How about all of the above? To most investors, the answer would be third … Tesla is Elon Musk’s company … and there may lie the reason for the MarketWatch infographics, illustrating Musk’s failures. Schadenfreude has never felt so good or gut.

A similar set of questions can be asked about Musk’s SpaceX, which is transporting materials to the International Space Station and may someday put humans on Mars. Think of it this way, four entities have successfully fired rockets into space: The United States of America, Russia, China and Elon Musk’s privately held, SpaceX.

The Importance of Failure

“I think it’s important to have a good hard failure when you’re young because it makes you kind of aware of what can happen to you. Because of it, I’ve never had any fear in my whole life when we’ve been near collapse.” — Walt Disney

Would you rather be Steve Jobs, who was terminated by the company he created, Apple?

Or would you rather be John Sculley, who will go down in history as the man who fired Steve Jobs?

 

 

Sculley recently tried to blame the termination of Jobs on the Apple Board of Directors at the time, but the die has already been cast. Sculley will follow Jobs to the grave as the man who sent packing the modern-day equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci.

Nike founder Phil Knight recounted in his memoir how he started his company with a $50 loan from his dad. Today, Nike is the planet’s No. 1 athletic apparel and shoe provider with $33.92 billion in revenues, $86.8 billion in market capitalization and 70,000 employees.

Uncle Phil is the 28th wealthiest homo sapien in the world at $26.2 billion. Keep in mind, this company was literally days, if not hours, away from bankruptcy too many times to count between 1962 and going public in 1980.

For Musk, his tale is a South Africa-to-America story. Today, Tesla is a $8.55 billion company, employing 17,782 with investors pouring $53.4 billion into its market cap.

Almost DailyBrett has been consistent in hailing the risk takers, the entrepreneurs, those who stare failure right in the face and sneer. The results are great companies that employ 10s of thousands and produce the products we want and need.

There will always be those who rage at the “billionaire class” to score political points.

And some with too-much-time-on-their-hands develop infographics to illustrate how the great have fallen here and there.

Wonder if any of these critics, analysts, reviewers etc. would have fired Steve Jobs?

Almost DailyBrett radical transparency: Your author happily owns shares in both Nike (NYSE: NKE) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). The above epistle does not constitute investment advice for either company other than to generically say, Buy Low, Sell High.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-many-failures-of-elon-musk-captured-in-one-giant-infographic-2017-05-24

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-fascinating-life-of-elon-musk-captured-in-one-giant-infographic-2016-04-13

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bojY5N2Ns3k

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/a-man-in-the-arena/

https://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/#version:static

https://www.forbes.com/sites/randalllane/2013/09/09/john-sculley-just-gave-his-most-detailed-account-ever-of-how-steve-jobs-got-fired-from-apple/#38def8d4c655

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“If a man says something in a forest, and there is not a woman to hear him, is he still stupid?” – No Attribution Necessary

“What’s the difference between men and government bonds? Government bonds mature.”

“How can you get a man to do sit-ups? Put the remote control in-between his knees.”

Last December, Time named German Kanzlerin Angela Merkel as its “Person of the Year.” And if Merkel does not stand for re-election next year, her most likely successor for the leadership of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is … Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.merkelursula

Just this week, Home Secretary Theresa May became the second woman to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Her main competition came from Energy Minister Andrea Leadson.

And in November …

The United States of America may indeed elect Hillary Rodham Clinton as its first woman president, vanquishing über-male, Donald Trump. And her running mate very well could be Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Two women could be at the vortex of American government for their very first time.

If you are scoring at home, Clinton’s election would result for the very first time in global history, three-of-the-top five economies in the world (U.S., #1; Germany, #4 and UK #5) with women heads of state. theresamay

Despite these breakthroughs for women, there is no denying there are some very important metrics in which men still exhibit hegemony.

According to the stately Economist, men constitute 97.6 percent of Forbes self-made billionaires; 95.2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs; 92.8 percent of all the heads of governments (note before May and Clinton) and 91.4 percent of central bank governors (takes into account Janet Yellen serving as the head of the Federal Reserve).

The Economist also offers a flip-side to this equation. Men comprise 93 percent of the prisoners in the United States. They are 79 percent of the global murder victims. And they are exactly two-thirds of all the suicides worldwide.

Oh How the Pendulum Swings

“You see, man made the cars to take us over the road; Man made the trains to carry heavy loads; Man made electric light to take us out of the dark; Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark.” – James Brown, It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World

There were days when agrarian economies held sway. Next up, there were industrial days of manufacturing and big iron: Advantage Men.

Welcome to today’s global, technology-driven service economy: Advantage Women.

Graduates react after being recognized for their degree during the University of Wisconsin-Madison spring commencement ceremony ceremony at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Graduates react after being recognized for their degree during the University of Wisconsin-Madison spring commencement ceremony at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Brute strength, brawn and testosterone-drive ignorance need not apply. Instead, life-long learning, attention to detail, and critical thinking are the necessary components to succeed for at least the remainder of the 21st Century.

And who is better prepared to meet these present-day challenges and realities? The jury is getting ready to render a verdict. Your author will take “the over,” women.

As a relatively new college professor, the preponderance of women students comes as no surprise.

Consider that women outnumber men on college campuses around the world, bar South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In OECD nations (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), men earn only 42 percent of university degrees. And boys are 50 percent more likely than girls to flunk math, reading and science, ominous indicators for men in our rapidly changing global economic landscape.

One could attempt to undermine Almost DailyBrett’s argument by correctly pointing to the fact that your author teaches public relations, integrated marketing, corporate communications and investor relations – all fields that are increasingly dominated by women. It has been reported that women now make up at least 70 percent, and maybe as high as 85 percent, of public relations practitioners.

Yes, there is still latent sexism and the gender pay gap has not yet been closed in public relations, but strategies abound to do just that (see Almost DailyBrett for one view). All is not perfect for women as at least one publication describes public relations shops as a Pink Ghetto.

Let’s state here and now, and not trivialize the reality: Women’s grievances about the past are warranted.

Having said that, the future direction is the friend of women. Can’t say the same for men.gender10

If brawn is less in demand …

If manufacturing is not coming back to our shores anytime soon (sorry Donald, you are wrong on this one) …

If global competition is here to stay …

If technology gadgets continue to replace humans …

If digital reigns supreme …

If the provision of essential services with a smile, rather than a grunt, is required …

Increasingly educated-and-talented women are winning and are going to continue to win.

This realization has resulted in the angst, anxiety and anger by literally millions of men (particularly older men), faced with limited futures and scant attention from women, who (not surprised) do not want to attach their respective futures to going-nowhere-fast men … just another mouth to feed.

Besides public relations, integrated marketing, corporate communications and investor relations, women now dominate accounting, real estate, local government, retail, nursing, food preparation, education … and the list goes on.

Almost DailyBrett must state the obvious: In the present Battle of the Genders, women are winning; men are losing.

Are there still issues and inequalities for women? Yes.

However, the wind is billowing in their sails. Men for the most part are dead in the water.

When Fall rolls around, I will greet three new classes and the majority of the students … will be women. Shocking.

For older men, who are pretty beyond the age of retraining let’s face it, your life is bleak.

For younger men, you have time to get with it, namely get into the classroom, throw off your macho chains and learn, learn and learn some more.

The life-long learning global economy should ultimately benefit all of us, but first everyone must prepare themselves for our always-on, technology-driven, service-delivery world.

http://www.economist.com/news/essays/21649050-badly-educated-men-rich-countries-have-not-adapted-well-trade-technology-or-feminism

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/brexit-referendum/theresa-may-bloody-difficult-woman-be-u-k-prime-minister-n608001

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36737426

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/addressing-the-gender-pay-gap-in-public-relations/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/karma-alone-wont-cut-it-for-women-in-the-workplace/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/pr%e2%80%99s-endangered-species/

http://www.oecd.org/about/

http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/07/why-do-we-treat-pr-like-a-pink-ghetto.html#

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juTeHsKPWhY

 

 

 

 

Many in academia and elsewhere lament economic inequality.

In fact, these same individuals are known to call for “social justice.”

The redistribution devil is in the details. Tax the rich s’il vous plait?

Wish it was just that easy.

Maybe we should all look in the mirror instead?

mirror

 

Three of the Biggest Factors for Economic Inequality

There are at least three major determinants, one potentially leading to another, when it comes to monetary disparity

1. Graduating from a real college or university

2. Securing admission to the best anti-poverty program of all: A well-paying private sector job with customary benefits

3. Investing in high-growth stocks and/or mutual funds

Come to think of it, these three contribute mightily to the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

According to Pew Research and reported by Andrew Kelly in his “Let’s Clarify The ‘College is Worth It’ Conversation” for Forbes, the disparity between those with bonified college degrees (e.g., BA or BS) and those with only as associate’s degree or worse, just a high school degree, has never been greater.

The record spread between those with bachelor’s degrees and those with associate’s is $15,500 annually, and $17,500 between the college grads and high school grads. The gap becomes staggering when multiplied over an anticipated 40-year career (that makes the big assumption that the AA or HS grad is still working – and not involuntarily put out to pasture — four decades later).

Without any further appreciation of the gap between the college graduate and her or his associates or high school peers, the 40-year disparity is $620,000 and $700,000 respectively. That’s big-time dinero even in this somewhat inflationary economy.

Certainly there is no guarantee that a bachelor’s degree leads to a moderate-to-high five-figure job, let alone to a six-figure position. In fact, many employers are now requiring master’s degrees or another two years of schooling. One point is certain; a bachelor’s degree is a ticket to compete for white-collar positions, something that an associate’s degree or high school diploma in virtually all cases does not provide.gradsandduck

And with the tough-to-attain, even-with-a-bachelor’s degree white-collar job, comes in most cases a salary, medical-dental-vision benefits and maybe participation in a company ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan) or stock option program. Contemplate that we are not just talking about a salary, but discretionary resources that most likely will vault way above the present rate of inflation.

Investing Discretionary Income

Someone living paycheck-to-paycheck or worse sinking further into debt cannot conceive of discretionary income. They are just trying to make ends meet. Way-too-many Americans have nothing saved for retirement, and are one catastrophic event away from personal bankruptcy.

For those with bachelor’s degrees or above from reputable colleges and universities (sorry University of Phoenix; buying a degree doesn’t count), they can compete for well-paying private sector positions with benefits. They have resources to invest, and invest they do.

According to the Gallup Organization, 87 percent of upper-income Americans — those making $75,000 or more annually — own stocks, as do 83 percent of postgraduates and 73 percent of college graduates.

And what is a common-characteristic of “upper-income Americans”? A bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree. And which group commands the lion’s share of those who purchase equities and participate in our bull markets? Graduates and postgraduates.gender6

Are students being taught the tenets of capitalism at our leading colleges and universities? Maybe or maybe not. Are they figuring out that buying low and selling high with discretionary income is a proven way to build wealth? That appears to be the case.

Should they be required to redistribute the fruits of their long-hours in the classroom and their accomplishments at the workplace, thus reducing the amount they can invest in entrepreneurs?

There may be a professor or two, who thinks that is a swell idea.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/akelly/2014/05/31/lets-clarify-the-college-is-worth-it-conversation/

http://www.icifactbook.org/fb_ch6.html

http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/09/investing/american-stock-ownership/

http://www.gallup.com/poll/147206/Stock-Market-Investments-Lowest-1999.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_inequality

girlscoutcookies

“Hit the door,” said the irritated vice president of Human Resources.

Carefully closing the door, I braced for an unpleasant message from the leader of all-things personnel.

Holding up the company’s employee handbook, I was sternly reminded by Lou Mauerbruecke* about corporate rules expressly and clearly stating that one cannot solicit fellow employees in a business setting. Sigh.

No wonder everyone hates Human Resources. Right, Catbert?

Trembling, I had flashbacks of being called into the principal’s office back in high school for being less than precious. And I can still see the dusty trash-laden hillside that needed to be cleared during my hot Saturday morning detention.

This time my crime against humanity and the pursuit of the bottom line was much more egregious: I was busted for selling Girl Scout cookies at work. Yes, those evil-and-sinister Girl Scout cookies.

Anybody who remotely knows me would not drop me into the “rebel” demographic. I have no tattoos, weird-place piercings and occasionally I even take a peek at Bill O’Reilly on (gasp) Fox News. And yet I was the equivalent of Martin Luther going against Rome, pounding the Ninety-Five Theses on the church door and subsequently being ex-communicated by Pope Leo X.

As I reflect back to that awful day (I still have flash-back nightmares about this incident), I ask myself whether my sin was venial or mortal. Allow me attest that my transgression was meek and mild.

Is there any product on our sustainable planet that has a better brand image than Girl Scout cookies? What will it be for you? Do-Si-Dos™? How about Samoas®? Tagalongs®? Thin Mints? Trefoils? Come on…You know you want them all, and you want them now.

Apple at $87.1 billion in brand equity may have the most valuable-and-lucrative corporate moniker according to Forbes, but have Girl Scout cookies ever fallen from $705.07 to $419 on anyone’s personal stock exchange real or imagined? Apple always has to develop a 5G in the aftermath of 4G, and a 6G to follow the 5G, but Thin Mints will always be Thin Mints. Trefoils will always be Trefoils. Everyone likes it that way. Subsequent product generations are not necessary.

The point I made to Herr Mauerbruecke was that Girl Scout cookies literally sell themselves. Besides I was acting in a similar manner to so many other parents as I was helping my daughter. Lou didn’t seem to care.

As the head of corporate public relations, I took the risk of raising his blood pressure…alas his ticker led to his ultimate demise…and asked him whether it was smart public relations to bust someone for hawking Girl Scout cookies. Can you imagine being “walked” out the door for selling Do-Si-Dos, Samoas and Tagalongs? What if the media found out? I can see the headlines in my mind’s eye.

Yes I know exactly what the employee handbook says, but I was not trying to sell a Mercedes-Benz, a Silicon Valley townhouse or a Mexican time share at work…These are friggin’ wholesome legendary cookies made from sugar, dough and so many other wonderful artery-clogging substances. Might as well go six-feet under with a smile on your face.

Lou settled down and realized that I was right in being wrong. There are some rules that are not worth requiring someone to drown or burn at the stake. It was time for common sense in the name of good public relations.

How about if I simply placed the Girl Scout cookie sign-up form face up on the meeting table in my glorified director of corporate public relations cubicle? If someone from the chairman and chief executive officer down to the vice president of Legal wanted to sign up…how and why should I stop them?

Technically, I am not violating the sacred employee handbook if they are acting on their own free will in ordering Girl Scout cookies? This is a Democracy. Right?

We had the makings of a compromise. We could raise taxes and reform entitlements and everyone would be happy? Let’s forget that analogy. To quote the late Neville Chamberlain, it was “peace for our time” and we could all go back home and “sleep quietly in our beds.” “Jerry” promised to be good.

As a result of our compromises, the selling of Girl Scout cookies was quietly allowed once again in a corporate environment, and I could continue to put food on the Brett household table. Everything was just so Do-Si-Do.

* The actual name was changed to protect the memory of a friendly colleague. May he rest in peace.

http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_cookies/how_to_buy.asp

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl_Scout_Cookies

http://baking.about.com/od/familybaking/a/girlscoutcookie_2.htm

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2012/10/02/apple-tops-list-of-the-worlds-most-powerful-brands/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neville_Chamberlain

An electronic job application for a privately held, big media marketing firm offers candidates a choice: Upload a soft copy of your resume or your LinkedIn profile.

Is this a choice or a trap?

linkedinleftbehind

The candidate has to choose one or the other (assuming she or he has both a CV and a LinkedIn profile). Certainly one can opt to upload a resume and copy-and-paste a cover letter, but what signal does that send? Did we ever have to consider potentially sending a potentially fatal technology laggard message by simply submitting a cover letter and resume?

If the candidate elects to offer her or his LinkedIn URL in lieu of a resume (and copy-and-paste an obligatory cover letter), is she or he telling this future employer that she or he gets it when it comes social media? Weighing the realistic potential of a trap, I would advise job candidates to submit their LinkedIn URL and carefully crafted and edited cover letters.

You may be thinking that I am being slightly (or even more) paranoid, but let’s face it: The job market is a minefield particularly in this long-time distressed economy.

Does this mean that resumes will soon become so 20th Century? We shouldn’t be so quick to throw dirt on resumes, but their usefulness is obviously being challenged by the agility and completeness of LinkedIn.

In some respects, resumes or curriculum vitae (CV) are the equivalent of name, rank and serial number. They chronicle your career, and if you are wise you will quantify your accomplishments to help the hiring manager make the critical interview or no-interview decision. A cover letter encourages the reading of the resume. The resume encourages or discourages an interview. Interviews are either path-ways to the employment promised land or a one-way ticket back to square one.

resume1

LinkedIn URLs accomplish the basic task of the resume (chronology of career, academic degrees, awards, memberships etc.), but they do more…so much more. First, submitting your LinkedIn URL implicitly demonstrates that you get it (or at least you are on your way to getting it) when it comes to social media. A potential employer can review the number and the quality of your LinkedIn “connections” to determine the company you keep, who knows you and vice versa.

The same point also applies to your LinkedIn groups that you have joined. I am a member of 24 groups, including a wide variety of public relations and communications professional groups, and those from my present and past employers. These groups are another way of demonstrating your “online presence” as emphasized by professional branding guru, Dan Schawbel. His recent Forbes article predicted that social media will replace resumes within 10 years. He may be conservative.

In addition, your LinkedIn profile not only lists who recommended you but allows hiring managers to immediately read your praises from former superiors, colleagues and most important of all, your subordinates. Examples of your PowerPoint or Prezi presentations can be uploaded to LinkedIn, giving employers’ insights into your presentation skills, design capabilities and thought processes. Try doing that with a resume.

A huge feature for me is the automatic posting and updating of my Almost DailyBrett blogs from WordPress to LinkedIn. An employer doesn’t have to surf WordPress to read Almost DailyBrett, particularly those posts that directly apply to the practice and teaching of communications choreography.

Some may be tempted to play down LinkedIn and its reported 150 million users in comparison to Facebook with its 901 million users or Twitter with its 500 million users. The difference is that LinkedIn is focused on attracting commerce and building professional networks. LinkedIn is a quality play, not a quantity play.

Wall Street seems to be noticing the difference in business models as LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) was initially priced at $45, immediately jumped to $85 on its IPO date and has been holding north of the three-figure mark, today finishing at $103.84. Despite all the springtime histrionics, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) was offered at a $38 IPO price, rose slightly and immediately plunged. Today at close of market it stands at $28.09 per share.

Maybe one of points that is becoming clear to users, employers, potential employees, investors, analysts, media and others is that LinkedIn (and potential direct competitors/successors) is changing the way that candidates are identified and hired. At the same time, LinkedIn may be shoving the resume/CV into the back seat or may even be taking the wheel.

Is it time to sing LinkedIn über Alles? It could be; it very well could be.

Almost DailyBrett note: The writer of this blog post is a subscriber to LinkedIn, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. More to the point, the blog writer owns a low double-digit quantity of LinkedIn shares and a low triple-digit quantity of Facebook shares. It is extremely doubtful that my endorsement of any publicly traded social media site will have any impact on Wall Street. If that were the case, I would ask my readers to subscribe to my “letter.”

http://www.bond-us.com/blog/linkedin-profile-or-resume-staffing-agency

http://www.linkedin.com/answers/career-education/resume-writing/CAR_RSW/924819-5780993

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2011/02/21/5-reasons-why-your-online-presence-will-replace-your-resume-in-10-years/

http://blog.cgsm.com/2012/02/08/when-will-a-linkedin-profile-replace-a-resume/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LinkedIn

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facebook

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter

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