Awesome Intel; Who is America’s Favorite CEO?; Marriott’s Letting Guests Stream it Up;

Friggin’ awesome…

Image courtesy of koratmember/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of koratmember/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“There are plenty of women- and minority-led startup companies, and we want to work with them,”  Lisa Lambert, vice president and managing director at Intel Capital. So why did she say that? Because Intel super-graciously – and presciently – announced its Capital Diversity Fund, specifically set up for women and minority-led start-ups in an effort to mix things up in Silicon Valley. It would seem that the locale already has a rather large presence of white, male CEO’s and Intel would like to make it a little bit more…colorful.  Intel CEO Brian Krzanich would even like to have Intel’s work force, which is currently 24% female and 12% black and Hispanic, come to resemble the U.S. workforce, which is 47% women and 26% black and Hispanic, by 2020. To qualify for some of this cash, the founder of the company must be a woman or minority, and the company must have at least three executives who are women and/or minorities.  There are already a few companies who are getting funding including cyber-security firm Venafi, CareCloud and MarkOne – which makes smart cups. If you’re curious about how smart those cup are, you’ll have to find out yourself. As Mr. Krzanich put it, “…as you seek out diverse points of view, you’re going to produce better returns.” And who doesn’t like better returns?

Did your boss make the list?

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If your boss didn’t make the list, maybe consider taking your skills and LinkedIn endorsements elsewhere. You might consider finding gainful employment at Google since Larry Page takes the top spot with a 97% approval rating, according to online job and salary review site Glassdoor.com.  Nike’s Mark Parker, took second just barely missing the top spot by a few thousandths percentage points. Charles Butt, owner of the Texas grocery chain HEB  takes third, with help form a company philosophy that values the welfare of its workforce. And because of that awesome culture you are forbidden to make fun of his last name.  Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg came in fourth  while the aforementioned Brian M. Krzanich, who just announced Intel’s incredible new fund for women and minority-run startups, only came in at number 39. But he still had a 90% approval rating. Oddly enough, LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner rocked first place back in 2014 with an approval rating of 100%, yet this year his ranking plunged to number 12. However, even with that big drop, Weiner still scored a 93% approval rating. The question is: what exactly did Jeff Weiner do to tick off that other 7%? Hmmm. Something to think about.

Everyone’s a winner…

Image courtesy of Supertrooper/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Supertrooper/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Apparently, Marriott discovered that those super awesome televisions daintily mounted on the walls of the guest rooms weren’t getting much use, as more and more guests were using their tablet, laptops and phones (oh my) to access streaming entertainment. And with those handy, entertaining devices, guests found that that they didn’t have to go through the annoying process of acquainting themselves with a new remote and channel guide. Ugh. So what do? You can’t just chuck those state of the art electronics to the curb. Or can you? Well, no you can’t. Instead, Marriott is teaming up with streaming entertainment service Netflix that will allow Marriott guests to access their Netflix accounts or even sign up for new ones. So next time you need to choose between a Marriott Hotel and some other place to rest your head for the night, now you can take into consideration which hotel has the better in-room entertainment – and mini bar.

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Forbes-ulous 400; International (FREE) Coffee Day; Getting Fee’d On

Rank’d…

Image courtesy of biosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of biosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Forbes 33rd Annual Forbes 400 rankings of 2014 has at last descended upon us to rub our noses in it. The combined wealth of the lucky 400 who made the list totals a staggering $2.29 trillion (note the “t”). For his 21st straight year in a row, Bill Gates leads the pack with $81 billion in his bank account. Warren Buffet is nipping at his heels in the number two spot with only $67 billion. Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg fills in the #11 spot. As for the rookies, there’s WhatsApp’s Jan Koum rounding out the #62 spot and Uber Technologies very own Travis Kalanick who is comfortably perched at the #190 spot. At just thirty years old, Elizabeth Holmes is the youngest of the 47 women on the list at #110. She is the founder of a company called Theranos which apparently does something super complicated and impressive in blood testing. We’ll leave it at that. And in case you were wondering -and it’s okay of you weren’t – Oprah Winfrey comes in at the #190 spot. You can catch up on your billionaire rankings  at: http://www.forbes.com/forbes-400?

 Buzzzzzz…

Image courtesy of amenic181/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of amenic181/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, September 29, marks International Coffee Day. And no I did not make that up. If you don’t believe me you can just walk in to your local Dunkin’ Donuts and pick up you FREE MEDIUM-sized cup of joe in honor of the momentous. Incidentally, Dunkin’ Donuts is eagerly touting its latest and greatest dark roast. If you’re feeling frisky, then whip out just a dollar and get yourself a mocha or latte. The idea behind International Coffee Day is to promote awareness for free-trade coffee and raise awareness about coffee growers around the world. Hey, works for me. McDonalds and Krispy Kreme, among others, are also offering some java gratis. But you might want to skip Starbucks today as it’s only offering samples – until 12:00. Whatever.

Fee’d…

Image courtesy of scottchan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of scottchan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just in case you weren’t paying attention, penalties for using ATM’s NOT associated with your bank have very rudely risen by 5% over this past year and more than 20% in the last five years. The average fee has stealthily climbed to $4.35 per transaction. There are actually two fees involved – one from your bank, punishing you for being so inconsiderate as to dare use another’s ATM. The other fee comes from the owner of the ATM from whose coffers you, once again, so inconsiderately, dared to withdraw funds. The average penalty for overdraft fees also increased to $32.75 per transaction. Following the 2008 financial crisis, banks had to follow a few new rules and regulations that put limits for what they could and could not penalize you. But, of course, they made up for it by making sure those penalties for which they could charge you went up. A lot. If these fees are really getting to you, check out credit unions, smaller local banks and online banks which tend to have less fees – and less (or no) strings attached.

Home Depot Officicially Hacked; Facebook’s New High; Organic Lucky Charms?!

Hacked…

Image courtesy of chanpipat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of chanpipat/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Home Depot officially confirmed what was already assumed to be fact as of last week: The home improvement chain was hacked at least as far back as April. Home Depot is definitely in the running for having suffered one of the worst hack attacks. Ever. Banks noticed an unusually high amount of suspicious and fraudulent activity on ATM withdrawals. Information stolen from Home Depot has been surfacing in online cyber-crime shops where criminals can conveniently purchase stolen information. Who knew? Of course, the chain apologized and will not hold consumers accountable for fraudulent activities. Duh. If you’re a frequent Home Depot patron, expect to be issued new cards with chips in them, making it that much more challenging for any would-be criminals to help themselves to a shopping spree on your dime. With 2,200 stores dotting the US and Canada, the cost of the breach has yet to be determined but it’ll likely be sharing the spotlight with Target, whose own data breach is still wreaking havoc. Given the similarities between the two hackings, sources suspect it’s the same group of hacker/cyber-crminals.

Ranked…

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s just another day in the fascinating cyber life of Facebook, whose stock hit yet another high of $77.89, putting the company’s value over the $200 billion mark. Speaking of Mark, Zuckerberg, that is, he himself is ranked as the 13th richest person, according to Forbes, with a net worth of $34.5 billion. That wealth comes primarily from his more than 61% ownership of Facebook. How convenient. Facebook now ranks as the 22nd largest company, comfortably sandwiched between Verizon and Toyota, companies that have been around much longer than the social media website (and Mark Zuckerberg). If you recall (and it’s okay if you don’t), Facebook’s IPO was a modest $38.00 per share. Oh, how hindsight is a bitter, teary 20/20.

Paying the price for organics…

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

General Mills is going to get a bit more organic now that it is picking up Annie’s, of the bunny-shaped mac and cheese fame, for the green green price of $820 million. Annie’s boasts over 150 products that are sold in over 35,000 locations and just last year the company hit over $200 million in sales. Not bad for a company that was founded in 1989. Okay, not as good as Facebook, but still not too shabby. While the company was doing okay, an increase in the price of commodities began shrinking its margins, making a sale to a bigger company a worthwhile and fiscally prudent decision. Annie’s now joins the illustrious ranks of Lucky Charms, Wheaties, and one of my personal favorites, Trix. Silly rabbit.

The Buck Stops at Facebook, The Path to Nowhere and Flash Angry Mob Boys

You do realize that’s way below minimum wage…

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In some countries paying an employee a yearly salary of $1 is nothing short of slavery. But here in the United States that’s the salary earned by 29 year old Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Sure he took a took a 67% hit in his salary from the previous year but he made up for it when he exercised some stock options that scored him $3.3 billion. He still owns 426.3 million Facebook shares. Zuckerberg is currently worth about $27 billion and is ranked the world’s 22nd richest person.

Here we go again to nowhere…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“We can’t keep spending money we don’t have,” said House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan. But why should that stop Washington. Ryan, R-Wis., released a plan that would raise NO taxes, REPEAL Obama’s healthcare laws and do all sorts of other nifty things with which you may or may not agree. The plan would cut $5.1 trillion (Note the “t”) of budget spending over the next ten years. Dubbed “The Path to Prosperity” the plan isn’t actually expected to go far…well actually anywhere, especially in a Democratic controlled house. But that’s not going to stop them from debating it for the next two weeks. So sit tight.

Don’t be such a trader-hater…

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Michael Lewis’s controversial new book “Flash Boys” about how high speed traders and high-frequency traders manipulate the stock market hit a lot of Wall Street nerves today with many high-speed traders fighting back that they are nothing short of upstanding businessman (I added that last part). The Modern Markets Initiative was particularly ticked off by Lewis’s comments on 60 Minutes Sunday night when he said “Stock market’s rigged.” The Modern Markets Initiative fired back saying,  “The markets are not rigged. Saying otherwise is a broad generalization that lumps the vast amount of good market behavior in with a few bad actors.” BTW, members of the Modern Markets Initiative are high-frequency trading firms. Meanwhile the FBI has launched an investigation into high-speed and high-frequency trading.

 

Try and Top This List, Buffet Not A Bit of A Fan and Shacked Out

Can I please get on the list?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Forbes came out with its annual list of the world’s wealthiest people and it’s official:  None of my Facebook friends are on it.  Oh well.  But you can call Bill Gates the comeback billionaire because after four years he has returned to the top of this list beating out Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu by a paltry $4 billion. Purchased anything from Zara lately? You must have because you helped Amancio Ortega of this giant clothing company fit  into the number three spot. Warren Buffet comes in fourth while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg comes in at the number 21 spot.

Warren Buffet biting at bitcoin…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s official: Warren Buffet is not a fan of Bitcoin calling it “…a Buck Rogers kind of thing.” Ouch. The Oracle of Omaha said “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s not around in 10 or 20 years.”  Indeed,  Forbes fourth wealthiest man – who knows a thing or two – has shunned the virtual currency  – with no regulation or central bank because “it does not meet the test of currency.”   These comments came following the collapse of Mt. Gox, the now bankrupt and defunct Tokyo based bitcoin exchange.

Radio days…

Image courtesy of nirots/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nirots/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Feeling nostalgic for Radio Shack?  If that’s the case, then you might want to hightail it over to one quickly because there’s a good chance that if you wait, it might not be there anymore.  The Fort Worth, Texas based electronics retailer is getting set to shutter 1100 shacks after posting its eighth consecutive quarter of losses.  CEO Joe Magnacca blamed the drop in sales on a slew of reasons including people not buying enough and bigger discounts from rivals.  Yes that’s right – blame it those gosh darn discounts from your competitors.