Business – NewsDesk Newspaper Magazine WordPress Theme Just another WordPress site Thu, 20 Jul 2017 10:38:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Gates To Zuckerberg To… Kalanick? What Went Wrong With Uber CEO Fri, 14 Jul 2017 09:02:39 +0000 In his early days growing Microsoft, Bill Gates was reported to be the original enfant terrible. Very tough on people and teams. And the behavior of Microsoft matched: vaporware was a term coined not to define poorly engineered software, but to hint at Microsoft’s future product development, thus terrifying entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and steering them away from investment in an area that could threaten Microsoft’s future growth. And most importantly, Microsoft had a lock-solid monopoly on their markets.

Mark Zuckerberg’s start was similar to Gates. Hollywood doesn’t make a movie about you because there’s no drama. One of Facebook’s venture investors explained away Mark’s early behavior, saying it was just growing pains. Today 2 billion humans use Facebook, which defines the social network, and with smart moves like Instagram’s purchase, there’s no sign Mark’s game is fading any time soon.

Now comes Uber, the most highly valued startup, growing in just seven years from nada to $70 billion with a lock on one market and the possibility of a lock on an upcoming market – self driving car booking. But for Travis Kalanick, the playbook seemed to break down. Unlike Gates and Zuckerberg, who made their mistakes in their teens and twenties, Travis does not get the youthful indiscretion excuse. At age 40 you can’t explain away boorish behavior or intentionally developing software to thwart local regulators.

What went wrong for Travis, while Bill and Mark matured and prospered?

Three things: first, great entrepreneurs have great partners. Always. Gates had Steve Ballmer and Paul Allen. Gates and Ballmer famously said their highest value for each other was coaching on time and priority management. That’s the essence of a great partnership. Batman and Robin, Sponge Bob and Patrick…Bill and Steve. Want more examples? Steve Jobs – he had Woz, then Jony Ive and Tim Cook. Great entrepreneurs never really go it alone. There’s always a trusted partner waiting in the wings, someone whose opinion they value who holds them accountable.

Second: Great entrepreneurs recognize the difference between the front stage and the back stage – and they keep them separate. Everyone’s heard how diligently Steve Jobs worked to pull off product release events. They were shows, meticulously planned, and the public ate it up. We love cheering on a great performer, and with Steve Jobs his products really changed the way we live.

And Travis? Filmed during an Uber ride in full-jerk mode with someone who is effectively an employee. It’s been viewed millions of times. Is he actually Mahatma Gandhi the other 99 percent of the time? Unlikely. If you aren’t inspiring it hurts to have your worst moments on public display, dispiriting your investors, board, employees – all of the supporters and cheerleaders you need to succeed.

Which brings up the essence of leadership in the public eye in 2017: your employees are another front stage, a public representation of what your company is all about. So when employees start grumbling or in Uber’s case reports of sexual harassment and underpaid drivers surface it’s time to review what you stand for. A good part of Uber’s success was not just the technology, but a full-throated charge to enter new markets despite legal obstacles. That kind of stress needs leadership that grows and evolves as challenges grow. And because the team is responsible for executing management’s plans, biting the hand that feeds – employees, staff, vendors, investors ― is a recipe for disaster.

Finally: great entrepreneurs have incredible self-discipline. Mark Zuckerberg committing to study Mandarin Chinese is an act of self-discipline. He was already a billionaire, had already arrived. He sought for higher goals and more meaning, not just the exercise of power. Morningstar founder, Joe Mansueto, is a relentless student of success, consciously designing his path from startup in a two-bedroom apartment to world-spanning financial publishing powerhouse with 4,600 employees. His design for his own progress included an intense, ongoing study of how successful companies grow, change and adapt to their increasing challenges. He read and studied to learn how to grow an organization and even more importantly how to avoid the pitfalls that trip up so many companies. He formed a board of directors years before going public – an act of self-discipline most private company owners are reluctant to take on at any point.

Before he was fired, Travis announced that 14 managers would run Uber while he took a leave of absence. Fourteen. Any leader of a large, complex organization could have a delusional moment. In private. The double whammy here is that the public ever learned of such a cock-eyed idea. It’s just not the mark of a self-reflective, disciplined leader. What a way to lose the faith and confidence of investors, board, employees and customers.

Steve Jobs had a comeback even more amazing than his first go-round. If you’re a fan of Pixar’s Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Wall-E, or any of its other movies, or if your iPhone or iPad are always by your side, you’re a beneficiary of Steve Jobs’ second act. Bill and Melinda Gates, philanthropists, are proving to be a tremendous force for good in the world. Bill’s second act was not a straight line from software king, but it is dazzling and inspiring.

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Credit Card Fraud: What You Need To Know Fri, 14 Jul 2017 09:00:49 +0000 If you are the owner of a credit or a debit card, there is a non-negligible chance that you may be subject to fraud, like millions of other people around the world.

Starting in the 1980s, there has been an impressive increase in the use of credit, debit and pre-paid cards internationally. According to an October 2016 Nilson Report, in 2015 more than US$31 trillion were generated worldwide by these payment systems, up 7.3% from 2014.

In 2015, seven in eight purchases in Europe were made electronically.

Thanks to new online money-transfer systems, such as Paypal, and the spread of e-commerce around the world – including, increasingly, in the developing world ― which was slow to adopt online payments – these trends are expected to continue.

Thanks to leading companies such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon India (which together had 80% of the Indian e-commerce market share in 2015) as well as Alibaba and JingDong (which had upwards of 70% of the Chinese market in 2016), electronic payments are reaching massive new consumer populations.

This is a goldmine for cybercriminals. According to the Nilson Report, worldwide losses from card fraud rose to US$21 billion in 2015, up from about US$8 billion in 2010. By 2020, that number is expected to reach US$31 billion.

Such costs include, among other expenses, the refunds that banks and credit card companies make to defrauded clients (many banks in the West cap consumers’ liability at US$50 as long as the crime is reported within 30 days for credit cards and within two days for debit cards. This incentivises banks to make significant investments in anti-fraud technologies.

Cybercrime costs vendors in other ways too. They are charged with providing customers with a high standard of security. If they are negligent in this duty, credit card companies may charge them the cost of reimbursing a fraud.

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When It’s Time To Take Your Business Elsewhere, Here’s The Right Way To Exit Fri, 14 Jul 2017 08:57:39 +0000 Can we talk about the end? It’s that moment when you say, “That’s it. I’m taking my business elsewhere.” And you mean it.

It’s the moment when you conclude your interests and a company’s interests are no longer aligned, to put it delicately. It’s time to go.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to leave. I know because I watch people do it all the time, every day. Heck, I’ve had it done to me both on a professional and, sadly, personal level. I have a lot of experience with this.

A recent American Express survey suggests consumers are trigger-happy. After only a single instance of poor customer service, 37 percent of respondents bail out on a company. Another 58 percent say they’d be willing to endure “two to three” instances of bad service. In other words, for 95 percent of American consumers, businesses get three chances at most to get customer service right.

Here’s what you need to know: There’s a right way and a wrong way to split. Almost no one ever hears about the right way, but the wrong way sometimes goes viral.

“You’re already familiar with this story?” asks Andrew Pollis, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University. “It’s about a guy who tried to cancel his account with Comcast and was met with a super-aggressive customer service representative who wasn’t really offering any inducements but also wouldn’t let the customer go.”

That’s not how to go your separate ways.

Pollis says it’s common with companies in certain industries, like cable TV.

“That interaction provides an opportunity to rescue business from an impending cancellation,” he explains. “So they have developed interceptive measures. In some instances, a telephone representative is armed with the tools to offer an inducement, like a discounted rate, to entice the consumer not to leave.”

So how do you say “good-bye”?

Know why you’re leaving. When David Waring, the co-founder of, decided to cancel his email marketing software, he knew exactly why. “We found it more complicated to use than originally advertised, and more expensive than another less complicated but just as powerful option,” he says. “So we decided to cancel.” Some customers don’t know why they’re leaving. Maybe they’re just mad at the company, or at themselves, for something over which the business doesn’t even have any control. When a retention specialist phoned Waring, he was ready with an explanation ― and a step-by-step process for winning back his business. (It didn’t work, and he left.)

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