March 18, 2010 Past Issues/Subscribe Printer Friendly Version Advertise Join NBMBAA
       
Top News
Legislation to overhaul the U.S. health-care system will cost $940 billion over 10 years and reduce the federal budget deficit, meeting a target set by Democrats, party leaders said.

Greece will have to turn to the International Monetary Fund if it needs financial assistance to back its austerity program, rather than to fellow members of the eurozone, the German government has decided.

Every March we read the same stories, quoting the same economists, lamenting the arrival of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship tournament. We say, Lighten up, Mr. No-Fun Econ Prof. Take off your propeller beanie, grab a molded-plastic break-room chair, and pass us the guacamole. March Madness is actually good for business.

Career
A search on LinkedIn jobs revealed nearly 1,300 agency listings for positions ranging from account executive and account director to senior account executive and business development specialist.

More than two years after joining Twitter, I still find myself the target of blank stares more often than I'd like to admit. When it comes to skepticism, I've heard just about anything you can imagine, with most dismissive questions usually taking on some form of the following: "Wait, isn't Twitter, like, an instant message to no one?"

Education
Demand and admission standards are up, as students around the world look to sharpen business skills and add global credentials with a European MBA.

On the eve of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball tournament, Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of education, has called on the National Collegiate Athletic Association to ban teams with graduation rates below 40 percent from future tournaments.

International
The British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, and the joint general secretary of the Unite trade union, Tony Woodley, are today holding last-ditch talks in an attempt to avert a three-day cabin crew strike this weekend.

Cassandra's curse was that her warnings would never be believed. Doom-mongers in the Japanese government-bond market have suffered a milder fate: they were just far, far too early.

NBMBAA
Congratulations to NBMBAA Board Members Keith R. Wyche and Quentin L. Roach for making Savoy Professional's list of the "2010 Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America". Get the issue on newsstands now.

Technology
Is Google capable of getting scared? If so, the colossus may have cause to tremble. According to the Web analytics firm Hitwise, Facebook surpassed Google.com to become the most visited U.S. site last week. Though Google's $23 billion in annual sales dwarf Facebook's estimated profits, the social networking site's growth is outstripping all the major players. It now has 400 million regular users and counting. The real question is: can Facebook capitalize on its traffic?

After an initial flood of pent-up demand and some ups and downs over the first weekend, pre-orders for the iPad tablet computer are now averaging 10,000 per day.

Entrepreneurship
Though the wine industry was the first to capitalize on the concept of the "experience economy" – the idea that consumers crave experiences rather than just products or services – entrepreneurs in a variety of fields are now finding success by opening their doors and inviting customers to see, smell, hear and touch their wares.

The Economy
The number of newly laid-off workers requesting jobless benefits fell slightly last week for the third straight time. But initial claims remain above levels that would signal net job gains.

Personal Finance
After three rounds of interviews for a sales position with Prudential Insurance Co. of America, Patricia Rosa received a letter in February saying her job application was denied based on information from a background check she authorized the company to conduct. The only blemish on her record, she says: Poor credit that built up since she lost her job two years ago.

For years, I've felt like a sap whenever I bought razors. It killed me to spend $2.50 to $3 a blade for my Gillette Mach 3. Yet the few times when I used cheap disposable razors, it was like shaving with a file.

Corporate America
The Big Short is a chronicle of four sets of players in the subprime mortgage market who had the foresight and gumption to short the diciest mortgage deals: Steve Eisner of FrontPoint, Greg Lippmann at Deutsche Bank (DB), the three partners at Cornwall Capital, and most indelibly, Michael Burry of Scion Capital. They all walked away from the rubble with pockets full of gold and reputations as geniuses.

When you look at the financial markets as a whole, the post-crisis bailout efforts have worked out better than expected. Many of the financial market guarantees were lifted without having been used, and the Treasury is turning a profit on the central component of the TARP. But AIG has so far loomed as a gigantic rebuttal to the optimists, a symbol of everything that went wrong.

Government
Banks weren't the only ones giving big bonuses in the boom years before the worst financial crisis in generations. The government also was handing out millions of dollars to bank regulators, rewarding "superior" work even as an avalanche of risky mortgages helped create the meltdown.

Leadership
You've got a big, important report to write for work and you're dreading it. The deadline has been weighing on your mind for weeks and so far, you've done nothing about it. At this point, you'd rather get a root canal than get started. Still, you set aside time this afternoon to buckle down and get to work, but instead you're playing Solitaire, you're checking Facebook, you're reorganizing your pens, you're chain-smoking on the fire escape, and you're feeling like crap. You're procrastinating.

"I don't care how you do it; just get it done." That's a favorite mantra of many chief executives – with good reason. Great leaders don't want to micro-manage. They don't have the time or the detailed data to resolve the nitty-gritty. So they want their managers to have the autonomy they need to make informed, appropriate decisions.

Lifestyle
More people than ever before are bunked together in multigenerational households across the USA as a record 49 million (16.1% of the population) share close quarters either permanently or temporarily, a report today by the Pew Research Center shows.

Every few months, the food cognoscenti start touting a new super food for its ability to ward off disease. Hot foods in recent years include wild salmon ($15 a pound and packed with omega-3 fatty acids), antioxidant-loaded leeks ($3 a bunch), and the exotic acai and goji berries (as much as $20 and $40 per 16 ounces, respectively). These foods are packed with nutrients but can send your grocery bill into the stratosphere.

 
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