Jeff

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Profit vs. margin, being precise when it's easy to be sloppy

Let’s take a quick detour through some financial vocabulary. Specifically, let’s draw a distinction between profit vs. margin. What’s profit? It’s the dollar amount by which revenue exceeds costs. Profit and income are synonyms, when we talk about corporate financial performance. The only trick with profit is knowing which revenue stream, and which costs, we’re considering. What’s
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Disney is struggling with its CEO succession. What a joke

Last week Disney announced that its 66 year old CEO, Bob Iger, will stay in his position through at least July 2019.  Why is this such a big deal? Because Disney is struggling to find Mr. Iger’s successor. Mr. Iger’s heir apparent, Thomas Staggs, left Disney last May. Frankly, I think this is a joke. I
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When it comes to your career, are you a chef or a line cook?

Think about the value you bring at work. Do you play the role of a chef? Or are you more of a line cook? What do I mean by a chef? Someone who is creative. Someone who experiments, who relies on his or her own judgment. The chef knows the first principles of meal preparation.
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Low interest rates have run their course. Now we get the crash

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve announced the third interest rate hike since the onset of the global financial crisis.  The message is that the U.S. economy is healthy. Yes, GDP growth is less than ideal. (Real GDP expanded by 1.9% in 2016.) But job growth is strong. The unemployment rate is low, by historical standards.
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Why are employees not assets, in the balance sheet sense?

You ever hear a CEO say, “Our employees are our greatest asset”? It’s not technically true. In a colloquial sense, yes, employees help a company deliver a lot of value to customers. But in the formal, literal sense…no. Employees aren’t assets. Employees don’t appear on a company’s balance sheet. It’s all about ownership Why are
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Big oil CEO supports corporate tax reform. And this is news?

CNBC reported on Tuesday that John Watson, Chevron’s CEO, supports Donald Trump’s push for corporate tax reform. And this is news? Let’s ignore the merits of corporate tax reform. This post isn’t about politics or economics. This post is about what the financial media considers news. It’s hard for me to think about something that’s
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Humility and curiosity are rocket fuel for your career

Think about the most frustrating relationships you’ve encountered in your career. Think about the interactions that caused you the most anxiety, or frustration, or stress. What was the common thread? What traits did the other person exhibit that caused such friction? If you’re like me, the answer is arrogance and know-it-all-itude. (Yes, I think I
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Career success is built on trust. And trust is way too rare in business

Have you ever worked for someone you didn’t trust? Have you ever worked for someone who didn’t trust you? Have you ever tried to earn someone’s trust, but failed?  It happens every time you interview for a job, but leave without an offer. It happens when you try to make a sale, but can’t close
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Artificial intelligence started with the calendar and abacus

I wrote earlier this week about why artificial intelligence (AI) is such a big deal. Using Kevin Kelly’s example, I claimed artificial intelligence will have a bigger impact than electricity. My argument was that electricity helps human perform manual tasks. Artificial intelligence helps us perform cognitive tasks. Electricity makes us stronger. Artificial intelligence makes us smarter.
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Valentine's Day, and why capitalism works so well

Valentine’s Day is a somewhat despised “holiday”. It’s built around excess. It’s a manufactured, fleeting celebration of a profound emotion we spend our whole lives exploring. But Valentine’s Day is great in at least one way. It shows why capitalism works so well. I’m thinking specifically of the flower tent outside of my grocery store. With increased
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