• Avoiding office small talk could be costing you a promotion. Not to scare you or anything. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 13:50

    Every day around the world, an estimated three billion people go to work and 2.9 billion of them avoid making small talk with their co-workers once they get there.

    Their avoidance strategies vary. Some will keep their headphones in and their eyes low. Others will pantomime receiving an urgent message that requires an immediate, brow-furrowing, life-or-death rapid response, which incapacitates them from doing pretty much anything else, not excluding riding in, or communally waiting for, an elevator in their office building; making conversation while heating up lunch lasagna in the office microwave; walking from the entrance of their office building to the nearest public transit stop, or to literally anywhere, unless wait, you’re also going there? Because I actually meant to pop in this fine Persian rug wholesaler. See you tomorrow!

    If these strategies sound familiar, if you’ve convinced yourself that avoiding small talk with co-workers is smart self-preservation,...

  • Today’s young workers have been called lazy and entitled. Could they, instead, be among the first to understand the proper role of work in life — and end up remaking work for everyone else? Link by @clairecm
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 13:30

    When Ariel Coleman, 28, quit her last job, as a project manager in the corporate office of a bank, it wasn’t because her new employer offered her a raise, a different role or more seniority. “The work-life balance is just much better,” she said.

    At her new company, Omfgco, a branding and design firm in Portland, Ore., everyone works from home on Tuesdays and Thursdays at whichever hours they choose. Ms. Coleman can go for a run or walk her dog.

    At the bank, she said, people judged her for taking all her paid time off. At Omfgco, it’s encouraged, which is why she didn’t mind answering work emails while sitting by the fire on a recent camping trip.

    [Read our full package, “The Office: An In-Depth Analysis of Workplace User Behavior.”]

    “It’s: Get your work done, but don’t worry about when those hours are,” Ms. Coleman said. “A client calls me at 8 o’clock at night and I’m happy to talk to them, because that means the next day at 10 a.m., I can take my dog...

  • Seeking to score some wins as its trade fight with China drags on, the Trump administration is racing to announce limited trade deals with Japan and India before the end of the month Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 13:25
    President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan discussing trade at the Group of 7 summit in France last month. Unlike traditional trade deals, any agreement they announce is likely to be confined to a few sectors or products.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times
  • Amazon Music HD offers millions of songs at high resolution — the first time a major streaming outlet is delivering to an audiophile niche Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 13:20

    Amazon is hoping high-fidelity digital audio will appeal to all kinds of music fans, not just music snobs.

    On Tuesday, the company introduced a new subscription level of its streaming music service, offering millions of songs at high resolution — the first time a major streaming outlet has delved into a market long considered an audiophile niche.

    Even the price of the new subscription tier, Amazon Music HD, is a statement. It costs $15 a month, or $13 for members of Amazon’s Prime program — less than the $20 to $25 a month that is the norm from smaller outlets like Tidal, Deezer and Qobuz.

    “With this pricing, we are signaling to the world that quality is for everybody,” Steve Boom, the vice president of Amazon Music, said in an interview.

  • “Shale has shifted the paradigm,” the chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics said. “On the one hand, with higher prices there is a hit to consumers. But there’s an incentive for oil and gas companies to invest and produce more to reap the benefits.” Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 13:20

    For months, American consumers have kept the economy humming. While businesses pulled back, shoppers continued to spend.

    But a prolonged surge in gasoline prices after the attacks on oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia could undermine that phenomenon and increase the risk of a recession.

    “It’s clearly not a positive, and it adds a negative to the outlook,” said Steve Blitz, chief United States economist at T.S. Lombard, an independent research firm. “It’s another straw on the camel’s back.”

    Monday’s nearly 15 percent spike in oil prices to $62.90 a barrel isn’t big enough to bring on a recession — it only returns crude prices to where they were this spring. And the economy expanded from 2011 to 2014 even when prices were above $100 a barrel.

  • The regulators, from the F.T.C. and Justice Department, offered few details about their inquiries into the tech industry, frustrating some lawmakers. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 13:20
    Makan Delrahim, the top antitrust official at the Justice Department, testifying on Tuesday in Washington, along with Joe Simons, the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.CreditCreditGabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
  • While businesses have pulled back in terms of spending, American shoppers have continued to spend. But a prolonged surge in gas prices could undermine that phenomenon. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 13:15

    For months, American consumers have kept the economy humming. While businesses pulled back, shoppers continued to spend.

    But a prolonged surge in gasoline prices after the attacks on oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia could undermine that phenomenon and increase the risk of a recession.

    “It’s clearly not a positive, and it adds a negative to the outlook,” said Steve Blitz, chief United States economist at T.S. Lombard, an independent research firm. “It’s another straw on the camel’s back.”

    Monday’s nearly 15 percent spike in oil prices to $62.90 a barrel isn’t big enough to bring on a recession — it only returns crude prices to where they were this spring. And the economy expanded from 2011 to 2014 even when prices were above $100 a barrel.

  • “She has done a good job setting a vision and moving the company in the right direction." Now Mary Barra is contending with a global decline in auto demand and a striking work force. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 13:00
    Mary Barra, the General Motors chief executive, in March at the assembly plant in Lake Orion, near Detroit. She announced that the company would spend $300 million to prepare the plant to make a new electric vehicle.CreditCreditCarlos Osorio/Associated Press
  • Gaining the backing of some of the world’s top investors, WeWork received a much colder reception when it tried to sell its shares on Wall Street Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 12:00
    A WeWork space in New York. The prospect of going public has focused attention on a business that is deeply unprofitable and will most likely remain so for years.CreditCreditJustin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Finding a formula that will satisfy a restive work force without upending G.M.'s financial calculus has become Mary Barra's biggest challenge. Her efforts have not engendered as much harmony as G.M. might have hoped. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 10:45
    Mary Barra, the General Motors chief executive, in March at the assembly plant in Lake Orion, near Detroit. She announced that the company would spend $300 million to prepare the plant to make a new electric vehicle.CreditCreditCarlos Osorio/Associated Press
  • Madewell, the "not too trendy, not too girly" clothing chain that J.Crew introduced in 2006, is going public. The I.P.O. will help raise money for the company's once-popular namesake brand, which has lost favor in recent years. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 09:25

    When J. Crew started opening Madewell stores in 2006, the company declared that its new brand would deliver “real, honest women’s clothes” for hip 20- and 30-somethings. “Not too trendy, not too girly, just cool clothes infused with a modern upbeat attitude,” it said in a release at the time, promoting the worn-in feel of the retailer’s T-shirts, jeans and chinos.

    The idea worked better, perhaps, than the company expected.

    Madewell has since become a shining retail star, one that filed for an initial public offering on Friday at the same time that the once-popular J. Crew brand struggles to regain relevance in an increasingly online environment. The fortunes of the chains have diverged so much that Madewell’s I.P.O. will help raise much-needed capital for its parent, J. Crew, which will remain private.

    While Madewell is only about one-third the size of J. Crew, the brand has taken off in recent years thanks to a retail strategy better suited to today’s...

  • “Minideals” with Japan and India are aimed at helping President Trump overcome concerns about his trade approach before the 2020 election Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 08:10
    President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan discussing trade at the Group of 7 summit in France last month. Unlike traditional trade deals, any agreement they announce is likely to be confined to a few sectors or products.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times
  • You can't crack the glass ceiling 'til you've conquered the porcelain throne. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 06:40

    There once was a woman who walked regularly from her office in Midtown Manhattan to a hotel across the street in order to use the restroom, and that woman may have been one of us.

    That woman had a friend, at another office job, who carried a book of matches and a can of air freshener in her purse — more willing to set off the office fire alarm than leave any hint of odor in a public lavatory.

    That friend had another friend, at another office job, who repeatedly forced her body to do the deed so quickly — racing from cubicle to bathroom and back, in an effort to deflect attention from what she might be doing in there — that it led to a semi-serious hemorrhoid problem.

    As her former colleague put it: “She was pooping at the speed of pee.”

    Remember the children’s book, “Everyone Poops”? It is meant to teach kids that defecating is a natural, healthy part of digestion, and it does so by illustrating a wide variety of creatures — dogs, cats, snakes, whales,...

  • “WeWork is the most extreme, almost ludicrously funny, example of a trend that’s been building for a while,” an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School said. “But the public markets are finally saying, ‘No más.’” Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 05:35
    A WeWork space in New York. The prospect of going public has focused attention on a business that is deeply unprofitable and will most likely remain so for years.CreditCreditJustin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • Higher oil prices would help not only oil companies but also steel producers, which have become major suppliers of goods to the energy industry. But other businesses, particularly those in transportation, could suffer. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 04:20

    For months, American consumers have kept the economy humming. While businesses pulled back, shoppers continued to spend.

    But a prolonged surge in gasoline prices after the attacks on oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia could undermine that phenomenon and increase the risk of a recession.

    “It’s clearly not a positive, and it adds a negative to the outlook,” said Steve Blitz, chief United States economist at T.S. Lombard, an independent research firm. “It’s another straw on the camel’s back.”

    Monday’s nearly 15 percent spike in oil prices to $62.90 a barrel isn’t big enough to bring on a recession — it only returns crude prices to where they were this spring. And the economy expanded from 2011 to 2014 even when prices were above $100 a barrel.

  • While G.M.'s chief executive, Mary Barra, is not at the table with U.A.W. leaders, she is staying nearby and taking an active role Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 04:05
    Mary Barra, the General Motors chief executive, in March at the assembly plant in Lake Orion, near Detroit. She announced that the company would spend $300 million to prepare the plant to make a new electric vehicle.CreditCreditCarlos Osorio/Associated Press
  • Unlike traditional trade pacts, the “minideals” that President Trump’s advisers are drafting with Japan and India are likely to be confined to a few industries or products Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 02:45
    President Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan discussing trade at the Group of 7 summit in France last month. Unlike traditional trade deals, any agreement they announce is likely to be confined to a few sectors or products.CreditCreditErin Schaff/The New York Times
  • WeWork faces deep skepticism about its business model and corporate governance, and a person with knowledge of its plans says an initial stock offering may wind up being scrapped entirely Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 01:25
    A WeWork space in New York. The prospect of going public has focused attention on a business that is deeply unprofitable and will most likely remain so for years.CreditCreditJustin Lane/EPA, via Shutterstock
  • “If she cares about us, where is she now?" said a worker at a plant where General Motors CEO Mary Barra paid a visit this year. Good will has been elusive at GM, where UAW members walked out Sunday night. Link
    DealBook Wed 18 Sep 2019 00:05
    Mary Barra, the General Motors chief executive, in March at the assembly plant in Lake Orion, near Detroit. She announced that the company would spend $300 million to prepare the plant to make a new electric vehicle.CreditCreditCarlos Osorio/Associated Press
  • “There’s a real blurring now between what people are wearing on the weekend and what they’re wearing for work, and that blurring is working really well for brands such as Madewell," one expert said. Link
    DealBook Tue 17 Sep 2019 22:20

    When J. Crew started opening Madewell stores in 2006, the company declared that its new brand would deliver “real, honest women’s clothes” for hip 20- and 30-somethings. “Not too trendy, not too girly, just cool clothes infused with a modern upbeat attitude,” it said in a release at the time, promoting the worn-in feel of the retailer’s T-shirts, jeans and chinos.

    The idea worked better, perhaps, than the company expected.

    Madewell has since become a shining retail star, one that filed for an initial public offering on Friday at the same time that the once-popular J. Crew brand struggles to regain relevance in an increasingly online environment. The fortunes of the chains have diverged so much that Madewell’s I.P.O. will help raise much-needed capital for its parent, J. Crew, which will remain private.

    While Madewell is only about one-third the size of J. Crew, the brand has taken off in recent years thanks to a retail strategy better suited to today’s...

  • Personal details, bank account data and information on family members were said to be in the files exposed on an unsecured server in Florida Link
    DealBook Tue 17 Sep 2019 21:00

    The attorney general’s office said the company, which was founded by former top telecommunication officials, was suspected of being responsible for the information breach.

    “This is a very delicate issue that is a major concern for the government,” Ecuador’s interior minister, Maria Paula Romo, said in a news conference Tuesday. She declined to provide further details, citing an ongoing inquiry.

    The New York Times was not immediately able to locate Novaestrat’s lawyers or contact the company.

    The news has jolted the small South American nation, underlining the risks of rapid digitalization of personal data pursued by its government. Earlier this year, Ecuadorean authorities admitted the use of controversial Chinese facial recognition technology to reduce crime.

    Some expressed indignation that a provincial firm founded two years ago with a capital of just $3,000 had access to sensitive and extensive government databases. The country’s privacy advocates...

  • While a production shortfall from an attack on one pipeline or refinery can often be offset by others, it is not easy to make up for the loss of the processing capacity of Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq, the largest facility of its kind in the world. Link
    DealBook Tue 17 Sep 2019 13:34

    HOUSTON — Fixing the damage done by the attack on the Saudi oil processing plant may be the easy part. The hard part will be calming energy markets, where oil prices have jumped faster than at any time in over a decade.

    The attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq plant, which accounts for 5 percent of global oil supplies, and a nearby facility took 5.7 million barrels a day of production off line for at least a few days. It also highlighted the vulnerability of the sprawling processing plants, pipelines and refineries of the Persian Gulf.

    “The psyche has been altered,” said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service. “Now you have the thought, ‘What if the other shoe drops and we have a wider conflict?’”

    For years, American and Saudi security analysts have worried about the Abqaiq processing center, which removes sulfur impurities and makes crude oil less volatile so it can be safely exported on tankers. Without the plant, much of the...

  • “Seinfeld” currently streams on Hulu in the U.S. and in many other countries on Amazon. Hulu has the rights to the show until June 2021. The hit comedy will begin appearing on Netflix in 2021. Link
    DealBook Tue 17 Sep 2019 13:34

    The battle for the streaming rights to 1990s sitcoms continued on Monday, when Netflix announced it had acquired the global rights to “Seinfeld.”

    The hit comedy will begin appearing on the streaming service in 2021. “Seinfeld” currently streams on Hulu in the United States and in many other countries on Amazon. Hulu has the rights to the show until June 2021. Netflix struck the deal with Sony Pictures Television, which distributes the show.

    The “Seinfeld” deal, which was reported earlier by The Los Angeles Times, comes in the middle of a frenzied battle between media companies over the rights of beloved vintage sitcoms.

    Last year, Netflix paid $100 million to keep “Friends” on its platform for another year. Earlier this year, WarnerMedia, which is rolling out a new streaming platform called HBO Max next year, nabbed the rights to the show.

  • “If a full-fledged war between Iran and Saudi Arabia breaks out, there would be no limit to how high prices could go,” said a portfolio manager at InfraCap MLP. Link
    DealBook Tue 17 Sep 2019 13:34

    HOUSTON — Fixing the damage done by the attack on the Saudi oil processing plant may be the easy part. The hard part will be calming energy markets, where oil prices have jumped faster than at any time in over a decade.

    The attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq plant, which accounts for 5 percent of global oil supplies, and a nearby facility took 5.7 million barrels a day of production off line for at least a few days. It also highlighted the vulnerability of the sprawling processing plants, pipelines and refineries of the Persian Gulf.

    “The psyche has been altered,” said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis for Oil Price Information Service. “Now you have the thought, ‘What if the other shoe drops and we have a wider conflict?’”

    For years, American and Saudi security analysts have worried about the Abqaiq processing center, which removes sulfur impurities and makes crude oil less volatile so it can be safely exported on tankers. Without the plant, much of the...

  • The U.A.W.’s strike, part of a recent surge of labor activism, has halted production in the U.S. A prolonged stoppage could affect G.M.’s Canadian and Mexican operations. Here’s what you need to know. Link https://t.co/LNCCNNYRqy
    DealBook Tue 17 Sep 2019 13:29

    First, it was teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Kentucky. Then hotel workers at nearly two dozen Marriotts and grocery employees at Stop & Shop locations in the Northeast.

    Now the United Automobile Workers have gone on strike at General Motors, sending nearly 50,000 members at factories across the Midwest and South to picket lines.

    U.A.W. leaders in Detroit voted unanimously on Sunday to authorize the strike, the union’s first such walkout since 2007, after the current agreement with G.M. expired.

    The strike, part of a recent surge of labor activism, has halted production in the United States. A prolonged stoppage could affect G.M.’s Canadian and Mexican operations, crimping the company’s bottom line and the fortunes of its parts suppliers.

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