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    There are a lot of ways to work your way up to management. And while assessments and psychological profiling are common tools used to identify and place potential leaders, informal observations can also be an indicator of leadership potential. A 2016 study by peer-recognition app TINYpulse and Microsoft Workplace Analytics tracked positive feedback given through the app for six months. They found that employees who had the most positive feedback typically also had the most influence and were productivity drivers. They had larger networks and spent more time collaborating with others than their peers.

    As soft skills like social intelligence, communication, and empathy are increasingly valued in the workplace, that peer interaction—both formal and informal—is increasingly important, says Warren Wright, founder of the coaching firm Coaching Millennials. And whether you’re chatting about a high-stakes meeting or heading out for happy hour after casual Friday, your coworkers and managers are judging you, and that could affect your management potential.

    “They may be looking at how these aspiring managers handle difficult situations. Do they crash and burn under pressure?” Wright says. “Those are the little clues that people are looking for more now than before in terms of what it takes to be a leader.” And those informal evaluations include four key areas.

    Can they trust you?

    To be a good leader, you need to be trustworthy, says Stacey Philpot, a human capital principal at management consulting firm Deloitte’s Philadelphia office. And often, informal interactions are an important part of building trust. How you interact with others and build the sense that they can rely on you is a critical component of how they feel about you. Ask yourself how you can foster credibility, reliability, and intimacy through these informal interactions rather than being too self-oriented, she says.

    “In everyday interactions, what I would be saying to that young professional is, ‘Be conscious of whether you show up as credible and reliable, but also equally engaged in the interests of the other person that you’re interacting with,'” she says.

    Do you show potential?

    Measuring leadership potential can be tricky. But Deloitte research has found that people who have certain traits will become leaders faster, Philpot says. “Potential tends to be things like intellectual potential, change potential, people potential, and motivation or drive potential. In plain English, what that means is people who are smart, good with people, driven, and adaptable to change are more likely to become a leader faster than people who are low on those attributes,” she adds.

    Philpot says that when executives describe a leader, they often use terms like: smart, good with people, driven, and adaptable. But that’s only half the story. She advises them to think about:

    • Can this person set a direction?
    • Does the person have good business judgment?
    • Is the person able to influence others?

    Are you “for real?”

    For people to be able to trust you and believe in your leadership potential, they must feel as though you’re being authentic, says Houston-based management consultant Brad Deutser, author of Leading Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash People, Profit, and Performance. When people masquerade as something they’re not, others see right through that, he says.

    “More and more people are looking for people who are real. They do not apologize for that. They’re respectful of other people, but they are who they are. And if we know what’s real in today’s environment, it makes it so much easier to have a relationship,” he says.

    How do you handle conflict?

    One big way people form opinions about you is in observing how you react to conflict, says Natalie Michael, CEO of Waterfront Partners, Inc., a West Vancouver, British Columbia-based executive coaching firm and author of Your CEO Succession Playbook. “To what extent can you express your point of view, even in the face of opposition?” she says.

    When you take on a leadership role, you’re going to need to be able to withstand criticism or opposing views without getting upset. “So, your ability to withstand opposition and criticism, sometimes even in a very public domain of social media, and to maintain a healthy perspective around that and emotional composition [will be part of how people form opinions about your leadership potential],” she says. Managing your informal interactions well when you’re not in agreement with your peers can go a long way toward helping them respect you as a leader.


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    The Ember electronic mug–which can automagically maintain your favorite poison at exactly your favorite temperature for as long as there’s liquid inside–has a new superpower: Thanks to an app update, the mug now integrates with Apple Health to keep track of how much caffeine you drink.

    [Photo: Ember]
    The company claims that this will work with Apple Health’s sleep- and heart rate-tracking apps to detect any correlation between the intake of coffee and those health vectors. So, in theory, if you are downing six cups a day, that may explain why your night sleeping patterns are crap or your heart is beating faster than normal. (Though keep in mind: Many health apps that don’t rely on direct vitals–like pulse, sugar levels, or temperature–have less-than-stellar track records.) So can Ember really tell you how much caffeine you are taking in without analyzing the precise caffeine percentage in your coffee, which varies according to factors like its origin, toasting, and brewing method?

    [Photo: Ember]

    Probably not. But it’s still offering a rough picture, which must be enticing to health-obsessed people.

    Then there’s the rest of us who live on purified caffeine and chocolate éclairs, and only one thing matters: The Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug–which was originally imagined by design studio Ammunition Group back in 2015–now comes in snow white. Why is this important? It is not at all. Works just like the black one, but it looks cooler–in a 2001: Space Odyssey kind of way.

    You can only get this white model for $150 at Apple online or in the company’s physical stores. And any existing Ember uses can update the app to start tracking their addiction right now.


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    In the two years since the election–yes, it’s been two years, somehow–a massive amount of art has been made about politics in America. But a Barbara Kruger piece from 1990, back when Donald Trump was busy bankrupting casinos in Atlantic City, still hits harder.

    Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Questions), 1989-90, on view from June 29, 1990–July 1992 on the south wall of the Temporary Contemporary, MOCA, Los Angeles, courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. [Photo: Gene Ogami/courtesy MOCA]

    The piece, Untitled (Questions), is a list of nine questions rendered across the 30-foot-tall wall of the Museum of Contemporary Art‘s Geffen building in downtown Los Angeles:

    Who is beyond the law? Who is bought and sold? Who is free to choose? Who does time? Who follows orders? Who salutes the longest? Who prays the loudest? Who dies first? Who laughs last?

    The piece was first installed in 1990, when MOCA was just 11 years old. An anonymous donor paid for the mural to be resurrected ahead of the midterm elections, but the museum has plans to leave it up until the 2020 presidential elections. On its Instagram, MOCA posted a series of videos of the installation, which will be complete this weekend, accompanied by information about voter registration.

    View this post on Instagram

    ???????????? ???????? ???????????????????????? ???????????? ????????????? . MOCA is thrilled to announce that #BarbaraKruger’s work Untitled (Questions) is being installed on the north facing wall of MOCA Geffen! In connection with the work, a series of voter registration efforts will be anchored by the artwork in advance of the 2018 midterms, as well as the 2020 general election. October 22 is the last day to register online to vote in California–click the link in our bio to see the deadline to register in your state, and whether you can do so electronically. And check out our❓highlighted story to read an exclusive interview with Kruger by @cmonstah in the @LATimes. . The work includes nine questions such as “Who is beyond the law?”, “Who is bought and sold?”, and “Who is free to choose?” The artwork uses these questions to point to issues of patriotism, civic engagement, and power relations. The work will remain on view through November of 2020. This installation is the first public facing project since the appointment of @KlausBiesenbach as MOCA’s new director and reflects his commitment to the museum’s active engagement in civic dialogue, democratic participation, and community activation. . [Photo courtesy of Troyese Robinson]

    A post shared by The Museum of Contemporary Art (@mocalosangeles) on

    Kruger’s work has remained incredibly powerful through the decades, a reminder that the things we’re debating today–patriotism, fascism, sexism, war, and the prison industrial complex, for starters–aren’t novel in the least. In a statement, Kruger described the enduring relevance of Untitled (Questions), saying, “It’s both tragic and disappointing that this work, 30 years later, might still have some resonance.”


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    The Girl Scouts may want to add a Gamer merit badge to their STEM program. A new study from the University of Surrey in the U.K. found that girls between the ages of 13-14 who identified as “heavy gamers”—that is, clocking in over nine hours of playing time a week—were three times more likely to pursue a STEM degree compared to girls who were non-gamers.

    The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, also found that 100% of the girls who were already in STEM programs identified as gamers.

    The same cannot be said of boys studying in the STEM fields. While girls seemed to relate their interest in STEM to being gamers, boys identified themselves as gamers or not regardless of what field they were studying, leading the researchers to suspect that boys still experience far less pressure to conform to the gamer stereotype if they were studying a STEM degree.

    Researcher Anesa Hosein, who led the study, thinks this correlation can help identify young women who may be interested in STEM early and get them on track to a career in the sciences.

    “Our research shows that those who study PSTEM [physical science, technology, engineering, and math] subjects at degree level are more likely to be gamers, so we need to encourage the girl gamers of today to become the engineering and physics students and pioneers of tomorrow,” she said in a statement. “It therefore makes sense, in the short term, that educators seeking to encourage more take up of PSTEM subjects should target girl gamers, as they already may have a natural interest in these subjects.”


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    What: A very real campaign ad that should look rather familiar to fans of a certain HBO comedy.

    Who: Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN)

    Why we care: The main lesson of the Trump era might boil down to: Be careful what you joke about, it might just become a reality. That’s not always necessarily a bad thing, though. Veep creator Armando Iannucci recently joked about a hilarious premise for a satirical movie about Trump, and now that movie may actually be happening. Now, a terrible campaign ad from the show Iannucci created appears to have manifested into a real ad in real life.

    Here’s the original ad, from Veep’s upward-failing homunculus, Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons):

    Now take a gander at this ad from Senator Joe Donnelly, a centrist Democrat up for re-election in 18 days:

    The folksy chopping. The patronizing display of his conservative values. Donnelly is basically one vest away from this being a “Gus van Sant Psycho remake”-type situation. The ad is too obviously real (and awful) to even count as parody. I have so many questions, chief of which is, “Huh?” Either the senator’s own ad team got really stoned while watching Veep the day before a deadline and whipped up this concept in a frantic haze—or they’re pranking him. The only alternative is that Donnelly has the all-time greatest political sense of humor and this is one big goof. My only hope is that enough people hear about the resemblance to make the senator address it at a press conference—just like something that would happen on Veep.


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    One of the most important factors of a great resume is including data to back up your claim of being a great employee. Anyone can say that they are a great employee, but very few people can show it. If you can articulate what you’ve accomplished and what you can bring to the table, this will greatly increase your chances of landing the job. With that in mind, if you’re not used to gathering data about yourself, it can be overwhelming and intimidating.

    Start by doing some research

    When it comes to gathering data to put on your resume, start by doing a bit of research on yourself. Look back at your schedule and see what projects you’ve taken on. Take note of any metrics or accomplishments that come to mind, then continue to build from there and create an outline of what additional information could better articulate your accomplishments.

    This will help you when you go to write your resume, but it will also give you a clear picture of what kind of information you’re looking for when you do approach your boss.

    Approach your boss with positivity

    When you’re trying to gather data to include on your resume, it can seem scary to approach your boss as part of your research, but it doesn’t have to be. Position it in a positive light and phrase it in a way so you can show that you want to use the information to grow.

    Even if you’re ultimately approaching your boss to gather data to include on your resume, this isn’t a bad thing. Updating your resume does not automatically mean that you’re unhappy in your current role. It just means that you’re being proactive!

    A great way to reach out to your boss without sending the wrong message could go something like this:

    Hi [Name],

    I was looking back on some past projects I’ve worked on, and wanted to touch base to gather some feedback. I really enjoyed working on [project] and would love to hear your take on the execution, the results, and how I can further develop my capabilities going forward. Let me know if there’s a good time to put something on the calendar!

    Thanks,

    [Name]

    Come to the meeting prepared

    Bring the research and results that you’ve come up with so you can show that you’ve put effort into it. This will give your boss the message that you’re taking ownership for your actions, being proactive about how you can improve, and putting in a shared effort to gather information.

    Additionally, make sure that you bring a notebook or laptop to take notes on the feedback you receive so you don’t miss anything.

    Finally, come in armed with questions. Show what you’ve come up with and ask clarifying questions. For example, you can discuss that you noticed a spike in consumer engagement after you completed the project and ask if your boss has any specific numbers on engagement so you can measure the effects of your work.

    You could also discuss any weak points. From there, you can ask for improvement strategies or point out potential solutions that you’ve come up with. While you might not think of weak points as beneficial when you’re gathering data to include on your resume, you can phrase it in a positive way like this:

    Identified project weaknesses including X and Y, and worked with senior management to strategize potential solutions to improve project results and optimize internal project management processes.

    Tell your boss that you’d like to use this information

    If you’re discussing external clients and client information to gather data, be sure that you can legally use this information on a resume or public platform such as LinkedIn. It’s important to ensure that you’re not breaching any confidentiality contracts if you’re talking about budgets, etc.

    Share your excitement about gathering your information, and ask your boss if you could use it to update your LinkedIn profile. To ensure that you’re giving off a positive message, explain that you’d like to use the information on LinkedIn to highlight company success and draw in potential clients.

    When it comes to writing an effective resume, including data to highlight your value and articulate your achievements is key. You can calculate metrics and achievements on your own, but sometimes it’s important to reach out and gather additional information from a manager or boss. This conversation can seem intimidating for fear of sending the wrong message, but as long as you approach it with positivity, reaching out to your boss to gather data for your resume can be a really great experience.


    This article originally appeared on Glassdoor and is reprinted with permission. 


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    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case about North Dakota’s voter ID law, which experts say may make it incredibly difficult for the state’s Native American population to vote in the midterms. A crowdfunding campaign to help give those voters the credentials they need beat its initial goal after just one hour on Wednesday. The online effort, spearheaded by Daily Kos and spread through Twitter, was initially supposed to raise $100,000 but the goal has since been reset at $400,000. By early Friday , nearly 20,000 people had given nearly $450,000.

    That money will go to North Dakota Native Vote, a voters’ rights group that’s affiliated with Western Native Voice in Montana and is now trying to fix the situation. The upheld law includes a requirement that all state residents present documentation of their residential address at the polls. That excludes post office box addresses, which many Native Americans use because they live on reservations and the post office doesn’t deliver to their more remote home addresses. If your ID has a PO box on it, it won’t be valid. But a tribal ID is valid.

    So North Dakota Native Vote is attempting to fix the situation by providing updated tribal ID cards or address verifications to members of the affected tribes, according to the Daily Kos campaign post. By Thursday morning, the group had fielded a six-person team to coordinate their efforts that it hopes to expand in the coming days, given that it’s just a few weeks from the midterm elections.

    “In my perspective, there was a real hunger to channel the sheer frustration of blatant voter suppression by putting dollars down,” says Prairie Rose Seminole, a volunteer coordinator for the group, in an email to Fast Company. “People get that there is urgency here. Urgency in time and needed resources to get this work done in less than 20 days.”

    Overall, Seminole says that at least 75,000 potential voters could be affected. As the Nation reports, Native Americans account for just fewer than 6% of the state’s population, but traditionally vote heavily for Democratic candidates. Some of the state’s races may come down to extremely thin margins: In 2012, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) won her seat by just a few thousand votes–and is in another tight race to retain it.

    If they can move fast enough, Seminole hopes that people who might have been unaware of the situation might be even more encouraged to vote. Many of those affected are in rural areas, so North Dakota Native Vote has combined fixing paperwork with a get-out-the-vote campaign and will be coordinating drivers to help those who need transportation to reach the polls. “There will be more hurdles,” says Seminole. “These efforts at this time are just a quick response, but the real issue of voter suppression and silencing our voices is a threat. We need to do the work to ensure that we’re building long-term engagement and build something so that we are heard.”


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    Over the last few years, brands have increasingly stepped up and spoken out on social and environmental issues from gender equality and LGBTQ rights, to climate change and sustainability. One of the most influential and outspoken companies in this regard is Patagonia, and today the brand took its activism to a new level by announcing its endorsement of specific U.S. Senate candidates in the upcoming midterm elections.

    Reflecting its commitment to the protection of public lands and waters, the company is endorsing Democratic candidate Jacky Rosen in Nevada and incumbent Senator Jon Tester (D-MT). While its headquarters is in Ventura, California, Patagonia’s global distribution center, with more than 650 employees, is in Nevada, and over the past 20 years, the brand has worked with grassroots environmental nonprofits and the state’s leaders on some of the conservation efforts, including the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area, Gold Butte National Monument, Basin and Range National Monument, and more. In Montana, the company started its conservation efforts in the late 1980s by giving grants to support the Montana Wilderness Association.

    [Image: courtesy of Patagonia]
    In a statement, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario said, “Jacky has a strong record of defending public lands in Congress and protecting our access to clean air and clean waters. We need her leadership to protect Nevada’s economy and the basic health of its people, so the business community can thrive and so Nevadans can prosper.”

    Company founder Yvon Chouinard said in a statement that threats to clean air, clean water, and public land are worse than we’ve ever seen, and they’re supporting Jon Tester–the only organic farmer in the Senate–because he gives a damn about protecting public lands and is committed to fight back against anyone who doesn’t. “He goes to work every day for the 95% of Montanans who believe recreation on public lands is a priority, unlike Republicans in Congress who only serve the fossil fuel industry.”

    This move is yet another way Patagonia is pushing the envelope for how brands speak out and stand behind social and political issues. Traditionally, companies do this behind closed doors through lobbying or CEO donations to specific candidates, far, far, faaaar from the eyes of the general public. Even post-Citizens United, which deregulated political spending by organizations of all stripes, companies have largely kept their support out of the broader public eye. Here, in what appears to be a first, Patagonia is making it part of its brand marketing, posting its endorsements on its website, across its social channels, and in customer emails.

    It’s consistent with the brand’s high-profile activism around public lands, which has been put into hyperdrive since the election of President Donald Trump and his appointment of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. In March, the company called the president out publicly, declaring he lied about his intentions when the government reduced Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by nearly 2 million acres in December 2017. And in June, Marcario announced the company would be giving employees a paid day off to vote in the midterms and encouraged other companies to do the same. Now, brands like Kaiser Permanente, Levi Strauss & Co., PayPal, Tyson Foods, and Walmart have joined Patagonia in a nonpartisan Time to Vote coalition of companies that will give employees time off to vote.

    Companies taking a stand on specific issues is still a polarizing debate, but there’s no arguing that more people want to buy from brands that align with their values and beliefs. The brands that have voiced their support have found increased customer loyalty. This latest move by Patagonia represents a new leap in that dynamic, not only telling the world what its goals are, but also promoting and providing people with the tools–and in this case, the candidates–to achieve them.


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    In case you were wondering who in the world would want the job of rehabilitating Facebook’s reputation after its scandal-ridden year, you have your answer: It’s Nick Clegg, the former U.K. deputy prime minister and one-time head of the Liberal Democrat party.

    Clegg will join the social network in Silicon Valley as its head of global affairs and communications, thereby inheriting the fallout over its many privacy, data, PR, and metrics controversies. According to the Financial Times, Clegg, 51, got the job after successfully “wooing” Mark Zuckerberg and will be one of the few high-ranking British officials to enjoy a position close to the chief executive’s side.

    Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s longtime VP of global communication and public policy—and a close Zuckerberg confidante—would step down from his post after a decade at the social network.

    In a Facebook post today, Clegg acknowledged the obvious challenges of the job he’s just agreed to take, saying Facebook and its subsidiaries—including WhatsApp and Instagram—lay at the heart of some of the most difficult questions facing society today, including privacy, the integrity of the democratic process, and the tension between local cultures in a connected world. “I believe that Facebook must continue to play a role in finding answers to those questions,” he wrote,” not by acting alone in Silicon Valley, but by working with people, organizations, governments and regulators around the world to ensure that technology is a force for good.”

    In a surprise defeat last year, Clegg lost his seat in parliament in the U.K.’s general election. You can check out his full post here.


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    Grocery chain Hy-Vee is voluntarily recalling six of its meat and potato products due to possible contamination with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, the company said yesterday. The recall affects products in all eight states where the company operates: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

    According to the recall notice published by the FDA, the potential contamination was discovered after McCain Foods—a supplier for the West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee—said it was recalling caramelized mushrooms and fire-roasted tomatoes, which are ingredients in the six affected Hy-Vee products.

    No illnesses have been reported as of yet.

    Below is a list of the impacted products. All of them have “best if used by” date of October 22, 2018, or sooner. If you have any of these products in your fridge, don’t eat them! Throw them away or bring them back to their place of purchase for a full refund.

    • Hy-Vee Bacon Wrapped Cowgirl Chicken Grillers–8 ounce each (UPC Code 023092600000)
    • Hy-Vee Fire Roasted Tomato, Spinach, Mozzarella Twice Baked Potato–5 ounce each (UPC Code 023755400000)
    • Hy-Vee Cowgirl Chicken Griller Patty–6 ounce each (UPC Code 023100200000)
    • Hy-Vee Gourmet Steakhouse Mushroom & Swiss Burger–6 ounce each (UPC Code 023168400000)
    • Hy-Vee Ground Beef Sliders Mushroom & Swiss–2 ounce each (UPC Code 023164300000)
    • Hy-Vee Ground Beef Sliders Mushroom & Swiss–12 count, 30 ounces (UPC Code 023266600000)

    You can read the full notice here.


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    I was at lunch with a group of CEOs in New York City and said the following things to them: Millennials don’t suck. Their managers do. As you can imagine, it went over about as well as a black tuxedo at a party where the dress code is all white.

    But here’s the thing. While workers have a responsibility to be good employees, the people in charge need to take responsibility. If you think about it, the current professional landscape is composed of five different generations: traditionalists (also known as the “silent generation”), baby boomers, gen-X, millennials, and the first wave of gen-Z. The combination makes for a complicated landscape, along with the ever-changing job market and the introduction of many new technological tools.

    But some of the things that hold our workers back, and ultimately hinder the success of most businesses, have stayed the same. I’ll give you a clue–it has something to do with leadership. CEOs create the conditions for workers to thrive and prosper. Are you a leader and don’t know where to begin? Here are some ideas to get you started.

    1. Tie HR to performance

    We’ve been expecting far too little of HR. For too long, many people responsible for training, development, hiring, and employee retention have had a comfortable ride. Now, I’m not saying that the entire HR world is like that–there are those who make hiring, training, and retaining the best employees a priority (those are the HR personnel you should absolutely hang on to).

    But by tying performance metrics like retention rates, revenue targets, and employees’ assessments into their compensation, you’ll ensure that your head of HR does prioritize those things. After all, you want to hire people who are excited about improving these metrics.

    2. Speak up

    I get it. You have to be head down and focused on growing your business. But we in the U.S. have too many yo-yos in Washington, D.C., and at the state and local level, and they’re changing the rules pretty quickly. Everything from tax reform to labor laws impacts your business.

    I moved my company to Newark, New Jersey, a few years ago. The first thing I did was knock on the door at city hall. We became active and even donated our platform to the city to help train their workforce. It’s not enough to vote if you want to see results–you need to hold your representatives responsible. Many laws today have a direct impact on the ability of companies to do business. From taxes to insurance to tariffs, these topics impact decisions that companies have to make. And these decisions result in either job growth and wage spikes, or layoffs and cutbacks.

    3.  Choose better technology

    If I asked you, How do you learn most effectively? I’m willing to bet that most of you will not answer with watching online videos at your desk. If I ask you what motivates you to do your best work, you probably won’t say completing tests, quizzes, and assessments meted out by learning and development. However, I see CEOs make this mistake again and again.

    A recent Accenture study found that companies conduct less than 1% of all employee training on mobile. Meanwhile, 98% of your workforce uses a smartphone, and most millennials will touch a phone within 15 minutes of waking up. And yet CEOs are still approving the purchase of tools that employees can only use on a desktop.

    We have a 21st-century workforce, and we’re still using learning and training tools from the Reagan administration. It might sound time consuming to look into new tools and products, but you’re missing out on all the innovative tools that are designed to solve the problems you keep running into again and again. Do you really want to make your employees miserable by forcing them to watch videos, only to see lousy results year after year? To accomplish results you’ve never seen, you’ve got to be prepared to do something you’ve never done.

    As a CEO, it’s your responsibility to develop your employees. It’s not enough to tell them that they need to adapt to the future of work–you need to give them guidelines and create an environment where they can do that. CEOs can’t afford to stay on the sidelines. You must step in to ensure that the leadership you put in charge of hiring, training, and engaging your people are equipped and continuously challenged to deliver.

    The time is now. You must mobilize and take action. Don’t just expect your employees to step up. Do the same and make it clear to them that you are willing to invest in their success. That’s going to motivate them to be more productive employees, which will translate to positive, tangible results for your company.


    Sam Caucci is the CEO and founder of 1HUDDLE.


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    This morning, the President of the United States published a tweet about how he and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo are working together “to help balance out the one-sided Trade with Japan.”

    To illustrate, he included a map of the United States, with specific “recent major Japanese investment” updates called out for different states. Take a look:

    It’s a mishmash of information, numbers, and graphics, with a cutout image of each type of product–tractors, SUVs, air-conditioners–accompanying the actual text, which is rendered in a grab bag of colors and sizes without hierarchy.

    The origins of the slide aren’t clear, but it falls in line with what we already know about the types of briefings President Trump prefers. Last year, the New York Times described the way presidential briefings and policy documents have changed since Trump took office, writing that “while Mr. Obama liked policy option papers that were three to six single-spaced pages, council staff members are now being told to keep papers to a single page, with lots of graphics and maps.” We knew that Trump has a notoriously short attention span, but we didn’t know it was this bad.

    I pity whatever aide had to create this visualization for him. Unless it was Jared.


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    The last generation of data visualization was about stoicism, experimentation, and clarity. But the next generation might look a lot more like Michael Bay.

    I say this as The Weather Channel (TWC) has debuted its fourth Immersive Mixed Reality studio spectacle, which uses real-time graphic effects to put its meteorologists in the middle of some of the world’s most dangerous weather. In the first, released back in June, we watched a tornado rip apart the studio. In the second, a flash flood filled streets during Hurricane Florence. And in the latest, Stephanie Abrams takes us right inside a California wildfire. At one moment, the flames have literally surrounded her.

    But it’s proving to be compelling, informational content. And already, we’re seeing TWC tone down the sensational moments–the inaugural tornado dropped a full-size car into the studio–and focus on clear stats amongst the visuals. Furthermore, in this wildfire episode, we’re seeing the segment zoom out to offer a broader overview of conditions in the region rather than just the terrifying on-the-ground perspective. It’s not just showing a dramatic scene; it’s giving it context.

    And above all else, it’s a humbling reminder of why I will never, ever move to California.


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    Nikon’s new pro-grade Z camera—the company’s first full-frame mirrorless option—packs 45.7 megapixels into a compact body, with a digital eyepiece that previews your exact exposure. Nikon makes it easy for brand enthusiasts to ease their way into the future, offering an adaptor for the new wider mount that accepts your F-mount lenses—that is, until you succumb to the temptation to build your own collection of Z lenses.” —Jessica Bloom, photographer($4,000, nikonusa.com)


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    When I was a kid, my dad told me eating cheese before bed would give me nightmares. This could’ve been due to his natural paternal instinct to protect me from the darker elements of a childhood imagination. That, or he just didn’t feel like sharing his tasty snack with a rugrat who couldn’t tell the difference between his pricey old cheddar and Kraft singles. Either way, it had me dodging most dairy at bedtime for a while and introduced me to the concept of food influencing dream and nightmare potential. Now Burger King is doing the same thing with its new “Nightmare King” Halloween burger. A perfect late-night snack for the bravest among us. Onward!

    Burger King “Nightmare King”

    What: A new Halloween burger promotion from Burger King that claims to give people nightmares.

    Who: Burger King, David Miami

    Why we care: Look, does it really matter if this burger gives you nightmares or not? It’s still a funny gimmick that appeals to people’s love of all things weird and quirky. It’s fast food trash talk fuel. Of course people are going to order this to find out if it works. And if it doesn’t? They’ll still be talking about that green bun.

    Fire Ted Cruz “Ted Cruz loves White Castle”

    What: Our newest Texas diner buddy Sonny Carl is back in another anti-Ted Cruz ad directed by Richard Linklater.

    Who: Fire Ted Cruz, Richard Linklater

    Why we care: After laughing at Ted Cruz’s claim of being “tough as Texas” last week, Carl’s back questioning the sanity of Cruz labeling his Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke a “Triple Meat Whataburger liberal who is out of touch with Texas values.” We see footage of Cruz professing his love of White Castle, before Carl points out there isn’t a White Castle within 900 miles of Texas. (It’s not in Canada, either.)

    Yeti “The Long Time”

    What: A new short film from outdoors accessory brand Yeti.

    Who: Yeti, Felt Soul Media

    Why we care: I’ve been a fan of Yeti’s film work for years now, and this latest is a bit of a departure. It follows the journey of architect Jack Sanders, from his work as a student helping a rural Alabama baseball team to his own community sandlot team today in Texas. It’s a mellow, fascinating story that manages to maintain the consistent soul underlying all the brand’s work.

    HP “The Wolf — True Alpha”

    What: The final installment to HP’s series The Wolf, starring Christian Slater.

    Who: HP, Giant Spoon

    Why we care: After dropping a teaser in August, here’s the big 20-min finale, a showdown between Slater and Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul). Since it kicked off in 2017, The Wolf series has always been a unique content move for a brand like HP, and the quality and commitment to telling a good story is evident in its production and casting. A fitting send-off.

    Pilsner Urquell “Brewmaster”

    What: A new feature doc from the MillerCoors brand that actually has little to no branding.

    Who: Pilsner Urquell, Doug Tirola

    Why we care: To celebrate the brand’s 175th birthday, Pilsner Urquell decided to invest in a film that not only barely has its logo in it, but also happens to feature many of its competitors. The film follows a New York lawyer chasing his dream of becoming a brewmaster and a Milwaukee-based professional beer educator as he attempts to become a Master Cicerone. The film, directed by Doug Tirola, got a good reception at SXSW and is opening today at NYC’s Cinema Village, running there all next week. It’ll be interesting to see how the brand uses the film, and its decision to make an actual film instead of a feature-length ad, to its advantage in the coming months.


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    West Virginia’s young people problem is well documented: In 2016, the state was the only one to report a drop in birth rates and an increase in outward migration–both are attributable to young people leaving the state, and staying away.

    Natalie Roper is one of the few who’s stayed, and she heads up a nonprofit, Generation West Virginia, whose aim is to support opportunities for young people to build up their own careers and the economy in the state overall–and importantly, to stay (the organization sells shirts that say “Here for the Long Haul Y’All“). Generation WV offers a fellowship program that places twentysomethings at local companies; last year saw fellows go to a design firm in Charleston, an environmental consulting firm in Morgantown, and Core10, a fintech firm in Huntington.

    Morgantown, West Virginia [Photo: BackyardProduction/iStock]
    Placing fellows in various jobs across the state led to Generation WV’s latest initiative, NewForce: an intensive training and job-placement program to connect young West Virginians with careers in tech. “In the past year, almost 50% of the positions companies wanted fellows for were in software development,” Roper says. “There’s this real need for something specific to technology.”

    One Roper identified this need, though, she realized there was no real pipeline to fill it. The state, once dominated by the coal industry, has struggled economically, and while a handful of companies, like Core10, have taken root in the state, they still struggle to attract talent because so many young people leave, and as a result, they struggle to grow. “Core10, which was already working with us on the fellowship program, really served as our proof of concept,” Roper says. “They realized if they had a bigger tech talent pipeline, they could really grow here in West Virginia.”

    So Roper decided to create that pipeline. She’d already identified a model to follow: In Tennessee, the Nashville Software School has produced over 700 graduates through its intensive boot-camp model, which is what Roper wanted to replicate. NSS helped her adapt the concept and curriculum for Generation WV. Jobcase, an employment platform that already reaches around 500,000 West Virginians, is partnering with Generation WV to direct potential applicants to the opportunity. There’s no prior experience in tech or software development required, which for Roper and Christopher Scranton, Jobcase’s director of nonprofit and government partnerships, was crucial. “There are a lot of people in the state who feel like they can’t find a job, and chances are, there is an opportunity, but they just can’t access it,” Scranton says. NewForce aims to completely eradicate the barrier to entry for a career in tech, especially as so much of the talent pool may be people who previously worked as miners, and now find themselves having to start over in their careers.

    Huntington, West Virginia [Photo: Albert Tibbs/iStock]
    Mountwest Community and Technical College in Huntington signed on as the initiative’s educational partner; all of the bootcamp courses will be held there. NewForce will train around 15-25 students, tuition-free, in software development and coding. All of NewForce’s partner organizations will share the cost of the program so it doesn’t fall on the students. “They’ll be in class from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday–it’s like a job,” Roper says. And for their employment partners, NewForce is providing a service in the form of that pipeline of talent they need to grow in the state. At the end of the training course, which kicks off in January after Generation WV and JobCase review applicants, the students will participate in a job interview day with the program’s employment partners from around the state.

    The relationship with the employment partners, Roper says, has been critical to the development of NewForce. “We didn’t just want to make a training program for jobs in software development; we wanted to understand what type of jobs our partners need filled, and tailor the curriculum to match,” she says. The aim is for every graduate of NewForce to land a job, but if that doesn’t happen after the interview day in July, the Jobcase and Generation WV have a wide enough network, Roper says, that they will be able to help facilitate other opportunities.

    Roper and Scranton are optimistic that they’ll be able to train and place around 50 people in the first year, and perhaps eventually scale the number of people accepted into the program as educational and employment partners continue to sign on. To them, the initiative could address the double bind facing West Virginia right now: Lack of job opportunities, and lack of a pipeline to incentivize employers to create those opportunities. And maybe, fixing both will encourage more people to stay.


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    Apple CEO Tim Cook has called upon Bloomberg Businessweek to retract a report that Chinese spies installed tiny microchips designed for espionage on server motherboards sent to the company, BuzzFeed News reports.

    There is no truth in their story about Apple,” Cook told BuzzFeed News. “They need to do the right thing and retract it.”

    Bloomberg Businessweek insists that its story, which claimed that hardware maker Supermicro hid chips on server motherboards designed to enable malware to be installed on the computers, is true. Supermicro, Apple, and Amazon, which also allegedly spotted the spy chips, have all denied the claim.

    One possibility is that the companies involved have been urged to keep the spy chips under wraps by the U.S. government, but Apple has strenuously insisted that’s not the case. It’s the first time that Apple has called for a retraction of a story about the company, according to BuzzFeed.

    “Apple has never found malicious chips in our servers,” the company said in a statement published earlier this month. “Finally, in response to questions we have received from other news organizations since Businessweek published its story, we are not under any kind of gag order or other confidentiality obligations.”


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    Jonah Hill finally has something to say.

    After more than a decade in front of the camera with comedic roles like Superbad and 21 Jumpstreet, Hill is making his directorial debut with his coming-of-age drama Mid 90s. For Hill, writing and directing has been a lifelong goal but it wasn’t something he was willing to do just for the sake of it.

    “I was so lucky to be in the middle of this 15-year acting career–it was the most incredible film school I ever could’ve asked for. I got to learn from so many amazing filmmakers along the way,” Hill says. “You get one chance at making your first film. And when I look at my heroes’ first films, usually it’s a film that was personal or came from a really heartfelt place. So I really waited until I had something to say and I could find my own voice–and that was Mid 90s.”

    Mid 90s follows a 13-year-old skater in Los Angeles during the Clinton era as he navigates his teen years and a rocky family life.

    Sunny Suljic and Na-kel Smith in Mid90s [Photo: courtesy of Tobin Yelland/A24]
    Mid 90s, at its core, is about building a family outside of your home,” Hill says “Essentially, it’s an animal kingdom movie about a young cub working his way up through this infrastructure. In your adolescence, things are so extreme. The fun is so extreme. The pain is so extreme. The joy, the agony–it’s all very heightened. And skateboarding is a group of individuals and outsiders that come together to form a family.”

    Check out more of Hill’s interview with Fast Company in the video above.


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    In a federal criminal complaint unsealed on Friday, a Russian national named Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova was charged in relation to an online influence campaign that targeted U.S. elections, including the 2016 presidential election, this year’s midterms, and even the 2020 vote.

    The 44-year-old St. Petersburg resident was allegedly the chief accountant of the influence operations dubbed “Project Lakhta,” preparing multimillion-dollar budgets for operations funded by the Russian oligarch and Putin ally Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin. The operating budget for the first half of 2018 alone was $10 million, according to a U.S. Justice Department statement.

    The operation allegedly generated divisive social media posts, targeting audiences on both sides of issues like immigration, LGBT rights, gun control, and the Confederate flag.

    [Image: courtesy of U.S. Department of Justice]
    “Posting can be problematic due to time difference, but if you make your reposts in the morning St. Petersburg time, it works well with liberals–LGBT groups are often active at night,” read one document translated in the complaint. “Also, the conservative can view your repost when they wake up in the morning if you post it before you leave in the evening St. Petersburg time.”

    The group allegedly created bogus Facebook personas, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts to promote partisan viewpoints and even advertise real-world protests. Investigators received “exceptional cooperation from private sector companies, such as Facebook and Twitter,” according to the Justice Department.

    Although the complaint mentions that U.S. people communicated with the fake accounts, there’s no allegation that any Americans knowingly participated in the influence operation, according to a Justice Department statement.

    “We didn’t vote for Trump because of a couple of hashtags shilled by the Russians,” said one tweet allegedly posted by the Russian group. “We voted for Trump because he convinced us to vote for Trump. And we are ready to vote for Trump again in 2020!”


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    The Blumhouse steamroller continues to thunder on. This weekend, the company that brought you Get Out and The Purge continues its stream of horror hits with a reboot of the classic 1978 slasher film Halloween. The film has racked up an impressive 86% on Rotten Tomatoes and is already crushing the box office, with some analysts predicting a weekend haul of $70 million. 

    Even if it doesn’t quite hit that target, the film is on track to outperform all of its eight–yes, eight–previous remakes, the most famous of which were the Rob Zombie-directed films. It’s also on track to be immensely profitable: In keeping with Blumhouse’s keep-’em-lean model, Halloween cost just $10 million to make. (It produced the film with Trancas International Films and Miramax.)

    But besides keeping costs low and tapping into a horror franchise with a built-in fandom, Halloween, which is being released by Universal, adheres to some other savvy filmmaking rules, which help explain its success.

    [Photo: courtesy of Universal Pictures]

    1. Remain true to the original

    Perhaps more than any other audience, horror fans are obsessive, one might even say precious, about what they want from their gore fests, particularly those that are part of a franchise. John Carpenter’s original Halloween, which many consider a near-perfect film, set a template that none of its successors–until now–ever lived up to. The film, written by Carpenter and Debra Hill, played up the emotional drama and tension behind the inevitable showdown between Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), a teenager living in suburban Illinois, and Michael Myers, a serial killer who has recently escaped from a sanatorium. There were scares, screams, and blood, but none of it was gratuitous. Everything was measured, including Carpenter’s iconic score. 

    Most of the follow-up films ignored this, playing into the cheeky, over-the-top gore trend of the 1980s and ’90s. Zombie’s films, though the most financially successful of any of the Halloween movies, were criticized for being too heavy on exposition (Myers was given a backstory) and for bringing a gritty, trailer-park sensibility to the franchise.

    The new Halloween harkens back to the original film. In fact, it completely ignores any of what’s come in between it and the original, and brings back Strode—again played by Curtis—40 years after her initial showdown with Myers. Jason Blum, founder and CEO of Blumhouse, has said that he only agreed to make the film when Curtis and Carpenter agreed to be a part of it; Carpenter is an executive producer and again handled the score.

    This desire to honor the original extends to the film itself, which has been applauded for its focus on storytelling as opposed to bloodbaths. As Jason Bailey recently wrote in Vulture: In the new film, Curtis brings “four decades of audience allegiance and emotional baggage to bear; by the time she finally, truly faces her bogeyman, this is no longer some slasher sequel. It’s the kind of honest examination of genuine fear that its predecessor was, all those years ago.” 

    2. Let auteurs help elevate the genre

    Other than Zombie, it’s hard to remember who wrote or directed any of the post-Carpenter Halloween films. In part, that’s a reflection of the times. It wasn’t until recently that auteur filmmakers have started to embrace horror films on a mass scale (over the years, there have, of course, been exceptions, dating back to Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist), as reflected in films like Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele; A Quiet Place, which John Krasinski helmed; and Ari Aster’s Hereditary. Imbuing art into what has historically been considered genre fare has paid off both with critics and at the box office. 

    This trend continues with Halloween, which was put in the hands of Vice Principals collaborators David Gordon Green (who directed and cowrote the film) and Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley (who cowrote the screenplay). Known for their edgy sense of humor, the team has broadened the appeal of the new Halloween beyond die-hard horror lovers, and stoked curiosity for the film, along the lines of: What have they cooked up? 

    3. Time it right

    Halloween is hitting theaters in the horror sweet spot–less than two weeks before its namesake holiday. This means audiences are in the mood to join up with friends and see a scary movie. The film also has no major threats this weekend. Its only anticipated competition among wide-release films are A Star is Born and Venom, which are heading into their third week in theaters. 

    All of which is to say: Michael Myers is baaaaaack. And this time, people are watching.


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