Netflix’s Reed Hastings on Rejecting Brilliant Jerks, the Power of Big Vacations, and Spending $15 Billion on Content

  The pandemic has exacerbated the winner-take-all economy, and Netflix has been a prime beneficiary of the global lockdown. Before the recent tech-stock rout, the company’s stock price had increased by roughly 40% since March, to the mid-$550s, and its market cap of $242 billion briefly exceeded that of the Walt Disney Co., which is no Mickey Mouse operation and has far more in the way of concrete assets and IP. Membership has also increased dramatically for the global streaming service. The company now has 193 million subscribers in 190 countries. So, how do you get to be like Netflix? In a new book, No Rules Rules, company co-founder Reed Hastings (with co-author Erin Meyer) lays out his management philosophy, which includes paying talent top dollar—while steering clear of brilliant jerks—pumping up candor and taking lots of vacations. Hastings, 59, a former Peace Corps volunteer, acknowledges that his approach is …

Tesla jumps nearly 11%, rebounding from worst day on record

Tesla shares jumped ahead of the close on Wednesday, finishing the session 10.92% higher as the auto maker regained some ground after Tuesday’s 21% loss, which was the stock’s worst day on record. Shares of Tesla spent the entire session in the green, steadily moving higher during afternoon trading before closing at $366.28, just below the day’s high of $369. Momentum initially continued after the close before the stock reversed course. Around 5 p.m. ET shares were roughly 1.4% lower. Still, Wednesday’s jump doesn’t offset the steep losses the stock has suffered, and shares are down more than 26% this month. A number of factors have led to the decline, including the company issuing $5 billion in stock earlier this month, as well as Tesla’s largest outside shareholder trimming its position. Tuesday’s sell-off was sparked by S&P Dow Jones Indices opting not to add Tesla to the S&P 500, despite …

Human rights groups ask IOC to move Olympics from China

TOKYO — China’s repression in Tibet, the status of the exiled Dalai Lama, and its treatment of ethnic minorities spurred violent protests ahead of Beijing’s 2008 Olympics. It could happen again. China is host to the 2022 Winter Olympics with rumblings of a boycott and calls to move the games from Beijing because of alleged human rights violations. International Olympic President Thomas Bach was presented with that demand ahead of the body’s executive board meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday by a coalition of human-rights groups representing Tibet, Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang region, Hong Kong and others. In a letter, the group asked the IOC to “reverse its mistake in awarding Beijing the honor of hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2022.” The letter said that the 2008 Olympics had failed to improve China’s human rights record, and that since then, it has built “an Orwellian surveillance network” in Tibet and …

Peloton cuts prices, capitalizing on people staying at home

As gyms reopen with new rules after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to shut down for months, Peloton is making a play for new members who would rather work out from home. The at-home fitness company announced on Tuesday that it will reduce the cost of its most popular spin bike by $350 “to make it more accessible to more people,” according to an email from Peloton. The bike will now cost $1,895. Peloton is also offering a premium new Bike+ with added features, such as a rotating touchscreen and four-speaker sound system. A new lower-priced treadmill will also be available for $2,495 early next year, offering an alternative to Peloton’s premium $4,295 product. “As consumers increasingly work out from home amid the pandemic, these new product offerings should help Peloton expand its [market base], particularly as they help reduce the total cost of ownership for consumers,” said a note …

Search continues for woman last seen leaving Super 8 hotel in Grants Pass, Oregon

Fauna Frey has been missing since the end of June and her family and friends tell Dateline they are growing increasingly worried with each day that passes. “I’ve searched half the state of Oregon,” Fauna’s distraught father, John Frey, told Dateline. “We’re at a standstill and don’t know where to go from here. We just want her home safe.” Fauna, 45, is John’s last surviving child. Her sister passed away in 2006, just two years after their mother. Fauna’s older brother, Dallas, died unexpectedly of a heart attack on June 19. It was Fauna who found his body. “She was still really distraught about losing her brother,” John said. “She had been through so much. We all have.” Fauna had been temporarily living in Dexter, Oregon, with her father and brother. Together, they all run a family business that builds and sells homes. John told Dateline that on June 27, …

Pennsylvania voting access suit could have national repercussions

The Donald Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have intervened in a closely watched election lawsuit over voting access in Pennsylvania that could reverberate nationally ahead of voting in November, especially for voters of color. Hearings kicked off Tuesday in the lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania NAACP against the commonwealth over what it argued were inadequate provisions for voting during the coronavirus outbreak. The complaint argues that during Pennsylvania’s June primaries, numerous polling locations were closed or consolidated due to coronavirus concerns and poll worker unavailability, and information about where to vote was not clear. Because Black and Latino groups have fallen ill from coronavirus at greater rates, many in those communities, as well as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, were uncertain about how and whether it was safe to vote, Kenneth Huston, president of NAACP Pennsylvania, testified. Let our news meet your inbox. The news and …

When will tourists return to Africa? Continent must guess

Africa’s tourism sector is struggling to cope with the drop in international travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic By GERALD IMRAY Associated Press September 8, 2020, 9:35 AM • 5 min read CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Raino Bolz quickly diversified when his tourism business in South Africa’s winelands crashed to a halt in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. He sold a minibus — useless without tourists to ferry around — and bought a herd of pregnant cows. He’ll have to wait for the cows to have calves and for the calves to be old enough to sell before he can make money from them. That probably won’t be until early next year, but it’s his insurance policy. Bolz hopes to see a return of some tourists in November, the start of South Africa’s tourism season. If foreign visitors — 80% of his income — don’t arrive for end-of-year …

Dow futures jump 250 points in overnight trading following the worst tech rout since March

The “Fearless Girl” statue stands in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on June 29, 2020 in New York City. Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images Stocks futures climbed in overnight trading on Monday after technology shares suffered their worst sell-off in more than five months. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 250 points, while the S&P 500 futures rose 0.5%. The Nasdaq 100 futures also climbed 0.2%. Stocks just snapped a five-week winning streak after a big reversal in major technology stocks last week. Steep losses in Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook — 2020’s market leaders — drove the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite down 3.3% to suffer its worst week since March 20. The Dow and the S&P 500 fell 1.8% and 2.3% last week, respectively, posting their biggest weekly losses since June.  Many on Wall Street believe the weakness derived from worries that …

As virus cases drop, governors may gamble on bars. Again.

As the number of coronavirus cases fall in the U.S., governors in hard-hit states are rethinking lockdown orders on bars By PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press September 7, 2020, 12:11 AM • 5 min read AUSTIN, Texas — A guy walks into a bar, which still isn’t allowed in Texas. But Jeff Brightwell owns this bar. Two months into an indefinite shutdown, he’s just checking on the place — the tables six feet apart, the “Covid 19 House Rules” sign instructing drinkers not to mingle. All the safeguards that didn’t keep the doors open because Dot’s Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard is a bar under Texas law. And bars, in a pandemic? “Really not good,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s infectious disease expert, told Congress in June. But some governors are warming up to good enough. Thousands of bars forced to close after massive virus outbreaks swept across the U.S. …

‘He’s been set up’: the American whose life may depend on US-China relations

When Chinese police raided the Guangzhou hotel room of Mark Swidan and arrested him on 13 November 2012, he was on the phone to his mother, Katherine. Swidan had been in China sourcing building materials for his business , Katherine says, and they were discussing booking his ticket home to Houston, Texas, for his wedding, when he said there was a knock at the door. “I heard banging, then I didn’t hear anything after that,” she recalls. Some excruciating weeks later, she says, the US consulate told her they’d tracked him down – he had been arrested and detained on drug trafficking charges. It would be a year before Swidan saw trial in the Jiangmen intermediate people’s court, and another five – all spent in squalid detention – before he was found guilty, sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in April 2019. The conviction appeared to come out of …

Behind new jobs numbers are very bad signs for the economy, experts say

Waves of fresh furloughs are poised to hit American workers as companies wake up to the reality that the coronavirus is proving more intractable than they initially thought. “The ‘V-shaped’ recovery is a mirage,” said Nick Mazing, director of research at data provider Sentieo. “We are seeing a permanent reduction in the size of several sectors in the economy.” While the economy added an estimated 1.4 million jobs in August, according to Friday’s government jobs report, the number actually points to a slowdown in the recovery. The total positions added is below the 1.7 million job gains for July, and far below the 4.8 million added in June. The jobs report is based on a survey that is conducted during the week that includes the 12th of the month — but data that was collected after that period flashed warning signs for some economists. As of Aug. 17, job openings …

Untangling Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Finances From Liberty University Won’t Be Easy

WASHINGTON, Sept 4 (Reuters) – After parting ways with President Jerry Falwell Jr in the wake of personal scandals, Liberty University has hired a firm to investigate “all facets” of Falwell’s tenure, including the school’s financial and real estate operations. There may be much to untangle. Falwell, who took over as president of Liberty in 2007 after years as a lawyer handling its real estate interests, intertwined his personal finances with those of the evangelical Christian university founded by his father. He put his two sons – and their wives as well – on the university’s payroll. He arranged the transfer of a multi-acre Liberty facility to his personal trainer. He enlisted a friend’s construction company to manage an ambitious campus expansion costing hundreds of millions of dollars. And before becoming school president, Falwell set up two companies that enabled him to cut property deals with one of the many …

The Ocean Farmers Trying to Save the World With Seaweed

In a cove in Bamfield, a coastal community in British Columbia, Canada, Louis Druehl steers his boat, The Kelp Express, a mile along the mountainous coastline. For 51 years, this boat has taken Druehl to the fortuitously named Kelp Bay where beneath the water’s surface ropes of seaweed that Druehl has been carefully harvesting for decades dangle in the cold Pacific water. Referred to by some as the “seaweed guru”—by others, as the “kelp grandfather”—Druehl, 84, was the first commercial seaweed operator in North America when he began growing kelp, a brown seaweed, in 1982. Seaweed is his life: he has studied it, farmed it, cooked it, and written an award winning, bestselling book about it. Over the years, Druehl has watched interest in seaweed come and go. But now, as climate change wreaks havoc on ecosystems across the planet, the world is turning to seaweed as a potential climate …

The Next Pandemic Stimulus Bill Must Be Race-Conscious

As Congress struggles to agree on a new stimulus bill to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that we recognize what didn’t work in the first stimulus through the CARES Act. One thing has become shamefully clear: Congressional leaders’ lack of attention to the deep structural racial inequities that undergird economic fragility and joblessness in the first place has resulted in far too many Black and Latinx Americans being left out and left behind. There is still an operating belief in a “rising tide lifts all boats,” a term attributed to President John F. Kennedy that proclaims government economic policy should focus on broad economic efforts. However, racial disparities are primarily produced and maintained by colorblind policies and practices. A stark historical example is the race-neutral GI Bill passed after World War II, which provided young men who might otherwise not have had the opportunity for post-high school …

Freight haulers demand action on Brexit preparations

British freight haulers and storage companies are asking for an urgent meeting with government leaders because of concern that gaps in preparations for Brexit may threaten supplies of critical goods September 4, 2020, 8:27 AM • 1 min read LONDON — British freight haulers and storage companies are asking for an urgent meeting with government leaders because of concern that gaps in preparations for Brexit may threaten supplies of critical goods. Trade associations representing the companies have written to Michael Gove, the minister overseeing Britain’s exit from the European Union, saying that improvements to border posts and computer systems are behind schedule. The groups say that if the issues are not addressed, “disruption to U.K. business and the supply chain that we all rely so heavily on will be severely disrupted.” More than 40 years of free trade with the EU will end Jan. 1 after an 11-month transition period …

U.S. stock futures slip as Wall Street braces for more tech losses

U.S. stock futures fell on Thursday night, building on the downside momentum from the regular trading session as Big Tech was primed for another steep decline.  Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 109 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures also traded in negative territory. Shares of major tech companies fell broadly in after-hours trading. Apple slid 3%. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet and Microsoft all dropped at least 1%.  The Dow slid more than 800 points, or 2.8%, during the cash session for its biggest one-day decline since June. The S&P 500 plunged 3.5% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5%. Thursday’s declines also wiped out the major averages’ gains for the week and knocked both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq off record levels. As a sector, tech had its worst day since March, falling 5.83%. Apple contributed a big portion of those losses, falling 8%. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Alphabet …

Public Schools Will Struggle Even More as Parents Move Kids to Private Ones During the Pandemic

By the time the school year ended this spring, Clara Obermeier knew remote learning was not a good option for her two children. Her 13-year-old daughter had grown withdrawn after going months without seeing her friends. Her 11-year-old son had struggled academically, and due to a Zoom glitch, was frequently blocked from the virtual breakout rooms where the rest of his classmates were assigned to work in small groups. And neither Obermeier, an engineer, nor her husband, an active-duty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, have jobs that will allow them to work from home full-time this fall. “I waited and waited to figure out what the plan was from the school system,” Obermeier says. On July 21, Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland announced that the district would offer virtual-only instruction at least through January. “At that point, we were like, OK, this is definitely not going to work …

El Al flight LY971 to Abu Dhabi was no typical air journey

From the Israeli captain’s emotional greeting in Arabic upon takeoff in Tel Aviv, to the warm Emirati reception on the ground in scorching Abu Dhabi, it was obvious this was no typical flight By ARON HELLER Associated Press August 31, 2020, 8:08 PM • 5 min read ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — From the Israeli captain’s emotional greeting in Arabic upon takeoff in Tel Aviv, to the warm Emirati reception on the ground in scorching Abu Dhabi, it was obvious this was no typical flight. Monday’s El Al flight LY971 marked the first-ever direct flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates, placing a significant stamp on this month’s historic U.S.-brokered deal to normalize relations between the two nations. The journey was steeped in symbolism. U.S. and Israeli flags adorned the tarmac at Ben-Gurion Airport as Israeli music played, and the word “peace” was emblazoned in English, Hebrew and …

TikTok deal to sell U.S. business could be announced as soon as Tuesday

TikTok has chosen a bidder for its U.S., New Zealand and Australian businesses, and it could announce the deal as soon as Tuesday, according to people familiar with the situation. Microsoft, in partnership with Walmart, and Oracle are the two top contenders. The sale price is expected to be in the range of $20 billion to $30 billion, CNBC reported last week. However, even though TikTok has selected a bidder, the deal could be slowed or derailed by the Chinese government, which updated its technology export list on Friday to include artificial intelligence technology used by TikTok. TikTok’s Chinese parent company, Bytedance, said over the weekend that it would need a license from the Chinese government before it can sell to a U.S. company. Walmart emerged as a surprise contender last week, saying the social media app would augment its e-commerce efforts. Walmart originally sought to be the majority owner …

Australian citizen detained in China amid increasing tensions between Canberra and Beijing

An Australian citizen who works as a TV anchor for a Chinese state-controlled broadcaster has been detained as tensions between Canberra and Beijing escalate. The Australian government was notified on 14 August that Cheng Lei, an anchor for a business show on the China Global Television Network, had been detained in Beijing. In a statement released on Monday night, Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, acknowledged the detention and said a consular visit had been conducted via video link. “Australian officials had an initial consular visit with Ms Cheng at a detention facility via video link on 27 August and will continue to provide assistance and support to her and her family,” Payne said. The foreign minister said “further comment will not be provided owing to the government’s privacy obligations”. It is highly unusual for foreign journalists to be detained in China. Cheng was born in China but later became an …