Tech start-ups are not happy with this provision in the GOP’s tax reform plan

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

One of the best recruiting tools that a start-up can offer is stock options. Many young companies don’t have the cash to attract new talent–and plenty of big companies want to offer something more than just a salary to their employees. People like to have some equity in the firms they work for and that’s why stock option plans have been so popular.  

In a typical plan, an employee gets awarded options to purchase a stock at its fair market value on the day of the award. It’s typical that options vest over a period of time–say five years–to keep the employees loyal. As options vest, an employee can choose at that time to exercise and then buy the stock. Hopefully the stock price has risen since the option was issued so a profit can be made. Current law will tax the employee only when a stock option is exercised and a gain on the purchase of shares is recognized.   Read More…

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Why some retailers say there’s gold in that ‘silver tsunami’

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Earlier this year I wrote about how the looming “silver tsunami”–a massive upcoming shift in demographics as millions of baby boomers reach retirement age — could potentially put many out of work as older business owners leave their businesses for retirement without a succession plan. But there’s a bright side to this trend: a new class of shoppers … and opportunities.

That’s because a great many of those 78 million baby boomers who are turning 65 and beyond over the next 12 years will have money to spend. Research shows that spending by “senior” households has increased by almost seven percent last year compared to 2015 and that pretax income for households with members over 65 has increased more than those younger. Already, smart retailers are taking note — and action. Read More…

Here’s what Mark Zuckerberg learned about small businesses during his year-long tour

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

There are about 30 million small business in the United States and upwards of 500 million around the world. However, most of them don’t know much about how to leverage digital advertising or even the basics of social media. That’s a problem for them–and a big opportunity for Facebook.

The social media giant says that more than 70 million businesses around the world have pages on its site. But only six million of them advertise and most of are small and medium-sized firms. These companies account for about one-quarter of the company’s total advertising revenue, according to some estimates. So what to do about that? Go out and meet them. Read More…

This Is The Real Reason the Paradise Papers “Scandal” Upsets You

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(This post originally appeared on PhillyMag)

By now you’ve heard of the “Paradise Papers” scandal, right?

In case you haven’t, the story, which came out last week, revolves around a trove of data — called the Paradise Papers — that were leaked from overseas financial institutions last year and jumped on by a bunch of journalists. Now we’re learning about all the ways that celebrities and the super-wealthy move their money around to avoid taxes. The media, of course, loves this stuff — who can blame them?

For example, there’s the story of how U2’s Bono — champion of the impoverished — allegedly used a Malta-based company where there’s lower tax rates as an investment in a Lithuanian shopping center. Go ahead — you find Malta and Lithuania on a map. I can’t. Read More…

Robots Could Replace 48,000 Employees At This Bank…And Other Small Business Tech News This Week

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Deutsche Bank CEO suggests robots could replace half the company’s 97,000 employees.

The CEO of Deutsche Bank says technology will lead to significant layoffs at his organization in the not-too-distant future. To date, 4,000 jobs have been cut of the 9,000 the bank announced in late 2015 were threatened as part of a 5-year plan. According to its CEO, technology will allow Deutsche to cut thousands more jobs, and he believes entire industries will be able to replace workers with robots. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business: Read More…

‘Stranger Things 2’ is a $400,000 windfall for a small museum in Minnesota

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

I own a coffee mug with a picture of a cleaver on it. Recognize it? I also own a shirt with the logo of Aviato. Know it? Oh, and I recently purchased an Orson Athletic Department hoodie. Know why?

I love TV, that’s why.

Yes, my fandom is debatably at an unhealthy level. So unhealthy that when I love a show I also love to buy something connected to it. Hence, the Cleaver mug, which was the fake mob/slasher movie that Christopher Moltisanti tried to produce in “The Sopranos.” Aviato is Erlich Bachman’s failed start-up in HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” And if you’re a fan of “The Middle” you’ll recognize the Orson shirt which is often worn by Mike Heck. Yeah, you may think I’m a little crazy. But apparently, I’m not alone. Fans of TV shows enjoy buying souvenirs from their favorite shows. The latest example? “Stranger Things 2″ on Netflix. Read More…

As holiday shopping approaches, retailers are keeping less in stock this year

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Last month, I wrote about how a Gallup survey predicted that this holiday season is shaping up to be one of best in recent memory. It’s not surprising, considering that the economy has been growing, people are working and both business and consumer confidence levels are at very high levels. You would think that in light of these strong forecasts, retailers would be stocking their shelves in anticipation of eager buyers.

But that’s not what’s happening. Many big retailers are actually cutting back on their inventory levels in advance of the holidays. What gives? Read More…