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The Leadership Lesson I Learned Waiting for My Flight to Crash Land

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

What could the guy next to me possibly be thinking? We were both on the same American Airlines flight. And it was doomed.

The flight, which took off on a grey afternoon from Buffalo, New York, was headed to Philadelphia. It was just a short flight and for the most part conditions were fine. I was in Buffalo for a business trip and looking forward to getting home. The plane was one of those smaller regional jets typical for routes like this.

The guy next to me was an American Airlines pilot – but relax, we weren’t sitting in the cockpit. It was one of those times when pilots take empty seats to “jump” from one city to another in order to make their next assigned flight. He sat next to me a few minutes before the door closed and, after a quick greeting, he tipped his cap over his eyes and settled in for an off-duty snooze. Read More…

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This Female Entrepreneur Is Looking To Transform The Plus-Size Fashion Industry

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

When it comes to buying clothes, plus-size women — who are generally defined as women who wear clothes size 14 or larger — have many challenges. Choices are limited. The quality of products is oftentimes inferior. But the biggest problem is fit.

The fact is that clothes for larger women just don’t seem to fit very well, and according to a recent Fast Company article, this was confirmed by research that showed that 77 percent of plus-size women can’t find clothing that fits well and 73 percent say sizing is inconsistent across brands. Why? Some believe that manufacturers are using models that are not scaled proportionally. But there’s another, even bigger problem: the changing bodies of customers.

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Storage-Sharing Is The Next Big Trend In The Gig Economy

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

The one thing that people in America have is space. And — let’s admit it — the other thing that people in America have is lots of stuff. We like our stuff. We don’t want to get rid of it. But unfortunately, there’s an imbalance between the people with a lot of stuff and the people with extra space that could be storing that stuff. Ka-ching.

Which is how the peer-to-peer storage rental company Neiybor got started.

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Models and Sushi Are a Big Part of This British Company’s Hiring Process

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

Today’s executives and managers are taught not to discriminate on the basis of an employee’s culture, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We understand that inappropriate behavior — from sexual harassment to discrimination — cannot be tolerated in today’s workplace and so we are careful to avoid such actions. Some companies, like Uber, have learned the consequences of such behaviors.

Then there’s Badoo.

Badoo is a popular dating app, Bloomberg reports. But as popular as it is (the company has more than 60 million users in Russia and Latin America), it’s not as well known in London, where its headquarters are located. Like other young tech companies, Badoo is challenged to draw top-quality people in a tight labor market and oftentimes finds itself pitted against giants like Google and Facebook. So what to do? Why not set yourself apart by throwing lavish, wild parties that feature half-naked women dressed as mermaids, bikini-clad women dancing on a stripper pole and almost-naked models that serve as sushi platters? Who wouldn’t want to work there?

The investment isn’t trivial. The company employs two full-time event management staffers and a contingent of external planners, including one that specializes in circus and cabaret shows. The cost? About $25,000 to $45,000 for each party, and the company was doing one a week at least through the end of 2015 until the pace slowed down to monthly.

Isn’t this a lawsuit waiting to happen? “It’s certainly misguided and inappropriate,” says one employment lawyer in the Bloomberg piece.

Although some employees have complained about the company’s “regularly sexualized office culture,” Badoo’s CEO, Andrey Andreev, isn’t as concerned. He said he hasn’t received any “serious” or “official” complaints and that the parties are “meant to reward staffers, many of whom are young Russians living away from home for the first time,” with themes chosen by the company’s employees — both male and female. The company also has family-friendly parties where, presumably, sushi is served on plates.

The big question is whether this strategy is working. It’s tough to tell because the 400-person company isn’t publicly traded and doesn’t share a lot of data with outsiders. But Andreev says Badoo is profitable and, according to the Bloomberg report, it’s U.K. subsidiary made an operating profit of £304,000 in 2015.

California roll, anyone?

How Did This Bookkeeper Steal a Ton of Money from an Indiana Small Business?

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

An Indiana bookkeeper was charged recently with stealing $1.8 million from her employer. That’s a lot of money.

Over the course of four and a half years, according to this press release from the Department of Justice, Julie Ann Ashman allegedly was able to siphon money from the accounts of a small business that repaired and refurbished X-ray medical equipment to her own personal bank account. She did this by cutting checks to herself and then understating the company’s revenues to cover up the missing cash. What’s really disturbing is the frequency. According to the DOJ, Ashman was “reimbursing” herself for anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000 up to 15 times a month! In total, it was found that she wrote 436 company checks to herself for a total of $1,805,015.12.

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Would Your Employees Open This Fake, Malware-Filled Email?

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

By now, you’re familiar with the giant ransomware attacks that have been hammering companies around the world and caused countless interruptions in business and services, including a shutdown of the U.K.’s national health system.

If not, a quick ransomware recap: it’s a malware program. When just one computer or device — Apple and Microsoft operating systems included — in your company is infected, the malware spreads and locks up all files across your network. To unlock the files, you need a special “key.” The key can only be obtained by paying the perpetrators a “ransom” — usually in bitcoin or some other untraceable digital currency. If you don’t pay within a few days, your files disappear. It’s become a billion-dollar industry for the hacking community, with some even setting up customer service lines to assist victims with paying the ransom and unlocking their files. I kid you not.

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Mr. Rogers’ Words Of Kindness Are Still Important Today

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(This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post)

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” — Fred Rogers

Anthony Breznican is a grown man and a senior writer for Entertainment Weekly. Following the recent tragic events in Manchester, England, Breznican remembered the words above, which were said by the beloved children’s TV show host. But he also recalled a much more important story about how Fred Rogers helped him through a personal low point in his life.

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