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This is one instance when an employee can curse the boss–and get away with it

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Have any of your employees cursed you out on Facebook recently? Would you fire them?  Of course you would – and I wouldn’t blame you. I also don’t blame Herman Perez’ boss at the venue Pier Sixty who did the same.

Buzzfeed reports that back in 2011, Perez got chewed out by his boss during a period when very tense union negotiations were going on.  Furious with him, Perez took to Facebook and wrote “Bob is such a NASTY MOTHER F—–” and a number of other choice words before concluding “Vote YES for the UNION!!!!!!!” Read More…

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a flying car!

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Move over George Jetson, Google’s co-founder will be flying his car right by you.

A Silicon Valley start-up named Kitty Hawk (in homage to the Wright Brothers) has finally unveiled its flagship product: the Flyer. It’s a flying car. Oh, and you can buy it by the end of the year.

The car can take off vertically (as long as you’re over water), fly about 15 feet over water but, according to this CNN report, “looks less like a car than a jet ski with wings.” You can be the judge by watching this video here. Read More…

A shortage of women in technology? Not in Russia.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

If you’re part of the technology industry in the United States,. then you’ll no doubt agree it’s a man’s world.

TechCrunch reported last year on the “pipeline problem” created because a mere 18 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees and 26 percent of computing jobs are currently held by women. In the corporate world, only five percent of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women. Alarmingly, the share of women in the U.S. computing workforce is projected to decline from 24 percent to 22 percent by 2025, according to research done by Girls Who Code.  Attracting and then keeping more women in technology is a big challenge for businesses – big and small – both here and in most of Europe.

Except Russia. Read More…

Company to pay $584,000 for firing employees who demanded overtime

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Are you familiar with both federal and state overtime rules? You should be. It’s public policy and, depending on their classification, your employees are entitled to it. But let’s say there’s a disagreement about the overtime you paid and it turns into a lawsuit. Can you then fire an employee because they sued you for back overtime? Not in California. A company there just learned this lesson the hard way–and now a court has ordered the company to pay three of its former employees $584,612.

Here’s what happened. Read More…

Less than one in five start-ups are founded by women

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

It’s still a man’s world, particularly for those starting up a small business.

New research data from Crunchbase, the research arm of technology site TechCrunch, has found that only 17 percent of new start-ups during the first quarter of 2017 were founded by females – and the number hasn’t changed for a while. The data focuses on those companies that received venture funding so there are many small businesses – pizza shops, nail salons, restaurants – that aren’t considered here. Regardless, it’s eyebrow-raising. Read More…

Just in in time for 4-20: A ‘Shopify’ for cannabis

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

It’s that time of year. Thursday is April 20. 4-20, 4/20, 4:20 or just 420. It’s the day of the year many call the “stoner Christmas.” No one really knows where this day and time to celebrate pot came from (Herb.com traces it back to a bunch of high school stoners in the ’70’s who called themselves “Waldo’s). But that’s not important. What’s important is that millions of pot-smokers will be celebrating this Thursday, and the multi-billion-dollar cannabis industry stands to profit.

So naturally, it’s a great time to introduce an online shopping application for cannabis businesses. That’s what the entrepreneurs at Baker Technologies, a three-year old marketing start-up are doing. Read More…

Do you evaluate a new employee after 100 days? I didn’t think so.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Late last year a client of mine hired a new accounting manager. Being an accounting manager at a 60-person company is not an easy job.

He supervises a staff of three people that enter orders, invoices, payables and vendor payments. He must oversee the preparation of monthly statements for the owner. To do this job, he must be intimately familiar with the company’s books and records and all the transactions that flow through its general ledger. This means he must understand how the company values and accounts for its inventory and the entire flow of cash from–from quote to order to invoice to payment both from a customer and to a supplier. Besides these duties, he handles personnel matters like the company’s health insurance and benefit plans.

The jury’s still out on this guy, according to my client. He’s doing okay but not surprisingly, he’s made mistakes. He’s rubbed a few people the wrong way, missed an important deadline and still hasn’t gotten his arms around the company’s inventory valuation methods. But he’s getting better. It’s a big job, right? And besides, it’s only been about four months. Read More…