These two start-ups say they can remove bias from your next hiring decision

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Business owners are human beings, and as human beings we’re all far from perfect. This becomes evident when we hire. We try to make our hiring decisions as objectively and independently as possible. But we all sometimes let our own biases seep into our decision making. I know I do. 

Is it possible to push all these influences aside so that business managers can just choose the best candidate for the job using just logic and facts? Maybe. According to this recent report in the New York Times, two start-ups have created applications that, they claim, take the bias out of hiring. How? By using artificial intelligence and special algorithms which will essentially match the best candidate for the job without letting these biases get in the way.  Read More…

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Why Does This Company Gives A Free Bottle of Jack Daniels To Its Employees Every Month?

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(This post originally appeared on Inc.)

There’s a company located down south that gives away a free bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey to its 400 employees on the last Friday of every single month. The company? Uh…Jack Daniels. “No one misses that day of work!” Jeff Norman, Master Taster at the distillery said recently in this Total Wine interview. Yeah, I bet that’s right.

Giving away a monthly free bottle of booze to employees may raise an eyebrow or two in these days of political correctness. But the executives at the company, which was founded in 1871 and maintains its reputation as one of the top bourbon makers in the world, are proud of their product and proud of their employees. And so…why not give them this perk. Read More…

In North Korea, entrepreneurism continues to thrive

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

The rising threat of war. An uncertain government. A challenging economic environment. Yeah, we’re used to that here in the United States. Business people in North Korea also have all those challenges, and then some. But that doesn’t seem to stop them from doing business. 

Last year and according to South Korea’s central bank, the North Korean economy grew almost four percent, a number that politicians and economists in the United States can only dream about. Money is still flowing from China. There’s a building boom in Pyongyang. And, as I previously wrote back in August, there is still a middle class that seem to have enough cash to afford solar panels to help light up their homes.    Read More…

The Brilliance of McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce ‘Fiasco’

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

If you know Rick and Morty, then you’ll know that in the third season there’s a story about how Rick broke out of prison and split up his daughter’s marriage and then is involved in a huge multi-dimensional battle involving other Ricks and when it ends Morty gives a speech that blames it all on McDonald’s Szechuan sauce. Look — I’m not about to explain Rick and Morty to you. Just watch it.

You won’t be alone. There are many people who love the Adult Swim cartoon. This became apparent last weekend when, with everything that’s been going on in the world lately, Rick and Morty fans took to the streets to protest — even violently in some places — a shortage of Szechuan sauce at McDonald’s. Read More…

Tax savings? Smaller companies plan to use it for tech, not people

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

You would think that larger companies would have the highest tax rates, but they don’t.   

Because many of these companies are able to shelter money in destinations that have lower taxes, it turns out that the average tax rate for companies included in the S&P 500 is around 28 percent. The reality is that it’s the smaller firms– like those included in the Russell 2000 index of U.S. small and mid-cap stocks–that generally pay the highest tax rates, with an average of about 31.9 percent.  

It’s those firms that would gain the most by the current Republican tax reform proposal, which includes a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent as well as a potential cut in tax rates for smaller, “pass-through” entities like limited liability companies and S-corporations. This is why the Russell 2000 index has been rising over the past few weeks. Read More…

You are not going to believe where the hottest ‘hipster’ market is

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

The proper definition of a “hipster” is, according to Dictionary.com, “a usually young person who is trendy, stylish, or progressive in an unconventional way; someone who is hip.” Ask others and you might get a slightly different point of view. For example, Urban Dictionary’s top definition says this generation “rejects the culturally-ignorant attitudes of mainstream consumers, and are often be seen wearing vintage and thrift-store-inspired fashions, tight-fitting jeans, old-school sneakers, and sometimes thick rimmed glasses.” By the way–that’s a very kind definition. Comedian Patton Oswalt once joked that to be a successful hipster you should own a French bulldog and wear comfy sneakers. Read More…

When sales of this truck are good, businesses are doing good.

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Small businesses are merchants, restauranteurs, service providers, manufacturers, farmers and distributors. But many of them–including many of my clients–are also connected to industries that require construction and contracting work. They put up drywall, pave roofs, lay cables, fix pipes, plant bushes, build houses, install windows, drill holes, hammer nails and do a bunch of other things that drives many industries from construction to government services.   

Speaking of driving, they need vehicles to transport their people and materials. And that car is often the Ford F-series. Since its inception 1948 the Ford F-Series has become the most popular light vehicle truck in the world, with sales mostly in the United States.   Read More…