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- 12/15/17--14:40: _Tennis superstar Ve...
- 12/18/17--13:39: _The best business l...
- 12/23/17--06:00: _The Buddhist monk a...
- 12/28/17--09:16: _It's getting a lot ...
- 12/29/17--09:53: _The 1 key thing sta...
- 12/29/17--13:24: _The weird and wild ...
- 01/02/18--13:01: _The 10 most cringe-...
- 01/03/18--02:21: _4 companies that gi...
- 01/10/18--11:17: _What it's like to w...
- 01/22/18--12:04: _Hiring managers say...
- 01/24/18--05:55: _An abusive boss is ...
- 02/10/18--14:35: _15 ways to get paid...
- 02/12/18--14:44: _An executive recrui...
- 02/21/18--10:17: _The one question yo...
- 02/28/18--10:06: _Fashion assistants ...
- 03/01/18--09:45: _Here is the perfect...
- 03/02/18--04:13: _The top 12 jobs whe...
- 03/03/18--07:00: _The 50 best compute...
- 03/04/18--13:12: _A memo the presiden...
- 03/06/18--06:10: _12 amazing jobs tha...
- Venus Williams started playing tennis with her sister Serena when she was 4 1/2 years old.
- Their father coached them and had great aspirations. He had a 78-page plan to turn them into tennis champions — which he wrote before they were born.
- The plan, paired with Williams' extreme natural talent and drive, worked. Venus Williams is one of the most dominant tennis players in history, with seven Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic gold medals.
- On top of defending her No. 5 world ranking, she runs two businesses, EleVen, an athletic-clothing line, and V*Starr, and interior-design company.
- PayPal Cofounder Max Levchin
- NBC Host Megyn Kelly
- Bestselling author Tim Ferris
- LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman
- Oprah Winfrey faced relentless competition in the late 1980s and early 90s talk show market.
- She realized that what kept her and her team's focus and edge was "staying in their lane" and not worrying about the rest of the field.
- It allowed her to move her show from tabloid material to the spiritual and positive lifestyle territory she is best known for.
- Matthieu Ricard was born into an intellectual French family; his mother was an abstract painter and his father a philosopher.
- After earning a doctorate in molecular genetics at the Pasteur Institute, he moved to the Himalayas and became a Buddhist monk.
- In addition to 50 years of practicing as a monk, Ricard is a best-selling author, a close associate of the Dalai Llama, and a collaborator on cutting-edge scientific research.
- Ricard has been given the title "the happiest man in the world."
- PayPal founder Max Levchin
- NBC News host Megyn Kelly
- Tennis Superstar Venus Williams
- Author Tim Ferriss
- 12/28/17--09:16: It's getting a lot more lucrative to become a pilot
- In 2011, entry-level pilot salaries were about $22,000 a year on average.
- Today, more pilots are retiring, creating a shortage of pilots.
- As a result, regional airlines have more than doubled pilot starting pay to almost $50,000 a year on average.
- Almost every hiring manager has found a lie on a résumé and discarded the application.
- Résumé mistakes like adding pictures with pets or lying about past experience are embarrassing for the applicant.
- Here are some of the most outrageous mistakes and lies that hiring managers have caught.
- 01/03/18--02:21: 4 companies that give staff paid time off when they get a puppy
- Comedian Sarah Cooper quit her job at Google three years ago to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.
- Cooper chatted with Recode's Kara Swisher and former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo about the difficulty of giving up her job at Google, her observations on tech culture, and her aspirations as a comedian in a recent podcast.
- More than half of hiring managers say a bad attitude would make them regret hiring an employee.
- Negativity spreads throughout the office and can be as bad for a work environment as poor work skills.
- Being a positive employee can help get you a job or promotion over a negative colleague.
- Having an abusive boss isn't the ideal situation for most of us.
- For psychopaths, though, it could help them thrive.
- People with psychopathic traits are cool-headed and ruthless, and don't respond to stress in the same way as other people.
- Management researcher Charlice Hurst warns that this could perpetuate a cycle of abuse and psychopaths reaching the top of companies.
- 02/10/18--14:35: 15 ways to get paid to travel the world
- Many people dream of traveling the world full-time, but it can seem expensive and out of reach.
- Luckily, there are ways to make travel cheaper and even profitable if you are willing to think outside of the box and work hard.
- Some options include teaching English, WWOOFing, travel-blogging, and working on a cruise ship.
- The second interview is the time to shine or fizzle.
- The best way to make a great second impression is to have a solid plan and lots of success stories at the ready.
- Be prepared to answer tricky questions, and come prepared with a lot of your own to show your interest.
- 02/21/18--10:17: The one question you should never ask during a job interview
- What you say to a recruiter in an interview can determine whether or not you get hired.
- Asking the right interview questions is a great way to demonstrate interest and show that you've done your homework on the company.
- But asking about promotions the wrong way can raise a red flag and seriously hurt your chances of getting the job.
- An anonymous Instagram account @fashionassistants is sharing fashion assistants' horror stories of allegedly hostile work experiences.
- The anonymous account is dedicated to making a change in the fashion industry so assistants will be treated better.
- The account has over 6,800 followers and 105 posts at the time this story was published.
- One woman claims that her boss threw shoes at her, and another says she wasn't allowed to eat at work.
- The perfect way to end an email, especially when you're writing to a stranger, is to keep it simple.
- Email sign-offs you should avoid are ones that could be construed as too casual, too formal, and even insulting.
- Here's how to end an email the right way.
- 03/02/18--04:13: The top 12 jobs where you are most likely to cheat
- 03/03/18--07:00: The 50 best computer science schools in the world
- United Airlines president Scott Kirby recently sent a condescending memo to his employees.
- In the memo, he nixed a pay bonus in favor of a rewards raffle — much to the chagrin of his staff.
- In this op-ed, the author argues that the tone and words Kirby used in the memo show he is doing exactly the kind of things a boss shouldn't do if he wants his subordinates to respect him.
- 03/06/18--06:10: 12 amazing jobs that don't even sound real
- Some of us just weren't meant for that 9 to 5 work life.
- Luckily, there are plenty of job titles that aren't the norm and will stay pay you.
- Ice-cream taster is a perfect position for anyone with a major sweet tooth.
- Ariel-wannabes can sign up to be a professional mermaid in real life.
- If you're looking to switch career paths, then look no further to these unusual job titles.
Venus Williams is one of the most dominant players in women’s tennis, and has been for over two decades. A tennis prodigy who turned pro at age 14, she’s won four Olympic gold medals and seven Grand Slam singles titles. In the process she's broken through all sorts of barriers in the sport.
On this episode of "Success! How I Did It," Business Insider Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell spoke with Williams about her rise to superstardom and the hardships and successes she’s faced along the way. The interview took place in Manhattan at The Wing, a coworking space for women, where Venus was giving a talk about entrepreneurship.
Listen to Episode:
The following is a transcript, which has been edited for clarity.
Shontell: So, Venus, you started playing tennis really young, I think your dad had you on the court when you were 4 1/2 years old.
Shontell: And from what I understand he sat and watched the French Open, realized tennis stars can make a lot money, and devised a 78-page plan for you to dominate the world of tennis. I know you've said that before it was your dream, it was your dad's dream. At what point did that shift? When did you realize, 'This is something I really want to do'?"
Williams: Pretty early on. It's got to be definitely a part of your dream, because it's a ton of work, a ton of dedication, a ton of focus. It's intense — learning a sport, especially a sport like tennis, where it's so technical and it's so, like, minute details. So I think the dream definitely became mine early on.
Shontell: Your dad didn't play tennis, right? So neither of your parents did. How did he know how to train you both into superstars?
Williams: Well, they didn't play professionally, but they actually did play the sport, and I think that they were both athletes at heart. I most certainly believe that when you're an athlete, that really translates to all sports. You just understand it, your body understands it, and your mind understands it. And you just — it just clicks.
I've found that happening when I play other sports. I've seen it, like when I've hit the ball with other professional athletes, and you can see they're just learning so quickly. It's just something that's in their blood. So I think it was in my parents' blood and they understood.
Shontell: How did you train when you were first getting going? How many hours would you put in on the court, like in grade school?
Williams: Definitely a lot. Three or four hours a day, sometimes more. I can't remember exactly. I do remember the lights would go out and we'd be kind of happy — it’d be dark.
Shontell: Fom an early age, too, it seems like you were always in the media. Your dad got the local press involved, and I know Serena has said, like, she doesn't remember a moment when there weren't interviews going on. How did being in the spotlight at such a young age shape your career and your passion for it?
Williams: In a lot of ways, it's super helpful because you're on the radar, it helps you to find sponsors, find support, and a lot of people want to help you. But at the same time it creates a lot of pressure, so you have to know how to deal with that. It's either you make it or your don’t. Sometimes it might be a little easier to be under the radar because there's no pressure. But thankfully, you know, we were able to handle it. It's like maybe one of a hundred who could. I don't know the formula being able to handle that pressure.
Shontell: Yeah, I mean, we're sitting here at The Wing and you just gave a great interview, and someone asked you, "Did your parents have the winning formula for helping you and you sister become stars, and isn't that like a little bit risky?" and you said, "Yeah, I guess it could have been risky." Do you think it was?
Williams: It was definitely risky, to put your time and your heart into, but sport teaches you so much, and you can translate that to other parts of life. But it's definitely a lot of dedication, not just for, you know, myself or the children, but the parents, the family finances, the money that you could be putting toward retirement you're using to buy tennis shoes and restring rackets and tennis lessons. So if you don't make it, then you may never retire. It's definitely a lot of risk.
Shontell: Yeah, definitely. So you always wanted to be pro. I've seen interviews where you were really young, saying like, "I'm dreaming of this." When did you realize that you were actually good enough to do it?
Williams: Definitely really early on because I was beating adults handily, mercilessly. And that was a great feeling, but I think pretty early on. You can't really hide whether you're good or not, so that was just, I guess, apparent.
Shontell: When you were 10 your family moved from Compton to Florida so that you could be in the tennis academy. Do you think that was a life-changing move?
Williams: What would have happened if we had if we had stayed in California, I don't know. We'll never know. So I guess it was life-changing.
Overcoming personal struggles, and working in the same field as your sister
Shontell: I guess it worked because at 14 you went pro. Do you remember your first pro game, what it felt like?
Williams: Yeah, how could I forget? I was definitely nervous. No one wants to lose their first match. I remember all my nerves dissipating after the five-minute warmup, which is a miracle! And I have no idea how I won that match. I had no game plan, no strategy, nothing, but maybe the woman I played against was more nervous, who knows.
It's hard to go up against a 14-year-old wildcard with a lot of hype. That couldn't have been fun. She probably was just dreading it when she saw the draw. But thankfully I was able to win that first match — not the second — but the first one’s always nice.
Shontell: First one counts — counts a lots.
Williams: Yeah, first one counts.
Shontell: At 15 you scored a huge endorsement with Reebok, worth about $12 million. How did you figure out, "Oh, my God, this is a lot of money"? How'd you figure out what to do with your new fortune? And stay focused?
Williams: I recall shopping at Wet Seal. I was a regular kid, to be honest. I think at the time Clueless was out, so kind of wearing those dresses, and just kind of being a kid. I didn't spend any money at all. And my biggest purchase was an SUV and that was it.
Shontell: An SUV is pretty good. But you had to be very mature from a very young age. Did that come easy to you?
Williams: Definitely sport matures you, if you let it. It definitely makes you grow up because you have to work so hard that if you can't, then you probably aren't going to have the mental capacity to handle it all. That probably played a role in growing up a little faster than maybe other people.
Shontell: You came into a sport that was traditionally very white, affluent, not easy to break into, not always the most accepting. You came in with a lot of style. You had beads in your hair. I remember there was one game where you were actually robbed of a point because one of the beads fell out while you were playing, which is crazy. So from a young age you had to deal with things that you really shouldn't have, and nobody should, from a racism standpoint in this sport. How has this shaped you as a player? And how did you learn that this wasn't going to be fair?
Williams: At the end of the day, you just have to focus on winning. No one can take a win away from you. That's what I focused on. Life is not fair, so I don't go out there expecting it to be. I don't think any of us should go out expecting life to be fair. I think that's expecting too much, and I remind myself of that sometimes. You can get on with your life after that.
Shontell: That one game must have been so frustrating.
Williams: There have been many frustrating games. I don't there's going to be another one that isn't frustrating. That happens, but that's sport. Otherwise why would there be so much glory in victory.
Shontell: Well, you've changed the game a lot, and one thing that everybody brings up, and is powerful, is you stood up for equal compensation, really, for tennis players, female or male. Did you realize that you were going to start this movement when you were in your 20s? How did you bring about the change?
Williams: Nope, no — zip, zero idea, zero plan to be a part of it, none of that. And in a lot of ways I was credited for equal prize money, but really it was a team of people who worked super hard, from the WTA, and we had amazing leadership that really, really fought for it. So it was definitely collective, and I just happened to be somehow in the front. I still don't know how that happened. And here we are today. I'm so happy it happened. It was a collective effort.
Shontell: One thing I wanted to ask you about, and I know it's hard, but I think it's important because tough moments shape our careers a lot. You had a sister who passed away when you were 23, and she was your personal assistant. How did you, cope and not just become so overwhelmed with grief, because tennis is a really mental sport, and it's a tragedy.
Williams: It's amazing when tragedy strikes, how strong you find that you are, and I'd seen other people go through horrible things. And I just thought, "Wow, I would be a complete mess," and then suddenly when it happens, you realize you had more strength than you knew and it helps you to get through. And thankfully we had family, we could help each other, and sometimes, you know, make each other laugh, and to this day we still help each other through it.
Shontell: Do you have any advice for being resilient?
Williams: Resilient? I think everyone deals with things in their own way. Everybody's different. My family are all different. None of us are the same. We all deal with different things in different ways. I think it's about knowing yourself, what pushes your buttons, and figuring out how to work with yourself.
Shontell: Can we talk about your sister, because you're super close?
Shontell: She has called herself your "copycat." She loves you fiercely and you love her fiercely. I have a sister and totally understand. And she's said she wants to be just like you, have all the things that you have, and you're both so accomplished. Has it ever been tough to share a dream with a sibling that you're so close with?
Williams: No, no, definitely not. I can't imagine her not being there. I was always there for her, so I think for either of us, the experience wouldn't be anywhere near the same. And I know that everyone else, when they're on tour, does it by themselves, so I realize that it's possible to do so, but in our case, it's just not how it happened.
Shontell: But it must be tough playing against each other. I remember seeing an interview with you when you were younger, and the interviewer asked you, "What's the toughest match you ever had?" and you were, like, "My sister." He asked you why, and you just said, "It's horrible." You've played each other a bunch of times, has it like gotten easier? Does the rivalry stay on the court?
Williams: Obviously she's a tough opponent, so when you walk out there, you're thinking about how you can win the match and what openings you may have — and usually there are hardly any. That's what I think about before I walk out on the court. How can I win this match? Where many others have failed, how will I succeed? And when you walk off the court, then you've walked off the court. At the end of the day, all I can control is my performance and, you know, be happy for my sister in the case that she wins, which is pretty often.
Shontell: You went on to win your first Grand Slam at age 20, which is incredible. First off, what's it like to win something like that? Because most of us will never ever have even a slight taste of it. And then also, like, that's your lifelong dream and you accomplish it at 20. Like, what do you do after?
Williams: Win some more. Winning once is never anyone’s dream. We all want to keep winning no matter what it is, or if we retire, we all still are striving toward something, probably most of us are. Of course it was a great feeling and I was so determined. I don't think anyone was more determined that year in the draw, and I wish I could feel that way every single time but, you know, there's always a new formula to winning.
Shontell: So 2011 was another bit of a tough year. You realized you had something called Sjögren's syndrome, and for anyone who doesn't know, it's an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain and chronic fatigue. How did you realize that you had this? And how did you cope with the diagnosis? Were you afraid that you might not be able to keep playing?
Williams: No, I wasn't afraid of not being able to play. I knew I had to come back. And I think in moments like that you don't have time to be afraid. Things like that don't even hit you right away. You go through at least a year or two of denial, like, "Are you sure? Take the test again. You guys are crazy." That sort of thing. And it was definitely a long road, and there's no one there to tell you how to do it so in my case, I've had to figure a lot of that out on my own, but there's a lot of pride in that too.
Shontell: It sounds like you had a pretty a swift recovery because you came back and won doubles. A Grand Slam within a year.
Williams: Yeah, you're right. It was. I had a great partner. That helps a lot.
Shontell: You had to pull your weight.
Williams: That helped. I tried to pull my weight.
Shontell: How did you get your mindset right? How did you start recovering? You also turned vegan after that, right?
Williams: Yeah, I tried to be vegan as well. I don't always succeed.
Shontell: A chegan?
Shontell: A cheating vegan.
Williams: Exactly. There's a cheese plate right next to us. In any case, I came back as soon as I could because the Olympics were coming, and that's a huge motivation for me, to try to figure out how to get back on the court. And I just love the Olympics so that it meant everything to me to be there that year.
Shontell: I mean, it sounds so easy when you say it that way. "I was just motivated and I got better."
Williams: Yeah, it was really not easy at all.
Shontell: I'm sure.
Williams: It was closer to impossible, to be honest. But the best part was I knew how to play tennis and I knew how to win matches — that helped a lot. And then you fake the rest. I definitely wasn't on the top of my game, but I managed to qualify.
Staying on top while running two businesses
Shontell: So what are your days like now? How do you train? When you're not in season, you still are training a tremendous amount. I know you said you skipped this morning, but most days, what do you do?
Williams: Most days. Yeah, today I couldn't, unfortunately, go on the court. In some ways, that's nice, but in other ways you're like, "I'm falling behind." But more than anything, I'm just training as hard as possible on the court, hitting tons of forehands, tons of backhands, one forehand too many, maybe, and going to the gym and running and running, and there's no better feeling than paying that price, and when you're all done, you just feel the most ultimate satisfaction.
A lot of people say, "Oh, I get this high from working out." I've never felt that, maybe because I've worked out for so long it's just a norm for me to push super, super hard. I don't feel the euphoria. But at the end, when it's all done, I feel euphoric. I'm like, "Yes, the work is done." You just feel like a glowing feeling inside.
Shontell: So you do hours a day, multiple times a week?
Williams: Oh yeah. It's my job. I have to get up and go to work too.
Shontell: Like, six hours a day?
Williams: On the court? God, no. When I was younger. But I spend like two — two to three hours on the court and then another two in the gym.
Shontell: That's a lot.
Williams: It's enough.
Shontell: So you have a lot going on besides tennis. You've had a startup for 10 years, which I guess is not a startup anymore. But that's impressive. Most businesses die in the first year, so congratulations.
Williams: Thank you.
Shontell: You have EleVen, an athletic-apparel line, and you have V Starr Interiors, which is interior design. So it sounds like you've also always been interested in business. I read that your dad used to play business-related cassette tapes on the way to practice.
Shontell: So it's always been a passion of yours?
Williams: Most definitely always been a passion, and always been one of my goals in life as a young person, to have my own business. My dad gave us his entrepreneurial mindset, so that was also ingrained, as well as the tennis. So in a lot of ways it's a part of making my parents proud. I think we all want to make our parents proud, you know?
Shontell: Absolutely. What have you learned in starting these businesses? It can't have been easy.
Williams: I've learned about employee relations; I've learned about following your instinct. One of the biggest mistakes you can follow is not following your instincts, you know? A lot of times your instincts will tell you what to do if you have a good one. Now, if your instincts are terrible, then you ask for advice. But if you have good instincts, you definitely have to follow them, or else you regret them.
Shontell: And on your fashion line, you're doing the sketches yourself sometimes, right?
Williams: Yeah, the majority. Yes.
Shontell: That's great.
Shontell: So you're artistic as well.
Williams: I try, I try.
Shontell: So how are you juggling everything? That's a lot, you know, getting ready to launch the spring line and running multiple businesses and then also training. And you were just in the US Open not too long ago.
Williams: Yeah, I think it's the same as tennis. You have to have the love, that helps, or else it's just too much pressure to be able to keep up with.
And also you have to have the team. At EleVen, we do everything. From the initial design to manufacturing the product to distribution, we do everything here in the United States, our distribution centers. Our warehouses are in the front, distribution in the back. We make many things in California, ship them to Florida, ship them out to our customers, we run our own online business.
Every department is in-house, so that's great. And we made that move a few years ago, and we haven't looked back. So every time we're, like, "This isn't working; let's take control of it ourselves." So it's awesome to be in control of all of that, and at V Starr we have about 10 employees, and we do commercial design. We work not so much in residential — we have maybe one residential client. Everything else is hotels or condominiums, or we work on sports centers.
Shontell: How do you manage the stress in your life? Because this is all very busy and it's, I'm sure, stressful.
Williams: Well, I think there's more stressful periods than others when you're launching new things or going into a new business, or there are many things that can stress you out. Having to let people go, that's stressful. Never fun. But for the most part, I try to manage a schedule that's achievable and try not to make a schedule that's not. And a lot of times, sometimes it becomes a little unmanageable, but in spurts. So I think being able to make an achievable schedule, one that I know I can accomplish.
Shontell: You've changed the sport of tennis in everything that you've done. What advice do you have for someone who has a childhood dream and wants to follow it and wants to be just wildly successful like you?
Williams: Thank you. Just always believe in yourself. "Champions adjust." It's a line I learned from Billie Jean King, and sometimes your dream adjusts. Be willing to adjust with it and see where your opportunities ... sometimes a door closes but a window opens, so just follow your dreams and continue. You never know where it's going to take you.
Shontell: I thought you had some good advice, too, that even if you feel like you don't deserve what you've gotten, ask yourself why. Can you elaborate a bit on that and how you've gotten to a good place?
Williams: Yeah. I mean, most of us have grown up, you know, I think there are very few people who have grown up in a home that was, like, super normal. You know, we all have dispositions because maybe you didn't have a mom or you didn't have a dad, maybe your mom died early or maybe mom and dad argued or they got a divorce or who knows? You have issues that maybe you've started younger or maybe you have your own issues because you have them. Whatever it is, people have issues and that affects you deeply. So you have to get to the bottom of it and not let that affect your life decisions and really understand why you're making the decisions you make so that way you can understand how to not do that, so I always encourage people to ask why and then to really understand you, because that's the only way to be your most successful and your most happy.
Shontell: Great, well thank you so much for the time, Venus.
Williams: Thank you.
Oprah Winfrey today is media royalty, the billionaire head of her own media conglomerate with access to virtually anyone.
But long before she had achieved her current status, she was a television host in a constant struggle to remain relevant and fulfilled.
She reached a new point in her career, she explained on the WBEZ Chicago podcast miniseries "Making Oprah," when she realized "the greatest lesson of any competitor or anybody who's in business," and that is: "You can only run your own race."
Winfrey's eponymous daytime talk show entered national syndication in 1986, and soon became the No. 1 daytime show in the United States. It followed a format pioneered by Phil Donahue, and millions of viewers were drawn to Winfrey's personal touch on tabloid topics like marriage scandals and unusual romantic relationships.
By the early '90s, there was a seemingly endless supply of new competitors with their twist on the same format, from Ricki Lake to Jerry Springer.
At some point during this period, Winfrey explained, she understood that closely monitoring the competition would distract them from what they needed to do to produce a No. 1 show. She told her team that they had to be like race horses, with blinders on either side of their eyes so that they could only look ahead at their own lane.
As founding producer Ellen Rakieten said, "I don't think I've ever seen a full hour of any other talk show that was on the air during the time we were on."
Ahead of the 1994 season, Winfrey decided that while she had succeeded in producing a show with massive ratings, she had produced a lot of "trash TV," showcasing negativity and the lesser sides of people. She had read author Gary Zukav's 1989 book "The Seat of the Soul," and his message about living with intention resonated powerfully (it remains her favorite book).
From that point forward, every episode had to be what Winfrey deemed "a force for good." This included exploring topics like spirituality, self-actualization, and how to best raise children. There was initially a dip in ratings, from a daily audience of around 13 million to nine million, but Winfrey refused to chase what rising competitors were doing, or to revert to the scandalous material that was still drawing viewers elsewhere.
Winfrey's team continued to refine the new "live your best life" format, and it would go on to be the foundation for Winfrey's entire career, even beyond the series, which ended in 2011.
Rakieten said on the podcast that, "there was, I think, over 200 talk shows that went during the period of the Oprah show. It wasn't like we had a bank of televisions up with all the different shows — which ... a lot of people do. We weren't getting like the listings of what all those other shows were doing and saying, 'Oh, my gosh. On Wednesday they're doing this — we should do this.' We just didn't do that. We just did our thing."
You can listen to the full episode below:
If happiness is a form of success, you might look to Matthieu Ricard. Neuroscientists found that the Tibetan Buddhist monk and best-selling author has some of the highest levels of positive emotions of anyone they've ever studied. Hence the media started calling him "the happiest man alive." He doesn't buy it, but he can't shake the title.
"Maybe when I die there will be on my tomb: 'Here lies the happiest man in the world,'" he joked.
On this episode of "Success! How I Did It," a different view of how to make it. Business Insider's senior strategy reporter Richard Feloni spoke with Ricard while he was promoting his new book, "Beyond the Self," which he wrote with neuroscientist Wolf Singer.
For the past 50 years, Ricard has lived in Nepal, often with no electricity or running water, and yet monkhood has hardly meant isolation up in the Himalayas. He's become a best-selling author and given not one but two viral TED Talks. He's also found his way into the Dalai Lama's inner circle.
But to Ricard, none of that is a measure of success. He spoke with Feloni about all that and more.
Listen to the full episode:
Following is a transcript, which has been edited for clarity.
From French intellectual society to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery
Feloni: The name of this podcast is "Success! How I Did It," and you're perhaps the only guest who would object to being called "successful."
Ricard: Maybe not! I mean, it all depends on the definition of success. Is it simply becoming the richest, most powerful, most famous, most beautiful, most everything?
Success, personally, I feel, is an attempt of personal flourishing. That means fulfilling the deepest aspiration you might have in life. And then when you have gained some kind of inner strength, freedom, and, you know, you have the resources to deal with the ups and downs of life, then you'll feel less vulnerable, then the success is actually translated into serving society, serving others. So to transform yourself to serve others, if you can bring that to an optimal point, then, for me, that's what you call "success."
Feloni: You were born in France in 1946 to a famous writer and a painter, and they were involved in intellectual society. You got to meet people, like the composer Igor Stravinsky and the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. What was that like? Were seeds planted to become who you are today?
Ricard: Well, in a way, it was eye-opening. It was more retrospectively, because there was a kind of, you know, fascination. You look at those persons, they are eminent in their own field, but even though there were extraordinary genius in their own way. But that would not correlate, obviously, with the basic human quality that is the thing to really appreciate in someone else.
So you could have, if you take a hundred philosophers, a hundred gardeners, a hundred musicians, a hundred scientists — you find, more or less, the same distribution of very good people. And people who, you know, don't feel very well to be with. And sometimes obnoxious people. And you say: "Are they a role model not just because of their specialty but as a human being?" And the answer is no. Then you wonder, "Well, then who could be a role model, who could have this coherence between their knowledge, their skills, their wisdom, and the way they are?"
So there was the big difference when I met great men and women of wisdom — suddenly, you know, there was a complete coherence between themselves and their teachings, or what they are supposed to represent, which was like wisdom and compassion, because they were embodying it every single moment. You cannot, you know, say, "Oh, this is a great spiritual master. What a pity so nervous, angry, jealous." It doesn't work! [Laughs]
Feloni: Yeah, it seems to be kind of a mature insight that you had as a young person into this idea of success and meaning. What were you like as a kid growing up?
Ricard: Well, I mean, I was, you know, basically like any other kid. Yes, I had some kind of interest in a lot of things, like birdwatching, astronomy, sailing, skiing, music. I played a lot of classical music. So, yes, I had that lively youth as teenager. At the same time, you know, this is the age where you know what you don't want your life to be like. I mean, it's boring, meaningless, sort of the sense of, yes, failure in the sense of not accomplishing anything worth it. But you don't really know what really could be the way to have a fulfilled life.
Feloni: What was your first exposure to Buddhism, and what did it answer for you?
Ricard: So when I was teenager, I was sort of broadly interested in what we call "spirituality," but it's only when I traveled I just knew, in 1967, and thanks to having seen some documentaries on all the great masters and met them — that suddenly I realized "OK, here are men and women of great wisdom of great compassion, who exemplify, you know, freedom and bringing human quality to the optimal state." So that, that brought me a sense of, "OK, here are masters, are people I know. I can walk with them through their guidance, a kind of path to become a better human being.
Feloni: Was embracing Buddhism almost a rebellion against the kind of thought and philosophy that you were exposed to at that time?
Ricard: No, I never felt the idea of rebellion, or people say, "Oh, you left, you know, the life in Paris, you left Pasteur Institute." When you do — which I do often now, walking in the mountains in the Himalayas — when you leave a valley, you come to a mountain pass and you come to discover from the top of the pass a beautiful valley with some lakes and forest, you know. So you suddenly discover something very inspiring. You are not thinking, "I'm rejecting, abandoning the valley"— which you had been crossing, that also had some qualities.
So simply, it's a new phase of life, new, a new landscape. And so, yes, so it's more like discovering something new and feeling very enthusiastic about it, rather than just sort of a negative idea of giving up, rejecting, abandoning.
Feloni: And you decided to finish your studies before moving to the Himalayas. Before you made that move, were there any doubts in your mind?
Ricard: No, I think it was a good timeline. I guess if I had left too early, somehow it was like, you know, making a mess of all the efforts my parents had made. They were not very wealthy to give me an education. So it would have looked like sort of breaking something.
It also gave me time to mature that decision clearly. I never had any hesitation. It's like, you ask if a fruit or pear that is maturing on the tree if it ever has hesitation. But at some point you don't have to pull and break the branch to get the fruit. It's just ... touch it, and it falls in your hands. So when something is ready. I just feel so fortunate that at 26 I could leave and spend those now 50 years with those great masters. I mean, I would not want to change any of that. And I congratulate myself at all times that I was able to do that.
Returning home, and stumbling into fame by writing a book with his dad
Feloni: So you're able to study these masters in the rest of your 20s, and you became a monk when you were age 30. Not too long after that you're able to go back home and visit. What was it like going from this completely different lifestyle back home to France?
Ricard: I won't say cultural shock, but things had changed. There were new big towers in Paris, and I remember going to a radio or something. It was one of the main ones. And I said, "Oh, you're on FM now?" And they sort of looked at me as if to say, "Where's he coming from, this guy?""We are on the FM for the last 10 years."
Feloni: And then you and your father, you collaborated on the book "The Monk and the Philosopher," and this is a dialogue between you and your father exploring concepts of Buddhism and how they relate to other ways of looking at the world. What was that experience like?
Ricard: So he came for 10 days and we went to a resort. We made a list of topics, and then it was a very lovely sort of 10 days where we just recorded. Nobody else was with us. We were walking in the forest, recording.
And then so his main point was he noticed that Buddhism became quite popular in the West, and he was wondering why, as a philosopher. And you realized that, you know, from his perspective, the Greek philosopher has three goals: What can I know? How to govern the city? And how to live my life? And he said "What can I know?" is mostly science getting the answers. "How should I govern the govern the city?" You know, democracy, of course — it is to be used properly, but still compared to any other, anything else, is the best system.
And then, "How should I lead my life?" He felt that most of Western philosophers had given up that. And they were starting to bring a lot of big philosophical sort of systems, which didn't tell you anything about how to become a good human being. So he had the insight that Buddhism was bringing some answer for our modern time which was very ... a sign of being very open minded for someone like him.
And actually through our discussion he became quite convinced that it was the case. Of course, he didn't buy into the other aspect of Buddhism, about the nature of consciousness, about all kinds of things, that it's just a little bit more like "Buddhist business." But as a way of being, as an art of life, he was quite very positive about that. So it was wonderful for me, and I think he said to someone before dying that it's something that, that really mattered to him at the end of his life.
Feloni: So this was not only a great experience between you and your father, but the book became a best-seller in France. So this changed your life.
Ricard: Yes, well, sometimes I jokingly said, "It's either the beginning of a completely new opportunity, or the beginning of my troubles." Because from a very, very quiet life, living on a shoestring — I was living on, like, $50 a month, but of course perfectly well in a little hermitage with no electricity, no heating, no running water. But I can't remember any uncomfort. It was such a beautiful time of my life, those seven years there. But certainly it was a big change, because from one day to the other you became recognizable in the street — because we did, I don't know, 15 TV [appearances].
And also it shows you, somehow, if people are defining the terms of "success," how artificial this is! Because you, you didn't change over one week. I'm just the same guy. Nobody was at all caring anything about me. So you don't get a big head because you know very well it's because you have been on TV and radio, not because you became sensational overnight. So that, I think, was a good lesson. I always take it with a grain of salt.
But also I thought, How could this be used in a positive way? So there were two things. One was to share ideas which are very dear to me. And I think there many wonderful ideas in Buddhist philosophy that can be applied to humanity.
The second thing is, because of the books and starting to do things here and there, I saw some resources coming my way. So I thought, Well, I don't need them basically, I have no land, no house, no car, so why not do something useful with that as well? Philanthropists joined us, and we decided to create an organization called Karuna Shechen. And now we're helping about 300,000 people in India, Nepal, and eastern Tibet with health, social services, education.
So it is wonderful. At the same time it gave a life which become a little bit hectic. I mean, 80 boarding passes in a year. So, I thought, "OK, 20 years, '97, 2017, maybe it's time to — just as I left Pasteur Institute, to explore, not give up — but you know, somehow explore a new way of, for the last few years of, I might be alive or not. I don't know.
Feloni: And the Dalai Lama himself, he takes this approach, where he uses his public profile to share teachings of compassion and altruism with people even if they're nonbelievers. And so you work with him closely. You're his French translator. What was it like when you first met him?
Working with the Dalai Lama, and getting called 'the happiest man in the world'
Ricard: So, my second teacher, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, was a teacher to the Dalai Lama. Since I was close to Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, one of the two to three monks that were always with him, so then I became quite intimate with His Holiness, and he was always extremely kind with me. So then it happens once: I happened to be in Paris when he was there. And normally, interpreting would go, he was in Tibet, and someone would translate in English, a third person in French. So he saw me he said, "OK, you translate," because by then I spoke Tibetan. So then, like, out of the blue, I became his French interpreter, and I have been since then, with great gratitude.
It's an immense teaching to be with him because he's the perfect example of someone with absolutely the same in private and in public. When we see so many things today, you know these days of scandals, of people's secret, terrible life. He's totally the same. He will be the same with the lady who cleans the floor in the hotel and with the head of state he's going to see an hour later. It's a human being. This is a common humanity. Really doesn't make any difference. He's as concerned with the cleaning lady and the head of state. So that's an incredible lesson.
Feloni: In the year 2000, this is when you became involved with studying the neurological effects of meditation. That's something that the Dalai Lama himself is really involved in. What was that like, being involved in these studies where you're hooking up these things to your head?
Ricard: So, you know, Dalai Lama said if he had not been Dalai Lama, he would have been an engineer or a scientist. He always had this interest for ... it's part of the idea of exploring reality. So knowing that, some wonderful scientists, like the neuroscientist Francisco Varela said, "Well, why don't we help the Dalai Lama to meet great scientists, and maybe there is mutual benefit?" So this Mind and Life Institute began like that, I think, almost 30 years ago.
And in 2000 there was a meeting in Dharamsala, in India, on destructive emotion, and there, there were all the great scientists. So they asked me to come and present the Buddhist perspective on emotion. Which is kind of funny to do that in front of the Dalai Lama, but, you know, I got used to it.
So then the Dalai Lama said, "Oh, it's very good, all what we do and discuss those five days, but what can we contribute to society in a secular way that could be, you know, spread into schools, in society, in companies, something that can really help people for flourish?" So then there was a brainstorming, and the idea of bringing very good scientist with long-term meditators to do serious research on meditation.
So because I was a scientist in training, and I was there, I say, "OK, I'm happy to participate in that." I went to Madison, Wisconsin, and that's the first time I started to go in MRI's, and now I think I have been in possibly more in MRI's that anyone I know, over 100 hours.
So it's really a very lively sort of collaboration, because we sort of designed the protocol together. You know, you study meditation — but what meditation, what kind of meditation? How long you need to get into that state. How long takes to get out of it. So that they need to know that in order to establish the way they you look in your brain. Many of those scientists made a point to include someone like me as the coauthor of the scientific paper to show that it's not just a guinea pig but really participating to the conception of the research, and interpretation of the research. It's a wonderful collaboration.
Feloni: So something that you want to pass on to people is giving them this ability to change themselves through practice.
Ricard: One thing I would love to share is, definitely, that we vastly underestimate the power of transformation of mind. We spend so much energy and dedication to improve outer condition — which should be, you know, we should remedy poverty, social injustice, inequalities, fight for freedom and so forth, but we don't spend — far, far from it — spend the same amount of dedication to become a better human being by cultivating qualities, whether it's altruism, compassion, resilience, emotional intelligence, all those really crucial qualities for a good life and what you would call "success"— what I would call "success"— those are skills, and you can enhance them by becoming more familiar again and again and again with them.
Meditation is one way of doing it, which is bringing to mind again and again compassion and dealing with thoughts more intelligently and so forth. So that's something we should not underestimate.
Feloni: You've had several best-selling books. You've had a very popular TED Talk — a couple actually. Something that the Western media always loves to tag you with is "happiest man in the world." This is kind of like the MO — no matter how much you try to object against it.
Ricard: And there was some initial trigger, that we were working on the effect of compassion — it was not even ‘"happiness"— on the brain. And it is true that as the first guinea pig and then many others followed after me. But there was a quite ... unusual, amplitude of gamma waves in the brain, never described in neuroscience of a magnitude that was unheard of, when meditators engaged in this unconditional compassion to all beings.
So there was a thousandfold increase. So and then compassion and loving kindness are related to, well, being. You know, if you are altruistic, you are more likely to be happy — that is, than if you are selfish.
So then there was a documentary made by the Australian television ABC, and at one point they came to Nepal and sort of followed me. And then at the end they said, "Maybe this is the happiest person in the world." So it went away for three years, and suddenly a journalist for The Independent in England made the cover story, first page: "Mr. Happy has been blah, blah, blah." So instead of just vanishing as a funny thing, like it just went viral, and that's just it. I made this disclaimer but nobody is interested in disclaimers.
I guess people find it, like, "Well it's a neat idea, it's so good! No, not the one who jumps highest or run fastest," but it doesn't take a long time to realize that it is ... it cannot be! It's impossible to say that, because how could you know about 7 billion human beings? How some you don't know that somewhere in the mountains, in somewhere in Africa, there is an old lady that is incredibly happy. I have no idea!
Feloni: Reporters — they can't let go of a good headline.
Ricard: I've got the BBC calling me at midnight: "What does it feel like?" And I say, "Well, you can be the happiest woman or man in the world if you look for happiness in the right place, and happiness is a skill. So please, do cultivate it, by all means."
First, I apologized to my scientist friends because they might think I spread the rumor, very embarrassing. But one of my teachers said — because it came again and again — we were in Korea and again the newspaper brought that story. So he said, "Let it be, you know, don't go against it. And then you use it for spreading good ideas about compassion, about solidarity, about transforming your mind. So why not." It's a kind of platform. And maybe when I die, there will be on my tomb: "Here Lies The Happiest Person In The World." It's better than to be called the "Unhappiest One." But again, it's kind of a sweet joke.
The power of mediation, and other steps to help with your own 'personal flourishing'
Feloni: Yeah. And if that's how you're measuring your success, by how many people you can reach, how much good you can do.
Ricard: Well, there are two kinds of success. One is how much you can better a good person, and that my part is still, still a lot to travel, to what Buddhism calls "awakening," a sort of inner perfection. But at least I have the deep confidence that I am in the right direction, thanks to my teachers. So success is measuring how much endeavor, progress I feel I make, and have a lot to do, but I'm so sort of grateful that I'm able to progress step by step. So that's for me the inner success, personal success.
And then I would measure outer success of, how much good you can do in the world. You know, in a modest way, in my case. But if I can do something either through spreading ideas or, you know, having started with friends and collaborators the humanitarian projects, some way I'm sort of, it becomes sort of beyond me, when I hear that we help 200,000 people every year. So I didn't really help them with hands — on, something happened, it was a catalyst and somehow I was part of that so, I just rejoice. And so I think that's a ... rejoicing in the things you have been doing in your life and also the blessing that you got in your life. That's, I think, a good measure of success.
Feloni: A lot of the people we interview are business people. They measure success by how much money they bring to themselves or to their company, as well as kind of always pursuing a new business project. Can you have both?
Ricard: Well, it depends. If you if you look for fulfillment, happiness, and flourishing — it's well known that just betting on being richer, more powerful, more famous, and all that is, like, hoping to win the lottery. Those are known to be — OK, achievements — but those are well known that they are not core components of happiness and flourishing. This is well known! So is not rocket science, all the psychology will tell you that.
You know, it's called the Easterlin paradox. If you are above the poverty line, you have a reasonably decent life in terms of material. If you double, triple, quadruple, your income, your happiness stays flat. So it helps you to do other things — and it's good if you do use these resources to help others, for sure — but in terms of well-being, don't expect too much from that. It doesn't bring it.
And even about money, I like very much the study that was done by social psychologist in Canada, and she studied the effect of, on people's happiness to be giving, from $20 a month to big amounts if you can. And she studied in 27 countries and she measured, compared with those who never give anything, their level of well-being. And what she found is, people who give regularly means they have a component of generosity in mind. They are about 30% happier than those who don't. So she published a paper in Science, which is the top scientific journal, saying, "Money doesn't buy happiness unless given to others." So that's, for me, a measure of success, because what can you do for you with 2 billion that you cannot do with 1? Zero! But for others, you can do twice as much.
Feloni: Can you give an example of meeting someone who the public by all accounts would say is very successful, but when you met them they wouldn't meet your definition of success?
Ricard: Well, I mean we meet that all the time! People who have all the trappings of success and you find out that they are, they are so much in pain and difficulty. The Dalai Lama told a very funny story that he was invited to stay in one of those — I don't know billionaire, whatever — home and you know everything was so perfect, lots of servants. Huge swimming pools. And then in the morning he was brushing his teeth in the bathroom, and he is curious so he opened a little cabinet and he saw a lot of sleeping pills, antidepressants, and he said, he close it down and he said "well it doesn't seem that they are too happy."
So anyway, you know, I think there are of course wealthy powerful people who found meaning in their life but usually it comes when they really use their power, use their resources to be of service of others.
Feloni: On Wall Street and in Silicon Valley, meditation is popular — "mindfulness" is a buzzword. But for a lot of these people they want to use these skills to kind of be more competitive or take down other companies or other entrepreneurs, other investors. What does that seem like to you?
Ricard: So they might start like that, but interestingly I have a friend who has studied 100 CEOs who took up meditation and brought it in their company. In the beginning they were all hesitating for two reasons: They thought it would become softer, and then that it's a waste of time. But then they thought, OK, maybe not, maybe they become more, people become more attentive, so they can be more productive, and we can squeeze them, more out of them. So there were some of them as well like that.
But when they actually did it, they found two things that didn't actually expect. One, it brought them much better human relationships with their collaborators, with their subordinates, with everyone. And that's a huge thing. We know that the company that is good working prospers better. What this means is a company is good working — it's a good human environment! It's not just that they get higher pay and everyone behaves like shark to what each other. It's like, basically, it's good to work there because people feel good with each other.
And then the second thing they notice, it gives them better judgment, because instead of having their nose on the problem and the immediate, and has to be solved now, and then you can't wait — they had more space, they could look at from a different direction, and sometimes the best thing is to do nothing for one or two days and see how things are. So this was two unexpected quality.
So it is a constant sort of worry that mindfulness would be misused. And I think if you say caring mindfulness there's very less likelihood that it would be misused, because there might be mindful psychopath or snipers but there's no caring psychopath and no caring snipers. So that already keeps away those who want to use it for that kind of negative purposes.
Feloni: And if some of our listeners who've never meditated before wanted to try it, what would you recommend?
Ricard: Well, there are many good books. I mean, I have written one, not just for the sake of writing a book, but because everybody was asking that question, so I did a manual called "Why Meditate?" But try it, because we need to demystify meditation. There's nothing mysterious — you don't need to be sitting, trying to empty your mind with incense around you and a mango tree. It's really — take the loving kindness meditation. We all have unconditional love for a child, for someone dear. But it would last 10, 15 seconds, one minute, then we'd do something else, we go to about our work.
But suppose you take that very beautiful strong warm feeling and instead of letting it disappear for 15 seconds you cultivate it for five, 10 minutes, by reviving it. Coming back if you are distracted, keeping the clarity, the vividity — the vividness of that. So that's just mind training that is meditation. So there's nothing mysterious. It's just, like, you exercise for the piano, you exercise your mind for kindness, for mindfulness, for inner peace, for resilience — all that can be trained as skills. And neuroscience tells you again and again.
Feloni: Thank you very much, Matthieu.
Zack Tusing is training to be a pilot.
One of his favorite places to fly is a spot along the Hudson River, overlooking New York City. Sure, he says, it’s a little scary hovering next to skyscrapers and being suspended over water in a one engine Cessna.
"Other than that, it’s really cool," Tusing said. "Central Park is cool to see. Being right at the top of One World Trade Center is cool. You can see Yankee Stadium."
Tusing is 19, and he has been training to be a pilot since he was a toddler.
"When I was three or four, my dad would hook up, I think it was a Microsoft Flight Simulator 1995, on the computer, and I would just try to get the plane on the ground somewhere without crashing," he said.
When he took his first actual flying lesson at 13, the outlook for pilots wasn’t great. It was 2011, and there had been a decade of turmoil in the airline industry — with downturns after 9/11 and during the recession. About 10,000 pilots were furloughed.
Entry-level pilot salaries were about $22,000 a year on average, according to the aviation advisory firm FAPA.
Meanwhile, training could cost five times that, says Wendy Beckman, who runs the aerospace department at Middle Tennessee State University.
"You heard stories of people on food stamps and living at home and sleeping in crew lounges," Beckman said.
Tusing didn’t want to give up his dream. In fall 2016, he enrolled in Penn State Abington’s business program, with plans to get his pilot’s license after graduation.
But there was a shift happening in the airline industry.
There’s a mandatory retirement age for pilots: 65. That time has come for a lot of them, says Gregory John, who runs Infinity Flight Group, the pilot training school Tusing attends.
"It's estimated [that in] the next 10 years, half of all pilots will be retiring from major airlines," John said.
The big airlines, like American and United, have hired more than 4,000 pilots this year — an eightfold increase from just five years ago, according to FAPA.
A lot of those pilots come from the regional airlines. That’s left the regionals with a pilot shortage.
Last year, 35 percent of available pilot jobs at those airlines went unfilled, according to the Regional Airline Association.
The regional airlines have had to up their game. They've more than doubled pilot starting pay, to almost $50,000 a year on average, according to FAPA. Regional airlines are also offering signing bonuses of up to $31,000, and they're helping to pay for flight training.
"They'll help pay for some of your flight training," John said. "They'll guarantee you a job."
Some are also relaxing their preference for a college degree. So in January, Zack Tusing dropped out of college to train as a pilot full time. Tusing has flown about 200 hours so far; he needs 1,500 to get hired at a commercial airline.
He says it’ll probably cost him $80,000 all told. But he sees a real future as a pilot.
For startups on the path to success, there's often one key moment or decision that catapults them from obscurity to the big leagues.
This year on Business Insider's podcast, "Success! How I Did It," founders of companies such as PayPal, Lyft, and Dropbox shared how they built their companies into massive successes. And while a lot goes into building a company, the leaders we've interviewed all had surprising stories.
Sometimes it's an inspired decision that leads to success; other times it's luck and timing.
Listen and read below for the key moments that turned Zillow, Tinder, Warby Parker, and others into household names.
Here's the master class episode in which top founders talk about the moments that changed everything for their companies:
The following interview excerpts have been edited for clarity.
Zillow launched with an innovative feature, the Zestimate. It was the first time anyone could look up the current value of their home, and their friends' homes. This feature alone got the company a ton of launch press, and a million visitors within its first 24 hours.
Rascoff: We said: "Let's try to figure out what every house in the country is worth. How do we do that?" Most of this information — bed, bath, square footage, tax assessment, sale history — is available in county courthouses, but we had to go acquire it, digitize it, and then build the data layer, the Zestimate, that sits on top of that.
And when we launched in, I think it was February 2006. We got about a million visitors within the first day. I still don't think any other service — Snapchat, Facebook, whatever — I don't think anyone else has had a million users in day one. Because it's so cool and so innovative to say, "Oh, my god, I can grab my kid's school roster and I can Zillow everybody at my kid's school and see what everyone's house is worth, see what everyone paid for the home." That was just, like, this, "Oh, my God" kind of thing that launched the company in 2006.
Tinder turned a college student's birthday with 500 attendees into a "Tinder party." The students were not allowed to board the party bus until a bouncer made sure they had downloaded Tinder's app.
Rad: Justin's younger brother was throwing a birthday party for his best friend at USC, and he had a bus going from USC to his parents' home. The bus was going back and forth, so a total of about 500 students. Justin called me one day and said, "Let's pay for the bus and call this a Tinder party." So we paid for the bus and put a bouncer at the door and told every student that they couldn't walk in unless they downloaded Tinder. You'd literally have to show Tinder on your phone. So about 400 people downloaded Tinder at USC. They went home and opened the app and started matching with each other. It really created a phenomenon within USC.
Immediately after that, every afternoon the whole team would leave the office, get in a car, and we would drive by every fraternity and sorority in Los Angeles, then San Diego, then Orange County, and every school we could cover.
In the beginning of January we had about 20,000 users, and at the end of January we had 500,000 users, all organic. The growth curve was unimaginable. It was pretty amazing.
TheSkimm was featured on 'Today' after the founders send a blind email to Hoda Kotb, and actually got a response.
Weisberg: We emailed every news anchor out there. We were like, "We're former NBC-ers, thought you would love this, thought you would appreciate the need that we're solving." Hoda Kotb responded, and she said, "I'll check it out!" We didn't know her. We followed up with her two more times, but got no response. Day four of us in business, she said we were one of her favorite things — on air — and it totally changed our life.
We went from, at that point, let's say, under 1,000 users to thousands. All of a sudden, we had geographic diversity. And all of a sudden, we had huge pockets of the country paying attention to what we were doing.
Shontell: Wow. What does a Hoda bump do to your newsletter subscribers?
Zakin: It crashed our site. It crashed our email inbox. We got a few thousand people from it. It was life-changing.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
For those lucky enough to hitch their wagons to Microsoft early on in its meteoric rise to the top of the computing market, the payoff was huge.
Some analysts estimate that thanks to the stock options the company gave to early employees, Microsoft had created three billionaires and as many as 12,000 millionaires by 2005. And even for those who didn't quite get to those heights, the rewards were huge.
Here's a look at what some of Microsoft's most successful alumni have done with their post-Redmond lives, from fine art to spaceflight.
Bill Gates, the world's richest man, is a huge collector of rare books and paintings. In 1998, he set a record for American art when he paid $36 million for Winslow Homer's "Lost on the Grand Banks."
The record has since been surpassed — earlier this year, a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting sold for $110 million at auction.
Source: The New York Times
Former CEO Steve Ballmer was reportedly interested in bringing an NBA team back to Seattle, but when those plans fell through he dropped $2 billion on the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ballmer has since said that he has no plans to bring the Clippers to Seattle.
Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen owns two pro sports teams — the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trailblazers, plus he's a part owner of Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders. And he owns a massive yacht with a submarine on board. Take that, Ballmer.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
First impressions matter, especially for job applicants.
But trying to catch someone's eye with a lie is a big mistake.
Harris Poll conducted a survey for Career Builder and asked 2,575 hiring managers to share some of the worst résumé gaffes applicants could make. Of those interviewed, 75% said they have caught applicants lying on their résumés. Even employees at Business Insider have spotted applicants padding their résumé.
The risk does not seem to be worth the reward because only 12% of HR people surveyed said they were more likely to call an applicant for an interview if there was an unusual claim on the application.
There are other, more honest ways to be noticed. Customizing a résumé to the position is a plus for 60% of HR managers, and 38% are more likely to look at the applicant if a cover letter is included.
If you still don't believe lying on a résumé is bad, take a look at these 10 outrageous mistakes and lies that hiring managers caught.
An applicant said he worked at Microsoft but didn't know who Bill Gates was
An applicant claimed to have created computer code actually written by the hiring manager
An applicant submitted a résumé they pulled from the internet that didn't even match the cover letter
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Anyone who has experienced getting a puppy knows it can be hard work. Owners often refer to their pets as "fur babies," which makes a lot of sense considering how much attention puppies require when you first get them.
Puppies need time to settle into their new home and bond with their owners. They've probably just been taken from their mothers and introduced to a brand new environment, so there's likely to be a lot of crying. And that's before you can even think about house-training.
As it turns out, some companies sympathise with this transition and offer what's known as "pawternity leave."In fact, research from Petplan found that 5% of owners have been offered paid leave from their job to adjust to their pet owning duties.
These are some of the companies which give you a few days off to bond with your new best friend.
Mars Petcare was one of the first companies to offer pawternity leave. The company offers its employees ten hours of paid leave when they get a new pet, and they can bring them into the office after that.
The data platform provider Mparticle offers two weeks of paid leave if an employee adopts a rescue dog. According to The Times, the recruiter for the company Laurel Peppino said it's to provide time for training and walks.
"We offer maternity and paternity leave and a pet is just another member of the family," she said. "We don't discriminate just because they aren't human."
A tech company based in Manchester called BitSol Solutions offers its employees a full week of paid leave if they get a new pet. According to the Metro, company owner Greg Buchanan said: "Pets are like babies nowadays, so why shouldn't staff have some time off when they arrive?"
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Three years ago, Sarah Cooper made an unusual career move.
The Georgia Tech graduate had spent the past eight years working in user experience (UX) design at tech companies including Yahoo and Google, but now she was giving up her coveted career in tech to pursue her passion: comedy.
Cooper recently chatted about her decision to quit Google with journalist Kara Swisher and former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo — who once pursued a career in standup comedy himself — on Recode's latest Recode Decode podcast.
Cooper talked about how she first decided to take a stab at stand-up to improve her acting skills after graduating college. She downed eight beers before taking to the stage at an open mic in a downtown Atlanta lounge and was immediately hooked. "They couldn't get me off stage," she said. "I was up there for eight minutes and it was supposed to be five."
Shortly after, Cooper decided to move to New York in order to pursue a career in stand-up full time. After struggling to pay off her student loans, she applied for a job in UX design at Google's New York headquarters. "My fallback career turned out to be other people's main idea of a great career," she jokes.
At Google, she specialized in designing the toolbars for Google docs, sheets, and slides, and drew inspiration for her comedy from the company's culture. In 2014, she published a satirical office guide, "10 Tricks to Appear Smart During Meetings," that included tongue-in-cheek tips like "Draw a Venn diagram" and "Pace around the room." The post went viral almost immediately, clocking in at nearly 20,000 views on Medium.
The article's success inspired Cooper to return to her original passion, and, a few months later, she sat down with explained to her supervisor at Google that she intended to leave the company in order to focus full-time on her aspirations in comedy.
In an interview with The Observer, she describes the move as difficult. "It took six months of going back and forth," she said. "The fear you have is that nothing will be better than working at Google."
But Cooper's move paid off. It wasn't long before she had found an agent and began working on a book, "100 Tips to Appear Smart During Meetings," which was published in October 2016. Now, you can find her quick-witted observations on office culture and pitch-perfect critiques on the tech industry chronicled on her website, The Cooper Review.
Forget about hitting your deadline and focus on shaping up your attitude.
CareerBuilder discovered that your attitude may have just as much of an influence on your career as the actual work you perform. When asked what makes a bad hire, employers considered low quality of work and a negative attitude as practically equal.
Harris Poll surveyed 2,257 hiring managers and human resource professionals, and the results showed 54% categorize a worker without proper quality of work as a bad hire. Meanwhile, 53% said a negative attitude would create regret over a hire.
The chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, Rosemary Haefner, said in a statement"there's a ripple effect with bad hires. Disengagement is contagious — poor performers lower the bar for other workers on their teams, and their bad habits spread throughout the organization."
Considering so many hiring professionals have regretted employing someone for their can't-do attitude, it's important to examine why those decisions were made. A quarter of HR managers ignored warning signs and 29% of employers say they made a bad hire because they focused on skills and not attitude.
A different CareerBuilder survey found that 62% of employers are less likely to promote a worker with a negative or pessimistic attitude. That's partly because of how it affects coworkers: A 2015 CareerBuilder survey found 55% of employees have seen colleagues whine and 46% have witnessed coworkers pout over something that didn't go their way.
That same survey found that office gossip, showing up late to work and meetings, and submitting sloppy work are all signs of disengagement that bosses look down on, and habits like incessant interrupting and unnecessary swearing at the office may signal a needed attitude adjustment.
On the flip side, negative employees may be the result of a poor working environment. A study by Towers Perrin and Gang & Gang found that employee negativity stems from an excessive workload, concerns about management, anxiety about the future, lack of challenge at work, and insufficient recognition.
It's never too late to change your approach. The CEO of Adidas was fired from a previous job at HP for being confrontational and having a bad attitude. "All my numbers were great, and therefore I thought I could act however I wanted to. But I couldn't," he told Swedish publication Di Weekend.
NOW WATCH: How to work with a narcissistic boss
A common saying is that people leave managers, not jobs. If you work for a narcissist or a psychopath, you might reach your limit faster than you thought.
But sometimes it can be a good thing to work for someone who doesn't have any empathy, because they can have strong leadership skills. They are cool-headed and charismatic, and can make ruthless business decisions. You just have to hope they won't cause you stress for their own amusement.
Many CEOs have psychopathic traits, but to get to that point they have to work under people too. According to a new study, published in the Journal of Business Ethics, psychopaths thrive under a certain kind of leadership, and it's the kind that most of us despise.
Charlice Hurst, an assistant professor of management in Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and lead author of the study, explained there are two distinct dimensions of psychopathy: primary and secondary.
"Both consist of high levels of antisocial behavior,"she said in a statement. "However, people who score high in primary psychopathy lack empathy and are cool-headed and fearless. They don't react to things that cause other people to feel stressed, fearful, or angry. Secondary psychopaths are more hot-headed and impulsive."
Some psychopaths are cool, calm, and collected
Primary psychopaths, the study found, work well with abusive supervisors, because they are calm and collected when facing conflict.
Hurst and her team recruited 419 working adults and asked them to take part in two experiments. In the first, they were asked to react to profiles of managers described as constructive or abusive. Results showed there were no differences in anger between people who were high or low on the psychopathy scale. However, participants high in primary psychopathy said they were happier afterwards, and could imagine themselves working for an abusive manager.
In the second experiment, they were asked to rate their own supervisors in terms of things like rudeness, gossiping, not giving proper credit for work, invading privacy, and breaking promises. Primary psychopaths reported feeling less anger, and were more positive and engaged.
The overall results showed that psychopaths can benefit and flourish under abusive bosses. In other words, where some people will be embarrassed and hurt if their boss is unnecessarily harsh with them, with primary psychopaths it's water off a duck's back.
Hurst added this could be harmful in the long run, because it could enable people who are likely to "perpetuate abusive cultures."
"Psychopaths thriving under abusive supervisors would be better positioned to get ahead of their peers," she said.
"If they have a problem of endemic abuse... and upper-level managers are either unaware of it or are not taking action, they might notice increasing levels of engagement due to turnover among employees low in primary psychopathy and retention of those high in primary psychopathy. At the extreme, they could end up with a highly engaged workforce of psychopaths."
Traveling the world is a dream for many people.
While there are ways to do it cheaper and safer than ever with sharing platforms like Airbnb and Couchsurfing, and more information on budget backpacker travel than could fit an encyclopedia, the cost is still out of reach for most.
But what if you could travel and not spend a dime? What if you could even get paid?
Many would jump at the opportunity to experience new cultures, traverse through beautiful landscapes, and satisfy their insatiable wanderlust.
Luckily there are more ways than ever to travel and get paid. They aren't easy, most are a lot of work, but the opportunities are out there if you want it bad enough.
We’ve compiled 15 ways for just about anyone to get their golden ticket to spending weeks, or years, in exotic lands while earning some cash.
1. Teach English
If you're looking for adventure in a foreign land, one of the most accessible and lucrative ways to get there is by taking up a job teaching English. Jobs in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America are abundant, and most of them do not require that you speak the native language.
Schools are looking for native English speakers with bachelor degrees who can teach the "direct method," by which students learn through concepts, pantomiming, and the target language exclusively.
While not all schools require it, a certification for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) can make you a more desirable candidate. Salaries can be as high as $36,000 a year in Japan or $45,000 in the United Arab Emirates.
2. Research for a travel guidebook
There aren't many professions as romanticized and misunderstood as researching and writing for travel guidebooks such as Lonely Planet and Fodor's. While the job is exhilarating — jetting you off to hundreds of places to try the local culture, food, and hotels — the reality of the work is a grind.
Most guidebook researchers and writers report having to meet unrealistic deadlines that require them to work 12-to-14-hour days. In addition, seeing the sights is a small part of the job. Researchers and writers must crank out reports and articles, make maps of the areas they visit, and engage in extensive, tedious data entry.
Because of tightening budgets and an abundance of 20-somethings willing to do the job for next to nothing, guide writing is hardly a lucrative profession. But you can earn enough to make a living.
In an illuminating New York Times' feature about the lives of guidebook writers, Warren St. John reveals the cardinal tenet of the job: "Most who do it quickly learn the one hard-and-fast rule of the trade: travel-guide writing is no vacation."
3. Become an Instagram influencer
Instagram is flooded with "influencers" trying to grow their reach on the platform, but if you are one of the few lucky enough to build a sizeable following, there are opportunities to turn it into serious income.
Twentysomething travel 'grammers Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen currently parlay the more than 3 million Instagram followers under the names of their successful travel blogs into travel around the world and a six-figure salary. Morris told Cosmopolitan last year he once earned $9,000 for a single post on Instagram, while Bullen has received $7,50o for one photo. Typically he and Bullen are paid to promote various brands and locations through their feeds.
Even smaller accounts can get some benefits. David Guenther, who runs the Great North Collective (@greatnorthco), told Rangefinder Magazine in 2014 he received a free press trip to Alberta, Canada provided that he post photographs on Instagram.
Of course, most travel Instagrammers end up stuck at a few thousands followers and burning through their savings before they ever cash a check. Best to start building that following before you leave.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
You’re feeling great after your first interview for a job with a prospective employer and you’re told to expect a call back from human resources about setting up a second interview. When you do get that call, your initial feelings are excitement and triumph! Then, just as quickly, those feelings are replaced by anxiety and fear when you realize that this interview will be a defining moment for you. This will be your opportunity to shine or fizzle—to stand out or fall flat on your face.
Before you panic, relax and relish the moment. Being asked back for a second interview confirms your initial assessment of the situation: The employer is sincerely interested in hiring you.
So once you’ve calmed down, how do you prepare for this significant, sought-after second interview? What can you expect in the way of questions from hiring managers, and how much information should you offer during the interview?
1. Have a plan
"The purpose of the second interview is to show your best, to sell your achievements and knowledge, and to elaborate on projects you worked on in the past," says Gerard Clement, director of professional services for a Boston-area software firm.
"When you interview, you have to jump in and go for it. You need to give (us) enough confidence in your abilities and skills to move forward with an offer." Oh, and don’t let the interviewer do all the talking, adds Clement, who sees this as a "red flag." And be prepared for everything, even the type of chair you might encounter!
2. Sell yourself
While a first interview may involve more generalized questions, the second interview will likely be more intense, especially for technical positions. Oftentimes, a hiring manager may use a consultant or senior staff to assist in the technical part of the interview, someone who is adept at getting to the core of a candidate’s skills. This is when you need to be bold and sell yourself!
Come prepared with lots of stories of your own past job accomplishments. Don’t be shy, and when asked, elaborate on those past projects that relate to the position at hand. "If (a candidate) is not coming out shining," says Clement, "it’s not giving us a lot of confidence to work together."
3. Articulate your attributes
Be prepared to clearly communicate all of your pertinent successes during the second interview.
"Basically what I look for from the candidate is to articulate how they will be successful in the job, and what attributes they have, such as excellent organizational skills," says Diana Marshall, HR generalist at a national law firm based in Detroit. "I’d want them to talk to me about how they acquired those skills and how they demonstrated those skills in their past jobs. If it’s more of an analytical job they’re applying to, I’ll ask what technique they’d used to analyze things in the past and how they made sure that the information was accurate."
4. Vast array of interviewers
Don’t be surprised if some of the people you meet with during this round aren’t very proficient interviewers. Typically, managers trained in interviewing conduct the first round of interviewers, so the variety of people who might talk with you during the second interview process may include those lacking skills and training in how to conduct an interview. Go with the flow! And, don’t let anyone trip you up with seemingly unrelated questions.
5. Be prepared for tricky questions
While this may never happen to you, be prepared for off-the-wall or tricky questions seemingly coming from left field, which may only be asked to see how well you handle the question. Things like a "think-outside-the-box" type of test may be given beforehand or an interviewer may ask your age (a downright no-no but a simple, "Is it relevant?" answer usually diffuses the situation). Still, trick questions can make or break you, so be prepared for the unexpected and be able to think on your feet!
6. Ask lots of questions
Be prepared with lots of questions to ask, as you will likely have more opportunity during the second interview to ask questions and you will be expected to make more urbane inquiries than you did during the first interview. If you don’t receive an offer on spot, ask about the next step in the process. How soon will a decision be made, and how will they let you know?
7. Cultural fit
The second interview is a key time for the employer to determine if you are a fit for the company culture. Recognize that the interviewers during this round want to learn how well you will get along with other team members with whom you’ll be interacting on a daily basis. Now is the time to use your very best interpersonal communication skills.
If you are a good fit, show it; but if you aren’t, you probably wouldn’t be happy working there, anyway. Always keep in mind that this interview is also your opportunity to determine whether the company is a good fit for you. Think about whether you would accept if the employer extended an offer to you.
8. Say thank you
Make sure you follow up after your second interview with all of the people with whom you interviewed by sending them a quick thank-you email or letter. Express your continued interest in the company in general and the job in particular.
Remember, regardless of whether you’ll be offered a job or not, a second interview means you’re that much closer to an offer and that much closer to securing your dream job!
Asking smart questions about the company's goals and their expectations for the role at hand is a great way to convey your enthusiasm and sell yourself.
When I was a recruiter, it was great to answer questions about growth opportunities, but candidates crossed the line when they implied that the current position at hand was beneath them.
UniquelyHR founder and career expert Mikaela Kiner told Business Insider that job seekers must be careful not to "imply that the first job is merely a stepping stone."
"You don't want to imply that you're looking for that next role before your were trained or provided any value in the role at hand," she said.
Asking a question along the lines of, "When would I get promoted?" can send a very negative message.
You're not only implying that the role at hand isn't good enough for you, but it can also lead the company to believe that you would quit as soon as a better offer comes along.
According to Adrienne Tom, executive resume writer & career strategist, "this question can make employers nervous about taking you on because you might be eyeing other roles and could leave for other opportunities."
What job seekers need to realize is that the company is taking a risk on them just as much as they are taking a risk on the particular company, the experts say.
"Locating the right employee is a big investment, therefore employers don't want to waste time, energy, or efforts onboarding a candidate that isn't demonstrating commitment to the position," Tom said. So any indication that you would leave before that investment pays off is going to be a red flag.
In order to demonstrate interest in growth opportunities the right way, choose your words more carefully.
"Ask more open-ended questions that create conversation and reveal details to help support your job decision," said Tom.
A great way to inquire about promotional opportunities is to ask the interviewer to provide anecdotes of past employee success stories.
You could ask, "Can you share more about how the company supports its employees with professional development opportunities?"
By being less direct while continuing to demonstrate your curiosity, you can discuss the potential for growth in a way that leaves a great first impression with the recruiter.
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If you've worked in the fashion industry, you've either heard stories, or have some of your own. Interns working for free in full-time positions. Interns expected to work until 2 a.m. and then be on set by 7 a.m. Interns charged with any number of impossible tasks as parodied in "The Devil Wears Prada," when Miranda Priestly asks her assistant, Andy Sachs, to get her hands on J.K. Rowling's unpublished manuscripts of Harry Potter for her children to read because "they want to know what happens next."
Anonymous Instagram account @fashionassistants is posting real-life accounts from former fashion assistants and interns, which range from having Christian Louboutin stilettos thrown at them to being called fat, ugly, stupid, and even banned from eating. The account, which started as a meme account in December 2017, has just under 4,000 followers at the time of writing. Its followers, however, include many fashion editors, stylists, creative directors, and PR executives.
Replying to our Instagram DM asking what they hoped to achieve by posting these anonymous stories, the account said: "Other movements got the conversation started and quite rapidly saw change within the industries. We've got people sadly, but appropriately referencing "The Devil Wears Prada," discussing what needs to change. So many messages of support and questions about how we can work together to unionize have arisen, or how we can set up a platform where agencies can help with problems, abuse, late payments, etc."
At the end of last year, when Weinstein was in full swing, models started coming forward about their experiences of abuse under the hashtag #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse, spearheaded by model and activist Cameron Russell. Since then, heavyweight photographers and creatives such as Terry Richardson, Patrick Demarchelier, Karl Templer, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber have all come under fire. Perpetrators are being exposed, and social media continues to be a catalyst for cultural change — if not actual legal prosecution.
Though the accounts posted on @fashionassistants are not about sexual harassment or sexual assault, they are part of a wider movement to expose those abusing their power and taking advantage of young, eager-to-impress individuals in the industry. As fashion editor Jo Ellison described it in The Financial Times this weekend, "Few of the stories [on @fashionassistants] involve sexual harassment. And few involve men. The perpetrators tend to be women and the abuse is usually verbal or physical. There are stylists throwing shoes and clothes hangers in a temper. Or forbidding staff from eating. There is petty unpleasantness. The list demonstrates quite pointedly that women with power can be just as monstrous as men."
One assistant, who wished to remain anonymous, told Refinery29 about her experiences over the phone. "I was an assistant for a number of years before I started working for a well-known stylist, whose work I adored," she says. "I was a really good assistant too, I had a good reputation. But working for this person shattered my confidence. I became the sort of person who was afraid of my own shadow. The experience taught me to be really strong, and maybe I needed that…but I wouldn't want anyone else to go through it." She added: "There's one person I know who assisted a stylist many years ago and is still in therapy because of it."
Fashion activist, writer, and editor Caryn Franklin told us that she never witnessed the shoe-throwing type of behavior on set in her fashion career — which spans three decades — but that "no intern should have to deal with someone like that." Caryn has written about the fashion industry's complicity with abuse in relation to the photographers mentioned above and says complicity is relevant here too: "If someone higher up the food chain is on a shoot and witnessing that sort of behavior, they should speak up. What happens, of course, is that everybody is fearful for their position, but I find it very hard to hear that nobody stands up for the young inexperienced intern when somebody who ought to know better is throwing their weight around."
The stories on @fashionassistants are accusing stylists specifically, and most of the stories take place on shoots, which, admittedly, are high-pressured situations. "On shoots, there's very limited time, and quite often things that look very high production are done on very limited budgets," Caryn explains, "so it's a very precarious situation that puts people under a lot of stress, and that can bring out the worst in someone who is so fixed on the end result that they are bullying people in order to achieve it."
"Some powerful people are corrupted by their own status and have this sense that they are so unique and so special that they can overstep all professional boundaries," Caryn continues. "That is not a good leader or an inspirational creative."
Another stylist assistant, who also asked to remain anonymous, told us about her experiences working for a "big name stylist who worked on shoots for all the household names." On one occasion, she says: "I was sent to Chinatown to retrieve a certain type of shoe, which I couldn't find anywhere. When I returned to the office at 10 p.m., after crying and panicking that I couldn't find this shoe, I was told I should leave my job if I couldn't do the work. I never got paid, which meant all those weeks I'd spent working for this woman, running around from borough to borough — which I was told would be expensed — ended up coming out of my pocket. I chased her three times for payment. My emails were ignored."
"Maybe those stories aren't so bad?" this assistant concluded, asking a question that most of the former or current assistants we spoke to who haven't been hit by shoes but have been treated unfairly did. Earning your stripes by burning yourself out trying to meet impossible demands from impossible people is, unfortunately, a fairly common experience, and not just in fashion. But while long hours, poor pay and little thanks is one thing, physical and verbal abuse which causes lasting emotional damage is entirely another.
The good news is that there are, realistically, only a few handfuls of these people among a sea of kind, supportive, encouraging creatives. And as evidence and testimonies mount on social media, and publications like The New York Times continue to investigate the individuals who have abused their power for too long, fashion's nasty outer layer may soon be shed for good. Because no long should this behavior be considered 'initiation' into the industry. It just shouldn't exist, period.
Writing the body of an email is the easy part. The hard part is signing off.
Is "cheers" too casual? Too pretentious? Too British? Is "sincerely" timeless and professional, or stodgy and overly formal? "Best" seems fail safe — unless it's too bland?
As anyone who has sat staring blankly at a screen, weighing "best" versus "all best" versus "all the best" knows, not signing off doesn't feel quite right either — especially if the context is professional.
"Not closing seems way too abrupt," business etiquette expert Barbara Pachter told Business Insider. "If you have a salutation, you should have a closing to balance it out."
Will Schwalbe, one of the authors "SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do it Better," agrees, pointing out that "we don't go around in life barking orders at one another and we shouldn't on email either."
Manners aside, the email close serves a practical function. It helps "define the personality of the email's content," says Aliza Licht, SVP of Global Communications for Donna Karan International and author of the career guide "Leave Your Mark."
It's also an opportunity to define or redefine your relationship to your correspondent, Schwalbe adds. (A shift from "love" to "best," for example, indicates you may have a problem.)
If we accept — at least for the moment — that email sign-offs are here to stay, the question becomes which one to use, and in what contexts to use it.
We had Pachter, Schwalbe, and Licht weigh in on 27 common email closings. Here are the ones they say to avoid in most situations — and which one to use when you're just not sure.
All three experts agree that "best" is among the safest possible choices, inoffensive, and almost universally appropriate.
So when in doubt, go with "best."
SIGN-OFFS TO AVOID: 'Thanks'
"Thanks" is "fine if it's for a favor the person has done, but obnoxious if it's a command disguised as premature gratitude," Schwalbe says.
Licht agrees. It "comes off as not really that thankful," she says. While it doesn't particularly bother Pachter, the consensus is that you can probably do better. Skip.
Again, Schwalbe and Licht aren't fans.
It's "even worse then 'thanks' if it's a command and not genuine gratitude," he says.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Some evidence even suggests that intelligent people are more likely to want to cheat on their partners.
New survey data from Ashley Madison, the leading dating website that helps married people have affairs, has shown people with certain careers are more likely to be unfaithful to their partners. They asked 1,074 members of Ashley Madison to fill out a survey about their jobs.
Despite straying from their partners, respondents of the survey had a different attitude towards their careers. nearly half (44%) said they never switch jobs, and those who did said they only did it once every 10 years.
Here were the top 12 careers for infidelity from the survey, for both men and women:
12. Men — Social work
2% of male participants were social workers.
12. Women — Politics
Just 1% of female respondents worked in politics.
11. Men — Agriculture
3% of male cheaters worked in agriculture, such as farming.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
A computer-science degree from one of the world's top higher education institutions can help graduates land their dreams job at companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, or Amazon.
But if your goal is to impress prospective employers, which university should you shoot for? Using the QS World University Rankings 2018, we took a look at the universities with the top computer science and information systems courses.
The QS University Rankings guide is one of the most reputable sources that students turn to when deciding which universities to apply to, and employers are also likely to refer to it when deciding which candidates to hire. It is based on academic reputation, employer reputation, and research impact. The full methodology can be read here.
We looked at the overall scores, which are out of 100. Take a look:
50. City University of Hong Kong
CUHK is a relatively young university, but it has improved steadily over the years.
49. Lomonosov Moscow State University
One of Russia's oldest institutions, which also ranks high in overall rankings.
48. Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Founded in 1896, the Chinese university Shanghai Jiao Tong University is one of the most prestigious universities in China.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Even if they're in a memo. Especially if they're in a memo sent by a senior executive to all of his 86,000 employees.
I felt a peculiar twitch just above my eyebrow, therefore, when I read some words sent by United Airlines president Scott Kirby to all those who work at United.
The words concerned the removal of their quarterly performance bonuses, to be replaced by a lottery, in which someone could win $100,000 and others could get a few other prizes. Such as $20,000. Or, um, $2,000.
It could be you.
Then again, it most likely won't be you, as there aren't that many prizes.
Which means if you work for United and are eligible for a bonus, you'll be out around $1,200 a year -- the amount normally received by many employees.
Now I can imagine Elon Musk or some other leader blessed with vast charisma either looking at United's scheme and instantly balking or finding a completely different way to approach it.
Bureaucratic tone and condescending language
Here's how Kirby began his sell: "As we look to continue improving, we took a step back and decided to replace the quarterly operational bonus and perfect attendance programs with an exciting new rewards program called 'core4 Score Rewards."
Just like that. We decided to replace.
So looking to continue improving meant taking a step back and summarily removing a bonus that many of the staff relied on?
It's a curious logic, one that says: "How do we get them to improve? How about taking away their bonus?" To be followed by "heh. heh. heh."
Then there's that phrase "rewards program."
What does that remind you of? Why, frequent flyer miles. And what has happened to those miles over recent years? Why, they've become significantly devalued.
Might this give you a clue to what's on United's mind here?
Still, Live and Let's Fly offers the most pulsating -- to me, at least -- words of the memo.
"The reason for this change goes to the heart of our strategy: offering meaningful rewards will build excitement and a sense of accomplishment with more bang for the buck," says Kirby.
So the previous performance bonus was meaningless, it seems.
And more bang for the buck, some might grunt, is what the management will be getting, not the employees.
May I repeat: It seems that most of them won't get a bonus at all.
Dissuading employees from trusting you
The employees are unlikely to be taken in by this flimsy-flamsy attempt at verbal prestidigitation.
They know a lot about how the airline is run.
And, going by the emails I've already had from Flight Attendants, they're appalled that their bonus scheme is being turned into what one described to me as "like one of those email contests where it says, 'click here for a chance to win," and another described as "a game show."
Many of these suitcases contain nothing at all! But one has a Mercedes C-Class worth $40,000!"
Kirby, indeed, like a game show host, wants his audience to be fixated on that Mercedes, just as a lottery player is fixated on those $15 million they're never going to see.
"We want every United team member to picture themselves walking home with a grand prize, or driving home in a beautiful car that announces for all to see that you are committed to your success and ours," Kirby said.
Is that what the Mercedes would announce for all to see? Or would it rather announce: "I won a raffle! I can't even afford the insurance because of how little United pays me!"?
Winning back the company
Ultimately, such communication from management is about psychology.
It's about first deciding on the positives of the new scheme and how to bring it in. It's not about simply presenting a fait-accompli with a glaring downside.
Then, it's about choosing words that will bring the employees onto your side
It seems that United's management really did think that its employees would give up a guaranteed bonus in favor of a raffle ticket.
Did no one at United imagine that the employees might see through all this?
Did they not conceive that one or two employees would see it as maybe, just maybe, a crude cost-saving attempt inspired by cynical parsimony and an underhanded way of telling them they're not working hard enough, so need to be inspired by an "Enter for a chance to win!" mentality?
But more aggravating than that, surely, is the painfully transparent hucksterism of the tone.
I contacted United to ask whether it had endured any adverse reaction from employees.
All an airline spokeswoman would tell me was: "We believe that this new program will build excitement and a sense of accomplishment as we continue to set all-time operational records that result in an experience that our customers value."
Will build excitement.
"Come on down!" says the United Airlines president. "See if you can win on the the Big, But Not So Big, United Giveaway!"
I worry that the ratings for this show won't be very high.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Kirby's title. He is the president of United Airlines.
To most of us, the phrase "fun job" sounds like a glaring oxymoron. After all, as my parents are so fond of saying, "If it was fun they wouldn't call it work."
Even those of us who have built careers around what we love (like, say, writing) sometimes we crave a vacation to do little more than eat ice-cream and sleep for days at a time on our own private island. It sounds idyllic, impossible even – but all three of the recreational activities in the previous sentence (eating ice-cream, sleeping, living on a private island) are real jobs that exist. Seriously.
We have compiled some of the most unusual jobs in the world, jobs that sound too extraordinary, too entertaining, too outright pleasurable to even be real – and it will have you googling "how to quit my job to become a mermaid" in five seconds flat.
Not only can you get paid to eat ice-cream, but you can make a decent living doing it. According to Forbes, "food scientists"– in other words, ice-cream tasters – can earn up to $56,000 a year.
Okay, so the pay isn't great: professional Disney princesses reportedly don't earn much more than $30,000 a year. But the perks include 50% off cruises, 40% off food, and free passes to the parks – not to mention dressing up and acting like a literal princess for a job.
Netflix hires part-time employees to watch TV shows and movies and "tag" them with genres. It's an elusive job to get – Netflix keeps the amount of taggers on their team small – but for those lucky enough to be selected, it's a dream. "This is absolutely the best job out there," tagger Josh Garrell told the Washington Post in 2015. We're not surprised.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider