Feeling Too Busy? Here's How to Free Up Your Time

If time isn’t on your side, you aren’t alone–and you may have to come to terms with being a control freak and learning to let go in order to propel your business forward.

When I speak with entrepreneurs, I ask a variety of questions to get a feel for how their business is doing. The question that often proves most illuminating is the one asked in the lead paragraph of this post.

More often than not, time (or the lack thereof) is a major factor for entrepreneurial success.

Yes, I realize that any entrepreneur worth his or her salt going to be busy. There are numerous tasks that can only be entrusted to the business owner. Many of those tasks take significant amounts of time to complete. And only the entrepreneur with everything to lose is going to care the most about the end result.

That doesn’t mean you can’t free up time.

Lean on me

It does mean you need to lean on your support team.

Again, I realize nobody’s going to care about your business as much as you are, but if you’ve selected your team well, they’ll be nearly invested as you are and strive to do good work.
As the head of your company, you need to be looking at the big picture and making all the vitally important decisions.

Meantime, let your team handle the rest. That’s what you’re paying them for after all. They’ll probably be more productive without you breathing down their necks anyway.

Relinquishing control is a difficult thing to do for a control freak. Even if you back off for a while, the temptation will always be there to resume control.

That’s why you need to give a trusted employee or two the authority to let you know when to back off. Don’t take it personally–just heed their warnings.

It also will be helpful to realize that no matter how much (or how little) you control your business, things are going to go wrong. That’s OK and should be expected.

Take it a step at a time

Still not convinced? You don’t have to go “cold turkey” with your hands-off approach.

Start small and begin by delegating relatively minor tasks; even if your employee screws up, there won’t be a huge impact on the company. When an employee proves his/her worth, delegate more to them. Do the same with your other employees. Gradually, you’ll begin stepping back.

Be sure to put your newfound “free time” to good use. That could include concentrating on big picture tasks or it could involve stepping back – yes, taking time away.

Everyone needs a little vacation time now and again to recharge their batteries and gain some perspective. A bit of distance might provide you some fresh insight into making the company improve its growth rate.

I’m well aware that none of this is easy. Your classic workaholic Type A control freak is never going to turn into a laid-back person, but by taking baby steps not only can you help your company and your staff, but you can give yourself some peace of mind, too.

The Mueller Investigation May Be Safe Despite Matt Whitaker

The days since the midterms have been filled with developments in the probe of special counsel Robert Mueller, whose weeks of public silence leading up to the election belie a frenzy of activity, grand jury meetings, and investigative steps that his probe has pursued.

The next shoes to drop seem likely clear: GOP operative Roger Stone has long suspected he’ll be indicted. Stone ally Jerome Corsi suggested in a recent YouTube livestream that he may face charges as well. Even Donald Trump’s son, Donald Jr., has reportedly discussed with friends the possibility of his own indictment. At the same time, the forced resignation of attorney general Jeff Sessions, and appointment of his chief of staff Matt Whitaker to be the acting attorney general—a decision that is of at least debatable legality—has raised fears that the Trump administration is closing in on firing Mueller himself.

Yet as the dust settles from the midterms and Sessions’ abrupt departure, there are five clear reasons to be optimistic that the rule of law will hold, and that Mueller will be able to complete his probe, regardless of what he ultimately finds. But there’s also one clear reason to be pessimistic.

First, the reasons for optimism:

1. The investigation is quite far along. Mueller’s team has been working at breathtaking speed for a federal investigation. In a little over a year, he’s brought numerous charges, won cooperation and guilty pleas from numerous high-profile figures, and been victorious in the one case that went to trial. He’s likely known where his investigation will lead for months, and has a clear set of targets in his sights. While court cases and filings might continue for years to come in some of the prosecutions, Mueller has always known that his investigation wasn’t meant to last forever. There are plenty of signs that we’re closer to the denouement of the Russia probe than to its beginning.

2. It’s not like any of this took Mueller off guard. There’s no scenario where Bob Mueller awoke last Wednesday, saw the news of Sessions’ firing and Whitaker’s appointment, and was surprised. Rumors had swirled since the summer that Jeff Sessions would depart—voluntarily or not—right after the midterms. Matt Whitaker’s name had even been floated in September as a possible replacement for deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein in overseeing the probe. More broadly, Mueller has lived for 16 months with the knowledge that he might be fired at almost any minute by an impulsive, capricious president who has made no secret of his fear and dislike of the investigation. Mueller knows that Trump has already tried to fire him, and that the person who stopped those previous firing fits—then-White House counsel Don McGahn—is now gone.

What Mueller’s “Doomsday plans” might be, we don’t know—but it would be prosecutorial malpractice for Mueller’s team not to have made careful preparations for what happens immediately in the hours after he’s fired or the investigation is blocked. The plans could involve already sealed indictments, court battles challenging his firing, a pre-written report to Congress, or any other manner of ready-to-execute paperwork or public campaign.

3. There are lots of pieces of the case scattered across the US government. The “Mueller probe,” as we short-hand it publicly, is increasingly no longer tied to Mueller himself. Parts of the investigation have been picked up by multiple US attorney offices, and some of the most active work—the investigation growing out of Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s guilty plea to campaign finance violations—is completely separate, being run by the Southern District of New York prosecutors in Manhattan. This arm of the case, in fact, is the only one that has actually named Donald Trump himself in court documents, alleging that Cohen was acting under the orders of “Individual-1,” a thin pseudonym for Trump himself, given that the court documents make clear that “Individual-1” became president of the United States in January 2017.

Shutting down the entire probe and its various related angles would not be as simple as axing Mueller. As former SDNY head Preet Bharara tweeted in August, “Practice note: Trump has no effective way to shut down any investigation being conducted by SDNY. That office is more insulated, enduring and ‘sovereign’ than the Special Counsel’s Office. You can fire Mueller. You can fire the US Attorney. You can’t fire the SDNY.” Any attempt by Whitaker to reach down into the Southern District and stymie the Cohen probe would further the public controversy and, if pushed, almost assuredly lead to the resignation of career federal prosecutors angered by the move.

Similarly, just as FBI investigations require a formal procedure to open, the require a formal procedure to close. Should Mueller himself be removed from the probe and the special counsel’s office shuttered, much of the work underway by FBI agents and prosecutors on the case would likely just continue without him.

4. The Justice Department runs on norms. Even if Whitaker arrived in the top role at the Justice Department with ill intentions, he’s now locked in a bureaucracy with a strong culture, guidelines, and regulations that may circumscribe his actions. Much of the fear that Whitaker would seek to stymie, block, or shutter the Mueller stems from his public writings and comments on the case. He has criticized the probe, argued it should be limited in scope, and is close friends to Sam Clovis, a figure so closely tied to the probe that it torpedoed his nomination to a top Agriculture Department job last year.

Under normal circumstances, that apparent conflict of interest would likely force him to recuse from supervising Mueller’s probe, returning the role to Rod Rosenstein. That precise scenario of an apparent conflict, after all, is what forced Sessions himself to give up the role, hand it to Rosenstein, and draw endless ire from Trump himself.

The first test of Whitaker’s behavior and intentions was whether he would forge ahead overseeing the probe or seek approval from ethics attorneys to do so first. The good news: Whitaker opted for the latter. Word came this week that Whitaker would seek an opinion from career Justice Department ethics attorneys about whether it was appropriate for him to supervise the probe. “Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal,” a Justice Department spokesperson said Monday.

What advice those ethics attorneys might give, and whether Whitaker will follow it, remains to be seen. But that he’s at least soliciting their opinion is a promising start.

5. Congress has leverage. The fact that Democrats have retaken the House of Representatives, a role that gives them subpoena power, will surely restart Congress’ stalled oversight system. The Republican-led Congress has all but abdicated serious oversight of the executive branch over the last two years, a critical part of the checks and balances established under the American rule of law.

Should Whitaker or the Trump administration seek to block or remove Mueller in any way, the legislative branch would surely get involved. Under the regulations of the special counsel office, in fact, any dispute that might arise between Mueller and Whitaker would have to be reported to Congress, a moment that would surely launch hearings, subpoenas, and all manner of public frenzy.

All of that said, there’s one overarching reason for pessimism that Mueller’s probe will be allowed to complete its work at its own pace: There’s no clear justification for Whitaker’s appointment other than shutting down Mueller’s probe.

The Justice Department has a clear line of succession in the absence of a Senate-confirmed attorney general, and there’s no apparent emergency or exigent circumstances that would prohibit any of those officials from serving in the role. Whitaker’s leap from the chief-of-staff role to acting attorney general is unprecedented, especially given that Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, is perfectly capable of leading the department—and there are all manner of Senate-confirmed Justice Department officials ready to step in if something were to happen to Rosenstein. The seemingly out-of-left-field appointment only makes sense if it was made because Whitaker has publicly questioned the Mueller investigation.

What we do know is that Mueller’s not wasting any time: His team was hard at work on Veterans’ Day Monday—at least eight of his prosecutors showed up at the office. His grand jury will likely next meet in just 48 hours.

Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) is a contributing editor for WIRED and the co-author of Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Exclusive: Dell taps banks to raise more cash for tracking stock offer – sources

(Reuters) – Dell Technologies Inc (DVMT.N) is working with investment banks to add more cash to a $21.7 billion offer to buy back a “tracking stock” tied to its software company VMware Inc (VMW.N) as it nears a deal with investors, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

A Dell sign is seen during the China International Import Expo (CIIE), at the National Exhibition and Convention Center in Shanghai, China November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

The move comes after several investors in the tracking stock, including billionaire Carl Icahn, said they would not accept Dell’s first offer, arguing it transfers too much value to Dell’s owners, founder Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake.

The acquisition of the publicly traded tracking stock would result in Dell becoming a publicly listed company without an initial public offering (IPO). Dell needs a majority of the holders of the tracking stock to approve the deal. A vote on the tracking stock offer has been scheduled for Dec. 11.

Dell issued the tracking stock in 2016 to buy data storage company EMC for $67 billion because it could not pay for the entire deal in cash and did not want to add to its debt burden. EMC owned a majority stake in VMware, which Dell inherited.

The security “tracks,” or depends on, the financial performance of VMware, and has been trading at a significant discount to VMware’s stock. This has emboldened investors such as Icahn to argue that Dell’s offer undervalues the tracking stock.

Dell has so far offered $109 in cash for each tracking share, up to $9 billion in total, with the remainder payable with 1.3665 shares of Dell’s Class C common stock for each tracking share. That is equivalent to a 41/59 cash-stock split. Dell has said it plans to use a special dividend from VMware to fund the $9 billion portion of the deal.

Dell and tracking stock investors are now close to a deal, according to the sources. Dell is hoping to conclude negotiations with owners of the tracking stock and table a new offer as early as this week, the sources said. Negotiations have focused on a valuation of between $120 and $130 for each tracking share, though a final decision has not been made, some of the sources added.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Dell and Silver Lake declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal had reported last week that Dell was looking at improving on its tracking stock offer.

The tracking stock jumped 5 percent to $103.49 on the news, its highest level since it started trading in 2016.

The tracking stock battle has echoes of the $24.9 billion deal that Dell and Silver Lake clinched to take the company private in 2013, a transaction that Icahn also opposed. In that case, Icahn also managed to secure a slight improvement to the offer.

Michael Dell has turned to deal-making to transform his company from a PC manufacturer into a broader seller of information technology services, ranging from storage and servers to networking and cyber security.

As a public company, Dell could more easily use its stock as currency for acquisitions. While its debt has dropped from $57.3 billion following the EMC deal to $50.3 billion, it remains heavily indebted. The company continues to pay down debt and has told investors it aims for an investment-grade rating sometime next year.

Other investors that opposed the original tracking stock deal include P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, which earlier this month asked Dell to raise its offer by 20 percent. Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp is also not satisfied with Dell’s offer, sources have said.

Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis

How a TV Host’s Retweet Could Change Twitter

When MSNBC host Joy Reid saw a tweet decrying a racist incident this summer, she responded like many other people—she retweeted it.

The tweet in question came from an activist and showed a photo of a woman in a Make America Great Again cap appearing to berate a 14-year-old Latino boy. A caption implied she shouted “dirty Mexican” and “You are going to be the first deported,” and urged Twitter users to “spread this far and wide” because “this woman needs to be put on blast.”

Unfortunately for Reid, whose retweet broadcast the message to her 1.2 million followers, the tweet was wrong. The woman in the image, Roslyn La Liberte of Southern California, had said nothing of the sort.

The teenager in the picture later explained he and La Liberte had a civil conversation, and said the pair even hugged.

Five days after the retweet, Reid acknowledged the mistake by tweeting a news story that described what really happened:

By then, however, La Liberte had hundreds of vitriolic emails, which called her vile names and threatened to assault her. She also received menacing voicemails, including one from a man who shouted, “I will smack you upside your f**king head you stupid f***ing c**t.”

Sadly, this is all too common on Twitter: Someone posts a false and inflammatory tale, others retweet it, and an online mob descends on the unlucky target. This episode stands out, however, because La Liberte is suing Reid in federal court for allegedly defaming her with the retweet.

La Liberte may have a case. While judges have been inclined to treat inflammatory tweets (including those of Donald Trump) as opinion or hyperbole—types of speech that don’t count as defamation—that doesn’t mean you can’t libel someone on Twitter. Falsely portraying someone as a vicious racist could certainly qualify.

Reid, of course, didn’t do that. Instead, she just used Twitter’s retweet button to repeat what someone else said. The law, however, might not see a difference between tweeting and retweeting.

Lawyer Ed Klaris, who runs a media and intellectual property firm in New York, doesn’t see a distinction.

“The traditional rules of re-publication apply. You as a tweeter are very much a publisher,” says Klaris. He likens the situation to a newspaper that prints a letter to the editor that contains false and defamatory information. In such a case, the target of the letter can sue both the letter writer and the newspaper.

Or, in the context of Twitter, La Liberte can sue the author of the tweet as well as Reid for republishing it via her retweet. Klaris isn’t the only one who sees it this way; a recent Hollywood Reporter story cites lawyers who think Reid will lose the case.

If a judge agrees with this interpretation, the consequences could be enormous. A victory for La Liberte would create a new danger not only for journalists, but for many other Twitter users who inadvertently retweet false information from time to time.

Courts Silent on Retweets

La Liberte’s lawsuit doesn’t specify how much money she’s seeking over Reid’s tweet, but does state the claim is worth at least $75,000.

There’s no guarantee La Liberte will prevail, of course. In response to a request for comment, her lawyers sent a document to Fortune, which argues the case should be thrown out, and that La Liberte should pay damages for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

This isn’t just wishful thinking. Reid’s lawyers are relying on a well-known law known as the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The law, broadly speaking, says “no provider or user of an interactive computer service” can be held responsible for what other people say on an Internet platform.

Many Internet entrepreneurs have relied on the CDA as a legal foundation for their business. For instance, the law ensures Facebook isn’t responsible for criminal threats posted by its users, or that a blog owner isn’t liable for defamatory rants posted by a trollish commenter.

How the law applies to retweets is unclear, however. Even though Twitter’s retweet button has been around since 2009, no court has decided whether those who retweet defamatory claims are shielded by the Communications Decency Act.

Professor Eric Goldman, who has written extensively about the law, says retweets are clearly covered.

“It’s not even a hard case. Retweeting is just a different technical way of sharing third party content with a broader audience,” he said, citing a pair of cases involving email. In those cases, courts sided with defendants who sent or forwarded defamatory content written by a third person.

Free speech scholar Eugene Volokh, who recently published a blog post on the email cases, shares Goldman’s view. In an interview with Fortune, he added that Reid’s case is strengthened by the fact her retweet didn’t include additional comment endorsing the opinions in the tweet.

Meanwhile, the New York lawyer Klaris disagrees that a judge will let Reid use the CDA as a shield. He argues that allowing the law to protect anyone who retweets a false statement is too broad a reading, and would make the traditional republication rule meaningless.

“Taken to its logical extreme, according to the defendant’s argument, a “user” (i.e. reader) of Fortune.com could cut an entire defamatory article and paste it to her own site without changing it and not be liable for defamation,” he said. “That outcome does not make sense.”

A Bigger Role for Twitter?

As it stands, the Reid case is troubling because either outcome will produce an unsatisfactory result. If La Liberte wins, millions of people will face legal jeopardy for the commonplace act of sharing what they see on social media—a situation that would chill free speech. But if Reid wins, there is little to dissuade people from contributing to online mob behavior of the sort that dragged La Liberte through the mud.

This raises the question of whether Twitter and other online platforms should do more to stop false and defamatory information from going viral in the first place. One idea for addressing the problem—incidentally, suggested by a former Fortune editor—is a warning system would let those in Reid’s situation respond more promptly by broadcasting a correction (as Reid did but only five days later), and by removing the original retweet or shared post from their social media feeds.

This wouldn’t stop people from sharing defamatory content altogether (it’s just too easy when all it takes is clicking “retweet” or “share”) but it would certainly mitigate the problem. But would the social media companies even consider offering such a notification tool?

“This is an ongoing legal issue. We don’t have a statement to share,” said a Twitter spokesperson in response to a question about Twitter’s obligations in the Reid case.

The response is not surprising. Social media platforms have long seen policing user posts as a political minefield, and are wary of becoming arbitrators in deciding what is defamatory or fake news.

In this vacuum of authority, Klaris predicts courts may become more willing to interpret the CDA in a way that curtails the law’s protection. He acknowledged, however, that they have declined to do so in the past and that it may be a matter for Congress.

Volokh, the free speech scholar, pointed to legal precedents establishing a broad scope for the law, and says any changes should come from lawmakers, not the courts.

A TSA Agent Swiped Away at My Groin. A Fellow Agent Came Over to Cheer Him On

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

It was Election time, so I wanted to leave the country.

Fortunately, Web Summit in Lisbon coincided perfectly, so more than a week ago, my wife and I moved through a relatively empty San Francisco Airport, ready to get away.

I went through the TSA’s Body Scanner and suddenly, a beep.

I knew there was nothing in my pockets. However, the TSA agent said: 

The machine says there’s something in your groin area.

There’s no palatable answer to that. The agent continued that he’d have to perform a more thorough search of my groin. And buttocks.

He gave me the option of a private room, but frankly I’d prefer not to be sequestered away with a lone TSA agent if I can help it. 

Whatever he was going to do, I wanted it out in the open.

And so he began. My buttocks and my groin were given a thorough — some might even say enthusiastic — wiping.

His arms moved from side to side in the manner of a speed skater, desperate to take the last turn in first place. The contact was, how can I put it, firm. 

But then a fellow TSA agent came over and felt forced to cheerlead. In a deeply admiring tone, he roared: 

Look at his moves!

Please forgive me, but it’s bad enough when you’re being publicly examined like a show horse at the breeder’s office.

To have some hearty bro’ come over and add his enthusiastic fandom made me rather want to pull him aside and ask about his priorities in life.

Instead, of course, you know there’s no point in saying anything, so you take the humiliation and move on.

I contacted the TSA to ask whether bro’-down cheerleading of intimate examinations is part of its standard procedure.

The administration referred me to Covenant Aviation Security, which has the contract for security work at the airport. It says it’ll investigate.

There is, though, an even broader issue here.

When you have a sensitive job, it might still be dull. It’s always worth remembering, however, that the people you’re dealing with aren’t enjoying what you do one bit.

They may — or may not — accept the necessity for it. They’d appreciate, though, a little aforethought on your part.

As we walked away — yes, the machine had been entirely mistaken — my wife turned to me and said: 

Did he really say that?

My personal scanner indicates at least one agent might work on the Respect part.

Apple finds quality problems in some iPhone X and MacBook models

The new Apple iPhone X are seen on display at the Apple Store in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) – Apple Inc said on Friday it had found some issues affecting some of its iPhone X and 13-inch MacBook pro products and said the company would fix them free of charge.

The repair offers are the latest in a string of product quality problems over the past year even as Apple has raised prices for most of its laptops, tablets and phones to new heights. Its top-end iPhones now sell for as much as $1,449 and its best iPad goes for as much as $1,899.

Apple said displays on iPhone X, which came out in 2017 with a starting price of $999, may experience touch issues due to a component failure, adding it would replace those parts for free. The company said it only affects the original iPhone X, which has been superseded by the iPhone XS and XR released this autumn.

The screens on affected phones may not respond correctly to touch or it could react even without being touched, the Cupertino, California-based company said.

For the 13-inch MacBook Pro computers, it said an issue may result in data loss and failure of the storage drive. Apple said it would service those affected drives.

Only a limited number of 128GB and 256GB solid-state drives in 13-inch MacBook Pro units sold between June 2017 and June 2018 were affected, Apple said apple.co/2AXkeEw on its website.

Last year, Apple began a massive battery replacement program after it conceded that a software update intended to help some iPhone models deal with aging batteries slowed down the performance of the phones. The battery imbroglio resulted in inquires from U.S. lawmakers.

In June, Apple said it would offer free replacements for the keyboards in some MacBook and MacBook Pro models. The keyboards, which Apple introduced in laptops starting in 2015, had generated complaints on social media for how much noise they made while typing and for malfunctioning unexpectedly. Apple changed the design of the keyboard this year, adding a layer of silicone underneath the keys.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco

A New Study Ranked All 50 States By How Fat Their People Are, and the Results are Eye-Opening

A new study ranks all 50 states plus the District of Columbia by how fat their residents are. And there are some real surprises.

Across the United States, a staggering 70 percent of people are either overweight or obese. It’s part of what drives the $66 billion weight loss industry, which is always a good target for entrepreneurs.

But it also adds $200 billion a year to our nation’s health costs. 

So, this state ranking combines 25 different data points on each state’s population to help us figure out which states have the biggest problems. Each state was then assigned a combined score from 1 (best) to 100 (worst). The data included things like:

  • percentage of residents (adults and children) who are overweight or obese;
  • percentage of residents who are physically active (or not);
  • percentage of adults with high cholesterol;
  • percentage of adults with healthy diets (and who eat at least 1 serving of fruits and vegetables each day).

Obviously, the mere fact that someone lives in a supposedly fit or fat state doesn’t mean he or she personally is overweight or not. Heck, I live in the 11th fittest state according to this, and I’m well aware I could lose a few pounds.

But the ranking does challenge some of the stereotypes about where the healthiest people might live in the country. Here’s the list, which was put together by WalletHub. We’ll do this backwards, going from worst to first, and discussing the states briefly in tiers.

Tier V: The fattest states

All of the worst states on this list were in the South, and the absolute worst state in terms of fatness ranking was Mississippi, with a score of 72.97 out of a possible 100.

Mississippi also had the worst ranking in the country in terms of obesity and overweight prevalence. And in another study, Mississippi workers also reportedly got the least exercise of anyone in the country. The full bottom tier looks like this:

51.    Mississippi    72.97 out of 100 (1 is best; 100 is worst)
50.    West Virginia    70.14    
49.    Arkansas    69.69
48.    Kentucky    67.71
47.    Tennessee    67.67
46.    Louisiana    66.89
45.    Alabama        64.56
44.    South Carolina    63.64
43.    Oklahoma    63.09
42.    Texas        62.45

Tier IV

The second to the bottom tier largely consists of states in the so-called Rust Belt.  

41.    Indiana        62.44
40.    Ohio        62.39
39.    Delaware    62.27
38.    Georgia        61.46
37.    Michigan    61.30
36.    Missouri    59.70
35.    North Carolina    59.17
34.    Iowa        58.77
33.    Maine        58.36
32.    Kansas        58.30

Tier III

It’s a little more difficult to say exactly what states like Rhode Island, Florida and Alaska have in common. However, these are largely states with a larger percentage of senior citizen residents, which could be a factor.

31.    Wisconsin    57.87
30.    Rhode Island    57.86
29.    Nebraska    57.24
28.    Maryland    57.12
27.    Pennsylvania    56.83
26     Wyoming        56.72
25.    North Dakota    56.46
24.    Illinois    56.15
23.    Florida        56.12
22.    Alaska        55.90

Tier II

If you were to look at the list of states where people get the most exercise at work, you’d see that the top 20 in each list are almost identical. (The order is different, but the grouping is very close.) Seems like that could be a big clue.
21.    Virginia    55.83
20.    New Mexico    55.49
19.    South Dakota    55.15
18.    Washington    55.10
17.    New Hampshire    55.10
16.    Arizona        54.68
15.    New York    53.75
14.    Minnesota    53.64
13.    Nevada        53.07
12.    Idaho        52.52

Tier I

Here are the top 10 states (plus D.C.), with the most fit residents. Interestingly, they’re also largely (but not exclusively) urban states, where you’d think people have limited outdoor space and are more likely to work long, stressful, sedentary jobs.

But, apparently the people in metro areas around places like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. are the ones who make time to exercise, eat right, and watch their weight.

And to the folks of Colorado, who topped both this list and the exercise at work list, keep up the good work. 

11.    New Jersey    52.40
10.    Oregon        52.13    
9.    Vermont        52.07
8.    Connecticut    51.80
7.    Montana        50.83
6.    California    49.97
5.    Washington, DC    49.49
4.    Massachusetts    48.09
3.    Hawaii        46.97
2.    Utah        44.41
1.    Colorado    44.35 

Spin, E-Scooter Startup Born of a 2016 Trip to China, Sells to Ford in Multimillion-Dollar Deal

Poon and his co-founders Derrick Ko and Zaizhuang Cheng started Spin in San Francisco and first launched in Seattle’s pilot program in the summer of 2017. But within a year, the company would ditch its bikes and pivot to electric scooters. Spin is now available in approximately 12 cities, including Long Beach, California, Detroit, and Coral Gables, Florida.

Ford is investing about $200 million in Spin, a source close to the deal says. Since founding, the company raised $8 million from Grishin Robotics, Exponent, and others–a small sum compared to more formidable competitors in the red-hot e-scooter industry.

Spin is small fry compared to competitors Bird and Lime, which are both in more than 100 cities. Lime, which raised $467 million from the likes of Uber and Alphabet at more than a $1 billion valuation, and Bird, which raised $415 million and valued at more than $2 billion.

Spin markets itself as an e-scooter company that “asks for permission” before launching, but it is perhaps best known for taking part in what is referred to as “Scooter-geddon” in San Francisco. In March, Lime, Bird, and Spin deployed about 3,000 e-scooters on the streets and sidewalks and chaos ensued. Many people started riding the scooters on the sidewalks and breaking other traffic laws.

A community backlash led to public hearings, cease and desist letters, and eventually the city issued a temporary ban on e-scooters. This summer, the city issued permits for its e-scooter pilot program to lesser-known companies Skip and Scoot, but regulators denied Lime, Bird, and Spin. 

Ford confirmed the deal, via a blog post, on Thursday. Sunny Madra, vice president of Ford X, the car company’s startup incubator, wrote that the acquisition is a way to diversify its offerings and capture customers who do not want to own a car. 

“Spin adds an exciting new offering to Ford’s mobility portfolio as we try to help our customers get places more easily, more quickly and less expensively,” writes Madra.

Ford will eventually expand the e-scooter program to more than 100 cities, Madra told Reuters. Spin is Ford’s fourth investment in the micromobility space–the company also invested in Jelly, another e-scooter company, Chariot, a ride-sharing service, and bike-share company GoBikes. 

A changing New York neighborhood wonders how Amazon would fit

NEW YORK (Reuters) – It was the lunch-hour rush at the Court Square Diner in New York’s Long Island City on Wednesday, and co-owner Nick Kanellos pointed to the elevated subway tracks that rattle overhead as he fretted over the news that Amazon may build a major outpost in the neighborhood.

People wait for the arrival of 7 train in Long Island City, where Amazon.com is reportedly considering as part of its new second headquarters, New York, U.S. November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Like many long-time inhabitants, he worries how this once-sleepy enclave in Queens would absorb the up to 25,000 people the online retail giant may employ here as it expands outside its Seattle home base.

“It’s a whole soccer stadium at 8 a.m. each day coming in,” Kanellos said, gesturing at the narrow metal staircases leading from the subway platform to the street, already crowded with commuters at rush hour.

Amazon announced in September last year that it was seeking a site for a second corporate headquarters that would eventually employ up to 50,000 people. But it now plans to split its new headquarters between two sites, including Long Island City, according to a New York Times report.

Amazon again declined on Wednesday to comment on its selection process.

Kanellos’ apprehension was shared by other long-time residents interviewed on Wednesday on their home turf, a rapidly gentrifying area that sits just across the East River from Midtown Manhattan.

Few, if any, objected to Amazon.com itself: Many conceded they were happy customers of the world’s largest online retailer, some paying for its Prime membership service. They just fear that their neighborhood is already bursting at the seams, with scores of glass apartment towers transforming an area long characterized by a mismatched jumble of low-rise buildings.

The cost of this rapid development, residents say, is that local hardware stores and pharmacies have been priced out and an aging sewer system is often overwhelmed by the more than 10,000 new apartments and 1.5 million square feet of office space built in recent years, according to city data.

Kanellos, 50, took over the Court Square Diner in 1991, when it was one of the few places where the artists then using old factory buildings as studios could sit down for a cheap meal.

The neighborhood’s cinematic views of Manhattan only heightened the sense it was a quiet village overlooked by the rest of New York City, residents say.

“We felt like we had the place to ourselves,” said Pat Irwin, a musician and composer who for years played with The B-52’s and settled in Long Island City in the mid-1980s.

The 50-story, blue-glass tower that Citigroup built in 1990 was an early harbinger of the transformation. The reports this week that Amazon had decided to build part of its “second” headquarters here, along with an outpost in northern Virginia’s Crystal City, feels to some residents like the death knell for a neighborhood they love.

“It feels like we’re being walled in and it’s out of control and the neighborhood can’t handle it,” Irwin said.

Irwin’s wife, Terri Gloyd, is the co-owner of the LIC Corner Cafe, which sits around the corner from MoMA PS1, a major outer-borough arts museum, and sells coffee, cookies and a pastry confection described as “a guava goat cheese Pop-Tart.”

Some of the residents who moved into the new apartment towers have become welcome regulars, even while some artist friends have been priced out of the area, she said. But construction and the ubiquitous film and television shoots, thanks to the proximity of Silvercup Studios, sometimes make the streets barely navigable to pedestrians.

“It already feels so oversaturated,” said Gloyd, who moved here in 1987.

Even so, if Amazon’s arrival brought with it a decent supermarket or helped bring a much-needed school to an underserved area, then perhaps that could soften its landing, she said.

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If there is one constant in the crane-filled neighborhood these days, it is Manducatis, a white-tablecloth, Italian restaurant that Vincenzo Cerbone, 88, has presided over since 1974, after moving to the area in the 1950s. His wife, Ida, still cooks there most days, walking from their home around the corner.

“My husband, in the ‘50s, he predicted this,” she said with a proud smile, explaining their decision to acquire property in an area so close to Manhattan, no matter how unprepossessing it seemed at the time.

As for Cerbone, he shrugged at the Amazon news: New York City has always been changing. “These days, everything is new,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s an upgrade or a downgrade.”

Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Additional reporting by Hilary Russ in New York and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco,; Editing by Frank McGurty and Leslie Adler

Alibaba's on-demand online services unit valued at $30 billion: sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Alibaba Group’s newly formed on-demand online services unit has rocketed in value to as much as $30 billion after raising $4 billion in fresh funds, people with knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: People stand near a sign of Alibaba Group at its campus in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, May 27, 2016. REUTERS/John Ruwitch/File Photo

Alibaba (BABA.N) combined the operation of food delivery service Ele.me and online restaurant guide business Koubei under a single management team and holding vehicle in October. It announced a fundraising plan for the vehicle in August.

In a deal in April where Alibaba bought the shares it did not already own, Ele.me was valued at $9.5 billion. Koubei was worth $8 billion at the end of last year, according to a list of unicorns published in March by a unit under China’s science and technology ministry.

More than $3 billion of the new funds came from Alibaba itself and SoftBank’s (9984.T) Vision Fund, the people said. Primavera Capital Group and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial, which have already invested in Koubei, also joined in the fundraising, they said. The company expects to close this financing round by the end of November, one source added.

Alibaba, SoftBank and Ant Financial declined to comment. Primavera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The people declined to be named because the information is confidential.

Alibaba said in August it had received commitments of more than $3 billion from investors including itself and SoftBank.

The fresh capital will give the unit ammunition in its intensifying battle with rival Meituan Dianping (3690.HK), backed by Tencent Holdings (0700.HK), for dominance of China’s booming online-to-offline (O2O) market where apps link smartphone users with bricks-and-mortar businesses to provide food delivery and other offerings.

Meituan Dianping in September raised $4.2 billion in the world’s biggest internet-focused initial public offering in four years, after pricing it near the top end of a marketed range at HK$69 per share.

However its shares are down 9 percent since its Sept. 20 debut, giving it a current market cap of $44 billion.

Meituan said in its half-year report that the number of its annual active users from the 12 months ending June 30 grew 30 percent to 357 million from the same period a year ago. The number of merchants active in the past year grew 52 percent to 5.1 million for the same period.

In comparison, Ele.me served over 167 million active consumers in 676 cities in China for the 12 months ended June 30, Alibaba said in its latest quarterly report. Together, Ele.me and Koubei served 3.5 million registered merchants as of June 30.

Before the April deal, the e-commerce giant and Ant Financial owned a 43 stake in the business, whose name roughly translates to “Hungry?”. Ele.me also runs Baidu Inc’s (BIDU.O) former food delivery business, which it acquired a year ago.

Koubei was founded in 2015 as a 50-50 joint venture of Alibaba and Ant Financial. Silver Lake, CDH Investments, Yunfeng Capital, which is backed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and Primavera Capital joined as investors in a January 2017 funding round.

Reporting by Kane Wu and Julie Zhu; Editing by Stephen Coates

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