TIME

Here’s the Original, Tear-Inducing ‘Mom Is the World’s Toughest Job’ Video

No one is strong enough to withstand this

Ad agency Mullen is getting a lot of attention for a viral job posting advertising a grueling-sounding job: no vacations, no breaks, 135-hour work weeks, and a salary of $0. The job ad got 2.7 million impressions from paid ad placements, but only 24 people inquired. When they were interviewed via webcam, their surprised responses were captured and turned into this spot. (Spoiler: Being a mom is the toughest job in the world.)

The spot is reminiscent of Proctor & Gamble’s similarly emotional Mom-themed campaigns for the Olympics. Aired just before the 2012 London Olympics, P&G’s ad above launched the company’s “Thank You Mom” campaign. The video went viral, drawing millions of views and an Emmy award. In all, 74 million viewers watched at least one digital ad or video in the campaign that year. P&G executives estimated they received $500 million in added sales from the campaign during the London Olympics. That’s the power of mom.

TIME Bitcoin

Top Bitcoin Exchange Mt. Gox Set To Be Liquidated

A Tokyo court on Wednesday dismissed a bid by Mt. Gox to restart its business, allowing what was once the world's largest bitcoin exchange to be liquidated after it filed for bankruptcy protection in February following an attack by hackers

Mt. Gox, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, is set to be dissolved after a Tokyo court dismissed Wednesday the company’s bid to restart its business.

The court placed Mt. Gox’s assets under a provisional administrator’s control before the company officially enters bankruptcy proceedings, Reuters reports. The court said it will likely be investigating CEO Mark Karpeles’ liability in the collapse of the Tokyo-based firm.

Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in February, saying it lost 850,000 bitcoins, or about $454 million at today’s rates, after hackers attacked its computer systems.

Karpeles’s lawyers have said he will not travel to the U.S. to answer a federal judge’s questions about the bitcoin exchange’s ongoing U.S. bankruptcy case.

[Reuters]

TIME Technology & Media

Samsung Okayed Vicious Apple Ads Two Days After Steve Jobs Passed Away

Ouch

The Apple-Samsung patent infringement suit has unearthed gobs of interesting, normally private information. There was Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ “Holy War” with Google, a possible “magic wand” in the works to control your TV, not to mention all manner of back and forth over who was winning the ad war.

But the latest may be the most incendiary: it appears Samsung green-lit its mocking anti-Apple ads just days after Jobs died. Here’s a timeline:

Oct 4, 2011
From Samsung’s VP of U.S. sales Mike Pennington to Samsung America CEO Dale Sohn and CMO Todd Pendleton:

“As you have shared previously, we are unable to battle [Apple] directly in our marketing. If it continues to be Samsung’s position to avoid attacking Apple … can we go to Google and ask them to launch a campaign against Apple…”

Oct 5, 2011
Steve Jobs dies.

Oct 7, 2011
Pendleton to Pennington:

“Hey Michael, We are going to execute what you are recommending in our holiday [Galaxy S2] campaign and go head to head with iPhone 4S.”

Digging deeper, AppleInsider claims Samsung executives discussed Jobs’ passing in even starker terms, saying it might have “unintended benefit for Apple.”

[Apple 2.0]

TIME Earnings

This Is What’s Really Powering Google’s Ambitious, Long-Shot Projects

The Google logo is spelled out in heliostats during a tour of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border
The Google logo is spelled out in heliostats (mirrors that track the sun and reflect the sunlight onto a central receiving point) during a tour of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert near the California-Nevada border February 13, 2014. The project, a partnership of NRG, BrightSource, Google and Bechtel, is the world's largest solar thermal facility and uses 347,000 sun-facing mirrors to produce 392 Megawatts of electricity, enough energy to power more than 140,000 homes. Steve Marcus / REUTERS

Tech stocks have declined lately, but Google's core business remains strong as the company powers ahead with futuristic "moonshots" from wearable devices to robots and drones

Google’s core online advertising business continues to generate gobs of cash, allowing the company’s braniac founders to pursue all manner of futuristic initiatives. From computerized eyewear to self-driving cars to robots and drones, Google continues to push the boundaries of technology in pursuit of “moonshots,” as the company calls its most audacious projects.

On Wednesday, Google will report earnings results for the first three months of 2014, and Wall Street analysts are hoping that good news from the company will be a positive sign for technology stocks, which have suffered recently. Over the last month, the tech-heavy Nasdaq index has fallen by 6%, with many big name companies, including Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter suffering double-digit declines.

Google hasn’t avoided the sell-off—it’s down 8% over the last month—but the company hasn’t been battered as hard as other tech companies, in part because investors remain confident about the company’s core strength in online advertising. “Google has actually hung in there quite well,” Paul Sweeney, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Industries, told Bloomberg West. “That reflects the fact that their core business continues to put up very good top-line revenue growth.”

Google continues to benefit from the relentless shift of ad dollars toward online platforms. Last year, U.S. online advertising revenues increased by 17% to hit an all-time high of $42.8 billion, exceeding broadcast television advertising revenues for the first time ever, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). In search advertising, which accounted for 43% of online ad revenue last year, Google remains dominant, with 67.5% of the search market, according to comScore. The next closest competitor is Microsoft, with 18.6% of the market.

Google is also a beneficiary of the ongoing shift away from traditional desktop computers toward mobile devices. For the third year in a row, mobile advertising revenues experienced triple-digit percentage growth according to IAB, increasing to $7.1 billion during 2013, a 110% jump from $3.4 billion in the 2012. Mobile advertising accounted for 17% of 2013 revenues, compared to 9% in 2012. Google’s Android mobile operating system accounted for 79% of global smart phone market share in 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.

“We continue to believe that Google is one of the best-positioned stocks for many of the secular growth drivers in the Internet space: the dramatic Mobile shift, the migration of TV ad budgets online, the growing importance of local Internet, and the Internet of Things,” Mark S. Mahaney, a technology analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients this week.

Wall Street analysts estimate the Google will report earnings of $6.39 per share, which would be a 10% increase compared to last year, on revenue of $15.52 billion, which would amount to an 11% increase, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. That would be a solid showing, but some analysts have expressed concern about Google’s profit margin, which has been under increasing pressure as the company pours money into its far-flung advanced research projects.

It’s those so-called “moonshots”—developed by the company’s secretive Google X lab under the leadership of co-founder Sergey Brin—that offer the most intriguing indication of where Google is headed in the future. This week, Google offered its Glass wearable computing product to the general public for the first time. At $1500 per unit, Glass remains out of reach for many consumers, and it remains unclear if the device will catch on with the broader public.

But Glass may only represent a glimpse of things to come. Earlier this year, Google filed a patent application for a contact lens with a built-in micro-camera that could be controlled by blinking. Such a product is most certainly years away from the market, but the patent application offers an indication of the scope of Google’s ambitions. In the nearer term, Google plans to focus on more conventional forms of wearable computing. Last month, the company announced Android Wear, an initiative that extends the operating system to wearable devices, starting with watches.

Google has also made clear that it plans to focus on robots and drones. Google’s self-driving cars have been well documented. Late last year, the company acquired Boston Dynamics, an engineering firm that has developed robots for the Pentagon. (Google said it will honor existing military contracts, but it doesn’t plan to take on new ones.) It was Google’s eighth purchase of a robotics company in six months, and although the company’s robotic ambitions remain vague, potential applications include manufacturing and logistics.

And this week, Google purchased Titan Aerospace, which manufactures solar-powered drones designed to stay aloft for years without landing. In a statement, Google said that such atmospheric satellites “could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation.” Facebook, which is also interested in using drones to deliver Internet access, had been in talks with Titan, but was outbid by Google.

Wall Street analysts have occasionally expressed concern that Google’s futuristic projects—from wearable devices to robots to drones—could cause the company to lose focus on its core online advertising business, which is the main driver of shareholder value. But with Google continuing to dominate the online search market, and continuing to capitalize on the inexorable shift of ad dollars toward the Internet and mobile devices, investors seem content to go along for the ride.

TIME

At GM, Safety Could Be Mary Barra’s Silver Bullet

General Motors CEO Mary Barra appears onstage during a launch event for new Chevrolet cars before the New York Auto Show in New York April 15, 2014.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra appears onstage during a launch event for new Chevrolet cars before the New York Auto Show in New York April 15, 2014. Carlo Allegri—Reuters

When Toyota suffered its humiliating and costly recall over faulty accelerator pedals in 2010, the Japanese auto giant was forced to look inward. Its vaunted manufacturing culture had become outwardly focused, bent on becoming the world’s largest automaker. It had stopped listening to its own people. Communication was flowing out from Toyota City and any information that might delay the production mission—reports from the field, say, about jammed accelerators—either didn’t make it back or lacked the amplification needed to be noticed.

So Toyota had to reinvent its safety culture around being a better listener, much the way GM is talking about doing this week. CEO Mary Barra announced the creation of a new Global Product Integrity organization that sits within its Global Product Development Team, a team she once headed. The idea is that safety rides along with other aspects of product development—power train performance, comfort, ride dynamics—as vehicle platforms are developed globally. “We will mirror this approach to focus on safety performance. Our goal is to ensure the highest levels of execution consistently across all our vehicles,” she said in the kickoff address to the New York Auto Show.

It’s not that safety isn’t a factor in car design because it obviously is: any car that any company creates has to meet global safety standards. But what Barra is suggesting is that, at GM, safety systems have been adapted to new cars in development as opposed to being integral to the design of new vehicles.

And in creating a “Speak Up for Safety “ program for all GM employees, Barra is expanding the responsibility for safety across the company. It’s not a department, it’s a mission. “We need to make sure we break down the organizational silos and work across,” she said in an employee town meeting recently. The program is formatted to recognize employees who contribute ideas, or those who raise questions about safety issues before they become bigger problems. Call it an internal whistleblower program. “We need to drive cultural change to make sure people are going to go that extra mile in this area,” she said.

Just the usual corporate blather? Her critics, including Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, aren’t buying the new act yet. Blumenthal said that if Barra is truly dedicated to safety she’d pull the recalled cars off the road until replacement ignition parts arrive at dealers. Barra has said she’d still let her own son drive one of the recalled Cobalts. “How can you let your own son behind the wheel of a car that the recall notice says is unsafe to drive,” he asked on Bloomberg television.

But even before the Cobalt crisis, Barra had begun to change GM’s corporate culture, particularly in the product development area. Her focus has been on a leaner, more responsive management organization.

And there’s a precedent for a culture of safety approach. In the 1980s, Paul O’Neill took over as CEO of aluminum maker Alcoa and announced that safety would become his top priority. In a metals industry that accepted injuries as a cost of doing business, the idea was greeted with more than a little skepticism. But focusing on safety forced the entire —including its unionized work force—to take greater responsibility for everything that it could control, from quality to accounting. Through safety, O’Neill made everyone take ownership Alcoa’s performance. Alcoa thrived with its safety focus and it probably saved lives in the process.

GM should do so as well.

TIME The Drucker Difference

This Is the Secret to Pixar’s Monster Success

Pixar Exhibition At Caixaforum In Madrid
Gabriel Solera—Getty Images

How on earth does Pixar do it?

The computer-animation production company has turned out 14 box-office blockbusters in a row. Rave reviews. Great screenplays.

Now, Ed Catmull, one of the company’s founders, has written a book, Creativity Inc., which promises to clear up a bit of the mystery. In an excerpt prepared for Fast Company, Catmull explains that one of the company’s “key mechanisms” is the “Braintrust,” which meets every few months or so and operates on the following principle: “Put smart, passionate people in a room together, charge them with identifying and solving problems and encourage them to be candid.”

Catmull says that there are two important characteristics of the Braintrust. The first is that it offers much-needed perspective. “People who take on complicated creative projects become lost at some point in the process,” he writes. “Where once a movie’s writer/director had perspective, he or she loses it. Where once he or she could see a forest, now there are only trees. How do you get a director to address a problem he or she cannot see?”

The second is that the Braintrust concerns itself with the task, not the person. “The film—not the filmmaker—is under the microscope,” he says. “This principle eludes most people, but it is critical: You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when challenged.”

Peter Drucker would have surely been taken with Catmull’s insights, and in fact we’ve covered a number of these points before, including the importance of candor, trust and perspective.

But one area worthy of elaboration is the need to make sure the work at hand doesn’t get too personal.

Drucker recognized that many people identify closely with their jobs—and so it’s not surprising that they can take it hard when their ideas are questioned or criticized. A person’s “relationship to his work underlies all of man’s life and achievements,” he wrote in The Practice of Management.

And yet, like Catmull, Drucker thought it crucial for people not to view challenges to their ideas as a personal affront. “Emotions always run high” over key decisions, Drucker noted. “The smart thing is to treat this as constructive dissent and as a key to mutual understanding.”

At the same time, those doing the questioning need to be careful not to make it personal. They must focus on “What is right?” rather than “Who is right?” “To put personality above the requirements of the work is corruption and corrupts,” Drucker asserted. “To ask ‘Who is right?’ encourages one’s subordinates to play safe.”

TIME Retirement

Turns Out Millennials Are Scary Smart With Their Money

Australian Holiday Makers Celebrate 'Schoolies' Week In Bali
Australian teenagers let their hair down in Bali—a popular destination for school breaks. Aussie teens are top of a newly released list of global youth wellbeing Agung Parameswara—Getty Images

New studies conclude that Millennials understand they must save. Doing it the right way is another matter.

Millennials are quickly becoming the most examined generation in history—and for good reason. Their numbers exceed even those of baby boomers, and with the social safety net fraying it’s never been more critical for young people to start saving early.

The latest string of surveys and studies is encouraging. On the financial front, this generation of mostly twentysomethings displays surprising fortitude. They recognize the importance of saving and tend to be more proactive about planning than their elders, concludes Northwestern Mutual.

Some 62% of Millennials rate themselves disciplined or highly disciplined as money planners, compared to 54% of folks aged 60 or over, according to the firm’s 2014 Planning and Progress study. Certainly, there is evidence that Millennials are making plenty mistakes and may be characteristically overconfident on the financial front. Yet 68% acknowledge room for improvement in managing their finances, suggesting a degree of humility not often seen with this age group. They appear open to learning more but aren’t sure where or how to find a trusted source. Many mistakenly take their cues from online friends.

One of the financial virtues of this group appears to be a slow and steady approach to building a nest egg. Roughly a third favor a long-term tried-and-true strategy, Northwestern Mutual found. Another third would like to take that approach but feel like they are too far behind to play it safe.

Millennials’ cautiousness may be a double-edged sword. Just 14% in the survey say they are pursuing a high-growth investment strategy even though such a strategy would promise superior long-term returns. This may be a case of playing it too safe. Millennials have 40 years to ride out any bumps. If their money is socked away in savings bonds and other ultra-conservative investments it won’t grow fast enough for them to retire even over a long period of time. Now is when they should embrace prudent, low-cost, diversified risk through stock index funds and similar investments.

Other surveys have found that Millennials are generally ahead of earlier generations in terms of understanding the need for saving. Two in three young employees are committed to or have the ambition to save for retirement, according to a report from Aegon and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. One in four are habitual savers who ‘always make sure’ they are putting something away. Two in five intend to begin saving soon and three in five understand that retirement saving is important—they just don’t have the means yet.

In another survey, The Principal Financial Group Knowledge Center found that 84% of Millennials describe themselves as passionate about creating financial security—more than are passionate about raising well-rounded kids (60%), having fun (66%), making a difference (49%) and exercise (44%). One reason: Most believe Social Security will no longer exist when they retire, Principal found.

Millennials need to start right away for a lot of reasons. Many are loaded with student debt and underemployed. They’re not pursuing home ownership in a big way, which leaves them stuck renting in a climate a fast-rising rents and missing out on the housing recovery. This generation is off to a good start in terms of knowing what it needs to do to reach retirement security. Its biggest problems seem to be lack of job opportunity and having started adulthood in a deep hole of student debt.

 

TIME Autos

Ford to Build Limited Edition Mustang to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

The prized ponies will be released next year to celebrate 50 years of the iconic muscle car and will be outfitted with chrome highlights around the windows, tail lights and grille, and a faux gas cap badge in the back

Car enthusiasts take note. Ford will be releasing 1,964 limited edition Mustangs next year to celebrate 50 years of the iconic muscle car.

The limited edition ponies will be outfitted with chrome highlights around the windows, tail lights and grille, also featuring a faux gas cap badge on the rear, much like the original Mustang.

The edition will only come in two colors, white or blue, and is available in both automatic or manual transmission. The cars will be among the first off the assembly line when Ford begins manufacturing 2015 models later this year.

[AP]

TIME China

Don’t Be Fooled by China’s Robust Growth

A labourer works at a construction site in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, April 14, 2014. China's economy grew at its slowest pace in 18 months in the first quarter of 2014, official data showed on Wednesday. William Hong—Reuters

The economy may be holding up, but so are the risks China presents to the world economy

As usual, China manages to surprise. Many economists have been expecting China’s economy to suffer its roughest patch in more than 20 years. But on Wednesday, the government announced GDP grew a healthy 7.4% in the first quarter. That’s slower than the previous quarter, but still better than consensus forecasts. Though some of the underlying details won’t inspire optimism — the all-important housing sector is stumbling, resulting in slower investment — generally the data lifted spirits around an Asia increasingly dependent on China for its growth.

Yet don’t breathe too easily. As has been the case for several years, robust GDP growth figures mask what is really rotting the Chinese economy and threatening global economic stability: Extreme levels of debt. The rapid rise of debt (relative to GDP) in China has been similar to that experienced in other countries (including the U.S. and Japan) before their financial crises, and today the economy is in the process of a major workout of the problem. Growth has slowed because credit expansion has, too. The government also seems to be getting a handle on the out-of-control “shadow banking” sector. But the signs of strain are obvious, including the country’s first-ever corporate bond default in March. That’s probably just the beginning. China has become a debt junkie, requiring more credit to generate its growth, and that’s a problem that can’t be resolved overnight.

It will also take some pretty serious reform. Fixing the debt problem and returning to more sustainable growth will entail a fundamental transformation of the way in which the economy works. The state maintains tremendous control over finance and many key industries. But that has to change. Bureaucrats have to permit banks to allocate money more wisely, withdraw the subsidies and protection from bloated and uncompetitive state-owned enterprises, and allow excess capacity to get weeded out. Beijing’s top policymakers have pledged reforms that would give the market more power and the private sector more influence. But the measures have so far remained the subject of nice speeches, not actual policy. And as this big transition is taking place, China’s leaders will encounter many risks – probably more bankruptcies, bank losses and hard choices about which firms to rescue and which ones to let go.

That’s why Societe Generale, in a note on Wednesday, said China was in the midst of “a good slowdown” — a much needed pause to sort out the problems amassed over the decades of rapid growth. It’s a daunting challenge, one that ultimately surprising growth figures can’t hide.

TIME cities

Detroit Cuts Deal With Retired Police and Firefighters

A protestor holds a sign outside the federal courthouse in support of Detroit city workers Rebecca Cook—Reuters

The city going through one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history has agreed to preserve pension benefits for some retired civil servants even as it announces cuts for other employees

Detroit has reached a deal with some retired workers over pension benefits while cutting monthly payments for other former employees in a move that could give a boost to the city’s plan to exit bankruptcy in October, officials said Tuesday.

According to tentative agreements, retired police officers and firefighters will continue to receive their full pensions while those who do not work in public safety will have some of their benefits curtailed. Those cuts include a 4.5 percent decrease and the elimination of cost-of-living payments for general fund pensioners, said Tina Basset, spokesperson for the fund.

The agreement will cover more than 20,000 retired workers in a city going through one of the largest public bankruptcies in U.S. history. Both the retirees, as well as current workers who qualify for a future pension, will be allowed to vote as creditors in the bankruptcy.

Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighters Association attorney Ryan Plecha said preserving the pension benefits was the “crown jewel.”

Bill Nowling, a spokesperson for Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who is overseeing the bankruptcy process, said the deal with retired workers had been possible because of an improved financial performance of the pension funds.

However, both deals depend on the $816 million that Detroit is hoping to raise from foundations, philanthropists and the state of Michigan. Lawmakers are yet to approve Michigan’s $350 million contribution.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser