TIME Executives

Why It Matters Who Steve Jobs Really Was

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Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks during an Apple Special event to unveil the new iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2, 2011 in San Francisco.

Dueling biographies fight over the story of Steve

In 2011 Walter Isaacson published a biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Isaacson’s biography was fully authorized by its subject: Jobs handpicked Isaacson, who had written biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein. Entitled simply Steve Jobs, the book was well-reviewed and sold some 3 million copies.

But now its account is being challenged by another book, this one called Becoming Steve Jobs, by Brent Schlender, a veteran technology journalist who was friendly with Jobs, and Rick Tetzeli, executive editor at Fast Company. Some of Jobs’ former colleagues and friends have taken sides, speaking out against the old book and praising the new one. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO and Jobs’s successor, has said that Isaacson’s book depicts Jobs as “a greedy, selfish egomaniac.” Jony Ive, Apple’s design chief, has weighed in against it, and Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of software and Internet services, tweeted about the new book: “Well done and first to get it right.”

But who did get it right? And why do people care so much anyway?

(This article comes with a bouquet of disclosures, starting with the fact that Isaacson is a current contributor and former editor of TIME magazine and as such my former boss. I’m quoted in his biography—I interviewed Jobs half a dozen times in the mid-2000s, though he and I weren’t friendly. Schlender spent more than 20 years writing for Fortune, which is owned by TIME’s parent company, Time Inc., and Tetzeli was an editor both at Fortune and at Entertainment Weekly, also a Time Inc. magazine.)

Schlender and Tetzeli have given their book the subtitle “The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader,” and its emphasis is on the transformation that Jobs underwent between 1985, when he was ousted from Apple, and 1997, when he returned to it. “The most basic question about Steve’s career is this,” they write. “How could the man who had been such an inconsistent, inconsiderate, rash, and wrongheaded businessman … become the venerated CEO who revived Apple and created a whole new set of culture-defining products?” It’s an excellent question.

Becoming Steve Jobs is, like most books about Jobs, tough on his early years. He could be a callous person (he initially denied being the father of his first child) and a terrible manager (the original Macintosh, while magnificent in its conception, was only barely viable as a product). On this score Schlender and Tetzeli are clear and even-handed. It’s easy to forget that Jobs originally wanted Pixar, the animation firm he took over from George Lucas in 1986, to focus on selling its graphics technology rather than making movies, and if the geniuses there hadn’t been more independent he might have run it into the ground.

Schlender and Tetzeli argue that it was this middle period that made Jobs. The failure of his first post-Apple company, NeXT, chastened him; his work with Pixar’s Ed Catmull and John Lasseter taught him patience and management skills; and his marriage to Laurene Powell Jobs deepened him emotionally. In those wilderness years he learned discipline and (some) humility and how to iterate and improve a project gradually. Thus reforged, he returned to Apple and led it back from near bankruptcy to become the most valuable company in the world.

Schlender and Tetzeli strenuously insist that they’re upending the “common myths” about Jobs. But they’re not specific about who exactly believes these myths, and in fact it’s a bit of a straw man: there’s not much in Becoming Steve Jobs that Isaacson or anybody else would disagree with. What’s missing is more problematic: as it goes on, Becoming Steve Jobs gradually abandons its critical distance and becomes a paean to the greatness of Jobs and Apple. Jobs was “someone who preferred creating machines that delighted real people,” and his reborn Apple was “a company that could once again make insanely great computing machines for you and me.” It reprints the famous “Think Different” spiel in full. It compares Jobs’ career arc, without irony, to that of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. It unspools sentences like: “Steve [we’re on a first-name basis with him] also understood that the personal satisfaction of accomplishing something insanely great was the best motivation of all for a group as talented as his.”

Read More: Apple’s Watch Will Make People and Computers More Intimate

It’s easy to see why Apple executives have endorsed Becoming Steve Jobs, but it has imperfections that would have irked Jobs himself. The writing is slack—it’s larded with clichés (“he wanted to play their game, but by his own rules”) and marred by small infelicities (it confuses jibe and gibe, twice). It lacks detail: for example, it covers Jobs’ courtship of and marriage to Laurene in two dry pages (“Their relationship burned intensely from the beginning, as you might expect from the pairing of two such strong-willed individuals”). By contrast, a Fortune interview Schlender did with Jobs and Bill Gates in 1991 gets 13 pages. Whatever its faults, Isaacson’s book at least dug up the telling details: in his account of the marriage we learn that Jobs was still agonizing over an ex-girlfriend; that he had a hilariously abortive bachelor party; that he threw out the calligrapher who was hired to do the wedding invitations (“I can’t look at her stuff. It’s shit”); and that the vegan wedding cake was borderline inedible.

Jobs was famously unintrospective, but Schlender and Tetzeli seem almost as incurious about his inner life as he supposedly was. Jobs’ birth parents were 23 when they conceived him, then they gave him up for adoption; when he was 23 Jobs abandoned his own first child. It takes a determinedly uninterested biographer not to connect those dots, or at least explain why they shouldn’t be connected. We hear a lot about what Jobs did, and some about how he did it, but very little about why.

Jobs was a man of towering contradictions: he identified deeply with the counterculture but spent his life in corporate boardrooms amassing billions; he made beautiful products that ostensibly enabled individual creativity but in their architecture expressed a deep-seated need for central control. Maybe making educated guesses about a major figure’s private life is unseemly, or quixotic, but that’s the game a biographer is in. Ultimately there’s no point in comparing Steve Jobs and Becoming Steve Jobs, because the latter book isn’t really a biography at all, much less a definitive one.

A more interesting question might be, why has the story of Steve Jobs become so important to us? And why is it such contested territory? He’s also the subject of a scathing new documentary by Alex Gibney and an upcoming biopic written by Aaron Sorkin. Was Jobs, to use Schlender and Tetzeli’s terminology, an asshole, or a genius, or some mysterious fusion of the two? It’s as if Jobs’ life has become a kind of totem, a symbolic story through which we’re trying to understand and work through our own ambivalence about the technology he and his colleagues made, which has so thoroughly invaded and transformed our lives in the past 20 years, for good and/or ill. Apple’s products are so glossy and beautiful and impenetrable that it’s difficult to do anything but admire them. But about Jobs, at least, we can think ­different.

Read next: Becoming Steve Jobs Shares Jobs’ Human Side

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TIME Careers & Workplace

8 Behaviors to Avoid to Keep You Motivated

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Great people do not stay long in bad workplaces

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This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

If you want to make sure you’re providing your employees with an environment in which they can thrive, check your workplace for these motivation killers.

1. Toxic people.

If you’ve ever spent time with truly toxic people, you know how destructive and exhausting they can be. Toxic people spread negativity and suffocate the positive. Let them find a new home—or, if that’s not possible, make sure policies and supervision are in place to minimize their damage.

2. No professional development.

Everyone needs to know that they are learning and growing. Without that, the workplace grows static and dull. Professional development for each of your employees allows them grow in their careers and also to know that both the organization and you have an investment in their success.

3. Lack of vision.

A clearly communicated vision sets direction and lets people know where to focus. Without it, even the best employees are less effective, because it’s hard to excel if you don’t understand the big picture.

4. Wasted time.

If you have the kind of workplace where meetings are called for no real reason and emails are sent to everyone with irrelevant information, it’s likely that your workers are deeply frustrated. Show people you value them by showing them you value their time.

5. Inadequate communication.

When communication is poor, people spend half their time second-guessing what they’re doing, critical tasks are missed, nonessential jobs are duplicated, information is locked into silos, and destructive rumors thrive. A clear flow of communication benefits everyone.

6. Vertical management.

If you can remember being in a situation where your ideas and input weren’t valued or even heard, where it was “keep quiet and do what I say,” you know how hard it is to do anything more than a grudging minimum. The more collaboration, the more investment and the more motivation.

7. Lack of appreciation.

When hard work or extraordinary results go unrecognized, when even everyday thanks are unexpressed, people grow uninspired and apathetic. You can reward your employees without spending a dime; it can be as simple as saying “thank you.”

8. Bad leadership.

Bad leaders harm every member of their team and their entire organization. Even the best employees need effective leadership to excel. Start with developing your own leadership, then hire and grow the best leaders at every level. It’s the best thing you can do to improve your workplace for everyone.

If you recognize any of these deathly killers in your workplace, it’s up to you to do everything in your power to become part of the solution. Remember, great people do not stay long in bad workplaces.

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Best Starting Points for Increasing Overall Happiness

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You are the people you surround yourself with

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When I look at my surroundings I often feel a sense of solitude — not necessarily in a bad way, but not in a good way either. I’ve always been the sort of person who goes after what I believe in, despite the possibility of failure. To me, the worst outcome of all is knowing that you could have achieved something, but didn’t because you never tried. I meet many people who have hopes and dreams of doing great things. But while anyone can dream, very few actually accomplish what they initially set out to do.

There is a fundamental problem with our generation and the ones that came before it: All too often we are told to abide by the norm. We are influenced to think we are happy when in reality we might want more. We are conditioned to be content with average outcomes. Here are a few ways to help you break away from this conditioning.

Think Like Those You Admire

We all have heroes we look up to. So think about what they would do if they were in your position. Would they keep working that $40K-a-year job that shows no upsides for the future? Would they keep slaving away until 3 a.m. for a frustrating boss who takes credit for all of their work? What do you want from life? Is your goal to wake up and do the same mundane thing every single day? If you wish to achieve something great, the time to do it is now. The first step is to forget everything that is holding you back from accomplishing your dreams. It’s scary at first, but it will set you free.

Forget Money

Money should never be your main prerogative. Many of my friends are bankers or consultants pulling in $150,000+ by age 25, but they hate their lives. They burn their entire youth on these jobs, but by the time they realize it, they are already heading to business school and picking up another dull corporate stunt. They get married and have kids, and then it’s too late to find out what they truly love to do. Focus on finding your passion. If you love what you do, the money will come eventually and on your terms!

Forget Fear

Many of us are scared to fail. We don’t believe we have what it takes to make things happen. Well, here is a mantra to live by: “Failure is just another opportunity to try again.” Some of the brightest minds in the world were massive failures before hitting it big, like Howard Shultz and Walt Disney. Embrace failure and you will find success soon after.

Forget Toxic Relationships

This is a big one, which breaks down into two categories.

  1. Peers: Think of the five people with whom you spend the most time. Do you like what you see? Are they awesome people doing amazing things? Or are you hanging with a bunch of unmotivated degenerates? Typically, we are a product of these five people. If your friend circle isn’t a reflection of who you want to be, it may be time to find new friends.
  2. Relationships: So you’ve been in a 1+ year relationship with someone. You aren’t quite sure this person is your lifelong partner, but you’re used to having them around and can’t imagine being single again. If after a couple of years you’re already having problems, then odds are you aren’t meant to be. My advice is to end it. Channel your newfound freedom into a passion. This will bring you happiness and fulfillment in ways that your current partner cannot.

Forget Complacency

We are creatures of comfort. It’s understandable to get comfortable with your surroundings, your monthly paycheck, vacations, etc. The problem is when we stop pushing ourselves to be the best we can possibly be. It sounds clichéd, but this is absolutely the worst possible thing you can do. When you’re comfortable, you stop achieving. You hit a plateau and you stagnate. When complacency prevails, enlightenment dissipates.

Forget the Word “No”

Say “yes” more. Saying yes will get you out of your bubble and living life the way it’s meant to be. You will meet new people and have new experiences. You never know where a new adventure will take you. Experience everything life has to offer.

Some say life is short; others live it as if they will be here forever. My theory is that life isn’t short per se, but it is definite. Of the seven billion or so people on earth, very few will be here in 100 years. Rich or poor, the one thing we all have in common is an expiration date. I have made the conscious decision to live my life to its fullest potential. It’s up to you what you want to do with yours.

At the age of 25, Dan Novaes brings a decade of entrepreneurial experience to his role as founder & CEO of MobileX Labs, the app solutions company behind Nativ, a free mobile app builder. He started his first company at the age of 15 with $1000 and built it up to over $2M/year in revenue by age 20. A graduate of Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, Dan is a self-taught entrepreneur, lifehacker, and used his skills to establish his brand across international e-commerce, consumer products, apparel, and web media industries. Dan’s companies have generated over $16M in revenue to date. For more please see Dan’s website, danielnovaes.com.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

TIME Companies

Kraft and Heinz Merge to Become World’s 5th Largest Food Company

The companies announced the deal Wednesday

Kraft Foods Group, which makes Oscar Mayer meats and macaroni-and-cheese products, will merge with ketchupmaker H.J. Heinz Co. to become the fifth largest food-and-beverage company in the world and the third largest in the U.S.

The new company, the Kraft Heinz Co., will be co-headquartered in the Chicago and Pittsburgh areas and will have revenues of roughly $28 billion, the companies announced in a statement Wednesday. Eight of its combined brands will be worth more than $1 billion each, while five will be worth approximately $500 million to $1 billion each.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Brazilian private-equity firm 3G Capital, which co-own Heinz, will invest an additional $10 billion into the merged company, of which current Heinz and Kraft shareholders will collectively own 51% and 49% respectively. Kraft shareholders will also receive special cash dividends of $16.50 per share.

“This is my kind of transaction, uniting two world-class organizations and delivering shareholder value,” Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett said in a statement. “I’m excited by the opportunities for what this new combined organization will achieve.”

TIME Companies

Toys ‘R’ Us Wants to Make Its Stores More Fun For, Well, the Kids

The Toys R Us Inc. logo is displayed inside a store ahead of Black Friday in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014
Peter Foley—Bloomberg/Getty Images The Toys R Us Inc. logo is displayed inside a store ahead of Black Friday in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Makes sense

In effort to contend with online retailers and discount box stores, Toys ‘R’ Us is planning an overhaul aimed at making its stores more appealing for its core market: children.

Bloomberg reports the company will start with a prototype store in New York this year that will feature interactive technology and — why didn’t they think of this before? —a play area. If the kids are enjoying themselves, the thinking goes, parents will spend more time, and money, in the store.

“It has to be something where kids want to go and play,” CEO Antonio Urceley said on Tuesday, “We have to reinforce that we are a specialist.”

Toys ‘R’ Us is struggling to compete with retailers like Amazon.com and Target, which undercut the toy brand on price. The company hopes that souped up stores will make up for that.

Additionally, the company plans to hire more staff at Babies ‘R’ Us to boost customer service that it admits has been slacking.

The struggles of Toys ‘R’ Us are not new. In 2005, it became a jointly held private corporation owned by Bain Capital Inc., KKR & Co. and Vornado Realty Trust. Since then, it has failed to garner momentum for an initial public offering with the last attempt in 2013 failing due to “unfavorable market conditions.”

[Bloomberg]

TIME Companies

Philadelphia Woman Accuses UberX Driver of Rape

Uber Rape Philadelphia
Bloomberg via Getty Images The Uber app is demonstrated for a photograph on an iPhone in New York City on Aug. 6, 2014

Uber says police did not inform the company about the claim

A Philadelphia woman accused an UberX driver of rape in February, according to a report filed with the city’s police department, marking the latest sexual-assault claim against the ride-sharing service.

A 33-year-old woman claimed she was picked up in the Old City section on Feb. 6 and then raped by her UberX driver before being driven around for more than two hours and then let go, according to Philadelphia magazine, which reported Tuesday and apparently alerted Uber to the alleged crime.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our rider,” Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett told Philadelphia. “Upon learning of the incident, we immediately reached out to the Philadelphia Police Department to assist in their investigation and support their efforts in any way we can. As the investigation continues, the driver’s access to the Uber platform has been suspended.”

The safety of women riding in Uber cars came under intense global scrutiny late last year after an Uber driver was convicted of raping a female passenger in India. While Uber promised to promote the safety of women, the company’s efforts faced a major setback Monday, when U.N. Women broke off a partnership to create 1 million Uber jobs for women by 2020.

In explaining the decision, U.N. Women cited Uber’s safety record with female passengers and its drivers’ lack of job protections.

Read More: Why Uber’s India Rape Scandal Is More Than a ‘Growing Pain’

[Philadelphia Magazine]

TIME Companies

RadioShack’s Bankruptcy Auction May Include Your Personal Data

A RadioShack store pictured in North Portland, Ore., on Feb. 6, 2015.
Alex Milan Tracy—AP A RadioShack store pictured in North Portland, Ore., on Feb. 6, 2015.

But legal challenges could prevent the company from selling it

If you shopped at RadioShack before the company started closing its stores en masse earlier this year, your personal data could be up for bid in the company’s bankruptcy auctions.

More than 13 million e-mail addresses and 65 million customers’ names and addresses are included in the RadioShack auctions that began this week, Bloomberg reports. The data trove could also include information about shoppers’ buying behavior.

However, two separate legal challenges could prevent RadioShack from auctioning off customers’ data. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argues RadioShack agreed not to sell customers’ data, while AT&T says some of the company’s data about shopping habits actually belongs to the telecom company, Bloomberg notes.

Whether or not RadioShack survives the bankruptcy process depends largely on whether a federal bankruptcy court approves what’s said to be a successful bid for the company’s assets by hedge fund Standard General. RadioShack said when it entered bankruptcy last month it planned for Standard General to take over up to half the company’s retail locations and turn them into stores for Sprint cellphones. The court’s decision on approving or rejecting Standard’s bid is expected later this week.

RadioShack’s sales dipped 16% in its last quarter with losses spanning 11 consecutive quarters. The company said in its Chapter 11 filing that it had $1.2 billion in assets along with $1.39 billion in debt.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Companies

Office Messaging App Slack Could Be Worth Over $2 Billion

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and CEO of Slack, speaks at the DLD (Digital-Life-Design) Conference in Munich, Germany on Jan. 19, 2015.
Tobias Hase—AP Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and CEO of Slack, speaks at the DLD (Digital-Life-Design) Conference in Munich, Germany on Jan. 19, 2015.

Slack is raising new funding because it can

There are two types of tech entrepreneurs right now: Those who experienced the dotcom crash, and those who didn’t. Slack founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield is in the former group, which is the only reason I can imagine that he’s once again raising venture capital for his red-hot employee communication company.

Bloomberg yesterday broke news that Slack is in talks to raise new funding at a “valuation of more than $2 billion.” I’d been hearing something similar — but wasn’t able to confirm in time — at a valuation of around $2.5 billion. This morning, a late-stage investor whose firm isn’t participating told me that market talk was now $2.8 billion.

TechCrunch reports that both Coatue Management and Horizons Ventures are among possible new investors. It also said that Slack “is making some early moves to look at potentially replacing co-founder Stewart Butterfield as CEO” — something first denied by a company spokesman, and then later quasi-denied by Butterfield himself via Twitter:

It is not surprising that new investors want a piece of Slack. Nor would it be surprising if insiders like Andreessen Horowitz tried to scoop up more than their pro rata shares. This is a company that, in a very short time period, has come to dominate the internal workflow of many large enterprises (including the one for which I work):

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Slack

What does seem a bit odd at first glance, however, is that Slack wants the money. For starters, the San Francisco-based company raised $120 million just last October at a $1 billion valuation.

Moreover, Slack didn’t actually need the cash. Instead, Butterfield told Fortune earlier this year that the key was hitting that “arbitrary” valuation metric because it was “the psychological threshold for potential customers, employees and the press.”

It certainly is possible that Slack’s growth has continued to accelerate to the point that some of the $120 million is spent, but plenty still must be lying around.

So my best guess as to what’s happening is that Butterfield is buying himself some bubble insurance. Raise a ton of money while it’s available, just in case the private capital spigots tighten due to any number of factors. Trade off some dilution for lots of certainty. The higher valuation is just a cherry on top.

It’s what experienced entrepreneurs do. Particularly ones who say they’re in it for the long haul.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

3 Ways to Find Forgotten Innovation

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Look to the myriad layers of corporate lore and blocks to creativity that add up to a pile of excuses

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The best and brightest teams can be rendered uninspired, stumped, scared and maybe even lazy when faced with a huge, blank whiteboard titled, “Our Next Big Thing….”

This is because brands, organizations and corporations unwittingly or not create blocks to creativity. One reason Motivate Design developed the What If Technique™, a new way to help organizations and people unstick their thinking and reframe problems as opportunities by flexing their creative muscle, was because organizations tend to build creative thinking roadblocks. This corporate lore (as we call it) — knowledge, beliefs, or traditions employees learn through the ways their organizations operate — strangles innovation.

3 Ways Corporate Lore Blocks Creativity

They See Beliefs as Fact

Blocks often occur when organizations believe that beliefs and opinions are true and treat them as facts, or even irrefutable laws. These turn into mental blocks and prevent people from seeing opportunities: “There’s no way to make renting a car or tooth brushing mind-blowing experiences.” Are you sure? How do you know? These blocks can be social, political and personal, and consciously or unconsciously inflicted. For example, when you want to rent a car, you go to a car rental place and rent one. When you want to buy a car, you go to the dealership. These two options are not only expensive, but they are limiting and are not universally perfect. That’s why two smart women took a chance on innovation, quit their day-jobs, and started a company that addressed the need for something in between. They refused to believe people didn’t have a third option.

The Zipcar founders recognized an under-served market and moved in to fill the gap by offering rental cars billable by the hour and accessible at convenient public parking locations. Once a need is identified, new ideas flow. The list of companies that found success in innovative thinking spurred by people’s needs is innumerable: Apple, Airbnb, Google, Jawbone, Amazon, etc. They did it despite the social, political and countless other beliefs positioned as facts that we’ve heard them speak about when recounting their journeys at conferences and in interviews.

They Think Ideation is Too Difficult

It’s easy to come up with a few ideas. What’s not easy is coming up with another 30 or 50 ideas without judging them. People are great at immediately analyzing ideas to determine the feasibility and solution quickly. Like physical training, training the creative muscle takes work, patience and a little discomfort. It’s hard!

We start hearing that there’s no time for innovation sessions or workshops, let alone time to think through the details of radical ideas. Let’s go back to the Zipcar example. You don’t have a car, but you need one. So, you go rent one. That’s usually the easy part. But what if more than one person needs to drive it at once? What if it breaks down? Where do you put the key when you are finished using it? This level of detail — the questions without answers, the problems without solutions — this is where the meat of great ideas come from. It’s also the area that people tend to avoid because it gets tough. Do you want Bluetooth tech in a toothbrush? Will waterproofing be an issue? Would users want to charge or exchange it? Will it be profitable? You’re just digging deeper and deeper into the problem space. It’s hard stuff, but it often allows the needed perspective to get to that awesome idea.

And awesome ideas make the ideation pains go away.

Organizations Don’t Play to Win

Are you playing to win or are you playing to not lose?

If a company is not clear on that answer, it’s hard for people to align with the overall goals. Performance reviews and rules prevent people from trying things that might fail. This all adds up to an environment where ideas are not likely to thrive. Innovation is about big wins through big experimentation. What happens when a company limits innovation and their organizational integrity is misaligned or scarce?

Here’s an example: We had a financial client that spent over $1 million with another agency to identify their target audience. We were brought in to use all prior research to recruit people who fit the persona and run user reviews to analyze the new design comps. The problem was we couldn’t find anyone who fit the persona, even with the help of professional recruiters. We discovered the persona the client was looking for didn’t exist. After some deliberation, the recruiting criteria was adjusted to align with a more realistic persona. Then we recruited participants and observed that they didn’t like the design comp. The financial information was not presented in a way they could understand, the context was lost and the new features didn’t solve their problems. This was a very scary discovery for everyone since major money and time was invested to discover what people wanted from the website. The review report went back and forth multiple times, so as not to offend anyone: the first agency; the agency’s client; the CMO, who was waiting for the results; our client — it was endless. Everyone was so worried about who would get blamed that the target audience’s critical issue (the new design wasn’t effective) was buried in the blame game.

This story epitomizes the way fear, when embedded in corporations, can block innovative thinking. The incentive for employees is to make the boss happy and use resources to justify actions or place blame elsewhere, rather than nurture an idea that solves customer problems and betters their experiences.

So, when we ask, “Why isn’t innovation happening here?” we can look to the myriad layers of corporate lore and blocks to creativity that add up to a pile of excuses (internal, sanctioned or enforced). Fortunately, we can overcome them by recognizing them, deciding to take a stand and flexing our creative muscle to come up with ways around them.

This post is excerpted from the forthcoming book Reframe: Shift the way you think, work, and innovate.

Mona Patel is Founder and CEO at Motivate Design, a user experience and design thinking agency, and the recruiting firm, UX Hires.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

TIME Companies

These Are the Companies Profiting the Most From War

The big North American and European defense corporations have secured their place among the top 10 arms dealers

Worldwide military expenditure shrunk in 2013 for the second consecutive year, falling by 1.9% to $1.75 trillion. The 100 largest arms-producers sold a combined $402 billion worth of arms and military services in 2013, also down — for the third consecutive year.

However, not all countries are spending less. Military spending in North America and in Western and Central European countries has continued to decline, while other countries such as Brazil and Russia have increased their arms investments.

Despite the global drop, weapons producers generated massive profits from arms sales, and U.S. and European companies continued to dominate the top 10 global companies in terms of arms deals. Lockheed Martin was the global leader with $36 billion in arms sales in 2013, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

These are the companies profiting the most from war.

In fact, the top 10 companies tend to change very little. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Dr. Samuel Perlo-Freeman, senior researcher at the SIPRI arms and military expenditure program, explained that since the 2000s, the big North American and European defense corporations have secured their place among the top 10 arms dealers. Only the last two positions in the top 10 tend to see any major competition.

Yet, Russian companies have been growing rapidly, and if the trend continues, Perlo-Freeman said, Russian Almaz-Antey may breach the top 10 in the coming years. Further, although data on Chinese companies is currently unavailable, it is very likely several would be in the top 20 arms dealers.

U.S. companies still dominate the arms market by a large margin, with six among the top 10 arms sellers. In the top 100 arms-producing companies, 39 are based in the United States, and U.S. companies accounted for more than 58% of total arms sales among the top 100. U.S. company arms sales in the top 10 alone made up 35% of total arms sales among the top 100. By contrast, Western European companies, which make up the rest of the top 10 arms producers, accounted for just 28% of the total top 100 arms sales.

National governments, especially the U.S., are almost always the primary customers of these companies. Governments are often the only customers that can afford the extremely high costs of these products. An F-35 fighter jet purchased in 2018 from Lockheed Martin and delivered in 2020, for example, would cost roughly $100 million.

While cuts in U.S. military expenditure have created some uncertainty for U.S. arms market players, business is still very good in the country. According to Perlo-Freeman, several companies based in Europe, such as BEA and Finmeccanica, operate subsidiary holdings in the U.S. to access the U.S. market.

Even when a national government is not a customer of a domestic or international arms-producer, its leaders are involved in the transaction. “Top politicians, presidents, [and] prime ministers are very often directly involved in promoting major arms deals on behalf of their domestic industry,” Perlo-Freeman said. National leaders, who have an interest in who possesses some of the world’s most destructive instruments, often oversee the arms deals very closely. While these transactions are highly regulated, “for most countries, [politicians] are more interested in promoting the success of their industries,” Perlo-Freeman said.

To identify the 10 companies profiting most from war, 24/7 Wall St. examined the 10 companies with the most arms sales based on SIPRI’s “The SIPRI Top 100 Arms-Producing Companies, 2013.” Arms sales, including advisory, planes, vehicles, and weapons, were defined by sales to military customers as well as contracts to government militaries. We also considered the company’s 2013 total sales and profits, the total number of employees at the company, as well as nation-level military spending, all provided by SIPRI.

These are the companies profiting the most from war.

  • 7. Airbus Group

    > Arm sales 2013: $15.7 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $78.7 billion
    > 2013 profit: $2.0 billion
    > 2013 employment: 144,060

    Airbus Group, formerly known as EADS, reported revenue of 59.3 billion euros in 2013, up from 56.5 billion euros in the previous year. Arms sales comprised just 20% of the company’s total sales of nearly $78.7 billion in 2013. Airbus Group is a major producer of commercial aircrafts, as well as helicopters and defense and space products. The company was recently awarded a contract with the South Korean government to supply several light helicopters. Airbus Group spans multiple European countries and overall employed 144,060 workers as of 2013. Several current and former executives of the group are mired in a legal dispute over insider trading.

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  • 4. Raytheon

    > Arm sales 2013: $21.9 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $23.7 billion
    > 2013 profit: $2.0 billion
    > 2013 employment: 63,000

    Like other U.S. based defense companies, the vast majority of Raytheon’s business comes from the U.S. government. The company sold nearly $16.1 billion worth of arms to the U.S. government in 2014, or 70% of its total sales. This proportion has actually fallen each of last two years. Meanwhile, international sales accounted for 29% of Raytheon’s total 2014 sales, up from 27% in 2013. According to SIPRI, economic downturns and the resulting austerity measures, especially in the U.S., have prompted a number of companies to more aggressively seek international markets for military deals. These deals are subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations as well as other U.S. and foreign regulations.

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  • 3. BAE Systems

    > Arm sales 2013: $26.8 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $28.4 billion
    > 2013 profit: $275 million
    > 2013 employment: 84,600

    BAE Systems is one of the top 10 defense contractor suppliers to the U.S. with 31,500 employees in the U.S. in addition to 33,300 in the United Kingdom and another 19,800 in other parts of the globe including Saudi Arabia and Australia. About 36% of BAE’s sales came from its land and armaments business: development, ongoing support and maintenance of armored vehicles, artillery, naval guns, missile launchers and munitions. Total BAE sales grew 2% from 2012 to 2013 as the resumption of the company’s Typhoon combat aircraft deliveries more than made up for lower U.S. sales.

  • 2. Boeing

    > Arm sales 2013: $30.7 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $86.6 billion
    > 2013 profit: $4.6 billion
    > 2013 employment: 168,400

    Based in Chicago, Boeing is the largest aerospace company in the world. It had sales of $86.6 billion in 2013, the third highest compared to the 100 companies reviewed by SIPRI. Unlike most U.S. arms dealers, only 35% of Boeing’s sales came from arms deals, one of the lowest such proportions. Boeing is known primarily for its airplanes, with more than 10,000 commercial jetliners in use worldwide, or approximately 48% of the global fleet, according to the company. The company is also a major provider of satellites and satellite components to NASA. Boeing is a major employer in a number of states. Worldwide, the company had a total 2013 headcount of 168,400 — also the fourth highest number of employees among the 100 largest arms dealers.

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  • 1. Lockheed Martin

    > Arm sales 2013: $35.5 billion
    > Total sales 2013: $45.5 billion
    > 2013 profit: $3.0 billion
    > 2013 employment: 115,000

    Lockheed Martin’s 2013 arms sales totaled $35.5 billion, more than any other company in the world. The company posted total sales of $45.5 billion in 2013, 78% of which were arms sales. In its most recent financial report, Lockheed Martin reported a slight increase in both sales and U.S. government deals, which accounted for 79% of its $45.6 billion net sales in fiscal 2014. The F-35 stealth fighter is the company’s most profitable program, generating more than half of all sales from the company’s aeronautics division in 2014. Lockheed Martin’s advanced development program, known as Skunk Works, has recently announced a working concept for a compact fusion reactor. The department claims it may have a prototype of the elusive nuclear energy device within five years.

    CORRECTION: Due to a data processing error, an earlier version of this article incorrectly reported total 2013 profits of $300 billion for BAE Systems. In fact, BAE Systems had a total profit of $275 million in 2013.

    For the original list, please go to 24/7WallStreet.com.

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