TIME Companies

Google Buys $1-Billion Stake in Elon Musk’s SpaceX

Search giant seals a major investment in private spacecraft venture

Google and Fidelity Investments have made a $1 billion investment in SpaceX, the private spacecraft venture backed by Tesla Motors Inc founder Elon Musk.

The deal refocus’ Google’s efforts to join the race to provide internet-by-satellite after its own in-house project stalled last year.

SpaceX and its largest rival, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, say they can bring low-cost internet access around the world to billions who don’t yet have it, but the start-up costs they face are literally astronomical.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the funding values SpaceX at $10 billion or more. The investment undermines critics who have argued that the SpaceX project is more hype than substance.

Google and Fidelity will together own just under 10% of SpaceX. They join existing investors Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn.

The deal come less than a week after Virgin and Qualcomm Group invested in Greg Wyler’s OneWeb Ltd, which wants to build a global internet service on a network of 648 lightweight satellites to be placed in a low-earth orbit. Branson and Qualcomm chairman Paul Jacobs will both take board seats at OneWeb.

Wyler had left Google last year after being hired to head up the company’s in-house project for internet-by-satellite.

Google’s money could help SpaceX, which has so far concentrated on making spacecraft and launch rockets, to branch out into making the satellites it would need to build its network.

OneWeb has a crucial advantage over SpaceX at present in that it already has rights to radio spectrum that would allow it to transmit data. Reports speculate that Musk is looking at untried alternative technologies for transmitting data.

Branson has claimed that there physically isn’t space in the radio spectrum for a competitor and has urged Musk to consider joining forces.

Meanwhile, Fidelity is increasingly trying to get into hot start-ups before they go public.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Money

How Millennials’ Sense of Entitlement Could Benefit You

TIME.com stock photos Money Dollar Bills
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

They want perks, and banks want them

The days when you could earn rewards from your bank might seem as distant as the era when you’d get a toaster for opening an account. Still, more people today — especially young adults and wealthy Americans — expect their bank to reward them.

A new Bank of America survey looks at the attitudes different groups of bank customers have towards rewards and find that young people, in particular, want rewards in some cases just for doing stuff they should be doing in the first place, like paying their mortgage on time.

Believe it or not, they might get what they want. That has the potential to benefit other bank customers, as well. “Financial institutions should pay attention to this growing demand,” says Aron Levine, head of BofA’s Preferred Banking and Merrill Edge.

Millennials are a demanding bunch. They, more than other age brackets, agree with the statement, “It’s important to me that my bank reward me for responsibly maintaining my accounts with them instead of only rewarding me for obtaining a new product or service.”

“Rewards are often as much of the value proposition as product and pricing,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.

Young adults are the most confident that their money is working for them and most likely to believe that they’re financially savvy than any other age group. But they also suspect to a greater degree that banks are looking out for themselves rather than their customers.

Milllennials also are the age group least likely to say they’ve become more cost-conscious since the recession, although they’re the group most likely to say they try to save money by participating in rewards programs.

“Rewarding loyalty, both routine transactions and the volume of activity, are becoming more the norm than the exception across all customer segments,” McBride says. “This isn’t unique to financial services, but follows with what consumers have come to expect in travel and retail,” he points out.

Bank of America’s data bears out this observation.

The survey finds that millennials are far likelier than other groups to demand “rewards for everyday activities I already do,” and they’re already participants in many loyalty programs in spite of their young age. They’re more likely than any other demographic group to say they’re enrolled in banking and credit card rewards programs, and the least likely to say they don’t participate in rewards programs at all.

They’re the most likely of any age group to say they want to be rewarded for using their bank’s website, paying their mortgage on time, using a debit or credit card, contributing to a retirement account, investing or creating a financial plan. They also are the most likely to want rewards for giving their bank new business, either in the form of referring a new customer or switching a balance from another institution, opening a new account themselves or taking out a loan.

“Consumers are not looking at their financial activity in siloes. Instead, they are looking at the full spectrum of their financial activity . . . and they want their banking partners to reward them accordingly,” Levine says.

Banks do have incentive to respond to these preferences, because millennials are the most likely to have accounts with five or more banking institutions. Plus, they’re a huge demographic and still have their peak spending years ahead of them. As a result, businesses of all kinds are scrambling to butter them up now — which means customers of all ages could benefit if banks give millennials what they want.

TIME Careers & Workplace

What to Do When Your Boss Catches You in a Lie

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Strive for open, honest communication in your employee-manager relationship

This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

Everyone can pretty much agree that lying isn’t a good practice, especially when it comes to lying to your boss.

But occasionally, it can seem necessary—like when you say you need to take a long lunch for a dentist appointment, when you’re really meeting a friend for, well, a long lunch.

It can also happen in a moment of panic—like when your boss suddenly asks if you’ve contacted that client you said you would, and you immediately say yes, even though it’s definitely still an unchecked task on your to-do list.

Initially, those lies seem pretty innocuous. As long as you’re careful and cover your tracks (and bump that client call to the top of your to-do list), your boss should never find out.


Except it doesn’t always work that way. There are times, no matter how careful you are, when your boss will catch you in a lie. He or she will, for example, happen to walk by your tucked-away table at the restaurant (“This doesn’t look like the dentist’s office”) or receive an email from that client you promised to call, stating that no one has contacted her in weeks. And all of a sudden, you’re caught red-handed.

So in those situations, to avoid gaining a reputation of being a deceptive, untrustworthy employee (or, um, getting fired), how can you recover? Here are the steps to take.

Step #1: Avoid Extending the Lie

When your boss catches you in a lie, it’s going to be tempting to try to get yourself out of the awkward situation by lying again. For example, in the client call situation, when your boss confronts you about not actually contacting the client, you may say, “Well, you’re right, I didn’t get to speak to the client because, you see, I did call, but her secretary said she was in a meeting and wouldn’t be available for the rest of the day.”

But if you’re caught in an ever deeper hole (e.g., your boss finds out that the client actually wasn’t in a meeting that day—or doesn’t even have a secretary), things will get exponentially worse.

Step #2: Start With an Apology

Instead, start with an apology. A simple “I’m sorry I wasn’t honest about that” will work—just make sure it’s genuine and conveys your remorse.

Step #3: Offer an Explanation

Then, explain what your thought process was. Most of the time, there’s something not-so-malicious behind the lie.

For example, maybe you wanted to take a long lunch because you were meeting a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time and wanted to make sure you had plenty of time to catch up.

Or, in the case of the client call, maybe you were simply anxious about getting in touch with the client because you know she’s unhappy with the company, and you were unsure about how to handle it.

Will either explanation excuse you 100% from a lie? No. But it adds a human element to the situation and will allow your boss to see the issue from your eyes. And while he or she may still not be very happy about it, he or she will better understand where you were coming from, which can help aid the reconciliation process.

Step #4: Explain Your Immediate Plans

If there’s an issue that needs to be addressed immediately, make sure your boss knows what you plan on doing and in what time frame. You could, for example, say, “I’d like to discuss the approach I should take on the client call. Once I have your advice, I will call her this afternoon and send you a follow-up email to let you know how it went.”

In those couple sentences, you’ve assured your boss how you’re going to remedy the situation and offered him or her assurance that it will get done—because you’ve committed to that follow-up email.

Step #5: …And What You’ll Do Next Time

Then, make sure your boss knows how you’ll approach this kind of situation in the future: “If I’m unsure about another client situation in the future, I’ll make sure to come to you for guidance immediately.”

Or, “If I’d like to take a long lunch, I’ll clear it with you first and make sure I come in early or stay late to make sure the rest of my work for the day gets completed.” You’ll show your boss that you’re dedicated to your work—and you’ll avoid problems in the future.

Of course, it’s best to avoid lying to your boss in the first place. Strive for open, honest communication in your employee-manager relationship, and you should feel comfortable talking to your boss about anything—which will eliminate the need for most lies in the first place.

More from The Muse:

TIME Careers & Workplace

10 Questions You Should Never Hesitate to Ask

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Do you know how your employees are doing? If not, you may be asking them the wrong questions


What is one question every boss should ask employees regularly? We asked several bosses to chime in.

Do You Have Everything You Need?

“You want to empower and equip your employees to go out and execute to the best of their abilities at all times. Asking your employees regularly about their needs will help you discover any hidden inefficiencies or dependencies that might be preventing your employees from performing at an optimal level.” — Matt Ehrlichman (@mattehrlichman), Porch

What Can Be Improved?

“Asking employees which aspects of your business can be improved upon accomplishes two crucial things: You get free and immediate feedback from the people who know you best, and employees know that you value their opinions.” — Brennan White (@Brenomics), Cortex

What Did You Accomplish This Week?

“It is crucial to have a handle on what your employees are working on and accomplishing regularly. If an employee isn’t accomplishing anything, then what is he good for?” — Josh Weiss (@bluegala), Bluegala

Are You Happy?

“People who are doing what they love and who feel supported produce far better work and do so more efficiently. Support a happy work environment, and your productivity will improve.” — Alexis Wolfer (@AlexisWolfer), The Beauty Bean

What Do You Love About Your Job?

“My job as a leader is to scale what my employees love about their work with RTC and replace them in areas of their job that aggravate them or simply don’t bring them joy. In most businesses, employees love 20 percent of what they’re doing and tolerate the rest. We’ve been able to flip those percentages around, and our staff are inspired to bring their A-game because of it.” — Corey Blake (@CoreyBlake9000), Round Table Companies

How Am I Doing?

“It’s a simple question: How am I doing as a leader? Your employees are a reflection of yourself and a reflection of the company. An honest answer will open any door that needs opening.” — Kevin Cauley, Advanced Media

What’s Keeping You Up at Night?

“This question can be incredibly eye-opening. You get to hear about stress at work (and sometimes at home), which affects the employee’s productivity and performance. You can then work with the employee to figure out how to address the situation.” — Bhavin Parikh (@bkparikh), Magoosh Inc

Are You Having Fun?

“In order to be successful, employees need to be passionate and engaged. It’s important to me that everyone at my company is excited about what we do and enjoys being a part of our team. Even when things get crazy and we’re all swamped, I’m still having fun, and I want to know that my employees are, too. When they stop having fun, that’s a sign that something has to shift.” — David Ehrenberg (@EarlyGrowthFS), Early Growth Financial Services

How Are You Spending Your Time?

“The majority of the time, what management thinks is happening day to day and what is actually happening are two totally different things. Understanding what an employee’s day looks like can help lead to conversations about better processes, work load balance and new techniques for approaching daily issues.” — Kim Kaupe (@kimkaupe), ZinePak

Did you feel challenged?

“While you are striving to build and sustain your growing company, it’s important to remember that keeping a motivated and devoted team is key to your company’s success. Making sure employees are challenged and involved in core company projects and decision making is a great way to achieve employee satisfaction.” — Zach Cutler (@CutlerPRteam), Cutler PR

This article was originally published on StartupCollective.

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Documentaries Every Entrepreneur Should Watch on Netflix Now

Burt's Buzz poster.
Burt's Buzz poster. Everyday Pictures

As the new year sets in, bookmark these entrepreneurial, inspiring films now. Make it a truly motivating year

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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.

After Thanksgiving dinner, as the food-coma sets in and you suddenly realize the need to capture your extended family’s attention—or, let’s face it, you need a little “me time”—here are five films you should stream on Netflix.

1) Burt’s Buzz:

This film chronicles the humble beginnings of Burt’s Bees‘ namesake and co-founder Burt Shavitz and his Machiavellian struggle with co-founder Roxanne Quimby.

2) Inequality for All:

Former secretary of labor Robert Reich, with a little help from entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, explains the increasing problem of income inequality in America and its implications for our economy.

3) Happy:

Scientists, researchers, and thought leaders explain the latest information surrounding happiness (and reveal why your vast salary isn’t making you much happier).

4) Somm:

For all the winos out there, Somm follows the lives of a few folks compromising time, relationships, and other goals to study for and hopefully pass the Master Sommelier Exam.

5) 20 Feet From Stardom:

With interviews from music’s biggest stars, 20 Feet From Stardom unpacks the lives of backup singers and their immense contribution to the hits we all know and love.

MONEY Personal Finance

Turns Out (Gasp) Millennials Do Want to Own Cars

Jamie Grill—Getty Images

Young adults want to share everything--except maybe their car

Millennials have spurred the rise of the sharing economy by embracing the notion that renting is almost always better than buying. But even they want to own their own set of wheels, new research shows. Could homeownership, a diamond ring and other traditional purchases be far behind?

Some 71% of young adults would rather buy a car than lease one and 43% are likely to purchase a vehicle in the next five years, according to a survey from Elite Daily, a social site, and research consultants Millennial Branding. This finding suggests young adults that have popularized car-sharing options like Zipcar and RelayRides—and all sorts of other sharing options from wedding dresses to leftover meals—may be warming to traditional ownership.

Could it be that the kids are growing up and want something of their own? Other research shows that millennials, widely regarded as an idealist generation that favors flexibility and personal fulfillment over wealth, have begun backtracking there as well. Increasingly, they link financial health to life satisfaction.

For now, though, home ownership remains largely off their radar: 59% would rather rent a house than buy one and only one in four millennials are likely to purchase a house in the next five years, the survey found. “This shows that millennials don’t know anything about investing, even though they say they do,” says Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Millennial Branding. “A home is a much better investment than a car.”

Schawbel believes millennials are more eager to buy cars because they are delaying marriage and children, and they don’t want to be tied down with real estate. Plenty of research supports that view—and the trend toward delayed family formation. Yet it seems only a matter of time before this generation embraces marriage and homeownership too. The oldest are just 35 and, the survey found, three in five can’t afford to buy a home anyway.

The survey also found that millennials might be struggling less with student debt than is widely believed. Yes, student debt now tops $1.3 trillion. But young adults have money to spend. They are using their income to pay off their loans and getting support from their parents to pay for other things, Schawbel says. That may mean a car now or in the near future, and it seems increasingly clear that eventually it will include real estate. This generation is carving its own path, for sure. But the path may wind up looking more traditional than they know.

TIME Transportation

JetBlue’s Reputation Up in the Air After Baggage Fee Announcement

A JetBlue Airways jet sits on the tarmac at O'Hare Airport October 26, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson—Getty Images

Travelers angry JetBlue is yanking legroom and charging for checked bags

We predicted this would happen. When JetBlue announced in November that it was scrapping its first-checked-bag-free policy and reducing legroom by shoehorning more seats onto its planes, Wall Street was thrilled — the airline’s stock jumped 4% after the announcement.

Travelers, however, not so much. There was a near-immediate backlash, and it’s only grown in the weeks since the news broke.

Right after the announcement, road warriors took to the forums on sites like FlyerTalk to complain that JetBlue was doing exactly the kind of nickel-and-diming it built its reputation on avoiding. One user described the policy change as “whack[ing] its customer base across the nose to suck up to Wall Street.”

Technically, JetBlue has said it’s creating a new, tiered pricing structure, but you won’t get a free checked bag anymore with the base fare starting next year.

Now, a new survey finds that these gripes aren’t just coming from a vocal minority. They’re indicative of traveler sentiment more broadly, and that could mean trouble for the popular low-fare carrier. According to the YouGov BrandIndex, which measures consumer sentiment, customer satisfaction with JetBlue has plummeted to a two-year low, falling from #3 to #4 among domestic airlines. JetBlue still holds its own against most of the legacy carriers, but it trails low-fare rivals Southwest —now the only holdout that offers free checked bags— and Virgin Atlantic.

“JetBlue has lost some of its ‘we’re different’ glow, and the word of mouth is definitely hurting them,” says YouGov spokesman Drew Kerr. “JetBlue had long been known as a special airline that operated differently, with more customer friendliness and in a better way than their competitors. Their vibe was always about being above the fray,” he says.

The YouGov BrandIndex measures six areas of customer perception: satisfaction, quality, value, reputation, willingness to recommend and general impression, Kerr says, which it combines into a single score.

“JetBlue’s drop was statistically significant” from its previous position, he says. Where JetBlue suffered the most is in the perception category. Consumers who are surveyed are asked if they’ve heard anything about the brand from any source, and if that “buzz” is positive or negative. JetBlue’s score in this category actually began falling back in the springtime, Kerr says, and now it’s below the industry average.

“This fee announcement was a strong signal that perhaps [JetBlue] had lost its specialness and was joining all the other airlines in nickel-and-diming,” he says. If the survey results are any indication, that’s the impression the traveling public picked up, too.

TIME movies

Amazon Will Produce Its Own Movies for Theatrical Release

Operations At An Amazon.com Inc. Fulfillment Centre And An Argos Distribution Warehouse On Cyber Monday
An employee walks over a logo on the floor of Amazon.com Inc.'s fulfillment centers in Rugeley, U.K. on Dec. 2, 2013. Simon Dawson—Bloomberg/Getty Images

The company plans to make 12 original films per year

The small screen’s about to get a whole lot bigger: Amazon Studios announced Monday that it will begin acquiring and producing movies for theatrical release, to be followed by streaming on Prime Instant Video four to eight weeks after their debut in cinemas. The company aims to create 12 films per year, with production beginning later in 2015, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Amazon Studios vice president Roy Price said he hopes these movies benefit not only their subscribers, but also filmmakers, “who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

The announcement comes just one week after Amazon Studios was awarded two Golden Globes for its original (and arguably fresh and daring) series Transparent. The company also recently announced a new TV series to be directed by Woody Allen.

[The Hollywood Reporter]

TIME Retail

Shoes Are Getting More Expensive

Leather Shoes
Men's shoes in the Dolce & Gabbana seasonal holiday window in New York City on Dec. 11, 2013 Ben Hider—Getty Images

Leather prices rise amid a cattle shortage

The cost of footwear in the U.S. rose 2.8% in the past year, according to new government data, an increase that’s likely due in part to the rising costs of leather.

The data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes as the U.S., which is one of the world’s biggest producers of cowhides, currently experiencing a record shortage of the animal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the current U.S. cow population — about 95 million — is at its lowest level since the department began keeping track in 1973.

The high cost of cattle feed and the nation’s drought have contributed to the declining cattle population, Quartz reports.

TIME Money

Why You Might Need More Car Insurance Than You Have

Car accident
Woman on mobile phone after car accident Zero Creatives—Getty Images/Image Source

That fender-bender could be more of a headache than you think

Being in a car accident, even if you’re lucky enough to escape without injury, still stinks — especially if it isn’t your fault. But what’s even worse than the inconvenience and the hassle factor is the reality that, in many states, you might not be completely covered by insurance, even if you’re a responsible driver who carries insurance.

That’s because there’s often a gap between the minimum states require drivers to carry and the amount that would be necessary to cover the cost of an accident, especially if anyone in your car is injured. Even something as minor as taking an ambulance ride to the hospital to get checked out can run into the hundreds of dollars, and costs obviously escalate depending on the severity of any injuries.

Personal finance website WalletHub.com just put together a ranking of the financial risk you face when you get behind the wheel, analyzing all 50 states and the District of Columbia to find out the legal minimum of insurance coverage drivers must carry as well as how many drivers in that state don’t bother to get insurance.

In short, stay out of of Florida and Oklahoma. Florida’s insurance requirements are lower than most other states, and 24% of drivers on the roads there are cruising around without insurance (which, yes, is illegal). In Oklahoma, requirements aren’t as low, but a whopping 26% of drivers don’t bother buying insurance. In Tennessee, Michigan, New Mexico and Mississippi, more than one in five drivers have no insurance.

How can you protect yourself? Unfortunately, it’s likely to cost you.

“In most states, drivers can purchase uninsured motorists coverage to cover their own bodily injuries and/or property damage if the at-fault driver has no insurance,” says WalletHub managing editor Karl Eisenhower.

In fact, in 21 states, you’re required to carry this type of coverage. In some states, you have to carry this insurance to cover property damage costs, while others make you carry coverage for medical costs if you’re hit by an uninsured driver. Eight states make you carry both. Drivers also have the option — and in a handful of states, the obligation — of buying insurance for personal injury protection or medical payments. “[These] will cover your medical bills after an accident regardless of fault,” Eisenhower says. “If you carry one of these . . . you can be certain any medical bills will get paid quickly.”

In states like Florida, where the minimum liability a driver has to carry is a mere $10,000 in coverage per injured person, or $20,000 per accident, getting into an accident with somebody who does have coverage but not enough of it could be a concern, too.

“Underinsured motorists coverage will protect you if your damages exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s liability policy,” Eisenhower says. In the states of California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a driver only has to have $5,000 worth of coverage for property damage — hardly enough to make you whole if you’re driving a luxury car or your vehicle is totaled.

“Just because someone doesn’t have sufficient insurance doesn’t reduce that person’s responsibility if he or she causes an accident,” Eisenhower adds. Unfortunately, this means you’d have to spend the time and money suing them — and be out-of-pocket for potentially thousands of dollars in the meantime — before getting compensation. If you have extra coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers, “suing to reclaim costs is the insurance company’s headache, not yours,” Eisenhower points out.

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