TIME Silicon Valley

How Google Perfected the Silicon Valley Acquisition

Signage outside the Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California on Oct. 13, 2010.
Tony Avelar—Bloomberg/Getty Images Signage outside the Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California on Oct. 13, 2010.

As tech's largest firms grow in scope and age, acquisitions have become an increasingly important maneuver

Correction appended, April 21

In late October John Hanke and several of his co-workers met for a reunion of sorts at Fiesta Del Mar, a Mexican restaurant near Google’s Mountain View headquarters. Hanke, a 10-year Google employee who led initial development of Maps, was once the founder of a small geodata startup called Keyhole that Google acquired in 2004. The fact that the one-time entrepreneur has stayed with the search giant for more than a decade makes him and his colleagues oddities in Silicon Valley. “There are quite a large number of [us] who are still at Google, and I have to say I don’t think anyone expected that when we first came in,” he says.

Google has used acquisitions to expand its workforce and launch new products since before it was a household name. Recently that strategy has become the modus operandi for technology firms in Silicon Valley. Facebook is using its fast-growing cash hoard to take control over sectors both adjacent to its core product (WhatsApp for $22 billion) and far-flung from social networking (Oculus VR for $2 billion). Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon are doing the same, making big-ticket bets by buying Minecraft developer Mojang ($2.5 billion), Tumblr ($1.1 billion) and video game streaming site Twitch ($970 million), respectively. Even Apple, which long eschewed splashy acquisitions in favor of much smaller, less public buys, says it bought at least 30 companies during the last fiscal year, including the $3 billion purchase of Beats.

Overall spending on tech acquisitions topped $170 billion in 2014, up 54% from the previous year and more than double the amount spent in 2010, according to PrivCo, a research firm that tracks investments in private businesses. As the core of dominant technology companies get larger, they have come to depend on acquisitions not only to broaden their businesses but also to sustain the pace of innovation. “Companies are buying innovation,” explains Peter Levine, a general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. “As large companies need to be competitive and want to increase their footprints in a variety of different areas, one of the best ways to do that is through acquisition.”

The deals are a boon for startups as well. Venture capital is abundant, and companies can rely on investment rather than revenue to keep growing. If it’s not clear how a startup will eventually convert users into revenue, a buyout from a large firm can render that problem irrelevant—or at least less urgent. While investors and founders insist that launching a thriving self-supporting company is still the end-goal in Silicon Valley, “exiting” via a sale rather than an initial public offering can still net a lucrative payout. “It’s almost a goal for some of these companies as they start, to have that exit event,” says George Geis, a business professor at UCLA whose upcoming book, Semi-Organic Growth, analyzes Google’s acquisition strategy over the years.

But while snapping up a startup is now easy, holding onto its key employees is more difficult. Startup founders, who often think of themselves as entrepreneurs before engineers, are notoriously difficult to keep at large firms long. Partly, this is cultural: striking out on one’s own, idea in hand, is a fundamental part of the Silicon Valley ethos. The widespread availability of funding doesn’t hurt, either. That has left firms struggling to keep the expertise they may have spent millions acquiring. “When a firm is making a tech acquisition, they’re buying the talent as much as they’re buying the technology,” says Brian JM Quinn, a law professor specializing in mergers and acquisitions at Boston College.

A TIME analysis of startup founders’ LinkedIn profiles found that about two-thirds of the startup founders that accepted jobs at Google between 2006 and 2014 are still with the company. Amazon has retained about 55% of its founders over that time period, while Microsoft’s rate is below 45%. Facebook, with a 75% retention rate for founders, is beating its older competitors, but the company only began acquiring companies in significant numbers around 2010 or so. Yahoo and Apple, which have both gone on acquisition sprees under new CEOs Marissa Mayer and Tim Cook in the last two years, now have a similar retention rate to Google.

Google stands out among this cohort in large part because of the massive number of acquisitions it’s conducted. Overall at least 221 startup founders joined Google’s ranks between 2006 and 2014. Yahoo, the next closest competitor, added at least 110 founders to its employee roster in that time. Google’s internal calculation of its overall retention rate for startup founders through its history is similar to TIME’s, according to data provided by the company. Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Microsoft declined to share any information on the retention of founders; Amazon did not respond to a request for data.

An examination of the ways Google tries to retain employees provides a window into the increasingly ferocious battle among the tech sector’s giants to expand through conquest. “Google,” says Geis, “has done a pretty good job—among the best in Silicon Valley.”

‘The toothbrush test’

Even when Google was small, it wasn’t shy about spending. The company’s first startup acquisition, the 2003 purchase of Pyra Labs, forms the backbone of what is today Blogger, an online publishing platform. Since then, many of Google’s most well-known products, including Android, YouTube, Maps, Docs and Analytics, have originated from acquisitions. “M&A has obviously been a huge part of Google—and, I think, Google’s success—for a long time,” says Don Harrison, Google’s vice president for corporate development, who oversees the company’s acquisitions.

Before any deal is finalized, it has to pass what CEO Larry Page calls “the toothbrush test”: is the product something you use daily and would make your life better? “If anything matches the toothbrush test and relates to technology, then Larry has an interest in it,” explains Harrison.

Typically, Google buys occur in sectors where the company has already been experimenting itself. Harrison points to YouTube as a prime example. Google already had a video sharing service called Google Video in the mid-2000’s, but YouTube’s fast-growing user base convinced the firm to offer a then-eye-popping $1.65 billion for the startup, even though it was barely a year old and earned no revenue. Today, YouTube brings in billions of dollars of revenue per year and is the third most-visited website in the world, according to Web analytics firm Alexa.

But the return on investment on an acquisition isn’t only measured monetarily. It’s important to Google and other tech giants that the founders behind ideas worth paying for stick around as well. Harrison says founder retention is one of the significant factors Google measures as part of the “scorecarding” it does to evaluate its purchases. “We hold ourselves accountable to make sure that the founders are able to be successful within Google,” Harrison says. “It’s something that we’re not only working on at the time we buy the company but we work on for years after as well.”

Cash alone can’t convince the top startup founders to join Google. 2014 was the most active year for IPOs in the U.S. since the year 2000, according to IPO tracker Renaissance Capital, and Chinese online retailer Alibaba had the biggest public debut in world history, raising $25 billion in September. “As aggressive as we’re willing to be, we probably can’t match public company premiums right now,” Harrison admits.

So Google tries to find other ways to lure key talent.

‘A True CEO’

For Tony Fadell, the CEO of smart home company Nest, the decision of whether or not be acquired by Google was really a question of how he wanted to spend his time.

Google had begun courting Nest almost from the company’s inception, ever since Fadell showed Google founder Sergey Brin a prototype of the Nest Thermostat at a TED conference in 2011. At the time, Fadell wasn’t interested in a buyout. “I wanted to keep it as a startup as long as possible,” he says.

But as Nest grew, so did Fadell’s logistical headaches. By 2013, he says he was spending 90% of his time on what he calls “back-of-house stuff”: managing finances, talking to investors, wrestling with taxes and fending off patent lawsuits. “There was a lot of selling to multiple entities that we were doing the right thing,” he says.

When Google came knocking again, offering a big payday and the chance to keep Nest’s name brand intact—a key requirement for Fadell—an acquisition seemed more appealing. Now Fadell says he spends 95% of his time focused on product development and key relationships. Nest, meanwhile, has gotten access to resources that would have taken much longer to accrue independently. The company launched in five new countries in 2014, but Fadell thinks they would have only reached two without Google’s help.

In many ways, the Nest acquisition is the ideal scenario startup founders envision when they agree to be swallowed by a larger company. Harrison, Google’s M&A head, calls Fadell a “true CEO” and says Google execs serve more as a board of directors for Nest instead of supervisors. Fadell says he hasn’t had to get formal approval for anything from Google, though he reports directly to Larry Page and meets with the Google CEO a few times per month. “He’s like, ‘Call me when you need me, but this is for you to run,’” Fadell says of his relationship with Page. “He gives us the freedom, so I run with that. Only when it’s really major decisions do I really touch base with him.”

Some founders who don’t quite have Fadell’s free rein are still granted a certain level of autonomy. Skybox Imaging, a satellite manufacturer that Google acquired for $500 million last summer, reports to the company’s vice president of engineering for geo products but maintains separate offices from Google in Mountain View. “We kind of get a little bit of the best of both worlds,” says Ching-Yu Hu, one of the four Skybox founders that now works at Google. “We’re all Googlers now so we have access to all the infrastructure there, but at the same time we’re semi-autonomous.”

The company has experimented with more direct incentives to maintain an entrepreneurial spirit. For a few years in the mid-2000’s Google handed out Founders Awards valued at as much as $12 million in stock to teams that developed successful new products like Gmail and Google Maps. Today awards are a little less explicit, in the form of more traditional of raises or promotions. Google works closely with founders in their first 90 days on the job to insure they’re getting acclimated well, but check-ins on founders’ progress can continue for years, depending on the acquisition.

At the core of Google’s pitch to founders is the opportunity for bountiful resources. Sure, those can be scratched and clawed for independently, but going it alone requires a lot more time, money and luck than hitching your wagon to one of the richest companies on Earth. “It was a pretty compelling pitch,” Hanke recalls of his own deliberations about whether to sell Keyhole to Google. “We could achieve a lot more standing on the shoulders of all that was going on at Google versus trying to do it on our own as startup.”

When Founders Leave

Still, even Harrison admits that not every acquisition goes smoothly. Because California is an at-will employment state, workers can generally be fired or choose to leave at any time. Tech companies try to ensure founders stick around for a while by offering a stay bonus or using “golden handcuffs,” which often meter out the payday for a big acquisition in company shares that vest over several years. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, for instance, includes $3 billion in restricted stock for WhatsApp employees, but they can’t fully tap into those funds unless they stay at the company for four years.

In some cases, golden handcuffs aren’t enough to keep founders on board. Kosta Eleftheriou joined Google in October 2010 through the acquisition of his keyboard app BlindType, but life at the massive company wasn’t what he envisioned. Eleftheriou says he was relegated to maintaining Google’s stock Android keyboard rather than envisioning ways to improve the product. He left after one month, leaving half of his compensation package for the acquisition on the table (he says the total acquisition price was in the seven figures). Now he’s a founder again, with a new keyboard app called Fleksy that has been downloaded 4 million times.

“It was a mismatch between what I was expecting and what happened,” Eleftheriou says. “I think that was partly due to maybe some unrealistic expectations on my side on how much creative freedom I would have. I was hoping to be part of a bigger picture than just some engineer working on something by themselves.”

As the founder of a small company that didn’t make huge headlines when it was acquired, Eleftheriou’s experience isn’t uncommon in the Valley. “Unless they’re sufficiently large, very few acquisitions continue to run independently,” says Justin Kan, a partner at the venture capital firm Y Combinator and cofounder of Twitch. “Oftentimes founders are rolled up inside another group inside of the company. They can’t make decisions as freely as when they were entrepreneurs. That affects people’s willingness to stick around.”

Sometimes founders simply crave the excitement of starting something new. Uri Levine was the only one of Waze’s three founders who chose not to join Google when the traffic app was acquired for $1 billion in June 2013. Instead he launched a new startup—his sixth—called FeeX, which aims to help people reduce investment fees in their retirement accounts. “Entrepreneurs, they are driven by a passion for change,” Levine says. “As soon as you become part of a large organization, you cannot change anymore.”

Google’s also had some more high-profile misfires. When it made its largest acquisition ever, the $12.5 billion purchase of handset maker Motorola Mobility, Page hailed it as an opportunity to “supercharge the Android ecosystem.” But Motorola’s phones failed to gain traction, the subsidiary racked up $1.4 billion in losses for Google, and the company offloaded the handset division to Lenovo for $2.9 billion in 2014. Harrison defends the deal as a smart acquisition because of the patent portfolio that Google acquired, helping the company defend itself from lawsuits by Apple and Microsoft (Geis, who has studied the transaction closely, called it “a wash” for Google).

The Spree Continues

At Google, at least, there are opportunities for change for some founders who join the company. Hanke, the former Keyhole CEO, spent several years heading up Google’s geo services, but now he’s in charge of Niantic Labs, a separately branded unit that Google bills as an “internal startup.” Hanke’s team develops apps that increase the opportunity for digital interaction in real-world environments, like InGress, a mobile game that requires players to visit physical locations to gain power ups. Android founder Andy Rubin also took on a role far removed from smartphones when he became the head of Google’s robotics division in 2013. (Rubin eventually left Google in October after nine years at the company).

Google is constantly making these kinds of bets on the future, and it needs new blood with fresh ideas to sustain them. The company is currently wrestling with multiple threats to its core business, search, including a declining share of desktop searches and a mobile market where Amazon is stealing product search queries and Facebook is taking ad dollars. If Google is to maintain its steady growth, it will eventually have to tap into a new revenue source somewhere, and that may well stem from an acquisition. The company may view Nest as the key purchase that ensures its future dominance, given Fadell’s perch. “Founders and everyone else at these startups, they want to be businesspeople,” he explains.

And the big businesses themselves? They want to ensure they don’t miss out on the next big thing. “The ability to move quickly in rapidly changing markets is one of the major drivers,” says Geis of the acquisition spree. “If you want to effectively compete and innovate continually, it can’t all be from within.”

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described George Geis. He is a business professor at UCLA.

MONEY Airlines

This Airline Just Made Your Butt Happy

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Southwest Airlines—Wieck Soon, Southwest passengers will enjoy wider seats on the new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Airline travelers are used to the economy section getting more and more cramped. So Southwest Airlines' move to make seats slightly wider is a blessing.

This week, Southwest Airlines announced that its new 737 airplanes will boast seats with a rare commodity: a little extra room for your butt. The bottom seat cushions will be 17.8 inches across, whereas the typical seat width on 737s is 17 to 17.3 inches.

“The new aircraft seats are the widest economy seats available in the single-aisle 737 market, and offer a unique design that gives our customers what they asked for: more space,” Bob Jordan, Southwest’s executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said in a press release announcing the new seats.

Passengers won’t get to enjoy the extra seat width until mid-2016 at the earliest. That’s when Southwest’s forthcoming 737-800s will first hit the runway and begin accepting passengers.

Will the new seats transform the flying experience of passengers? Honestly, probably not. An extra half-inch or so of space is nice, but for most travelers it won’t feel like a true game changer. Besides, the seats in some other airlines’ economy sections are already wider than Southwest’s new seats. According to SeatGuru, carriers that commonly use 737s, such as Alaska Airlines and Southwest, currently have seat widths of 17 to 17.1 inches. But on JetBlue, which prefers different aircraft (Airbus, Embraer E-190), the seat widths range from 17.8 to 18.25 inches.

Meanwhile, Airbus has argued that airline seats should be at least 18 inches wide, pointing to studies that show sleep quality is 53% better on 18-inch seats compared with 17-inchers. Airbus also pointed out that human beings today tend to simply be larger and heavier than prior generations, and that other industries are more accommodating. The typical modern American movie theater seat, for instance, is 22 inches wide, one inch more than the average of a decade ago.

Nonetheless, Southwest’s move is a welcome change, if for no other reason than that it goes against the trend of airlines cramming in more and more seats and scaling back passengers’ personal space in economy sections, with the hopes of boosting profits—which are already at record highs thanks to high airfares and low fuel prices. Southwest remains an anomaly in the industry for maintaining its free checked baggage policy. Slightly wider seats could prove to be another way the airline can differentiate itself from the pack in a passenger-friendly way.

Read next: These Are the Airlines With the Most Passenger Complaints

TIME Aviation

These Tiny Seats Could Mean Air Travel Is About to Get Much Worse

Airlines are shrinking seat widths to squeeze in more passengers

The controversial Knee Defender blocks a passenger in front of you from reclining, but what do you do when your shoulders are getting squeezed on an airplane?

That’s the big question as airplane manufacturers continue to shrink seats to let airlines stuff more passengers into economy sections. The latest maker to apply this cost-cutting measure is Airbus, which unveiled a new 11 seat-per-row reconfiguration for its A380 superjumbo jet this week in Hamburg, Germany.

The Airbus A380 currently seats 10 passengers per row in economy (3-4-3), but the new configuration bumps the middle section up by one (3-5-3):

The double-decker’s new seats, which will arrive in 2017, are technically still the same width as before — 18 in. (46 cm.) — thanks to Airbus freeing up space by slightly modifying the seats’ layout, Quartz reports. But there’s no doubt the seats will look and feel a bit tighter, if only because the plane’s capacity will be raised to 544, up from 525. Even if you have relatively narrow shoulders — the average human shoulder width is about 16 in. (41 cm.) — you can’t always count on your neighbors to be similarly sized.

Here’s what you might be feeling aboard your next flight with the A380’s main users, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Qantas:

Read more: This Airline Just Made Your Butt Happy

The tight A380 seats are part of an industry trend that’s crept into long-haul planes from short-haul planes, where passengers tend to be more willing to endure a few hours of discomfort to save money. Other long-haul jets to shrink seats include the Boeing 777 — commonly flown by United and American Airlines — whose new models are being shipped with 17 in. seat widths.

Read next: 3 Reasons You Should Be Planning a Trip to Europe Right Now

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TIME Careers & Workplace

13 Reasons to Give an Employee a Raise

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"If you choose not to give employees raises, you risk losing them mentally, which will lead to losing them physically"

startupcollective

Question: What was the determining factor that led to the last raise you gave to one of your employees?

Value Creation

“I give raises when someone exceeds my expectations, usually when employees take something on that wasn’t originally in their scope of work. I’ve had people ultimately create a position for themselves by making a suggestion, implementing it and taking ownership over it. Suddenly, the value they create for my business has gone up, and I feel it’s only fair to increase their compensation.” — Mark Krassner, Knee Walker Central

Accuracy and Timeliness

“Having employees complete tasks consistently on time and with great accuracy is always a marker for me to give raises. Unfortunately, employees who get the job done are often overlooked in lieu of those who are overly political when, in fact, they are what makes the business progress day to day.” — Phil Chen, Systems Watch

Willingness to Do More

“We love employees who continually do more than they are asked or who are constantly looking for ways to help grow the business. Employees who have fresh ideas and aren’t afraid to take on the job of implementing new ideas are often awarded raises.” — Laura Land, EMPIRE Cell Phone Accessories

Confidence and Growth

“If employees have the confidence to ask for the raise and the foresight to explain exactly how they will grow their skills to deserve the increase, I usually give it to them right there. In the most recent example of this happening, the employee asked for a raise far above his title. I laid out a three-month plan for the employee to prove his ability to work at that level; he did it in two.” — Brennan White, Cortex

Independence

“The last raise we gave to an employee was due to his success in operating more independently. We encourage our team to accomplish great things, and employees never need our permission to do so. Operating independently to accomplish things for themselves — and also for the team — is always rewarded and always appreciated.” — Parker Powers, ParkerPowers.com

My Beliefs

“In my opinion, everybody you value should be getting regular raises to the extent you can afford it. If they’re not getting regular raises and you’re not providing some opportunity, employees could begin to question if you really value them. For me, I’d say the determining factor of the latest raise I gave was just my philosophical belief.” — Dan Price, Gravity Payments

Team Success

“Our raises aren’t tied to the performance of the individual, but to the performance of the company as a whole. That’s, on the one hand, because when the company is doing better, we can afford it! On the other hand, it drills home the right incentives for team success.” — Derek Flanzraich, Greatist

Risking Value

“I gave someone a raise to keep him so interested in my business that he would do anything to stick around. If you choose not to give employees raises, you risk losing them mentally, which will lead to losing them physically.” — John Rampton, Due

Good Attitude

“Having the right attitude is the first step to getting real results that will lead to a raise.” — Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

Ability to Learn and Grow

“In every weekly report, I ask employees for a suggestion to improve their role or the company. The great responses have saved money and boosted revenue through product improvements. One employee in particular had suggested many improvements with quantifiable results. She embodied our core values by continuously growing and learning in her role and also as a leader.” — David Hassell, 15Five

Responsibility

“By taking ownership or seeing something that needs to be fixed, doing something about it and owning the results, employees show they’re transcending their job and thinking about what it takes to grow the company. They know they are accountable to the team, so they make good choices and follow through.” — Charlie Gilkey, Productive Flourishing

Initiative

“Any employee who takes initiative to make the company better or more efficient needs to be rewarded. I have an employee who works hard to improve the company in several respects, and I’ve given him three raises this year when he did not expect any.” — Andrew Howlett, Rain

Preparedness

“When my employee approached me, he had a very detailed list of all his accomplishments. He explained exactly how he helped the company be more profitable and that he was dedicated to our mission. It was an easy decision after that.” — Michael Quinn, Yellow Bridge Interactive

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 Careers & Workplace

The 5 Common Beliefs About Work Colleagues You Should Avoid

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These beliefs can hurt you and your career in the long run

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For a lot of people, relationships with your co-workers are what get you through the workday. They’re the people you talk to, vent to, and collaborate with. You’re on the same team, and, ideally, you’re all on the same page.

But if you approach your relationship with your team the wrong way, you can seriously hinder the success of your individual career.

Just take these five common beliefs for example—while these thoughts seem completely understandable on the surface, they can actually hurt you in the long run.

Belief #1: “I Have to Do Things the Way They Do”

Especially when you’re new in a role, you look to your co-workers for an example of how to complete your responsibilities. If they use a certain program to complete a report, you’ll probably start using that program. If they consult a few go-to clients as sources for your marketing materials, you’ll probably start leaning on those clients, too.

And you know what? That’s a perfectly fine way to learn the ropes. The problem comes in when you assume that you’re solely bound to your co-workers’ particular methods and ideas, instead of branching out to try new things, pitching unique ideas, and taking some risks.

That’s the only way you’re going to produce anything above and beyond the rest of your team—and, ultimately, that’ll be how you demonstrate your worth to your boss and team.

Belief #2: “I Have to Stay on Their Good Side”

For a long time, when it came to my interactions with my co-workers, I never wanted to rock the boat. You work with these people every hour of every workday; wouldn’t a disagreement make it pretty hard to work together effectively? And so, when someone would pitch an idea or want to attack a project a certain way, I’d always nod along—even if I didn’t think it was the right approach.

But constantly keeping mum only stifles the creativity and innovation of your entire team. You needdisagreement to spark better ideas. Plus, it gives you a chance to show your team and your boss that you offer real value to the department—rather than just a desire to appease everyone.

And the good news is, done the right way, you can disagree without ruining your work relationships.

Belief #3: “I Can Confide in Them About Anything”

It’s easy to become close with the person who sits two feet away from you for eight hours a day, 40+ hours a week. Over inside jokes and venting sessions, you really begin to trust the people you work with every day.

But no matter how close you are, there are certain subjects you shouldn’t broach with your co-workers. For example, if you’re thinking about leaving your current company, it may be tempting to ask your co-worker if she knows of any job openings or if she can glance at your resume to get it job-search ready. But you’re not going to be quite so pleased when she accidentally lets it slip to your boss that the dentist appointment you’re at is really a job interview.

You can probably trust your co-workers with a lot of things—but for the sake of your job and the future of your career, some things shouldn’t be shared.

Belief #4: “My Workday Should Mirror Theirs”

When you work in close proximity with your team, it’s easy to adopt their habits. That means if they work through lunch, you’ll probably be more inclined to work through lunch. You’ll aim to get into the office around the same time they do and leave when they finally pack up their things and head out.

In general, it’s not farfetched that you and your teammates will work similar hours. On the other hand, if you can finish your work more productively (read: in less time) than your team—or in a more productive way—you shouldn’t feel pressured to work just like your co-workers.

If you need to take a lunch break to be your most productive self, take it! If you get the bulk of your work done in the morning, talk to your boss about shifting your workday a little earlier. Or, if you’re just want to be a productivity machine, follow these tips to always leave the office on time. But you shouldn’t base your entire workday on theirs just because.

Belief #5: “They Only Get the Best Opportunities Because…”

Allison got the promotion because she’s the boss’ favorite? Mark got to go the national conference because he’s friends with the manager outside of the office? Kathy was chosen to give the presentation just because she’s been in the department the longest?

Sure, those things may be true—but more often, these assumptions stem from jealousy, and there’s actually a valid reason why your co-worker got a certain opportunity.

By making excuses or assumptions about why everyone else is getting the best opportunities, you may make yourself feel better temporarily—but it’s not helping you get any closer to deserving those opportunities yourself.

To stay on track for success, you should assume that to get the promotion, raise, or special opportunity, you need to work hard, perform well, and be the best—rather than worry about rumors or favoritism that may or may not be true.

While co-worker relationships are necessary and beneficial, you have to make sure you’re approaching them the right way—in a way that encourages success for both your team and your individual career.

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

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TIME Careers & Workplace

The Case For and Against Millennials as the Greatest Entrepreneurial Generation

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Why millennials are ideally suited to jump start and what’s holding them back

Will millennials prove themselves the greatest entrepreneurial generation, or the lost entrepreneurial generation? That is the question.

The generation born between 1981 and 1997 has grown up on the Internet and had access to entrepreneurship courses in college like no generation before, according to entrepreneurship organization the Kauffman Foundation in its 2015 State of Entrepreneurship Study.

At the same time, they also have a dubious amount of student loan debt to pay off, and many millennials struggled to find a job right out of college. Work experience and money in the bank are huge benefits for starting a business.

Related: Millennial Misconceptions: How You’re Totally Wrong About This Generation

Have a look at the infographic, embedded below, summarizing why millennials are ideally suited to jump start declining rates of entrepreneurship in the U.S. and what’s holding them back.

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The Kauffman Foundation

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

TIME Economy

Low Wage Workers Are Storming the Barricades

Activists Hold Protest In Favor Of Raising Minimum Wage
Alex Wong—Getty Images Activists hold protest In favor of raising minimum wage on April 29, 2014 in Washington, DC.

A few weeks back, when Walmart announced plans to raise its starting pay to $9 per hour, I wrote a column saying this was just the beginning of what would be a growing movement around raising wages in America. Today marks a new high point in this struggle, with tens of thousands of workers set to join walkouts and protests in dozens of cities including New York, Chicago, LA, Oakland, Raleigh, Atlanta, Tampa and Boston, as part of the “Fight for $15” movement to raise the federal minimum wage.

This is big shakes in a country where people don’t take to the streets easily, even when they are toiling full-time for pay so low it forces them to take government subsidies to make ends meet, as is the case with many of the employees from fast food retail outlets like McDonalds and Walmart, as well as the home care aids, child caregivers, launderers, car washers and others who’ll be joining the protests.

It’s always been amazing to me that in a country where 42% of the population makes roughly $15 per hour, that more people weren’t already holding bullhorns, and I don’t mean just low-income workers. There’s something fundamentally off about the fact that corporate profits are at record highs in large part because labor’s share is so low, yet when low-income workers have to then apply for federal benefits, the true cost of those profits gets pushed back not to companies, but onto taxpayers, at a time when state debt levels are at record highs. Talk about an imbalanced economic model.

A higher federal minimum wage is inevitable, given that numerous states have already raised theirs and most economists and even many Right Wing politicos are increasingly in agreement that potential job destruction from a moderate increase in minimum wages is negligible. (See a good New York Times summary of that here.) Indeed, the pressure is now on presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton to come out in favor of a higher wage, given her pronouncement that she wants to be a “champion” for the average Joe.

But how will all this influence the inequality debate that will be front and center in the 2016 elections? And what will any of it really do for overall economic growth?

As much as wage hikes are needed to help people avoid working in poverty, the truth is that they won’t do much to move the needle on inequality, since most of the wealth divide has happened at the top end of the labor spectrum. There’s been a $9 trillion increase in household stock market wealth since 2008, most of which has accrued to the top quarter or so of the population that owns the majority of stocks. C-suite America in particular has benefitted, since executives take home the majority of their pay in stock (and thus have reason to do whatever it takes to manipulate stock price.)

Higher federal minimum wages are a good start, but it’s only one piece of the inequality puzzle. Boosting wages in a bigger way will also requiring changing the corporate model to reflect the fact that companies don’t exist only to enrich shareholders, but also workers and society at large, which is the way capitalism works in many other countries. German style worker councils would help balance things, as would a sliding capital gains tax for long versus short-term stock holdings, limits on corporate share buybacks and fiscal stimulus that boosted demand, and hopefully, wages. (For a fascinating back and forth on that topic between Larry Summers and Ben Bernanke, see Brookings’ website.)

Politicians are going to have to grapple with this in the election cycle, because as the latest round of wage protests makes clear, the issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

Read next: Target, Gap and Other Major Retailers Face Staffing Probe

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TIME Labor

Fast Food Workers Protest for Higher Wages in Hundreds of Cities

Protesters gather at a McDonald's restaurant on tax day asking for higher wages in Miami Gardens, Fla., on April 15, 2015.
Joe Raedle—Getty Images Protesters gather at a McDonald's restaurant on tax day asking for higher wages in Miami Gardens, Fla., on April 15, 2015.

The Tax Day protest will take place in cities across the globe

Fast food workers are protesting across the world on Wednesday, their biggest action yet in a campaign for better wages that began more than two years ago. Protestors in the U.S. are pushing ahead with their demands of a $15 hourly wage and the right to unionize. The campaign has also gone global, with organizers saying strikes and protests will be taking place in 200 cities across 30 countries.

The fast food workers’ campaign in the U.S. launched in November 2012 in New York, and since then it has attracted support from other groups including students, health care workers and activists from the Black Lives Matter movement, who are also set to join in Wednesday’s rallies, Reuters reports.

Workers at airports and retail stores are also participating, protesting the increase of so-called “zero hour contracts,” in which an employer is not required to provide workers with a minimum number of hours per week.

Organizers said they chose Tax Day for the protests to highlight that they are paid so little that they are forced to rely on public aid to survive. Retailers such as Target and Walmart have recently announced increases to their hourly wage, but not to the level that workers are demanding.

TIME Companies

Google to Face Antitrust Charges in Europe

The Google logo is seen inside the company's offices in Berlin on Mar. 23, 2015.
Adam Berry—Getty Images The Google logo is seen inside the company's offices in Berlin on Mar. 23, 2015.

European Union regulators will charge Google with anti-competitive behavior

After a five-year antitrust investigation of Google, European regulators are said to be ready to file formal charges against the company as soon as Wednesday.

The European Commission plans to accuse the online search giant of violating the region’s antitrust laws, according to reports from the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. European Union regulators will charge Google with anti-competitive behavior such as diverting online traffic away from rival companies toward its own services.

The European Commission has spent half a decade investigating Google’s online behavior in an effort to find evidence that the company takes advantage of its dominant position in the online search market. Google could end up facing a fine of up to $6.6 billion in what would be one of the EU’s largest-ever antitrust battles.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is expected to announce the formal charges against Google in a statement Wednesday that will follow a meeting with other EU commissioners, according to the FT.

Rumors surfaced last month that the EU was wrapping up its investigation and that charges could be brought as soon as this month. WSJ reported earlier this month that the European Commission was requesting confidential information pertaining to Google’s online practices from companies that previously filed lawsuits against the U.S. tech company.

Last fall, European Parliament members voted overwhelmingly to approve a non-binding resolution that called for the break-up of Google in Europe, where the company has a nearly 90% market share, which is larger than its share of the U.S. market.

Google’s shares dipped 1.6% Tuesday afternoon before rising slightly in after-hours trading.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME

This Is the Retirement Regret Nobody Talks About

This is a big myth about retirement nobody talks about

There is ample evidence that baby boomers are working longer than any generation before them, pushing the “traditional” retirement age of 55 into the 60s, and with many — for personal or financial reasons — working right up to Social Security’s full retirement age of 67 and beyond.

People are living longer, and many older investors suffered losses when the stock market fell in the Great Recession. Today’s workplaces have been adjusting to accommodate for a growing number of older workers, and this trend towards putting off retirement is hailed as a generally positive shift in boomers’ approach to their golden years.

There’s just one thing: A lot of them regret it afterwards.

A new survey of retirees between the ages of 62 and 70 with $100,000 or more in investable assets conducted on behalf of New York Life found that nearly half of respondents wished they had retired earlier. More than half who were 60 or older when they retired regretted waiting so long.

On average, respondents wished they’d retired a full four years earlier than they actually did.

Three out of 10 retirees who had accumulated between $100,000 and $249,999 wished they’d retired sooner. About a quarter of those with between $250,000 and $1 million said the same, and even 20% of millionaires regretted not bowing out of the corporate rat race sooner.

“Investable assets and retirement age impact desire to retire sooner,” says David Cruz, a senior managing director at New York Life.

A lot of workers have been pushing themselves to work later in life, but hindsight makes them second-guess their decisions.

“As people age, they realize that during the time right before they retired they still had as much energy” as they did during their years in the professional world, Cruz says. Then as they age, it dawns on them that they were wasting the potentially best years of their retirement in the office. “They realize that having flexibility during those earliest potential retirement years can be priceless,” he says.

It’s a classic case of not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone — and it’s something that’s conspicuously absent in most of the conversations we have today about what makes for a satisfying retirement.

“We think that as people age and slow down, they realize how much they would have enjoyed additional years of flexibility when they were younger and more energetic,” Cruz says. “Most people spend a lifetime accumulating retirement assets but don’t know how to turn those assets into a fulfilling retirement.”

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