TIME Apple

Why Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Probably Has Way Too Many Direct Reports

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple's CEO Tim Cook.

He manages 17 people

Tim Cook took over the top role at Apple in 2011 and has since amassed 17 direct reports, according to an analysis by Business Insider.

Cook was only overseeing nine people when he took over as CEO of Apple, which means his management load has increased more than two-fold in almost four years. That’s a pretty significant gain — and one that management experts say may be more than one manager can handle.

According to Hal Gregersen, who heads up the MIT Leadership Center, told Business Insider that the ideal number of direct reports is between six and 12. The optimal number is dependent on how many people a leader can have in a room and still maintain a constructive conversation, said Gregersen.

Gregersen hasn’t studied Cook directly, but said that he has his work cut out for him: “The odds are against any team of 17 versus a team of six.”

For instance, in an hour-long meeting, 17 people would each have three-and-a-half minutes to share their thoughts, versus 10 minutes each for 6 workers. Small groups of people have the ability to go deeper on any one issue.

On the other hand, more direct reports could mean fewer layers of management. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch considered that an advantage when he ran the international conglomerate. It allowed “people to flex their muscles,” and it allowed him to “focus only on the big important issues, not on minutiae.”

TIME business leaders

These Are the Top-Rated Small Business CEOs

Eventbrite CEO Kevin Hartz Interview
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Kevin Hartz, chief executive officer of Eventbrite Inc.

The votes come from Glassdoor's latest executive survey

Job-hunter web site Glassdoor put out its third annual Employees’ Choice Awards today. They rank the top-rated CEOs in the country, based on votes by their own employees. Among the top-ranked CEOs of large companies (those with 1,000 or more employees) were big names such as Google’s Larry Page, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Tim Cook of Apple.

But the survey also honored CEOs of small and medium-sized companies (those with fewer than 1,000 employees), and Fortune readers may recognize quite a few of the names on that list.

The top six small-business CEOs, all with a 98% approval rating, were: Frank Williams of Evolent Health (founded in 2011, based in Virginia); Tobias Dengel of WillowTree (an app development company that’s been around since 2007); Renaud Laplanche of LendingClub; Greg Penske of Penske Motor Group (see Fortune‘s recent profile of Penske’s father Roger); David Durand of Best Version Media (a publishing company that owns 250 magazines); and Scott Smith of OneGuard, which offers home warranties.

Rounding out the top 10 are Kevin Hartz, cofounder and CEO of Eventbrite (a ticket marketplace and tech “unicorn”); John Dowd of the New Jersey travel agency Sundance Vacations; Darius Mirshahzadeh of Endeavor America Loan Services; and Brian Halligan, CEO of Boston-area marketing company HubSpot, which went public last year.

TIME Tesla

Elon Musk Personally Tests Tesla Autopilot Every Week

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Meets With Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, left, and Elon Musk share a laugh as they test drive a Tesla Model S sedan at Tesla headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif.

The ambitious CEO is testing out his company's newest futuristic feature himself

It’s a detail that only further cements his image as the real-life Tony Stark: Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk said on Tuesday that he personally tests Tesla’s new autopilot feature every week. It’s almost as if he’s using himself as a crash-test dummy.

The statement came at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Musk said that the first version of Tesla’s autopilot feature — which assists customers with steering in case an emergency arises — will appear in new models as soon as this month or next.

“I’m testing the latest version of autopilot every week,” he said. “Typically, two or three builds per week that I’m testing on my car… But it is quite a tricky thing and we want to make sure our testing is exhaustive before releasing the software. But if we keep making progress I think we will be able to get it out to early access customers, which is our public beta program, around the end of this month. The expectation is that someone is paying attention to the road and is ready to take over if there’s an issue.”

Self-driving cars are an area of business that holds great interest not only for Musk, but also for surprising competitors such as Google. Musk has gotten himself into hot water this year for certain comments about driverless vehicles (he controversially said people might eventually be outlawed from driving cars due to the dangers of human error), but he has plowed forward with plans in this area.

A fully autonomous Tesla car is still at least three years away, Musk added, and it could take another few years for government regulation to catch up.

While the autopilot function that Musk is testing on his own car isn’t quite the futuristic self-driving functionality so many are buzzing about, it’s a step in that direction.

TIME Video Games

Microsoft Taps Hit Game Producer to Develop ‘HoloLens Experiences’

Spike TV's "2010 Video Game Awards" - Arrivals
Frederick M. Brown—Getty Images BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka, Mass Effect 2 executive producer Casey Hudson, and BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk at Spike TV's "2010 Video Game Awards" held at the LA Convention Center on December 11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.

BioWare's Casey Hudson will focus on designing 3-D games for Microsoft's augmented reality headset

BioWare game producer Casey Hudson, who spearheaded the development of blockbuster titles such as Mass Effect, will join Microsoft as “creative director” of its gaming unit, with a focus on developing augmented reality games for the HoloLens.

“I was fortunate to try an early prototype of HoloLens before it was announced, and I was blown away by the technology and what it was already capable of,” Hudson said in an interview posted to Microsoft’s official Xbox blog on Monday. “I feel that the work being done at Microsoft on mixed reality and holographic computing will have a tremendous impact on how all of us interact with technology in the coming years.”

Hudson will report to Kudo Tsunoda, corporate vice president of next gen experiences.

TIME Dating

Whitney Wolfe Wants to Beat Tinder at Its Own Game

The woman who sued Tinder for sexual harassment is back. And her new app, Bumble, could change the dating game

On a sunny May morning in NYC, Whitney Wolfe smoothes her hair (golden) takes a sip of her iced coffee (black) and points across the leafy patio at a handsome guy sitting with a friend. “You swiped right in your head just now,” she says. “So did I.” Wouldn’t it be nice, she continues, if there were a bubble over his head listing his job and his education? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just get up and say ‘Hi?’ And wouldn’t it be nice if there was no way he would think you were desperate or weird if you did?

A year after she was ousted from Tinder and nine months after she sued the company for sexual harassment, Wolfe is back with a dating app of her own, dubbed Bumble. In essence, the app is an attempt to answer her train of questions above. It works just like other dating apps—users see pictures of other users, swipe right if they like what they see, and get matched if the interest is mutual. But there’s one essential difference: on Bumble, only women can send a message first.

For Wolfe, 25, that key difference is about “changing the landscape” of online dating by putting women in control of the experience. “He can’t say you’re desperate, because the app made you do it,” she says, adding that she tells her friends to make the first move and just “blame Bumble.” Matches expire after 24 hours, which provides an incentive for women to reach out before it’s too late (the women-message-first feature is only designed for straight couples—if you’re LGBTQ, either party can send the first message.)

Wolfe says she had always been comfortable making the first move, even though she felt the stigma around being too forward. “I would say ‘I’m just going to go up to him,’ and all my girlfriends were like ‘Oh no no no no, you can’t do that,'” she says. “Guys found it to be ‘desperate,’ when it wasn’t desperate, it was part of a broken system.”

Like many startup founders, Wolfe has big ambitions for the service: “It’s not a dating app, it’s a movement,” she says. “This could change the way women and men treat each other, women and men date, and women feel about themselves.”

Bumble launched about six months ago and seems to be catching on. With around half a million users sending 200,000 messages per day, it’s growing about 15% every week, Wolfe claims. Some 60% of matches turn into conversations. While Bumble has not yet monetized and won’t disclose the details of its funding, Wolfe’s partner and major funder is Andrey Andreev, founder of Badoo, the multi-billion dollar European social network. Their Austin-based office has only six employees—and five of them are women.

Wolfe was a co-founder at Tinder and widely credited with boosting that app’s popularity on college campuses. She was fired in the midst of a breakup with Justin Mateeen, the service’s chief marketer. Last year she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the company, alleging that Mateeen had publicly called her a “whore,” that then-CEO Sean Rad had dismissed her complaints against Mateen’s harassment as “dramatic,” and that her male colleagues stripped her of her co-founder title because they said that having a woman on the founding team would “make the company seem like a joke.” The lawsuit was later settled out of court and Wolfe is reported to have walked away with over $1 million, with no admission of guilt by either party. Tinder is owned by IAC.

Wolfe won’t discuss the lawsuit, except to say that anyone who expected her to disappear afterwards probably didn’t know her very well. “It was never like I was going to go hide in the bushes,” she says. And while the whole messy incident has been held up to illustrate the challenges women face in a notoriously bro-friendly tech culture, Wolfe stops short of calling out sexism in tech. “This isn’t necessarily a tech problem, this is a society problem,” she says. “I don’t think it’s been socially acceptable for women to drop out of college and start a tech company.”

Wolfe is adamant that “Bumble has nothing to do with Tinder,” but the comparisons are inevitable—they have similar matching mechanisms (the swipe) similar designs (Tinder designers Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick also designed Bumble) and similar marketing on college campuses. Still, Wolfe insists she’s not trying to beat Tinder at its own game. “It’s important to me that nothing we do harms Tinder,” she says. “I still hold equity in the company. It’s my baby.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s not using similar tactics to get it off the ground. One of Wolfe’s major contributions to Tinder was her ability to get college students to download the app. A former member of Kappa at Southern Methodist University, Wolfe shows up at sororities with yellow balloons, cartons of yellow Hanky-Panky lacy underwear, and always, she says, “a cute purse.” Then she hands out a thong to each sorority sister who sends out 10 invitations to Bumble. “By the end, I’d show up and they’d be like ‘Go away, we’re already all on it!'” she says.

Because of the female-first messaging model, Bumble seems to be free of some of the sleaziness that plagues Tinder, at least for now. Men post pictures of themselves wearing button downs (not muscle tees) or hugging their moms (not endangered species.) And because they can’t message first, guys can’t hedge their bets by swiping right on every girl they see and messaging all of them to see who bites.

Female users say they’ve been impressed with the guys on Bumble. “I felt like I was being punked or something, because all the guys are really good looking and had really good jobs,” explains Lauren Garzon, a 32-year old hotel manager in NYC. “So I was like, ‘Ya, I do want to date all of you.'” She says she was disappointed that few of the guys she messaged wrote back, but Jen Stith, a spokeswoman for Bumble, says the company is considering adding a time limit to encourage guys to respond more quickly to messages.

Why do men use the app? “Because girls like it,” says Bryan Oltman, a 28-year old Bumble user and software engineer who used to work at OKCupid. “And girls like it because it gives them more control over the conversation than other dating apps.”

Besides, just as women are sick of waiting for men to make the first move, some guys are sick of always having to come up with a line. “It’s flattering when someone reaches out to you,” says Larry Mahl, a 32-year old New Yorker who works at Yelp. “It’s easier as a guy, you’re swiping and then just letting the girls take the next step.” Plus, he adds, “the women are so impressive.”

Wolfe pulls out her cell phone, which is hot pink with a bright yellow bumble-bee decal on the back, and shows me a guy she matched with in Costa Rica, of all places. “Hot, right?” she says. (Wolfe is dating someone, but still swipes and messages in order to get user feedback.) She had messaged him that she was the founder of the company, and asked him for his thoughts. He only had one thing to say: “This is going to be the next big thing.”

TIME Innovation

Meet the Inventor Behind Tech’s Weirdest New Product

Satya Nadella Launches Microsoft Build Conference
Stephen Lam—Getty Images Alex Kipman, technical fellow, operating system group at Microsoft, speaks on stage during the 2015 Microsoft Build Conference on April 29, 2015 at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California.

Microsoft's HoloLens is an impressive augmented reality headset

Alex Kipman, Microsoft’s chief evangelist for the HoloLens, once again stole the show at Microsoft’s Build conference on Wednesday, urging developers to “move beyond devices, to move beyond screens and pixels and to move beyond today’s digital borders.” In a word: move to holograms already.

Hardly 100 days have passed since Kipman first emerged from a windowless lab beneath Microsoft’s Visitor Center and unveiled a new virtual reality headset to a stunned press corps. The HoloLens effectively projects 3-D holograms directly in front of the user in a seamless blend of fantasy and reality.

“We’ve worked on this program for years,” Kipman said at the time, “hiding in plain sight in the Microsoft visitor’s center.” In an instant, Kipman was vaulted from relative obscurity to one of Microsoft’s single most interesting employees.

The Brazilian-born software engineer joined Microsoft shortly after graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001. He bounced from division to division before landing a career-defining role as “director of incubation” for the company’s Xbox department. There, he oversaw the development of Xbox Kinect, a motion-sensing device that turns the gamer’s body into a controller. It was an instant success, selling 1 million units in the first 10 days of its release in 2010. Kipman, barely past the age of 30, earned an honored place in TIME’s “Top 25 Nerds of the Year.”

Kinect cemented Kipman’s reputation as one of Microsoft’s resident fantasists, perpetually dissatisfied with the current state of computing. “Alex has a certain naiveté about what’s not possible,” said long-time colleague Peter Loforte in an interview on Microsoft’s official blog.

With his shoulder-length hair and penchant for graphic t-shirts, Kipman bears a passing resemblance to a new age guru. He calls programmers “dreamers” and draws inspiration from the Burning Man festival, “as cleansing creatively as you can get,” he told Fast Company. But in that same interview, he revealed an unrelenting work day, beginning at 7:00 am, bookended by several hours of “create” time and finishing anywhere between “10:00 pm to done.”

Kipman has railed against the way users interact with screens. “They have started to disappear into their devices,” he said in 2012, “real life is passing them by and they don’t even know it!” At that moment he was also overseeing a secret program at Microsoft to develop a holographic headset, codenamed “Project Baraboo.”

It was five years in the making, Kipman told Wired, and he summed up the effort as a very elaborate trick of the eye. “You essentially hallucinate the world,” he said to Wired, “or you see what your mind wants you to see.”

For more on Microsoft’s HoloLens, watch the video below:

TIME psychology

Atul Gawande: The Building Industry’s Strategy for Getting Things Right in Complexity

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Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

Checklists establish a higher level of baseline performance

A useful reminder from Atul Gawande, in The Checklist Manifesto:

In a complex environment, experts are up against two main difficulties. The first is the fallibility of human memory and attention, especially when it comes to mundane, routine matters that are easily overlooked under the strain of more pressing events. (When you’ve got a patient throwing up and an upset family member asking you what’s going on, it can be easy to forget that you have not checked her pulse.) Faulty memory and distraction are a particular danger in what engineers call all-or-none processes: whether running to the store to buy ingredients for a cake, preparing an airplane for takeoff, or evaluating a sick person in the hospital, if you miss just one key thing, you might as well not have made the effort at all.

A further difficulty, just as insidious, is that people can lull themselves into skipping steps even when they remember them. In complex processes, after all, certain steps don’t always matter. … “This has never been a problem before,” people say. Until one day it is.

Checklists seem to provide protection against such failures. They remind us of the minimum necessary steps and make them explicit. They not only offer the possibility of verification but also instill a kind of discipline of higher performance.


How you employ the checklist is also important. In the face of complexity most organizations tend to centralize decisions, which reduces the risk for egregious error. The costs to this approach are high too. Most employees loathe feeling like they need a hall pass to use the washroom. That’s why these next comments were so inspiring.

There is a particularly tantalizing aspect to the building industry’s strategy for getting things right in complex situations: it’s that it gives people power. In response to risk, most authorities tend to centralize power and decision making. That’s usually what checklists are about—dictating instructions to the workers below to ensure they do things the way we want. Indeed, the first building checklist I saw, the construction schedule on the right-hand wall of O’Sullivan’s conference room, was exactly that. It spelled out to the tiniest detail every critical step the tradesmen were expected to follow and when—which is logical if you’re confronted with simple and routine problems; you want the forcing function.

But the list on O’Sullivan’s other wall revealed an entirely different philosophy about power and what should happen to it when you’re confronted with complex, nonroutine problems—such as what to do when a difficult, potentially dangerous, and unanticipated anomaly suddenly appears on the fourteenth floor of a thirty-two-story skyscraper under construction. The philosophy is that you push the power of decision making out to the periphery and away from the center. You give people the room to adapt, based on their experience and expertise. All you ask is that they talk to one another and take responsibility. That is what works.

The strategy is unexpectedly democratic, and it has become standard nowadays, O’Sullivan told me, even in building inspections. The inspectors do not recompute the wind-force calculations or decide whether the joints in a given building should be bolted or welded, he said. Determining whether a structure like Russia Wharf or my hospital’s new wing is built to code and fit for occupancy involves more knowledge and complexity than any one inspector could possibly have. So although inspectors do what they can to oversee a building’s construction, mostly they make certain the builders have the proper checks in place and then have them sign affidavits attesting that they themselves have ensured that the structure is up to code. Inspectors disperse the power and the responsibility.

“It makes sense,” O’Sullivan said. “The inspectors have more troubles with the safety of a two-room addition from a do-it-yourselfer than they do with projects like ours. So that’s where they focus their efforts.” Also, I suspect, at least some authorities have recognized that when they don’t let go of authority they fail.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

How This Entrepreneur Launched 52 Businesses in 1 Year

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“Take action, but without leaping”

Calling it the most transformative experience of his entrepreneurial life, 29-year-old Colin Grussing has officially made good on a dizzying vow: to build a new business every week for one year.

Entitled 52businesses, the project was derived by New Orleans-based Grussing last March to help destigmatize the early-stage startup paradigm. In addition to conceiving proprietary ventures, 52businesses pivoted partway through its mission to serve as a kind of collaborative consultant for existing startups and nonprofits. They welcomed ventures of every stripe, Grussing says, from scalable concepts to local mom-and-pops.

Looking back at the year, some favorites include Apocalypse Camp, a survival course for adults that recently blew past its Kickstarter goal; the task delivery app Meusu; and Operation Spark, a non-profit that teaches at-risk youth to build prototypes for local startups.

“Over time, we simultaneously became more open-minded and more concise in our approach,” says Grussing’s partner, Jason Seidman, who serves as 52businesses’ CEO.

Related: Inspired or Insane: This 28-Year-Old Vows to Launch a New Business Every Week for One Year

Given the project’s audacity, however, Grussing discusses success in relative terms. Today, 87 percent of the businesses continue to thrive, he says — by which he means they haven’t closed their doors yet. While 27 percent have made new hires, another 22 percent say they intend to do so within the next three months.

All told, the project has cost Grussing — who previously made money in real estate — roughly $100,000, he says.

While many of the businesses may have legs, its biggest money-maker to date has fins, Seidman jokes. During week five, not long after the Super Bowl, the team decided to vend a shark costume — even as Katy Perry’s legal team was blasting out cease and desist letters to other entrepreneurs attempting to profit off her campy halftime show.

“Sharks are so hot right now,” reads the costume’s carefully-worded ecommerce site, “everywhere from Katy, Texas, to Perryville, Mo.” At $165 a pop, Grussing says he’s raking in $1,000 to $2,000 per week.

Related: Young ‘Trep on Launching 25 Businesses in 25 Weeks: ‘I’m Loving Every Second’

If 52businesses has been invigorating on a professional level, it has wreaked havoc on Grussing’s personal life. Though Seidman found love during week 17 — a collaboration with a social entrepreneurship program at Tulane University — Grussing’s fiancé ultimately broke off their engagement due to the endeavor’s crushing weight.

“I treated her more like an intern than I should have,” Grussing concedes. However, the two have since reconciled and are planning a beach trip away from any work distractions — though Grussing says he wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to product-test a forthcoming floating beer koozie.

Indeed, the concept of a vacation doesn’t seem to exist in Grussing’s frenetic mind. Case in point: just one month after closing a chapter on 52business’ first year, the team is — yep — getting ready to start back up all over again.

But this time, they’re not going at it alone. While Grussing initially intended to subsidize 52businesses via corporate sponsorships, the team is now seeking investors to turn 52businesses into a permanent seed incubator program. “We’ve been talking to several different funds in the city, and a few outside, that just want to have those feet in the ground in New Orleans,” Seidman says.

Related: In New Orleans, ‘Tis the Season for Startups

The team also plans to harness lessons learned in order to improve their approach. One of the biggest stumbling blocks last year, Seidman says, was encountering participants who were “interested in the allure of entrepreneurship but who weren’t necessarily willing to put in the time it takes to be an entrepreneur.”

“Which was a big part of the mission,” Grussing adds, “to show people before they quit their jobs, whether or not they should quit their jobs.”

And at the end of the day, Grussing says, there are several actionable takeaways to be gleaned from the experiment. “Focus on being effective rather than efficient,” he says, and accept that surprises — both good and bad — are inevitably lurking around every turn.

“Take action, but without leaping,” Seidman suggests. “Utilize your network and your friends and your family to get a prototype — without quitting your job first, without dropping out of school. And then if the idea proves to continue growing, then it’s time to reevaluate those things.”

Related: Stress, Anxiety, Loneliness: How This Entrepreneur Lost Himself and Bounced Back Stronger

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com.

TIME Business

The New Recipe for Women Entrepreneurs to Find Success

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One initiative in New York City is boosting female entrepreneurship

Alicia Glen, New York’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, may have found the city’s special sauce: women entrepreneurs. In unveiling Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC), a new initiative to increase the number of female entrepreneurs from underserved communities, Glen invoked the case of a would-be mole seller in the Bronx: a woman who has mastered, but not yet marketed, her grandmother’s recipe. “We’re going to teach you how to take that amazing mole recipe and get it into the stream of commerce,” Glen explained. Working with Citi, Goldman Sachs, and microlender Grameen America, WE NYC is precisely the kind of public-private partnership that, done right, has the potential to improve the incomes and lives of low-income women, children and families, create jobs, and drive more broad-based economic growth across the city.

The entrepreneur holds a special place in the American psyche. This is true not only of the nation’s iconic entrepreneurs – Ben Franklin, Andrew Carnegie, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates – but of the millions of unheralded small business owners whose personal livelihoods, and the vibrancy of their communities, depend on the viability of their enterprises. Research now affirms just how important entrepreneurs are to broader employment: in the last 30 years, start-ups and young companies have been the primary engines of net new job creation in the United States.

When it comes to women and entrepreneurship, the story is both worse – and more promising. The gender gap in entrepreneurship is a real and global phenomenon. In the U.S., where women comprise more than half of the educated population, women-owned businesses account for only 16 percent of the nation’s employer firms (at high growth firms, it is only 10 percent). New York’s data bears this out as well. The State of Women Entrepreneurs in NYC, the preliminary findings of New York City’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS), released in coordination with the WE NYC launch last week, showed that although there has been a steady increase in women-owned businesses in New York – where women entrepreneur businesses represent 32 percent of all registered companies – a significant “economic impact” gap remains: men still own 1.5 times as many businesses as women, employ 3.5 times more people per business, and generate 4.5 times more sales per business.

New York City is not the first to highlight these discrepancies. Much attention has been paid of late to the gender gap in STEM and STEM entrepreneurship at the engineer and employee, board and venture capital level, in Silicon Valley and in the corporate world beyond. These distortions – and their economic and financial costs – have spurred a new kind of investment thesis, one centered on unlocking the value of “gender capitalism” in a number of ways: investing in companies that provide critical goods and services to women or in those that are women owned, led, governed or promote workplace equity more broadly. Increasingly, and in response to (often women led) investor demand for social “impact,” large financial institutions are creating products and vehicles that employ the “gender lens:” U.S. Trust offers clients a Women and Girls Equality (WGES) investment approach (which in 2013 outperformed its S&P 1500 benchmark); Morgan Stanley’s Parity Portfolio screens for companies with three or more women on the board; Barclays Women in Leadership Total Return Index and exchange-traded notes (WIL) includes companies with a female CEO or women comprising at least 25 percent of directors. Sallie Krawcheck, one of the most successful women on Wall Street and former Bank of America executive, recently launched the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund (PXWEX), which invests in companies that advance women in a number of ways. Last week, Pax Ellevate encouraged the companies in its fund to sign on to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, a joint initiative of the United Nations Global Company and UN Women (the Principles includes guidelines for ways companies can empower women in the work place, marketplace, and community).

WE NYC harnesses this gender lens, but shifts focus from board room to barrio. The logic is similar – investing in women makes good economic sense – but the program is concerned with the poor in New York City, where nearly 25 percent of all women and girls are economically vulnerable, and where 40 percent of the households headed by a single mother (raising more than one million children) live in poverty.

The blueprint comes less from portfolio theory than it does from places like Bangladesh, where microfinance proved that small loans and supports to women to start and run businesses could be a pathway to income stability and long-term economic security. Such is the hope of WE NYC and why Grameen America, started by Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus to bring the microfinance to the U.S., is a founding partner.

This kind of collaboration will be critical to WE NYC’s success. In creating the program, the SBS interviewed women entrepreneurs across the city to better understand the obstacles they faced in setting up and expanding their business. The response: access to capital, business education and support systems, gender discrimination, and the challenges of “going it alone.” Accordingly, WE NYC will focus on these fundamentals. With the help of Citi, SBS will target women for existing entrepreneurship programs. Grameen America will provide free business building services to their community of 27,000 women borrowers, most from the city’s low-income communities. SBS will also work closely with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, a program once run by the Deputy Mayor Glen, which too provides entrepreneurs with technical assistance and access to capital. SBS will also continue to draw on existing partners like Brooklyn based Etsy, the online marketplace for handmade and artisanal goods that has participated in “microbusiness” workforce development programs. Etsy, which in 2014 facilitated nearly $2 billion in sales from microentrepreneurs across the globe and has recently filed for IPO, transcends the gender gap: 88% of its sellers are women.

WE NYC aims to serve 5,000 women entrepreneurs over three years. Partnerships are critical not just for the resources to make this possible. They remind all of us about the shared responsibility – and rewards – of broad-based prosperity. Or what Sally Krawcheck calls “the big idea 2015: inclusive capitalism = a more prosperous capitalism.

Georgia Levenson Keohane is a Senior Fellow at New America and Director of the Program on Profits and Purpose. This piece was originally published in New America’s digital magazine, The Weekly Wonk. Sign up to get it delivered to your inbox each Thursday here, and follow @New America on Twitter.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Food & Drink

The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink

In a months-long collaboration, Fortune and Food & Wine considered hundreds of extraordinary women to find those who have had the most transformative impact in the past year. Here are five of the inspiring winners; read the full list here

  • 1. Ertharin Cousin, The United Nations World Food Programme

    AFP—AFP/Getty Images

    “I’ve visited Sudanese refugee camps in Chad and seen first-hand the important work that WFP does. Since Ertharin took charge two years ago, WFP has fed more than 177 million hungry people. She’s a big champion of 1,000 Days, an important campaign aimed at getting nutrition to children very early on, when their brains and bodies are developing most rapidly.” —Lauren Bush Lauren, cofounder of Feed

  • 2. Chellie Pingree, Congresswoman, Maine

    Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) speaks to constituents at a reception and dinner promoting gay rights in Portland, Me.

    “We can’t expect better food policy out of Washington, DC, until we elect more leaders like my friend Chellie Pingree. As one of the only organic farmers in Congress, with more than 40 years of agriculture-policy experience, she has a unique vantage point. Through her work on the 2014 Farm Bill, she has tripled the amount of money allocated for farmers’ markets and local-food programs.” —Tom Colicchio, chef, activist and Top Chef head judge

    MORE: Best Top Chef Restaurants

  • 3. Barbara Banke, Jackson Family Wines

    Jackson Family Wines

    “Steve Jobs was my partner at Pixar for 25 years, and we always said that quality is the best business plan. I’ve long admired Barbara for her focus on quality at every price point. And now she’s investing in research on the health benefits of leftover grapeseeds and skins. I mix her WholeVine grapeseed flour into smoothies.” —John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Walt Disney & Pixar Animation Studios; cofounder, Lasseter Family Winery

  • 4. Stephanie Soechtig, Atlas Films


    “I became obsessed with childhood obesity because the statistics were so dire. So I approached Stephanie (who directed the documentary Tapped) to see if she’d do a film, and with Laurie David, we made Fed Up. Stephanie was the heart and soul of the movie. She found all of the children we followed for two years and got them to talk openly about trying to follow conventional wisdom regarding diet and exercise. And she showed why, for most of those kids, the guidelines just don’t work.”—Katie Couric, global news anchor for Yahoo!

    MORE: Great Picks from Star Chefs

  • 5. Judy Chan, Grace Vineyard

    Yihuan Wan—EYA Photographics

    As China’s interest in wine explodes, the world is watching Judy Chan. Twelve years ago, at age 24, she took charge of the winery her father cofounded, Grace Vineyard. Today, Grace makes more than two million bottles a year, with grapes like the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot in its Chairman’s Reserve. “That’s my dad’s wine,” Chan says. She launched a restaurant at the winery in Shanxi, and plans to open more of them as well as wine bars: “I want to get to know my clients better, and these are good places to reach out.”


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