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  • 8:43 am

These job referrals won’t guarantee you’ll get a fair salary

There’s a hidden diversity gap in the way people get jobs, and it affects their salary.

Payscale surveyed over 53,000 people to see if they received a referral to get their current job. They discovered that while employee referrals are the most common job application method in most industries, not all referrals carry equal weight–nor do they guarantee the job seeker will get the best salary for the position.

The most valuable type of referral comes from a business contact such as a former colleague—the higher up the corporate ladder, the better. But it makes a difference if you’re a male or female job seeker. Through this type of referral, men can expect to get an offer of $8,200 more than the average base salary for the position but women would only see their salary offer increase by an average of $3,700.

If that referral comes from a friend or family member, the lack of clout shows in the salary offer, reducing it by an average of $1,600.

Not everyone can get a referral, regardless. Men of color are 26% less likely to have gotten one for their current job, and women of color are 35% less likely.LD

  • 7:50 am

Just three weeks in, mergers are on fire in 2018

The total value of mergers between companies around the world since January 1 has already hit $152.5 billion, reports Bloomberg. That makes 2018 the biggest year for mergers during the same period than any since the dotcom boom of the year 2000, when $374 billion in mergers took place during the same three-week period. Experts attribute the boom in mergers so far this year to the U.S. corporate tax cut and the rising stock market.MG

  • 5:38 am

Tesla says Elon Musk will only get paid when the company does well

The auto company said Musk will only receive compensation for his work as CEO if the company and its shareholders do well, reports Reuters. Specifically, in a statement the company said, “Elon [Musk] will receive no guaranteed compensation of any kind–no salary, no cash bonuses, and no equity that vests simply by the passage of time.” Musk’s new performance awards include a 10-year grant of stock options that vest in steps, but which only vest if company market cap and operational milestones are achieved.MG

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  • 5:23 am

Montana is the first state to implement net neutrality

On Monday, the state’s Democratic governor signed an executive order requiring all ISPs with a state contract to commit to net neutrality, reports CNET. That commitment means those ISPs won’t be able to slow down or block access to specific sites on the internet. In December the FCC repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules. As a result, some states, like Montana, are seeking ways around that repeal. New York and Rhode Island are two of the states that are working on laws like Montana’s right now.MG

Congress votes to reopen the government for another 3 weeks

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and GOP leader Mitch McConnell came to an agreement Monday afternoon to fund the government through February 8. The agreement was contingent on a promise from the GOP that Congress would revisit the immigration issue–specifically the fate of young undocumented immigrants, or “Dreamers,” formerly protected under DACA–in the next few weeks. But nothing’s in writing, and in the current fractious environment, the agreement may not hold. The Senate vote was 81-18.

Shortly after the Senate vote, the House passed the short-term continuance on a vote of 266-150. The measure now heads to the president’s desk. He’s expected to sign it quickly, ending the shutdown, and kicking the budgetary can to the beginning of next month.

The measure continues funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for another six years. It also discontinues a set of tax increases intended to help fund the Affordable Care Act. See a list of the senators who brokered the end to the shutdown at the New York Times.

Read moreU.S. officials are going to be late to Davos because of the shutdownMS

Netflix keeps growing bigger and faster than anyone expected

Netflix keeps growing bigger and faster than anyone expected
[Photo: courtesy of Netflix]

How much bigger can Netflix get? The video-streaming giant just reported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017, and the subscriber arrow is once again pointing in the right direction. The company blew past estimates for domestic and international subscriber growth–both are closely watched metrics that indicate whether the creeping presence of competitors like Hulu and Amazon pose a threat to the market leader.

If the last three months of 2017 are any indication, Reed Hastings and his company need not worry—at least not about attracting new viewers. The company added a total of 8.33 million subscribers in the quarter, far higher than the estimates of 6.34 million. More important, subscriber growth in the United States also exceeded expectations, with 1.98 million net additions compared to a StreetAccount estimate of 1.29 million cited by CNBC.

Here are a few other key stats from the report:

  • Total revenue was $3.29 billion, up 33% versus last year
  • Earnings per share were 41 cents, about even with estimates
  • Net income was $186 million, versus $67 million last year
  • Average paid streaming memberships grew 25%, versus last year
  • Global net additions of 8.33 million were the highest quarter on record
  • 24 million new memberships in all of 2017, compared to 19 million in 2016
  • Free cash flow in Q4 was -$524 million, bringing full year free cash flow -$2 billion

CZ

Waymo will test out self-driving cars in congested Atlanta

Waymo will test out self-driving cars in congested Atlanta
[Photo: courtesy of Waymo]

Waymo is bringing its self-driving minivans to Atlanta. The company isn’t specifying how large the pilot will be.

In April 2017, the Alphabet-owned company first launched a public pilot of its self-driving cars in Phoenix, Arizona. Last November, it removed the safety driver from behind the wheel.  Now it’s expanding the pilot beyond Arizona.

Waymo has been testing its self-driving technology for roughly nine years, traversing some 4 million miles; Atlanta marks the 25th city that Waymo has trialed its self-driving technology. Of late, those tests have been run in Central Valley, California; Novi, Michigan; Kirkland, Washington; and of course, Phoenix, Arizona.RR

Hate gerrymandering? You’ll love this

Hate gerrymandering? You’ll love this
[Map: Wikipedia Commons]

In a huge win for anti-gerrymandering activists, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s current congressional districts are unconstitutional. The court is making officials redraw the map before the upcoming 2018 election.

In short, the court ruled that Pennsylvania’s current congressional map is partisan and therefore unfair. Given that Pennsylvania is an important swing state, this could have a huge impact on future elections. 

Pennsylvania isn’t the only state taking up this fight. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take on three gerrymandering cases: Wisconsin, Maryland, and Texas. With today’s Pennsylvania victory, all eyes will be on whether SCOTUS will agree and find current maps unconstitutional.CGW

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Thinx’s new CEO is trying really hard to rehabilitate the company’s image

Thinx’s new CEO is trying really hard to rehabilitate the company’s image
[Photo: courtesy of Thinx]

In a Racked story today, we learned that six months into her role as Thinx CEO, Maria Molland Selby has made a slew of changes to fight back against earlier reports of questionable work culture and paltry employee benefits, which led to founder Miki Agrawal’s ousting last year.

Some of these developments aren’t entirely new. Even as Agrawal was taking her leave, Thinx had tweaked its maternity leave policies. (At the time, Agrawal herself was one of three pregnant women at the company.) Racked reports that Thinx employees now receive 12 weeks of paid parental leave. In addition, Thinx has appointed a VP of People Operations, increased health insurance subsidies, and raised salaries. The company also made a number of charitable contributions last year–perhaps, in part, to offset criticisms that Thinx didn’t uphold its feminist messaging.

How employees feel about the changes isn’t entirely clear, though Racked  quotes one employee, Natalie Pattillo, who claims there has been a “major shift.” “I know this sounds strange, but it just feels like how a real company should be operating, as opposed to, ‘Oh, we’re a startup, we’re supposed to be cutting corners. That’s part of the deal,'” she told Racked.

Of course, all these changes are likely also intended to convince skeptical consumers (and the media) that Thinx is committed to an equitable, safe workplace–and that the company means what it says in its cheery, feminist ad campaigns.PM

U.S. officials are going to be late to Davos because of the shutdown

U.S. officials are going to be late to Davos because of the shutdown
[Photo: Flickr user martin_vmorris]

Grab a box of tissues before reading this post. The government shutdown has forced some U.S. officials to–wait for it–delay their trips to Davos. Davos, of course, is the luxurious Swiss ski resort that hosts the World Economic Summit where world leaders bump elbows with celebrities and business executives.

Hopefully, attendees Cate Blanchett, Elton John, and Will.i.am won’t be too torn up that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin‘s arrival has been delayed. Mnuchin, who is leading the U.S. delegation of Cabinet members and aides, was scheduled to leave Monday, with President Donald Trump following later in the week. However, in the wake of the shutdown, per the AP, his trip was put off.

It’s unclear whether this is because Mnuchin is busy doing something to alleviate the shutdown or just because it looks bad to have him jetting off to a glitzy Swiss resort while federal employees are being furloughed at home. Either way, the story is almost as heart-wrenching as Ethan Hawke’s heroic tale of surviving 11 trips to the Sundance Film Festival.ML

Sorry, Facebook, people around the world think you’re a media company now

Sorry, Facebook, people around the world think you’re a media company now
[Photo: Slava Bowman /Unsplash]

Even though Facebook controls the flow of information to more than 2 billion people, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long resisted the idea that his vast social network is a media company. Most recently, he doubled down on his anti-media notion by promising to reduce the news-feed reach of public posts in favor of those posted by family and friends. But in terms of public perception, Facebook may be fighting a losing battle, as almost half of news consumers don’t seem to be making the distinction between social media and traditional media anymore.

That’s according to the 18th annual “Trust Barometer” survey from Edelman, which asked consumers in 28 countries what they assumed was meant by the term “media” in general. Of the respondents, 48% said they included social platforms in that definition, while 25% said they considered search platforms media. That’s still lower than the 89% who said they assumed “media” meant journalists, but it indicates that the traditional definitions are becoming blurrier—and more complicated.

You can check out the full 2018 Trust Barometer here.

[Courtesy of Edelman]
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the CEO of Edelman and misattributed a quote that has since been removed. We regret the error.CZ

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Details of DJI’s new drone, the Mavic Air, leak before its reveal

Details of DJI’s new drone, the Mavic Air, leak before its reveal
[Photo: DJI Mavick Air Drone / Drone DJ]

Consumer drone giant DJI loves big reveals, and it’s supposed to have one in New York City tomorrow. But, unfortunately, the cat appears to already be out of the bag: The Chinese company is said to be launching yet another new drone, the Mavic Air.

According to Drone DJ, leaked info suggests the new flying robot features a 32-megapixel camera with panorama mode; 4K video; a 21-minute flight time; a 3-way gimbal; four foldable legs, same as DJI’s Mavic Pro; and a series of gesture controls, object avoidance, and a Visual Positioning System.

It’s also said to come in three colors.

However, it’s not clear if the Mavic Air fits somewhere between DJI’s Mavic Spark and its Mavic Pro, or if it’s a replacement for the Spark. All will be revealed tomorrow.DT

Here’s why Uber Eats just acquired David Chang’s Ando delivery service

Here’s why Uber Eats just acquired David Chang’s Ando delivery service
[Photo: Flickr user dronepicr]

Uber Eats has acquired David Chang’s latest operation: Ando, a delivery-only lunch menu that operates out of a couple of industrial kitchens around Manhattan. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. For the time being, Ando will be shuttering operations. The announcement comes roughly six months after Andy Taylor, former head of Hale and Hearty Soups, took over as CEO.

Between June and August of last year, Uber Eats grew its monthly unique users from 2.5 million to 5.3 million, according to data from Verto Analytics. It operates in 200 cities around the world. In July, Uber Eats was earning a profit in 27 of those locations, according to the New York Times. Though food delivery is a hyper competitive market between incumbents like GrubHub and newcomers like Deliveroo and Postmates, Uber Eats has pushed its restaurant analytics platform as a way to attract new business.

“We focus on—here’s how much you sell each day and here’s how that varies every day,” Chetan Narain, a lead product engineer at Uber, told me last year. He said, Uber’s access to a broad spectrum of restaurant data enables restaurants to achieve higher efficiencies. “We benchmark restaurant performance against other restaurants,” he adds.

What the deal with Ando will give the company is further insight into restaurant operations. David Chang and his team of chefs have spent a good chunk of their time figuring out ways to make the kitchen more productive, so food gets out the door faster. Uber will be keen to share what Ando has learned with others.RR

Sergei Eisenstein only had to reinvent cinema to earn his Google Doodle tribute

Sergei Eisenstein only had to reinvent cinema to earn his Google Doodle tribute
[Illustration: courtesy of Google]

Today’s Google Doodle pays homage to Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein on what would have been his 120th birthday. While his name may not mean much to you, Eisenstein is considered to be the “father of the montage,” and the impact of his work can be seen in most modern blockbusters.

Eisenstein started his career making propaganda for the Soviet Union, but he soon turned to moviemaking, and his talent thrust him into the international spotlight. The Google Doodle features Eisenstein reviewing animated film strips with imagery inspired by his work, including the 1925 films Battleship Potemkin and Strike. It was in Battleship Potemkin that Eisenstein mastered the art of the montage, weaving together short shots, filled with images that show the passage of time, the psychological impact and importance of an event, and gives viewers a great deal of information in a short span.

Thanks to Eisenstein’s artistic vision, the montage has become a fixture of modern cinema and can be seen in films ranging from Citizen Kane to Team America: World Police to Rocky

However, it wasn’t just Eisenstein’s impeccable editing that turned him into a filmmaking legend. “His films were also revolutionary in another sense, as he often depicted the struggle of downtrodden workers against the ruling class,” reads Google’s post accompanying the Eisenstein doodle. That vision is how an icon–and a Google Doodle–is born.

ML

Cord-cutting blues: Hulu and YouTube are behind in the race to replace cable TV

Cord-cutting blues: Hulu and YouTube are behind in the race to replace cable TV
[Photo:jan dooley /Unsplash]

Streaming TV bundles from Hulu and YouTube are reportedly off to a slow start. Sources tell CNBC that Hulu with Live TV has roughly 450,000 subscribers, while YouTube TV has just over 300,000. By comparison, AT&T’s DirecTV Now bundle surpassed 1 million subscribers around its first birthday in December, and unofficial estimates put Dish’s Sling TV over the 2 million subscriber mark since launching in February 2015.

In fairness, Hulu only launched 8 months ago, while YouTube TV launched nine months ago. There’s also a silver lining for Hulu and YouTube: Their existing video services are  already popular, and they’re under no pressure to replace a dwindling pay TV subscriber base like AT&T and Dish are. Still, the numbers from CNBC just underscore how cutthroat the streaming bundle business has become, which might explain why Amazon and Verizon have so far avoided joining the fray.

This story has been updated with more context on launch dates for each streaming bundle.JN

The Financial Times is giving away free subscriptions to teens

The Financial Times is giving away free subscriptions to teens
[Photo: Element5 Digital /Unsplash]

The Financial Times has a smart way to rope in new paying customers: Get them while they’re young. The media company used to give free FT.com access to students between the ages of 16 and 19. Now it’s opening that up to students around the world. So any 16-to-19-year-old enrolled at a school can receive free access to the newspaper’s digital content.

This is just one of many strategies the FT implements to have a more diversified revenue model. The company has built out one of the most robust subscription businesses over the last two decades. I recently chatted with the company’s CEO about the paper’s strategy and why he doesn’t believe digital advertising is sustainable for media. You can read it here.CGW

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Millennials might be perfectionists, but don’t (just) blame social media

Millennials might be perfectionists, but don’t (just) blame social media
[Photo: Carl Heyerdahl /Unsplash]

Last week the New York Times reported on a new meta-analysis that found increasing perfectionist tendencies among college students today versus those three decades ago. Perfectionism was 33% higher on college campuses in 2016 than it was in 1989, according to over 41,000 students’ responses to a (nonclinical) instrument called the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale spanning those years. A likely culprit researchers identified? Social media.

While we know “social comparisons” encouraged by platforms like Facebook and Instagram can lead to low self-assessments, it’s probably not fair to just point the finger at social media. As a Times commenter named Terry puts it:

The older generation loves to blame social media and the Internet for everything “wrong” with my generation but, as usual, fails to consider the economic pressure put on millennials . . . Those of us who want to make the kind of money to pay off our student loans and one day (god forbid!) perhaps even buy a house and a car find ourselves entering highly competitive application processes (for jobs in business, finance, tech; for law or med school, etc.)

This study aside, there still isn’t a lot of solid research on millennial behaviors and where they originate. By comparison, there’s ampleand largely grimdata on the economic pressures facing people like Terry.RB

This map shows which states are most affected by the government shutdown

This map shows which states are most affected by the government shutdown
[Photo: Craig Whitehead /Unsplash]

The government shutdown is a giant pain in the neck that extends across all 50 states. However, some fare worse than others when the government hangs up a “gone fishing” sign.

WalletHub decided to figure out which states will be hurt the most by a prolonged shutdown by looking at metrics including the number of federal employees, federal contract dollars, and small business lending. Based on their results, so-called Blue States will feel the brunt of the government closure, which undoubtedly suits the Republican-led government just fine.

Source: WalletHub

The most affected states are those that make up the federal government’s ecosystem–Maryland , Virginia, and D.C. itself, where many government employees live and are currently “enjoying” furloughs. However, the impact of the shutdown extends far beyond the seat of government, with Alaska and Hawaii–the two states that are farthest from the Beltway– rounding out the top 5 due to their high number of federal employees and national parks.ML

Netflix stock jumps ahead of earnings, and we can probably thank “Stranger Things”

Netflix stock jumps ahead of earnings, and we can probably thank “Stranger Things”
[Photo: courtesy of Netflix]

Netflix will drop its fourth-quarter 2017 earnings this afternoon, and investors are already getting giddy. Shares of the video-streaming giant were up 3% in early-morning trading, with analysts expecting robust subscriber growth. Netflix’s own guidance estimated 6.3 million new global subscribers for the last three months of the year.

A Cowen analyst cited by Bloomberg said those estimates are achievable given Netflix’s “increasingly robust content slate” and strong comparisons to the fourth quarter of 2016, when election fever had more people tuning into politics. Meanwhile, it’s expected that the second season of Stranger Things–which debuted in late October–encouraged new sign-ups from viewers eager to see the buzzy hit series.

Netflix will deliver fourth-quarter results this afternoon, with an earnings call slated for 6 p.m. ET.CZ

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket is grounded by the government shutdown

SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket is grounded by the government shutdown
[Photo: courtesy of SpaceX]

There’s a small wrench in SpaceX’s plan to prove its Falcon Heavy rocket is ready to shoot for the stars–the government shutdown.

SpaceX was supposed to do a static launch of the Falcon Heavy rockets, where all 27 engines are fired up to make sure that they know how to properly load the propellant and ignite the engines before they let any astronauts onboard. Once they perform the test successfully, SpaceX can set a target launch date for a full test run.

However, as The Verge notes, because the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing oversees launches and operations at both the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX’s operations are on hold while the Republican-led government tries to figure out how to do its job. Until the shutdown ends, SpaceX is grounded, which may mean further delays for the commercial space agency.ML

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