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Special delivery: We’ve got something big in the works on Monday. Keep your eyes on your inbox because this President’s Day, we’re coming at you hotter than George Washington over the Potomac.
IBM sues Microsoft’s new chief diversity officer to protect diversity trade secrets
Last Sunday, Microsoft announced they low-key poached IBM’s chief diversity officer, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre.
Now IBM is suing, alleging the move is in violation of McIntyre’s one-year non-compete agreement. Their chief concern: McIntyre could expose “confidential and sensitive information” regarding IBM’s “diversity analytics” that could put the company at a “competitive disadvantage.”
Diversity trade secrets?
While Microsoft denies they have any interest in IBM’s confidential info, McIntyre, who served as IBM’s human resources VP and chief diversity officer, doesn’t get the big deal.
“It’s common for companies… to share information about their diversity initiatives, as the goal is to engage in best practices,” McIntyre declared.
Ya, one would think…
But Microsoft has also done this in the past
According to the suit, IBM’s just following in Microsoft’s footsteps: in a past court case, the computing giant argued that its diversity data and practices needed to be kept private (“both what works and what does not”), in order to keep competitors from using insights.
Why are companies going to such great lengths to make inclusivity so exclusive?
We need all the help we can get
Over the past year, tech’s lack of diversity has been a hot-button issue. Studies show that the race gap is much higher in Silicon Valley than the gender gap, and has actually gotten worse over time.
While the tech industry has made occasional strides, these two cases with IBM and Microsoft conflict with those efforts by making diversity a business strategy.
In other words, instead of taking the “we’re all in this together” approach to learn and improve across the entire industry, companies have turned the initiative into a proprietary pissing-contest.
Exclusivity in inclusivity
The New York Times rakes in $340m from online subscriber revenue
In their year-end earnings results, the news giant reported a whopping 46% increase in their online subscription sales, representing $340m in subscription revenue.
It’s not just a rogue spike either — 46% is their average annual growth rate since launching their paywall in 2011. To put that in perspective, that means the Times’ subscriber growth is currently at or above pace with Google (23%) and Facebook’s (47%) business growth.
Not bad for a 166-year-old newspaper company…
“I’m not dead yet!” — Print
But it’s definitely in critical condition: The Times’ print revenue has dropped 21% in the past 7 years. Luckily, they saw the writing on the walls and made the leap to digital before the light left their eyes.
In 2011, they introduced a freemium model for digital subscriptions, and slowly whittled their free article count from 20 down to a measly 5.
Now, with online subscribers and digital ads combined, they’re doing $578m in annual digital revenue, prompting them to set an even more ambitious goal — $800m in digital subscriptions by 2020.
But will it be enough?
With their $1B+ print revenue business dying a slow, gradual death, the question is whether their digital strategy will grow fast enough to save them…
Or if they’ll be left black, white, and red all over.
Celularity raises $250m to use stem cells to rebuild our aging bods
Founded by the creator of XPrize, with an ex-FDA commissioner and a former Apple CEO, John Sculley, on their board, biotech company Celularity was already set up for success — now they have $250m to supplement their efforts.
The company is using stem cells from placentas to help rebuild damaged tissues, treat conditions like leukemia, and “make 100 years old the new 60” — all without the risk to embryos.
“Explain stem cells like I’m 5”
Our bodies are made up of different types of cells, each with a specialized function (e.g., skin cells, blood cells, muscle cells, etc.).
Stem cells are unique because they can develop into more of the same kind of cell (i.e., skin cell making more skin cells), but they can also become a bunch of other types of cells.
And stem cells aren’t just found in embryos — adult humans have them too: fat, blood, and bone marrow stem cells can all be extracted via procedures like liposuction, blood draw, and bone drilling.
But, while adult stem cells can only be used to grow a few different types of cells, embryonic stem cells can turn into any type of cell in the human body. Unfortunately, these cells can’t be collected without harming the embryo…
Enter the placenta
Placentas (the thing that comes out after the baby is born) are chock-full of stem cells. According to Celularity, one birth alone can generate over 100k medical treatments.
Overtime raises $9.5m in their quest to turn high school jocks into social media stars
With a new funding round led by VC all-star firm Andreessen Horowitz and including investors like NBA star Kevin Durant and his manager Rich Kleiman, Overtime aims to hype local high school superstars — and turn that hype into a business opportunity.
A genius idea, yes. But maybe a little problematic?
Instead of focusing on sports news, Overtime gives viewers the ability to follow a narrative surrounding a “couple dozen” athletes the company has chosen to represent, as these kids develop and transition from the high school level to college, and hopefully one day, the pros.
Overtime follows its athletes by enlisting the help of their classmates and other people in their communities, paying these hyperlocal “stringers” a few bucks per game to record them via Overtime’s video platform.
The company then blasts it around the web in hopes of creating sweet, viral content — but don’t worry, to maintain the college-eligible athlete’s “amateur status,” the company doesn’t pay the athletes a dime.
We’ve heard the tired but necessary debate over whether college athletes should be compensated for their financial contributions to the institutions they spill their blood, sweat, and tears for, and this isn’t much different.
Bottom line is, it seems unlikely these young, insanely athletic talents would need the help of Overtime to get to the next level. But Overtime definitely needs them.
It’s called “productivity denial,” and it’s so hot right now.
Even the best teams suffer from productivity denial. Sure, you leave work everyday feeling like you put in a 110%, but deadlines are still missed more often than a FedEx home delivery — seriously, nobody is ever home to sign.
Between your calendar, to-do list, and pile of sticky notes, do you actually know the status of any of your projects?