Cisco settles with cybersecurity whistleblower, setting a precedent

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins

Pradeep Gaur | Mint | Getty Images

Cisco has settled with federal, state and local agencies for $8.6 million in a first-of-its-kind whistleblower case involving a cybersecurity flaw.

The case involves attempts by a Denmark-based employee of a Cisco partner, who alerted the company in November 2008 to a flaw in software made for a line of Cisco surveillance cameras. The problem wasn’t fixed for years, and the funds are meant to reimburse the whistleblower and federal, state and local entities to whom Cisco misrepresented the safety of the cameras.

Though the settlement is relatively small, it’s a case that many companies will be watching closely as they navigate the hundreds or thousands of vulnerability reports they receive from outside researchers each month, and try to parse which ones need attention and which are just hype.

In a statement, Cisco said, “We are pleased to have resolved a 2011 dispute involving the architecture of a video security technology product we added to our portfolio through the Broadware acquisition in 2007. There was no allegation or evidence that any unauthorized access to customers’ video occurred as a result of the architecture.”

A lengthy fix

According to the complaint, James Glenn, a Denmark-based employee of a Cisco partner company called Net Design, contacted Cisco in November 2008. He said he had discovered a flaw in Cisco’s proprietary surveillance camera software that not only made it easy for a would-be attacker to access the systems running the devices, but to also hack deeper into those systems after gaining entry. Glenn made the discovery after participating in a so-called “own medicine” initiative by his company, where employees security test equipment and software they’re using or working on.

James Glenn, who tried to alert CIsco to a security flaw in its surveillance cameras.

Via Constantine Cannon

According to the complaint, Glenn said he tried to contact Cisco through an online form meant for reporting vulnerabilities, but was unsuccessful in reaching anyone. Shortly after that, Net Design fired him. The firing, because it took place in Denmark, was not a part of Glenn’s whistleblower claim in the U.S., according to his attorneys.

Later, Glenn claims he discovered the unfixed cameras and software were still being used by the Los Angeles International Airport, and in 2010 he contacted the local authorities and ultimately law enforcement personnel working within LAX to report the problem.

But according to court filings cited by Glenn’s attorneys, Cisco didn’t fix the vulnerability until an updated version of the software was released in 2012. The company also didn’t release a security advisory to companies using the previous, flawed version of the software until 2015.

Importantly, the flaw hinged on faulty access controls, making it too easy for anyone to access the equipment. This made the products non-compliant with the federal government’s National Institute of Standards in Technology (NIST) framework, which dictates the security measures required by tech companies wishing to do business with the federal government. Many state and local agencies also demand NIST compliance.

Since Cisco had continually represented its surveillance products were compliant with NIST during the timeframe it remained vulnerable, the Western District of New York court determined the company had violated the False Claims Act by not minding the warnings of the whistleblower and continuing to claim the cameras were compliant, Glenn’s attorneys said.

The cameras were used in a wide range of federal government entities, including military installations, prisons, local courthouses and many others, according to Anne Hartman, attorney for Glenn and partner in San Francisco-based whistleblower law firm Constantine Cannon.

Cisco had argued that it had released a best practices guide, with information about how to set access controls so the flaw wouldn’t present a problem, and reassured Glenn at one point they were working on the issue, both of which weren’t enough of a remedy to avoid a whistleblower case, Hartman said.

Companies should pay attention, Hartman said, because they face a tripling of damages from cases like this.

“It’s astonishing that there aren’t more of these cases being brought,” she said.

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Apple, Fitbit results show smartwatch market becoming winner-take-all

James Park

Mark Neuling | CNBC

On Tuesday’s earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook commended his company for sticking with wearables “when others perhaps didn’t.”

A day later, Fitbit CEO James Park struck a very different tone, telling investors in a press release that “we are disappointed to lower guidance for the year.”

Apple shares climbed 2.6% on Wednesday, closing at their highest mark this year. Fitbit shares closed at a record low on Wednesday and then plunged more than 15% in extended trading after the smartwatch maker’s earnings report.

It’s a tale of two companies told over the course of 24 hours. Apple is the icon of the consumer electronics business, having parlayed its dominance in smartphones into a market-leading position in watches by keeping people in its ecosystem. Fitbit is the challenger that innovated in fitness tracking and built a solid business before getting steamrolled by the industry superpower as it moved into more advanced smartwatches.

Apple’s wearable business, which includes AirPods, Apple Watch and Beats headphones, recorded 48% growth in the quarter from a year earlier to $5.53 billion and CFO Luca Maestri said the category’s growth is accelerating over 50%.

Fitbit’s sales grew only 4.8% in the quarter to $313.6 million.

At the end of 2018, Apple controlled 50% of the global smartwatch market in terms of units shipped, according to Strategy Analytics. Fitbit was second at 12.2%, followed by Samsung, which sells Android-powered devices, at 11.8%.

In its effort to stay competitive, Fitbit has been slashing prices, which resulted in a shrinking of its gross margin, or the profit left after subtracting costs of goods sold, to 34.5% from 39.8%.

Fitbit cited weaker-than-expected sales of its Versa Lite device, a lightweight smartwatch that it introduced earlier this year, for its disappointing numbers and lowered the midpoint of its revenue guidance for 2019 to $1.46 billion from $1.56 billion.

Following its after-hours plunge, Fitbit is now worth less than $1 billion. It has lost 82% of its value since its IPO in 2015.

Park is trying to reduce his company’s reliance on device sales and focus more on premium services, which will create a “longer lasting relationship with users while changing perception of products and services from a nice to have to need to have,” the CEO said on Wednesday’s earnings call.

But Apple is doing that, too, with a much wider swath of services that work across many different types of devices. Revenue in Apple’s services business, which includes the App Stores, Apple Care, Apple Pay, iCloud and Apple Music, increased 13% to $11.46 billion in the quarter.

WATCH: Fitbit CEO James Park talks about innovation at an affordable price

US imposes sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Emmanuele Contini | NurPhoto via Getty Images

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said on its website.

The Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on Zarif for acting on behalf of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

Tensions have risen between the United States and Iran following U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran. Fears of a direct U.S.-Iranian conflict have risen since May with several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, and a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute.

Young people are waiting to buy homes because of student loans

Young people are struggling to pay off their student loans. And for many, that means delaying other financial goals. Nearly half of current undergraduates with student loans plan to put off buying a home because of their student debt, a new survey from real estate site Clever found.

Just over 40% of these students say they’ll have to delay saving for retirement as well.

In its 2019 Home Affordability Report, home co-investment company Unison found similar results: 83% of non-homeowners said student debt is the reason they can’t afford to buy a home right now. Generally, they’re delaying buying a house by around seven years as a result, the report found.

In fact, homeownership rates drop by 1.5 percentage points for every $1,000 increase in student debt, a 2017 study by the Federal Reserve found. That equates to an average delay of about two-and-a-half months, which can add up quickly for graduates with thousands or tens of thousands in loans.

For borrowers with $27,000 in student loans (the average amount of debt graduates of public four-year schools have) that equates to about a 5.6 year delay in homeownership.

It’s unsurprising that debt is crippling graduates financially, especially considering that the cost of college is rapidly rising. For the 1987-1988 school year, students at public four-year institutions paid an average of $3,190 in tuition, according to College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing 2017” report. But for the 2017-2018 school year, that average cost had risen to $9,970 — a nearly 213% increase.

Private colleges and universities are even more expensive. A 1989 graduate of Harvard University, for example, would have spent around $18,000 on tuition during their senior year. For the 2018-2019 school year, tuition costs $67,580. That marks a 275% increase.

College graduates not only have more debt than their predecessors, but smaller salaries as well. “Household incomes have remained more or less stagnant for bachelor’s degree holders, which, coupled with high interest rates, has made it incredibly difficult for graduates to pay down their debt,” Clever’s report says.

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Don’t miss: This chart shows how much more money men earn than women in the U.S.

Equifax might run out of cash, so please take monitoring

Former Equifax CEO Richard Smith testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill October 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

The FTC released a notice Wednesday encouraging consumers rushing to get a $125 check from credit ratings agency Equifax as restitution for its 2017 breach should consider the credit monitoring option instead. That’s because an “overwhelming response” may mean Equifax runs out of money before satisfying all the claims.

“The public response to the settlement has been overwhelming,” the FTC notice reads. “Because the amount of money set aside for the cash payment option is capped at $31 million, consumers who select that option may not receive the $125 they had expected.”

The notice continues, “For those who have not submitted a claim, the FTC is recommending that affected consumers consider choosing the free credit monitoring service, which is worth hundreds of dollars and comes with identity theft insurance and restoration services. For consumers who have already chosen the cash option, the settlement administrator will e-mail those consumers and provide them with the opportunity to either (1) submit additional information, or (2) switch to the free credit monitoring service. Consumers can also contact the settlement administrator directly.”

Equifax could not immediately be reached for comment.

As CNBC previously reported, it’s unlikely many consumers will qualify for the larger sums of money offered in the Equifax settlement. But if you haven’t already filed as part of the settlement agreement, in which Equifax set aside more than $400 million to settle with consumers over the incident, here’s how you do it.

The breach was announced in September 2017 affected 147 million consumers, most in the U.S., but also in Europe and Canada. The data from the breach, which has never been found for sale on the internet, included personal data like social security numbers and driver’s licenses. 

Experian will be offering the four-year credit monitoring service, as it has for its own free monitoring service between 2017 and 2019. The company has set up a website describing the settlement: The FTC has also published details of the settlement on its website.

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Jack Dorsey is having an epic year — and he’s not talking about it

Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey gestures while interacting with students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi on November 12, 2018.

Prakash Singh | AFP | Getty Images

Jack Dorsey is on a winning streak this year, but unlike some Silicon Valley CEOs, you probably won’t hear him discuss it.

Shares of Twitter and Square — the two San Francisco-based companies he leads — have both rallied more than 45% in 2019 so far. Twitter’s performance marks a sharp turnaround from the stock’s lows two years ago, and Square continues to launch new products and remains one of the most loved names in the mobile payments business.

Other CEOs have run two companies — most notably Steve Jobs who successfully ran Apple and Pixar — but Wall Street has been hesitant about the long-term viability of a similar track for Dorsey. Nevertheless, Dorsey is producing solid financial metrics this year and with very few public comments about them.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership studies at Yale School of Management, said Dorsey’s performance speak for itself. He is a “a genius who, unlike [Tesla CEO Elon] Musk, doesn’t have to throw in your face,” Sonnenfeld said, and unlike WeWork founder and CEO Adam Neumann, “doesn’t just pretend to be one.”

“He truly is brilliant and dedicated – while avoiding the temptations of vanity and flamboyance his own technology offers some with less discipline,” Sonnenfeld told CNBC. “Like Steve Jobs spanning the leadership of three companies, Dorsey is in rarefied air.”

The 42-year-old founded Square in 2009, three years after starting Twitter, and has led as CEO there since day one. Dorsey’s chief executive job at Twitter has been more fluid. He has moved to and from the executive chairman role in the past decade. He took over as CEO for a second time in 2015 after Dick Costolo’s departure and what was announced as an interim leadership role became permanent.

Driving results

Twitter is recovering from political controversy after questions over foreign influence on social media platforms in the 2016 election, which led Dorsey to testify before two Congressional committees. The social media platform is also navigating questions over free speech and online abuse. Meanwhile, Wall Street analysts have questioned Twitter’s user growth.

Twitter’s future is looking brighter after this recent quarter though. Revenue was up 18% year over year, the company said, due to domestic growth and it reached an average of 139 million monetizable daily active users in the second quarter — a 14% increase year over year. Twitter beat analyst estimates on the top and bottom lines last week, which helped boost the stock by 8.9%. The rally last week added more than $2.6 billion to Twitter’s market cap and shares are up more than 45% this year.

Square meanwhile is adding to its years-long ascent in share price and reports second-quarter results on Thursday. Analysts have bid up the stock thanks to a slew of new product launches, e-commerce opportunities and growth in its popular peer-to-peer cash app.

Lisa Ellis, a partner at MoffettNathanson and head of the payments, processors and IT services business, said Dorsey is widely viewed as being “truly visionary” and mission-centric. At Square, she said those qualities have led to the invention of payments hardware, pace of product introductions and ability to attract talent.

Despite Square’s 45% rally year to date, it’s still lagging payment bellwethers Mastercard, Visa, and PayPal — known as the “MVP” stocks — year over year. While Square’s 25% performance over a year isn’t bad, “payments is just white-hot,” Ellis said.

Square and Twitter both declined to comment on Dorsey’s performance.

Making room at the top

One downside for Dorsey though, according to Ellis, is investors’ concern about his ability to “create space” for strong leaders around him. The stock dropped doubled digits on the day after CFO Sarah Friar announced her departure last fall. Many viewed her as next in line for the top job at Square, and her role as a necessary push-back for the ambitious and entrepreneurial Dorsey. Square hired former Blizzard Entertainment CFO Amrita Ahuja to fill Friar’s shoes in January.

“The departure of Square’s long-time CFO, Sarah Friar, last fall continues to be quite controversial,” Ellis said. “Sarah was more than a CFO – she also had operations responsibilities and was essentially a ‘shadow CEO / President’ to Jack.”

The company has been focused on growth in their consumer products like the Cash App, and it is applying for a bank charter. But Ellis highlighted Square’s payment volumes, which have been slowing for four quarters in a row, and said its point of sale business is under competitive pressure. And while Dorsey is undoubtedly entrepreneurial — Ellis said that may trait not suit Square’s next chapter.

“I worry a bit that Jack is extremely entrepreneurial, so [he] is the right guy to run a company for the first 8 to 10 years, but not necessarily the right guy to take it for the next 10 years, through a period of a lot less glamorous, less sexy growth,” she said.

Celebrity CEO

Wall Street and Main Street seem equally fascinated with Jack Dorsey.

The nose-ring-wearing, St. Louis, Missouri-born executive has gained favor with cryptocurrency fanatics for his early days in the coding and hacking community. He was also widely embraced by bitcoin communities after Square added the ability to trade the cryptocurrency on its popular peer-to-peer Cash App last January.

Jack Dorsey, chief executive officer of Twitter Inc. and Square Inc., speaks during an Empowering Entrepreneurs events at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Tuesday, April 2, 2019.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

And even if his business moves are being applauded this year, Dorsey’s lifestyle choices are consistently under the microscope. His methods for reaching peak cognitive performance — from fasting, to ice baths, to journaling — are the subject of countless podcasts and blogs. The New York Times likened his lifestyle influence to “Gwyneth Paltrow for Silicon Valley.”

Dorsey’s public appearances have been limited this year and have largely focused on self-care and health instead of corporate metrics. Dorsey did interviews with Rolling Stone and went on The Bill Simmons Podcast earlier this year to talk about the state of the company, which resulted in a slight drop in Twitter shares. He also appeared on ultra-marathoner Rich Roll’s podcast to talk about solitude and self-care.

Doresy spent 10 days in Myanmar for a meditation retreat, which excluded “devices, reading, writing, physical exercise, music, intoxicants, meat, talking, or even eye contact with others,” Dorsey tweeted at the time. Critics accused him of being tone deaf as Myanmar stands accused of carrying out a mass genocide and crimes against an ethnic minority group.

Next chapter

Scott Kessler, former analyst at CFRA and now an independent tech analyst, has long predicted that Dorsey would step down as CEO of one of these high-flying tech giants. Kessler said he wouldn’t be surprised if Dorsey left one of his leadership roles by the end of the year “or soon thereafter” — or at least announced plans to do so.

“Dorsey has undoubtedly done tremendous jobs at Twitter and Square, and deserves high praise for the results he has delivered,” he said. “However, I remain convinced that it is simply unsustainable for one person to do both of these jobs extremely well, despite Dorsey’s proven success at being innovative and efficient and building strong teams while CEO of both companies.”

Kessler is betting that Dorsey claims the chairman post one of the companies. The next question, he said is who ascends to the CEO role. At Twitter, he mentioned product lead Kayvon Beykpour. At Square, head of Square Capital, Jackie Reses, is a “strong internal option.”

For now, some bullish Square analysts are happy with Dorsey’s quiet focus on performance.

“Being under the radar and staying out of scandals is a good thing and some of his prominent peers have failed to do that,” said Dan Dolev, executive director at Nomura, who has a “buy” rating on Square and sees potential 40% upside for the stock. “His humble approach should be appreciated — in this era of eccentric personalities, being a work horse is a good thing.”

Beyond Meat’s competitor Impossible Foods gets FDA approval

The Impossible Burger made by Impossible Foods

Source: Impossible Foods

Beyond Meat’s rival Impossible Foods said Wednesday that it will sell its plant-based burger in grocery stores in September after the Food and Drug Administration approved its key ingredient.

The regulator said Wednesday that it has cleared Impossible’s use of soy leghemoglobin — or heme — as a color additive, clearing the way for Impossible to start selling its products in grocery stores.

Impossible genetically engineers yeast to create heme, the iron-containing molecule that gives meat its taste and aroma.

The New York Times reported in 2017 that the FDA was concerned about the safety of heme, given that it had never been consumed by humans. Last year, the FDA deemed soy leghemoglobin “generally recognized as safe.” But in order to sell its uncooked vegan burgers in grocery stores, Impossible needed the FDA’s approval to use the ingredient as a color additive.

“We’ve been engaging with the FDA for half a decade to ensure that we are completely compliant with all food-safety regulations — for the Impossible Burger and for future products and sales channels,” Impossible Foods Chief Legal Officer Dana Wagner said in a statement.

For now, Impossible has only been able to distribute its product by selling it in restaurants. After starting with high-end restaurants, Impossible’s plant-based burger has now made its way into fast-food chains like Burger King and White Castle.

If the FDA does not receive any objections from anyone adversely affected by the ingredient in 30 days, Impossible can start selling the product directly to consumers.

Its publicly traded competitor Beyond Meat sold $34.1 million of its products in grocery stores during its second quarter, making up a little over half of its total revenue for the quarter.

Earlier on Wednesday, Impossible announced a manufacturing deal with OSI Group, a large meat supplier that also makes patties for fast-food chains. The deal expands its production capabilities amid soaring demand for the Impossible Burger and supply shortages.

‘Hamilton’ lyric propels MediaLink CEO into the ultimate power broker

As one of America’s key forces shaping the global entertainment industry, Michael Kassan is sought after worldwide by media moguls, Hollywood visionaries, technology pioneers, advertising holding company heads and Wall Street investors to help them solve their most complex business challenges.

One of his guiding principles: Talk less. Listen more — a doctrine Kassan derived from the hit musical “Hamilton,” he said.

“God gives you two ears and one mouth, which means you’re supposed to listen more than talk. And you know, at some point I can’t have a conversation like this without referring to my obsession with all things Hamilton. It’s kind of the advice Aaron Burr gave to Alexander Hamilton early on in the show and in the lyric ‘Talk less. Smile more.’ I would have edited that to say, ‘Talk less. Listen more.’

“But I understand the importance of smile more,” continued Kassan, who admitted seeing the play six times. “You know, I don’t agree with Aaron Burr’s advice, which is ‘Don’t ever share your opinion; keep it to yourself and just smile.’ I do think it’s important to share your opinion, certainly in our business, but it’s also critically important to listen.”

This principle, among the many others the MediaLink founder, chairman and CEO steadfastly lives by, has propelled Kassan to the top of the marketing sector, a trusted advisor dubbed as the industry’s ultimate power broker.

Michael Kassan, founder, chairman and CEO of MediaLink

Ethan Miller | Getty Images News | Getty Images

In 2003 Kassan launched his strategic advisory firm, known for its high-profile relationships with Cannes Lions and CES. It evolved, he said, around an intersection that was forming between marketing, media, advertising, entertainment and technology.

“Those words kind of roll off my tongue,” he said in an interview with CNBC. “Because continually that’s how I’ve described MediaLinks’ position in the marketplace. … And I think one would argue it’s one of the most chaotic intersections that exist today.

“We were fortunate to be able to bring some order to that chaos,” he said.

To explain this, Kassan uses the analogy of a meeting going south. “If a meeting’s not necessarily going the way you’d like it to, or there’s a fork in the road or a speed bump you hit, sometimes it’s good to create some chaos over the right or left so that you can rethink and regroup and take the meeting where you want it to go,” he said.

“Find the chaos, and if you can see the opportunity and find solutions or answer the questions, there’s a business opportunity there.”

Keeping pace with the industry

Like most industries, the media and advertising business is constantly transforming to entice new customers.

Today, he said, people don’t want too many choices.

He points to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign as an example. “Think about our election three years ago, or two and a half years ago, as a skinny bundle,” he said. “What Donald Trump identified was the three or four issues that everybody wanted. You can see where I’m going. The three or four channels that everybody’s really watching were the five, not the 500. Focus on that and deliver your message directly to the consumer … not through the traditional gatekeepers. Thank you Twitter.”

God gives you two ears and one mouth, which means you’re supposed to listen more than talk. It’s kind of the advice Aaron Burr gave to Alexander Hamilton early on in the show and in the lyric ‘Talk less. Smile more.’ I would have edited that to say, ‘Talk less. Listen more.’

Michael Kassan

MediaLink’s founder, chairman and CEO

In 2017, to propel Kassan’s U.S.-based company into Europe and Asia, MediaLink was acquired by UK-based Ascential for $69 million; the final valuation will become known in 2021, based on MediaLink’s adjusted EBITDA. Staying on as chairman and CEO, Kassan now leads a global team of more than 165 specialists that provide counsel for navigating the age of digital disruption. This year he was inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Hall of Fame.

Besides his takeaway from the musical “Hamilton,” Kassan has acquired many leadership strategies along the way. Here are just some of the ones he shared with CNBC.

Count to 10 before responding. “The time I spend in L.A., in Monterey, in Los Angeles has always been ‘Instant gratification isn’t quick enough.’ And as a result of that, we all tend to move sometimes too quickly. And sometimes because of, again, the nature of text and email, you find yourself oftentimes forced to answer too quickly. So the thing that I did was I learned how to count to 10 before I respond. I don’t have a knee-jerk reaction. When you take a moment to reflect, and I do think you need to in this day and age — it’s not about smelling the roses, although we all need to do that; it’s about thinking before you act. The speed of information today sometimes doesn’t allow you to think as much as you should.

Don’t kiss and tell. “If you listen and you apply your own experience and try to understand the surrounding circumstances that a particular solve requires, and if you are … transparent and trustworthy and if you don’t kiss and tell, then you get a lot of opportunity to help people solve problems.

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If you presume you’re going to give advice and be right 1000% of the time, you’re wrong. “If you can say that you’ve given advice and counsel and direction and strategic help to and you’ve been right at least one out of three times, not so bad. You know I would say yes, of course, you’d like it more. But I don’t want to say that I had a better batting average than the top players in the history of Major League Baseball.”

When you ride on a highway, know when to take the exit signs. “You may not choose to take them, but it’s good not to be on a road to nowhere and to know that should you choose to get off the highway, metaphorically, that there’s an opportunity. I wasn’t looking at MediaLink in terms of my selling it; I was looking at MediaLink in terms of my building it … and what are the opportunities that might present themselves and what are those potential off ramps. “

You should be focused but not too narrow. “I don’t think a narrow approach is, you know, necessarily the answer. But I think a focused approach is an answer. I think you can be focused and broad and not just be narrow. You have to look at what Disney’s doing. You have to understand that they’ve made gigantic bets but with what appears to be a pretty clear focus. Content matters. “

Remember the four T’s. “There’s a word that begins with cluster that we can all figure out what the end of that sentence might look like. It seems to be the case right now, so it is time for people to take seriously the need to reimagine, reanimate, reconsider structure and organization and talent. I’ve been consistent on one thing: that I think our industry — and again, when I say our industry I mean our collective industries — all seem to be revolving around words that begin with the letter T. Transparency … trust … technology … talent. “

Have a lot of mentors — or people you can trust. “I’ve been fortunate over the years to have lots of mentors in different aspects of my life and lots of people that I trust and people to whom I would share my thoughts, my aspirations, my insecurities — whatever they might be. “

Private payrolls up 156K in July vs. 150k est: ADP/Moody’s

Companies added more jobs than expected in July amid concerns that the U.S. economy was slowing and the labor market was nearing full employment.

Private payrolls increased by 156,000 for the month, according to a report Wednesday from ADP and Moody’s Analytics that beat Dow Jones estimates of 150,000. The number was an increase from the 112,000 in June, revised higher from the initially reported 102,000.

While the number showed strength in the overall labor market, recent months have seen a departure from the consistent gains above 200,000 over the past several years, providing more signs that conditions are tightening.

“Job growth is healthy, but steadily slowing,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, said in a statement. “Small businesses are suffering the brunt of the slowdown. Hampering job growth are labor shortages, layoffs at bricks-and-mortar retailers, and fallout from weaker global trade.”

Indeed, companies with fewer than 50 employees lagged their counterparts, adding just 11,000 positions for the month. By contrast, those with more than 500 workers grew by 78,000, while medium-sized businesses added 67,000.

The services sector accounted for 146,000 of the total while goods producers added 9,000. The numbers don’t add up to the final total due to rounding.

By industry, professional and business services grew the most, with 44,000 new jobs. Education and health services was next with 37,000 while trade, transportation and utilities rose 27,000. 

On the goods side, construction added 15,000 but natural resources and mining fell by 6,000 and manufacturing contributed just 1,000 to the total.

The ADP/Moody’s report is watched as a potential benchmark for the more widely followed nonfarm payrolls report, which the Labor Department will release Friday. The two reports can differ widely, though, as June’s government count reflected growth of 224,000 against the much smaller ADP total. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expect payrolls to be up 165,000 for July

The unemployment rate is expected to edge lower to 3.6%, a 50-year low.