4 books about success and failure everyone should read, according to a founder who sold her company for millions

Vicky Tsai never thought of herself as an entrepreneur.

She earned an economics degree from Wellesley College before becoming a credit derivatives trader at Merrill Lynch, where she was working in one of the World Financial Center buildings the morning of September 11, 2001, near the Twin Towers.

The events of 9/11 propelled Tsai to recognize a life working in finance wouldn’t make her happy, so she attended Harvard Business School to help her figure out what would come next. After stints working for both international brands and Silicon Valley start-ups, “I felt morally bankrupt,” Tsai tells CNBC Make It.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/03/4-business-books-everyone-should-read-according-to-tatcha-ceo-vicky-tsai.html

EU seeks reset in trade talks with U.S. – trade chief Hogan

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The European Union’s new trade commissioner, Irishman Phil Hogan, was quoted on Monday as saying he would seek a reset of EU/US trade relations on a number of contentious issues when he meets his U.S. counterpart for the first time next month.

The Trump administration imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminum in mid-2018. It has done the same to $7.5 billion worth of EU products over a dispute about subsidies for European planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA), and is threatening action against France over a digital services tax.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-trade/eu-seeks-reset-in-trade-talks-with-u-s-trade-chief-hogan-idUSKBN1YY0KK

The art of imperfection: People are turning to robots to write their ‘handwritten’ cards

Roger and Vonita Byous were surprised when an anniversary card from their son arrived in the mail. They were even more surprised by the unrecognizable handwriting inside.

“I just started wondering, ‘Whaaat?’ ” said Roger, 73. “It didn’t look quite right, but we couldn’t figure out why.”

It turned out, the Somerset, Ky., couple later learned, their son hadn’t picked up the pen that scripted his heartfelt congratulations on 48 years of wedded bliss. A robot had.

“It wasn’t exactly a personal touch,” Roger said, but “we’re glad he remembered us.”

Digitization has long reached deep into people’s lives: Family photos are in the cloud. Mom’s recipes are indexed on an app. Breakups can arrive overnight, via text. Now technology is being deployed to try to replicate a human touch, as a growing number of consumers turn to pen-wielding robots that can mimic the loops and patterns of the human hand.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/12/21/art-imperfection-people-are-turning-robots-write-their-handwritten-cards/

Airbnb wins fight to remain exempt from European property rules

Homesharing site Airbnb has won its battle to remain exempt from onerous European property regulations, as the EU’s top court ruled it was an online platform and not a property agent. 

The case came before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) following a complaint by French tourism association AHTOP. 

The issue underlines the quandary regulators face in dealing with new online services venturing into traditional businesses, but not subjected to the same rules. 

For Airbnb, the French case is significant as the International Olympic Committee has agreed to promote the company for accommodation during the 2024 Olympics in Paris. 

Source: https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/1219/1102111-airbnb-european-ruling/

Fintech company Bill.com surges more than 60% in market debut

Shares of fintech company Bill.com soared a whopping 61% in its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Bill.com, which sells software services to small- and medium-sized business to help with payment processes, was priced at $22 per share before its market debut. The stock closed at $35.50 per share on Thursday.

Source; https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/12/fintech-company-billcom-surges-more-than-60percent-in-market-debut.html

Apple stock dips after Credit Suisse says iPhone shipments drop 35% in China

Chinese consumers are cooling on the iPhone, according to a new report by Credit Suisse analysts.

IPhone shipments in China dropped 35.4% in November compared with the same time last year, the analysts wrote in a note Thursday, despite a slight increase in the Chinese smartphone market at the same time. The analysts said Chinese iPhone sales declined 10.3% year over year in October, making this the second straight month of double-digit percentage drops.

Since the launch of the iPhone 11 family, total shipments in China are down 7.4% compared with last year, the analysts said, adding that “we estimate China iPhone revenue fell by >17.5% y/y over the past three months (Sept-Nov).”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/12/iphone-shipments-fall-35percent-in-china-credit-suisse-says.html

No matter how OPEC plans oil productions, political unrest in 2020 could lower oil supply and increase prices [Opinion]

Oil watchers are focused on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) this week as it convenes for its end-of-year gathering. While the question regarding whether OPEC will make a small additional group cutback for 2020 or just roll over its current OPEC plus production pact with Russia and other key non-OPEC producers might be headline grabbing for a few days, the end result might turn out to be moot. The question next year might not be what the oil cartel intends to produce, but its worsening reduction in operational flexibility. Various OPEC national oil companies are finding new risks to their ability to manage how much oil leaves their shores.

Source: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/No-matter-how-OPEC-plans-oil-productions-14885223.php

One of Latin America’s most valuable startups is changing the way Brazilians bank

When David Vélez walked into a Brazilian bank branch to open an account six years ago, he was appalled by the experience.First, he had to check his bag in a locker outside. Next, he waited to pass through a security line manned by three armed guards. He sat there for 45 minutes and finally spoke to someone, who acted like they were doing him a favor by deigning to talk about opening an account. Then, he was sent off to make a phone call to bank employees elsewhere and was later forced to return to the bank a half-dozen times over the next four months.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/06/business/nubank-david-velez-risk-takers/index.html

MIT Sloan faculty insights: 6 books from 2019

By Daron Acemoglu, professor of economics, and James A. Robinson

The concept of liberty likely brings to mind declarations and New England battlefields, but in Acemoglu’s book, he proposes that political freedom comes from a difference source: the space between anarchy and authoritarianism.

“What makes this a corridor, not a door, is that achieving liberty is a process; you have to travel a long way in the corridor before violence is brought under control, laws are written and enforced, and the state starts providing services to its citizens,” the authors write. “What makes this corridor narrow is that this is no easy feat.”

Source: https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/mit-sloan-faculty-insights-6-books-2019?utm_source=mitsloantwitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=2019books

Larry Page and Sergey Brin Hand Over Alphabet’s Reins

It’s officially the end of an era at Google. As the company faces a series of antitrust investigations and mounting employee unrest, its two cofounders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, announced on Tuesday they were stepping down from their leadership roles at the company. Page had been CEO of Google parent organization Alphabet, while Brin served as president. Sundar Pichai, the current CEO of Google, will keep his job and additionally take over as the CEO of Alphabet.

Page and Brin aren’t totally out of the picture. The two cofounders will remain employees of Alphabet and retain their seats on the board, where they together control 51.3 percent of the voting power, according to the most recent regulatory filings. In other words, they still effectively control the company, though they will no longer be running it day to day.

Source: https://www.wired.com/story/larry-page-sergey-brin-step-down/