The Weekend Digest: The New Prince Edition

by Larry Brannan ( 4 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

New Yorkers Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman have had their ups-and-downs during the partners’ 17-year start-up “alliance.” Mostly though, it’s been high-dollar profits from high-tech success.

Kevin Ryan and Dwight Merriman have built three billion-dollar companies together. Whatever the secret of their 17-year alliance, it has produced some eye-bulging successes. DoubleClick, cofounded by Merriman and headed by Ryan, more or less invented online ad serving; it was acquired in 2005 by private equity investors for $1.1 billion (and sold three years later to Google for $3.1 billion). Since then the duo has launched five companies together, two of them standouts.

How did they do it and how did their backgrounds meld together for these blockbuster deals? Forbes has a complete profile of the two tech entrepreneurs and a pick at what they see on the horizon at this link.

Arkansas is one of those states, but what is a B-Corp?

For years, companies that want to make money and still do good in the world have had the opportunity to become Certified B Corpporations – a status that indicates they have met a rigorous set of standards laid out by B Lab, the organization behind B Corp certification. At the same time, B Lab has worked with entrepreneurs and investors across the country to enact benefit corporation legislation, which supports social entrepreneurs on a legal level.

“It offers mission-driven entrepreneurs legal protection that they didn’t have before, and it gives them a freedom that they didn’t enjoy before,” explains Jay Coen Gilbert, the co-founder of B Lab.

So how does it work, what states are involved and which ones are working on it? Fast Company has all the facts at this link.

Everyone knows fat, salt and sugar make foods richer and taste better. Everyone knows, or should, that those ingredients can make food choices unhealthy. So big Companies like PepsiCo and Taco Bell are actively doing something about making big changes with the help of chefs.

“The challenge facing us and other big food companies today is not easy: to have a great-tasting product without as much salt, fat and sugar,” said Greg Yep, senior vice president for long-term research and development at PepsiCo. “Chefs have ways of tricking the taste buds that we can use in our products.”

Prodded by consumers, regulators and politicians, major food companies like PepsiCo are under extraordinary pressure to make healthier foods. Kellogg has cut as much as 30 percent of the sugar in children’s cereals like Apple Jacks and Froot Loops, removed salt from others and increased fiber. Taco Bell last month announced a new Power Protein menu that will include items with less fat and calories, and other companies are rushing to get their products in shape.

“We’re not only thinking about making great-tasting foods but about the nutrition guidelines we need to deliver on,” said Greg Creed, chief executive of Taco Bell, referring to the company’s pledge to bring one-third of the meal options in its restaurants into compliance with the federal dietary guidelines by 2020.

Go inside a New York Times post to learn more about these new chef-driven food company menus and the partnerships that are coming together to help make it happen by clicking this link.

There are some who say yes and then there are the critics who harshly criticize employee-mandated wellness programs.

Independent health and wellness consultant Vik Khanna says employers should be focused on recruitment and retention, not their employees’ bad habits.

“A well done workplace wellness program should be about what an employer can do with and for the employees in the workplace, not what it can do TO them,” Khanna says.

American Public Media’s Marketplace takes at look at employee wellness programs through the example of one recently started at Penn State University. Find out more by going to this link.

Despite public opinion, getting that to happen is not likely says the Washington Post.

The numbers in support of compromise are relatively consistent across party lines — with even 62 percent of self-identified Republicans saying that cooperation should trump strict adherence to principles. Heck, even 58 percent of self-identified conservatives think compromise is greater than standing on principle.

And yet, compromise remains a dirty word in Washington.

Why? The Post has the answers at this link.

There are all kinds of caucuses on Capitol Hill in Washington. There’s probably a caucus to see who’s buying the coffee. But a Quiet Time Caucus?

It’s 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, on Capitol Hill, and hundreds of aides are swarming the halls of the Rayburn House Office Building. Some are speed-walking with Starbucks coffee; others are juggling two Blackberries as they talk to their companions. Men’s voices echo in all directions, as does the clip-clop of high heels, fading in and out around corners
But in a non-descript room off to the side, about two-dozen aides are sitting together in total silence. They’re meditating.

Welcome to the Quiet Time Caucus.

So which Congressman is the architect of this “mind-body” caucus and how does he plan to take it a step further in his legislative proposals? Click here for the full story from the Huffington Post.

Anthony Weiner’s bid to become mayor of New York City came crashing down around him this past week when sources revealed more lewd sexting by the ex-Congressman who gave up his seat for the same reason. This time his wife has come to his aid, and extraordinarily gave a speech of support this past week.

Tuesday night, Huma Abedin, the wife of Anthony Weiner, spoke at some length.

Abedin delivered a personal and poignant defense of her husband, who resigned his House seat two years ago after admitting he had sent lewd tweets to young women. Now, as he seeks to become New York’s mayor, he was forced to acknowledge he continued to engage in online sex chats with a 22-year-old woman last year even after such behavior had forced him from office.

“Anthony’s made some horrible mistakes, both before he resigned from Congress and after, but I do truly believe that that is between us and our marriage,” Abedin said. “I love him, I have forgiven him, I believe in him, and as we have said from the beginning, we are moving forward.”

For the full story on Abedin’s remarks plus analysis, go to this link from MSNBC.

The Tax Code that is, says POLITICO.

In the quarter century since Congress last reformed the Tax Code, back in 1986, it seems Washington has worked overtime to create the most inefficient and ineffective globally anti-competitive tax system humankind could dream up.

The 1986 reforms accomplished a great deal to simplify the Tax Code and promote economic growth by eliminating tax preferences and using the resulting funds to lower the top rate to 28 percent. Unfortunately, those deductions, exclusions and other preferences have returned over the years in the form of approximately $1.3 trillion worth of annual backdoor spending that now litters the Tax Code.

It’s time to start over — time to start with a blank slate.

So how would “blank slate” reform from scratch work, and is it achievable? Click here to find out.

He is third in line to the British throne, and the past week England’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge introduced their newborn baby to the world.

Prince William and Kate walked out of the hospital to “cheers and well-wishes from the staff.” The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first baby has been named George Alexander Louis and will be known as Prince George of Cambridge.

A smiling duchess said: “It’s such a special time. I think any parent will know what this feeling feels like.”

Addressing the waiting crowd, Prince William said: “I’ll remind him of his tardiness when he’s a bit older.”

They also revealed William had done the first nappy change.

It’s a prince-of-a-story, and for more on it go to this link from the BBC.

In honor of newborn Prince George of Cambridge, who someday will become King George VII, MSNBC has posted a “short guide to the previous Georges of Britain.”

Before commoners start naming their own babies George, they might want to read up on the history of Kings George, which is, like much of British history, rife with war and sprinkled with derangement.

Click on this link for a brief historical look at George I-VI.

“The thrill you feel when Brad Pitt faces off with killer zombies in World War Z and the way your heart jumps when Daisy and Gatsby are reunited can be measured and priced.”

Big movie studios have started using big data to predict a film’s success.

That’s the trailer…if you want to know what and how, screen this link.