Posts tagged with "Fortune Magazine"

Best Buy’s Geek Squad plans to start setting up virtual hospital rooms in patients’ homes

March 8, 2023

Best Buy’s Geek Squad has been handed a task that’s a lot more sensitive that setting up your living room’s surround sound system, reports Fortune Magazine.


The electronics retailer has partnered with Charlotte, North Carolina-based Atrium Health to set up virtual hospital rooms in people’s homes. That technology would remotely monitor patients’ vitals, including heart rate and blood oxygen levels. (The data is shared with healthcare officials via a telemedicine hub.)


Patients will not have to pay Best Buy directly for the setup and eventual retrieval of the equipment. All billing will go through Atrium, which will work with insurance companies, as well as Medicare, and Medicaid.


“We’re excited to leverage our expertise … to connect patients and providers,” said Deborah Di Sanzo, president of Best Buy Health. “Those strengths, combined with Atrium Health’s extensive clinical expertise and deep experience leading in virtual care, will help us improve and enable care in the home for everyone.”


For Best Buy, it’s an expansion of its Current Health remote patient monitoring system, which the company launched in 2021. The company has said it expects the healthcare push to become a notable revenue driver, but has warned investors it will be a slow ramp.


“We are excited about the momentum of care at home, but it is still a nascent emerging part of the healthcare industry,” CEO Corie Barry said on the company’s most recent earnings call. “We are essentially nurturing a start-up within a large-scale organization and leveraging Best Buy’s core assets, including the Geek Squad, to incubate a new business. The revenue contribution is currently very small and will take time to ramp as the care at home space matures and expands over the coming years.”


Atrium Health launched the virtual hospital room program during the pandemic, when hospitals were overflowing with patients. The company has since evolved the program to include conditions such as cardiac, COPD, pneumonia, asthma, various infections. and other medical and post-operative conditions.


The program is less expensive than a typical hospital stay and relieves some stress, as patients can be around loved ones and the comforts of their day-to-day environment.


Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Sacked Twitter exec who went viral for sleeping on office floor defends going ‘all in’ for Elon Musk

February 28, 2023

No one likely personified Elon Musk’s “extreme hard-core” Twitter 2.0 better than Esther Crawford, its erstwhile director of Product Management who became Internet-famous for sleeping on the office floor.

Now Crawford—who survived multiple staff cullings at the social media platform—has herself been let go. Instead of bitterness, however, she defended her decision to forgo family time in favor of grinding it out for Twitter’s billionaire owner, reports Fortune Magazine.

“The worst take you could have from watching me go all-in on Twitter 2.0 is that my optimism or hard work was a mistake,” she wrote on Sunday, February 26, in a post on Twitter already viewed by 1.2 million people.

The November snapshot of the mother of three curled up in a sleeping bag and eye mask posted next to her “cheeky” hashtag #SleepWhereYouWork sparked controversy for its alleged glorification of a corporate culture that required constant self-sacrifice just as Twitter was about to lay off over half its workforce.

The initial weeks of Musk’s Twitter reboot saw Crawford’s coworkers repeatedly pushed out the door in typically headline-grabbing fashion.

One was openly fired via Twitter after daring to publicly correct Musk, while sacked software engineer Nicholas Robinson-Wall even advocated colleagues had a “moral duty” to disobey the new owner.

The blowback over her choice to spend nights at the office prompted Crawford to openly profess her love for her family: “I’m grateful they understand that there are times where I need to go into overdrive to grind and push in order to deliver.” Her husband called her a role model for their children.

Nonetheless, the picture landed at a time when sensitivity over U.S. labor conditions is on the rise, with fresh efforts to organize companies controlled by known union busters like Musk and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Twitter employees had also begun to question whether it was worth burning

the midnight oil just to help Musk salvage a $44 billion investment he fought until the very end to avoid: “Would you sacrifice time with your kids over the holiday for vague assurances and the opportunity to make a rich person richer, or would you take the out?” ex-Twitter employee Peter Clowes asked rhetorically at the time before bailing on the company.

Throughout this turbulent time, Crawford remained a staunch defender of the capricious visionary—rolling out his scheme to charge users for a previously free verification badge.

Crawford’s unwavering support for Musk may have also been due to her own familiarity with the pressures he faces as an entrepreneur, having herself cofounded and run a software startup called Squad, which she sold to Twitter in December 2020.

In a profile of Crawford published last month, the Financial Times described her as a “rare leader” from the company’s old guard who could win Musk’s favor by challenging him tactfully behind closed doors.

When it became her turn to fall on her sword, however, Musk’s gladiator called out the critics for being armchair generals.

She accused them of jeering from the sidelines rather than being “in the arena” with her—a reference to a 1910 speech by Theodor Roosevelt popular in corporate America for extolling society’s doer of deeds. (Nike liked it so much that it turned it into a commercial.)

Now, the mantle of Musk’s most faithful supporter at Twitter appears to have passed to Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of Trust and safety , whom Bloomberg recently described as the “chief executor of Musk’s whims.”

Irwin replied to Crawford on Sunday, acknowledging the brief but important role she played in assisting the new owner. “Thank you for working so hard to help lay the foundation for Twitter 2.0, Esther,” she wrote. “You will be missed.”

 Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Pete Davidson has saved breakfast at Taco Bell

February 10, 2023

Taco Bell reported stellar growth in 2022—a that feat executives said was achieved thanks in part to the A-list star of the fast-food chain’s recent commercials, reports Fortune Magazine.


Yum! Brands’ fourth quarter earnings beat Wall Street’s expectations when they were published on Wednesday, February 8; with a strong performance from Taco Bell offsetting slower growth at the company’s Pizza Hut and KFC divisions. The chain reported same-store annual sales growth of 11%, coming in way above analysts’ estimates of a 6.8% increase.


In the United States, Taco Bell’s sales grew 14% in the fourth quarter, which executives attributed to menu variety as well as a not-so-secret weapon: comedian Pete Davidson.


Davidson starred in a breakfast campaign for Taco Bell that was rolled out toward the end of last year, which saw the Saturday Night Live alum apologize for items that had featured on fast food chain’s breakfast menu in the past—like its naked egg and waffle tacos.


The commercial saw Taco Bell pledge to keep its breakfast menu simple.

  At the height of the pandemic in 2020, Taco Bell’s breakfast revenues took a hit when demand plummeted and a number of the chain’s U.S. outlets temporarily stopped opening before lunch. However, morning sales in Taco Bell stores across America staged a major comeback last year.


In the final three months of the year—as Davidson’s ads were aired—breakfast sales grew 9%, executives said in an earnings call on Wednesday.


David Gibbs, Yum’s CEO, described 2022 as a “landmark year” for the company, noting “encouraging progress” on the Taco Bell breakfast front.

“Building on high-profile partnerships such as Doja Cat and Davante Adams, Taco Bell brought in Pete Davidson to help drive consumer buzz for breakfast,” Gibbs said in Wednesday’s call. “This led to 9% transaction growth [on breakfast items].”


Rapper Doja Cat and NFL star Davante Adams both appeared in Taco Bell ads earlier on in 2022.


Gibbs added that Taco Bell’s “cult classic” menu item the Mexican pizza helped lift the chain’s sales—telling investors on the call that 45 million units were sold, which he said was “impressive considering it was only available for four months of the year.”


With elevated inflation persisting throughout 2022, Gibbs also noted that Taco Bell was able to target both high-end and value-seeking customers, thanks to its premium products like the grilled cheese burrito and its budget-friendly items like nacho fries.


Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

King Charles’ Crown Estate is coming after Elon Musk’s Twitter over unpaid rent on London offices

January 25, 2023

Britain’s Crown Estate—an independent commercial business that manages the property portfolio belonging to the British monarch—has filed a case against Twitter over alleged unpaid rent at its London offices, reports Fortune Magazine.

Court lists showed the case against Twitter was filed at the High Court in London last week.


The Crown Estate, which is owned by King Charles III and administers thousands of acres of Crown-owned land across the United Kingdom, confirmed the action related to “rental arrears” over its premises at 20 Air Street, London. 


The 260-year-old company is one of the U.K.’s largest landowners—including 10 million square feet of property in London’s West End alone. Profits from the collection of land and buildings are collected by the British government, with $3 billion generated for public spending in the last 10 years. 

Since taking over Twitter last year, Elon Musk has been slashing costs, including cutting at least $1 billion in IT spending, auctioning surplus office furniture, and laying off more than half the workforce. 


Reports suggest that the tech giant’s London office near Piccadilly Circus has been deserted for some months, with Twitter signage and logos removed.


The British court case comes alongside similar trouble in the United States, where Twitter failed to pay almost $6.8 million rent on its San Francisco headquarters in December and January, according to a lawsuit filed by the landlord.


Sri Nine Market Square drew $3.6 million from Twitter’s security deposit to satisfy the payment missed in December, but Twitter still owes $3.1 million in unpaid rent for January.


Twitter leases over 460,000 square feet of space across eight floors in the San Francisco building, according to the complaint. 


The landlord is also seeking to increase Twitter’s letter of credit to $10 million, based on a clause in its lease triggered by the transfer of control of the company—but said Twitter has refused to do so.


Meanwhile, earlier this month another San Francisco landlord accused Elon Musk’s company of not paying rent. The owner of 650 California St.—Columbia REIT, an affiliate of Columbia Property Trust—accused the tech giant of dodging $136,260 in rent payments for use of the 30th floor, according to the lawsuit. 


Nonpayment has been reported as part of Musk’s overall business strategy to keep costs down. So far the approach has gone from skipping rent to refusing to pay for jet flights taken.


Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Microsoft slammed for hosting private Sting concert for its execs in Davos on the eve of firm’s mass layoffs

January 23, 2023

Microsoft has come under fire after details of a bash the company held in Davos, Switzerland, left the company’s workers more than a little stung, reports Fortune Magazine.

The tech firm hosted an exclusive event for around 50 people at the Swiss ski resort on Tuesday evening, January  17, with sources telling the publication that attendees had been treated to a live performance from iconic musician Sting. The party’s theme was sustainability, according to a scoop by The Wall Street Journal

It is unclear whether Microsoft paid Sting to perform at its event on Tuesday evening, at the World Economic Forum, but according to booking agency AAE Music it can cost upward of $500,000 to hire the artist for a private gig.

Invitees to the event—which the Journal described on Wednesday as “intimate”—reportedly included some of the company’s most senior executives.

The next day, Microsoft announced it was slashing 10,000 jobs—almost 5% of its workforce—citing “macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities.”

It marked the largest round of layoffs at the company since 2014. Toward the end of last year, the company announced it would be letting 1,000 workers go.

In an email to employees on Wednesday, CEO Satya Nadella said some workers would be told that day that their jobs would be cut, adding that the downsizing would be completed by the third quarter of 2023.

“We will treat our people with dignity and respect, and act transparently,” he said. “These decisions are difficult, but necessary.”

“We’re living through times of significant change,” Nadella also told his workforce. “We’re seeing organizations in every industry and geography exercise caution as some parts of the world are in a recession and other parts are anticipating one.”

Microsoft is just the latest behemoth of the tech sector to announce sweeping job cuts. AmazonTwitter, and Salesforce are among a plethora of tech firms who also announced layoffs in recent months.

Some Microsoft employees told the Journal that the turn of events between Tuesday and Wednesday was not a good look for the tech giant. The firm also faced criticism on social media, with some dubbing the firm’s moves “hypocrisy” and a “bad look.”

Representatives for Microsoft declined to comment.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Workplace bullying has skyrocketed, and remote work might be partially to blame

January 18, 2023

Reports of bullying in the workplace have skyrocketed in recent years as companies increasingly embrace remote work, reports Fortune Magazine

Ethisphere, a firm that aims to promote ethical business practices, surveyed over two million respondents globally and found a nearly 13-point jump in reports of workplace bullying compared to pre-pandemic.

The startling increase in reported bullying comes down to two main factors, says Ethisphere CEO Erica Salmon Byrne: the entrance of Gen Z in the workplace and remote work. 

To clarify, Gen Z’s workforce entrance hasn’t caused an increase in bullying. (Gen X and millennials aren’t ganging up on office interns.) But younger professionals are more willing to identify and call out bad behavior in the workplace. 

“Just think about the nomenclature that our kids are being given in school—the upstander versus bystander language,” says Salmon Byrne. “That is language that not every generation has been given.” This cultural shift bears out in the data. Gen Z survey respondents were more likely to indicate that they’ve observed bullying in the office.

But don’t let their gumption fool you. Although young employees are likelier to raise their concerns than other generations, they’re not reporting bullying to higher-ups. Almost 39% of Gen Z employees responded that they chose not to report misconduct when they witnessed it, whereas Gen X was most likely to report the behavior (53%). 

 “The Gen Z population, in particular, is less likely to raise concerns because they don’t have a lot of comfort in the system,” says Salmon Byrne. “They’re not completely convinced that they won’t experience retaliation as a result, and that’s consistent with what we see in EEOC data.” The federal agency has seen an influx of harassment and discrimination reports in the last two years. 

The shift to remote work plays a role in this as well. Virtual work requires employees to rely more heavily on written communication and informal chat functions than in the past, making it easier for people to misconstrue messages. Additionally, the lack of visibility with dispersed work has made misconduct or bullying behavior, in some instances, easier to conceal and harder to witness and report.

So, what does this mean for HR heads? They should be training managers to promote a culture where all employees feel safe speaking up.

“As we think about what the workforce of the future is going to look like, it really comes down to manager preparedness,” Byrne says. “We can publicize hotlines all we want, but people are going to people, so the real key is, are the people they go to prepared?”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Meet the psychologist who helps cast your favorite reality TV villains and heroes

January 10, 2023

Back in 1999, clinical psychologist Steven Stein received a call from a colleague about someone he met at a party. The partygoer’s name was Mark, and he was interested in the tool Stein and his coworker had developed to gauge emotional intelligence (the Emotional Quotient Inventory) for a new reality TV show he was creating: A bunch of people isolated on an island, kicked off one by one every week.Stein was dubious, to say the least, reports Fortune Magazine. 


“First thing I said was, ‘Who’s gonna watch a show like that?’” he told FortuneLooking back, he admits his prediction was off. That show was Survivor, which ended up winning seven Emmys. The partygoer happened to be none other than producer Mark Burnett.


Despite his doubts at the time, Stein decided to take on a job consulting the show’s psychologist, beginning his 20-year career in reality television psychology. In 2005, he took on his first full-time psychologist job for HGTV show From The Ground Up. Since then, he’s worked with shows such as the Amazing Race, Master Chef, Bachelor Canada, Bachelor in Paradise; and Big Brother Canada, which he works with the most these days.


It’s a psychologist side gig, of sorts: Stein, who is based in Toronto, is the founder of psychological assessment company Multi-Health Systems (MHS), a full-time job he juggles with being a reality TV psychologist for shows before and after they air. Working with larger-than-life characters and feeding the nation’s obsession with reality TV is a relatively new part of psychology.


It’s a fun gig, Stein fully admits, that many aspiring psychologists covet—at least among the university students he gives talks to, who ask him when he’ll retire because they want his job. 


  The consulting work is also a nice break from Stein’s past experience working with clients as a clinical psychologist. “I spent my time working with people who are depressed and anxious … and all the usual psychological stuff,” he says. “And I think this time in my life, I want to have fun.”

He spoke with Fortune about the ins and outs of his job, from choosing the cast to debriefing them while filming.


The villain you love to hate or the girl next door you’re rooting for? Stein is responsible for putting them on your TV. Most of his job is concentrated around screening contestants, a process he describes as similar to “casting a Broadway play—you want all these different characters.”


Once potential contestants are green-lit, Stein walks the producers through casting dynamics, such as potential situations cast members might fall into or how they’ll react to each other. From there, producers determine the official cast. Stein says he likes to choose people that break stereotypes and defy audience expectations.


After reviewing the personality tests, Stein then interviews contestants to confirm the show is right for them and that they are whom they say they are. While the screening process is a casting tool for Stein, it can spark some revelatory moments for potential contestants—many of whom Stein says lacked resources to ever get counseling, making him their first psychologist. 


  He recalls a time when a contestant said she always felt different from the people she grew up with. After learning of her love for reading and how she felt she couldn’t discuss her interests with friends, he explained what she was experiencing was likely due to her purported high IQ. She began to cry.


“Suddenly, I was able to explain a lot of things to her about her life that she didn’t understand in a short time period,” Stein says.


Other times, wild cards pop up, like the young woman who came in wearing a robe and carrying a plate with a dome-shaped cover for a cooking show. After dramatically revealing a cupcake to the producers, she twirled around to shrug off her robe, exposing a tiny bikini. As Stein tells it, she was escorted out.


Once contestants are green-lit, Stein walks the producers through casting dynamics, such as potential situations cast members might fall into or how they’ll react to each other. He says he likes to choose people that break stereotypes and defy audience expectations. 


But it’s the contestants who ultimately decide what character they’re coming into the game with. There’s not much production happening in the storyline, Stein asserts, likening it to candid camera—the situations might be set up, but the reactions are real. “We want people who really seem to be badass. Part of what I gotta do is make sure they’re real,” he continues. “The reason people watch these shows is because the emotion is real …. That’s what makes the show exciting, it’s real anger, it’s real sadness.”


Over time, Stein’s role has evolved from just casting to providing debrief therapy sessions as cast members re-enter reality. “It’s people’s lives you’re dealing with, as much as it’s fun and games,” he says. “[There’s] a serious part to it. And it can seriously affect their lives.”


  When he first started, he was usually warning contestants that reality TV wouldn’t necessarily make their career or last too long. Now, he says the main issue is warning them about online hatred. “Social media has really affected these shows. So I really have to prepare them for what’s to come,” he says, explaining that cast members may have thought they were great on the show and that they have fans, while the outside world actually hates them.


Stein is typically on set once a week when a show is filming, guiding people through the process. That’s especially important in the beginning, as they adjust to unnatural scenarios like living with 15 people, and in the end, when they’re starting to get tired and miss home. Telling the cast of a show that COVID lockdown was going to shutter production was one of Stein’s most difficult debriefs to date. “I had to explain to each cast member that there was a pandemic, what that meant, and why they had to fly home as soon as possible,” he says. “There were a lot of tears and shattered dreams. I spent long hours in a nearly deserted studio debriefing each person.”

The main priority is making sure everyone is safe, he says. Despite rumors of producer manipulation, he says, safety trumps entertainment. While Stein is on call, he’s not always on set, so he’s walked the producing crew through signs of distress since they’re there 24/7. He stays in contact with them every couple of days, making sure none of the cast members is showing any odd behaviors.


One of his biggest challenges on set, he recalls, is when he had to debrief a popular cast member removed from a show for threats of violence.


But he usually only has to step in and consult contestants through their qualms three or four times over the course of a show. And some of those he has talked into staying, he says, he’s met again down the line.


“They have thanked me so much for that memory … in spite of it being difficult,” he says. “And many of them have told me they’ve grown as a result of experience.”


Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Ray Dalio and James Cameron sink cash into a company making submarines for the uber-rich

December 13, 2022

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio and Oscar-winning filmmaker James Cameron have become part-owners of a company that makes submarines for the ultra-wealthy, reports Fortune Magazine.

Florida-based Triton Submarines announced on Monday, December 12,  that Dalio and Cameron were “joining the company to help supercharge the next generation of ocean exploration technology.”

The amount they invested in the firm was not disclosed, but the deal means Triton is now co-owned by Dalio, Cameron and Triton co-founder Patrick Lahey.

Lahey founded the firm in 2007 alongside Bruce Jones, and the company now manufactures submersible vehicles for personal, commercial and scientific use—some of which are capable of diving to “unlimited depth.”

The vehicles also are designed with luxury in mind, with Triton promising its clientele “interiors unlike any other” and vessels “built of the finest materials.”

Prices for Triton’s submersibles vary—the company’s range of vehicles can carry small parties of two all the way up to 66 passengers—but according to The Financial Times, they come in between $2.5 million and $40 million.

“Ray and Jim bring additional business acumen and discipline to the company, creative ideas and unique opportunities that will amplify and expand on the important work we have accomplished so far,” Lahey said in a statement on Monday, adding,  “I couldn’t be more excited to partner with two individuals with demonstrable passion and integrity, and with a deep commitment to ocean innovation and exploration that will make Triton’s next chapter the most interesting of them all.”

Both Dalio— who founded Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund—and Cameron—whose movies include Avatar,Titanic,and The Terminator—have demonstrated an interest in deep sea diving in the past.

The Bridgewater founder co-founded OceanX, a philanthropic organization aimed at supporting and publicizing scientific explorations of the ocean, in 2018, while Cameron—described by Triton on Monday as “a passionate underwater explorer”—carried out an historic deep-sea dive in a marine vehicle he helped design and engineer a decade ago.

Cameron has been on more than 75 deep submersible dives, including 33 visits to the wreckage of the Titanic.

Dalio said in a press statement that his long-running relationship with Triton had convinced him the company was the “best and most cutting-edge builders of non-military subs in the world.

“These subs are singular in the industry and are easily outfitted with advanced scientific and media equipment to bring important discoveries back to everyone,” he said.

Cameron said in a statement that he invested in Triton because “there are mysteries to solve, new discoveries to make, and critical knowledge to acquire.”

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Cheap thrills: Goodwill launches an e-commerce site

October 6, 2022

Goodwill is the go-to place for secondhand goods. Indeed, many a first couch has been found at one of the organization’s 3,300 community based brick-and-mortar stores in the United States and Canada. And now, the marketplace is expanding its reach even further, to the online world, reports Fortune., a new e-commerce version of the chain, has launched—offering everything from the used clothes that make up most of the store to oddities like a crystal bowling ball with a skull. Other items in the current inventory of roughly 100,000 range from books and home decor to additional specialty and collectors’ items.

 While the sales are available to anyone in the online world, proceeds will go back to the region where the item was sourced.

 “Goodwill has built a legacy of strengthening communities through the power of work,” said Steve Preston, CEO of Goodwill Industries Internationalin a statement. “GoodwillFinds furthers that mission through a modern online shopping experience—backed by a century-old philosophy—to harness resale with purpose.”

 Before the launch of GoodwillFinds, the stores had no central online presence, although some stores would work with third-party vendors to sell select items on eBay or Amazon.

 The launch of the portal comes as the secondhand clothing business is exploding, with sales expected to hit $77 billion by 2025. The number of first-time buyers of secondhand clothes in 2020 jumped by 33 million—and three-quarters of those shoppers planned to increase their spending in that market.

 Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Pepsi out, Apple Music in as sponsor of 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show

September 26, 2022

Apple Music will replace Pepsi as the sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show starting in 2023, reports Fortune Magazine.

The tech giant and the NFL made the announcement on Friday, September 23, and—while they didn’t announce the talent that would perform—they did hint that sneak peeks would be dropped via Apple’s social media channels.

“Music and sports hold a special place in our hearts, so we’re very excited Apple Music will be part of music and football’s biggest stage,” Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to even more epic performances next year and beyond.”

No price on the deal was given, but the NFL had reportedly been shopping the sponsorship for roughly $50 million.

The announcement comes amid growing rumors that Apple is in talks to stream Sunday NFL games on Apple TV+, which would be a big blow to current Sunday Ticket provider DirecTV. (The NFL is reportedly seeking $2.5 billion for the rights, which is $1 billion more than the current price.)

The NFL is a proven way to lure viewers to a streaming service. Last week’s premier of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime attracted 13.2 million viewers and resulted in more new Amazon Prime memberships in a three-hour period than at any other time, including Prime Day and Cyber Monday.

(Amazon paid $13 billion to carry those games for the next 11 years.)

Earlier this year, of course, Apple kicked off its live sports coverage with the debut of Major League Baseball on Apple TV+. This season, the streamer will carry 24 games over 12 weeks—and the company has struck a seven-year deal with the league, paying $85 million for the rights to Friday night games. Apple has also secured the streaming rights in a historic deal for Major League Soccer.

Being front and center in the Super Bowl Halftime Show also will help Apple in its ongoing battle with Spotify for music streaming. The Halftime Show is the biggest musical event of the year by most standards, giving Apple Music a chance to raise its profile and offer incentives to attract subscribers.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine