From 100+ Rejections to Singing with the First Lady, Michelle Obama

Success often comes after a lot of rejections. That’s an important lesson to keep in mind when watching The Late Late Show’s James Corden’s latest brilliant carpool karaoke, this time with the First Lady Michelle Obama.

Watch here:

Executive Producer Ben Winston told the BBC’s Phil Williams in an interview yesterday:

Almost “any musician you’ve heard of” turned down the chance to appear on the segment said Winston. It was only after a “chance meeting” with Mariah Carey’s publicist that the idea was turned into reality.”

And then it took off, with stars like Adele, Justin Bieber, Stevie Wonder, and others participating.

That’s an inspiring lesson for anyone looking to launch a career, a business, of follow a dream. There are a lot of rejections on the path to success, and it’s those who push through that succeed.


Opposite of Conventional Wisdom: Startups Shouldn’t Offer Benefits?

Early-stage startups should think twice before offering benefits, that’s the counter-to-popular-wisdom advice from researchers who tracked about 5,000 companies for seven years.

Inc’s Kris Frieswick reports:

Turns out that timing really is everything, especially when it comes to some common employee benefit programs. Researchers led by David S. DeGeest of the University of Groningen recently parsed data from the Kauffman Firm Survey, which for seven years tracked about 5,000 companies launched in 2004, and discovered that benefits can either dramatically increase your startup’s chances of survival or sharply reduce them, depending on when they are provided in your business’s growth cycle. For viability-stage companies, which the new study defined as less than three years old, even a single benefit can decrease the likelihood of succeeding.

The benefits they studied were health insurance, bonuses, flextime, and stock options.

That may well be the research, but good luck finding top talent willing to work for low pay and long hours, without benefits or (more importantly) the real upside that startups offer in stock options?


‘Delegation without follow up is abdication ‘ Advice from Andy Grove, RIP

Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, died last week. His book “High Output Management” is one of my favorites – and I was only introduced to it in 2014 (when I reviewed Ben Horowitz’s book for the WSJ – see here – and here for an introduction to the book by Ben.

Grove’s book is full of wisdom, some of my favorite pieces of advice are:

– It’s very important to send out a recap after a meeting afterwards on what needs to be done. If it’s important enough to hold the meeting, it’s important enough to write notes.

– By saying yes to something you are implicitly saying no to something else.

– Plan in the way a fire department does. You can’t anticipate when the next fire will be, so have a team capable of responding to an unanticipated event as well as an ordinary one.

– Delegation is key to management. But delegation without follow up is abdication.

– Before including people in meetings, ask are they necessary – otherwise you’re wasting the company’s money. (People are worth a certain amount per hour to a company. And just like any purchase, say above $1,000 needs to be justified, shouldn’t the use of someone’s time be treated the same?)


Ladies Beware: The Bigger the Ring, the Shorter the Marriage?

At least according to an academic paper (full paper here), abstract here:

In this study, we evaluate the association between wedding spending and marriage duration using data from a survey of more than 3,000 ever-married persons in the United States. Controlling for a number of demographic and relationship characteristics, we find evidence that marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony.

So not only doesn’t money guarantee happiness, with marriage bliss it’s the opposite?




Nancy Reagan Islam

My latest piece for the Daily Beast (full article here):

The timing of the death of Nancy Reagan just as Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the Republican nomination seems increasingly unstoppable, is particularly painful for one Muslim lady in Brooklyn, Farhana, and her family.

That is because Farhana is not the name she goes by; she goes by Nancy—a nickname her family gave her in 1990, a year after she was born, and the year her family moved to the U.S. from Bangladesh. It’s customary for Bengalis to give their children more English-sounding nicknames that family and friends will use throughout their lives.

Her name was given in honor of President Ronald Reagan, as his 1986 immigration act enabled Farhana’s family to join their father, who was already living in the U.S. Her uncle named his son, Nancy’s cousin, “Reagan,” for the same reason. And so in 1990 the Muslims “Nancy” and “Reagan” moved to Brooklyn.

Continue reading here.


CyecureBox Launched

Excited to announce that  is officially available for public purchase today.Screenshot 2016-02-09 13.35.22


WSJ Sides With Trump; And NYT With Fox?

Two competing headlines – NYT and WSJ – this weekend on the Donald Trump skipping out on the Fox News debate brouhaha.

Only it seems the roles you’d expect are reversed:

The WSJ’s headline read “GOP Debate Draws Fewer Viewers,” lending credibility to the Trump argument that his absence hurt Fox; while the NYT headline read “Even Without You-Know-Who, Debate Still Drew 12.5 Million Viewers,” implying it was  still a big success and thereby crowning Fox News the winner.

Facts are facts, but how they’re presented to the public is another story.


IMG_4578 copy



Take More Vacations To Make More Money?

Americans don’t seem to like vacations, or rather don’t think taking them is a good idea. While they on average earn 21 days of paid time off a year, they on average leave a week on the table. And this number (days left on the table is on the rise).

What’s fascinating – and perhaps counter-intuitive – is that not taking vacations harms career advancement prospects. A 2014 report by “Project Time Off” conducted by Oxford Economics (hat tip latest HBR ) found:

employees who left 11-15 days of PTO unused last year are actually less likely (6.5% less likely) to have received a raise or bonus in the past three years than those who used all of their PTO.

Hawaii anyone?

Polihale Beach via photopin (license)


Federal Reserve To Recruiters: There Are More Jobseekers Out There

The Upshot in Yesterday’s New York Times asks: “Why aren’t wages rising more briskly when unemployment has fallen so much?”

The answer is because:

Wages aren’t rising because the labor market isn’t as tight as we thought; there are more people available to re-enter the work force as more jobs become available, and the unemployment rate can fall more before it becomes truly hard for firms to find workers.

More jobseekers out there is of course great news for companies for multiple reasons; the only question for companies then is how do you reach those so far passive jobseekers?

Because they’re not actively searching they’re not yet on traditional job boards and digital advertising is unlikely to reach them.

One way we’ve found to work very well for companies is through our public network of jobs kiosks. They catch the eye of people — in the case of this picture it captures the attention of would-be jobseekers strolling through a GGP shopping mall by Baltimore’s  Inner Harbor. Another way is for brands to offer recruiting opportunities at non-job fair events they hold.



Apploi Partners in White House ConnectHome Initiative

Some exciting news from Apploi:

Potentially life-changing digital access and jobs are coming to communities across the U.S., thanks to the ground-breaking ConnectHome initiative led by the White House, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),, and partners including GitHub, Cox Communications, Best Buy, ABC Mouse, and Apploi.

The initiative, ConnectHome, is a platform for collaboration between local governments, public housing agencies, Internet service providers, philanthropic foundations, and leading stakeholders, focused on producing local solutions for narrowing the digital divide.

Very proud about being part of this initiative, read all about it here.