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Big Oil Loses Refining Crutch With Margins Crushed Last Quarter

(Bloomberg) — Six months on from crude’s era-defining price crash and Big Oil is suffering from whiplash.Prices may have stabilized around $40 a barrel as OPEC+ curbed supply, but as the coronavirus surges through Europe once again, the twin safety nets for majors in previous downturns — refining and trading — have come under severe pressure as consumers stay home.“Refining margins are absolutely terrible,” Patrick Pouyanne, Total SE’s Chief Executive Officer, said earlier this month. The French major, along with a raft of other oil companies and refiners, have warned investors that slumping margins will be a drag on profits. For some like Exxon Mobil Corp., it might even push them into the red.The third quarter will provide little respite to the supermajors with three out of the five expected to post losses. Trading, which brought the European firms a torrent of cash last quarter, is unlikely to save the … Read the rest

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Taxes Are Good, Actually

by Eric Yaverbaum, CEO of Ericho Communications and author of “Leadership Secrets of the World’s Most Successful CEOS“.

Taxes aren’t fun to pay. There, I said it.

Tens of thousands of dollars of your hard-earned money, the end result of your work, your strife, your sleepless nights and stress headaches and endless meetings that take longer than they should, don’t make it to your pocket by a matter of law, a debt we owe before we earn a dime. Taxes suck, but they aren’t bad, any more than chemotherapy is bad because it sucks. They are how our community takes care of itself.

Taxes pay for road construction and repair, and by extension all interstate commerce. Taxes pay for firefighters. Taxes fund our public schools, which were once the envy of the world. Taxes pay health inspectors to make sure meat-packing plants and your local McDonald’s provide food … Read the rest

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Bitcoin Resurgence Leaves Institutional Acceptance Unanswered

(Bloomberg) — The Bitcoin hype machine is back in overdrive.The digital token spiked above $13,000 this week for the first time in over a year, touching off Twitter dance parties, new sky-high predictions and even some tattoo flashing. Back are proclamations that crypto is the currency of the future, that the dollar’s days are numbered and blockchain will reorder the financial universe.A mid-week announcement that PayPal Holdings Inc. will allow transactions in crypto set off the craze, adding about $19 billion to Bitcoin’s value over the following two days. It was the latest in a series of mainstream acknowledgments that digital tokens exist and clients want to trade in them. Wall Street stalwarts like Fidelity Investments have crypto investment products and two public companies — Square Inc. and MicroStrategy Inc. — recently said they bought Bitcoin.But for all the hype, there’s little evidence that Bitcoin and its digital brethren are … Read the rest

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What To Look For In A Good Password Manager

So, you’re looking for a new password manager for your business or personal use? You’re in luck—we know exactly what features a good password manager should have. You don’t want to settle for just any password manager, otherwise, you might as well just use the built-in manager in your browser (please don’t). Browser password managers are notoriously lacking in the security department, and you don’t want to leave your passwords to chance.

Today’s password management software is secure, easy to use, and flexible enough to work for both business and personal use. Let’s jump into some of the features you should be looking for in a password management service!

End-To-End Encryption.

First and foremost, your passwords need to be secure. Otherwise, what’s the point of using a password manager to begin with? End-to-end encryption is a standard feature with password apps like Keeper, but not every password manager … Read the rest

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Mattel Soars After Toy Demand Helps Earnings Smash Estimates

(Bloomberg) — Mattel Inc. rose as much as 11% in early trading Friday after third-quarter results shattered expectations, lifted by consumers snapping up Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toys during the pandemic.Revenue rose 10% to $1.63 billion in the period, Mattel said on Thursday, topping analysts’ predictions of $1.46 billion. Adjusted profit was 95 cents a share, beating estimates of 39 cents, as the company continued to work on cutting costs.Mattel has addressed inventory problems posed by the coronavirus and expects a stronger-than-normal holiday buying season, Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz said in an interview. The company said that inventories at retail outlets were lower than at the same time last year, and they’re working together to avoid product shortages.The lack of new movie franchises tied to competing toy brands may provide a boost to Mattel, which relies on well-known products such as Barbie, Uno and Pictionary. The company’s doll … Read the rest

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Is Artificial Intelligence Fusing With The Virtual Call Center?

The current business situation has brought new techniques for improving the global market – the fusing of AI with the call center directed to improve a business’s customer interactions.

Today virtual call centers are the top users of AI technology from reliable poll ratings.

Most businesses in the UK are adopting AI tech to increase the reliability of their call centers. However, AI investment sets to attract more call centers for automation. The emergence of AI technology has led to virtual call center expansion as they absorb more customers. The adoption of AI technology will also involve upcoming businesses to withstand the competitive market.

How will the digital [AI] call center automation change call centers?

The emergence of AI technology is big news for call center services. Incorporating AI means improving customer service and increasing business revenues. The virtual call center will schedule and deliver emails and messages and … Read the rest

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Heavy Oil Scarcity to Boost Canadian Oil-Sands Prices Next Year

(Bloomberg) — Canadian oil prices are poised to strengthen next year as Mexican heavy crude exports to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries dwindle, according to BMO Capital Markets.Heavy Western Canadian Select’s discount to the West Texas Intermediate benchmark could narrow to $5 to $7 a barrel next year, BMO said in a report Wednesday. Oil sands producers will benefit from less output of competing crude from Latin America as Petroleos Mexicanos expects to cut exports while Venezuelan supplies remain off limits due to U.S. sanctions.Western Canadian Select discount to WTI strengthened to less than $10 a barrel since mid-April, after more than a million barrels a day of oil sands production was shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The strong differential has remained near $10 even as oil sands supplies have returned to the market.U.S. Gulf Coast and Midwest refiners invested billions of dollars in recent decades to process heavy crude, … Read the rest

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In Uncertain Times, Leaders Must Bring Their Best Selves To Work

by Edward D. Hess, author of “Hyper-Learning: How to Adapt to the Speed of Change

Leaders, are you feeling the pressure? Of course you are. (After the past five months, how could you not be?) Even those thought to be the “best” leaders are falling apart like two-dollar watches these days. Times of extreme disruption (like right now) underscore the need for many of us to move to a completely new way of leading (and being). And the key to this new style of leadership may surprise you. Inner Peace.

The louder the outward chaos, the greater the need for an internal sense of calm. Those who are able to cultivate this state are far more suited to lead in a world that has been shaken off its foundations.

With Inner Peace — which I define as being fully present in the moment with an open, non-judgmental … Read the rest

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Snapchat Co-Founders Share $2.7 Billion Windfall

(Bloomberg) — Snap Inc.’s co-founders got richer by billions of dollars in just a few hours, after the company reported better-than-expected results as the coronavirus pandemic boosted usage of its app.Shares soared as much as 25% to $35.57 in late New York trading Tuesday after the owner of the popular Snapchat mobile app said sales jumped 52% to $678.7 million in the third quarter, with 249 million daily active users. The gains lifted the fortunes of Snap’s co-founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, by $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively, taking them to $6.9 billion and $7.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Spiegel has pocketed over $200 million from Snap stock sales during 2020, benefiting from the record prices. The sales were made between January and September as part of a trading plan adopted by Spiegel, according to SEC filings. Snap shares have climbed 74% this year.Wealth accumulation in … Read the rest

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To Earn Love from “Digital Customers,” Follow This 5-Step Formula To Digital Transformation

by Howard Tiersky, author of “Wining Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance

Today’s customer is “digitally driven.” So, if your brand is going to thrive, digital must be at the core of what you do. Add-ons and tweaks aren’t good enough. To earn and keep customer love, you’re going to have to make sure they can access your products and services quickly and seamlessly.

For most legacy companies, this requires total transformation. Here is a five-step process to help you make the shift.

Step 1: Understand Your Customer.

Customer centricity is essential. You must understand your customer on a deep level if you are to create the kinds of experiences that will move their behavior in the right direction. This requires several types of research, such as:

Indirect Customer Research. You probably already have a wealth of customer insight tucked away in various, disparate places within your enterprise, … Read the rest