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Business could be on the precipice of an automation explosion

Automation is hardly a new threat to workers. Long before the arrival of COVID-19 disrupted businesses, many manufacturing executives were already changing how their companies assembled products, and other industries were considering following suit.

But as the global crisis has dragged on, the pandemic could be accelerating that shift.

“Every time there’s a disruption it forces people to make decisions,” says Tom Smith, an associate professor of finance at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. “I would put money on the fact that this has sped up at least the decision-making process. When, all of a sudden, you’re in a crisis, smart and creative people find solutions. Creative people don’t let the crisis take everything down if they can help it.”

Just under 40% of U.S. jobs are at significant risk of being automated, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). More than 10% of the country’s jobs are at high … Read the rest

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Look out L.A. and New York: the migration wave lead by Gen Z and city dwellers is real

Across the nation major central business districts in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle remain eerily empty as employers continue to keep staff working remotely. Heading into the holidays, only 1 in 10 office workers had made their way back into Manhattan.

But is the disruption caused by the pandemic—and the work from home boom—actually convincing Americans to pack their bags and move?

To find out, Fortune and SurveyMonkey polled 2,098 U.S. adults in November.* This poll, which has a modeled error estimate of +/-3%, is an even deeper study than our August look at migration

The finding? Millions of Americans moved as a result of the pandemic—and millions more plan to do so. Among U.S. adults, 16% say they have either moved out of their city/county during the pandemic (6%) or plan to move in the next 12 months (12%). Around 2% of Americans who moved … Read the rest

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What job security? Americans are feeling worn down and fearful of layoffs

The vaccine rollout and incoming Democratic administration has Wall Street feeling pretty darn optimistic: Goldman Sachs is even going as far to project 2021 GDP growth of over 6%—which, if it occurred, would be the highest growth rate since 1984.

But don’t pencil it in just yet. Look no further than the jobs report on Friday, which found that the nation lost 140,000 jobs in December—our first net job loss since April.

To sustain an economic recovery, it requires more than just a confident Wall Street. Main Street, or American consumers who make up two-thirds of GDP, would also need to feel confident enough to spend on big-ticket items and take risks. To get a pulse on how Americans are feeling, Fortune analyzed data from more 30 surveys conducted since the onset of the crisis by Civis Analytics.

We found that Americans are slightly more optimistic now … Read the rest

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Sequoia’s Doug Leone turns on Trump

Doug Leone, a venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital, was among the few prominent supporters of President Donald Trump in the tech community.

While quiet to the media in his support, the investor has donated hundreds of thousands to Trump-related re-election campaigns and reportedly sought to use his ties in a bid to help keep a Sequoia portfolio company, Chinese-backed social media company ByteDance, from being banned in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the investor at the influential venture capital firm came out to publicly denounced Trump’s actions following the storming of Capitol Hill last week.

“I strongly condemn the attack on the US Capitol and all acts of violence,” Leone wrote in a statement as first reported by Recode. “After last week’s horrific events, President Trump lost many of his supporters, including me. The actions of the President and other rally speakers were responsible for inciting the rioters.”… Read the rest

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Seven Things Every Leader Should Stop Doing In 2021

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

The times they are a-changing… and so is the nature of our work. And as our familiar world crumbles around us (thanks, COVID-19!) — and technology keeps snapping up more and more of the tasks humans have always done — we’ll need a whole new set of skills. And that means leaders have some very bad habits to break.

If you’re looking for a good resolution for 2021, don’t focus on new things to start doing. Instead, vow to quit some old, counterproductive leadership behaviors that don’t work in today’s world.

The new world we’re entering has flipped everything upside down. The skills, mindsets, and ways of being that were once prized and sought after have actually become liabilities. And yet too many leaders can’t seem to get with the new program.

It’s … Read the rest

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Target’s strong holiday numbers prove retailers don’t need Black Friday anymore

Target has announced that in 2021, it will once again stay closed on Thanksgiving Day.

It’s easy to understand why the retailer is confident enough to state its plans for a key holiday this far in advance: it doesn’t need to be open on Turkey Day anymore.

Target said on Wednesday that comparable sales, a metric that blends online sales and business at stores in operation for at least a full year, rose 17.2%, continuing its red-hot streak of sales gains since the pandemic broke. And that was despite being closed on Thanksgiving, a day that had become in the 2010s the kick-off to the Black Friday shopping extravaganza as store openings started at an earlier and earlier time. (Walmart set the tone in July 2020 by being the first major chain to say it would skip Thanksgiving store hours, giving Target and others cover to do the same. … Read the rest

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Five Keys To Remote Business Success Every Founder Needs To Know In 2021

by Richard Roth, Founder of Progressive Tech

Starting any new venture in life is an exciting time, be it a business or any other endeavor. Odds are it will almost certainly require more sweat, time and determination than you expected. During these tumultuous times, when established systems collapse and change, new opportunities are constantly being created. Out of any great challenge, new entrepreneurs rise up to fill new needs and desires. Don’t let technology be a burden. Like any powerful tool, it can either be instrumental, or a complete barrier to success.

This season, in preparation for a successful new year, here are some tech tips that entrepreneurs can implement right now to build security and momentum into 2021:

Use the best security measures across the board.

You’re only as secure as your weakest technology/user. Always use multi factor security measures wherever possible. Consider using a password generator and/or a … Read the rest

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3 things to watch for in A.I. in 2021

New developments in artificial intelligence may seem trivial compared to recent events like the Capitol riots in which pro-Trump rioters attempted to subvert the election.

But 2021 will likely be a big year for A.I., and with a new White House administration soon in place, there may be a clearer set of national A.I. policies that will trickle down to the business world. 

Here are three key themes to watch out for:

Federal A.I. funding gets a boost

On New Year’s Day, the U.S. Senate voted to overturn President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act and authorize $741 billion for defense spending, including the creation of a number of A.I.-related polices. Among the reasons Trump opposed the defense bill was the absence of a provision to repeal Section 230, which gives legal protections to Internet companies that host user-generated content. 

Although the defense bill was mostly geared toward … Read the rest

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How Startup Founders Can Battle Insomnia

As a hard-working entrepreneur, you probably have been encouraged to think that sleep is for the weak. After all, “you snooze, you lose,” right?

The reality is that sleep deprivation can negatively affect your overall health. If you suffer from sleep insomnia, you are probably aware of these unwanted side effects.

Here are the four secrets to battling insomnia as a startup founder.

Decompress Before Bedtime.

Many startup founders work right until bedtime. The problem with this routine is that you’ll end up thinking about work while lying in bed. More than likely, you’ll pay for it the next day.

A better strategy is to stop working at least an hour before bedtime. By doing so, you’ll have time to decompress, whether you spend the time before bedtime reading fiction, working out, or talking to a friend.

Engage in Regular Exercise.

Most people know that there are several health benefits Read the rest

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These Fortune 500 companies are halting contributions to Republicans (and Democrats) in the wake of Capitol attacks

For years, Wall Street, and Corporate America more broadly, were willing to put up with President Trump’s often erratic behavior because he delivered the tax cuts, deregulation and tariff reforms they wanted.

But last week’s deadly attack on the Capitol in which mobs of his supporters stormed the heart of American democracy, egged on by the departing President and some of his allies in Congress, as lawmakers sought to ratify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, was a step too far.

Now, some large corporations, like hotel operator Marriott International and insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield are halting donations to Republican lawmakers who sought to disrupt the certification of Biden’s victory. Others, notably Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are temporarily halting political donations altogether.

“We will not support candidates who do not support the law,” Citi head of global government affairs Candi Wolff told staff in an internal … Read the rest