Rankings and Ratings in Our Lives


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I am guilty of this and so are most people these days. Our reliance on ratings and stars to make a decision or a judgment is progressively increasing. Today’s needull looks a little deeper into how the ratings are generated and should we blindly trust them.

On Zomato, a 29-year-old who is a ’13 connoisseur’ (having hit 20,000 points) says, “I am not a food critic. I am a food influencer.” He adds, “When we bloggers and microbloggers go to a restaurant, we are treated like gods. We get 15 dishes on the table, in the hope that we will like one. I am equivalent to five reviewers, so my rating matters more.” In the last year-and-a-half, he has been to more than 600 restaurants in NCR and says that he has two meals out nearly every day.”

The complete article

Nandini Nair — OPEN

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The United Airlines Debacle and the Morality of Capitalism


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We have all seen or read about how a passenger was forcefully removed from a United Airlines flight because the flight was overbooked. This needull talks about the morality of capitalism in this context.

Once the common good and the dignity of each person are introduced into the equation, then such things as compassion, kindness, and care for the poor and the environment will come to be understood as values that are every bit as important as efficiency, aggressiveness and hard work. In other words, once you introduce another goal into the equation, then the priorities of the corporation and its employees shift a bit. And, incidentally, it makes for happier employees and a happier organization, because who wants to work for a hard-hearted company?

The complete article

Knowledge@Wharton

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The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews


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Free form interviews – Are they useful? This needull does not think favorably.

A friend of mine once had a curious experience with a job interview. Excited about the possible position, she arrived five minutes early and was immediately ushered into the interview by the receptionist. Following an amicable discussion with a panel of interviewers, she was offered the job.

Afterward, one of the interviewers remarked how impressed she was that my friend could be so composed after showing up 25 minutes late to the interview. As it turned out, my friend had been told the wrong start time by half an hour; she had remained composed because she did not know she was late.

The complete article

Jason Dana — The New York Times

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How Accounting Smoke and Mirrors Makes Corporate Profits — and Rich People’s Income — Invisible


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The rich always find loopholes. As a percentage of income, it is the poor who pay the most taxes.

Because stock-market investors are always going to be thinking: “They could always turn the dial from market share to profits. Just raise prices a skootch, and reap the harvest. In spades.”

But: they never do. It’s like a perpetual-motion machine, or holding yourself up by your own bootstraps. All that rising valuation is eternally based on the fact that they could raise prices and deliver profit (and yes: they could). In the meantime the business both generates and has massive value. It employs 270,000 people, delivers zillions in employee compensation, pays zillions more to suppliers, receives hundreds of billions in revenues, and dominates whole segments of multiple industries. Are there really no “profits”? Nobody’s being irrational here.

The complete article

Steve Roth — Evonomics

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Uncovering An Oily Secret


Today’s Needull is a recent classic Bloomberg article, a dose of ‘business’ with a ladle of ‘mystery story’. It shares how the oil hedging in Mexico works, where Mexican finance officials go out every year and flood a bunch of banks with orders to hedge the country’s oil production. If you have not heard of Hacienda hedge, well, get ready to be amazed and amused, as the below numbers themselves speak of what its impact is.

For its part, Mexico has shown a Wall Street-style wizardry in trading oil. It usually makes money on its hedges—sometimes a lot of money, as in 2008-09. From 2001 to 2017, the country made a profit of $2.4 billion; its hedges raked in $14.1 billion in gains and paid out $11.7 billion in fees to banks and brokers.

Full Article Here

Bloomberg – Javier Blas

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What’s the Value of a Like?


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Like is everywhere. It has become a tool of validation. This needull explores the value of a like. Does it really transform to more business?

But that study and others like it contain a fatal logical flaw: They confuse cause and consequence. It’s possible that getting people to follow a brand on social media makes them buy more. But it’s also possible that those who already have positive feelings toward a brand are more likely to follow it in the first place, and that’s why they spend more than nonfollowers. In 23 experiments conducted over the past four years and involving more than 18,000 people, we used an A/B testing method to explore a crucial counterfactual: what followers would have done had they not followed a brand. Given the millions of dollars in marketing budgets that flow to social media at many companies, the distinction is not trivial. It has enormous implications for marketers’ resource allocations and for how they manage their brands’ social media presence.

The complete article

Leslie K. John, Daniel Mochon, Oliver Emrich, Janet Schwartz — Harvard Business Review

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Snapchat’s Future


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Snapchat’s IPO is soon to come up. The question is whether it is a good investment? “Snap, which plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange next week, is set to be valued at up to $22 billion (£17.6 billion) and is looking to raise up to $3.2 billion (£2.5 billion). It makes Snap the biggest US tech IPO since Alibaba’s blockbuster $168 billion (£134.8 billion) float in 2014.” – Business Insider

“I think [Snapchat] have been brave and the nonvoting point is a classic example of that. They’re saying, ‘We’d rather be up front rather than surprise you further down the line.’ I think that’s good because people will only go in if they’re up for that roller-coaster ride. And it is going to be a roller-coaster ride.”

The complete article

Oscar Williams-Grut — Business Insider

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