Business

Texas Standard
10:58 am
Wed April 22, 2015

Texas Walmart Stores Close Suddenly, Lay Off Workers Due to ‘Plumbing Problems’

Some employees and patrons are suspicious about the retailer’s claims. Could the real reason for the closures be union busting?
flickr.com/jeepersmedia

From Texas Standard:

Mega-retailer Walmart has closed five stores across the country – two in Texas – for one reason:

“They came in and announced that they were going to close the store for at least six months due to extensive plumbing issues,” says Jim Wright, City Attorney of Livingston, Texas. 

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Texas Standard
1:37 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

How Texas Summers Inspired a Novel Change to the Water Balloon Fight

Check out the world's "only self-sealing water balloons."
Laura Rice, Texas Standard

This story comes from Texas Standard.

The weather is warming up and kids across Texas are finding ways to stay cool as they play outside. One longtime favorite is a good old-fashioned water balloon fight. But a Texas man may have changed the game forever.

“Where I’m from in West Texas originally, it’s very hot and dry in the summers, and there’s very much a lack of things to do,” Kendall Harter says.

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In Black America Podcast
1:53 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

In Black America Podcast: 'Only By Grace' Author Dr. Edward D. Irons

Dr. Edward D. Irons

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Edward D. Irons, noted educator, financial and business executive, and author of “Only By Grace.”

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Texas Standard
1:24 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Is The Ugly Christmas Sweater Bubble About To Burst?

Ugly Christmas sweaters are making a comeback among millenials.
flickr.com/cheeseroc

There's a good chance that you'll be invited to an "Ugly Sweater" Christmas party this year. If you didn't save yours from the '80s, there's pop-up stores all over Texas meeting the demand.

But is the ugly bubble about to burst?

Today is the third annual National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. The garish garments have been around since the 1950s, when they were originally considered (unironically) beautiful. Chevy Case help lead the kitschy sweater comeback in the '80s in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

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Texas
4:32 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Paying With Your Phone? You've Got Options – But Are They Any Good?

flickr.com/williamhook

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the notorious Target credit card breach, one of the biggest credit card hacks in history.

And with consumers wary about credit security, companies are rolling out new payment options – like Apple Pay.

Omar Gallaga, tech culture reporter for the Austin-American Statesman, tells Texas Standard the original idea behind mobile pay initiatives was to simplify buying.

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Texas Standard
4:13 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Why Ireland's Opening a New Consulate in Austin, Texas

A different type of Hill Country: Ireland is opening a consulate in Austin to focus on trade and development.
flickr.com/georgiesharp

Ireland is getting ready to do something it hasn’t done that often in the past century: open some new consulate offices. Hong Kong, Bangkok and São Paulo are among the cities selected. Oh, and one more – Austin, Texas.

Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Consul General Adrian Farrell about plans for the new office, trade between Ireland and Texas, and efforts to reach out to Irish Texans and Americans.

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In Black America Podcast
8:47 am
Mon September 29, 2014

In Black America Podcast: Austin Business Leader Natalie Madeira Cofield

Natalie Cofield, President and CEO, Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Natalie Madeira Cofield, President & CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, located in Austin, TX; Founding President of the Austin Black Technology Council and Founder of Walker’s Legacy a national women in business collective.

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Science
2:33 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Could Maker Culture Spark the Next Industrial Revolution?

A 3D As tools like 3D printers (pictured) drop in price, they increasingly fuel a maker culture, according to UT engineer Scott Allen.
flickr.com/creative_tools

Everyone has ideas. Machines, inventions, and improvements to everyday products: things that bounce around in everyone's mind. But unless that someone is an engineer, inventor, or tinkerer, those ideas stay just that … ideas.

Until now that is.  

A new, emerging "maker" culture encourages innovators to create as they wish with the help of 3D printers, laser cutters, and many other tools. The Obama Administration even recently hosted a nationwide "Day of Making" for these creators. 

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Business
7:51 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Meet Two African Women at UT With Ideas for Improving Access to Some Basic Needs

Faith Mangope wants to help young South Africans find employment and create jobs.
Sara Combs, courtesy the UT-Austin International Office

Some young people in Africa are struggling with problems that many Americans take for granted – including serious unemployment and access to basic needs.

A group of 25 young Africans from 18 different countries have been at UT-Austin this summer to bring to life their business plans for addressing some of the challenges in their countries.

It’s part of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. The national program is in its fourth year but this is the first time participants have spent time at a university prior to a summit in Washington.

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
9:17 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Benefit Corporations Look Beyond The Profit Motive

Stephen Maydwell adjusts tins of Badger Balm before a machine fills them at the W.S. Badger Co. Inc. factory in Gilsum, N.H.
Jack Rodolico

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 7:53 am

A corporation has one core obligation: to make money. But some companies are signing a deal, promising to create not only profit but also a tangible benefit to society and the environment. They're called benefit corporations, and their movement has caught the ear of lawmakers across the country.

In the tiny town of Gilsum, N.H., you'll find the headquarters of W.S. Badger Co. Inc. The company makes all-natural cosmetics marketed under the name Badger Balm. When CEO Bill Whyte founded the company two decades ago, the staff was lean.

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Business
6:57 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Report: Stratfor Hack Orchestrated by FBI Informant

The computer hack of Austin-based Stratfor in 2011 resulted in credit card numbers and damaging emails being leaked online. A new investigative report from the Daily Dot examining still-sealed court records found that the FBI knew about the hack, because one of its informants helped to orchestrate it.

In addition to directly facilitating the breach, the FBI left Stratfor and its customers—which included defense contractors, police chiefs, and National Security Agency employees—vulnerable to future attacks and fraud, and it requested knowledge of the data theft to be withheld from affected customers. This decision would ultimately allow for millions of dollars in damages.

Daily Dot reporter Dell Cameron was a lead reporter on the story. Listen our interview with him here.

Another Data Breach
12:36 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Saying It Was Hacked, EBay Urges Users To Change Passwords

Hackers broke into a database containing customer information, auction site eBay said Wednesday. The company is based in San Jose, Calif.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 7:20 pm

Online marketplace eBay says it was the target of a cyberattack in which hackers accessed a database of its encrypted passwords. The auction site says no financial data were revealed — but it's urging its users to update the passwords on their accounts.

EBay says that it hasn't seen any sign of fraudulent activity since the problem was first detected "about two weeks ago." It also said that it stores financial data and customer records in different places and that accounts of its direct-payment subsidiary, PayPal, were not affected by the data breach.

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Business
4:29 am
Mon May 19, 2014

AT&T To Acquire Broadcast Provider DirecTV

Originally published on Sun May 18, 2014 11:17 pm

Telecommunications giant AT&T and DirecTV announced Sunday that the two companies had reached a definitive agreement which would see AT&T acquiring the broadcast service provider.

AT&T is buying DirecTV for about $48.5 billion, reports The New York Times. But the Times reports that the deal, including debt, is valued at about $67 billion.

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Business
9:01 am
Thu May 15, 2014

How to Manage Your Team Like the San Antonio Spurs

flickr.com/rmtip21

The San Antonio Spurs may not have rock star players like LeBron James – they don't have the resources. They might not have the youngest lineup, either (to say the least). And no, they're not flashy.

But the Spurs succeed so often – both on and off the court – they're now considered the top ranked team in the NBA, picked by many to win a fifth championship this year. They must be doing something right.

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Business
5:08 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Sriracha-Maker Says Factory Will Remain In California

Sriracha chili sauce is produced at the Huy Fong Foods factory in Irwindale, Calif. CEO David Tran has been at odds with the local City Council over the smells emitted by the sauce factory.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 5:53 pm

Sriracha hot sauce-maker Huy Fong Foods has been tussling with the City Council of Irwindale, Calif., near Los Angeles for months now over whether the factory's spicy smells harm its neighbors. There have been legal action and suggested fixes, but also pleas from other cities for the company to consider moving there.

David Tran, the CEO of Huy Fong, says he escaped from Vietnam almost 35 years ago to be free of the communist government there and its many intrusions.

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Business
7:43 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Oil and Gas Companies Are Now Poaching Employees From Each Other

Oil rigs and tankers off the coast of Galveston
Credit https://flic.kr/p/xzPDU

The global boom in energy production driven by fracking and horizontal drilling is leading to a shortage of skilled workers. A new report by the human resources firm Mercer says two-thirds of oil and gas companies are now poaching employees from their competitors.

"The industry seems inclined when an individual is trained and developed by a competitor to, especially in the first five years of employment, go after that key talent, as opposed to training and developing their own,"  says Philip Tenenbaum, a senior partner at Mercer. 

He says in some cases, the practice has become quite overt.  

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Target Credit Breach
7:41 am
Mon May 5, 2014

In Wake Of Massive Data Breach, Target CEO Steps Down

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 10:16 am

In the wake of a massive data breach that exposed the personal information of about 70 million customers last year, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is stepping down, the retailer's board announced in a statement Monday.

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Business
3:28 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Fast-Food CEOs Earn Supersize Salaries; Workers Earn Small Potatoes

According to a new report, YUM! (owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) compensated its CEO $22 million in 2013.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 8:09 am

At a time when fast-food workers make an average of about $9 an hour, what are the chief executives bringing home?

According to a new report, YUM! (owner of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) compensated its CEO $22 million in 2013.

Chipotle's CEO took home $13.8 million in total compensation. And McDonald's CEO compensation totaled $7.7 million. (Compensation includes salary, bonus and the value of exercised options.)

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Business
8:26 am
Thu April 17, 2014

To Increase Productivity, UPS Monitors Drivers' Every Move

Elise Amendola AP

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:11 pm

The American workforce might want to pay attention to all those brown trucks full of cardboard boxes. UPS is using technology in ways that may soon be common throughout the economy.

On the surface, UPS trucks look the same as they did more than 20 years ago, when Bill Earle started driving for the company in rural Pennsylvania.

But underneath the surface, Earle says, the job has changed a lot. The thing you sign your name on when the UPS guy gives you a package used to be a piece of paper. Now it's a computer that tells Earle everything he needs to know.

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Toy Joy Closing
4:39 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Why Some Stores Fail and Others Thrive in Austin's Second Street District

Austin's Second Street District, seen in 2010. The nascent neighborhood has seen lots of tenant turnover since it launched.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Update: Toy Joy was bought Monday by Fred Schmidt, owner of Wild About Music on E. Sixth Street. Schmidt told Time Warner Cable News he plans to keep the store downtown. "We're going to continue with this business as it has been — only make it more successful than it has [been] in recent years,” Schmidt said. “We're very committed to Toy Joy, its concept, its premise and what it has been in Austin for several decades now."

Original story (March 31): Toy Joy will be auctioned off today. The iconic Austin store closed its doors on March 16, after struggling for the last few years.

In 2013, the owners thought a new location in a hip part of town would help, so they moved from Guadalupe Street – close to the Drag – and into downtown’s Second Street District. But Toy Joy didn’t make it.

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