Business

African-American Business
3:57 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Black-Owned Businesses Grow in Texas, But Still Trail Economically

A report on the state of black-owned businesses in Texas was released today. From left: State Sen. Royce West, TAAACC Chairperson Jim Wyatt, report co-author Bruce Kellison and UT President Bill Powers.
Ryan Kailath/KUT

Black-owned businesses in Texas are growing at a faster rate than Texas businesses as a whole – but they are trailing on several economic indicators, according to a new report.

The number of black-owned businesses in Texas increased 74 percent from 2002 to 2007, while the total number of Texas businesses rose only 25 percent in that period. While the increase seems impressive, the report goes on to say that this is largely because more than 95 percent of black-owned businesses in Texas are owned by single proprietors with no employees.

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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.

Technology
11:27 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Drones Approved: FAA Gives OK To First Commercial Use Over Land

A 2011 photo shows an AeroVironment Puma drone being prepared for launch by University of Alaska researchers. The FAA says it approved BP's use of the drone to survey oil fields in Alaska.
Keith Cunningham AP

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 12:24 pm

The Federal Aviation Administration says it has issued the first permit in its history for an unmanned aircraft to fly over U.S. soil. Oil company BP will use a drone from the company AeroVironment to conduct surveys in Alaska.

The first drone flights under the recently issued waiver have already taken place, the FAA says.

From the agency's news release:

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Business
7:48 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

National Instruments Cancels Project That Would Have Created 1,000 Jobs

Credit Larry D. Moore http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Nv8200p

National Instruments is cancelling a project that would have created 1,000 jobs in Austin over a decade.

The $80 million expansion project of NI's headquarters on North Mopac Boulevard received millions in economic incentives from the city, county and state. All those agreements have also been canceled.

"We want to continue to leverage our investments and drive for growth," National Instruments spokesperson Stacy Schmidt says. "But in the current economy and the challenges in the test and measurement industry, we're choosing not to move forward at this time."

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Technology
4:17 pm
Sat June 7, 2014

Tech Week: Apple In Homes, Snowden Anniversary, Sexism Flare-Ups

Apple's Craig Federighi introduces the company's Home Kit platform during the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 7, 2014 9:46 am

It's time for your quick rundown of the week that was in technology and culture.

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Technology
4:34 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

SpaceX Unveils A Sleek New Ride To Orbit

SpaceX's new crew capsule was unveiled yesterday.
SpaceX

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 3:38 pm

Yesterday, entrepreneur Elon Musk sauntered on to stage and unveiled his latest product: not a smart phone, but a spaceship.

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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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Net Neutrality
11:06 am
Thu May 15, 2014

FCC Gives Initial OK To New Internet Traffic Rules

Demonstrators protest outside the Federal Communications Commission Thursday. The agency voted to open new proposed rules for public comment, including a discussion of whether "paid prioritization" should be banned.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 4:40 pm

New rules for how Internet traffic is governed were officially unveiled and approved for public comment following a 3-2 vote Thursday by members of the Federal Communications Commission.

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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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Technology
4:32 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

As Drones Fly In Cities And Yards, So Do The Complaints

Merrill uses a drone to take aerial shots of Santa Cruz, Calif.
Courtesy of David Merrill

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 9:25 am

The price of drones is dropping — a decent one could cost you $300 — but the reality of the devices flying around cities and neighborhoods doesn't sit well with a lot of Americans.

Are they just paranoid?

Three months ago, when Michael Kirschner and his wife purchased a new condo in San Francisco, they were not concerned about drones. They fell in love with the unit because of its big picture windows.

"You have a view that reaches all the way out to the Golden Gate Bridge," Kirschner says.

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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
7:21 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Study: Amazon's Sales Tax Sends Shoppers Elsewhere

https://flic.kr/p/h6y7Fr

Requiring Amazon to charge state sales tax has sent many consumers looking for other tax-free options, according to a new study for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In 2012, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reached an agreement with Amazon to collect sales tax on items sold to Texans. Because Amazon has a "physical presence" in Texas - its distribution center in Irving - Combs said Amazon should have been collecting state sales tax on online sales. She agreed to drop her demands for $269 million in taxes if Amazon promised to create 2,500 jobs and spend $200 million in capital investments.

But after Amazon started charging sales tax in Texas, its sales in this state dropped by 11 percent, according to researchers.

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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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Short Term Rentals
4:08 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Airbnb To Start Charging Hotel Taxes In A Handful Of Cities

Airbnb, the online home-rental service, says it will start collecting hotel taxes in a few American cities.
Chris Weeks Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:13 pm

When Regitze Visby, a tourist visiting San Francisco from Denmark, searched for accommodations for her trip and saw she could stay at one of the famed "painted ladies" on Alamo Square through Airbnb, she took it.

At $135 a night, "it was a good deal," she says.

But does she know if she's paying a transient occupancy tax or a hotel tax? "I have no idea," she says.

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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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