Highlights of Yahoo’s History as a Digital Pioneer

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Verizon’s recent $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo this year shows just how much has changed in the multinational technology company’s 22-year history.

Yahoo went from being one of the world’s largest companies in online search to a digital company that has struggled in recent years to expand beyond display advertising. With Verizon’s help, they hope to rebuild a media and digital advertising company to rival long-time competitor Google.

“The acquisition of Yahoo will put Verizon in a highly competitive position as a top global mobile media company and help accelerate our revenue stream in digital advertising,” said Verizon CEO and chairman Lowell McAdam in a statement.

The timeline below shows some of the company’s acquisitions, mergers, highs and lows, and other noteworthy events. The history of Yahoo represents a story of potential pitfalls of establishing a digital powerhouse that’s continuously forced to reinvent itself, especially when it comes to relying on advertising for funds.

1994: Stanford University graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo launch the website “Jerry and David’s Guide” as a catalog for managing websites. It was later renamed to Yahoo, an acronym for Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle.

1996: Valued at $848 million, Yahoo goes public with huge stock gains. Led by Thom Weisel, Montgomery Securities, one of the biggest investment banks at that time, helped maintain Yahoo’s IPOs.

2000: Thanks to the dot-com boom, Yahoo’s stock hits an all-time high and closes at a pre-split price of $475. Yahoo’s stock trades at approximately $38 per share.

2008: Yahoo rejects a $44.6 billion acquisition deal from Microsoft in an effort to compete with rival Google.

2012: Yahoo hires Google executive Marissa Mayer as CEO to help rebuild the struggling company. Display advertising revenues slip.

2013: Yahoo acquires social network Tumblr for $1.1 billion. Mayer’s first big acquisition deal is aimed at reaching a Millennial audience.

Baby Boomers Don’t Work Harder than Millennials

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By now you’ve probably heard, over and over and over again, that Millennials and Generation Xers are lazy. It’s a really popular “headline” found everywhere from worthless “sponsored links” trying to install spyware on your computer, to otherwise respected media outlets like the New York Times.

Sometimes these articles focus on a specific application or cultural phenomenon (Tinder is a popular one) but they all amount to an attempted moral panic about the kids these days. They all boil down to one argument: people born after 1980 are lazy and don’t want to put any effort into doing things “right.”

The thing is, those articles are wrong. All of them. A recent study by faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit looked at 77 studies on work ethic and found that there were no differences between work ethic over the Baby Boomer Generation, Generation X, or Millennial Generation. They all work equally as hard. Maybe that’s because Baby Boomers didn’t invent working hard, and certainly did not invent the “Protestant work ethic” at the core of American and European workplace culture.

So why does this matter? Because the problem is that people are constantly trying to figure out how to manage Millennials, or how to overcome these perceived failures in their work ethic. But now we know this is a complete waste of time.

Millennials are no more (or less) lazy than older generations, they just grew up with different technology and learned to adapt to it faster. They also face student loan debts that the previous generations never faced in their worst nightmares.

Millennials also live in a far more interconnected world than their parents used to. None of that means they don’t work as hard though, and spending money on finding ways to manage the “problem” of working with Millennials has turned out to be a wasted investment.

Top 3 Family-Friendly Companies

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According to a 2015 Pew Research Center study, in 46% of two-parent households, both parents work full time. That’s up from just 31% in 1970. The increasing amount of working parents has led many companies to establish more family-friendly policies. The following companies have excellent parent benefit packages, earning them a spot in the top 3 family-friendly companies in the U.S.

1. KKR Private Equity Firm

In an interview with Bloomberg, Henry R. Kravis, co-founder of KKR, stated that his number one piece of advice to young entrepreneurs was to “believe in yourself, build an incredibly strong team, and focus on your company’s culture.”

KKR, which is worth an estimated 71 billion, has had enormous success with their inclusive company culture. Just last year, the private investment firm introduced a new perk for parents: when it comes to business trips, the firm will pay for nanny and infant airfare during the baby’s first year.

That’s in addition to their gender-neutral parental leave, which is set at 16 weeks for the primary caregiver.

2. Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

This growing fast-food sandwich franchise now has shops in 16 states. But the company is being lauded for more than just their delicious subs. Parents who work at Capriotti’s are encouraged to take time off whenever they want in order to attend their children’s events and activities. But perhaps more impressive the company’s egalitarian approach to time-off:

“If this kind of flexibility applies to one member of the team, it must apply to all,” CEO Ashley Morris stated. “This creates a culture of support and understanding, and policies like these tend to help in retaining talent and creating an environment that fosters quality work.”

3. Campbell Soup Company

This year, Campbell Soup Company enacted a new parental paid leave policy in which 10 weeks of paid leave are granted to the primary caregiver, and two weeks are given to the secondary caregiver. Parental leave advocates love the policy because it doesn’t discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation.

Paid leave aside, the company also has an onsite lactation room for breastfeeding mothers. Additionally, parents with older children can take advantage of the company’s onsite after-school activities, summer programs, and kindergarten classes.

Standing by her dedication to diversity, CEO Denise Morrison stated, “Families today are a mosaic. Families will decide different roles in their lives. The expectation is that we as a company will be flexible.”

Boosting Application Speeds

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A process called Dense Footprint Cache may help significantly speed up applications on computers and mobile devices. When a processor is running an application, it has to retrieve data which is stored “off processor” in device memory. This process takes time. In order to make it faster, processors have a cache of die-stacked dynamic random access memory that allows the processor to go to the cache and retrieve the data more quickly.

However, there is a decent chance that the data in question won’t be stored there, in which case the processor has to go to the memory anyway, which slows the whole process down. Under this new system though, the processor learns where data is stored, allowing it to access that data faster. Tests have shown that the average system is 9.5% faster than other, state-of-the-art computing methods, which is a noticeable improvement. Furthermore, the system allows the processor to skip over data that it knows is not in the cache, reducing “last level cache miss ratios” by 43%. As a bonus, the whole process uses 4.3% less energy than normal, which means slightly longer battery life, too.

While this technology (which is still new and not ready for the market) is unlikely to drastically change the way we compute, it will help, especially if it ends up in consumer devices like smart phones and tablets. Being able to use apps with even 9.5% more speed will improve customer use, and it will also allow more applications to function more quickly. This is the kind of thing that, bundled within next-generation smart phones, for example, makes people want to actually upgrade their devices. It’s the kind of improvement that actually means something, not like, say, removing the 3.5mm audio jack so that customers are forced to buy more expensive, more complicated headphones.

Pentagon Official Used Gov’t Card to Pay for Strip Club Expenditures

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Major General Ronald Lewis racked up over $2,000 in strip club expenses that he put on his government-issued credit card. Lewis served as a top military aide to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter (shown above).
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Army Major General Ronald Lewis was caught using a government-issued credit card to pay for strip club expenses. Lewis, who was the former aide to Defense Secretary Ash Carter, at first tried to deny the accusations. But bank statements proved that Lewis did in fact use the card at strip clubs located in both South Korea and Italy.

According to NBC News, Defense Secretary Carter fired Lewis a year ago back when the Pentagon first began investigating allegations of misconduct. However, the report itself was only made public today.

“As I said when I first learned about allegations of misconduct against Major General Lewis and removed him as my Senior Military Assistant, I expect the highest possible standards of conduct from the men and women in this department particularly from those serving in the most senior positions. There is no exception,” Carter stated.

The report shows that Lewis, who is married, spent $1,121.25 at a strip club in South Korea called the Candy Bar. Lewis spent an additional $1,755.98 at the Cica Cica Boom strip club located in Rome. Both clubs are notorious for prostitution.

But if that’s not bad enough, there are further allegations of sexual harassment. One female subordinate reported that during a trip to Hawaii, Lewis tried to kiss her. The female officer claims she had to physically push Lewis off of her.

Yet another female officer claims that Lewis invited her into his hotel room to conduct official business. When she arrived, Lewis was shirtless, the only piece of clothing he had on was a pair of gym shorts. When the woman left the room, another fellow officer saw that she was visibly upset. This officer advised that she not see Lewis again without a “buddy.”

Despite all of this evidence, the report doesn’t accuse Lewis of committing adultery. If there’s anything this report proves, it’s that the military is still struggling with both transparency and sexual harassment.

Music in the Workplace Can Boost Teamwork

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A Cornell University study has found that music can be a valuable team building tool. Music is a big part of the retail experience, and is often used to try and influence purchasing habits. But this is the first study to really investigate how it impacts employees.

The summation is that “happy” and upbeat music makes people more inclined to collaborate, while “unpleasant” music doesn’t. It’s not that the unpleasant tunes had a negative impact, they just simply didn’t have a positive impact.

The happy music they chose were staples of soft rock and adult contemporary. Examples include “Walking on Sunshine” and “Yellow Submarine.” The unpleasant music was largely heavy metal from lesser-known groups. However, the mere categorization of heavy metal as “unpleasant” proves that there’s some bias that needs to be worked out over additional research.

For example, while most of society views heavy metal as being negative and unpleasant, people who actually listen to the genre don’t view it that way. In other words, depending on who you have working in your store or office, heavy metal could be more conducive to teamwork. That also leaves the possibility that “happy” music could end up annoying employees who don’t enjoy that genre.

While many people use music as a tool for productivity, this study proves that the genre itself must be chosen carefully. Musical tastes can vary widely between coworkers, and those tastes can sometimes be antithetical to one another. Music is important to people, and it can form the basis of strong friendships and can also cause significant disagreements.

If you’re thinking that pumping some tunes into the workplace might be an effective, cheap, team building tool, you might be right. But you’re going to want to consult with the team before you make any decisions, lest you actually make things worse.

Tesla Files Lawsuit Against Michigan’s Top Officials

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Electric car manufacturer Tesla is filing a lawsuit against the state of Michigan for refusing to allow the company to sell directly to consumers. The automotive maker named Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette in its official court proceedings. The lawsuit comes after Secretary of State Ruth Johnson denied Tesla’s application for dealership and service provisions in Grand Rapids.

“Tesla Motors brings this lawsuit to vindicate its rights under the United States Constitution to sell and service its critically-acclaimed, all-electric vehicles at Tesla owned facilities in the State of Michigan,” the car company stated.

Tesla’s recent litigation comes after years of legal battles between the car manufacturer and the state of Michigan. In 2014, Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that banned the automotive company from selling without a dealership network.

A spokesperson for Governor Rick Snyder declined to comment on the current charges brought forth. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette said they are currently reviewing the case. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson published a press release, stating that, “The license was denied because state law explicitly requires a dealer to have a bona fide contract with an auto manufacturer to sell its vehicles.”

For Tesla, the stakes couldn’t be higher, with their much-anticipated Tesla Model 3 scheduled for production late next year. The Model 3 is set to be Tesla’s most affordable vehicle yet, set at $35,000 before tax incentives. The company has already received about 400,000 deposits of $1,000 each from buyers who want to purchase their vehicles in advance.

Tesla currently owns 100 stores in 23 states. For Michigan residents, the closest stores are in Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Tesla argues that using a dealership would corrupt their business model. The automotive manufacturer strongly opposes commission-based salaries, and doesn’t want consumers to feel pressured into buying a vehicle.

Yahoo Confirms 500 Million Accounts Have Been Stolen

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Search engine company Yahoo has confirmed that there has been a data breach in which information from 500 million accounts has been stolen. Yahoo believes it was a “state-sponsored actor” who was behind the breach. A “state-sponsored actor” is someone who is working on behalf of a governmental agency.

Yahoo’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) Bob Lord released the following statement:

“We have confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what we believe is a state-sponsored actor. The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers.”

Lord’s press release also stated that the company is working closely alongside law enforcement to find the perpetrators. In the mean time, the company is notifying users who may have been affected. Lord assured users that Yahoo is doing everything they can to protect against future threats.

“An increasingly connected world has come with increasingly sophisticated threats. Industry, government and users are constantly in the crosshairs of adversaries. Through strategic proactive detection initiatives and active response to unauthorized access of accounts, Yahoo will continue to strive to stay ahead of these ever-evolving online threats and to keep our users and our platforms secure.”

For security purposes, Yahoo is advising affected users to change their passwords immediately. The company also recommends adopting another form of account verification, such as Yahoo Account Key. Yahoo Account Key links to the user’s cell phone. Whenever a login attempt is made, access can either be granted or denied with the click of a button.

As an added layer of precaution, the company has invalidated unencrypted security questions and answers, making them ineffective for account logins. Users should be wary of any messages coming from unfamiliar sources. Above all, users should never click on any suspicious links or attachments.

Workaholics Aren’t More Successful, New Study Finds

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The image of the employee who lives for work and lets it totally dominate their life is going out of style. There are definitely still employers who feel that people should be more concerned with their work, but just like workaholics, these employers are going out of style. The prevailing image has been that people who put their lives ahead of their jobs are less successful, but according to a new study by Swiss researchers, that simply isn’t true.

The study found that people who have “strong non-work orientations” (that is to say they take time for their families, hobbies, or other aspects of their personal life) do not have lower salaries or less success than workaholics. In fact, people with strong non-work orientations report higher satisfaction within their career and their life. More satisfied employees are less likely to quit, which is good for employers.

The study didn’t find any real significant differences between men and women with strong non-work orientations, other than the fact that women tend to plan their careers with things outside of work in mind from the start, which men are less likely to do. Workers with families tended to have greater levels of satisfaction, but that isn’t to say that those without families weren’t happy. Not everybody wants a traditional family, after all.

The key takeaway is that employers are better off letting workers have their own personal lives. That can mean a lot of things ranging from more vacation time to decreased work hours. With the rapid development of social media, it has become increasingly common for employers to look potential employees up on Facebook or Twitter and to keep an eye on them after they’re hired. But this latest study suggests that maybe potential job candidates and current employees shouldn’t be judged on the activities they engage in on their own personal time. Perhaps taking on a more human-approach to employment will make for a healthier, happier workplace for all involved.

Thank the Female Fandom for the Success of Star Trek

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Star Trek, arguably one of the most important science fiction franchises in the world, just celebrated it’s 50th anniversary. The original show debuted in 1966, but it wasn’t as immediately successful as one might assume based on its subsequent successes. All those movies, TV shows, novels, comics, video games, and tons of merchandise never would have happened if it weren’t for some very dedicated fans. Those fans organized letter-writing campaigns, organized conventions, and wrote fan fiction to keep the franchise alive, especially between 1970 and 1979 when there weren’t any new episodes being aired. Those fans not only kept Star Trek alive, they laid the foundation of modern day fandom, and those fans were women.

Today, producers love fans because they ensure a constant influx of money. The websites Tumblr and DeviantArt basically exist so that people can easily share fanart and get into arguments about which fictional characters they think should be in relationships with other fictional characters. Massive conventions like Comic-Con, PAX, or Dragoncon wouldn’t exist without fandom, and everything from Star Wars to Stranger Things probably wouldn’t even exist if the Internet hadn’t come along to turn fandom into the giant money making machine that it is.

But those initial Star Trek conventions, and fanzines, and fan fiction, and fanart, were most made, organized, and shared by women who loved the show. Back then, it was a labor of love; there weren’t magazines or easily available stills to reference for your drawing of Spock or your homemade Starfleet uniform. Fanzines were hand-typed or hand-written and copied via mimeograph (here’s a link if you’re too young to know what that is).

Everybody from J.J. Abrams to William Shatner to the kids sharing their Steven Universe fanart on Tumblr owe it to the women who gave us Star Trek fandom.

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