On the hook

May 18, 2015

By Heather Somerville via siliconvalley.com   Article

Ellen Pao may be on hook for $1M in Kleiner Perkins’ legal expenses

“Venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers paid nearly $1 million in court costs and expert witness fees during the sex-discrimination trial brought by former employee Ellen Pao. Now Pao, after losing the high-stakes case, could be on the hook to pay those expenses.

Kleiner Perkins on Wednesday filed court documents detailing the venture firm’s costs in the five-week trial — $972,814, the sum of court filing fees, transcribing and videotaping testimony, traveling expenses for witnesses and fees for expert witnesses. That figure doesn’t include fees for Kleiner’s legal team, led by Orrick attorney Lynne Hermle.

Legally, Kleiner has the right to recover court costs and witness fees for two reasons: The firm won the gender-bias case on all claims, and Kleiner offeredPao a settlement of nearly $1 million, which she turned down.

Last month, a jury found Kleiner was not liable in allegations of gender discrimination and retaliation, delivering Pao a staggering loss in her $16 million case. The high-profile lawsuit riveted Silicon Valley and put the venture industry’s boys-club culture under international scrutiny.

The VC firm, however, submitted the bill to the court to deter her from filing an appeal — not necessarily because it wants the $1 million. ‘KPCB has offered to waive all legal costs due to the firm should Ellen Pao choose to bring this legal matter to a close,’ spokeswoman Christina Lee said in a statement.

The only way Pao would be exempt from paying Kleiner anything is if she files an appeal and wins. Several experts have said an appeal would be a losing battle. …

Before leaving Kleiner Perkins, Pao had asked for a $10 million settlement. She was fired in October 2012, five months after suing the firm, and continued to receive her salary, benefits and bonuses until she was hired at Reddit, where she serves as interim CEO, in March 2013.”

3D printing factory

May 18, 2015

By TJ McCue via forbes.com   Article

A Glimpse Into The Future of American Manufacturing

“In 2014, Aleph Objects’ revenue was $4.6 million, and as of the end of April they are on track to surpass their 2014 sales, a company spokesperson shared with me. The company operates a cluster of 144 LulzBot 3D printers that run 24 hours a day, five days week, creating parts for their own printers. This week the company hit 500,000 parts produced in their own 3D printing factory. The milestone part was an x-end motor mount for the company’s award-winning LulzBot Mini desktop 3D printer.

This is a significant milestone in another way as well – the media frequently talks about how traditional manufacturing is going to disappear, but very rarely has examples of companies producing, at scale, via 3D printers. There are examples out there and I’ll share more of them in the coming months. But Aleph has proven they can base a major portion of their manufacturing process on their own printers. That means they can easily scale production to meet customer demand.”

Better to receive

May 18, 2015

By Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman via hbr.org   Article

The Assumptions That Make Giving Tough Feedback Even Tougher

“We asked a global sample of 3,875 people who’d received negative or redirecting feedback if they were surprised or had not known already about the problem that was raised. We were taken aback to discover that fully 74% indicated that they had known and were not surprised.

Very often, when we see someone performing poorly we say to ourselves, ‘If they only realized they had a problem they would do better.’ But most of the time, that’s simply not so.  A struggling employee may not realize how serious the problem is, but more likely, he or she is very much aware but hasn’t figured out how to do better. That means that simply pointing out the problem isn’t going to be all that helpful. …

Because both the person giving the feedback and the person receiving it are anxious, they both want to get it over quickly. That’s understandable: the human organism is wired to avoid pain. In practical terms, this usually means a meeting where the manager does a lot of talking and the subordinate remains silent. This might seem like the quickest and the kindest way to get things over with (on both sides), but it’s a terrible mistake. …

Simply put, the less people felt their managers listened to them, the more likely they were to believe that their managers were not being honest and straightforward. One could look at this the other way too – that is, those who felt strongly that their managers listened to them rated them high on their ability to give honest feedback.

It is something of a paradox that we crave constructive feedback and the same time we don’t want to give it. Perhaps getting past that paradox is a matter of remembering, when it’s your turn to be the giver, that it’s really so much better to receive. We can all think of some feedback that has been a gift – advice that has helped us perform better and made us more successful.”


Want to be psychoanalyzed?

May 18, 2015

By Victor Reklaitis via marketwatch.com   Article

Want to be psychoanalyzed by an investing algorithm? Take this test

“Before they dole out recommendations, robo advisers need to figure out what type of investor you are.

You can’t have a heart-to-heart about your finances with a computer, or explain how you freaked out about the stock market tanking during the 2008 financial crisis.

So Charles Schwab’s robo adviser and rivals rely in large part on online questionnaires to determine if you’re a big gambler or not.

And some of their questions are rather creative, touching on how you handle a job loss or even feel about the word “risk.”

See how you rate in the quiz below culled from questions that are posed by robo advisers:


How fearless are you as an investor?

Before doling out recommended investments, robo advisers want to get to know you. While they can’t gaze into your eyes, the robots do ask a bunch of questions to see if you’re a fearless investor or more of a worrywart. Are you aggressive or cautious? Give your answers and find out. Here are four interesting questions that MarketWatch spotted in getting recommendations from various robo advisers.



Can’t figure out …

May 11, 2015

By Tom Fisburne via marketoonstudios.com   Image


May 11, 2015

By Scott Adams via dilbert.com   Image

I’m going to win

May 11, 2015

By Steve Roesler via allthingsworkplace.com   Article

Handle Objections With Questions

“You and I come up with some pretty wonderful ideas, which–for some strange reason–aren’t immediately embraced by those around us.

So what’s our natural response? It’s usually to start making statements in defense of our position, which then leads to ‘I’m going to win!’

Not a good posture.

Ask Questions

When you keep announcing the righteousness of your position, the problem defines you. When you respond with a question, both of you begin defining the problem and looking for solutions. Which do you want?

Here are four model questions that will help you stay above the fray:

  • ‘If this doesn’t meet your requirements (criteria, needs), what can be done to ensure that it does?’
  • ‘If you like the idea but not the related cost, what can we do about the budget constraints?’
  • ‘If we can’t start the project now, when do you think it would be a good time to get it going?’
  • ‘If you don’t want to change anything and think the procedures are fine the way they are, what is it that you like about how they work now?’

You get the idea. The first part of the question acknowledges that you heard the issue;  the second invites action from the other person. That way, you stay out ‘argument’ mode and create mutual … responsibility for a solution.”



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