Keeping Up Appearances

When Snap went public in March, investors had high hopes that they’d see Facebook like returns on their IPO dollars.  That might be a stretch, but the thought was that Snap would be a good addition to a portfolio.  Since the IPO, shares have fallen by 28% due investor concerns surrounding slowing user growth and lack of profitability.  Class actions lawsuits seeking to protect investors have followed.

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In the wake of Uber’s troubles, comparisons between Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick and Snap’s CEO Evan Spiegel have been common place.  Now that Snap is a publicly held company, Spiegel is more likely to lose his job as a result of poor user growth and low profitability.  Both are known to be egotistical, brash, and narcissistic and both have gotten in trouble for their comments.

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Monday night Snap threw a party in Cannes at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.  Ironically, there were no cameras allowed in the event and guests were not allowed to take photos.  Additionally, journalists were not allowed into the party either.  Sounds like Snap likes being in the camera business, but doesn’t want the cameras in its business.  Perhaps they are trying to maintain an illusion of austerity in the face of the numerous class action suits or a contrived sense of exclusivity.  Meanwhile stateside, Kalanchick resigned Tuesday as CEO of Uber.

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When it comes to maintaining illusions, it isn’t just powerful CEOs, but regular people via their social media accounts.  Society has created a web of perceived perfection via filters, influencers and viral videos.  The illusion becomes dangerous when people can no longer cope with real life against the juxtaposition of the illusion.  If your kids were to look at your pics, would they see you or would they see a contrived version of you?

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Ice Cream, Taxes and Kids

This summer for the first time in eight years, my kids are spending the summer at home in Florida.  One of the things, I’ve tasked them with is creating a product and a business.   The purpose of the exercise is to keep their reading, math and critical thinking skills sharp, while also getting them to think creatively about their future.   For the older two kids, this also includes the personal finance modules on Khan Academy.

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As kids leave high school and college, few are well prepared for the real world.  They don’t teach personal finance in high school or college.  In fact, I remember tables and tables of credit card offers during my time at the University of Minnesota.  A bunch of high interest credit cards is exactly what college kids don’t need as they accrue student loan debt.

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Jake starts college this August and he needs to be ready to navigate his finances on his own.  Since it wasn’t addressed in school, we had to create our own curriculum to teach our kids about money.  One thing we did is give them a monthly budget to buy drinks and snacks for their lunch.  If they ate or drink their goodies before the month was over, they were out of luck and they couldn’t borrow money.  It only happened once and Jake quickly learned to live within his budget.

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Fortunately, my younger two are very aggressive about saving money.  As we’ve tightened the belt to afford our dream vacation, they have really sacrificed.  They’ve finally stopped asking for a new boat, which is amazing.  Now instead of a boat, they’d like a Cessna (small plane) they can keep in the garage.  Seems pretty reasonable, right!  Clearly, they need some more financial education.   I’m sure once we get back from Norway, they’ll be asking for a yacht.

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Be Authentic

Who we are, how we lead, how we work, how we parent and decisions we make are all based on a frame work of morals and ethics that were ingrained with us from our youth.  Sure over the years, our moral and ethical framework evolves, but the shifts are not crisp, nor are they tectonic in nature.  Or are they?

I believe in servant leadership and have practiced it in my current role and at my previous company.  My leadership style isn’t and wasn’t based upon a company or management philosophy in place, but rather based on how my moral and ethical framework interprets the role of a corporate leader.  In other words, it is authentic to who I am and how I operate.  My leadership style has never been a tool of expediency.

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There are times in our lives, where it will be tempting to give into expediency and pivot from our ethical framework and our leadership style.   Giving into the expediency may result in short term gains, but as a leader the voracity of your character will be questioned by your subordinates and those above you.    Before you pivot to expedience, ask yourself if the short term gains will outweigh the longer term ramifications.  How will your organization perform if they no longer have faith in you or your intentions?  Is it worth the risk?  I would argue all day every day that it is never worth the risk.

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Savings Alert!

This morning I finally had a chance to sit down and put together some on the weekend’s best sales.  The goal is to make this post weekly. Here are a few of my favorites:

Kohls:

  • Take $10 off of $25 with code: Take10
  • Save 15% off of $100 with code: EBATES15
  • 6% cash back on all purchases made through Ebates
  • Get $5 Kohl’s cash for every $25 spent

Macys:

  • Get $5 Macy’s money for every $25 spent
  • Save 20% (15% on some departments) with code: SUNNY
  • 6% cash back on all purchases made through Ebates

Petco:

  • 8% cash back on all purchases made through Ebates online and in store with linked card.
  • Save up to 50% site wide

BCBG:

  • Take extra 50% off of all factory items
  • Take 40% off of all purchases
  • 12% cash back on all purchases made through Ebates.

Lancome:

  • 20% off during Friends and family sale with code: friends
  • 4% cash back on all purchases made through Ebates online.

Finish Line:

  • $15 off of any order of $150+ with code: 15SEASONSALE150
  • Running shoes up to 50% off
  • 6% cash back on all purchases made through Ebates online.