The Trump Self-Appraisal and How to Motivate Employees
BY Jason Del Rey
How much is Trump worth? The Wall Street Journal got its hands on a deposition given by Donald Trump in 2007 in connection with a defamation lawsuit he filed against a New York Times writer who had the gall to allege that the Donald was only worth a couple hundred million dollars. In the deposition Trump says he's worth $4 billion or so, "a very conservative number." (Never mind that Deutsche Bank pegged it at $788 million, according to the Journal.) The article recounts some of the more curious aspects of the deposition including Trump's contention that "My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feeling. " Henry Blodget crunches the numbers, taking into account the real estate bust, and concludes that Trump's finances may be much worse than he claims. But, as Blodget notes, "if worse comes to worst, he can always bail himself out by writing The Art Of The Second Comeback."
Facebook's $150 million "thank you." How do you ensure your employees stay motivated in a trying economy? Pay them off of course! At least that's what it seems Facebook is doing as it closes out a $150 million round it will use to buy out shares of hundreds of its employees, VentureBeat is reporting. "Increasingly, some [employees] have become restless, and would like to cash in on the huge value they've created," VentureBeat's Matt Marshall writes. The Palo Alto-based company reportedly gave long-term employees shares valued at less than a dollar each. Now, the company will pay $10 a share in buying them back. For more ideas on managing staff through tough times, check out our eight tips from Scott Cook, Jack Stack, and others.
An iTunes for the literary set. Internet startup Scribd, which has been described as the YouTube of publishing, goes live today with their new online store. As the Los Angeles Times describes, Scribd users can opt to buy a whole book or, just like iTunes, they can choose to purchase just a chapter or two of a travel guide that is relevant to them. Since most of the site's content comes from its users, it should prove to be an interesting test as to whether Scribd readers are willing to pay for other user-generated content.
The quest for perfection, from a self-described "psycho." Diners and critics are familiar with chef Daniel Boulud's unwavering standards. Now, after two quarters of slumping restaurant sales with two more projected, Boulud is going forward with the launch of his first casual dining restaurant, a Paris-meets-Texas diner called DBGB. And as the New York Times reports, Boulud is unwilling to cut corners, from eight rounds of recipe testing to gross-margin analyses. DBGB must generate $4.5 million before it reaches profitability. Each restaurant run by Dinex, the 900-employee management company Boulud co-founded, is assigned a bookkeeper to keep an eye on payroll and food costs. When gross margins drop below 10 percent, a warning bell sounds. Boulud gives his chefs latitude when it comes to buying ingredients, but if margins falter, he brings in the forensic accountants. (The policy was implemented after a reduction sauce with truffles and mushrooms destroyed margins for months on end at Cafe Boulud.) Read more about how another celebrated New York chef, Danny Meyer, got chefs concerned with quality to agree on the virtues of buying in bulk.
Here comes Web 3.0! But OPEN Forum has good news for small business owners: You're better positioned for it than big corporations. First, what's Web 3.0? A much more personalized, richer experience for consumers. And why do you have the advantage? Your businesses are more nimble and flexible than large monoliths, with easier-sustained employee morale and effective use of Web 2.0 tools, argues blogger Zane Safrit.
Ticket pricing gets a face-lift. Maybe the New York Yankees can learn a thing or two from the San Francisco Giants. A few weeks after the Yankees halved the price of some of their most expensive seats, the Giants say they are experimenting with software that helps determine if they should raise or lower prices game-to-game based on variables such as weather, pitching match-ups, and winning or losing streaks, according to The New York Times. The Giants are the first pro baseball team to employ the dynamic pricing analysis, which comes courtesy of QCue, an Austin-based start-up.
JASON DEL REY was a senior reporter covering technology, branding, and company culture for Inc. magazine. Before joining Inc., his work appeared in Newsday, The (Newark) Star-Ledger, and the Staten Island Advance, and on ESPN.com. He lives in New Jersey. @DelRey