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As of this morning, 48 people are confirmed dead, 200 are missing, and at least 200,000 have had to flee their homes as a result of the California wildfires. It's a truly horrific tragedy.
You've probably seen some of the heart-stopping video of the twin infernos. Even as firefighters continue the battle to contain the damage, people are starting to wonder how they'll rebuild. Among them, the business owners California will be counting on to jumpstart the local economy.
One example: Jim Murphy, founder and CEO of BroadVoice, a California company that provides VoIP phone services, who is covering hotel expenses for employees displaced by the fires (and whose family has also evacuated).
"It's definitely difficult, but I am very thankful for what I have and that everyone is safe. You have to look at the bright side and realize that things could be a lot worse," Murphy (no relation to me) told Inc.
Here's what else I'm reading today.
Facebook morale plummets
Just over half of Facebook employees say they're optimistic about the company's future, down from over 80 percent a year ago, after the company has been battered and seen its stock price drop hard over the last 10 months. A year ago, 72 percent of employees said they thought Facebook made the world a better place; now it's just 53 percent.
--Deepa Seetharaman, The Wall Street Journal
The decline of Victoria's Secret
The CEO of Victoria's Secret is stepping down, a week after the company's latest fashion show got terrible reviews, and its top marketing official was quoted gratuitously putting down transgender models. Meanwhile, the company's market share and stock price have nose-dived, and its most successful competitors are hard-driving startups that see blood in the water.
--Hema Parmar, Bloomberg
That time Elon Musk just gave out credit cards to anyone who asked
Elon Musk. Some say he's a genius. Some say he's overstretched. But nobody can say he's afraid of risk. His former business partner at PayPal Peter Thiel made that point when he talked about how Musk once successfully advocated for his company to grant credit cards with a $10,000 credit limit to literally anyone who asked. It was a disaster Thiel recalled, and they shut it down quickly, but it demonstrated how entrepreneurs have to be willing to take risks--and then manage them effectively.
--Sarah Todd, Quartz
Your people use Uber. They should probably sign up.
After literally years of people suggesting and asking for this, Uber rolled out a rewards program Wednesday that will give significant benefits to its most loyal customers (just ahead of its expected IPO, we might add). The program starts in nine cities including New York and Washington, D.C., and gives rewards members dedicated phone support, upgrades, and priority for the highest-rated drivers. They say there will be other benefits too, rolled out over the next few months.
--Deirdre Bosa and Paayal Zaveri, CNBC
Hmmm, this seems safe.
A small business in Wisconsin says it's buying an unusual Christmas gift for each of its 16 employees: a revolver. That's their right, and the Second Amendment is the law of the land, but they also admit that some of their employees have never fired a weapon in their lives--and presumably aren't asking for this. What could possibly go wrong?
--Chris Mueller, The Appleton Post-Crescent