Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Weekly Address: Immigration Accountability Executive Action

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:24 pm

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 21, 2014.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 21, 2014.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In this week’s address, the President laid out the steps he took this past week to fix our broken immigration system. Enacted within his legal authority, the President’s plan focuses on cracking down on illegal immigration at the border; deporting felons, not families; and accountability through criminal background checks and taxes. These are commonsense steps, but only Congress can finish the job.

As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill — like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago — that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

Transcript | mp4 | mp3

Learn more about the President’s action on immigration here.

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Why I quit JPMorgan to start a jetpack business

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Adventures in jetpacking  

In 2011, Dean O’Malley walked away from a high-paying job with no plans for the future, other than to escape the world of finance.

His IT job at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) had survived the financial crisis, but he had no desire to stick around for the next one. O’Malley had grown tired of the crazy hours, increasing regulation and negative stigma.

“Banking was one of those industries where we were seen as the root of all evil. I felt like I wasn’t really doing any positive work,” the Southern California native told CNNMoney.

Just two weeks after leaving his Vice President of Technology post, O’Malley ran into a friend who opened up a very different career path.

Her family was launching a business based on jetpacking, an emerging extreme water sport that lets riders fly above the water James Bond-style.

Jetpack Dean O'Malley

Even though he thought jetpacks looked crazy at first, O’Malley eventually agreed to run day-to-day operations and invest in the new business, which launched in Newport Beach, California.

Three years later, O’Malley is loving life as president of Jetpack America, a business he’s led to $1 million in annual gross revenue. He’s making just a fraction of what he took home at JPMorgan, but O’Malley said he’s in it for the long haul.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t thank myself for walking away from the old job,” said O’Malley, who is 38 years old. “My satisfaction is infinitely higher and I have a passion for what I do.”

Jetpack America eventually expanded to San Diego and more recently Las Vegas. Now it’s looking to open seasonal spots in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver.

Jetpack extreme sports Dean

Up-and-coming water sport: O’Malley describes jetpacks as the “perfect mix between jet skiing, parasailing and even scuba diving.” Riders are propelled by water that is sucked up by a jet ski or a pod and then shot to the jetpack through a hose.

Not only can jetpack riders zoom 30 feet into the sky, but they can dive underwater and then shoot back to the surface.

This extreme experience made the new job lots of fun for O’Malley. Still, he faced a number of obstacles in the beginning.

After 14 years in the regulation-heavy banking industry, the jetpack business felt like the Wild West. He was in the unnatural position of having to invent many of the processes and structures.

O’Malley and his staff also needed to figure out how to make riders feel comfortable doing something foreign and potentially dangerous. They created an extensive training video to show guests and opted to give riders helmets with earpieces that allow them to hear their instructors.

Water jetpack put to test 

Related: Jetpacks are real. And they’re awesome.

And then there’s the sticker shock of trying to build a business around jetpacks that at one point cost $100,000 each.

Recently prices have plunged, but O’Malley said the business is still “not killing it by any means.”

He was able to deal with all of these challenges in part due to the business skills he honed over a decade in finance.

“I bring the banking world here,” O’Malley said.

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West Wing Week: 11/21/14 or, "Mingalarbar!"

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:22 am

This week, the President visited Burma for the second time in his presidency, attended the G20 Summit in Australia, worked to expand access to broadband and 21st century technology in our schools, and addressed the nation about the steps he is taking to fix our broken immigration system. That’s November 14th to November 20th or, “Mingalarbar!”

Friday, November 14th

Saturday, November 15th

  • The President was in Brisbane, Australia at the University of Queensland, where he highlighted the unshakable alliance between the U.S. and Australia, and outlined his vision for advancing democracy and cooperation in the Asia Pacific.
  • Next, it was time to kick off the G20 Summit. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott welcomed the President and other world leaders to the summit, and then the leaders participated in a series of meetings to discuss economic cooperation on issues like development, energy and trade.

Sunday, November 16th

Tuesday, November 18th

​Wednesday, November 19th

Thursday, November 20th

  • The Vice President attended the Global Entrepreneurship summit, and delivered the keynote address.
  • That evening, The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden departed Morocco for Ukraine.
  • At the White House, the President and First Lady invited youth from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to visit the Oval Office and a local restaurant.
  • That night, in prime-time, the President delivered an address to the nation, where he announced steps that he would take to reform our broken immigration system.

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What They’re Saying About the President’s New Action on Immigration

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:22 am

Last night, President Obama addressed the nation and laid out the steps he’ll be taking — within his executive authority as President — to start fixing America’s broken immigration system:

  1. Building on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel.
  2. Making it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as many business leaders have proposed.
  3. Dealing responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.

“I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common-sense law,” the President said. He noted, however, that House Republicans continue to block a bipartisan immigration bill that the Senate passed a year and a half ago.

“To those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed,” he said, “I have one answer: Pass a bill.”

Read more about the President’s action at

Already, a number of people — ranging from prominent politicians and members of Congress to media personalities and other organizations — have voiced their strong support for the President’s action. Take a look what they had to say on Twitter:

And here are a few more statements in support:

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:

“I support the President’s decision to begin fixing our broken immigration system and focus finite resources on deporting felons rather than families. I was hopeful that the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate in 2013 would spur the House of Representatives to act, but they refused even to advance an alternative. Their abdication of responsibility paved the way for this executive action, which follows established precedent from Presidents of both parties going back many decades. But, only Congress can finish the job by passing permanent bipartisan reform that keeps families together, treats everyone with dignity and compassion, upholds the rule of law, protects our borders and national security, and brings millions of hard-working people out of the shadows and into the formal economy so they can pay taxes and contribute to our nation’s prosperity. Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we’re not discussing abstract statistics – we’re talking about real families with real experiences. We’re talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children.”

Gov. Deval Patrick, Massachusetts:

“I am grateful for the President’s leadership.  By calling for action on comprehensive reform legislation, he has not ignored the Congress’s authority, and by using his executive authority as he has, he has not ignored his own. America’s enduring strength is her appeal to the hunger in the human heart for freedom, equality, opportunity, and fair play. That has brought aspirants to our shores for centuries,  to renew and replenish our culture and our economy.  We need to fix the rules that govern how they come and deal with the reality that, in the land of the free, some of our neighbors, friends and coworkers live in the shadows.”

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors:

“For more than a decade the nation’s mayors have called for repairs to our broken immigration system. We applaud the President’s actions today, which are consistent with the adopted policy of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  They will ensure that millions of undocumented immigrants, who want to play by the rules and pay taxes, are protected from deportation and made eligible to work. These actions will not only stabilize families and communities, they will strengthen the American economy and our national security. We look forward to assisting the Administration in this effort.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.):

“Today’s immigration announcement is great news for families in Nevada and across the country. Millions of families in our nation and thousands in Nevada will no longer have to live in fear of losing a loved one to deportation. The President’s executive action will not only keep families together, it will enforce our immigration laws in a way that protects our national security and public safety. It will strengthen our economy by creating new jobs and allowing these families to fully contribute to the only country they call home. The American people have waited for us to fix our country’s broken immigration system. The Senate passed a strong bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill over a year ago that would have permanently fixed our broken immigration system. Sadly, House Republicans have demonstrated that they are more interested in playing partisan politics than doing what is right for our country. They ask for more time but we have given them plenty of time, 511 days to be exact. The House let millions of families languish while passing measures to revoke Deferred Action and deport DREAMers, leaving the President no option but to take matters into his own hands. The President’s executive action is a good first step; however it is only a temporary solution. President Obama is doing what he can within his well-established constitutional authority but nothing replaces Congress acting on comprehensive immigration reform. So today, while I thank President Obama for his decisive action, I ask my Republican colleagues to put their partisan politics aside and focus their efforts on passing legislation that will permanently fix our broken immigration system. I will continue to fight until we make immigration reform a reality.”

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):

“Tonight, President Obama announced bold action to bring our broken immigration system into line with our values as a people and our needs as a nation. The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions will secure our borders, prioritize enforcement, and provide relief to millions of hard-working, law-abiding families who may now have a happy Thanksgiving free from the fear of separation. The President’s actions fall well within the clear constitutional and legal authority of his office, and the well-established precedent set by every president since Eisenhower. Even Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used this authority to refine our immigration system in service of the national interest. Executive action is no substitute for legislation, and the President’s action does not absolve Congress of its own responsibility. Democrats will continue to demand action on bipartisan immigration legislation that will provide lasting certainty to immigrant families, and secure the billions of dollars in economic benefits Republicans’ inaction has denied our country.”

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Chart of the Week: Our Border Is More Secure than It Has Been in Decades

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:22 am

In an address to the nation last night, President Obama announced new steps he’s taking to fix our broken immigration system and ensure nearly 5 million people will be held accountable and have the opportunity to play by the rules.

Using his executive authority, the President is making it easier for high-skilled immigrants and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to the economy, as well as allowing certain undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years to get right by the law.

Alongside those steps, the President is also continuing to strengthen our border security. In fact, the Obama administration’s investment in border technology, manpower, and resources represents the most serious and sustained action to secure our border in our nation’s history.

Today, there are more than 18,000 border patrol agents at our southwest border alone, the miles of fencing and barriers have more than doubled, unmanned aircraft systems have more than doubled, and ground surveillance has almost doubled — making our border more secure than it has been in decades.

As a result of the President’s focus on security over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Check out this chart to see how the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s:

Now, using his executive authority, the President will take new steps to crack down on illegal immigration at the border by continuing to deploy more resources that strengthen enforcement and focusing on deporting undocumented immigrants who recently crossed the border.

“We’re going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security,” he said last night. “Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize.”

The best way to fix our immigration system, however, is to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Last year, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill that would add 20,000 more border patrol agents to our border and address other significant issues with our system. But more than 500 days later, House Republicans continue to block the bill from a vote. 

So the President will continue to do what he can to ensure that our borders are secure and that we live up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. 

Learn more about the steps President Obama is taking here:

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Weekly Wrap Up: This Week at the White House

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:22 am

It’s been a busy week here at the White House. In case you’ve missed some of our top stories this week, here’s a recap.

Photo of the Week:

We Took Action to Fix Our Broken Immigration System

More than 500 days ago, the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill — but House Republicans have yet to vote on the legislation. In the meantime, the President is taking the steps necessary to move our nation forward and fix our broken immigration system.

In last night’s address from the White House, President Obama laid out the executive actions he’s taking to fix as much of our broken immigration system as he can. Check out some of the highlights from the President’s address to the nation by clicking on the graphic below:

Take a look back at how Presidents from both parties have taken action on immigration:

We Took Steps to Improve Child Care

On Wednesday, the President signed S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, into law.

What exactly will the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act do?

The new law, which reauthorizes the Child Care and Development Block Grant program:

  • Improves the quality of child care by requiring more training for caregivers
  • Improves child safety by instituting background checks for staff and better inspection of facilities
  • Helps working parents that receive subsidies to pay for child care

President Obama signs S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014

President Barack Obama signs S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, during a signing ceremony in the Oval Office, Nov. 19, 2014.

(Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

We Launched a New Effort to Support Digital Learning

On Wednesday, President Obama launched a new effort to assist school leaders across the country in their transition to digital learning with the Future Ready Digital Pledge — a part of the President’s ConnectED initiative.

What’s the ConnectED initiative?

Glad you asked. Below are some details about the initiative:

  • Upgrading connectivity: Within five years, ConnectED will connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed broadband Internet in their schools and libraries.
  • Training teachers: ConnectED empowers teachers with the best technology and training so they can improve their students’ learning.
  • Encouraging private-sector innovation: ConnectED encourages leading technology companies to produce feature-rich educational devices that are price-competitive with basic textbooks.

Watch on YouTube

We Celebrated the 151st Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

On Wednesday, we launched a new blog series called “This Day in History.” To celebrate the launch, we went back to 1863 and took a deep dive into the history of the Gettysburg Address. Check out some of the interesting facts from the post below:

  • As it turns out, President Lincoln wasn’t actually intended to be the keynote speaker. He attended the ceremony to dedicate a cemetery for fallen Union soldiers who had fought in the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • There are currently five known transcripts of the Gettysburg Address. Two of them are located in the Library of Congress and the others are now in the Lincoln Room of the White House, the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield, and Cornell University in New York.
  • In 2013, President Obama penned a handwritten essay to pay homage to President Lincoln’s historical remarks. Check it out here — and watch President Obama recite the Gettysburg Address here.

We Received an Update on Ebola

On Tuesday, President Obama attended a meeting with his national security and public health teams to receive an update on the latest news regarding Ebola and our continued response in West Africa.

“Although we should feel optimistic about our capacity to solve the Ebola crisis, we cannot be complacent simply because the news attention on it has waned,” he said. “We have to stay with it.”

In his remarks, President Obama also addressed the horrific attacks that happened in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning.

“We know that two attackers senselessly and brutally attacked innocent worshippers in a synagogue during their morning prayers. Obviously, we condemn in the strongest terms these attacks. A number of people were wounded, and four people were killed, including three American citizens. So this is a tragedy for both nations, Israel as well as the United States.”

Want to see even more? Be sure to check out this week’s episode of West Wing Week and the White House’s official Twitter account:

Watch on YouTube

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President Obama Returns to Las Vegas to Talk Action on Immigration

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:22 am

Watch on YouTube

Following his address to the nation last night, President Obama traveled to Las Vegas today to detail the new steps he’s taking to start fixing America’s broken immigration system.

Before he began his remarks at Del Sol High School — the same place where he called on Congress to act on comprehensive immigration reform nearly two years ago — the President was introduced by Astrid Silva, an immigrant and college student who he mentioned in last night’s address.

Astrid, who was brought to the United States as a young child, found out as she grew up that she was undocumented. Fearing that she and her brother could be separated from their dad, Astrid decided to become an advocate for fellow DREAMers, stand up for her family, and fight to make a difference in America.

“Part of what makes America exceptional is that we welcome exceptional people like Astrid,” the President said. “It makes us stronger. It makes us vibrant and dynamic. It makes us hopeful. We are a nation of immigrants, and that means that we’re constantly being replenished with strivers who believe in the American Dream.”

“It continues the promise that here in America, you can make it if you try, regardless of where you come from, regardless of the circumstances of your birth.”

President Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nov. 21, 2014

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 21, 2014.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As the President noted in his remarks, it’s been 512 days since the Senate passed a bipartisan immigration bill. But for the year and a half since the bill passed, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have blocked it from a simple yes-or-no vote:

It was a sensible bill, and all these members of Congress, they worked on it and were supportive of it. And independent experts — not me — people who analyze the economy for a living, they said that over two decades, the new law would grow our economy, shrink our deficits. In other words, it would help to solve some big problems in a bipartisan way. And nobody was happier than me. And when it passed the Senate, we said, all right, let’s send it over to the House, we’ve got the votes in the House. We’ve got Democrats and Republicans who were prepared to vote for it in the House.

It has now been 512 days — a year and a half — in which the only thing standing in the way of that bipartisan bill and my desk so that I can sign that bill, the only thing that’s been standing in the way is a simple yes-or-no vote in the House of Representatives. Just a yes-or-no vote. If they had allowed a vote on that kind of bill, it would have passed. I would have signed it. It would be the law right now.

“The fact that a year and a half has gone by means that time has been wasted,” the President said. “And during that time, families have been separated. And during that time, businesses have been harmed. And we can’t afford it anymore.”

“Las Vegas, I have come back to Del Sol to tell you I’m not giving up. I will never give up. I will never give up. I will not give up.”

President Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nov. 21, 2014 (2)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 21, 2014.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama reiterated that he will continue to work with Congress to make permanent, comprehensive, common-sense immigration reform a reality. Until then, however, he will take actions — within his executive authority as President — to make America’s immigration system more fair and more just.

The actions he first announced last night are a clear example, as they will:

  1. Improve border security, by providing more resources to law enforcement to stem the flow of illegal border crossings and speed up the return of those who do cross over
  2. Make it easier for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our nation’s economy
  3. Deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who are already in our country

As the President did last night, he took time to further explain that last action, as it’s “the one that brings up the strongest passions on both sides.” While noting that this is just a first step and not the only step, the President explained what the deal entails:

If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, you pass a background check, you are willing to pay your fair share of taxes — then you’re going to be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows, get right with the law.

Now, let’s be clear on what this deal is, and what it isn’t. This action doesn’t apply to anybody who has come to this country recently. You can’t show up for a week and then suddenly apply — you can’t. Because borders mean something. It doesn’t apply to anybody who might come illegally in the future. While I support a path to citizenship — and so do all these legislators here — this action doesn’t grant citizenship, or the right to stay permanently, or receive the same benefits that citizens receive — only Congress can do that. All we’re saying is we’re not going to deport you and separate you from your kids.

Now, if you’ve taken responsibility, you’ve registered, undergone a background check, you’re paying taxes, you’ve been here for five years, you’ve got roots in the community — you’re not going to be deported.

“What we are offering is accountability. It’s a common-sense, middle-ground approach. If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows, you can get right with the law.”

The President closed his remarks by making clear that the immigration debate deserves more than the usual politics, as “this is about something bigger.”

We’re not a nation that kicks out strivers and dreamers who want to earn their piece of the American Dream. We’re a nation that finds a way to welcome them. We make them earn it, but we welcome them in as fellow human beings, fellow children of God. And we harness their talents to make the future brighter for everybody.

We didn’t raise the Statue of Liberty with her back to the world, we did it with her light shining as a beacon to the world. And whether we were Irish or Italians or Germans crossing the Atlantic, or Japanese or Chinese crossing the Pacific; whether we crossed the Rio Grande or flew here from all over the world — generations of immigrants have made this country into what it is. It’s what makes us special.

And whether we fled famine, or war, or persecution; whether we had the right documents, or connections, or skills; whether we were wealthy or poor — we all shared one thing, and that was hope that America would be the place where we could finally build a better life for ourselves and for our children, and for future generations. Hope that America is the place where we could make it.

That’s what makes us Americans. It’s not what we look like. It’s not what our last name is. It’s not where we come from. It’s not how we pray. What makes us American is a shared commitment to an ideal that all of us are created equal, all of us have a chance to make our lives what we will.

For generations, America — by choice and Americans by birth have come together to renew that common creed and move this country forward that brought us to this moment. That is the legacy that we now have to deliver to the next generation.

Read the President’s full remarks here. And for more information on the President’s plan, visit

President Obama greets audience members after making remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nov. 21, 2014

President Barack Obama greets audience members after making remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 21, 2014.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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The power broker of Silicon Valley

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:22 am
ozy powerbroker
Jana Rich—one of Silicon Valley’s top recruiters—has more connections than a switchboard.

When I ask Jana Rich to work her magic on me, I have the warm yet affirming sensation of being in a nurturing therapist’s office.

She leans forward across the light-wood conference table, clasps her hands together, and asks me: Why did you move across the country for that job? What is it you really wanted to do? And what about that other dream? Occasionally she interrupts, as though testing my storytelling abilities as much as my professional narrative, to clarify, to draw me out.

It makes sense that Rich, in another universe, imagined herself getting a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Where she has ended up is cushier: She is one of Silicon Valley’s top recruiters, with a hot roster of clients. “Who’s your favorite person to name-drop?” I ask her. “Sheryl Sandberg,” she says with an almost girlish giggle. (Sandberg’s a friend, not a former client, but, y’know … six degrees.) On Rich’s client list, past and present? Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo of Twitter, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Dropbox, Uber, Square, Eventbrite.

Related: Study abroad, get married

Still, because those big companies are reluctant to dig too deep into the startup world, says Andreessen Horowitz partner Matt Oberhardt, it’s a pretty open market for someone like Rich. And there are possibly huge payoffs: During the first tech boom, executive search firm Heidrick Struggles bought into Google as part of its agreement to place the company’s new executive chairman (Eric Schmidt). After the company’s initial public offering in 2004, a spokesman said, Heidrick sold its Google shares, netting the company $128 million. No surprise, then, that Rich Talent Group wants equity as part of its fee “whenever possible,” Rich writes over email — which makes her especially hungry for early-stage clients.

Rich is high-flying amid these amazingly fast-growing companies and exorbitant evaluations; she is the insider’s insider, and yet she is obsessed with giving self-defined misfits a way in.

Related: Company culture from IBM to Google

Right smack in the middle of this frenzy is the friendly yet seemingly unremarkable Jana Rich, a 47-year-old headhunter with an uncanny skill for connecting. Her work is “touchy-feely,” as she puts it — she doesn’t hunt down coding whizzes but rather charismatic and public-facing leaders in the C-suite: chiefs of executive, marketing, public relations, people operations. In person, she is professional (duh) and warm, with auburn coiffed hair; but she keeps a long jacket on the whole time we speak, and a young member of her team hangs nearby at all times, as though waiting to jump in if I ask the wrong thing. Rich’s touchy-feely work is an $11 billion industry worldwide, according to the Association of Executive Search Consultants. And Peter Felix, president of the organization, explains that an industry like this one, which is dependent on wealthy clients doing well, has benefited from the tech boom.

Every day, Rich, the sole partner of Rich Talent Group, based in San Francisco, uses those psychoanalyst-style questions not just on ambitious individuals hankering for a new corner office but on the growing companies themselves. “Sometimes founders don’t know what they really want, or they think they know but it isn’t really what they need,” she tells me. A case study is when top dogs at Twitter, including Costolo and Dorsey, she says (and Twitter confirms), came to her undecided about what they wanted in a marketing hire — a product marketer? A PR whiz? It was up to her to get it, to figure out not only what the three of them wanted and what a potential hire wanted but also what the company itself, breathing entity that it is, needed. Warby Parker’s Blumenthal adds that while she searches, Rich is a kind of behind-the-scenes executive coach, which, for young founders like Blumenthal, is a nice security blanket.

Related: Is being fat good for you?

And though being a startup adds a nice sheen of cool to the operation, it isn’t scrappy. Rich is already profitable and is certainly well-paid for the touchy-feely. Recruiting experts say Rich’s fees could be cheaper than the hundreds of thousands most search firms charge per placement; her group is small and should have low overhead. Generally, recruiters are paid a retainer and may also take a third or more of the future hire’s first year salary (a strategy some, like Blumenthal, say is awkward, because headhunters are also involved in salary negotiations). Rich says she follows the retainer model and won’t tell me how much she’s taken in or talk specifics — but says the group is already profitable.

The risk could explode in her face. Executive search is one of many peripheral industries in the Valley; if the tech boom continues, Rich and others will keep raking it in. If it doesn’t, it could blow up; lower-level human resources professionals struggled after the first bust and the financial crisis. “Many search firms consider high-tech very risky and don’t put all their eggs in one basket,” Felix said. That said, there are some competitors, like Daversa Partners (which made some high level placements at companies like Uber); then there are companies with storied corporate histories like Russell Reynolds, Rich’s old stomping ground, or Spencer Stuart.

Related: A soothsayer for the digital age

Entrepreneurs are snobbish about working only with other entrepreneurs.Luckily, San Francisco is mecca for former weirdos, geeks and nerds turned powerful. The latest outsider-turned-insider is Jonathan Mildenhall, the new chief marketing officer of Airbnb, whom Rich calls the placement she is most excited to have made — “if it works out” (he started in May). Mildenhall, externally, like Rich, is no outsider. He came to Airbnb from Coca-Cola, a marketing machine if ever there were one. But on closer inspection, he too seems like an unconventional fit. He jumped from the corporate world to the startup one, from Atlanta to San Francisco. He’s a gay black man in an interracial partnership who knew he wanted to head to the left coast; and Rich more than understands that itch. (Airbnb’s press team declined multiple requests for comment.)

Rich’s own itch to strike out alone might be more aptly described as persistent pebble-in-shoe syndrome, borne out of her sense of her own pariah status. “Everyone wants to find their unicorn — and she’s sort of the ideal unicorn hunter,” says Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of the eyeglass startup Warby Parker, who’s retaining Rich to hire a VP of human resources. He adds: “And the other thing is, she just knows every single person.”

Related: Ron Conway and his blown billions

“Sometimes founders don’t know what they really want …”

That’s kind of important these days, in the land of money and opportunity. Perhaps no stretch of town is as red hot — economically speaking — as Silicon Valley, from San Francisco to Oakland to San Jose. Remember that crazy startup activity that launched the greatest tech boom (and don’t forget bust) in history? According to job growth figures from Santa Clara and San Francisco counties, the Valley is right back where it was back then, and even surpassing the first time around. Plus, there’s some $17 billion in venture capital funding out here — compared with $3.9 billion in New York, according to data from the National Venture Capital Association.

At Russell Reynolds, being an outsider meant loving startups more than big corporations. At Stanford Business School, it meant being part of the group that called themselves “the poets”; they cried after math exams together in the middle of campus. And before all that, it was being gay in the “backwoods” Maine town of Norway where she grew up. Adopted by a 45-year-old bank teller mother and a machinist father who passed away when Rich was 6, she said she “always knew I was different.”

Today, Rich is married — has been for five years; they’ve been partners for 18 — to Jill Nash, a communications exec whom Rich met on one of her first search jobs ever, as a junior recruiter working on a placement for Charles Schwab. “At first, when I met her, I thought: country club, conservative Republican,” she laughs. An ironic lapse in judgment for someone whose job it is to judge personality.

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She looks at home in casual attire at her office, located in a white cabinlike building inside San Francisco’s impossibly beautiful Presidio Park; a deck looks out toward the Golden Gate Bridge and a pen of horses — yes, horses. (Rich tells me: “It’s so nice, if you’re having a bad day or something, you just go talk to the horses a little!”) The office is entirely well-coiffed women (all white, on the day I’m there) puttering away in front of Mac screens and big windows. It looks like a chic, wealthy summer camp.

Rich’s real advantage, though, isn’t her years of experience or her Rolodex or her fashionable “outsider” label. It’s that entrepreneurs are snobbish about working only with other entrepreneurs. They want fewer lawyers in the way, quicker movements, all the stuff of the “move-fast-and-break-things” economy. Which means she had almost no choice in the matter: To work with startups, you’ve gotta be a startup.

This article originally appeared in Ozy. CNNMoney and Ozy are partnering to tell stories from the “Real Economy.

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Iran nuclear deal could spur rapid growth

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:21 am

Is Iran an opportunity for investors? 

Companies and global investors are sizing up Iran’s economic potential in anticipation of a deal that could end years of isolation.

Iran and world powers are meeting in Vienna this week in an attempt to reach agreement on reconfiguring its nuclear program before a November 24 deadline.

It’s far from certain that a deal will be done, but businesses are eager to move quickly to tap the potential of Iran’s energy resources and highly-educated population of 80 million.

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When he was at Goldman Sachs, emerging market strategist and author Jim O’Neill had Iran on his list of “Next 11″ countries — those offering the best opportunities for sustainable growth.

Oil and gas reserves

Iran’s energy sector has been starved of technological know how. A return to the fold could change all that, and the potential is enormous. “The Iranian gas production can explode,” said Fereidun Fesharaki, chairman of FACTS Global Energy. “It can supply huge amounts of gas and that gas has not been developed.”

Iran sits on 33 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, or 18% of global reserves, according to the 2014 BP (BP) World Energy Report. With its giant South Pars field, Iran ranks number one in the world ahead of Russia and Qatar.

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There’s plenty of oil too. Iran has the second largest proven reserves in the Middle East, behind only Saudi Arabia. At 157 billion barrels, those reserves account for more than 9% of the global total.

Playing catch up

Sanctions have done major damage. Iran’s gross domestic product has shrunk by a quarter over the past three years. But at $1.2 trillion, it’s still the world’s 18th largest economy.

Investment strategists say allowing Iran’s banks to trade in dollars again would give the economy a huge shot in the arm.

“The growth potential is enormous because you have had an economy which, to a great extent for the past 35 years, has been cut off from the world,” said Eddie Kerman, board member at Turquoise Partners, an investment firm based in Tehran.

“That’s been particularly the case for the past seven years [in banking],” he said.

A hot stock market

Iran’s mature stock market is often overlooked. It is the second biggest in the region by market capitalization (behind Saudi Arabia), and gained 130% last year on hope that sanctions would be lifted following a change of government.

Foreign investors looking to jump on the bandwagon will find established companies, particularly in manufacturing.

Unlike economies such as Myanmar and Zimbabwe, which have seen their industrial sectors crumble due to a lack investment, Iran sustains a large manufacturing base.

Iran is the 15th largest steel producer in the world, and its auto industry accounts for 10% of GDP, making twice as many cars each year as Turkey.

Related: Will Congress kill an Iran nuclear deal?

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You’re organizing your closet all wrong

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 at 2:21 am
organize closet
Time to get it together

If your closet is bursting at the seams and putting together an outfit is a daily treasure hunt, it’s time to get your wardrobe organized.

“If you can’t get dressed in a smooth and easy manner in the morning, that can throw your entire day off,” said professional organizer Stacey Agin Murray.

The first step to establishing an efficient closet is taking stock and clearing out unworn inventory. Here’s the reality: Most of us only wear 20% of our closet.

Don’t dump your entire closet on your bed. “Do it section by section to avoid getting overwhelmed,” Murray advised. Create three piles: keep, donate and try on. Once you have everything sorted, go through the try on pile to see what stays.

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Once you’ve whittled down your wardrobe to items you actually wear, it’s time to get them organized. Here’s your cheat sheet:

Organize by silhouette, not color. “No one wakes up saying, ‘I am having a purple day,’” said Amy Salinger, a personal stylist. “It’s more about who you will be seeing that day, how you’re feeling and the weather.”

She recommended organizing a wardrobe based on silhouette and then by style. So all the pants go together and then that section is broken down by type: skinny, wide leg, trouser, etc.

Hanger choice matters. Each organization pro fancied a different hanger, and your choice depends on your tastes and space limitations.

Beth Levin, professional organizer, favors velvet Huggable Hangers because they save space, while Murray prefers Crystal plastic hangers for their durability.

“You don’t want to ruin a $50 blouse because they have permanent dents in the shoulders from cheap hangers,” said Murray.

Experts agreed on two rules: make sure they match, and never (ever) use wire hangers. “Take off dry cleaning bags immediately,” Salinger said.

Allocate real estate properly. Keep frequently-worn clothing toward the middle of the closet.

“The clothing you wear during the week should be right in front and easy to reach,” said Murray. “Weekend attire, cocktail dresses and jackets could be off to the sides.”

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Leave some breathing room. There should be some space between hangers to make it easier to find garments and keep them wrinkle free.

Don’t store shoes in their boxes. Shoes should either be kept on a storage rack or in clear plastic boxes with a picture of the shoe on the front.

“The key is to make everything as visual as possible,” said Salinger. “When your items are out in the open you are more likely to use them and you get more wear out of your wardrobe.”

Hang your pants by the waist. If space permits, hang pants vertical.

Folding them over a hanger can leave a line, said Murray. “I’ve seen corduroy pants get destroyed by a permanent creases being created by getting hung over a hanger.”

If you have to fold pants over a hanger, use a sturdy hanger and fold them on the pleat. “Never hang pants with a texture over a hanger”

Put the right items in drawers. Sweaters (particularly heavy ones), t-shirts, tank tops and jeans should be stored in drawers on folding on shelves.

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closet organization folded clothes
See all your shirts at once with this drawer organization

Ditch the stack. After folding your t-shirts, don’t stack them on top of each other and place them in a drawer.

Levin advised folding the shirt normally, then folding it in half again and lining them up in the drawer one behind the other so you can see each shirt.

Don’t ignore socks and underwear. To avoid wearing navy socks with black pants, Murray suggested buying or making dividers to separate socks by color.

Underwear drawers should be arranged by style, she added. “Being able to find the right type of underwear in three seconds means you look good and save time.”

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