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Commentary: Men named Jo(h)n have written as many of 2020’s top business books as all women combined



Commentary: Men named Jo(h)n have written as many of 2020’s top business books as all women combined

Of the year’s 200 bestselling business books, only 17 were written by women. That’s equal to the number of business bestsellers written by men named John or Jon. (And this phenomenon isn’t unique to book lists—research has shown that men named John outnumber the women who are Fortune 500 chief executives and hold other high-ranking jobs.)

The top titles by women in 2020, according to sales data from the NPD Group/NPD BookScan, include new releases from Suze Orman (The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+) and older books from Brené Brown (Dare to Lead) and Sheryl Sandberg (Lean In). The women authors on the list are overwhelmingly white. Shellye Archambeau, who wrote Unapologetically Ambitious: Take Risks, Break Barriers, and Create Success on Your Own Terms, is one of the few women of color.

It’s nothing new to see women underrepresented on these business bestseller lists—and the problem is getting worse. In 2019 women authors occupied 11.5% of the spots, and in 2018 it was 13%. Sadly, this year their share has dropped to 8.5%. One of the bestselling business books for 2020 written by a man is about the disgraced Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of Theranos—it seems like one story about businesswomen that people love to hear over and over again is when they fail.

Why is the absence of women, especially BIPOC women, a problem? Because it distorts everybody’s perception of what the ideal leader and innovator looks like. It adds to the tired narrative that women aren’t daring risk-takers. Changing who we choose to publish and read is an urgent step toward correcting this bogus narrative and expanding business opportunities for women everywhere.

Publishers have a long-running fondness for business books by white guys who are CEOs of big corporations, high-ranking military leaders, and celebrated professors—so it’s no surprise we end up with so many bestsellers written by the same. In May, when entrepreneur and investor Kathryn Finney announced she was writing a book for Portfolio, Penguin’s business imprint, she said she was the first Black woman ever to get a deal with the two-decade-old imprint.

Arlan Hamilton is a prominent venture capitalist who in 2018 tweeted that she was fed up seeing the business sections of bookstores filled with titles by white men. “I vow to help change this,” she wrote at the time. She delivered in May with her book It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated Into Your Greatest Advantage.

Hamilton didn’t go to college. Instead, she relied on books to begin her self-education of startups and venture capital. A favorite was Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson. While such books were invaluable to her, Hamilton, a Black lesbian, has complained that she couldn’t read business advice from someone “who looked or sounded like me.”

I’ve spent the last four years researching entrepreneurship’s gender gap, interviewing more than 100 women and nonbinary entrepreneurs, and they’ve told me how crucial it is to have role models who look and sound like themselves. Yet women who want to start a company or simply work for a great one often struggle to find success stories to emulate. 

Women are too often missing from business school case studies and even as contestants on Shark Tank. An informal survey released by Electric Literature last year found that only a small fraction of women’s memoirs emphasize work; they focus instead on family life or trauma. Media coverage of women in business has seen infuriating missteps. In September 2019, when Forbes released its America’s Most Innovative Leaders list featuring 102 founders and CEOs, only one was a woman. 

In response, more than 50 women CEOs signed an open letter to voice their frustration: “A list like this also has major ripple impacts. It governs who gets tapped for boards, which candidates get to interview, who speaks at conference podiums, and who gets funding for their next gig.” I would add that it influences who gets book deals.

Women aren’t being snubbed for a lack of business acumen. Startups founded by women produce higher revenue than those launched by men and achieve faster exits. Companies with women CEOs and CFOs see higher profits and stock returns.

And this isn’t just about being “fair.” Men, especially those who work for women bosses, would also benefit from reading more examples of successful women business leaders. Men need women role models just as much as women do.

We need to rethink who we’re publishing, who we’re reviewing, and who we’re reading. The Jo(h)ns have had their turn.

Susanne Althoff is an assistant professor of publishing at Emerson College, the former editor of the Boston Globe Magazine, and the author of the new book Launching While Female: Smashing the System That Holds Women Entrepreneurs Back.

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Coinbase’s near-term outlook is ‘still grim’, JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm’s ability to face crypto winter



Coinbase's near-term outlook is 'still grim', JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm's ability to face crypto winter

Coinbase is well positioned to successfully navigate this crypto winter and take market share, Bank of America said in a research report Tuesday. It maintained its buy recommendation following the exchange’s second-quarter results.

The results warrant “a muted stock reaction,” the report said. Net revenue of $803 million was below the bank’s and consensus estimates, while its adjusted $151 million loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was better than the street expected. Importantly, the company remains “cautiously optimistic” it can reach its goal of no more than $500 million of adjusted EBITDA loss for the full year, the report added.

Coinbase shares fell almost 8% in premarket trading to $80.74.

Bank of America notes that Coinbase had no counterparty exposure to the crypto insolvencies witnessed in the second quarter. The company also has a “history of no credit losses from financing activities, holds customer assets 1:1, and any lending activity of customer crypto is at the discretion of the customer, with 100%+ collateral required.” These rigorous risk-management practices will be a “positive long-term differentiator” for the stock, the bank said.

JPMorgan said Coinbase had endured another challenging quarter, while noting some positives.

Trading volume and revenue were down materially. Subscription revenue was also lower, but would have been much worse were it not for higher interest rates, it said in a research report Wednesday.

The company is taking steps on expense management, and in addition to the June headcount reductions, is scaling back marketing and pausing some product investments, the note said.

The bank says the company’s near-term outlook is “still grim,” noting that the exchange expects a continued decline in 3Q 2022 monthly transacting users (MTUs) and trading volumes, but says Coinbase could take more “cost actions” if crypto prices fall further.

JPMorgan is less optimistic than Bank of America about the company in the near term, saying pressure on revenue from falling crypto markets will have a negative impact on the stock price. Still, it sees positives including higher interest rates, from which the firm will generate revenue. It also sees opportunities for the exchange to grow its user base, leveraging almost $6 billion of cash. The surge in crypto prices in July, and the forthcoming Ethereum Merge are also seen as positive catalysts, it added.

The bank maintained its neutral rating on the stock and raised its price target to $64 from $61.

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Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he’s forced to buy Twitter



Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he's forced to buy Twitter

Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion of his shares in Tesla Inc., the billionaire’s biggest sale on record, saying he needed cash in case he is forced to go ahead with his aborted deal to buy Twitter Inc.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday after the sales were disclosed in a series of regulatory filings. 

Asked by followers if he was done selling and would buy Tesla stock again if the $44 billion deal doesn’t close, Musk responded: “Yes.”

Tesla’s chief executive officer offloaded about 7.92 million shares on Aug. 5, according to the new filings. The sale comes just four months after the world’s richest person said he had no further plans to sell Tesla shares after disposing of $8.5 billion of stock in the wake of his initial offer to buy Twitter.  

Musk last month said he was terminating the agreement to buy the social network where he has more than 102 million followers and take it private, claiming the company has made “misleading representations” over the number of spam bots on the service. Twitter has since sued to force Musk to consummate the deal, and a trial in the Delaware Chancery Court has been set for October. 

In May, Musk dropped plans to partially fund the purchase with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increased the size of the equity component of the deal to $33.5 billion. He had previously announced that he secured $7.1 billion of equity commitments from investors including billionaire Larry Ellison, Sequoia Capital, and Binance. 

“I’ll put the odds at 75% that he’s buying Twitter. I’m shocked,” said Gene Munster, a former technology analyst who’s now a managing partner at venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “This is going to be a headwind for Tesla in the near term. In the long term, all that matters is deliveries and gross margin.”

At the weekend, Musk tweeted that if Twitter provided its method of sampling accounts to determine the number of bots and how they are confirmed to be real, “the deal should proceed on original terms.” 

Musk, 51, has now sold around $32 billion worth of stock in Tesla over the past 10 months. The disposals started in November after Musk, a prolific Twitter user, polled users of the platform on whether he should trim his stake. The purpose of the latest sales wasn’t immediately clear.  

Tesla shares have risen about 35% from recent lows reached in May, though are still down about 20% this year. 

With a $250.2 billion fortune, Musk is the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but his wealth has fallen around $20 billion this year as Tesla shares declined.    

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The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are ‘squeezed the most’ by higher rents, BofA says



The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are 'squeezed the most' by higher rents, BofA says

Most of Gen Z is too young to remember the 2010 New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan.

But over a decade later, they would probably agree with his signature issue (and catchphrase): the rent is too damn high.

This July, median rent payments were 7.4% higher than during the same period last year, according to a Bank of America report released Tuesday. 

The national median price for a one-bedroom apartment has been hitting new highs nearly every month this summer. It was $1,450 for July, according to rental platform Zumper. In the country’s largest city, New York, average rent exceeded a shocking $5,000 a month for the first time ever in June. 

But inflation in the rental market hasn’t hit each generation equally, and no one is getting squeezed harder by the higher monthly payments as Gen Z. Those born after 1996 have seen their median rent payment go up 16% since last July, compared to just a 3% increase for Baby Boomers, BofA internal data shows. 
“Younger consumers are getting squeezed the most by higher rent inflation,” BofA wrote.

The great rent comeback

Early in the pandemic, landlords slashed rents and gave significant COVID discounts to entice tenants to stay instead of leaving urban areas. Once those deals started expiring in 2021, many landlords suddenly raised payments once again, sometimes asking for over double their pandemic value. 

Young people across the board have been hit hard, and rent burdens compared to age can be seen even within a single generation. Younger millennials had their median rent payment grow 11% from last year, while the median payment for older millennials rose 7%. Gen X experienced a 5% median rent increase, according to BofA. 

It’s not a surprise, then, that Gen Z feels so strapped for cash. The majority of young people, 61%, said they want to receive their wages daily instead of twice a week, a practice typically reserved for workers living paycheck to paycheck, according to a report from the Center for Generational Kinetics, which specializes in research across the generations. Rising rent inflation has even priced nearly a third of Gen Zers out of the apartment search altogether. Around 29% of them have resorted to living at home as a “long-term housing solution,” according to a June survey from personal finance company Credit Karma.

It’s no wonder—the rent really is too high.

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