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The best places to work are also the best places to invest

Best places to work (and invest).

Glassdoor figures the best places to work. It turns out that they’re also the best places to invest. Many of these companies aren’t public. Cast your eye down the list. Show it to your kids.

  1. Bain & Company
  2. Facebook
  3. Boston Consulting group
  4. Google
  5. World Wide Technology
  6. Fast Enterprises
  7. In-N-Out Burger
  8. LinkedIn
  9. Adobe
  10. Power Home Remodeling
  11. McKinsey & Company
  12. Clorox
  13. Nestle Purina PetCare
  14. Paylocity
  15. SAP
  16. MathWorks
  17. Salesforce
  18. Forrester
  19.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  20. Intuit
  21. Delta Airlines
  22. Memorial Sloan Kettering
  23. DocuSign
  24. Concur
  25. Akamai
  26. Johnson & Johnson
  27. H E B
  28. Southwest Airlines
  29. Zillow
  30. NVIDIA
  31. Keller Williams
  32. Genentech
  33. Trader Joe’s
  34.  Costco Wholesale
  35.  Airbnb
  36.  Apple
  37.  Microsoft
  38. lululemon
  39.  FedEx Freight
  40. SpaceX
  41. BASF Corporation
  42. Texas Instruments
  43. Raising Cane’s
  44.  Mayo Clinic
  45.  IKEA
  46.  Aegis Living
  47.  E. & J. Gallo Winery
  48.  QuickTrip
  49.  Gensler
  50.  Wegmans Food Markets

There you have it. Great list of investible companies. Pity I didn’t publish yesterday. Look what just happened to Lululemon:lululemon

And Costco.

costco

Why I don’t think AT&T should be allowed to buy Time Warner.

I have two reasons: First, the merger simply won’t work. Big mergers rarely do. The failure of this one is guaranteed by the fact that they’re two very different companies. AT&T is a telecommunications transmission company. Time Warner is a creative company whose assets walk out the door each evening. AT&T’s assets stay in the ground or on satellites. There’s no way a staid company like AT&T would ever approve an insane project like HBO’s Game of Thrones. Yet it was their most popular program.

Second, I read this nonsense in the Washington Post:

AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson vowed Wednesday (i.e. yesterday) not to restrict Time Warner’s television content from competitors once the two companies close their massive $85 billion merger.

“We will not withhold content to disadvantage someone else,” Stephenson said at a hearing before the Senate judiciary subcommittee on antitrust.

That promise could prove vitally important to thousands of TV viewers, small businesses and independent programmers that could be affected by a bigger AT&T.

And, if they did withhold content (or charge more for it, or degrade its quality, etc.) what could any competitor do?

Sure, the competitor could sue. Millions in legal costs and years later, the competitor would likely be out of business.

Remember AT&T already owns and controls DirecTV. Wouldn’t it be nice if DirecTV suddenly became HBO’s exclusive distributor?

All that said, I think the merger will go through. Which means that Time Warner’s share price last night of $93.98 could climb to AT&T’s offer of $107.50. Once I got my money and stock, I’d get out asap. This deal does not have the hallmark of success.

But wait, there’s more. There’s a delicious coincidence… As I finished writing the above, my latest bill arrives from AT&T/DirecTV. This one’s a dozy.

decemberdirecttv

It looks a bit higher than the previous month, I muse.

So I open last month’s bill:
novemberdirectvbill

The new bill is $117.39 versus $74.13 — 1.6 times higher.

What’s this new $117.39? Something about a regional sports package ($6.39) , a CHOICE XTRA CLASSIC Package ($84.49) and HBO ($17.99), etc.

Two things are curious: First, I didn’t change any of my packages. In fact, I haven’t spoken to DirecTV in months. Second, these charges came, curiously, after AT&T assumed full control of DirecTV.

I’m on AUTO-PAY. Had I not accidentally glanced at my 1.6 times higher DirecTV bill, I would have been ripped off for hundreds of dollars in coming months… Until I finally caught the outrage.

In short, please check your DirecTV bills. This is insidious. I’m calling DirecTV this morning.

Someone is going to wake up and say :this business of ripping off satellite TV subscribers is very very profitable and buy Dish. I need to do more checking. But, if Trump is allowing every merger that comes along, then DISH seems an obvious “buy” for someone like Verizon.

dishthisyear2

Bob Dylan receives the Nobel Literature prize

Read why Stephen King thinks Bob Dylan deserves the prize. Click here.

Then buy this boxed CD set and play it for your kids and grandkids.

bobdylandgreatesthits

Click here.

And now for a totally wonderful story.

1 Patient, 7 Tumors and 100 Billion Cells Equal 1 Striking Recovery

08cancer-master768

The remarkable recovery of a woman with advanced colon cancer, after treatment with cells from her own immune system, may lead to new options for thousands of other patients with colon or pancreatic cancer, researchers are reporting.

Her treatment was the first to successfully target a common cancer mutation that scientists have tried to attack for decades. Until now, that mutation has been bulletproof, so resistant to every attempt at treatment that scientists have described it as “undruggable.”

An article about the case, from a team led by Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute, was published on Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The patient, Celine Ryan, 50, an engineer, database programmer and the mother of five, has an unusual genetic makeup that allowed the treatment to work. She is now cancer-free, though not considered cured.

Read the full story here.

HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who wonders why people ask “When is a good time to call you?” When it’s just easier to pick up the phone and try!

I agree with The Economist that Donald could do serious damage to the American economy —  if he continues his present corporate craziness. Here’s the Economist today.

How Donald Trump is changing the rules for American business

The president-elect has a new approach to dealing with corporate America. It is not all good news

HIS inauguration is still six weeks away but Donald Trump has already sent shock waves through American business. Chief executives—and their companies’ shareholders—are giddy at the president-elect’s promises to slash burdensome regulation, cut taxes and boost the economy with infrastructure spending. Blue-collar workers are cock-a-hoop at his willingness to bully firms into saving their jobs.

In the past few weeks, Mr Trump has lambasted Apple for not producing more bits of its iPhone in America; harangued Ford about plans to move production of its Lincoln sports-utility vehicles; and lashed out at Boeing, not long after the firm’s chief executive had mused publicly about the risks of a protectionist trade policy. Most dramatically, Mr Trump bribed and cajoled Carrier, a maker of air-conditioning units in Indiana, to change its plans and keep 800 jobs in the state rather than move them to Mexico. One poll suggests that six out of ten Americans view Mr Trump more favourably after the Carrier deal. This muscularity is proving popular.

Popular but problematic. The emerging Trump strategy towards business has some promising elements, but others that are deeply worrying. The promise lies in Mr Trump’s enthusiasm for corporate-tax reform, his embrace of infrastructure investment and in some parts of his deregulatory agenda. The dangers stem, first, from the muddled mercantilism that lies behind his attitude to business, and, second, in the tactics—buying off and attacking individual companies—that he uses to achieve his goals. American capitalism has flourished thanks to the predictable application of rules. If, at the margin, that rules-based system is superseded by an ad hoc approach in which businessmen must take heed and pay homage to the whim of King Donald, the long-term damage to America’s economy will be grave.

Helping the few at the expense of the many

Start with the confusions in Mr Trump’s philosophy. The president-elect believes that America’s workers are harmed when firms move production to cheaper locations offshore. That is why he wants to impose a 35% tariff on the products of any company that moves its production abroad. Such tariffs would be hugely disruptive. They would make goods more expensive for American consumers. By preventing American firms from maximising their efficiency using complex supply chains, they would reduce their competitiveness, deter new investment and, eventually, hurt workers’ wages across the economy. They would also encourage a tit-for-tat response.

Precisely because tariffs would be so costly, many businessmen discount Mr Trump’s protectionism as mere rhetoric. Plenty of them see the focus on individual firms as a politically canny (and thus sensible) substitute. If Mr Trump can convince American workers that he is on their side using only a barrage of tweets and a few back-room deals like the one with Carrier, there may be no need to resort to tariffs. To profit from a business-friendly bonanza, the logic goes, clever executives simply have to make sure they stay in the president’s good books.

That looks like wishful thinking. Mr Trump’s mercantilism is long-held and could prove fierce, particularly if the strong dollar pushes America’s trade deficit higher (see article). Congress would have only limited powers to restrain the president’s urge to impose tariffs. More important, even if rash protectionism is avoided, a strategy based on bribing and bullying individual companies will itself be a problem.

Mr Trump is not the first American politician to cajole firms. For all its reputation as the bastion of rule-based capitalism, America has a long history of ad hoc political interventions in business (see article). States routinely offer companies subsidies of the sort that Indiana gave to Carrier. From John Kennedy, who publicly shamed steel firms in the 1960s, to Barack Obama, who bailed out car companies in 2009, all presidents have meddled in markets.

And Mr Trump’s actions so far are not exceptional relative to his predecessors or by international standards. Britain’s prime minister recently made undisclosed promises to Nissan, a Japanese carmaker, to persuade the firm to stay in Britain despite Brexit. The French government is notorious for brow-beating individual firms to keep jobs in France. The most egregious crony corporatists, from Russia to Venezuela, dish out favours to acolytes and punishments to opponents on a scale that would bring blushes even in Trump Tower.

Courting the king and currying favour

Nonetheless, Mr Trump’s approach is worrying. Unlike the Depression, when Hoover and then Roosevelt got companies to act in what they (often wrongly) saw as the national interest; or 2009, when Mr Obama corralled the banks and bailed out Detroit, America today is not in crisis. Mr Trump’s meddling is thus likely to be the new normal. Worse, his penchant for unpredictable and often vindictive bullying is likely to be more corrosive than the handouts most politicians favour.

If this is the tone of the Trump presidency, prudent businesses will make it their priority to curry favour with the president and avoid actions that might irk him. Signs of this are already evident in the enthusiasm with which top CEOs—many of them critics of Mr Trump during the campaign—have rushed to join his new advisory board. Helping the Trump Organisation or the Trump family might not go amiss either. The role of lobbyists will grow—an irony given that Mr Trump promised to drain the Washington swamp of special interests.

The costs from this shift may be imperceptible at first, exceeded by the boon from economic stimulus and regulatory reform. And as president of the world’s largest economy, Mr Trump will be able to ride roughshod over firms for longer with impunity than politicians in smaller places ever could. But over time the damage will accumulate: misallocated capital, lower competitiveness and reduced faith in America’s institutions. Those who will suffer most are the very workers Mr Trump is promising to help. That is why, if he really wants to make America great again, Mr Trump should lay off the protectionism and steer clear of the bullying right now.