tv Studio 1.0 Bloomberg March 26, 2016 3:00pm-3:31pm EDT
david: welcome to "bloomberg businessweek." in this week's issue, twitter turns 10 years old. we have an exclusive interview with the ceo. the software developer trying to revolutionize giving. all that and more in this issue of "bloomberg businessweek." ? let's meet the editor, ellen pollock, the editor of "bloomberg businessweek." she joins us now. the first piece in your global economic session is on brussels. obviously, a lot of attention there. this is home to the european
union's headquarters. we know that because one of the bombings took place at a metro station right outside of them. this is a city with a lot of internal tension. ellen: our stories sort of takes a step back from the tragic events of the last week, looking at the city as sort of a tale of two cities, where you have the european union and all of the people who work there. david: bureaucrats. ellen: bureaucrats, yes. then you look at the people who live in some of the very poor neighborhoods, including some neighborhoods that are heavily muslim, where there is high unemployment and where there is this huge economic divide. and inequality. one of the things we deal with is how brussels is run in such a way that it has six police forces and has 19 municipalities within it. and just how hard it is, to govern and meld these communities together.
david: illustrating also how insular some of the communities are. the government does not have a good sense of what is going on. ellen: they do not have a good sense of what is going on with them, and the national police force is relatively small. belgium is also focused on regional tensions. they are flemish-speaking, french-speaking. so tensions have not been spent on melding immigrants into the bigger community at large. david: on the cover this week, jack dorsey, the ceo of twitter, also the ceo of square, on the occasion of twitter's 10th birthday, a real turning point for the company. what do we learn from hearing from jack dorsey? ellen: it is the 10th anniversary, and twitter is in an odd spot. revenue is up, but they have yet to turn a profit. the big problem is they have plateaued out at 320 million users, which is a lot of users, but it needs to get bigger. david: people try it, and they do not come back.
ellen: people try and sometimes they do not come back, although, again, 320 million is a lot of users. people are looking to see growth and to see growth in revenue as well, so that is a problem he is dealing with, and he has a plan to get twitter to 20 years old. david: we talked to felix gillette, one of the authors of that story, along with sarah frier. felix: he wants the world to know that twitter has an identity, and it knows what its identity is. over the past 10 years, a lot of people were like is it a social network, is it a social conversation, what is it good for? is it good for media, for celebrities? twitter never had a strong response. his first response is twitter is live, a conversation happening now. it is a public conversation happening all over the world about big events taking place. that has been the focus, and it
helps to have some sort of identity in terms of part of their big challenges. it is not just a marketing challenge. convincing the hundreds of millions of people who have already used twitter and decided it was not for them. they have to get those people back and give it a second chance. it is harder than getting people to check this thing out for the first time. david: when i turned to twitter, it is during the big event. the academy awards, if there is a presidential debate on. i gather what jack dorsey wants to do now is, if not create more live events, mine the twittersphere into live events. felix: we used to be the super bowl. let's see if we can make each nfl game a live event and have fans of those teams have conversations in the same way that people gather to talk about the super bowl. and even lower than that, he also has very high hopes for periscope, this live streaming app that they bought last year. periscope basically lets anybody with a smartphone turn it into a live streaming device.
you can film what is going on around you and then broadcast that on periscope, but also on twitter. part of what he sees in the future is that suddenly there is live events happening in your neighborhood, like on a much smaller scale around periscope and people broadcasting live what is happening around them. and that people are gathering to have little watercooler conversations there. david: do you think of twitter, the service and what it has done how integral it was to the, arab spring -- it was not the company that was really playing a role in that. you have a set of devoted users who wanted to accomplish some sort of goal. it strikes me, what is changing now, is the company wants to play a more active role in the kind of content that people are using and consuming. felix: definitely.
they are flexing their editorial muscles for the first time. they built this amazing global microphone for people that wanted a microphone. it is a great service. but the problem is a lot of people out there do not really want to broadcast anything to the world. for them, it is kind of a useless service to do that. so in order to get bigger than 320 million users, to get to, say, one billion users, they need to convince people that do not want to broadcast to the world that there is some other reason to be there. basically, what that boils down to is, ok, you do not have to tweet to enjoy twitter. come here, and you will get to listen. sit back and you can almost treat it like you would cable television. it is a place to consume media. but if you invite people here to consume media, you also have to shave it for them, you have to curate it for them. that is what twitter is in the early stages of doing, figuring out how we take this huge fountain of human thought and slicing it and dicing it and making it more presentable to people who are newcomers who just want to sit back and say "what is going on on twitter." david: how radically different are the two visions for this company?
dick costolo being the ceo before jack dorsey was. felix: i do not see a huge amount of difference at this point. jack had come back in 2011 to become executive chairman of twitter. david: so he was there. felix: he was there. behind the scenes, he was advising the former ceo. he has been a part of this for a while. having him become ceo again and take on a much more public role, i think the major difference is you get jack dorsey's style and vision front and center at the company. they think there is obviously valued in that. this guy has been hailed as a great tech visionary. he has a vision for the company. he is the kind of salesperson
that we need at a time when we really need to step it up in terms of our market, in terms of public relations, in terms of just the story that twitter tells the world are about why they need to come back to twitter and give it a try. david: ahead on "bloomberg businessweek," the magazine's creative director tells us how investors may interpret twitter ceo jack dorsey's pose. and move over, propecia, the exclusive danish hair clinic setting up shop in beverly hills. all that ahead on "bloomberg businessweek." ♪
david: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i am david gura. in this week's features section, the profile of stephen spinner. he was in charge of the controversial solyndra investment, but now he has created software crucial to politicians getting elected. i spoke to reporter josh green. josh: i first met steve spinner when i went out to silicon valley to do a story on the up-and-coming candidacy of barack obama, who had just challenged hillary clinton and had surprised the political establishment by managing to raise enormous amounts of money, raising more money than clinton did. one of the ways he did that was by tapping into silicon valley guys like spinner, who at the time were interested in social networks. spinner, who is an ordinary middle-class guy for silicon valley, not a billionaire by any stretch, wound up being one of his top 10 fundraisers. david: joining the ranks of well-known celebrities. you write about how he weaponized the algorithm. what has he done? josh: after he left the obama administration, he is an entrepreneur and got to thinking
about what company can i start, what problem can i solve? the one he knew best was fund-raising. spinner essentially wanted to build in software form what he himself had a near in obama's first campaign. the idea that instead of manually going out and calling everybody in your social network and trying to figure out whether they were republican or democrat, pissing off a lot of people because you guessed wrong, he and his cofounder wrote an algorithm that essentially -- you tell people who you are raising money for. you upload your contacts, and it spiders through the web and checks those names on everything from the federal election database, affinity groups, the sierra club, and the software can essentially figure out your
politics and figure out who you have given to, who you have not given to, and who you would be likely to give to. that is the important thing about the software. it returns your contacts to you, optimized by the propensity and likelihood to give to whoever or whatever cause you are raising money for. that is an incredibly valuable weapon in washington, because it is going to be easier to raise more money and give you a competitive advantage over whoever it is you are running against. david: you say steve spinner did this after he got out of the obama administration. he was at the department of energy. oversaw the loan grant to solyndra. he is a nonpartisan figure now, selling the software to both democrats and republicans. and a lot of folks who took pleasure in criticizing solyndra are now ponying up to buy this program. josh: after the first campaign, he took a job in the department of energy, working on the team that dispersed the $30 billion or so in stimulus funds that were earmarked to promising clean technology companies. what spinner and his team did were to act like venture capitalists for the government, only instead of taking equity for a company, they were trying to grow these cleantech
industries and create jobs. overall they did an excellent job, investing in tesla and other good firms. the one that did not work out was solyndra, which went bust not too long after doe gave them a loan guarantee. spinner's name turned up in e-mails, not because he made the decision to invest, but because he organized the ribbon-cutting ceremony for joe biden at solyndra. republicans recognized that this was an obama fundraising. they decided let's make this guy look like a piñata and attack him. it became one of the main strategies of mitt romney's campaign was to talk about solyndra, to suggest it was a villainous conspiracy between these fundraisers and obama. it did not work, but one of the great ironies in this piece is that spinner has managed to attract both democratic and republican investors, including some folks on the mitt romney campaign, who were his former tormentors. they recognized the value in the software and what it could potentially do in the republican party.
david: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." i'm david gura. in the companies and industries section, reporter jeff green writes that the ongoing struggle for equality in the workplace in america's heartland. jeff: 54% of americans are in a state where if you are gay, somebody can say i do not want to rent to you or i want to fire you and you do not have legal recourse. it does not seem fair. you can sue, but you will probably lose, because the state law does not reflect protection
for those people. david: how are companies navigating that terrain, companies with outposts across the country, figuring out how to deal with people in places where culturally it is different than where they might be headquartered? jeff: most companies now protect on that basis, so at least in the workplace, you are fine. the issue becomes when you have somebody who is in a protected environment at the moment, you want to transfer them to someplace that is not protected, that can be an issue. companies will have to have policies in place to deal with this. the focus of the article is looking at where companies are in this process and how it can be difficult if you are in an environment where the broader society is not ready for this kind of discussion. david: you look at hormel foods. what happened there? jeff: we're looking back in 2011. they had a really low score. companies are scored on a scale of zero to 100, and they were at 15, which meant they were
basically doing nothing. they did have the basic policy in place that said if you are gay and we find out, we cannot fire you. that was about it. so they said we are going to improve that. a baby step as far as they thought was they started adding dates to the calendar such as gay pride day and national coming out day. it is a paper calendar. really simple thing they handed out every year. i was talking to the head of hr, the senior vice president. he passed this thing out. people started e-mailing him, then they started stopping by his office and throwing them on his desk, saying we do not want this. i guess they thought this would be something like a baby step, but it turned out to be a turning point. there were some executives who said we have to stop this, we have to go back to the old calendar. the ceo said, no, we are going to push forward. that was a turning point for them. david: where does a company like hormel foods turned to guidance as it approaches this? jeff: in this case, they did it
themselves. there are some best practices out there. there is a group that sets standards and guidelines you can follow, and you can look at the application. their own employees talked about -- and in some cases, the experiences had directly, one of the people i talked to help the transgender employee with that transition, and in the process, realized how many of the policies that were in place were counterproductive. they did not realize it, because it was something that did not matter to their company. part of it is just realizing you have gay employees. that is a big step for some companies. david: we have seen in the news states that have tried to pass legislation that would make this discrimination legal. we saw in indiana, and we are seeing in georgia as well. we have seen some ceo's of big companies are fighting against it. like marc benioff at salesforce. how salient is that argument? is it getting through to people on the ground, saying here is a guy threatening to pull jobs out of my state of things do not change? jeff: georgia is one of the states where you can be fired for being gay. they are adding additional protection to people who do not want to hire or deal with people who are gay. in georgia, you can already be denied housing if you are gay. this is adding a layer of protection for religious people in other situations that they
feel they might be under threat. so states like indiana and georgia already allow a certain amount of it. so that, by itself, may be hurting them. when these things happen, it can be worse. the latest statistic is there are 32 states, 200 different bills that the lgbt community considers a threat to their lifestyle. david: as you are reporting this these, i imagine you talked to a lot of people. i wonder if any story stood out to you, people who may have wanted to take a job in a certain state and decided against it, someone who might have faced some challenges with recruitment? jeff: there is another company in the story, eaton. one of the workers instrumental in getting the company public perception, she said if it were not for her partner that she had in the state, in ohio, that to her was such a hostile environment, a state that you are not naturally protected,
that if it were not for this job and maybe her partner, she definitely would not be there. that is sort of a thing she hears from people as they are trying to recruit. they kind of check out the company, what is the situation there? in a state that is already seen as hostile, it becomes difficult to recruit, which is why companies are taking extra steps. david: in the etc. section, we introduce you this week to a new global fraternity, an exclusive club that not everyone gets in, including royals and rock stars. it is a hair clinic. bret: the company is called harklinikken, which means "hair clinic", which is not as sexy as the name, and basically it rejects several people that apply. it is kind of like a cult. there is all kinds of -- david: so you apply the tonic and then you go back and forth with representatives of the
company? bret: right. with representatives who want to make sure it is working. they say has a 30% to 60% chance of getting your hair to regrow. i have not heard of it previously. bret: it is huge. there are clinics in germany, norway. there is one in dubai. they opened a test facility in tampa that was successful. and they opened one in beverly hills. and they opened an online consultation so you do not have to be in a particular place. david: any scuttlebutt about who is using it? celebrities? bret: they say celebrities and they also say royalty. they will not disclose names. and our writer, john ross, has been using it. unfortunately, you have to apply it twice at night and you have to wait a half-hour between applications, generally. and he is falling asleep between the first and second application. david: next up on "bloomberg businessweek," forget casablanca. hello, djibouti. the tiny african country is becoming a hub for international power games. that is next on "bloomberg
david: welcome back to "bloomberg businessweek." coming up, how this week's cover got made, with twitter ceo jack dorsey. the startup that aims to revolutionize air travel with a supersonic jet. the gamble that warner bros. is making on the new film "batman vs. superman." david: so many must-reads in this issue. in the focus on retirement section, you look at vanguard, which has become this mammoth and industry, more than $3 million under management, and they are pioneering this hybrid of having robo advisors, having computers help people decide
where to place their money, and also through digital access to financial advisors within the company. ellen: there's been a of attention on robo advisors over the years. most of the attention has been on startups, betterment and well front, but vanguard has gotten into this business and has immediately become one of the leaders in the field because they already have so much under management. they have added a twist, which is for many of their clients, they do have not just sort of robo advising, but also actually people. david: and use skype with them or talk to them over the computer. ellen: you can do chatting on the computer or talk to them by the old-fashioned telephone, and they will try to get a better sense of what your needs are, what your other assets are and put you in the right place. it is interesting that there is this competition between startups, but there is also competition between the startups and these huge players, and schwab is in it, too.