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The Most Overpaid CEOs In America (OXY)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/obermatt-overpaid-underpaid-ceos-america-2012-2


oil occidental irani

Executive compensation is one of the most ironic hotly-debated topics out there.  It’s hotly debated because people often complain that CEOs are overpaid.  It’s ironic because most of the people who complain about excessive pay have the capacity to do something, yet they do nothing.

You see, every year shareholders of a company are mailed a Form DEF 14A, also known as the proxy statement. In the proxy are the details of the company’s executive compensation plans, and they are typically written plain English.  If shareholders don’t like the plan, they vote it down.

But many shareholders will receive the proxy in the mail and throw it right into the trash. And by default, they vote in favor of whatever plan is recommended by the Board.

Anyways, research firm Obermatt (via The Economist) computed the excess pay of CEOs of the S&P 100 companies.  Excess pay is calculated as deserved pay less actual pay.  Deserved pay is measured considering earnings growth and shareholder return and the compensation practices of peer group companies.

On the top of the “Most Overpaid” list is Occidental Petroleum’s Ray Irani. Irani is widely considered the poster child of excessive pay.

On the bottom are fan favorites Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett.

Here’s a chart of Obermatt’s rankings courtesy of The Economist:

chart

SEE ALSO: These CEOs Were Paid $100+ Million To Quit >

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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012 news No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5882869/even-after-shutting-down-limewire-cant-catch-a-break

Even After Shutting Down, LimeWire Can't Catch a BreakLimeWire has been kaput as a file-sharing service since October but that hasn’t stopped its legal woes. Now, after settling with the RIAA to the tune of $105 million, the MPAA and a host of indie music labels have filed lawsuits against the company as well. Talk about beating a dead horse.

Six studios—Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, Comedy Partners, Disney, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Brothers—have filed suit, citing the court’s summary judgement in the RIAA case as basis for their claims. In that case, the court concluded that LimeWire “intentionally encouraged direct infringement.” Now, the court will have to decide LimeWire’s culpability in the illicit trade of movies and TV shows as well.

In addition, a group of independent record labels are arguing that, because of the same summary judgement, that they too are owed $105 million. There’s no word yet on how much the MPAA is asking for in damages, but if its anything near what it enjoy threatening the common user with, LimeWire’s going to need to find some deeper pockets. [Hollywood Reporter via Techdirt]

Image: Pakhnyushcha / Shutterstock

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Monday, February 6th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Monster and Beats Electronics discontinue partnership, audiophiles rejoice

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/12/monster-and-beats-electronics-discontinue-partnership-/

Color us surprised, but word on the street is that Monster and Beats By Dr. Dre are soon going to be a thing of the past. After years of pumping out fashion-forward, bass and treble pumping headphones that (debatably) changed the landscape of personal audio products — and spawned a slew of imitators — both companies have reportedly decided not to renew their five-year contract. Businessweek notes that two sources have confirmed that disagreements over “revenue share” and “who deserved the most credit for the line’s success” stemmed the decision between the companies — not surprisingly, Beats Electronics wanted more of both.

In the the followup, Monster will pump eight new headphone lineups featuring due out this year, Monster is also noted to have brought in 60% of its own revenue from Beats by Dre, and now plans to shift its focus on older demographics, such as executive types, which the brand never exactly catered to. Notably, Businessweek also states that Beats Electronics will retain to the rights to the headphone’s iconic design, sound-signature and branding. Considering Beats’ partnerships reign far with companies like HP and HTC, things probably won’t be all doom and gloom for the company — but the amount of time left to pick up your very own JustBeats likely just got slim. Hit up the source link below for more details.

Monster and Beats Electronics discontinue partnership, audiophiles rejoice originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 12 Jan 2012 20:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink The Verge  |  sourceBusinessweek  ! | < a href="http://www.engadget.com/forward/20147750/" title="Send this entry to a friend via email">Email this | Comments


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Friday, January 13th, 2012 news No Comments

Redbox’s $1 per night DVD rentals jump to $1.20 October 31st, Blu-ray and games stay the same

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/27/redboxs-1-per-night-dvd-rentals-jump-to-1-20-october-1st-blu/

While its movie rental rivals Netflix and Blockbuster have struggled for varying reasons recently, it seemed like Redbox could be just the ticket for thrifty renters. That may be tougher now that it has announced Monday we’ll see a slight increase in pricing for DVD rentals, from $1 to $1.20, citing increased debit card fees. So far, nightly pricing for Blu-ray discs ($1.50) and videogames ($2) is staying the same, but with studios already pushing for longer rental delays, there’s fewer safe ports or those pursuing cheap, current movies. On the conference call, executives floated the idea of using the first sale doctrine to buy and rent retail discs if necessary. Overall, as seen above Redbox’s share of the disc rental market rose last quarter, while there’s still no word on plans to jump into online streaming.

Check below for parent company Coinstar’s full Q3 earnings report plus a FAQ that helpfully points out this is Redbox’s first increase in eight years and that discs reserved online will still be just $1 for the first night through November. The actual email customers are receiving is included after the break.

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

Continue reading Redbox’s $1 per night DVD rentals jump to $1.20 October 31st, Blu-ray and games stay the same

Redbox’s $1 per night DVD rentals jump to $1.20 October 31st, Blu-ray and games stay the same originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Oct 2011 17:21:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceRedbox FAQ, Coinstar Q3 earnings  | Email this | Comments


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Friday, October 28th, 2011 news No Comments

How You Can Get a Fresh iPad for $100 (Updated) [Apple]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5848784/how-can-you-get-a-fresh-ipad-for-100

How You Can Get a Fresh iPad for $100 (Updated)I love my iPad. It’s the original model, bought on April 3, 2010. It’s been working perfectly since then but the battery life was really bad, lasting only a couple of hours lately. It was exhausted. I had to replace it.

In the process, I got a fresh iPad 64GB at the Apple Store for just $100. The good news, you can get one too.

After so many charging cycles, my original iPad’s battery was exhausted. It took forever to recharge and only a few hours to completely run out. I remember the days when I first got it. I could use it normally for a couple of days, watching at least two Netflix movies on it or browsing the web, running some apps and reading comic books.

I went to the Apple Store to ask for a battery replacement. But, as it turns out, you can’t replace an iPad’s battery. As the guy at the Apple Store’s Genius Bar told me: “See? They don’t have screws. We can’t replace the battery.”

Then he added: “If you want a new battery, we have to give you an entire new iPad.”

How? My iPad was out of warranty. I didn’t buy Apple Care. Furthermore, the iPad itself was broken on one side. One day I dropped it on the floor and the aluminum got quite chipped on one side.

He answered that this was no problem. I only have to pay $100 for the “battery.” In return, they would give you a reconditioned iPad with the same storage size as yours, with a fresh battery inside.

So I did exactly that. I paid the hundred bucks and got back home with a perfect battery life and an iPad with no blemishes whatsoever. If your battery life is sketchy—which is probably the case if you bought it back in April 2010—you should go to an Apple store, pay your hundred and get a fresh new iPad on your hands.

And your old iPad doesn’t go to waste. These get refurbished too. Any bad parts get replaced and go back into the cycle of Apple life.

Update: A former Genius shares his tips in the comments:

• You can do the same thing with any iPhone for $79, and most iPods for $69.

• Apple will replace an iPhone in almost any condition (the only exception being for devices that are literally broken into little pieces, or ones that are missing parts) for $199, even if it’s liquid damaged or cracked.

• Apple will replace any OOW damaged iPad for around half the price.

• On an iPhone 4, if the back glass is cracked, an Apple employee can replace it for $29 in only about 5 minutes, also not a bad idea if your camera lens is scratched beyond repair

• If you restore your device before bringing it in, there are no usage records saved and they have to take your word for it that the battery is defective.

That’s pretty good customer service indeed.


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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 news No Comments

Made-Up Word Advertising — “Retina Display” — is how Apple Launches New Products

A made-up word “retina display” had every major blog and news outlet scrambling to help explain what it was. Nearly 1.1 Million search results in 19 hours. It was covered on every evening news; look closely at the thousands of related news articles, etc.  And all the major, powerful sites like Gizmodo, MacRumors, Engadget, etc. covered the event.  Similarly 1.2 million search results on the “one more thing” feature — video calling on the iPhone called FaceTime. All entirely free primetime coverage — talk about the tens of millions of impressions achieved with NO media cost — they can definitely used the money saved to ensure Steve Job’s next keynote will have sufficient WiFi bandwidth for all those live blogging the event.

Look at the following graph of relative search volume. The spike in search volume for All-You-Can-Jet (in red) is about 4X higher than the orange line (Footlongs). And the blue line for “retina display”  is 8X. Consider the cost of the paid TV media campaign supporting Subway’s Footlongs compared to the cost savings of the social media launch of JetBlue’s All-You-Can-Jet Pass and the no cost media for Apple.

Of course, not all companies will achieve the same mass coverage, but the techniques for product launches can be the same. Footlongs is an expensive paid media campaign by Subway and note how low the orange line is compared to the TWO no-cost launches.

And one more graph that shows Drobo plus 2 social media success stories — Groupon and FourSquare that even blow away Apple’s retina display — all for FREE.

Other notable examples of using made-up word advertising include JetBlue’s All-you-Can-Jet Pass and Subway’s Footlongs. Further details about JetBlue’s launch of the All-You-Can-Jet Pass is here – http://go-digital.net/blog/2009/08/jetblue-all-you-can-jet-pass/

Earlier unfiltered results on Google within 10 hours of launch — there are 3.9 Million results which will be de-duped overnight.

Day 1 Stats – page 1 position 3 in 44.6 million results

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Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 Branding, integrated marketing 1 Comment

Comparing Watch Brands via Search Volume

Two insights from this chart:

1. people buy watches for Christmas

2. overall search volume has been on the decline consistently for years

3. only watch brands which are mainly watches (vs Cartier which also makes jewelry, etc.) and also not generic words (e.g. omega) are detectable

Watch brands which are generic words like “omega” or “citizen” are hard to distinguish from the search volume for the generic word.

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Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 digital 1 Comment

like the iPod touch, only bigger (updated)

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/30/ipads-trailing-costs-like-the-ipod-touch-only-bigger/

Whether or not you think the iPad is in and of itself a worthy purchase, let’s not forget the investment doesn’t end at the retail counter or online shopping cart. Two little newsbits have popped up to serve as a helpful reminder to just that effect. The first comes way of verbiage from the iPad end-user licensing agreement dug up by MacRumors; in a nutshell, it suggests that while iPad OS 4.x updates will be provided gratis, subsequent releases (5.x, 6.x, and so on) could be offered at a premium, à la how iPod touch handles firmware. This is far from a confirmation, but it’s well within Apple’s right to do so. The second bit is derived by The Consumerist by way a supposed leaked app store video. Comparing the prices of iPad-optimized software with the iPhone equivalents showed quite a hefty uptick in consumer cost — e.g., $4.99 Flight Control HD vs. $0.99 Flight Control. The pool of eight apps seen in the video would cost $53 in all to purchase, while the same set for the iPhone is $27. That screen real estate don’t come cheap, y’know — that is, should the prices seen prove legit. At this point we can’t confirm, and more than likely, we won’t know for sure until the eleventh hour.

Update: The BBC has word direct from developers that iPad apps will indeed be costlier than their iPhone / iPod touch brethren. Multiple devs are cited in the Beeb‘s article saying that their 99 cent apps will grow in price to $1.99 and $2.99 price points for the slate device [thanks, Ben].

iPad’s trailing costs: like the iPod touch, only bigger (updated) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 30 Mar 2010 21:07:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceMacRumors, The Consumerist  | Email this | Comments

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 news No Comments

How Google Crunches All That Data

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5495097/how-google-crunches-all-that-data

If data centers are the brains of an information company, then Google is one of the brainiest there is. Though always evolving, it is, fundamentally, in the business of knowing everything. Here are some of the ways it stays sharp.

For tackling massive amounts of data, the main weapon in Google’s arsenal is MapReduce, a system developed by the company itself. Whereas other frameworks require a thoroughly tagged and rigorously organized database, MapReduce breaks the process down into simple steps, allowing it to deal with any type of data, which it distributes across a legion of machines.

Looking at MapReduce in 2008, Wired imagined the task of determining word frequency in Google Books. As its name would suggest, the MapReduce magic comes from two main steps: mapping and reducing.

The first of these, the mapping, is where MapReduce is unique. A master computer evaluates the request and then divvies it up into smaller, more manageable “sub-problems,” which are assigned to other computers. These sub-problems, in turn, may be divided up even further, depending on the complexity of the data set. In our example, the entirety of Google Books would be split, say, by author (but more likely by the order in which they were scanned, or something like that) and distributed to the worker computers.

Then the data is saved. To maximize efficiency, it remains on the worker computers’ local hard drives, as opposed to being sent, the whole petabyte-scale mess of it, back to some central location. Then comes the second central step: reduction. Other worker machines are assigned specifically to the task of grabbing the data from the computers that crunched it and paring it down to a format suitable for solving the problem at hand. In the Google Books example, this second set of machines would reduce and compile the processed data into lists of individual words and the frequency with which they appeared across Google’s digital library.

The finished product of the MapReduce system is, as Wired says, a “data set about your data,” one that has been crafted specifically to answer the initial question. In this case, the new data set would let you query any word and see how often it appeared in Google Books.

MapReduce is one way in which Google manipulates its massive amounts of data, sorting and resorting it into different sets that reveal new meanings and have unique uses. But another Herculean task Google faces is dealing with data that’s not already on its machines. It’s one of the most daunting data sets of all: the internet.

Last month, Wired got a rare look at the “algorithm that rules the web,” and the gist of it is that there is no single, set algorithm. Rather, Google rules the internet by constantly refining its search technologies, charting new territories like social media and refining the ones in which users tread most often with personalized searches.

But of course it’s not just about matching the terms people search for to the web sites that contain them. Amit Singhal, a Google Search guru, explains, “you are not matching words; you are actually trying to match meaning.”

Words are a finite data set. And you don’t need an entire data center to store them—a dictionary does just fine. But meaning is perhaps the most profound data set humanity has ever produced, and it’s one we’re charged with managing every day. Our own mental MapReduce probes for intent and scans for context, informing how we respond to the world around us.

In a sense, Google’s memory may be better than any one individual’s, and complex frameworks like MapReduce ensure that it will only continue to outpace us in that respect. But in terms of the capacity to process meaning, in all of its nuance, any one person could outperform all the machines in the Googleplex. For now, anyway. [Wired, Wikipedia, and Wired]

Image credit CNET

Memory [Forever] is our week-long consideration of what it really means when our memories, encoded in bits, flow in a million directions, and might truly live forever.

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Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 news No Comments

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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