How the Best Managers Respond to Employees Who Ask for a Raise

Review season can be stressful no matter what side of the table you’re sitting on.

If you’re a manager, you’ve got a lot of work to do preparing performance feedback on top of your regular workload. And you probably have to deliver that feedback face-to-face. Sure, it’s not easy hearing constructive criticism, but delivering it isn’t something people look forward to either.

And one of the trickiest situations to navigate is a request for a raise or promotion. Especially if you weren’t expecting it. But take a deep breath and remember that this is an opportunity to either show your employees how much you value them or help them grow into someone who’s deserving of what they want.

Ahead of Time

Quick note: In an ideal world, you’re reading this article several weeks before the formal process begins (and budgets are finalized). But we don’t live in an ideal world and if that’s the case, you can skip down to “in the moment.”

Review Company Policies and Procedures

Before you do anything else, make sure you familiarize yourself with any company policies and procedures around reviews, compensation, and promotion. Knowing the basics will not only ensure you’re giving your employees a productive review, but it’ll also make it easier to handle any requests that do come up. If you’re not sure if this information exists or where it lives, reach out and ask.

Evaluate Your Employees and Team

On the compensation side, take a look at any internal data you have on pay bands and see where your direct reports fall. Are there any outliers? Have any new additions to the team skewed the distribution? All things considered, is this a fair place for this employee to be?

On the promotion side, think about how your employee is doing in every area of responsibility for their own role and whether their performance goes so far beyond that scope that they’d meet the requirements for a more senior role, if there’s one available. Make your initial recommendations based on this analysis.

The hope is that you’ll have already secured raises and promotions for those who are eligible and deserving by the time you walk into the room for your meetings. You can help preempt problems by doing this work thoroughly and thoughtfully ahead of time. But be aware that no matter how well you prepare, it’s impossible to avoid any surprises.

Set Expectations

Is there no budget? Is someone on your team underperforming? Do you know someone’s counting on a raise or promotion that simply isn’t happening. You can avoid a lot of drama and tension by having this hard conversation before the formal review.

I’ll put an emphasis on “hard” because telling someone they’re going to have to wait for what they want will never be fun to discuss.

You can start by saying something along these lines: “I know we’re meeting next Wednesday to discuss your performance over the past year. I also know you might be anticipating a raise. Because I want this to be a productive conversation, I wanted to let you know that you’re not eligible right now because [you’re not hitting your goals/our team is on a tight budget/our research shows you’re being compensating well for your role]. I know this is hard to hear. But I’m on your side and I’m your advocate here, so let’s use our time next week to discuss how we can ensure you are eligible [next year/in X months] and all the other ways you can grow in the meantime.”

Spoiler: The person will not be pleased to hear this. That’s OK. The key right now is to acknowledge that they’re disappointed and wait until your formal conversation to delve into feedback.

In the Moment

Acknowledge the Request

Fact: Asking for a raise or a promotion is stressful and emotional. If you’ve ever done this (and I hope you have!), you know this. So step one is making sure your direct report knows you’ve heard them by acknowledging the request.

  • “Thank you for bringing that to my attention.”
  • “I heard you, and…”

Ask for More Information

“Your job as a manager is not to have an answer right then,” Fitzgerald says. “It’s to listen and gather information,” she adds. It’s “asking why they feel that way and digging in before responding.”

You’ll not only need to understand your employee’s reasoning in order to make an informed decision and perhaps make a case to HR and your higher ups, but you’ll also be able to figure out whether there are other issues you need to address–such as mismatched expectations about the role.

  • “Did you have something in mind?”
  • “Tell me why you feel that way.”
  • “What do you feel is an appropriate range?”

Set a Plan and Realistic Time Frame for a Response

So you’ve made sure your employee feels their request has been heard and collected information about what they want and why they think it’s appropriate.

Now, “a key point is never make a decision at the time a raise request is made,” says Dick Grote, founder and president of Grote Consulting, where he specializes in performance management. Any yes or no answer given within minutes “comes off as flippant,” he adds, and sets a bad precedent. Instead, let your employee know that when they should expect to hear from you about this. And be realistic.

  • “I will think about this and we’ll talk again in [a few days or few weeks].”
  • “Let me look into this and get back to you in [whatever time is possible].”
  • “I wish I could get back to you sooner but it might take three weeks.”

Keep Your Word

“Whatever you tell the employee, you have to keep your word,” Dillon says. It can be tempting to be optimistic here, but consider the steps you’ll need to take and be honest about how long it’ll take before you can follow up. That goes a lot further than false hope.

So, if you tell your direct report you’ll get back to them in two weeks, make sure you do that. Don’t let whatever marker you set go by without discussing it.

And “certainly don’t wait until the person brings it up again,” says Grote.

After the Request

Do Your Homework

Now it’s time to actually dig in. Double check your original evaluation, verify the points your employee brought up, assess any facts or accomplishments they shared that you might not have considered, take another look at their performance with fresh eyes, and think about the consequences of this decision when it comes to the rest of your team.

If you manage several people, you might want to wait until you’ve finished all of your reviews to tackle this. That way, you can evaluate all the requests (if you get more than one), seek guidance from your own boss on all of them at once, come to consistent decisions that make sense in context, and prepare the best strategy to make the case for one or more of your reports.

Make the Case (if It’s Warranted)

If you’ve come to the conclusion that your employee’s right, it’s time to go to bat. Since it’s unlikely you can make the call yourself, you need to figure out who you most need to convince in order to make this happen. And then try to be as persuasive as possible.

“That manager should have really good justification, citing quantifiable results and impact on the organization,” says Regina Moravek, a contributor to The Muse who spent 15 years working in HR. So bring the numbers, but don’t forget the qualitative information too. For example, highlight certain skills that are invaluable or bust out some quotes from customers or clients or whoever’s relevant to demonstrate what this person means to the company.

  • “We’re not sending the message we want to send with x% raise this year.”
  • “I really feel [person] was such a star. We don’t want to risk losing him.”
  • “If [person] leaves, we’re not going to be able to replace them for anywhere near their current salary or skill level.”
  • “[Person] has certain skills, educational level that are important to our business.”
  • “If [person] leaves and the job is vacant, it’ll cost the company this much.”

When You Come Back to the Employee

Deliver Good News

The best outcome, obviously, is getting and having the chance to deliver good news.

Don’t forget that this is “also a really important time to convey to the employee how valued they are,” Moravek says. The meeting is as much about “making the employee feel that they’re an important part of the operation” as it is about the dollar amount or the new title, which she says alone can feel hollow. But if you add “we value you, you’ve had a huge impact on the organization,” she says, the employee is more likely to be “motivated to continue to do great work.”

And if you’re delivering promotion news, “I always like to tell people that now the baseline goes way up,” Dillon says. “You got it and I’m thrilled for you. But now you’re starting at this level. This isn’t a reward to sit back on.”

  • “I’ve got some good news for you. I’ve looked over your request for a raise, given it some thought, done some research, and it seems to me that an increase in salary is appropriate.”
  • “I thought about the request you made to reconsider compensation. After doing my research, I’ve decided that a compensation change is in order.”

Deliver Bad News to a Strong Performer

Sometimes, no matter how well deserved you believe a raise or promotion is, you won’t be able to get it approved.

Remember though that “growth can mean a lot of different things, not just money,” Fitzgerald says. And see what else you can offer. It might be a spot bonus, the lead on a new project, the chance to develop skills or gain experience in an area of interest, extra vacation time, or another creative solution. The best option will be tailored to the individual.

“As a manager it’s important to recognize the arsenal of tools for keeping employees happy. A lot of things are in your control,” she adds, including creating a positive environment and giving people chances to grow. “A raise is one very important symbol,” but it’s also important to tell employees you value them and demonstrate as much in ways that go beyond money and titles.

And make sure it’s clear that just because the answer is no at that moment doesn’t mean it will always be no. You can commit to revisiting the topic again in three or six months.

If you believe in this employee’s potential at the company, share that. “The conditions of the company/industry/competition right now are such that we’re not in a position to do that,” Grote suggests saying. Acknowledge that it’s not what they wanted to hear: “I know you’re certainly disappointed. I would be.” But then add: “But I want to tell you something. I think you have a very bright future here.”

  • “Unfortunately the company isn’t in a position to give increases, but I would love to give you these other opportunities.”
  • “I know you’re interested in doing this kind of work as well, so let’s change your job a bit.”
  • “You and I are going to work together this year to make sure your profile is raised.”
  • “I’m committed to giving you opportunities to shine.”
  • “I appreciate you bringing this to my attention. I’m going to be more aware when promotion opportunities arise that you’re going to be considered as a candidate.”

Deliver Bad News to a Weak Performer

If your direct report “has no idea that they’re not a star employee,” Dillon says, that should be a “clue that you’re not communicating effectively with the person.”

“This is your opportunity to be fair to them,” she adds. More than that, it’s your responsibility as a manager to initiate a conversation to try to close the gap. Share what areas they’re weak in or what you’re disappointed about and tell them what you’d expect and like to see in order to have a different conversation the next time around.

Give concrete examples to ensure the employee understands the issues and has a firm grasp on how to improve. And plan your points in advance, because it isn’t easy to give someone feedback that might be painful to hear, but you won’t be doing them any favors if you waffle and fail to convey how they can fix it.

  • “These are areas you need to work on.”
  • “Here are the goals I want you to work toward in the next six months.”
  • “In your position, I expect…”

As a manager, you may not look forward to review season as the highlight of your year, but remember that it can set your team on the right track. And getting people on the right track means you’re far more likely to hit your goals and succeed in your own role.

Build Your Branding Empire With These 7 Effective Tips

A successful brand is able to convince people to loyally pay more for something simply because it is from that brand. This is why household names such as Google and Bounty have immense control over their consumers, and why they heavily invest in and prioritize their brand assets. 
Ultimately, brand power comes from having a high-quality product and building the brand as an essential part of people’s days. If you spot an opportunity to fit yourself into someone’s life you are then able to constantly interact with them and convert them into a long-term customer. There is a long road from a startup company to a massive brand empire, but these seven tips can guide your journey to building a trendy yet durable brand.

1. Know your audience.

One of the initial first steps for a venture is to pinpoint your exact audience. You should be able to describe their tastes and preferences. What does their average day look like? What’s their favorite clothing store? What kinds of marketing media do they see? 

This can help you gauge what is important to them and how you can appeal to them. It’s crucial that you understand your audience so that you can keep them into consideration every step of the way. For over 20 years Amazon has relentlessly prioritized their audience. Their dedication is, in part, what has kept them at the forefront of the tech and e-commerce industry. 

2. Get it right once.

Lukas Kurzmann, founder of Women’s Best says, “you only have to get it right once.” This means that you need to constantly experiment with new things until it finally works. Like most things in entrepreneurship precision and accuracy comes from the efforts of trial and error. Branding is no different.

As you try to build your brand, focus on approaching it through the lenses of experimentation and innovation. This could include trying new marketing techniques and potentially hiring consultants to offer a new brand perspective. Building a branding empire starts with pivoting until you finally get it right.

3. Build influencer relationships.

You can’t talk about branding without discussing your companies social media strategy. An incredibly effective way to build your brand on social media is by collaborating with influencers. One of the things that have best helped Kurzmann, has been influencer marketing. He spends over 60 percent of his ad budget on influencer and has built a massive number of influencer relationships. The best approach here is to start with a small project and grow the opportunities as the relationship grows.

4. Interact with consumers.

When making decisions that matter to your consumers, you should consult with them for input. Keep them involved as much as possible. A great example of this is the way that Ben & Jerry’s encourages their audience to create and submit flavor names.

Another productive way to do this is to base decisions off of data obtained from your consumers. Use the information you already know about their habits and preferences, in order to maximize impact and return. For example, when choosing an influencer, work with one who your audience already aligns with. Whether you use a survey, social media poll, or a suggestion card included with purchases, you should be interacting with your consumers–and utilizing their feedback. 

5. Continuously develop your story.

Whether you are a company that has just started or one that’s been around for decades you need to continuously develop your brand story. This includes mixing up the type of marketing material you are putting out and introducing new elements to your brand for consumers.

Developing your story cultivates a relationship with your consumers. When you neglect to do that your audience will grow bored with your brand and give their attention to the next best thing. Developing your story is a huge part of staying relevant and building a loyal relationship with your audience. 

6. Optimize your funnels.

Kurzmann states that the most important metric for him is Return on Ad Spend. He works through every marketing campaign to optimize its performance and boost his returns. Additionally, he notes that he is always eager to experiment and find new marketing channels to improve his ROAS.

A great way to optimize your funnels is to ensure you are not only being seen, but you are providing a call to action. If you’re a shoe brand and you are running a summer campaign for sandals be sure you provide verbiage that encourages your audience to buy the newest pair of sandals. 

7. Attend in-person events.

There are a variety of in-person events that offer valuable growth opportunities for your brand. If you have a consumer product, you can attend trade shows and get your brand in front of top buyers. If you have a tech product, you can attend pitch competitions to mingle with venture capitalists. These opportunities will have a slower return, but they will convert higher-impact individuals to your brand.

Building a brand is an incredibly intense process. It requires time, dedication, and innovation. These seven tactics are a great start to building a long-lasting brand for your company. 

Gorilla Glass 6 Is More Durable and Built For the Future

There’s no shame in cracking your smartphone’s screen. It happens, especially to the bold and the caseless. Better to focus on all the times it doesn’t happen, those fumbles where the phone hits the floor and bounces back unscathed. For that, you can thank Gorilla Glass, the miracle material found in every iPhone and Android flagship display for over a decade. And Gorilla Glass 6, announced this week, isn’t just tougher—it’s built for the future of phones.

Start with what Gorilla Glass 6 can do. Corning, the company that makes it, says it has focused here on durability over time. In its own testing, the next generation of Gorilla Glass held up over 15 drops from a height of 1 meter on rough surfaces. That’s up to twice what Gorilla Glass 5, released two years ago, could manage.

“That’s what we were trying to solve, that kind of competitive, continuous drop,” says Corning division vice president Scott Forester. By contrast, Gorilla Glass 5 prioritized surviving a single drop from what Forester calls “selfie height.”

To accomplish that priority shift without making trade-offs, Corning turned not just to clever chemistry, but an entirely new composition. Specifically, Corning increased what’s called the compressive stress of the glass, which is what helps it withstand impacts.

“There’s always two fundamental components for Gorilla Glass. One is the actual glass composition at the atomic level, which elements are in the glass itself. And what we do is combine it with an ion exchange process, basically a strengthening process,” says Forester. The glass gets dipped into a molten bath of salts, where sodium ions leave while larger potassium ions enter. “You’re jamming them into the glass. And what that does is create this compressive stress at the surface.”

The process of creating a new generation of Gorilla Glass, then, becomes a bit like reinventing the wheel, or maybe more accurately two gears—the composition and the strengthening process—that align to meet your objectives.

“You get to a point where there’s only so much you can do within a given family of glass compositions, and that’s when it becomes necessary to go to a completely new family of glasses that can offer some enhanced property that was not previously available,” says John Mauro, a professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State University, who had previously spent 18 years at Corning and worked on early versions of Gorilla Glass. “Every time we would come up with something, it would be the best we could do at that point, and then we’d have to top ourselves.”

A caution on Corning’s claims: The glass’s actual, real-world performance will differ from what happens in the lab, and Mauro notes that manufacturers can request a thinner version, or a specific shape, that might reduce some of its resilience. “There are some trade-offs that the cell phone manufacturers can work with. It’s really up to them to figure out what the optimal trade-off is.”

Regardless of what an individual manufacturer does, Gorilla Glass 6 can handle repeated drops better than its predecessor, and deal with scratching and high-up drops just as well. But maybe more importantly, it’s keeping up with the tempo of smartphone innovation.

When Apple put glass on both the front and back of the iPhone 4 in 2010, it doubled the chances you’d need a repair without much practical gain. Eight years later, glass has begun to envelop more and more smartphone surface area, and for good reason.

“Things like wireless charging, you couldn’t do that before with metal backs. You can now with glass,” says Forester, who notes that metal backs can also interfere with daily smartphone use, or require design compromises—think of the bands on the back of the iPhone 6—to work around them. “Things like NFC or Apple Pay, all those antennas, you want those in a transparent type material like glass. GPS, your Bluetooth, your Wi-Fi, ubiquitous internet. All those things aren’t enabled by glass, but they’re being assisted and aided in the designs of the devices.”

To that end, Corning has also developed an inkjet process, called Vibrant Gorilla Glass, that allows manufacturers to etch any color or design onto the glass itself, creating a custom look without necessitating a case. Forester says Corning is currently exploring adding textures and gradients as well.

You can expect to see Gorilla Glass 6 devices within the next several months, and it’ll eventually land on every major mobile device. (For a better sense of its ubiquity: Gorilla Glass is on over 6 billion consumer devices worldwide.) And while it improves each generation, what’s even more remarkable may be how much more important its role becomes.

“If we look over the almost 20 year period, what strikes me the most is the change in the paradigm in how we interact with our computing devices. Glass used to just be something you would look through on your screen. It was there but it was invisible, and nobody paid any attention to it,” says Mauro. “It has become the primary interface between the human and the computer. To me, that’s really astounding.”

More Great WIRED Stories

Veon cuts management in return to traditional telecoms model

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Veon, the mobile phone operator formerly known as VimpelCom, said it would cut management jobs and simplify its structure as it goes back to basics with a focus on telecom services in emerging markets.

In recent years, Veon, with stakes in operators in Russia, Pakistan and Algeria, had tried to reinvent itself as a new high-tech player, in hopes of making money from apps and service commissions instead of classic voice and data subscriptions.

The Amsterdam-based company with roots in Russia said country managers in the 11 markets where it operates will now report directly to its corporate headquarters. It will cut regional operating structures in Eastern Europe and Pakistan.

In a statement announcing the moves, Veon, one of the world’s top 10 mobile operators by customers, signaled it aimed to reduce staff and cut costs at its Dutch headquarters.

“The new high-level structure has now been established as Veon continues to create a leaner headquarters with clear accountability,” the statement said. “This work is ongoing as Veon transitions to a more efficient operating model.”

A spokesman declined to comment on whether more jobs could be cut. It has cut its global workforce over the last three years by around one-third to 40,000 employees at the end of 2017.

On Thursday, the company said it had appointed Kjell Morten Johnsen as Group Chief Operating Officer, a role he had held on an interim basis since March, when the company pushed out Chief Executive Jean-Yves Charlier. Veon Chairwoman Ursula Burns, the former head of Xerox, took over as chief executive.

Burns has said Veon’s four immediate priorities are to increase its focus on emerging markets, control costs, improve its balance sheet and supporting its current dividend.

A spokesman denied that this marks a retreat from its digital strategy, adding that the company plans further pilot tests of a new mobile apps marketplace and messaging service across additional markets over the coming year.

Under Charlier, Veon went through a three-year house cleaning of previous management, job cuts and asset sales. The company’s name was changed to Veon from VimpelCom after a bribery scandal in Uzbekistan that was settled with Dutch and American authorities in 2016 for $795 million.

On July 2, Veon said it would sell its stake in Italian mobile network Wind Tre for 2.45 billion euros in an exit from Western Europe to pare debt and to take full ownership of its Pakistan and Bangladesh businesses. (

Reporting by Eric Auchard in London; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise and Alexandra Hudson

How IBM Cloud Is Superior To Amazon AWS

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Tesla Fires A Shot Across The Bow

ARS Technica reported Friday that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has removed the $35,000 version of Model 3 from its orders page. Though the company claims the lower-priced, short-range version of Model 3 will be available eventually, some Model 3 reservation holders are sure to be disappointed. On the other hand, focusing on more heavily optioned, higher-margin Model 3 cars should cheer the company’s shareholders. Tesla “shorts” would do well to look carefully to this development because it suggests an aggressive and potentially winning strategy.

Tesla Model 3


Tesla has this month sold its 200,000th electric car in the US, beginning the 18-month wind-down of the federal income tax credit for US Tesla buyers. Elon Musk announced on July 1 that the 5,000 per week Model 3 production goal had been achieved (more or less). Both of these events conform to a Tesla strategy described last April for maximizing the gross amount of federal incentives for its customers.

For Tesla, a key factor in a credits maximizing strategy is that initial high-rate Model 3 production can be skewed toward higher-end configurations because early US customers will enjoy the full $7,500 tax credit (in addition to any state and/or local incentives), making these higher-priced cars affordable for a wider range of buyers. We see exactly this in Tesla’s producing long-range, AWD and performance configurations of Model 3, while delaying the lower-priced, short-range versions. Higher-end Model 3 configurations, particularly those carrying Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software options, will give Tesla higher margins. These fancier models are also likely to appeal to BMW’s (OTCPK:BMWYY) 3 Series and Mercedes’s (OTCPK:DDAIF) C Class higher-end customers.

Let us remember briefly what happened in the high-end luxury sedan segment when Tesla brought Model S to the party. The fun part happened in 2014 and 2015. In an essentially static market, Model S sales took off, while all the other players lost ground.

Luxury segment change in sales 2014-15

And Tesla’s Model S ended up king of the hill.

2015 US Luxury car sales

Images from Author’s February 18, 2016 article here.

Will it happen again?

Could Model 3 grab market share in the much larger entry-luxury car segment like Model S did in the high-end luxury car market? Because, if Tesla were to carve the heart out of the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C Class, and similar models from Audi (OTCPK:AUDVF), Lexus (NYSE:TM), Cadillac (NYSE:GM), Acura (NYSE:HMC) and others, these carmakers will feel a lot of pain. And Tesla might just make a go of its Model 3.

The first thing to understand about the market for entry-luxury cars is that buyers don’t have to buy these cars. Anyone purchasing or leasing even a base model BMW 320i ($34,900 base price) can buy or lease a Toyota, Hyundai (OTCPK:HYMLF) or Chevy that will take them to where they need to go and bring them back for a lot less money. Entry-luxury cars offer something “special” beyond basic, efficient transportation that buyers are willing to pay extra to have. The “special” something may be quicker acceleration or cushier seats, or fancy wheels, or special headlights, or any of a bunch of other nice, cool or trick features, gizmos and tasteful brand badges that set one of these cars apart from those driven by the hoi polloi motoring public. And at least some buyers in the entry-luxury market are willing to pay a lot more to drive a “special” car. Many entry-luxury cars are offered with an array of optional configurations and optional features that allow a customer to spend much more than the base car price. A Mercedes C Class sedan (base price $40,250) in the AMG C63 S configuration can be optioned-up past six figures by just checking the boxes (and it’s still not as quick as the AWD Performance Model 3.)

Tesla Model 3 doesn’t have to be cheaper than the competition to win in the entry-luxury market. It just needs to be price competitive and have better “special stuff”. And Model 3 has special stuff – smooth, quick acceleration; clean, futuristic interior; Full Self-Driving; batteries; SuperCharging; a Tesla badge – that other cars in in this market do not have. (Let’s not get into an argument about Tesla’s Full Self-Driving being “real”. The company offers the feature. Its cars have the hardware. You can’t tick the box for this for any non-Tesla car.)

This leaves the question of Tesla’s pricing compared to the ICE competition. Let’s take a look at how three different Tesla Model 3s compare to three roughly similar BMW 3 Series cars. Using Tesla’s Model 3 website and BMW’s US website, I configured three Tesla Model 3 cars and three roughly comparable BMW 3 Series sedans: base models, AWD models and performance models. The following table gives an idea of how these cars compare on performance and pricing. For simplicity, the 0-60 time is used as the performance metric and only to show that chosen car configurations are of generally similar performance. Pricing shown is the manufacturers’ US list before any tax credit, incentives, discounts, etc.

Model 0-60 Base Optioned

Tesla Model 3 – Base Model

5.6 35,000 35,000

BMW 320i – Base Model

7.1 34,950 34,950

Tesla Model 3 – Long Range, AWD

Blue Paint; 19″ Wheels; Auto Pilot; Self-Driving;


4.5 53,000 64,500

BMW 340ix – AWD

Premium Pkg; Executive Pkg; Blue Paint; 19″ Wheels

Drive Asst; Park Ctrl; Blind Spot; Active Cruise;

Heated Rear Seats; Heated Steering Wheel;

Charging + WiFi; Apple Play; Destination

4.6 50,950 63,535

Tesla Model 3 – Long Range, AWD, Performance

Blue Paint; 19″ Sport Wheels; Auto Pilot; Self-Driving;


3.5 64,000 74,000

BMW M3 – RWD Performance

Blue Paint; 19″ Wheels; Drive Asst; Executive Pkg;

Automatic Trans; Stainless Pedals; Blind Spot;

Charging + WiFi; Apple Play; Destination

3.9 66,500 78,320

This comparison shows that in order to match the performance and features of a Tesla Model 3, one is looking at a BMW 3 Series that costs about the same. While many investors think of Tesla cars as being “expensive” compared to the touted $35,000 base price, quite the same thing can be said of BMW cars – and, presumably, those of its competitors as well. Tesla’s “effective” pricing is lower by the amount of federal tax credit, any state and local incentives, and any purported fuel cost savings over the ownership period. BMW’s prices are also lower by the amount of any dealer discounts, promotional incentives, trade-in allowances and the like.

The big price differential between Tesla and BMW (and most legacy players) comes in the guise of Tesla making higher-end configurations, while (for now) avoiding lower-cost versions of the Model 3. It isn’t that Tesla cars are more expensive, the company just makes more expensive [versions of its] cars…

Shot Across The Bow

This is where Tesla’s strategy and the outlook for the entry-luxury car market starts to look interesting. What the company has done in reaching 5,000 per week Model 3 production, delivering its 200,000th US car at the beginning of Q3 and delaying the Model 3 short-range configuration is to tell the car market this: Tesla will make a quarter million high-end BMW 3 Series comparable cars a year, sell these (primarily in the US for Q3 and Q4) and not bother with entry-level product (yet). Or, to put it more bluntly, the company just told BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Cadillac and the other entry-luxury segment carmakers that it will eat their lunch. Because if Tesla sells a half million highly optioned entry-luxury cars into the market, the other companies will be left mostly with the entry-level end of the market. Ouch!

Tesla is aiming to repeat what it did with Model S, but this time on a much, much larger scale. And we are not talking about someday. The company’s plan is up, running and in play right now, today.

The competition has nothing ready to put in Tesla’s way. The GM Bolt electric car is not an entry-luxury product, and no versions are offered that effectively compete with higher-end Model 3 configurations. Jaguar’s (NYSE:TTM) iPace is coming to the market, but it is aimed at the costlier Tesla Model X, and no robust cross-country Supercharger-like network exists to support the iPace at this time.

How It Will Go

Entry-luxury carmakers offer cars from low-end entry models through AWD and performance cars. Unit sales are largely at the low end, but a disproportionate amount of carmakers’ profit is earned from higher-margin, highly optioned cars. In a market of competing, mature technology ICE cars, and with a need to sustain dealer networks and maintain market share, legacy carmakers must deliver a full range of product. Build only high-end cars and most of their customer base will defect and market share and dealer networks collapse. Build only entry-level cars and most of the profit goes away.

In 2016, BMW sold 545,116 3/4 Series (sedan/coupe) cars. To achieve this sales volume, the company offered entry-level as well as higher-end configurations of its 3/4 Series cars. Arguably, to steal half a million sales from BMW’s 3/4 Series for the Model 3, Tesla would need (at least) to deliver both high-end and entry-level Model 3 cars, because that covers the price range of cars that BMW 3/4 Series customers buy. But such does not appear to be the company’s plan.

Tesla aims to take market share from the high end of the entry-luxury car segment mix. It has put off making the short-range, $35,000 version of Model 3, so buyers with $35,000 to spend can’t buy a Model 3, at least for now. This means Tesla has no chance, for now, of stealing half a million BMW 3/4 Series customers for Model 3 and wiping the BMW 3/4 Series cars from the face of the earth. But Tesla doesn’t need every BMW 3/4 customer. There are plenty of Acura, Alfa Romeo (NYSE:FCAU), Audi, Cadillac, Infiniti (OTCPK:NSANY), Jaguar, Lancia, Lexus, Lincoln (NYSE:F), Mercedes and Volvo (OTCPK:VOLAF) entry-luxury customers to be had. Tesla may even bag some BMW 5 Series, Audi A6 and Mercedes E Class customers with its long-range, AWD and performance versions of the Model 3.

If Tesla pulls off this high-end, cream-skimming strategy – like it did with Model S – that will be good for the company and for shareholders. It will be disastrous for legacy competitors because profits come largely from selling high-end configuration, highly optioned vehicles, and Tesla is going after those high-margin sales. It is one thing for a company like BMW to see, say, 20% of its 3 Series customers across the board go over to Tesla and quite a different thing should the top (high end) 20% of its customers defect.


Tesla has embarked on a bold strategy, choosing to target Model 3 sales at the high end of the entry-luxury car market rather than offering Model 3 configurations covering the entire segment. Tesla is following a strategy that will “cream-skim” high-end, high-profit customers from the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and Cadillac. Tesla did this same thing with Model S. Its strategy is already in play. Within the next quarter or two, investors may expect to see a rout of legacy carmakers even greater than was seen in 2014-15 with Model S as Tesla takes on the entry-luxury segment in earnest with Model 3.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: These writings about the technical aspects of Tesla, electric cars, components, supply chain and the like are intended to stimulate awareness and discussion of these issues. Investors should view my work in this light and seek other competent technical advice on the subject issues before making investment decisions.

No blank checks: The value of cloud cost governance

How much does you’re public cloud cost month to month? If you don’t know, you’re hardly alone. Most people in IT don’t have a good understand of what a public cloud service costs per month. Most wait to find out what the bill says rather than proactively monitor cloud consumption, much less have cloud cost governance in place.

Even if your financial budgeting model can handle uncertain costs, not knowing what you’re spending has a downside. When you moved to the public cloud, your company put a value driver in place when defining the business cases—and part of that was based on ongoing costs per month.

If those costs are higher than originally estimated, the value metrics won’t support your goals. Although you can make a case for the cloud’s value around agility and compressing time to market, that will fall on deaf ears among your business leaders if you’re 20 to 30 percent over budget for ongoing cloud costs.

There’s no reason to not know your ongoing cloud costs. In the planning phase, it’s just a matter of doing simple math to figure out the likely costs month to month. In the operational phase, it’s about putting in cost monitoring and cost controls. This is called cloud cost governance.

Cloud cost governance uses a tool to both monitor usage and produce cost reports to find out who, what, when, and how cloud resources were used. Having this information also means that you can do chargebacks to the departments that incurred the costs—including overruns.

But the most important aspect with cloud governance is not monitoring but the ability to estimate. Cloud cost governance tools can tell you not just about current use but also about likely costs in the future. You can use that information for budgeting.

Cloud cost governance also means placing limits on cloud computing usage based on allocation of costs. If the devops team is allocated $150,000 a month but spends $200,000, the tools should take automated corrective action—meaning turning off cloud services after multiple warnings. The idea is not to stop productivity but to make people aware of what costs they are incurring over that of what’s been budgeted.

BlackRock is evaluating cryptocurrencies, CEO Fink says

NEW YORK (Reuters) – BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) Chief Executive Larry Fink on Monday said the world’s largest asset manager has assembled a working group to look at blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, but cautioned he does not see massive investor demand.

FILE PHOTO: Larry Fink, Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, takes part in the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York, U.S., February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

“We are a big student of blockchain,” Fink said in an interview with Reuters. Adding that he doesn’t see “huge demand for cryptocurrencies,” the company has a working group studying it.

FILE PHOTO: The company logo and trading information for BlackRock is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Any move to invest in cryptocurrencies or to use blockchain by BlackRock would mark a pivot for the company and a major institutional endorsement for the insurgent technology. The company managed $6.3 trillion in assets as of June 30.

“BlackRock exploring crypto assets comes as no surprise and is definitely a positive development for the crypto market,” said Chris Yoo, a portfolio manager at Black Square Capital Management LLC, a hedge fund focused on the crypto space.

“As the largest asset manager in the world, its interest in crypto assets could be a catalyst for upward price movement and encourage other asset managers, even with more conservative strategies, to seriously explore investing in the crypto space.”

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was trading up 4.4 percent at more than $6,600 Monday on the Bitstamp exchange, its best showing in more than two weeks, after an initial report describing the working group appeared on the website Financial News late on Sunday. That is still far down from Bitcoin’s all-time peak near $20,000 in late 2017.

Last November, in an interview with Reuters, Fink described bitcoin specifically as a “speculative” investment that thrives because of the cryptocurrency’s anonymity. While he sounded an optimistic tone on blockchain, the technology used to record bitcoin transactions, Fink also noted the digital currency’s association with money laundering.

Some asset managers have been quicker to endorse the potential role of digital currencies. For instance, Fidelity Investments, a top BlackRock competitor in the fund management space, has extensively experimented with the technology.

Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Nick Zieminski

Data protection for containers: Why, and how to do Docker backup

Containers are a great way to run applications, with much less overhead than traditional bare metal or virtualised environments. But what about data protection? Do containers need backup and data protection? The answer is yes – and no. In this article, we will look at the possible ways we can backup containers and their data,…

as well as products available that can help.

Containers have been around for many years, but the use of container technology has been popularised in the last five years by Docker.

The Docker platform provides a framework to create, configure and launch applications in a much simpler way than in the native features of the Linux and Windows operating systems on which they run.

An application is a set of binary files that run on top of an operating system. The application makes calls via the operating system to read and write data to persistent storage or to respond to requests from across the network. Over the past 15 years, the typical method of application deployment has been to run applications within a virtual machine (VM).

VMs take effort to build and manage. They need patching and have to be upgraded. Virtual machines can attract licensing charges, such as operating system licences and application licences per VM, so have to be managed efficiently.

Containers provide a much more lightweight way to run applications. Rather than dedicate an entire VM for each application, containers allow multiple applications to run on the same operating system instance, and these are isolated from each other by segregating the set of processes that make up each application.

Containers were designed to run microservices, be short-lived and not require persistent storage. Data resiliency was meant to be handled by the application, but in practice, this has proved impractical. As a result, containers can now be easily launched with persistent storage volumes or made to work with other forms of shared storage. 

Container data protection

A container is started from a container image that contains the binary files needed to run the application. At launch, time parameters can be passed to the container to configure components such as databases or network ports. This includes attaching persistent data volumes to the container or mapping file shares.

In the world of virtual machines, the VM and the data are backed up. Backup of a virtual machine is for convenience and other potential uses. So, for example, if the VM is corrupted or individual files are deleted they can be recovered.

Alternatively, the whole VM and its data can be brought back quickly. In practice though, with a well configured system, it may be quicker to rebuild the VM from a gold master and configure it using automation or scripts.

With containers, rebuilding the application from code is even quicker, making it unnecessary to backup the container itself. In fact, because of the way containers are started by platforms such as Docker, the effort to recover a container backup would probably be much greater than simply restarting a new container image. The platform simply isn’t designed to recover pre-existing containers.

So, while a running container instance doesn’t need to be backed up, the base image and configuration data does. Without this the application can’t be restarted.

Equally, this applies to implementing a disaster recovery strategy. Restarting an application elsewhere (eg, in the public cloud or another datacentre) also needs access to the container image and runtime configuration. These components need to be highly available and replicated or accessible across locations. 

Application data

Containers provide multiple ways to store application states or data.

At the simplest level – using Docker as an example – data can be written to the root file system (not a good idea) or stored in a Docker volume on the host running the container. It’s possible that this host could also be a virtual machine.

A Docker volume is a directory on the root file system of the host that runs the container. It’s possible to backup and restore this data into a running container, but this isn’t a practical solution or easy to manage when containers can run on many hosts.

It would be very hard to keep track of where a container was running at any one time to know which server to use for recovery. Backup software isn’t aware of the container itself, just a set of directories.

Other alternatives

One is to use another file system on the host that has been structured to match the application. Rather than having directories named using random GUIDs, directory names can match application components.

So, when a container is started a directory is mapped into the container with a name that is consistent across container restarts and can easily be identified in traditional backup software.

This still doesn’t provide full recovery and disaster recovery in the event of a server loss.

In this instance, Docker and Kubernetes provide the capability to connect external storage to a container. The storage is provided by a shared array or software-defined storage solution that exists independently of any single host.

External storage provides two benefits:

  • Data protection can leverage the capabilities of an external array, such as snapshots or remote replication. This pushes persistence down to the storage and allows the container host to be effectively stateless.
  • Data can exist on an external device and be shared with traditional infrastructure like virtual machines. This provides a potential data migration route from VMs to containers for certain parts of an application.

Storage presented from shared storage could be block or file-based. In general, solutions offered by suppliers have favoured connecting block devices to a single container. For shared arrays, the process has been to mount a LUN to the host, format it with a file system and then attach to the container. In Kubernetes, as an example, these volumes can be pre-existing or created on demand.

For software-defined storage solutions, many are natively integrated into the container orchestration platform to offer what look like file systems without the complexity and management configuration of external devices.

Solutions for container data protection

What are suppliers doing in this area? Docker provides a set of best practices for backup of the Docker infrastructure although this doesn’t cover application data. Meanwhile, Kubernetes uses etcd to manage state, so instructions are provided on the Kubernetes website on how to configure backups.

Existing backup suppliers are starting to offer container backup. Asigra was probably first to this in 2015. Commvault offers backup of data on container-based hosts.

Vendors including Pure Storage, HPE Nimble, HPE 3PAR, and NetApp all provide docker plugins to mount traditional LUNs to container infrastructure. This enables the capability to take snapshots at the array level for backup and to replicate the LUNs to other hardware if required.

Portworx, StorageOS, ScaleIO, Ceph and Gluster all offer native volumes for Kubernetes. These platforms also work with Docker and offer high availability from a clustering perspective and the ability to take backups via snapshots and replicas. Kubernetes is moving to support the Container Storage Interface, which should enable additional features like data protection to be added to the specification.

If containers are run within virtual machines then the VM itself could be backed up and individual files restored. However, if the backup solution isn’t container-aware, it may be very difficult to track down individual files unless they’ve been put into the structure already outlined above.

Cloud: A gap in container backup?

This discussion on container backup is focused on the deployment of containers in the datacentre. Public cloud represents a bigger challenge. As yet, solutions like AWS Fargate (container orchestration) don’t offer data persistence and are designed to be stateless.

This represents a potential operational gap when looking to move container workloads into the public cloud. As always, any solution needs to consider all deployment options, which could make the adoption of some public cloud features more difficult and push data management closer towards the developer.

Here's How That Person With the Perfect Life is Different From the Rest of us

“Biohacking is the use of self-experimentation to upgrade your mind, body, and life. I’m a big believer in biohacking, and self-experiment daily to ensure I have the energy I need to run not only my business but to also have the energy I need to be active with my family every night. I believe in taking care of myself through exercise, nutrition and proper supplements, and biohacking has allowed me to find the right formula for myself and my life.”

–Russell Brunson, cofounder and CEO of ClickFunnels, an online sales and marketing software which in three years has helped over 300 business owners cross over the $1 million mark, with 18 of them continuing to scale to $10 million and beyond

“When running a small business, you must be purposeful. You have to change your mindset and realize that while it’s easier to say yes, it’s not a bad thing to say no. Each time you say yes, you’re also saying no to something else.”

–Will Holsworth, CEO of SAFE + FAIR, an allergy-friendly food company which has quadrupled its website traffic in the four months since launching its new platform

3. Get 30 minutes of quiet every morning.

“I set two alarms every morning. The first one isn’t to create a window of time to snooze, but to allow me 30 minutes of quiet time every morning. It’s the calm before the action. During this time I tackle my confidence level and insecurities. I meditate, pray or give myself a pep talk. I take a moment to be mentally aware of the thoughts in my mind that could potentially hold me back from my accomplishments for the day, and I work on tucking them far away. By the time the next alarm goes off, I usually feel less fragmented and very centered. Thirty minutes later the second alarm goes off, usually playing a song–a positive, upbeat song which signals that it’s go time! Time to conquer the day!”

–Andréa Richardson, leader of multicultural and diversity engagement across Hilton’s portfolio of more than 5,000 properties

4. Work out, then focus on family and work.

“I wake up by 5 a.m. to work out with a trainer before my boys wake up. Working out reduces stress and makes me a better mom and boss. I have breakfast with my kids and drive them to school to start our days together, and nearly every evening I make them a home-cooked dinner. I also find it’s important to make time for a one-hour clarity break during my work day to focus on the business.”

–Shelly Sun, founder and CEO of BrightStar Care, a national private duty home care and medical staffing franchise with more than 300 locations in 38 states 

5. Set goals the night before.

“Every evening, I spend a few minutes planning my goals for the following day. More than just a to-do list, I think about what I accomplished that day and what I need to get accomplished in the next few days. I then write out, by hand, all the people, processes and programs in which I want to invest time improving in the following day. The list doesn’t always get accomplished the next day, as a good leader needs to be flexible, but by committing them to paper, I’m able to prioritize my time and my goals.”

–Paul Koulogeorge, CMO of Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School, which is on track to open its 500th school in 2018

6. Unplug and work out first thing.

“I like to start my mornings at the gym. It is helpful for me to get up, be active and disconnect first thing when I wake up. It’s a rare-moment that I am not on my iPhone, checking emails, calling franchise partners, or making notes about new ideas for our guests to play at our parks. I learned early that missing my morning workouts left me with a lack of focus for the day ahead, so I’ve made it a daily practice to start my day off at the gym.”

–Jeff Platt, CEO of Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline and aerial park with over 200 franchises across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, the United Kingdom, India, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait

7. Take the time to be personal.

“I start my day early, which means I’ll usually catch one or two employees before the work day technically ever starts. They’ll usually come in my office and we will talk about work, but it quickly turns into conversations about what’s going on in their lives and things much bigger than work. I really enjoy those talks and I think having a pulse on people’s personal lives helps me be a better boss, too. One habit I’ve gotten into and really held myself to is making rounds to say hi to everyone every morning. It’s a small gesture, but I think everyone enjoys the engagement and I want to feel as accessible as possible.

–Bart Silvestro, CEO of Chef’s Cut Real Jerky Co., a jerky brand with profits which rose from more than $460,000 to $47.5 million in four years

8. Determine your workday rhythm.

“I get my best work done in the morning. After my husband Ted takes our boys to school or camp, I sit at my desk with a large mug of coffee and don’t stop working until 1 p.m. I keep meetings, calls, errands for afternoons, when my brain is less focused. And of course, evenings are family time, dinner with friends and oft-needed rest. Determining a workday rhythm that gives energy (vs. depletes energy) is a worthwhile exercise for everyone.”

–Molly Fienning, cofounder of Babiators, maker of sunglasses for babies and kids which has sold more than 2 million pairs worldwide

9. Utilize your calendar as a daily to-do list.

“I prefer to use my calendar as my to-do list. I not only have my conference calls and meetings on my calendar but I also put three to five of my top items on the calendar each day that I want and need to get done. I also schedule some sort of workout or yoga class because it’s a necessity for my mental wellbeing and keeps me performing at the top of my game.  Each evening I look back at my calendar for the day and feel very accomplished. This technique helps me keep moving forward throughout the day otherwise I’d get bogged down with mini fires and items that keep me in the weeds.”

–Danielle Dietz-LiVolsi, founder and CEO of NuttZo, a multi-nut and seed butter brand sold in more than 16 retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods, Costco and Sprouts

10. Build relationships with colleagues.

“One of the best habits I’ve gotten into is making sure that I walk around to connect with each member of our team as often as possible. I try to do it daily, and especially in the morning, because it’s a really nice way to start the day. It’s so important to me because our team is our greatest asset, and the best way I’ve found to show appreciation and gratitude is to take time to build relationships with my colleagues. Even though sometimes it might not feel productive to be talking about things outside of business, I think it’s some of the most valuable time I spend every day because it aligns us as a team and strengthens our culture.”

–Alex Bingham, president and CEO of The Little Gym International, a children’s enrichment and development franchise with 400 locations worldwide

11. Stop overthinking it.

“Once you make a decision, take action that moment. Write the letter, make the call, send the email. Show up in a bigger way than you ever have before, but don’t wait for the planets to align. Take action now and, by next week, your anxiety will start to dissipate because you are going for it. I am always so impressed by persistent people, whether they are getting the results they want or not. No matter what, if they keep pushing forward, the big break they are waiting for is just one step away. Why would you ever want to miss that opportunity?”

–Allison Maslan, serial entrepreneur who built 10 companies to seven-figure success and author of “Blast Off!: The Surefire Success Plan to Launch Your Dreams into Reality” and “Scale or Fail: How to Build Your Dream Team, Explode Your Growth, and Let Your Business Soar”

“It is so easy to immerse yourself in work that you forget to stand, stretch, and reset. Believe it or not this enables you to be more productive. I often get up check in with staff and take a lap around the office or the building if the weather permits. Also, I started wearing wrist and ankle weights. This helps keep me alert and ready for the day-to-day challenges, not to mention the additional calorie burning.”

–Julia Biancella Au, cofounder and CEO of removable wallpaper company Tempaper, which has seen average annual growth of about 34 percent each year since launching in 2008

13. Talk to people and get to know them.

“Unengaged employees are a company’s biggest liability. People will feel more positively about coming to work if they feel they can engage with the business and those around them. Therefore, take time out of your day to physically get up and start conversation with those around you. Each day, engage with employees and coworkers on a personal and professional level. This makes them feel valued, heard and understood, leading to that constructive engagement.”

–Mike Whalen, founder of Heart of American Group which employs more than 3,500 people across more than 40 restaurants, hotels and other retail; and CEO of Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, an expanding restaurant franchise with 15 locations across nine states

14. Look for inspiration.

“I work very hard to do things every day that inspire me. This includes walks in cities, architecture, restaurants, bars, cars, stores, magazines, and mostly just working. I love the process–I am always excited to start new projects and investigate the next idea. People always ask how I come up with so many designs but in fact it is hard for me not to because everything I see and experience excites me. Because I am driven by what’s next, I am very fortunate to be so engaged by the challenge and its process.”

–Robert Sonneman, founder and chief creative officer of award-winning SONNEMAN-A Way of Light, with a product line which includes 1,800 SKUs, with over 100 new introductions annually, and has experienced over 40% revenue growth in 2016, and 20% growth month over month in 2017

15. Mark up your to-do list.

“Every morning I go through my entire to-do list (ranging from 10 to 30 items), and I highlight high versus low priorities so that at the end of the day the mission critical tasks are guaranteed to be completed.”

–Lex Corwin, founder of Stone Road Farms, a premium cannabis company which has done over $100,000 in sales since obtaining its license earlier this year and secured large scale manufacturing and multi-state distribution deals

16. Take time for silence each morning.

“For more than 25 years now I begin my day with an hour-long practice I refer to as the Sphere of Silence (SOS). It is not meditation, and it is not a religious practice of any kind. It’s derived from the art of silence I learnt from my grandfather at a very young age. My grandfather believed that abstaining from speaking brought him inner peace and made him a better listener. I have been practicing the Sphere of Silence for most of my life now and attribute my success to it. I find that practicing the SOS is the ultimate weapon against the assault on our senses and the insanity that prevails around us today. To many, it may seem that no quiet could exist amidst the din and racket of an ever-blaring world. Practice it for 21 days and it becomes a habit. The silence and introspection make you a better you, because it helps you channel your energies to maximum effect. And being a better you, makes you better at everything you do.”

–Vijay Eswaran , one of Forbes’ top 50 wealthiest Malaysians, one of Forbes Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy, bestselling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist and founder and executive chairman of the QI Group of Companies, a multi-business conglomerate with headquarters in Hong Kong, offices in more than 25 countries and customers in over 100 countries

17. Write down all the good and bad every day.

“One the easiest ways that has proven to increase my effectiveness is the habit I have created to write in my journal every day. I put pen-to-paper and write down the things which are important to me, the things that were both good and bad during my day and ideas on how I can improve. I write lists, goals, gratitude and sometime write to simply vent my frustrations. Writing requires engagement from both sides of my brain, making the brainstorming or problem-solving process more complete and innovative. Further, writing is crucial when it comes to settling emotional reactivity. It unwinds emotions caused by stress or conflict by providing a much needed disconnect from the daily grind of consistent talking, emailing, taking calls, and other distractions which come alone with electronic devices. I deeply value the process of writing because it puts me in touch with the more existential aspects of life, reminding me of the bigger picture of I am striving for.”

–Dr. Sherrie Campbell, a nationally recognized expert in clinical psychology, speaker, former radio host of the Dr. Sherrie Show for the BBM Global Network and TuneIn Radio, with over two decades of clinical training experience providing counseling and psychotherapy services to residents of Orange County, California, and author of “Success Equations: A Path to Living an Emotionally Wealthy Life”

18. Use flora and fauna for energization.

“I always have fresh flowers and green life in my office and at home, in order to keep
the air in these spaces fresh and have an inspiring atmosphere. On the fauna front, I
bring my three fur-babies–my dogs–to the office every day. I find that the research
stands true–pets in the office reduce stress and increase collaboration!”

–Terry Eaton, founder, president and chief curator of Eaton Fine Art, a firm that last
year marked its 25th anniversary with recent projects including the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas and Holston House in Nashville

19. Take care of yourself.

“I recently saw a survey that said 80 percent of Americans have tension headaches or feel overwhelmed or depressed at least one day during the month. Those are sad symptoms of living in our society. At its worst, stress is making us sick, but it’s also sapping our productivity and stealing our success. The irony is that what’s causing our stress–the pace of life and the never-ending demands–are the very things that keep us from doing something about it. We’re busy taking care of business and for many of us, self-care is one of the first things that come off our list. I think that’s a big mistake and comes with a heavy cost, which is why I dedicate time every day, to taking care of myself no matter what’s going on. That might be a massage, but it can also be a run outdoors or a walk in the beach, talking to my kids or just taking a few minutes to close my eyes and take some deep breaths. The point is to make it a daily habit.”

–Joe Magnacca, CEO of Massage Envy, a provider of therapeutic massage and skincare services with a franchise system that collectively employs over 35,000 wellness professionals across 1,180 locations nationwide servicing more than 1.65 million members

“[I read] at least 10 pages from each of the books I’m reading (prayer, professional and enjoyment.)  Always have three books open and I personally prefer physical books over e-readers.”

–Ellie Johnson, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties which has $375 million in sales inventory and has grown its agent population five-fold since launching in January 2017

“I’m a huge proponent of rest. I take the weekends off and I believe in regular, relaxing vacations. Once a year, I go back home to pick olives with my family. It’s amazing how this time away from the office re-energizes my body and spirit. My downtime is essential.”

–Aytekin Tank, CEO of JotForm, an online form builder used by more than 3.5 million people

22. Lead a life with grace (in and out of the office).

“When I was younger, my father worked during the day and took classes at night to earn his college degree to make a better life for himself and our family. He taught me from an early age that no matter what life throws your way, it’s important to earn the respect of others by working hard and being honest, fair and trustworthy. I apply this advice to both my career and my personal life. No matter how difficult a situation may be or how frustrated I may be with someone, it is so important that I always keep my composure, lead with grace and give others the respect that they deserve. If you don’t respect others, you cannot expect to earn their respect in return!”

–Lisa A Haude, founder and president of Paradigm Design Group, an award-winning luxury-lifestyle hospitality interior design firm with offices in Houston, San Francisco and Chicago and ranked as one of the top design firms in the United States since 2006