Discover more from The 21 Hats Morning Report
Pay Transparency Is Coming
Starting in May, New York City will require businesses to disclose the salary range in job postings: "It's a big deal."
Here are today’s highlights:
Does sending a Calendly link make you a jerk?
The number of physical jobs that can be done remotely is expected to explode.
Apple is challenging Square for payments.
As online sales increase, so do the returns: “On average, retailers expect to get back about 16.6 percent of the total merchandise that customers purchased in 2021, according to survey results released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail. That’s a jump from an average return rate of 10.6 percent in 2020. What’s more, it adds up to over $761 billion of merchandise, according to the survey that is based on responses from 57 retailers between mid-October and mid-November.”
“Online sales accounted for roughly 23 percent of the $4.583 trillion of total U.S. retail sales in 2021, according to NRF.”
“The average rate of returns for online purchases was 20.8 percent — an increase from 18.1 percent last year, NRF found.” READ MORE
Chinese merchants banned from Amazon are finding a home at Walmart: “Ever since Amazon began kicking tens of thousands of Chinese merchants off its platform last April for faking customer reviews, the purged sellers have searched for new ways to reach the millions of bargain-hunting American consumers. That’s tough for companies with no brand identity or marketing budgets in the U.S. So for many, the best Plan B has been setting up shop on the e-commerce arm of Walmart, which boasts the sort of logistical support and online traffic closest to Amazon’s. The timing was serendipitous for Walmart, which in early 2021 started an initiative to attract non-U.S. merchants to its e-commerce site.”
“But industry veterans say that means Walmart and other online retailers could face the same problems that led Amazon to ban so many Chinese sellers in the first place.”
“Indeed, there’s no shortage of industry bloggers or consultants on Chinese social media sites such as WeChat offering unscrupulous sellers so-called brushing services that help them create bogus reviews, credit card details, home addresses, and wish lists—all to simulate browsing histories and allow the placement of fake orders on retail websites.”
“‘Walmart is very happy to increase their product catalog by having more sellers. More sellers lead to more products, which lead to more customers,’ says Peter Luxenburg, a Hong Kong-based consultant who advises Chinese e-commerce sellers and won’t accept clients who want to cheat.”
“He says review manipulation isn’t likely a big concern for Walmart. ‘At this stage, I don’t think they are very much thinking about it or bothering about it.’” READ MORE
Starting this spring, New York City will require businesses to list a salary range on job postings: “The measure, aimed at addressing gender-pay gaps and providing more transparency on pay, is the latest step in a broadening of pay-disclosure requirements that are also being implemented in states like Rhode Island and Connecticut. It comes amid a continuing labor shortage in the U.S. and could give employees even more leverage when many already have an improved position in job options and negotiations. In response to a similar law in Colorado that went into effect last year, employers fromJohnson & Johnson to commercial real estate giant CBRE Group specified in postings that remote jobs were closed to people living in the state, allowing the companies to sidestep disclosure requirements.”
“Employment specialists say New York’s law may be more significant because of the size of the city’s economy and the number of major U.S. companies operating there.”
“Besides giving job seekers a better understanding of what a role could pay, the rule would enable existing employees to compare their pay with the stated ranges in open roles while giving companies insight into the pay practices of rivals.”
“‘It is a big deal,’ said Ian Carleton Schaefer, chairman of the New York employment and labor practice at the law firm Loeb & Loeb. ‘Companies are going to have to very quickly get very comfortable with how they’ve been making pay determinations along equity lines.’” READ MORE
There are physical jobs that can be done remotely: “Many office workers have gone remote during the pandemic, with some firms making the shift indefinite. But the continued challenges posed by the virus and a deepening labor shortage—combined with advances in technologies such as AI and virtual reality—are allowing a small but growing number of physical jobs to go remote as well. ‘There's just no way this isn't going to explode as a category,’ says Matt Beane, an assistant professor at UC Santa Barbara who studies human-robot workplace collaboration. As industrial machines become more capable and connected, Beane says, the number and variety of these jobs will grow.”
“Eric McCarter remembers the first time he operated a forklift truck in France—while sitting behind a desk in California.”
“McCarter works for a company called Phantom Auto. He was testing the company’s remote technology that lets a driver operate a forklift without physically sitting in the vehicle.
“Two major logistics companies, ArcBest and NFI, plan to begin using the tech later this year, hoping to tap a wider pool of forklift drivers who live far from a specific warehouse.”
“The warehouse and transportation industry had a record 597,000 job openings in November, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.” READ MORE
SMALL BUSINESS TECH
Apple is taking on Square by letting iPhones accept payments: “The company has been working on the new feature since around 2020, when it paid about $100 million for a Canadian startup called Mobeewave that developed technology for smartphones to accept payments with the tap of a credit card. The system will likely use the iPhone’s near field communications, or NFC, chip that is currently used for Apple Pay. In order to accept payments on an iPhone today, merchants need to use payment terminals that plug in or communicate with the phone via Bluetooth. The upcoming feature will instead turn the iPhone into a payment terminal, letting users such as food trucks and hair stylists accept payments with the tap of a credit card or another iPhone onto the back of their device.”
“The move could impact payments providers that rely on Apple’s iPhones to facilitate sales, such as Block Inc.’s Square, which dominates the market.”
“If Apple lets any app use the new technology, then Square can continue accepting payments via Apple devices without needing to worry about providing its own hardware.”
“If Apple requires merchants to use Apple Pay or its own payment processing system, that could compete directly with Square.” READ MORE
Is it rude to send someone a Calendly link? “The latest Twitter debate stems from a post by former Facebook VP Sam Lessin calling Calendly ‘The Most Raw / Naked Display of Social Capital Dynamics in Business.’ Lessin, now a partner at VC firm Slow Ventures, argues that if you send someone a Calendly link, you're telling that person you're more important than them. When the sender is clearly a higher-up, like the ‘president of the U.S.,’ then Calendly works. Otherwise, Lessin says he won't use it. ‘But just be clear about the social message I receive from you of your asserted self worth when you send me that link :),’ he writes.”
“Overwhelmingly, people jumped in to defend Calendly. Users said the tool helps eliminate back-and-forth emails, and inspires focus.”
“‘The weirdest part of this Calendly discourse is it could have been solved with therapy,’ one user tweeted. Lessin's former Facebook colleague Dustin Moskovitz asked, ‘Who hurt you Sam?’"
“Marc Andreessen declared that anyone who disregards his Calendly links will be ‘permabanned from raising venture capital in Silicon Valley.’” READ MORE
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THE COVID ECONOMY
Daily omicron deaths have exceeded delta’s peak: “In the U.S., the seven-day average for newly reported Covid-19 deaths reached 2,258 a day on Tuesday, up about 1,000 from daily death counts two months ago, data from Johns Hopkins University show. That is the highest since February 2021 as the country was emerging from the worst of last winter’s wave. While there is a large body of evidence suggesting that omicron is less likely to kill the people it infects, it spreads much more quickly and therefore infects many more people than earlier variants, epidemiologists say. Case counts in the U.S. have dwarfed previous records.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
The Hardest Thing I’ve Done in Business: This week, Jay Goltz, Liz Picarazzi, and William Vanderbloemen talk about sales, specifically the transition most founders have to make from handling sales themselves to building a sales team. Jay, Liz, and William also discuss the value of going to trade shows, the pros and cons of compensating salespeople based on commission, and the differences between inside sales and outside sales. “The kind of person,” Jay says, “who can go out there and cold-call all day long and get the door slammed in their face—it's very hard to find, very hard to keep, very hard to train, very hard to control. And that’s been my biggest challenge in business, without any doubt.”
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