2 million+ usernames & passwords stolen to key companies – what you need to know:
Bottom Line: Many major companies recently had what amounted to millions of usernames and passwords compromised. This occurred world-wide. I’ll focus on the companies that were impacted in the
So how did this happen? It’s been somewhat falsely reported as a hack attack but it really isn’t. Its key logging through emails. How does this happen?
Scammers send emails that look official to people who may have accounts with these organizations. People then click links in the email and “login” with their real account info. At this point it’s too late. To prevent being a victim you should always go to a website directly and login and/or follow up with a representative you work with to see if action is needed by you.
These emails are pretty slick, often with your name and seemingly relevant messaging. I get at least one of these every day alleging to be Clear Channel HR asking me to verify benefit info or the help desk asking me to take a survey, etc.
So how do you know if you were affected? All companies have flagged affected accounts and are forcing the real account users to setup new usernames and passwords. If this is you:
If execs are telling the truth the job market should improve and the economy should pick up next year:
Bottom Line: The latest Business Roundtable
This survey is the most effectual of all business surveys because it’s what
Interesting... the biggest issue we have at work is…:
Bottom Line: You’ll occasionally see or hear about surveys that indicated a majority of Americans are unhappy at work. That’s almost always interpreted as a majority of Americans are unhappy with their current employers and many analysts try to suggest that we’d leave our employers if we could. Well… What if the problem was the employer but the coworkers…?
Turns out that the average person is unhappy with their coworkers in the workplace – daily. Jive Software identified that 59% of all people in office environments are annoyed by their coworkers daily. The most common complaint:
So this is actually easy to fix. If you are likely to be loud or inclined to get into personal matters walk away from your desk and others. You’ll make your coworkers happier and they’ll like you more!
The latest problem that's cropped up over the state legalization of marijuana while it’s federally illegal:
Bottom Line: The tangled web we weave. Here’s the latest problem with states creating their own marijuana laws that are counter to federal law.
A man who worked in
The employee is now suing the company citing that marijuana isn’t illegal in
The surprise biggest percentage winner of the holiday shopping season:
Bottom line: Typically when big percentage increases in products occur it’s due to a new product or technology. I can never recall such sudden growth of a product that’s been around longer than us. Ready… It’s wine. Specifically wine bottles priced at $15 and above.
But the higher end stuff has really taken off:
Pretty crazy that seemingly all of the sudden we’re almost in unison doing this… As I think about gifts I gave and will give this year. I’m in this camp. Interesting…
What will the housing market do in 2014?:
Bottom Line: Continue to recover. That’s the word from real-estate research firm Core Logic. According to their research…
This after they rather accurately predicted that 2013 would have price recovery of 10-12% (they actually slightly under predicted the recovery). Anyway Core Logic’s data jives with my forecast as well. I’ve had real-estate recovery prices slowly declining to low double digit year over year increases into the high single digits by the 2nd half of 2014. So their forecast nearly mirrors my research. So expect the recovery to remain above average and intact for 2014.
Meanwhile… Mortgage rates reach three month highs on the anniversary of the all-time low:
Bottom Line: If you’ve been considering buy a home using financing you’ll want to pay attention to what’s going on right now. Many would be early 2014 buyers may be well served (or would have been well served) by trying to lock mortgages rates (which can be locked in for up to 90 days with some lenders).
The average 30 year fixed rate mortgage is now topping 4.5% for the first time since September (up about .3% in the last few weeks). In other related news… It was a year a ago that we hit the all time low on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at 3.3%. What’s happened over the last year should serve as a reminder of what may happen next year. Higher mortgage rates. Put simply a year from now you’ll likely have higher mortgage rates and higher home prices (just as has been the case this year)… So for those who have been on the fence renting I’ll reiterate that we shouldn’t take these rates for granted.
It’s also worth noting that every one-tenth of one percent equals more than $5000 worth of cost on the average property in our area if you pay the mortgage off over 30 years. If we talked about the dollar impact rather than the seemingly small interest rate changes, it’s likely many would react much differently.
Stunning Cyber Monday final sales numbers:
Bottom Line: When the dust settled not only did we have an all time record day for online sales topping last year’s Cyber Monday mark of $1.47 billion in sales… It was crushed. By the numbers:
It’s also worth noting that Amazon.com had a tactic that will likely be replicated by others in the future. They had a new item every ten minutes for sale at the best price. So many felt the need to check back constantly throughout the day and clearly many made the impulse buy. It’s also worth nothing that 40% of all purchases were made on mobile devices.
Its official – the tablet is the new PC:
Bottom Line: Speaking of mobile devices… It’s now official that tablets are overtaking PC’s for computing. For the first time more tablets will be purchased in a calendar year than PC’s. According to Strategy Analytics
Additionally they show the trend continuing and growing in favor of tablets through at least 2017. So… Remember than if you update your website, handle social media for business, blogs, etc. Are you only updating digital material on a computer for computers? Remember to view your material on mobile devices and ensure that it’s as easy and relevant on tablets and smart phones as it is on a computer.
Thank you for a record Small Business Saturday:
Bottom Line: It turned out to be a record Small Business Saturday according to research from the NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business) and American Express. While overall weekend sales (Thursday thru Sunday) were actually down across all businesses by 3%, Small Business Saturday bucked the trend by posting a nice gain. By the numbers:
With awareness up, the end result was increased spending at small businesses. This year, consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday reported spending $5.7 billion with independent merchants on the day, an increase of 3.6% from a strong $5.5 billion in 2012.
“In an uncertain economy, America’s small businesses have remained a beacon — creating good jobs and supporting the families they employ and the communities around them,” said NFIB
“In just four years, the nation has adopted Small Business Saturday and made it part of the holiday shopping tradition,” said Susan Sobbott, president of American Express OPEN. “On November 30, we saw a continuation of this growing trend as communities around the country came together to celebrate local businesses and helped drive consumers to Shop Small on the day.”
So thanks again for another success and keep it going throughout the year.
And it was a record Cyber Monday as well!:
Bottom Line: As I record this entry the final numbers are still being calculated but when all of the sales have been accounted for here’s what we’re likely to see:
The deals really were that good yesterday. That appears to have resulted in many onlookers pulling the trigger on buying yesterday. Because some retailers really do hold their best deals for Cyber Monday it’s possible that some shoppers held back over the weekend so they could spend on Cyber Monday.
Apple was the biggest Black Friday winner:
Bottom Line: Target and Wal-Mart have announced what their biggest selling Black Friday items were… They were the same item. The 16GB iPad Air. Additionally Target reported their 2nd & 3rd best sellers… They were also iPads (other models). So it appears as though many tablets will be under Christmas trees this year and Apple will be having a very Merry Christmas.
No online sales tax for at least the near future:
Bottom Line: Yesterday the US Supreme Court punted on the idea of ruling on
For now there will be no changes for Floridians. That means that if a business has a physical presence in
So how many people signed up for healthcare policies via the exchanges in November?:
Bottom Line: So we’re getting a first look at the November signups on the exchanges & the survey says…:
Those numbers don’t seem to compute do they?... So what’s next when we have fewer than a 7th of the polices needed to sustain the exchange?
Etsy - where small business has created a billion dollar a year marketplace:
Bottom Line: The website Etsy has become the marketplace for arts, crafts and other often unique items are sold from individuals and/or very small businesses. It’s now adding up to a lot of money. Sales projections have Etsy topping $1 billion in sales for the first time this year. That’s a lot of small business adding up to big bucks!
Should we take Amazon's drones seriously?
Bottom Line: In short yes. But not right now. Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s founder &
Bezos is a visionary, which is to say he doesn’t have any intention of using the drone delivery service next year or even in the next 5 years. He is laying the ground work for next decade though. The FAA actually has designs on starting a commercial drone program in the year 2020. Amazon realizes that if they get the consumer used to the concept and allow their ideas to be vetted by the FAA. This could make the difference in the process just starting in 2020 and Amazon being ready to launch their vision in 2020.