Trump’s Border Tax: Here’s Number the Pundits Are Missing

  Avocado lovers can relax a little. Now that White House press secretary Sean Spicer has inadvertently ignited a firestorm by suggesting that President Trump wants to pay for a border wall by imposing a 20% border tax on Mexican imports, and cable news hosts are gravely discussing the impact of such a tax on…

Trump’s Immigrant Ban Puts His CEO Allies In a Tough Spot

  Business leaders’ awkward political position. What do you do if you’re a famous CEO, and the president of the United States has asked you to serve on his Strategic and Policy Forum, you’ve agreed to do so—and then the president issues an order forbidding some of your employees from entering the U.S., or from…

Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page Are America’s New Press Barons

But they don’t want to be. More news yesterday reminds us that Google CEO Larry Page and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg are today’s press barons, though they don’t want to be. Business leaders need to erase and replace their long-established understanding of how the media work. The latest sign is Facebook’s announcement yesterday that it…

The Wells Fargo Scandal Is Now Reaching VW Proportions

  The bank’s problems ran far deeper than fake accounts. I thought it would be a long time before a corporate scandal got bigger and worse than the Volkswagen emissions-cheating mess. I still think that, but almost every day the Wells Fargo situation makes me wonder if it might soon surpass even VW in overall…

For CEOs, Donald Trump’s Deregulation Pitch Comes With One Huge Caveat

  Companies don’t know the whole story yet. Business leaders face a new daily task: deciding how deeply to discount what Donald Trump says. For example, his repeated promises to release his tax returns should have been discounted 100%, as we learned yesterday. On the other hand, his pledges to shred the Trans-Pacific Partnership should…

President Trump’s Victory Opens a Door for Mark Zuckerberg

Trump was the first CEO president. He probably won’t be the last. Now that Donald Trump is the first CEO to become president, you’ve got to wonder how long it will be before the next one. Maybe just four years? Politicos are buzzing over the recent activities of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He…

Trump Inauguration Makes History Today in More Ways Than One

No president is prepared for office, but Trump has catching up to do. Every presidency tests uncharted waters, and the one that begins today is among the largest experiments in U.S. history. It’s often observed that no one is prepared to be president, that every president must grow into the job. Donald Trump arguably enters…

Verizon, Macy’s, and Time Inc.: The Digital Revolution’s Latest Targets

It started gradually, but has now suddenly transformed industry stalwarts. The digital revolution is playing out the same way Mike went bankrupt in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises: “Gradually and then suddenly.” For all of the revolution’s world-changing effects so far, it’s only now transforming some of the biggest players in some of the biggest…

4 Coming Flash Points Between Donald Trump and the Congressional GOP

A business leaders’ cheatsheet. With Donald Trump about to assume office, business leaders face an unusual quandary. Which Republican should they believe—Trump or House Speaker Paul Ryan? Rarely have the two leading figures in either party been so directly opposed on the largest policy issues. Consider: What will replace Obamacare, and when? In a recent…

The Shockingly Prescient 1970 Social Theory That Explains the World Right Now

Why a 50-year-old bestseller may be 2017’s most relevant book. Future shock—too much change, too fast—has arguably become the predominant societal force in the world, 47 years after author (and Fortune writer) Alvin Toffler coined the term for the title of his 1970 bestseller. Now that it’s here, no one knows what happens next—Toffler predicted…

Here’s Why Donald Trump’s Cabinet Might Not Be So Bad

An argument for business leaders taking Trump’s cabinet nominees seriously. This morning, a pointed message from a business sage who has proven himself—yet again—worth listening to. On Sept. 28, after one of the presidential debates, I quoted consultant Ram Charan as follows: “While Donald Trump seems not to have done well in the debate on…

Donald Trump’s Pressure Has Forced Businesses to Spin Job Growth

But that won’t necessarily create more jobs. Business leaders and their p.r. advisers are holding a festival of spin on the subject of jobs, and who can blame them? The president-elect is excoriating companies by name for moving or keeping jobs outside the U.S.; ask Ford’s Mark Fields, GM’s Mary Barra, United Technologies’ Greg Hayes,…

Dow 20,000 and the Problems Ahead for Stocks

Dow 20,000 may be meaningless, but stocks are getting expensive. As the Dow keeps not quite hitting 20,000, the eternal debate over the market’s priciness is heating up. And while we’d all like to maintain a Warren Buffett-like serenity toward the market’s direction, most business leaders, as a practical matter, cannot. They have to decide…

How Seriously Should Business Take Donald Trump’s Campaign Promises?

  The C-suite’s new guessing game. Business leaders now realize, if they didn’t already, that they face an unusual problem: deciding how seriously to take what Donald Trump says. The latest evidence came at yesterday’s news conference, when he said pharmaceutical companies are “getting away with murder.” Recall that pharma stocks surged immediately after the…

Why Volkswagen’s Emissions Scandal Has No End

It wasn’t a mistake, but a carefully planned scheme to trick regulators. The astonishing Volkswagen emissions scandal yesterday took another expensive step down its extremely long path to eventual resolution, as the company agreed to pay $4.3 billion to resolve the Justice Department’s criminal and civil investigation of the matter. That’s on top of $14.7…

Trump’s Taiwan Stance and Why It’s Time to Revisit Your Plans for China

  It’s getting harder for Beijing to engineer 6.5% growth. Every business leader needs a point of view on China, and that point of view may soon require a change. Trends and events in the news over the weekend add complexities to the conventional view of a country hell-bent on maintaining 6.5% growth while transitioning…

How to Prepare for Donald Trump’s First 100 Days

The question is how much of Trump’s pro-business plans will get done. Topic A for business leaders worldwide is the presumed avalanche of pro-business actions about to cascade from Washington after the new Congress was sworn in yesterday, and especially after Donald Trump is inaugurated in 16 days. But how much of it will actually…