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Power Sheet – August 3, 2015

Welcome to Power Sheet No. 1! We’re launching our daily take on leaders and leadership—winners, losers, disrupters, game changers, and what we can learn from them, plus wisdom on developing leadership in yourself and others, the latest chronicling of who’s up and who’s down, and what it means. All hand selected and in your inbox every day about this time.

A strong theme in this morning’s news: the risks and rewards of playing offense, being first to make a maverick move. Every successful leader must do it, knowing the results are always unpredictable. Exhibit A is Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price, who attracted way more attention than he anticipated by decreeing a $70,000 minimum salary in his credit card transaction processing company while drastically cutting his own pay to that level to help meet the cost. First came a roar of acclaim. But now a steadily growing backlash is becoming a major distraction. Two of his own managers have quit, customers are worried about costs and service, Rush Limbaugh is ranting about socialism, and fellow entrepreneurs fear Price is unsettling the local labor market. How this will shake out for Gravity is still far from clear, but Price has already changed the conversation about pay. His unorthodox move has become larger than himself or his business.

Another leader on offense is Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, who is fighting furiously to save her company. In her situation, turning defensive would be perilously tempting; Yahoo stock has been declining steadily since November. Instead she’s continually taking action, buying a fashion retail site called Polyvore on Friday and launching an innovative messaging app (Livetext) in the U.S. the day before. Will any of this work even a little? Can Yahoo be rescued? No one has the faintest idea. But no one will say Mayer lacked courage in trying.

Leaders don’t always win. But they always lead.

 

What We’re Reading Today

The Donald jumps to the front of a packed race

19% of Republican primary voters picked Trump as their first choice for president in a new poll as we near Thursday’s GOP debate in Cleveland. While Jeb Bush came in third at 14%, Trump’s rise could actually help Bush more than any of the other presidential hopefuls. NYT

And on the left side of the aisle…

Hillary Clinton may face some competition for the Democratic nomination as Vice President Joseph Biden reportedly weighs entering the race. Her team’s not convinced. Politico

Elon Musk teases exciting news for Tesla drivers 

On Friday, Musk tweeted that Tesla has just one more software obstacle to sort out before it can add driverless capabilities to its vehicles. MarketWatch

Signs of life at Yahoo

Yahoo had quite the week. Last Thursday, it launched its video text service Livetext to much acclaim. Then on Friday, it announced the purchase of fashion social network site Polyvore. The move reunites Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer with her former mentee, Polyvore co-founder and CEO Jess Lee Fortune

CEO with $70K base pay struggles under the limelight

Between infighting, resignations, and customer backlash, Seattle-based credit card processing firm Gravity has struggled since CEO Dan Price announced in April that he would pay his entire firm a minimum annual salary of $70,000. NYT

China’s AirBnB gets $300 million in funding

Tujia.com has been valued at $1 billion, even as China’s market continues to slide. WSJ

A rare Charles Koch sighting

Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch at a conservative fundraiser this weekend chided banks and others for accepting ‘corporate welfare.’ CNN

Worth Considering

A poor growth strategy

New research finds that American companies that decided to repurchase stock and pay dividends to shareholders, instead of reinvesting in their business and workforce, slowed economic growth following the recession.  MarketWatch

Trusting your gut goes a long way

Good news for those who value intuition over deliberation.  Fast Company

Your sarcastic employee might be your best employee

It’s a sign of increased creativity, and it can spread to others.  Quartz

It doesn’t take much for your staffers to sell you out

35% of employees say they will trade company data for about a month’s worth of pay, according to a study from cybersecurity firm Clearswift.  Business Wire

Building a Better Leader

Advice for handling an office bully

The worst thing you can do is ignore the bullying altogether.  Workforce

The hierarchical leader is out. The empowering leader is in.

You want employees to feel like they have a mission, says management expert and former Medtronic CEO Bill George Fortune

Before you amp up the office A/C…

Moving the thermostat from 68 degrees to 77 reduced typos by 44% and increased worker productivity by 150%, according to a study by Cornell researchers.  The Washington Post

Up or Out

Larry Lucchino, who has served as Boston Red Sox President and CEO since 2002, will step down at the end of the season.  Fox Sports

Quirky, a New York company that crowd-sources inventions, will look for a new CEO as its founder, Ben Kaufman, has stepped down to concentrate on Wink, a smart-home service owned by Quirky. CNET

Fortune Reads

HSBC unloads its Brazilian business 

A sign of trouble in Brazil and a signal of HSBC’s reliance on Asia.  Fortune

Greek market takes a tumble

Stock prices fell nearly 23% after reopening for the first time in over a month.  Fortune

China finds someone to blame for its recent market woes

The problem lies in foreign speculators, Chinese government officials claim. Hedge fund Citadel says it had an account suspended from trading on Monday. Fortune

Users burned by Jessica Alba’s Honest Company sunscreen

It turns out sunburns make for shareable social media photos, and problems for Honest Company. Fortune

Birthday Wishes

Kitchen and lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart turns 74 today.  Biography

He might not be celebrating at the start of the football season, but Tom Brady should party today as he turns 38.  Biography

A happy belated birthday to entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban, who turned 57 on Friday.  Biography