Power Sheet – August 14, 2015
Is Donald Trump campaigning his way into business trouble?
Those developments by themselves aren’t the problem; neither, alone, is particularly damaging to Trump. To see the real danger, remember that Trump made his fortune with an innovative business model based on personal fame. For 40 years, he has courted the media. A New York Times real estate reporter from the 1970s recalled recently that Trump “was one of those who always returned a phone call.” In 1976, an adoring Times profile observed that “He is tall, lean and blond, with dazzling white teeth, and he looks ever so much like Robert Redford. He rides around town in a chauffeured silver Cadillac with his initials, DJT, on the plates. He dates slinky fashion models, belongs to the most elegant clubs and, at only 30 years of age, estimates that he is worth ‘more than $200 million.’” All that’s changed is that his net worth has increased, and he isn’t quite so lean.
As a self-created celebrity, Trump started putting his name on buildings, launching a new concept: branded high-end real estate. It worked. Trump buildings mostly did well. He even began licensing his name to other developers for buildings he didn’t own. So long as he kept himself in the public eye, the machine kept spinning.
That’s why many people assumed Trump is running for president simply as another way to keep people hearing and saying his name. And maybe that’s correct. In my few chats with him over the years, I’ve found him to be thoroughly self-aware, knowing just what he’s doing, understanding that many people find him obnoxious. He’s fine with that. It all keeps the machine going.
What’s new is that, as a presidential candidate egged on by thousands of cheering supporters, he’s saying things that damage the brand. Slandering immigrants, demeaning John McCain, insulting women – such statements can’t be brushed aside, and they live forever on YouTube. NBC isn’t the only organization to have severed relationships with Trump; so have Macy’s, ESPN, and Nascar. Two high-profile chefs have backed out of deals to open restaurants in new Trump properties.
It’s easy to imagine that, after all these years, living in a Trump building could suddenly flip from being prestigious to being totally uncool. Trump is now at the apogee of his fame, but the process of getting there could damage his vaunted wealth. He may be doing something no leader should ever do: letting adulation wreck his judgment.
What We're Reading Today
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Sesame Street's residents now includes HBO
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Tesla boosts $500 million stock offering
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Apple hires 11,000 female employees in one year
It's an impressive stride in an effort to boost female and minority hiring, who have accounted for nearly 50% of Apple hires in 2015. Still, CEO Tim Cook acknowledged that the company had a long way to go. Fortune
GOP candidate Ben Carson goes on the defensive
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Greek parliament passes deal to remain in the Eurozone
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United Nations caught in intern controversy
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Up or Out
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Martha Nelson, former editor-in-chief of Time Inc. (owner of Fortune), will head Yahoo Media's global digital magazine efforts in the same role. Fortune
With coal shipments plunging, Union Pacific will cut hundreds of management-level jobs. NBC News
In celebrity or presidential news (take your pick), NBC has fired Donald Trump from Celebrity Apprentice over his statements regarding Mexican immigrants. People
Fortune Reads and Videos
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Know this before traveling to Cuba
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Facebook intern loses job after exposing security hole
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Disney shows off how it uses virtual reality...
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|Produced by Ryan Derousseau|