-It’s often said that leaders in America’s big, established institutions were utterly blindsided by Donald Trump’s rise over these past 13 months. That’s largely true, but not completely, and for an exception see this fascinating piece at the Poets and Quants website. It details how Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for leadership programs at Yale’s School of Management, saw it all coming – and said so publicly almost a year ago in an article for fortune.com called “Why the Dump Trump strategy is doomed.” For the record, the Dump Trump movement’s final, feeble vestige evaporated yesterday at the Republican National Convention when Trump opponents failed to force a roll call vote on a rule change.
Turns out Sonnenfeld first appeared on Trump’s radar in 2004 after writing a scathing critique of The Apprentice for the WSJ. Trumpian insults followed, then a phone conversation in which they disagreed fundamentally. And then – this is classic – Trump offered Sonnenfeld the presidency of a new venture, Trump University. Sonnenfeld declined, recalling, “He was going to try to drown the squeaky wheel with oil.” Later they had lunch, and to his “horror and amazement,” Sonnenfeld kind of liked him. There’s much more to the story, but the bottom line for our purposes is that Sonnenfeld foresaw what virtually all other leadership authorities missed. One lesson is that he never would have reached that insight if he hadn’t been willing to sit down and talk with an antagonist.
-Was the Turkish coup real? Nut-job conspiracy theories surround every large news event, but the bare possibility that the attempted military coup last Friday was never meant to succeed is being suggested tentatively by a respected authority, Cengiz Candar, a distinguished visiting scholar at the Stockholm University Institute of Turkish Studies. The coup attempt was so inept, and the result serves President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian purposes so well, that one has to wonder. In any case, the job of managing an extremely difficult relationship with an ally just got much more difficult for the next president. I strongly doubt Trump or Hillary Clinton will raise this topic, but both should be asked about it. It’s the kind of messy, no-easy-answers problem that presidents face every day.
-Yahoo reported another down quarter yesterday. The company is also receiving final bids for its Internet business this week. We can now assume that someone will buy the business, and the 22-year Yahoo story will essentially end. Can an Internet business in decline ever be rescued? CEO Marissa Mayer couldn’t do it in four years at Yahoo, and one Silicon Valley theory holds that it is in fact impossible. And maybe it is.
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What We’re Reading Today
Yahoo blames sale process for dragging sales
CEO Marissa Mayer yesterday reported second quarter earnings, which included a $482-million write-down on Tumblr. Final bids for Yahoo’s Internet business were also due yesterday, and Mayer said “uncertainty around the sale process” has reduced demand for Yahoo ads. That process has dragged on for months but could be concluded soon. Fortune
Fiat Chrysler under SEC investigation over sales figures
Sergio Marchionne‘s company said the investigation centers on whether Fiat inflated sales data from dealers. It comes after two dealers sued the company, charging that FCA paid some dealers to report false numbers. USA Today
The Donald survives anti-Trump efforts at the convention
A last-ditch effort by the Never Trump movement failed at the Republican National Convention last night. Movement leaders wanted a roll call vote on whether delegates could be unbound from supporting the winner of their state’s primary or caucus and instead vote for whomever they wished on the first ballot. Anti-Trump cries briefly halted the convention, but temporary chairman Rep. Steve Womack soon announced that the measure had too little support to be considered. WSJ
IOC delays ruling on Russia Olympic ban
The International Olympic Committee decided that it would “explore the legal options” before voting to ban all Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics, which begin August 5, based on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s recommendation. The WADA report documents massive cheating on drug testing of Russian athletes from late 2011 to August 2015. The IOC added that it will retest all Russian athletes that participated in the 2014 Sochi Games. President Vladimir Putin says he will suspend, at least temporarily, those named in the report. BBC
Building a Better Leader
You’ll find the most optimistic workers …
…in real estate. A new survey says 38% are optimistic about their employer’s future; next cheeriest are workers in finance and insurance. Fast Company
If you want to build a strong team…
…define your mission, and listen to feedback. Fortune
Internship follies at Disney
An intern tweeted a sign asking employees to provide a canned response when asked about alligators near an exhibit. She was fired… for a day. When the Internet heard, she quickly received a new offer from Disney. Washington Post
21st Century Fox downplays reports of Ailes’s impending dismissal
A report yesterday signaled that the Murdochs who run the company were ready to part ways with Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes in light of sexual harassment claims from former anchor Gretchen Carlson. But a spokesperson said the matter isn’t resolved, and no decision has been made by Rupert Murdoch and his sons, co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch and CEO James Murdoch. ABC News
SoftBank CEO confident of ARM deal despite investor skepticism
After Masayoshi Son announced that SoftBank would buy chip designer ARM for $32 billion, investors responded with shock, sending the company’s Tokyo shares down 11%. But Son, in announcing the deal, said investors should “feel the force” when evaluating the merger. They may want more clarification of how ARM will work with SoftBank. Reuters
Melania Trump may have plagiarized Michelle Obama
Donald Trump‘s wife, Melania, closed Day 1 of the Republican National Convention. Her speech included a few lines that mirror Michelle Obama‘s convention speech in 2008, for example “that your word is your bond and you do what you say.” The Trump campaign denies plagiarism. Fortune
Up or Out
LendingClub has hired Patrick Dunne as chief capital officer. WSJ
Paul Romer has been named chief economist at the World Bank. Fortune
Fortune Reads and Videos
Mike Pence should resign as Indiana Governor
SEC laws make it difficult for Pence to raise money for Donald Trump so long as he oversees the $30-billion Indiana Public Retirement System. Fortune
Airbnb agrees to remit hotel taxes…
…in Los Angeles. It estimates that L.A. hosts would have paid $23 million in taxes last year if an agreement had been in place. Fortune
IBM revenue falls 2.8%
That makes 17 straight quarters of decline. But earnings beat Wall Street expectations. Fortune
Bad news for Game of Thrones fans
HBO will shorten the last two seasons from 10 episodes to seven episodes in season seven and “six to eight” episodes in season eight. Fortune
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz turns 63 today. Biography
Honeywell CEO David Cote turns 64. Business Jet Traveler