Brooks Brothers bankrupt

Brooks Brothers is the latest casualty of the Covid pandemic, filing for bankruptcy protection in New York today. The upscale clothiers, one of the last to make garments in the U.S., has been in business for 200 years.

The closely held company, which is owned by Italian businessman Claudio Del Vecchio, filed for bankruptcy protection in Wilmington, Del., on Wednesday. One of the few brands to make clothes domestically, it warned in June that it could close its three U.S. factories. It operates roughly 250 North America stores.

Looking forward to seeing large numbers of lawyers hovering outside Macys, queasily glaring at the mannequins as clothiers try to coax them inside with swatches of pinstripe and fine-wale corduroy. Read the rest

How Japanese-style business culture applies to today’s new “business normal”

I'm looking forward to interviewing Yuko Kaifu, president of JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles, for a live streaming event on July 17 about virtual meetings and how the rest of the world can learn from Japanese-style business culture. It's free and open to all, but you need to reserve a seat online in advance.

Join us for a live, online Q&A discussion on “How Japanese-Style Business Culture Applies to Today’s New ‘Business Normal’.” The pandemic has changed the way people conduct business. And even as cities open up, there still remains a new “business normal” whether working from home or in the office. Attendees will not only receive insights into Japanese culture through the lens of business communications and how Japanese etiquette practices can benefit today’s increasingly prevalent virtual meetings, but they can also interact with the hosts and ask their own questions.

The discussion will feature Yuko Kaifu, president of JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles and a former foreign services officer, who honed her Japanese etiquette skills and knowledge through her work as an official interpreter for the Japanese Imperial Family, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for their meetings with foreign dignitaries, including President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. Event moderator Mark Frauenfelder, prolific writer and Wired.com founding editor, has extensive experience working with and for Japanese companies.

Discussion topics include how Japanese-style ways of doing business might apply to today’s virtual meetings – especially international meetings – including the best ways to convey controversial information, the importance of verbal agreements, and how to bow during an in-person meeting as well as a video conference call.

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Tesla denies reports of firing workers who chose to stay at home to avoid coronavirus risk in Elon Musk's factory

On Thursday, Tesla denied media reports that it fired employees who chose to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, rather than expose themselves to possible infection at Elon Musk's California factory. Read the rest

Facial recognition leads to wrongful arrest of Black man in Detroit

A Black man in Detroit was wrongfully arrested and detained by police who mis-identified him with a false facial recognition hit. The case of Robert Williams, an innocent person who was held in police custody for a day, is the first publicly reported case of artificial intelligence resulting in a false arrest in the United States. Read the rest

Facebook ad boycott includes Ben & Jerry's, REI, Patagonia, North Face, Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer, Magnolia Pictures, Ben & Jerry's, REI, and Patagonia are some of the brands that have suspended Facebook ad campaigns over the platform's reckless content moderation practices that allow political and COVID-19 disinformation to proliferate. Read the rest

Colin Kaepernick joining the board of Medium

Colin Kaepernick is joining Medium's board of directors. He'll also develop editorial content for Medium's Level magazine for black and brown men and their new anti-racism blog Momentum. According to Medium founder/CEO Ev Williams, the company has been in talks with Kaepernick for several months. From Ev's statement at Medium:

I met Colin a couple years ago and have been wanting to work with him ever since. When he launched Kaepernick Publishing in February, we started a conversation and quickly realized how closely our ideals and sensibilities align. I know he will bring valuable insights and leadership to Medium, especially in this moment when the world is finally catching up to his vision on racial justice.

Kaepernick Publishing’s mission is to uplift and elevate voices for Black and Brown communities, something that has been desperately needed in the publishing space. Through this partnership, Colin will be publishing across Medium’s platform, including a collaboration with Medium’s editorial team leading Level and Momentum. He will be sharing his thoughts on anti-Black racism in our society, and Medium and Kaepernick Publishing will co-publish thought-provoking feature stories from diverse writers of color.

Disclosure: I hold shares in Medium from working there years ago.

image: Erik Drost (CC BY 2.0)

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As COVID-19 surges, Apple re-closes 11 stores temporarily in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina

Apple will temporarily close a number of retail stores again in the U.S., as the coronavirus outbreak re-emerges as a significant threat in new areas of the country, reports Bloomberg News. Read the rest

Peter Thiel's Palantir gets $500 million from Japan, just before expected IPO

Peter Thiel's Palantir on Thursday said a Japanese insurance holding company, Sompo Holdings, has committed to invest $500 million in the Silicon Valley data analysis and surveillance technology firm that serves the U.S. government and the Central Intelligence Agency, among other clients worldwide. Read the rest

Trump tweets crazy lies about NBC and Google Ads demonetizing far-right sites (they didn't)

President Brain Worms Donald Trump is in the midst of quite a tweety-tantrum this morning. Now he's falsely saying that NBC News and Google Ads have conspired to deny revenue to far-right websites. Read the rest

Plagued by security woes, Zoom promises end-to-end encryption starting in July

Video-calling app Zoom has been on the end of sharp criticism for security weaknesses. In response, they announced today a plan to offer end-to-end encryption for all users, with a trial to begin next month. Read the rest

Camp Fire: PG&E pleads guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for negligence in California’s worst wildfire

“The California utility agreed to pay a nearly $2 billion fine for causing the blaze, which killed dozens and destroyed the town of Paradise.”

Amazon to enforce social distancing in warehouses with AI surveillance software 'Distance Assistant'

Amazon says it will deploy an artificial intelligence surveillance system in warehouses that tells workers if they are too close to colleagues, as the coronavirus pandemic rages on and workers are placed at risk. Read the rest

T-Mobile hit with cell phone outage, voice and text down for thousands of users throughout U.S.

UPDATE, 6:50pm PT: AT&T tells Boing Boing, “We do not have an issue with our network,” and points us to this @ATTNEWS tweet: “Our network is operating normally, but it’s possible some customers are unable to reach people on other carriers’ networks.”

Cellular provider T-Mobile has been having a very large service outage today, Monday June 15. The service interruptions were reported by Verizon users starting around 10amPT/1pm ET. Read the rest

Peter Thiel's Palantir to IPO within weeks, start trading before election

Bloomberg News reports on Friday that the secretive big-data and surveillance technology firm Palantir is preparing to register an S-1 filing confidentially, and plans to go public in the coming weeks and start trading as early as fall 2020. Read the rest

Mnuchin: U.S. won't 'shut down the economy again' even if coronavirus cases surge

Trump's treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin today said the United States should not, as he puts it, shut down the economy again -- even if there is another surge in coronavirus cases. Read the rest

Amazon to be hit with antitrust charges in Europe

The European Union is expected to formally file charges against Amazon.com for harvesting data from third-party sellers, and using that information to compete against those sellers on the sales platform. Read the rest

FCC demands record $225 million fine for this huge robocall campaign

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today voted unanimously to propose a $225 million fine against Texas-based health insurance telemarketers blamed for making 1 billion illegally spoofed robocalls. This is the largest such fine ever proposed by the FCC. Read the rest

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