Elon Musk unveils Tesla electric truck – along with a surprise new sports vehicle

Elon Musk unveiled Tesla’s first electric semi-truck on Thursday evening in an event in La which incorporated the surprise reveal of the new Tesla sports vehicle.

The brand new Roadster, that has exactly the same name because the first electric vehicle created by Tesla from 2008 to 2012, emerged from the rear of among the trucks in the finish of the presentation that focused largely around the economic and gratifaction requirements of truck motorists.

the18 wheeler to truck motorists – customers with completely different concerns compared to average Tesla owner.

In typical Musk style, the Chief executive officer had hyped the18 wheeler on Twitter through the week. On Sunday, he guaranteed it “will take your breath away obvious from your skull and into another dimension”, during Wednesday he teased the truck “can transform right into a robot, fight aliens making one hell of the latte”.

There wasn’t any espresso maker to appear, but Musk did promise a laundry listing of features he claimed would ensure the total cost of possession is going to be 20% less per mile in contrast to diesel trucks. Included in this: faster acceleration, better uphill performance, a 500-mile (805km) range at maximum weight at highway speed, and “thermonuclear explosion-proof glass” within the car windows.

Security features include enhanced autopilot, lane-keeping technology, along with a design which makes jackknifing “impossible”, Musk stated.

The presentation included the surprise reveal of a new Tesla sports car. The presentation incorporated the surprise reveal of the new Tesla sports vehicle. Photograph: Alexandria Sage/Reuters

The organization intends to develop a network of “Megachargers” (instead of the “Superchargers” utilized by other Tesla vehicles) that can create a 400-mile charge in half an hour.

Musk claimed it might be “economic suicide” to carry on using diesel trucks, saying the Tesla version, if driven in convoy, could be less expensive than shipping goods by rail.

The CEO’s promises for that new Roadster weren’t any less ambitious. Musk stated the car’s acceleration from to 60 miles per hour and to 100 miles per hour, along with its quarter-mile speed, counseled me “world records” for production cars.

He stated production around the trucks would come from 2019 and also the sports cars could be obtainable in 2020.

Regardless of the confidence exuded by Musk, questions will unquestionably arise concerning the company’s ability to manufacture the brand new vehicles.

Tesla debuted its first mass-market sedan, the Model 3, to much fanfare in This summer, once the waitlist for that vehicle already numbered greater than 500,000. Since that time, production hasn’t gone easily.

Within the third quarter of 2017, the organization created just 260 Model 3s – well underneath the 1,500 it’d guaranteed in August. Tesla blamed “production bottlenecks” for that delays. The Wall Street Journal reported that as lately as September, the cars remained as being built by hands, instead of with an automated set up line.

trying to unionise using the U . s . Auto Workers inside a campaign that chiefly cites the factory’s above-average injuries rates. The organization has additionally been hit with numerous complaints and lawsuits by employees and contractors alleging gender and bigotry.

On Tuesday, the organization hit back at attention from the complaints, and contended the attorney representing some plaintiffs has an eye on “extorting money for meritless claims”.

“At Tesla, we’d rather pay 10 occasions the settlement demand in legal charges and battle to the ends of the world than surrender to extortion and permit this abuse from the legislation,Inches the organization stated inside a blog publish.

Competition within the electric truck market continues to be warming up. In September, Daimler AG announced the delivery of their first electric trucks towards the U . s . Parcel Service (UPS). Others focusing on electric trucks include Volkswagen, Cummins and Nikola.

A Broke, and Broken, Flood Insurance Program

In August, when Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on Texas, David Clutter was in court, trying one more time to make his insurer pay his flood claim — from Hurricane Sandy, five years before.

Mr. Clutter’s insurer is the federal government. As it resists his claims, he has been forced to take out a third mortgage on his house in Long Beach, N.Y., to pay for repairs to make it habitable for his wife and three children. He owes more than the house is worth, and his flood-insurance premiums just went up.

The government-run National Flood Insurance Program is, for now, virtually the only source of flood insurance for more than five million households in the United States. This hurricane season, as tens of thousands of Americans seek compensation for storm-inflicted water damage, they face a problem: The flood insurance program is broke and broken.

The program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been in the red since Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans in 2005. It still has more than a thousand disputed claims left over from Sandy. And in October, it exhausted its $30 billion borrowing capacity and had to get a bailout just to keep paying current claims.

Congress must decide by Dec. 8 whether to keep the program going. An unusual coalition of insurers, environmentalists and fiscal conservatives has joined the Trump administration in calling for fundamental changes in the program, including direct competition from private insurers. The fiscal conservatives note that the program was supposed to take the burden off taxpayers but has not, and environmentalists argue that it has become an enabler of construction on flood-prone coastlines, by charging premiums too low to reflect the true cost of building there.

The program has other troubles as well. It cannot force vulnerable households to buy insurance, even though they are required by law to have it. Its flood maps can’t keep up with new construction that can change an area’s flood risk. It has spent billions of dollars repairing houses that just flood again. Its records, for instance, show that a house in Spring, Tex., has been repaired 19 times, for a total of $912,732 — even though it is worth only $42,024.

And after really big floods, the program must rely on armies of subcontractors to determine payments, baffling and infuriating policyholders, like Mr. Clutter, who cannot figure out who is opposing their claims, or why.

Roy E. Wright, who has directed the flood insurance program for FEMA since June 2015, acknowledged in an interview on Friday that major changes were called for and said some were already in the works. The program’s rate-setting methods, for example, are 30 years old, he said, and new ones will be phased in over the next two years. But other changes — like cutting off coverage to homes that are repeatedly flooded — would require an act of Congress.

“The administration feels very strongly that there needs to be reform this year,” he said. “I believe strongly that we need to expand flood coverage in the United States, and the private insurers are part of that.”

The federal program was created to fill a void left after the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, when multiple levees failed, swamping an area bigger than West Virginia and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Insurers, terrified of the never-ending claims they might have to pay, started to exclude flooding from homeowners’ insurance policies. For decades, your only hope if your home was damaged in a flood was disaster relief from the government.

Policymakers thought an insurance program would be better than ad hoc bailouts. If crafted properly, it would make developers and homeowners pay for the risks they took.

When Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968, it hoped to revive the private flood-insurance market. Initially about 130 insurers gave it a shot, pooling their capital with the government. But there were clashes, and eventually the government drove out the insurers and took over most operations.

Since 1983, Washington has set the insurance rates, mapped the floodplains, written the rules and borne all of the risk. The role of private insurers has been confined to marketing policies and processing claims, as government contractors.

That worked for a few decades. But now, relentless coastal development and the increasing frequency of megastorms and billion-dollar floods have changed the calculus.

Graphic | Unable to Keep Up With the Floods

“Put plainly, the N.F.I.P. is not designed to handle catastrophic losses like those caused by Harvey, Irma and Maria,” Mick Mulvaney, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in a letter to members of Congress after the three huge hurricanes barreled into the United States this season.

Mr. Mulvaney called on Congress to forgive $16 billion of the program’s debt, which both houses agreed to do.

The program, however, needs more than a financial lifeline: Without major, long-term changes, it will just burn through the $16 billion in savings and be back for more.

The White House is hoping to lure companies back into the market, letting them try to turn a profit on underwriting flood policies instead of simply processing claims for the government.

One measure proposed by the Trump administration is for the government to stop writing coverage on newly built houses on floodplains, starting in 2021. New construction there is supposed to be flood-resistant, and if the government retreats, private insurers may step in. Or so the theory goes.

“The private market is anxious, willing and completely able to take everything except the severe repetitive-loss properties,” said Craig Poulton, chief executive of Poulton Associates, which underwrites American risks for Lloyd’s of London, the big international insurance marketplace.

“Severe repetitive-loss properties” is FEMA’s term for houses that are flooded again and again. There are tens of thousands of them. While they account for fewer than 1 percent of the government’s policies, they make up more than 10 percent of the insurance claims, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued FEMA to get the data.

The Trump administration has also proposed creating a new category of properties that are at extreme risk of repeat flooding and that could have their insurance cut off the next time they flooded.

That might sound harsh. Environmental groups, though, argue it’s worse to repeatedly repair doomed houses on flood-prone sites as oceans warm and sea levels rise. The Natural Resources Defense Council argues that the flood-insurance program should buy such properties so the owners can move somewhere safer.

The program, however, has only limited authority to make such purchases; homeowners need to line up funding through other government agencies. As a result, such buyouts are rare.

“I have mounds and mounds of paper, and I’m still waiting,” said Olga McKissic of Louisville, Ky., who applied for a buyout in 2015 after her house flooded for the fifth time. “I want them to tear it down.”

Ms. McKissic even had her house classified as a severe repetitive-loss property, thinking FEMA would give it higher priority. But FEMA has not responded to her application. Instead, it doubled her premiums.

That’s what happens when there’s a monopoly, said Mr. Poulton, the Lloyd’s underwriter.

Over the years, he said, he has noticed that his customers are buying Lloyd’s earthquake insurance because it includes flood coverage. They do not like the government’s flood insurance because payouts are capped at $250,000 and have other limits.

Such as basements.

Matt Herr of Superior Flood in Brighton, Colo., another underwriter for Lloyd’s, recalled a client whose handicapped son lived in a “sunken living room,” eight inches lower than the rest of the house. When the neighborhood flooded, $22,000 of medical equipment was ruined. The government refused to pay, calling the living room a basement. Its policies exclude basements.

While the government program insures more than five million homeowners, that is just a small fraction of the number of people who live on floodplains.

Mr. Poulton researched the flood insurance program and eventually found a public report that explained how its pricing worked. The program, he learned, was not using the detailed, house-by-house information on flood risk that is available through satellite imagery and other sources.

That’s because Congress gave the program a legal mandate to work with communities, not individual households. So the program was surveying floodplains, then calculating an “average annual loss” for all the houses there. Its insurance rates were based on those averages.

“It undercharges 50 percent of its risks, and it overcharges 50 percent of its risks, on an equal weighting,” Mr. Poulton said.

Offer a better deal to the households with a below-average risk of flooding — a policy whose price reflects their lower risk — and they will jump at the opportunity to save money on premiums, he said.

But the government does not readily divulge all of its historical claims data, so insurers cannot comb through them and analyze the risks.

“What we know is snippets,” said Martin Hartley, chief operating officer of Pure Insurance in White Plains, which offers supplementary flood insurance to homeowners who want more than the government’s $250,000 coverage.

Also, the government relies on mortgage lenders to enforce the rule requiring at-risk homeowners to buy flood insurance. Mr. Poulton said he found that FEMA officials had told lenders that, in effect, they shouldn’t trust private insurance.

He went to Washington to complain to program officials.

“We told them their guidelines were bad, bad for consumers,” he said. “We said: ‘They’re only good for you. You’ve got to change them.’ They said: ‘We don’t answer to you. We answer to Congress.’ We’ve been lobbying ever since.”

No one paid much attention until after Sandy, when the program fell deeper into debt with the Treasury. To help fill that hole, Congress in 2012 approved big increases in its premiums. But that caused an uproar when people got their bills. Two years later, Congress rescinded much of the increase.

Then came this season’s hurricanes and the $16 billion bailout.

The Office of Management and Budget sent Congress an updated list of proposals in October, including measures that would remove certain obstacles to private-sector competition. Its plan would open up the data trove to potential competitors and direct mortgage lenders to accept private flood-insurance policies. It would also revoke an agreement that the program’s contractors — including about 70 insurance companies — must currently sign, promising not to compete against the government program.

Some members of Congress — including Democrats like Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, whose states have significant flood exposure and bad memories of Hurricane Sandy — are resisting. They say bringing in private insurers would make the program’s troubles worse, because the insurers would cherry-pick the most profitable customers and leave the government with all the “severe repetitive-loss properties.”

Mr. Poulton did not dispute that. In fact, he said that was exactly what should happen.

“We need the N.F.I.P. to be a full participant in this as the insurer of last resort,” he said. That means it would take the high-risk properties that the private insurers did not want, acting like the state-run insurance pools for especially risky drivers.

Some lawyers for aggrieved policyholders think a shake-up might improve things, if it brought accountability.

August J. Matteis, who is representing Mr. Clutter in his lawsuit, said the insurance program had been so criticized by Congress for its borrowing that by the time Sandy blew in, it had instructed contractors to hold the line on claims. They did so with a vengeance. Thousands of people with flood damage from Sandy ended up disputing the government’s handling of their claims.

Long Beach, Mr. Clutter’s town, is on a barrier island off the southern shore of Long Island. When Sandy sent several feet of floodwater washing over it, the piers supporting the Clutter family’s foundation collapsed. Upstairs, floors buckled. Walls cracked.

Mr. Clutter called Wright National Flood Insurance, the Florida company that administers his policy. Wright sent an independent adjuster, who took photos with captions like “structural foundation wall has been washed in” and “piers have collapsed — no longer supporting risk.”

But then, Wright sent a structural engineer from U.S. Forensic of Louisiana who declared that Sandy had not caused the damage.

In 2015, Mr. Clutter happened to catch a “60 Minutes” report on the aftermath of Sandy. It included accusations that U.S. Forensic had falsified engineering reports on other people’s houses.

There were so many disputed claims and questionable inspections, in fact, that the government opened an unusual review process for Sandy victims. Mr. Clutter went through it, but said the government’s offer fell far short of his repair costs. He sued FEMA and Wright Flood Insurance in August.

Michael Sloane, Wright Flood’s executive vice president, said in an email that while the company could not comment on Mr. Clutter’s case, “we are always committed to working with our customers to keep the lines of communication open as we continue working toward resolution.”

U.S. Forensic did not respond to messages.

Mr. Wright, the program director, acknowledged the problems after Sandy but said corrective measures had been taken “so that it doesn’t happen again.”

Much of Long Beach has been rebuilt since Sandy. Small houses like Mr. Clutter’s are being torn down and replaced with bigger ones that sprawl across two lots. Mr. Clutter worries that if insurers, not the government, set the prices, premiums will soar.

“Then, what happens to me?” he asked. “I’m essentially being driven out of my home that I have three mortgages on.”

Detroit: From Motor City to Housing Incubator

DETROIT — Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, the country’s two largest banks, trace their roots in Detroit back decades, when they helped finance the city’s once-booming auto industry.

These days, Detroit is still struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, and the two banks have pledged to help resuscitate the city and its crippled housing market. So, guess how many home mortgage loans these two enormous banks made last year in this city of 637,000 people.

Bank of America made 18. JPMorgan did just six.

Detroit’s hometown lender, Quicken Loans, made the most — a mere 90.

Midwestern cities like Detroit have long embodied the American can-do spirit. Over the course of a century, Motor City melded assembly-line prowess with freedom-of-the-road ideals to help define a nation. In the postwar years, Detroit became the epitome of the American dream, a place where factory workers without college degrees could make enough money to buy a house of their own.

Yet as home prices soar across the United States — particularly on the coasts — Detroit remains a poster child for the economic crisis and housing collapse of a decade ago. Boarded up homes and rubble-strewn fields litter the landscape.

Today, a house can be bought here for the price of a used Chevy Caprice.

What is truly surprising about that, though, is how difficult it still is for buyers to actually buy. Basically, prices are too low for lenders (who see the deals as too small or risky) but too high for buyers (who may be cash-poor). There aren’t enough houses in move-in-ready condition — and not enough money to fix them up.

This strange situation has turned Detroit into an unlikely petri dish for experiments into how to kick-start a housing market that is, depending on your perspective, either slumbering or comatose.

Will a neighborhood of “tiny houses” for the poor help fix things? Or how about rehabbing city-owned homes, and selling them at a loss, to jump-start the action? Other more conventional — if risky — ideas involve providing no-interest financing to fix up tumbledown properties. Or offering mortgages for homes that normally would be too small to be worth a banker’s trouble.

One local financier is even trying to beautify bulldozed neighborhoods by planting thousands of trees on 160 acres of vacant land his firm has gobbled up.

And while Detroit is worse off than most big cities, housing-policy makers nationwide are keeping a close eye to see what lessons can be learned.

To understand how far Detroit has fallen, consider the statistics. In the mid-2000s, banks were writing some 7,000 mortgages a year. Then, the financial crisis nearly destroyed the American automotive industry, Detroit’s economic heart. Jobs disappeared; citizens fled. Last year, there were more than 700 mortgages made in Detroit, up from 200 at the depth of the crisis but barely 10 percent of the level a decade earlier.

Graphic | Mortgages Are Slowly Coming Back, In Pockets

Those bleak numbers, however, do not tell the whole story. Behind the scenes, nonprofit groups, foundations, local officials and a dozen banks including JPMorgan, Bank of America and Quicken are trying to varying degrees to reanimate the mortgage market in Michigan’s largest city.

Success, however, often comes achingly slow.

At 15455 Winthrop Street, on one of Detroit’s better manicured blocks, there is a freshly rehabbed three-bedroom home. The bungalow-style house was fixed up by the city itself, through its land bank, which acquired the house a year ago after the county foreclosed on the owner for failing to pay taxes. The land bank did a gut renovation with money provided by a grant from Quicken.

Since August, the land bank has been trying to sell the house, with a price tag of at least $79,900. More than 80 people have come to check it out. But so far there have been no takers.

“We have never not sold one,” said Craig Fahle, a former radio host who today is the communications director for the Detroit Land Bank Authority. “Detroit likes to do everything kicking and screaming,” he said. “But we get there eventually.”

Even happy stories are the product of a slog. Erica Wyatt struggled to pay down her debts and then searched for two years before she managed to get a mortgage from Fifth Third Bank to buy a four-bedroom home for $92,000. The transaction happened only because Ms. Wyatt, a single mother with four children, received $15,000 in down payment assistance.

Ms. Wyatt, who grew up in Detroit, said she was determined to move back into the city after renting a home in a suburb. “I wanted to make sure my children saw that not all of Detroit is bad and there are some beautiful neighborhoods,” said Ms. Wyatt, 39, who works for an insurance company.

Some of the ideas seem like stopgap measures. A social services group’s community of “tiny homes” — 400-square-foot structures with nothing more than a bedroom, a bathroom and small kitchen — is being erected to provide housing to homeless and handicapped people. The project, led by Reverend Faith Fowler, executive director of Cass Community Social Services, is taking place on a plot of vacant land the charitable organization bought from the city.

The dollhouse-like structures — seven so far — are near the organization’s main social services facility, in a rather desolate area of Detroit off Rosa Parks Boulevard. In all, Ms. Fowler hopes to build two dozen small homes, which will be rented for as little as $250 a month and eventually deeded over after seven years to a select group of homeless or poor individuals.

Tiny-house living can take adjustment, even for people with no roof over their heads at all. Ms. Fowler said that one homeless veteran told her the homes were too small to compete with a traditional homeless shelter.

Still, for some, the homes are perfect. One of the first tenants to move in this past summer is a former Methodist minister, David Leenhouts, who was forced to give up his ministry near Cleveland because of health issues that make it difficult for him to walk and talk.

Mr. Leenhouts, who grew up in the Detroit area, said his college-age son told him the small home, with a steepled ceiling, was all he needed because everything is within just a few steps. Mr. Leenhouts, 59, said, “I have no idea where I would be living if I was not chosen for a tiny house.”

That said, a cluster of tiny homes hardly seems scalable in a city as big as Detroit. And almost by definition, a tiny home isn’t a viable option for a family with children.

It’s also an example of why the long-term prognosis for Detroit’s housing market remains uncertain at best. Much of the work underway is taking place block-by-block — much like the tiny-home homeless experiment — and there are a lot of blocks in this 139-square-mile city.

“The pilot programs help some people, but they are on the margin,” said Gregory Markus, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Michigan and executive director of Detroit Action Commonwealth, an advocacy group for low-income residents. “‘The root problem is that Detroit is the poorest big city in America.”’

The national poverty rate is 14 percent, and Detroit’s is 36 percent. Mr. Markus said that, without more jobs, home buying will remain a largely unattainable goal.

Detroit’s population peaked in the 1950s at nearly 2 million and has been falling ever since. The financial crisis and the city’s bankruptcy filing in 2013 hollowed out what was left of its once large, middle-class African-American community. Over the past decade there have been more than 150,000 home foreclosures here.

Detroit lacks “a functioning housing market,” a report last year bluntly declared.

Things are so difficult that simply finding a contractor to rehab a home can be an ordeal. “We had several contractors who didn’t want to do work in the city,” said Heather McKeon, 35, who along with her husband, Matthew, recently moved into a fixer-upper in Detroit’s up-and-coming Corktown neighborhood. “They would say, ‘I don’t trust that I can keep my tools here.’”

She added: “It is still sort of flabbergasting to be laughed at.”

Ms. McKeon, an interior designer, said many insurers wouldn’t sell them a homeowner’s policy on an unoccupied home under renovation. Ultimately, they got a policy from a subsidiary of Munich Re Group of Germany.

Detroit’s Largest Property Owner

Many of the efforts to resuscitate the housing market begin with the Detroit Land Bank Authority, a government agency that is the city’s single largest property owner. The land bank owns some 25,000 vacant homes in various stages of disrepair, another 4,200 occupied homes and 65,000 grass-covered lots where homes once stood before the city tore them down in an effort to fight blight.

Mr. Fahle, the land bank’s communications director, likes to drive around and point out once-abandoned houses that his employer sold to people who then fixed them up.

But on a rainy September day, he was particularly interested in showing off the refurbished three-bedroom house at 15455 Winthrop, which the land bank spent $98,000 to renovate. The asking price for the home — with its restored hardwood floors and a new granite kitchen countertop — was reduced by a few thousand dollars in early September from $83,000 to spur more interest.

Throughout Detroit, the land bank has sold 44 homes under its “Rehabbed & Ready” pilot program. The program is funded with a $5 million grant from Quicken. At the closing, the buyers get a $1,500 gift card from Home Depot to buy appliances.

The program, though, is losing money — an average of $21,000 for every home sold.

Mr. Fahle said the goal wasn’t to turn a profit, but to get more move-in-ready homes into the marketplace and to boost property values in the process. In all, the land bank has sold more than 2,700 houses, many in online auctions.

The land bank’s operations are not without controversy. Housing advocates have complained it has focused too much attention on rehabbing homes in just a few neighborhoods, and on tearing down dilapidated homes elsewhere. A federal grand jury has been investigating the awarding of contracts to tear down more than 12,000 dilapidated homes as part of a war on blight led by Detroit’s first-term mayor, Mike Duggan. The investigation is looking into why costs soared under the demolition program, with almost $140 million in mostly federal money being spent.

Mr. Fahle said the land bank is cooperating with the investigation. He said criticism that the rehabbed and ready program has focused on a just a small part of the city is misguided. Mr. Fahle said a decision was made to select homes for renovation in four neighborhoods early on, but over time it is expanding to other parts of the city.

Homes are certainly worth more in Detroit now than they were a few years ago. Citywide, the median value for a house here is $47,700, a 40 percent gain over the past two years, according to Zillow. Stately homes in the Villages, a group of neighborhoods with tree-lined streets, located not far from the posh suburb of Grosse Pointe, Mich., have sold for more than $400,000.

But progress is largely limited to a small cluster of neighborhoods. About half of the mortgages written in Detroit last year were for homes purchased in just six ZIP codes, according to data from the real estate information firm RealtyTrac, part of Attom Data Solutions. There are 25 ZIP codes in Detroit.

One question is whether the money that banks are providing — a combination of grants and loans — signifies a long-term commitment or an effort to score points with federal regulators. Banks are expected under the federal Community Reinvestment Act to make loans in communities with large numbers of poor- or moderate-income residents in order to spur economic activity.

The downpayment-assistance program that helped Ms. Wyatt buy her home, for instance, was financed by a settlement Wells Fargo reached a few years ago in a housing class-action lawsuit. The settlement money is drying up, though, and the bank said it was not sure if it will renew the program. So far, it has provided assistance to 180 home buyers in the city.

Bank of America said it was committed to working in Detroit and is providing up to $4 million to fund no-interest loans that have enabled 400 homeowners to fix up properties. The bank, working with two nonprofit groups, also has said it was willing to finance $55 million worth of mortgages in Detroit. So far this year, the bank has issued 23 mortgages in Detroit — up from 18 in 2016 — and has increased the number of loan officers in the city.

JPMorgan said it, too, was here for the long haul. Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chairman and chief executive, regularly promotes its Invested in Detroit program, which includes up to $150 million for housing and commercial development and funds for research by the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., to study ways to revive Detroit’s economy and housing market.

Quicken, which moved most of its operations in 2010 to downtown Detroit from nearby Livonia, Mich., recently committed $300,000 to a new government program that will give 80 tenants living in homes that face tax foreclosure a chance to buy the houses for as little as $2,500.

Still, the money shelled out by the banks pales in comparison to the estimated $2.5 billion that Dan Gilbert, Quicken’s founder, has spent buying and renovating over 95 largely vacant properties, including old department stores, in Detroit’s downtown. Now most of those buildings are filled with new businesses. A company backed by Mr. Gilbert brought high-speed internet to downtown and Quicken paid $5 million for the naming rights for a recently opened streetcar system called the QLine that makes 12 stops along its 3.3-mile path.

The mayoral election on Nov. 7 is to some degree a referendum on Mr. Duggan’s efforts at reviving both downtown and the city’s housing market. Mr. Duggan is seeking a second term and is opposed by Senator Coleman Young II. Mr. Duggan said one of his top priorities as mayor was getting home prices up in Detroit.

“Home-sale prices have climbed far faster than anyone could have predicted,” Mr. Duggan said.

Perhaps the most vexing issue is the reluctance of banks to give loans to people to buy cheap homes. It’s simple business: The costs of underwriting a $50,000 mortgage — doing all the paperwork, the credit checks and the inspections — are the same as for much larger mortgages that can generate more bank revenue. Plus, when homes are in such disrepair, often they are appraised for much less than the amount the borrower needs to fix it up.

That means the collateral on the loan — the house itself — is worth less than the amount the bank is owed. In today’s risk-averse banking culture, that’s a big no-no.

The winners in this environment are speculators with lots of cash. Many local residents, by contrast, are turning to risky seller-financed transactions such as contracts for deed. Evictions are common after just a few missed payments. Over the past five years, at least 5,400 homes in Detroit were sold through a contract for deed and 34,500 in all-cash deals, according to RealtyTrac.

One alternative is the Detroit Home Mortgage project. Launched in early 2016, the program works with a handful of banks to get an appraisal for a house that’s based on the “true value” of the home after it’s been renovated, not in its current dilapidated state. The process effectively involves two loans — one to cover the purchase of a home, and a second mortgage that effectively covers the renovation work. The second loan is backed by a bank and various foundations involved with the program.

“DHM wants to be an ambassador for lending in the city,” said Alex DeCamp, the mortgage community development manager for Chemical Bank, a local lender that has funded 15 loans through the program. The program can take months to complete. Applicants go through a careful screening and most also complete three mortgage workshops to be eligible for a loan.

So far, 54 home buyers have bought homes through the program, among them Ms. McKeon and her husband. So did Ashley and Damon Dickerson, who are about to move into a renovated two-family home.

The Dickersons, both of whom are architectural designers, closed in March. But their search began months earlier when they submitted a $45,000 bid during one of the land bank’s daily online property auctions.

Winning the bidding for the 107-year-old home was just the start. The couple found it would cost at least $180,000 to fully renovate the six-bedroom, three-story brick structure with a large porch. They were attracted to the home’s hardwood floors, bay windows and potential to reshape it by knocking down some walls.

In all, they got two mortgages from Chemical Bank, according to property records: one for $37,692 to cover the purchase from the land bank and another for $207,000 to cover the rehab costs. The Dickersons, who both graduated from the University of Michigan, said they never would have been able to pull the deal off without the mortgage program. But the process was a bit of an eye-opener because it took longer then anticipated to close on the home. As with any new program, the couple said, there were “growing pains.”

The Detroit Home Mortgage project is now looking to get banks to provide low-interest loans directly to local contractors, so they can renovate more homes and get them into move-in-ready condition.

But for now, the lack of move-in ready homes means home buyers like the Dickersons and the McKeons need to be something of urban pioneers — fixing everything from broken water lines to antiquated electrical wiring.

The prospect of people moving into Detroit from the suburbs or city residents getting mortgages is of course sweet music to local real estate agents. Until now, much of the business for them has been handling all-cash deals. But several said they are looking forward to getting local residents into homes with traditional financing.

Dorian Harvey, a Detroit native and the incoming president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, said he would like for the city and land bank to move quicker to get vacant homes into the hands of local residents. Mr. Harvey, a Morehouse College graduate, said he came from the camp that the rebirth of Detroit is going to have to happen from the ground up with everyone taking part — contractors, real estate agents and local investors.

But he isn’t necessarily waiting on government largess. “There are untapped resources in the city and we need to tap them and the city needs to tap them,” said Mr. Harvey, who added there’s money to made in Detroit. “My heart is liberal but my money is conservative.”

Education Disrupted: Inside Silicon Valley’s Playbook for Wooing School Superintendents

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — They call it the “Church Lane Hug.”

That is how educators at Church Lane Elementary Technology, a public school here, describe the protective two-armed way they teach students to carry their school-issued laptops.

Administrators at Baltimore County Public Schools, the 25th-largest public school system in the United States, have embraced the laptops as well, as part of one of the nation’s most ambitious classroom technology makeovers. In 2014, the district committed more than $200 million for HP laptops, and it is spending millions of dollars on math, science and language software. Its vendors visit classrooms. Some schoolchildren have been featured in tech-company promotional videos.

And Silicon Valley has embraced the school district right back.

HP has promoted the district as a model to follow in places as diverse as New York City and Rwanda. Daly Computers, which supplied the HP laptops, donated $30,000 this year to the district’s education foundation. Baltimore County schools’ top officials have traveled widely to industry-funded education events, with travel sometimes paid for by industry-sponsored groups.

Silicon Valley is going all out to own America’s school computer-and-software market, projected to reach $21 billion in sales by 2020. An industry has grown up around courting public-school decision makers, and tech companies are using a sophisticated playbook to reach them, The New York Times has found in a review of thousands of pages of Baltimore County school documents and in interviews with dozens of school officials, researchers, teachers, tech executives and parents.

School leaders have become so central to sales that a few private firms will now, for fees that can climb into the tens of thousands of dollars, arrange meetings for vendors with school officials, on some occasions paying superintendents as consultants. Tech-backed organizations have also flown superintendents to conferences at resorts. And school leaders have evangelized company products to other districts.

These marketing approaches are legal. But there is little rigorous evidence so far to indicate that using computers in class improves educational results. Even so, schools nationwide are convinced enough to have adopted them in hopes of preparing students for the new economy.

In some significant ways, the industry’s efforts to push laptops and apps in schools resemble influence techniques pioneered by drug makers. The pharmaceutical industry has long cultivated physicians as experts and financed organizations, like patient advocacy groups, to promote its products.

Studies have found that strategies like these work, and even a free $20 meal from a drug maker can influence a doctor’s prescribing practices. That is one reason the government today maintains a database of drug maker payments, including meals, to many physicians.

Tech companies have not gone as far as drug companies, which have regularly paid doctors to give speeches. But industry practices, like flying school officials to speak at events and taking school leaders to steak and sushi restaurants, merit examination, some experts say.

“If benefits are flowing in both directions, with payments from schools to vendors,” said Rob Reich, a political-science professor at Stanford University, “and dinner and travel going to the school leaders, it’s a pay-for-play arrangement.”

Close ties between school districts and their tech vendors can be seen nationwide. But the scale of Baltimore County schools’ digital conversion makes the district a case study in industry relationships. Last fall, the district hosted the League of Innovative Schools, a network of tech-friendly superintendents. Dozens of visiting superintendents toured schools together with vendors like Apple, HP and Lego Education, a division of the toy company.

The superintendents’ league is run by Digital Promise, a nonprofit that promotes technology in schools. It charges $25,000 annually for corporate sponsorships that enable the companies to attend the superintendent meetings. Lego, a sponsor of the Baltimore County meeting, gave a 30-minute pitch, handing out little yellow blocks so the superintendents could build palm-size Lego ducks.

Karen Cator, the chief executive of Digital Promise, said it was important for schools and industry to work together. “We want a healthy, void-of-conflict-of-interest relationship between people who create products for education and their customers,” she said. “The reason is so that companies can create the best possible products to meet the needs of schools.”

Several parents said they were troubled by school officials’ getting close to the companies seeking their business. Dr. Cynthia M. Boyd, a practicing geriatrician and professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with children in district schools, said it reminded her of drug makers’ promoting their medicines in hospitals.

“You don’t have to be paid by Big Pharma, or Big Ed Tech, to be influenced,” Dr. Boyd said. She has raised concerns about the tech initiative at school board meetings.

A Makeover Is Born

Baltimore County’s 173 schools span a 600-square-mile horseshoe around the city of Baltimore, which has a separate school system. Like many districts, the school system struggles to keep facilities up-to-date. Some of its 113,000 students attend spacious new schools. Some older schools, though, are overcrowded, requiring trailers as overflow classrooms. In some, tap water runs brown. And, in budget documents, the district said it lacked the “dedicated resources” for students with disabilities.

In a district riven by disparities, Dallas Dance, the superintendent from 2012 through this past summer, made an appealing argument for a tech makeover. To help students develop new-economy skills, he said, every school must provide an equitable digital learning environment — including giving every student the same device.

“Why does a first grader need to have it?” Mr. Dance said in an interview last year. “In order to break the silos of equity, you’ve got to say that everyone gets it.”

The district wanted a device that would work both for youngsters who couldn’t yet type and for high schoolers. In early 2014, it chose a particularly complex machine, an HP laptop that converts to a tablet. That device ranked third out of four devices the district considered, according to the district’s hardware evaluation forms, which The Times obtained. Over all, the HP device scored 27 on a 46-point scale. A Dell device ranked first at 34.

Document | How One School District Chose Its Laptops The district’s hardware evaluations for HP, Dell, Apple and Lenovo devices. The winning device: HP.

The district ultimately awarded a $205 million, multiyear contract to Daly Computers, a Maryland reseller, to furnish the device, called the Elitebook Revolve.

Mychael Dickerson, a school district spokesman, said, “The device chosen was the one that was closely aligned to what was recommended by stakeholders.” Daly did not respond to inquiries.

With the laptop deal sealed, Silicon Valley kicked into gear.

In September 2014, shortly after the first schools received laptops, HP invited the superintendent to give a keynote speech at a major education conference in New York City. Soon after, Gus Schmedlen, HP’s vice president for worldwide education, described the event at a school board meeting.

“We had to pick one group, one group to present what was the best education technology plan in the world for the last academic year,” Mr. Schmedlen said. “And guess whose it was? Baltimore County Public Schools!”

An HP spokesman said the company did not pay for the trip. He said the company does not provide “compensation, meals, travel or other perks to school administrators or any other public sector officials.”

Interactive Feature | Education Disrupted A series examining how Silicon Valley is gaining influence in public schools.

The superintendent later appeared in an HP video. “We are going to continue needing a thought partner like HP to say what’s working and what’s not working,” he said.

Microsoft, whose Windows software runs the laptops, named the district a Microsoft Showcase school system. Intel, whose chips power the laptops, gave Ryan Imbriale, the executive director of the district’s department of innovative learning, an Intel Education Visionary award.

Recently, parents and teachers have reported problems with the HP devices, including batteries falling out and keyboard tiles becoming detached. HP has discontinued the Elitebook Revolve.

Mr. Dickerson, the district spokesman, said there was not “a widespread issue with damaged devices.”

An HP spokesman said: “While the Revolve is no longer on the market, it would be factually inaccurate to suggest that’s related to product quality.”

Asked what device would eventually replace the Revolve in the schools, the district said it was asking vendors for proposals.

Mr. Dance’s technology makeover is now in the hands of an interim superintendent, Verletta White. In April Mr. Dance announced his resignation, without citing a reason. Ms. White has indicated that she will continue the tech initiative while increasing a focus on literacy.

A Baltimore County school board member, David Uhlfelder, said a representative from the Office of the Maryland State Prosecutor had interviewed him in September about Mr. Dance’s relationship with a former school vendor (a company not in the tech industry).

The prosecutor’s office declined to confirm or deny its interest in Mr. Dance.

Mr. Dance, who discussed the district’s tech initiatives with a Times reporter last year, did not respond to repeated emails and phone calls this week seeking comment.

Courting the Superintendents

In Baltimore County and beyond, the digital makeover of America’s schools has spawned a circuit of conferences, funded by Microsoft, Google, Dell and other tech vendors, that lavish attention on tech-friendly educators.

Mr. Dance’s travel schedule sheds light on that world.

Between March 2014, when the laptop contract was announced, and April 2017, when he announced his resignation, Mr. Dance took at least 65 out-of-state trips related to the district’s tech initiatives or involving industry-funded groups, according to a Times analysis of travel documents obtained under public records laws — nearly two trips per month on average. Those trips cost more than $33,000. The Times counted only trips with local receipts, indicating Mr. Dance set foot in the cities.

At least $13,000 of Mr. Dance’s airline tickets, hotel bills, meals and other fees were paid for by organizations sponsored by tech companies, some of which were school vendors, The Times found. The $13,000 is an incomplete number, because some groups cover superintendents’ costs directly, which means school records may not include them.

Another way tech companies reach superintendents is to pay private businesses that set up conferences or small-group meetings with them. Superintendents nationwide have attended these events.

One prominent provider is the Education Research and Development Institute, or ERDI, which regularly gathers superintendents and other school leaders for conferences where they can network with companies that sell to schools.

ERDI offered several service levels this year, according to a membership rate card obtained by The Times. A $13,000 fee for Bronze membership entitles a company to one confidential meeting, where executives can meet with five school leaders to discuss products and school needs. Diamond members could pay $66,000 for six such meetings.

Document | How Much It Costs to Meet With Superintendents The Education Research and Development Institute, known as ERDI, charges membership fees to school vendors to arrange small-group meetings with superintendents who can provide product feedback.

ERDI has offered superintendents $2,000 per conference as participating consultants, according to a Louisiana Board of Ethics filing. And there are other perks.

“Because we are asking for their time and expertise, we commonly offer to pay the cost of their food, transportation and lodging during their participation,” ERDI’s president, David M. Sundstrom, said in an email.

Mr. Dance’s calendar indicated that he had attended at least five ERDI events.

Mr. Dance received payment last year as an adviser for ERDI, according to his most recent district financial disclosure. It lists Dulle Enterprises, a company that owned ERDI in the past, as an employer from which he earned income.

Last February, at an ERDI conference in New Orleans, Mr. Dance met with Curriculum Associates, which makes reading software, as well as DreamBox Learning, a math platform.

At the time, both companies had contracts with the district. A few months after the event, the school board approved additional money for both companies. Each contract is now worth about $3.2 million.

A DreamBox spokeswoman said there was no connection between the meeting and its contract. “Even the appearance of impropriety is something we take very seriously and take steps to avoid,” she said.

A Curriculum Associates spokeswoman said: “These panels are not sales presentations, but rather focus-group opportunities to solicit feedback on products under development.”

Ms. White, the interim superintendent, has been involved with ERDI since 2013, according to Mr. Dickerson. He said Ms. White used vacation time to attend events, where she “provided guidance to education-related companies on goods, services and products that are in development to benefit student performance.”

Asked whether Ms. White had received ERDI payments, Mr. Dickerson said, “Participation in ERDI is done independently of the school system.” In an email, Ms. White said she found ERDI to be a “beneficial professional learning experience.” She didn’t respond to a question about ERDI compensation.

She added, “I do not believe there are any conflicts of interests” related to the district’s tech initiative.

Mr. Sundstrom, ERDI’s president, said education companies pay a fee to attend events “not to meet school leaders or make a sale,” but to get meaningful feedback on their education products from knowledgeable school leaders. He added that school officials do not make purchases at ERDI sessions and that it is their school boards that approve district purchases.

Baltimore County’s travel rules say, “No travel expenses will be paid by those seeking to do business with the Baltimore County Public Schools prior to obtaining a contract.” Mr. Dickerson explained that applied to companies currently bidding for contracts.

A Foundation’s Big Fund-Raiser

Beneath crystal chandeliers last April, politicians, school leaders, vendors and community members gathered in a banquet hall. The occasion was State of the Schools, an annual fund-raising luncheon arranged by the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools.

The foundation was created in the early 1990s and raises money for schools. Tech companies have made significant donations, and have directors sitting on the foundation’s board. The directors include employees from Discovery Education, Pearson and Microsoft, all vendors with multimillion-dollar district contracts.

Daly, the laptop provider, was the biggest donor, giving $30,000. McGraw-Hill, Discovery Education, Pearson and Microsoft each donated $1,500 to $15,000. Of the $211,500 in publicly listed donations for the event, tech companies gave about 43 percent.

“You have these huge contracts, and then you donate all this money, and the foundation puts up a banner advertising your company’s name,” said Michael J. Collins, a former Maryland state senator and former school board member. “I just didn’t think that passed the smell test.”

Discovery Education said it trained employees to avoid potential conflicts of interest. Microsoft said its policies followed government gift and ethics rules. Pearson said its donation had been nominal and vetted to prevent conflict of interest. McGraw-Hill said it was committed to integrity and transparency.

Deborah S. Phelps, the foundation’s executive director, said it awarded scholarships and gave schools grants for projects in culture, science, technology and other subjects.

When asked if the foundation had policies governing donations from vendors or potential vendors, Ms. Phelps said no. “‘There’s not necessarily a policy,” she said. There is also no policy prohibiting foundation board members who are vendors from reviewing grants involving their or competitors’ products, she said.

Mr. Dickerson said the focus of Baltimore County Public Schools was on “supporting students, teachers and their learning environments.” He added: “We are unapologetic for engaging with our Education Foundation, business partners and community stakeholders in an effort to close known achievement gaps.”

Mr. Reich of Stanford suggested school districts establish clearer rules governing their relationships with vendors, particularly with tech companies racing to win over the gatekeepers to America’s classrooms. Otherwise, parents could lose trust in the system.

“School leaders should be just as concerned about the perception of corruption as actual corruption,” he said.

Corner Office: How to Be a C.E.O., From a Decade’s Worth of Them

Corner Office

By ADAM BRYANT

It started with a simple idea: What if I sat down with chief executives, and never asked them about their companies?

The notion occurred to me roughly a decade ago, after spending years as a reporter and interviewing C.E.O.s about many of the expected things: their growth plans, the competition, the economic forces driving their industries. But the more time I spent doing this, the more I found myself wanting to ask instead about more expansive themes — not about pivoting, scaling or moving to the cloud, but how they lead their employees, how they hire, and the life advice they give or wish they had received.

That led to 525 Corner Office columns, and weekly reminders that questions like these can lead to unexpected places.

I met an executive who grew up in a dirt-floor home, and another who escaped the drugs and gangs of her dangerous neighborhood. I learned about different approaches to building culture, from doing away with titles to offering twice-a-month housecleaning to all employees as a retention tool.

And I have been endlessly surprised by the creative approaches that chief executives take to interviewing people for jobs, including tossing their car keys to a job candidate to drive them to a lunch spot, or asking them how weird they are, on a scale of 1 to 10.

Granted, not all chief executives are fonts of wisdom. And some of them, as headlines regularly remind us, are deeply challenged people.

That said, there’s no arguing that C.E.O.s have a rare vantage point for spotting patterns about management, leadership and human behavior.

After almost a decade of writing the Corner Office column, this will be my final one — and from all the interviews, and the five million words of transcripts from those conversations, I have learned valuable leadership lessons and heard some great stories. Here are some standouts.

So You Want to Be a C.E.O.?

Interactive Feature | What Feaster Said

People often try to crack the code for the best path to becoming a chief executive. Do finance people have an edge over marketers? How many international postings should you have? A variety of experiences is good, but at what point does breadth suggest a lack of focus?

It’s a natural impulse. In this age of Moneyball and big data, why not look for patterns?

The problem is that the world doesn’t really work that way. There are too many variables, many of them beyond your control, including luck, timing and personal chemistry.

The career trajectories of the C.E.O.s I’ve interviewed are so varied that spotting trends is difficult, and a surprising number of the executives do not fit the stereotype of the straight-A student and class president who seemed destined to run a big company someday. I’ve met C.E.O.s who started out in theater, music and teaching. Others had surprisingly low grades in school.

So what explains it? Are there some qualities — beyond the obvious, like hard work and perseverance — that explain why these people ultimately got the top jobs?

I’ve noticed three recurring themes.

First, they share a habit of mind that is best described as “applied curiosity.” They tend to question everything. They want to know how things work, and wonder how they can be made to work better. They’re curious about people and their back stories.

And rather than wondering if they are on the right career path, they make the most of whatever path they’re on, wringing lessons from all their experiences.

“I can find interest in a lot of different things and try to put that to work in a positive way, connecting the dots and considering how the pieces fit together,” said Gregory Maffei, whose background includes a college degree in religious studies, and is now the chief executive of Liberty Media, the giant company with interests in everything from SiriusXM to Formula One racing.

Second, C.E.O.s seem to love a challenge. Discomfort is their comfort zone.

“Usually, I really like whatever the problem is. I like to get close to the fire,” said Arkadi Kuhlmann, a veteran banking chief. “Some people have a desire for that, I’ve noticed, and some people don’t. I just naturally gravitate to the fire. So I think that’s a characteristic that you have, that’s in your DNA.”

The third theme is how they managed their own careers on their way to the top. They focus on doing their current job well, and that earns them promotions.

That may sound obvious. But many people can seem more concerned about the job they want than the job they’re doing.

That doesn’t mean keeping ambition in check. By all means, have career goals, share them with your bosses, and learn everything you can about how the broader business works. And yes, be savvy about company politics (watch out in particular for the show ponies who try to take credit for everything).

But focus on building a track record of success, and people will keep betting on you. “You shouldn’t be looking just to climb the ladder, but be open to opportunities that let you climb that ladder,” said Kim Lubel, the former chief executive of CST Brands, a big operator of convenience stores.

Ms. Lubel’s career twists embody that mind-set in an unusual way. She told me a remarkable story of applying for a job with the Central Intelligence Agency, and then — thinking she didn’t get the job — going to grad school instead. Only later did Ms. Lubel (whose maiden name was Smith) learn that the C.I.A. did try to hire her, but that they had offered the job to a different Kim Smith.

The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part I

Interactive Feature | What Lubel Said

Because leadership is so hard, there is a boundless appetite for somebody to come along and say, “Here’s the one thing you need to know.” Such headlines are the clickbait of business websites.

If only it were that simple. But one thing isn’t necessarily more important than another. And people are, well, complicated. Better to understand leadership as a series of paradoxes.

Leaders, for example, need humility to know what they don’t know, but have the confidence to make a decision amid the ambiguity. A bit of chaos can help foster creativity and innovation, but too much can feel like anarchy. You need to be empathetic and care about people, but also be willing to let them go if they’re dragging down the team. You have to create a sense of urgency, but also have the patience to bring everybody on the team along.

“We think about our values in pairs, and there is a tension or a balance between them,” said Jacqueline Novogratz, chief executive of Acumen Fund, a venture philanthropy organization that focuses on the world’s poor. “We talk about listening and leadership; accountability and generosity; humility and audacity. You’ve got to have the humility to see the world as it is — and in our world, working with poor communities, that’s not easy to do — but have the audacity to know why you are trying to make it be different, to imagine the way it could be.”

The Most Important Thing About Leadership, Part II

Go ahead. Twist my arm.

Despite what I just wrote, if you were to force me to rank the most important qualities of effective leadership, I would put trustworthiness at the top.

We all have a gut sense of our bosses, based on our observations and experiences: Do we trust them to do the right thing? Will they be straight with us and not shave corners of truth? Do they own their mistakes; give credit where credit is due; care about their employees as people as opposed to assets? Do they manage down as well as up?

“If you want to lead others, you’ve got to have their trust, and you can’t have their trust without integrity,” said James Hackett, the chief executive of Ford Motor Company, who ran Steelcase when I spoke with him.

A close cousin of trustworthiness is how much you respect the people who work for you. It’s hard to argue with this logic from Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood executive:

“By definition if there’s leadership, it means there are followers, and you’re only as good as the followers,” he said. “I believe the quality of the followers is in direct correlation to the respect you hold them in. It’s not how much they respect you that is most important. It’s actually how much you respect them. It’s everything.”

Discussions about different aspects of leadership sometimes remind me of Russian nesting dolls, because many of the qualities can feel like subsets of one another. But I keep going back to first principles of how we’re wired as human beings — we can sense at a kind of lizard-brain level whether we trust someone.

“Human beings are incredibly perceptive,” Pedro J. Pizarro, chief executive of Edison International, a public utility holding company. “And they seem to be more perceptive when they look at people above them than when they look down.”

‘Culture Is Almost Like a Religion’

Interactive Feature | What Nahm Said

It’s a predictable rite of passage as many companies evolve. At some point, the leadership team will go through the exercise of defining a set of values to shape the culture of their company. These lists can be all over the place — lengthy or brief, predictable or quirky.

But the exercise raises an obvious question: Are there some best practices? I have noticed some patterns.

Shorter is generally better than longer. In fact, when I ask chief executives about their companies’ values, it’s not unusual for them to struggle to remember them all if there are more than five bullet points. And if the boss can’t remember them, will anyone else?

Granted, others might disagree with me on this point, including Ray Dalio, founder of the massive Bridgewater Associates hedge fund, who has hundreds of principles for working at his firm. But here’s a thought experiment: What if every company that has codified its values conducted a pop quiz with employees to see if they know them all?

Values need reinforcement beyond repetition. Many companies, for example, make their values part of the hiring and firing process, and hand out awards to people who bring the values to life. “The culture is almost like a religion,” said Robert L. Johnson, chairman of the RLJ Companies, an investment firm. “People buy into it and they believe in it. And you can tolerate a little bit of heresy, but not a lot.”

Michel Feaster, the chief of Usermind, a customer-engagement software firm, shared an insight about the importance of specificity in the values exercise.

“The best cultural lists are the behaviors you want to cultivate,” she said. “The problem with values like respect and courage is that everybody interprets them differently. They’re too ambiguous and open to interpretation. Instead of uniting us, they can create friction.”

At the end of the day, does the values exercise even matter? Many chief executives don’t believe in them. And Tae Hea Nahm, managing director of Storm Ventures, a venture capital firm, thinks other signals are more powerful.

“No matter what people say about culture, it’s all tied to who gets promoted, who gets raises and who gets fired,” he said. “You can have your stated culture, but the real culture is defined by compensation, promotions and terminations. Basically, people seeing who succeeds and fails in the company defines culture. The people who succeed become role models for what’s valued in the organization, and that defines culture.”

Men vs. Women (Sigh)

Interactive Feature | What Simmons Said

Are there differences in the way men and women lead? I’ve been asked this question countless times. Early on, I looked hard to spot differences. But any generalizations never held up.

Sure, there are differences in the way people lead. But in my experience interviewing executives for the past decade, they are more likely to be driven by other factors, like whether they are introverts or extroverts, more analytical or creative, and even whether they grew up in a large or small family.

That said, there is no doubt that women face much stronger headwinds than men to get the top jobs. And many of those headwinds remain once they become C.E.O.s.

But the actual work of leadership? It’s the same, regardless of whether a man or a woman is in charge. You have to set a vision, build cultural guardrails, foster a sense of teamwork, and make tough calls. All of that requires balancing the endless paradoxes of leadership, and doing it in a way that inspires trust.

A suggestion: I believe it’s time to give the narrative about whether men and women lead differently a rest. Yes, we need to keep talking and writing about why there are so few women in the top ranks. But this trope about different styles of leadership among men and women seems past its expiration date.

And while we’re at it, could everyone agree to drop the predictable questions about how female chief executives juggle family and work? Or start asking men the same questions, too?

I Have Just One Question for You

Interactive Feature | What Katzenberg Said

A big surprise has been all the different answers I’ve heard to the simple question I’ve posed to each leader: How do you hire? Even in recent weeks, I was still hearing job-interview questions I had never heard before.

Just last month, for instance, Daniel Schwartz, the chief executive of the parent company of Burger King, told me that he likes to ask candidates, “Are you smart or do you work hard?” (Yes, there is a right answer, he said: “You want hard workers. You’d be surprised how many people tell me, ‘I don’t need to work hard, I’m smart.’ Really? Humility is important.”)

Their creativity is no doubt born of necessity. Candidates are so trained to anticipate the usual questions — “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?” — that C.E.O.s have to come up with bank-shot questions to get around the polished facades.

This has inspired a kind of running game I’ve played with many chief executives: If you could ask somebody only one question, and you had to decide on the spot whether to hire them based on their answer, what would it be?

I’d nominate a question that surfaced during my interview with Bob Brennan, an executive director at CA Technologies, a software firm, who was the chief of Iron Mountain, the records-management company, when I spoke with him.

“I want to know how willing people are to really talk about themselves,” Mr. Brennan said. “So if I ask you, ‘What are the qualities you like least and most in your parents?’ you might bristle at that, or you might be very curious about it, or you’ll just literally open up to me. And obviously if you bristle at that, it’s too vulnerable an environment for you.”

I’ll let the human resources professionals debate whether such a question is out of bounds.

But I’m hard pressed to think of a better crystal ball for predicting how somebody is likely to behave in the weeks, months and years after you hire them. After all, people often adopt the qualities of their parents that they like, and work hard to do the opposite of what they don’t like.

The point is reinforced time and again in my interviews. When I ask executives how their parents have influenced their leadership style, I often hear powerful themes that carry through their lives and careers.

“I grew up in a big Italian family,” said Sharon Napier, the chief executive of Partners + Napier, an ad agency. “Fighting and being loud at the kitchen table was normal. I didn’t realize when you went to somebody else’s house they didn’t argue about something. So I love what I always call creative tension in the agency.”

She added: “I like having a good debate. At first, people think that’s combative. I really want to hear if you have a different opinion. There has to be enough trust to do that.”

My Favorite Story

Interactive Feature | What Kuhlmann Said

I heard it from Bill Green, who was the chief executive of Accenture, the consulting firm, at the time of our interview. I asked him about his approach to hiring, and near the end of our conversation, he shared this anecdote:

“I was recruiting at Babson College. This was in 1991. The last recruit of the day — I get this résumé. I get the blue sheet attached to it, which is the form I’m supposed to fill out with all this stuff and his résumé attached to the top. His résumé is very light — no clubs, no sports, no nothing. Babson, 3.2. Studied finance. Work experience: Sam’s Diner, references on request.

“It’s the last one of the day, and I’ve seen all these people come through strutting their stuff and they’ve got their portfolios and semester studying abroad. Here comes this guy. He sits. His name is Sam, and I say: ‘Sam, let me just ask you. What else were you doing while you were here?’ He says: Well, Sam’s Diner. That’s our family business, and I leave on Friday after classes, and I go and work till closing. I work all day Saturday till closing, and then I work Sunday until I close, and then I drive back to Babson.’ I wrote, ‘Hire him,’ on the blue sheet. He had character. He faced a set of challenges. He figured out how to do both.”

Mr. Green elaborated on the quality he had just described.

“It’s work ethic,” he said. “You could see the guy had charted a path for himself to make it work with the situation he had. He didn’t ask for any help. He wasn’t victimized by the thing. He just said, ‘That’s my dad’s business, and I work there.’ Confident. Proud.”

Mr. Green added: “You sacrifice and you’re a victim, or you sacrifice because it’s the right thing to do and you have pride in it. Huge difference. Simple thing. Huge difference.”

The story captures a quality I’ve always admired in some people. They own their job, whatever it is.

Best Career and Life Advice

My vote for career advice goes to something I heard from Joseph Plumeri, the vice chairman of First Data, a payments-processing company, and former chief executive of Willis Group Holdings. His biggest career inflection points, he told me, came from chance meetings, giving rise to his advice: “Play in traffic.”

“It means that if you go push yourself out there and you see people and do things and participate and get involved, something happens,” he said. “Both of my great occasions in life happened by accident simply because I showed up.”

Mr. Plumeri learned this lesson firsthand when he was looking for a job while in law school. He was knocking on doors of various firms, including one called Cogan, Berlind, Weill & Levitt. He managed to get an audience with one of the partners, Sandy Weill, who informed the young Mr. Plumeri that this was a brokerage firm, not a law firm.

Despite the awkward moment, something clicked, and Mr. Weill gave him a part-time job. And Mr. Plumeri moved up as the firm evolved into Citigroup, and he spent 32 years there, many of them in top jobs.

“I tell people, just show up, get in the game, go play in traffic,” Mr. Plumeri said. “Something good will come of it, but you’ve got to show up.”

As for life advice, my favorite insight came from Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University. Her suggestion to students:

“They should never assume that they can predict what experiences will teach them the most about what they value, or about what their life should be,” she said. “You have to be open and alert at every turn to the possibility that you’re about to learn the most important lesson of your life.”

Thanks to everyone who followed Corner Office over the years. I hope you found useful lessons in the interviews — I sure did. And thanks to all the executives who were so candid with me about the challenges they’ve faced and the mistakes they’ve made along the way.

Perhaps their stories will inspire others to learn how to be better leaders. It’s not easy, but the ripple effects of thoughtful leadership are worth the effort.

Travel companies ‘furious’ about ongoing funding of tourist safety internet after Monarch collapse

The implosion of Monarch has triggered a furious travel industry row over the price of getting 85,000 stranded holidaymakers home, after taxpayers were hit having a £60m bill.

Tour operators and travel specialists have a few days ago attacked the environment Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL), the state fund made to behave as a security internet for stranded holidaymakers, after 19 from 20 Monarch passengers who booked direct using the air travel and weren’t covered were introduced home free of charge anyway. 

Monarch stopped having to pay in last December included in cost-saving efforts by its owner, the turnaround fund Greybull. The citizen-funded airlift has sparked anger and questions within the £2.50 per booking levy on package holidays that can help fund ATOL.

Mark Tanzer, leader in the Association of British Travel Specialists (ABTA) stated it “certainly didn’t have say” within the Government’s decision to pay for to create home Monarch’s customers or even the subsequent attempts to try and recoup a few of the money. 

“This is totally unsatisfactory,” he stated. “The citizen will finish up obtaining a sizable bill, no matter what, and also the market is left wondering what’s the reason for ATOL protection if everybody will get introduced home anyway? Also it sets a precedent for the following air travel failure, where customers expects exactly the same free repatriation.”

What’s ATOL, and just how do you use it?

ATOL was produced in 1973 as foreign package holidays incorporating both flights and accommodation grew to become more prevalent. A number of failures left Britons stranded abroad also it was made the decision a security internet was needed, 

although this doesn’t extend up to the more modern idea of holidaymakers creating their very own packages by purchasing a flight ticket and accommodation individually and doesn’t always affect flight-only bookings. 

The has additionally been further angered by attempts in the Department for Transport (DfT) to recuperate a few of the price of the save flights from package tour providers.

It’s understood the DfT has requested companies for £250 per seat despite the fact that in some instances this may be significantly greater than a 3rd party carrier might have compensated Monarch for flying the passenger home on their own scheduled return flight.

Why Monarch lost in the finish – How Europe’s largest airlines stacked up

Such an amount might be particularly punitive for smaller sized travel specialists among ABTA’s 1,200-strong cohort that do not, unlike their bigger travel company cousins, run an air travel and for that reason use a 3rd party carrier like Monarch for each holiday they offer.

The CAA organised the Monarch airlift that is reputed is the greatest repatriation since Dunkirk. Cash for that operation originated from the aviation regulator’s own budget but it’s seeking recompense in the DfT.

It’s understood the DfT and CAA are thinking about how protection might be extended to produce a more comprehensive safety internet, though no formal discussions have started. The DfT stated it had been trying to recover its costs.

Volkswagen denies cost-fixing collusion by German carmakers

German carmakers being investigated over possible collusion didn’t participate in cost fixing or perhaps an illegal cartel, Volkswagen’s leader Matthias Mueller stated on Wednesday.

Eu antitrust staff have raided Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW included in an analysis into whether or not they conspired to repair prices in diesel along with other technologies over several decades.

“I don’t have any understanding of cost fixing,” Mr Mueller stated in a conference in Stuttgart. “We greatly respect the cartel law.”

Mr Mueller’s comment chimes with remarks produced by his counterpart at Daimler, Dieter Zetsche, who told the conference late on Tuesday that cooperation among German rivals was for that good of consumers coupled with not injured them.

The EU’s competition watchdog stated in This summer it had become investigating German carmakers as a result of some advice-off after Der Spiegel magazine reported that Daimler, BMW, VW and it is Audi and Porsche arms had colluded towards the hindrance of consumers and foreign rivals.

Mr Mueller stated the German carmakers had cooperated on standardisation issues underneath the leadership of Germany’s VDA industry lobby, without having to be more specific.

Also on Wednesday, Mr Mueller stated VW could accept a Chinese compromise on electric vehicle quotas to combat polluting of the environment.

Beijing wants electric and compounds to create up a minimum of a fifth of China’s vehicle sales by 2025 and intends to release joint-venture rules to attain its aim.

Reuters

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Food destroyed by drought could feed greater than 80m each day, states World Bank

The meals produce destroyed by droughts could be enough to give a rustic having a population how big Germany’s every single day for any year, the planet Bank has reported.

In new research, it stated, the “shockingly large and frequently hidden” effects of prolonged periods without rain threatened to stunt the development of kids and condemn these to an eternity of poverty.

The report stated the lost food production associated with drought would feed greater than 80 million people every single day for any year, adding that although floods and storm surges had an instantaneous impact, droughts were “misery in slow motion”.

The Planet Bank stated ladies were born in droughts bore the marks for his or her whole lives, becoming an adult psychologically and physically stunted, undernourished and unwell.

New data implies that women born during droughts had less use of education, had more children and were more prone to are afflicted by domestic violence. Problems brought on by droughts were forwarded to generation x, resulting in a vicious circle of poverty.

Droughts reduce crop yields, forcing maqui berry farmers to grow into nearby forests, the financial institution stated, adding: “Since forests behave as an environment stabiliser which help regulate water supplies, deforestation decreases supply of water and exacerbates global warming.” For firms, the economical price of a drought was four occasions as large as a ton, it stated.

Guangzhe Chen, senior director around the globe Bank’s water global practice, stated: “These impacts demonstrate why it’s more and more essential that we treat water such as the valuable, exhaustible, and degradable resource that it’s. We have to better comprehend the impacts water scarcity, that will be severe because of growing populations along with a altering climate.”

The Planet Bank stated that lots of the countries impacted by drought overlapped with areas already facing large food deficits which were considered fragile, heightening the necessity to tackle the issue.

A woman walks across a dry riverbed in Kenya

A lady walks across a dry riverbed in Turkana, Kenya on 18 October 2017. Photograph: Jennifer Huxta for that Protector

Its report suggested constructing new water storage and management infrastructure, along with an approach to control the interest in water. It advised tougher regulating power companies operating in metropolitan areas so they receive incentives to take a position and enhance their performance. Safety nets ought to be set up to assist families cope when droughts switched into economic shocks.

“If we don’t take deepening water deficits and also the bigger and much more frequent storms that global warming brings seriously, we’ll find water scarcity distributing to new regions around the globe, potentially exacerbating problems with violence, suffering, and migration,” stated the report’s author Richard Damania. “Current means of managing water are less than the task. This ocean-change will need a portfolio of policies that acknowledge the economical incentives involved with managing water from the source, towards the tap, and to its source.”

T-charge: What’s the new London emissions charge and just how does it affect you?

Motorists of older, more polluting vehicles will need to pay a regular £10 charge they are driving into manchester, beginning from Monday.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan features the toxicity charge, or T-charge, to inspire individuals to drive less polluting cars, inside a bid to enhance the capital’s quality of air. 

What’s the T-charge?

Individuals with gas or diesel cars, vans, minibuses, HGVs, buses and coaches that do not satisfy the Euro 4/IV emissions standards, have to pay £10 each day they are driving in manchester.  For quadricycles or motorised tricycles, the minimum standard needed to prevent having to pay the charge is Euro 3.

The charge is on the top from the existing £11.50 congestion charge and arrived to pressure on Monday. The T-charge operates inside the same zone because the congestion charge and it is payable throughout the same hrs: 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. 

That has to pay for the T-charge?

The T-charge, formally referred to as Emissions Surcharge, pertains to most cars registered before 1 The month of january 2006, once the new Euro 4 standards grew to become mandatory. A small amount of cars registered before this date met the factors. 

Transport for London advises motorists to check on their vehicle registration certificate (referred to as a V5C), that will advise the date of first registration. For newer vehicles, the Euro emission standard ought to be indexed by section D.2. 

In case your vehicle meets the needed Euro emission standard, you won’t be required to spend the money for T-charge. You may also check if you need to pay simply by entering your vehicle’s number plate into TfL’s T-charge checker.

Motorcycles, in addition to taxis and hire vehicles licensed by TfL, aren’t susceptible to the T-charge.

How do you spend the money for T-charge?

Motorists spend the money for T-Charge uses in the same manner because the congestion charge: Either through the TfL website or through the auto-pay system which debits your bank account every month.

Should you presently make use of the auto-pay choice for the congestion charge, your monthly statement will likewise incorporate T-Charge.

If you do not pay by night time around the charging next day of you drove within the zone, you will get a problem Charge Notice.

Why has got the Mayor based in london introduced within the T-charge?

The T-charge is supposed to improve quality of air within the capital that has frequently breached EU limits recently. One reason for it has been particulate and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel cars, most of which are much more polluting than manufacturers had claimed. The Federal Government formerly incentivised motorists to buy diesel cars as a means of getting lower CO2 emissions due to their superior fuel efficiency.

A variety of research has linked poor quality of air to elevated cases of cardiovascular disease, cancer of the lung, stroke, and bronchial asthma. Diesel cars that satisfy the latest Euro 6 standard emit under one sixth the quantity of NOx and something tenth from the particulate matter that Euro 3 cars emit.

Mr Khan stated on Monday that customers were already leaving more polluting vehicles, pointing to some 20 percent stop by diesel sales in August. The Mayor believes the extra charge will reinforce that shift and hasten the proceed to greener cars. 

Explaining why he’d introduced the T-charge, Mr Khan stated: “As Mayor I’m going to take urgent action to assist cleanup London’s lethal air. The shameful proportions of the general public health crisis London faces, with a large number of premature deaths brought on by polluting of the environment, should be addressed.

“Today marks a significant milestone within this journey with the development of the T-Charge to inspire motorists to ditch polluting, dangerous vehicles.

“London presently has the earth’s toughest emission standard, with older more polluting vehicles having to pay as much as £21.50 each day they are driving within the center from the city. The T-charge is really a walking stone towards the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, that could be introduced as soon as 2019.

“This it’s time to face up and join the fight to obvious the toxic air we have to breathe.”

Some campaigners have stated the modification doesn’t go far enough, however. “The Mayor has promised in the manifesto to revive London’s quality of air to legal and safe limits which means he needs to perform a good deal more,” stated Simon Birkett, from Climate London.

“We want him to do something that are bigger, more powerful and smarter.”

What’s the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone?

The Mayor states the T-charge is really a step for the “Ultra-Low Emissions Zone” that they has promised to produce in Manchester from September 2020. This can operate inside the same limitations because the T-charge, and can apply 24 hrs each day, 7 days per week, with vehicles needed to satisfy tighter quality of air targets. 

All diesel cars, vans and minibuses, in addition to all lorries, buses and coaches will need to satisfy the latest Euro 6/Mire standards, or pay a regular charge.

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What Americans fear so much in age Trump

4th annual survey of yankee fears.

Amongst other things, laptop computer asks respondents how afraid they’re in excess of 70 frightening subjects, including spiders, medical bills and thermonuclear war.

In accordance with this past year, the list shows there has been a transfer of anxieties using the beginning from the Trump administration. “The 2017 listing of fears clearly reflects political unrest and uncertainty within the wake of Jesse Trump’s election as president,” the study’s authors authored.

Government corruption was tops about this year’s list, with 75 % of respondents saying these were scared of it, up from 61 percent this past year. Beyond corruption, everyone was most worried about healthcare, North Korea and pollution, an expression in area of the topics in news reports once the survey was administered this spring.

Below you will find a chart evaluating the entire lists of fears this past year which year. It’s lengthy, so take a look, and we’ll meet at the end to go over.

thinking about whether or not to withdraw in the Paris climate accord. The administration was also firing Environmental Protection Agency scientists around that point.

Other ecological anxieties within the top ten incorporated polluting of the environment (45 percent feared it, more than double the amount 21 percent who feared it this past year) and global warming (feared by 48 percent, up from 32 percent).

A perennial anxiety isn’t getting enough money for future years, which made an appearance within the top 10 fears both this season and last. The proportion of american citizens citing that like a concern elevated to 50 %, up from 40 % this past year.

Another big group of fear this season is existential threats. This past year, for example, about one-third of american citizens were concerned about the nation getting associated with another world war. This season, nearer to 50 % rate that like a fear.

Similarly, 48 percent of american citizens say they are concerned about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, which wasn’t requested about this past year.

Also notable within this year’s listing of top fears is what’s absent from this: terrorism, the dying of family members, and government limitations on guns. While similar figures of individuals stated they fear individuals occasions in accordance with this past year, this season they have been replaced through the other difficulties in the above list.

Going farther lower their email list things start getting just a little esoteric. Sharks, for example, have to do with as frightful (25 %) to individuals as severe illness, thievery, and computers taking their jobs. People ranked reptiles as a little more frightening than hurricanes, although, had laptop computer been conducted following the summer’s record-breaking storm season individuals figures could have been different.

There has been a stop by the percent of people that state that they are scared of whites losing their majority status within this country, from 18 percent this past year to 11 percent this season. Americans now rank that inevitable event as about as frightening as the chance of an enormous volcanic eruption.

Minimal-frightening factor out there this season? “Animals,” that are feared by under 4 % of people — just beneath the percent of respondents who stated these were scared of ghosts and zombies.