Former Uber CEO Says Investor Lawsuit a ‘Public and Personal Attack’

Former Uber CEO Says Investor Lawsuit a 'Public and Personal Attack'

The ousted chief executive of Uber Technologies called a lawsuit filed against him by one of the company’s top investors a “public and personal attack” without merit, according to court documents filed late on Thursday.

Venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, which says it owns 13 percent of Uber and controls 20 percent of the voting power, sued former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick last week to force him off the board, where he still has a seat, and rescind his remaining power there, citing fraud and deception.

Kalanick, in the first court filing in response to the lawsuit, said Benchmark’s legal action is part of a larger scheme to oust him from the company he helped found and take away his power. He also argued that the legal quarrel should take place in arbitration.

ALSO SEEUber Investor Benchmark Capital Says Gave Former CEO Kalanick a Month Before Suing

Benchmark’s lawsuit marks a rare instance of a well-regarded Silicon Valley investor suing the central figure at one of its own, highly successful startups. The case has stunned Silicon Valley’s venture capital community and created a divided Uber board and infighting among shareholders, many of whom have criticised Benchmark for suing.

At issue is a change to the board structure in 2016 to expand the number of voting directors by three, with Kalanick having the sole right to fill those seats.

In its lawsuit, Benchmark argues that Kalanick hid from the board a number of misdeeds, including allegations of trade-secret theft involving autonomous car technology and misconduct by Kalanick and other executives in handling a rape committed by an Uber driver in India, when he asked Uber’s board to give him those extra seats.

Benchmark says it was “fraudulently induced” to agree to the change and wants Kalanick to give up control of those seats.

Kalanick’s court filing rejects that allegation, saying that at the time of the board change “Benchmark was fully aware of all of the allegations involving Kalanick”, yet the firm “made no mention of having been ‘fraudulently induced’ to enter” into the agreement. Through May, the venture firm continued to support him. Then in June, Benchmark was part of a group of five investors who demanded Kalanick’s resignation as Uber’s CEO.

“The Benchmark principals also handed Kalanick a draft resignation letter, and told him he had hours to sign it, or else Benchmark would start a public campaign against him,” the court filing said.

Benchmark first backed Uber in 2011 with an investment of $12 million, according to court filings. With 13 percent ownership at the $68 billion valuation that Uber achieved last year, Benchmark’s stake would be worth almost $9 billion.

“Resorting to litigation was an extremely difficult step for Benchmark,” the firm said in a statement through a spokeswoman. “Failing to act now would mean endorsing behavior that is utterly unacceptable in any company, let alone a company of Uber’s size and importance.”

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

LeakerLocker Android Ransomware Threatens to Leak Your Personal Information to Your Contacts

LeakerLocker Android Ransomware Threatens to Leak Your Personal Information to Your Contacts

It seems as though Google’s Android platform is facing its worst time yet as far as malware infestations go. After two malware-related reports in the past week – CopyCat and SpyDealer – there are now reports of another malware, called LeakerLocker, that has the potential to send your personal pictures, messages and browser history to your friends. What’s more, this malware is also reportedly a ransomware that does not encrypt files.

Popular security technology company, McAfee has discovered that the LeakerLocker ransomware can be accidentally downloaded from the Google Play. As of now, It has noted two apps in particular, Wallpapers Blur HD and Booster & Cleaner Pro, that seem to carry the malware. Notably, the ransomware steals the information, creates an unauthorised backup, but does not encrypt them. Instead, it demands “a modest ransom,” failing which the attacker would leak the victim’s private data to their contacts.

McAfee has reported the ransomware to Google. One of the apps, Wallpapers Blur HD, has been downloaded between 5,000 and 10,000 times, and one user has pointed out that the wallpaper app strangely requests permissions such as calls, reading and sending SMS, access to contacts, among other things. The second malicious app, Booster & Cleaner Pro is an easier target as this is the sort of app that requires access to almost everything in your phone to function properly, which users may unwittingly give permission to.

LeakerLocker is the third in a series of malware-related reports this past week. On Monday, it was reported that an Android malware, named SpyDealer, had the ability to steal a user’s personal data from over 40 popular apps that include Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype, Telegram and more. This comes following another report last week of a CopyCat malware that had reportedly affected over 14 million Android devices last year. These cases have started to paint a pretty gloomy picture about the safety of Android OS, but at least we know that Google is taking some active anti-malware measures to help out its users.

For Android users who feel recent malware-related reports are getting too much for Google’s own good, there may a bit of relief in knowing that the tech giant has been reported to be working on an Android ‘panic button’ that would help users exit a potentially malicious app and back to the home screen. There’s no word on when Google will release this feature, but when last reported, it was being tested on Android 7.1 Nougat. It may not be much, but at least we know Google is taking some active measures to fight off compromised apps.

[“source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Book Review: 365 Personal Brand Marketing Thumb-Rules

365 Marketing Thumb Rules on Personal Branding by Vik RajanIn Vikram Rajan’s 365 Personal Brand Marketing Thumb-Rules: Daily Reminders for Rainmakers: Lawyers, Accountants, Financial Planners, Real Estate and Health & Wellness Professionals”, you get to actually be the author of your own business’ destiny.

In my copy, there is a handwritten note from Vikram that says “This book is not meant to be ‘read’ as much as it is to be used. It’s an interactive compilation to serve as a daily journal or group discussion starter.”

There are explanations, anecdotes and recommendations at www.marketingthumbrules.com. You just enter the key words you find in the book into the search box at the site, and see what Vik has been blogging about on those topics.

Because you have to “do” the book, I randomly chose several topics and approached the whole thing just the way he recommended and the results were truly insightful. If you’re afraid that this will take too much time out of your day, don’t be. The process is easy enough and activates those little ideas hiding in the nether recesses of your mind. The benefit to you is that you will give those fleeting ideas a place to live and grow, just by writing them down.

Here are a few examples of some of my favorite thumb rules:

#1 — The only thing worse than your business being dependent on you, is your business being dependent on somebody else.
#9 — Build in incentives to encourage word-of-mouth marketing
#26 — Perception is reality.
#42 — People trust, enjoy and prefer what is familiar.

I have to admit that I have many more favorites than that, and you will too. What I loved about this process was that it forced me to dig deeper beyond the thumb-rule. The questions I asked myself (and you might want to try this as well) were: In what ways does this apply to me? In what ways can I create a process or system that … [insert a restatement of a thumb-rule here].

The other benefit I noticed is that real action items will come from this process. You will be inspired to act on the actions, document your experience and make changes that you can report on later. Vik has even given you a rating scale at the end of each thumb-rule where you can rate how well you implemented each rule. When you’ve gone through all 365, you can tally up your results. The thumb-rules are in the following categories; Practice Management, Market Positioning, Personal Branding, Professional Prospecting, Ethical Selling, Client Appreciation. After you’ve totaled your scores on each thumb rule category, you can go online and see how you compare to other professionals.

The only critique I have of this book is that it isn’t just for the professionals he targets. If you have the responsibility for getting and keeping customers, this book is for you.

* * * * *

Ivana TaylorAbout the Author: Ivana Taylor has spent over 20 years helping industrial organizations and small business owners get and keep their ideal customers. Her company is Third Force and she writes a blog called Strategy Stew. She is co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers.”

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Separating Your Personal and Business Finances: Why and How

Why and How to Separate Your Personal and Business Finances

New business owners may seek to keep things simple and co-mingle their business and personal finances. This is a BIG mistake. Here’s why, and what you can to do to appropriately separate your financial activities.

Why and How to Separate Your Personal and Business Finances

Why Keep Finances Separate?

There are important financial, legal and tax reasons to separate your finances:

  • Financial. It’s difficult to know how well your business is doing if you can’t easily eyeball a bank balance devoted to your company. You may run into cash flow problems using a single account for business and personal expenses. Also, having a separate credit card for the company helps to build business credit scores.
  • Legal. If your business is a corporation or a limited liability company, you can lose the personal liability protection you sought by setting up such an entity by co-mingling your finances. The reason: If you don’t respect the separate legal status of the entity, creditors may not have to and can go after your personal assets to satisfy their claims. There’s a legal doctrine called “piercing the corporate veil,” which means courts can ignore your entity’s status for purposes of your personal liability for any claims against the business if you haven’t observed the formalities of a separate business entity.
  • Tax. For federal income tax purpose, the law requires you to keep good books and records. This can only be done if you have a business bank account into which you deposit income and from which you pay expenses. A rookie mistake is thinking you can remember what expense is for business, such as a meal, when it comes time to prepare your tax return; you can’t — and it can cost you tax deductions!

How to Keep Finances Separate

It’s really a no brainer. All that is needed to keep your business affairs untangled from your personal money matters is to have a separate business bank account and a separate business credit card. If you choose to use PayPal, also set up an account for your business.

You also need separate accounting for your business income and expenses. So, for example, if you use Quicken or Mint.com to track your personal expenses, use a separate accounting solution, such as QuickBooks, for your business.

To make sure you input expenses into the correct accounting solution, be sure to keep business receipts separate from personal expenditures. This can be done using separate files for paper receipts or separate online folders for e-receipts. Online options, such as Shoeboxed can help you keep track of business receipts.

If you use a home office, business with personal matters can all too easily get mixed up. In order to claim a home office deduction, the space must be used regularly and exclusively for business. Incidental personal use may not kill the deduction, but it’s better to keep personal things out of the home office area.

If you use a paid professional to prepare your tax return, ask that you receive separate invoices for services related to your business and personal income and expenses. For example, if you’re self-employed, an itemized bill enables you to take a business deduction for the cost of preparing Schedule C; the balance is deductible only on Schedule A if you itemize.

Conclusion

Keeping your business and personal life separate is extremely helpful. It’s easy to do. It merely requires a little housekeeping to set things up properly, and then to follow through.

Finances Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]