Wal-Mart Hired Stratfor to Hunt For a Competitor CEO's Mistresses

Adam Weinstein · 11/21/13 04:16PM

The biggest box store on earth asked a private intelligence firm to trawl the Facebook friends of a competitor's CEO for Danish and Hungarian women, then determine if he'd slept with any of them—a request so weird that the spy company said it went too far.

"Oilfield Trash" and a Boom That Won't Last

Ken Layne · 10/08/13 11:18AM

People are strangers out here on the oil patch, and public conversation is terse and muted. You never know when an oil company manager or safety inspector or corporate spy is sniffing around. I learned after the first day in Williston, N.D., that my usual work uniform of an old sports coat and tie made me suspect. Leaving the tie at the motel helped, but not much.

Bakken Boom: Where the Buffalo Are Furloughed

Ken Layne · 10/07/13 10:02AM

Oil wells and sheet-metal buildings are hideous things, but America the Beautiful resumes as soon as you get past the last grim RV park and last signs of our shoddy civilization. The easiest way to refresh the soul is to look on the map for a big chunk of green: a national park or preserve or forest, or in the case of the Bakken, the Little Missouri National Grassland.

American Ugly: Bakken Shantytowns and Stucco Strip Malls

Ken Layne · 10/04/13 02:01PM

Boomtowns don't have to be ugly. San Francisco was built during the Gold Rush, as was Sacramento and dozens of still pretty towns in the Sierra Nevada. Virginia City, home to the Comstock Lode, quickly built up neighborhoods of ornate mansions and a main street that offered everything from Oscar Wilde lectures in the opera house to exotic prostitutes from Australia and China. But since the 1960s, when America lost its ability to see or create beauty, our endless boom and bust cycle produces nothing but garbage: garbage housing, garbage retail, garbage jobs and garbage products.

Boomtown Rats on the Lonesome Prairie

Ken Layne · 10/03/13 03:08PM

Ken Layne, Gawker's America correspondent, is inaugurating his occasional series of reports from the field with a trip to the boom-rich oil fields of North Dakota's Bakken formation, from where he will be filing dispatches all week.

Costco: The Anti-Wal-Mart

Hamilton Nolan · 06/06/13 04:53PM

The must-read capitalist profile of the week is BloombergBusinessweek's look at Costco and its CEO, Craig Jelinek. Costco is the second-largest retailer in America, after Wal-Mart. Their business practices could hardly be more different.

What's The Big Idea? Searching For Meaning at the 'Ideas Festival'

Hamilton Nolan · 05/08/13 10:40AM

Media companies love to wrap themselves (ourselves) in the cloak of "ideas" just as much as advertising firms love to burnish themselves with the patina of "creativity." In both cases, it is self-flattery disguised as public celebration. We the media are not simply engaged in telling you stuff that happens; we are in the more lofty business of propagating ideas. Ideas! Who doesn't love ideas? What sort of ideas? Oh... all types of ideas!

Warren Buffett Joins Twitter, Can Fuck With Stock Prices In Real Time

Adam Weinstein · 05/02/13 11:49AM

If, while web-surfing at work, you ever wonder about the weather in Omaha or pine for platitudes about thriftiness and solid work ethics, take heart! A rich old man has joined Twitter to tell you things, and also to throttle world markets with RTs of Buzzfeed links, so kick back and grab a Werther's Original.

The Five Million Dollars Amazon's Jeff Bezos (and Others) JUST Invested in Business Insider [SLIDESHOW]

Max Read · 04/05/13 10:52AM

Jeff Bezos, Time magazine man of the year 1999, has invested $5 million in the news and slideshow website Business Insider. Bezos' net worth is something like $25 billion, so in real-people money, $5 million to Jeff Bezos is... about 15 bucks. But it's a lot to BI, which has raised around $13 millon so far, and will "do eleven million dollars in revenues this year," according to a New Yorker article from this week. Update!: Bezos is not, actually, investing a whole $5 million; rather, $5 million is the total sum that Business Insider just raised, between an unspecified investment from Bezos and money from previous investors chipping in again.

Business Professor: Don't Major in Business

Hamilton Nolan · 02/14/13 02:47PM

The cold hard truth is that kids who major in business are generally considered to be kind of dumb. Not by us, mind you, but by, you know, people in the world of business. "A business major is a big fucking waste of time," is the consensus opinion of those people that business majors will soon be asking for jobs. Now, the penchant for "telling it like it is" when it comes to majoring in business has come to an unlikely place: business school.

Citigroup to Cut 11,000 Jobs Just Before the Holidays

Robert Kessler · 12/05/12 12:23PM

It's about to be the worst Christmas ever for more than 11,000 Citigroup employees, who will soon be unceremoniously dumped by their Grinchly employer during the happiest time of the year.

Are Shareholders Ruining Corporations?

Hamilton Nolan · 06/28/12 01:56PM

If you read "the business section" or invest in a "portfolio" or are a member of or have ever gotten into an argument with a member of "the Republican Party," you're probably familiar with the argument that corporations have a moral and legal duty to act solely to grow their value for their own shareholders. If you are not a corporation's shareholder, in other words, it has no duty to do shit for you. Now, this idea is being challenged. BUT: should it be?

Business Majors Are Basically Kind of Dumb

Hamilton Nolan · 04/05/12 12:58PM

Now look, before all of you undergrad business majors get all hot under your golf shirt collars and start angrily pounding on your cubicle walls and throwing around your fraternity-branded shot glasses: this is not from me, okay? This is from "The Wall Street Journal," a newspaper that you may have heard of at some point in one of your business classes. (If you haven't, that's okay.) It's not that business majors are bad. Not at all. You're just not as sharp as the other kids.