COVID vaccine distribution gets off to a shaky start

A Happy New Year to all of you, readers.

It’s good to be back in your inbox after the holiday break. It feels a little strange given the events of the past 24 hours. But a pandemic doesn’t stop for a political news cycle, however bleak. In fact, it’s inextricably linked to the decisions of our leaders.

I don’t just mean political leaders, though they play a critical role which they’ve often bungled, including with the current pace of COVID vaccine distribution. We’re beginning to see the last mile problems, the ultimate delivery of a product to a person, which come with such an ambitious vaccination campaign.

Earlier today, the American Hospital Association (AHA) put it bluntly in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar: “There was great celebration in America’s hospitals and health systems last month as we administered the first vaccines to our … Read the rest

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Investors still engage in racist redlining. Why haven’t we done something about it?

I am a Black woman of multiethnic, including white, heritage working in the tech startup world. From this statement alone, it’s obvious I don’t fit the typical mold of Silicon Valley. My background doesn’t either. I spent part of my youth in foster care and was a liberal arts major at UC–Berkeley. 

In college, I became an activist and noticed how many social justice issues were, at their core, economic issues. Entrepreneurship seemed like a possible solution. Though I had no role models or mentors in tech who looked like me, I was determined to get as high up this ladder as possible, with the intention of opening doors for others. 

I started my first company as an undergrad to bootstrap my education. Running a company and learning about investment rules, it didn’t take long to discover that the startup world and financial industry were plagued by the same sexism … Read the rest

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Macy’s is closing 45 stores in the first wave of its turnaround plan

Almost a year ago, Macy’s announced an ambitious turnaround plan to modernize itself that included shedding about a quarter of its big department stores.

Now, the retailer has announced the first tranche of those closings in a move that is gaining urgency because of the pandemic’s impact on its business. Macy’s will soon close 45 of the 125 stores it said last February it would eventually shutter as part of its “Polaris” plan.

Most of the stores being closed are in weak malls from which shoppers have long since defected and which have become an albatross for Macy’s. The chain now wants to focus on its best stores in the highest-caliber “A and B malls,” its e-commerce business, and in the coming years, on new, smaller stores—a format it is currently testing.

“As previously announced, Macy’s Inc. is committed to rightsizing our store fleet by concentrating our existing retail locations … Read the rest

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Shonda Rhimes’s ‘Bridgerton’ series is a major hit for Netflix

“Bridgerton,” a period drama from producer Shonda Rhimes, is on pace to be one of the biggest hits in Netflix’s history.

The series will be seen by 63 million households in its first four weeks, marking the fifth-largest debut of any show on the service, Netflix said Monday. If the program stays on its current trajectory, it will narrowly eclipse “The Queen’s Gambit” as Netflix’s most-watched show in recent months. Still, it will fall short of the Spanish crime series “Money Heist” and the documentary “Tiger King” as the most-watched programs released in 2020.

The show’s popularity helps validate Netflix’s costly move to lure Rhimes away from her longtime home at Walt Disney Co. It committed more than $100 million to persuade Rhimes, the creator of “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” to join the company. She serves as executive producer of “Bridgerton,” which is based on novels by Julia Quinn about … Read the rest

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Why the U.S. needs a national climate investment fund

In recent weeks, we have witnessed the power of innovation to solve catastrophic problems. Most notably, we have seen the extraordinary human accomplishment of delivering vaccines within a year to counter the novel coronavirus, COVID-19—an achievement that was accelerated by the U.S. government’s Project Warp Speed. 

What many people may be less aware of is that across America and other global innovation centers, companies are striving to harness that same power to tackle climate change. Businesses of all sizes are toiling away to deliver products that together could dramatically increase the likelihood that our planet remains comfortably habitable. To cite some examples:

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