Connect with us


I cloned myself with AI. She scammed my bank and my family




The Surreal Evolution of Jim VandeHey’s Health



Jim VandeHey was a hyperactive political reporter and editor who peppered his subjects with bullets at 5 a.m. about missed stories and low-quality headlines, a disruptor of Beltway journalism dating back to the Wild West of digital media, who preached “win in the morning” and co-founder of two media companies ( including this one), sold for hundreds of millions of dollars.

But is his real true calling a lifestyle guru?

Consider VandeHey’s weekly posts over the last couple of years at Axios, the firm he founded in 2016 and sold last year (he’s still its CEO): VandeHey wants you to choose joy. he wants you be generous. he wants you avoid insecure people. you should”purge everyone with bad values ​​and motives,” hug “beautiful clarity of true sincerity” And “always assume a positive intentionfrom the people in your life. “Love is your secret sauce“Hey, guardians.

When it comes to role models, forget Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, or any of the pompous and brutal business bosses of yesteryear. “Be like Goldilocks‘ one column stated. “Be like Zelenskyadvised another. Third advised readers to be like Mr. Rogers, the icon of children’s television, and Mike Allen, the journalist and co-founder of Axios. “We often glorify those who break, invent or build something with bravado,” he wrote. “But I learned more by studying two men of extraordinary modesty.”

As a good self-help star, VandeHey delivers good news in a way that turns it into a kind of theology. This is where readers come in.”Razor of Axios(“the easiest way to do something is usually the correct one”). There is”Doctrine Liz”, taken from a management conversation with DoorDash CEO Liz Jarvis-Sheen. And don’t forget about 10 commandments for success at work (Number eight: “Optimal performance is impossible without healthy relationships, diet and exercise, and spirituality and mindfulness beyond that.”)

By this point, readers are only familiar with VandeHey’s reputation in Washington as an aggressive and militant politician in the media, and may wonder if some mischievous hippie sprinkled peyote on his curds. What happened to SCOOP ads in all caps?

VandeHey’s new incarnation of Zen fits in nicely with the rest of the Finish Line, Axios’ daily newsletter that promises “tips and tricks for smarter thinking” and operates as a goop of sorts for aspiring executives, with nuggets of health, social science and psychology accompanied by frequent inspirational pieces of wisdom for well-being. One contribution by Allen presented Palantir CEO explains why you should run like a snail. Another one by VandeHei and Erica Pandey hand strengthening exercises promoted as the key to longevity.

“The idea behind Finish Line was that you watch Netflix with your significant other,” says Allen, whose byline also tops the news bulletins. “You pick up the phone. You can scroll through doom and read something that makes you feel bad. Or you can actually use Finish Line to give you something healthy, wholesome, reassuring.”

Perhaps this is how civilians should interact with him.

But I knew about the “run like a snail” and “work your hands” columns, not to mention the atmosphere of peace and love, because I’m a journalist in Washington, and there seems to be a whole culture around Beltway comrades. insiders are emailing, messing around and instant messaging each other excerpts from the Finish Line, often accompanied by some version of “WTF”. Who are these “zone flooding” guys to preach about choosing joy or avoiding the roll of fate? Axios wouldn’t hire a career coach or fitness expert for political coverage – maybe they’re playing tricks on us by doing the opposite?

The common denominator of most people gawking at the leader columns is that—unlike me—they at some point interacted as fellow journalists or competitors to VandeHey, whose former public image was that of a leader who favored belligerent analogies and punches in breast. football coach’s style of conversation in the locker room. As a co-founder of POLITICO, he wished to create a game-changing publication before leaving due to, to put it mildly, dissatisfaction with his leadership and headlines about financial losses and a polarized culture. Shortly thereafter, he founded Axios. Both editions have since been sold, several of my colleagues lived through it all, but I didn’t show up until six years later. My only experience with VandeHei was in a previous job as a magazine editor who covered fireworks his departure.

Still, the sight of any type of Washington suddenly falling out of its former public reputation is always interesting. Was the old image incomplete? Or has something changed, and the lord-admirer-of-people-who-breaks-things has become the lord-admirer-of-extraordinary-humility? Or is there some other dynamic going on that says something about the larger ecosystem of the capital?

“Now I am no less energetic,” VandeHey told me. “I still get up at 4:30 in the morning. I still work around the clock. I think I’m still demanding of myself and demanding of others. But I would like to think that I have evolved as a leader in terms of how I take that ambition and energy and use it in a way that brings out the best.”

This is more or less what you’ll also learn from the columns, many of which unroll a familiar foil to illustrate the moral of the story: Jim VandeHey. That is Jim VandeHey a few years ago.

According to New Jim, Old Jim constantly ruined everything because of his temperament, impulsiveness and selfishness. Old Jim’s booboos are object lessons in New Jim’s wisdom, reinforcing columns about the importance of be kind when you fire people, use of “soft power” to avoid a sweatshop, or not slipping into win-win conflicts.

This is a charming literary device. To be sure, the slip-ups that the humble New Jim attributes to young Jim tend to be petty offenses, things that are relatively easy to deal with if you’re the person who sold your startup for a mint—mostly for a small sum. – tactical misses with the ball, not high-profile shenanigans like those that focused on the excerpt from this publication.

Aside from the payback (or not) of one person with their track record, the leaderboards actually reflect something more, both about society at the moment and how people govern in 2023. high-ranking politicians and high-profile politicians—was someone who valued dues, resignation to low wages, and a low attitude to prove himself in a hyper-competitive game. Successful organizations also had high burnout rates.

For reasons ranging from generational tastes to workforce challenges in the age of Covid, this model is faltering.

“I think the young workers were asking us for something very different than what we were asking our employer when we started playing, right?” VandeHey says. “For example, let’s be honest, when we got a job after college, we wanted to get paid. And we didn’t want anyone to hit us, right? We never thought about culture.” Newcomers to journalism today, he says, tend to say, “I want more. I want goals. I want to make sure you as a company care about the things that matter to me, about diversity and inclusion.”

Of course, he is hardly the only one who made this discovery. Managerial thinking has evolved throughout the knowledge industry – it’s just that most of George Patton, who has suddenly discovered his inner Dalai Lama, seems reluctant to share it with the world. VandeHey, with his instinct for self-promotion (and a column to fill out), prefers to shout new values ​​from the rooftops, Nixon’s reinvention for China that the once political scribe might have loved to cover. In doing so, he has evolved into perhaps the most famous example of the 2023 Beltway leadership model: the assertive empath.

VandeHey says people have teased him about the wise men’s columns, so he’s not entirely devoid of self-awareness. But personally, he comes across as a true believer – and none of the employees of the company hinted to me that behind the public presentation of a good guy, there is a secret dungeon master. This is part of his style: in each of his incarnations, he has always been a zealous missionary of whatever religious religion he adhered to.

However, the other truth of today’s media is that just as worker bees have changed, so have some stars. Arianna Huffington has gone from CEO to well-known sleep promoter. Many famous media figures have associated themselves with causes, values ​​or styles without leaving their positions.

It simply means that whether you appreciate the wisdom of the speakers or not, VandeHey has many advantages, from recruitment to sales, to establish himself as a sensitive media leader of the moment. Axios reports that Finish Line is in the top five of its top 50 newsletters (which includes local newsletters). Just as a firm has taken its “smart brevity” format and monetized it as a concept (a book, a service, a TED talk, countless interviews with leading CEO chroniclers), so can VandeHey’s thoughts on leadership: the book is in the works, although he does not say when it will be released or what it will be called (other than that it will not be called finish line).

You don’t have to wait for a book to come out to see how the marketing instinct works. Consider the saga of the motto. Last March, VandeHei wrote column describing ideal Axios employees: “Killers with humility.” The idea was to find “insanely talented and ambitious people (hitmen) who put others and the company first (humility)”. So far, so good. Various comments about exaltation and grace followed.

But then the public—or at least other members of the high-ranking caste of yakker leaders— suspended. It turned out the “killers” were problematic. The word, which had no less impact than Huffington wrote, “seems like a holdover from the workplace model we are leaving behind—one where executives (and presumably everyone else in business) liked to quote Sun Tzu’s Art of War.” and only talked about success in terms of ‘kill him’, ‘crush him’, ‘have only one throat to choke’ and sleep when they’re dead.”

what to do Old Jim might have snapped at Huffington, calling her soft and sloppy. Not New Jim. He ditched the “killers”—and in the process got a whole second column built in part on how he suppressed his defensive instincts. “We have the humility to listen,” he wrote. “And we think they’re right!” The column invited readers to subscribe to the newsletter and submit suggestions for changing the motto.

Finish line in a month announced a vote at a company retreat, and the new term was “selfless superstars”. For those counting at home, the short announcement was the third piece of content from the quest motto. Humility seems to be for sale.

Continue Reading


Republicans object to WinRed’s plan to raise fees for online donations



The battle over the price hike threat has exposed growing tensions between top GOP officials and a company that has a virtual monopoly on online processing of GOP campaign donations.

Party leaders have spoken out against a price hike plan that would siphon millions of dollars out of GOP campaigns less than 20 months after WinRed said its finances were strong enough to waive additional per-transaction fees.

In a series of private meetings in recent weeks, Gerrit Lansing, President of WinRed, told Republican National Committee leaders, House and Senate campaigns, and former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign that WinRed prices should rise.

All Republican officials objected.

Mr. Lansing’s company, the privately held business firm responsible for processing nearly all online Republican political donations, charges 3.94 percent on nearly every donation made online. But he said it wasn’t enough, citing an unexpected downturn in online GOP donations last year, as well as plans to expand WinRed’s suite of services. He proposed a 30-cent transaction fee on each of the tens of millions of upcoming contributions in the 2024 race, according to several people directly involved in the negotiations or informed of them.

According to people involved in the talks, the price hike plan appears to have stalled due to aggressive GOP facilities. But the episode has accelerated talk at the highest level of the party about the decision four years ago to clear the way for WinRed to dominate online donation processing, and whether the business model needs to be re-evaluated.

Democrats process the majority of online donations through ActBlue, which, unlike WinRed, is an independent non-profit organization. ActBlue charges a flat rate of 3.95 percent per donation and does not charge any additional transaction fees.

“WinRed is constantly evaluating what it takes to compete with and stay ahead of ActBlue, fight the Democrats’ campaign to attack us with every means available, and continue to make the necessary investments to give our customers the features they need to win,” WinRed said. in a statement. “WinRed does not currently have pricing announcements.”

Representatives of party committees declined to comment.

Mr. Lansing’s drive to attract outside investors to expand WinRed’s digital footprint and offerings, including talks with advisers to Paul Singer, a major Republican financier, sparked further discussions about the company’s ownership structure.

The little-known online donation processing industry is of great importance to Republicans because the party has faced a persistent shortage of digital fundraising funds compared to Democrats. WinRed is considered the linchpin of the party’s plans to close this gap.

Huge sums involved. During the 2022 federal election, nearly 31.2 million donations were made to WinRed, worth almost $1.2 billion. The upcoming presidential cycle could easily double that number.

The creation of WinRed in 2019 was to be one of Trump’s enduring legacies within the Republican infrastructure. a bold attempt to unite the party around a single platform to help close the Republican Party’s fundraising gap with ActBlue. Mr Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Mr Trump’s then campaign manager Brad Parscale were personally involved in the affair.

The site was largely a success, gaining near-universal acclaim among GOP campaigners.

Initially, WinRed charged 3.8% in fees, with an additional transaction fee of 30 cents. This was a particularly large proportion of small donations—68 cents, for example, or nearly 7 percent of a $10 donation.

In late 2021, Mr. Lansing trumpeted the elimination of the 30 cent transaction fee, saying the company was able to “Achieving and Maintaining Scale”. But the decision by credit card companies to raise their own fees shortly thereafter made WinRed’s move unsustainable, according to a person close to the company, as most of its processing fees are quickly spent on credit card costs.

In recent weeks, Mr. Lansing has told party officials that WinRed suffered a financial loss in 2022 as a result of Republican donation cuts and that it needs to reintroduce transaction fees through 2024 to continue broader investment in technology.

Since WinRed is a privately held firm, its executive compensation and financial position remain largely hidden from prying eyes. Records show federal candidates and committees paid at least $64 million to WinRed in the 2022 election cycle; according to a person close to WinRed, these funds were not all from processing fees, but also included significant vendor fees.

His Democratic party counterpart ActBlue also ran into financial difficulties, announcing her plans in early April. lay off 17 percent of its workforce. ActBlue reveals more of its finances than its counterpart, including the number of donors who have volunteered to add “tips” to their donations. These tips go directly to ActBlue, and by the end of 2022, ActBlue’s federal account had a balance of $68.7 million.

According to people who took part in the discussions, Mr. Lansing began to discuss adding the ability to give advice to the Republican site.

WinRed is facing other unique challenges, including an investigation by several state attorneys general into the firm’s use of pre-marked boxes that automatically enrolled donors for repeat donations unless they opted out. A 2021 New York Times investigation revealed how the widespread use of these boxes, known internally as “money bombs” to withdraw more than one donation at a time, sparked a huge wave of refund claims and fraud complaints at credit card companies. . end of campaign 2020.

WinRed sued to block subpoenas but lost a key legal battle in February when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit rules that the investigation could continue in Minnesota.

In New York, State Attorney General Letitia James’ December statement demanding compliance with the subpoena provided insight into internal documents her office had already obtained.

The application cites an internal WinRed memo stating that at one point in June 2020, donors who had selected multiple donations through pre-tagged boxes caused a spike in phone calls and a “long queue of 10,000 messages in one weekend” . Recurring donations declined over time, the memorandum suggested, because “as donors got used to or went through the process, they became smarter.”

One Republican candidate who saw a surge in requests for refunds from people who unwittingly agreed to regular donations was Kelly Loeffler, a senator who lost her second round in Georgia in January 2021 and found the WinRed experience distasteful.

“It was a wake-up call,” Ms. Loeffler said in an interview, referring to the flood of refund requests.

Ms. Loeffler, a former co-owner of the Atlanta women’s National Basketball Association team, has since bought donation processing technology from a Republican firm that went out of business after WinRed was created. She has rebranded the technology and now uses it to run RallyRight, another online donation company.

“We saw a need for a competitor in this market,” Ms. Loeffler said.

So far, it’s underperforming WinRed on the price—charging 3.5 percent of donations—and ensuring that “no campaign can automatically tick the recurring payment box.” She declined to name the specific Republican groups she spoke to, but said the price could be even lower—as much as 3 percent—given the “scale of some of the organizations we’re talking to.”

Ms. Loeffler said she was in business not for personal gain, but to funnel more money into campaigns. “It’s absolutely not that I make millions of dollars,” she said. “I did it.”

Continue Reading


This GOP MP Helped Block ‘Insanely Repressive’ Abortion Bill: NPR



Republican Senator Sandy Senn of South Carolina on Wednesday opposed a near-total ban on abortion.

James Pollard/AP

hide title

switch title

James Pollard/AP

Republican Senator Sandy Senn of South Carolina on Wednesday opposed a near-total ban on abortion.

James Pollard/AP

Sandy Senn believes that legislators cannot tell a woman what is best for her own life.

Who is she? Senator Sandy Senn is a Republican from South Carolina representing Charleston’s 41st district.

  • She took office in 2016 and has focused on issues related to floods, law enforcement, improving infrastructure, and offering vocational training to students in addition to traditional secondary education.

Do you think? Senn recently took a stand on another controversial issue that is dividing the Republican Party: the right to abortion.

  • Last week, South Carolina’s near-total abortion ban collapsed in the Senate after the only five female lawmakers in the House united in a multi-day fight against the bill.
  • Senn was one of them, joining two other Republicans, as well as a Democrat and an Independent. Senn criticized Majority Leader Shane Massey, saying he was leading the party “blindly off a cliff”.
  • This is the third time that a bill aimed at effectively banning abortion in Palmetto State has been proposed since Roe v. UK was overturned. Wade last year. This iteration would ban abortion at conception, with some exceptions for rape, incest, and life-threatening complications to the health of the fetus or mother.

To learn more about politics, listen Consider this episode about the return of John Fetterman to Congress.

What does she say?

During the filibuster, Senn Senn said the problem was control.

The abortion laws, each one, were about control. It’s always about control, clear and simple. And in the Senate, everything is controlled by men. We women didn’t ask… and don’t want your protection. We don’t need it. There’s nothing I can do when women like me get hurt other than make sure you get deep praise.

On Friday, Senn spoke with NPR’s Melissa Block to discuss her stance on reproductive rights and what she sees for the GOP’s future stance on the issue.

On his opposition to South Carolina’s abortion ban:

It’s insanely depressing. I don’t like any bills that I think are radical. And whether it’s on the left or on the right. And I really want politics to move more towards the middle. And on these diverse issues, he simply should be included in the ballot. And the men in our legislature just won’t let that happen. And our legislature is overwhelmingly made up of men.

On what role she thinks the government should play in regulating abortion:

In my opinion, this is exactly the place where I went down, and this is the best moderate place that I know, this is the first trimester, except for. But these people, especially in the House of Representatives, they have a meeting called the Liberty Conference. They’re just obsessed that it’s going to be zero abortions or nothing, they say they’re not going to do this for six weeks, they’re not going to do this for 12 weeks, it’s going to be zero or nothing.

So right now they are stuck with the law until 22 weeks. And then they turn around and call me a child killer. I received a postcard from my area saying that I killed 5,000 babies this year.

And now what?

  • A 22–21 vote blocked the bill, with six Republicans blocking proposals to end debate and rule out any chance of the bill passing this year. according to the Associated Press.
  • Senn remains skeptical of the GOP movement in her state to ban abortion for up to six weeks, saying there are no votes and won’t even be until 2024: “I just hope I don’t get kicked out as a result. or that others are kicked out. I hope that as a result, more women will run and more moderates will be elected.”

To learn more:

Continue Reading