with Kai Ryssdal

About the Program

Public radio's only national series about the global economy and finance takes a broad view of business, covering any story related to money — most of the world's stories are. Hosted by Kai Ryssdal.

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Staid AAA hopes to get a lift from car-sharing
You know AAA as the big truck that comes to help when your car breaks down on the highway. But the auto club was an original mobility disrupter, one of the first car-service companies back when people were trading in their horses for a Model T. Now it’s the latest entrant to the car-sharing market. AAA’s “Gig” is rolling out in San Francisco as a bid to lure younger members. Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (04/24/2017)

Manufacturing can help itself by hiring more women, study says
For some time we’ve heard that American manufacturing is in long-term decline — and that’s true, at least in terms of how many people it employs and how much of what we consume is made here. But manufacturing has rebounded since the recession, and there are lots of lean, mean, technology-driven manufacturers thriving all over country. Yet employers increasingly complain they can’t find enough skilled workers to meet current demand and grow. A new report says the industry could help itself a huge amount by doing one thing: hiring more women. Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (04/24/2017)

You think Washington has 'forgotten' you — and it doesn't matter what party you're in
He likes to say he inherited a mess, but, economically at least, President Trump was dealt a pretty good hand when he was inaugurated.  The American economy’s been adding jobs for the past 78 months – six and a half years – as just one big indicator.  And while the overall macro-economic numbers aren’t going gangbusters, they’re generally solid and consumer confidence is strong. But. There’s a disconnect. As we’ve been reporting for the past couple of years, people across the country aren’t feeling that economic strength in their own lives, in large part because the headline gains we’ve seen since the end of the recession – almost eight years ago now – simply haven’t been equally distributed. We launched our Marketplace-Edison Research Poll in October 2015 to track over time how Americans are really feeling about this economy. Today, we’re releasing our first snapshot under the Trump administration. The overall takeaway? We’re feeling less anxious, for one thing. Our Economic Anxiety Index has fallen for the first time since we started doing this poll.   There’s one group, though, feeling more anxious: 18- to 24-year-olds. Sarah Menendez/Marketplace We’re also less worried about losing our jobs, being able to pay our mortgage or rent, and whether we’ll be able to save for retirement than we were six months ago. It’s not all sunshine and light, though. Nearly three-quarters of Americans feel the government in Washington has forgotten them – a sentiment that cuts across party lines. We’re very concerned about health care; it’s our No. 1 economic issue. Half of Americans say they worry about health care “a lot.” And only 43 percent of Americans approve of the way President Trump is handling the U.S. economy. Here are a few other key findings: • Most Americans support passing a large infrastructure bill, a policy that Trump campaigned on and one that many Democratic politicians support, but one that has not been addressed in the administration’s first 100 days. • A majority of Americans think building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico will hurt the U.S. economy. • A majority of Americans think expanding the number of visas for short-term or skilled workers would help the U.S. economy. • The percentage of Americans that completely distrust the economic data reported by the federal government, such as the unemployment rate, has declined from 25 percent to 18 percent. This is largely driven by an increase in trust among Republicans. There’s more great data in here – about job security, outsourcing and whether Americans think government should be run like a business.  (Hint: we’re just about evenly split on that business thing.) We'll dive into a lot of these results in our upcoming coverage, but for now, view the full poll results here. Dig in. Tell us what you think. And take our economic anxiety quiz to see how you compare to the national average. (04/24/2017)

How to ace a job interview? We asked a manager
Want to work? Chances are you'll need to interview. Trying to charm a potential employer isn't everyone's idea of fun, but Yale professor Jason Dana questions whether job interviews are useful at all.Some of you reached out to Marketplace Weekend with your thoughts:, the job interview isn't going anywhere anytime soon. So what to do when you put in an application and then get the call for "a chat?" We've got you covered. Alison Green from the popular blog Ask a Manager, joins the show to answer all the questions you wish you could ask your boss — or potential boss.Here are her takeaways to ace that next job interview:Put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes: "If you were looking at yourself as a candidate, what's the evidence you'd look for to prove you can excel at this job?"Prepare for the question you're most afraid of: "Most people have an interview question that they dread being asked ... whether it's salary, or why they left their last job. It's so much better to figure out what the thing is that you're worried about so you can plan an answer and practice delivering it in a way that you're comfortable with."Ask about salary (if you want): "It is important to realize that some people still buy into [thinking it's rude to ask about salary], and you do take a risk if you ask about salary during an interview. I do think it's changing, and I do think people are becoming more reasonable and realistic about this. I also think it's safer to ask about salary later in the process if it's turning into multiple interviews or ... if you're being asked to invest serious time or even money in taking part in the interview process, it becomes more understandable." For more tips from Alison Green, click on the media player above. (04/21/2017)

Steve Ballmer says numbers and facts still matter
President Trump said today his tax reform plan will be ready on Wednesday. While we're waiting, how about getting an idea of where exactly all those trillions of tax dollars are going? There's a new website called USAFacts, and its stated goal is to help anyone search through mountains of government data and see where their tax dollars end up. Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, is the man behind the site. Kai Ryssdal spoke with Ballmer about why he created USAFacts, why he thinks of it kind of like a 10-K for government and why it's important for him that the facts reflected remain nonpartisan and complete. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.  Kai Ryssdal: Why did you do this? You just looking for something to do in retirement? Steve Ballmer: Well, I was actually talking to my wife right after I retired about our philanthropic work. And we're focused in on kids who grow up with less shot, let's say, than they deserve at the American dream. And I said, "Look, it's OK, all we really need to do is to pay our taxes, because the government really serves those communities." And she didn’t find that a very good answer. And I found it really important then to go off and really learn the way I like to — I'm a numbers guy — by the numbers. What is government doing with our tax dollars and how successful are they being? Ryssdal: So how did you do it? I mean did you go talk to a couple of people and said, "Listen, if I wanted to do this what would I have to do? Because it's an overwhelming amount of data. Ballmer: Well, what I really did is I went to my old trusty search engine, in my case Microsoft Bing, and I started searching around the internet to try to find the kind of data that was useful. Some of the stuff was pretty good, but it didn't have as much detail, it didn't look as much at outcomes. And I just said, "Look, I really would like to dive in and understand this more." I went looking for the equivalent of a business 10-K. And certainly somebody must do — government requires companies that are listed to do it, you know, public companies. Why doesn't government do it itself? But such a thing didn't exist, and I made that kind of my retirement project. Ryssdal: So you've got this data now, and it's really well presented —  the website is great, and you actually came up with a government 10-K, which I spent some time flipping through this morning, and honestly, you could lose yourself in there because there's all kinds of interesting little tidbits. But what do you want people to do with this? I mean, you're a little bit like Mulholland and Los Angeles water, right? “Here it is. Take it.” Right? Ballmer: Yeah. No, I hear you. It's very important to me that we be entirely nonpartisan and we be very complete, because part of what I think happens in the political dialogue is two things. No. 1, people will take a number out of context, and they'll say it's very large when it may not be very large in the context of what's happened historically or other numbers. The second thing is people will use adjectives, and somebody will call something huge and somebody else will call another thing small. And they really are not very far apart, and numbers don't know partisanship. They don't know how to be liberal or conservative. But we don't want to be the guy, the people who say, "This is what the country should do." We want to facilitate, let me say, the democratic process and people really sharing this kind of information. Ryssdal: Small "d" democratic, I get that, and I appreciate the motive. But surely you understand that you are now injecting fact into a post-fact world. Ballmer: I don’t know, I'm enough of an optimist to assume ultimately numbers matter. Facts matter. I mean, you could say in the political debate, "Will these be more front and center or not?" But every day jobs will be created or they won't. Every day the government will spend money or receive money from taxpayers or it won't. And ultimately, I think people really do care as budgets get prepared, as people like to keep their jobs. I think the government and government entities will be every bit as accountable as any business over time. Ryssdal: Do you have a favorite nugget out of all these reams and reams of data you've got? Ballmer: I do have a favorite nugget. Nobody thinks it's as sexy as other favorite nuggets, but I like the fact that I think since 1980 — I'll try to remember it precisely — total households are are up about 40 percent and house fires are down about 50 percent. And of all the things that are nonpartisan. Fires should be nonpartisan. And of course, that’s some combination of the way things get built now versus then, the quality of the fire departments and their ability to do their job. But it is really stunning how much safer we are from fire than we were in 1980. (04/21/2017)

French voters increasingly question globalization
“We reject the global village, we reject this world without borders. We reject the big banks and the power of money that have subjugated France. We don’t want France to disappear.” Those are the words of David Berton, a 25-year-old student lawyer and an activist with the youth wing of the far-right National Front party. More young people support the National Front than any other party, and one of the main reasons is the appeal of the Front’s anti-globalization and protectionist policies, said author Alexandre Devecchio.“The young people today in France are more protectionist than their parents because they are the main victims of globalization” he told Marketplace. In his recently published book “The New Children of the Century – a Fractured Generation,” Devecchio argues that youth unemployment of 25 percent and huge job insecurity have turned many young French people off the whole idea of free trade.“For the young, globalization means closing factories, moving them abroad. De-industrialization. It’s not a positive thing,” he said.Many of Marine Le Pen’s most ardent supporters, young and old alike, come from what has been called “peripheral France.” These are the towns and villages outside the big metropolitan cities, places that feel left behind —“flyover states,” if you like. Le Pen is offering them what she calls “intelligent protectionism” and “economic patriotism.”That could mean higher taxes on imports and foreign workers, more border controls, preferential treatment for French firms and possibly withdrawing from the European Union. In other words, an end to globalization in France.“A disaster,” said Pierre Gellie, young entrepreneur who runs his small electronics startup in a tiny, cramped workshop in the center of Paris and who is clearly not a National Front enthusiast.“Eighty percent of our sales will soon be abroad. It’s vital for us to be present on the international market. Protectionism makes no sense for France,” he said.Gellie’s company , LYTID, is commercializing a new type of laser with medical and industrial applications, and he said without full access to overseas markets, his company cannot succeed.“Protectionism — and certainly pulling out of Europe — could endanger a lot of businesses like mine. We would not be able to develop or even to continue,” he said.Marine Le Pen is not expected to win the second round of the elections on May 7, so the protectionism of Pierre Gellie’s nightmares may well not materialize. But it might. And that possibility is enough to make this one of the most economically critical elections in recent French history. (04/21/2017)

Musician Tei Shi takes the Marketplace Quiz
No matter who you are, you've probably had a rough day at the office that changed your perspective, or maybe you made an impulse purchase you really, really wish you could take back. This week, musician Tei Shi took our money-inspired personality questionnaire. Her latest album, "Crawl Space," is out now. Below is an edited transcript of the conversation. In a next life, what would your career be? I think I would probably want to do something with my hands, like build or create something, whether it's art or just building things, because I spend so much time making things that are intangible. I think I like the idea of being able to create things, so maybe [I’d be] a sculptor or something like that. Do you have any hobbies or downtime where you get to actually do that? I don't actually, and I think that's probably why it appeals to me, seeing something from start to finish really physically is interesting to me and maybe now a hobby that I should take up. What is the hardest part about your job that nobody knows?The fact that you have to be a million different things, I think, as a musician or as an artist nowadays. Aside from making the music or being creative and inspired and creating material, you have to also be really on top of the business side of things, especially if you're coming from an independent place. You have to also be able to be a performer and create a live show experience and be able to communicate with other musicians and really be charismatic and be comfortable onstage. Then you also have to be able to put yourself out there and be on social media and have a persona and be relatable.  I think now that we've transitioned into the digital age, and everybody is so easily accessible, and people want to know everything about somebody, you kind of have to be super well rounded and have many dimensions to you.That sounds stressful.It can be, but I think it can also be really rewarding, and it's a really cool opportunity to create something that has different dimensions and has depth to it, and it kind of forces you to present yourself as more than just your music.What is your most prized possession? I have some pieces of things that belong to my grandmothers. My grandmother on my dad's side, she spent a lot of time actually — funny, coming full circle — in her later years making things with her hands. She did a lot of arts and crafts, and she did ceramics and stuff. She made this one ceramic: She's a young girl, and it's really lovely, because you can see all the indentations of her hands and her fingers. I have a lot of little things like that that she made in her later years. What advice do you wish someone gave you before you started your career?I wish that somebody had really encouraged me to trust my gut instinct in terms of the things that you want to do and the things you say yes to or the things you take on.Do you think that you do that now?I think I've gotten better at doing it. I think it takes a certain amount of confidence and self-assuredness that, I think for me, it's definitely been a learning experience of getting more comfortable with being the voice of authority. That has come along with that process for me. (04/21/2017)

Dairy woes rattle U.S.-Canada relationship
President Trump is criticizing Canada over its recent pricing changes for dairy products that make some U.S. imports less competitive. The Trump administration said that's hurting dairy farmers in states like Wisconsin and New York. Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (04/21/2017)

Six things you need to know about the possible Hollywood writers strike
TV and movie writers are worried about the future as their payments go down while the studios' profits go up. Their union, the Writers Guild of America, is in the process of negotiating their new contract; their current contract expires May 1. The Guild is asking members to give authorization for a potential strike. Here’s some background on the situation:It seems like there are more TV shows than ever. Why are writers unhappy?Paradoxically, as the number of shows has increased, writers say their earnings have decreased 23 percent in the last two years. The central problem is that TV seasons keep getting shorter. While a season used to have more than 20 episodes, today there may be 10 or fewer. But writers get paid per episode. At the same time, episodes now have much higher production values and take longer to produce.“So whereas I would write 22 episodes and it would take me a year, I have a show on Amazon now where I’m writing eight episodes, and it’s going to take me nearly a year, and I’m going to paid eight episodic fees for that,” said Chris Keyser, executive producer of "Tyrant" and co-chair of the writer’s negotiating committee.Script fees for shows not on the broadcast networks, like CBS and NBC, are also much lower."The formulas by which we are paid on platforms other broadcast — that's basic cable or streaming services — are only a fraction of what they are on broadcast," Keyser said.Two other big problems for writers: Shows rarely make it to syndication, once a lucrative source of revenue, and writers complain that they're locked into exclusive contracts during production seasons that last as long as the ones that generated 20 or more episodes.What are writers key demands? Loosening of exclusivity rules Increased script fees for cable and streaming platforms Raises for screenwriters Help in shoring up the Guild's deficit-plagued health insurance plan What is the studios' argument?The studios are not talking, preferring to cede the public relations war to the writers; the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the alliance representing studios at the negotiating table, did not respond to Marketplace’s request for comment.What are the chances of a strike happening?No one knows for sure, of course, but both sides seem dug in, and at least one observer said they're far apart on the issues.Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer who's covering the negotiations for The Hollywood Reporter, calculates that there's a $350 million gap between the Guild and the studios."The frustrating thing is what the writers are looking for is about three times what the studios are willing to pay," Handel said. "That’s not how a deal gets done."Keyser, of the writers negotiating committee, said the Guild feels emboldened because unlike in some previous strikes, the studios are making record profits. The Guild has repeatedly reminded its members that media companies made $51 billion last year, according to the Guild's calculations."The companies can afford to make this deal," Keyser said. "There’s really no reason why, in this era of big company profits, writers should be suffering."While the studios have the power and the deep pockets to withstand a long impasse, things aren't as rosy for them as the writers make them out to be, said Miranda Banks, who wrote a history of the Writers Guild."There’s a real sense of concern about the future of film for the studios," Banks said. "Audiences are shifting, and there’s less people in the U.S. watching broadcast television."The writers are also more cohesive than they have been during previous labor disputes, which would sometimes pit TV and film writers against each other, according to Banks. "Nowadays, writers — whether you're writing for film or television or streaming media — there's a lot more of a sense that it's all the same the content," Banks said. "Writing is writing, and there's a sense of unity within the organization."Where do talks stand?The two sides ended talks Monday and agreed to resume negotiations on April 25, giving them less than a week to reach a deal before the writers' contract ends on May 1. Online voting for a strike authorization runs through Monday. It's considered a foregone conclusion that most of the 12,000 or so Guild members will authorize a strike. Was the last writers strike a success?It depends whom you ask. The last writers strike that ended in 2008 took 100 days to resolve. Late-night shows went dark, sitcoms and dramas had shorter seasons, and networks aired a lot more reality TV.Many writers had well-paying development and production deals torn up.“The writers have probably never recouped the wages they lost by going on strike,” Handel said.The ripple effects on everyone from caterers to costumers cost California’s economy more than $2 billion, according to the Milken Institute.The Guild said the strike was important because it allowed them to gain their first toehold into digital rights. It also unified writers from the East and West coasts.Bert Royal, who has been a film and TV writer for nearly 20 years, gets visibly emotional talking about the last walkout, which he said nearly bankrupt him. But he said he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.“We’re all hopeful, but from what you hear around town, it’s very possible,” Royal said. “It’s going to be really tough. I hope it doesn’t do me in. The last one nearly did.” (04/21/2017)

Trump's first 100 days: 3 mayors weigh in
April 29 marks President Trump's first 100 days in office. His tenure so far has been marked by executive orders on immigration, efforts to repeal Obamacare and a pledge to "hire American," among many other things. So, how's Trump doing? During election season, we spoke to three mayors from very different cities across the country, and after Trump took office, we visited each of them: Dennis Mock in Dalton, Georgia; Louise Carter-King in Gillette, Wyoming; and Biff Traber in Corvallis, Oregon. The three mayors and the cities they represent see the president differently. In Gillette, Trump's attitude toward energy — and crucially, coal — is a welcome change. Louise Carter-King said her constituents, who voted heavily for Trump, have been happy with his first 100 days."Everyone is still optimistic," Carter-King said, "people here are pretty happy with some of his appointments to his cabinet. They felt that they were pretty pro-energy, and, of course, we are the energy capital of the United States."Dennis Mock, of Dalton, the largest producer of carpet and flooring in the U.S., agreed."Our industry is picking up, people are back at work and the economy seems to be moving very well here," he said. "The whole general atmosphere here is pretty upbeat."Dalton also cast a majority of its votes for Trump, but the city's political lines are less clearly drawn than Gillette's — Dalton is 48 percent Latino, and many of Mock's Latino constituents have expressed concern about the president's immigration policies, especially since the city is so close to a major detention center working closely with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.Mock said that many of his Latino constituents are looking for clarity and certainty. And Biff Traber said that Corvallis residents feel the same way. "There's a trepidation, waiting to understand what is really going to occur out of President Trump's promises," Traber said. "There's serious concern about impacts of climate change and immigration enforcement."Corvallis is a typical college town and a sanctuary city in a very blue state. Traber's constituents are more concerned with buffering their city from presidential policy and less optimistic that the current administration will improve local industry. Still, the mayors have some common ground: They all work, or have worked, in business. Like Trump, they have applied their business acumen to the job. Louise Carter-King and Biff Traber have worked to consolidate departments and save money during their time in office. And all three mayors have hit roadblocks as they figured out that sometimes government presents more hurdles than business. Still, Carter-King is hoping that Trump is able to help things run more smoothly, or at least more quickly."Trump has talked about easing the permitting process for infrastructure projects," she said, "and I think that's something that could help the government work a little more efficiently in real life ... business can't wait that long. You've got to move at the speed of business, not government." Mock is looking forward to ease of business, too. "Deregulation ... is freeing up a lot of the constraints of moving forward with businesses," Mock said, "it's going to be really important."But Traber has a warning, and a less positive outlook: "I would just add one caution, to remember 2007, 2008, 2009, where the result of deregulation of one industry was the Great Recession ...we need to be very cautious about how deregulated we're making things."To listen to the conversation, click on the media player above. (04/21/2017)

3 ways to protect your online privacy
Ed Stroz knows online security. He's a former FBI agent who started the agency's computer crimes division. Now he runs security firm Stroz Friedberg, which helps businesses design products with internet protections in mind. In the wake of the recent congressional vote to roll back the Federal Communications Commission's Obama-era internet privacy rules, concern about online security threats — including malware, hacking and the selling of personal data — has grown.When it comes to protecting our online lives, who should foot the bill? Companies or consumers? Stroz tackled this question and offered advice on how to protect yourself in cyberspace.1. Use two-factor authentication. Many sites and apps — most email services, social networks and banks — offer two-factor authentication when logging in. Basically, you get a token (in the form of a numeric pass code sent to your phone or email) that proves it's really you logging in. Using two-factor authentication makes it harder for hackers to steal your login information when you access the internet on an open wireless connection. 2. Use a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, is designed to protect you not only from hackers, but from internet service providers. If you don't want your ISP to sell your personal data, as they are now legally able to, a VPN hides your browsing information and personal details from even your cable company's prying eyes. 3. Check your sources. You know you should have a Wi-Fi password at home, but when you're out in the Wild West of Wi-Fi, things aren't always so secure. If you can't use your LTE or 4G connection to access the internet (a fairly safe move), it's always best to check that the free Wi-Fi network you choose isn't going to be dangerous. And things aren't always what they seem. Hackers can create networks designed to trick you into thinking they're the local library or coffee shop. Best practices? Ask. If you're in a public place, find a business providing Wi-Fi and make sure it's their network you're logging onto. To hear Ed Stroz's full interview, tune in using the audio player above.  (04/21/2017)

04/21/2017: Where does Uber go from here?
As federal funds for research are threatened and White House climate change plans are canceled, students are trying to stand up in the name of science. Thousands are set to march this weekend, many of whom will include Caltech students. We visited the campus to chat with the community about why they personally want to get involved. Next, we'll discuss Uber's declining popularity with corporate customers, and then look at the arrest of a 28-year-old man in Germany who's connected to last week's explosions.  (04/21/2017)

Lyft expands in business travel as Uber’s growth slows
A new report out this week shows that Uber’s long string of bad PR could be costing it corporate customers. Uber is still the dominant ride-hailing app by far, but Lyft appears to be gaining ground in business travel.Click the audio player above to hear the full story.  (04/21/2017)

Housing growth is stunted by a lack of supply
The job market is firm, consumer confidence is high and mortgage rates are low. Perfect conditions for a strong housing market. Yet, inventory of new homes and sales of existing homes remain depressed. And that's putting a big crimp on growth. Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (04/21/2017)

Students and professionals are standing up for science
Thousands of people in dozens of cities across the country will take to the streets on Saturday in the name of science. Science is meant to be nonpartisan, but with federal funds for research in question and the White House cancelling its climate change plans, some scientists feel called to defend their profession. “Hello, do you wanna sign a banner for the March for Science?"   Tess Saxton-Fox and Magnus Haw were recently handing out info on the March for Science and hawking orange T-shirts — really orange T-shirts — for $5.  “Yeah, we’re hoping to make a good, big, bright orange mark at the March for Science," said Saxton-Fox, a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology studying mechanical engineering. Their banner was filling up with signatures, which wasn't a big surprise, considering they were promoting the event on Caltech's campus. Still, some signatures were a really good “get.” “Here comes the president,” said Haw, a graduate student studying plasma physics. Caltech President Thomas Felix Rosenbaum took a marker in hand. They’ve staked out a strategic spot at the entrance to a Caltech meeting on immigration. [[{"fid":"310205","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_description[und][0][value]":"Tess%20Saxton-Fox%20and%20Magnus%20Haw%20sell%20t-shirts%20and%20collect%20signatures%20at%20a%20table%20on%20Caltech's%20campus.%20They're%20promoting%20the%20Pasadena%20March%20for%20Science.","field_description[und][0][format]":"full_html","field_byline_text[und][0][value]":"Jed Kim/Marketplace","field_migration_notes[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":540,"width":720,"class":"media-element file-default"}}]] A lot of Caltech students and faculty are immigrants: 15 percent of undergraduate students, 48 percent of graduate students, 28 percent of faculty and 69 percent of post-doctoral scholars. Engineering postdoctoral scholar Shahrzad Roshankhah said she plans to attend the March for Science. “Because I’m an immigrant, international immigrant, and I want to contribute for science, so it’s important for me to participate with these guys,” Roshankhah said.  Jason Marshall, another engineering postdoc, is helping lead the Pasadena march. He said the value of scientific facts is under attack. "I wanted to become involved in a venue where we celebrate science, where we discuss science, we discuss science policy,” Marshall said. Still, he did question whether taking to the streets was appropriate for a scientist. He said he only got involved after professional societies like the American Geophysical Union partnered on the national March for Science. An official for the union said partnering made sense, because both wanted to showcase the social benefits of science and highlight the risks research faces. “Certainly, there is concern that if the federal government cuts back on its funding for scientists and the education of the next generation of scientists, people’s jobs will be at risk," said Chris McEntee, CEO of the American Geophysical Union.  Science-based institutions differ in how they're approaching the march. The Field Museum in Chicago is officially participating. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is not, because it wants to avoid any semblance of partisanship.  “We want to make sure that everyone feels welcome here, and they find it accessible and a place that they can learn and enjoy and bring their own questions to bear on what they're experiencing here,” said Lori Bettison-Varga, president of the museum. Related links Critics say HONEST Act undercuts EPA's use of science EPA bracing for big cuts under Trump administration How big science gets its funding Bettison-Varga said she will march, and she’s encouraged her staff to do so, if they want. That’s how Caltech is handling it — not officially participating but not stopping its community either. Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the university. His office looks about like you’d expect: whiteboard covered with equations, multiple books on string theory on the shelf. He said his usual work comprises “quantum mechanics, gravitation, cosmology, where-the-universe-came-from kind of things." At the Los Angeles March for Science, though, he's trying something new. He plans to talk about the nature of scientific inquiry and tie it to democracy. “They both share this wonderful idea that anybody can be wrong, that any belief is subject to revision when new information or new decisions are made,” Carroll said. When it comes to learning from mistakes, he said democracy can take a cue from science. It’s a lesson he hopes it’ll learn quickly, as funding for scientific research is already problematic.   “We're turning away graduate students for the first time ever, because we can't afford to pay them," Carroll said. "Our grants are being cut. It's a very real thing, and we're one of the richer places to be.”  Funding has been declining for a few years, but he said the current atmosphere and threats of federal cuts have brought things to a breaking point for a lot of people. Or, if not breaking, a change of paradigm. Across campus, Magnus Haw was doing brisk sales on the March for Science T-shirts. “I support science, and I support democracy, and this is what that looks like,” Haw said.   (04/21/2017)

Robot-Proof Jobs 3: Rewiring the future
The final episode of a special three-part podcast series on automation and the economy. If technology makes humans obsolete, how do we make a living? Plus: Think you know which jobs would survive a robot takeover? Take our quiz here: (04/21/2017)

German bombing suspect tried to manipulate stock, officials say
German police today arrested a 28-year-old man known as Sergej W. in connection with explosions last week that targeted a German soccer team's bus. The possible motive: an elaborate scheme to manipulate a stock.Authorities are now saying the incident has no extremist connection. Two people were hurt during the April 11 attack, including a player with shrapnel wounds.Damien McGuinness, a correspondent for the BBC, said that prosecutors suspect Sergej W. took out a loan and then purchased put options on shares of the soccer team — Borussia Dortmund — worth around $83,000. This is a way of betting on the share price falling. Related links Terrorism fears deter tourists in parts of Europe The future of security in Germany His possible line of thinking: The attack — if it seriously injured teammates or even killed them — could have caused the share price to plummet, garnering him a lot of money. But shares of the team actually rose above their pre-bombing price the day after the attack, reported the New York Times.  McGuinness said investigators found the suspect because he had bought the put options online with an IP address in the same hotel where the team had been staying. He had also booked a room with a view over the road where the team bus was on its way to the stadium.Prosecutors believe that he activated the bombs remotely from his hotel room, McGuinness added."I think what was also interesting about this particular attack [is] there was a lot of confusion when it happened. There are a couple of letters claiming responsibility on behalf of the so-called Islamic State, but another letter claimed responsibility on behalf of right-wing extremists," McGuinness said. "A lot of people were quite cautious, because we've had various attacks over the past years in which people have assumed it was Islamist in nature and it turns out not to have been." (04/21/2017)

I just copied your boss on this email
It’s no secret that workplaces can feel like a battlefield. There are workers competing for the same promotion. People worried about whether their boss likes them or whether a co-worker is secretly taking credit for their hard work or ideas. Then there are all those emails to decode and consider. There is one exception, however. The dreaded boss cc. Everyone knows exactly what it means — your co-worker wants your boss to be privy to your conversation. Some call it “looping in,” others call it “tattling.” The result is the same: copying supervisors on emails erodes trust between co-workers. The cc function — derived from the term carbon copy — can often be wielded as a weapon in the office. And while initially it might seem like a way to increase transparency, it often ends up having an opposite effect. This is because receiving an email with the boss cc’d makes employees feels less trusted, according to a recent Harvard Business Review piece by David De Cremer. “[T]his feeling automatically led them to infer that the organizational culture must be low in trust overall, fostering a culture of fear and low psychological safety,” explained De Cremer, a professor of management at the University of Cambridge. “We found these effects in studies using both Western and Chinese samples of employees, which suggests that even in very different cultures, copying the supervisor can be seen as a potentially threatening move.” If employees feel that the emails will be used against them, they are likely to disclose less information over email in the future, thus reducing transparency. Related links The death of email may be exaggerated Tackling email overload: Lost cause, or noble battle? Daimler and the disappearing emails In De Cremer’s study, 594 people had to imagine certain scenarios in which they cc’d their boss on all communications. They acknowledged that doing so was more likely to reduce the level of trust between them and their co-workers than if their boss was cc’d just occasionally.What’s more, employees who are fond of the cc function are well aware of the effect of their actions. “This finding suggests that when your co-workers copy your supervisor very often, they may be doing so strategically, as they consciously know what the effect will be on you,” concluded De Cremer. “From that point of view, our finding that employees receiving emails with the supervisor always cc’d reported feeling trusted less by their co-worker may very well carry some truth in it.” This passive-aggressive behavior is not only eroding trust among staff but can also add to the supervisor’s email. U.S. workers already spend 6.3 hours a day checking email, with 3.2 hours devoted to work email and 3.1 hours devoted to personal email. Adding to that because someone wants to mess with a co-worker’s head does not seem productive. De Cremer suggests that supervisors be more proactive in determining what communications they should be included in — both to reduce the amount of email they receive and to put a stop to cc power plays. “If they want to prevent the erosion of trust within their team, they might have to actively intervene when a team member displays the habit of always including them on emails,” he explained. “A manager might also choose to be more proactive. For example, supervisors can clearly articulate at what stage of a project it’s appropriate to include them in email communication.” (04/20/2017)

Could California’s cap-and-trade system control other pollution, too?
Even as the White House rolls back national climate change programs, California is moving forward on a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the Golden State still has some of the highest air pollution in the nation from other pollutants its industrial plants spew. A new bill would use California’s cap-and-trade rules to regulate those toxins, too.     Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (04/20/2017)

Why a steel tariff could hurt instead of help
President Trump could sign an executive order tomorrow triggering an investigation into competition in the steel industry. That in turn could lead to new tariffs on foreign steel. The idea would be to protect the U.S. steel industry, but often the imposition of tariffs can lead to unintended consequences.Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (04/20/2017)

Why would Google want to block its own ads?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting, according to unnamed sources, that Google plans to introduce an ad-blocking feature on its Chrome web browser. Yes, that Google. The one that makes a lot of money selling those ads. So why would it want to make it easier for users to escape them?Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (04/20/2017)

French voters are turning against the European Union
“On est chez nous!” The phrase, which means “this is our home,” thunders around a sports stadium in northeastern Paris. Some 6,000 supporters of the far-right National Front party are in full cry at a campaign rally as they await the arrival of their heroine, the leader of their party and a front-runner in France’s presidential election, Marine Le Pen.“On est chez nous” is a battle cry for the National Front and conveys two connected messages: “We have too many immigrants coming to France” and “We don’t like the European Union running our country.”Jean Cautirot, who was at the Paris rally, said he and his fellow party members resent Europe’s passport-free zone because it facilitates the influx of more migrants, which France does not want and cannot afford. Cautirot detests any EU involvement in French domestic affairs.“I’m in favor of Europe so long as we just work together, but I’m against a European dictatorship. We don’t need to be ordered about by Brussels. The majority of French people don’t want that. We are perfectly able to govern ourselves,” he said.  Marine Le Pen has pledged that if she wins, she will immediately pull out of the passport-free zone and renegotiate a much looser relationship with the EU. Then she’ll hold a referendum on whether France should leave the single currency and perhaps the bloc as well. Jean-Paul Martin, a retired art gallery manager and Front supporter, knows already how he would vote.“I would vote for Frexit, absolutely, absolutely,” he told Marketplace. "I think we do not take any benefit from the European Union.”That will surprise many Brits, who for many years harbored the suspicion that the EU was set up mainly for the benefit of the French in order to contain the economic powerhouse next door, Germany. The euro was a French idea. But there’s little doubt that today many French people are disillusioned with the EU and with the euro.“With the euro, our purchasing power has gone down," said Danielle Oger, a Front voter. "I feel it, and other French people feel it for sure,” She’s right. When the single currency was launched more than 15 years ago, French and German consumers had roughly equal purchasing power; today, the Germans are 17 percent better off. Analysts point out the discrepancy is mainly due to France’s failure to reform, but many French people blame the euro, and it shows in the opinion polls. Last year, a major survey by the Pew Research Center revealed that the French are less positive about the EU than even the Brits. And the Brits have voted to leave. Karim Amellal, a Franco-Algerian writer and entrepreneur, said the French have clearly fallen out of love with Europe.“In France, people don’t believe the European Union can solve their problems anymore,” he said. Problems like an unemployment rate of 10 percent, which is twice the rate of other major economies, like Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. But Amellal, who’s pro-EU and anti-National Front, does not believe the French would ever vote to leave the Union.“It’s obvious that the cost and the economic disruption would be huge. And I think when people think about that, they will realize that leaving the single currency and the EU is not the answer,” he said.Amellal is reassured that an EU referendum is unlikely in France because, as the polls indicate, Le Pen may get through the first round of the election on Sunday, but she will probably not win the second round, and therefore will not be the next president of France. But no one can be sure of the outcome of this highly unpredictable election or its longer-term repercussions. It has already stoked up some powerful nationalist sentiment in a key member state of the European Union. At Le Pen’s rally in Paris this week, the crowd sang the National Anthem three times — in the middleof her speech. (04/20/2017)

CBO director worries some Americans don’t know what to believe anymore
This has been a relatively low-key week in Washington. Congress has been on recess and the president has been in and out of town. Left behind have been staffers at agencies and offices that do the work that helps the government work, among them the Congressional Budget Office and its director, Keith Hall. Hall and the CBO were most recently in the news during the debate and eventual collapse of the health care bill.Kai Ryssdal spoke with Hall about keeping analysis nonpartisan, the politicization of data and why reputation is everything for the CBO. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation. Kai Ryssdal: Congress comes back to town next week. Health care is going to be on the agenda, as you know. What's your state of mind? Are you dreading them coming back or is it just another day at the office? Keith Hall: Well, it's kind of another day at the office. You know, health care is getting a lot of attention right now, but we work on a wide variety of topics. One of the things I'd like to point out is, lately there's all this attention on this one cost estimate on health care. Last year we produced 676 cost estimates. And we'll produce that many this year, so it's a lot of topics and a lot of estimates. Ryssdal: Does it make you crazy, though, when you all wind up in the spotlight to the exclusion of all else you do, and it becomes so intensely partisan? Hall: No, we work in a partisan world. We're nonpartisan folks in a partisan world. We're kind of used to that. Almost everything we produce get some attention. You google us any particular day, you'll find some reference to something we've done. One of the biggest challenges always for us is, once you do sometimes some pretty sophisticated work, you now have to write it in English so it can be used. And that's a real challenge. Ryssdal: Well, do you think, actually, that that challenge is part of why you wind up being so politicized? That you have to take what is intensely complicated stuff and make it legible and understandable to laypeople and members of Congress and their staffs? Hall: Actually, I think that's a big part of why we've been able to have a pretty strong reputation of credibility and an un-biasness. And we do a lot of talking to experts and getting their views on things and getting them to actually review our analytical reports when we can. Ryssdal: OK, but wait, aren't you guys the experts? Hall: Well, we are, and we're trying to multiply ourselves, in a sense. We can't be complete experts in everything. We actually spend quite a lot of time talking to experts and talking to agencies and talking to state governments, et cetera. Ryssdal: You've been around as a government economist for a lot of years. I mean a lot of years. You don't go back to the beginning of the CBO, but you were in town probably when it was started. Do you think it is fulfilling its mandate today? Hall: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. You know, one of the things that I remind myself of a little bit is we have this really important role, and we get a lot of focus as if we're sort of constraining Congress. Well, we are what Congress wants us to be. Congress created us 40 years ago to be independent, objective and nonpartisan, and we're still that way today because that's what they want. Ryssdal: Do you think Congress actually wants that? Because you can't turn around without the CBO getting beat up by members of Congress. Hall: That's OK. I mean, we get support from the right people. When I get pressure, I don't get pressure over what we've done. I get pressure over, “Can you guys hurry it up? We need a vote.” They work at a different pace than we do sometimes. In this latest health care thing, we held things up because it takes time for our due diligence. And that's what we get pressure on really is the timing of stuff, not that that we don't do it right. Ryssdal: Do you ever get the feeling that you're kind of shouting into a hurricane, that there's so much going on out there that the predictions in the report you guys do get lost until something becomes the political thing of the day.? Hall: There might there might be an element of that. You know, one of the things I worry about with staff who've been here a long time is they can work sometimes very, very hard, and it can be something like health care. We had our health care team working day and night, through weekends, and we want them to feel like they’re having an impact and they're not just, as you say, shouting into a hurricane. Ryssdal: Well you have to admit, you guys had an impact in the health care debate. I mean when you came out and that number was 24 million people without insurance, everybody just went, “Oh well, this bill's done.” Hall: Well, that may or may not be true. Ryssdal: He says ,very politically aware. Hall: Well, it's something they have to live with. If it's something that they want to do, they should be aware of what the likely impact will be, and they should be able to accept that. Ryssdal: We should say that you're a Republican. You are a conservative economist. You have been for your entire life here. How do you keep this organization going down the middle of the road? Hall: Well, we understand our role. We understand our role is to be nonpartisan and to be objective. I've been in that kind of role before. I headed the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You don't want the economic data to be partisan. Ryssdal: Well, no, you don't. But since you brought it up, let me ask you what you think of the president of the United States and his thoughts during the campaign about BLS and how the numbers are fake and all of the politicization that he did to an organization you used to run. Hall: People can use your data and say whatever they want about it. The best you can do is try to make sure that they understand the reality of how it really works. What it really says. So that's what you hope for. You can't control how people use your data, use your analysis. Ryssdal: So if you had your druthers, bearing in mind that you've been a senior-level government economist for a very long time now, is there a way to get nonpartisan economic analysis more broadly accepted, or is it just a fact of life that what comes out of this office is going to get batted around by Congress to political ends? Hall: I hope so. You know, there's an element of branding. We want to keep our reputation very strong. We want to be credible. If we don't have a good reputation, we are not valuable to them. Some people sometimes just don't believe the data. And I do get worried that the average American doesn't know what to believe anymore. And that's a problem. And so that's where I think the branding and the reputation winds up being so important.  (04/20/2017)

The British deal that could have played a part in Bill O'Reilly's firing
Bill O'Reilly, despite denying that he sexually harassed co-workers, is out from Fox as a cable TV host amid pressure from protesters and advertisers. And there might also be international business pressures on its parent company, 21st Century Fox, that factored into the decision. One of the main catalysts that led to his ousting is the storm of negative publicity that resulted from a New York Times article. The publication found that O'Reilly or Fox had paid several women about $13 million for agreeing to keep silent about their accusations or not pursing litigation. This prompted the departure of more than 50 advertisers, which is a big part of how these shows stay on air.Fox also recently settled a sexual harassment lawsuit against former CEO Roger Ailes and pushed him out in the midst of more harassment accusations. Related links Roger Ailes is out at Fox, taking $40 million with him Companies looking for legal cover make harassment prevention programs big business But note: 21st Century Fox could also be concerned about how this is playing outside the U.S. It's a big company with interests in Asia, Australia and Europe.Rupert Murdoch, who controls Fox, has a $15 billion bid in for the British satellite TV operator Sky News. The Murdoch family had already been struggling to prove that the company was "fit and proper," a requirement from the British government to move forward on that deal.The family had tried to obtain Sky years ago, but its News of the World phone scandal, in which employees were accused of phone hacking in the pursuit of stories, ruined its chances. European antitrust regulators have OK'd a deal that would grant 21st Century Fox control over Sky, reported CNN. But the U.K. media regulator Ofcom is set to give the deal a more thorough review, with plans to release a decision on May 16. Aside from the "fit and proper" stipulation, Ofcom has to determine whether the deal would lead to less diverse viewpoints in the British media.In a lot of places, this company has been struggling to prove to advertisers, viewers and regulators that they take ethics seriously. (04/20/2017)

The Bank Black movement gains traction
Last July, Teri Williams was out of the office, helping her daughter move into a new apartment, when she started getting frantic phone calls. Williams is the president of Boston-based OneUnited Bank, the largest black-owned bank in the country, with $650 million in assets. Her employees were calling to tell her that people were swarming the bank.“They were coming into the branches,” Williams said. “They were lined up outside the branches. They were calling.”The bank had gone from opening about 50 accounts a day to 1,000.The sudden surge of interest stemmed from a call out to the community. Earlier that week, two black men, Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, had been shot and killed by police. Soon after, the rapper Killer Mike appeared on TV and on radio stations like Hot 107.9 in Atlanta, urging people to move their money to black-owned banks like Atlanta’s Citizen’s Trust Bank.“You can go to your bank tomorrow, and you can say, ‘Until you, as a corporation, start to speak on our behalf, I want all my money,’” he said. “‘And I’m taking all my money to Citizen’s Trust.’”This was the birth of the Bank Black movement, a campaign spread via social media, that asks people to move their money to banks that are owned by black people or have traditionally served that community. Since July 2016, advocates estimate people have moved more than $60 million to black banks.Michael Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, a trade group for minority-owned banks, said the movement was a result of people wanting to do something in response to the shootings.“They wanted to do something constructive,” Grant said. “And somehow, somewhere, they got the notion, ‘Well, maybe if we would build up our institutions, and specifically our banks, maybe if we start putting money in our own community and creating more opportunities and more jobs, people would not be feeling so frustrated and so helpless.’”Black banks have been around since after the Civil War. During the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. called upon the black community to transfer money into them. But facing competition and other pressures, the banks have dwindled. In 2001, there were nearly 50. Today, there are 23, most with fewer than $400 million in assets.The message of the Bank Black movement is that people should invest in these banks, that they serve the black community in ways other banks don’t.Black banks “are more likely to seriously consider financing requests from African-Americans than other banks are,” said William Michael Cunningham, adviser at, a research firm focusing on impact investing.A recent study from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation showed that in 2011, black banks made nearly 67 percent of their mortgage loans to black borrowers. Community banks that aren’t run by minorities made fewer than 1 percent of their loans to black people. Black banks also support black institutions. OneUnited, for example, is partnering with Black Lives Matter to help the group raise money. Justin Garrett Moore was one of the people inspired by the call to action last summer. He moved his savings to multiple black banks and helped create a group called Bank Black USA that aims to bolster the banks and their work, and to start by “[putting] a floor underneath some of these institutions' decline,” he said.To do that, he and the group’s 20 other members are trying to make it easier for people to move their money. The group created a Google spreadsheet with information about the largest black banks in the U.S. It includes each bank’s location, size, number of ATMs, interest rates, as well as data on the bank’s health and what it does with its money.“It could be how much of the money are they actually lending to minority people? How much of their financial services bank branches are located in minority communities?” he said. For the movement to have the intended effect, consumers will have to hold their banks accountable in this way, said Cunningham, from“Just moving your money won't do it, he said. “You actually have to stay engaged, and you have to stay involved with the black bank that is the recipient of your funds.”As for OneUnited, in just the second half of last year, it brought in more than $20 million in deposits. Williams, the bank president, attributed the increase entirely to the Bank Black movement and said that money is allowing the bank to make more loans to the community.  (04/20/2017)

04/20/2017: Many aren't feeling that great about the economy, according to the Fed
The Fed occasionally interviews people in each of the 12 regions it presides over to gauge how they're feeling about the economy. The results are in and people are feeling, well, uncertain. Diane Swonk, CEO of DS Economics, joined us to talk about why there may be a lack of widespread optimism. Afterwards, we'll look at the positive effects of attending college full time vs. part time, and then discuss how automation puts workers of color at risk.  (04/20/2017)

Study suggests attending college full time is better
Only about 40 percent of community college students earn a degree within six years. But students who go to class full time are much more likely to graduate. A new study finds that even one semester of full-time attendance makes a difference. Click the audio player above to hear the full story. (04/20/2017)

How to close the tech-job gap for minorities and low-income earners
Five years ago, Marketplace explored how machines, robots and software algorithms were increasingly entering the workforce in our series "Robots Ate My Job." Now, we're looking at what humans can do about it with a new journey to find robot-proof jobs. Last year, White House economists predicted that low-income workers — those who make less than $20 an hour — face the highest probability of losing their jobs to robots. But people of color are especially at risk: an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a report last year finding that just about 8 percent of tech-sector jobs are held by Hispanics and 7.4 percent by African-Americans.But there are some organizations out there trying to close the gap and make sure low-income workers and people of color aren’t displaced by robots and automation.In St. Louis, about 30 people are sitting in a coding training class run by the nonprofit LaunchCode. It operates in six locations nationwide helping people find careers in technology through education and matching them with companies that need tech talent.“Digital literacy is becoming more of an imperative in today’s society,” said Haley Shoaf, education director for operations at LaunchCode. She said certain people aren’t getting access to the training to get tech jobs.“When you look at the kind of people who face those barriers, I would say a disproportionate number of them are women, people of color, people from low-income backgrounds that just don’t have access to these opportunities,” Shoaf said.Related links Which jobs will and won't survive a robot takeover? Women, venture capital and bias Can Pittsburgh keep its workers from being replaced by smart machines? Seventy percent of LaunchCode’s students are making less than $30,000 a year, and many come from blue-collar manufacturing jobs or service industries such as hospitality. About half of the students in one program are people of color. But there have been some huge success stories.In March 2015, President Obama mentioned LaunchCode alum LaShana Lewis in a speech. She’s an African-American woman who majored in computer science but didn’t finish and couldn’t get a job without a college degree. She worked entry-level jobs and continued honing her computer skills. Now she’s a systems engineer at MasterCard.“What happened to me ushered in, like, a new reality with this world,” Lewis said.Lewis remembers often being the only women and the only black person in her computer classes. Her job — fixing computers — is likely safe from robots, and she thinks despite technology, there’ll be a need for humans.“Computers are here to service what humans need and what humans need changes,” Lewis said. “So you’re going to have to have a human somewhere.”Economics professor Daron Acemoglu at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology co-authored a study that finds robots will win the battle with humans over jobs. He said robot and increased automation will cause employment losses and negative effects on wages, particularly for low-income earners and people of color.However, “I think every group in U.S. society is ill prepared for it,” he said. “We have definitely been asleep at the wheel when it comes to our education system.”Acemoglu stresses that technology is a good thing for increasing productivity and the quality of our lives, but some people are going to need help coping with it, and they can be better employed with help from the right institutions. Check out the most and least automatable jobs in America. (04/20/2017)

'Archer' interactive app gives fans the inside track
The animated FX show "Archer" is a sitcom about a spy, and it has a loyal following online. It’s in its eighth season, and it has a new app that uses augmented reality, letting fans watch the show on their smartphones and learn new information.The app stems from the show’s many literary references and inside jokes, which have been analyzed in depth by people on the internet.“Particularly Reddit has been really cool,” said Amber Nash, the actress who plays Pam Poovey, the illegal street-fighting, endlessly vulgar human resources manager for the spy agency. “When we go to panels, people ask us questions, and I’m, like, ‘I don’t even know what you guys are talking about’ — stuff that’s deep cut from Season 2. It’s just amazing to watch fans respond to the show in that way.”“Archer” technical director Bryan Fordney believes we’ll see more of this multiplatform storytelling with television and intellectual property.“People want that,” Fordney said. “Especially as they become big fans of whatever their favorite show is. They’re just not satisfied with the show itself — they need more.”“Archer” airs on Wednesday nights.Click on the audio player above to hear the full interview. (04/20/2017)

Why 23andMe wants your genetic data
The Food and Drug Administration recently gave its approval to genetics testing company 23andMe to use genetic data in a new way. The company will analyze your DNA and then send you back a report on your ancestry. But whether or not you have a little bit of Neanderthal in your family tree is by far not the only thing your DNA can tell you. With new clearances from the FDA, 23andMe can now look at your genetic makeup and tell you your risk for some pretty widespread diseases — Parkinson's and Alzheimer's among them. Kai Ryssdal spoke with 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki about the changing business of genetics. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.Kai Ryssdal: This FDA approval of these tests for you, it is a business opportunity, right?Anne Wojcicki: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely a business opportunity. I think it just sort of amplifies what we've already been doing. And I think more importantly, it's just, it's a big win for the consumer in being able to take more ownership and more control over their health and get easy access to information that they want.Ryssdal: And you're banking on people wanting to know this. I mean, because, while I understand the medical necessity of knowing, it's a little terrifying.Wojcicki: Well, I think actually one of things that we found is that, you know, we're an 11-year-old company now, and so we actually have a lot of experience and a lot of data about what our customers do and do not want, and we've seen that this, you know, this is the kind of information people actually really want, because they want to be proactive about their health.Ryssdal: You know, it's interesting to hear you say — and this is a little bit sideways — that you're an 11-year-old company now. It kind of feels like you guys have been around forever even though just even scientifically that hasn't been possible.Wojcicki: It definitely has not possible. And it feels like forever in my mind, too. And in some ways, I feel like 11 years is a long time, in other ways I feel like we're a startup. Because in some ways, with these FDA clearances, we are essentially a startup, because we're starting over. And I think even seeing the medical community and how — some groups are still controversial about these recent approvals, but some people have really embraced it and said “the era of the consumer is upon us.” So, after 11 years, I am really happy with how much — in some ways the world is just starting, but in some ways I think we've really driven a lot of change.Ryssdal: You say the era of the consumer, specifically in medical science, is upon us. The fact is, though, that you guys have consumers’ data, right? What do you do with it? Where's the trust factor, and how do you account for this intensely personal thing that is now becoming business’s?Wojcicki: Well, I think that there's two core elements of our company. One is that we're all about the consumer and empowering the consumer with information about them and helping them understand what to do with that information and what are the next steps they could do. And the second aspect is this idea that you're going to benefit from the human genome. So, we ask customers if they want to consent for research, and over 85 percent of our customers actually do consent. And I think that's part of what we're trying to do is encourage people to say one of the most valuable things you have is your data, but it's really most valuable in a collective sense, if we all come together. And we’re going to be the ones who are really understanding the gene and environment interaction and what you can do to change your behavior, and hopefully also making discoveries in therapeutics and hopefully curing diseases.Ryssdal: And you need people, you need consumers to buy into that, right? You have to have them have confidence that the data is going to be closely and carefully handled and that it will be aggregated for the good and yet not outing them as it were.Wojcicki: Correct. The first and foremost decision I make, like if I have to make a decision tree, it's always the consumers first. We have no business if we can't protect the privacy of our customers. And let me just say one thing: When individuals come to us, and they have a serious disease, they're all about, you know, coming up saying, “Just use our data in any way possible, because I have a serious disease and I just want to see that cured.” One thing also, people are always really upset when they find out they participated in the clinical study, and they realize that their sample is just sitting in a freezer and they have a terminal diagnosis. And so, what we're trying to really do is say, “We're going to actively use this data to really make discoveries.”Ryssdal: Let me ask you a quick question about the regulatory environment. Since you are so heavily dependent, as these tests and approvals you just got from the FDA show, you're so heavily dependent on the regulatory apparatus working the right way. What is your take on regulation in the new environment in Washington?Wojcicki: You know, I haven't been too closely involved in all of the changes. But I mean, without a doubt it seems like there's not as much of an interest in regulations these days. But our clearance specifically, I think, was the result of really years of work. And so, without a doubt, we are more and more in this deregulatory environment, but it's the people on the ground within the FDA who really spent the time, who have been there for years, some of them for decades, who spend the time understanding how this works. It's that team that is evolving, and it’s not necessarily from above, but it's really that team that's put in the effort into understanding what we're doing and really embracing change.Ryssdal: As you look at data aggregation as part of your business model, right, which would you have said is the key to everything — more data, right? Is there going to be a tipping point where you're going to be able to say, “Yes. Now it's all going to snowball,” as opposed to, what I imagine for you has been a long, hard slog.Wojcicki: It's definitely been a long, hard slog. In some ways getting this clearance, I feel like I'm at that point where I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have over 2 million people. I wouldn't quite say we're at that tipping point yet, but I think we're pretty close in terms of how there's sort of broad acceptance and the potential of what we can discover with that amount of data.Ryssdal: Anne Wojcicki is the co-founder and CEO of 23 in me, and thanks very much for your time.  (04/19/2017)

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