Recent content from Lee Schafer
Financial literacy training, through books or in school, seems to be an enduringly popular solution to the chronic problem of people living paycheck to paycheck.…
So really how smart — and harmless — is one of these things?
The sale of a majority stake in the Minneapolis software firm Jamf that was announced last month marked another milestone for investment firm Summit Partners,…
The decisions about how capital gets deployed also help explain why so many industries, such as restaurants and groceries, are cyclical.
Some awfully entertaining reading can usually be found in the background of the merger section of the securities filings that companies prepare for shareholders when…
How the Gophers head football coach define culture? "Connection ... It's connecting people."
Champions for tax reform in Washington want to help the middle class so much that they have proposed a big income tax cut for the biggest U.S. corporations. Really. And they think it's going to work, too.
Lots of people see the good that can come of spending money at a shop owned and staffed by people from the neighborhood. A financial…
Minneapolis residents found out this month that seven of their City Council candidates and two people who are running for mayor can imagine a city…
It's a cautionary tale, if proven in court, about how quick profits can easily tempt unsophisticated people to break the law.
Company towns got their bad reputation when the big employers veer from not just bossing people around to taking advantage of them.
Compared with Iowa and Wisconsin, in Minnesota we enjoy higher household incomes and are more likely to have a job, have college degrees and be covered by health insurance.
Entrepreneur Chip Pearson has been trying to get the word out that our region’s startup technology sector is a lot bigger — and has created…
Some local employers can't imagine how Target gets attention for starting people at $11 per hour. It's far too late in this tight labor market for $11 an hour to be news.
Complaining about competing against Amazon for workers would make Best Buy and Target look like whiners. But it's clearly an issue.
Fred Martin, the founder and lead portfolio manager for Disciplined Growth Investors of Minneapolis, is also the founder and host of an event he hopes will recur annually called Objective Measure.
Keeping the customers coming back seems pretty fundamental, but in traditional retailing it's easy to get distracted by the store.
When a standard changed, what was already a sizable financial hole turned into a crater.
The Twin Cities doesn't have to get Amazon.com's second headquarters and its potential of 50,000 jobs to get a big win out of the new headquarters sweepstakes.
Most of what I learned in economics for a degree granted more than 30 years ago has long ago leached away, but I remembered enough…
Savings achieved by joining forces might make this deal a winner for H.B. Fuller Co.
People would be happier, and not to mention a lot easier to work for, if they really grasped that it's far too easy to give themselves credit for good fortune.
There's an old line about a lottery that is well worth repeating: It's not a form of legalized gambling, it's a form of legalized swindling.
Somebody on that board did a lot of hard work trying to fix the bank's problems.
It turns out that it's not elitist or corporatist to believe that businesses will do better if they find a way to include everybody. It's common sense.
Susan Langer's start-up is called Live. Give. Save., but this is business, not philanthropy.
Traditional, even old-fashioned, precisely describes Minneapolis money manager Compass Capital Management. Yet it is also growing.
A commentary by two savvy economists shows something new and important to say about the financial crisis even 10 years later.
What the people of Wisconsin need is a cost-benefit analysis to answer questions. What they got was Foxconn's economic impact study.
Clay Collins' transition from co-founder and CEO to chairman of the board of the fast-growing Minneapolis company Leadpages could not have been managed any better.
Connecticut's individual income tax collections have slid, recently coming in far below what had been forecast and lower than had been collected last year.
The latest healthcare and health insurance reform proposal collapsed in Washington this week, about when the Minneapolis health benefits company Gravie Inc. announced its latest…
It turned out to be a bad idea to look for research papers that explain why big companies routinely pay their top executives well into…
A decision about the master plan is still a long way off, but at least we know one thing now: Opponents are willing to talk nonsense about it.
Another one of life's dreams ended, that of closing a career by writing a terrific management book.
With Minneapolis charging ahead with a $15 per hour minimum wage last week, Minneapolis restaurant owners are already well down the road to figuring out a new model for the table service segment of the local industry.
One of the biggest projects to bring broadband to rural areas of Minnesota has reached a crossroads.
What's really missing from the conversation about a higher city-mandated minimum wage, one mayoral hopeful said, is a clear understanding of who it is that will be paying more.
The online retailer's ambitions should be no surprise to its competitors, including Target.
There’s a kind of investment available in the market called a renewable, unsecured subordinated note. When the pros talk about them it sounds like “Russians,”…
The right approach for management is not to completely give up on trusting employees. Instead it's to trust and verify.
Prices for houses are generally back to where they were during the housing bubble that preceded the financial crisis a decade ago. What’s worse, flipping…
Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, is fabulously wealthy and successful, but also not quite educated.
The district judge in Minneapolis who ruled that Kim Lund was owed $45.2 million by Lunds & Byerlys for her share of this well-known grocery…
General Mills sales haven't been growing, and one big reason is slipping sales in the U.S. yogurt business.
A sharply fought shareholder contest like the one that came to a head Friday at Buffalo Wild Wings is so rare it can be difficult…
There's so much bad news about retail that it's becoming ho-hum. But few of the articles even hint at a cyclical slump to explain what we're seeing. It's now clear it's not cyclical.
The deal-making crowd is understandably excited about the fees to be earned in helping baby boomers sell their businesses on their way into retirement. None…
The campaign over board seats and control of Buffalo Wild Wings is a good illustration.
One obvious conclusion — management must have run this company into the ground — doesn't seem at all fair.
Polaris Industries has made a big effort this year in a sport so obscure that even ESPN doesn’t televise it, sponsoring a team in the…
The wisdom presented at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School came from Kathleen Vohs.
Last of an occasional series on the future of work. An experiment is underway in northern California to see what happens if every month people…
Getting taken to a golf tournament might be no big deal in a lot of industries, but founder Jeff Slocum always said his firm would be above that sort of thing.
Here's a company designing and building automation equipment to replace human labor with the big problem of not being able to hire enough human labor.
As a decision by Portland, Ore., shows, once support builds for getting rid of investments based on what someone thinks of the underlying business, it's not all that easy to decide where the line gets drawn.
Minneapolis marketing consultant Dan Wallace thinks the Twin Cities might have a top "cluster" of thought leadership in managing a better customer experience. He makes a good point.
Entrepreneur Thompson Aderinkomi is best known for co-founding and then getting fired as CEO of a high-profile start-up company, RetraceHealth. Not that getting canned has…
If city councils like Maple Grove's aren't prepared to see retailing spaces get turned into something else, like a Portillo's hot dog restaurant, then they should expect to see a lot more empty space.
Just about any great management practice can lead to terrible results if the implementation gets thoroughly bungled. Wells Fargo & Co. just proved that. A…
By the estimate of a Credit Suisse analyst, nearly 9,000 stores will close this year, many more than in the worst year of the Great Recession.
The government wants people to start taking money out of their retirement accounts so they can tax them. And it set April 1 as the annual turning point for retirees.
A quick read through the background of any new CEO an organization recruits from the outside provides a pretty good indication of the direction the board thinks it needs to go.
So why publish an indicator of how much many of us fear the future with the technology of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, robotics and virtual reality?
Jim Surdyk's decision to open his liquor store in Minneapolis on a Sunday months before it was legal to do so was a far bigger act than just selling some wine and beer.
Emily Stuckenbruck, a 34-year-old college dean, will be in St. Paul next week to tell an audience how younger and older people can more easily…
No one should conclude that big trade surpluses or a shrinking trade deficit actually are what cause economic slowdowns. They aren't.
As Target's chief marketing officer, Jeff Jones stepped out with candid comments and advice during the company's rough patch in 2014. Now, as the new president of Uber Technologies, he's dealing with an even bigger corporate crisis.
The leaders of Target ought to at least consider ditching the use of the term price investment. Their institutional shareholders know exactly what this retail…
No one should have been surprised when the Office of the Legislative Auditor found the Minnesota research-and-development tax credit to be a net drain on…
Here's one of the ironies in looking ahead at how the nature of work is going to change — manufacturing may actually be a bright spot.
Not that long ago a chamber president like Matt Kramer of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce would join with just about everybody else…
The owners' capital in a family business only looks like it doesn't cost anything. That can be a tough case to make with owners.
But the need for affordable housing in Minnesota hasn't.
The pro-mining coalition that is pushing the proposed PolyMet Mining project in northeastern Minnesota decided to get right to the point — by giving itself the name "Jobs for Minnesotans."
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