Apple is using financial engineering to exploit Trump’s tax cuts, diverting wealth from workers, who create value, to investors.

Apple’s world-beating financial engineering is teaching the corporate world how to exploit Trump’s tax cuts.” [Cory Doctorow/Boing Boing]

Silicon Valley’s most self-destructive founder

Ellen Huet, Bloomberg:

Gurbaksh Chahal wanted to be a role model for the sales team at his digital advertising startup and show them how to close a deal. But the co-founder and chief executive officer of Gravity4 Inc. knew he couldn’t be effective as the face of the business. In 2014, he had been removed from the last company he started following a fight with his girlfriend a year earlier, in which he hit and kicked her 117 times. The brutal ordeal, which had been caught on security-camera footage, resulted in probation for Chahal and shattered his reputation.

Last year, Chahal came up with a solution: He created an alter ego named Christian Gray, according to a half dozen people familiar with the situation. The character, who shares a very similar name with one from 50 Shades of Grey, has his own LinkedIn pagefeaturing a head shot of Josh Dallas, an actor who appears on the ABC fairytale drama Once Upon a Time. Chahal would e-mail marketing professionals as Gray, and when he hooked a potential customer, the CEO would berate staff for being outsold by a fake person, said the people, who asked not to be named for fear of retribution. Two people said Chahal had at times used Gray’s sales leads as an excuse to fire workers.

But Gray’s career didn’t last long. While still on probation from his previous domestic-violence conviction, Chahal kicked another girlfriend in late 2014 and threatened to report her to immigration services, according to a police report that surfaced last year. While there wasn’t enough evidence to file criminal charges in that incident, it led to a judge revoking his probation last month, prompting Chahal to hand over the CEO role to his sister. Gravity4 and an attorney for Chahal didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. A California district judge sentenced Chahal on Friday to a year in a county jail for violating his probation, pending an appeal, which his attorney said he plans to do.

Chahal’s self-destruction—and the former colleagues, shareholders, customers, and women left in the rubble—is an extreme case, but it demonstrates a more common risk in Silicon Valley of entrepreneurs who amass too much power. Chahal’s earlier achievements enabled him to run his businesses unchecked and use vague promises of startup riches to recruit talent. “He has a brilliant mind and a very flawed personality,” said Sam Singer, a crisis communications consultant who worked for Chahal in 2014. “He has become a poster child for everything the public thinks is wrong with Silicon Valley: wealth that comes too fast and too easily, arrogant behavior, the belief that the rules don’t apply to them and they are somehow above the law.”

The photo just screams, “Asshole.”

Millionaires don’t move

Chris Christie says high state taxes drive millionaires away. Here’s why he’s mistaken.

Millionaires don’t move from high-tax states to low-tax states in significant numbers, according to a recently published study. And when they do move, it’s to Florida, disproportionately more than other low-tax states, such as New Hampshire, Tennessee and Texas. That suggests the millionaires are moving for reasons other than fleeing taxes.

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Stay-put nation

How America Lost Its Nerve – Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

Americans today are strangely averse to change. They are less likely to switch jobs, or move between states, or create new companies than they were 30 years ago.

Increasing housing prices are keeping Americans where they are, and when they do move they move from wealthier areas – where housing is more expensive – to poorer areas, where housing is cheaper. That’s the opposite of the pattern through the 19th and 20th Centuries, when Americans moved to find work and prosperity in wealthier areas.

Moreover, entrepreneurship is concentrating in wealthier areas, widening the wealth gap.

Chinese millionaires import Western butlers, inspired by Downton Abbey

It’s not just China. The butler business is booming.

For that, you can thank our New Gilded Age, with a wealth gap that’s become a yawning chasm. There are currently more millionaires worldwide than ever—the total jumped by 10 percent in 2012 alone—which means a huge demand for those who serve the super-rich, like the butler. The Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern oil barons, and Asian moguls buying up expensive real estate in and around London are also exporting the Euro-aristocratic lifestyle back home. Thirty-five years ago, there were only a few hundred butlers left in Britain; today there are roughly 10,000, plus thousands more abroad, including the fastest-growing butler market of them all, China. “For the Chinese, it’s a status thing,” says Sara Vestin Rahmini, who founded Bespoke Bureau. “They’re like, ‘Just send us somebody who looks British, who looks European.’ “

GQ: What it’s like to be a billionaire’s butler.