Episode 28: Hair Is Segregated

In this conversation, Karen, Jay, and Dana discuss diversity in hiring and marketing. Dana talks about the challenge of getting white customers to come to a hair salon that is mostly Black. Karen talks about the challenge of persuading Black candidates to join a company that does not have a lot of Black employees: “So the question is not: are they out there? They're out there. I guarantee they're out there. The question is: do we need to spend more time, more energy, and be willing to be patient until we find a good pool of candidates?”

Episode 28: Hair Is Segregated

Guests:

Dana White is founder and CEO of Paralee Boyd hair salons.

Jay Goltz is founder and CEO of Artists Frame Service and Jayson Home.

Karen Clark Cole is co-founder and CEO of Blink.

Producer:

Jess Thoubboron is founder of Blank Word Productions.

Episode Highlights:

Karen Clark Cole: “In Seattle, what we were finding is, ‘How do we attract Black people when we don’t have a whole lot in the company?’”

Dana White: “Black women will go to a predominantly white salon, but people who are not Black will not come to a predominantly Black salon to get their hair done.”

Dana White: “In New York, it was nothing for you to walk into a salon and sit next to somebody with red hair, someone with blonde hair. There was a lot more freedom and integration in the hair world.”

Full Episode Transcript:

Loren Feldman:
Welcome everybody. I’d like to talk about diversity today, certainly in hiring, but also in marketing. What can businesses do to target specific groups of customers? Let’s start with the hiring part of it, which tends to get the most attention, and especially in the tech world.

Karen, let’s start with you. You’re a woman. I’m guessing you’ve given some thought to what it takes to reach beyond the usual group of coding bros. Remind us, how many employees do you have and how diverse of a group have you managed to hire?

Karen Clark Cole:
We’re about 130, and in terms of men and women, we’re a pretty equal split in the company and always have been, but where we are really behind is in racial diversity. That’s something that we’re working on actively, and certainly having different offices helps. Being just in Seattle can make part of that harder, but we have a really nice mix of Latinos and Latinas in San Diego who we’re really working hard to bring in. San Francisco is certainly a better melting pot than Seattle, I think.

Loren Feldman:
Well, that’s interesting.

Karen Clark Cole:
Yeah. Then we’ve got the East Coast, which helps as well.

Loren Feldman:
The fact that you’re evenly split between men and women is impressive. That’s got to be fairly unusual among your competitors, I would guess. Am I right about that?

Karen Clark Cole:
No, I don’t think so, if you think about us as a design company. If you were thinking of us as a development company, then yes, that might be the case. But we have a pretty equal split of designers and researchers, and those researchers are psychologists largely, or people who are inclined in that direction. So it’s kind of a different demographic than a typical tech firm. We also have some developers. In fact, most of our developers are women. They’re a small group.

Loren Feldman:
Really?

Karen Clark Cole:
Yeah, there’s a lot of energy behind getting girls and women into coding, certainly in the Seattle area. I think there’s a lot of progress that’s been made there. For us, our biggest challenge actually is having women in really high-level roles in the company. We have a lot of women in the base of the company, but when you get up to the senior leadership, there are fewer and fewer.

That just happened organically, so now we’re really paying close attention. We’re keeping positions open for longer. So the question is not: are they out there? They’re out there. I guarantee they’re out there. The question is: do we need to spend more time, more energy, and be willing to be patient until we find a good pool of candidates? Then we start looking at who’s the best person for the job.

What was happening before is that we’d find a great candidate, send them right through the process, and hire them and not really wait until we had a really diverse pool of candidates. That, for us, has been the biggest change, is really being patient to make sure that at least in our candidates, we are diverse, both ethnically, as well as gender-based. That’s helped.

Loren Feldman:
I want to come back to that, especially what specifically you’ve tried to make your pool of candidates more diverse. What’s worked? What hasn’t?

But first, let’s go around the room. Dana, you’ve told us your hair salons specialize in serving women with thick and curly hair. I believe you’ve told us that your customers are predominantly but not exclusively African American. First, remind us how many employees do you have, both full-time and contracting? I believe that your stylists are contractors. How diverse is your group?

Dana White:
I only have one contractor. She’s my operations manager. But the rest of my staff are all employees. They’re more diverse along gender lines than they are ethnic lines. The reality of my business, especially here in Michigan, is that hair is segregated. It’s really, really glaring because you have the guests who do come to me, have said, “I don’t want other people to know that I have to come to a Black salon to get my hair done because it’s so thick.” It’s kind of how society is structured where Black women will go to a predominantly white salon to get their hair done if there is a talented stylist who they feel confident can do their hair. People who are not Black will not come to a predominantly Black salon to get their hair done. We find that at Paralee Boyd, most of the diversity comes in with gender. We have two gentlemen who work with us, but it’s mainly a woman-dominated field.

Loren Feldman:
That’s a really interesting challenge for you. Correct me if I’m wrong, I believe you got the idea to start this chain of hair salons in Brooklyn, New York.

Dana White:
Yes.

Loren Feldman:
Was the environment very different there? Was it less segregated?

Dana White:
Yes, it was. I loved that. Growing up in Kalamazoo where I’m from, it’s very Black or white. In New York, it’s very everybody. It was nothing for you to walk into a salon and sit next to somebody with red hair, someone with blonde hair. There was a lot more freedom and integration in the hair world. I’ve had Asian ladies cut my hair. I’ve had Argentinian men cut my hair. It’s just a matter of the skill and them doing a good job.

I did notice that the convenience for women with thick and curly hair wasn’t as readily available in other parts of the country as it was in New York, the hair freedom. So I opened Paralee Boyd to start to get that out. Women with thick and curly hair shouldn’t be charged more. They shouldn’t have to wait longer. There are processes that you can do to make it more efficient in hair freedom, I guess.

Karen Clark Cole:
Dana, you said “hair freedom,” right?

Dana White:
Mhmm.

Karen Clark Cole:
That’s a great term! [Laughter]

Dana White:
Thank you, thank you.

Loren Feldman:
In Michigan, do you consider the segregated aspect of your customer base to be something that you can and want to address, or is that just the way it is?

Dana White:
Nope, it’s something I can and will address. But again, when you’re talking in the workforce, people have to come into a space where the employees reflect them, the environment reflects them. I think the salons are beautiful. So okay, they look good, however I just don’t see people who are not Black en masse—we have a few, there are some who are comfortable—but I don’t think en masse they’re going to feel comfortable being the only one in the room.

We’ve had white stylists, and my Black female clients don’t want to go to her because the assumption is, “She doesn’t know how to do my hair,” even though that’s not the case, and it takes that stylist a lot longer to show that she knows how to style that curlier texture hair. Just doing the marketing, I’m working with someone now to say, “How do we market to a diverse group?” It is a separate marketing campaign and then we have to give it time to have that reflected in our salons when they come in.

Loren Feldman:
Have you had a white stylist who was successful in getting established in your shop?

Dana White:
We have, but again, it was really hard for her. Part of the reason that she left was because there just never seemed to be confidence. There were guests who would see her and think that it was no longer Black-owned and would leave, and we’d have to go out to the parking lot. “No, it’s still Black-owned.” Even when my first operations coordinator—she was white—she walked in and they would automatically assume that she was my boss. It’s something that has to be worked out over time because there are a lot of generational and societal things, assumptions that have to be worked on in order to grow.

Loren Feldman:
You’re dealing with a lot there.

Dana White:
I know! [Laughter]

Karen Clark Cole:
Let me ask you a question, Dana. Loren made a good point, you’re dealing with a lot, but you sound energized by it. We talked before about being an underdog. Do you think this is a challenge that you’re excited to solve or does it wear you down?

Dana White:
It can be frustrating because I see the bigger picture. My mission isn’t to solve for it. My mission is just to make it easier for the business to grow. I’m energized because I think I have a plan to grow Paralee Boyd being inclusive, and also respecting the differences in our hair texture.

There are businesses in the UK that say, “This is for everybody,” but your hair products only reflect one person. A lot of salons say, “Oh, we’re for everybody,” but then you have to call in a certain stylist to do her hair. No, you’re not for everybody. You don’t even have the products that are conducive to a redhead’s hair. I’m energized because I have a plan for Paralee Boyd, not a plan to solve for this segregation en masse.

Loren Feldman:
Come on Dana, be ambitious. [Laughter]

Dana White:
I’ll get to it. But today, it’s Paralee Boyd.

Karen Clark Cole:
Well, at least you’re moving in the right direction.

Loren Feldman:
Jay, how about you? Remind us how many employees you have and how diverse a group do you have?

Jay Goltz:
Just 115 employees and I’ve never really counted, but it’s probably about 50/50 male to female. I have kind of an unusual situation in that I’ve got everyone from people with art degrees working at the front counter designing framing to people with interior design backgrounds working in the home store to factory workers who are cutting frames and putting them together in the back. I have a lot of everything here. I’d say it’s very diverse. But as far as educational background, the people who have art degrees usually are not minorities, just by the way it is out there.

Loren Feldman:
Has this had an impact on how you look at who you hire? I know the labor market has been tight for a while. Are you just trying to find people who are willing to and can do the job?

Jay Goltz:
That’s always been the case. Karen used one word—she said “patient.” I would add another word to that, because I do a lot of speeches on hiring and firing. I would use the word “disciplined.” This concept of, “Get 10 people and hire the best one,” well if the best one isn’t good enough, that’s not a good plan. You have to stay disciplined at waiting until you find the right person.

I can’t say this enough. Every opportunity I have, I try to get this out there: the biggest problem with businesses is bad hiring. They don’t check references. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to. In my case, I’ve been in business for 41 years. I’ve been through 500-600 employees. I’ve gotten three reference calls in 41 years.

Generally, people don’t call references and they rationalize it. Calling references is a good thing. We have a very disciplined hiring approach. We write a really good ad that tells people why they should come here. We get a big pool of candidates and we interview them thoroughly and then we check references.

Karen Clark Cole:
Jay, you’re absolutely right, and it does require patience because everyone’s [like], “Go, go, go!” But yeah, it’s discipline and patience for sure.

Jay Goltz:
Yeah, so the answer is we wait until the right person shows up. I’m in Chicago, so it’s turned out to have good diversity, but I can’t say that I’ve gone out trying to hire a particular kind of person.

Loren Feldman:
Have you thought at all about, at a time when it is tough to find good candidates, reaching out to people who might not otherwise have thought to apply for one of your jobs?

Jay Goltz:
It has absolutely gotten much more difficult lately, and I will tell you that for a $14 per hour job—cutting frames or something—the candidate pool has gotten much smaller. We have tried to do the socially responsible thing in hiring. We hired like six people. Four of them came from some kind of halfway house through a program and another couple came from prison for nonviolent crimes. We’re trying to give people opportunities, in some cases a second chance, to increase the pool of candidates out there.

Loren Feldman:
Has that worked for you thus far?

Jay Goltz:
No, in one word. Out of the six, after six months, there are zero left. It’s extremely frustrating. I will try again, but—I’m not making a generalization, but in my little test tube sampling here—they all conked out. It starts out with [he or she] doesn’t show up on Monday, and then doesn’t show up on Monday and Tuesday, and then doesn’t show up again…

Loren Feldman:
I don’t know if you saw it, but we just ran an item in the Morning Report about a manufacturing business where 80% of the employees have a criminal background. They specialize in hiring from that pool. They’ve had real success doing it in part because they learned a lot of lessons the hard way, and I think they wound up hiring a social worker who’s a full-time employee to help with the transition, which clearly indicates how hard it is.

Jay Goltz:
They pulled it off. But it wasn’t just good intentions. They hired a social worker, and they had to really dig in and work on it. Because from my little sampling, it’s just not as easy as having good intentions and hiring some people and figuring, “Well, they’re getting a second chance and I’m sure they’ll work out.”

Loren Feldman:
Karen, let’s go back to you. What have you tried, in terms of reaching out to different communities? You said that’s where you want to put more emphasis going forward.

Karen Clark Cole:
Sure. In Seattle, what we were finding is, how do we attract Black people when we don’t have a whole lot in the company? So we started talking to local folks who were willing to help us and the feedback we got was, “Well, no one wants to be the first and only, but they’re not going to come and you have no chance if you don’t have trust and if you don’t have a relationship already.”

Our HR team started working really hard going to different community events where we could have a really diverse group of people and just being out there and building relationships and having them know who we are long before we’re hiring. That made a difference. Same with the Latino population in San Diego. Luckily, we have some great employees who are real advocates and understand that we’re trying to get there, and they’re helping us. It’s like everything. It’s relationships, and it’s trust. To me, that’s kind of like, “Okay, good. We know how to do that, and it’s a lot of work.”

It’s like what Jay’s saying. It’s discipline and patience to make sure that we’re out there and we’re thinking about it a lot. Because it’s easy to forget about it, and just keep moving. We’re going quickly, we’re growing fast. But I tell you, when we do it, it is so much better. You get the diversity of opinions and ideas, and it’s such a better place when we do it.

Loren Feldman:
I was surprised with what you said about the difference between Seattle and San Francisco, that it’s a little bit easier in San Francisco.

Karen Clark Cole:
I don’t know about that for sure. It’s a bigger city, there are more people there, certainly in terms of our kind of work. I think that helps.

Loren Feldman:
But the market is tight everywhere, especially for the type of people who you’re trying to hire.

Karen Clark Cole:
That’s a whole separate problem.

Loren Feldman:
Has it gotten a lot harder in recent years to find—

Karen Clark Cole:
No, I don’t think so actually. I would say it’s the opposite, because for us in particular, there are more people who are trained in the kind of work that we do. The colleges now are spitting them out by the thousands, whereas when we first started Blink, there was nobody. There was not one single program that produced a candidate who was trained for us. Now we work with the colleges, we’re in there teaching, and there are thousands of them. There are just way more people in the market.

The flip side of being in the tech hub of Seattle, is the Amazons and the Microsofts and the Facebooks and the Googles and the Starbucks, they all bring these people to the city, and then when they spit them out because they’re so burned out, then we get an opportunity to get them. They’re bringing so many people here. I think it’s easier. I mean, it’s still hard, there’s no question, but there are more people around for sure.

Jay Goltz:
Part of this is marketing, in that there are people who would be great at your job who don’t even know that kind of job exists. You have to think about, where are you putting your ads? Because most people don’t wake up and go, “I think I’ll go to work at a picture framing factory.” They don’t even know there is such a thing. You have to figure out where to put the ads and where to reach out to people. All they know is to go to work in McDonald’s or something.

Karen Clark Cole:
Jay, do you target colleges, like going to the art schools and letting them know these are jobs you can get?

Jay Goltz:
That part’s easy. I don’t need to, because this is a great job for someone who’s got an art degree. We have no problem attracting those people. It’s working in the factory that’s becoming the problem. We went to agencies that are looking to place people in the factories. It is partially about marketing, and it’s partially about people don’t think much about the ad they stick out there.

I was at a picture framing convention one time and a lady goes, “Jay, I’m having a hard time finding people.” I go, “What’s your ad say?” She goes, “Junior framer.” I go, “Well, there’s your problem. Who wants to be a junior framer? Just say a framer. You don’t have to put ‘junior’ in front of it.”

Karen Clark Cole:
Exactly, I totally agree. [Laughter]

Jay Goltz:
Just one little word could make a huge difference. A lot of people don’t want to work for the big corporation. Putting in your ad, “Work directly with the owner,” wow, that’s very appealing to a lot of people. That’s why people leave some of these big corporations. Here’s a phrase: they want to “make a difference.” That’s a huge thing for a lot of people. So you put in your ad, “Work somewhere where you can make a difference, all of your input is valued,” and blah, blah, blah. All of a sudden, you get more candidates and better candidates.

Loren Feldman:
Dana, the way you described your situation, it sounds like your challenge is less about finding diversity in your hiring and more about diversity in your marketing who you bring in. I think that’s ultimately where your challenge lies. Have you thought much about how you can handle that kind of marketing that keeps your salons safe for your existing clientele but attracts other people who may not have thought about it in the past?

Dana White:
Yes, I have, and I think it is the marketing, not only to the customers, but again, it is the marketing to future employees of Paralee Boyd. Again, in me not trying to solve for segregation as a whole, I think it’s going to be people coming into Paralee Boyd once we market to them and seeing a reflection of themselves to feel comfortable.

There is a young man here in Detroit who said, “Everybody shops at Target. Black people, white people, everybody shops at Target. Black people go to Target. White people don’t go to Shrine of the Black Madonna. Shrine of the Black Madonna is a small Target-like shop in Detroit that Black people go to if they need odds-and-ends, or at least they used to. I don’t think it’s open anymore. But that’s the example, and I think in solving for that, as far as hair care, it’s a matter of me not only marketing to a new market, but making sure that when I do market, that when they come in, there is some reflection of themselves.

I’ve talked to other African American business owners, and a lot of the time, they hire a white person to be at that front desk, so then when they do get diverse clientele, Black people aren’t gonna be like, “Oh my god, there’s a white receptionist. I’m leaving.” No, we see white receptionists practically everywhere we go. But white women—not white women, but white people—they walk into a room full of white people all the time. They’re going to look for someone that reflects them. I don’t even think that’s just exclusive to white or Black. I think it’s—

Loren Feldman:
It’s human nature.

Dana White:
Yeah, human nature. I think they look for them. So if we’re going to market to get more of a diverse clientele, more diverse guests, then we need to have that reflected in the salon as well.

Loren Feldman:
Have you thought about reaching out to specific groups?

Dana White:
Yes, we already have. We’ve already started.

Loren Feldman:
Interesting.

Dana White:
I’m committed to thick and curly hair. There are other groups with thick and curly hair—and I’ve started looking at a sample size of the women who come to us already. We have women who are Indian and redheads. Then because we’re open on Sunday and Monday, we have women who are Jewish with thick and curly hair who come to the salon.

We understand that unfortunately, the people who are not African American, they want this to be a secret. We had a film crew in the salon and they were ducking the camera. “Would you mind if we put you on camera?” “Yes, I would.” We eventually asked one person, “God, it seems to be an issue. What is it?” And she said, “I don’t want people to know that I have to come here to get my hair done.” Wow, not offended, thanks for your money, see you next week. It’s a business, right? We’re not friends.

Taking that information and making it work for us, marketing to those groups as Paralee Boyd being your best kept secret. That’s the marketing angle we’re going to start with, even though it’s not a secret. People are going to see you go in there. You may not tell everybody. It could be something that you’re just not telling people, but it’s your best kept secret. So okay, that’s what we’ll do. Make it work for you.

Loren Feldman:
What an interesting challenge. Jay or Karen, obviously it’s not as crucial to your businesses, but have either of you had any success in your marketing trying to reach out to groups that you haven’t previously served?

Jay Goltz:
I haven’t.

Karen Clark Cole:
Going physically to community events, rather than posting ads. That does matter, it does pay off, it’s good. It takes a lot of people hours to do that.

Jay Goltz:
On a little different subject, I will tell you, having a diverse workforce, like in my factory, there are some things that you don’t think about. You think everyone’s the same.

For instance, we used to give turkeys out for Thanksgiving. A lot of people don’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving. A lot of Hispanics do not eat turkey. I didn’t know that. Different ethnic groups do things differently, so now I give out a gift certificate for either a ham or a turkey.

Karen Clark Cole:
What about tofurkey? [Laughter]

Jay Goltz:
I have some of those. I have some vegetarians. My salespeople, the artsy people, one of them cut me off on the way to work one day and I said, “You know, that was pretty aggressive driving for a vegetarian.” But no one showed up here with a tofu turkey yet. Probably just a matter of time.

Loren Feldman:
Moving on now, let me start with you, Karen. Tell us about this sabbatical ending.

Karen Clark Cole:
Well, I have some trepidation. There are things that I’m trying to be really mindful of, listening to, “What are my fears? What am I excited about? What am I dreading?” and then make sure that I’m setting myself up for success when I get when I go back. It’s kind of nice because, from having had some distance, those things are really clear, whereas before, they wouldn’t have been.

I’m excited just to go back and see everybody and hear how things are going. I’ve been watching on the sidelines, but there’s a lot of great stuff that’s been happening, and it’s pretty exciting. Then I can go away and everything is ticking along just nicely.

Loren Feldman:
Does that make you want to stay away a little longer?

Karen Clark Cole:
It makes me know that I can, but there are lots of things that I can get going on and make a difference on. I’m trying to do things differently than when I left., and that’s a challenge to not fall back into the same routine of… you know, 20 years is a long time. I’m pretty hardwired to go in and do certain things.

Loren Feldman:
Give us an example. What do you want to do differently when you go back?

Karen Clark Cole:
Going to a lot of various meetings, sort of check-in meetings at different levels in the company. My Chief Operating Officer can handle all of those meetings, like the finance meeting, the weekly GM meeting for all of our offices. Those are ones that I typically go to, largely because I’m interested and I want to know how things are going, but instead I’m going to try to channel that through him so that he can take in all the raw data and put it into more of a strategic view that him and I need to work on together, in terms of where the company needs to shift or go.

Whereas I’m used to getting the raw data and then having to turn it into the information that we need so that we can make decisions about the company, I’m gonna let him continue to do all of that. He’s been doing it while I’m gone. But already I was looking at my calendar earlier today and I’ve got all these meetings from before still on my calendar. I’m like, “I wonder if I’m going to go to that.”

Jay Goltz:
I have to ask a question. Do you think there are any people there who are just wishing you weren’t coming back?

Karen Clark Cole:
Oh, Jay!

Jay Goltz:
You took a long time off. There are people who got more room while you were gone, they’re getting to do more, and I’m just wondering—

Karen Clark Cole:
I am sure there are people exactly like what you just said. They got more room. They got to take the bull by the horns. And so yes, I’m sure there are people who are worried, “Uh oh, it’s going to be back to Karen’s involved in everything.” And so yes, I’m sure there are people who are nervous, although I don’t think that many, truthfully. I hope not anyway.

Loren Feldman:
Have you thought about addressing those concerns directly?

Karen Clark Cole:
Yeah, absolutely.

Jay Goltz:
That’s what I’m talking about.

Karen Clark Cole:
For me, the first thing that people do is say, “Hey, I’m not coming to this meeting anymore and here’s why.” I hope people will feel empowered by that and see that I trust them and that I need them to do their jobs. So hopefully in the end, I think yes, next week, there’ll be a lot of wondering. And then after that, I’ve got to, put my money where my mouth is and do what I say I’m going to do. That for me will take a lot of discipline.

Jay Goltz:
I haven’t taken off months, but I’ve screwed up and I wasn’t paying enough attention to stuff. I’ve told people, “Listen, this is all on me. I just want you to know, going forward. Here’s what I figured out.” And people feel good about it and it shows you evolved and you took the time off and you saw some things out and you can absolutely turn it into a positive moment.

Karen Clark Cole:
Yeah, for sure. I’m pretty open in that work as well. So I would say, “Tell me your concerns.” Then I would also ask people, “How do you want me to be? What did you miss? What do you need and what do you not need?”

Loren Feldman:
Did you get honest answers to that question?

Karen Clark Cole:
It’s hard to know, but I can still ask. If I don’t ask, I’m never going to know anything. I’ll get the best answer that can be given.

But I did ask my head of HR, I’m like, “Do you think I should come back?” And she gave me a resounding, “Yes.” You know, I have a certain energy in the office that I think people do appreciate. I’m really proud of the whole operation. For me today, to your point, is I’m going to have to make sure that I’m communicating that on a regular basis.

Loren Feldman:
All right, last segment. I want to talk about another item that we ran recently in the Morning Report. It’s about Microsoft and what they did to lessen their tax burden. I won’t go through all the details, but essentially, they shifted $39 billion in profits to Puerto Rico on the advice of their tax consultants. It allowed them—

Jay Goltz:
Mention their name, mention their name. I think that’s important. What tax consultants?

Loren Feldman:
KPMG.

Jay Goltz:
Yeah, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Loren Feldman:
They managed to get them basically a zero percent tax rate. It went to litigation. There were emails that were released that showed people talking about this in terms of “a pure tax play” describing exactly what was happening here. I’m curious, as owners of smaller businesses, what do you think when you read a story like this? Jay, I’ve got a sense you have a problem with it.

Jay Goltz:
It’s revolting. I find it revolting that the accounting firm goes out there and is promoting this. It’s just wrong. People are supposed to pay their taxes so that we can fix the bridges and help the needy and do whatever government’s supposed to do. Like Microsoft doesn’t make enough money, they’ve got to cheat on their taxes, for God’s sake? Bill Gates needs more money so he can give away more money? The whole thing’s just revolting.

As the small business owner who’s dealing with raising our own taxes and the health insurance, it’s really disheartening that these companies that we all give money to that make billions and billions of dollars can’t just pay their taxes, and that these big accounting firms go ahead and conspire with them to do it. I hope there’s some backlash on them. I really do.

Karen Clark Cole:
What I found was amazing about that article is that, I hate to say it, but I kind of felt bad for the IRS. When you think about it, it’s like, “Wow, that’s a real business too.” They actually need to have the right people on staff, they’ve had to hire law firms to help them fight this battle. I just thought, wow, you just think they have unlimited resources, but they really don’t.

Loren Feldman:
Not at all, and that’s been a problem for several years.

Karen Clark Cole:
They can’t fight Microsoft because they had budget cuts. Therefore, they just sit and they watch it happen. That, of course, makes me crazy because they have no problem calling me—not that I’m avoiding taxes—they seem to do a really good job of hassling the people who are paying the least amount of taxes, but then for the big guns where they can actually make a huge difference to the whole country, they can’t do it. That part I found… God, that’s depressing. The injustice in that is incredible to me.

Dana White:
The power dynamic has made me just shake my head. I think we’re experiencing that a lot now in the world, in the country. Those who have the power can shift $39 billion to a territory and the IRS is limited, if limited is being, not even fair, but what can they do?

You let someone miss a payment on their $10,000 bill, and they’re ready to come after you, or you take somebody like actors who have not paid their taxes due to poor money management, and it’s $300,000 and they’re seizing homes and cars and giving you jail time. But guess what: that actor doesn’t have the power of Microsoft. It’s unfortunate that you can go after money, but the true wealth is power.

Loren Feldman:
But where do you draw the line? I mean, nobody wants to pay more taxes than they’re obligated to pay.

Dana White:
I think the line is definitely not no taxes. The fact that there’s zero percent, that’s way beyond the line, but you don’t want to set a company up, even though they can afford it, I’m not comfortable setting up Microsoft to be fleeced where they’re paying so much money in taxes. So you’re right, where is the line? But I think with this case study that it’s just wrong. They should not be able to do that.

Jay Goltz:
It’s not just Microsoft either. You read about this with Apple. It seems like many of these companies do that. Where’s the line? It’s really simple. Most of their business isn’t done in Puerto Rico, period. I mean, it’s pretty black and white. This isn’t even pushing it. This is just a sham that one of the big accounting firms is helping them do, and that’s really disheartening.

Loren Feldman:
With that, we are out of time. Thank you all. My thanks to Karen Clark Cole, Jay Goltz, and Dana White. Again, really appreciate your being willing to share the way you do.