TrueCar Revenue Rises 12% as Key Metrics Improve

Online car-shopping service TrueCar (NASDAQ: TRUE) reported on Feb. 15 that it lost $8.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, slightly more than it lost in the year-ago period. For the full year, TrueCar lost $32.8 million, an improvement over the $41.7 million it lost in 2016. The raw numbers Metric Q4 2017 Change vs. Q4 2016 Full-Year 2017 Change vs. 2016 Revenue $83.1 million 12% $323.1 million 16% Vehicles purchased ("units") 239,521 9.5% 952,834 18.1% Adjusted EBITDA $7.5 million 29.3% $28.9 million 92.7% Franchise dealers as of December 31 12,142 9% -- -- Net income (loss) ($8.5 million) $0.5 million worse ($32.8 million) $8.9 million better Net income (loss) per share ($0.08) $0.01 better ($0.35) $0.14 better Adjusted net income (loss) per share $0.05 $0.06 better $0.08 $0.21 better Data source: TrueCar. EBITDA = earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization. Non-GAAP "adjusted" figures exclude employee stock option expenses and non-recurring costs. "Franchise dealers" = auto dealers that hold a "franchise" from an automaker, meaning that they sell new vehicles. Image source: TrueCar. What happened last quarter TrueCar had a good story to tell in the first and second quarters of 2017, with nearly all of its business metrics improving year over year each time. It hit a speed bump in the third quarter, when its average fee per sale and revenue per franchise dealer both fell. Part of the problem in the third quarter: An important partner, USAA, had redesigned its website, complicating its car-buying section. Investors were looking for a return to first-half form in the fourth quarter, and in that sense, TrueCar didn't disappoint. Aside from a slight year-over-year increase in its net loss, all of the company's key performance metrics were up year over year. TrueCar's website had an average 7.3 million unique visitors per month, up from 7.0 million a year ago. A total of 239,521 Continue Reading

Why Paying Your Team Members the Way Tesla Pays Elon Musk Will Improve Their Performance

The unconventional compensation plan provides incentives to drive results and stick around. Jeff Hyman Published 7:00 am, Friday, February 16, 2018 Photo: VCG | Getty Images Image 1of/1 CaptionClose Image 1 of 1 Photo: VCG | Getty Images Why Paying Your Team Members the Way Tesla Pays Elon Musk Will Improve Their Performance 1 / 1 Back to Gallery "Build me a rocket.Tesla car inside. In case you missed it, Elon Musk did it again. Related: Pay People for Commitment, Not for Time or Results Last week, his SpaceX team successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket. It took $500 million and a few years, but they did it. Recommended Video: Now Playing: "Apparently, there is a car in orbit around Earth," tweeted Elon Musk with a link to the live feed of the orbit with the sign 'Don't panic' on the car dashboard. It took him years to send his car with his rocket into space. 46 year old Elon Musk is member of the so-called PayPal Mafia, the founders and former employees at PayPal. They are the most notorious group in Silicon Valley who founded, funded or led some of the world’s biggest tech firms. In 1999 he founded an online bank, which later became PayPal. In 2002 the online auction eBay bought it for 1.5 billion dollars. In the same year Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies, or Space X,  to make more affordable rockets. In 2004 he became one of the major funders of Tesla Motors and in 2006 Tesla showed its first car, the Roadster. Musk, who wants to colonise Mars, described the Falcon Heavy launch as "it’s kind of silly and fun, but I think that silly and fun things are important," Musk posted on his Instagram a photo of his note to aliens, with, 'Made on Earth by humans,' imprinted on the circuit board. Big dreamer Musk has proven that science Continue Reading

Council awards Sculley $75,000 bonus for 2017 performance

Council awards Sculley $75,000 bonus for 2017 performance By Josh Baugh January 25, 2018 Updated: January 25, 2018 7:33pm Photo: Bob Owen, Staff / San Antonio Express-News Image 1of/2 CaptionClose Image 1 of 2 Interview with San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley, at the Plaza de Armas Gallery on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Interview with San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley, at the Plaza de Armas Gallery on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Photo: Bob Owen, Staff / San Antonio Express-News Image 2 of 2 San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley on Aug. 9, 2017. San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley on Aug. 9, 2017. Photo: William Luther, Staff / San Antonio Express-News Council awards Sculley $75,000 bonus for 2017 performance 1 / 2 Back to Gallery Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the City Council didn’t have metrics to work from, but the body decided in a closed-door meeting Thursday to award City Manager Sheryl Sculley a $75,000 bonus for her 2017 performance. Express Newsletters Get the latest news, sports and food features sent directly to your inbox. Sign up Most Popular 1 Duncan gets back $7.5 million in settlement with ex-adviser 2 Bicycle theft ends with San Antonio police fatally shooting... 3 For Spurs, Leonard saga might be simpler than it seems 4 Council awards Sculley $75,000 bonus for 2017 performance 5 Democrats’ abortion debate: Can a ‘personally pro-life’... The council met in executive session Thursday to finalize the amount after Nirenberg had conducted one-on-one meetings with individual council members. After the council’s closed-door session ended, Nirenberg exited and had a brief conversation with Sculley in which he notified her that she’d be receiving Continue Reading

Report: PSEG LI logs gains in performance

PSEG Long Island made gains in a broad range of performance metrics in 2017, but fell short on one critical measure of reliability, according to a recently released report. The utility, which operates Long Island’s electric grid under a long-term contract with LIPA, far exceeded benchmarks for speed in answering customer calls and the complaint rate per 100,000 customers — which at 4.9 was tied for the lowest in the state, officials said. Its score on JD Power customer satisfaction surveys also rose. But for the second year in a row, the utility missed at least one of three reliability metrics related to outages. The company’s performance for the average frequency of outages customers experience in a year came in at 0.95. That was just under the LIPA target of 0.92, although an improvement from last year’s score of 1.11. PSEG in 2016 also missed a measure of outage duration, but met that standard in 2017, according to the utility’s performance report. The results mean that utility will be eligible for most but not all the $8.7 million in extra incentive pay it can receive under its LIPA contract. Last year, PSEG received $8 million of the total $8.7 million, with a $700,000 reduction for missing two reliability metrics. The company also receives a $58 million annual management fee. LIPA officials and board members at a trustees meeting Wednesday generally praised the company’s performance in the year end report, particularly the reduction in workplace accidents. But they also took note of the missed outage frequency metric, and said they would monitor PSEG’s performance with an expectation of improvement in the future. LIPA chief Tom Falcone blamed the outage frequency problem in part on the large amount of construction and system storm-hardening work taking place across the grid, funded by $730 million in federal aid. “When you have such a large construction program, you’re taking some outages related to Continue Reading

Immigration judges getting new performance metrics

The U.S. Department of Justice is planning to ramp up performance evaluations of immigration judges, measuring their speed, fairness and uniformity in deciding cases, according to a memo issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The union for immigration judges is still negotiating details regarding the performance metrics with the department, according to Dana Leigh Marks, spokeswoman for the National Association of Immigration Judges. While Sessions believes such metrics will help eliminate a backlog of cases that has grown to nearly 650,000, the union of judges is worried that they could affect due process. “Together, we have made significant progress since the beginning of the Trump administration, but we want to build on this success to enshrine what the law contemplates and what the people desire — an end to unlawfulness in our immigration system,” Sessions said in the Dec. 5 memo. The case backlog is not new. Immigration judges and attorneys alike have talked about the need for more judges for years, and the Trump administration has worked to increase their ranks. The department hired 50 new judges since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, according to the memo, and plans to hire at least 60 more in the next six months. While immigration judges welcome additional peers on the bench, the union is concerned that proposed performance metrics will affect the independence necessary for judges to be impartial. “We kind of feel like we’ve jumped from the frying pan into the fire,” said Marks, who is the union’s president emeritus and an immigration judge in San Francisco. In former contracts with the union, the department agreed not to use numeric quotas to measure judge performance and instead used qualitative metrics. The department reopened negotiations on that part of its contract with the union this past summer, Marks said. “The NAIJ believes that the application of any kind of numeric or time based quota Continue Reading

Video: What is GM’s Performance Data Recorder?

Chevrolet’sbig announcement in Dubai this past Sunday has ‘Vette fans and car enthusiasts alike still drooling at the mouth, and rightfully so. With supercar-worthy specs easily establishing it as the most powerful Corvette ever made, the fourth-generation ZR1will most likely be the best bang for your buck available when it goes on sale next spring. Those with a penchant for the track as well as a desire to impress family and friends will also be happy to hear that it will come available with GM's Performance Data Recorder, an exciting little tool that’s come to be a staple of Chevy's most famous sports car. Since 2015 the Performance Data Recorder, or PDR, has allowed Corvette owners to capture their performance on the track as well as test their car’s capabilities. The system uses a tiny high-definition 720p camera mounted within the rearview mirror to record video of your drives while overlaying data such as speed, rpm, throttle and braking, and even a map of the track that includes the start and finish lines. Those looking for a more detailed assessment can also record performance metrics like 0-60 mph acceleration and quarter mile times. All of this is possible through a telemetry recorder hard-wired into the vehicle’s Controller Area Network (CAN). The recorder is able to access information on everything from engine speed to steering-wheel angle and uses a dedicated GPS receiver for extra precise positioning data. PDR features four modes users can choose from that differ by the amount of information they display. While Track and Performance mode give users all the figures they could want for analyzing their test drives, Sport mode shows far fewer details. For those simply looking to relive a particularly scenic or memorable cruise there’s Tour mode that displays no data at all, but provides an excellent POV experience to viewers. The system’s most exciting and convenient feature may be how easy it is to Continue Reading

TVA ends year with $112.5 million in performance bonuses

Tennessee Valley Authority will dole out $112.5 million in performance bonuses to employees this year, after a year of company cost savings, safety records, lower electric rates and low carbon emissions.Employees will get varying portions of that amount based on what percentage of their base salary is considered "at risk." The minimum is 5 percent of base salary. The highest amount of at-risk pay belongs to Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson. TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said Johnson's at-risk pay is 170 percent of his base salary of $995,000, which the TVA board voted to increase by 5.5 percent last week. Performance metrics and the TVA board determine how much of the at-risk pay TVA employees, including Johnson, take home.  More: TVA CEO Bill Johnson gets pay boost after utility reduced rates, improved air quality This year TVA reported the company exceeded its goals, earning 103 percent of the company at-risk pay. So employees will get the full amount of their winning performance payments, plus an extra 3 percent. Johnson will end the year taking home more than $5 million in direct compensation, according to TVA's Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Johnson remains the highest-paid federal employee in America.The lowest-paid TVA employee has a base salary of $36,110, according to payroll ranges TVA released to the USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee. If that employee has 5 percent at risk and receives the 103 percent payout, the employee would take home about $1,860 extra this year.TVA reported total operating revenues of $10.7 billion for the fiscal year, up 1 percent from 2016. The company credits the increase to higher fuel cost recovery revenues. Mild weather affected power sales by about 2 percent.Fuel and purchased power expenses saw a $70 million increase, or about 2 percent, over last year.TVA attributed the change to higher prices for natural gas and Continue Reading

American Airlines raises estimate for key revenue metric

(Reuters) - American Airlines Group Inc on Wednesday raised its estimate for a closely watched performance metric for the second time this year, citing higher average fares. The No.1 U.S. airline's shares rose as much as 3.1 percent in morning trading, lifting stocks of other large carriers. Unit revenue - which compares sales to flight capacity - is expected to increase by about 5 percent to 6 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent rise estimated earlier, American Airlines said. The company also raised the lower end of its adjusted pre-tax margin forecast to a range of 13 percent to 14 percent from a range of 12 percent to 14 percent. American Airlines is the latest carrier to lift its unit revenue estimate as an improving U.S. economy spurs demand for air travel. United Continental Holdings Inc , the No. 3 U.S. airline by passenger traffic, said on Tuesday it expected a 2 percent rise in passenger unit revenue for the second quarter, compared with its previous forecast of 1-3 percent rise. JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker said United's forecast was healthy, while American's was less profound on a margin basis, but American's revised estimate could be viewed as higher quality due to "materially stronger" unit revenue. Last week, smaller rival Delta Air Lines Inc also said it expected passenger unit revenue to be near the upper end of its second-quarter forecast. Shares of Delta, American, United, Alaska Air Group Inc , Spirit Airlines Inc and JetBlue Airways Corp were all up between 1 percent and 3 percent. Up to Tuesday's close, American Airlines' stock had risen 10.5 percent this year, compared with a 12.4 percent increase in the Dow Jones US Airlines index . (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera and Arunima Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Anil D'Silva) (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2017. Click For Restrictions Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: MTA ignoring ‘abysmal’ on-time performance of subway trains

It's not you, it’s them. The MTA is slowing your subway roll. The agency blames it on the number of people who are taking the train these days. Riders, in other words, are just victims of the transit system’s success. In fact, according to an internal report obtained exclusively by the Daily News, the problem is that the MTA is ignoring one of its most important performance measurements — the one about being on time. “They’re not that worried about service,” a source familiar with the internal report said of agency brass. “They just think that it’s not really that bad. They’ve convinced themselves they don’t need to worry about abysmal ‘on-time performance.’ ” There are a lot more problems than that — such as aging cars and track equipment, new cars that struggle to perform as well as well as older ones, and an ancient signaling system, with parts dating back to Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency. But the big one, according to the report, is asking subway crews to close up gaps between trains by slowing them down to a crawl, or speeding them up, or holding them in stations, or skipping stops altogether. What they should be doing instead, the report says, is holding trains to the “on-time performance” standard, which means being no more than five minutes late to their last stop. While on-time performance takes a backseat to trying to evenly space trains to close gaps, riders frequently will be told there’s “train traffic ahead” — a brushoff that can mean anything from a delay due to a sick passenger or a signal problem a borough away that’s rippling through the system. The amorphous phrase delivers practically no information, leaving already unimpressed riders more steamed and bewildered. The internal report’s authors, an MTA senior director of performance analysis and two associate Continue Reading

Pay for performance: ready for its closeup

When Barack Obama backed performance pay in a speech to the nation's largest teachers union last week - and didn't get drowned out by boos - it was the latest indicator of a slow and steady but seismic shift in American school reform. Just a few years ago, a politician's mere mention of performance pay was enough to make the union paint a target on his back. Now - with more than 70 districts working to reward teachers based in part on the quality of the job they do, and a new federal fund spurring experiments all across the country, including $10.5 million in 10 New York City charter schools - it's a new day.Don't misunderstand. The arcane, one-size-fits-all salary schedule, which gives teachers with the same experience and degrees the same paycheck regardless of their effectiveness, is still dominant. But the cracks in the foundation are starting to grow.That means it's time for New York City and urban systems to give another hard look at what has, for years, been considered a divisive and disruptive reform strategy.The basic logic behind performance pay is compelling. Research is indisputable that nothing - small class sizes included - helps students learn better than a high-quality teacher. Yet today, 40% of all our teachers leave classrooms in their first five years on the job, in many cases because of inadequate pay and support. Without a real career ladder to climb, potentially outstanding educators are checking out by the thousands.Performance pay plans simply say that we should start recognizing the best teachers so that we can keep them in the classroom where they belong. And one way of measuring teacher effectiveness is using children's gains on standardized tests, because no one has found a more objective way to measure learning.Most opposition to the idea is based on a totally outdated notion of what the reform is all about - like rejecting modern medicine because of what was sold in 19th century apothecaries. In the past, "merit" awards were Continue Reading