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The latest news from Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


    For some, the countdown to Christmas starts the year before on December 26, while others wait until the fall to get out their wreaths and trees. Whatever your style, we can all agree that we appreciate the holiday cheer that lingers in the air after Thanksgiving. Whether your idea of welcoming the holiday season is something along the lines of listening to Mariah Carey's Christmas album on repeat or baking gingerbread men with your family (or both), there's nothing more festive than adding some holiday decor to your home.

    With Christmas around the corner, it's a great time to pick up some little decorations to get your space in the holiday spirit. You don't need to spend a fortune on expensive Christmas lights and antique figurines to add that much needed merriment to your home — there are plenty of retailers with great, inexpensive options for Christmas decorations. Luckily, we scoured the web and curated a list of cheap, cute Christmas decorations to get your home in the holiday spirit this season — so you can spend your money on the important stuff. Consider it our gift to you. 

    Check out our list of 23 cheap Christmas decorations under $25, below:

    Looking for gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    An adorable snowman you can keep inside

    7-Inch Walter Snowman Plush Figurine, $19.99, available at Wayfair

    Christmas-themed photo booth props for a fun holiday party activity

    PartyGraphix Christmas Photo Booth Props, $12.95 (set of 15), available at Amazon

    Festive, Fair Isle stockings to hang by the fireplace

    Wondershop Knit Fair Isle Stocking, $13, available at Target

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    quarterly global fintech fundingThis is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    Fintech hubs — cities where startups, talent, and funding congregate — are proliferating globally in tandem with ongoing disruption in financial services. 

    These hubs are all vying to become established fintech centers in their own right, and want to contribute to the broader financial services ecosystem of the future. Their success depends on a variety of factors, including access to funding and talent, as well as the approach of relevant regulators.

    This report compiles various fintech snapshots, which together highlight the global spread of fintech, and show where governments and regulatory bodies are shaping the development of national fintech industries. Each provides an overview of the fintech industry in a particular country or state in Asia or Europe, and details what is contributing to, or hindering its further development. We also include notable fintechs in each geography, and discuss what the opportunities or challenges are for that particular domestic industry.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Most countries in Europe have made some formal attempt to foster the development of domestic fintech industries, with Germany and Ireland seeing the best results so far. France, meanwhile, got off to a slow start, but that's starting to change. 
    • The Asian fintech scene took off later than in the US or Europe, but it's seen rapid growth lately, particularly in India, China, and Singapore.
    • The increasing importance of technology-enabled products and services within the financial services ecosystem means the global fintech industry isn't going anywhere. 
    • Fintech hubs will continue to proliferate, with leaders emerging in each region.
    • The future fintech landscape will be molded by regulatory bodies — national and international — as they seek to mitigate the risks, and leverage the opportunities, presented by fintech. 

     In full, the report:

    • Explores the fintech industry in six countries or states, and identifies individual fintech hubs.
    • Highlights successful fintechs in each region.
    • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each country or state faces. 
    • Gives insight into the future of the global fintech industry. 

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
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    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
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    Join the conversation about this story »

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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    Emerging markets are going to be essential for e-commerce growth, as retailers in developed markets may soon reach saturation in terms of consumer growth.


    For example, almost half of US households now have a Prime membership, diminishing Amazon's growth potential in the country. Meanwhile, in China, the world's largest e-commerce market, nearly half of the population is actively making online purchases, leaving little room for growth. 

    However, India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America are worth keeping an eye on. E-commerce penetration rates in these areas hover between 2-6%, presenting a huge opportunity for future growth as online sales gain traction. Moreover, these regions are expected to grow at compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 31%, 32%, and 16%, respectively, through 2021.

    This report compiles several e-commerce snapshots, which together highlight the most notable emerging markets in various regions. Each provides an overview of the e-commerce industry in a particular country, discusses influential retailers, and provides insights into the opportunities and challenges for that specific domestic industry.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Emerging markets are going to be essential for e-commerce growth, as retailers in developed markets may soon reach saturation in terms of consumer growth.
    • India is the clear overall leader in e-commerce potential, but countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America are also worth keeping an eye on. Within Southeast Asia, Indonesia shows the most promise for retailers, as the government is loosening restrictions on foreign investments, and its massive population is gaining spending power and more access to internet. Meanwhile, Mexico is a retailer's best bet for expansion in Latin America, due to its stable economy and rising middle class, but Brazil may be gearing up to steal the top spot.
    • However, doing business in these regions can be difficult. In most of these emerging markets, infrastructure is underdeveloped and the population is largely unbanked, making digital payments a challenge.
    • If retailers can build a brand presence in these markets while online shopping is still in its nascent stages, they may become market leaders as e-commerce takes off in the regions. Moreover, these markets could provide new sources of growth for companies that would otherwise stagnate in more mature e-commerce markets.

     In full, the report:

    • Explores the e-commerce industry in India, Southeast Asia, and Latin America.
    • Highlights the leading country in each region, as well as key e-commerce players there. 
    • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each region faces.
    • Gives insight into how these emerging markets may shape the future of e-commerce.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Mike McCarthy

    • The Green Bay Packers have fired head coach Mike McCarthy after 13 seasons with the team.
    • The decision came after the team's 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at home.
    • Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will take over for the Packers as interim head coach.

    The Green Bay Packers have fired head coach Mike McCarthy. The decision came after the Packers embarrassing 20-17 loss at home to the Arizona Cardinals, giving the Packers to a 4-7-1 record on the year. The Packers were 14-point favorites to win the game.

    "The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers. As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately," team president Mark Murphy said in a statement.

    "Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field. We want to thank Mike, his wife, Jessica, and the rest of the McCarthy family for all that they have done for the Packers and the Green Bay and Wisconsin communities. We will immediately begin the process of selecting the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers."

    According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the news of his firing came as a surprise to McCarthy.

    McCarthy took over for the Packers in 2006 and led the team to a win in Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but fans have been let down since, with earlier than expected playoff exits. Now, the team is moving on with the hope of finding a new coach that can make the most of however many years left Aaron Rodgers has as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

    Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will be taking over interim duties for the Packers until a new head coach is named.

    SEE ALSO: Odell Beckham Jr. threw his second touchdown pass of the season and everyone on Twitter is making the same joke

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside an intense training session where aspiring WWE wrestlers learn how to fight

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    Josh Allen

    • The Buffalo Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins, 24-17, in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday.
    • With one final chance to win the game, rookie quarterback Josh Allen put the Bills in position to score.
    • On a critical fourth down, he threw a wobbling pass to a wide-open Charles Clay, who dropped the ball.

    The Buffalo Bills have been finding new and innovative ways to lose football games for some time now, but Sunday's effort came with an especially painful ending for the Bills Mafia.

    After trailing for the majority of the game, the Bills had one final chance to come back and beat the Dolphins in Miami. Buffalo started their final drive at their own 10-yard line with 2:33 left on the clock and needing a touchdown to win. Josh Allen was able to move the offense down to the Miami 30-yard line with just over a minute left, but after a few incompletions, the Bills faced fourth-and-11 with the game on the line.

    Allen took the snap and was immediately in trouble, with Dolphins defenders closing in fast. Somehow, he escaped, scrambling as far back as midfield before he was able to reset his feet and look for an open man.

    He found one — in the chaos, Charles Clay had gotten himself wide open and was ready for the ball in the end zone. Allen threw up a prayer, and it bounced right out of Clay's hands.

    While the throw was a bit short, Allen had already performed two miracles on the play simply to remain upright. Still, seeing how open Clay was only made the play more painful upon second viewings.

    The Bills would turn the ball over on downs, and the Dolphins would go on to win the game 24-17 after a few kneel-downs.

    Just when you think you've seen it all, the Bills find a new way to lose.

    SEE ALSO: Odell Beckham Jr. threw his second touchdown pass of the season and everyone on Twitter is making the same joke

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Inside an intense training session where aspiring WWE wrestlers learn how to fight

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    george hw bush

    • The news of George H.W. Bush's passing Friday largely framed the weekend, with funeral plans and official ceremonies being announced.
    • Foreign leaders met at the G20, whose news was more spectacle than substance.
    • Neil deGrasse Tyson took to Facebook to responded to sexual misconduct allegations, which he mostly denied.

    This weekend (Dec. 2 and Dec 3.) largely stood under the shadow of the news that former President George H.W. Bush had passed away Friday evening. The details of his death, the funeral preparations, responses from world leaders, and the effect on Washington largely overshadowed the other news that was made on Saturday and Sunday.

    Here's everything you might have missed.

    The details are still being decided, but President Donald Trump ordered the federal government to close on December 5 "as a mark of respect" for former President George H.W. Bush.

    Read more on our coverage: 

    • Bush died Friday after suffering from Parkinson's and experiencing multiple hospitalizations. 
    • World leaders gave touching reactions and shared their memories of the former president throughout the weekend.
    • President Trump announced that the federal government would close its offices Wednesday to honor Bush's funeral. Nasdaq and the NYSE will also close. Starting Monday, Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda for three days.
    • The federal budget is also expected to be extended for two weeks with a stop-gap measure, setting up a deadline for a new budget to be negotiated by the Friday before Christmas to avoid a shutdown.

    Trump attended the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, not without controversy.

    Here are the highlights: 

    Neil deGrasse Tyson responded to sexual misconduct allegations: "I cannot continue to stay silent"

    Here's what happened: 

    • Astrophysicist and media personality Neil deGrasse Tyson posted a statement Saturday addressing sexual misconduct allegations and describing his memories of the incidents.
    • On Friday, Fox announced that it was placing Tyson under investigation after reports accused documented multiple accusations against him.


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    black mirror san junipero

    • "Black Mirror," the popular dystopian Sci-Fi series on Netflix, may be coming back for Season 5. 
    • One Twitter user claims to have caught confirmation of the first episode of the series — titled "Bandersnatch"— set to air on December 28. 
    • Previous reports indicate that Netflix has also been developing "choose-your-own-adventure"-like specials, fueling speculation that "Bandersnatch" may feature some interactive elements. 
    • INSIDER has reached out to Netflix for comment. 

    "Black Mirror," the popular dystopian Sci-Fi series on Netflix, may be coming back for Season 5. 

    The show has reached cult-status since being picked up in 2016, and there have been rumors floating about the show's comeback this December. 

    But one Twitter user claims to have caught confirmation of the first episode of the series — titled "Bandersnatch"— set to air on December 28. 

    The original tweet, which reportedly came from a verified Netflix account, has since been deleted.

    The internet went wild following rumors of the show's comeback this December. 

    Previous tweets reportedly from the Black Mirror set while they were filming in April mention the name of the supposed new episode. 

    Netflix has yet to confirm the news, though the date is similar to the release date of last year's premiere, which fell on the final Friday of the year. 

    Bloomberg reported in October that the series was expected to return to Netflix in December.

    It also reported that the streaming company is developing "choose-your-own-adventure"-like specials, which would allow viewers to choose the next storyline in a TV episode or movie.

    According to the report, the first of these specials could be a season 5 episode of "Black Mirror," fueling speculation that "Bandersnatch" might provide excited viewers with some sort of interactive engagement. 

    INSIDER has reached out to Netflix for comment. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This mind-melting thought experiment of Einstein's reveals how to manipulate time

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    adriana Lima

    The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show sees some of the most famous and successful models in the industry come together for one night. While all spots in the show are highly coveted, the show's iconic Angel wings are reserved for the few official Victoria's Secret Angels

    Stars like Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks have been Angels in the past, and Adriana Lima ended her run as the longest-serving Angels during this year's show held in New York City.

    12 Angels made their way down the runway, which took place on November 8 but aired Sunday night on ABC. From Behati Prinsloo to Elsa Hosk, here are all 24 outfits the Angels wore during the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

    Taylor Hill opened the show by showcasing a set of swirling, bold red wings for the "Glam Royale" segment.

    They were paired with a mixed plaid ensemble.

    Josephine Skriver stepped out in a giant pair of emerald wings with a plaid pattern and feather details.

    Her wings were paired with plaid lingerie and argyle boots.

    Sara Sampaio donned a swirling set of wings with her plaid look.

    The look was complete with a pair of strappy thigh-high boots.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Donald Trump Xi Jinping

    • President Donald Trump announced that China will lower or eliminate their tariffs on US car imports.
    • The US sent $10.5 billion worth of new and used cars to China in 2017.
    • The announcement comes after Trump's dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday at the G20.
    • The two sides announced a 90-day pause of the US-China trade war.

    President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that China will lower or remove tariffs on American-made cars coming into the country.

    "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the US," Trump tweeted. "Currently the tariff is 40%."

    The move is significant as US-made cars from BMW and others are popular in China. A total of $10.5 billion worth of new and used cars were shipped to China from the US in 2017, according to the Census Bureau.

    The tweet comes the day after Trump's dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping that yielded a deal to freeze the escalation of the US-China trade war and pause the imposition of tariffs between the two countries.

    The Trump administration announced a 90-day détente in the trade war to give the two countries time to negotiate a broader trade deal. This means that the US will not raise the 10% tariff rate on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% on January 1, as originally scheduled.

    China also committed to buying a "very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, (and) industrial" goods from the US.

    While the deal is limited in scope, it was a sign of significant progress given the fact that the two countries have barely communicated since the first round of tariffs were imposed in July. A total of $360 billion worth of goods flowing between the two countries are subject to new tariffs imposed this year: $250 billion worth of Chinese goods coming into the US and $110 billion worth of US goods going to China.

    The announcement that auto tariffs on US-made cars is another concrete step towards what Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, has said is the goal of no tariffs or non-tariffs barriers between the two countries.

    The tariffs were also imposed to try and force China to make changes to their economic practices, specifically the theft of US intellectual property. So far, China has been unwilling to commit to long-term changes that address the Trump administration's concerns.

    SEE ALSO: Trump's favorite trade war report card is looking uglier than ever

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Fox News' Harris Faulkner is the only black woman in cable news with a daily show: 'It's a tremendous amount of responsibility'

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    kendall jenner victorias secret

    After first walking in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 2016, Kendall Jenner returned to the runway event this year. And in true momager fashion, Kris Jenner sat in the audience, cheering on her daughter throughout the entire show.

    At one point during Kendall's first segment, Kris held up her phone and appeared to be recording her daughter's runway walk.

    Twitter users immediately captured the moment, and began sharing how much they loved Kris' show of support.

    Kendall Jenner victorias secret fashion show 2018

    Kendall thanked her mom for supporting her on Instagram

    Because the show was pre-taped in November, Kendall was able to watch the show when it aired on ABC Sunday night. The model recorded her mother's reaction, and posted a video to her Instagram story.

    Kendall Jenner

    Read more: All of the photos from behind the scenes at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

    Viewers on Twitter loved Kris' reaction as much as Kendall did

    Some users called Kris and Kendall "goals," while others commented on Kris' relatability to other proud moms.

    Many compared Kris' reaction to her cameo as a 'cool mom' in Ariana Grande's music video for 'Thank U, Next'

    Read more:Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' music video features nods to 'Mean Girls,' 'Legally Blonde,' and more iconic movies — watch it here

    Others admired the fact that Kris kept her sunglasses on for the show.

    You can find all of INSIDER's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show coverage here.

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: There's so much CO2 in the atmosphere that planting trees can no longer save us

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    paris demo face

    Hello! Here's everything you need to know on Monday.

    1. US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have reached a 90-day ceasefire agreement on new economic tariffs. Trump in a tweet also said China will reduce and remove tariffs from car imports.

    2. The US stood alone on climate change at the G20 summit. The other nations came to agreement on the Paris climate accord and other issues including trade and immigration.

    3. Paris has been hammered by the worst rioting in 50 years. What started out as a protest against fuel prices has escalated as Parisien took to the streets to vent anger at the policies of President Emmanuel Macron.

    4. Asia-Pacific stock markets are on the up. Good news traveled fast as Asian stocks react to positive trade news out of the G20 summit.

    5. President Trump says he likes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wants to fulfill his wishes. That's the message Trump asked South Korean President Moon to pass along after this weekend's summit. 

    6. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson posted a statement Saturday addressing sexual misconduct allegations. On Friday, Fox announced that it was placing Tyson under investigation after reports accused documented multiple accusations against him.

    7. Russian President Vladimir Putin is refusing to release the Ukrainian soldiers the country is holding. Putin said it was "too early" to return them after they clashed with Russian ships at sea last week. 

    8. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly sent at least 11 messages to his adviser who oversaw Jamal Khashoggi's murder. According to a classified CIA report obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the crown prince's messages to aide Saud al-Qahtani suggest he "personally targeted" Khashoggi and "probably ordered his death."

    9. One of the Taliban's most senior commanders was killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan. Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, the Taliban's "governor" and military chief for the southern Helmand province, was killed Saturday night, according to local officials. 

    10. President Xi Jinping is waging a holy war in China. Authorities are subjecting Muslims to an unprecedented amount of surveillance, shutting down Christian churches, and forcing monks to pledge allegiance to the state.

    And finally ...

    One ticket, two days, more than 50 insightful speakers, and over 600 executives: Business Insider's flagship IGNITION conference headliners include Mark Cuban, Janice Min, Sir Martin Sorrell, and Barbara Corcoran. Join us for IGNITION, TONIGHT December 3 and 4 in New York City.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The first woman in space almost didn't make it back to Earth and she had to keep it a secret for 30 years

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    Craig fuller

    • Craig Fuller is the CEO and founder of FreightWaves— a data and news provider on the logistics industry. 
    • Fuller discussed FreightWaves' strategy during Business Insider's flagship technology and media conference, IGNITION
    • It's key that FreightWaves is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Fuller said. 

    FreightWaves was founded only two years ago, and it's already the top logistics news site in the world by page views and unique visitors.

    Craig Fuller, the founder and CEO of FreightWaves, credited part of the site's quick success to the fact that the trucking scene is becoming rife with startups. For new entrants to logistics, information on the $1.45 trillion industry is scarce. 

    The logistics industry is made up of tens of thousands of trucking companies, more than 20,000 of which annually pull in $5 million in revenue. The fragmented nature of trucking makes it challenging for new or small trucking firms to find the information they need to succeed.

    "[The startups] were trying to provide better transparency on freight market systems, knowing that we can track pizza, we can track Amazon goods, but it's very difficult to track trucks," Fuller said on December 3 at IGNITION, Business Insider's flagship technology and media conference.

    "They kept on focusing on transparency," Fuller said. "The idea that they were going to build up these digital marketplaces and disseminate a very old industry was core to their business model."

    That led Fuller to the idea of creating a Bloomberg- or Reuters-esque service for the freight market. FreightWaves has since aggregated about $260 billion of freight transactions and provides editorial commentary along with analytics to bolster that. 

    And as for getting access to that elusive information, Fuller credits FreightWaves' base in Chattanooga.

    Read more: The CEO of Dropbox explains the one thing that's worse than having your startup fail: becoming a 'zombie startup'

    "For us, it's access to what I call tribal knowledge," Fuller said. "You have this really deep organic knowledge base of how the industry really works." 

    Chattanooga is a hub for trucking companies. Massive trucking firms like U.S. Xpress, which Fuller's father founded, are based there, as well as startups like WorkHound, a driver retention firm.  

    Other trucking startups have set up in more typical entrepreneurial hubs. Convoy, another freight brokerage app, is based in Seattle. Silicon Valley, meanwhile, is home to Trucker Path, Peloton Technology, Terminal 49, and Otto.

    And Transfix, an app for truck drivers to connect with shippers, is based in New York City. CEO Drew McElroy previously told Business Insider that he and his co-founder thought it would be easier to attract logistics folks to Manhattan, instead of having to lure techies to the Midwest. 

    But for Fuller, it's all about operating in a logistics nerve center. 

    "We are able to provide tribal knowledge that's authentic and backed up with data," Fuller said. 

    SEE ALSO: A fiasco of tariffs, the holiday season, and a truck-driver shortage may make December the most expensive month ever for moving freight

    FOLLOW US: On Facebook for more car and transportation content!

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    NOW WATCH: Why you shouldn't be afraid to fly, according to a pilot with over 20 years of experience

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    bii importance of smartphone cameraThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    The smartphone is getting smarter as tech and internet companies inject increasingly sophisticated computer vision and object recognition functions into their hardware and software. The ability to “understand” what the user is pointing their mobile camera at and “read” the image has opened the door for visual search.

    Foreseeing the potential for mobile visual search to create new revenue opportunities, brands are attempting to harness the smartphone camera’s increasing sophistication to engage with consumers and drive sales.

    In this report, BI Intelligence analyzes the developing technologies behind mobile visual search and its value to businesses and brands. The report also assesses risks and opportunities inherent in developing a visual search strategy, provides a list of companies that are working in the space, and discusses what they've accomplished so far.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • There is strong evidence that mobile visual search technology will take off in the near future, including growing access to technology, strong usage rates of camera-related apps, and early indication of potential revenue growth. 
    • In some instances, visual search is faster and more accurate than text or voice, as it cuts through consumer-introduced ambiguities. 
    • The mobile visual search ecosystem is growing, with a slew of enabling platforms, native apps, and internet companies all broadening their expertise in the field.  
    • Leading internet search companies, including Google and Baidu, are in a race to capture the mobile visual search market as it begins to eat into traditional forms of search.   
    • The smartphone is the perfect launchpad for visual search technology, but new form factors, like smartglasses, hold great potential.

     In full, the report:

    • Provides an argument for the potential uptake of mobile visual search technology by tech companies, brands, and consumers. 
    • Outlines the current mobile visual search landscape.
    • Explains how startups and tech companies with mobile visual search products are evolving their business strategies. 
    • Provides an outlook for the future of the mobile visual search industry. 

    Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

    1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >>Learn More Now
    2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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    joey levin

    • IAC is a $15 billion media juggernaut that includes properties like Angi Homeservices, Match Group, and Dotdash.
    • The company's stock has performed well in recent years because of the company's ability to play with "lots of different businesses, lots of different brands," said CEO Joey Levin.
    • With Angie's List, IAC kept such close tabs on the company through competitor Home Advisor that eventually the two companies combined into Angi Homeservices.

    Facebook and Google continue to dominate digital media, but IAC InterActive seems to have found a way to stand out.

    The $15 billion internet conglomerate founded by media mogul Barry Diller operates dozens of digital brands like Angi Homeservices, Match Group, and Dotdash. In September, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill called IAC"the unsung hero of the internet."

    Joey Levin, CEO of IAC, said IAC's strategy is all about investing in a sprawling amount of companies that is constantly changing. He spoke during a talk at Business Insider's Ignition conference Monday with Nicholas Carlson, global editor-in-chief of Business Insider and chief content officer at Insider Inc.

    "We don't have our scorecard in one simple stock chart or one simple company," he said. "It doesn't always have to be in one neat little file. We can mix things up a little bit."

    The strategy appears to be working, at least for Wall Street. From December 2016 to October of this year, IAC's stock has over-performed by 185%, according to a slide that Levin shared during the talk.


    Levin said that for the past decade or so, IAC has focused on consumer-focused internet companies that are smaller than the massive platforms.

    Occasionally IAC will spin-off or sell one of its assets but the firm's assumption is that it will operate the asset forever, which, said Levin, "means at some point the cash flow is going to be our problem."

    IAC isn't afraid to dig into competitors' business to win deals

    Take Angi Homeservices. The unit is made up of Angie's List and Home Advisor.

    When IAC first looked into acquiring Angie's List, a deal fell through but then came together again because IAC was keeping close tabs on the company.

    Home Advisor started taking a page from Angie's List's playbook, like opening a sales center in Indianapolis where Angie's List was headquartered.

    "We were very focused on winning — we were, I think, tough competitors, but at the same time, when we went to do a deal — and this is really a credit to Tom Evans— we said, 'We have a vision for this, we think we can do some amazing things with this company, with this brand,'" Levin said.

    That process comes down to IAC's ability to compartmentalize its business, he said.

    "We can be suing somebody on one side and partnering with them on another side — it's the reality," Levin said.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 4 lottery winners who lost it all

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    • On Monday morning, Netflix's show page for "Friends" said the sitcom would be available to stream only until January 1, 2019.
    • But that may have been a glitch, according to several reporters who cover the media space.
    • Netflix removed the date from the show page on Monday afternoon.

    Netflix gave the internet a collective heart attack when it wrote on its show page for "Friends" that the 1990s sitcom would be available to stream only until January 1, 2019. The show has been available on Netflix for four years.

    But that could be have been a glitch.

    Here's how the page appeared on Monday morning:


    But on Monday, NBC editor Claire Atkinson tweeted that she had asked Netflix's content boss, Ted Sarandos, about "Friends" while attending the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. Sarandos indicated that "Friends" would not be leaving Netflix in January, according to Atkinson.

    Wall Street Journal reporter Joe Flint also tweeted that the inclusion of the January 1 date on Netflix's show page "appears to have been a mistake and [the] show is not leaving."

    Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, but it removed the date from the "Friends" page on Monday.

    The is how the same page appeared Monday afternoon:

    friends 2

    This apparent glitch on Netflix's site comes at a time when many are wondering about the fate of shows Netflix has licensed in the past.

    "Friends" is a Warner Bros. Television series. That would make it a logical fit for AT&T's upcoming streaming service, which is expected to launch in 2019. AT&T bought Time Warner (which includes Warner Bros.) earlier this year.

    AT&T's upcoming service will also include HBO, which AT&T now owns and is pushing to be more like Netflix in terms of output. HBO has always focused on a small but acclaimed collection of TV shows that makes up its Sunday-night lineup, but under AT&T quantity will be important in addition to quality.

    Read more: AT&T will jump into the streaming bloodbath by launching a Netflix competitor next year

    That's not the only new competition Netflix will face in securing licensing rights.

    Disney is launching its own streaming service late next year called Disney+, and the effects of that are already being felt on Netflix as well. Netflix has canceled three of its five Marvel shows in the last two months, the most recent cancellation was "Daredevil" last week (Disney owns Marvel).

    While data showed that interest in the Marvel shows had been lacking, the cancellations also reflect the bitter battle over content as more players enter the streaming war. "Sons of Anarchy" also left Netflix this month (it can still be watched on Hulu). The FX series might have been a casualty of the Disney-Fox merger, and its removal from Netflix could signal that other Disney- and Fox-owned shows could be in danger once the merger is complete.

    Netflix spent an estimated $8 billion on content this year in an effort to have 1,000 original shows and movies on the service.

    SEE ALSO: Data predicted Netflix would cancel 'Daredevil,' and its remaining Marvel shows are probably next

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    Tom Rutledge, Charter Communications

    • Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said the company would buy more cable assets if they were available.
    • He pointed to a current lack of cable assets available for acquisition as a reason why the company has been buying its own stock back.
    • Speaking at the UBS Media conference, he said he is bullish on cable M&A because of the competitive advantage he sees over telecom.

    Charter Communications chief executive Tom Rutledge will look to buy more cable assets if they become available.

    "From an M&A perspective, I think cable is a great business. If there were assets for sale that we could do more of, we would do that," Rutledge said at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference.

    "We've been buying a lot of our own stock back. Why? Because we think the cable business is a great business and we haven't been able to buy other cable assets."

    Charter, the second largest cable company behind Comcast, and third largest pay-TV company behind AT&T, is bullish on cable M&A because of the competitive advantage Rutledge says he sees over telecom.

    "The historic cable industry has a superior infrastructure, and that infrastructure is easy to upgrade from a cost perspective," he said.

    At the event, Rutledge pointed to the ways Charter has responded to competition from rivals like AT&T, increasing  baseline broadband speeds to 200 Mbps, which he said has led to increased sales for Charter.

    He also took a swing at Verizon's burgeoning 5G Home offering, which directly competes against Charter for home broadband customers.

    "I saw that Verizon had some passings that they could do 800 Mbps in," Rutledge said. "We have 51 million passings that we can do 1 Gig in and we can go to 10 Gig relatively inexpensively and I think we will because I think the world will go to 10 Gig."

    Verizon began offering its 5G Home service in October, promising initial speeds of 300 Mbps which the company said will increase over time. Analysts at Signals Research Group said in initial tests they found Verizon 5G Home could offer speeds up to 800 Mbps, RCR Wireless reported.

    5G is the threat the entire broadband industry seems to be watching, as it has the ability to disrupt the cable industry. "We see 5G fixed wireless broadband as the largest existential threat to broadband providers, by far,"analysts at Cowen wrote in a research note this year.

    At a sell-side analyst event at Verizon's New York City office, Verizon management shared initial results of 5G and indicated that about half of the customers who signed up for the offering were not previous customers to Verizon. Verizon did not share underlying details about what type of companies they were stealing share from, whether that be cable companies or telcos that offer service in the area. Verizon declined further specifics about the service when contacted by Business Insider.

    But Rutledge wasn't overly concerned about this threat, stating it will take significant money and time to achieve what cable offers customers.

    SEE ALSO: We're already getting an indication that Verizon 5G is stealing customers from its competitors

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    NASA astronaut Ann McCain

    An Army helicopter pilot and astronaut will strap into a Soyuz rocket on Monday for the trip from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station, according to a release from Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

    Lt. Col. Ann McClain and her team will spend six months at the ISS as part of a crew with a slate of 250 research projects, the release said.

    "The Army astronauts have a very proud legacy in the astronaut program.” McClain said. “I can tell you that just like everywhere else in the Army, the biggest attributes that we can bring to the table are leadership and team skills, and those traits that I learned in the Army as both a follower and as a leader working in austere environments with small groups in high gain tasks where lives are at risk, those traits have absolutely transferred over into my time at NASA, and I think that is the best thing that we can bring to NASA.”

    McClain flew more than 800 combat hours in Iraq before becoming an astronaut candidate in 2013, according to her NASA bio.

    While aboard the ISS, she’ll be part of a new experiment called “Tissues on Chips,” using miniature models of human organs to replicate their functions. The hope is that these mini-organs can be used in drug trials, to predict whether they’ll harm a person’s organs systems.

    SEE ALSO: The Air Force's 'rods from god' could hit with the force of a nuclear weapon — with no fallout

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    Tetris Effect

    • Of all the blockbuster spectacles and indie darlings I played in 2018, one unexpected game was the best by far: "Tetris Effect."
    • More than just a modern reimagining of a classic game, "Tetris Effect" is a breath of fresh air for the "Tetris" franchise.
    • Despite the age of the source of material, "Tetris Effect" is the best game I played in 2018 — a year that featured blockbusters like "God of War,""Spider-Man," and "Red Dead Redemption 2."

    Sorry, "Call of Duty!" So long, "Red Dead Redemption 2!" I can't stop playing "Tetris Effect," and thinking about it, and evangelizing it.

    There's a simple reason for that: "Tetris Effect" is the best game I played in 2018.

    Better than the excellent "God of War" reboot, and the excellent "Spider-Man" reboot, and the incredibly impressive "Red Dead Redemption 2"? Yes! Better than all those games that I also really liked!

    "Tetris Effect" takes a foundational game ("Tetris"), executes it perfectly, and crucially evolves the concept of what a "Tetris" game can be. It's one of the only games I played in 2018 that I'll continue playing into 2019 (and likely beyond). 

    Here's what makes it so incredibly good:

    SEE ALSO: The 18 best video games of 2018, from 'Red Dead Redemption 2' to 'God of War'

    "Tetris" is timeless.

    I first played "Tetris" on the Nintendo Game Boy around 1989. I still have the Game Boy and the cartridge (I've been a dork going on three decades now), largely due to how formative the game was on my childhood. It's my all-time favorite game.

    Admittedly, in case it weren't already clear enough, I did not need to be "sold" on the idea of a new "Tetris" game. But even I wondered what would make such an old game feel new again — over 30 years after Alexey Pajitnov coded the game in the Soviet Union. 

    It turns out that, in 2018, "Tetris" is still as creative and brilliant as it was on the original Game Boy.

    The foundation of "Tetris Effect" is still focused on creating/clearing lines from the play field while new blocks are randomly generated from the top. There is no major shift or evolution in this respect — "Tetris Effect" is, at its core, a "Tetris" game. 

    "Tetris Effect" is "Tetris" at its finest.

    Playing "Tetris Effect" with the PlayStation 4 controller is intuitive, and controls are precise. The game feels sharp and fast, like it should. 

    That might sound basic, but it's absolutely crucial for any great "Tetris" game to nail control. 

    One of the biggest issues with "Tetris" in the modern era is the clash between its mainstream appeal and its relative unplayability on touch-based devices (like smartphones). Simply put: "Tetris" requires butttons, but most people play games on smartphones (which don't have buttons).

    To that end, the PlayStation 4 is a more than capable machine for "Tetris Effect." The d-pad on the DualShock 4 gamepad is excellent at incremental, precise movement. If you fail, there's no confusion over who's at fault — it certainly wasn't the controls.

    The game runs at a steady clip, and never slowed down nor skipped a beat even at its most hectic — and "Tetris Effect" gets real hectic.

    The "Tetris" effect is real.

    The game's title sounds like a psychological phenomenon — and it is, in fact, exactly that, where players start "seeing" the patterns of "Tetris" in the world or in their mind as they drift off to sleep. "Tetris Effect," the game, takes that and twists it back on itself. 

    During gameplay, a synaesthetic journey takes place in the background. With each twist of the "Tetris" block ("tetronimo") and lateral movement, the game's music responds in turn. While this auditory collaboration occurs, the game's background visuals take players on a journey through space, or the oceans, or across a vast desert.

    It's surreal, and beautiful, and intense — and it's much more than a parlor trick.

    Beyond offering an additional audio/visual component, these synaesthetic effects serve to further imprint the game's seemingly simplistic gameplay into consciousness. It deepens an already flow-like experience. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

    • Amazon briefly surpassed Apple as the world's most-valuable publicly traded company.
    • It passed Apple on Monday with a market value of about $865 billion.
    • WatchAmazon and Apple trade live.

    Amazon on Monday briefly surpassed Apple as the world's most valuable-publicly traded company, days after Microsoft dethroned the long-time leader Apple.

    Amazon rose as much as 4.7%, giving it a market capitalization of $865 billion ahead of Apple's $864.8 billion valuation. Apple reclaimed its crown with a market value $846.4 billion — after Amazon's market cap dropped to $827.1 billion as of 3:00 p.m. ET.

    Microsoft, whose market capitalization last Monday surpassed Apple's for the first time in eight years, had a market value of $844.9 billion. 

    In August, Apple became the first US company with a $1 trillion valuation, and in September Amazon became the second US company join the club.

    But things changed in October, when the stock market witnessed one of its worst months since the financial crisis and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed more than 12%.  

    Apple's stock has been under pressure recently, down more than 20% from its October peak, amid signs of waning iPhone demand. The smartphone giant on November 1 reported underwhelming iPhone sales and said its holiday sales would be disappointing. Additionally, several suppliers have cut their forecasts, citing a drop in smartphone demand.  

    Meanwhile, Amazon tanked as tumbled nearly 16% after the retail giant on October 25 cdisappointing sales for the fourth quarter. The stock since recovered more than half of its losses

    Now read:

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    cole haan zerogrand hiker boot

    • For all your comfortable and stylish shoe needs, look no further than Cole Haan
    • Its ZERØGRAND All-Terrain Waterproof Hiker Boot ($199.95-$270) is what I plan to wear when the worst of winter arrives. 
    • Rugged yet fashionable, it can handle all types of outdoor conditions and looks good doing so, all the while supporting your feet with its cushioned ZERØGRAND construction. 

    From running sneakers to dress shoes and dressy booties, we've confirmed time and again that Cole Haan is the master of mixing comfort and style. Now, I can confidently add hiker boots to this unofficial hall of fame.

    New York's endless winter last year taught this wide-eyed LA native that sturdy snow boots (and an ultra-warm jacket) are a necessity, not a friendly suggestion. With Cole Haan's ZERØGRAND All-Terrain Waterproof Hiker Boot in my possession, I actually feel adequately prepared — even, dare I say, excited — for all the whims of winter weather this year. 

    cole haan hiker boot

    Read more: Everlane's cashmere sweater is the backbone of my winter wardrobe — and it's only $100

    On the style front, they're sleek yet cozy, pairing a cool crocodile-embossed leather and gold hardware with soft wool detailing and ice skate-style lacing. Other varieties of this boot feature nubuck uppers, silver hardware, and herringbone or plaid wool. 

    What brings the fashionable boot to the next level, however, are features both visible and invisible to the naked eye. The exterior, save for the wool detailing, is waterproof, and the base of the shoe is wrapped in a stiff patent panel that invites you not to dip tentatively, but jump fully into puddles and snowbanks. Even though it's white, a shoe color I usually don't wear since it's hard to keep clean, it's really easy to wipe down once I get indoors. 

    The grooves of the outsole let you navigate concrete and cobblestone streets just as securely as dirt and rocky terrains. This rubber outsole also contains Cole Haan's signature Grand.ØS tech, a flexible and cushioned energy foam that supports foot movements and gives you an extra bounce in each step. Thanks to this thick, supportive, and textured foundation, I know I won't risk slipping and falling like I did during winter days past. 

    On the inside, there's a slightly padded sock lining that stays put throughout the day. You're better off wearing regular socks since this lining molds closely to your foot and keeps it warm, so if you like wearing thick socks in the winter, I would recommend sizing up. To help your foot slide in and in case you need to adjust the fit, there are convenient pull tabs at the heel of the boot. 

    cole haan hiker boot 2

    The versatile boot comes in three styles:

    The one I own is the Limited Edition version, so unfortunately not many sizes are available anymore. If you're interested in this pair, it's better to act quickly. But the other styles are also cute and have the same comfort and fit highlights that I mentioned above. 

    I've worn these boots during a few nasty storms now, and I can't wait to put them through their paces for the remainder of the season. Though they're pricey, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more stylish iteration of a classic hiker boot. 

    Shop the ZERØGRAND All-Terrain Waterproof Hiker Boot for $199.95-$270 at Cole Haan

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