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- 01/10/19--18:04: _Here's why current ...
- 01/10/19--18:26: _'Dear Diary...': Tr...
- 01/10/19--19:10: _Nearly three-quarte...
- 01/10/19--19:31: _Dr. Pimple Popper r...
- 01/10/19--19:36: _Trump could end up ...
- 01/10/19--20:01: _Insurtech Research ...
- 01/10/19--20:15: _Trump posed with Bo...
- 01/10/19--20:59: _Stephen Colbert got...
- 01/10/19--21:03: _Three untapped oppo...
- 01/10/19--22:07: _How smart is your f...
- 01/10/19--22:32: _Fed chair Jerome Po...
- 01/10/19--22:42: _RECESSION WATCH: Go...
- 01/10/19--23:05: _Here's how Amazon c...
- 01/10/19--23:46: _10 things in tech y...
- 01/11/19--01:16: _A no-deal Brexit is...
- 01/11/19--01:33: _Oil set for the lon...
- 01/11/19--17:16: _$445 billion flowed...
- 01/11/19--17:31: _'Completely untrue,...
- 01/11/19--17:34: _A lawsuit accuses t...
- 01/11/19--18:07: _The downfall of US ...
- Tech companies primarily enter the market to enhance a core revenue stream or service, while device makers desire to collect data to improve their products and prevent costly recalls.
- We forecast there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021.
- These companies are also seeking to create an early-mover advantage for themselves, where they gain an advantage by this head start on adoption.
- Major barriers to mass market adoption that still must overcome include technological fragmentation and persistently high device prices.
- Details the market strategy of prominent tech companies and device makers, and analyzes why which ones are best poised to succeed once adoption ticks up.
- Offers insight into current ownership through an exclusive survey from Business Insider Intelligence and analyzes what demographics will drive adoption moving forward.
- Explains in detail which companies are poised to succeed in the market in the coming years as adoption increases and mass market consumers begin to purchase smart home devices.
- President Donald Trump took a jab at CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta after Acosta posted a video of himself scrutinizing the president's characterization of a "crisis" at the US-Mexico border.
- Acosta, who was at McAllen, Texas, where Trump toured the border with Mexico on Thursday, said in his video that he did not "see anything resembling a national emergency situation."
- "Dear Diary...," Trump said in a tweet that replied to Acosta's video.
- The bill pay market in the US, worth $3.9 trillion, is growing slowly. But digital bill payment volume is rising at a rapid clip — half of all bills are now digital, and that share will likely expand to over 75% by 2022.
- Customers find it easiest to pay their bills at their billers directly, either through one-off or recurring payments. Bank-based offerings are commonplace, but barebones, which means they fail to appeal to key demographics.
- Issuers should work to reclaim bill payment share, since bill pay is an effective engagement tool that can increase customer stickiness, grow lifetime status, and boost primary bank status.
- Banks need to make their offerings as secure and convenient as biller direct, market bill pay across channels, and build bill pay into digital money management functionality.
- Sizes the US bill pay market, and estimates where it’s poised to go next.
- Evaluates the impact that digital will have on bill pay in the US and who is poised to capitalize on that shift.
- Identifies three key areas in which issuers can improve their bill pay offerings to gain share and explains why issuers are losing ground in these categories.
- Issues recommendations and defines concrete steps that banks can take as a means of gaining share back and reaping the benefits of digital bill pay engagement.
- "Dr. Pimple Popper"— the TLC show starring dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee — has returned for a second season.
- The second episode featured a woman with hundreds of seborrheic keratoses, common skin growths that are sometimes called "barnacles of aging."
- Lee removed the growths with a freezing procedure known to be deeply painful.
- The patient, Pat, withstood the removal of more than 300 spots — something Lee said she'd never seen in her career.
- President Donald Trump was reportedly briefed on a proposal that would divert $13.9 billion from civil works projects, including reconstruction efforts in Puerto Rico, to build a barrier on the US-Mexico border.
- The funds from the Army Corps of Engineers had not yet been distributed, but with a national emergency declaration, Trump would reportedly be able to tap into the funds and spend it on a border wall.
- The emergency plan would reportedly allow Trump to utilize the $2.4 billion and $2.5 billion set aside for civil projects ranging from flood prevention in California, to reconstruction efforts in the hurricane-affected US territory of Puerto Rico.
- Funding is flowing into startups and helping them scale, while legacy players have moved beyond initial experiments and are starting to implement new technology throughout their businesses.
- Distribution, the area of the insurance value chain that was first to be disrupted, continues to evolve.
- The fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management — are starting to experience true disruption, while innovation in reinsurance has also continued at pace.
- Insurtechs are using new business models that are enabled by a variety of technologies. In particular, they're using automation, data analytics, connected devices, and machine learning to build holistic policies for consumers that can be switched on and off on-demand.
- Legacy insurers, as opposed to brokers, now have the most to lose — but those that move swiftly still have time to ensure they stay in the game.
- Reviews major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year.
- Examines how startups and legacy players across distribution, insurance, and reinsurance are using technology to develop new business models.
- Provides our view on what the future of the insurance industry looks like, which Business Insider Intelligence calls Insurtech 2.0.
- President Donald Trump posed with Border Patrol agents during his Thursday visit to the US-Mexico border in Texas.
- On Wednesday, the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents employees ad federal agencies including Customs and Border Protection, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the partial government shutdown.
- Two plaintiffs are Customs and Border Protection officers.
- "The FLSA guarantees, for employees falling within its coverage, the on-time payment of any minimum wage and overtime wages earned," the lawsuit claims. "If those wages are earned, but not paid out, on the employee’s corresponding regularly scheduled payday, the FLSA has been violated."
- Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California continued to tease her potential 2020 US presidential run during an appearance on CBS' "The Late Show" Thursday night, smiling and telling host Stephen Colbert two words: "I might."
- Harris' response drew raucous cheers and applause from the audience. The former California attorney general, who has been promoting her book, has made waves lately, amid speculation she may seek the White House.
- She is one of several prominent Democrats in a growing field of potential candidates vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the next election.
- After a shaky start, wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers have gained traction in healthcare, with US consumer use jumping from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018.
- More than 80% of consumers are willing to wear tech that measures health data — and penetration should continue to climb.
- The maturation of the wearable market will put more wearables in the hands of consumers and US businesses.
- Insurers can use wearable data to enhance risk assessments and drive customer lifetime value. One study shows that wearables can incentivize healthier behavior associated with a 30% reduction in risk of cardiovascular events and death.
- Providers can use the remote patient monitoring capabilities of wearable technology to improve chronic disease management, lessen the burden of staff shortages, and navigate a changing reimbursement model. And since 90% of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with providers that don't deliver a satisfactory digital experience, wearables could help to attract and retain them.
- Employers can combine wearables with cash incentives to lower insurance costs and improve employee productivity. For example, The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority yielded $5 million in healthcare cost savings through a wearable-based employee wellness program.
- Companies have a clear opportunity to leverage sensors, cameras, and connectivity in a variety of home appliances to revolutionize the way consumers buy home goods.
- Smart appliance manufacturers, e-tailers, and CPG companies will be able to collaborate and partner to develop new methods of resupplying consumers' homes.
- The smart fridge will transform into the hub of the kitchen and become the autonomous organizing device that oversees grocery purchasing and food delivery.
- Provides an overview of the key players and types of products in the smart appliance space.
- Highlights the models that companies can adopt to take advantage of the developing sector.
- Identifies the key services that will boost automated e-commerce engagement in the home.
- 01/10/19--22:32: Fed chair Jerome Powell says he's worried about rising US debt
- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is concerned about rising US debt. The annual debt in 2018 topped $1 trillion, while the overall deficit was $21.9 trillion as of January 8, according to the US Treasury, $16 trillion of which is owed by the public.
- "I’m very worried about it," Powell told those at The Economic Club of Washington, DC, on Thursday. "From the Fed’s standpoint, we’re really looking at a business cycle length: that’s our frame of reference."
- Part of the cause of the rising deficit, PBS NewsHour corresponded Lisa Desjardins explains, is that 2018 was the first year of President Donald Trump's tax bill.
- Recession cries grew increasingly loud as the stock market endured a turbulent end to 2018, with many business leaders bracing for a meltdown by the end of 2019.
- Goldman Sachs compiled a five-part checklist for investors who want to monitor recessionary risks.
- While UPS and FedEx have dominated the US last-mile delivery market for the last few decades, the surge in e-commerce is creating more volume than shipping companies can handle.
- Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to put a dent in UPS and FedEx's duopoly due to its strategic position as the leading online retailer in the US.
- Amazon can carry its trust amongst the public, a wealth of consumer data, and its ability to craft a more personalized delivery experience to the last-mile delivery space to ultimately dethrone UPS and FedEx.
- The top priority for Amazon in taking on UPS and FedEx needs to be offering substantially lower shipping rates — one-third of US retailers say they'll switch to an Amazon shipping service if it's at least 20% cheaper than UPS and FedEx.
- Outlines Amazon's current shipping and logistics footprint and strengths that it would bring to the last-mile delivery space in the US.
- Lays out concrete steps that Amazon must take if it wants to launch a standalone last-mile delivery service, including how it can offer a more memorable, higher-quality delivery experience than UPS and FedEx.
- Illustrates how Amazon can minimize operating costs for a delivery service to ultimately undercut UPS and FedEx's shipping rates in the last-mile space.
- 01/10/19--23:46: 10 things in tech you need to know today
- Alphabet's board of directors is being sued for allegations that it covered up claims of sexual harassment by top executives. The lawsuit, on behalf of an Alphabet shareholder, cites Android creator Andy Rubin's alleged $90 million exit package following an internal investigation. Rubin denies wrongdoing.
- Amazon is reportedly building a Netflix-like service for video games. Amazon's competition at Microsoft and Google are already openly preparing similar services, and Sony already has a streaming service for the PlayStation.
- Amazon-owned smart security camera company Ring gave its teams in the US and Ukraine unfettered access to people's home security camera videos and feeds, the Intercept reports. A source said research teams in Ukraine were allowed unlimited access to every Ring camera worldwide via a folder on Amazon's S3 cloud storage service.
- Samsung will unveil the new Galaxy S10 and official details on its first foldable smartphone at an event on February 20. Samsung's own head of mobile, DJ Koh, told media earlier last year to expect "very significant" changes with the Galaxy S10.
- South Korean taxi drivers are setting themselves on fire in protest of a proposed ride-sharing app. Two taxi drivers have reportedly died after setting themselves on fire to protest a new ride-sharing app from popular tech company Kakao.
- "Red Dead Redemption 2" is getting a "Fortnite"-style battle royale mode. The multiplayer online mode in "Red Dead Redemption 2" is currently beta-testing the new mode, which is called "Gun Rush."
- Video game publishing powerhouse Activision and blockbuster game development studio Bungie — the makers of "Destiny"— are splitting up. The two companies agreed to a 10-year, multi-game deal tied to the "Destiny" franchise, which has now been dissolved in what appears to be an amicable split.
- Buzzy $2 billion gaming startup Improbable was dealt a major blow thanks to a weird fight with Unity. Improbable says that Unity, which claims to be the most popular game engine, changed its terms of conditions to block Improbable's SpatialOS platform.
- Amazon struck a blow against Google by buying a tiny Israeli cloud company for a reported $200 million-plus. A tiny Israeli company called CloudEndure confirmed on Thursday that Amazon Web Services has acquired it in what industry experts say was a big miss for Amazon's arch competitor, Google.
- Peter Thiel-backed digital bank N26 is now Europe's most valuable fintech. The German fintech startup, raised $300 million in a series D funding round, putting it at a valuation of $2.7 billion.
Britain's foreign Jeremy Hunt says parliament could block a no-deal Brexit.
Hunt said it was "very unrealistic" to believe that MPs would not find a way to block a disruptive EU exit if they wished to.
"The idea that Parliament is going to do nothing at all is highly unlikely," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has also hinted she would resign if the government pursued a no-deal Brexit.
- Oil has rallied in the new year, with a nine-day run of gains for WTI, its best run since 2010.
- Brent crude is also rallying, if those contracts close up today — a 10th consecutive session — it would be the futures' best streak for 30 years.
- Traders have been buoyed by positive sentiment out of US-China trade war talks and efforts by Saudi Arabia and OPEC and others to stabilize markets, after plunging last month.
- "The market [is] returning to some sort of order, having previously been out of whack," said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda.
- Brent crude is up 0.6% as of 8.55 a.m in London (3.55 a.m EST).
- The traditional initial public offering process may be in the process of being disrupted.
- Spotify went public last year using a different process and may soon be followed by enterprise software company Slack.
- Startups have good reasons to spurn regular IPOs — they're costly and time-consuming.
- Thanks to the massive amounts of money that have flowed into Silicon Valley in recent years, many companies are likely well positioned to go public a different way.
- Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson shared a statement on Instagram, in which he says an interview posted Friday morning by The Daily Star was "completely untrue" and that the "interview never took place."
- The Daily Star's article was headlined: "EXCLUSIVE: The Rock slams snowflakes as 'looking for reasons to be offended.'"
- "You know it's not a real D.J. [Dwayne Johnson] interview if I'm ever insulting a group, a generation, or anyone," Johnson told his fans. "Because that's not me, and it's not who I am, and it's not what we do."
- The Daily Star did not immediately return INSIDER's request for comment.
- INSIDER contacted Johnson's representatives and will update as necessary.
- Video game studio Gearbox Software is engaged in contentious legal battle with the company's former general counsel, Wade Callender.
- Gearbox initially filed a lawsuit against Callender alleging that he misused company funds for to pay for tuition, a home loan, and other personal expenses.
- In a countersuit, Callender leveled multiple serious allegations against Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford, accusing Pitchford of taking a $12 million bonus that was intended as an advance against profits of "Borderlands 2," its blockbuster video game.
- Callender's suit also alleges that Pitchford once left a USB drive in a Dallas restaurant containing underage pornography — though Pitchford separately told a podcast interview that the model featured in the video was "barely legal."
- In a statement issued to Kotaku, Gearbox said the allegations have "no basis in reality or law," and the company plans to settle the matter in court.
- Evolving merchant needs are impacting POS terminal players’ strategies. Merchants select terminal providers based on four key areas: payment functionality, user experience (UX), over-the-top (OTT) offerings, and distribution/customer service. Terminal firms need to innovate in these areas, or risk falling behind.
- Larger players need to double down on existing success. Smaller players can often be more nimble, which gives them the opportunity to innovate more quickly and build in-demand solutions. That’s a disadvantage to market leaders; however, they can, and should, leverage their massive distribution networks when upgrading or updating their offerings. Meanwhile, smaller players can win by focusing on niches instead.
- It’s all about the platform. No single feature is likely to make or break a merchant’s decision to pursue a specific provider. Above all, they want a robust ecosystem that can evolve over time.
- Explains the current state of in-store retail and why terminal firms need to evolve to meet it.
- Groups features that matter to merchants and explains why they’re important and what terminal providers stand to gain from focusing on them.
- Determines the leading players in the space.
- Assesses how the leading players stack up, and which offerings are the most comprehensive.
- Issues recommendations about how to develop an attractive platform that best serves merchants' needs as the market continues to shift.
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.
Not that long ago, many home-appliance and consumer-electronics makers were gearing up for what they thought would soon be a rapidly growing market for smart home devices.
The instant popularity of the Nest thermostat, introduced in 2011, seemed to confirm their hopes. But those expectations were dashed in the coming years as the market for connected home devices later stagnated.
Even with these challenges, many of the biggest consumer technology companies are now moving into the smart home market. For example, Apple, which recently released its self-installed smart home ecosystem, called the Apple Home, traditionally doesn't move into a market until it's very mature and only when it can release a perfected product. Further, Google this fall launched the Google Home and its companion ecosystem, hoping to jump into the voice-activated smart home speaker market, which Amazon currently dominates with its Echo product line.
In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence examines the demographics of the average smart home device owner and discuss why current smart home device owners are appealing to tech companies. The report also examines the plans of various tech giants in the smart home market and discuss their monetization strategies, and makes suggestions for how these companies can position themselves to make their products and devices more appealing to the mass market.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
President Donald Trump took a jab at CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta after he posted a video of himself scrutinizing the president's characterization of a "crisis" at the US-Mexico border on Thursday.
"Dear Diary...," Trump said in a tweet that replied to Acosta's video.
Acosta, who was at McAllen, Texas, where Trump toured the border with Mexico on Thursday, said in his video that he did not "see anything resembling a national emergency situation." The video, which had over 2 million views at the time of writing, attracted supporters and critics, including Trump's son, Trump Organization executive Donald Trump Jr.
I found some steel slats down on the border. But I don’t see anything resembling a national emergency situation.. at least not in the McAllen TX area of the border where Trump will be today. pic.twitter.com/KRoLdszLUu— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 10, 2019
Trump Jr. replied to Acosta's tweet, claiming that the correspondent was not seeing a calamity at the border because he was reporting near the border barrier.
"Of course you don't Jim," Trump Jr. tweeted. "That's because walls work. Thanks for your help proving [Donald Trump's] point and simultaneously creating one of the best self-own videos ever!!!"
Acosta fired back by referring to the 20-day partial government shutdown and calling the situation "a little strange."
"You guys seem to be saying the current measures in place are working," Acosta tweeted. "Does that mean your dad should reopen the government and get federal employees back to work? #byebye."
"Bye-bye" was a phrase Trump reportedly used as he stormed out of negotiations with Democrats on Wednesday after they rejected his $5.7 billion demand to fund a border barrier.
Acosta and Trump Jr. continued making jabs on Twitter throughout the evening, with both personalities refusing to give ground.
The CNN correspondent has had numerous confrontations with White House officials and routinely challenges the administration in his news coverage. Trump often ignores Acosta's line of questioning during press conferences, and defers to his favored description of CNN by claiming it is "fake news."
Trump visited Texas' border with Mexico as the ongoing partial government stretched to its 20th day. The shutdown is posed to become the nation's longest if it does not reopen by Saturday. Trump has urged Congress pass an appropriations bill that includes $5.7 billion for barrier funding, which Democrats have adamantly rejected.
"One way or the other, we will get it done," Trump said in a video with US Border Patrol officials.
Between housing costs, utilities, taxes, insurance, loans, and more, US adults paid an estimated $3.9 trillion in bills last year.
That market is growing slowly, but it’s changing fast — more than ever before, customers are moving away from paying bills via check or cash and toward paying online, either through their banks, the billers themselves, or using a third-party app.
Thanks to rising customer familiarity with digital payments, an increase in purchasing power among younger consumers more interested in digital bill pay, and a rise in digital payment options, nearly three-quarters of bills will be paid digitally by 2022, representing a big opportunity for players across the space.
In theory, banks should be in a great position to capitalize on this shift. Nearly all banks offer bill payment functionality, and it’s a popular feature. Issuers also boast an existing engaged digital user base, and make these payments secure. But that isn’t what’s happening — even as digital bill pay becomes more commonplace, banks are losing ground to billers and third-party players. And that’s not poised to change unless banks do, since issuer bill pay is least popular among the youngest customers, who will be the most important in the coming year.
For banks, then, that makes innovation important. Taking steps to grow bill pay’s share can be a tough sell for digital strategists and executives leading money movement at banks, and done wrong, it can be costly, since it often requires robust technological investments. But, if banks do it right, bill pay marks a strong opportunity to add and engage customers, and in turn, grow overall lifetime value while shrinking attrition.
Business Insider Intelligence has put together a detailed report that explains the US bill pay market, identifies the major inflection points for change and what’s driving it, and provides concrete strategies and recommendations for banks looking to improve their digital bill pay offerings.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
After a months-long hiatus, Dr. Pimple Popper is finally back on TV. The beloved YouTuber and dermatologist (real name: Dr. Sandra Lee) returned to TLC for the second season of her TV series, also titled "Dr. Pimple Popper."
The season's second episode, which aired Thursday night, showcased one woman with extraordinary tolerance for pain during a procedure to remove common skin growths.
Here's a closer look at her case.
Pat sought Dr. Lee's help for "rapidly spreading moles"
In an interview segment, Pat, 66, said she was seeking Lee's expert opinion on what seemed to be "rapidly growing moles."
The dark brown spots first started appearing when Pat was in her mid-20s, but later spread across her neck, temples, chest, and abdomen. They also itched, stung, and got caught on her clothes.
"During the three last years, they've spread very rapidly, and that's a concern for me," Pat said. "My dad who passed away, he had skin cancer, so always at the back of my mind is the thought of skin cancer. I'd just like to know what is causing these moles."
But the moles were actually growths known as seborrheic keratoses
In the exam room, Lee told Pat that her "moles" weren't really moles at all. They were a type of growth called sebhorreic keratoses (singular: seborrheic keratosis).
These common spots may seem like warts or skin cancer, but they're completely harmless, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). It's still not clear why they occur, but seborrheic keratoses seem to run in families. And because most people get them when they're middle-aged or older, they're sometimes referred to as "barnacles of aging," according to the AAD.
Most people develop many seborrheic keratoses, rather than just one. Pat happened to have hundreds.
"Pat has so many of these seborrheic keratoses, it's almost as if she has more of them than she has regular skin," Lee said.
Lee then offered to remove some of Pat's keratoses using cryotherapy. In this procedure, a dermatologist applies extremely cold liquid nitrogen to a seborrheic keratosis, and later, the growth falls off. Though it's possible for new ones to grow elsewhere on the body, removed keratoses typically don't come back, according to the AAD.
The only catch? It's famously painful.
"Liquid nitrogen treatment can be pretty painful," Lee said. "It is so cold that it burns. I know, myself, I could probably only tolerate three or four [sebhorreic keraotses] removed at one time ... The number of these that I can remove is very dependent on her pain threshold."
Pat withstood the pain as Lee removed 307 spots
As the procedure began, Lee told Pat she should "cry uncle" if she needed a break.
But the pain of cryotherapy was no match for Pat's pain threshold. Her face hardly flinched as Lee went through canister after canister of liquid nitrogen, freezing off a staggering total of 307 seborrheic keratoses.
"In my whole career, I've never had anybody withstand me treating more than 40 or 50 of these seborrheic keratoses," Lee said. "I don't think I've ever had a patient with the pain tolerance that Pat has. A lot of patients can't tolerate this procedure."
In an interview segment filmed after the procedure, Pat said that mental tactics helped her persevere.
"I was practicing relaxing and I did the mind over matter thing," she said. "I was comparing that pain to other pain that I've experienced. I had migraines until I was in my 50s. So that's how I was able to get through."
And the pain was likely worth it: Lee explained that, after a healing period, Pat's once-bumpy, itchy skin would finally smooth out.
"These areas will darken and kind of scale up, maybe even blister," she said. "They peel off over the next couple weeks, and then the skin is going to look gorgeous and nice and smooth and clear."
Catch a sneak peek of the complete second season (including a glimpse of Pat's procedure at the 25-second mark) below. You can also watch all episodes of "Dr. Pimple Popper" on TLC's website or the TLCGo app (available for Apple and Android).
Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.
President Donald Trump was reportedly briefed on a proposal that would divert $13.9 billion from civil-works projects, including reconstruction efforts in Puerto Rico, to build a barrier on the US-Mexico border, according to multiplenews reports published Thursday.
The funds from the Army Corps of Engineers had not yet been distributed, but with a national emergency declaration, Trump would be able to procure the barrier funding that Democrats have adamantly opposed, officials told CNN and NBC News.
The plan would reportedly allow Trump to utilize the $2.4 billion and $2.5 billion set aside for civil projects ranging from flood prevention in California, to reconstruction efforts in the hurricane-affected US territory of Puerto Rico.
An independent study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government estimated roughly 2,975 people died in the wake of Hurricane Maria. While many of the victims were believed to have died in the aftermath of the storm, such as floods and flying debris, other people were reportedly affected by the lack of local infrastructure, including electricity, clean water, and medical services.
Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to fund a barrier on the border has been rejected by Democrats, blocking the passage of an appropriations bill that would reopen the ongoing partial government shutdown. Democrats have asserted they would pass a bill that includes funding for additional border security measures, but not the money Trump wants build a border wall.
Trump was reportedly briefed that the Army Corps of Engineers could build 315 miles of the border wall in around 18 months, which is more than the 234 miles he initially requested. Democrats may still have an option to oppose the move, a source explained to NBC News, by blocking the reallocation through legislation.
After weeks of the shutdown, Trump appears likelier to invoke executive authority to declare a national emergency, a move Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham supported.
"Time for President [Donald Trump] to use emergency powers to build Wall/Barrier," Graham tweeted on Thursday. "I hope it works."
Trump and other White House officials have teased the option numerous times in recent days, saying the president would make the declaration if Congress does not give in to his wall funding.
"Well, I think we're going to see what happens over the next few days, they should do it immediately," Trump said on Thursday. "Look, we're not going anywhere. We're not changing our minds. Because there's nothing to change your mind about."
Tech-driven disruption in the insurance industry continues at pace, and we're now entering a new phase — the adaptation of underlying business models.
That's leading to ongoing changes in the distribution segment of the industry, but more excitingly, we are starting to see movement in the fundamentals of insurance — policy creation, underwriting, and claims management.
This report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, will briefly review major changes in the insurtech segment over the past year. It will then examine how startups and legacy players across the insurance value chain are using technology to develop new business models that cut costs or boost revenue, and, in some cases, both. Additionally, we will provide our take on the future of insurance as insurtech continues to proliferate.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
In full, the report:
President Donald Trump visited the US-Mexico border in Texas, on Thursday, where he met and posed with Customs and Border Protection officers. The trip was part of his push for a barrier at the southern border.
Trump's desire for a wall or barrier at the border led to a partial government shutdown — which has been ongoing for nearly a month. In December after initially signaling that he would sign a stopgap measure to fund the remaining government agencies until February 8, Trump changed course and said he would not sign a bill unless it had $5.7 billion for a border wall. The plan did not have support in the Republican-led Senate and on December 22, a partial government shutdown began.
Now, with a new Democratic-led House of Representatives, Trump and Congress are at an impasse. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said that Congress will not appropriate money for the wall; there are still not enough votes in the Senate to pass wall funding; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to not bring funding bills to the floor for a vote if he believes Trump won't sign them — despite the fact that the House has passed bills that would reopen the government.
The shutdown is impacting roughly 800,000 federal employees — around 420,000 of which are deemed "essential" and must work without pay. The remaining federal workers have been furloughed. CBP officers are among those "essential" federal employees, who are working without pay.
Two unions representing federal employees the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union are suing the Trump administration over the shutdown. The AFGE filed its suit on December 31, 2018, on behalf of the over 400,000 federal employees working without pay. Two corrections officers at the federal Bureau of Prisons are named as plaintiffs.
On Wednesday, the NTEU, refiled a complaint in the Court of Federal Claims. This union represents around 150,000 federal employees at 33 agencies and departments — including the CBP. According to the suit, "tens of thousands of National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) members" are considered "essential" and are working without pay.
Two listed plaintiffs in the case are CBP officers, who are suing "on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated individuals." The initial suit (filed on Jan. 7) named officer Albert Vieira, but it was refiled naming officers Eleazar Avalos and James Davis.
"First, [the suit] alleges that the government’s failure to timely pay overtime wages earned on December 22, 2018, to Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) nonexempt employees like Mr. Avalos and Mr. Davis is illegal,"the lawsuit reads.
"Second, the complaint further alleges an FLSA violation based upon the expected government failure to pay a minimum wage and overtime wages earned for the pay period beginning December 23, 2018 and ending on January 5, 2019. They seek payment of the owed wages, an equal amount of liquidated damages, and other appropriate remedies."
"It is unconscionable that many employees are having to work – and in some cases overtime – with no pay whatsoever," NTEU National President Tony Reardon said in a statement.
The NTEU filed another suit on Wednesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, against OMB Director and soon-to-be White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and the Office of Management and Budget over nonessential employees being asked to work without pay.
"While a case can certainly be made that some federal employees, such as Customs and Border Protection Officers and others, are protecting human life and property, that line of reasoning gets quite shaky when applied to thousands of IRS employees being called back in order to process tax refunds — and to do so without being paid,"Reardon said in separate statement. "That is not how the law works and that is not how this country should work."
Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California continued to tease her potential 2020 US presidential run during an appearance on CBS' "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Thursday night, smiling and telling Colbert two words: "I might."
Colbert pointed to the striking clues about her potential presidential bid, namely her media blitz and book tour after the publication of her memoir: "The Truths We Hold: An American Journey."
"Many people who put out books two years before a presidential election do so to introduce themselves in a broad way to the American people," Colbert said. "Um, are you going to run for president?"
The audience cheered and applauded loudly as Harris pondered her answer.
Watch the moment here »
Harris is one of several prominent Democrats in a growing field of potential candidates vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the next election. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts announced her candidacy earlier in January, and former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro has formed a presidential exploratory committee.
Other potential candidates include Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas.
Harris is currently serving her first term in the Senate, similar to former President Barack Obama, who, as a first-term senator, was initially criticized for his inexperience after he announced his 2008 presidential campaign. Prior to her role in the Senate, Harris was California's attorney general and served as the district attorney of San Francisco.
Harris, an Indian American, rose to prominence within the Democratic Party after becoming an outspoken critic of Trump's immigration policies and political nominees, namely Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
"When we talk about the immigration debate, there are powerful forces — including this president — that are attempting to vilify immigrants because they were born in another country," she said during a CNN interview on Wednesday. "This should offend all of us."
The US healthcare industry as it exists today is not sustainable. An aging patient population and rising burden of chronic disease have caused healthcare costs to skyrocket and left providers struggling to keep up with demand for care.
Meanwhile, digital technologies in nearly every consumer experience outside of healthcare have raised patients’ expectations for good service to be higher than ever.
One of the key mechanisms through which healthcare providers can finally evolve their outdated practices and exceed these expectations is wearable technology.
Presently, 33% of US consumers have adopted wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, to play a more active role in managing their health. In turn, insurers, providers, and employers are poised to become just as active leveraging these devices – and the data they capture – to abandon the traditional reimbursement model and improve patient outcomes with personalized, value-based care.
Adoption is going to keep climbing, as more than 80% of consumers are willing to wear tech that measures health data, according to Accenture — though they have reservations about who exactly should access it.
A new report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, follows the growing adoption of wearables and breadth of functions they offer to outline how healthcare organizations and stakeholders can overcome this challenge and add greater value with wearable technology.
For insurers, providers, and employers, wearables present three distinct opportunities:
Want to Learn More?
The Wearables in US Healthcare Report details the current and future market landscape of wearables in the US healthcare sector. It explores the key drivers behind wearable usage by insurers, healthcare providers, and employers, and the opportunities wearables afford to each of these stakeholders.
By outlining a successful case study from each stakeholder, the report highlights best practices in implementing wearables to reduce healthcare claims, improve patient outcomes, and drive insurance cost savings, as well as how the evolution of the market will create new, untapped opportunities for businesses.
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. Current subscribers can read the report here.
Consumers are finally starting to adopt smart home devices, with nearly 60% owning at least one device. This presents an opportunity for e-commerce companies to enter the smart home and encourage purchasing through the devices.
The smart speaker has become the face of the smart home in many ways, attracting the lion’s share of attention as companies look for ways to take advantage of the growing platform. But there’s a problem: Consumers aren’t using the smart speaker to actually buy products very often.
Instead, one of the clearest opportunities outside of the smart speaker is home goods and grocery replenishment through large appliances. Smart devices in the home — especially appliances — can take advantage of built-in sensors to either tell consumers when they need to buy more of a product, or make that purchase autonomously. This will create an opportunity for appliance manufacturers, e-commerce vendors, and product suppliers to ink supply agreements to meet consumers' needs.
In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines several areas of opportunity for e-commerce companies to leverage smart home technologies to provide new and better services to their customers. First, we explore how smart appliances, including connected dishwashers and laundry machines, are building on one-click purchasing systems to enable automated replenishment. We then discuss the smart fridge and detail how apps, cameras, and voice assistants are enabling takeout and grocery delivery through these appliances. Finally, we examine the role of the voice interface beyond smart speakers as it relates to purchasing products in the home, and how omnipresent voice will be used to organize and interact with automated services.
The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Blue Apron, Costo, GE, Google, Instacart, Keurig, KitchenAid, LG, Ocado, P&G, Plated, Reynolds, Samsung, Target, Walmart, Whirlpool.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is concerned about rising US debt. The annual debt in 2018 topped $1 trillion, while the overall deficit was $21.9 trillion as of January 8, according to the US Treasury, $16 trillion of which is owed by the public.
"I’m very worried about it," Powell told those at The Economic Club of Washington, DC, on Thursday. "From the Fed’s standpoint, we’re really looking at a business cycle length: that’s our frame of reference."
"The long-run fiscal, nonsustainability of the U.S. federal government isn’t really something that plays into the medium term that is relevant for our policy decisions," Powell continued. "It’s a long-run issue that we definitely need to face, and ultimately, will have no choice but to face."
While the US has sustained annual debts higher than 2018's, the debts were high in 2009 and 2010 when the economy was recovering from the Great Recession. Currently, even though the economy is strong, the annual national debt is growing.
Analysis done by PBS NewsHour in October 2018, explained why the debt is rising — and why it could be a problem.
Part of the cause, PBS NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins explains, is because 2018 was the first year of President Donald Trump's tax bill. Tax revenue, she said was nearly flat, while government spending — by both Democrats and Republicans — increased with the bipartisan budget bill.
"We also see, if you look at the numbers, corporate tax receipts fell 30 percent," David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, told NewsHour. "And that's largely the result of the president's tax cut.
"So what we're seeing — you would expect at a time like this revenues rising faster than spending, because the economy is strong, more people working, paying taxes, fewer people collecting unemployment benefits and such, and the deficit would shrink," he continued. "We see the opposite, and that's largely because of the tax cut."
If current laws stay in place, Business Insider's Bob Bryan explained in October, the annual deficit is expected to hover at "just shy of $1 trillion for fiscal year 2019 and will eclipse the $1 trillion mark in the following four years, according to official Trump administration estimates."
And with a rise in interest rates, which the Fed raised four times in 2018, the interest on US debt grows. In December, Wall Street's "bond king" Jeffrey Gundlach said the Fed was on a "suicide mission," raising rates while the deficit grows. The Fed is projecting two interest-rate hikes in 2019.
Another worry is that strong economies don't always remain strong, there's concern about what would happen if the US hit another recession, CNBC reports.
As the market melted down at the end of 2018, cries for an imminent recession grew louder and louder.
Investors were clearly spooked by an economic slowdown in China, and they balked at revised guidance from tech giants like Apple that trimmed their sales forecasts in response. Fear that the weakness could spread globally escalated to the point where US stocks hung on the precipice of a bear market.
And if that weren't bad enough, the world's biggest business leaders got in on the action. According to a New York Times survey of 134 business leaders at the Yale CEO Summit, nearly half said they expected a recession to strike by the end of 2019.
Goldman Sachs, on the other hand, says people need to hold their horses. The firm's economics team staunchly believes that recession fears are overdone and that worried investors should instead be focused on the enticing prospect of continued economic growth through 2020.
"High personal savings rates, a sizeable private sector financial surplus, and strong real income growth suggest that the US economy should continue to grow at an above-trend pace this year," a group of Goldman strategists led by Arjun Menon wrote in a recent client note.
But don't let Goldman's near-term optimism fool you — the firm still has its eye firmly on the forces that could eventually send the US tumbling into a recession. To that end, it has formulated a checklist of five economic indicators investors would be wise to watch in the coming months. They are as follows:
1) A slowing of economic growth to below 1%, or the unemployment rate rises sharply
Third-quarter gross-domestic-product growth in the US was 3.4%, on an annualized basis, so that specific measure has a ways to go. Further, the unemployment rate is near its lowest level in 18 years.
2) A sharp rise in private-sector financial balances
Goldman has crunched the numbers and found that this is a reliable leading recessionary indicator.
3) A continued rotation into cash
Cash was surprisingly the best-performing asset class of 2018.
4) An ISM manufacturing index decline below 50
This measure came in at 54.3 in December.
5) Flat industrial production
The most recent reading showed a 0.6% gain for the month of November.
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. Current subscribers can read the report here.
Outside of the US Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and UPS have dominated the domestic logistics industry — and in particular, the last-mile of the delivery — for decades. On a quarterly earnings call in 2016, FedEx estimated that itself, UPS, and USPS executed a whopping 95% of all e-commerce orders.
But rapidly rising volumes have put the pair of legacy shippers in a bind. E-commerce sales have risen over 50% and are projected to continue their ascent into the next decade. High volumes are already straining shippers' networks — UPS struggled to bring consumers their parcels on time due to higher-than-anticipated package volume, which upset some big-name retail partners, including Macy's, Walmart, and Amazon. As online sales surge further, package volumes will outstrip legacy shippers' capacities, creating space for new entrants.
Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to dethrone UPS and FedEx's duopoly. It's built up a strong logistics infrastructure, counting hundreds of warehouses and thousands of delivery trucks.
Further, as the leading online retailer in the US, it has a wealth of data on consumers that it can use to craft a personalized delivery experience that's superior to UPS and FedEx's offerings. Amazon must act soon, however, as UPS and FedEx are hard at work fortifying their own networks to handle the expected surge in parcel volume.
The longer the Seattle-based e-tailer delays the launch of a delivery service, the more it runs the risk that these legacy players will be able to defend their territory.
In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explains how the age of e-commerce is opening up cracks in UPS and FedEx's duopoly. We then outline how Amazon's logistics ambitions began as an effort to more quickly get parcels out the door and fulfill its famous 2-day shipping process and how it'll be a key building block for the company if it builds out a last-mile service. Lastly, we offer concrete steps that the firm must take to maximize the dent it makes in UPS and FedEx's duopoly.
The companies mentioned in this report are: Alibaba, Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report:
Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.
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LONDON — A no-deal Brexit is not going to happen as MPs would block it, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said in a shock admission by a senior member of Theresa May's government.
Downing Street has long insisted that no-deal remains a possible option and is using the threat of a no-deal scenario to cajole Conservative MPs into backing May's deal.
However, the foreign secretary said the series of government defeats in parliament in recent days showed that MPs could stop the UK from crashing out of the European Union in March if they wanted to, and said it was "very unrealistic" to believe otherwise.
"The idea that Parliament is going to do nothing at all is highly unlikely," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
It comes after MPs signalled that they will seek to prevent a no-deal Brexit in March after voting on an amendment to the Finance Bill which would limit the government's power to make tax changes in such a scenario.
However, while dismissing the prospect of no-deal, the foreign secretary instead warned that killing off Theresa May's Brexit deal could mean that Brexit doesn't happen at all, warning that such an outcome would be a "fundamental breach of trust" with the Leave-voting public.
Theresa May looks set for a heavy defeat when she puts her Brexit deal before parliament next week, with up to 120 Tory MPs planning to vote against her deal.
She has been making increasingly desperate efforts to court Conservative colleagues as well as Labour MPs but opponents say she has not secured the concessions they have demanded.
She has also been hampered by Cabinet ministers who are increasingly speaking out against the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. On Friday, Work & Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd hinted that she would resign if the government pursued Brexit without a deal, declining three times in an interview to say whether she would remain in government in such a situation.
Justice Secretary David Gauke and Business Secretary Greg Clark also appear ready to quit if the government tries to force through no-deal.
The wobbles in stock markets have been grabbing all the attention lately, but meanwhile, oil is enjoying a stunning rally into the new year.
Oil traders are factoring in an improvement in US-China trade relations and continued efforts by OPEC and others to stabilize the market after a brutal end to last year.
Brent crude futures are now trading up for their 10th consecutive day, which would mark its best performance since the introduction of futures contracts in June 1988. This week's performance has seen Brent rise 8.4%, its best weekly gains for over two years as improved sentiment boosts the commodity's performance.
Fore WTI, the US benchmark, oil has risen 24% since hitting a low on Christmas eve.
"The macro drivers of prices has been the more dovish Federal Reserve and better news coming out of the US-China trade dispute," Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific at futures brokerage Oanda, sadi in an interview. "The market is reading between the lines that any deal would boost China's economy and really improve demand."
US trade representatives were in China for talks earlier this week, which raised hopes of a trade deal that would have a positive impact on oil prices.
Similarly, last December's "OPEC+" summit in Vienna brought a round of supply cuts to the oil market, which are now finally being priced in amid a greater risk-on atmosphere. Despite that prices are still around 30% lower than their October highs.
Saudi Arabia's energy minister, Khalid Al-Falih, said that pledged reductions of 1.2 million barrels a day are “more than sufficient to balance the market.” Data out of Saudi Arabia supports the proposed axe in supply and demonstrated a cut in exports to the US with inventory figures also broadly positive.
Investor sentiment has also been boosted by comments from the Federal Reserve. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Richard Clarida have said that the central bank will be cautious about pushing ahead with future rate hikes after raising interest rates four times last year.
Brent crude is trading up 0.6% as of 8.55 a.m in London (3.55 a.m EST) while WTI is up 0.9%.
The avalanche of money that's piled into Silicon Valley lately may be starting to disrupt more than just the taxi business and commercial real estate — it might upend one of the most celebrated and time-honored traditions of tech startups: the IPO.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Slack, the popular corporate messaging provider, plans to hit the public markets later this year through a direct listing. That's the unusual process that subscription music service Spotify used last year to go public. Should Slack's listing prove as successful as Spotify's, expect the floodgates to open for more of these listings.
In a direct listing, a company's private shareholders sell some of their stakes more or less to investors at large on the open market. That differs from a traditional initial public offering, where investment banks typically line up institutional investors to purchase shares at a set price from the company and its early shareholders.
A big reason why companies hold IPOs is to raise additional funds. In a direct offering, the point is to allow insiders and early backers to freely sell some or all of their stakes; the company typically doesn't raise any funds from the listing event.
Slack and Spotify didn't need money from the public markets
The reason a company such as Slack and Spotify can go public and not worry about raising any funds in the process is that their coffers are already overflowing with funds. Before it went public last year, Spotify, for example, had raised $2.1 billion, according to PitchBook. It still had about $1.5 billion of that left and, because its operations were already generating cash, it was adding to that stash.
Slack is in a similar position. It's raised $1.2 billion to date, according to PitchBook. Even after CEO Stewart Butterfield said it had more than enough cash, he stuffed the company's treasury with hundreds of millions of more dollars. In fact, Slack had so much money in the bank that it started using some of it to invest in other startups.
Those companies certainly aren't alone in having a healthy surplus of funds. Over the last five years, some $445 billion was invested in venture-backed deals, including a whopping $130.9 billion last year alone, a new record, PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association said in a new report this week. More than a third of that total is going into software companies and large amounts are also flowing into other parts of the tech industry.
And more money could be flowing in. Traditional VC firms — which represent just one of several sources of capital for startups — raised $55.5 billion last year, a new high, according to PitchBook and the NVCA. SoftBank's enormous $100 billion VisionFund is helping to push traditional VC's to create larger and larger funds; last year 11 VC funds topped $1 billion in funding, another new high.
With so much money flowing into startups in the private markets, many companies don't feel much need to tap the public markets for cash. One result has been that on the whole, startups are waiting longer to go public.
For the last five years, the median age of technology firms that went public was at least 10 years old, and it hit 12 years old last year, according to data from Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida who closely tracks the public offerings market. By contrast, before the Great Recession, the median age never hit 10 years, and during the dot-com boom, it got down to as low as 4 years old.
IPOs are expensive and time-consuming
But the next place the effects of all that money may be felt is in how companies go public when they decide to do so.
Startup have good reasons for rejecting the traditional IPO model. It's expensive, for starters. The median gross spread — essentially the fee investment banks charge for taking companies public — has been stuck at 7% for the last 30 years, according to Ritter's data. What that means is that if a company raises $100 million in an IPO, it only sees $93 million of that; the other $7 million goes to its investment banks rather than to its bank account.
By contrast, when Spotify went public, its insiders and early shareholders registered to sell as much as $9.2 billion worth of stock. The company paid about $45.7 million in fees, including about $35 million to its bankers, according to documents it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That works out to less than 0.5% of the potential proceeds, or a huge bargain.
And that's not the only savings. Investment bankers typically price an IPO significantly below what the market will actually pay for them, thus guaranteeing that the stock will get a press-worthy "pop" when it debuts. But the difference between the actual market price and the IPO price represents an opportunity cost to the company and its early shareholders. Instead of them gaining from what the market will actually pay for the company's shares, that gain goes to the institutional investors who buy at the IPO price and turn around and sell stock to other investors when the stock begins trading.
In a direct listing, by contrast, the early shareholders receive more or less the full market price for the shares they sell.
The regular IPO process can also be a big time suck for corporate managers. Typically, executives have to tour around the country, meeting with and giving formal presentations to potential investors, hoping to sell them on the offering.
But a direct listing can be much more informal and take far less time. Instead of going on a roadshow Spotify, for example, simply streamed a live webcast of its presentation to potential investors all at once.
Direct listings might succeed where Dutch auctions didn't
Companies have tried to buck the IPO system before. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a handful of companies — most notably Google — went public through a Dutch auction process pioneered by investment bank WR Hambrecht. That process attempted to maximize the amount that companies could raise in an IPO by allowing a wide range of investors to place blind binds that stated how many shares they wanted to buy at a particular price. The company would go public at the highest price at which it could sell all the shares it placed to sell.
That process never gained much traction. The other investment banks and institutional investors — both of which lost out in the process as compared to a traditional IPO — never really supported it. And companies eager to raise funds in an IPO were generally willing to go along with the traditional process.
The direct listing process represents one of the first big efforts to reform the system since the Dutch auction effort. Spotify's IPO was novel. If Slack follows in Spotify's footsteps and its debut goes similarly well, it will likely embolden other companies to give the process a whirl.
And because of all the funding that startups have on their hands, many could feel freer this time around to spur the traditional process. If the company itself doesn't really need any cash and early shareholders can get a better price in a direct offering, why put up with the headaches and expense of an IPO?
To be sure, there are still going to be companies that go the traditional route, even if direct offerings catch on. Several of the biggest unicorns, such as Uber, Lyft, and WeWork, are still hemorrhaging money and almost certainly won't pass up the opportunity for an infusion of new cash from the public markets. And many smaller companies that aren't as well known as Spotify or Slack may feel they need the investment banks to get their names out and market them to investors.
But for startups looking to showcase another facet of an innovative spirit, the best way to buck the trend could be to go direct.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson made headlines Friday after an alleged interview with The Daily Star was published online, in which The Star reported an "exclusive interview" with the actor saying "this generation are looking for a reason to be offended."
On Friday afternoon, Johnson shared a video on his Instagram and Twitter accounts, saying, "the interview never took place. Never happened, never said any of those words, completely untrue, 100% fabricated."
"You know, I've gained such a great trust and equity with all you guys all around the world over the past couple of years," Johnson said, addressing his fans. "And you know it's not a real D.J. [Dwayne Johnson] interview if I'm ever insulting a group, a generation, or anyone. Because that's not me, and it's not who I am, and it's not what we do."
Settin’ the record straight. The interview never happened. Never said those words. 100% false. If I ever had an issue with someone, a group, community or a generation — I’d seek them out, create dialogue and do my best to understand them. Criticizing ain’t my style. I don’t cast stones and we all get to be who we are. #millies #plurals #boomers #TequilaGeneration 🤙🏾🥃
The Daily Star did not immediately return INSIDER's request for comment. The alleged interview, headlined "EXCLUSIVE: The Rock slams snowflakes as 'looking for reasons to be offended,'" was still online as of this article's posting.
"I don't have to agree with what somebody thinks, who they vote for, what they voted for, what they think, but I will back their right to say or believe it," The Star quoted Johnson saying."That's democracy. So many good people fought for freedom and equality — but this generation are looking for a reason to be offended."
However, in his Instagram statement Johnson tells all generations that "the interview never happened."
"To the plurals, the baby boomers, the snowflake generation — I don't even know where that term came from — the tequila generation! That's a generation I just started. That's a good one. You want to join it," he says. "I always encourage empathy, I encourage growth, but most importantly I encourage everybody to be exactly who they want to be. Have a good day."
INSIDER contacted representatives for Johnson for further comment. Read Johnson's full statement from the Instagram post below, and watch the video here.
"I can't believe I have to do this again and set the record straight on something, but I'm happy to do it. Earlier today online, an interview dropped with me — apparently it was with me — where I was insulting and criticizing millennials. The interview never took place. Never happened, never said any of those words, completely untrue, 100% fabricated. I was quite baffled when I woke up this morning.
You know, I've gained such a great trust and equity with all you guys all around the world over the past couple of years, and you know it's not a real D.J. [Dwayne Johnson] interview if I'm ever insulting a group, a generation, or anyone. Because that's not me, and it's not who I am, and it's not what we do.
So to the millennials, the interview never happened. To the plurals, the baby boomers, the snowflake generation — I don't even know where that term came from — the tequila generation! That's a generation I just started. That's a good one. You want to join it. I always encourage empathy, I encourage growth, but most importantly I encourage everybody to be exactly who they want to be. Have a good day."
Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.
A messy split between a video game Gearbox and its former general counsel has led to a legal battle, resulting in some serious allegations against Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford.
Kotaku reports that Wade Callender, former general counsel for Gearbox Software, has filed a lawsuit against Pitchford over several allegations involving the video game studio, as well as a co-owned joint real estate venture. Among other things, Callender alleges that Pitchford secretly took a $12 million bonus from publisher Take-Two Interactive that was intended to fund development of Gearbox's blockbuster game, "Borderlands 2."
More seriously, Callender's lawsuit also makes allegations of improper personal conduct against Pitchford, including claims that Pitchford once left a USB drive in a Dallas restaurant that contained confidential Gearbox documents, as well as info belonging to business partners including Sega, Sony, and Microsoft — and that "upon information and belief," Randy Pitchford’s USB drive also contained Randy Pitchford’s personal collection of ‘underage’ pornography," says the lawsuit.
The suit also says that Pitchford hosted parties where “adult men have reportedly exposed themselves to minors, to the amusement of Randy Pitchford.”
Gearbox shared the following statement with Kotaku in response to the allegations: "The allegations made by a disgruntled former employee are absurd, with no basis in reality or law. We look forward to addressing this meritless lawsuit in court and have no further comment at this time.”
Later on Friday, Gearbox also told Kotaku that it would pursue action against Callender directly over his claims about Pitchford's personal conduct:
"Gearbox will be filing a grievance with the State Bar of Texas against our former general counsel Wade for disciplinary proceedings for filing a lawsuit that includes accusations that he knows to be untrue," reads the statement, in part.
Gearbox did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.
The background of the case
Callender joined Gearbox in 2010 and served as general counsel and vice president of legal affairs until August 2018. Callender and Pitchford were long-time friends for over 40 years, but the friendship fell apart over the last two years, according to Callender's lawsuit. An old Twitter post from Pitchford appears to back up that assertion.
In November, Gearbox filed a lawsuit against Callender, claiming that he had violated the company's trust and used company funds for tuition, a home loan agreement, legal fees, and other personal expenses. The suit claims that Gearbox had agreed to pay Callender's tuition for an MBA program and home loan in exchange for his continued employment at the firm, but he left less than a year after obtaining his degree.
Gearbox is asking for more than $1 million in damages, accounting for money Callender allegedly spent on firearms and family vacations, as well as other expenditures.
"As an executive with the company and fully knowing that Gearbox’s special trust in him would result in Gearbox’s assured payment of his personal charges passed off as business expenses," Gearbox's lawsuit reads. "From 2016 up until his resignation in July 2018, Callender incurred thousands of dollars’ worth of charges from Disneyland, Frisco Gun Club, Gun Gear To Go, and sixpackshortcuts.com, just to name a few."
In December, more than a month after Gearbox filed its original suit, Callender countered with his own lawsuit, with claims that he had been "shamefully" exploited by Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. He claims that he was instructed to help hide from employees the $12 million payment, which had been intended as an advance on "Borderlands 2" royalties.
The USB drive
In an interview with "The Piff Pod," a stage magic podcast, Pitchford gave what appears side of the story with regards to the USB flash drive. The podcast episode was uploaded a day after Callender filed his lawsuit.
According to a report in Ars Technica, Pitchford said that he left a USB stick containing confidential documents at a Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament restaurant. The stick was found by an employee, who accessed the drive, which contained information about future Gearbox projects — as well as pornographic material, he said.
However, it was a video featuring a model who goes by the online handle "Only 18," he said. Pitchford, a stage magic enthusiast, told "The Piff Pod" that he had saved this particular video to the USB drive because he believed that the model used a sexually-explicit magic trick in the video, and he was trying to crack the secret. He described it as "barely legal porn," seemingly in an attempt to refute allegations that it was child pornography.
Callender also alleged that Pitchford used Gearbox funds to host "Peacock Parties" at his home, where adult men had exposed themselves to minors. As the Dallas Morning News reports, Pitchford and his wife made a regular habit of hosting a private "Peacock Theater" in their home, featuring magicians and variety acts, though the content is not described as sexually explicit.
The downfall of US brick-and-mortar commerce is overblown — despite sharp gains in e-commerce, which will nearly double between now and 2021, the lion’s share of purchasing continues to take place in-store. And that’s unlikely to change anytime soon, since the online environment can’t yet compensate for the reasons customers like brick-and-mortar shopping.
That means the point-of-sale (POS) terminal, which merchants use to accept payments of all types and to complete transactions, isn’t going anywhere. But that doesn’t mean it’s not changing. As merchants look to cut costs amidst shifts in consumer shopping habits, POS terminals, which were once predominantly hardware offerings used exclusively for payment acceptance, are evolving into full-service, comprehensive solutions. These new POS terminals are providing an array of business management solutions and connected offerings to complement payment services.
This is where the smart terminal, a new product that’s part-tablet, part-register, comes in. Merchants are increasingly seeking out these offerings, which afford them the connectivity, mobility, and interoperability to run their entire business. And that’s shaking up the space, since it’s not just legacy firms, but also mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) players and newer upstarts, that offer these products.
As merchants begin demanding a wide variety of payment solutions, terminal providers are scrambling to meet their needs in order to maintain existing customers and attract new ones. This is leading to rapid innovation and increased competition in both the POS terminal hardware and software spaces.
Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a detailed report on the shifts in this landscape, how leading players can meet them, and who’s doing it most effectively.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
In full, the report: