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Brooklyn startup BlocPower raises $30M from Microsoft in mission to ‘turn buildings into Teslas’

The technology startup wants to fight climate change and injustice through energy retrofits To view the full story, click the title link......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkJan 14th, 2022

Brooklyn startup BlocPower raises $30M from Microsoft in mission to ‘turn buildings into Teslas’

The technology startup wants to fight climate change and injustice through energy retrofits To view the full story, click the title link......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkJan 14th, 2022

Transcript: Maureen Farrell

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Maureen Farrell on the Cult of We is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   RITHOLTZ: This… Read More The post Transcript: Maureen Farrell appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Maureen Farrell on the Cult of We is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have a special guest. Her name is Maureen Farrell, and she is the co-author of the book, “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.” I read this book a couple of weeks ago and just plowed through it. It’s a lot of fun. Everything you think about WeWork is actually even crazier, and more insane, and more delusional than you would’ve guessed. All the venture capitalists and — and big investors not really doing the appropriate due diligence, relying on each other, and nobody really looking at the numbers, which kind of revealed that this was a giant money-losing, fast-growing startup that really was a real estate play pretending to be a tech play. You know, tech gets one sort of multiple, real estate gets a much lower multiple, and Neumann was able to convince a lot of people that this was a tech startup and, therefore, worthy of, you know, $1 billion and then multibillion-dollar valuation. It’s fascinating the — it’s deeply, deeply reported. There is just an incredible series of vignettes, and stories, and reveals that they’re just shocking what Neumann and company were able to — to fob off on their investors. Everything from ridiculous self-dealing to crazy valuations, to lackluster due diligence, and then just the craziest most egregious golden parachute in the history of corporate America. I found the book to be just fascinating and as well as my conversation with Maureen. So, with no further ado, my conversation with Maureen Farrell, co-author of “The Cult of We.” VOICE-OVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My special guest this week is Maureen Farrell. She is the co-author of a new book, “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.” The book has been nominated for a Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. Previously, she worked at the Wall Street Journal since 2013. Currently, she is a reporter, investigative reporter for The New York Times. Maureen Farrell, welcome to Bloomberg. FARRELL: Thank you so much for having me. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s start a little bit with your background and history. You — you covered capital markets and IPOs at the Wall Street Journal. What led you and your co-author Eliot Brown to this story because this was really a venture capital and a startup story for most of the 2010s, right? FARRELL: Exactly. And for me, personally, I was covering the IPO market and — and capital markets the sort of explosion of private capital. So, I was looking at WeWork from both angles, basically, you know, in the small cohort of the most interesting companies that were going to go public, along with Uber, Airbnb, Lyft. And it was also part of this group that had raised more capital than anyone ever before. I was looking at SoftBank and its vision fund a lot. And then — I mean, take within this cohort, there were some pretty interesting companies, but I mean, just along the way kept on hearing, you know, Adam Neumann stood out. That’s like a little bit of a different entrepreneur that the — the stories you would just hear over time just became more and more interesting a little and vain. RITHOLTZ: So when did you decide, hey, this is more than just a recurring series of — of articles? When did you say this is a book? We have to write a book about this? FARRELL: So, we were — around August 2019, by then we were writing more and more about the company as it was clear that it was, you know, made it known that it was going to go public. Suddenly, it’s S-1, the — the regulatory documents you file publicly to go public were out there, and they were completely bonkers. They sort of captivated, I think, the imagination of the business reading public. But then over the next few weeks, WeWork was on its way to finally doing this IPO. And my co-author Eliot and I who had been cover — he had covering the company long before me. He’s a real estate. He had been covering them since 2013, then he was out in San Francisco covering venture capital. And it just became the most insane story either one of us had ever reported, like day by day there’s a playbook for IPOs. And they — you know, things are different, but they sort of follow a formula and nothing was making sense. And it just was getting more and more insane until this IPO was eventually called off. And Adam Neumann, the founder and CEO was pushed out of the company for all sorts of crazy things that were given to. RITHOLTZ: So, we’re going to — we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about that. But you hinted at something I — I have to mention. Your co-author covered real estate. Hey, I was told WeWork was a tech startup, and an A.I. company, and everything else but a real estate arbitrage play. How did they manage to convince so many people that they weren’t a Regis. The CEO of Regis very famously said, “How was what they do any different than what we do?” FARRELL: Well, they tried to convince Eliot Brown, my co-author, of the same thing. He — he had heard about Adam Neumann and his company. He started seeing the valuation. Back then I think it was $1 billion, $1.5 billion, and he was … RITHOLTZ: Right. When that became a unicorn, suddenly it was like, “Wait, this is just a real estate play.” FARRELL: Exactly. And he was covering other commercial real estate companies like Regis. And he had followed them and he was like, “Wait, they only have a couple of locations even still at that point.” So, he went in to meet Adam Neumann for the first time, and he’s got great stories. But as part of it, Adam was like really horrified. He was, you know, very nice, his charming self, but also saying, “Hey, you’re a real estate reporter … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … for the Wall Street Journal. You’re the last person who should be covering this company. Do you have someone who covers like community companies?” RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: And Eliot said, “No, and I’ll be following you from here on out.” RITHOLTZ: We’ll — we’ll talk about community-adjusted EBITDA a little later also. But — but let’s talk about the genesis of this because Neumann and his partner McKelvey had a — a legit business Greendesk, the — was the predecessor to WeWork. It was sold. I don’t know what the dollar amount was. Was that ever disclosed? FARRELL: Ah. RITHOLTZ: But — but it was not — nothing. It was real. And the two of them rolled that money plus a third partner who is also — Joel Schreiber is a real estate developer in New York, not coincidently. And in 2010, they launched WeWork with the first site in SoHo. So why is this real estate assign long-term leases and sell shorter-term leases at a significant markup? How is this not possibly a real estate concern? How? What was — what was the argument they were making to people that, “Hey, we’re a tech company and we deserve tech company valuations.” FARRELL: Sure. So exactly as you said, they have this Brooklyn business that was the genesis of WeWork. It was — it had a lot of that business, and it was what they took to make WeWork. It has a lot of innovation to it in terms of architecturally the aesthetic of it. I mean, we probably all have been to WeWork. They’re just — they’re beautiful buildings. RITHOLTZ: Funky, fun … FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: … open … FARRELL: Light coming through … RITHOLTZ: … with a beer tap and lots of glass. FARRELL: … we had light streaming through the windows. You put — you pack people very close together. So, something they started in Brooklyn, it took off, but then their — the landlord there didn’t want to grow it, so they — they split up, they moved on. Adam and his — his co-founder Miguel McKelvey. And from the very beginning, the idea was something so much bigger. They say they created — they like sketched out something and it was like essentially WeWorld. It would be, you know, schools, and apartments, and this whole universe of we. But basically, as you said, I mean, throughout for the most part, it was this like arbitrage building, arbitrage company in terms of getting long-term leases and splitting it up. RITHOLTZ: All right. So, by 2014, they have a pretty substantial investor list, J.P. Morgan Chase, T. Rowe Price, Wellington, Goldman, Harvard Endowment, Benchmark Capital, Mort Zuckerman. Was this still a rational investment in 2014 or when did things kind of go off the rails? FARRELL: By then it still seemed like the valuation was really getting ahead of itself, and it was very much predicated on this idea that you said being a tech company. And I mean, at Adam Neumann’s genius was in marketing and fund raising. And what he had the ability to do really each step of the way and it’s — it’s masterful was sort of take — take the zeitgeist, like the big business idea of the moment that was captivating investors and put that on top of WeWork. So, he’s very into — a little bit before this like sort of acquainting it to Facebook. You know, Facebook was the social network. This is like a social network in person. RITHOLTZ: In real life, right. FARRELL: In — yeah, real life social network. And he didn’t manage to kind of convince people bit by bit. I mean, it’s interesting, Benchmark, you know, as you know, is like one of the top … RITHOLTZ: Legit — right, top shelf V.C., absolutely. FARRELL: Yeah, that’s been some — behind some of the biggest tech companies. RITHOLTZ: Bill Gurley, Uber, go down the list of just incredible … FARRELL: Snap. RITHOLTZ: … yeah, amazing. FARRELL: eBay. Yeah, they’ve had — through — for decades, they’ve been behind some of the biggest companies. So, they were willing to take a gamble on them, and then they saw red flags, but just decided to jump in anyway. But for Benchmark, I mean, we see and they ultimately — they get in at such a low valuation, it’s … RITHOLTZ: Doesn’t matter. FARRELL: … exactly like — you know, they want their homeruns. And I mean, it’s still — they still ultimately got out at a pretty good — really incredible return, but it’s … RITHOLTZ: Right, $600 million to $10 billion, something like that, something (inaudible). FARRELL: Yeah, something like that. RITHOLTZ: So — so just to clarify because I — I’m — I’m going to be trashing WeWork for the next hour, but this wasn’t a Theranos situation or a Bernie Madoff, this is not an issue of fraud or anything illegal or unlawful. Fees just were insane valuations. Somebody did a great job selling investors on the potential for WeWork, and it didn’t work out. FARRELL: I’m glad you brought that up because a lot of people do ask about the differences and the parallels between Elizabeth Holmes and Adam Neumann. And I — I mean, I almost think the story, in some ways, is more interesting. I mean, the Theranos story is, obviously, the craziest and — and horrifying in so many ways. But with Adam Neumann, on the margins, there are questions about, you know, some of them (inaudible). RITHOLTZ: They’re self-dealing and there’s some — a lot of avarice. And he just cashed out way, way early, so you could criticize his behavior. But, you know, you end up with the VCs and the outside investors either looking the other way or turning a blind eye. It’s not like the stuff wasn’t disclosed or anything, he was very out front. No, I need — I need a private jet because we’re opening up WeWorks in China and in 100 other countries, and I have to join around the world. FARRELL: Yeah, and maybe you (inaudible) thing. RITHOLTZ: Now, you need a $65 million (inaudible) is a different question. But, you know, there — they didn’t hide this. They were like proud of it. FARRELL: No, and I think it is every step of the way, you see. I mean, the investors and these were some of the most sophisticated investors in the world and some of the — you know, they are thought of as the smartest investors. They saw the numbers that WeWork was putting forth and they were real, real numbers. They also saw their projections and the projections were mythical, and they never quite reached them. But you could see, if you are going to invest in any round of WeWork, you could see what their prior projections were, how they failed to hit them. But instead, the thing that we saw time and time again to this point was, very often, Adam Neumann would meet the head of an investment company, whether it’s Benchmark or SoftBank or T. Rowe Price, like the — the main decision-maker totally captivate this person. You know, it’s usually a man. The man would become kind of smitten with Adam and all his ideas and what he was going to do, totally believing it. The underlings would look at the numbers, raise all these red flags, point them out. And then the decision-maker would say … RITHOLTZ: Do it anyway. FARRELL: … yeah, he’s amazing. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: So I want to talk about the rapid rise of WeWork and their — their really fast growth path, but I have to ask, what sort of access did you have to the main characters in the book? Were people forthcoming? I have to imagine there were some people who had grudges and were happy to speak. What — what about the — some of the original founders, Adam and his wife Rebekah? Who — who did you have access to? FARRELL: Sure. So, you know, in the interest of privacy, I can’t get into specifics. But what I will say, the interesting thing was, I mean, when we really got access for hours and hours to the vast majority of players at every step of the way in this book. And the — one of the funny things was, I mean, the pandemic really started right as Eliot and I took book leave. We started a book leave in late February 2020. And we had both planned to sort of be and all around the world, meeting people in person. Eliot had moved to New York to meet a lot of the players in person. Obviously, the world shut down and, you know, was kind of nervous about what that would mean in terms of conversations. And the funny thing was I think people are home, bored, feeling pretty reflective. So, there are a number of people that said … RITHOLTZ: What the hell. FARRELL: … I didn’t know if I wanted to talk to you and … RITHOLTZ: But what the hell. FARRELL: … these — some of these people I probably had like 10 conversations … RITHOLTZ: Really? FARRELL: … for hours with. RITHOLTZ: And — and there are 40 something pages of endnotes. It’s — I’m not suggesting that this isn’t deeply researched because a lot of these conversations that you report on like you’re fly on the wall. Clearly, it can only be one of two or three people. So, it looks like you had a ton of access to a lot of senior people and I guess, we’ll just leave it at that. So — so let’s talk about that early rise in the beginning. They were really ramping up very rapidly. I mean, you could see how somebody interested in investing in a potential unicorn in 2012, ’13, ’14 coming out of the financial crisis. Hey, the idea of all these startups just leaving a little bit of space and not a long-term lease, it looks very attractive. It looks like, hey, you could put WeWorks wherever there’s a tech community, and they should do really well there. FARRELL: Yeah, there — and it was — the marketing was — it was very viral at that point. It was, you know, people would tell their friends about it, and they would fill up very rapidly. And they were building more and more. I mean — and this is one of the — you know, as part of the genius of Adam Neumann was, you know, he was telling people from day one they were really struggling to even secure the lease on the first building. And he was like, oh, we’re going to be global, we’re going to be international. He would set these goals of how many buildings they would open and people internally, and even investors, would say, “Oh, this is impossible.” RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: And he would — and he would hit that. He kept on sort of defying gravity, defying disbelief or questions. So, the growth was incredible and they were filling them up. We could talk about, you know, the lack of the cost of doing so. RITHOLTZ: Right. They — they were paying double to — to real estate agents when everybody else was paying. They were going to competitors and saying, “We’re going to reach out to your tenants, and we’re going to offer them free rent for a year.” I mean, they were really sharp elbowed and very aggressive. FARRELL: Especially as time went on. We did find that there is one year we got all their financials. We — you know, we got our hands on a vast trove of documents, but there was one year — I think it was 2011 — that they, I think, made $2 million in profit. RITHOLTZ: Wow. FARRELL: We were — we were kind of shocked to see that. We don’t think they had ever made a profit. And then from there, they did not, and the billions and billions just added up in terms of losses. RITHOLTZ: So — so the rapid rise, we — we mentioned, they peaked in 2019 at more than $47 billion. Neumann recently did a interview with your fellow Times correspondent Adam (sic) Ross Sorkin, and he was somewhat contrite. He — he had admitted that all the venture money and all the high valuations had — went to his head, quote, “You lose focus on really the core of the business and why the business is meant to be that way. It had a corrosive effect on my thinking.” That’s kind of a surprising admission from him. FARRELL: It was. Yeah, I mean, his mea culpa is very interesting. And I mean, one of the things that people said along the way was, you know, the — the higher the valuation, the more out of touch she became. I mean, he — he had a narcissist. And I don’t know what you want to call it, but … RITHOLTZ: Socio-pathological narcissistic personality disorder? I’m just — I’m not a psychologist, I’m just guessing, or a really successful salesman/CEO. There’s like a thin line between the two sometimes, it seems. FARRELL: And some of it — I mean, it seems insane. It was like, oh, he thought of himself in this like same — like with along with world leaders, but world leaders were really sort of … RITHOLTZ: Tailing him. FARRELL: … really wanted to meet him. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. FARRELL: Yeah. And he was like — we have a scene in the book that he was debating whether or not he was going to cancel on Theresa May because he had promised his wife that he would teach a class on entrepreneurship to their new school, so it was like a few of their kids and a few of their kids’ friends were in the school. RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: And they’re about five years old, five or six. And he had promised — and his wife … RITHOLTZ: Prime Minister, a five-year-old, that’s it. So, when you talk about losing touch with reality, some of the M&A that the startup did. Wavegarden or wave machine was a — like a surf wave machine, meetup.com, Conductor, they ended up dumping these for a fraction of what they paid for them. But what’s the thought process we’re going to become a technology conglomerate? I don’t — I don’t really follow the thinking other than will it be fun to have a wave machine at our buildings, like what’s the rationale there? FARRELL: OK. So, there were — there were two parts to that, and part of it was like it was the world was Adam Neumann’s playground, and he loves surfing, and he thought that — you know, that he found out this company has wave-making mission. They would make waves. So, him and his team went to Spain to surf on them and test them out, but he could basically convince his board, in general … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … who had to approve these that anything made sense, whether it’s the jet, the wave pool company or friends of his. I mean, Laird Hamilton, the famous surfer … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … was a friend of his. They invested like in his coffee creamer company. But then the second — so it was so many unseen investments that I really didn’t necessarily make any sense. But then on the other side, one of the things that we thought was interesting, he had this deal with Masa who — Masayoshi Son. He’s the CEO of SoftBank, became WeWork’s biggest investor, biggest enabler, you might say. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. FARRELL: And one of the — they were going to do this huge deal that would have actually kept WeWork private forever. It never came to pass, and that’s why it was sort of the beginning of the end when this deal fell apart. But as part of it, a lot of the deal is predicated on growing revenue. So, Adam also became obsessed with acquisitions like whatever they could possibly do to add more revenue to the company. I mean, he was talking about buying Sweet Cream, and he had like got pretty far along in the salad company … RITHOLTZ: Yeah, amazing. FARRELL: … in conversations with them. So, it was this idea of like let’s just throw in anything, we have money, and let’s just grow our top line. Who cares about anything else? RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about Rebekah Neumann. She was Adam Neumann’s wife. What — what what’s her role in WeWork? How important was she? FARRELL: Her role is just so fascinating throughout. So, I mean, he — he met her right as he was starting Greendesk. And I think she just sort of opened his eyes. She’d grown up very wealthy. She’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s cousin. She had always ties to Hollywood. She gave him a loan early on, a high interest loan, I think even after they were married that we report about in the book. But as time went on, she — she really want a career in Hollywood, decides to — at one point, she — she was trying to be an actress and she tells someone that she’s done with Hollywood. She’s producing babies now. They’ve gone on to have six kids. But she sort of always kind of dabbled in the company, and they retroactively made her a co-founder. RITHOLTZ: Right, she wasn’t there from day one. It was only later she got pretty active. FARRELL: Yeah, she told people like giving tours early on that she help pick out the coffee in the — in the early WeWorks. But — so she became more active, but she was sort of jumped in and out. And it was by the — one of the things that she had a big focus on their kids were growing up, she didn’t really like their choices of private or public schools, so she decided to start — she helmed sort of the education initiative that’s something … RITHOLTZ: And she was deeply qualified for this because she — she was a certified yoga instructor, right? FARRELL: Yeah, she had been. RITHOLTZ: And — and I know she went to Cornell, which is certainly a good school. What bona fide does she bring to technology, real estate, education, like I’m trying to figure it out. And in the book, you don’t really go into any details that she’s qualified to do any of these things. FARRELL: I mean, especially with — with education, it’s like she didn’t — she want this — essentially she wanted a school for her children, and she wanted very specific things in that school. And once again, they decided that that would be the next like frontier for WeWork. They’re always adding different things. But no one really — then they let them do this. They started this school in New York in the headquarters, and they were going to teach the next-generation of entrepreneurs. And … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … I mean, they — one of the things — I mean, it was the education arm more than — as much or more than other parts of it is just so tragic because they had a lot of money. She’s — she, like Adam, can just speak like — speak so — like eloquently and with this vision. So, she attracted all these very talented teachers. She sort of wooed them from the schools that they were in before and told them that they were going to start this, you know, new enterprise and change education forever. And it’s just really devolved so quickly. It became very like kind of petty. I mean, if you pull so they have PTSD from her like obsession with like the rugs like … RITHOLTZ: Right, just … FARRELL: … it was a Montessori-type school. And yeah, she obsessed over like the color of white of the rugs and made them like send back 20 rugs. RITHOLTZ: What was the most shocking thing you found out about him or her or both? FARRELL: So, one — one of these was — I mean, there is a lot of the — their personal lives, as we said, whether it was a school or other — other things where their kids are educated in, just the way in which the personal entanglements, you know, small and huge levels, but I’ll give two examples. I mean, one of the things that people said in the school, so within the WeWork headquarters was a whole … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … floor and it’s beautiful if you see pictures of it, like it just this – like really incredible school. RITHOLTZ: Money was no object. FARRELL: Yeah. And they had Bjarke Ingels, this famous architect designed the school. And — but they basically, on Friday nights, would have dinners with their friends there. And according to many people would — the team would come in Monday morning … RITHOLTZ: It’d be a disaster. FARRELL: … it will be a complete … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … disaster. So, it was like really on so many levels like everything was their personal … RITHOLTZ: So, entitled. FARRELL: Yeah. And the second thing that really shocked us was she was very — she had a lot of kind of like phobias around like health and wellness. And she says — I mean, she had a — a real tragedy in her family. Her brother died from cancer, and so she was always — she’s very focused on and she said it as much in podcasts and things. But she was very fixated on 5G. And she’s worried about vaccines for their kids. And — but the 5G of like what that could do for — you know, these signals. She wouldn’t let them have printers on the floor, like any printers on — wireless printers on the floor of the school. But there is a — they bought this … RITHOLTZ: Can you — can you even by 5G printers today? What — what was the … FARRELL: Oh, no, it’s a wireless. RITHOLTZ: … yeah, just Wi-Fi? FARRELL: Yeah, the wireless like freaked her out, so the teachers of that are like run up and downstairs to just print everything. It seems ridiculous. But the 5G towers, there was one, either being built or built right near there, across the Beam Park. RITHOLTZ: (Inaudible) City Park. FARRELL: Yeah, right nearby. So, she was so obsessed with it. She didn’t want to move in there. They had bought like six apartments in this building that she — the CFO — this is around the time they’re preparing for the IPO. I used to work at Time Warner Cable, who is the CFO of Time Warner Cable. So, she said, “Can you, Artie Minson, help us get rid of the 5G tower and have it moved?” And basically, he deputized another aide who used to work for Cuomo and worked for Governor Christie, the — both former governors. And they — like that was something they — they actually worked on. So, the — yeah, that interplay was just kind of insane. RITHOLTZ: Seems rational. There was a Vanity Fair article, “How Rebekah Neumann Put the Woo-Woo in WeWork,” and — and what you’re describing very much is — is along the lines of that. I’ve seen Neumann described as a visionary, as a crackpot, as — as a grifter, but he thinks he’s going to become the world’s first trillionaire, and — and WeWork the first $10 trillion company. Is — is any realistic scenario where that happens or is he just completely delusional? FARRELL: I mean, it seems insane and like he seems completely delusional, but he had a lot of people going along with him, including the man with one of the biggest checkbooks in the world who is Masayoshi Son, the CEO and Founder of SoftBank, who had just — I mean, the timing of the story, it’s like there’s so many things that happened at the first enrollment. RITHOLTZ: Saudi Arabia wanting to diversify, giving a ton of money. You — you call Son the enabler-in-chief. He — he put more than $10 billion of capital showered on — on to WeWork. How much do you blame Son for all of this mayhem at least in the last couple of years of WeWork’s run as a private company? FARRELL: It seems like he was the main — you know, the main person kind of pushing all of this. And when you talk to a lot of people around Adam, they just said they were just such a dicey match like that Adam was crazy to begin with. Everyone thought that. You know, it can go both ways, but … RITHOLTZ: Yeah, but people drank the Kool-Aid. It — it reminded me — you don’t mention Steve Jobs in the book, but very much the reality distortion field that Jobs was famous for, I very much got the sense Neumann was creating something like that. How did he get everybody to drink the Kool-Aid? Was he just that charismatic and that good of a salesman? FARRELL: I think so. And it was just he could talk about things and make you feel like the reality was there, this reality of distortion field. He was — he was masterful in that. Yet the thing that he did was he always found new pots of money … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … all over the world. I mean, it was the time — it was the time when the private capital markets were getting deeper and deeper, the Fidelitys and the T. Rowe that like normally kind of sober mutual funds … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … were jumping into startups. And they — they were — we call one of the chapters FOMO. It was like the … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … fun FOMO. They were fearful of missing out on the next big thing. So that we’re sort of in this climate where there is an appetite to go after, to just take a chance for the chance of getting the next like maybe not trillion-dollar company, maybe no one but him and Masa believe that, the next big thing. RITHOLTZ: But the next 100X — right. And that’s really — you know, it’s always interesting when you see these stayed, old mutual fund companies that have literally no experience in venture capital or tech startups, but happy to plow into it because they — they — they want to be part of it. And maybe that’s how we end up with community-adjusted EBITDA. Can — can you explain to us what that phrase means? I don’t even know what else to call it. FARRELL: Sure. So WeWork was losing every — every step of the way. They were growing revenue more than doubling it. You know, they’re expanding all around the world. And with that, they were losing just as much, if not more every single year than they were taking in. So, they had this brilliant idea, really a lot stemming from the CFO and Adam Neumann love the CFO’s creation. His name is Artie Minson, the CFO. And it was this idea that you essentially strip out a lot of the costs of kind of creating all the — building out all the WeWorks and, you know, marketing and opening up new buildings. You strip it out, and then you’re suddenly a profitable company. It’s like the magic. RITHOLTZ: Wait, let me — let me make sure I understand this. So, if you eliminate the cost of generating that profit, you suddenly become profitable. How come nobody else thought of this sooner? It seems like a genius idea. FARRELL: Oh. RITHOLTZ: Just don’t — it’s profits, expenses. It’s fantastic. FARRELL: And the — the conviction with which certain people inside, especially on the finance team, believe this. I mean, they were saying throughout that like, oh, we will be a profitable company if we — the idea was if we just stop growing, we could be profitable right now. We take in more per building. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) FARRELL: Then we spend on it. But, you know, that never was the case. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stick with the delusion concept. We talked about WeGrow, and we talked about WeLive a little bit, crazy stuff. What made this guy think he can help colonize Mars? Right, you’re laughing. You wrote it yourself, and it’s still funny. FARRELL: It is still … RITHOLTZ: By the way, I found a lot of the book very amusing, like very dry, like you guys didn’t try and crack jokes. But clearly, a lot of the stuff was just so insane. You read it, you start to laugh out loud. FARRELL: I’m — I’m glad to hear that because I think that we would joke that like every day. I mean, we’re in different places writing it. We are on calls constantly, and we would call each other. And it was often multiple times a day we would call each other and say, “You will never ever believe what I just heard.” And we would crack up, and we — we had a lot of fun writing it because it’s just — it was — the truth of the story was like more insane than … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … anything we could have made up ever. RITHOLTZ: That’s the joke that, you know, the difference between truth and — and fiction is fiction has to make sense, and truth is under no such obligation. So, let’s talk about Neumann colonizing Mars. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: I mean, was that a serious thing or was he just, you know, on one of his insane (inaudible) and everybody comes along? FARRELL: There — there — speaking of fine lines, I mean, he just — I think he — he started to believe more and more of like these delusions. And so, I think he really did, and yeah, he got this — he secured a meeting with Elon Musk, and he – Elon Musk — he always — Adam was always late to every meeting, would make people wait for hours, like even like the bankers in the IPO would just sit around. There’ll be rooms of like dozens of people waiting for Adam, and he’d show up like two hours late. But Elon Musk made him wait for this meeting. They sat and sat and sat, and then he told Elon Musk that getting — that he thought — like building a community on Mars is what he would do and he would help him with. And he said, you know, “Getting — getting to Mars is the easy part. Building a community is the hard part.” RITHOLTZ: Right. Because, you know, it’s very hard to get those beer taps to work in a … FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: … low-gravity, zero atmosphere environment. It’s a challenge, only WeWork could accomplish that. FARRELL: The – the fruit water. RITHOLTZ: Right. So — so I want to talk about the IPO, but before I get to that, I — I have to ask about the corporate offsites, the summer camp, which were described as three-day global summits of drinking and drug consumption. It was like a Woodstock event, not like a corporate retreat. How did these come about? FARRELL: So, Adam would say that he never — he grew up in Israel and he moved to the U.S. He lived for a little while the U.S., but move later in life. So, you said he never got to go to American summer camp, so he was going to recreate summer — American summer camp literally. They started at his wife’s family’s had a summer camp in upstate New York. That’s where they started. They just got bigger and bigger, eventually going to England and taking over this like huge like field — this huge estate there and bringing every single member of the company flying them from all over the world. RITHOLTZ: And there were thousands of employees? FARRELL: Thousands upon thousands, and the cost was unbelievable of every piece of it. I mean, every year, they just got bigger and bigger. I mean, the flew at the height of his fame not that he’s far off of it, but Lin-Manuel Miranda like, at the height of Hamilton, they flew him on a private jet. He — he performed on stage. The Roots came, and — and they would pay these people like … RITHOLTZ: Million dollars, right. FARRELL: … a million dollars, yeah. So, the money is no object. RITHOLTZ: That’s a good gig for an afternoon. FARRELL: Yeah, exactly. And they were — you know, especially at the beginning, it was like a younger group of people, in general. And — I mean, these — these were crazy. There’s tons of alcohol sanctioned by the company, handed out by the company. Drugs were in — you know, in supply not handed out by the company, but they were everywhere and … RITHOLTZ: And he talks about drugs. He says, “Well, we — it’s not really drugs, just, you know … FARRELL: He — so yeah, I think it — it got to a point and it was also mandatory to come to these events. So, I mean, the — they were … RITHOLTZ: And they were like meetings where there are shots, everybody has to do shots. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: This — this wasn’t just at these retreats, like hard partying was pretty common throughout the company or anywhere Neumann seemed to have touched. When — when he was there, everybody was expected to step-up and — and party hard. FARRELL: Including the investors. I mean, you’d walk into the office at 10 A.M., according to so many different people. And he’d insist on taking tequila shots with you in the morning in his office. And … RITHOLTZ: You didn’t have a shot before this? You — don’t you … FARRELL: Right. RITHOLTZ: … isn’t that — isn’t how every meeting begins? FARRELL: The breakfast … RITHOLTZ: Right? FARRELL: … of champions. RITHOLTZ: That’s — that’s right. So — so I got the sense from the book that they always seemed to be on the edge of running out of money, and they would always find another source, but it was all leading towards the IPO, but the S-1 one filing, the disclosures that go with an IPO filing, that seemed to be that they’re undoing the — the public just — investing public just torn apart. FARRELL: Exactly. I mean, the interesting piece of that, as you said, it was there’s always a new pool of capital like just when he thought that he was going to have to go public. And the board — and the board — I mean, one of the things we found time and time again was the board would say, you know, he’s really like crazy, things are getting out of hand. But like we won’t say no to him, but eventually he’s going to have to go public. This was back in like 2016-2017. RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: We thought he was going to run out of money, the only place to go because they’re burning so much cash with the public markets. And the public markets will take care of it, which — that kind of floored us each step of the way. But yes, as you said, he — he — he knew how to captivate on — in one-on-one or bigger meetings to convince you of this future to tell you we always describe him kind of as a magician and think of him like this, like don’t look here, look here, like the sleight of hand. He could — then this S-1 came out. It was a regulatory document. You have to follow rules. RITHOLTZ: There’s no sleight of hand in S-1 filing. FARRELL: No, like you have to see. And people suddenly saw the — the broad public the revenue, the losses of a lot, not even all of these, you know, the questionable corporate governance, I mean, the — the … RITHOLTZ: The self-dealing. FARRELL: … the self-dealing, only pieces of that were even in it because the jet wasn’t in the S-1. They didn’t have to disclose it. The — and the interesting thing about this, I think there’s always like this distinction that people try to make between like, oh, the smart money and the dumb money. And it’s like the smart money is like the Fidelitys and the T. Rowes, and the SoftBanks. And then the dumb money, you know, it’s like — or the, you know, the average retail investor. And so, it’s just so interesting that like he — he captivated the — the quote-unquote, “smart money.” And then the minute this was all made public, everything was there, the world saw it and just said like what is — like this is insane. RITHOLTZ: I’m nursing a pet theory that it was Twitter that demolished him because people just had a — I remember the day of this filing, Twitter just blew up with — like a — a million people are taking an S-1 apart sentence by sentence and the most outrageous things bubbled up to the top of Twitter. And it was very clear that they were dead in the water. There was going to be no IPO, and the dreams of these crazy valuations seemed to crash and burn with the — the IPO filing, which — which kind of raises a question about, you know, how was all of this corporate governance so amiss. All the self-dealings that were allowed, so my — my favorite one was he personally trademarked the word We and then charged the company $6 million to use it. Again, he — he’s given these sort of crazy disclosure explanations. Hey, I’m only allowed to say this. But it seems he bought a bunch of buildings in order to flip them to WeWork at a profit. I don’t understand how the board — we mentioned Theranos — here’s the parallel. How did the board tolerate just the most egregious, avarice, lack of interest in the company and only enrichment of oneself? How does the board of directors tolerate that? FARRELL: I know that was — I think, if anything, from this whole story that just floored us was exactly that this board, I mean, it was a — it was a real like heavy-hitting board of directors. They’re not — and all financial people as opposed to Theranos, you know, it was like people who didn’t really know … RITHOLTZ: Politics and generals, and … FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: … secretaries of states, right? It was a — and a lot of elderly men who were smitten with her. I mean, like men in — what was Kissinger on the board? He was 90 something. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So — so with this though, the other thing that’s shocking is, you know, most founders of a successful company, they live a — a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, but the thought process is, hey, one day we’ll go public and my gravy train will come in, and I’ll have a — a high, you know, eight, nine, 10-figure net worth. Early in this time line, he was paying himself cashing out stock worth tens of millions, in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars way, way early in — in — the company was five years old and he was worth a couple 100 million liquid, and god knows how much on paper. Again, how — how does the board allow that to take place? FARRELL: Yeah, that was — and a board, investors kind of signing off on this were jumping into it, I mean, seeing that he’s going to sell a lot of stock each round. I mean, now there does seem to be a shift and it’s kind of a scary one that this is like more private companies, the founders are selling more and more. But back then, you didn’t really see this very much. And one of the things I find very interesting is he was very much following the Travis Kalanick that — for Uber CEO’s playbook, and literally like following it that like going after the same investors, going around the world. Travis had raised more money than anyone before. Travis, every step of the way, made a huge point of, “I’m all-in. I’m never selling any stock” … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … until he was kicked out of the company basically. So, Adam followed his playbook, but each step of the way was — said he took money out and was like prepare about it. RITHOLTZ: I mean, he was very wealthy for a — a scrappy startup founder, 14, 15, 16. You would think, hey, he’s — maybe he’s making a decent living, but not hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s kind of amazing. FARRELL: Or like having many, many, many houses. RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: And they were like he didn’t hide the way in which he was living, having houses all over the world, jet setting all over the world. You know, and, in fact, he almost like, you know, wanted everyone to know that was part of his like a lure. RITHOLTZ: So, when the IPO filing in 2019, when — when that blows up, it seems to have a real impact on Silicon Valley for a while. Suddenly, high-spending, fast-growing, profitless companies looked bad, and now we’re back to we want profit growth and revenue, but that really didn’t last all that long, did it? FARRELL: No, it was unbelievable. I mean, we also — Eliot and I joked that we rewrote the epilogue like five times because, at first, we wrote it saying like this is the fallout. RITHOLTZ: Oh, look at the impact, right. FARRELL: Yeah, and it was — I mean, Masayoshi Son had his own mea culpa like, you know, I believe in Adam, I shouldn’t have, I made mistakes. But also, I want my companies to be profitable now … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … like I’m going to invest in these companies or the companies have invested already, they should be profitable. IPO investors, public market investors were totally spooled by money-losing companies. Then — you know, then came the pandemic, then came the Fed pumping money into the system. And then, you know, now, in some ways, it’s like, wow, WeWork always like made — generated revenue and losses. It’s like now today we have Rivian … RITHOLTZ: Right, Rivian and … FARRELL: … pre-revenue … RITHOLTZ: … Lucid and, you know, it’s all potential. Maybe it works out, maybe Amazon buys 100,000 trucks from them, but that’s kind of — that’s a possibility. And, you know, more — more than just the Fed, you had the CARES Act, you had a ton of money flow into the system, but it doesn’t necessarily flow to venture-funded outfits, it’s just a lot of cash sloshing around. Is that — is that a fair statement? FARRELL: Oh, completely. RITHOLTZ: So how quickly were the lessons of WeWork forgotten? FARRELL: Incredibly quickly. I mean, it felt like it had — it like it changed everything for a few months. I mean, the other part of it was Masayoshi Son had — had raised a $100 billion fund, biggest fund ever to invest in tech companies. He was literally about to close his second fund. It was … RITHOLTZ: $108 billion, right? FARRELL: Yeah, another $100 billion fund to just go and like pour into companies. RITHOLTZ: More, right. FARRELL: And then I mean, we’ve heard from all these people who are out meeting sovereign wealth funds, Saudi Arabia, and they were just like every meeting, it was like what about WeWork. And, you know, one of the things we’ve heard was he was pushing for it to just go public, you know, or to — or not to — to not go public because he didn’t want to take the mark. He didn’t want to make … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … all of this public. And we have a scene in the book about this that Masa tries to tell him to call off the IPO and tried to force his hand, and Adam is kind of like … RITHOLTZ: Confuses. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Right. It’s — it’s — it’s really quite — it’s really quite astounding that we end up with — what did he burn through, $20 billion, $30 billion? FARRELL: More than $10 billion, I think. RITHOLTZ: Wow. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: That — that’s a lot of cash. FARRELL: Towards him essentially. RITHOLTZ: So — so here’s the curveball question to ask you. So, you’re now a business reporter at the Times. WeWork obviously isn’t the only company led by an eccentric leader. What are you reporting on now? What’s the next potential WeWork out there? FARRELL: You know, I’m — I’m just getting started. This is just a couple of weeks in, but — so it’s — I don’t quite know what the next WeWork is. I almost feel like there’s a lot of mini WeWorks out there, whether it’s — you know, the company is in the SPAC market. Some of these unicorns, I mean, there’s so many — so many red flags around these companies like I was saying before like if founders taking money out very early and, you know, investors are not really caring and just wanting to get into them, getting these massive packages — pay packages, compensation. So, I think there’s — there’s so many different places to look. I don’t get the sense that there’s one company now that’s sort of — of size of Adam Neumann. I think there are just a lot of many ones. I mean, he was a pretty like captivating and just insane in so many — larger than life in so many ways. But I have no doubt we’re going to find one of them fairly soon. There’ll be more. RITHOLTZ: And — and what do you think the future holds for Adam Neumann himself? He — we — we have to talk about the golden parachute, so not only does SoftBank refinance a couple hundred million dollars in loans that he has outstanding, they give him $183 million package and essentially purchased $1 billion of his stock, so he leaves WeWork as a billionaire. FARRELL: Yeah, it was — I mean, it was just an incredible thing. And I mean, then he got this pay package that they agreed to as part of the bailout. I mean, WeWork, once the IPO was called off, was on the verge of bankruptcy. They were going to run out of money in a couple of months so they had to do this very quickly. They were laid off thousands upon thousands of people. But basically, as part of the negotiations to get Adam Neumann to give up his super voting shares, these potent shares that would have let him continue to keep control of the company to do that, they struck this pay package. And I mean, it’s kind of interesting when we talk about the power founders right now that it wasn’t a wakeup call for Silicon Valley to be more wary of giving this power to founders, like when you saw the price tag that Adam Neumann extracted the cost of pushing out a founder who’s kind of a disastrous founder at some point. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. I — I remember reading that and thinking Son played it terribly. He could’ve said, “Hey, listen, I got $100 billion worth of other investments. If I take a $10 billion write-down, it’ll hurt, but I still have plenty of other money. If this goes belly up, you’re broke, you’re a disaster except I’ll give you $50 million or else you’re just impoverished. Good luck finding the lawsuits for the rest of your life.” That would have been the play, but he didn’t — I guess, it was the other second fund he didn’t want to put at risk. Why — why didn’t he hardball Neumann because I thought Son had all the leverage in that negotiation? FARRELL: That was one of the — like the enduring mysteries, I think, of this whole story because all the things you said are right, plus Adam had taken out so much money in terms. He had so much lent against his stock at $47 billion. I mean … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … J.P. Morgan, UBS, Credit Suisse, they have lent him hundreds of millions of dollars, and he would have gotten to default. He like didn’t necessarily have the liquidity to pay back everything … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … he had borrowed. So, it was — I mean, it’s kind of amazing in terms of his negotiating skills that Masa and SoftBank. It was led by Marcelo Claure who’s now the WeWork Executive Chairman. They blinked first. RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: They gave Adam a lot. And I totally agree with you, one of the things I’ve heard it was just like the interest of time. They just wanted it done $10 billion or whatever. It doesn’t mean that much. They want to just keep on moving, keep on … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … spending, not distract too much and just get this done, but it’s crazy. I mean, the … RITHOLTZ: So … FARRELL: … the time value of money … RITHOLTZ: … could be the greatest golden parachute in the history of corporate America. I mean, I — I’m hard pressed to think of anybody who, on the way out of a — a failing company, and it was a failing company at that moment, squeeze more money out of — out of their board. FARRELL: And just to say, I mean, Andrew Ross Sorkin at — in this first big interview with Adam that he gave was — I mean, Adam defended it in different ways. I mean, Andrew very much pushed him on like why that was okay and … RITHOLTZ: Very aggressively. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: That was early November. And he was sort of contrite and, you know, a little shifty, but for the most part surprisingly transparent. I was — when I was prepping for this, I watched this and, you know, you could see how he constructs that, you know, reality distortion field. But there was definitely more humility than we have seen previously. I don’t want to say humble, but just closer on that spectrum. Clearly, he wants to have a future in — in business, and he needs to offer a few mea culpas of his own. FARRELL: It does feel like this is the first step on the come back toward … RITHOLTZ: Yeah. FARRELL: … Adam Neumann. RITHOLTZ: I think that’s going to be a pretty big uphill battle. That’s going to be quite the Kilimanjaro to — to — to mount given what a debacle … FARRELL: The interesting thing just so in terms of his next step is I — I agree with you, there’s an uphill battle in terms of maybe getting people to — to give him money, but he now has a lot of money and from … RITHOLTZ: Family office, yeah. FARRELL: Exactly. Anecdotally, it sounds like a lot of people are very happy to take his money. So, to begin, that’s, you know, he’s seeding a lot of things that you — who knows where they’re going to go. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. So, I only have you for a limited amount of time. Let me jump to our favorite questions we ask all of our guests starting with, you spend a lot of time researching and writing during the lockdown. Did you have any time to stream anything on Netflix or Amazon Prime? FARRELL: There — I mean, there’s still a lot of like downtime. I — I probably watched not much. You know, there — there was downtime, and I did have a few shows that were … RITHOLTZ: Give us one or two favorites. FARRELL: … Little Fires Everywhere. I really liked Never Have I Ever. RITHOLTZ: I just started watching the last week, it’s quite charming. FARRELL: Yeah, it’s really good. RITHOLTZ: Anything Mindy Kaling does is quite amusing. FARRELL: She is amazing. Schitt’s Creek, we got through the whole — that was with my favorite pandemic. RITHOLTZ: So, the — the funny thing about that is the first episode, too, were like – it’s like — it’s like succession. You don’t like any of these people. The difference being in Schitt’s Creek, you quickly start to warm up to them and they start to reveal their own path to rehabilitation of — of themselves. FARRELL: It just gets better like ever — and then it’s so devastating at the end. RITHOLTZ: So, it was really great, right? That – that was one of my favorites. Let’s talk about your mentors, who helped shape your career as a business journalist. FARRELL: I guess, my earliest mentor as a journalist, in general, was in college, I’d always thought about journalism, and I got an internship with then, I think, a septuagenarian journalist. He — his name was Gabe Pressman. I grew up in New York. He was an NBC … RITHOLTZ: Sure. FARRELL: … journalist. This is sort of the political head honcho of local journalism. I worked for him for a summer. He was in his, I think, late 70s. And he was just the most energetic, passionate journalist I’ve ever met. He was still like chasing after mayors, grilling them. It was — with the Senate race it was Hillary in the Senate race. And it was like the most fun summer I’ve ever had and seeing his energy. And — and he — he passed away a few years ago, but literally, he started blogging into his 90s. And he would joke. He would say, “You know, my wife really wants me to like take a step back and work and teach at Columbia Journalism School,” where he had gone. And he was like, “I’m just not ready like, at some point, like scale back, and he never really did. So, he — I would say he was my first mentor. Just seeing like that, it is the most fun job in the world. He just was seeing that day in and day out. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about books. What are some of your favorites and — and what are you reading right now? FARRELL: Sure. I’ll start, you know, I always wish I read more fiction, but it’s like I always get pulled in, especially the business, genre. RITHOLTZ: Sure. FARRELL: So right at this minute, I’m reading “Trillions” by Robbin Wigglesworth. It’s really good. It’s about like index funds, sort of I’m learning a lot from it, the rise of Vanguard. RITHOLTZ: He was my guest last week just so you know … FARRELL: Oh, awesome. RITHOLTZ: … or two weeks ago. FARRELL: I’m midway through, but I’m, yeah, learning … RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. FARRELL: … a ton from it. I just read Anderson Cooper’s book about the Vanderbilts. It’s — I thought it was really great and it’s so interesting. You know, he talks — it starts like the Gilded Age. And you just see so many like eerie and kind of parallels between our age right now and just like the level of like wealth creation and what it leads to. So, I really enjoyed that. I read — this is a little bit dated, but “Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe. It’s about the troubles in Northern Ireland. It is — I mean, it’s — it’s very sad, but I — and it’s pretty long, and I just could not put it down. It’s … RITHOLTZ: Really? FARRELL: … so great. Yeah, I can’t recommend that one highly enough. RITHOLTZ: Quite, quite interesting. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who was interested in a career in either journalism or — or business? FARRELL: In terms of journalism, I would just say jump in. I mean, it’s such a — as opposed to business, I felt like when I graduated from college, you know, so many people had jobs that they were going to make, you know, a decent amount of money. And with the journalism, you just have to find your way in and a lot of its internships. And it just — the path is hard. There’s no straight line. So, I would just say for journalism, it really helps to just jump into the first job you can get. Work really hard in it. And you just always have to keep — there’s no straight line, but jump and learn from it, meet people, find your mentors everywhere you go, and just keep going. You learn so much on the job. I went to Journalism School at Columbia. It was a super fun year, but it’s like within two days of working as a journalist, you just learn so much you can never learn in school. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of IPOs, capital market, business journalism today that you didn’t know 15, 20 years ago when you were first starting out? FARRELL: Okay. What I think have learned and probably the most in writing this book is you think people are rational players, and you think that titans of business are supposed to behave in sort of a rational way, and that these, you know, these checkmarks, these — like a T. Rowe Price or something or Fidelity that they’re going to do a certain amount of work looking at things. And I think the level of irrationality in business of just relationships of people, sort of not necessarily making rational decisions and just going with their gut and going with the people they like, I think, are cool like that that overrides a lot of things. I think it’s just so much less rational than you think it would be. And sometimes the things that are on their face seem really crazy and insane, maybe are. RITHOLTZ: Quite, quite fascinating. We have been speaking with Maureen Farrell. She is the co-author of “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.” If you enjoyed this conversation, well, be sure to check out any of our previous 400 interviews. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever your podcasts from. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. I would be remiss if I did not thank the team that helps put together these conversations each week. Charlie Vollmer is my Audio Engineer. Atika Valbrun is our Project Manager. Michael Batnick is my Director of Research. Paris Wald is my Producer. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Maureen Farrell appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureDec 15th, 2021

Why Kentucky is the epicenter of the Great Resignation

In Insider Weekly: Kentucky is the epicenter of the Great Resignation, Merrill Lynch isn't what it used to be, and Facebook has a bad reputation. Welcome back to Insider Weekly! Hope you're having a relaxing holiday weekend. I'm Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. The labor shortage has been one of the defining trends of 2021. To understand why, and what it might take to solve it, Insider's economy team zoned in on Kentucky, the epicenter of the Great Resignation. They spoke with workers, business owners, economists, and local lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Based on their conversations, they identified four distinct and often overlapping factors driving the labor shortage. A Kentucky Democrat said the labor shortage was "cultural." A Kentucky Republican recommended temporarily suspending unemployment benefits to get people back to work.While the series makes clear that the labor shortage hits differently wherever you are, it's also clear that what's happening in Kentucky reflects a national story affecting businesses, workers, the economy, and politics. And it's not going away anytime soon. Read on for a Q&A with Executive Editor Josée Rose and Deputy Editor Nick Lichtenberg on the series. Also in this week's newsletter:Facebook's sinking reputation has meant it has to pay even more to hire and retain talent.Top investors share the healthcare and biotech startups set to take off in 2022.Even though Merrill Lynch's business is booming, insiders say the firm isn't what it used to be.Let me know what you think of all our stories at mturner@insider.com.Subscribe to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here.  Download our app for news on the go — click here for iOS and here for Android.Inside the epicenter of America's Great ResignationNatosha ViaNick Lichtenberg and Josée Rose take us behind the scenes of a sweeping series of reports looking at the labor shortage in Kentucky — and what it means for the rest of America.Why did the economy team home in on Kentucky?Nick: The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report is the data story of the year. It showed more Americans quitting their jobs than ever before, as well as more job openings than ever before. In October, it showed Kentucky's quit rate was way higher than the rest of the country. Two editors on the economy team, Bartie and Andy, immediately suggested investigating.Our resident JOLTS expert, Madison, looked into it. She found the thesis was correct: Kentucky was a microcosm of the Great Resignation and the labor shortage. It's the epicenter.How do these reports work together to show the impact of the Great Resignation?Nick: We really wanted a diversity of voices: economists, workers, business owners, and the politicians who represent Kentucky. Madison, Hillary, and Juliana canvassed the state trying to find the stories of real people who are struggling to hire or find good jobs. Ben and Joseph landed interviews with politicians.We got all these perspectives in three connected articles: the Republican who represents a rural district, the Democrat in thriving Louisville, and the workers and employers on the ground across the state.What should readers take away from this package? Josée: Depending on where you live, the hiring problems can affect you differently and hit you harder. By using real people in a hard-hit state, and then talking to the politicians who help make decisions, we're showing the big disconnect between the governments (state and federal) and everyday people. We want readers to come away with better insight. These problems aren't going away anytime soon, and for some, they'll get worse.Read all three reports here:Kentuckians lay out the 4 forces driving the state's labor shortage — and explain why it's here to stayA Kentucky Democrat says solving the labor shortage is 'cultural'A Kentucky Republican on how to solve the labor shortage: 'Temporarily suspend the unemployment program'Facebook's souring reputationFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty ImagesFacebook's reputation has taken so many hits. Scandals and missteps have forced the company to pay out more generous compensation to hire and retain workers, according to former employees, industry recruiters, and data reviewed by Insider.The tech giant is giving larger equity awards than Google, and compensation for Facebook engineers has jumped since 2020. Still, some tech workers worry that a job at Facebook will follow them for the rest of their careers.Here's what ex-employees say about the Facebook's 'brand tax.'The future leaders in healthcare and biotechRachel Mendelson/InsiderInsider asked top investors to select the healthcare and biotech startups most likely to take off in 2022. Some startups that made the cut: 54gene aims to address the knowledge gaps that have made it harder to develop drugs, specifically for people from Africa; Babyscripts created software that lets medical professionals remotely monitor pregnant and postpartum patients; and Artios Pharma is developing a class of therapies geared toward sabotaging cancer cells.See the full list of 34 companies.Behind the scenes of Merrill Lynch's evolutionMerrill Lynch Wealth Management; John Lamparski/Getty Images; Associated Press; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderThe legendary brokerage is setting records and training a new generation. But at the same time, Merrill Lynch is losing longtime advisors who were once its "thundering herd."Former staffers remember a bygone era at the firm, and many expressed pride and loyalty in working there — one even launched a "Mother Merrill" website dedicated to company nostalgia.Merrill is facing a reckoning as it adapts to a new era of Wall Street.More of this week's top reads:Real estate is due for a shake-up. Here are 30 rising stars reimagining how homes are sold and buildings are made.Black women face an uphill battle for raising capital. Six founders who've raised $6 million or more shared how they crafted their pitch decks.Better CEO Vishal Garg started as a visionary startup leader. Now, he's the poster child for bad bosses.Meet the five powerful network execs working behind the scenes to find the next generation of news talent.Insider spent three days at a real-estate conference to learn why investors were so eager to buy homes and turn them into rentals.From our Block Street interview series: An investor earned $5,000 within a few hours of playing in a metaverse. Here's how he did it.Have you ever wondered where a billionaire's money goes when they die? This is what happens.Gene-editing experts see 2022 as a make-or-break year for CRISPR — the technology holds the potential to cure certain genetic diseases.Compiled with help from Phil Rosen.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 26th, 2021

UN Willing To Hire Taliban Guards To Protect Facilities To Tune Of $6 Million

UN Willing To Hire Taliban Guards To Protect Facilities To Tune Of $6 Million From a two-decade long 'war on terror' to now providing salaries to the terrorists—you cannot make this up... The United Nations is proposing to pay nearly $6 million for protection in Afghanistan to Taliban-run Interior Ministry personnel, whose chief is under U.N. and U.S. sanctions and wanted by the FBI, according to a U.N. document and a source familiar with the matter. Taliban "guards", via NDTV The proposal would see Taliban militants receive their monthly wages, and even a food allowance, to provide security protection to sensitive international facilities. It springs from UN concern that its own buildings in Kabul and elsewhere could lack protection amid the continuing economic collapse of the country in the wake of the chaotic US exit in August.  The Interior Ministry, under the Taliban, is responsible for guarding diplomatic and other international institutions and facilities in the country. But UN officials are alarmed at the prospect that the Taliban may soon not be able to pay its own guards.  Taliban leaders have for months urged the US and international community to unfreeze Afghan funds held in Western banks. For example, Kabul is demanding the US release some $10 billion in seized assets, while touting "reforms" made including greater rights and education opportunities for women, and respect for ethno-religious minorities.  The solution to the lack of security crisis will apparently now involve "Taliban guards for hire" employed by the UN, according to a document seen by Reuters: "The United Nations has a duty as an employer to reinforce and, where necessary, supplement the capacity of host states in circumstances where U.N. personnel work in areas of insecurity," deputy U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq wrote in an email in response to Reuters’ questions about the proposed payments. He did not dispute the contents of the document. But then this raises the question (and deeply awkward, ironic situation) of the proposed payments constituting a violation of existing US and UN sanctions.  Of course, the UN is claiming it would not, while without doubt now trying to find legal loopholes around the situation, such as ensuring the funds do not flow through official Taliban leadership and departments, but are payed out directly to the guards stationed at UN facilities.  Concerning this emerging impasse, the report cites the following:  The U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) budget is "currently under review," but the mission "maintains full compliance with all U.N. sanctions regimes," Haq said. He did not respond to a question about whether the proposed payments would breach U.S. sanctions. A U.S. Treasury Department official said the Taliban and the Haqqani network remain designated under the U.S. government's counterterrorism sanctions program and that unauthorized people supporting them "risk exposure to U.S. sanctions." But perhaps UN officials will simply tell Washington some form of "you broke it, and you left without fixing it"... meaning there are now no 'good options' for dealing with the remaining security vacuum. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/23/2021 - 04:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 23rd, 2021

The 56 best last-minute gifts for college students, from portable photo printers to the comfiest sheets

The best gifts for college students are practical and fun. Here are 56 gift ideas from a recent college graduate. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Staples The best gifts for college students are practical, fun, and time-saving. I'm a current college student, and I put together this list of 50+ gift options any student would appreciate. Need more gift ideas? Check out our gift guides for toddlers, teens, and pretty much everyone. As a college student, there are just a few things we want: clear skin, job security, and to have some fun. Some gifts can help with this. Others can't, but they're still nice to have for how much they make our lives easier.College students today are in a unique position in life between (probably) getting little sleep, taking classes while working, and taking care of themselves throughout everything. This is especially important to keep in mind when thinking about gifts.One thing this list assumes is that the student you're thinking about already has basics like a shower caddy, lanyard for their student ID, and laundry basket that can hold several weeks of dirty clothes at time. Instead, this list is full of gifts that'll be like the cherry on top to whatever they already have.Check out all 56 gifts for college students:A more modern card game for nights in and partiesAmazonWhat Do You Meme?, available at Amazon, $29.99College students today are of the meme generation, so this game will be highly appreciated. This set includes 75 of the funniest memes plus 360 caption cards to make the wonkiest combinations for a game during study breaks or chill wine nights.One of the easiest ways to find your favorite fragranceScentbirdScentbird 6-month subscription, available from Scentbird, $84Finding a fragrance that speaks to you is an unspoken step in finding your style. But buying a bunch of different scents can take a long time and cost a lot. Scentbirds is a perfume and cologne discovery subscription that helps you find your favorite perfumes by sending monthly options based on your preferences.A sunrise alarm clock for a gentle wakeup, no phones involvedSuzy Hernandez/InsiderHatch Restore, available on Amazon, $129.99Using your phone as an alarm clock makes it a lot easier to start scrolling on your phone first thing in the morning, which isn't the healthiest habit. A sunrise alarm clock can help your student have a much better start to their day than immediately checking emails or scrolling on Instagram. The Hatch Restore is a great sunrise alarm option with a ton of special features, and the iHome Zenergy Dream Mini ($69.99) is the best option on a budget.One of the nicest, most classic notebooks everMoleskineMoleskine Classic Notebook, available on Amazon, $20.34Moleskine journals have a history of belonging to creatives and being the place where great ideas and art begin. If the student you're thinking of is a writer, for example, a Moleskine journal is a perfect gift to let them know you support them. These are also stellar for note-taking.An air fryer for the snack loverAmazonThe Philips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer, available at Walmart, $249.35Air fryers have been all the buzz for how they can turn just about anything into a warm, crispy delight. Plus, they save a ton of time, which every college student can appreciate. The Philips Premium TurboStar Air Fryer is one of the best air fryers on the market today.There's some controversy about how good air fryers actually are, so you can also think about gifting a toaster oven.A good wallet to hold their cards, cash, and keep their student ID handyVera BradleyMicrofiber Zip ID Wallet, available at Vera Bradley, $10Vera Bradley's Zip ID Wallet is a great option for students who have to frequently show or swipe their student ID but don't need an overstuffed bifold. The O-ring is a convenient and sturdy place to hold all their keys. It also makes it easy to clip the wallet into their other bags like a purse or backpack.A steady supply of healthier (and still very tasty) snacksThrive Market1-Year Membership + $25 Shopping Credit, available at Thrive Market, $64.95College students live off good food and snacks. Gifting a subscription to Thrive Market means access to healthier snacks, which leads to feeling more energized and better studying.A long-lasting backpack that'll look good on campus, in the airport, and at job interviewsHerschelLittle America Backpack, available at Herschel, $109.99Typical backpacks work great for class, but what about everything that happens outside of class? Having a sturdy backpack that's well-suited for traveling and job interviews helps a ton. Herschel's Little America ($109.99) is a great option because it's versatile, sturdy, and stylish. Similarly, the Dagne Dover backpack ($200) is specifically designed for a woman's body and is made to store everything you need and go anywhere you go. productsIf the student is a total tote person and doesn't touch backpacks, the Longchamp Le Pliage Shoulder Bag ($155) is a staple for students and young workers alike.An aroma diffuser to set the moodGrove CollaborativeGrove Collaborative Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser, $39.95An aroma diffuser delivers calming, in-home aromatherapy and is a great fragrance option for dorms where candles usually aren't allowed. This one from Grove Collaborative diffuses essential oils for up to five hours at a time, has LED light options, and elegantly blends into any room thanks to its minimalistic ceramic design.A weighted blanket that'll change the way you sleepTranquilityTranquility Weighted Blanket, available at Target, $49Every college student ever has needed better sleep. Weighted blankets apply a calming pressure on you, making it easier to fall asleep and wake up more rested. The great thing about Tranquility's weighted blanket is how perfectly-sized it is to move from bed to couch, how it's sized to fit a standard dorm twin XL bed, and how easily washable it is.A foolproof planner to keep everything in orderDay DesignerWeekly Planner, available on Day Designer, $59A planner keeps them organized between all their assignments, exams, events, and so much more. Day Designer makes luxurious planners that students love. Planners come in daily or weekly options which each have space for all your checklists and schedules plus extra pages for goal setting, future planning, and notes.The most comfortable socks college students can ownBombasWomen's Ankle Sock 4-Pack, available at Bombas, $47.50Men's Ankle Sock 4-Pack, available at Bombas, $47.50Bombas makes the best socks on the market. They benefit from upgrades like a supportive honeycomb stitch, blister tabs built into ankle-height styles, and a Y-stitched heel and "invisitoe" that minimizes annoying bumps. Even if it seems like socks aren't an exciting gift, comfort is pretty much always a hit in college. Plus, for every pair purchased, Bombas donates a specially designed sock to someone in need.A cult-favorite tumbler to keep their drinks just the right temperature for hoursHydro FlaskHydro Flask 40 oz.Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, from $37.46This HydroFlask will keep cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours with the lid on, perfect for when they need coffee for a long night studying.Great coffee from all over the world to help them stay energizedAtlas Coffee ClubAtlas Coffee 3-month Subscription, $55If they drink coffee, they'll likely drink a fair amount of it during college. And it's really nice to have a good cup. Atlas Coffee is a monthly subscription that's sort of like a worldwide coffee tour — bringing the best single-origin coffee (with a postcard from its origin country) to your door. They'll also get brewing tips and flavor notes. A book that helps them build good habits and break bad onesAmazonAtomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, available at Amazon, $11.98Many college students are trying to map out what they want out of life and how to build the habits that get them where they want to go. In the popular book "Atomic Habits," James Clear, an expert on habit formation, teaches practical strategies for building lasting habits (and ditching detrimental ones). Popular wireless over-ear headphones for quality noise-canceling during studying and working outAmazonBeats Solo3 Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones, available at Amazon, $129.95If there's one thing every college student needs, it's good wireless headphones. This Beats pair has rich sound and up to 40 hours of listening time. And if they let the battery run out, a five-minute charge converts to three hours of playback.If they're a runner and need something lightweight and in-ear, you should opt for Jaybird Vista.An inexpensive way to get the iced coffee they love at homeAmazonTakeya Patented Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available on Amazon, $24.99If the student you're thinking of drinks coffee — and there's a very good chance they do — having access to one of the best cold brew contraptions will be a gift that keeps on giving. A cold brew machine means you can go 4-5 days in a row without brewing another pot. It's also easy to clean. Find a full review here.A waterproof speaker that can bring the bassJBLJBL FLIP5 Bluetooth Speaker, available at B&H Photo, $129.95A Bluetooth speaker is a must-have: it helps set the mood for study nights and helps bring the party to life whenever you're hosting. JBL's Flip 5 speaker is the best choice. It has vibrantly booming bass, lasts for up to 12 hours without a charge, and is waterproof.Clothes and shoes for their upcoming interviews and presentationsEverlaneThe Oversized Blazer, available at Everlane, from $185Rebecca Allen Classic Pump, available at Nordstrom, $165Other Stories Wool Coat, available at Other Stories, $279College is full of big meetings, big presentations, and nerve-wracking interviews. For days when sweatpants aren't an option and something more formal is needed, these are some great options for women's staples. We've also created a list of our personal favorite workwear stores — plus the best styles to buy from each one. A nice watch they can wear to internshipsMVMTGunmetal Sandstone, Men, available at MVMT, $138Lexington, Women, available at MVMT, $128MVMT makes beautiful watches for men and women at great prices, and they feel more contemporary to wear than most on the market. It's a versatile, sentimental gift you can feel good about giving because you know they'll feel good — and perhaps more put-together — wearing it. One of the best tablets, which makes note-taking, entertainment, and everything else so much betterBest Buy2021 Apple iPad, available at Amazon, $479 If you go on a college campus today, you'll probably see iPads all over the place — and for a good reason. These slim rectangular boxes are bundles of joy for students. They make note-taking, e-reading, Netflix, and leisure drawing easy to do all in one place. The new 256GB iPad ($479) will make an unforgettable gift. If you want to take it up a notch, the highly-coveted and ultrafast 11" iPad Pro ($899) is even better.If they already have an iPad, you can think about getting them an Apple Pencil ($129), which will level up their gadget even more.A key-, wallet-, and iPhone-finderAmazonTile Mate with Replaceable Battery, 4-Pack, available at Amazon, $69.99You can't go wrong with a tracker for their keys, wallet, or phone. The Tile Mate is compact, thoughtful, and useful for everyone — especially an oft-frazzled college student. A bed frame that can easily move with themLauren Savoie/InsiderThuma Bed Frame, available at Thuma, from $995A good bed frame is the foundation of good sleep and this one by Thuma features interlocking Japanese joinery that makes it incredibly sturdy but easy to disassemble, move, and store. It's a great option for young adults on the move, especially if they're moving into older or smaller buildings. The most popular FitbitFitbitFitbit Charge 4 Fitness Activity Tracker, available on Amazon, from $122.21The Charge 4 offers stellar activity tracking (average and current pace, heart rate zones, calories burned, etc.) in a smaller footprint than a smartwatch and at a budget-friendly price point. Plus, it has a week-long battery life.A smartphone-sized travel photo printerStaplesFujifilm Instax Mini Link Bluetooth Photo Printer, available at Target, Apple, and Best Buy, from $99.95Mini portable Bluetooth printers make turning iPhone photos into tangible memories quick and easy — which is especially convenient for decorating their room. All they'll have to do is download the app (which also has internal PhotoShop elements and features like themed stickers and collages) and connect via Bluetooth. *This product is currently out of stock. Their favorite comfort foodsGoldbellyGoldbelly food gifts, available from $25Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.A media streamer that transforms a normal TV into a smart oneAmazonRoku Ultra 4K/HDR/HD Streaming Player, available at Amazon, $69Most college students aren't forking over a monthly payment to cable. This streaming player is, overall, the best one you can buy, and it transforms an otherwise ordinary TV into one that can stream shows and movies from Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Prime Video, and others all in one spot.  One of the all-time best facial cleansers for a clean and effective routineFOREOLuna 2 Facial Cleansing Device, Men, available at FOREO, $169.95Luna 2 Facial Cleansing Device, Women, available at FOREO, $169.95FOREO's cult-favorite Luna 2 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge. Find a full review from a female reporter and a male reporter here.A 10-minute breakfast that will save them money and timeAmazonDash Rapid Egg Cooker, available at Target, $15.99The Dash Rapid Egg Cooker looks gimmicky but is actually deceptively useful. It's compact and makes virtually every kind of egg (hard-boiled, poached, scrambled, or an omelet) perfectly, and in under 10 minutes. Trendy and convenient Apple AirPodsAppleApple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, available at Best Buy, $149.99If you're after the title of their favorite relative of the year, here's a good place to start. AirPods are both easy to use and functional as well as trendy. The newer generation of AirPods can be purchased on Amazon for $200, but we also liked the earlier generation (which is slightly cheaper).A comfy Patagonia pullover they'll rely on a lotPatagoniaLightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, Men, available at Patagonia, $119Women's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, available at Patagonia, $119It's a good bet that many of their peers will also have this Snap-T pullover from Patagonia. It and the Better Sweater are long-held favorites, and both are comfortable classics that they'll no doubt come to rely upon. A Patagonia sweater is also a particularly good gift for students who are invested in sustainability. The company has been turning plastic bottles into polyester for its clothing since 1993, and continues to do so today.The world's comfiest shoesAllbirds/InstagramWool Runners, Men, available at Allbirds, $98Wool Runners, Women, available at Allbirds, $98Startup Allbirds makes wildly popular shoes out of soft, sustainable materials. Their Runners made of super-soft merino wool have been nicknamed "the world's most comfortable shoes." You can find a full review here. A portable projector that's the size of a soda canAmazonAnker Nebula Capsule Smart Mini Projector, available at Amazon, $299.99Anker's Nebula Capsule is a powerful and versatile mini projector, and its portability makes it a great option for college students who want a cozy movie-viewing experience in the comfort of their own room. It's 1 pound and the size of a soda can, but it has surprisingly crisp image quality and 360-degree sound. It's also quiet and has a continuous playtime of four hours. Find a full review here.College merchandise for school spiritAmerican EagleShop American Eagle's Tailgate ApparelParticularly if they're going to a school with a big sports team, you can be sure they'll both need and appreciate all the fan gear. A great game for a night in with friendsAmazonCards Against Humanity, available at Amazon, $25Grab a fun card game they'll inevitably end up pulling out to play with friends on the weekend nights and snow days. Check out What Do You Meme, too.A Brooklinen gift card for really nice sheetsBrooklinenGift Card, available at Brooklinen, from $50Few things sound so nice as comfortable, beautiful sheets that you don't need to buy for yourself. Brooklinen is one of our favorite startups to shop at, and we ranked their sateen cotton sheets (from $122) the best luxury sheets you can buy.A funny but useful book full of expert and student advice on everything from finances to relationships and dorm lifeAmazonThe Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College, available at Amazon, $10.19For everything from sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers to social network do's and don'ts, this funny but useful New York Times bestseller runs the gamut. A monthly subscription of personalized new makeup, haircare, and skincare samples delivered to their doorBirchbox Man/InstagramBirchbox Three Month Subscription, available at Birchbox, $45College students like to look and feel good, but tight budgets aren't conducive to trying a lot of new, (and often expensive) grooming products. Birchbox sends samples of new and beloved products once a month, so they can test out new finds and discover products they may want to buy a full size of in the future. It's also just fun to get a monthly gift that's all about them. An Echo Dot with a built-in clockAmazonEcho Dot 4th Gen with Clock, available on Amazon, $34.99The newest Echo Dot is more convenient than ever. The all-new design features a larger speaker for better audio, a digital clock to display the time and timer countdowns, and all of Alexa's other skills. A savvy suitcase for traveling on holiday breaksAway/FacebookCarry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360-degree spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so they never have to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.We also recommend Calpak. A book about capitalizing on the huge choices to make in your 20sAmazonThe Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter — And How to Make the Most of Them Now, available at Amazon, $3.62The decisions you make in your 20s can greatly impact the rest of your life. The best defense is a good offense and your grad should know now, before any life-altering events crop up, how to get the most out of their "defining decade."An Amazon Prime membershipTommaso Boddi / Getty ImagesGift an Amazon Prime membership, $119An Amazon Prime membership is one of those things that immediately makes life easier and ultimately better. If you decide to gift one, the recipient will enjoy free two-day shipping; access to the Prime Now app, which provides free two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items; Prime Video, Amazon's streaming video service; Prime Music; the Kindle Lending Library; Prime Reading; Prime Audible Channels; unlimited photo storage, and more.If you want to see how Amazon Prime ($119 for the year) actually gives you a lot more than free shipping, you can read about the benefits of the service here.A candle to remind college students of their favorite place or hometownAmazonHomesick Scented Candle, available at Uncommon Goods, $34If they're away from family or friends, a reminder of home is a wonderful thing to have around. The best electric toothbrushAmazonOral-B White Pro 1000, available at Best Buy, $39.99We rated this the best electronic toothbrush you can buy. Childlike cereal for adultsMagic SpoonFour Flavors, available at Magic Spoon, $39Magic Spoon is a new "childlike cereal for adults" that's high in protein and low in sugar — and all four flavors are delicious. Here's one way to show college kids it's completely possible to transition to adulthood without losing all the joy of being a kid. You can read more in a personal review here. Framed memoriesFramebridgeGift Card or Frame a Memory, available at Framebridge, from $25Help them honor some of their best memories — whether it's from friends now studying across the country, family, or best-loved locales. Framebridge is relatively affordable, but decor is one of the luxuries plenty of college students shirk to save elsewhere — even though it can make their home a much more inviting, happy place.A monogrammed leather shave bag so students can keep all their things in one placeLeatherologyLeatherology Small Shave Bag, available at Leatherology, from $90 (available for monogram for $10)The dreaded truth of college is that you'll most likely need to schlep your shower belongings to a communal area if you live in the dorms. No one wants to rely on a plastic shower caddy to do that. Grab them a leather shave bag that they'll use for years to come — they probably wouldn't justify the expense on their own, and they'll be grateful to have it. If you're looking for a chic aesthetic, Dagne Dover also makes a great neoprene toiletry bag named the Hunter (from $35) that's built to accommodate makeup. If they have a lot of toiletries, you'll probably want to get the large size for $55.The most comfortable lounge pants we've ever tried for lazy weekend morningsMeUndiesThe Lounge Pant, Men, available at MeUndies, $68The Lounge Pant, Women, available at MeUndies, $68MeUndies is a popular LA startup that makes some of the most comfortable underwear we've ever tried. Their lounge pants, however, are the real hidden gem — perfect for lounging around on weekend mornings, and they're sleek enough to avoid feeling too unkempt.The best pillow you can buyCoop Home GoodsPremium Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, available at Coop Home Goods and Amazon, from $63.99Make sure they're optimizing their sleep with the best pillow you can buy. Thanks to the shredded memory foam, they'll get the support and comfortable "sinking in" sensation of a traditional memory foam pillow, but none of the excessive heat or firmness that can be a problem with solid foam. Read more in our Buying Guide here.A gift card to ClassPass so they can go to tons of boutique fitness classes without the expenseClassPass/InstagramGift Card, available at ClassPass, from $50Boutique fitness classes are expensive. ClassPass makes them less so. If they like to be active, are looking for a newfound favorite class, or like yoga as much as boxing classes, this is a great gift they'll actually use — and applies to virtual classes until in-person ones are safe again.A custom poster of their favorite placeGrafomapGift a customized Grafomap poster, from $49Commemorate their college town, hometown, or favorite place in the world with this customizable graphic map so they can keep it with them wherever life takes them.A hyper-useful extra-long, reinforced phone chargerAmazonNative Union 10-Foot Extra-Long Charging Cable with Leather Strap, available at Amazon, $34.99If they're going to be tethered to devices, you may as well give them a long leash. This long charging cable means no matter where one is, they'll have power — and they won't have to sit at the foot of their bed to reach it. A gym bag that can transition to a professional settingNordstromHerschel Supply Co. Novel Duffel Bag, available at Nordstrom, $90Just like bringing a beat-up JanSport everywhere, lugging an old nylon gym bag isn't ideal for anyone looking for versatile use. Herschel Supply Co. makes reliable, long-lasting bags, and this one has a separate compartment for gym or dress shoes. A microwave-safe ramen cooker for the most stressful or time-crunched nightsAmazonRapid Ramen Cooker, available at Amazon, $10.99There will be plenty of late nights filled with cheap and tasty ramen. If they're going to eat it anyway, at least let them make it quickly and perfectly every time.A super soft throw blanket they'll find themselves cocooned time and time againAmazonBEDSURE Sherpa Fleece Blanket, available at Amazon, from $26.99Grab their favorite candy, this sherpa-lined fleece blanket with over 4,400 five-star reviews on Amazon, and a Hulu gift card to make their nights in actually fun.Gift cards — perhaps the best gift you can give a cash-strapped college studentWhole Foods Market FacebookWhat a stressed, broke college student needs most is money and probably a hug. If you're looking for a way to gift maximum convenience, gift cards are a surprisingly thoughtful way to do that — either for their favorite restaurant, transportation, school books, or music to keep them occupied during long study hours. Check out more gift card gifts here. Everything: Visa Gift Card / Amazon Gift Card / Gift Amazon Prime MembershipCoffee: Starbucks Gift CardSchool books: Amazon Gift Card Entertainment: Netflix Gift Card / Hulu Gift Card / Sling Gift Card / StubHub gift cardTransportation: Uber Gift CardDecoration: Framebridge Gift CardFurniture: Amazon Gift Card / Wayfair Gift CardMusic: Spotify Gift CardSheets: Brooklinen Gift CardGroceries and food: Whole Foods Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardClothes: Nordstrom Gift Card / Everlane Gift CardTech: Best Buy Gift CardTravel: Delta Gift Card / Airbnb Gift CardRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 16th, 2021

Ericsson (ERIC) to Boost 5G Capabilities in Rural Kansas

Ericsson (ERIC) radio solutions will enable Nex-Tech to offer high-speed 5G capabilities in the rural communities of Kansas and help bridge the digital divide. Ericsson ERIC recently inked a contract with Nex-Tech Wireless for an undisclosed amount to augment 5G network connectivity in the rural markets of Kansas. The deal is in sync with President Biden’s initiative to offer broadband access to all Americans by enabling carriers to expand networks in rural areas that lack high-quality Internet service.Nex-Tech offers data and mobile services across 40 central and western Kansas counties. The carrier has long-term business relationship with Ericsson, with the latter serving as its primary vendor for 4G deployment. This premier wireless services provider currently aims to leverage Ericsson Radio Access Network (RAN) solutions for improved 5G connectivity.Ericsson radio solutions will enable Nex-Tech to offer high-speed 5G capabilities in the rural communities of Kansas and help bridge the digital divide. This, in turn, will likely ensure low latency, high bandwidth services for superfast data transfer.Ericsson Radio System comprises hardware, software and services for radio, RAN Compute, antenna system, transport, power and site solutions. It enables smooth and cost-effective migration from 4G to 5G, aiding communication service providers to launch the avant-garde technology and grow 5G coverage fast. The company’s 5G radio access technologies provide the infrastructure required to meet the growing demand for high-bandwidth connections and support real-time, high-reliability communication requirements of mission-critical applications.The company is focusing on 5G system development and has undertaken many notable endeavors to position itself for market leadership. It believes that the standardization of 5G is the cornerstone for digitizing industries and broadband. Ericsson expects mainstream 4G offerings to give way to 5G technology in the future. The deployment of 5G networks is expected to boost the adoption of IoT devices, with technologies like network slicing gaining more prominence. Ericsson currently has 168 commercial 5G agreements with communications service providers (of which 88 are publicly announced) and includes 105 live 5G networks across the globe.The stock has lost 15.2% over the past year against the industry’s rise of 17.1%. Nevertheless, we remain impressed with the inherent growth potential of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchA better-ranked stock in the industry is Clearfield, Inc. CLFD, sporting a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Clearfield delivered an earnings surprise of 50.8%, on average, in the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 68.2% since January 2021. Over the past year, Clearfield has gained a solid 162.1%.Qualcomm Incorporated QCOM, carrying a Zacks Rank #2, is another solid pick for investors. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 15.3% and delivered an earnings surprise of 11.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Earnings estimates for the current year for the stock have moved up 35.4% over the past year. Qualcomm is likely to benefit in the long run from solid 5G traction and a surge in demand for essential products that are the building blocks for digital transformation in the cloud economy.Sierra Wireless, Inc. SWIR carries a Zacks Rank #2. It has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 12.5% and delivered an earnings surprise of 34.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.Over the past year, Sierra Wireless has gained 18.9%. The company continues to launch innovative products for business-critical operations that require high security and optimum 5G performance. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report QUALCOMM Incorporated (QCOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Sierra Wireless, Inc. (SWIR): Free Stock Analysis Report Ericsson (ERIC): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 8th, 2021

A New Generation of Nuclear Reactors Could Hold the Key to a Green Future

On a conference-room whiteboard in the heart of Silicon Valley, Jacob DeWitte sketches his startup’s first product. In red marker, it looks like a beer can in a Koozie, stuck with a crazy straw. In real life, it will be about the size of a hot tub, and made from an array of exotic materials,… On a conference-room whiteboard in the heart of Silicon Valley, Jacob DeWitte sketches his startup’s first product. In red marker, it looks like a beer can in a Koozie, stuck with a crazy straw. In real life, it will be about the size of a hot tub, and made from an array of exotic materials, like zirconium and uranium. Under carefully controlled conditions, they will interact to produce heat, which in turn will make electricity—1.5 megawatts’ worth, enough to power a neighborhood or a factory. DeWitte’s little power plant will run for a decade without refueling and, amazingly, will emit no carbon. ”It’s a metallic thermal battery,” he says, coyly. But more often DeWitte calls it by another name: a nuclear reactor. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Fission isn’t for the faint of heart. Building a working reactor—even a very small one—requires precise and painstaking efforts of both engineering and paper pushing. Regulations are understandably exhaustive. Fuel is hard to come by—they don’t sell uranium at the Gas-N-Sip. But DeWitte plans to flip the switch on his first reactor around 2023, a mere decade after co-founding his company, Oklo. After that, they want to do for neighborhood nukes what Tesla has done for electric cars: use a niche and expensive first version as a stepping stone toward cheaper, bigger, higher-volume products. In Oklo’s case, that means starting with a “microreactor” designed for remote communities, like Alaskan villages, currently dependent on diesel fuel trucked, barged or even flown in, at an exorbitant expense. Then building more and incrementally larger reactors until their zero-carbon energy source might meaningfully contribute to the global effort to reduce fossil-fuel emissions. At global climate summits, in the corridors of Congress and at statehouses around the U.S., nuclear power has become the contentious keystone of carbon reduction plans. Everyone knows they need it. But no one is really sure they want it, given its history of accidents. Or even if they can get it in time to reach urgent climate goals, given how long it takes to build. Oklo is one of a growing handful of companies working to solve those problems by putting reactors inside safer, easier-to-build and smaller packages. None of them are quite ready to scale to market-level production, but given the investments being made into the technology right now, along with an increasing realization that we won’t be able to shift away from fossil fuels without nuclear power, it’s a good bet that at least one of them becomes a game changer. If existing plants are the energy equivalent of a 2-liter soda bottle, with giant, 1,000-megawatt-plus reactors, Oklo’s strategy is to make reactors by the can. The per-megawatt construction costs might be higher, at least at first. But producing units in a factory would give the company a chance to improve its processes and to lower costs. Oklo would pioneer a new model. Nuclear plants need no longer be bet-the-company big, even for giant utilities. Venture capitalists can get behind the potential to scale to a global market. And climate hawks should fawn over a zero-carbon energy option that complements burgeoning supplies of wind and solar power. Unlike today’s plants, which run most efficiently at full blast, making it challenging for them to adapt to a grid increasingly powered by variable sources (not every day is sunny, or windy), the next generation of nuclear technology wants to be more flexible, able to respond quickly to ups and downs in supply and demand. Engineering these innovations is hard. Oklo’s 30 employees are busy untangling the knots of safety and complexity that sent the cost of building nuclear plants to the stratosphere and all but halted their construction in the U.S. ”If this technology was brand-‘new’—like if fission was a recent breakthrough out of a lab, 10 or 15 years ago—we’d be talking about building our 30th reactor,” DeWitte says. But fission is an old, and fraught, technology, and utility companies are scrambling now to keep their existing gargantuan nuclear plants open. Economically, they struggle to compete with cheap natural gas, along with wind and solar, often subsidized by governments. Yet climate-focused nations like France and the U.K. that had planned to phase out nuclear are instead doubling down. (In October, French President Emmanuel Macron backed off plans to close 14 reactors, and in November, he announced the country would instead start building new ones.) At the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, the U.S. announced its support for Poland, Kenya, Ukraine, Brazil, Romania and Indonesia to develop their own new nuclear plants—while European negotiators assured that nuclear energy counts as “green.” All the while, Democrats and Republicans are (to everyone’s surprise) often aligned on nuclear’s benefits—and, in many cases, putting their powers of the purse behind it, both to keep old plants open in the U.S. and speed up new technologies domestically and overseas. It makes for a decidedly odd moment in the life of a technology that already altered the course of one century, and now wants to make a difference in another. There are 93 operating nuclear reactors in the U.S.; combined, they supply 20% of U.S. electricity, and 50% of its carbon-free electricity. Nuclear should be a climate solution, satisfying both technical and economic needs. But while the existing plants finally operate with enviable efficiency (after 40 years of working out the kinks), the next generation of designs is still a decade away from being more than a niche player in our energy supply. Everyone wants a steady supply of electricity, without relying on coal. Nuclear is paradoxically right at hand, and out of reach. For that to change, “new nuclear” has to emerge before the old nuclear plants recede. It has to keep pace with technological improvements in other realms, like long-term energy storage, where each incremental improvement increases the potential for renewables to supply more of our electricity. It has to be cheaper than carbon-capture technologies, which would allow flexible gas plants to operate without climate impacts (but are still too expensive to build at scale). And finally it has to arrive before we give up—before the spectre of climate catastrophe creates a collective “doomerism,” and we stop trying to change. Not everyone thinks nuclear can reinvent itself in time. “When it comes to averting the imminent effects of climate change, even the cutting edge of nuclear technology will prove to be too little, too late,” predicts Allison Macfarlane, former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—the government agency singularly responsible for permitting new plants. Can a stable, safe, known source of energy rise to the occasion, or will nuclear be cast aside as too expensive, too risky and too late? J R Eyerman—The LIFE Picture Collection/ShutterstockLaboratory personnel developing a fusion device in Project Sherwood at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1958 Trying Again Nuclear began in a rush. In 1942, in the lowest mire of World War II, the U.S. began the Manhattan Project, the vast effort to develop atomic weapons. It employed 130,000 people at secret sites across the country, the most famous of which was Los Alamos Laboratory, near Albuquerque, N.M., where Robert Oppenheimer led the design and construction of the first atomic bombs. DeWitte, 36, grew up nearby. Even as a child of the ’90s, he was steeped in the state’s nuclear history, and preoccupied with the terrifying success of its engineering and the power of its materials. “It’s so incredibly energy dense,” says DeWitte. “A golf ball of uranium would power your entire life!” DeWitte has taken that bromide almost literally. He co-founded Oklo in 2013 with Caroline Cochran, while both were graduate students in nuclear engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When they arrived in Cambridge, Mass., in 2007 and 2008, the nuclear industry was on a precipice. Then presidential candidate Barack Obama espoused a new eagerness to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions—which at the time meant less coal, and more nuclear. (Wind and solar energy were still a blip.) It was an easy sell. In competitive power markets, nuclear plants were profitable. The 104 operating reactors in the U.S. at the time were running smoothly. There hadn’t been a major accident since Chernobyl, in 1986. The industry excitedly prepared for a “nuclear renaissance.” At the peak of interest, the NRC had applications for 30 new reactors in the U.S. Only two would be built. The cheap natural gas of the fracking boom began to drive down electricity prices, razing nuclear’s profits. Newly subsidized renewables, like wind and solar, added even more electricity generation, further saturating the markets. When on March 11, 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami rolled over Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leading to the meltdown of all three of its reactors and the evacuation of 154,000 people, the industry’s coffin was fully nailed. Not only would there be no renaissance in the U.S, but the existing plants had to justify their safety. Japan shut down 46 of its 50 operating reactors. Germany closed 11 of its 17. The U.S. fleet held on politically, but struggled to compete economically. Since Fukushima, 12 U.S. reactors have begun decommissioning, with three more planned. At MIT, Cochran and DeWitte—who were teaching assistants together for a nuclear reactor class in 2009, and married in 2011—were frustrated by the setback. ”It was like, There’re all these cool technologies out there. Let’s do something with it,” says Cochran. But the nuclear industry has never been an easy place for innovators. In the U.S., its operational ranks have long been dominated by “ring knockers”—the officer corps of the Navy’s nuclear fleet, properly trained in the way things are done, but less interested in doing them differently. Governments had always kept a tight grip on nuclear; for decades, the technology was under shrouds. The personal computing revolution, and then the wild rise of the Internet, further drained engineering talent. From DeWitte and Cochran’s perspective, the nuclear-energy industry had already ossified by the time Fukushima and fracking totally brought things to a halt. “You eventually got to the point where it’s like, we have to try something different,” DeWitte says. He and Cochran began to discreetly convene their MIT classmates for brainstorming sessions. Nuclear folks tend to be dogmatic about their favorite method of splitting atoms, but they stayed agnostic. “I didn’t start thinking we had to do everything differently,” says DeWitte. Rather, they had a hunch that marginal improvements might yield major results, if they could be spread across all of the industry’s usual snags—whether regulatory approaches, business models, the engineering of the systems themselves, or the challenge of actually constructing them. In 2013, Cochran and DeWitte began to rent out the spare room in their Cambridge home on Airbnb. Their first guests were a pair of teachers from Alaska. The remote communities they taught in were dependent on diesel fuel for electricity, brought in at enormous cost. That energy scarcity created an opportunity: in such an environment, even a very expensive nuclear reactor might still be cheaper than the current system. The duo targeted a price of $100 per megawatt hour, more than double typical energy costs. They imagined using this high-cost early market as a pathway to scale their manufacturing. They realized that to make it work economically, they wouldn’t have to reinvent the reactor technology, only the production and sales processes. They decided to own their reactors and supply electricity, rather than supply the reactors themselves—operating more like today’s solar or wind developers. “It’s less about the technology being different,” says DeWitte, “than it is about approaching the entire process differently.” That maverick streak raised eyebrows among nuclear veterans—and cash from Silicon Valley venture capitalists, including a boost from Y Combinator, where companies like Airbnb and Instacart got their start. In the eight years since, Oklo has distinguished itself from the competition by thinking smaller and moving faster. There are others competing in this space: NuScale, based in Oregon, is working to commercialize a reactor similar in design to existing nuclear plants, but constructed in 60-megawatt modules. TerraPower, founded by Bill Gates in 2006, has plans for a novel technology that uses its heat for energy storage, rather than to spin a turbine, which makes it an even more flexible option for electric grids that increasingly need that pliability. And X-energy, a Maryland-based firm that has received substantial funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, is developing 80-megawatt reactors that can also be grouped into “four-packs,” bringing them closer in size to today’s plants. Yet all are still years—and a billion dollars—away from their first installations. Oklo brags that its NRC application is 20 times shorter than NuScale’s, and its proposal cost 100 times less to develop. (Oklo’s proposed reactor would produce one-fortieth the power of NuScale’s.) NRC accepted Oklo’s application for review in March 2020, and regulations guarantee that process will be complete within three years. Oklo plans to power on around 2023, at a site at the Idaho National Laboratory, one of the U.S.’s oldest nuclear-research sites, and so already approved for such efforts. Then comes the hard part: doing it again and again, booking enough orders to justify building a factory to make many more reactors, driving costs down, and hoping politicians and activists worry more about the menace of greenhouse gases than the hazards of splitting atoms. Nuclear-industry veterans remain wary. They have seen this all before. Westinghouse’s AP1000 reactor, first approved by the NRC in 2005, was touted as the flagship technology of Obama’s nuclear renaissance. It promised to be safer and simpler, using gravity rather than electricity-driven pumps to cool the reactor in case of an emergency—in theory, this would mitigate the danger of power outages, like the one that led to the Fukushima disaster. Its components could be constructed at a centralized location, and then shipped in giant pieces for assembly. But all that was easier said than done. Westinghouse and its contractors struggled to manufacture the components according to nuclear’s mega-exacting requirements and in the end, only one AP1000 project in the U.S. actually happened: the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant in Georgia. Approved in 2012, its two reactors were expected at the time to cost $14 billion and be completed in 2016 and 2017, but costs have ballooned to $25 billion. The first will open, finally, next year. Oklo and its competitors insist things are different this time, but they have yet to prove it. “Because we haven’t built one of them yet, we can promise that they’re not going to be a problem to build,” quips Gregory Jaczko, a former NRC chair who has since become the technology’s most biting critic. “So there’s no evidence of our failure.” Georg Zinsler—Anzenberger/Redu​xA guided tour in the control room of reactor No. 2 inside the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant The Challenge The cooling tower of the Hope Creek nuclear plant rises 50 stories above Artificial Island, New Jersey, built up on the marshy edge of the Delaware River. The three reactors here—one belonging to Hope Creek, and two run by the Salem Generating Station, which shares the site—generate an astonishing 3,465 megawatts of electricity, or roughly 40% of New Jersey’s total supply. Construction began in 1968, and was completed in 1986. Their closest human neighbors are across the river in Delaware. Otherwise the plant is surrounded by protected marshlands, pocked with radiation sensors and the occasional guard booth. Of the 1,500 people working here, around 100 are licensed reactor operators—a special designation given by the NRC, and held by fewer than 4,000 people in the country. Among the newest in their ranks is Judy Rodriguez, an Elizabeth, N.J., native and another MIT grad. “Do I have your permission to enter?” she asks the operator on duty in the control room for the Salem Two reactor, which came online in 1981 and is capable of generating 1,200 megawatts of power. The operator opens a retractable belt barrier, like at an airport, and we step across a thick red line in the carpet. A horseshoe-shaped gray cabinet holds hundreds of buttons, glowing indicators and blinking lights, but a red LED counter at the center of the wall shows the most important number in the room: 944 megawatts, the amount of power the Salem Two reactor was generating that afternoon in September. Beside it is a circular pattern of square indicator lights showing the uranium fuel assemblies inside the core, deep inside the concrete domed containment building a couple hundred yards away. Salem Two has 764 of these constructions; each is about 6 inches sq and 15 ft. tall. They contain the source of the reactor’s energy, which are among the most guarded and controlled materials on earth. To make sure no one working there forgets that fact, a phrase is painted on walls all around the plant: “Line of Sight to the Reactor.” As the epitome of critical infrastructure, this station has been buffeted by the crises the U.S. has suffered in the past few decades. After 9/11, the three reactors here absorbed nearly $100 million in security upgrades. Everyone entering the plant passes through metal- and explosives detectors, and radiation detectors on the way out. Walking between the buildings entails crossing a concrete expanse beneath high bullet resistant enclosures (BREs). The plant has a guard corp that has more members than any in New Jersey besides the state police, and federal NRC rules mean that they don’t have to abide by state limitations on automatic weapons. The scale and complexity of the operation is staggering—and expensive. ”The place you’re sitting at right now costs us about $1.5 million to $2 million a day to run,” says Ralph Izzo, president and CEO of PSEG, New Jersey’s public utility company, which owns and operates the plants. “If those plants aren’t getting that in market, that’s a rough pill to swallow.” In 2019, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities agreed to $300 million in annual subsidies to keep the three reactors running. The justification is simple: if the state wants to meet its carbon-reduction goals, keeping the plants online is essential, given that they supply 90% of the state’s zero-carbon energy. In September, the Illinois legislature came to the same conclusion as New Jersey, approving almost $700 million over five years to keep two existing nuclear plants open. The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $6 billion in additional support (along with nearly $10 billion for development of future reactors). Even more is expected in the broader Build Back Better bill. These subsidies—framed in both states as “carbon mitigation credits”—acknowledge the reality that nuclear plants cannot, on their own terms, compete economically with natural gas or coal. “There has always been a perception of this technology that never was matched by reality,” says Jaczko. The subsidies also show how climate change has altered the equation, but not decisively enough to guarantee nuclear’s future. Lawmakers and energy companies are coming to terms with nuclear’s new identity as clean power, deserving of the same economic incentives as solar and wind. Operators of existing plants want to be compensated for producing enormous amounts of carbon free energy, according to Josh Freed, of Third Way, a Washington, D.C., think tank that champions nuclear power as a climate solution. “There’s an inherent benefit to providing that, and it should be paid for.” For the moment, that has brought some assurance to U.S. nuclear operators of their future prospects. “A megawatt of zero-carbon electricity that’s leaving the grid is no different from a new megawatt of zero carbon electricity coming onto the grid,” says Kathleen Barrón, senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs and public policy at Exelon, the nation’s largest operator of nuclear reactors. Globally, nations are struggling with the same equation. Germany and Japan both shuttered many of their plants after the Fukushima disaster, and saw their progress at reducing carbon emissions suffer. Germany has not built new renewables fast enough to meet its electricity needs, and has made up the gap with dirty coal and natural gas imported from Russia. Japan, under international pressure to move more aggressively to meet its carbon targets, announced in October that it would work to restart its reactors. “Nuclear power is indispensable when we think about how we can ensure a stable and affordable electricity supply while addressing climate change,” said Koichi Hagiuda, Japan’s minister of economy, trade and industry, at an October news conference. China is building more new nuclear reactors than any other country, with plans for as many as 150 by the 2030s, at an estimated cost of nearly half a trillion dollars. Long before that, in this decade, China will overtake the U.S. as the operator of the world’s largest nuclear-energy system. Francesca Todde—contrasto/Redux Civaux nuclear power plant, in Civaux, France, May 2018 The future won’t be decided by choosing between nuclear or solar power. Rather, it’s a technically and economically complicated balance of adding as much renewable energy as possible while ensuring a steady supply of electricity. At the moment, that’s easy. “There is enough opportunity to build renewables before achieving penetration levels that we’re worried about the grid having stability,” says PSEG’s Izzo. New Jersey, for its part, is aiming to add 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035—or about the equivalent of six new Salem-sized reactors. The technology to do that is readily at hand—Kansas alone has about that much wind power installed already. The challenge comes when renewables make up a greater proportion of the electricity supply—or when the wind stops blowing. The need for “firm” generation becomes more crucial. “You cannot run our grid solely on the basis of renewable supply,” says Izzo. “One needs an interseasonal storage solution, and no one has come up with an economic interseasonal storage solution.” Existing nuclear’s best pitch—aside from the very fact it exists already—is its “capacity factor,” the industry term for how often a plant meets its full energy making potential. For decades, nuclear plants struggled with outages and long maintenance periods. Today, improvements in management and technology make them more likely to run continuously—or “breaker to breaker”—between planned refuelings, which usually occur every 18 months, and take about a month. At Salem and Hope Creek, PSEG hangs banners in the hallways to celebrate each new record run without a maintenance breakdown. That improvement stretches across the industry. “If you took our performance back in the mid-’70s, and then look at our performance today, it’s equivalent to having built 30 new reactors,” says Maria Korsnick, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s main lobbying organization. That improved reliability has become its major calling card today. Over the next 20 years, nuclear plants will need to develop new tricks. “One of the new words in our vocabulary is flexibility,” says Marilyn Kray, vice president of nuclear strategy and development at Exelon, which operates 21 reactors. “Flexibility not only in the existing plants, but in the designs of the emerging ones, to make them even more flexible and adaptable to complement renewables.” Smaller plants can adapt more easily to the grid, but they can also serve new customers, like providing energy directly to factories, steel mills or desalination plants. Bringing those small plants into operation could be worth it, but it won’t be easy.”You can’t just excuse away the thing that’s at the center of all of it, which is it’s just a hard technology to build,” says Jaczko, the former NRC chair. “It’s difficult to make these plants, it’s difficult to design them, it’s difficult to engineer them, it’s difficult to construct them. At some point, that’s got to be the obvious conclusion to this technology.” But the equally obvious conclusion is we can no longer live without it. “The reality is, you have to really squint to see how you get to net zero without nuclear,” says Third Way’s Freed. “There’s a lot of wishful thinking, a lot of fingers crossed.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 16th, 2021

Elon Musk just lost $50 billion in 2 days, but he"s still the world"s richest person. Here"s how the Tesla and SpaceX CEO makes and spends his $288 billion fortune.

Elon Musk's net worth has soared since onset of the pandemic. And even when he loses billions, he's still significantly wealthier than Jeff Bezos. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images Elon Musk just lost $50 billion in just two days, but he's still the richest person in the world. A notorious workaholic, Musk doesn't spend his money on lavish vacations or expensive hobbies. Here's how Musk makes and spends his $288 billion fortune. Decades before becoming a father of six and amassing an $288 billion fortune, Musk taught himself to code as a child growing up in South Africa. By the time he was 12, he sold the source code for his first video game for $500. SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk works at his desk in 2008. OnInnovation/Flickr Source: MONEY Just before his 18th birthday, Musk moved to Canada and worked a series of hard labor jobs, including shoveling grain, cutting logs, and eventually cleaning out the boiler room in a lumber mill for $18 an hour - an impressive wage in 1989. OnInnovation/Flickr Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Musk got a pay cut to $14 an hour when he started a summer internship alongside his brother, Kimbal, at the Bank of Nova Scotia after cold-calling - and impressing - a top executive there. Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington, U.S., July 19, 2017. Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future After he arrived for his freshman year at Queens University in 1990, Musk quickly picked up a side hustle selling computer parts and full PCs to other students. "I could build something to suit their needs like a tricked-out gaming machine or a simple word processor that cost less than what they could get in a store," Musk said. Elon Musk. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for The New York Times Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Within two years, Musk transferred to the University of Pennsylvania on a partial scholarship. f11photo/Shutterstock Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future To cover the rest of his tuition, Musk and a buddy would turn their house into a speakeasy on the weekends, charging $5 at the door. "I was paying my own way through college and could make an entire month's rent in one night," Musk said. Tesla Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, reacts to a reporter's question following the electric automaker’s initial public offering on Nasdaq, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan Sources: MONEY, Esquire - Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Musk graduated with a bachelor's degree in physics and an economics degree from the Wharton School and moved on to Stanford to pursue his PhD. REUTERS / Phil McCarten Source: MONEY He left the program within days to build an internet startup with his brother. They started Zip2, a city guide software for newspapers, with $28,000 in seed money from their father. Kimbal Musk, Elon's brother. Fred Prouser/Reuters Source: MONEY Four years later, in 1999, they sold Zip2 for $307 million, earning Musk $22 million. He invested more than half of his earnings to cofound X.com, an online banking service. Elon Musk at SpaceX Hyperloop Pod II competition in Hawthorne, California Reuters/Mike Blake Source: MONEY The company quickly merged with its rival and became PayPal, with Musk as the majority shareholder. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal and Musk walked away with $180 million. Paypal CEO Dan Schulman (C) celebrates with employees during the company's relisting on the Nasdaq in New York. Reuters/Lucas Jackson Source: MONEY Musk turned his attention to his new space exploration company, SpaceX, after leaving PayPal. A few years later he cofounded electric-car maker, Tesla, and then SolarCity, a solar power systems provider. The success of these companies eventually launched him into the billion-dollar club - but not before he went broke. Reuters Source: VentureBeat In late 2008, Musk divorced his first wife and it took a toll on his finances. A year later, Musk said he "ran out of cash" and had been living off loans from friends while trying to keep his companies afloat. Brendan McDermid/Reuters Sources: VentureBeat, Forbes, TechCrunch But when Tesla debuted on the stock market in 2010, Musk's fortune skyrocketed. By 2012, he appeared on Forbes' richest list for the first time with a net worth of $2 billion. Tesla Source: Forbes Nearly a decade later, Musk has amassed an $288 billion fortune - but it's not very liquid. Remarkably, Musk made his billions without ever taking a paycheck from Tesla, because the CEO refuses his minimum salary every year. By 2020, Tesla cut his paycheck down to zero. Getty/Kevork Djansezian Source: Bloomberg, Insider Musk's complicated salary structure means that he's awarded stock options when Tesla hits challenging performance metrics. When Tesla does well, Musk's wealth soars. Maja Hitij/Getty Images Source: Insider But Musk has said himself that he's cash-poor. "Some people think I have a lot of cash," Musk told investor Cathie Wood on a podcast last year. "I actually don't." Like a lot of other high-powered executives, Musk relies on mortgages and credit day-to-day. Elon Musk Pool Source: Insider Over the years, the CEO has purchased more than $100 million in residential property in California. He has since offloaded much of his real estate after vowing to sell it all and "own no house" last year. Google Maps Source: The Real Deal, Variety, Insider As the leader of one of the preeminent auto-makers, it's no surprise Musk has an affinity for cars. Back in 2013, he paid $920,000 at an auction for the Lotus Esprit submarine car used in a James Bond movie. AP Source: MONEY, CNBC In addition to driving Teslas, Musk has owned a few gas-powered cars including a Ford Model T, a Jaguar E-Type Series 1 Roadster, a McLaren F1 (which he later totaled), an Audi Q7, a Hamann BMW M5, and a Porsche 911. Not Elon Musk's Jaguar. DeFacto/Wikimedia Commons Source: Insider Despite having funds to spare, Musk isn't a fan of lavish vacations - or any vacations for that matter. In 2015, he said he'd only taken two weeks off since founding SpaceX about 12 years earlier. Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images Sources: Inc, Quartz Musk has five children with his first wife, Justine Musk. In a 2014 tweet, Musk said he takes the kids on an annual camping trip. "I'm a pretty good dad," he said. "I have the kids for slightly more than half the week and spend a fair bit of time with them. I also take them with me when I go out of town." Elon Musk with two of his sons and now ex-wife Talulah Riley. AP Photo/Mark Lennihan Sources: Twitter, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Musk and Canadian musician Grimes welcomed a baby boy in May 2020 named X Æ A-Xii Musk - they appear to call the baby "X" for short. (Musk and Grimes have since broken up.) Musk and Grimes. Jason Kempin/Getty Images Source: Insider, Insider At the end of the day, the multibillionaire says he enjoys inexpensive hobbies like listening to music, playing video games, and reading books. "Hang out with kids, see friends, normal stuff," he said. "Sometimes go crazy on Twitter. But usually it's work more." REUTERS/Stephen Lam Source: Quartz In August 2018, Musk told The New York Times that he had taken to working 120 hours a week. "There were times when I didn't leave the factory for three or four days - days when I didn't go outside," he told The Times. "This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends." Engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk of The Boring Company listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks about constructing a high speed transit tunnel at Block 37 during a news conference on June 14, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images/Joshua Lott Source: The New York Times Musk said on an earnings call in 2017 that he doesn't have a desk at the Tesla factory: "I always move my desk to wherever - I don't really have a desk actually - I move myself to wherever the biggest problem is in Tesla. I really believe that one should lead from the front lines, and that's why I'm here." Benjamin Zhang/Business Insider Sources: Insider, Fortune Musk admitted to spending "many late nights" at Tesla's Nevada Gigafactory re-writing software during a production sprint for the Model 3. Elon Musk showing YouTuber Marques Browne around the Gigafactory 1 Marques Browne/YouTube Source: Fortune For a story published in August 2018, Insider reporters spoke with 42 Tesla employees who said Musk is a visionary, but also unpredictably demanding. Tesla Motors Source: Insider Musk said in June 2019 that he even planned to spend his 48th birthday on June 28 at work, improving the company's "global logistics." Tesla CEO Elon Musk walks onto the stage to introduce the Model Y at the company's design studio Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. AP Source: Insider Musk told CBS' "60 Minutes" that he is, in fact, "somewhat impulsive" and doesn't "really want to try to adhere to some CEO template." Getty Source: Insider Not only does Musk spend a ton of time at Tesla, he also spends a lot of his money on the company. In the first six months of 2018, he bought more than $35 million worth of shares in Tesla. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Source: CNN Musk also invests a lot of time, energy, and resources into SpaceX. John Raoux / AP Images Source: Insider SpaceX has raised billions to develop, build, and launch Starlink - an effort to cover Earth in ultra-fast broadband internet - and build the prototype of Starship, a gargantuan reusable space vehicle designed to bring people to Mars. The company was valued at $100 billion as of October 2021. The Es'hail-2 mission launches toward space aboard one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets on November 15, 2018. SpaceX/Flickr (public domain) Source: Insider, CNBC Musk also helms The Boring Company, which he founded in 2016 to develop and construct underground tunnels in an effort to mitigate traffic. The Boring Company's Hawthorne, California, Tunnel. Robyn Beck/Pool via REUTERS Source: Insider According to The New York Times, The Boring Company raised over $112 million in 2018 - and more than 90% of it came from Musk. In 2019, the company raised outside funding for the first time to the tune of around $120 million. The Boring Company Source: The New York Times, Insider In 2012, Musk signed The Giving Pledge, vowing to donate the majority of his wealth during his lifetime. Though he's already in the business of improving our environment and the future during his day job, Musk has made sizable donations to causes he cares about, including a $10 million gift to the Future of Life Institute to regulate artificial intelligence. jurvetson / Flickr Sources: Twitter, Insider Musk found himself in legal trouble with the SEC in 2018 after he tweeted that he had obtained the funding to take Tesla private, which moved the company's stock price. Musk reached a settlement with the SEC in April 2019 in which he and Tesla both agreed to pay a $20 million penalty. Spencer Platt/Getty Images Source: Insider Musk moved Tesla share price again in May 2020, sending it down 13% after tweeting "Tesla stock price is too high imo." FILE PHOTO: Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk speaks at an opening ceremony for Tesla China-made Model Y program in Shanghai Reuters Source: Markets Insider Musk's Twitter habits once again got him into legal trouble in 2019 after he called the British cave diver who helped rescue a Thai soccer team a "pedo guy"; the diver sued Musk, claiming defamation, but a jury ruled in Musk's favor. A courtroom sketch of British cave diver Vernon Unsworth during his defamation suit against Elon Musk. REUTERS/Mona Shafer Edwards Source: Insider Musk's net worth soared in 2020 amid the pandemic, increasing by 197% between March and August, according to an analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies. By December 2020, Musk had become the world's second-richest person behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Jeff Bezos, left, and Elon Musk. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts Source: Insider Only a few months later, Musk became the world's richest person and his net worth has only grown since: Just last month, Musk's wealth increased by $36 billion in a single day, the largest gain ever recorded by Bloomberg's Billionaires Index. Elon Musk. Steve Nesius/Reuters Source: Insider But after shares of Tesla plunged by 16%, Musk lost $50 billion in just two days. Tesla's share price dipped after a string of headlines, including a tweet from Musk asking if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock. Still, Musk remains $82 billion richer than Bezos. Tesla CEO Elon Musk Britta Pedersen / POOL / AFP via Getty Images Source: InsiderTanza Loudenback and Taylor Nicole Rogers contributed to an earlier version of this story. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 10th, 2021

Motorola (MSI) Boosts Public Safety & Collaboration in Yonkers

Motorola (MSI) deploys its video security and access control solutions, command center software, and voice and data communications offerings in Yonkers, NY to ensure public safety. Leading mission-critical communications solutions provider, Motorola Solutions, Inc. MSI recently announced that Yonkers, NY will capitalize on its video security and access control solutions, command center software, and voice and data communications offerings to ensure public safety in the city.Thanks to Motorola’s integrated technology ecosystem, Yonkers Police Department can now monitor crime rates on a real-time basis, thereby prioritizing greater safety among communities. The latest move aims to enhance emergency response times and boost the day-to-day operations of public safety units across North America while maximizing productivity with precise information.Motorola’s video security and access control function by combining trusted hardware with AI-enabled video analytics. With this unique solution, potentially critical events can be flagged ahead of time and responsive action can be taken accordingly. This helps police officers and first responders to conduct investigations seamlessly on the back of best-in-class body-worn cameras. In this way, it maintains confidence within the communities with innovative user experiences.The Chicago, IL-based company’s shares have surged 49.4% compared with the industry’s growth of 21.4% in the past year.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAs part of the collaboration, command center software will facilitate Yonkers to bolster emergency response by combining data across the 9-1-1 workflow. This will bring clarity to decision-making. The public safety software connects data from different sources to create actionable intelligence and removes any kind of barrier for maximum collaboration and sharing.It provides a unified platform that accelerates workflows through automation for an accurate 360° incident view. With more than nine decades of industry experience, Motorola’s voice and data communications have proved crucial across various industry verticals such as infrastructure, cybersecurity, and device management, to name a few.Supported by land mobile radio network, the end-to-end system integration of these technologies will help Yonkers public safety agencies to not only improve operational efficiencies but also remove data silos for effective law enforcement. This, in turn, is likely to promote a smart model for safe cities while fostering community collaboration in the near future.Motorola’s solutions have been designed to offer consistent technical support and maintenance services. Driven by such diligent operational execution, the company intends to reinforce its commitment to lessen operating risks and minimize the growing crime rates with utmost efficiency as part of the latest deployment initiative.The company seeks to reinforce its position in the public safety domain by entering into partnerships with other players in the ecosystem. The communications equipment maker is well-positioned to benefit from organic growth, acquisitions, and disciplined capital allocation. Its competitive position, healthy growth dynamics together with an attractive portfolio for a large addressable market, bodes well for the long run.Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to ConsiderMotorola currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other top-ranked stocks in the broader industry are Harmonic Inc. HLIT, Clearfield, Inc. CLFD, and Arista Networks, Inc. ANET. While Harmonic and Clearfield sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Arista Networks carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Harmonic delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 61.1%, on average.Clearfield delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 50.8%, on average.Arista Networks delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 6%, on average. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Harmonic Inc. (HLIT): Free Stock Analysis Report Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI): Free Stock Analysis Report Arista Networks, Inc. (ANET): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 9th, 2021

35 cool and useful gifts for teen boys, from tech gadgets to bestselling books

Here are 35 of the best gifts for teen boys, ranging from cheap to pricey, including brands like Apple, Lego, Nintendo, and Adidas. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Buying gifts for teen boys is hard. Here are 35 ideas, from brands like Apple, LEGO, Nintendo, Adidas, and more. Yan Krukov/Pexels Here are 35 gifts for teen boys that range from tech to reading to grooming. Need more gift ideas? Here are more than 50 teen gifts we like this year. If that doesn't cut it, check out our 100 all-time favorite products. Buying gifts for teens can be a daunting task, and we hear from readers that it's especially hard to buy for teen boys.Thankfully, it doesn't need to be. There are tons of great gifts on the market that are cool, innovative, thoughtful, and ranging in price from big-ticket items to under-$25 purchases you can make on Amazon.Below, you can find a mix of 35 gifts that cover tech, grooming, nods to hobbies, and practical gifts for everyday needs. If you need more gifting inspiration, check out all of our gift guides here. Check out all 35 gifts for teen boys below: An Echo Dot that works as a speaker and alarm clock Amazon Echo Dot (4th generation), available at Amazon, $29.99The Amazon Echo Dot is the most popular Amazon device for a reason: It's compact and has all the capabilities of Alexa (voice control, music, news, weather updates, and more). They'll love that it has a decent speaker; parents will love that it works well as an alarm clock.  The popular "Dune" series Amazon "Dune" by Frank Herbert, available at Amazon, $12.01After "Harry Potter" and classics commonly found on high school syllabi, Dune is the #15 bestselling young adult book on Amazon. The first movie in the series, which stars Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, premiered on October 21 (you can watch it on HBO Max) and the second is coming out October 2023 — so they'll have enough time to catch up before the next installment.Otherwise, we also recommend "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline if your teen hasn't read it yet. Some more book suggestions:"All the Bright Places," a popular YA book on TikTok"Scythe," a bestselling dystopian YA book similar to "The Hunger Games"The best young adult books, according to a teenagerThe best young adult romance booksThe best young people's literature of 2021 according to the National Book AwardsThe best books we read in our 20s A pair of gloves he can use with his phone Nordstrom The North Face Apex Etip Tech Gloves, available at Macy's, $50The North Face's Tech Gloves have silicone palm grips and touchscreen-friendly fingertips so he can use his devices without taking them off.  A men's grooming set Kiehl's Men's Groom On-the-Go Gift Set, available at Kiehl's, $40Help your teen build a constructive skincare routine with effective, simple skincare products like the products in this Kiehl's gift set. In it, he'll get a face wash, moisturizer, and soap that smells good.  Colorful strip lights they can control via app Amazon Govee LED Strip Lights, available at Amazon, $33.99These light strips let them customize the color of the lighting in their room without any major home renovations. (They come with double-sided adhesive; just stick them on a flat surface and you're good to go). This option uses an app that connects the strip directly to your Wi-Fi and offers additional features, such as a timer, sliders for brightness and color temperature, and a selection of scenes, including animated multicolored scenes. They can also select colors individually for different segments of the strip and create their own scenes via the DIY option. They can also use Alexa and Google Assistant to control the lights with their voice.  Versatile, comfortable convertible pants Amir Ismael/Insider Men's Paramount Trail Convertible Pant, available at The North Face, $69The North Face Paramount Trail Convertible Pants are lightweight and convert into shorts, and they're senior style and grooming reporter Amir Ismael's most worn items in 2021. They're just as comfortable and stylish for everyday life as they are on trips where light packing is preferred. Read Amir's full review of The North Face Paramount Trail Convertible Pants here.  A unique poster of their favorite movie Etsy Minimalist Movie Poster Art Print, available at Etsy, from $11.24If he's at the age where he's discovering cult classics like "Donnie Darko," getting him a cool, retro-style art print is a thoughtful nod to his interests. You can find minimalist options here, or search Etsy for something specific, such as "Jurassic Park." A warm, versatile HEATTECH layer Uniqlo Men HEATTECH Crew Neck Long-Sleeve T-Shirt, available on Uniqlo, $19.90Uniqlo's HEATTECH gear is one of our secrets to staying fashionable and warm during the winter. It's effective without the bulk by wicking moisture away from your body and purportedly turning your kinetic energy into heat. However it does it, it works. We've been using it for years, and highly recommend it. Most items are about $15, but you could go up to $50 for pants. Read our review of Uniqlo HEATTECH gear here. A streaming service that includes the 'Star Wars' and Marvel universes Disney Plus Disney+ Monthly Subscription Service, available at Disney, $6.99/month or $69.99/yearDisney Plus is the relatively new Disney-centric streaming service, but it carries much more than the nostalgic movies they may have grown up watching and the Marvel movies. The platform includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox — and you can also bundle ESPN+ and Hulu with it. Disney Plus offers two subscription options: $6.99 a month, or a slightly cheaper $69.99 a year ($5.83 a month). With ESPN Plus and Hulu, it's $12.99 a month (a $17.97 a month value). Super convenient Apple AirPods with a wireless charging case Amazon Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case, available at Best Buy, $159.99When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're incredibly easy to use.  A Patagonia Synchilla Snap-T fleece pullover Patagonia Patagonia Men's Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece Pullover, available at Patagonia, $119Like Champion, Patagonia is a brand that's gaining increasing popularity among teens. Its Snap-T Fleece Pullover is one of its best and most popular products. The best socks we've ever worn Bombas Bombas Socks, available at Bombas, from $10.50Practically the entire Insider Reviews team is made up of Bombas fans, largely because of the socks' standout features and the brand's mission. Socks are the number one requested product among homeless shelters, and each time a pair of Bombas socks are purchased, a pair of socks is donated by the brand. A pair of cool new Adidas Ultraboost sneakers Adidas Adidas Ultraboost Shoes, available at Adidas, from $54In 2015, Adidas introduced the Ultraboost as an entirely new running silhouette, but it was quickly adopted by sneakerheads for its comfort and style. They'll probably wind up wearing these responsive, supportive shoes for both sports and around town. If you don't see a color they'll like, check StockX for more options. A Kindle Paperwhite for reading on the go Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Best Buy, $129.99Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is waterproof, has double the storage of its previous model, and is its lightest and thinnest version yet. The glare-free display adjusts to accommodate even bright sunlight, and it has a battery charge that lasts for weeks.  A 4,108-piece, app-controlled Lego kit that incorporates advanced engineering elements Amazon Lego Technic Liebherr R 9800 Excavator 42100 Building Kit, available at Amazon, $449.95Lego's new excavator building kit was designed in partnership with Liebherr and has over 4,000 parts that mimic the real thing — incorporating advanced elements of engineering and accurate details like access ways and extensible ladders. It's operated via the Lego app, so they can control the boom and bucket, create movement sequences, and complete fun challenges with real-time feedback.  Wear-anywhere shorts Amir Ismael/Insider Men's Baggies Shorts, available at Patagonia, $55These popular Patagonia shorts are known as "Life's Shorts" — they're lightweight, quick-drying, and designed to be worn in and out of the water. Senior reporter Amir Ismael is a fan, saying "they go with everything" and aren't restrictive or tight even with mesh netting on the inside. Read his full review of the Patagonia Baggies shorts here.  A popular streaming media player Roku Roku Express Streaming Media Player, available at Best Buy, $29.99The Roku Express Streaming Media Player turns an otherwise dumb TV into a smart TV with access to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and HBO Now to cable alternatives like Sling or YouTube TV. A compact projector that's great for movie-watching Amazon Anker Nebula Capsule Mini Projector, available at Amazon, $299.95Anker makes a mini projector the size of a soda can that's perfect for screening their favorite movies. It weighs only 1 pound, and it offers four hours of continuous playtime. Find a full review here. A simple sweatshirt from a classic brand Amazon Champion Men's Pullover Eco Fleece Sweatshirt, available at Amazon, from $26.67Champion is having a moment with the teen demographic. If they don't already have one, pick up one of the brand's most popular items in a color and style they'll wear often. A small, travel-ready camera that stabilizes shaky video footage Go Pro GoPro Hero10, available at GoPro, $399.99GoPro is the rugged, waterproof action camera they can take with them anywhere. While older models will still get the job done, the Hero10 is the newest and best overall model.You can read a full GoPro Hero 10 review here, but the gist is this: The Hero 10 is a performance camera, but its upgrades allow it to do what even bigger and more expensive cameras can do, too.  A speaker they can spill on and drop in the pool without breaking it Ultimate Ears Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, $99.99This rugged, compact speaker can go with them anywhere. It's waterproof, has an "outdoor boost" button specifically for listening outside, is "drop-proof," and boasts a 13-hour battery life. A gentle exfoliating facial cleansing device that gets all the grime out Foreo FOREO Luna 3, available at Foreo, $199FOREO's cult-favorite Luna 3 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch-points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge. Find a full review on the previous generation Luna 2 from a male reporter here. An eco-conscious tie-dye beanie The Parks Project Feel the Earth Breathe Tie Dye Beanie, available at Parks Project, $40These unisex tie-dye beanies come in cool colors and with a unique plant logo. (To date, the Parks Project has reportedly contributed over $2,000,000 to help fund vital projects in national parks around the US). A Nintendo Switch Nintendo Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy‑Con, available at Target, $299.99If you're gauging the success of your gift based solely on the excitement it elicits, this is a good option. This model has a battery life of up to nine hours and can be played with friends or solo at home or on the go. The most popular and useful Fitbit Fitbit Fitbit Charge 4, available at Best Buy, $129.95The Fitbit Charge 4 isn't the newest model the company has released, but it is perhaps one of the best and most popular. It has a lot of useful activity-tracking features without a big, clunky screen or an exorbitant price. It has a built-in heart rate monitor, in-depth sleep tracking, advanced workout features, and real-time workout tracking on the screen. A cult-favorite water bottle Amazon Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, from $37.46These cult-favorite, vacuum-insulated stainless steel water bottles work really well. It'll keep hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours, and cold drinks cold for up to 24. Smart lights with bright lights for studying and dimming at night before bed Amazon Bulbrite Solana A19 WiFi Connected Color Changing LED Smart Light Bulb, available at Home Depot, $17.99Smart lights mean they can change the lights to a range of colors, create customized lighting for watching a movie or studying, and set a schedule for the lights to turn off and on or brighten and dim at different times during the day.  An audiobook subscription Audible Audible Membership (3 months), available at Amazon, $45If they love to read (or you're trying to get them to love to read), a gift subscription to Audible is a great idea. They'll get three free titles for each month they're a member (one audiobook and two Audible Originals), and 30% off any additional audiobooks they buy. They can listen and read anywhere and anytime using the free app.  A cult-favorite duffel bag that's durable and cavernous Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag, $139, available at Patagonia, $139Patagonia's Black Hole duffel bags deserve their cult status: They're seemingly neverending, extremely durable, and are now made out of recycled plastic bottles.  A t-shirt from a new outdoors brand with great gear and a philanthropic mission Cotopaxi Do Good Men's T-Shirt, available at Cotopaxi, $30Whether he's into the outdoors, volunteering, or might appreciate an introduction to a cool new startup he hasn't heard of, he'll appreciate a soft, unique T-shirt from Cotopaxi.  An online class from one of the greats Master Class Tom Morello Teaches Guitar (single class), available at Masterclass, $90MasterClass hosts online classes on virtually every topic taught by the experts themselves — from Neil Gaiman teaching the art of storytelling to Annie Leibowitz teaching photography. This class, by Grammy-winning musician Tom Morello, teaches you the guitar techniques that define his style.  A beanie with Bluetooth connectivity so they can listen to music on the go Amazon Tenergy Wireless Bluetooth Beanie Hat, available at Amazon, $24.95An increasingly popular accessory among teen boys is the Bluetooth Beanie Hat, which lets them listen to music while wearing it. The headphones pair with a tablet, Apple Watch, or smartphone, and the Bluetooth range is up to 33 feet. There are even built-in controls for adjusting the volume, skipping songs, and pausing/playing music.Editor's note: This gift may arrive after Christmas. A powerful portable charger Amazon Elecjet PowerPie Portable Charger, available at Amazon, $49Whether for traveling or keeping in contact with friends or parents while on the go, this external battery is great for giving parents and teens convenience and peace of mind.Editor's note: This gift may arrive after Christmas. Gift cards to virtually anything they could need or want Chipotle To a teen, there's probably nothing more useful than a gift card. Here are a few of the best you can give.Everything: Visa Gift Card / Amazon Gift Card / Gift Amazon Prime MembershipCoffee: Starbucks Gift CardBooks: Amazon Gift Card / Barnes & Noble Gift CardEntertainment: Netflix Gift Card / Hulu Gift Card / Sling Gift Card / StubHub gift cardTransportation: Uber Gift Card Music: Spotify Gift CardFood: Taco Bell Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardClothes: Nordstrom Gift Card / Everlane Gift Card / Nike Gift Card / Under Armour Gift Card / Adidas Gift CardTech: Best Buy Gift Card / Amazon Gift Card Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 8th, 2021

The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the US - here"s why it"s so powerful and how it affects your financial life

The Federal Reserve ("the Fed") is the central banking system of the US and just about everything it carries out influences your financial decisions. As the central bank of the US, the Federal Reserve sets financial policy and bank-industry regulations that ultimately affect every American. Hisham Ibrahim/Getty Images The Federal Reserve, or "the Fed," is the central banking system of the US. The purpose of the Federal Reserve is to regulate banks, manage the country's money supply, and implement monetary policy. The Federal Reserve System consists of three entities: The Federal Reserve Board of Governors, 12 regional banks, and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. There's a bank, and then there's the bank. The Federal Reserve, or "the Fed," is the central banking system of the United States, and just about everything it carries out influences your financial decisions and opportunities more than you may realize. An independent federal agency, the Fed was established in 1913 in response to a series of bank failures and stock market panics that were causing growing unease with the US' largely unregulated financial system. By creating a central bank, the government hoped to provide a stable yet flexible authority that could manage the nation's monetary policy, regulate its financial institutions, and instill confidence in the US economy. Here's what you need to know about the Fed, and how it affects you and your money.What does the Federal Reserve do?The Fed's mission is the same now as it was when it was established: To serve the public interest and provide the country with a safe and stable financial system. The Federal Reserve's main responsibilities include: Managing the nation's money and money supplyMaintaining banking payment and transaction systems Creating and monitoring rules for banks and financial systemsEnsuring that banks are offering quality products and following consumer protection lawsSetting certain key interest ratesBy overseeing the nation's banks and influencing interest rates, the Fed impacts the economy and Americans' financial lives. While it doesn't interact directly with individuals, it ensures they can deposit a check, use a debit card, and transfer funds safely and consistently. And the policies the Fed sets ultimately affect how easy or hard it is to qualify for a mortgage, the interest you'll pay on a loan, and how much money that savings account or CD will earn you.How is the Federal Reserve structured?Headquartered in Washington D.C., the Federal Reserve comprises three major entities: the board of governors, the 12 regional regional reserve banks, and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The Federal Reserve Board of GovernorsThe Federal Reserve Board of Governors is the main governing body of the entire Federal Reserve System. The Board is made up of seven members; each is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.As written in the Fed's founding statute, the Board of Governors must consist of a "fair representation of the financial, agricultural, industrial, and commercial interests and geographical divisions of the country." Board members serve a maximum term of 14 years, with new members being circulated in regularly.The Board must appear before Congress at least twice per year to report on "the efforts, activities, objectives and plans of the Board and the Federal Open Market Committee." Board staff regularly meets with Congressional staff to brief them on financial issues and the Federal Reserve's intended remedy or course of action.The Board's other responsibilities include general guidance for the system, serving on the Federal Open Market Committee, and overseeing the 12 Reserve Banks.The 12 Federal Reserve BanksCompared to those of other nations, the US central bank is somewhat de-centralized.The Federal Reserve has 12 regional offices, known officially as Federal Reserve Banks. Each office, which has its own Board of Directors and President, is responsible for a district of several states surrounding it: Individual financial institutions are regulated by the Federal Reserve Bank in their region. Shayanne Gal/Business Insider Reserve Banks basically serve as branches of the entire Federal Reserve system. Originally, they were intended to operate independently, setting their own policies and interest rates. But as the US economy grew more complex and geographically integrated, new legislation in the 1930s and in 1980 made them more coordinated with each other and with their federal parent.Today, each Federal Reserve Bank is responsible for implementing the decisions of the Fed's Board of Governors and enforcing its rules on a regional level. It's the district Federal Reserve Bank that directly oversees individual, local banks - granting their charters and inspecting their operations. Some of the day-to-day services the Reserve Banks provide include: Releasing new coins and paper bills to banksTaking in defaced, ripped, or counterfeit currencyProcessing and clearing checksLoaning money to banksMaintaining US Treasury bank accountsWhile the regional banks don't set monetary policy, they do provide economic research to the national Fed - data and analysis that play a key role in the decisions made by the central bank's all-important Federal Open Market Committee.The Federal Open Market CommitteeThe third and arguably most influential arm of the Federal Reserve is the Federal Open Market Committee or FOMC. Added to the Fed in the 1930s, this policy-making group is made up of 12 voting members, including all seven Fed Governors, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and four of the 11 other Reserve Bank Presidents. The group meets at least eight times per year and is responsible for reviewing the country's economic conditions, conducting risk assessments on economic growth, and managing the federal funds rate.When the alert flashes on your phone or you hear a newscaster say, "the Fed cut interest rates today," it's a move by the FOMC they're referring to. How does the Federal Reserve influence interest rates?One of the Federal Reserve's mandates is to manage the US money supply (the amount of cash and readily available funds circulating throughout the nation). Its main method for doing this involves interest rates. The most important one: the federal funds rate.When people refer to the Fed raising or lowering interest rates, they're talking about the federal funds rate. Although it's an interbank rate, which doesn't affect consumers directly, it becomes the basis for other interest rates, like the prime rate - which do. The federal funds rate is the interest rate at which banks can borrow and lend money to one another. Under Federal Reserve quota rules, banks are required to keep a certain percentage of overall deposits in reserve, to ensure that account-holders can access their money at any time, preventing any "bank runs" or financial panic.If an institution falls short of the requirement, it may turn other banks for additional funding. If a bank has excess reserves, it will loan them out.Setting the federal funds rate is arguably the most important responsibility of the Federal Reserve. Banks generally make a profit by lending money for a greater price than they obtained it. So lowering the cost of financing for the bank has a ripple effect: The savings ultimately gets passed down to the everyday consumer looking to purchase a house, take out a loan, or engage in any other financial transaction. Changes in the federal funds rate also ultimately affect how much interest bank savings accounts and CDs earn.How does the Federal Reserve influence the economy?The Fed has other tools in its arsenal to encourage banks to ramp up or rein in their financing activities. Among them:Modifying the reserve requirement. As mentioned, banks are responsible for keeping a percentage of their total deposits in reserves. If the Federal Reserve wanted to expand the money supply, it can simply lower this requirement, so banks have more money to lend. If it wants to tighten the money supply, it raises the requirement.Setting the "discount rate." Instead of borrowing from one another, financial institutions can also borrow money directly from one of the regional Federal Reserve bank "windows." The rate at these windows is often higher than the federal funds rate itself and serves as the cap for the market - no bank would want to pay more money when a lower rate is available. As a result, the Federal Reserve can encourage banks to borrow from one another and can effectively limit the amount of interest charged.Increasing the interest rates paid on bank reserves. The Fed can change the amount of interest it pays banks on their reserves. Banks will not loan money to one another for less than that amount, so this move by the Fed effectively sets a floor for market interest rates.Constantly gauging the pace of the US economy, the Federal Reserve is able to help the country either slow down or speed up its investing and spending and keep inflation moderate.Who oversees the Federal Reserve? When created in 1913, the Federal Reserve was intended to be an independent government organization that can operate without Congressional oversight or funding - or, in fact, management by any authority in the executive branch.While the Board of Governors does report on its activities to Congress at least twice per year, it is not overseen or controlled by anyone. In fact, the Federal Reserve doesn't even receive any money or appropriation from Congress. It's financed mainly by the interest on the US Treasury securities it owns, along with the interest it charges on its bank loans, and fees for maintaining various interbank transactional services. That is not to say that the Federal Reserve is not responsible to anyone. First and foremost, it is responsible to the American people and as such operates in a very transparent fashion - even going so far as to publish its meeting minutes and public policy briefs on its website. The financial takeawayThe Fed's key objective - to ensure an even money supply, and through that, a healthy economy - has been put to the test several times throughout its history. The Federal Reserve has been instrumental in helping the country navigate through the Great Depression, the 2007- 2009 Great Recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic.The central bank can only do so much to alter the natural up and down trends of the business cycle. But, by modifying the federal funds rate, increasing the money supply, and lowering financing costs to banks - and ultimately, to their clients, businesses and consumers - the Federal Reserve can try to prevent severe recessions or lessen the blow of other economic crises.Related Coverage in Investing Reference:The Federal Reserve's biggest success during the coronavirus crisis: keeping itself out of politicsDepressions and recessions differ in their severity, duration, and overall impact. Here's what you need to knowFed signals near-zero rates will last through 2023 to lift economyThe LIBOR is a global interest rate that affects the rates of many loans and investments. Here's how it's set, and why it's slated to endWhy double-dip recessions are especially difficult, and what they mean for the general state of the economyRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 1st, 2021

51 unique and genuinely useful gifts that teens will actually love

The best gifts for teens are ones they'll actually want to use, like tech gadgets, beauty products, and cool accessories. Here are 51 unique gifts. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. One of the best gifts for teens is a portable, waterproof speaker they can bring with them on trips with friends. Amazon It's never easy to shop for a teenager, especially if their tastes change frequently. We rounded up 51 gifts to make it easier to find the perfect gadget, game, or accessory. Browse all of Insider Reviews' gift guides for more great gift ideas. Being a teenager is tough, but trying to buy a gift for one is even harder: They can be picky and fickle when it comes to what products they want. Sometimes, the best way to show a teen that you care is just to listen, and sometimes it's a thoughtful gift to show them you see them.To make the gift search easier, we curated 53 gifts ranging from a card game to a smartwatch to a quick-drying hair towel at various price points to ensure as many options as possible.If you are still unsure of what to get (and you can't ask them directly) try consulting their friends. Either way, a smart general rule of thumb is to make sure your gift is returnable. The 51 best gifts for teens: Disposable cameras to help them stay in the moment Amazon Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera, available at Amazon, $67.95Funsaver One Time Use Film Camera (2-pack), available at Amazon, $47.95Disposable cameras are popular right now, partly because of the nostalgic aesthetic of a polaroid and partly because of their simplicity. Spending so much time immersed in technology — and combatting the temptation to retake and edit photos in real-time — keep us from staying present.Disposable film cameras or polaroids help preserve memories without adding to their screen time. Plus, they give them cute photos to decorate their room with! Glossier's fan-favorite products Glossier Boy Brow + Balm Dotcom + Futuredew Pack, available at Glossier, $42No-makeup makeup is in right now and, if your teen is into beauty products, they may appreciate a gift from Glossier, which is the "natural and glowy" brand Olivia Rodrigo says she wears in her Vogue beauty diary.We'd recommend a gift card or a pack like the Boy Brow + Balm Dotcom + Futuredew pack, which covers three of its fan-favorite products. A great book Amazon "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.14Books are an incredible gift if your teen is a reader. It can translate into hours of enjoyment at a minimum and, at its best, a favorite story that follows them well into adulthood.Plus, if you've read the book, it can also mean great conversations about it or movie adaptations to watch together. It's also a gift where money doesn't really matter; you can find a great read for $20 and spending more won't make much difference.Some book suggestions:"All the Bright Places," a popular YA book on TikTok"Scythe," a bestselling dystopian YA book similar to "The Hunger Games"The best young adult books, according to a teenagerThe best young adult romance booksThe best young people's literature of 2021 according to the National Book AwardsThe best books we read in our 20s The extremely popular Nintendo Switch Nintendo Nintendo Switch, available at Best Buy, $299.99The Nintendo Switch is likely to be one of those big-ticket gifts that'll get you an extremely excited reaction upon opening. They can play it at home, on the go, and with friends from a huge library of games. An eco-conscious tie-dye beanie Free The Earth Feel the Earth Breathe Tie Dye Beanie, available at Parks Project, from $40These unisex tie-dye beanies come in cool colors and with a unique plant logo. (To date, the Parks Project has reportedly contributed over $2,000,000 to help fund vital projects in national parks around the US).Ribbed beanies are big right now, à la the popular Carhartt beanie. If they've got that staple covered, the Parks Project also has tube socks.  A splashproof, portable Bluetooth speaker perfect for outdoor trips Amazon Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2, available at Amazon, $94.99This rugged, compact speaker can go with them anywhere. It's waterproof, has an "outdoor boost" button specifically for listening outside, is "drop-proof," and boasts a 13-hour battery life.  A plush toy that they can heat up Urban Outfitters Smoko Mini Toasty Heatable Plushie, available at Urban Outfitters, $18Whenever they need some cozy comfort, they can heat up this cute animal-shaped heating pad for a snuggle. A bedside smartphone vase Uncommon Goods Bedside Smartphone Vase, available at Uncommon Goods, $32Since teenagers can't be without their phones, this bedside smartphone gives their hands a rest. It's easily accessible while the floral component helps brighten up their rooms.  A portable phone charger Amazon Elecjet Powerpie Portable Charger, available at Amazon, $49.99This handheld charger can charge up your teen's smartphone or various devices like an iPad or small laptop so they can stay in touch, turn their paper in on time, or just never have to stress about 5% battery life. Sheet masks to go with a Netflix marathon Amazon TONYMOLY I'm Real Sheet Masks, available at Amazon, $26There are few things my 15-year-old sister loves more than oversized hoodies, Boba, and an endless supply of sheet masks. Grab a pack, throw them on, and make a night out of it with your teen's favorite candy and TV show. A pair of trendy, easy-to-use AirPods Apple Apple AirPods Pro with Charging Case, available at Walmart, $197If you're after the title of their favorite relative of the year, here's a good place to start. AirPods are both easy to use and functional as well as trendy.  A Boba-shaped AirPods Pro case Urban Outfitters Smoko Boba Tea AirPods Pro Case, available at Urban Outfitters, $18As I mentioned, part of my 15-year-old sister's ideal trifecta is Boba. You can pick up a cute, fun case no matter what their interest is — Baby Yoda, gaming, Boba, or whatever else.  A Bluetooth water bottle speaker Grommet Bluetooth Water Bottle Speakers, available at Grommet, $39.95This Bluetooth water bottle speaker offers a boost of hydration and fun for everyone. The water-resistant speaker resides at the top, ensuring greater sound quality that lasts 6-10 hours. It's the perfect accessory for them to bring to every hang-out session.  A slim leather wallet Amazon Bellroy Slim Sleeve Leather Wallet, available at Amazon and Bellroy, from $65This thin wallet is a subtle nudge toward minimalism, something many teens appreciate. The Bellroy Slim Sleeve wallet offers room for up to eight cards and a pocket to stash cash. It comes in a variety of colors and features environmentally certified leather. An eco-friendly phone case Pela Pela Phone Case, available at Amazon and Pela, from $19.95Pela offers a wide variety of biodegradable cases for iPhone and Android, all made from plant-based polymers. Pela cases are rugged enough to offer drop protection, and if a phone has both a Pela case and screen protector but still cracks, Pela will cover the bill to get it fixed. A comfortable and sustainable Patagonia pullover they'll wear all the time Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Pullover, Men, available at Patagonia, $119Patagonia Women's Better Sweater 1/4-Zip Fleece, available at Patagonia, from $58.99A Patagonia sweater is a particularly good gift for teens who are interested in sustainability. The company has been turning plastic bottles into polyester for its clothing since 1993 and continues to do so today.Its Snap-T pullover is the unofficial uniform of the cozy adventurer. It and the Better Sweater are long-held favorites, and both are comfortable classics that they'll no doubt come to rely on heavily during colder weather.Not sold on the Patagonia option? They may also appreciate the Acadia Recycled Polar Trail Fleece from the environmentally-conscious Parks Project. A gift card for stylish new glasses Warby Parker Gift Card, available at Warby Parker, from $50Teens are a notoriously picky bunch, so you can never go wrong with a gift card. If they're in the market for new glasses or sunglasses, we recommend Warby Parker because of its versatility, size flexibility, and free at-home try-on program.  An Amazon Echo Dot for hands-free calls, alarms, music, updates on the weather, and more Amazon Echo Dot (4th gen), available at Best Buy, $34.99The Amazon Echo Dot is the most popular Amazon device for a reason — it's compact and has all the capabilities of Alexa (weather updates, recipes, music, news) without any of the bulk.  A smartphone-sized travel photo printer Target HP Sprocket 200 Photo Printer, available at Amazon and B&H Photo, from $76.78This tiny, compact device prints photos with sticker backing on ZINK film with Zero Ink technology. It connects to devices via Bluetooth, and multiple devices can connect at once (personalized LED lights indicate who's currently printing).  String lights with clips for photos Amazon/Business Insider Photo Clip LED String Lights, available at Target, $10Perfect for creating the archetypal teen room that's most often seen in Netflix movies and old Taylor Swift music videos, the photo clip string lights combine warm light and Polaroids (or other memorabilia).  A trendy Champion sweatshirt Urban Outfitters  Champion Reverse Weave Fleece Crew Neck Sweatshirt, available at Urban Outfitters, $54Like Fila, Champion is a brand that's had a resurgence as of late. If you want to get them something they'll end up wearing all the time, this is a good candidate.  Comfortable headphones with a long battery life and good sound Beats by Dre Beats by Dre Wireless Solo3 Headphones, available at B&H Photo, from $179They can use these at the gym, for studying, and for zoning out during family road trips. This pair has great sound, cushioned ear cups, and 40 hours of battery life so they have one less thing to think about. And if they do let the battery run out, a five-minute charge is the equivalent to three hours of listening time. A new video game "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD" / Nintendo "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD", available at Amazon, from $49.94If they're really into video games, all other gifts may pale in comparison to a really good new one. Check out "Hades," "NBA 2K22," and "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD." A vinyl record membership Vinyl Me, Please Gift Membership, 3 months, available at Vinyl Me, Please, $119There's no greater joy than adding to a record collection or playing a new album for the first time. Your recipient gets to choose from three different types of tracks each month and will also receive extra goodies in each package. They'll also get one bonus record as part of the three-month gift membership.  A gentle facial cleansing device that removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup FOREO Luna 3 Facial Cleansing Device, Men, available at Foreo, $199Luna 3 Facial Cleansing Device, Women, available at Foreo, $199FOREO's cult-favorite Luna 3 cleansing device gently and effectively cleans with thin, antimicrobial silicone touch-points, and it removes 98.5% of dirt and makeup residue without irritating the skin. Plus, it's 100% waterproof and the battery life lasts for a few months per charge.This newest generation also offers an array of massages to tighten the skin for a youthful look. Find a full review on the previous generation Luna 2 from a female reporter and a male reporter here. Comfortable lounge pants that look put-together MeUndies The Lounge Pant, Men, available at MeUndies, $68The Lounge Pant, Women, available at MeUndies $68MeUndies is a popular LA startup that makes some of the most comfortable underwear we've ever tried. Their lounge pants, however, are the real hidden gem — perfect for lounging around on weekend mornings or heading to the dining hall when they get to college (yep, they'll last that long) while still looking sleek. A subscription to a famous book club that sends them great hardcovers each month Book of the Month/Instagram 3-Month Gift Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If your teen is a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially cool gift. It's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time (like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple).If you gift them a subscription, they'll receive a hardcover book delivered once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If they're really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here). An Apple Watch that combines their smartphone with a fitness tracker Amazon Apple Watch SE GPS, 40mm, available at Best Buy, from $279If you have a little extra to spend on your teen, consider getting them a smartwatch. The Apple Watch SE is like a smartphone, fitness tracker, and music player all in one. Just like on their phone, they can customize the watch to show their favorite apps to pick, including social media. A cute iPhone case Society6 Coffee Reading iPhone Case, available at Society6, $35.99This fun iPhone case is funny and unique, and most of their friends probably won't have the exact same one.  Reusable straws Amazon Hiware Reusable Silicone Straws (10-pack), available at Amazon, $6.99Help teens do their part to keep single-use plastics out of trash bins, landfills, and the ocean by giving them this pack of reusable silicone drinking straws. They come in various colors and include a few cleaning brushes as well.  A set of velvet retro-inspired scrunchies Amazon/Business Insider Hair Scrunchie Variety Pack, available at Target, $6.99Another trendy gift is as many scrunchies as you can carry. This pack comes with 12 options in enough colors to work with virtually any outfit or mood.  A multicolor mini cinema light box Urban Outfitters Multicolor Cinema Light Box, available at Uncommon Goods, from $20These trendy lightboxes are inspired by cinema marquees, and they come with 100 letters and symbols for personal messages. This one also has color-changing LED lights for further customization. Fun and useful PopSockets for the back of their phone Amazon/Business Insider PopGrips, available at PopSockets and Amazon, from $10PopSockets have become their own cultural phenomenon in recent years, and they're surprisingly useful. Get your teen one for their own phone or tablet, and depending on their age, you may find it's the gift they're most excited about. It doesn't hurt that there's free domestic shipping on orders over $20, or that you can actually design your own. A waterproof e-reader with a no-glare screen Amazon All-New Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $79.99Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite is its thinnest, lightest version. It also has double the storage, a built-in light that adjusts to accommodate reading indoors or outdoors, and is waterproof for reading anywhere, including the beach or bath. Plus, a single battery charge lasts weeks rather than hours. Cool backpacks from a popular startup with a charitable mission STATE Bags/Facebook State bags and accessories, from $16.80State bags are increasingly popular thanks to their versatile, laid-back aesthetic and characteristically bright nylon colorways. They're also known as #GiveBackPack(s), because for every State bag purchased, State hand-delivers a backpack — packed with essential tools for success — to a local child in need. The Lorimer and Bedford are two of the company's best sellers. A three-month subscription of beauty products BirchBox 3-Month Subscription, available at BirchBox, $45Teens are usually among the most interested in the latest and greatest beauty or grooming products — but may lack the funds to try all the full-sized versions. Birchbox sends samples of new and beloved products once a month, so they can test out new finds and discover products they may want to buy a full size of in the future. (It's also just fun to get an ongoing gift.) Personalized Nikes Nike Customizable Nikes, available at Nike, from $120Nike makes great stuff, but it's nice to get the benefits of a great shoe without forsaking what makes something unique. You can customize a pair of Nikes for them, or give them a gift card so they can get creative making something one-of-a-kind on their own. A great Alexa-enabled speaker they can control by voice Sonos Sonos One Smart Speaker, available at Sonos, from $219The new Sonos One smart speaker fills any room with clear, rich sound, and they can use Alexa to play and control their music without ever lifting a finger. Find a full review here. A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50% Aquis/Business Insider Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Amazon and Sephora, from $17.99Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes your hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries. If they've ever complained about frizzy hair, this and a silk pillowcase are thoughtful gifts they'll actually use.  A Disney+ subscription for access to classic movies and more Disney Plus Disney+ Gift Subscription Service, available at Disney, $79.99/yearDisney Plus is the new Disney-centric streaming service. The platform includes Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. You can gift a whole year of access for $80, which is something their entire family can benefit from.If you'd rather test Disney Plus out before buying, you can sign up for a free weeklong trial. A suitcase with an ejectable battery that can charge their devices on the go Away The Carry-On, available at Away, from $225Travel startup Away makes a great carry-on thanks to an ejectable battery that can charge devices seamlessly on the go, 360-degree wheels, and a lightweight build that travels easily. In other words, it takes a lot of the angst out of travel and may make family trips far more enjoyable and stress-free. A color-changing alarm clock that also charges their phone The Home Depot/Business Insider La Crosse Technology Color Mood Light Alarm Clock with Nature Sounds, available at Amazon and The Home Depot, $26.46This color-changing alarm clock radio will charge their devices and play soothing nature sounds at the same time. They can also use the aux-in port to play music from their phone. Durable sunglasses that look good, too Amazon Smith Optics Lowdown2, available at Backcountry, $129Who better to make a pair of durable, performance-based sunglasses than the company known for innovating the ski goggle? The Lowdown2 features bio-based materials for the frame, ChromaPop lens technology which creates high contrast and vibrant colors, and an anti-reflective smudge-resistant coating.Plus, the brand offers peace of mind with free shipping, 30-day returns, and a lifetime warranty. Comfortable, high-quality sheets that come in lots of colors and patterns Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen and Amazon, from $240We think Brooklinen makes the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds. It's perfect for lazy Saturday mornings or the rare occasion sleeping in is encouraged.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in 15 colors and patterns that range from classic to fun, and you can mix and match them to suit their preferences. Grab a gift card (delivered digitally) if you want to give them more freedom. Fidget balls Speks Speks 2.5mm magnet balls, available at Speks, $29.95Made from rare earth magnets, these tiny balls can be molded into an infinite number of shapes and designs. The size of Speks balls makes them ideal for teens to keep with them for those unpredictable moments of nervousness that fill those teenage years. A pack of smart plugs so they can control devices from a distance Amazon/Business Insider TP-Link KIT WiFi Smart Plug, 2-Pack, available at Best Buy, $9.99Whether they're wondering if they turned off their hot iron or just don't want to get up to turn off the TV, a smart plug lets them control devices from a distance. You can connect to them using any smart device. A Time-Turner clock that actually spins Harry Potter Harry Potter Time-Turner Clock, available at Pottery Barn, $69It may not be able to take them back in time or help them be in two places at once, but this Time-Turner clock will help them stay on top of their schedule. It even has a functional hourglass on the back so they can time their study breaks.  A toothbrush with a timer Amazon Oral-B Pro 1000 Electric Toothbrush, available at Amazon, $39.97Rigorous dental hygiene isn't usually on the top of the list of things teens care about, which is all the more reason a rechargeable toothbrush with a timer is a fantastic gift. This rechargeable brush breaks up 300% more plaque on the gum line than traditional brushing and lets them know when two minutes have passed. Compact hand sanitizer spray Touchland Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9It's in the car, the house, and their pocket these days, but many hand sanitizers can smell a little like household cleaner. Touchland comes in scents like Vanilla Cinnamon and Forrest Berry, or keep it simple and choose unscented.The compact sanitizer features 67% alcohol for killing germs but balances it with soothing aloe vera and essential oils to hydrate the skin.  A lottery card that donates to charities LottoLove/Business Insider LottoLove Card, available at LottoLove, from $5When you gift this lottery card, you're actually giving the gift of charity. When you "win big," you're winning a charitable prize that gets donated to nonprofits in one of four categories: Clean water, solar light, nutritious meals, or literacy tools. To date, LottoLove and its partners have impacted lives in over 70 countries. Gift cards for concert tickets, food, and clothes Chipotle You can't go wrong with money for their favorite things, especially for teens who are often relying upon part-time jobs to fund their frequent Chipotle meals and concert trips with friends. Check out more gift card ideas here.Everything: Visa Gift Card / Amazon Gift CardCoffee and food: Starbucks Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardEntertainment and live events: Netflix Gift Card / Xbox Gift Card / Hulu Gift Card / StubHub gift cardMusic: Spotify Gift CardSheets: Brooklinen Gift CardGroceries and food: Whole Foods Gift Card / Chipotle Gift CardClothes: Nordstrom Gift Card / Everlane Gift CardTech: Best Buy Gift Card Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 27th, 2021

Transcript: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Her name is Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and she has had a fascinating career in technology, starting as an analyst in the investment banking group at Merrill Lynch before going west to join a company that ends up getting purchased by Amazon and she stays at Amazon for a while before leaving to join another startup then ends up doing well. She eventually takes a couple of roles at Google, Google Maps, and then running a couple of other projects, Google International Commerce. And from there, ends up launching a couple of more startups, all of which that have done very, very well. She talks about the process of risk-taking and decision-making and why you can’t think about the risk reward calculus in terms of one big win or lose choice. You have to think about a series of smaller incremental steps that all involve risk and eventually determine the path you take. It’s a good framework for both technology and finance. I thought this conversation was quite fascinating and I found her book to be intriguing as well, “Choose Possibility.” With no further ado, my conversation with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. SUKHINDER SINGH CASSIDY, PRESIDENT, STUBHUB: My special guest this week is Sukhinder Singh Cassidy. She is a technology executive and serial entrepreneur. Previously, she was president of StubHub, her new book is “Choose Possibility: Take risks and Thrive (Even When You Fail). Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, welcome to Bloomberg. CASSIDY: Thank you so much for having me. Excited to be here. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about your career which is really so interesting. It covers everything from finance and investing banking to technology. Let’s begin at the beginning. You started at Merrill Lynch in the early ’90s, a great time to start in investment banking. What motivated that decision to go into finance? CASSIDY: Well, a couple of things. Number one, I’d say the most more intelligently reason was because I wanted, sort of a base in financial literacy and financial analysis which I thought would be great for any career I had. And then the more emotional reason, honestly, I was at a top undergraduate business school in Canada and all my friends were doing it. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: I was like, well, if they’re doing it, I should be doing it too. So, in some ways I call it — I call it a couple cat goal. I’m sure there are many ways I could’ve gotten financial literacy but I was bound and determined to keep pace with my rather competitive colleagues to get a job n Wall Street. RITHOLTZ: So, you head to New York, you start at Merrill Lynch. Any formative experiences stay with you years later, what do you most remember from that era? CASSIDY: Well, the first is, honestly, just the struggle to get the job, believe it or not. And I say that to people because often, when you look back on the careers of others, that they’re — they look so pretty from the outside. But from the inside, it took me a good year plus to get that job. I was rejected by a number of banks. Merrill didn’t even come to Canada to recruit. And they offered me one of those polite informational letters which said something like if you’re ever in New York City, we’d be happy to give you 15 — a 15-minute informational interview. And I remember saying to my father, I’m like, well, look at that. They just rejected me and he said, well, why don’t you take a train to get it, down to New York. You’ll never know. And I was at the end of my rope. I’d been searching for jobs for over a year. I said — as I said, determined to get this job and not successful and I took that train ride and 15 minutes turned into a three-hour interview. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CASSIDY: And then they accelerated me to the final process, which is for investment, it’s very competitive. I came down on a weekend and competed with all the sort of Ivy League American kids who had been through rounds of interviews, undoubtedly. And I got the job. So, it was a pretty sweet — it’s a pretty sweet success after a year and a half of trying. But it was very formative for me because it really informed and, I guess, my view of how often you have to choose keep choosing in order to get to the goal you want. RITHOLTZ: Keep banging away. So, what — what did you do for Merrill when you — when you get the job, what was it that they had you do? What were your responsibilities and what was the job like? CASSIDY: Well, and I think this is probably the second formative experience I had at Merrill. So, my role was financial analyst. Anybody who maybe has studied finance know that that’s really a job where you create pitchbooks. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: The books with facts and details about different industries. I was in the financial services industry. And that was the entry (ph) that I was assigned to and you really create those books or what’s called managing directors who go out and pitch large companies on using their services, M&A services, IPO services, what have you. And so, the average analyst is spending, you know, days and nights, often through the night, toiling to create these perfect pitchbooks. So, I certainly had that experience but I ended up working for a pretty eclectic young managing director called Henry Michaels and Henry was, as detailed as they could get, pipe smoking, definitely capable of driving others crazy but he took a really deep and really interest in just teaching me about, believe it or not, the savings and loan industry. And I think he found me to be maybe a rough (ph) student and, I freely admit, after taking a year to get that job, I was bound and determined to be successful at it. So, I would, very inquisitive, very curious. And as a result, Henry kept stuffing me and putting me, I would say on the — on jobs with increasing responsibility. And so, pretty early on, I was going to meetings with CEOs that he would — he would set up and let me attend. Of course, I was carrying the pitchbook, but that didn’t really matter to me, the exposure did. And as a result, I ended up working on an IPO early, the Long Island Savings Bank. Henry kept giving me more and more responsibility. And in my second year, Merrill sent me to London which was unusual as well to send somebody that early and I got to go work on banking in the — in the European banking industry and had just an amazing experience. So, I give Henry Michaels a lot of credit. Henry, definitely, skipped a bunch of layers to teach me and I, as I said, maybe my best contribution was I was a rough (ph) student but the result was that, an experience where I’ve got a lot of exposure very quickly to kind of senior executive. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. I have a specific recollection of the Long Island Savings Bank going IPO in the early, I want to say mid ’90s and eventually … CASSIDY: That was me. I was the analyst. RITHOLTZ: And eventually, it got acquired and then that company got acquired. And in a certain point, you just lose track. But this leads to an obvious question, all of your background is finance related, how did you transition to tech and what made you decide to leave the East Coast and the world of finance for the West Coast which has more of a technology bend? CASSIDY: Well, I — so, ironically, I made my way to the West Coast, not from the East Coast but via London because if you recall, Merrill sent me to London. And when I was in London, I had spent, maybe two years with the bank and its classic length of each program for two years and then they expect you, actually, to move on. So, analyst programs are two years in investment banks. So, I spent two years. They offered me a third and I really want to be, quote-unquote, “in industry.” Now, I had no idea what that meant but I wanted to work for one company. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: And so, I was able to secure a role with the CFO at a company called British Sky Broadcasting, one of the biggest satellite broadcasters in the world. If you recall, this is part of the News Corporation, its kind of empire. And luckily, for me, I parted with my job in finance to a job in finance inside of a company at BSkyB and then I was promoted to working for the CEO and the COO there. So, actually, it’s probably a more dramatic story. I was promoted. I was working on the top floor for the — one of the two top bosses and I’d been there, I’ve been at BSkyB for only a year and I walked into my bosses’ office and I told them I quit. And he was shocked. And I said, two things are true, David. Number one, I have this epic promotion. I sit down the hallway from you, I get — I get lunch every day, I’m on the — I’m on the executive floor, I’m like but you don’t really use me. It’s true. My boss is very used to sort of operating like lone wolf as that as sort of effectively president of the company. And I said, number two, I think I want to head back to North America. I’ve been there for two and a half years and a girlfriend of mine, a very dear friend from Stanford Business School, I had visited her the year early — earlier and I fell in love with the weather in the Bay Area and this kind of sense of entrepreneurship. That’s true. I mean, for a girl who comes from Ontario, Canada, where it gets pretty darn cold, once you visit California, you sort of realize that it’s possible to live in good weather all year long. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: But the other — but the other truth is I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father, loves running some business. I had no idea how. I love the Bay Area for the weather and I sense that it was, that there were a lot of people starting companies. So I quit my job, I went skiing for three months and Whistler, and I moved to the — I moved to California and bought a car, drove up the coast from L.A. to San Francisco. Luckily, those friends of mine, their parents put me up at their very nice house in California until I found the job and I started over. RITHOLTZ: And how did you end up at Junglee? CASSIDY: If you can’t tell already, I was a fairly impatient young woman because, I moved a fair amount in that first six years of my career. I, as I said, I was looking for a job in the Valley. I found, what, unfortunately, the job I found was not nearly as positive experience as I’d hope. As you — as we just talked about, I actually had a really good experience with Merrill. I even had a good experience with BSkyB, if you look at the fact that I got responsibility, I was promoted. And I got to this, I found a startup end in Silicon Valley that was in interactive television which is we somewhat related to what I’ve just got in at Sky, which is a TV industry. And on second day on the job, my boss told me I was scaring the secretaries and I was like, what — what do you mean? RITHOLTZ: What does that mean? CASSIDY: What do you mean? Yes, what do you mean? I’m like I just come from two industries that are highly male dominated, nobody ever told me I was scary. And that began a rapid decline in our relationship. I felt like I wasn’t getting a lot of responsibility. He kept telling me I was the rookie that needed to be coached. And I quit six months later. Actually, fairly deflated, because I was, like, if this is what it means to be in Silicon Valley, I must be this meritocracy. I’m supposed to be having the time of my life. Maybe I’m not meant for this place. Luckily for me, I started thinking about getting another job and a recruiter called and pitched this idea of a company started by four Stanford Ph.Ds. in — who have this very cool technology. I took the interview I didn’t really understand fully the technology but I loved that. They were smart, they were thunderous. And so I switched, and luckily for me, I made the switch, Junglee ended up building a whole engine for shopping, for comparing prices across the Internet and Amazon bought the company six months later and that was the really the start of my career in Silicon Valley. Just a great experience. But following a very poor one. RITHOLTZ: Really — well, everything can’t all be wine and roses. Sometimes, they’re going to miss. Tell us a little bit about what it was like working for Amazon in ’98 and how closely did you work with Bezos back then? CASSIDY: Well, believe it or not, back then, it was a pretty small company. There was about 1,200 people. We were public. So, everybody got exposure to Jeff, myself included. And so, what are some of those early year — those early times like at Amazon? Well, first of all, as I said, everybody was — it was a small enough company that you could sit most of Amazon in one or two buildings, so we made a couple of moves where — we were all in the same building. Number two, we all had to work in the warehouse including like the very top executives at Amazon. Jeff and Rick Dalzell, like everybody had shifts over Christmas. You had no day job. You literally all had shifts in the warehouse which was a pretty amazing cultural feel. And by the way, that included, like overnight shifts. You work taking and packing books and music — books, CDs, and videos. That’s true. Jeff had bought the company because he, believe it or not, in 1998 still had this vision of a day where Amazon show you every product on the Internet whether or not they had it in stocks, so this early vision of marketplace. But Amazon at the time was just building out its own verticals. So, what was sit like? He was really the main champion of this acquisition of buying us for our technology. He used it to start version one of Amazon marketplace which he shut down several years later. So, he’s made many attempts at marketplace before he got the one that worked. And by the way, before the world was ready for it. So, it was pretty — it was a pretty neat look into how sort of visionary he was even early on, of course, not nearly as sort of daunting a presence as he might be now. Just like very accessible, pretty goofy, actually pretty quirky sense of humor. And I got to work with him specifically because I was one of the people selling new merchants, like people like Macy’s and others on the idea of putting their products on the Amazon’s website. So, I got to pitch a few different retailers with Jeff which was really cool (ph). VOICEOVER: ESG, it’s not quite as easy as ABC. Environmental, social, and governance factors now influence more than $20 trillion in assets. We’ll tell you how the ESG movement started and where it’s going on the OUTThinking Investor. A new podcast from PGIM. Listen today. RITHOLTZ: So, I know this is going to be a very fanboy question, but I have to ask because there’s a broader component about understanding or not the future, in the late ’90s, in the early 2000s, did you have any indication that Amazon would become the juggernaut that it became or was — that was early days. Hey, we think we’re going to be successful, we could be a real solid company, like, what was the view like from back then? CASSIDY: The view was not that we were going to become the juggernaut we are today as defined by Amazon’s not just a retailer but it’s like a dominant movie studio. It’s not just a movie studio, it owns a grocer. It’s not just a grocer, but it happens to own the largest infrastructure, backbone of the web called Amazon Web Services and other merchants, like no way was that obviously. As I said, like, literally, the days where we’re selling books, music, and video and launching new categories. And, Jeff, as I said, like, he was impressive but he was also a very accessible, funny, young, like, he’s only a few years older than I am, at best. And so no, I don’t, I mean, all the people that you think of now who’s quite famous, there was no indication. As I said, now, you might and I might say, wow, buying a company in 1998 to launch Amazon marketplace, certainly there were early inklings that he has a vision to sell a lot of stuff. As we say, hey, should I see this company becoming one of the larger retailers, sure? But it’s defined by what Amazon is today, yes, no way to connect it. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. That’s quite fascinating. So, let’s talk about your transition from Amazon to your next venture, you co-founded a startup, tell us a little bit about Yodlee and what made you decide to say, well, this Amazon company is kind of fund, but let me see what I can build on my own. CASSIDY: Well, remember we were chatting about that rather restless and impatient young woman. I don’t think any of that dissolved when I was at Amazon, it was a great experience, by the way, and remember, I had never gone intending to be in Amazon, I had gone to a startup, right, which got buy — bought. And while Amazon was a great company, that’s in Seattle, it was now public and so there is me thinking, gosh, when am I going to get the chance to start my own company and I know many people listening to this podcast would be like, really, you left Amazon to start your own company? Is that a really smart decision? But in some ways, Amazon to me, still at the time, felt very big and I want to get there. So, I’m at Amazon, and remember, many of the founders of Junglee, you know, has made a lot of wealth. They’re certainly mentors of mine. They are even today. And they start angel investing in a number of companies in the valley. And knowing that I have this ambition, I’ve been at Amazon about a year and I get into the — I get a call one weekend that sort of said, hey, there’s this professor from UCSD who’s a computer science professor and he built this really cool technology that goes out of across the web and it gets all your financial information behind all of those sites with passwords and it puts them in one place. You can have an aggregated view of your financial life. And by the way, the technology is not the same as Junglee but it has some analogy. And they’re like, and they’re lucky for a business cofounder. They have all these engineers that they need someday to establish but there’s this model, raise the money. And so I got one of those inbound calls and through that network of angel investors who’s — who were the founders of Junglee. I flew down from Seattle to San Francisco for a weekend. I took one look at the technology and I’m suitably impressed. I was like, wow. You just grabbed all my credit balances and my bank balance and my brokerage balance in one place and gave me this aggregated view. Nobody can do that. It’s pretty revolutionary technology at the time. And they offered me the opportunity, at 29 years old, to become what’s called a cofounder of the company and the first business executive. And I just jumped at the chance. I love the technology, I love the fact that I would be with — they were engineers that this company do, again, very similar to Junglee but now, I was going to get a seat at the table as literally one of the executive team at such a young age and get to raise the money for venture capitalists, make the business plan. So, I said yes. RITHOLTZ: So they were really very early stage. CASSIDY: Yes. Yes, yes. I mean, it was 12 engineers in a room and as I said, I was the — I was effectively the first business leader to be hired at the company. RITHOLTZ: And so, I gave my notice at Amazon maybe a month later and moved right into Junglee and we raised $15 million from venture capitalists within a month of that and we were off to the raises. And thus, began kind of the six-year journey to build what today many would consider the pioneer in really aggregate your financial information. I’m really proud of the fact that Yodlee really did create a whole industry of companies that were able to access financial information using our services and our kind of technology backbone and build many of the financial outfit people use today. So, Yodlee, Yodlee had a 15-year run before it became public and I was there for the first five of those years. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s work our way through this chronology a little bit. You ended up at Junglee which gets acquired by Amazon in ’98. From ’98 to … CASSIDY: Ninety-nine, I’m at Amazon. RITHOLTZ: And then when do you leave ’90 — when do you leave Amazon … CASSIDY: Mid ’99. RITHOLTZ: So you were only — OK. Got you. CASSIDY: Yes. I was there a year, I mean. It was a year. RITHOLTZ: And you stayed — did you stay with Yodlee until they were acquired by Envestnet? CASSIDY: No. I stayed with Yodlee for five years and that time, I had every job under the son. I was predominantly responsible for the executives for not just raising the money, we’ve raised about a 100 million in the time I was there in several rounds of financing but I was — I was just responsible for sales and business development, selling our technology to all the banks and brokerage companies. And so, I stayed until in 2004. I (inaudible) our CEO at 2000 and he wasn’t going anywhere, by the way. So I always say the people tapped out of my own startup, like, literally I’d had every job. I’ve done sales, I’ve done marketing, I’ve done PR. I was our spokesperson, I raised money. And I — an in many ways, I was partnered very closed with the CEO and we had a great relationship. And in 2004, I was like, OK, now, what’s my next horizon? Like I’ve been here five years and I’ve done all of these roles but there’s like the company’s not growing fast enough to give me an entirely new career. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: With set of challenges. And so that, I actually, for the first time, did what I call a more studied search, thinking I might start another company but also thinking that I wanted to find the right idea so I was pondering my next move, presuming I would start a company when I got the opportunity to start a new service at Google which, today we would call Local and Maps. RITHOLTZ: And let’s talk a little bit about Google Maps. It’s funny because it’s so ubiquitous today, we don’t even think twice about the miracle that is Google Maps. But back in the mid-2000s, did anybody have any idea of what a massive technological breakthrough G maps were? I remember playing with early versions of it and just head exploding, What was the thoughts like within Google about Google Maps? CASSIDY: Well, it’s — it’s a couple things. So, first of all, when I got the call, Google originally called me to come join them and I actually said no. And I said, gosh, you guys are also quite big. You’re 1,200 people. Remember in my work frame, Amazon is big at 1,2000 people, so is Google. And I says I’m going to start another company. RITHOLTZ: Hard pass. CASSIDY: I know. So funny. And Google called me back seven months later. They said — you said you wanted a startup opportunity. We have it. We have something greenfield called Maps and we said -they said, Yahoo! has a product called Yahoo! Maps, AOL has what they call MapQuest, Google has no product to help you search locally or find — navigate locally. Either you find goods or services locally or business — and navigate, right? Because Google Local is like search for business, Google Maps is search for a place. In fact, today, they’re very merged. Nobody thinks of them as different. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: And I studied the landscape, I went into interview with Google and within two weeks, I said yes to the job because I was like, holy smokes, the yellow page industry, we have the time with those thick yellow books that everybody got to find places was a $23 billion industry in annual advertising. And I was like surely, if Yahoo! has a product and AOL has a product, Google should have a product and look at all the ad dollars available in those category and look at all the usage, it’s pretty antiquated. RITHOLTZ: Yes. CASSIDY: So, I said yes very quickly. And I do … RITHOLTZ: I have to point out that yellow books are $23 billion in revenue, the obvious answer is but not for long. CASSIDY: But not for long. I mean, look, digital really wiped that business over. By the way, there still yellow pages around the country and … RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: … around the globe but nobody would think of that as a juggernaut industry. So, yes, online really changed and transformed the face of local advertising fundamentally. But I would say I knew it would be big. I mean, that’s what lead me to go in that direction. I say what was unknown about Google service and you appreciate this, even by me, is I was paired with a product manager, I was the business person, meaning I had to go license the data for like, roads and businesses to put underneath inside of that service, right? All that data was not online. I had one product manager, Bret Taylor. Ironically, now the president of Salesforce. He was my — he’s my product manager and we had 10 engineers and the 12 of us build that product (ph) effectively. I did the business DLT, he guided the engineers. So, on one hand, the product could have been pretty straightforward like Yahoo!, AOL. But Google made two innovations that I think people will remember to this day. Number one, believe it or not, just putting the name of the road inside of the road, not on top of the road was one innovation. You’re like, the name of the road is like on the road. And visually, it’s just like a prettier experience and it’s — it’s like the map is less crowded that way. But the second innovation, and this I give a lot of credit to Sergei and Larry, early on, a guy named John Hanke showed Google, once we’ve launched local and maps, this cool technology that had satellite imagery called Keyhole and Larry and Sergei were like, we need to buy that. We’re going to overlay that on Maps. And that was the innovation, right? Overlaying satellite technology on top of maps, like hey, you can’t give me any credit as a business p person for seeing that, that was really product vision. And in that case, led by the founders. I mean, Bret like the product too but from what I recall, Larry and Sergei was really gung-ho on buying the compo and overlaying satellite technology on top of Maps. And that’s an example of sort of one of the things I admired about Google. They didn’t really care about how it would make money, it was just a very cool and differentiated in — it turns out, very useful feature to have Google Earth on top of Google Maps. But with no commercial application, just super cool, at least not then. RITHOLTZ: Well, eventually, right? Eventually. CASSIDY: Yes. But not — but like when we laid over — overlaid it, I was like, ok, I guess that this cool. I’m not going to (inaudible) to anybody but what a — what a great kind of product feature and like kind of great vision. So, those are some of the finer experiences about building Maps and then Local as well. RITHOLTZ: You mentioned the integration of Local with Google Maps. I have a suspicion that a lot of people don’t realize how tightly integrated it actually is. What — I was in pre-pandemic, I was in Paris, and we were looking for a specific restaurant and you just punched restaurant in and Google Maps knows where you are and it just shows you on the Maps, it populates all the restaurants of that type in that area. And it’s absolutely seamless and I’ve showed that the people who are much, much younger than me and they’re like, I didn’t know I could do that with Google Maps. It’s almost like a surprise feature, when really, it’s a core part of Google Maps. It’s on an Easter egg. CASSIDY: Yes. Absolutely. And to be honest, when we started the product local in maps with different things, you could type in to the Search Box, like movie theater near me and you would get literally a listing of results. Today, of course, they’ll show you the results on a Google Map as the preferred way for you to see those results. RITHOLTZ: Right. CASSIDY: I guess you could get a listing if you want but every Google search result has a map embedded and like you, I actually often do all my local searching on Google Maps. I don’t even go to the main Google website. I can, but I just go to, like, Google Maps, and I type in, like restaurants near me, and I get all of them with the reviews and the results. And so, look, very, very, very fun product to have launched into the system (ph). RITHOLTZ: So, what led you to leave Google to start Joyous? CASSIDY: Well, remember, I have one more big chapter at Google that’s probably ironically even bigger than my Local and Maps chapter because I’m — I’m at Google. We’ve launched Local and Maps and what’s happening is people are saying to me, well saying to my boss, he was the cheap business officer at Google, um, hey we have all these products that need us to license data, like we want to have — we want to have a library product, we want to have a solar product, we want to have a shopping product. By the way, we want to have a video product. So, I’ve ended up building a team that is all the licensing for all these other data, types of data that we want to put online. And so, I’m running that team, my team’s gone — I’ve gone from being individ.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 25th, 2021

Transcript: Soraya Darabi

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Soraya Darabi, TMV, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This… Read More The post Transcript: Soraya Darabi appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Soraya Darabi, TMV, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Her name is Soraya Darabi. She is a venture capital and impact investor who has an absolutely fascinating background working for, first with the New York Times Social Media Group then with a startup that eventually gets purchased by OpenTable, and then becoming a venture investor that focuses on women and people of color-led startups which is not merely a way to, quote-unquote, “do good” but it’s a broad area that is wildly underserved by the venture community and therefore is very inefficient. Meaning, there’s a lot of upside in this. You can both do well and do good by investing in these areas. I found this to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also, if you’re at all interested in entrepreneurship, social media startups, deal flow, how funds identify who they want to invest in, what it’s like to actually experience an exit as an entrepreneur, I think you’ll find this to be quite fascinating. So with no further ado, my conversation with TMV’s Soraya Darabi. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. My special guest this week is Soraya Darabi. She is the Co-Founder and General Partner of TMV, a venture capital firm that has had a number of that exits despite being relatively young, 65 percent of TMV’s startups are led by women or people of color. Previously, she was the cofounder of Foodspotting, an app named App of the Year by Apple and Wire that was eventually purchased by OpenTable. Soraya Darabi, welcome to Bloomberg. SORAYA DARABI; GENERAL PARTNER & FOUNDER; TMV: My goodness, Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: I’ve been looking forward to this conversation since our previous discussion. We were on a Zoom call with a number of people discussing blockchain and crypto when it was really quite fascinating and I thought you had such an unusual and interesting background, I thought you would make a perfect guest for the show. Let’s start with your Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at the “New York Times” when social media was really just ramping up. Tell us about what that was like. Tell us what you did in the late aughts at The Times. DARABI: Absolutely. I was fresh faced out of a university. I had recently graduated with mostly a journalism concentration from Georgetown and did a small stint in Condé Nast right around the time they acquired Reddit for what will soon be nothing because Reddit’s expecting to IPO at around 15 billion. And that experience at Reddit really offered me a deep understanding of convergence, what was happening to digital media properties as they partnered for the first time when nascent but scaling social media platforms. And so the “New York Times” generously offered me a role that was originally called manager of buzz marketing. I think that’s what they called social media in 2006 and then that eventually evolved into manager of digital partnerships and social media which, in essence, meant that we were aiming to be the first media property in the world to partner with companies that are household names today but back in the they were fairly unbalanced to Facebook and Twitters, of course, but also platforms that really took off for a while and then plateaued potentially. The Tumblers of the world. And it was responsibility to understand how we could effectively generate an understanding of the burgeoning demographics of this platform and how we could potentially bring income into The Times for working with them, but more importantly have a journalist that could authentically represent themselves on new media. And so, that was a really wonderful role to have directly out of University and then introduce me to folks with whom I still work today. DARABI: That’s quite interesting. So when you’re looking at a lot of these companies, you mentioned Facebook and Twitter and Tumbler, how do you know if something’s going to be a Facebook or a MySpace, so Twitter or a Tumbler, what’s going to survive or not, when you’re cutting deals with these companies on behalf of The Times, are you thinking in terms of hey, who’s going to stick around, wasn’t that much earlier that the dot-com implosion took place prior to you starting with The Times? DARABI: It’s true, although I don’t remember the dot-com implosion. So, maybe that naivete helped because all I had was enthusiasm, unbridled enthusiasm for these new companies and I operated then and now still with a beta approach to business. Testing out new platforms and trying to track the data, what’s scaling, what velocity is this platform scaling and can we hitch a ride on the rochet ship if they will so allow. But a lot of our partnerships then and now, as an investor, are predicated upon relationships. And so, as most, I think terrific investors that I listen to, who I listen to in your show, at least, will talk to you about the importance of believing and the founder and the founder’s vision and that was the case back then and remains the case today. RITHOLTZ: So, when you were at The Times, your tenure there very much overlapped the great financial crisis. You’re looking at social media, how did that manifest the world of social media when it looked like the world of finance was imploding at that time? DARABI: Well, it was a very interesting time. I remember having, quite literally, 30-second meetings with Sorkin as he would run upstairs to my floor, in the eighth floor, to talk about a deal book app that we wanted to launch and then he’d ran back down to his desk to do much more important work, I think, and — between the financial crisis to the world. So, 30-second meetings aside, it was considered to be, in some ways, a great awakening for the Web 2.0 era as the economy was bottoming out, like a recession, it also offered a really interesting opportunity for entrepreneurs, many of whom had just been laid off or we’re looking at this as a sizeable moment to begin to work on a side hustle or a life pursuit. And so, there’s — it’s unsettling, of course, any recession or any great awakening, but lemonade-lemons, when the opening door closing, there was a — there was a true opportunity as well for social media founders, founders focusing on convergence in any industry, really, many of which are predicated in New York. But again, tinkering on an idea that could ultimately become quite powerful because if you’re in the earliest stage of the riskiest asset class, big venture, there’s always going to be seed funding for a great founder with a great idea. And so, I think some of the smartest people I’d ever met in my life, I met at the onset of the aftermath of that particular era in time. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned side hustle. Let’s talk a little bit about Foodspotting which is described as a visual geolocal guide to dishes instead of restaurants which sounds appealing to me. And it was named App of the Year by both Apple and Wired. How do you go from working at a giant organization like The Times to a startup with you and a cofounder and a handful of other coders working with you? DARABI: Well, five to six nights a week after my day job at the “New York Times,” I would go to networking events with technologists and entrepreneurs after hours. I saw that a priority to be able to partner from the earliest infancy with interesting companies for that media entity. I need to at least know who these founders were in New York and Silicon Valley. And so, without a true agenda other than keen curiosity to learn what this business were all about, I would go to New York tech meetup which Scott Heiferman of meetup.com who’s now in charge LP in my fund would create. And back then, the New York Tech Meetup was fewer than 40 people. I believe it’s been the tens of thousands now. RITHOLTZ: Wow, that’s … DARABI: In New York City alone. And so, it was there that I met some really brilliant people. And in particular, a gentleman my age who’s building a cloud-computing company that was essentially arbitraging AWS to repopulate consumer-facing cloud data services for enterprises, B2B2C play. And we all thought it would be Dropbox. The company ultimately wasn’t, but I will tell you the people with whom I worked with that startup because I left the “New York Times” to join that startup, to this day remain some of the most successful people in Silicon Valley and Alley. And actually, one of those persons is a partner at our firm now, Darshan. He was the cofounder of that particular company which is called drop.io. but I stayed there very quickly. I was there for about six months. But at that startup, I observed how a young person my age could build a business, raise VC, he was the son of a VC and so he was exceptionally attuned to the changing landscape of venture and how to position the company so that it would be attractive to the RREs of the world and then the DFJs. And I … RITHOLTZ: Define those for us. RREs and BFJs. DARABI: Sorry. Still, today, very relevant and very successful venture capital firms. And in particular, they were backing a lot of the most interesting ideas in Web 2.0 era when I joined this particular startup in 2010. Well, that startup was acquired by Facebook and I often say, no, thanks to me. But the mafia that left that particular startup continues to this day to coinvest with one another and help one another’s ideas to exceed. And it was there that I began to build the confidence, I think, that I really needed to explore my own entrepreneurial ideas or to help accelerate ideas. And Foodspotting was a company that I was advising while at that particular startup, that was really taking off. This was in the early days of when Instagram was still in beta and we observed that the most commonly posted photos on Instagram were of food. And so, by following that lead, we basically built an app as well that activity that continues to take place every single day. I still see food photos on Twitter every time I open up my stream. And decided to match that with an algorithm that showed folks wherever they were in the world, say in Greece, that might want spanakopita or if I’m in Japan, Okinawa, we help people to discover not just the Michelin-rated restaurants or the most popular local hunt in New York but rather what’s the dish that they should be ordering. And then the app was extremely good was populating beautiful photos of that particular dish and then mirroring them with accredited reviews from the Zagats of the world but also popular celebrity shots like Marcus Samuelsson in New York. And that’s why we took off because it was a cult-beloved app of its time back when there were only three geolocation apps in the iTunes apparently store. It was we and Twitter and Foursquare. So, there was a first-mover advantage. Looking back in hindsight, I think we sold that company too soon. OpenTable bought the business. A year and a half later, Priceline bought OpenTable. Both were generous liquidity events for the founders that enabled us to become angel investors. But sometimes I wish that that app still existed today because I could see it being still incredibly handy in my day-to-day life. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. So did you have to raise money for Foodspotting or did you just bootstrapped it and how did that experience compare with what that exit was like? DARABI: We did. We raised from tremendous investors like Aydin Senkut of Felicis Ventures whom I think of as being one of the best angel investors of the world. He was on the board. But we didn’t raise that much capital before the business is ultimately sold and what I learned in some of those early conversations, I would say, that may have ultimately led to LOIs and term sheets was that so much of M&As about wining and dining and as a young person, particularly for me, you and I discussed before the show, Barry, we’re both from New York, I’m not from a business-oriented family to say the least. My mom’s an academic, my father was a cab driver in New York City. And so, there are certain elements of this game, raising venture and ultimately trying to exit your company, that you don’t learn from a business book. And I think navigating that as a young person was complicated if I had to speak economically. RITHOLTZ: Quite fascinating. What is purposeful change? DARABI: Well, the world purpose, I suppose, especially in the VC game could come across as somewhat of a cliché. But we try to be as specific as possible when we allude to the impact that our investment could potentially make. And so, specifically, we invest in five verticals at our early stage New York City-based venture fund. We invest in what we call the care economy, just companies making all forms of care, elder care to pet care to health care, more accessible and equitable. We invest in financial inclusion. So this is a spin on fintech. These are companies enabling wealth creation, education, and most importantly literacy for all, that I think is really important to democratization of finance. We invest in the future of work which are companies creating better outcomes for workers and employees alike. We invest in the future of work which are companies creating better outcomes for workers and employers alike. We invest in purpose as it pertains to transportation. So, not immediately intuitive but companies creating transparency and efficiency around global supply chain and mobility. I’m going to talk about why we pick that category in a bit. And sustainability. So, tech-enabled sustainable solutions. These are companies optimizing for sustainability from process to product. With these five verticals combined, we have a subspecies which is that diverse founders and diverse employee bases and diverse cap table. It is not charity, it’s simply good for business. And so, in addition to being hyper specific about the impact in which we invest, we also make it a priority and a mandate at our firm to invest in the way the world truly look. And when we say that on our website, we link to census data. And so, we invest in man and women equally. We invest in diverse founders, almost all of the time. And we track this with data and precious to make sure that our investments reflect not just one zip code in California but rather America at large. RITHOLTZ: And you have described this as non-obvious founders. Tell us a little bit about that phrase. DARABI: Well, not obvious is a term you hear a lot when you go out to Silicon Valley. And I don’t know, I think it was coined by a well-known early PayPal employee turned billionaire turned investor who actually have a conference centered around non-obvious ideas. And I love the phrase. I love thinking about investment PC that are contrary because we have a contrary point of view, contrarian point of view, you often have outlier results because if you’re right, you’re taking the risk and your capturing the reward. When you’re investing in non-obvious founders, it should be that is the exact same outcome. And so, it almost sort of befuddled me as a person with a hard to pronounce name in Silicon Valley, why it was that we’re an industry that prides itself on investing in innovation and groundbreaking ideas and the next frontier of X, Y, and Z and yet all of those founders in which we were investing, collectively, tended to kind of look the same. They were coming from the same schools and the same types of families. And so, to me, there was nothing innovative at all about backing that Wharton, PSB, HBS guy who is second or third-generation finance. And what really excites me about venture is capturing a moment in time that’s young but also the energy is palpable around not only the idea in which the founder is building but the categories of which they’re tackling and that sounded big. I’ll be a little bit more speficic. And so, at TMV, we tried to see things before they’re even coming around the bend. For instance, we were early investors in a company called Cityblock Health which is offering best in class health care specifically for low income Americans. So they focus on the most vulnerable population which are underserved with health care and they’re offering them best in class health care access at affordable pricing because it’s predominantly covered through a payer relationship. And this company is so powerful to us for three reasons because it’s not simply offering health care to the elite. It’s democratizing access to care which I think is absolutely necessary in term out for success of any kind. We thought this was profoundly interesting because the population which they serve is also incredibly diverse. And so when you look at that investment over, say, a comparable company, I won’t name names, that offers for-profit health care, out-of-pocket, you can see why this is an opportunity that excites us as impact investors but we don’t see the diversity of the team it’s impact. We actually see that as their unfair advantage because they are accessing a population authentically that others might ignore. RITHOLTZ: Let me see if I understand this correctly. When you talk about non-obvious find — founders and spaces like this, what I’m hearing from you is you’re looking at areas where the market has been very inefficient with how it allocates capital … DARABI: Yes. RITHOLTZ: … that these areas are just overlooked and ignored, hey, if you want to go on to silicon valley and compete with everybody else and pay up for what looks like the same old startup, maybe it will successful and maybe it won’t, that’s hypercompetitive and hyper efficient, these are areas that are just overlooked and there is — this is more than just do-goodery for lack of a better word. There are genuine economic opportunities here with lots of potential upside. DARABI: Absolutely. So, my business partner and I, she and I found each other 20 years ago as undergrads at Georgetown but we went in to business after she was successful and being one of the only women in the world to take a shipping business public with her family, and we got together and we said we have a really unique access, she and I. And the first SPV that we collaborated on back in 2016 was a young business at the time, started by two women, that was focused on medical apparel predominantly for nurses. Now it’s nurses and doctors. And they were offering a solution to make medical apparel, so scrubs, more comfortable and more fashionable for nurses. I happen to have nurses and doctors in my family so doing due diligence for this business is relatively simple. I called my aunt who’s a nurse practitioner, a nurse her life, and she said, absolutely. When you’re working in a uniform at the hospital, you want something comfortable with extra pockets that makes you look and feel good. The VCs that they spoke to at the time, and they’ve been very public about this, in the beginning, anyway, were less excited because they correlated this particular business for the fashion company. But if you look back at our original memo which I saved, it says, FIGS, now public on the New York Stock Exchange is a utility business. It’s a uniform company that can verticalize beyond just medical apparel. And so, we helped value that company at 15 million back in 2016. And this year, in 2021, they went public at a $7 billion market cap. RITHOLTZ: Wow. DARABI: And so, what is particularly exciting for us going back to that conversation on non-obvious founders is that particular business, FIGS, was the first company in history to have two female co-founders go public. And when we think of success at TMV, we don’t just think about financial success and IRR and cash on cash return for our LPs, of course we think about that. But we also think who are we cheerleading and with whom do we want to go into business. I went to the story on the other side of the fence that we want to help and we measure non-obvious not just based on gender or race because I think that’s a little too precise in some ways. Sometimes, for us non-obvious, is around geography, I would say. I’m calling you from Athens, as you know, and in Greece, yesterday, I got together with a fund manager. I’m lucky enough to be an LP in her fund and she was talking about the average size of a seed round in Silicon Valley these days, hovering around 30 million. And I was scratching my head because at our fund, TMV, we don’t see that. We’re investing in Baltimore, Maryland, and in Austin, Texas and the average price for us to invest in the seed round is closer to 5 million or 6 million. And so, we actually can capture larger ownership of the pie early on and then develop a very close-knit relationship with these founders but might not be as networked in the Valley where there’s 30 VC funds to everyone that exist in Austin, Texas. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And so, yes, I think you’re right to say that it’s about inefficiencies in market but also just around — about being persistent and looking where others are not. RITHOLTZ: That’s quite intriguing. Your team is female-led. You have a portfolio of companies that’s about 65 percent women and people of color. Tell us how you go about finding these non-obvious startups? DARABI: It’s a good question. TMV celebrates its five-year anniversary this year. So the way we go about funding companies now is a bit different than the way we began five years ago. Now, it’s systematic. We collectively, as a partnership, there are many of us take over 50 calls a month with Tier 1 venture capital firms that have known us for a while like the work that we do, believe in our value-add because the partnership comprised of four more operators. So, we really roll up our sleeves to help. And when you’ve invested at this firms, enough time, they will write to you and say I found a company that’s a little too early for us, for XYZ reason, but it resonates and I think it might be for you. So we found some of our best deals that way. But other times, we found our deal flow through building our own communities. And so, when I first started visit as an EM, an emerging manager of a VC firm. And roughly 30 percent of LP capital goes to EM each year but that’s sort of an outsized percentage because when you think about the w-fix-solve (ph) addition capital, taking 1.3 billion of that pie, then you recognize the definition of emerging manager might need to change a bit. So, when I was starting as an EM, I recognize that the landscape wasn’t necessarily leveled. If you weren’t, what’s called the spinout, somebody that has spent a few years at a traditional established blue-chip firm, then it’s harder to develop and cultivate relationships with institutional LPs who will give you a shot even though the data absolutely points to there being a real opportunity in capturing lightning in a bottle if you find a right EM with the right idea in the right market conditions which is certainly what we’re in right now. And so, I decided to start a network specifically tailored around helping women fund managers, connecting one another and it began as a WhatsApp group and a weekly Google Meet that has now blown into something that requires a lot of dedicated time. And so we’re hiring an executive director for this group. They’re called Transact Global, 250 women ex-fund managers globally, from Hong Kong, to Luxembourg, to Venezuela, Canada, Nigeria, you name it. There are women fund managers in our group and we have one of the most active deal flow channels in the world. And so two of our TMV deals over the last year, a fintech combatting student debt and helping young Americans save for retirement at the same time, as an example, came from this WhatsApp deal flow channel. So, I think creating the community, being the change, so to speak, has been incredibly effective for us a proprietary deal flow mechanism. And then last but not least, I think that having some sort of media presence really has helped. And so, I’ve hosted a podcast and I’ve worked on building up what I think to be a fairly organic Twitter following over the years and we surprise ourselves by getting some really exceptional founders cold pitching us on LinkedIn and on Twitter because we make ourselves available as next gen EMs. So, that’s a sort of long-winded answer to your question. But it’s not the traditional means by any means. RITHOLTZ: To say the least. Are you — the companies you’re investing in, are they — and I’ll try and keep this simple for people who are not all that well-versed in the world of venture, is it seed stage, is it the A round, the B round? How far into their growth process do you put money in? DARABI: So it is a predominantly seed fund. We call our investments core investments. So, these are checks that average, 1 and 1.5 million. So for about 1.25 million, on average, we’re capturing 10-15% of a cap payable. And in this area, that’s called a seed round. It will probably be called a Series A 10 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And then we follow on through the Series A and it max around, I think, our pro rata at the B. So, our goal via Series B is to have, on average, 10% by the cap. And then we give ourselves a little bit of wiggle room with our modeling. We take mars and moonshot investments with smaller checks so we call these initial interest checks. And initial interest means I’m interested but your idea is still audacious, they won’t prove itself out for three or four years or to be very honest, we weren’t the first to get into this cap or you’re picking Sequoia over us, so we understand but let’s see if we can just promise you a bit of value add to edge our way into your business. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And oftentimes, when you speak as a former founder yourself with a high level of compassion and you promise with integrity that you’re going to work very hard for that company, they will increase the size of their round and they will carve out space for you. And so, we do those types of investments rarely, 10 times, in any given portfolio. But what’s interesting in looking back at some of our outliers from found one, it came from those initial interest checks. So that’s our model in a nutshell. We’re pretty transparent about it. What we like about this model is that it doesn’t make us tigers, we’re off the board by the B, so we’re still owning enough of the cap table to be a meaningful presence in the founder’s lives and in their business and it allows us to feel like we’re not spraying and praying. RITHOLTZ: Spraying and praying is an amusing term but I’m kind of intrigued by the fact that we use to call it smart money but you’re really describing it as value-added capital when a founder takes money from TMV, they’re getting more than just a check, they’re getting the involvement from entrepreneurs who have been through the process from startup to capital raise to exit, tell us a li bit about how that works its way into the deals you end up doing, who you look at, and what the sort of deal flow you see is like. DARABI: Well, years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a world-class advertiser and I was at his incredibly fancy office down in Wall Street, his ad agency. And he described to me with pride how he basically bartered his marketing services for one percent of a unicorn. And he was sort of showing off of it about how, from very little time and effort, a few months, he walked away with a relatively large portion of a business. And I thought, yes, that’s clever. But for the founder, they gave up too much of their business too soon. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And I came up with an idea that I floated by Marina back in the day where our original for TMV Fund I began with the slide marketing as the future of venture and venture is the future of marketing. Meaning, it’s a VC fund where the position itself more like an ad agency but rather than charging for its services, it’s go-to-market services. You offer them free of charge but then you were paid in equity and you could quantify the value that you were offering to these businesses. And back then, people laughed us even though all around New York City, ad agencies were really doing incredible work and benefiting from the startups in that ecosystem. And so, we sort of changed the positioning a bit. And now, we say to our LPs and to our founders, your both clients of our firm. So, we do think of ourselves as an agency. But one set of our marketplace, you have LPs and what they want is crystal clear. The value that they derive from us is through a community and connectivity and co-investment and that’s it. It’s pretty kind of dry. Call me up once a year where you have an exceptional opportunity. Let me invest alongside you. Invite me to dinners four times a year, give me some information and a point of view that I can’t get elsewhere. Thank you for your time. And I love that. It’s a great relationship to have with incredibly smart people. It’s cut and dry but it’s so different. What founders want is something more like family. They want a VC on their board that they can turn to during critical moments. Two a.m. on a Saturday is not an uncommon time for me to get a text message from a founder saying what do I do. So what they want is more like 24/7 services for a period of time. And they want to know when that relationship should start and finish. So it’s sort of the Montessori approach to venture. We’re going to tell them what we’re going to tell them. Tell them what they’re telling them. Tell them what we told them. We say to founders with a reverse pitch deck. So we pitch them as they’re pitching us. Here’s what we promise to deliver for you for the first — each of the 24 months of your infancy and then we promise you we’ll mostly get lost. You can come back to use when your business is growing if you want to do it tender and we’ll operate an SPV for you for you or if you simply want advice, we’re never going to ignore you but our specialty, our black belt, if you will, Barry, is in those first 24 months of your business, that go-to-market. And so, we staffed up TMV to include, well, it’s punching above our weight but the cofounder of an exceptionally successful consumer marketing business, a gross marketer, a recruiter who helps one of our portfolio companies hire 40 of their earliest employees. We have a PR woman. You’ve met Viyash (ph), she’s exceptional with whom, I don’t know, how we would function sometimes because she’s constantly writing and re-editing press releases for the founders with which we work. And then Anna, our copywriter who came from IAC and Sean, our creative director, used to be the design director for Rolling Stone, and I can go on and on. So, some firms called us a platform team but we call it the go-to-market team. And then we promise a set number of hours for ever company that we invest into. RITHOLTZ: That’s … DARABI: And then the results — go ahead. RITHOLTZ: No, that’s just — I’m completely fascinated by that. But I have to ask maybe this is an obvious question or maybe it’s not, so you — you sound very much like a non-traditional venture capital firm. DARABI: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Who are your limited partners, who are your clients, and what motivates them to be involved with TMV because it sounds so different than what has been a pretty standard model in the world of venture, one that’s been tremendous successful for the top-tier firms? DARABI: Our LP set is crafted with intention. And so, 50% of our investors are institutional. This concludes institutional-sized family offices and family offices in a multibillions. We work with three major banks, Fortune 500 banks. We work with a couple of corporate Fortune 500 as investors or LPs and a couple of fund to funds. So that’s really run of the mill. But 50 percent of our investors and that’s why I’m in Athens today are family offices, global family offices, that I think are reinventing with ventures like, to look like in the future because wealth has never been greater globally. There’s a trillion dollars of assets that are passing to the hands of one generation to the next and what’s super interesting to me, as a woman, is that historically, a lot of that asset transferred was from father to son, but actually, for the first time in history, over 50 percent, so 51% of those asset inheritors are actually women. And so, as my business partner could tell because she herself is a next gen, in prior generations, women were encouraged to go into the philanthropic or nonprofit side of the family business … RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And the sons were expected to take over the business or the family office and all of that is completely turned around in the last 10 years. And so, my anchor investor is actually a young woman. She’s under the age of 35. There’s a little bit of our firm that’s in the rocks because we’re not playing by the same rules that the establishment has played by. But certainly, we’re posturing ourselves to be able to grow in to a blue-chip firm which is why we want to maintain that balance, so 50 percent institutional and 50 percent, I would call it bespoke capital. And so, the LPs that are bespoke, we work at an Australian family office and Venezuelan family office and the Chilean family office and the Mexican family office and so on. For those family offices, we come to them, we invite them to events in New York City, we give them personalized introductions to our founders and we get on the phone with them. Whenever they’d like, we host Zooms. We call them the future of everything series. They can learn from us. And we get to know them as human beings and I think that there’s a reason why two thirds of our Fund I LPs converted over into Fund II because they like that level of access, it’s what the modern LP is really looking for. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about some of the areas that you find intriguing. What sectors are really capturing your attention these days? What are you most excited about? DARABI: Well, Barry, I’m most excited about five categories for which we’ve been investing for quite some time, but they’re really being accelerated due to the 2020 pandemic and a looming recession. And so, we’re particularly fascinated by not just health care investing as has been called in the past but rather the care economy. I’m not a huge fan of the term femtech, it always sounds like fembot to me. But care as it pertains to women alone is a multitrillion dollar opportunity. And so, when we think of the care economy, we think of health care, pet care, elder care, community care, personal care as it pertains to young people, old people, men, women, children, we bifurcate and we look for interesting opportunities that don’t exist because they’ve been undercapitalized, undervalued for so long. Case in point, we were early investors Kindbody, a reproductive health care company focused on women who want to preserve their fertility because if you look at 2010 census data, you can see that the data has been there for some time that women, in particular, were delaying marriage and childbirth and there are a lot of world-famous economists who will tell you this, the global population will decline because we’re aging and we’re not necessarily having as many children as we would have in the past plus it’s expensive. And so, we saw that as investors as a really interesting opportunity and jumped on the chance to ask Gina Bartasi who’s incredible when she came to us with a way to make fertility preservation plus expenses. So she followed the B2C playbook and she started with the mobile clinic that helps women freeze their eggs extensively. That company has gone on to raise hundreds — pardon me — and that company is now valued in the hundreds of million and for us, it was as simple as following our intuition as women fund managers, we know what our peers are thinking about because we talk to them all the time and I think the fact that we’re bringing a new perspective to venture means that we’re also bringing a new perspective to what has previously been called femtech. We invest in financial inclusion. Everyone in the world that’s investing fintech, the self-directed financial mobile apps are always going to be capitalized especially in a post Robin Hood era but we’re specifically interested in the democratization of access to financial information and we’re specifically interested in student debt and alleviating student debt in America because not only is it going to be one of the greatest challenges our generation will have to overcome, but it’s also prohibiting us from living out the American dream, $1.7 trillion of student debt in America that needs to be alleviated. And then we’re interested in the future of work, and long have been, that certainly was very much accelerated during the pandemic but we’ve been investing in the 1099 and remote work for quite some time. And so, really proud to have been the first check into a company called Bravely which is an HR chatbot that helps employees inside of a company chat a anonymously with HR representatives outside of that company, that’s 1099. That issue is like DEI, an inclusion and upward mobility and culture setting and what to do when you’re all of a sudden working for home. So that’s an example of a future of work business. And then in the tech-enabled sustainable solutions category, it’s a mouthful, let’s call that sustainability, we are proud to have been early investors of a company called Ridwell, out of Seattle Washington, focused on not just private — privatized recycling but upcycling and reconnaissance. Where are our things going when we recycle them? For me, it always been a pretty big question. And so, Ridwell allows you to re and upcycle things that are hard to get rid of out of your home like children’s eyeglasses and paints and battery, single-use plastic. And it shows you where those things are going which I think is super cool and there’s good reason why it has one of the highest NPS scores, Net Promoter Scores, of any company I’ve ever worked with. People are craving this kind of modern solution. And last but not least, we invest in transportation and part because of the unfair advantage my partner, Marina, brings to TMV as she comes from a maritime family. And so, we can pile it, transportation technology, within her own ecosystem. That’s pretty great. But also, because we’re just fascinated by the fact that 90 percent of the world commodities move on ship and the biggest contributor to emissions in the world outside of corporate is coming from transportation. SO, if we can sort of figure out this industry, we can solve a lot of the problems that our generation are inheriting. Now, these categories might sound massive and we do consider ourselves a generalist firm but we stick to five-course sectors that we truly believe in and we give ourselves room to kick out a sector or to add a new one with any given new fund. For the most part, we haven’t needed to because this remain the categories that are not only most appealing to us as investors but I think paramount to our generation. RITHOLTZ: That’s really intriguing. Give us an example of moonshot or what you called earlier, a Mars shot technology or a company that can really be a gamechanger but may not pay off for quite a while. DARABI: We’ve just backed a company that is focusing on food science. Gosh, I can’t give away too much because they haven’t truly launched in the U.S. But maybe I’ll kind of allude to it. They use crushed produce, like, crush potato skins to make plastic but biodegrades. And so, it’s a Mars shot because it’s a materials business and it’s a food science business rolled off into both the CPG business and an enterprise business. This particular material can wrap itself around industrial pellets. Even though it’s audacious, it’s not really a Mars shot when you think about the way the world is headed. Everybody wants to figure out how do we consume less plastic and recycle plastic better. And so, if there are new materials out there that will not only disintegrate but also, in some ways, feed the environment, it will be a no-brainer and then if you add to the equation the fact that it could be maybe not less expensive but of comparable pricing to the alternative, I can’t think of a company in the world that wouldn’t switch to this solution. RITHOLTZ: Right. So this is plastic that you don’t throw away. You just toss in the garden and it becomes compost? DARABI: Yes, exactly. Exactly. It should help your garden grow. So, yes, so that’s what I would call a Mars shot in some ways. But in other ways, it’s just common sense, right? RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about your investment vehicles. You guys run, I want to make sure I get this right, two funds and three vehicles, is that right? DARABI: We have two funds. They’re both considered micro funds because they’re both under 100 million and then we operate in parallel for SPVs that are relatively evergreen and they serve as opportunistic investments to continue to double down on our winners. RITHOLTZ: SPV is special purpose investment … DARABI: Vehicles. Yes. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And the PE world, they’re called sidecars. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. So how do these gets structured? Does everything look very similar when you have a fund? How quickly do you deploy the capital and typically how long you locked for or investors locked up for? DARABI: Well investors are usually in private equity are VC funds locked up for 10 years. That’s not usual. We have shown liquidity faster, certainly, for Fund I. It’s well in the black and it’s only five years old less, four and a half years old. So, how do we make money? We charge standard fees, 2 on 20 is the rubric of it, we operate by. And then lesser fees for sidecars or direct investments. So that’s kind of how we stay on business. When you think about an emerging manager starting their first fund, management fees are certainly not so we can live a lavish rock and roll life on a $10 million fund with a two percent management fee, we’re talking about 200K for the entire business to operate. RITHOLTZ: Wow. DARABI: So Marina and I, not only anchored our first fund with their own capital but we didn’t pay ourselves for four years. It’s not glamorous. I mean, there’s some friends of mine that thing the venture capital life is glam and it is if you’re on Sand Hill Road. But if you’re an EM, it’s a lot more like a startup where you’re burning the midnight oil, you are bartering favors with your friends, and you are begging the smartest people you know to take a chance on you to invite you on to their cap table. But it somehow works out because we do put in that extra effort, I think, the metrics, certainly for Fund I have shown us that we’re in this for the long haul now. RITHOLTZ: So your fund 1 and Fund 2, are there any plans of launching Fund III? DARABI: Yes. I think that given the proof points between Fund I and Fund II and a conversation that my partner and I recently had, five years out, are we in this? Do we love this? We do. OK. This is our life’s work. So you can see larger and more demonstrable sized funds but not in an outsized way, not just because we can raise more capital now but because we want to build out a partnership and the kind of culture that we always dreamed of working for back when we were employees, so we have a very diverse set of colleagues with whom we couldn’t operate and we’ll be adding to the partnership in the next two or three years which is really exciting to say. So, yes, the TMV will be around for a while. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. I want to ask you the question I ask any venture capitalist that I interview. Tell us about your best and worst investments and what did you pass on that perhaps you wish you didn’t? DARABI: Gosh. The FOMO list is so long and so embarrassing. Let me start with what I passed on that I regret. Well, I don’t know she really would have invited me to invest, but certainly, I had a wonderful conversation a peer from high school, Katrina Lake, when she was in beta mode for Stitch Fix. I think she was still at HBS at the time or had just recently graduated from Harvard. When Katrina and I had coffee in Minneapolis were we went to high school and she was telling me about the Netflix for clothing that she was building and certainly I regret not really picking up on the clues that she was offering in that conversation. Stitch Fix had an incredible IPO and I’m a proud shareholder today. And similarly, when my friend for starting Cloudflare which luckily they did bring me in to pre-IPO and I’m grateful for that, but when they were starting Cloudflare, I really should have jumped on that moment or when my buddy Ryan Graves whom I still chat with pretty frequently was starting out Uber in beta with Travis and Garrett, that’s another opportunity that I definitely missed. I was in Ireland when the Series A term sheet assigned. So there’s such a long laundry list of namedropped, namedropped, missed, missed, missed. But in terms of what I’m proud of, I’d say far more. I don’t like Sophie’s Choice. I don’t like to cherry pick the certain investments to just brag about them. But we’ve talked about someone to call today, I’d rather kind of shine a light — look at my track record, right? There’s a large realized IRR that I’m very proud of. But more on the opportunity of the companies that we more recently backed that prevent damages (ph) of CRM for oncology patient that help them navigate through the most strenuous time of their life. And by doing so, get better access to health care. And we get to wrote that check a couple of months ago. But already, it’s becoming a company that I couldn’t be more excited about because if they execute the way I think Shirley and Victor will, that has the power to help so many people in a profound way, not just in the Silicon Valley cliché way of this could change the world but this could actually help people receive better care. So, yes, I’m proud of having been an early investor in the Caspers of the world. Certainly, we’re all getting better sleep. There’s no shame there. But I’m really excited now today at investing in financial inclusion in the care economy and so on. RITHOLTZ: And let’s talk a little bit about impactful companies. Is there any different when you’re making a seed stage investment in a potentially impactful company versus traditional startup investing? DARABI: Well, pre-seed and seed investing isn’t a science and it’s certainly not a science that anyone has perfected. There are people who are incredibly good at it because they have a combination of luck and access. But if you’re a disciplined investor in any asset class and I talk to my friends who run hedge funds and work for hedge funds about 10 bets that they take a day and I think that’s a lot trickier than what I do because our do due diligence process, on average, takes an entire quarter of the year. We’re not making that many investments each year. So even though it sounds sort of fruity, when you look at a Y Combinator Demo Day, Y Comb is the biggest accelerator in Silicon Valley and they produce over 300 companies, three or four times a year. When you look at the outsized valuations coming out of Y Comb, it’s easy to think that starting company is as simple as sort of downloading a company in a Box Excel and running with it. But from where we sit, we’re scorching the earth for really compelling ideas in areas that have yet to converge and we’re looking for businesses that may have never pitched the VC before. Maybe they’re not even seeking capital. Maybe it’s a company that isn’t so interested in raising a penny eventually because they don’t need to. They’re profitable from day one. Those are the companies that we find most exciting because as former operators, we know how to appeal to them and then we also know how to work with them. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting. Before I get to my favorite question, let me just throw you’re a curveball, tell me a little bit about Business Schooled, the podcast you hosted for quite a while. DARABI: So, Synchrony, Sync, came to me a few years ago with a very compelling and exciting opportunity to host a podcast with them that allowed me a fortunate opportunity to travel the country and I went to just under a dozen cities to meet with founders who have persevered past their startup phase. And what I loved about the concept of business school is that the cities that I hosted were really focused on founders who didn’t have access to VC capital, they put money on credit card. So I took SBA loans or asked friends and family to give them starter capital and then they made their business work through trying times and when you pass the five-year mark for any business, I’m passing it right now for TMV, there’s a moment of reflection where you can say, wow, I did it. it’s incredibly difficult to be a startup founder, more than 60 percent of companies fail and probably for good reason. And so, yes, I hosted business school, Seasons 2 and 3 and potentially there will be more seasons and I’m very proud of the fact that at one point we cracked the top 20 business podcasts and people seem to be really entertained through these conversations with insightful founders who are vulnerable with me about what it was like to build their business and I like to think they were vulnerable because I have a good amount of compassion for the experience of being founder and also because I’m a New Yorker and I just like to talk. RITHOLTZ: You’re also a founder so there’s going to be some empathy that’s genuine. You went through what they’re going through. DARABI: Exactly. Exactly. And so, what you do, Barry, is quite similar. You’re — you host an exceptionally successful business podcast and you’re also an allocator. You know that it’s interesting to do both because I think that being an investor is a lot like being a journalist. In both professions, you won’t succeed unless you are constantly curious and if you are having conversations to listen more than you speak. DARABI: Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret since it’s so late in the podcast and fewer people will be hearing this, the people I invite on the show are essentially just conversations I want to have. If other people come along and listen, that’s fantastic. But honestly, it’s for an audience of one, namely me, the reason I wanted to have you on is because I’m intrigued by the world of venture and alternatives and impact. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people have been somewhat disappointed in the results of ESG investing and impact investing that for — it’s captured a lot more mindshare than it has captured capital although we’re seeing signs that’s starting to shift. But then the real question becomes, all right, so I’m investing less in oil companies and more in other companies that just happen to consume fossil fuels, what’s the genuine impact of my ESG investing? It feels like it’s sort of de minimis whereas what you do really feels like it has a major impact for people who are interested in having their capital make a positive difference. DARABI: Thank you for saying that. And I will return the compliment by saying that I really enjoyed getting to know you on our one key economist Zoom and I think that you’re right. I think that ESG investing, certainly in the public markets has had diminished returns historically because the definition has been so bizarre and so all over the place. RITHOLTZ: Right. DARABI: And I read incredible books from people like Antony Bugg-Levine who helps coin the term the Rockefeller Foundation, who originally coined the term you read about, mortgage, IRR and IRS plus measurement and it’s so hard to have just standardization of what it means to be an impact investor and so it can be bothered but we bother. Rather, we kind of come up with our own subjective point of view of the world and we say what does impact mean to us? Certainly, it means not investing in sin stocks but then those sin stocks have to begin somewhere, has to begin with an idea that somebody had once upon a time. And so, whether we are investing in the way the world should look from our perspective. And with that in mind, it doesn’t have to be impact by your grandpa’s VC, it can be impact from modern generation but simply things that behave differently. Some folks with their dollars. People often say, well, my ESG portfolio is underperforming. But then if you dig in to the specifics, are you investing in Tesla? It’s not a pretty good year. Did you back Beyond Meat? Had a great year. And so, when you kind of redefine the public market not by a sleeve and a bank’s version of a portfolio, but rather by company that you think are making demonstrable change in the world, then you can walk away, realizing had I only invested in these companies that are purpose driven, I would have had outsized returns and that’s what we’re trying to deliver on at TMV. That’s the promise. RITHOLTZ: Really, really very, very intriguing. I know I only have you for a few minutes so let’s jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of our guests starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days. Give us your favorite, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or any podcast that are keeping you entertained during the pandemic. DARABI: Well, my family has been binging on 100 Foot Wave on HBO Max which is the story of big wave surfer Garrett McNamara who is constantly surfing the world’s largest waves and I’m fascinated by people who have a mission that’s sort of bigger than success or fame but they’re driven by something and part of that something is curiosity and part of it is insanity. And so not only is it visually stunning to kind of watch these big wave surfers in Portugal, but it’s also a mind trip. What motivates them to get out of bed every day and potentially risk their lives doing something so dangerous and so bananas but also at the same time so brave and heroic. So, highly recommend. I am listening to too many podcasts. I listen to, I don’t know, a stream of things. I’m a Kara Swisher fan, Ezra Klein fan, so they’re both part of the “New York Times” these days. And of course, your podcast, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Well, thank you so much. Well, thank you so much. Let’s talk a little bit about who your early mentors were and who helped shape you career? DARABI: It’s going to sound ungrateful but I don’t think, in like a post lean in definition of the word, I ever truly had a mentor or a sponsor. Now, having said that, I’ve had people who really looked at for me and been incredibly gracious with their time and capital. And so, I would absolutely like to acknowledge that first and foremost. I think about how generous Adam Grant has been with his time and his investments for TMV in Fund I and Fund II and he’s a best-selling author and worked on highest-rated business school professor. So shout out to Adam, if he’s listening or Beth Comstock, the former Vice Chair of GE who has been instrumental in my career for about a decade and a half now. And she is also really leaning in to the TMV portfolio and has become a patient of Parsley Health, an early investment of ours and also an official adviser to the business. So, people like Adam and Beth certainly come to mind. But I don’t know, I just — I’m not sure mentors really exist outside of corporate America anymore and part of the reason why we started Transact Global is to kind of foster the concept of the peer mentor, people who are going through the same thing as you at the same time and allowing that hive mentality with an abundance mentality to catalyze people to kind of go further and faster. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about some of your favorite books and what you might reading right now. DARABI: OK, so in the biz book world, because I know your listeners as craving, I’m a big fan of “Negotiation Genius.” I took a crash course with one of the authors, Max Bazerman at the Kennedy School and it was illuminating. I mean, he’s one of the most captivating professors I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing lecture and this book has really helped me understand the concept of the ZOPA, the Zone of Possible Agreement, and how to really negotiate well. And then for Adam whom I just referenced, of all of his incredible books, my favorite is Give and Take because I try to operate with that approach of business. Give more than you take and maybe in the short term, you’ll feel depleted but in the long term, karma pays off. But mostly, Barry, I read fiction. I think the most interesting people in the world or at least the most entertaining at dinner parties are all avoid readers of fiction and history. So I recently reread, for instance, all of my favorite short stories from college, from Dostoyevsky’s “A Gentle Creature” to “Drown” Junot Diaz. “Passing” by Nella Larsen, “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” by Fitzgerald. Those are some of my very favorite stories of all time. And my retirement dream is to write a book of short stories. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite intriguing. Are they all available in a single collection or these just, going back to your favorites and just plowing through them for fun? DARABI: Those are just going back to my favorites. I try to re-read “Passing” every few years which is somehow seems to be more and more relevant as I get older and Junot Diaz has become so incredibly famous when I first read “Drown” about 20 years ago which is an original collection of short stories that broadened my perspective of why it’s important to think about a broader definition of America, I guess. And, yes, no, that’s just — that was just sort of off the top of my head as the offering of a few stories that I really love, no collection. RITHOLTZ: That’s a good collection. And we’re down to our final two questions. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who was interested in a career in either venture capital or entrepreneurship? DARABI: Venture capital or entrepreneurship. Well, I would say, learn as early as possible how to trust your gut. So, this could mean a myriad of things. As an entrepreneur, it could mean under the halo effect of an institution, university or high school or maybe having a comfortable day job, tinker with ideas, get feedback on that idea, don’t be afraid of looking or sounding dumb and build that peer network that I described. People who are rooting you on and are also insatiably curious about wonky things. And I would say that for venture capital, similar play on the same theme, but whether it’s putting small amounts of money into new concept, blockchain investing, or whether it’s meeting with entrepreneurs and saying maybe I only have $3,000 save up but I believe in you enough to bet amongst friends in Brooklyn on your concept if you’ll have me as an investor. So, play with your own money because what it’s really teaching you in return is how to follow instincts and to base pattern recognition off your own judgement. And if you do that early on, overtime, these all become datapoints that you can point to and these are lessons that you can glean while not taking the risk of portfolio management. So, I guess the real advice to your listeners is more action, please. RITHOLTZ: Really very, very intriguing. And our final question, what do you know about the world of venture investing today that you wish you knew 15 or 20 years ago when you first getting started? DARABI: Twenty years ago, I was a bit of a Pollyanna and I thought every wonderful idea that simply is built by smart people and has timed the market correctly will work out. And I will say that I’m slightly more jaded today because of the capital structure that is systematically allowing the biggest firms in the world to kind of eat up a generous portion of, let’s call it the LP pie, which leaves less capital available to the young upstart VC firms, and of course I’m biased because I run one, that are taking outsized risks on those non-obvious ideas that we referenced. And so, what I wish for the future is that institutional capital kind of reprioritizes what it’s looking for. And in addition to having a bottom line of reliable and demonstrable return on any given investment, there are new standards put into play saying we want to make sure that a portion of our portfolio goes to diverse managers. Because in turn, we recognize that they are three times more likely to invest in diverse founders or we believe in impact investing can be broader than the ESG definitely of a decade ago, so we’re coming up with our own way to measure on sustainability or what impact means to us. And if they go through those exercises which I know is hard because, certainly, I’m not trying to add work to anyone’s plate, I do think that the results will more than make up for it. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. Thank you, Soraya, for being so generous with your time. We have been speaking with Soraya Darabi who is the Co-Founder and General Partner at TMV Investments. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of the prior 376 conversations we’ve had before. You can find those at iTunes or Spotify, wherever you buy your favorite podcast. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps me put these conversations together each week. Tim Harrow is my audio engineer. Paris Walt (ph) is my producer. Atika Valbrun is our project manager, Michael Batnick is my head of research. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~     The post Transcript: Soraya Darabi appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 20th, 2021

Sensata (ST) Pursues Inorganic Growth to Expand Portfolio

The buyouts will enable Sensata (ST) to gain additional mileage within the fast-growing end markets for clean energy solutions and offer a comprehensive bouquet of products to customers. In order to unlock new business opportunities and generate a steady revenue stream, Sensata Technologies Holding plc ST is actively pursuing an inorganic growth strategy. The buyouts will enable the company to gain additional mileage within the fast-growing end markets for clean energy solutions and offer a comprehensive bouquet of products for electrification and replacement of combustible applications. The acquisitions are also likely to help realize synergistic benefits in various industrial applications.The company recently inked an agreement to acquire Spear Power Systems. Based in Grandview, MO, Spear Power Systems has made a name for itself with market-leading lithium ion battery storage systems for land, sea, and air applications since its inception in 2013. These cell-agnostic storage solutions offered proprietary battery management and monitoring capabilities along with innovative features like reliability, high energy density, and modular architecture.The buyout of this lithium ion battery storage systems manufacturer will enable Sensata to expand on the market leverage gained through the earlier acquisition of Denmark-based startup Lithium Balance and widen its scope of work in the electrification and battery management systems market.Earlier this year, Sensata completed the acquisition of Xirgo Technologies Intermediate Holdings, LLC — a leading telematics and data insight provider — for $400 million. Since 2006, Xirgo has provided innovative wireless IoT communication devices for a wide range of applications across multiple markets. Its annual revenues are expected to exceed $100 million in 2021, with estimated revenue growth of more than 20% over the next several years.The buyout of Xirgo’s high-growth business significantly accelerates Sensata’s Smart & Connected initiative. It reinforces Sensata’s position as a data insight provider across transportation and logistics end markets. The acquisition brings complementary capabilities and boosts its strategy to expand beyond original equipment manufacturers and address the broader fleet ecosystem. Sensata’s total addressable market for its Smart & Connected product offerings is expected to more than double to $15 billion by 2030.Known as the pioneer in mission-critical solutions, Sensata has a diversified portfolio of personalized and unique sensor-rich applications from automotive braking systems to aircraft flight controls that are utilized ubiquitously. These sensors are specifically designed to address complex engineering and operating performance requirements that help customers solve significant challenges in industrial, heavy vehicle, off-road, and aerospace industries.Sensata also has a rich portfolio of high-voltage protection and battery management systems. The joint venture with Churod Electronics has further expanded its electrical protection capabilities for mass-market applications. Sensata’s sensing solutions business has a strong product portfolio and greater scale to capitalize on attractive opportunities in the multi-billion global automotive sensor market. Moreover, the company believes that its evolving portfolio and accretive customer base serve as the cornerstone for its long-term growth across a diverse set of markets.  Being a leading provider of mission-critical solutions, Sensata benefits from cost-effective operations. The company offers a streamlined set of products, which helps in eliminating redundant costs and gives greater pricing flexibility. It invests in cutting-edge technology that enables the hybrid and electric vehicles to be more efficient, cost effective, robust, and safe. The company is expanding its electrification ecosystem to facilitate the seamless transition to electric vehicles as it aims to be a leading provider of mission-critical sensor-rich hardware and software solutions.Such opportune acquisitions are likely to help Sensata better compete with other industry players such as Allied Motion Technologies, Inc. AMOT, Transcat, Inc. TRNS, and Watts Water Technologies, Inc. WTS. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Sensata Technologies Holding N.V. (ST): Free Stock Analysis Report Watts Water Technologies, Inc. (WTS): Free Stock Analysis Report Transcat, Inc. (TRNS): Free Stock Analysis Report Allied Motion Technologies, Inc. (AMOT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 15th, 2021

Hewlett Packard"s (HPE) GreenLake Deployed by Japan-Based CARDNET

Hewlett Packard's (HPE) GreenLake selected by Japan's leading credit card payment network operator - CARDNET - to support mission-critical settlement services and process increased transaction volume. Hewlett Packard Enterprise HPE recently announced that the Japan-based credit card payment services provider, CARDNET, selected its edge-to-cloud platform, GreenLake, to support the growing digital payment and settlement services in the country.Per the agreement, HPE’s GreenLake will enhance the payment firm’s performance, capacity and availability to address market volatility. This, in turn, will accelerate uptake of online payments. HPE will deliver the payment system collaborating with Tokyo’s TIC Inc.Based on a pay-per-use model, CARDNET will be modernizing its settlement platform by utilizing HPE’s Superdome Flex server for in-memory processing and mission-critical capabilities. Further, CARDNET will be leveraging HPE XP8 Storage for high-performance storage.CARDNET is one of the leading credit card network and processing services in Japan. It offers unhindered purchasing experiences to the credit card holders. It acts as an intermediary between the financial companies, merchants and credit card companies, promoting cashless transactions.With GreenLake’s fast and efficient hybrid cloud services, CARDNET will be able to better manage critical settlement services with agility and scalability. CARDNET aims to process large volumes of credit card transactions through the platform.The edge-to-cloud platform offers customers better visibility into resource utilization across co-located and public cloud-based workloads. The services ensure administration of applications and data. HPE GreenLake Platform added more than 90 new customers in the last quarter, taking the total customer count to 1000.HPE has recently signed multiple agreements with enterprises outside the United States for its GreenLake brand’s offerings. During the second quarter, the platform-as-a-service company reported that 70% of its total revenues came from outside the United States.Earlier this week, Ireland-based global airports and travel retail group, daa, selected HPE’s GreenLake to power its mission-critical operational services amid the pandemic induced turmoil.Last month, South Korea-based SK Inc. C&C selected GreenLake to transform an internal virtual desktop infrastructure system into a new cloud service. Prior to that, HPE signed a $2-billion contract with the National Security Agency to deliver high performance computing technology services through GreenLake.Previously in August, HPE collaborated with the largest Australian container terminal operator, Patrick Terminals, to power the sea operator’s IT infrastructure through GreenLake.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderHPE currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Square SQ, Avnet AVT and Salesforce CRM, all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The long-term earnings growth rate for Square, Avnet and Salesforce is currently pegged at 31.4, 25.4% and 16.8%, respectively. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report salesforce.com, inc. (CRM): Free Stock Analysis Report Avnet, Inc. (AVT): Free Stock Analysis Report Square, Inc. (SQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (HPE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 8th, 2021

How a health startup founder who raised $40 million plans to transform healthcare access in the US

RubiconMD founder Carlos Reines is using his background in tech to provide more accurate care to patients around the world and reduce waiting lists. Carlos Reines is the president and co-founder of RubiconMD. Rubicon Health startup RubiconMD is revolutionizing the complex and costly healthcare model in the US. The platform allows primary care physicians to consult with specialists to improve patient care. RubiconMD serves over 10 million Americans and has raised $40 million since it was founded in 2013. See more stories on Insider's business page. Carlos Reines is the president and co-founder of RubiconMD.As well as revolutionizing healthcare in the US, the founder raised more than $40 million since the start-up's inception in 2013. Reines has been interested in healthcare since he was a child, but instead of going into medicine, he opted for telecommunications engineering - Reines says this was because he thought tech would be a better way to make a difference in improving people's access to healthcare. He studied at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain, and obtained a specialization in Biomedical Engineering at the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. He started his career in digital health at Siemens Medical in Pennsylvania and prior to RubiconMD, he managed a division at Telefónica. Reines told Insider he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and has an MBA from Harvard, which was the starting point for RubiconMD.Reines got involved in all the events with startups during the master's degree and at one such event, he met the man who would become his partner in founding RubiconMD. "What we do in the US works very well because we connect primary care with the specialist so that they do a remote consultation." BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images Gil Addo is also passionate about trying to improve access to healthcare in the United States. "We hit on the idea of collaborating together and so we got started in one weekend," said Reines. They both won a competition for best pitch, which encouraged them to pursue the idea and they ended up registering the company. While all his fellow master's students were looking for a place in a big company that summer, Reines decided to bet everything on RubiconMD and turn it into his own project. "I went to New York and we set up the company that summer and made a small pilot," he explained. RubiconMD is a platform that connects primary care doctors with specialists so that they can consult with patients to avoid unnecessary referrals and make more accurate diagnoses. The pilot, in which Reines had to work almost manually on a consultation-by-consultation basis, yielded information from more than 200 consultations. Reines says the US healthcare system is very unequal: "Half the country may not have access to a specialist." Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images "It allowed us to understand the system from the inside, what things needed to be optimized," explains Reines. The feedback was decisive: the primary care doctor who took part in the pilot confirmed that in the last two months using the platform he had had more interaction with other doctors than in the last 10 years. RubiconMD improved the quality of care that primary care physicians can provide to patients who might not otherwise be able to access a specialist or would end up making an emergency room visit. From there, the founders sought funding and Reines combined the second year of his master's degree - turning down an offer to help him with the project on the condition that he leave the master's.What little savings the engineer did have had gone into his MBA. He even slept on his partner's sofa. "It was a tough time, but at the same time super nice because we took a leap of faith and it was all working out," he said. In the first year, the startup raised $1.5 million, mostly through angel investors and some funds and medical groups.Why the US system needed RubiconMD "The healthcare system in the US is a very complex system," Reines said. "It's the most expensive system in the world and they don't do any better than countries that spend half as much." "The main problem is that it is a very unequal system," he says. "Half the country may not have access to a specialist.""What we do in the US works very well because we connect primary care with the specialist so that they do a remote consultation. The specialist reviews your question and shares some impressions and recommendations about how they normally treat these types of cases and with that input the family doctor makes a more informed decision about diagnosis and treatment for their patients," he said.Reines says that 80% of the time, this results in a very significant improvement in the patient's care plan and almost half of the time avoids what would have been an unnecessary referral to a specialist, "thereby offloading the system and reducing unnecessary costs." The platform has already served 10 million patientsRubiconMD is now present in nearly 40 states across the country and has hired employees in each of them. Thousands of doctors already use the platform and the number of patients under the care of these doctors has "already exceeded 10 million," the entrepreneur said. Who are RubiconMD's customers? "Well, mainly the most innovative medical groups," says Reines. The country is experiencing a boom in companies that are transforming primary care, and Reines says that "most of them are already customers". "We have found a niche in clinics that have an incentive to improve quality and reduce total cost, rather than a pay-for-service," he said. RubiconMD also works with companies that have an in-office clinic, including "some of the largest technology companies on the West Coast,"as well as assembly-line factories and factories in rural areas. Rubicon is extending better healthcare to more remote areas, too. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters On the other hand, RubiconMD is also used by a number of clinics known in the US as safety-net clinics, where people with the most basic insurance (which doesn't cover specialist costs or even papers) can be seen. For Reines, this is the best illustration of the startup's philosophy and mission."Maybe the patient in a practice is an executive in a technology company, who might have access to the specialist in another way. But, at the same time, you are also seeing the patient who has no insurance, or no papers, who works part-time and can't make time to go to the doctor. They would never be able to go to see the kind of top-notch specialist that we are bringing in". "Our mission as a company is to democratize access to healthcare," he said. For now, however, RubiconMD has its hands full with the USUnited States, although one of its short-term priorities is to continue hiring Spanish talent to expand the subsidiary in Spain. "In terms of service, what we have done is to go deeper into certain specialties and some types of conditions. For example, mental health," said Reines."Primary care can help a lot to solve patients' mental health problems, which are also closely linked to their physical health," he added. Rubicon works with a number of NGOs that send doctors to treat families on the ground, to avoid separating them at all costs. John Moore/Getty Images "We created a service that basically allows primary care doctors to manage patients with mental health issues much better, with remote support from a psychiatrist," said Reines. "The platform has a database of each patient, which allows them to follow their progress and a question and answer session can be organized." Reines said that they plan to do the same with chronic diseases.As for going international, though RubiconMD is focused on the US market, the startup carries out impact and non-profit projects in areas where there's a greater need. "For example, on the US-Mexico border there are refugee camps for people who have fled violence in their country and are waiting to cross into the United States," Reines said. When a child gets sick, they can be treated in the US, but it's naturally a difficult decision for the parents as they don't know when they'll see them again. RubiconMD works with a number of NGOs that send doctors to treat families on the ground, to avoid separating them at all costs. They do similar work at a children's malnutrition clinic in Haiti, another for underprivileged patients in the Dominican Republic, and a series of clinics in Nigeria.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

A space tourism company wants to build a rocket-less capsule to send passengers into the stratosphere for only $50,000 - meet World View

World View, a company that designs and manufactures stratospheric balloons, is entering the space tourism and exploration market with its rocket-less spacecraft. World View Explorer World View Space tourism startup World View is building a rocket-less vessel to shuttle passengers to the stratosphere. The first journey is expected to launch in 2023 and will cost participants just $50,000. The capsule will operate out of spaceports built at ancient wonders, like the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. See more stories on Insider's business page. The era of space tourism has begun, and it isn't cheap. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic charges passengers $250,000 for a seat, but an Arizona-based company wants to offer the journey for just $50,000. World View Explorer World View Virgin Galactic just flew billionaire founder Richard Branson and 3 crewmembers to the edge of spaceSource: World View World View, a company that designs and manufactures stratospheric balloons, is entering the space tourism and exploration market with its rocket-less spacecraft. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The futuristic-looking vessel, known as the World View Explorer, will glide passengers 100,000 feet into the stratosphere on a 6-12 hour journey, more than doubling Virgin Galactic's 2-3 hour flight time. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The company's first mission is expected to launch in 2023 from Spaceport Grand Canyon, which has yet to be built. Currently, World View launches its stratospheric balloons from its spaceport in Tuscon, Arizona. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The explorer is powered by a natural resource instead of traditional jet fuel and will ascend using a giant balloon. The capsule is designed to slowly lift passengers at 10-12 miles per hour, so they will not experience G-force or turbulence. World View Explorer World View Source: World View World View plans to land the vessel using a parasail, which can be deployed in the stratosphere and allow for a smooth descent. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The spacecraft will be fully autonomous with pre-determined trajectories, ensuring participants will take off and land at the spaceport and not in the ocean or an unpredicted site. World View Explorer World View Source: World View World View plans to have launch sites all around the globe, specifically at locations that will connect participants to the Earth and give them unique views of the planet and its curvature. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The company has created a "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World Stratospheric Edition" list to build spaceports at, like the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Wall of China, the Serengeti, and the Amazon Rain Forest. World View Explorer World View Source: World View According to World View President and CEO Ryan Hartman, he wants people to see things like the animal migrations in the Serengeti or the aurora lights from the edge of space. "It has to be something of wonder, it has to be something where people can connect to the Earth," Hartman told Insider. World View Explorer World View Source: World View Hartman explained the sites also have to be in a place the capsules can fly for around 100 days out of the year. He further said he wants the spaceports to contribute to the local economy, like creating new jobs. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The company plans to have 28 spacecraft throughout the system to fly four flights a day at each of the seven sites. The vessels can also be used for special celestial events, like viewing the solar eclipse, though they would be launched from the best viewing location on Earth and not necessarily at a wonder. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The experience will cost participants $50,000 and the pre-sale begins October 4, though the company said financing plans are available. Hartman explained he wants space tourism to be affordable and accessible to people, so offering financing was important. World View Explorer World View Source: World View Compared to competitors, $50,000 is cheap, and Hartman said the company is able to offer the low price point because the natural resource used to power the spacecraft is less expensive than jet fuel and the vessel itself does not use rockets. World View Explorer World View Source: World View World View is focused on the customer experience and said the vessel will be nice, but not over-the-top luxurious. However, the company plans to offer tour packages at each wonder that includes high-end excursions, like snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef or dining in Las Vegas. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The explorer can carry eight passengers and two crew members. While the spacecraft is autonomous, one operator will be on board to ensure everything is working correctly, while the second crew member will take care of the customers, like serving food and drinks. World View Explorer World View Source: World View Hartman said the capsule will be a "comfortable bubble" and include a lavatory, bar, and lie-flat seats where passengers can look up at the stars or down at the Earth through a porthole in the bottom of the vessel. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The experience is designed to be a "short-sleeve environment," meaning no spacesuit will be required and the pressurization and temperature will be controlled, similar to flying on an airliner. World View Explorer World View Source: World View Interesting technologies will also be on board, like a high-bandwidth data link so people can FaceTime will family or friends on the ground and show what they're experiencing. World View Explorer World View Source: World View There will also be a camera so people can zoom into areas on the ground and see it up close on the monitors at their seats, as well as an old-fashioned telescope so they can look at constellations without light pollution. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The company expects to have a prototype of the explorer in four to five months and will begin test flights by mid-2022. The capsule is a clean-sheet design, but is the next generation of a previous version that completed three test flights. World View Explorer World View Source: World View The goal of World View's space missions is to "turn space tourism into Earth activism" by allowing people to see our planet from a new perspective. The company said it hopes the journey will inspire people to appreciate Earth and want to protect it. World View Explorer World View Source: World View Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

American Eagle (AEO) Gains From Brand Strength Amid Cost Woes

Despite higher costs, American Eagle (AEO) is likely to continue gaining from online demand and solid growth in the Aerie brand. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. AEO looks well-positioned on the back of brand strength, robust product portfolio and enhanced customer experience. Continued momentum in the Aerie brand, solid online show, and its Real Power, Real Growth value-creation plan also bode well. It remains focused on inventory management, real-estate optimization efforts and supply-chain investments.This led to strong growth in key metrics on a two-year basis in second-quarter fiscal 2021. Notably, net sales increased 19%, with store sales growth of 4% from second-quarter fiscal 2019, owing to improved store traffic. Higher revenues and robust merchandise margins across brands contributed to the gross margin, which, in turn, resulted in better-than-expected earnings for the fifth straight quarter.Driven by these factors, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 38.1% year to date compared with the industry’s growth of 5.3%. In the past 30 days, the company’s estimates for fiscal 2021 earnings per share have moved up 2.8%. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Let’s Delve DeeperAmerican Eagle’s Aerie brand has been serving as a major growth driver for quite some time now. The brand’s sales rose 34% to $336 million for Aerie in second-quarter fiscal 2021, marking the 27th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. This is mainly attributable to strong demand, higher full-price sales, and strength in core intimate, bralettes, apparel and swimwear. On a two-year basis, Aerie surged 80% in the reported quarter. Aerie's signature for legs than leggings and its OFFLINE activewear brand have also been performing well.The company launched its first digital clothing line on Bitmoji in the said quarter. Going ahead, management remains on track to reach the next brand milestone of $2 billion in sales, out of which it has already achieved $1 billion in revenues.The company has been witnessing persistent strong digital demand. As a result, its digital revenues surged 66% in second-quarter fiscal 2021 on a two-year basis, driven by customer acquisition of more than 2 million. This represents 35% of total revenues, up from 25% contribution in second-quarter fiscal 2019.The company’s mobile app also delivered revenues, which more than doubled year over year in the fiscal second quarter. Management relaunched its loyalty program and has been receiving positive customer responses. Its newly acquired logistics startup AirTerra, which offers same-day services, is likely to help achieve digital sales, accounting for half of its revenues in the long term.Hurdles on the PathThe company has been witnessing increasing SG&A trends mainly due to store reopening, higher advertising and performance-based incentive compensation. This led to SG&A expenses rising 31.4% year over year in second-quarter fiscal 2021. Dependency on third-party manufacturers and possible import disruptions also remain concerning.Bottom LineWe believe that American Eagle is likely to keep up the momentum on the back of strength in Aerie’s brand, solid online show and value-creation plan. Also, a VGM Score of A raises optimism in the stock.Better-Ranked Stocks in the Retail SpaceAbercrombie & Fitch ANF presently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). It has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 18%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Children’s Place PLCE has a long-term expected earnings growth rate of 8% and it currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1.Foot Locker FL, a Zacks Rank #1 stock at present, has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 4%. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Abercrombie & Fitch Company (ANF): Get Free Report American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO): Get Free Report Foot Locker, Inc. (FL): Get Free Report The Childrens Place, Inc. (PLCE): Get Free Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 30th, 2021

Radiologist"s Cary startup raises $1 million to harness power of artificial intelligence

A Cary-based artificial intelligence startup cofounded by a radiologist has closed its first million-dollar round. CoRead AI Inc. closed on more than $1 million in equity financing on Sept. 10 from three investors. In an interview, co-founder Lawrence Ngo, a radiologist by training and an associate adjunct at the Duke University School of Medicine, summarizes the mission – to improve patient care. Radiologists use medical imaging – from CT scans (computerized tomography) to MRIs (magnetic resonance….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsSep 29th, 2021