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We compared Samsung's Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10+ to determine which phone you should buy

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 16:51

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  • The latest flagship Samsung Galaxy smartphones come in two distinct models: the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S10+.
  • Though nearly identical, these two smartphones have enough differences that you'll want to make note of them before deciding which to buy.
  • We break down the differences between the two phones to help you decide which one is right for you.
  • You can't really go wrong with either one, so your budget will be the biggest determining factor (unless you're a selfie addict).

The past few Samsung Galaxy phone launches have been decidedly iterative, but Samsung turned up the innovation for 2019's Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+.

Samsung introduced some exciting new technology and design elements in both devices. The most exciting of the changes are a phone that's all screen (no notch and barely-there bezels along the edges), an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, wireless power sharing, and a slew of cameras.

On the surface, size is the most obvious differentiating factor between the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+, but there are other important considerations to keep in mind when deciding which one is right for you.

Whether those differences are worth a $100 price gap is something that'll ultimately be up to you to decide, but we're here to give you the details you need to figure that out.

Specs compared

Aesthetically, the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ are mostly cut from the same cloth. Both sport a form factor that works tirelessly to eliminate bezels and maximize screen space. It's a simple glass design that you can't mistake for anything other than an ultra-premium smartphone. 

There's no huge difference when it comes to size. The sharp 6.1-inch AMOLED screen on the standard S10 is just shy of the 6.4-inch screen on the Galaxy S10+. Both sport a 19:9 aspect ratio, so the devices are similarly comfortable to hold and use. Those with smaller hands might prefer the Galaxy S10 due to its narrowness, but the difference isn't so big that it should deter you from the larger model.

Naturally, the Galaxy S10+ (175g) is a hair heavier than the smaller version (157g). If you opt for the premium ceramic-backed model, the weight climbs a considerable amount to 198g. None of these phones will weigh you down like bricks, but those who hold the phone for reading and gaming may want to consider the lighter options.

One other peculiar design difference on the front comes through the front-facing selfie cameras. The Galaxy S10 has one sensor as opposed to the pair on the Galaxy S10+. Functional differences aside (we'll talk more about those ahead), this discrepancy means that the small black space on the screen where the camera sits is double the width on the more expensive option. 

The differences are nonexistent on the rear. There's one long, horizontal plate for all the rear-facing sensors and lights to live on, and then it's just a Samsung logo atop a sea of whichever color you fancy.

A simple user experience

Samsung smartphones haven't been the easiest to use over the years, but the company has worked tirelessly to fix that. The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ launched with Android 9 Pie as standard, and its fresh new One UI user experience sits on top.

One UI makes nearly every aspect of the Galaxy phone more pleasant, easy to use, and customizable. Its trademark characteristics include a flat, clean design language, simplified access to device settings and customization, and much smoother performance overall. You won't find any differences between the two smartphones in that regard except for the specific settings related to that secondary front-facing camera on the Samsung Galaxy S10+. 

Beyond that, each phone has the same overall software experience, including Samsung's annoying habit to duplicate functionality. It's entirely possible to set these devices up without using a Samsung account, however, and it's easy enough to disable all the extra apps Samsung likes to throw in.

Samsung also decided to let you choose whether the Bixby button summons Samsung's (arguably not so great) personal assistant, Bixby, or the much more popular and helpful Google Assistant.

What's different?

The Samsung Galaxy S10 and S10+ have a lot of similarities, but there are a couple of differences worth noting. The additional camera on the front of the S10+ is the biggest, with it enabling more comprehensive depth information for portrait mode selfies that have artfully blurred backgrounds. 

This second camera helps the smartphone more accurately separate the foreground from the background of your shots, enabling more natural background blur and bringing improvements to a wealth of special effects. Otherwise, the two main sensors are identical. The lone shooter on the front of the base model simulates these effects well enough that we wouldn't consider the Galaxy S10+ a must-have, but you should go with it if you're serious about your selfies. 

The bigger body of the Galaxy S10+ also means you get a bigger battery. It's a substantial difference at 3,400mAh on the original compared to 4,100mAh on the outstretched model. This is an amount that can account for several hours of additional battery life, so those with longer days should give it a serious look. 

One last thing to note: There is a model of the Galaxy S10+ that has a ceramic build, 12GB of RAM, and 1TB of internal storage. There is no such option for the base model. We consider this particular model to be unnecessary for most typical users.

The standard 8GB of RAM and a minimum of 128GB of storage (and the option of expanding that by up to 2TB with a microSD card) gives you more than enough room for a smooth Android experience. Nonetheless, it is an option if you just have to have the biggest and best available.

The bottom line

There isn't much separating the Galaxy S10 and S10+ on paper. There's a $100 difference between each model, and you must decide for yourself if the advantages gained are worth that premium.

We'd say the Galaxy S10 is enough for most people, but if you simply prefer large-screen phones, your selfie game needs an upgrade, or you just can't do without the most premium option available to you, go with the S10+.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S10 for $899.99 on Amazon or from Samsung Buy the Samsung Galaxy S10+ for $989 on Amazon or from Samsung

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Categories: English

'Men in Black: International' has the worst opening ever for the franchise with just $28.5 million

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 16:23

  • Sony's "Men in Black: International" scored the lowest opening weekend in the franchise's history with an estimated $28.5 million.
  • It's the third-straight weekend that a sequel had a poor opening at the domestic box office.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Studios are learning this summer that audiences have no time for their tired franchises.

This weekend it's Sony that's taking the lumps as "Men in Black: International," the first "MIB" movie in seven years, opened with a franchise-low $28.5 million at the domestic box office.

The first "Men in Black" in 1997 previously had the lowest opening with $51 million, but back then that was really good. In fact, if you count inflation, that would be a $100 million opening today.

The $28.5 million performance, though number one at the domestic box office for the weekend, is below Sony's $30 million opening weekend projection, which most felt was a little too ambitious seeing how the weekend was shaping out.

The movie's Thursday preview screenings (even starting them at 4 p.m.) only brought in $3.1 million. On Friday, the movie only brought in $10.4 million on over 4,200 screens. The movie had a global total over the weekend of $102.2 million.

Read more: Insiders were shocked when DC Universe's "Swamp Thing" was suddenly canceled despite a huge investment in the series and rave reviews

Sony thought it had built some padding around the relaunch of the franchise with its $110 million budget, less than half the budget of "Men in Black 3" in 2012. But even the fun tandem of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson playing the agents didn't grab audiences or critics. The movie had a franchise-low 24% Rotten Tomatoes score.

If a sequel failing at the box office sounds like a familiar story this summer, that's because it's on its way to becoming a trend.

This marks the third straight weekend where a sequel has crashed at the domestic box office. First, Warner Bros.' "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," underperformed. Then last weekend Disney/Fox's "Dark Phoenix" was an epic fail for the X-Men franchise, taking in only $32.8 million. The first ever in the 20-year franchise not to have at least a $50 million opening. And now "Men in Black: International" is added to the list.

Thankfully Disney/Pixar will be hitting the multiplex next weekend with the anticipated "Toy Story 4."


SEE ALSO: Even after "Avengers: Endgame," this year's box office is down thanks to a bleak summer full of stale sequels

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: If Godzilla existed in real life, he wouldn't be able to stand up

Categories: English

The top 9 shows on Netflix and other streaming services this week

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 15:45

Netflix is dominating the streaming world with recent releases such as the limited series "When They See Us," its "Lucifer" revival, and the fifth season of "Black Mirror," which jumped significantly up the list from last week.

And fans can't wait for "Stranger Things" to return next month.

Every week, Parrot Analytics provides Business Insider with a list of the seven most "in-demand" TV shows on streaming services. The data is based on " demand expressions," the globally standardized TV demand measurement unit from Parrot Analytics. Audience demand reflects the desire, engagement, and viewership weighted by importance, so a stream or download is a higher expression of demand than a "like" or comment on social media.

Below are this week's nine most popular original shows on Netflix and other streaming services:

SEE ALSO: The final 'Jessica Jones' season marks the end of Netflix's Marvel TV shows — here are the likely reasons they were all canceled

9. "Cobra Kai" (YouTube Premium)

Average demand expressions: 26,578,096

Description: "Thirty years after the events of the 1984 All Valley Karate Tournament, a down-and-out Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) seeks redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo, reigniting his rivalry with a now successful Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio), who has been struggling to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of his mentor, Mr. Miyagi."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 2): 88%

What critics said: "Cobra Kai Season 1 was one of the most binge-worthy shows in recent history, and we're happy to report Season 2 absolutely follows suit." — Starburst

Season 2 premiered on YouTube April 4.

8. "Doom Patrol" (DC Universe)

Average demand expressions: 27,253,637

Description: "DOOM PATROL reimagines one of DC's most beloved groups of Super Heroes: Robotman aka Cliff Steele (BRENDAN FRASER), Negative Man aka Larry Trainor (MATT BOMER), Elasti-Woman aka Rita Farr (APRIL BOWLBY) and Crazy Jane (DIANE GUERRERO), led by modern-day mad scientist Niles Caulder aka The Chief (TIMOTHY DALTON). Each member of the Doom Patrol suffered a horrible accident that gave them superhuman abilities, but also left them scarred and disfigured. Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found their purpose through The Chief, coming together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence. Following the mysterious disappearance of The Chief these reluctant heroes will find themselves in a place they never expected to be, called to action by none other than Cyborg (JOIVAN WADE), who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse. Part support group, part Super Hero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of superpowered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 1): 95%

What critics said: "Doom Patrol has proven to be curious, vulgar, and brazenly metafictional as it traverses genres, tones, and styles to tell the story of its eccentric characters who feel less like a traditional superhero group than a family burdened by trauma." — Vulture

Season 1 premiered on DC Universe February 15.

7. "Good Omens" (Amazon Prime Video)

Average demand expressions: 33,593,584

Description: "Aziraphale and Crowley, of Heaven and Hell respectively, have grown rather fond of the Earth. So it's terrible news that it's about to end. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing. The Four Horsemen are ready to ride. Everything is going according to the Divine Plan ... except that someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist. Can our heroes find him and stop Armageddon before it's too late?"

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 1): 83%

What critics said: "If everything else feels decidedly extraneous, it's mostly worth it to see two such estimable actors having such a lovely doomsday." — The Atlantic

Season 1 premiered May 31 on Amazon Prime Video.

6. "Titans" (DC Universe)

Average demand expressions: 33,663,805

Description: "TITANS follows young heroes from across the DC Universe as they come of age and find belonging in a gritty take on the classic Teen Titans franchise. Dick Grayson and Rachel Roth, a special young girl possessed by a strange darkness, get embroiled in a conspiracy that could bring Hell on Earth. Joining them along the way are the hot-headed Starfire and lovable Beast Boy. Together they become a surrogate family and team of heroes."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 1): 79%

What critics said: "Titans is an interesting show, for sure, but it is at odds with itself, representing the best and worst of what DC TV can do. It's a love letter to the weirdness of comic books spattered in CGI blood." — Batman-News

Season 1 premiered on DC Universe October 12. Season 2 premieres this fall.

5. "The Handmaid's Tale" (Hulu)

Average demand expressions: 42,785,084

Description: "A woman forced into sexual servitude struggles to survive in a terrifying, totalitarian society."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 3): 84%

What critics said: "If not much sunnier, not as relentlessly grim as the second, while June is slowly, methodically, morphing into the Robo-June we know she must become. So far, so good." — Newsday

Season 3 premiered June 5 on Hulu.

4. "Lucifer" (Netflix)

Average demand expressions: 47,635,400

Description: "Bored with being the Lord of Hell, the devil relocates to Los Angeles, where he opens a nightclub and forms a connection with a homicide detective."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 4): 100%

What critics said: "Lucifer combines style with a rather playful charm in its concept." — Entertainment Voice

Season 4 premiered on Netflix May 8.

3. "When They See Us" (Netflix)

Average demand expressions: 55,388,846

Description: "Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they're falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 1): 95%

What critics said: "Taken as a whole, there's a lot to recommend When They See Us. It does as much as it can to recast the gaze on Black and brown people, eliciting empathy and the desire for justice." —

The limited series premiered May 31 on Netflix.

2. "Stranger Things" (Netflix)

Average demand expressions: 55,835,399

Description: "When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 2): 94%

What critics said: "Let's put our feels to the side for a moment, and consider the ugly, upside down truth about Stranger Things 2: it's a hot god---- mess. A fun mess, for sure! With some great standout moments! But nowhere near the tight, expertly paced storytelling of the first season." — Mashable

Season 3 drops July 4 on Netflix.

1. "Black Mirror" (Netflix)

Average demand expressions: 66,728,019

Description: "This sci-fi anthology series explores a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity's greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide."

Rotten Tomatoes critic score (Season 5): 65%

What critics said: "Series five, newly out on Netflix, consists of only three episodes but each is richly suggestive, cunningly plotted and captivatingly played." — Financial Times

Season 5 premiered on Netflix June 5.

Categories: English

Etsy's CTO explains how the craft marketplace is using big data and the cloud to unlock hundreds of millions in additional sales (ETSY)

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 15:31

  • Other online stores may have their own handmade or vintage shops, but Etsy remains top of mind for consumers, at least according to the company's CTO, Mike Fisher.
  • The company has placed a special emphasis on these goods, which has required a lot of technological innovation. 
  • Etsy has also moved completely to the cloud, enabling it to be more nimble with huge sets of data.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Though other websites with handmade and vintage marketplaces, like Amazon Handmade or eBay, have tried to imitate Etsy, Etsy still remains the go-to for these goods, according to the company's CTO, Mike Fisher.

Etsy has doubled down on this advantage, pouring tech talent and resources into creating the best, most empowered place for artisans and their buyers to connect. 

Now that Etsy is moving its database to the cloud, its engineering team is able to focus on helping the site's 40 million buyers search through 60 million unique items from two million sellers.

Read more: Etsy exec explains why the company has a huge advantage over everyone else who tries to copy it

Fisher recently spoke with Business Insider about its move to the cloud and how it builds its site to work for both buyers and sellers. 

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

The power of data

Mike Fisher: The thing that always impressed me about Etsy was the mission of helping [our sellers]. Really, they're entrepreneurs. We refer to them as creative entrepreneurs.

These are individuals who have a gift, a talent, a hobby, a passion for something. The diversity of that is amazing, but we enable them to find their raving fans where they couldn't do this sitting in their kitchen, in their studio, their garage where they're building stuff in middle America, or another country without our platform. That's this amazing thing, is that we give over two million sellers this platform to connect to 40 million buyers with 60 million unique items. I've always loved that mission.

I was also always impressed with [Etsy's] engineering talent because they've been very innovative since the beginning. They were some of the early adopters of DevOps, continuous integration, continuous employment, open sourcing, all of this. Even though you don't necessarily think of the marketplace as being super technically innovative, Etsy engineering always has been. 

When I came in in 2017 ... we were so innovative, but we had gotten to a place where a lot of it was homegrown tech. We were at the time, still, in data centers hosting our own servers and everything. I looked at it as an opportunity for us to take the engineers and move them closer to the customers. Instead of doing this very low-level setting up servers and handling that, if we could get out of that business, we could then focus more on the marketplace and build more and more features for the sellers and buyers. We started a migration to the cloud, so we chose Google. We went through a big RFP process ... and we started in January of 2018, the migration.

This is a testament to the strong engineering team here: Nine months later we had the marketplace running on the cloud, which is a super fast migration. We are still wrapping that up this year, so we're about 75% done. We're ahead of schedule, which you don't usually hear on projects.

The engineering team here is just amazing. We'll be shutting down data centers starting this fall. It's been great. It unleashes another topic that might be super interesting: our ability to do really, really sophisticated machine learning on the platform.

Again, you look at the marketplace and say, "How challenging is this technically?" And it ends up that it's super technically challenging. It's one of the reasons that we can get great engineers here: We've got all these cool problems to solve. 

Business Insider: You can scale up and down as much as you want.

Fisher: Scale up and down. We're typical for e-commerce. We get busy at certain times of the day or certain parts of the year, and yet the servers just consume the energy in a flatline nonstop.

The fruits of technological labor

BI: Since two years ago, everything has been reoriented. What are some of the fruits of that now?

Fisher: One of the things that we call "our right to win" is having the best search and discovery. With 60 million items, being able to find that special item when you're looking for it, and maybe even not knowing exactly what you're looking for, and help raise that up and get you the right item, is super important. One of the very first things we did with machine learning is focus on search. The reason search is difficult here as opposed to another e-commerce is [we have] 60 million items, so a really, really large number of items, but it's also very unstructured.

We don't have a catalog that a lot of e-commerce shops have, or SKUs that one person fills in the description. Our sellers write their own descriptions, and these are unique items. If they're not unique, they probably actually don't belong here. The sellers write a description of, maybe, a sweater that they made. They can describe it however they want, they can have the tags that they want, and once it's sold, it's probably gone forever. They might [sell] another one, but it might be described a little bit differently.

Read more: Bonobos CEO reveals why the brand is trying to redefine masculinity, what life is like as a part of Walmart, and what's next

A typical e-commerce site might sell the same blue sweater 5,000 times, and so [customers] get really used to like, "Oh, if you search for blue sweater, this is the best seller," and all this. Our search becomes infinitely more difficult because of that. What we do is we take our basic search, we use technologies like everyone else, like TFIDF, which is term frequency inverse document frequency. We look at all the terms used, but our sellers also know that if it's coming up on a holiday, if they put that holiday in the title, that'll show up as a term. If we're coming up on Father's Day, even if I'm selling something that might not be a perfect Father's Day gift, if I put Father's Day, it might be shown in search results when people search for that. They try to game search, so we can't rely completely on that. What we do is we take machine learning, we take searches from the past and what people look for, and we analyze that based on what they've clicked, favorites, added to cart, purchased, and so forth.

Then in real time, we take whatever your search results are — say you're looking for beer steins, that might return 10,000 items. We take the top 800 and re-rank them because we know that 83% of our purchases are on the first page of the search results. Just like Google, you never click to the second page, right? It's the same thing with when you're on an e-commerce shop. Most of the purchases are on the first, so getting that first page of results right is super important. In real time, we can re-rank it based on what we call context-specific ranking. We know the context of the query that you're looking for, we know lots of other things like locations and things like that. We can say, "This is what we think would be a better search result for you out of 10,000 items."

In 2017-2018, [search improvements helped contribute] $260 million in incremental GMS. GMS is our gross [merchandise] sales.

BI: Is it hard to balance the priorities of the consumers and the sellers? Or do you find that when you're helping one, you're helping the other?

Fisher: I think that's the great thing about a two-sided marketplace. When you help one, you help the other. If you make the experience ... easy, then the sellers are happy. They want buyers. Then when we make the sellers' lives easy ... for listings, making it easier for them to see and analyze their results, then of course they have more time. These are artisans and craftspeople who want to be in the shop, they don't want to be managing their marketplace. If we can make all that very easy for them, they can be in a shop and be more creative, which means more items and more creative items. All of that's just a win-win.

BI: Are these the kind of innovations that put you in another category versus some of the competitors that are trying to do the artisan, handmade thing?

Fisher: It requires a lot of very deep data science and analysis to figure it out. What are the features that really matter in these models? If you think about machine learning, we had a lot of the concepts around neural nodes and decision trees, and all these algorithms have been known for 40 or 50 years. For decades, people struggled with if this is going to be really valuable stuff someday, and we never had enough data and compute power to make it real. Now, just over the past couple of years, we have had enough data and enough compute power to actually make these super advanced algorithms worthwhile.

That's the really cool thing about the space. We collect over a billion events a day of data, so as the buyers come in and they look and they search and they click and they add, all of this creates events, and we can analyze that and then use all of that data into our models. Then we put it back out to the site to get recommendations and re-ranking, and all of these things to make it a better experience. It's just now becoming available to us. We've even seen, moving from our data centers, where we had very fixed compute power, into the cloud, just over the last couple of months we're seeing us jump from models that used two weeks' worth of data, or 30 days' worth of data, to a full year. You see some really interesting incremental benefits from that because we can see seasonality effects, and all this stuff that you couldn't see if I just look at a trending 30 days.

We have massive amounts of data that we can put to this, so it is definitely something that a lot of smaller companies can't do.

BI: Does not having the SKUs make it infinitely more complicated?

Fisher: Yes, but it's also what makes this unique. If we had SKUs and catalogs and stuff like that, we would be just another e-commerce shop. Because we're not that, what makes us unique, is that you don't come to us for the commodities, you come to us for that special item.

When [CEO] Josh [Silverman] came in, he focused on this marketplace that really was lightning in a bottle. Instead of thinking that like, "Oh, let's go focus on other marketplaces out there," if just look at our top six categories, they're massive in themselves. Home and living is just a huge category, and that's only one of ours that are out there. Jewelry, another massive category, and that's just one of ours.

BI:  It's more of an everyday experience than a special occasion.

Fisher: Yeah. We find that people, whatever they show up for — a year later, they show up for that again. If it's a Father's Day gift, or a Mother's Day gift, they come back a year later for that Mother's Day gift. But we're way more than that. It's literally everything from every piece of furniture in your house to the art on the walls to handmade clothes, shirts, and dresses, and everything you can think of. Your glassware, like these artisans and craftspeople, make almost everything. It's pretty amazing.

BI: For these six top categories, are there unique tech challenges for each one?

Fisher: There are interesting challenges around the data. When you come in for clothing, you want to be able to see color variations and sizes. When you come in to shop home and living, like rugs, you need to see dimensions and shapes. Having that and understanding that some of our pieces can fall in multiple categories, to figure out which pieces of data I need to properly show this up in the results for an individual, become incredibly complicated.

Because our items are unique, they could sometimes fall in multiple categories. You might need colors and sizes and shapes for some of it.

Reshaping recommendations 

BI: So taking all this data, where are you going next with it? You're improving search — I'm sure you'll probably further improve that.

Fisher: Continue to improve search, absolutely.

BI: Is there another category that you're looking at?

Fisher: Recommendations is another piece of it. Not only when you type in the search query, to give the best results, but also even before you get there — when you land on our homepage or land on a landing page, that we can make recommendations for you. Whether we know you because you've signed in and you're a frequent purchaser, or if we don't know you and we want to show you stuff. As you click on stuff, instantly being able to use that data to give better recommendations is an extreme area that we're focused on.

BI: It's based on the same kind of data, right?

Fisher: It is. Lots of data. Again, very powerful. We also know that you might be on different journeys in different times. You might be looking for a Father's Day gift this week, but you also might tomorrow be looking for a wedding gift for someone else. They might be two very different journeys, and so understanding which journey you're on is really important for us. Instead of just simply showing like, "Hey, these are your last 12 items," which all might be related to the wedding search, we could show you more groups. "Oh, you searched for this Father's Day gifts, and weddings, but you also were adding something to your apartment." You had these separate journeys, and understanding that makes it more powerful.

We're even thinking about that from a style perspective. If you're shopping for yourself, you have a particular style, but if you're shopping for someone's wedding gift, you might be thinking about their style. [We are] trying not to mix those.

BI: How do you not mix those?

Fisher: We try to understand your journeys in separate parts so that we can assign styles and paths and recommendations and all that to different ones.

BI: That seems like it would be hard to judge.

Fisher: It's very challenging. Then you get added on top of it that sometimes you come to Etsy to be inspired, while other times you come to actually shop because you know what you want to find. Those are two very separate journeys as well. When you're coming to be inspired, you want to see some of the broader categories, or something a little maybe off the beaten path, or something different that you're not thinking of. And so we can use things like the length of your search query, so if you type something that has more than two or three terms, we know you probably have a really good idea of what you're looking for, as opposed to if you just put general terms. We use all these types of notions and ideas.

Then of course, we look at what other people search for and how they behaved, and we try to use that to recommend stuff for you.

BI: It almost sounds like psychology at this point.

Fisher: Yeah. We, of course, have our mobile apps versus desktop, and the behavior of the same user on each one might be very different.

BI: What is the difference?

Fisher: Well, our power buyers generally have downloaded the app, and so their frequency is much higher, but time of day might be a factor. Someone during a lunch hour or break on a mobile device might be really inspirational, they're looking to spend their five-minute coffee break or whatever waiting for someone, just to be inspired. Yet, when they're at the evening or on a weekend, they might be very targeted in their looking for something. It's not perfectly clean like that, but it's all types of different behaviors that we've got to watch for and try to make the best experience that they can have.

BI: Were there any "aha" moments when you found an interesting distinction between how, for example, a different buyer acted at some time of the year? 

Fisher: We're working on styles right now, and the data science team published a paper recently about the work on that. I think it's super interesting because there's not a given classification for styles. Our merchandising team came up with 42 different things that they would classify as style. Some of them are your classic style of rustic, and others wouldn't be a classic, like romantic or tropical, which aren't really styles, but they're the way we can see the world.

We're using some really powerful neural networks to process that data. To test that and see how accurate we were, we looked at seasonality. Romantic, of course, had a significant spike during Valentine's Day. Then humor tends to spike on Father's Day, and then a couple other times during the year. Inspirational is around graduation.

Even though again, some of these aren't like a pure style that you would think of like mid-century modern or stuff like that, you can absolutely see that to our buyers and sellers, it resonates. That they use those terms, they look for those types of items. Then it proved itself out based on how you would imagine a calendar to look like in terms of the spikes and the highs and the lows, and it played out that way. That was interesting to see. It was like, "Oh yeah, just as you would expect."

BI: Are those classifications automatically applied?

Fisher: Well, they're trained. What we did was we got our merchandising team to come up with the list. We have something we call a stash. It's basically our editors' picks, and there's about 130,000 items classified in this. This is back to the big data. The problem is 130,000 items isn't enough data to classify. We had to go back to our search results again, and we looked for these terms in search results, giving us over three million more data points to apply to this. Then we can train our model so as listings come in we can apply our machine learning model to automatically classify them.

Crafting special moments

BI: We talked a little bit about competitors, but who do you see as the top competitors in your space, or in e-commerce at large?

Fisher: We all use other e-commerce shops every day, just like other people. There's a huge need for that in the world, that whether it's Amazon or Walmart or Target, whoever, there's a need for that. 

We also feel there's a completely other side to all of our lives for special and unique things, and there's a big need for that. As we look back and see the growth over the last two years, you see that really start to play out in our belief that in a world of increased commoditization and sameness, there's also, as we talked about, people who search out the opposite. Whenever it goes to an extreme, people look for an opposite. I think we're seeing e-commerce drive more and more to that commoditization.

There's also the other side of it, that people want connections with humans. They want the human connection, which is a big part of my marketplace, that we connect buyers and sellers one at a time. That's really special, that a huge portion of our items can be personalized. 

I think that's what we see as why no one really competes with us, because we are this marketplace for the very special. Even if someone's trying to focus on some niche, we cover almost everything in every category.

BI: As customers expect more from all e-commerce, they expect it immediately and as cheap as possible. How do you make them understand the process behind it?

Fisher: The creation and the shipping is super important, so giving our buyers more visibility to that is really important. Again, back in working with sellers, and by working with them, we made changes in the marketplace to make it easier for them, because we obviously can't call two million sellers and teach them how to do something. We make things in the marketplace easier. If we make it easier for them to show when this really would ship, or how long it's really going to take to get there, we can do that on feature functionality on the seller side, and that's a huge win for the buyers because now they can look for stuff and say, "Is it going to make it by my friend's birthday?" We focused on that before the holiday seasons last year. That was a really big win for our buyers and sellers.

BI: Do you think that there's a certain kind of customer who want [the special items Etsy offers?] Or do you think that there's a customer in everyone that would desire that sometimes?

Fisher: I think there's a piece in everyone that desires it sometimes. Again, if I'm buying paper towels, maybe I don't need it packaged and with a note, but if I'm buying something for my partner, it's even more special that I picked out this thing, but I also worked with the seller to get just the exact right thing, and just the whole story, the background of it. We've got sellers who literally raise the sheep, and they sheer them, and they spin the wool and dye it all on their farm.

You give someone a blanket, and it's not just like, "Oh, this is a beautiful blanket." It's a blanket with a story.

The other aspect of shipping that we've found is important to us as a business and our buyers is carbon offset. E-commerce shipping is massive in terms of carbon. One-day shipping doesn't help that.

We actually ... announced that we were offsetting all of our shipping. We pay for carbon offsets for all of our shipping from our sellers to our buyers.

The amazing thing about it is not only that we do it, but when we showed that to our buyers just with a banner that says, "We've offset the shipping," they purchased more. They made up for the cost of us doing that by buying more. We know that this resonates. I believe people do want fast product. Of course, when I fall in love with something, I need, I want it now, but people also want to be responsible. 

BI: That's interesting, because e-commerce is so expensive already than traditional retail.

Fisher: We thought the same thing. This is part of being the very mission-driven company, that it fits with what we believe in, and by making stuff like that public, we feel we hold ourselves accountable.

BI: You brought up the shipping cost. Customers typically hate paying for shipping. That seems not to be the case for Etsy?

Fisher: We did a big push over the holiday season for sellers to offer that and increase significantly their listings. Obviously that helps with buyers. That piece of it is educating the sellers, and it's something again that's about making a change to the platform to help educate them and incentivize them to do that. We understand shipping's not free. In the buyer's mind, even if you write the check, or process the credit card for Prime, you still in your mind, think you're getting it for free, even though you're obviously not.

Getting trendy

BI: I wanted to ask about trends. What kind of trends have you guys seen? 

Fisher: From a technology perspective, we enable them through a lot of data. We can give them a ton of data around what is popular, what is trending. If you actually just click on our search, the dropdown shows the most recent hot searches that are happening. We give that to the merchandising team, and then they apply their intellectual knowledge and view of the world on top of that. Then they go on the televisions shows, and all of these places, newspapers and magazines, like to talk about that.

BI: It's more about trend setting than trend following.

Fisher: Yeah, the sellers can be very sophisticated and understand what is the hottest trend. They want to make product that people want and care about, and so within categories, they can watch and see what's hot and jump towards that. We see it a lot.

BI: The maker movement, is that still on the upswing?

Fisher: Our data would suggest yes, that we're growing — e-commerce is growing. We're growing faster than e-commerce. That's pretty public data. The interesting thing about e-commerce is how small it is of total commerce still. Those of us who live online, you're like, "This is all I ever do." Especially in New York. "I buy everything online, I get my groceries delivered." As a part of commerce in total, it's still a small portion of it. E-commerce still has tons of room to grow within general commerce.

Then we see our piece of this, of the commerce in the maker space, as you can grow it even faster. I think, like I said, whenever there's an extreme, you tend to see people want the opposite as well, the balance. That's what we're seeing.

BI: Was there anything else that you wanted to talk about?

Fisher: I've talked a lot about the mission, but that comes through in what we call our culture of how much we care about diversity and inclusion. From the very early days of the company, they've cared about it. Within engineering — engineering is almost half the company — 33% of our engineering staff are non-male. If you look at the industry, that's almost double than most. That's engineering-specific. If you include the broader technology, which is product management, design, all that, it's even more. We have gender parity on our board, our executive team. All of those things are really important to us, and it's just part of the culture resonating with our mission.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos has said that Amazon has had failures worth billions of dollars — here are some of the biggest ones

Join the conversation about this story »

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Categories: English

The gorgeous remake of 'Final Fantasy 7' has been rebuilt from the ground up — here's everything we know

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 15:00

  • Square Enix has recreated the 1997 classic "Final Fantasy VII" from the ground up, with brand-new visuals and a completely different style of gameplay.
  • After more than three years of development, Square Enix finally shared details on what players can expect from "Final Fantasy VII Remake."
  • "Final Fantasy VII Remake" will be released in an episodic format, meaning players won't be able to experience the full story when the first episode drops on March 3, 2020.
  • The game looks beautiful so far and Square Enix has added tons of cinematic flair to the game's memorable story.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Final Fantasy VII" is one of the most celebrated video games of all-time, having influenced countless roleplaying games and inspiring a string of spin-off movies, books, and games.

Now, more than 20 years after the game was first released for the original Sony PlayStation, Square Enix is completely rebuilding "Final Fantasy VII" for a new generation.

"Final Fantasy VII Remake" will be a multi-part reimaging of the game with gorgeous new graphics, a completely new combat system, and greater emphasis on cinematic storytelling. 

Back in 1997, the original "Final Fantasy VII" boasted state-of-the-art 3D graphics and more than 50 hours of gameplay spread across three CDs. "Final Fantasy VII Remake" looks to be just as massive – so massive, in fact,that Square Enix is breaking the game into separate chapters.

The first chapter of "Final Fantasy VII Remake" is set in the sprawling city of Midgar. Players spent roughly eight hours in the city during the original "Final Fantasy VII," but Square Enix says the new version of Midgar is big enough to be its own game. Ultimately, Square expects the first chapter of "Final Fantasy VII Remake" to fill two Blu-Ray discs, a rare feat for any modern game or movie.

"Final Fantasy VII Remake" will launch for the PlayStation 4 on March 3rd, 2020. Here's what we know so far:

SEE ALSO: Seeing the 'Final Fantasy VII' remake side by side with the original shows why fans are going wild for the upcoming game

DON'T MISS: I never played the classic RPG 'Final Fantasy VII' from 1997, but I just played the gorgeous new remake and it’s pretty great

The first chapter of "Final Fantasy VII Remake" focuses entirely on the massive, futuristic city of Midgar.

Cloud Strife, the main character of "Final Fantasy VII," is a mercenary hired by a group of freedom fighters called Avalanche to help blow up a factory.

Barret Wallace is Avalanche's leader; the group want to take down an evil corporation called Shinra that's polluting the planet.

The story takes a big turn when Cloud meets Aerith Gainsborough, a flower girl with a mysterious connection to the planet's life force.

Armed with his giant Buster Sword, Cloud helps Avalanche fight Shinra guards, robots and other powerful enemies.

Unlike the original "Final Fantasy VII," combat in the remake isn't turn based. You'll be able to run around and attack freely. When your action meter fills, you can use magic or other special abilities.

"Final Fantasy VII Remake" will also let you swap between characters on the fly during battle so you can make the most of their individual abilities.

As the story progresses, you'll recruit more characters to your team for battle. Each has their own unique fighting style, set of skills, and magic spells.

Tifa Lockhart, Cloud's childhood friend, beats down enemies with fierce martial arts. Aerith has a wide range of magic spells, and often acts as the team's healer.

When Cloud and his teammates build up enough attack power, they can unleash special attacks called Limit Breaks.

As you fight your team will grow stronger, and you'll need to keep improving to beat the game's increasingly tough enemies.

At the heart of the story is the sinister villain Sephiroth. He's ready to torment Cloud at every turn and knows a few secrets about Cloud's past.

"Final Fantasy VII Remake" will arrive on PlayStation 4 on March 3rd, 2020. You can check out the full trailer below.

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Categories: English

Here's how this founder convinced Silicon Valley heavyweights Paul Graham and Peter Thiel to invest $5.8 million in his startup — without using a pitch deck

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 14:45

Arjun Mohan had a plan to land some of Silicon Valley's biggest investors for his heavy machine rental startup, Tenderd — and it didn't involve the traditional investor pitch deck.

Instead, Mohan chose to forgo the deck his team had created while they were in the famed Y Combinator accelerator program, and opted instead to push for in-person conversations. That way, Mohan told Business Insider, he could address questions or hesitations immediately, and explain some of the counterintuitive lessons his team had learned while building the company.

Mohan's strategy paid off, and last week, Dubai-based Tenderd announced it raised $5.8 million in seed funding from some of the biggest names in tech investing, including Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham and Founders Fund founder Peter Thiel.

"We weren't really raising tens of millions of dollars, so a lot of investors are investing a few hundred thousand to a million [dollars], and were able to pull the trigger on the investment without having a pitch presentation, and a partner meeting," Mohan told Business Insider. "It only took us a few meetings to get them to sign on the dotted line."

Read More: Tech VCs are squabbling over a popular type of funding for startups that one prominent investor calls a 'nightmare' and a 's**t show'

Tenderd, which allows users to rent and manage construction equipment, was only the second startup from a country in the Middle East or Northern Africa to be accepted by Y Combinator, which is known for mentoring and funding high-growth startups like Dropbox and Airbnb from their earliest days. 

"We were quite happy to be selected by YC and I give a lot of credit to YC as well," Mohan said. "They are looking at emerging markets because they see lots of opportunity for growth in the Middle East and Asia. I'm obviously glad they saw the value and invested in us."

Y Combinator also participated in the round as part of the program, and was joined by Paul Buchheit, Justin Mateen, Matt Mickiewicz, BECO, VentureSouq, SOMA, Dynamo, and Global Founders Capital.

"Our initial investment was kicked off by Paul Graham," Mohan said. "He was back from sabbatical and helping us with our pitch deck. He liked us and liked our team, so he decided to make an investment."

The construction industry has been top of mind for Silicon Valley investors looking for the next crop of successful enterprise startups with practical applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Mohan says.

Tenderd actually charges more to rent equipment in bulk, Mohan explained — that's one of the counterintuitive insights he shared with investors, because coordinating multiple vendors or contracts is enough of a hassle that customers are willing to pony up for the convenience of working with one vendor.

"We wanted to share these counterintuitive insights in a more organic fashion instead of just bullets in a deck," Mohan said. "It forced them to have a conversation, and if they really insisted on a deck I would shoot over bullets in an email."

SEE ALSO: Brex, the credit card for startups, raised $100 million at a $2.6 billion valuation — more than double what it was worth nine months ago

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Now that Google and Nintendo offer digital video games, GameStop could have the same fate as Blockbuster

Categories: English

Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian took 16 weeks off to be with his family when his daughter was born. Here's a look inside his fight for paid paternity leave — and why he's bringing it to Congress

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 14:30

Famous fathers aren't held to a high enough standard, Reddit cofounder-turned-venture-capitalist Alexis Ohanian told Fast Company

That's partially why he's been outspoken about his decision to take 16 weeks of paid leave after his daughter with Serena Williams was born in 2017.

Since then, Ohanian has become a leader in the fight for paid paternal leave, and his social media profiles are the front lines. 

Read more: Alexis Ohanian has taken out billboards for wife Serena Williams, but he says a simple Sunday morning ritual means more to their relationship

Now, he told Fast Company, it's time to take the battle to Congress. 

"It's not a question of IF we'll get #paidfamilyleave in the USA, just a matter of WHEN," Ohanian tweeted, "And WHEN we do, we need dads to take full advantage of it."

Keep reading to learn more about Ohanian's own experience with paternity leave and what he's done to make sure other fathers can have the same experience.

SEE ALSO: 11 famous people who built their fortunes off their side hustles

DON'T MISS: 5 Hollywood celebrities who became billionaires and are vastly more rich than their peers

Ohanian has a one-year-old daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., with his wife, tennis star Serena Williams.

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Ohanian married Williams in November 2017 and brought their newborn along for the ride.

After his daughter's birth, Ohanian took 16 weeks of paternity leave and has publicly encouraged other fathers to do the same.

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"Out of office," Ohanian wrote on Instagram in September 2017. "This is Parental Leave life. She's clearly dreaming up all the startups she'll start... And Grand Slams she'll win.... And...."

Source: Good Morning America

Williams suffered from health problems after Olympia's birth, requiring Ohanian to take charge of Olympia's care.

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The situation "solidified the importance" of paid parental leave for Ohanian, he told Fast Company. "I know how fortunate we are, and it's heartbreaking to think how many American families have to go through some version of this and have an existential fear of losing their job or not being there for their family when their family needs it most."

Since the birth of his daughter, Ohanian has used his social media platforms to celebrate the way fatherhood has transformed his outlook on life.

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"Becoming a father has meant I get to re-experience things through the fresh, unjaded eyes of my daughter," Ohanian wrote on Instagram in March.

"Even just some delicious fresh fruit merits a happy dance. I'm getting to relearn what it means to be joyful myself. Even small moments of appreciation and reflection are going a long way."

And paid parental leave isn't just good for families, according to Ohanian — it's also good for business.

"I call out hustle porn for its BS and celebrate founders who are taking care of themselves and spending time with their families because it's the right business decision," Ohanian told Fast Company.

Ohanian has become an advocate for paid paternity leave, partnering with Dove Men+Care to promote The Pledge for Paternity Leave, a program offering grants to working dads to help them care for their newborns full-time.

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With 30k+ pledges for #PaternityLeavePledge, my partner @dovemencare & I launched a NEW @Facebook group to mobilize dads & allies. Join us this #FathersDay to help make paternity leave the new standard for all dads #DoveMenPartner

"With 30k+ pledges for #PaternityLeavePledge, my partner @dovemencare & I launched a NEW @Facebook group to mobilize dads & allies," Ohanian tweeted in June. "Join us this #FathersDay to help make paternity leave the new standard for all dads."

Source: Dove

He's been outspoken about some of the more shocking statistics about the state of paternity leave in the US.

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"Only 15% of dads in the U.S. have access to paid leave to bond with their newborn," Ohanian captioned a photo on Instagram in February. "Let's change that."

"Join me and @dovemencare in pledging for change.  #DoveMenPartner  #PaternityLeavePledge"

Ohanian also uses his platform to praise companies, including Sweetgreen and Target, that offer paid parental leave to their employees.

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Excited to see this arms race happening right now for #PaidFamilyLeave benefits. @SweetGreen giving employees 5 months (!!) of family leave now + @Target made big moves this week. It's not just tech companies.

"Excited to see this arms race happening right now for #PaidFamilyLeave benefits," Ohanian tweeted. "@SweetGreen giving employees 5 months (!!) of family leave now + @Target made big moves this week. It's not just tech companies."

He's also planning to meet with Congressional leaders to discuss legislation for federally mandated paid leave, he told Fast Company.

"I hope to be meeting with many senators, representatives, plenty of dads, on both sides of the aisle, in both houses of the Legislature, who want this to be the law of the land," Ohanian said on "Good Morning America." "What we are looking for is some minimum number of weeks of leave."

Source: Fast Company

Ohanian is already pretty accomplished in his own right — he cofounded Reddit and launched his own venture capital firm, Initialized Capital, in 2011.

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"2009 (freshfaced) on stage at @ted giving a talk about @reddit," Ohanian captioned a post on Instagram.

"2019 (bearded with many grays) after countless speaking appearances, my toughest crowd is now convincing @olympiaohanian that raspberries alone are not a complete meal.

In between these photos, I left Reddit, started some other companies, wrote a bestselling book, returned to help lead the Reddit turnaround, left again in order to do @initialized full-time, married the incomparable @serenawilliams, and -- my proudest achievement yet -- co-created this little human. Not a bad decade. I cannot wait for the next 10 years. #DadThings"

Source: Initialized Capital

But he says that being a father is the most important role he'll ever have.

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Forget @reddit, forget @initialized, the most important job I'll ever have is being a father.

Are you a parent? Add your voice to the @UNICEF parenting poll. #EarlyMomentsMatter

"Forget @reddit, forget @initialized," Ohanian tweeted, "the most important job I'll ever have is being a father. Are you a parent? Add your voice to the @UNICEF parenting poll. #EarlyMomentsMatter"

And, in an essay for Glamour, he noted that paternity leave gave him the opportunity to "show up" for his partner.

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"I see taking leave as one of the most fundamental ways to 'show up' for your partner and your family," Ohanian wrote in an essay for Glamour, "and I cherished all 16 weeks I was able to take."

Categories: English

The 9 most useful features coming to your iPhone later this year (AAPL)

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 14:20

iOS 13 is upon us.

The latest major update to the iPhone operating system is expected to arrive this fall. The last few iterations of iOS have launched in September, usually preceding the annual launch of new iPhones, and iOS 13 should be no different.

Announced at WWDC 2019, iOS 13 adds a ton of new features and updates to existing apps, but we're particularly looking forward to a handful of quality-of-life improvements that will really change the way we use our phones.

Here are the 9 most useful iOS 13 features we're looking forward to.

SEE ALSO: Here's what iOS 13 says about the future of the iPhone

Like iOS 12 before it, iOS 13 will upgrade the performance of your phone.

Apple says Face ID unlocking will be 30% faster, app downloads will be 50% smaller, and app updates will be 60% smaller in iOS 13. Apps will also launch up to two times faster than before, thanks to an improved animation.

Apple is finally adding an optional system-wide Dark Mode, which will be perfect for night-time reading.

This is going to make a huge difference in all of your Apple apps: Music, Reminders, Mail, Photos, and more can all be affected by Apple's system-wide Dark Mode, which is nice and easy on the eyes, and perfect for reading in the dark. 

Notably, Apple also added Dark Mode tools for developers so it's easy to implement the new mode in almost any new app that comes along.

The iPhone is about to get better editing tools — for both photos and videos.

Apple updated the editing controls to be more robust and intuitive. It still has automatic adjustments if you want them, but you can also dig into the settings to tweak sharpness, color, contrast, and even add filters. 

But what's truly new and notable here is that all of these new photo settings can finally be applied to videos for the first time. You can also rotate videos from portrait to landscape (!), and you can even warp the look of your videos or adjust their aspect ratio. This is going to make it way more satisfying to film and edit videos on an iPhone.

Apple Maps is adding new features to gain parity with Google Maps.

Apple Maps is about to get way more detailed — first for US cities in 2019, then eventually the rest of the world in 2020.

Read more: Apple Maps is getting a huge update in iOS 13 — and it could finally help it catch up to Google Maps

The Maps themselves will have significantly more up-to-date details about roads, buildings, parks, and even beaches. Apple is also adding a new "Look Around" feature, which is similar to Google's Street View: It lets you move down streets from a first-person perspective and scan areas in a 360-degree view. Also like Google Maps, you'll be able to add your favorites and create collections of places that you can easily share with friends. It looks like a really solid update.

The Mail app is getting a big update to support rich text.

This feature was a long time coming. Finally, the Mail app will let you alter the font style, size, color, and alignment of your text, with the ability to indent and add bulleted and numbered lists. This is going to be crucial for anyone who relies on Apple's Mail app to send work emails.

Reminders, Apple's best application, is getting a complete overhaul.

Apple is making its Reminders app easier to use, and far more robust. In iOS 13, you'll be able to jot down reminders like you currently can, but you'll be able to add dates, times, locations, photos, check lists, and flags to really get specific about your lists and to-dos.

Read more: Here's how to get the most out of Reminders, Apple's best application

Siri will also be able to suggest new reminders based on what you're doing. So if someone messages you to make plans, Siri can automatically create a reminder for you.

The iPhone keyboard is finally getting "swipe-to-type."

Lots of people like iPhone keyboards that allow you to swipe to type, and that's exactly what Apple's new QuickPath Typing can do. Apple has on-device machine learning that recognizes the path you're drawing and converts it all for you. Hopefully this makes one-handed typing easier.

The new "Sign in with Apple" feature will let you sign up with any app or service without offering up any of your personal information.

With "Sign in with Apple," developers can put the button in their apps, and Apple can log you into any app with a new account.

Read more: Apple just took a direct shot at Google and Facebook with a new service called 'Sign in with Apple'

Some applications may want your name or email to send you information outside the app, and they are allowed to request this information, but Apple built a solution for people worried about privacy: You can still choose to share your actual email address with apps or services — or you can choose to hide it. If you want to hide your email address, Apple will create a random unique address that forwards to your real email address, which you can disable at any time.

The new Voice Control feature in iOS 13 will let you control your entire iPhone using only your voice.

This is an accessibility setting Apple has been working on for a long time, but basically voice control is now system-wide, and extremely comprehensive.

Read more: This 3-minute video is an incredible demonstration of the new Voice Control feature in iOS 13, which lets you control every aspect of your iPhone without ever touching it

You can navigate and type using voice commands and gestures, since everything on the screen will have numbers and names to allow for easier control.

Which iOS 13 features are you looking forward to the most?

I'm interested to hear what you think of iOS 13. Did Apple check off all your boxes? Or is the company missing an important feature this time around? Shoot me an email at

Categories: English

The inside story at uBiome, disrupting Wall Street from within, and Peloton's prospects

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 14:11


When the three founders of the "microbial-genomics" startup uBiome began collecting human poop, they kept it in an erstwhile storage closet, inside secondhand freezers from a discount-lab-supply website. It was a far cry from a state-of-the-art facility.

So starts Erin Brodwin's inside story on uBiome, a startup that convinced Silicon Valley it was worth $600 million before the FBI came knocking. Hers is a great report on how a citizen science project became a clinical-testing company with big-name backers, and the corners some say it cut along the way. You can read the full story here

Erin's story is a reminder of the risks when the Silicon Valley tech ethos of "move fast and break things" runs into the healthcare principal of "do no harm."

She worked on another story, with colleague Shana Lebowitz, on the VC's ultimate guide to sniffing out risky healthcare startups — and not getting tricked into backing them. Emma Court had a story on the four slides from Mary Meeker's Internet Trends reports that should be a warning for tech companies that want to disrupt healthcare

And you can read our recent series on how technology is reshaping healthcare here

Separately, if you missed our IGNITION: Transforming Finance event on Monday, you can catch up on what you missed here. You can also check out a few clips from the event:

We'll be hosting more events like it, focused on specific industries, across the US in the coming months. If you have any ideas for live events you'd like to see or feedback from our event on Monday, let me know. 

-- Matt

Quote of the week

"Unicorns are amazingly deflationary vehicles. They're deflating rents, they're deflating driver salaries, they're deflating all kinds of things." — Famed short-seller Jim Chanos explains how Silicon Valley unicorns have pushed prices lower

In conversation Finance and Investing

Meet the JPMorgan banker with no technical expertise who's now in charge of one of the biggest data projects on Wall Street

Rob Casper stands up and takes a piece of laminated paper from behind his desk. Standing in his 39th floor office in JPMorgan's glass-walled midtown Manhattan headquarters, the bank's chief data officer wants to make a point.

Hedge-fund managers are overwhelmed by data, and they're turning to an unlikely source: random people on the internet

Hedge funds are sifting through so much data that they might just turn to random people online to help with it.

Merrill Lynch's 'thundering herd' of advisers are winning over troves of new millionaires, and the growth is coming from a surprising place

The wealth management division at Bank of America Merrill Lynch had an explosive year in 2018, and 2019 is off to a torrid pace as well, adding thousands of new millionaire clients.

Tech, Media, Telecoms

Inside Salesforce's $15.7 billion takeover of Tableau, which came together at Marc Benioff's San Francisco mansion and almost died last week amid wild market swings

Salesforce's $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau, announced Monday, started with a text, came together over a meeting in a San Francisco mansion, and very nearly fell apart multiple times.

Peloton, the $4 billion fitness startup with a cult-like following is about to IPO. Insiders reveal why it's business is set to explode. 

Michael Duda knew from the first time he met John Foley that he wanted to make a bet on Foley's fitness equipment startup, Peloton.

VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk says his bootstrapped digital media company is generating more than $130 million and is coming for WPP and Omnicom — with no 'meaningful competitor' in sight

As the advertising establishment heads to Cannes for the annual, rosé-soaked ritual of making deals and collecting awards on the French Riviera, Gary Vaynerchuk wants the marketing world to know there's a new type of agency holding company in town.

Healthcare, Retail, Transportation

The biggest health system in New York used to make 80% of its revenue from hospitals. A decade later, that's down to half. 

Out the window of Northwell Health's New Hyde Park, New York, offices sits an expansive 1.4-million-square-foot building.

Investors just launched the first VC dedicated exclusively to psychedelics, which they call the 'next wave' after the cannabis boom

As the legalization of medical cannabis has swept the globe, it's also paved the way for another new health frontier: psychedelic medicine.

Here's the pitch deck Careem used to secure its first round of venture capital, which led its first investors to a 100x return when Uber bought the company this year

Uber has struggled to attain the same dominance in the tricky region of the Middle East that it's built in places like the United States.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

Categories: English

It's been 100 years since we've seen anybody like Elon Musk — here's why that's so disorienting (TSLA)

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 14:04

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk is more like an old-school automotive entrepreneur than a modern-day business manager.
  • His personality is consistent with what it always takes to start a car company, but it's unfamiliar to many because no one has started a major automaker in decades.
  • If we had access to a time machine, we could go back to the early 20th century and find a lot more people who were like Elon Musk.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you had a time machine and could travel back to the turn of the 19th century, you'd find a world that still made great use of the horse — but that was newly captivated by a clattering new contraption, the motor car.

The automobile was the internet of the late 1800s and early 1900s, attracting a frenzied level of entrepreneurship, launching hundreds of new companies, and transforming a shipping center in the upper Midwest into Motown, the center of what would become the auto industry.

The car business is now very different. Ford and General Motors were each founded over 100 years ago. Upstart Toyota has been manufacturing cars since the 1930s. Even dashing Ferrari has been around since 1939, selling road cars since the late 1940s.

Automakers operate at a huge scale, across international time zones, employing hundreds of thousands of people while selling millions of vehicles annually. They can't be run by visionaries anymore because visionaries, while valuable, aren't good at keeping the giant machine humming.

This is why Tesla CEO Elon Musk is such a shock. His personality isn't so different from one of those determined entrepreneurs from the 1900s who wanted to stick a motor on a carriage and get people moving without having to hitch a horse. For grizzled industry veterans, Wall Streeters, and Musk critics, he can be tough to take.

But he's not usual, in the history of people who start car companies. In fact, he's true to type. Here's why:

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1. You have to be crazy to start a car company. And I mean crazy.

I don't mean literally crazy, of course. But if you intend to enter the auto industry with a new brand, you have to defy the odds, conventional wisdom, and probably the advice of everyone who doesn't want you to lose every dime and the shirt off your back.

It's been over a century since feverish entrepreneurship around the world gave us the first automobiles. Unbridled creativity and risk-taking were the order of the day back then, and hundreds of people wanted in on the action. Imagine a world filled with dozens of Elon Musks.

Nowadays, there are still some serious "car people" in the car business, but the industry is so large and global that the managerial skills needed to run it reward MBA types more so than madmen.

2. Cars really are dream machines.

When Jim Hackett became CEO of Ford a few years ago, he realized that he was coming from a non-automotive background, so he needed to develop a grasp of the business.

He talked to a lot of people, and one major takeaway stood out for him: people truly love cars and have an emotional investment in them.

Hacket knew that, at some level, but he didn't know how much that love defined his customers' relationship with Ford's products.

That revelation is one that Musk knows well. He set out to produce cars that owners could adore, and he's succeeded. Tesla might have its problems, but building dream machines isn't one of them.

For years before Musk and Tesla came along, people wanted great, widely available electric cars, but the industry wasn't able to make them. They were a dream. Tesla made them a reality.

3. Musk's biggest job is as Tesla's marketer-in-chief.

Musk is one of the more technically knowledgeable CEOs in the auto industry, at least when it comes to electric cars. He also knows about rocketry, given that he's also CEO of SpaceX. I can safely say that no other CEO in the car business can call themself a rocket scientist of any sort.

Musk is also not as operationally disadvantaged as some of his critics think. His problem isn't that he doesn't understand how cars are built and sold; it's that he's too ambitious about improving a manufacturing process that might not need it.

But the truth is his real job, his most important one, is to be a car salesman.

The only other top exec to come along in the past few decades who was as effective as Musk was Lee Iacocca, who ran Chrysler in the 1980s. The business world has sort of forgotten about Iacocca, who was an old-school, cigar-chomping cheerleader for his company.

Much of this is because the type that Iacocca embodied isn't effective at overseeing most big, global carmakers in the 21st century. They need to be futurists and diplomats, leaving the rough-and-tumble of grinding out sales to capable lieutenants.

Musk is certainly a futurist, but he's rarely a diplomat. His driving goal is to sell as many Teslas as possible, to end humanity's dependence on fossil fuels. That requires something more like a field general, or a king.

4. Henry Ford and Enzo Ferrari and Lee Iacocca didn't have to deal with Twitter.

Iacocca didn't tweet. Neither did Henry Ford nor Enzo Ferrari.

In fact, none of the auto industry's great visionaries — with all their faults and flaws — had to worry about 24/7 media or the internet. When Iacocca was running Chrysler, there were basically three network channels on broadcast TV.

When Henry Ford started his car maker, radio was a new thing.

And Enzo Ferrari wasn't called il Commendatore because he spent a lot of time worrying about Twitter trolls.

5. Car companies haven't been truly exciting in a long, long time.

There are exceptions, of course. Lamborghini and Ferrari can still thrill, and newer exotic manufacturers such as Pagani have taken up that torch. But automakers for the past few decades have been far more about processes and management than about raw excitement.

Tesla's cars are all about excitement, even if they aren't particularly outlandish. They're certainly fast — sometimes faster than supercars. And they symbolize the future.

This situation is changing, as Tesla sells more vehicles to less affluent buyers and moves away from cars such as the high-performance original Roadster and embraces stuff like pickup trucks.

But the buzz remains. And Musk is its conductor.

Categories: English

Take a look inside the headquarters of Procore, the $3 billion tech startup in Southern California that has the Pacific Ocean right in its backyard

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 13:45

  • Carpinteria, California — a coastal town just 10 miles south of Santa Barbara — has brought in tourists for years, especially thanks to its claim as "the world's safest beach." 
  • But lately, Carpinteria (or as some of the locals call it, Carp) has been attracting people for a different reason: It's home to Procore, one of the hottest tech companies in the country. 
  • Today, Procore is valued at $3 billion and employs more than 1,500 people worldwide.
  • We recently visited Procore's headquarters to see what it's like to work at a company that calls the Pacific Ocean its backyard. Here's what we found. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Carpinteria, California — a coastal town just 10 miles south of Santa Barbara — has attracted tourists for years touting its claim as "the world's safest beach." 

But lately, Carpinteria (or as some of the locals call it, Carp) has been attracting people for a different reason — it's home to Procore, one of the hottest tech companies in the country. 

Procore, which builds construction management software, was started up 17 years ago, but as founder and chief exec Tooey Courtemanche told Business Insider in a recent interview, things didn't really take off for the company until 2012. 

Today, Procore is valued at $3 billion and employs more than 1,500 people worldwide.

Read more: The CEO of this $3 billion Southern California software company says he never wants to have a major office in Silicon Valley

Between the beachside views and employee perks, Procore has also established a company culture that's winning some attention. According to Glassdoor's 2018 report of best companies to work for in the country, Procore was rated the fourth overall and second among tech companies.

We recently visited Procore's HQ to see what it's like to work at a company has the Pacific Ocean right in its backyard. Here's what we found: 

SEE ALSO: The pitch decks that helped hot startups raise millions

Procore's corporate headquarters is located in Carpinteria, California, a beachside town just 10 miles south of Santa Barbara. The Southern California HQ houses over 850 of Procore's more than 1,500 total employees.

On the day we're there, almost everyone I spoke to apologized for it being overcast. But with these incredible views right outside the office, who can complain about a little morning fog?

Immediately upon stepping out of your car, you'll notice it's a dog-friendly campus.

To bring your dog to work, you do need to go through a "Procore Pup Certification." Some of the rules include no accidents or barking indoors, and no fighting with "furry friends" or coworkers.

This nice pup, who we met later on our tour, had obviously been Procore certified.

Beyond the dogs, you'll also notice how many employees take advantage of the pleasant, seaside weather.

Inside Procore's main lobby, the friendly staff greeted me.

We also notice multiple sets of car keys sitting on the front counter. Those belonged to employees who are getting their car washed that day, one of the many perks offered by Procore. 

Car washes at Procore aren't free, but they're affordable and super convenient. 

In another nearby lobby resides a replica of the NASCAR racing car that Procore sponsors.

In 2019, the construction software company will be the primary sponsor for NASCAR racer, Matt DiBenedetto. 

Walking the hallways, we recognize its sleek design rivals even the hippest offices we've seen in Silicon Valley.

There's plenty of spaces around the office to have informal meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Or, when formal meetings are a must, employees can choose a room with an ocean view.

Photos capturing Procore's history — which dates back more than 17 years — can be spotted on office walls.

The photo in the center of this collage was from one of Procore's family carnival days when miniature horses were brought in for kids to ride. 

Artwork can also be found throughout the Procore's office — which, since it's a construction management software company, can often take on an industrial aesthetic.

The whole office has a positive vibe.

As one would expect in a trendy tech office, employees have an array of snack options to choose from, and can play classic arcade games in between meetings.

Employees do have assigned desks.

But if the open floor plans become too much of a distraction, the office has several dedicated quiet zones.

Employees can also escape to comfortable couches and chairs to get their work done.

Or, if lounge chairs are preferred, Procore has those too.

Working from the succulent garden is always an option as well.

Procore's HQ is broken up into multiple buildings, and so sometimes employees will have to walk through industrial garage doors to get to their next meeting.

Or, they may need to take one of the outdoor walking paths that connect all the buildings on Procore's campus.

One of the walking paths offers employees the chance to appreciate the waves below. Rincon Point — a famous surfing spot —is just south of Procore's office and close enough for employees to paddle out on their lunch breaks.

Bikes are also available for employees, whether they just need to clear their heads after a long meeting or want to take a ride to Carpinteria's main street for lunch.

For employees looking to stay in shape, Procore has three different gyms — two on its main campus and a larger one across the freeway, which can be accessed via a company shuttle bus. Procore offers TRX, boot camps, and yoga classes for free to employees.

Procore offers TRX, boot camps, and yoga classes for free to employees. 

Categories: English

This chart shows just how much Facebook, Google, and Amazon dominate the digital economy (FB, GOOG, AMZN)

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 13:15


  • The chart below shows the amount of power that three of the biggest tech companies have in key sectors of the digital economy.
  • 2 out of every 3 digital ad dollars in the US goes to Facebook, Google or Amazon, according to eMarketer data.
  • Tech companies have long argued that competition is just one click away in the internet market, but the concentration of power in certain markets is now under renewed scrutiny by regulators, politicians and the public. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There's a lot of money to be made in the digital economy. And right now, a lot of that money is flowing into the coffers of three companies in particular. 

Google, Facebook, and Amazon are among the most valuable tech companies in the world. And as shown in this chart, based on data from eMarketer, the three companies utterly dominate certain segments of the online economy in the US. (Axel Springer, Business Insider's parent company, also owns eMarketer.) 

More than two of out every three dollars spent on digital ads in the US goes to one of the three companies., for instance. Facebook, not surprisingly, takes the lion's share of social media advertising, and it's closing the gap with Google on mobile ads. 

With calls to rein in the power of the big tech companies, and some like Senator Elizabeth Warren even saying it's time to break up some of these corporations, the market share figures below represent something of an inconvenient truth — no matter what the companies may say about competition being "just a click away."

Amazon is a growing power in digital advertising, but its real stronghold remains its online retail business, with 37.7% of all e-commerce sales in the US ringing up at the Amazon cash register. Notably, that number is actually the result of a downward revision by eMarketer following new information about Amazon's third-party sales— the research firm had previously estimated Amazon's share of the US e-commerce market was 47%.

As the TV industry gets upended by the internet, Google and Amazon are also positioned to benefit from new revenue streams. Nearly 27% of consumers who watch streaming video on a TV screen in the US watch through Amazon, while nearly 17% watch through a Google service or device.  Note that the estimates for "over-the-top" TV viewers, which refers to video delivered over the internet independent of a traditional TV service, is above 100% due to overlap of consumers using more than one service. 

SEE ALSO: Inside the Alphabet empire: Here are the most important people and teams in Google's vast power structure

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: I've used iPhones for nearly a decade and switched to the Samsung Galaxy S10. Now I understand Android loyalty in a way I never understood before.

Categories: English

Private venture-backed startups like Slack and Airbnb are investing in other startups. Here’s where their money is going.

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 13:00

  • Privately held companies like Slack and Airbnb have started investing in other venture-backed startups through corporate venture capital funds.
  • Corporate venture capital has been popular with tech companies in the past, with major players like Qualcomm and Google each spinning off at least one venture arm of the business.
  • Together, corporate venture funds from private startups have invested more than $2 billion since 2013.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Some venture-backed startups don't want to miss out on the next wave of unicorns, so they're turning to an old funding strategy.

Workplace chat app Slack was one of the earliest privately-held startups to use its funds to back other startups in 2013. In the years since, Airbnb, Stripe, and Coinbase have also started corporate venture capital funds of their own. In total, these four funds have invested more than $2 billion across 76 companies, according to Pitchbook data.

Read More: Tech VCs are squabbling over a popular type of funding for startups that one prominent investor calls a 'nightmare' and a 's**t show'

Corporate venture capital isn't a new phenomenon, and tech giants like Google and Qualcomm all have one or more existing corporate venture funds to take big bets on emerging technology.

"Being a part of a large company that has incredibly talented engineers, executives, and a global presence means there's a lot of money and resources that can be delivered to early-stage companies and entrepreneurs that accelerate adoption of the product or service. It also helps them not make mistakes others have made," Valo Ventures founder and former CapitalG founder Scott Tierney told Business Insider. CapitalG was formerly part of Google's corporate venture arm, Google Ventures.

We looked through Pitchbook data to determine the top corporate venture capital funds from privately-held startups. Here are the top four:

SEE ALSO: Peloton, the fitness startup with a cultlike following, could go public at an $8 billion valuation. Insiders reveal why its business seems set to explode.

4. Coinbase

Total invested: $73.28 million

Started investing: 2018

Companies invested in: 10

Portfolio includes: TruStory, Celo, Spacemesh, Abacus

3. Stripe

Total invested: $363.81 million

Started investing: 2017

Companies invested in: 8

Portfolio companies include: Monzo, Paystack, Lamda School

2. Slack

Total invested: $412.33 million

Started investing: 2013

Companies invested in: 53

Portfolio companies include: WorkRamp, Clara Labs, Learnmetrics

1. Airbnb

Total invested: $1.35 billion

Started investing: 2017

Companies invested in: 5

Portfolio companies include: Lyric, The Wing, Resy, OYO Rooms

Categories: English

I just went to the biggest video game show on the planet, and these are the 11 games you should be most excited about

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 12:47

  • The year's biggest video game show, E3 2019 in Los Angeles, just concluded. 
  • I was there to cover the show, as I've done for the past 10 years.
  • Having played a bunch of games and seen far more, I put together a definitive list of games you should be pumped for in the coming year.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The shocking volume of video game news in the last week wasn't a coincidence — the biggest game show of the year, E3 2019, just concluded in Los Angeles on Thursday.

For the tenth year in a row, I was in Los Angeles covering the event. I attended press conferences, politely declined hors d'oeuvres, interviewed executives, played games, ate delicious LA food, and watched game demos for five days straight.

I'm happy to say that, after those five days, there are a ton of great games to be excited about in the coming year. Here's the best stuff I saw:

SEE ALSO: The 25 most exciting announcements from E3 2019, the biggest video game showcase of the year

11. "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order"

You don't need to be interested in "Star Wars" to be excited about "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order." I'm not a major "Star Wars" fan, and what I saw looked great.

In short, the game looks and plays like a "Star Wars" game set in the trappings of "Uncharted" — a third-person action game with a mix of combat, platforming, and puzzle-solving that serves to tell a new story in the "Star Wars" universe.

I watched as the main character, Cal Kestis, snuck up on stormtroopers, solved basic puzzles, and climbed various structures — with the occasional break for a conversation or two with allies.

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Release date: November 15, 2019

Read more about "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order" right here.

Check out "Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order" in action right here:

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10. "Apex Legends: Season 2"

Since "Apex Legends" arrived in early February, it's become the standard background game in my life.

Unlike "Fortnite" or "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," "Apex Legends" has its hooks in me deep and I don't foresee it letting go anytime soon.

Which is why I was so incredibly excited to hear about the big updates coming in season two, which includes a new legend character, at least one new weapon, and major changes coming to how the Battle Pass system works. 

Most exciting is that a new mode is coming to the game — a ranked mode — that will pair players of similar skill. And that's particularly thrilling for a game that's so incredibly competitive.

The new season of "Apex Legends" kicks off in early July, and you can bet I'll be there playing.

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Release date: July 2, 2019

Read more about "Apex Legends" right here.

Check out "Apex Legends: Season 2" in action right here:

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9. "Luigi's Mansion 3"

Luigi is often the butt of jokes — the lesser of the Mario Brothers, relegated to second player at best. 

But in the "Luigi's Mansion" series, he's out there on his own as the star of the show. And in "Luigi's Mansion 3," he's on his toughest mission yet through a haunted hotel.

Frankly speaking, "Luigi's Mansion 3" was the most fun I had with any Nintendo game at the show. That includes the new "Pokémon" game and the next major "Legend of Zelda" game, "Link's Awakening." It's charming, and the gameplay is totally unique — capturing ghosts! — and there's even a bizarre new version of Luigi in it named "Gooigi."

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Release date: 2019

Read more about "Luigi's Mansion 3" right here.

Check out "Luigi's Mansion 3" in action right here:

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8. "DOOM Eternal"

The best game of 2016 is getting a huge sequel in 2019: "DOOM Eternal" is the direct sequel to the excellent reboot of the classic "DOOM" first-person shooter franchise.

I was lucky enough to actually go hands-on with "DOOM Eternal" at E3 2019, and was immediately enthralled once again by the fast-paced madness of its gameplay. In short, "DOOM Eternal" is a massive expansion on the already thrilling gameplay of the previous game. 

All of the additions made in "Eternal" that I experienced — attachments for weapons that allow you to zip around the environment, and a new finishing move that nets you a burst of armor — build on the existing mechanics of the last entry. "DOOM Eternal" is likely to be one of the best games of the coming holiday season.

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Release date: November 22, 2019

Check out "DOOM Eternal" in action right here:

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7. "Cyberpunk 2077"

Is there anyone who doesn't want to play the game about the dystopian, cyberpunk future that co-stars Keanu Reeves? 

That's "Cyberpunk 2077." It's an open-world, third-person action game set in a complex, futuristic city where no one can be trusted. It looks a lot like the video game version of "The Fifth Element," set in the city from "Akira." 

"Cyberpunk 2077" has been one of the biggest games at E3 two years running — and there's good reason for that: It looks outrageous and fascinating. 

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Release date: April 16, 2020

Read more about "Cyberpunk 2077" right here.

Check out "Cyberpunk 2077" in action right here:

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6. "Final Fantasy VII Remake"

Sorry, RPG fans: "Final Fantasy VII Remake" doesn't have the turn-based fighting you may be expecting.

Instead, it's much more of an action game.

In the 30 or so minutes of it that I played, I mostly controlled our hero, Cloud Strife, as he used his massive sword to swat at enemies. Occasionally I controlled Barrett Wallace, the gruff and muscle-y friend of Cloud, who also happens to have a gun arm.

I never played the original "Final Fantasy VII" because, frankly speaking, I'm not very interested in role-playing games in general. I missed the game way back in the late-'90s when it originally came out, and I never made the time to play it in the years since.

But spending time with the remake is something I'm looking forward to when it arrives next year.

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Release date: March 3, 2020

Read more about "Final Fantasy VII Remake" right here.

Check out "Final Fantasy VII Remake" in action right here:

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5. "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2"

A new "Legend of Zelda" game — a direct sequel to the blockbuster Nintendo Switch game, "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild" — was revealed this week by Nintendo.

A short clip of the prior game's main characters, Princess Zelda and Link, depicts them facing some form of new enemy in a dungeon. It also appears to tease at the return of series antagonist, Ganon, in an incarnation that seems to be inspired by his appearance in "The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker."

To be clear: We know next to nothing about this game. Nintendo wasn't showing it at E3. The tease was simply meant to tell fans that, yes, a new "Zelda" game is in production. That alone is thrilling news!

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Release date: Unknown

Read more about "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2" right here.

Check out "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2" in action right here:

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4. "Watch Dogs Legion"

The "Watch Dogs" series is an underrated gem from Ubisoft, the French game company behind "Assassin's Creed" and "Splinter Cell" (among many others).

The new entry in the series, "Watch Dogs Legion," looks to be the most interesting yet: You play as a hacker in London, except you're not just playing as one individual. Instead, you're a legion of different people. Better still: You'll recruit more people as the game progresses, each with their own unique skills.

It's a unique twist on a game series that's already full of unique delights.

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Google Stadia

Release date: March 6, 2020

Read more about "Watch Dogs Legion" right here.

Check out "Watch Dogs Legion" in action right here:

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3. "Halo Infinite"

The new "Halo" is the next major entry in the long-running, first-person shooter series, and it once again features the iconic super-soldier Master Chief as its main protagonist.

And "Halo Infinite" is rife with nods to "Halo" tradition.

But let's be clear: It's not named "Halo 6" for a good reason. The game features a new art style, and is said to take the series in "new and unexpected directions." One of those unexpected directions: The next Xbox console. Microsoft revealed that "Halo Infinite" will be a launch game on the next Xbox console, codenamed Project Scarlett. 

Platforms: Xbox One, PC, Project Scarlett (the next Xbox console)

Release date: Holiday 2020

Read more about "Halo Infinite" right here.

Check out "Halo Infinite" in action right here:

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2. "The Outer Worlds"

The creative duo behind the original "Fallout" are working together again on a new series that feels suspiciously familiar: It's called "The Outer Worlds."

The kitschy trailers for "The Outer Worlds" are a delight, and follow in the tradition of irreverent role-playing games like "Fallout."

The story is simple: "You awake from hibernation on a colonist ship lost in transit to its destination on the edge of the galaxy, only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the colony." How you play out that scenario is seemingly up to you.

This game looks very much like the alternative "Fallout" game I've been waiting for, and it's nearly here.

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

Release date: October 25, 2019

Check out "The Outer Worlds" in action right here:

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1. "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020"

"Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020" looks like a joyful, cheerful game. 

It features Mario, and Sonic, and all the various supporting characters of their worlds, and they're all doing adorable stuff like surfing and skateboarding and various other Summer Olympic games.

If you've ever wondered what it'd be like if Dr. Robotnik took on Princess Peach in beach volleyball, this is the game to find out!

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

Release date: November 2019

Check out "Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020" in action right here:

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Categories: English

THE FIXED 5G DISRUPTION REPORT: Verizon and T-Mobile are setting their sights on Comcast as they attempt to disrupt the $80 billion home internet market (VZ, TMUS, CMCSA)

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 11:02

5G networks are poised to create a range of new revenue opportunities for telecoms thanks to faster network speeds. Network operators want to get these networks up and running and use them to offer consumers and businesses better versions of the high-speed data service they currently provide, but also to enable new practices.

One new product wireless operators will introduce to take advantage of 5G networks in the consumer segment is 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) services. This type of product offering will allow wireless telecoms to enter the home internet market and challenge wired broadband operators for the $80 billion revenue opportunity in consumer home internet access.

To get this product into consumers' homes, though, they have to overcome the inertia of the status quo. Many consumers won't want to change the provider of a service that already works well enough for them or deal with the hassle associated with such a switch. But thanks to primary research from Business Insider Intelligence, we offer a look at how early adopters could be swayed to give such a service a try.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence looks at how wireless network operators will use their 5G networks and FWA to tap a new revenue source and disrupt the home internet market. First, we explain the basics of 5G FWA. Next, we look at the broader home internet market and the areas that could drive demand for 5G FWA service. We then outline how telecoms can set up 5G FWA networks and offer strategies they could pursue to encourage consumer adoption of these networks. Finally, we discuss how FWA broadly will impart lasting transformations on the home internet market.

Companies mentioned in this report include: Altice, Apple, AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Frontier, Google, Hulu, Netflix, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Qualcomm

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • FWA services won't be hard for network operators to roll out from a technical perspective; once 5G networks are up and running, it will just be a matter of offering compatible modems for the home.
  • Reliable and fast service are the most important factors for consumers in choosing their home broadband provider.
  • Primary research from Business Insider Intelligence shows that there are a few key tactics wireless telecoms can employ that could resonate with early adopters and draw those trendsetters to their services.

In full, the report:

  • Provides an overview of the key factors that will enable 5G FWA, and what companies will need to deploy it.
  • Highlights the challenges wireless telecoms will face in getting consumers to take to such a service.
  • Offers a range of data-backed strategies companies can employ that could draw early adopters to their services.

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

  1. Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

The choice is yours. But however you decide to acquire this report, you've given yourself a powerful advantage in your understanding of the fast-moving world of 5G.

Join the conversation about this story »

Categories: English

How Salesforce's AI ethics chief pitched her own job and got it approved by Marc Benioff within 6 days

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 10:00

  • Kathy Baxter is Salesforce's AI ethics architect, responsible for policing the company's deployment of artificial intelligence.
  • She invented her own job description and sent it to Salesforce's chief scientist, who then forwarded it on to CEO Marc Benioff. Six days later she got the job.
  • Baxter told Business Insider about what being an "ethics architect" actually involves, and why Google and Amazon are not getting everything right on AI.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Silicon Valley is full of baffling job titles. It's not uncommon for companies to list jobs for "evangelist," while Google even employs a "security princess." One executive with an unusual job title is Kathy Baxter, Salesforce's "AI ethics architect," so Business Insider sat down with her to ask what it means.

Before joining Salesforce in 2015, Baxter spent a decade at Google, where she says conversations about the dangers of AI-driven features like YouTube's autoplay function were bubbling away long before they exploded into public consciousness. She's spent more than 20 years in tech, starting out at Oracle in 1998.

The question of what is an AI ethics architect makes Baxter laugh. An architect in tech is, "anybody that is doing work that spans the entire company," she says. Prior to being Salesforce's AI ethics architect, she was a research architect.

"I work with the research scientists to think about the societal or ethical implications of the models and the training datasets that they use. And then I work with the product teams that use those models and think about, again training data we might use, and what are some features that we can build into the UI [user interface]," says Baxter.

"The challenge that we have compared to a Facebook or a Google is that because we're B2B, we are a platform, we can't see our customers' data or their models. So if they are using it in an irresponsible manner there's no way for us to know."

One way she says the company has built the UI for its Einstein analytics software with ethics in mind is by designing ways it can flag up to customers when they may be unwittingly straying towards algorithmic bias.

Read more: An MIT researcher who analyzed facial recognition software found eliminating bias in AI is a matter of priorities

AI experts and civil rights groups have frequently voiced concern about algorithmic bias amplifying human prejudices. In one example, Amazon had to scrap an AI recruitment tool which systematically downgraded female candidates, because the training data was disproportionately from male candidates. Salesforce is working to flag exactly these kinds of dangers to clients.

"If they're using standard objects [standard objects are easily recognizable categories like age or gender] we know that, and we can say 'oh you're using age, you're using race, you might be adding bias into the model' — or zip code, which in the US is a proxy for race. So we can say 'hey you're using zipcode, that can be a proxy for race you may be adding in bias, are you sure you want to do that?'"

How Kathy Baxter invented her own job

Baxter designed her own job description using an in-house set of descriptors: visions, values, methods, metrics, and obstacles. This gets abbreviated to V2MOM.

She wrote a V2MOM for the role and sent it off to Salesforce's Chief Scientist Richard Socher, who forwarded it on to CEO Marc Benioff. "I pitched it to Richard, he went to Marc with this and Marc was like 'yeah we totally need this.' And six days later I was on his team," she reflects.

Even before Baxter got the job, however, Socher was looping her in on conversations with Benioff. "He would pull me in and say 'plus Kathy to weigh in on the ethical implications of this,'" she says.

Baxter says Benioff's stance on ethical issues is what attracted her to Salesforce in the first place, citing his support for Proposition C, the San Francisco law that passed last year aimed at taxing tech giants and diverting the money to combat homelessness in the city.

Recently news emerged that Salesforce had banned customers from using its software to sell semi-automatic weapons. Much as the company touts its moral compass however, its reputation isn't spotless. In March, 50 women launched a lawsuit against the company alleging that its data tools were used by notorious sex-trafficking site Backpage.

Silicon Valley's AI woes

As a customer relationship management service, Salesforce doesn't get as much press scrutiny on the misuse of AI as some of the consumer tech giants — but part Baxter's job is PR, attending conferences and telling people what Salesforce's approach to AI is.

When it comes to the other big companies, Baxter sees a wide range of public approaches to AI. Some Silicon Valley giants are necessarily vocal, she says, while others are notably absent from the slew of AI ethics-focused events she attends.

Read more: A member of Google's disastrous AI council says the company needs to be treated like a "world power"

"I don't see anyone from Amazon participating in these [AI ethics] conferences... So it's hard to know what are the conversations that are happening internally because they're not talking about it. All we can do is just make guesses about their motivations, their goals, their mindsets."

Amazon is not entirely silent on the issue of the ethical use of its AI. Amazon Web Services' general manager of artificial intelligence, Matt Wood, and VP of Global Public Policy Michael Punke, engaged in a public back-and-forth with researchers following a paper published in January highlighting racial and gender bias in its systems. Wood called the paper's conclusions "misleading," and subsequently 55 AI experts signed an open letter calling on the company not to sell its facial recognition software to law enforcement.

Baxter contrasts Amazon's public policy with Microsoft's Brad Smith, who has spoken publicly about the company's decision to sell its facial recognition technology to a US prison, while refusing to sell the technology for use on police body-mounted cameras. "Regardless of how someone might feel about the decisions they're making, they talk about it," she says.

Baxter also touched on her alma mater Google, whose ambitions for an advisory AI council were quickly scuppered after outrage at the appointment of Kay Coles James, the head of a right-wing think tank who has been accused of anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The company disbanded the council just over a week after announcing it to the world.

"It's surprising how it was handled. I think, if you really want a really diverse set of voices to participate in a conversation sometimes it can be very difficult to get people on the other side — so non-Silicon Valley, non-liberal California hippy-dippy granola nuts — to want to participate. And so they did find a voice on the other side — unfortunately, it was a very extremist voice," she says.

Baxter says that during her tenure at Google, conversations were already starting to get underway about the ethics of certain features like YouTube's autoplay function, which has been criticised among other things for pushing users towards radicalizing content and enabling pedophiles to watch sexualized videos of children.

"Those were questions that were being asked for quite a long time, they've only now in recent years come into the public discourse because people felt like they haven't been doing the right thing," Baxter explains.

In a Medium blog published in January, Baxter wrote that the challenge for an ethicist in Silicon Valley isn't coming up against hostility, but apathy. "You will likely get lots of nodding heads that what you are proposing sounds great and then… radio silence."

Baxter is no stranger to uphill struggles. She told BI that when working at Google she had pushed the company's executives to focus on improving Google Search's job-hunting capabilities, after conducting a study in 2014 which found this was where the search engine was letting the side down on giving users important information.

"I was really trying to help the executives get out of that Silicon Valley bubble. Because they didn't understand the set of people that are living on the financial edge, they start the day by going to their ATM and getting a readout of how much money is in their account to decide whether or not they can buy lunch that day."

She saw Google released a specific job-seeking feature last year, three years after she left the company. "That's a pretty big time-gap. That's a lag," she says.

With public anxieties about the role of AI bound to intensify, people like Baxter will have their work cut out whipping executives into shape if they're to prevent their companies' products from unwittingly prejudicing people. For her, part of the solution is making Silicon Valley less homogeneous.

"Just like we see this lack of diversity in AI, we know there's a lack of diversity in tech as it is. It's the very well-educated, young white males that are building these products and they have a very different life experience," she says. "So when you're making decisions about what is useful, what is important for people, you're coming with a different experience."

SEE ALSO: A former Google product exec just raised millions from Eric Schmidt and Khosla Ventures to liberate AI from Big Tech's grip

Join the conversation about this story »

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This 2012 presentation from Instagram's cofounder revealed his secrets for building the app into a billion-dollar business (FB)

Sun, 06/16/2019 - 01:53

  • Back in 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for a cool $1 billion.
  • In the days that followed, Instagram cofounder Mike Krieger gave a presentation to Airbnb employees explaining his strategies for growing the company.
  • The slides from his talk provide a fascinating window into a pivotal era in the history of social media.
  • And they offer lessons to other entrepreneurs hoping to follow in the Instagram cofounders' footsteps.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Instagram is a cash-printing leviathan, estimated to be worth in excess of $100 billion on its own and widely viewed as crucial to Facebook's future growth. But it wasn't always this way.

Back in 2012, the 13-employee photo-sharing app was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion, in an eye-popping deal that was questioned by critics at the time but has since paid for itself a hundred times over. 

In the days that followed, one of Instagram's cofounders, Mike Krieger, gave a talk at Airbnb's San Francisco offices about how he and Kevin Systrom, in under two years, built the photo-sharing app from nothing into a $1 billion business with 35 million users that drew the attention of one of the world's most powerful tech companies.

Krieger and Systrom have since left Instagram, but the presentation Krieger gave in April 2012 is still fascinating on multiple levels. It presents a unique window into the company's history, provides insight on the challenges behind going from nothing to huge so fast, and offers lessons to other entrepreneurs hoping to follow the now-legendary Instagram cofounders' path.

Business Insider has republished the deck of slides from that talk in full below.

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We compared Casper’s foam mattress to its new hybrid mattress to determine which bed you should buy

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 23:00

Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

A good mattress will last you for decades, and you'll spend a third of your daily life on it. When considering such an important purchase, you should be able to spend significant time sleeping on the mattress. Fortunately, Casper allows you to test drive all of its mattresses for 100 nights risk-free, and the company now has samples all over the country — at Target and in their own brick-and-mortar stores — for you to see and feel in person.

Recently, Casper updated its flagship mattress and introduced the Casper Hybrid mattress. The updated flagship Casper features a new zoned support foam layer that focuses on providing pressure relief and support that is firmer under the hips and softer under the shoulders.

The new Hybrid also has the zoned support layer along with the other three foam layers found in the updated Casper. What sets the Casper Hybrid apart is its individual coil springs designed to provide added lift and increased airflow.

Casper recently sent me both mattresses to test. Each has weaknesses and advantages. Below, we compare the updated all-foam Casper mattress to the Casper Hybrid mattress in a few key categories: price, style, return policy, warranty, set-up process, comfort, edge support, and motion transfer.

Keep scrolling to see how the flagship Casper mattress and Hybrid mattress compare:Prices and specs compared

Winner: No matter what size you choose, the Casper mattress is less expensive than the Casper Hybrid.

The Casper Hybrid and the flagship all-foam Casper share several features, but there are a few differences. The biggest one is that the Hybrid has coiled springs, while the regular Casper mattress is all foam.

Since you are adding individually-wrapped pocket coils, the Casper Hybrid mattress is more expensive than the updated Casper mattress. If you are purchasing the Twin-sized mattress the difference in price is only $155, but if you want a Cal King or King, you can expect to pay an extra $400 for the hybrid experience.

You should look at costs when buying a bed, but don't make price the most important factor. Keep in mind that you will spend a significant part of your life on this mattress. Over the lifetime of the bed, differences in price work out to only a few cents per day. Also, if money is a concern, Casper allows you to pay for its mattresses with monthly payments at 0% APR.

If you plan on sleeping alone, a Twin, Twin XL, or Full mattress is your best bet. Twin works for smaller individuals, Twin XL is for taller folks, and Full is best if you are on the huskier side. Couples can share a Queen, King, or Cal King, though if you are a bigger couple go with a King. Taller couples will benefit from the Cal King.

As for looks, the mattresses are nearly identical. Both have gray sides with the all-foam Casper a slightly lighter gray. Both are white on top. The cover is removable and washable. However, you'll still want to use a fitted sheet.

Buy the updated Casper mattress from Casper for $695 (Twin), $745 (Twin XL), $1,050 (Full), $1,195 (Queen), $1,495 (King and Cal King) Buy the Casper Hybrid mattress from Casper for $850 (Twin), $915 (Twin XL), $1,295 (Full), $1.495 (Queen), $1,895 (King and Cal King)

Return policy and warranty compared

Winner: This is a draw. Casper offers the same return policy and warranty for all of its mattresses.

Though the return policy and warranty are not good ways to differentiate these mattresses, it's important for you to know what's available. You can try out both mattresses with Casper's 100-night risk-free trial. If you don't like the mattress for any reason within 100 nights of its arrival, you can let the company know, and it will send out a local charity or recycling center to take it away for you. You then get a full refund within two weeks.

The mattresses are also backed by 10-year limited warranties. So, if you find any manufacturing defects, physical flaws, or the mattress just experiences significant (an inch or more) indentation, Casper will fix or replace your mattress. The warranty is only valid if you use a supportive foundation, care for the bed properly, and if you use it normally.

Set-up process compared

Winner: The flagship Casper mattress wins by a hair in terms of set up because it weighs less and seemed to have less odor.

Before I dive into my experiences setting these mattresses up, I want to point out that you can pay Casper to set up your mattress for you. For a fee ($149 where I live in Lansing, Michigan), the company will send someone to deliver, unbox, and set up your mattress and bed frame. They will also remove the packaging, your old mattress, and foundation.

I didn't go this route. Instead, I did it all myself. Both mattresses come with instructions for how to unbox and set them up. The mattresses took five minutes to completely unpackage. Then, I let the mattresses air out for a couple of days before using them because memory foam tends to have an odor associated with it.

The queen-sized Hybrid weighs 106 pounds, while the all-foam Casper weighs 85 pounds. The light weight and firmness of the all-foam mattress made it easier to set up. Additionally, I never noticed any odor from the all-foam bed, while the Hybrid did have a noticeable odor.

Comfort compared

Winner: As a side sleeper, I found the softness of the Casper Hybrid served me better than the firm original Casper.

When it comes to mattresses, comfort depends on a lot of factors that vary from person-to-person. Heavier individuals, back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and people with back pain generally benefit more from firmer mattresses. Lighter people and side sleepers tend to feel more comfortable on softer mattresses.

I'm telling you all of this because — unless you're 6-feet tall, weigh 250 pounds, and sleep on your side — you should take my preferences with a grain of salt.

For me, the updated Casper mattress is too firm. It wasn't comfortable sleeping on my side. Instead, I was forced to sleep on my stomach, which I naturally do part of the time, but it was unfortunate that I couldn't switch it up with some side sleeping. The Casper Hybrid is more of a "Goldilocks-fit" for me. The softness makes side and stomach sleeping comfortable.

I'm a hot sleeper and both mattresses did a good job of dissipating heat, but the all-foam Casper slept cooler than the Casper Hybrid. When temperatures dipped into the 30s at night, I found I actually had to add an extra blanket. With the Hybrid, I felt just right with one blanket, even when the mercury fell. If you are a hot sleeper, the all-foam Casper may be a smart choice during the hot summer months.

Edge support compared

Winner: The firm memory foam layers of the flagship Casper mattress extend all the way to the edges offering superior support.

Edge support is important for a number of reasons. First, you don't want your mattress to sag on the sides and give you the feeling you might fall off. It's hard to sleep like that. Secondly, it's nice to sit on the edge of the bed, whether you're putting your socks and shoes on or slowly transitioning from laying to standing.

Both mattresses offer good edge support, but the all-foam Casper mattress is better. I laid on the very edge of the flagship mattress and was actually comfortable there. I didn't feel like I was about to fall. Whereas with the Hybrid, I could feel more give on the edge. However, when I shared the Hybrid with my wife, I never felt like I might fall off, despite her attempts to annex my side of the bed.

Motion transfer compared

Winner: The all-foam Casper mattress passed our motion transfer tests, while the Hybrid failed each time.

Motion transfer isolation or dampening is an important mattress feature because it will help you get a good night's sleep even when your partner is tossing and turning. The fewer times you wake up, the more productive your sleep will be.

Based on my research, I created a makeshift motion transfer test with the materials I had available. First, I placed a 12-ounce can of soda upright on the center of each mattress. Then, I dropped a 20-pound weight from four feet above the mattress so that it landed 12 inches from the can. If the can stayed upright after several iterations, the mattress has good motion transfer dampening properties. If the can fell over consistently, the mattress has poor motion transfer properties.

In my tests on the Casper all-foam mattress, the can remained upright each time. With the Hybrid, the can always fell over. My subjective experience backed these results up. I shared the Hybrid bed with my wife, and she occasionally woke me up with her sleep troubles — a common problem for her.

Though I did not share the all-foam mattress with my wife, I did have a stream of pets walking on it while I slept. They didn't wake me up. The only evidence I had that they were there were random toys and occasionally they would be asleep next to me when I awoke in the morning.

These results tell me that the Hybrid may be better for individuals who mainly sleep alone or are heavy sleepers. The all-foam Casper mattress does a better job of isolating motion transfer, which is ideal for couples sharing a bed.

I also want to point out that poor motion transfer isolation usually translates to more bounciness. Bounce is nice to have when engaged in intimate activities. Yet, neither mattress exhibited much bounce. This may have been due to the foundation (i.e., our floor) having zero give. The all-foam Casper was nice because it did allow for easier movement on top of the mattress, which is helpful for a variety of reasons.


The bottom line

Overall winner: Though I personally would choose the Hybrid, I think the overall better mattress is the all-foam Casper.

During my testing schedule, I found myself looking forward to sleeping on the Hybrid but not the flagship Casper mattress. In the above categories, the only one in which the Hybrid is the clear winner in comfort, but that is an important enough factor that it beats out all others in my opinion. But, keep in mind that I'm a heavy person who sleeps on his side.

If you are a back sleeper, stomach sleeper, are carrying a few extra pounds, or have back pain, you might benefit from the all-foam Casper. This is especially true if you share a bed with someone and want good motion transfer isolation. You can also save hundreds of dollars by going with this option.

You could conceivably try one mattress for up to 100 days, and if you don't like it, return it and try the other for up to 100 days more.

If this seems a bit extreme, I recommend setting up an appointment for a 30-minute nap session at one of Casper's many locations across the United States. Casper is also available at Target stores everywhere.

As you may have gathered, the best mattress is a matter of personal preference. If you look at the above categories and some are more important to you than others, use the important categories to guide your buying decision. You can always return your mattress if you don't like it. 

Buy the updated Casper mattress from Casper for $695 (Twin), $745 (Twin XL), $1,050 (Full), $1,195 (Queen), $1,495 (King and Cal King) Buy the Casper Hybrid mattress from Casper for $850 (Twin), $915 (Twin XL), $1,295 (Full), $1.495 (Queen), $1,895 (King and Cal King)

Check out more mattress reviews and our mattress buying guide

The best mattresses you can buy

A great mattress can be the difference between a good night's sleep that results in a productive day or a horrible night that makes you feel like you didn't sleep at all.

We've tested a lot of mattresses to find the best ones you can buy online, and these are our picks:

You can also read our full reviews of the Casper mattresses here:

Categories: English

AI 101: How learning computers are becoming smarter

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 22:02

Many companies use the term artificial intelligence, or AI, as a way to generate excitement for their products and to present themselves as on the cutting edge of tech development.

But what exactly is artificial intelligence? What does it involve? And how will it help the development of future generations?

Find out the answers to these questions and more in AI 101, a brand new FREE report from  Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, that describes how AI works and looks at its present and potential future applications.

To get your copy of the FREE slide deck, simply click here.

Join the conversation about this story »

Categories: English

Target cash registers across America crashed for 2 hours, creating massive lines of frustrated customers in 'The Great Target Outage of 2019'

Sat, 06/15/2019 - 20:44

  • Target cash registers across the US crashed on Saturday afternoon, creating long lines and crowds of frustrated customers unable to check out from stores. 
  • The incident was dubbed "The Great Target Outage of '19" on social media, with many comparing Target's struggles to the disastrous Fyre Festival. 
  • A Target representative said that registers are once again working as of 5 p.m. ET, following an "internal technology issue that lasted for approximately two hours." 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Target faced massive technical difficulties on Saturday, as customers across the US found themselves unable to check out at the retailer. 

At around 2 p.m. ET, Target customers at locations across the US began reporting malfunctioning cash registers on social media. Soon, long lines formed, as customers were unable to check out. 

Witnessing the great target outage of 2019. Of course we’d be here for this. #targetdown

— Pammy Boulas (@panagiotab16) June 15, 2019

The elderly woman behind me is shouting to all who will listen: “this is not a country bumpkin operation! Surely there is some sort of secret backup technology!” #targetcrash2019

— Jessica Kielblock (@JessKills) June 15, 2019

Stay strong and remain calm. #target #greatregisterouttage2019

— Dezzie Thompson (@Desi4theDay) June 15, 2019

According to one Target employee who reached out to Business Insider, workers were told that the retailer was facing a global cash register outage. Other employees shared similar reports on social media. 

Store employee (plus Twitter) says this is happening nationwide. #target #targetdown

— Nancy Yang (@n_yang) June 15, 2019

This entire #Target is at a standstill. Employees said the computer system is down globally. Wondering if anyone else is standing in a line like this?

— Hunter Sowards (@huntersowards3) June 15, 2019

“I have two kids, now I have to go to a whole other store. I just want to buy this stuff. I HAVE TWO KIDS.” -suburban mom at #target during #TargetApocalypse2019

— Matthew Hayes (@matthewd23) June 15, 2019


Employees handed out free samples to frustrated customers. 

#targetdown Target Starbucks handing out samples to guest's while the registers are down. My heart goes out to the employees dealing with mad costumers.

— victor vulpine (@victor_vulpine) June 15, 2019

All the registers at #Target are down nationwide but we’re making the most of it!

— Dan Clemens (@dan_clemens) June 15, 2019

All of the registers are down at Target. They’re passing out rations to appease the crowd

— Wesley Boutilier (@WesleyBout) June 15, 2019


Others asked that customers not lash out at Target workers — who were stressed themselves. 

Please don’t harass Target Team Members, we have no control over Target falling. Be kind & be patient during our Armageddon #targetdown

— Sooshi (@iiTsSooshi) June 15, 2019

Me when the manager says “it’s a global issue. All registers are down.” #target #getoutNOW

— Geena Driven (@GeenaDriven) June 15, 2019


The systems issue — dubbed "The Great Target Outage of 2019" on social media — soon took on almost mythical qualities. 

Where were you during the Great Target Outage of ‘19?

— Patrick J. (@pattyotool) June 15, 2019

37 minutes into the Great Target Reckoning of ‘19. Just saw a man eat his own foot. #target

— Chicago Film Scene (@chifilmscene) June 15, 2019

Target is currently under a “global cash register outage” and I think this is the closest I’ve ever been to experiencing an apocalypse. I think people are gonna start rioting soon.

— Jen Jacobs (@JenJacobs_) June 15, 2019


Some compared the incident to the disastrous Fyre Festival. 

Yo, I’m at target and it just became Fyre Fest.

— Samuel Arias (@imsamarias) June 15, 2019

Target’s registers being down is the Fyre Fest of 2019

— Ariana (@arianafeller) June 15, 2019

Some Target locations appear to have closed, citing a "Target global issue." 

Closed the day before Father’s Day at 3:00. As an @target stock holder let me tell you how much this is beyond unacceptable!

— (@irblaster) June 15, 2019

@Target All stores global wide are closed?

Categories: English