Britain urged to prosecute social media firms over online abuse

LONDON (Reuters) – Social media companies should face prosecution for failing to remove racist and extremist material from their websites, according to a report by an influential committee.

FILE PHOTO – A picture illustration shows a Facebook logo reflected in a person’s eye, in Zenica, March 13, 2015.REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Prime Minister Theresa May’s ethics watchdog recommends introducing laws to shift the liability for illegal content onto social media firms and calls for them to do more to take down intimidatory content.

Social media companies currently do not have liability for the content on their sites, even when it is illegal, the report by the Committee on Standards in Public Life said.

The recommendations form part of the conclusions of an inquiry into intimidation experienced by parliamentary candidates in an election campaign this year.

“The widespread use of social media has been the most significant factor accelerating and enabling intimidatory behavior in recent years,” the report said.

“The committee is deeply concerned about the limited engagement of the social media companies in tackling these issues.”

While the report said intimidation in public life is an old problem, the scale and intensity of intimidation is now posing a threat to Britain’s democracy.

FILE PHOTO – People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

The report found that women, ethnic minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political candidates are disproportionately likely to be the targets of intimidation.

The committee heard how racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic and anti-Semitic abuse is putting off some candidates from standing for public office.

Platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are criticized for failing to remove abusive material posted online even after they were notified.

FILE PHOTO – A 3D-printed YouTube icon is seen in front of a displayed YouTube logo in this illustration taken October 25, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustration

The committee said it was “surprised and concerned” Google, Facebook and Twitter do not collect data on the material they take down.

“The companies’ failure to collect this data seems extraordinary given that they thrive on data collection,” the report said. “It would appear to demonstrate that they do not prioritize addressing this issue of online intimidation.”

Twitter said in a statement it has announced several updates to its platform aimed at cutting down on abusive content and it is taking action on 10 times the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the same time last year.

YouTube declined to comment, while Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Many politicians have become more vocal about the abuse they face after Labour’s Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother of two young children, was shot and repeatedly stabbed a week before Britain’s Brexit referendum last year.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Crispr Therapeutics Plans to Launch Its First Clinical Trial in 2018

In late 2012, French microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier approached a handful of American scientists about starting a company, a Crispr company. They included UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna, George Church at Harvard University, and his former postdoc Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute—the brightest stars in the then-tiny field of Crispr research. Back then barely 100 papers had been published on the little-known guided DNA-cutting system. It certainly hadn’t attracted any money. But Charpentier thought that was about to change, and to simplify the process of intellectual property, she suggested the scientists team up.

It was a noble idea. But it wasn’t to be. Over the next year, as the science got stronger and VCs came sniffing, any hope of unity withered up and washed away, carried on a billion-dollar tide of investment. In the end, Crispr’s leading luminaries formed three companies—Caribou Biosciences, Editas Medicine, and Crispr Therapeutics—to take what they had done in their labs and use it to cure human disease. For nearly five years the “big three’ Crispr biotechs have been promising precise gene therapy solutions to inherited genetic conditions. And now, one of them says it’s ready to test the idea on people.

Last week, Charpentier’s company, Crispr Therapeutics, announced it has asked regulators in Europe for permission to trial a cure for the disease beta thalassemia. The study, testing a genetic tweak to the stem cells that make red blood cells, could begin as soon as next year. The company also plans to file an investigational new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration to treat sickle cell disease in the US within the first few months of 2018. The company, which is co-located in Zug, Switzerland and Cambridge, Massachusetts, said the timing is just a matter of bandwidth, as they file the same data with regulators on two different continents.

Both diseases stem from mutations in a single gene (HBB) that provides instructions for making a protein called beta-globin, a subunit of hemoglobin that binds oxygen and delivers it to tissues throughout the body via red blood cells. One kind of mutation leads to poor production of hemoglobin; another creates abnormal beta-globin structures, causing red blood cells to distort into a crescent or “sickle” shape. Both can cause anemia, repeated infections, and waves of pain. Crispr Therapeutics has developed a way to hit them both with a single treatment.

It works not by targeting HBB, but by boosting expression of a different gene—one that makes fetal hemoglobin. Everyone is born with fetal hemoglobin; it’s how cells transport oxygen between mother and child in the womb. But by six months your body puts the brakes on making fetal hemoglobin and switches over to the adult form. All Crispr Therapeutics’ treatment does is take the brakes off.

From a blood draw, scientists separate out a patient’s hematopoietic stem cells—the ones that make red blood cells. Then, in a petri dish, they zap ‘em with a bit of electricity, allowing the Crispr components to go into the cells and turn on the fetal hemoglobin gene. To make room for the new, edited stem cells, doctors destroy the patient’s existing bone marrow cells with radiation or high doses of chemo drugs. Within a week after infusion, the new cells find their way to their home in the bone marrow and start making red blood cells carrying fetal hemoglobin.

According to company data from human cell and animal studies presented at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in Atlanta on Sunday, the treatment results in high editing efficiency, with more than 80 percent of the stem cells carrying at least one edited copy of the gene that turns on fetal hemoglobin production; enough to boost expression levels to 40 percent. Newly minted Crispr Therapeutics CEO Sam Kulkarni says that’s more than enough to ameliorate symptoms and reduce or even eliminate the need for transfusions for beta-thalassemia and sickle cell patients. Previous research has shown that even a small change in the percentage of stem cells that produce healthy red blood cells can have a positive effect on a person with sickle cell diseases.

“I think it’s a momentous occasion for us, but also for the field in general,” says Kulkarni. “Just three years ago we were talking about Crispr-based treatments as sci-fi fantasy, but here we are.”

It was around this time last year that Chinese scientists first used Crispr in humans—to treat an aggressive lung cancer as part of a clinical trial in Chengdu, in Sichuan province. Since then, immunologists at the University of Pennsylvania have begun enrolling terminal cancer patients in the first US Crispr trial—an attempt to turbo-charge T cells so they can better target tumors. But no one has yet used Crispr to fix a genetic disease.

Crispr Therapeutics rival Editas was once the frontrunner for correcting heritable mutations. The company had previously announced it would do gene editing in patients with a rare eye disorder called Leber congenital amaurosis as soon as this year. But executives decided in May to push back the study to mid-2018, after running into production problems for one of the elements it needs to deliver its gene-editing payload. Intellia Therapeutics—the company Caribou co-founded and provided an exclusive Crispr license to commercialize human gene and cell therapies—is still testing its lead therapy in primates and isn’t expecting its first foray into the clinic until at least 2019. All the jockeying to the clinic line isn’t just about bragging rights; being first could be a big boon to building out a business, and a proper pipeline.

Clinical Crispr applications have matured much faster than some of the other, older gene editing technologies. Sangamo Therapeutics has been working on DNA-cutting tool called zinc fingers since its founding in 1995. In November, more than two decades later, doctors finally injected the tool along with billions of copies of a corrective gene into a 44-year-old man named Brian Madeux, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder called Hunter syndrome. He was the first patient to receive the treatment in the first-ever in vivo human gene editing study. Despite the arrival of newer, more efficient tools like Crispr, Sangamo has stayed focused on zinc fingers because the company says they’re safer, with less likelihood of unwanted genetic consequences.

It’s true that Crispr has a bit of an “off-target” problem, though the extent of that problem is still up for debate. Just on Monday, a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggested that genetic variation between patients may affect the efficacy and safety of Crispr-based treatments enough to warrant custom treatments. All of that means Crispr companies will have to work that much harder to prove to regulators that their treatments are safe enough to put in real people—and to prove to patients that participating in trials is worth the risk. Kulkarni says they looked at 6,000 sites in the genome and saw zero off-target effects. But it’ll be up to the FDA and the European Medicines Agency to say whether that’s good enough to send Crispr to the clinic.

As the Southern California Fires Rage, a Boeing 747 Joins the Fight

The largest and most destructive fire burning in California continues to grow, consuming dry brush as it races not just through but across the canyons north of Los Angeles. Strong winds and dry conditions mean flames can leap large distances, prompting thousands to evacuate their homes. The Thomas Fire has now spread from Ventura County into Santa Barbara County, burning up 230,000 acres—an area larger than New York City and Boston combined. The out of control blaze is on track to become one of the largest in California history.

So firefighters are using the largest tools they have to tackle it, including one that’s more than 200 feet long, and does its work from just 200 feet above the ground.

“We avoid flying through smoke at all costs, but you can smell the fire 200 miles out, even at 20,000 feet,” says Marcos Valdez, one of the pilots of the Global Supertanker, a Boeing 747 modified to fight the fiercest of fires. The jumbo jet can drop 19,200 gallons of fire retardant liquid per trip, nearly double the capacity of the next largest air tanker, a McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Fully stocked, the plane weighs in at 660,000 pounds, comfortably under its 870,000-pound max takeoff weight.

Step inside (which you can do in the interactive 3-D model below) and you’ll see that the upper floor looks pretty normal, with the cockpit and a few seats. Head down the stairs to the main floor, though, and you’ll see the key changes its owner, Global Supertanker LLC, made when it converted the Japan Airlines passenger plane to a firefighter in 2016: In what looks like the interior of a submarine, you’ll find eight cylindrical white tanks in two rows.

Holding the fire suppressant liquid in separate tanks means the 747, aka The Spirit of John Muir, can make up to eight segmented drops on multiple small fires, or put down a solid two miles of fire line, to try to protect property or contain a fire. The liquid drops through a big hose, through a series of manhole-cover-sized circular nozzles under the plane, near the back. (If you use the “Dollhouse” view on the 3-D model, you can see some of that detail on the very lower deck.)

The plane is based in Colorado Springs, but its owner contracts it out to fire agencies in need. This week it’s flying out of Sacramento, in the northern part of the state. That’s because it can carry so much flame retardant that picking it up in Southern California wouldn’t leave enough for the smaller aerial firefighters. Plus, with a 600-mph cruise speed, it can reach the perimeter of the Thomas fire in just 38 minutes.

The 747 and other fixed wing aircraft sat out the early days of the fight against these fires, because high wind speeds would have blown their liquid retardant unpredictably off course. Though the pink stuff won’t damage people or property (good news for this guy), pilots make an effort to avoid dumping it on firefighters on the ground. The 747 can actually lay such a long line of retardant that it can be used to draw a line to safety for people trapped in a “burn-over” situation, where flames threaten to engulf them.

When the Supertanker reaches a fire, it doesn’t just drop down and fire away. The whole operation is a carefully orchestrated affair. Valdez, the pilot, starts by flying at 1,000 feet up, watching a “show me” flight by a lead plane, usually a Rockwell OV-10 Bronco or Beechcraft King Air. That has likely been in the air for hours, and directs each tanker aircraft exactly where to make its drops, pointing out hazards like power lines or tall rocks over the radio. “They’re using signals like ‘Start at this tree that’s split,’ ‘Fly on the right flank of the fire,’ and ‘I want to you stop at this rock that looks like a bear,’” Valdez says.

Then Valdez pushes the yoke forward until he and his crew are flying 200 to 300 feet above the ground—in a jet whose wingspan is just over 200 feet. Valdez plays down the terror, comparing it to driving next to a concrete barrier down the center of a highway. You know it’s there, and that one wrong move could kill you, but you just keep your heading and your cool.

The whole drop is over in 10 minutes, and then it’s time to head back to Sacramento, making for a two-hour roundtrip. On Friday, the Supertanker performed three drops on the Thomas fire—each gratefully received by the firefighters trying to stop the flames reaching more property, and people.


Fire Storm

How To Give Gen Z-Ers The Shopping Experience They Want

Every few years marketers must come to grips with the fact that they don’t fully understand the motivations of the next generation that’s growing up and assuming more spending power. Although Gen Z has been on brands’ radars for the past few years, organizations are still trying to figure out who they, how they work and live, and, what they want from brands.

The members of Gen Z, 16-22 year olds, might surprise you with their shopping habits. Even though they’ve grown up with digital fluency, a smartphone always in their hand, they still prefer shopping in stores than online, according to a survey from IBM and the National Retail Foundation.  

But that doesn’t mean Gen Z wants the traditional in-store experience. They’re changing shopping habits entirely. Here’s how:

1. They want innovative, tech-driven stores.

Gen Z already makes up 25 percent of the US population, so it’s smart for any retailer to update their stores with what they want. According to a study from RIS and Tata Consulting Services, this means implementing new technologies in stores such as smartphone self checkout, interactive shoppable screens, and virtual try-on for apparel.

It makes going to the store an interactive, fun experience–which is the only way to draw in the generation that’s grown up with instant access to everything, from films to social media.

A great example of a retailer that’s doing this successfully is Apple. According to the CEO of Euclid, Brent Franson, “You’ve got the product playground that is the physical experience, supplemented by human beings that can answer questions…It’s a seamless and integrated experience.” 

2. They use their phones in tandem with shopping.

Step onto any street or into any shopping mall and any Gen Z-er is walking around with a phone in their hand. According to the same RIS study mentioned above, they use their smartphones for multiple reasons when it comes to shopping, including comparing prices while in-store, reading product reviews, and purchasing from the website instead of the brick-and-mortar store.

What does this mean for retailers? That it’s time to work with, not against, their smartphone habits and integrate phone usage with the shopping experience. Creating an app, for example, or implementing virtual reality in-store. It’s all about creating a frictionless shopping journey, so that the shopping experience is as easy for consumers as possible.

3. They want stores to be aesthetically pleasing.

In addition to updating stores with the right technology and combining store features with smartphone usage, retailers should also ensure that they’re using the right kind of store design.

Because Gen Z-ers have grown up with the Internet, aspirational browsing is an important shopping habit for them. It’s less about buying immediately for them than it is about finding the perfect item on Facebook or Pinterest, creating digital scrapbooks, and creating an entire experience around the purchase.

Which is why it’s important for a retailer to recreate the same experience in their stores. Gen Z-ers, according to retail consultancy FITCH, have the following aesthetic and sensory preferences when it comes to stores: they orientate by contrast and color before exploring product features, their focus is on the product instead of signage, and touch and access to the product, instead of off-putting clinical displays, are key. 

4. Social media is integral to their shopping experience.

According to a study from RetailDIVE, 80 percent of Gen Z purchases are influenced by social media. This should come as no surprise, considering that they’ve grown up with social media their entire lives: in one study 50 percent of them said they can’t even ‘live’ without YouTube.

But it’s not as simple as posting an ad on Facebook and waiting for Gen Z-ers to like a page or walk into a store. This generation hates having ads pop up on their phones–in large part because they view phones as an extension of themselves, and it’s an invasion of their private lives. Instead, they’re more drawn to mobile app awards or to branded content that’s entertaining, whether it’s got a story, music, or humor.

So when a retailer wants to attract new customers to come shop in-store, these preferences are important to consider.

If retailers want to be successful in selling to Generation Z, they still need to step up their game when it comes to the shopping experience. It’s not just about dressing mannequins in the latest trendy styles or guaranteeing fair labor standards for their workers. Gen Zers crave an interactive, engaging experience in every part of their lives–and for their shopping habits, this is definitely the case.

Early Thanksgiving/Black Friday Data Reports Suggest Strong Retail Sales

Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday shopping season has officially begun. Though many consumers started shopping earlier in the month, Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales are some of the first indications of how retailers will fare this holiday season. The reports and analyses are still being produced, but initial figures on Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales are encouraging.

According to the annual International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Thanksgiving Weekend Shopping Report, more than 145 million adults spent time at malls and shopping centers and estimated spending, on average, $377.50. In addition to all the gift buying, venues for dining and entertainment also benefited from an added $78.70 in sales per adult.

The vast majority of consumers (87 percent) shoppers took advantage of in-store and online purchasing on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Not only were there a lot of people shopping, nearly three out of four (74 percent) Thanksgiving/Black Friday shoppers spent the same or more than in 2016.

The news was especially good for brick and mortar retailers. ICSC estimates that 75 percent of all spending was captured by retailers with a physical presence. This doesn’t mean that people weren’t shopping online. However, retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and other physical stores with online components fared better their online-only competitors.

The data clearly shows the benefits of having an online store for small business owners with a physical location. While it may be too late for a business to setup a full ecommerce website from scratch between now and Christmas, there are some things current website owners can do to make their site more appealing to holiday shoppers. For example, having a way to buy online and pick up in-store has extra benefits. The ICSC survey found that 69 percent of those purchasing online and picking up in-store (click & collect) made an additional in store purchase

“Thanksgiving Weekend is a great indicator for what will be a holiday season full of spending, as we are seeing a very positive consumer sentiment and willingness to spend,” said Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC. “Shopping centers across the country should feel very optimistic about the season ahead. While the shopping season is longer this year, it’s not coming at the expense of the most popular shopping day of the year.”

Now that Black Friday has passed and Cyber Monday is here, businesses need to finalize their plans for December. It’s important that promotions in December meet the expectations of consumers. The ICSC data suggests that retailers will need to be as generous or more so than they were for Black Friday.

Three out of five (60 percent) consumers anticipate similar deals/promotions to the ones they saw this weekend. And more than one in four (28 percent) consumers said they think the deals/promotions in December will be better than what was found over the past weekend. Only 12 percent of consumers assume that December deals/promotions won’t be as good as the ones they saw on Black Friday.

Since deals and sales are some of the greatest motivators for consumers during the holiday season, business owners need to make sure their site prominently features their best deals and that these are also advertised heavily in search and social media campaigns.

For more recent data about creating a better holiday marketing campaign, read this article on last minute shoppers.

Miramax, Weinstein, Hollywood and Sexual Harassment The number one way to gut-check your company's culture.

The flood of women coming forward in recent weeks to tell their stories of “Me Too” has shed a light on the fact that it’s not only Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, and Hollywood but our country at large that has created a culture of mindlessness when it comes to sexual harassment.

These revelations are raising awareness across the business sector as companies try to make sure they and their employees do not fall prey to a mindless culture.

Brenda’s story.

Brenda was a newly minted VP on her first business trip with Miramax. She had turned in early after dinner as to make a good impression on her boss and fellow employees leaving them in the bar downstairs.

When she woke up to a knock on her hotel room door, the voice on the other side was a familiar one, so she opened it.  

Before she knew what was happening, her boss pushed the door open and threw her on the bed. He pinned her down but was drunk and she managed to wriggle away, locking herself in the adjoining room.

Weeks later her boss had not spoken a word to her about that night. No conversations, no “I’m sorry,” it was business as usual.

When she mustered up the courage to confide in her boss’ boss, he apologized for the unfortunate incident, but he let her know that if she went public, he would deny their conversation ever happened.

I asked Brenda if the fear of it happening again stayed with her while she was at Miramax. She said, “Oh yeah, it wasn’t if, in my mind, it was when. I learned that’s how it was there.”

In business, we talk about culture. It’s a buzzword. How do you create a good, a healthy, a positive, a winning–the adjectives abound followed by the 4, 5 or 6 steps you need to create that culture.

But the culture of your business doesn’t live in your mission statement or in your HR manuals, it’s a living breathing thing. It lives in the decisions you make and in the way you handle people, especially those who have less power.

A culture is a set of set of norms, values, and behaviors of a group. One definition says it’s the way we do things around here. However, if those ideals are left to collect dust in the pages of your mission statement, your mission will get lost.

The biggest reason the culture of a business will fail is mindlessness. When a group or a company of people go mindless, they begin to accept things they would not normally accept under the banner of this is the way it’s done around here, regardless of what it says in the manuals.

In a mindless culture, all manner of bad, unsafe and repugnant behavior can become part of a company’s tacit traditions, including sexual harassment. These behaviors infect and redefine a group’s stated core values.

Mindlessness can become systemic, as employees old and new become acceptant of the prevailing culture that is practiced, not preached.

Brenda experienced the real values held at Miramax. At minimum, her bosses were supporting a culture of mindlessness with respect to women and they expected Brenda to drink the Kool-aid.

The systemic mindlessness of Hollywood is being exposed as scores of actresses are coming forward with remarkably similar stories of sexual abuse.

Many of these women, like Rachel Mcadams, were sent to hotel meetings with predators by their own agents, some of whom were also women, aware of the danger but gave no warning.

In order to weed out systemic mindlessness and any accepted norms that go against their core values, companies need to gut-check their culture.

Introducing mindfulness, the practice of being present and attuning to the people around us can help employers better monitor the direction their company’s culture has taken.

Employees trained in mindfulness are not as susceptible to the priming of a culture, especially if it is wrought with questionable values. Mindfulness practitioners are proving to be more compassionate toward others and are prone to make moral choices.

One surprising study showed that mindful people are less likely to fall prey to the “bystander-effect” and are more likely to speak up when confronted with the suffering of others or injustice.

Some of the old guard in Hollywood has admitted to knowing about the sexual misconduct of Weinstein and others but did nothing. The “bystander-effect” was a key reason so many in Hollywood stayed quiet for so long.

Creating a space that is safe and supportive for employees to speak openly and honestly about their experiences goes a long way toward maintaining a company’s integrity.

While sensitivity training is important, it falls short of creating a culture that is aware, compassionate and attuned to others.

We have an opportunity in this moment to become mindful of how power is wielded and lorded over others. It’s time for a gut-check, not only of our business culture but the culture of our country at large.

Virtual reality boom brings giant robots, cyberpunk castles to China

GUIYANG, China (Reuters) – Giant robots and futuristic cyberpunk castles rise out of lush mountain slopes on the outskirts of Guiyang, the capital of one of China’s poorest provinces.

A view of the Oriental Science Fiction Valley theme park at sunset, in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China November 16, 2017. Picture taken November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joseph Campbell

Welcome to China’s first virtual reality theme park, which aims to ride a boom in demand for virtual entertainment that is set to propel tenfold growth in the country’s virtual reality market, to hit almost $8.5 billion by 2020.

The 330-acre (134-hectare) park in southwestern Guizhou province promises 35 virtual reality attractions, from shoot-‘em-up games and virtual rollercoasters to tours with interstellar aliens of the region’s most scenic spots.

“After our attraction opens, it will change the entire tourism structure of Guizhou province as well as China’s southwest,” Chief Executive Chen Jianli told Reuters.

“This is an innovative attraction, because it’s just different,” he said in an interview at the park, part of which is scheduled to open next February.

The $1.5-billion Oriental Science Fiction Valley park, is part of China’s thrust to develop new drivers of growth centered on trends such as gaming, sports and cutting-edge technology, to cut reliance on traditional industries.

In the push to become a center of innovative tech, Guizhou is luring firms such as Apple Inc, which has sited its China data center there, while the world’s largest radio telescope is in nearby Pingtang county.

Staff members stand underneath a giant robot statue at the Oriental Science Fiction Valley theme park in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China November 16, 2017. Picture taken November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joseph Campbell

The park says it is the world’s first of its kind, although virtual reality-based attractions from the United States to Japan already draw interest from consumers and video gamers seeking a more immersive experience.

The Guiyang park will offer tourists bungee jumps from a huge Transformer-like robot, and a studio devoted to producing virtual reality movies. Most rides will use VR goggles and motion simulators to thrill users.

Slideshow (9 Images)

“You feel like you’re really there,” said Qu Zhongjie, the park’s manager of rides. “That’s our main feature.”

China’s virtual reality market is expected to grow tenfold to 55.6 billion yuan ($8.4 billion) by the end of the decade, state-backed think-tank CCID has said.

Farmers in the nearby village of Zhangtianshui said they were concerned about pollution from big developments, but looked forward to the economic benefits a new theme park would bring. Most were less sure about virtual battles or alien invasions, though.

“There are lots of good things that come out of these projects,” one farmer, Liu Guangjun, told Reuters. “As for the virtual reality, I don’t really understand it.”

($1=6.5849 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Joseph Campbell in GUIYANG; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

A Nostalgic Look Back At AOL Instant Messenger

This article first appeared in Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. Sign up here.

Each week in tech brings us momentous news (a major product release, a lawsuit development), inconsequential news (a startup that will never make it receiving funding from a venture capital firm that doesn’t care if does), and even sad news (like last week’s passing of former Intel intc CEO Paul Otellini).

We start this week with nostalgic news that after Dec. 15 we’ll no longer have AOL’s Instant Messenger.

I confess that like public figures from bygone days or an entertainer that hadn’t been heard from in eons, I didn’t know AIM, as we all called it, still existed at all. I stopped using AIM years ago—I can’t remember exactly when—and so it’s demise shouldn’t mean much to me.

As many already have pointed out, though, before text messages, before Slack, before instant and direct messaging programs from the likes of Facebook fb , Twitter twtr , Yahoo, Google googl and others, there was AIM. For a moment it seemed like everyone used it. AIM was so quaint it organized users around “buddy lists.” In a time before smartphones, AIM was powerful and intoxicating, a way for a generation that once had called people on the phone to communicate in quick bursts from their computers.

AIM started in 1997, and I remember when I started using it in earnest, in 1999, when I joined TheStreet.com from The San Jose Mercury News. We digital journalism pioneers communicated obsessively by AIM, and as a newbie, I recall being amazed that the whole newsroom was “chatting” this way. Cleverly, one didn’t need to be on AOL itself to use AIM. This could have been an enduring advantage in a different company’s hands.

At the risk of oversharing, it is no understatement to say I began dating my wife on AIM. She worked at AOL when I joined TheStreet.com, and she was on AIM as much as I was. I remember early instant messaging chats far more than phone chats.

Like many consumer technologies that went before it, AIM ushered in a revolution that quickly left it behind. I can’t say I’ll miss it. But I sure am glad it existed.

Tech

A Bitcoin Crash Could Really Punish These Stocks

Graphics chip firms, for one.

Chipmakers Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices would be likely to see their stock prices suffer if the bitcoin market were to collapse, brokerage TD Ameritrade has said.

The question of whether bitcoin is in a bubble or not is one that continues to rage across the tech and financial worlds, particularly after a tumultuous year in which the cryptocurrency more than quadrupled in value—with some bumps along the way. Bitcoin started to crash last month largely due to a negative regulatory outlook in China, but mostly recovered and currently trades at $ 4,600 to one bitcoin.

However, with the virtual currency mostly still being used by speculators rather than regular users, a crash could still come. On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal looked into where the risks lie, and Joe Kinahan, TD Ameritrade’s chief market strategist, predicted “collateral damage” to more than just bitcoin investors themselves.

Nvidia nvda and AMD amd are exposed because they make graphics processors, which are heavily used in the bitcoin “mining” industry. As bitcoin has taken off, the industry has come to represent a significant slice of graphics-processor sales—6.7% of Nvidia’s Q2 revenues, for example.

“Anybody getting more than 5% of their business from crypto, it’s starting to become significant and you could see their stock prices very quickly collapse,” Kinahan said. He also pointed out that bitcoin’s heavy, speculation-led fluctuations in value make it more difficult to use for regular transactions—thereby making it even more of a speculator’s game.

The article also suggested that financial technology firms could suffer if bitcoin were to crash. However, while many fintech startups and larger banks are investing a lot in blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin, the technology in no way depends on bitcoin, so the fallout would likely be limited.

What would really make bitcoin dangerous to the wider market? Bitcoin exchange traded funds (ETFs), for which the WSJ‘s interviewees saw great demand. “You’re going to put a derivative on a derivative of an unregulated asset?
That, to me, is a recipe for disaster,” said Themis Trading’s Joe Saluzzi in the piece.

Tech

Jony Ive Says Apple iPhone X Took Five Years to Develop

And there were plenty of prototypes along the way.

Apple design chief Jony Ive said his company’s new iPhone X took some time to get to store shelves.

Speaking in an interview at the New Yorker TechFest on Friday, Ive said that his team at Apple had been working on the concept for the last five years. He added that his company “had prototypes” of what a smartphone with a display that nearly entirely covers its front panel and a facial scanner might look like.

“For 99% of the time, it didn’t work for us,” Ive said of the iPhone X prototype processor, according to the India Times, which earlier reported on his comments. “For the vast majority of the development cycle, all we had were things that failed. By definition, if they didn’t fail halfway through, then we’d be done.”

However, as time went on, Apple apparently worked out those problems, ultimately culminating in the iPhone X’s announcement last month.

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Apple’s AAPL iPhone X, which was announced alongside the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, is what the company calls the “future” of smartphones. It has a 5.8-inch display with small bezels all around, leaving no room for a physical home button. There are two rear-facing cameras on the back and a glass finish allows for wireless charging support. Apple’s front-facing Face ID scanner is used to verify a person’s identity and allow him or her access to the software or to make a purchase via the company’s Apple Pay mobile-payments service.

All of those features combine to make the iPhone X the most expensive smartphone Apple has ever released with a starting price of $ 999. A model with 256GB of storage instead of the base 64GB will cost customers $ 1,149 when the handsets are released on November 3.

Looking ahead, Ive didn’t discuss in detail what he might have planned for new iPhones. He did say, however, that new processor technologies that combine high power and small designs create “opportunities (that) are extraordinary” for future product designs.

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All Successful People Live By This 1 Rule Of Thumb

On the outside, successful people tend to look like they don’t have a care in the world.

Everything is going according to plan. They have what they need, when they need it. They have who they need, where they need them. They have their priorities set, their goals envisioned, and all parties involved are aligned.

It appears to be a perfectly synchronized dance.

But the truth is, successful people are only out in the open when they want to be. They show up when it makes sense. They attend when it’s required–or of their own volition. They put themselves in positions strategically and with purpose, because the other 99% of the time, they’re working.

Successful people, especially the ones in the thick of the journey (and not yet coasting on the wake of their accomplishments) don’t have time for much else.

So when you see them, they appear to have it all under control.

But when you don’t see them, they’re working furiously to keep things moving full speed ahead.

What I’ve learned about successful people is this…

As a young entrepreneur and ambitious writer, I take it upon myself to surround myself with as many successful individuals as possible.

I want to learn from them. Study them. Understand them and their motives–so that I can take what is applicable to my own personal journey, and leave the rest.

This goes back to the old saying, “You are a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with.”

I believe that.

And in taking it upon myself to talk to and learn from so many successful individuals–everyone from solopreneurs who have carved out a nice niche for themselves, all the way up to billionaires several times over–what I have learned is they all live by a very fundamental rule of thumb.

It’s actually quite simple.

Here’s the rule:

Do what you need to do, before you do what you want to do.

What does that mean?

That means even though life hands you endless obligations, invitations, responsibilities, and people to appease, it’s important that you do the things you need to do–the things that will move the needle and get you to where it is you want to be–before you do all the things that you want to do.

And that’s not always easy.

Which is why so few people end up achieving the level of success they envision for themselves.

Tech