How To Become a Tech Entrepreneur, Never Learn Code, and Keep Your 401k

Innovation does not always come from the top of the organizational chart. Often, employees who have intimate knowledge of a company’s operations are best equipped to spot opportunities for innovation and change. Unfortunately, not all great ideas filter up to the C-suite. And many would-be entrepreneurs at corporations have families, mortgages, and other financial responsibilities that prevent them from leaving to embrace the high-risk, high-reward dynamic of a start-up.

Beyond risk-reward trade-offs, these employees are also loyal to their company and want to see it succeed. Fortunately, by demystifying exactly what innovation is, managers can stay in their positions as they build a low-cost prototype to prove their idea to their company’s leaders – leaders who are likely on the hunt for innovation.

How corporate entrepreneurs differ

Corporate entrepreneurship and innovation have become buzzwords that, through repetition, have warped into meaningless phrases. That’s why a CB Insights article poking fun at corporate innovation is so funny, because anyone who thinks about these issues knows each example rings true. Innovation initiatives often mimic the atmosphere, structure, and vibe of Silicon Valley, but fail to replicate the entrepreneurial spark that inspires a visionary to do difficult, high-risk/high-reward work.

At a corporation, no work will ever truly emulate the high-risk or high-reward environment of a startup, unless the corporation spins out its innovative arm into its own entity. Employees have 401ks and other benefits, HR follows a pay schedule with tiers and caps, and shareholders are wary of diluting stocks.

But that does not mean that a visionary employee can’t become an entrepreneur within their organization. As a corporate entrepreneur, the employee can become an innovation champion simply for the sake of watching their company succeed (while scoring a well-earned promotion). However, to get leadership buy-in, they’ll first need to prove their idea works – and they can without learning a single piece of code.

High tech platforms start with low tech, manual hacks

Part of the mystique surrounding tech startups comes from well-designed platforms that seem to anticipate a user’s every need. When a corporation innovates, its leaders expect sleek prototypes that run seamlessly on the right algorithms and tech. But the truth is that most prototypes are crude, manual, low-tech hacks. Before an entrepreneur builds a platform connecting pet owners to pet sitters, he or she sits behind a computer fielding pet sitting requests in a chat window and calling pet sitters on their phone. In the early days of a platform, entrepreneurs manually facilitate most transactions, thereby validating demand and supply, and building a low-cost prototype. Only once they’ve proven that the business demand is real do they worry about building technology that can scale.

There are many types of platforms, and for each there are unique hacks that can test underlying assumptions before a company invests millions of dollars in developing a platform. With a small budget and a good amount of hustle, a non C-suite manager can test assumptions, tweak the market, and deliver to the C-suite an actionable plan.

Armed with a functioning prototype and a few months worth of data, it’s time to get the idea funded. Luckily, corporations have built in venture capitalists: their board and executive leadership. To be successful in wooing your leadership, it is critically important to capture all data from the manual prototypes and develop a business plan around how the platform would integrate with or expand the company’s core business.

Instagram Bug Leaves Some User Passwords Exposed

Instagram users have been asking for a way to view all the data the company has on them, but this may be more than they were hoping for. The new Download Your Data tool that allows users to receive that information may have left some users’ passwords exposed.

When using the new feature, some Instagram users’ passwords were displayed in the URL, which was then also stored on Facebook’s servers—a bigger issue for those using a shared computer or compromised network, according to The Information. Facebook already notified users who were affected.

The tool has since been updated and the problem should no longer occur. Those Instagram users affected are encouraged to change their passwords and clear their browser history.

But it’s still a troubling update, as Instagram and parent company Facebook fight back against a seemingly unending stream of scandal and security breaches.

Fortune reached out to Instagram for comment, but did not receive an immediate reply.

Amazon and Google Are Taking Over Cities. The Smartest Startups Are Going Virtual

In the late winter of 2012, Clark Valberg had what he thought was a pretty good startup idea–an app for collaboration on designs across teams and companies–and a nice chunk of seed funding to get it going.

There was just  one problem. In New York City, where he lived, it had recently become prohibitively expensive to hire software engineers, thanks to Google.

After spending $1.9 billion on a Manhattan office building in 2010, the Silicon Valley giant was doing everything in its considerable power to fill it with coders. “I found myself faced with the existential crisis of having countless coffees and cocktails with engineers who were also interviewing with Google,” Valberg says. After weeks of courtship, he might make an offer, only to find out he’d been outbid by a decimal point or two.

Forced to compete with time and money he didn’t have, Valberg asked himself: “What’s the hack? How do I care less about x so I can care more about y?” At his previous company, a creative agency, he had used freelancers in cities like Austin and Phoenix, where the going rate for their services was cheaper. He decided to try staffing his startup, InVision, on the same basis.

It worked. So well that InVision is now valued at $1 billion. Its workforce of 700, up from 200 a year ago, is still all-virtual, and Valberg has no plans to change that.

This sort of thing feeds an endless stream of speculation about which up-and-coming city with an educated workforce, abundant broadband and cheap commercial rents might be “the next Silicon Valley.” Will it be Austin? Detroit? Kansas City? Toronto?  

But there’s a reason Amazon snubbed the other 235 cities that entered the absurd competition to host “HQ2.” They might have software engineers, but they don’t have vast numbers of software engineers–the kind of talent supply that can feed a company that was adding 5,000 jobs per year in Seattle before looking elsewhere.

For now, then, the biggest tech companies will channel their growth into the handful of cities that can accommodate such numbers. Which means those cities will continue to grow ever more inhospitable for startups. 

Early-stage startups can’t compete with profitable goliaths on salary. Historically, they’ve met that challenge by offering generous equity packages that can make early employees spectacularly wealthy. But even the most risk-tolerant people have to sleep somewhere and feed themselves, and doing that in Mountain View or Manhattan or Seattle without a six-figure salary is almost impossible.

“Equity packages don’t pay the rent,” says Wade Foster, CEO of Zapier. “That’s why you’re seeing so many startups starting to talk about what’s our non-Silicon Valley strategy? Is it a second office? Is it remote?”

For Zapier, which automates inter-app workflows, going remote made sense because, when the company was getting started in 2012, one of its founders was living in Missouri while his then-girlfriend finished law school there. Over time, Foster says, they realized being distributed was allowing them to tap into a broader, richer talent market than they ever could by confining hiring to one locale, even a tech hub. “We realized this could be become an advantage for us,” Foster says.

To play up that advantage, in 2017, Zapier began offering a unique perk: a $10,000 “delocation” package for employees looking to leave the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a clever piece of management–it’s hard to quit the company that let you take your Silicon Valley salary with you to Charleston–and an even more brilliant piece of marketing. Job applications for all types of roles at Zapier went up by 50 percent afterward, Foster says.   

Going all-remote does have its complications. To the degree that hiring and–especially– fundraising run on informal networking, it still helps to make the scene in SoHo or SoMa. But with each new megacampus, the math gets clearer: For startups that can make it work, ditching geography altogether is a way to enjoy the best of both worlds: a deeper and cheaper talent pool.

“Back in 2012, I would get emails from people like, ‘That’s weird, that’s different, that’s kind of crazy,'” Foster says. “Now, the emails I get are from founders and VCs asking ‘How do you pull this off?'”

5 Lessons Raising Kids Can Teach You About Running Your Company

Your employees need your time and attention as they and the business grow. So why not use the lessons you learn at home with your work family. Here are a few key lessons executives can learn from our kids.

Every moment is a new opportunity.

Kids are fully present, always in the moment. They don’t obsess about the past or worry about the future. Children have what Shunryu Suzuki, the master who brought Zen Buddhism to America, calls “beginner’s mind.” In the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind Suzuki writes, “in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Kids bring creativity, openness, and a natural curiosity to everything. Try bringing this fresh perspective to brainstorming with your teams. Challenge them to channel the unselfconscious, no-idea-is-too-silly energy of childhood.

Negotiating means making things work for everybody.

If you’ve ever seen a group of kids working together to make up their own game with their own rules, you’ll see how important it is for them to create something everyone can play together. One kid might try to boss the rest of them around, but if he can’t hold their interest, they will quit and go home. As a result, kids’ homemade games are naturally diverse and inclusive. Don’t be afraid to let your teams make up some of their own rules and find their own ways to bring everyone together.

Prepare for the unexpected.

Everybody loves a best-case scenario, but as any parent who’s ever tried to get a child out the door in a hurry knows, you need to build in enough time for some worst-case reality too. Just as you wouldn’t assume you’ll only need a minute to pack a diaper bag, you also shouldn’t make your product launch date dependent on everything going right. Smart parents will tell you: someone will get an earache, it will snow, plans will be derailed, stuff will always happen. Stay flexible and, above all, realistic about what you can do and how quickly you can do it.

Change is the only constant, so you better embrace it.

With kids, as soon as you’ve figured out how to handle one milestone, you can be pretty sure they will have moved on to the next one. The tactics that worked for a 3-year-old who won’t go to bed are useless with a 13-year-old who sleeps till noon. Just like what worked for your million-dollar company won’t work when you reach 10 or 20 million. And your junior employee won’t be new forever. If raising kids teaches us anything, it’s that we need to constantly adjust our strategies to suit ever-changing needs. Be willing to continually review and refine your company’s processes, and to make changes that keep up with your growth.

Sometimes everybody just needs a snack or a nap.

To avoid meltdowns with little kids, you have to pay attention to the basics: food, sleep, fresh air. It’s the same with your teams. Sometimes big problems are really small ones, but the team dealing with them is burnt and needs a timeout.  Don’t schedule important meetings when people are likely to be cranky and hungry, or anxious to get somewhere. Help your teams to recharge and reset when they need to. Model your own commitment to work-life balance. Employees who feel cared about will work smarter, not harder, and that’s good for everyone.

Tencent profit beats estimates as investment gains offset gaming weakness

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tencent Holdings (0700.HK) said on Wednesday its third-quarter net profit rose 30 percent, beating estimates, as investment gains offset a weak performance in the Chinese company’s core gaming business.

FILE PHOTO: Tencent Holdings Chairman and CEO Pony Ma (C) visits the Tencent booth following the opening ceremony of the fifth World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

Net profit at China’s biggest gaming and social media group in the July-September quarter rose to 23.3 billion yuan, compared with an average estimate of 19.32 billion yuan, according to 15 analysts polled by to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.

Revenue rose 24 percent to 80.6 billion yuan ($11.59 billion), the slowest quarterly growth in more than three years, in-line with estimates.

China, the world’s biggest gaming market, has been imposing tougher rules on the industry, including a halt to new game approvals since March and calls to tackle young people’s gaming addictions.

This contributed to Tencent reporting its first quarterly profit fall in more than a decade in its April-June quarter. The company also cut its gaming marketing budget.

Tencent shares, which more than doubled in 2017, have dropped by about a third so far this year, wiping about $165 billion in value from the group’s market value.

In the third quarter, Tencent benefited mainly from a more-than-doubling in net gains from its investment activities, including the initial public offering of online food delivery to ticketing services company Meituan Dianping.

Douglas Morton, Head of Research, Asia at Northern Trust Capital Markets, said the result beat was a positive surprise even if not counting the investment income.

“What the real surprise is or the real comfort for the market will be that the mobile gaming data which beat expectations,” he said.

Tencent said smartphone games revenues grew 7 percent year-on-year and 11 percent quarter-on-quarter to 19.5 billion yuan, mainly due to contributions from new games. Despite the new approval freeze, Tencent already had 15 approvals and released 10 titles in the quarter, it said in the filing.

PC games revenue dropped 15 percent year-on-year due to continued user migration to mobile games and high base in the same quarter a year ago.

Advertising revenue, which accounts for 20 percent of the company’s total revenue, rose 47 percent, supported by a 61 percent jump in social and other advertising.

Tencent said its cloud services revenues more than doubled year-on-year in the quarter while the number of paying cloud customers grew at a triple-digit percentage rate year-on-year. Cloud revenues for the first three quarters of the year exceeded 6 billion yuan, it said.

Monthly active user number of WeChat, the most popular social network in China, rose incrementally to 1.08 billion.

($1 = 6.9536 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Jane Merriman

Rest In Peace, Stan Lee. (Here's the Big Break He Told Inc. About in 2009)

The comics world mourned the death Monday of Stan Lee, the man who dreamed up some of the most iconic characters and superheroes of the last 60 years–including Spider-Man, Hulk, the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, and Daredevil. 

Lee was also a reluctant entrepreneur. His creations became the center of an empire that Disney bought for more than $4 billion. But he told Inc. in 2009 that never loved the business side of his business. 

As he remembered, if you had to point to one big break in his life, it was the advice his wife gave him in the early 1960s when he was about to quit the comics business. His boss was his cousin’s husband, Martin Goodman, and Lee was annoyed that he was being pushed relentlessly to copy the competition, and wanted to go out on his own.

I said to my wife, “I don’t think I’m getting anywhere. I think I’d like to quit.” She gave me the best piece of advice in the world.

She said, “Why not write one book the way you’d like to, instead of the way Martin wants you to? Get it out of your system. The worst thing that will happen is he’ll fire you — but you want to quit anyway.”

So in 1961 we did The Fantastic Four. I tried to make the characters different in the sense that they had real emotions and problems. And it caught on. After that, Martin asked me to come up with some other superheroes. That’s when I did the X-Men and The Hulk. And we stopped being a company that imitated.

Lee’s wife died in 2017. They’d been married for 69 years. He leaves a daughter, and a legacy that people won’t soon forget.

Here’s what else I’m reading today:

Do not hire this 1 person

Seth Godin has a new book out. Like most of what he writes, there are some very interesting takeaways. If you take just one point away as an entrepreneur however, here’s his best advice about the one person no startup should ever hire: a chief marketing officer.

Instead, “go to a shelter and get a German shepherd,” he suggests in an interview with Inc.’s Leigh Buchanan, and train it to bite you every time you think about hiring a CMO. 

That’s because Godin thinks most startups fail because of product problems, or customer service problems that need to be addressed. And the person who is in charge of overseeing product and customer service–and yes, marketing and everything else–is called the CEO. Or maybe the founder. The entrepreneur. In other words, you.

It’s the hardest, best job you’ll ever have, and it’s the one you’ve signed on for. Relish it.

Netflix has some truly eye-opening new technology

Oh, there’s nothing dystopian about this at all: Netflix just unveiled a feature it calls EyeNav, in which its iPhone app tracks your eye movements so you can select shows by simply staring at them, and press stop by sticking out your tongue. Once you get past the inherent creepiness, the entertainment giant says it’s excited about how this could make its app more accessible.
–Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.

The war at 7-Eleven

There’s a war going on inside 7-Eleven, at least according to some franchisees who say the company is tipping off Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and resulting in raids on stores owned by it least cooperative store owners.
–Laureen Etter and Michael Smith, Bloomberg

A Black Friday prediction

A new study says Americans plan to spend $520 each on average during Black Friday, with over half of U.S. residents making at least one in-person purchase. It’s not exactly a double blind scientific study–online coupon site Slickdeals surveyed 2,000 people. But it’s good news, so we’ll take it.
SWNS

What on earth was Hasbro thinking?

The game of Monopoly is 83 years old. Hasbro owns the copyright now, and for almost 25 years, they’ve licensed lots of different versions, from Auburn University-themed edition to an X-Men Collector’s Edition. The latest edition to make the rounds, just in time for the holidays: Millennial Monopoly, in which players don’t buy real estate (it’s too expensive), and collect experiences rather than cash.

The rules say the player with the most student loan debt rolls first, and the rules recommend playing in your parents’ basement. Millennials are not amused, which leads to the question: who did they think would buy this?
–Gina Loukareas, Boing-Boing

Bitcoin: The Calm Before The Storm

Source: CCN.com

Bitcoin: The Calm Before The Storm

Bitcoin (BTC-USD) has been remarkably stable in recent months. In fact, for over two months now Bitcoin has traded in an incredibly narrow range of around $6,000 – $6,800. There doesn’t appear to be much news worthy of moving prices right now. So, Bitcoin remains extremely calm, for now.

Bitcoin 1-Year Chart

Source: BitcoinCharts.com

Nevertheless, despite the tame atmosphere surrounding Bitcoin for the time being, this is predominantly likely just the calm before the storm, a storm that is likely to lift Bitcoin prices substantially higher over the next several years.

This is not the first-time Bitcoin has seen calm waters. We’ve seen similar periods of modest volatility, and humble price swings. Primarily, similar low volatility phenomenon have occurred in the very late stages of Bitcoin bear markets (the opposite of vertical moves and wild price swings we see at the height of Bitcoin bull markets). Everyone seemingly loses interest, volume dries up, news flow quiets down, and then, when you least expect it, the next Bitcoin bull market begins.

I expect the current “quiet period” to lead to a new Bitcoin bull market soon. So, what will be the catalyst to light a match beneath Bitcoin prices? There are several developments that should begin to improve sentiment, and start to move prices substantially higher going forward.

Bitcoin at $250,000 in 4 years?

Billionaire investor Tim Draper recently reiterated his $250,000 Bitcoin price target by 2022. Draper believes that many of us will be using cryptocurrencies to buy coffee and other everyday things 5 years from now instead of implementing fiats everywhere. Naturally, Draper is not alone in his bullish analysis on Bitcoin. Fundstrat’s Tom Lee, and many other prominent Wall St and non-Wall St figures believe Bitcoin will be worth much more in the future.

Source: CreditCards.com

Tom Lee even predicted that Bitcoin would be at $25K by the end of this year. Well, that does not appear very likely now, nevertheless, Bitcoin could be worth much more several years from now. The problem with Bitcoin price targets is that they are extremely difficult to pin down, but due to the fundamental factors surrounding Bitcoin the overall trajectory should remain higher long-term.

Jamie Dimon Does Not Care Much for Bitcoin

On the flipside of the bull argument many Wall St insiders like JPMorgan’s (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon, and even revered investor Warren Buffet have become avid skeptics of Bitcoin. In fact, in a recent interview Mr. Dimon shared just how much he does not care for Bitcoin.

I never changed what I said, I just regret having said it. I didn’t want to be the spokesman against Bitcoin. I don’t really give a sh*t, that’s the point. Blockchainis real, it’s technology, but Bitcoin is not the same as a fiat currency.

Great insight from Jamie right there, which may accurately represent the viewpoint of many longtime banking and Wall St insiders. So, why should Mr. Dimon care about Bitcoin, or like it or dislike it at all?

Source: imgflip.com

Well, Mr. Dimon is the head of one of the wealthiest and most powerful banking institutions in the world. Incidentally, JPMorgan, like every other major bank in the U.S. owns part of the Federal Reserve through stock. Additionally, member banks like JPMorgan get to assign 6 of the 9 board members at every regional Federal Reserve Bank.

Some readers may think the Federal Reserve is part of the U.S. government but it is not. It is sanctioned by the U.S. Congress through the Federal Reserve Act, but is ultimately a private enterprise owned by member banks like JPMorgan, Citi (C), Bank of America (BAC) and others. Therefore, it is logical to presume that the same entities who own majority stakes in major U.S. banking institutions by default own and through the appointment of most directors control the Federal Reserve.

It seems convenient that a private organization like the Fed has a monopoly on dollar creation. The organization creates all the dollars “it sees fit”, then lends out these dollars to member banks like JPMorgan at a very low rate, the member banks then create all the credit they want through fractional reserve banking (typically at a rate of 10-1, credit – reserve), and then lend it to the population, small businesses, etc. at a substantially higher interest rate.

This is the system that we live in, the fiat reality. Who do you think a system such as this favors and benefits, the people making the rules, or the general public?

So, of course Jamie Dimon does not care much for Bitcoin. In fact, he should probably fear and despise it, because Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general represent a real alternative and thus a true threat to the current status quo fiat finical order.

The Bitcoin/blockchain system essentially assumes control over currency from big banks like JPMorgan, and returns the power over currency into the hands of the population, essentially leveling the financial field for all participants in the market. This takes the potential for predatory manipulation, devaluation, inflation, and other unpleasant factors essentially out of the financial equation.

Don’t Mind the 2,000 Plus Cryptocurrencies

Critics often point to the fact that there are now over 2,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation. Some skeptics claim that the continuous creation of new digital assets delegitimizes the entire space, and will ultimately render most or all cryptocurrencies close to worthless.

However, the cryptocurrency complex has maintained a relatively stable market cap of roughly $200 billion for months now, despite the creation of new coins. This implies that new coins coming online may enjoy very limited success going forward, and the prominent coins of today will likely turn out to be the widely-used coins of tomorrow.

Source: ViceNews.com

As the segment matures barriers to entry will become higher as there are a number of dominant cryptocurrencies that are likely to retain their leading market positions indefinitely. Aside from specifically designed coins to handle certain functions like Ripple (XRP-USD) Ethereum (ETH-USD) and others, prominent transactional coins like Bitcoin Cash (BCH-USD), Litecoin (LTC-USD), and others will very likely retain extremely high portions of the transactional market.

This suggests that while these coins will increase in value substantially over time, newer coins coming online with similar functions will likely remain largely irrelevant due to the recognition and widespread use of current digital assets, and higher barriers to entry going forward.

Still Waiting on a True Bitcoin ETF

The SEC continues to stall on a Bitcoin ETF. In September, the ruling on 9 Bitcoin ETFs got postponed, but a decision is expected in the near future. The introduction of Bitcoin ETFs will likely open floodgates into the Bitcoin market, and will propel Bitcoin into the main stream as far as conventional investible assets are concerned. This will very likely help ignite the next bull phase in the bitcoin era.

Right now, investors have very limited access to Bitcoin. They can either buy Bitcoin directly through a cryptocurrency exchange, they can trade Bitcoin futures contracts, or they can buy the Grayscale Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX:GBTC), none of which are ideal options for the vast majority of retail and institutional investors. Much easier access will be granted via multiple mainstream Bitcoin ETFs.

Furthermore, even if the SEC postpones its decision again or does not approve an ETF at this time, the path is already set for Bitcoin to be accepted into the investment world on a mass scale. Bitcoin futures already exist and trade freely on the biggest exchanges in the U.S. Furthermore, Bitcoin has been officially classified as a commodity, is receiving increased regulation, and the next logical step is to introduce ETFs. Also, there are many prominent companies now pushing for Bitcoin backed ETFs to be approved.

Institutions Likely to Move In Soon

One very atypical factor about the Bitcoin phenomenon is the extremely limited role traditional investment houses and Wall St in general has played in it. Aside from shorting Bitcoin from the highs, it appears that institutional investors have made very little money in Bitcoin, thus far. This is precisely why the next wave of capital capable of taking Bitcoin substantially higher will likely come from big institutional investors. This could include the creation of Bitcoin backed ETF’s and other asset classes, infrastructure projects, development and funding of supporting companies, direct investment, and so on.

Opportunities in the digital asset space for investment companies are essentially limitless, and this is precisely why Goldman Sachs (GS), and others are starting to venture into the crypto space. I expect that when the next Bitcoin bull market arrives, Wall St will not be sitting it out this time. There is simply too much money to be made, and the space has reached scale capable of attracting many billions in institutional dollars. So, expect prices to go especially high next time around due to excess speculation from the guys on Wall St.

Improving Functionality

Another factor that is likely to propel prices higher is the continuously improving functionality of digital assets. Whether it’s the Lightning Network, transactional coins like Dash (DASH-USD), ZCash (ZEC-USD) and others, big multinational corporations starting to accept Bitcoin, or other developments, it appears that the trend is leading to one outcome, much wider use of digital assets in the future.

The Lightning Network is optimizing Bitcoin’s functionality, alt coins provide safer, or more anonymous modes of conducting commerce, and more and more companies are openly beginning to accept Bitcoin seemingly every day. Moreover, Bitcoin returns the control over money back to the people where it ultimately belongs. I agree with Mr. Draper, 5 years from now we are likely to be using Bitcoin and alt coins much more readily than most people expect, and because of this Bitcoin’s price is likely to be much higher in 2022.

The Bottom Line: The Calm Before The Storm

Bitcoin’s price is extremely calm right now, but we have seen such calm periods before. Most notably, Bitcoin’s price action flattened out in 2012 before a bull run, in 2013, prior to an ascend, and throughout periods in 2015, and 2016, prior to the most recent bull market. One thing that all these calm periods have in common is that they occurred after substantial declines had taken place, and they all preceded significant rallies. I don’t expect this time to be any different.

Bitcoin: Long-Term Logarithmic Chart

Moreover, there are plenty of potential catalysts capable of sparking an explosive rally in Bitcoin as well as in other digital assets. The approval of Bitcoin backed ETFs, increased institutional participation, improved functionality, as well as other bullish elements will likely play an instrumental role in driving the next Bitcoin wave significantly higher. Prices in this wave should go substantially higher from current levels, and could eclipse the prior top of roughly $20K by several factors. So, essentially I am looking for Bitcoin to be at around $50,000 – $100,000 in 3 – 5 years.

Risks Do Exist

Detrimental Government Regulation

In my view, the number one long-term threat Bitcoin faces is detrimental government regulation or an all out Bitcoin ban. If major Bitcoin friendly governments like the U.S., E.U., Japan, South Korea, and others follow the footsteps of China and essentially make Bitcoin use and trading illegal, it could have catastrophic consequences for Bitcoin’s price. Demand would likely plummet and when demand for a commodity decreases so does its price, drastically at times. This seems unlikely due to the progressive steps taken in the U.S., E.U. and other areas concerning Bitcoin, but the threat does exist, especially if Bitcoin ever starts to seriously challenge the current fiat financial status quo.

Continued Functionality Issues

Another risk factor is the concern that Bitcoin may never become a widely used transactional currency due to its issues with speed and scale. Yes, the Lightning Network promises to solve many of the issues associated with speed, cost, and scale, but there is no guarantee that the LN will become widely adopted, even over time.

Therefore, there is the risk that newer and more efficient digital currencies like LiteCoin, Bitcoin Cash and others will make Bitcoin somewhat obsolete as an actual medium of exchange for the masses.

Continued Security Breaches and Fraudulent Activity

Continued security breaches in the Bitcoin world concerning exchanges and individual wallets is a constant concern. If significant breaches continue, investors and users may start to lose confidence in the system and demand could decrease as a result.

Likewise for fraud cases. In an industry that is relatively loosely regulated, substantial fraudulent activity is a persistent risk. Just like with security breaches, when people get ripped off, it reflects poorly on the entire industry and demand along with prices can suffer.

One Million and One Cryptocurrencies

Another concern is the seemingly endless supply of new cryptocurrencies. There are now over 2,000 different cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketcap.com. The risk is that the market may become oversaturated with digital assets which could lead to a crash, or to a devaluation of many digital assets, including Bitcoin.

Loss of Interest Amongst the Masses

There is always the simple risk of loss of interest amongst the masses. There is a chance that Bitcoin will forever remain a niche phenomenon, a novelty, as JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon puts it. In this case, Bitcoin may not experience substantial demand, and the price would very likely cascade much lower over time.

Bitcoin is Not for Everyone

The bottom line is that Bitcoin is not for everyone. I view it as an investment for people with a relatively high risk tolerance, and even then, maybe only 5-10% of a portfolio’s holdings should be allocated to digital assets.

Bitcoin is still a relatively new phenomenon and no one truly knows exactly how it is going to play out over the long term. The truth is that 10 years from now one Bitcoin could be worth $1 million, or it could be worthless, and given the number of uncertainties, neither outcome should really shock people.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you enjoyed reading my work please hit the “Like” button, and if you’d like to be notified about my future ideas, hit that “Follow” link.

Disclaimer: This article expresses solely my opinions, is produced for informational purposes only, and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. Investing comes with substantial risk to loss of principal. Please conduct your own research, consult a professional, and consider your investment decisions very carefully before putting any capital at risk.

Disclosure: I am/we are long BTC-USD, BCH-USD, LTC-USD, XRP-USD, DASH-USD, ZEC-USD.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Cyber Saturday—Coinbase Loves Hackers, Facebook Election Win, White House Video Fake Out

You’re outta here! Facebook said it removed 115 accounts suspected of engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” from its flagship site as well as Instagram in the lead-up to the midterm elections in the U.S. Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s cybersecurity policy leader, said the company had been tipped off about the allegedly bogus accounts by law enforcement last weekend. Meanwhile, trolls have been struggling to spread their misinformation on Twitter, NBC News reports.

Doctor, doctor, give me the news. The White House appeared to share a doctored video as justification for its ban of CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The video in question, which sped up Acosta’s arm movement to make it appear as though he were karate chopping a White House intern, was first shared online by a known conspiracy theorist.

Iran so far away. Banks are on high alert for attacks by Iranian hackers in the wake of the U.S.’s reinstatement of economic sanctions on Iran. The middle eastern nation “might lash out,” as one top cybersecurity executive put it to CNN, which got a glimpse of a major bank’s cybersecurity defense center.

Cylance of the lambs. BlackBerry is reportedly in talks to gobble up cybersecurity firm Cylance for as much as $1.5 billion, Business Insider reported. The business news site’s sources said the deal could happen as soon as next week—although it could just as easily fall apart.

Fun in the sun. U.S. Cyber Command, a hacking-focused division of the military, began releasing unclassified malware samples to the public as part of a cybersecurity information sharing initiative on Friday. The command posted two code samples to the Google-owned malware research repository VirusTotal, including one sample that it said originated from the suspected Russian espionage group nicknamed “fancy bear,” which was best known for digitally infiltrating the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Naynay on those n00bes.”

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The Afrotech Conference Captured in One Powerful Quote

One of the biggest discussions came from a Grammy-award winning panel featuring rapper Common, producer Karriem Riggins and musician Robert Glasper, collaborators in the new supergroup August Greene. All of them had outgrown their defining monikers, expanding into acting, music scoring, and so on. Glasper shared his own key to success:

Other people don’t know what your lane is, so they can’t tell you what your lane isn’t.

Sure, it’s about defining yourself and not relying on the acceptance of others. It also means not being afraid to fail until you get it right – even while others are watching. This challenge becomes more important for minority entrepreneurs who may have a vision less understood by the mainstream public.

What is uniquely yours?

I recently interviewed TED Speaker and RETI founder DeAndrea Salvador. She wasn’t focused on engineering, but she saw a need in her community for fair energy use and distribution. That desire planted the seed for RETI, the energy equity company that now educates and spreads insight into low-income communities.

Get comfortable with being a fool

As Glasper mentions, your lane is only defined by you – and, often, is defined by only your own insecurities.  So, the ability to be comfortable with being uncomfortable directly dictates your ability to grow.

Serial entrepreneur Naveen Jain said it recently: When you don’t know, you can ask dumb questions.” And dumb questions allow true breakthroughs. Sitting with Glasper and Riggins, Common shared how coming from a hip-hop background actually helped him make an impact on Hollywood, as he didn’t automatically follow the traditional Hollywood rules or pathway. Instead, he questioned long-held beliefs and was able to bypass the classic barriers to success.

So pay attention when a new arena is calling you. It may not be your lane, but it may be the area where you can make an even deeper impact.

Apple finds quality problems in some iPhone X and MacBook models

The new Apple iPhone X are seen on display at the Apple Store in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) – Apple Inc said on Friday it had found some issues affecting some of its iPhone X and 13-inch MacBook pro products and said the company would fix them free of charge.

The repair offers are the latest in a string of product quality problems over the past year even as Apple has raised prices for most of its laptops, tablets and phones to new heights. Its top-end iPhones now sell for as much as $1,449 and its best iPad goes for as much as $1,899.

Apple said displays on iPhone X, which came out in 2017 with a starting price of $999, may experience touch issues due to a component failure, adding it would replace those parts for free. The company said it only affects the original iPhone X, which has been superseded by the iPhone XS and XR released this autumn.

The screens on affected phones may not respond correctly to touch or it could react even without being touched, the Cupertino, California-based company said.

For the 13-inch MacBook Pro computers, it said an issue may result in data loss and failure of the storage drive. Apple said it would service those affected drives.

Only a limited number of 128GB and 256GB solid-state drives in 13-inch MacBook Pro units sold between June 2017 and June 2018 were affected, Apple said apple.co/2AXkeEw on its website.

Last year, Apple began a massive battery replacement program after it conceded that a software update intended to help some iPhone models deal with aging batteries slowed down the performance of the phones. The battery imbroglio resulted in inquires from U.S. lawmakers.

In June, Apple said it would offer free replacements for the keyboards in some MacBook and MacBook Pro models. The keyboards, which Apple introduced in laptops starting in 2015, had generated complaints on social media for how much noise they made while typing and for malfunctioning unexpectedly. Apple changed the design of the keyboard this year, adding a layer of silicone underneath the keys.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco

Tesla names director Denholm to replace Musk as board chair

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc has named director Robyn Denholm as board chair, fulfilling a demand by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to strip the job from Elon Musk, the electric car maker’s wayward chief executive who has dragged the company through months of turbulence.

The appointment was required as part of a September deal Tesla struck with the securities regulator to settle fraud charges against Musk and Tesla. Legal experts said it was unclear if Denholm, who has been on Tesla’s board for four years, was independent enough for Tesla to comply with the court-approved settlement.

Denholm, 55, joined Tesla as an independent director in 2014 and is the head of its audit committee. She was paid almost $5 million, mainly in stock options, by the company last year, making her the highest remunerated of its board members.

She is finance chief at Australian telecoms firm Telstra Corp Ltd and previously worked for Toyota in Australia, according to her LinkedIn profile. She will resign from Telstra to take the Tesla role full-time.

Whether she is independent enough to rein in public outbursts by Musk – who mocked the SEC as the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission” on Twitter after the fraud charge settlement – is an open question.

Denholm sat on the board when Musk set production targets for the Model 3 car that were not met, and also when the chief executive tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private, which prompted the SEC to file fraud charges against him.

The court-approved settlement of those charges requires Tesla to certify in writing that it has appointed an “independent” chairman and to provide evidence and exhibits to make its case.

While the definition of “independent” is typically broad, legal experts suggested the court could ultimately conclude Tesla was not in compliance with the letter of the settlement.

“It does violate the spirit of the settlement, which was to change the culture of the board so there was a check on Musk’s worst instincts,” said Stephen Diamond, a professor of corporate governance at Santa Clara University.

The SEC declined to comment beyond the court judgment.

Musk, who remains Tesla’s biggest shareholder and the driving force behind its ambitious plans to reshape electric battery technology and car transport, tweeted here his approval of the appointment.

“Musk, I believe, has a ton to do with the selection and he wants to be sure that they can see eye-to-eye,” said Elazar Capital analyst Chaim Siegel.

Top proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass, Lewis & Co had each classified Denholm as an “independent” director of Tesla in reports to the carmaker’s investors earlier this year.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Denholm pumped petrol at her parents’ filling station before going on to study at Sydney University and joining accounting firm Arthur Andersen.

Since then, she has worked at Swiss power grid maker ABB Ltd, network gear firm Juniper Networks and computing firm Sun Microsystems. She has also been national manager of finance for Toyota Australia.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn said when he appointed her: “Robyn has a proven track record as a global COO in a business focused on telecommunications networks.”

Executive recruiter Patricia Lenkov, however, said that Denholm likely was not the right pick for the job, arguing Tesla needed a figure with more experience dealing with strong founders.

“There might be an element of risk here. She’s not a proven entity in this kind of work,” she said.

While Tesla is finally starting to make good on Musk’s promises on production of the Model 3 sedan, seen as crucial to the company’s future, it has lost senior executives for sales, human resources, manufacturing and finance in recent months.

Its vice president for manufacturing Gilbert Passin was reported last month to have left.

“We view the fact that Denholm has prior industry experience with Toyota positively,” said CFRA Research analyst Garrett Nelson, adding it made sense that Tesla should seek to avoid the risk of a genuine outsider clashing with Musk.

The Silicon Valley billionaire’s gift for self-promotion has made Tesla one of the world’s most talked-about businesses but also caused public spats with journalists, analysts, Wall Street investors and even rapper Azealia Banks.

He is being sued for calling one of the divers behind this year’s Thai cave rescue a “pedo”.

Robyn Denholm and Elon Musk. REUTERS/Files

According to The Australian newspaper, Denholm said the only things that really disappoint her are rudeness and waste.

“Politeness costs you absolutely nothing. It doesn’t matter whether you are the most senior person in the room, or the most junior,” she told the paper in an interview a few years ago.

Tesla shares closed up about 1 percent at $351.40.

Additional reporting by Akanksha Rana and Philip George in Bengaluru, Melanie Burton in Melbourne, Michelle Price and Jan Wolfe in Washington, and Ross Kerber in Boston; Editing by Patrick Graham and Bill Rigby

Google 'Arbitration Optional' Harassment Plan Limits Groups

Google announced changes to how it will handle claims of sexual harassment among employees, including making arbitration optional for individual harassment and sexual assault claims. While additional transparency and protection for workers is a sign of progress, the change is incremental rather than transformative, because Google’s arbitration provision still prohibits collective action. Harassment claims will no longer be forced into private arbitration, but only individuals can now bring their claims before a jury.

It’s unclear whether Google, which has a history of confusing its employees around confidentiality, will make the process of opting out clear or easy. Google has become quicker and more responsive to employee concerns. Nonetheless, a publicized email from CEO Sundar Pichai and an accompanying interview in *The New York Times* still seem like the kind of gauzy public relations efforts that motivated 20,000 employees to join a protest last week to demand transparency and meaningful change. *The Times* reported last month that Google executives were allowed to leave with multimillion-dollar exit packages following credible claims of harassment against them.

Arbitration agreements can be used to obscure harassment allegations and protect serial abusers because employees are required to resolve disputes privately with an arbiter, who is typically paid by the company, rather than in open court. In Silicon Valley, forced arbitration agreements, nondisclosure agreements, and confidentiality clauses are routinely included in employment contracts, just as nondisparagement agreements are tied to severance packages and private settlements.

Organizers of last week’s walkout are disappointed with Google’s response, which they found defensive and dismissive toward their demands for equity. The changes signal the power of collective action, but organizers said they were not consulted ahead of the announcement. They said Google ignored concerns about discrimination and the rights of contract workers, indicating the company wants to continue operating as it has in the past, with transparency stressed in name rather than action. An internal Google website is tracking worker sentiment about whether demands—such as employee representation on the company’s board, which Pichai seemed to brush off—were met.

Google held a company-wide meeting for employees following the announcement. “Overall I felt the town hall was primarily the leadership team centering their own feelings as a performative show of appearing to listen, while substantively ignoring” concerns about gender and racial discrimination, and instead focusing only on harassment, says software engineer Irene Knapp, who participated in the walkout, and also introduced a shareholder proposal to tie executive pay to diversity goals at Google’s last shareholder meeting.

Knapp says it’s unclear whether Google can effectively fulfill the changes it promised. “The leadership team is congratulating itself already, before anything they’ve announced has even been launched—they wouldn’t let any of us get away with that.”

Last week’s walkout was unprecedented in terms of support from Google’s 94,000 employes. Although a wave of worker dissent has been rolling through Silicon Valley’s corporate campuses, it has been difficult to gauge what portion of the workforce shares those concerns.

Pichai’s announcement was delivered in a company-wide email. “We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It’s clear we need to make some changes,” he wrote alongside a rough outline of plans, such as providing a transparency report “around sexual harassment investigations and outcomes.”

In the same paragraph outlining the arbitration change, Pichai stressed existing worker protections. “Google has never required confidentiality in the arbitration process and arbitration still may be the best path for a number of reasons (e.g. personal privacy) but, we recognize that choice should be up to you,” he wrote.

But over the past couple of years, both employees and enforcement officials from the Department of Labor have questioned Google’s confidentiality policies, including a lawsuit that alleges the company’s internal process for investigating leaks is illegal. “This change looks like a step in the right direction,” says James Finberg, an attorney with Altshuler Berzon pressing a class-action lawsuit alleging gender bias in pay and promotion.

“Mandatory confidential arbitration can protect repeat sexual harassers, and result in more women becoming the victims of those harassers. Permitting women to file public lawsuits lets people in the company know about the bad behavior. Lawsuits, as opposed to individual arbitration proceedings, also permit women to band together, share resources, and bring about system change,” Finberg wrote in an email to WIRED.

He says the experience of one of the named plaintiffs in his suit, Kelly Ellis, is consistent with the report in The Times. “[Ellis] ended up changing departments, and eventually leaving Google, because a senior manager had been harassing her, and the company’s response was not to move him but to move her. Many women’s careers have been harmed by management not taking such complaints seriously and saying that it was their problem, not the problem of their accuser.”

The change to its arbitration policy brings Google in line with other influential tech companies like Uber and Microsoft, which have altered their binding arbitration policies in the past couple of years in response to disturbing revelations about sexual harassment from women and, in particular, women of color.

At Uber, too, changes came only as a result of internal protest from employees like former engineer Susan Fowler, attempts to sue the company, and public scrutiny over the abhorrent behavior of Uber executives.


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Roku forecasts surprise loss for holiday quarter, shares fall

(Reuters) – Roku Inc forecast a surprise holiday-quarter loss and missed third-quarter revenue estimates for its high margin video streaming platform, sending its shares down nearly 13 percent in after-market trading on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO A video sign displays the logo for Roku Inc, a Fox-backed video streaming firm, in Times Square after the company’s IPO at the Nasdaq Market in New York, U.S., September 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

The outlook overshadowed third-quarter revenue, which beat analysts’ estimates, and a loss that was smaller than expected.

Revenue from Roku’s streaming platform is a closely watched metric and the company has pinned hopes on the segment, which generates profit margins well above 70 percent.

Roku reported revenue of $100.1 million from the streaming platform unit, missing estimates of $103.2 million, according to FactSet data.

DA Davidson analyst Tom Forte said the pullback in shares was also a reflection of expectations being “too high” for the company’s third-quarter results.

STRATEGY CHANGE

Roku’s streaming devices have been facing intense competition from the likes of Apple TV and Google Chromecast.

This led the company to tap other revenue sources, including licensing its technology to television makers and earning a share of the advertising revenue from media companies on its platform.

The company is investing more on content for its recently launched Roku channel and is expanding it to more geographies, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood told Reuters.

“We added several news providers in anticipation of the mid-term elections and it was one of our best news days ever.”

Net loss attributable to shareholders narrowed to $9.5 million, or 9 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $46.2 million, or $8.79 per share, a year earlier. (bit.ly/2qz97eX)

On an adjusted basis, the company lost 9 cents per share. Revenue rose 39 percent to $173.4 million.

Analysts on average had expected a loss of 12 cents per share on revenue of $169.1 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s shares were down 12.6 percent at $51.41 after the bell.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and Ken Li in New York; Editing by Maju Samuel and Shounak Dasgupta

Hyundai raises Southeast Asia bet with second investment in Grab

SEOUL/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Hyundai Motor Co has raised its stakes in growing Southeast Asian markets with a $250 million investment in Singapore’s Grab, its second in the ride-hailing firm, as it chases rivals in the race for new-age transportation.

FILE PHOTO: A worker fixes the Hyundai logo on a vehicle at a plant of Hyundai Motor in Asan, south of Seoul, February 9, 2012. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won/File Photo

The investment is Hyundai’s biggest-ever in an auto-tech firm, yet is smaller than those made by others including Toyota Motor Corp. Nevertheless, it underscores a shift in strategy at a South Korean conglomerate that has typically shunned partnerships in favor of developing its own technologies.

Hyundai and affiliate Kia Motors Corp will launch pilot electric vehicle (EV) projects in Southeast Asia next year, starting with Singapore, where 200 EVs will be leased to Grab drivers, Hyundai said in a statement.

It said the project will later be expanded to countries including Malaysia and Vietnam, where markets for traditionally powered cars are dominated by Japanese rivals.

The move comes as Hyundai battles sluggish sales in its two biggest markets, China and the United States, while its stock price has fallen nearly a third this year.

Hyundai has joined the global race to invest in mobility firms as individual car ownership is widely expected to fall due to in part to increasing car-sharing options in big cities.

“Not only Hyundai, but all global auto manufacturers have realized that generating revenue solely from selling vehicles is not a sustainable, viable option,” Hyundai’s chief innovation officer, Chi Young-cho, told reporters in Seoul.

“It is better to disrupt than being disrupted,” he said.

Earlier this year, Hyundai said it invested $25 million for a 0.45 percent stake in Grab, joining investors such as Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing, Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp and Toyota Motor Corp.

Grab said it has so far raised $2.7 billion in funding, including Hyundai’s latest investment, and is on track to attract over $3 billion by the end of this year. Grab President Ming Maa told Reuters that the company does not yet have plans to go public.

The partnership will help Grab lower car ownership and operating costs for its drivers, Maa said. Lower costs help ride-hailing firms attract and retain drivers.

Hyundai expects to launch its own ride-sharing service in select markets next year, said Chi, who oversees Hyundai’s new businesses such as those involving ride-sharing, artificial intelligence and robotics. He also said the automaker is looking at acquisition opportunities, without giving details.

The automaker aims to collect data such as on battery charging from cars it leases to Grab to develop vehicles better tailored for Southeast Asia. It also hopes to explore the possibility of building a factory in the region in the longer term.

Southeast Asia’s EV market is very small. Only 142 battery-powered cars are likely to be sold in the market this year, versus six last year, showed data from market researcher LMC Automotive.

EV sales this year are likely to reach 693,894 units in China and 172,744 units in the United States, LMC data showed.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Seoul and Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh and Christopher Cushing

Kyocera BrandVoice: Can The Right Office Equipment Improve Our Legal Culture?

By Amanda Reaume 

The legal industry is ripe for tech disruption.

That’s partly because the field is rife with paperwork, whether it’s the records that first-year attorneys and other staffers need to search for discovery or the hard copies of legal documents that many firms are legally required, or think it’s critical, to keep. All that paperwork represents costs—the cost of the work hours needed to search through, organize and file all that documentation, as well as the cost of physical storage space itself. If you’re paying, say, $10 per square foot to rent space and need an extra 200 square feet for paper storage, that will set you back $24,000 per year.

It’s critical to start looking for the technological solutions that will help your office keep up with the times—whether that’s getting a new Kyocera MFP or investing in a better eDiscovery provider.

It’s critical to start looking for the technological solutions that will help your office keep up with the times—whether that’s getting a new Kyocera MFP or investing in a better eDiscovery provider. Getty

An ocean of paperwork isn’t the only challenge that law firms, district attorneys’ offices and courts are facing. There are other process inefficiencies within the legal sector that the right office technologies, like multifunction printers and copiers and document solutions software, can improve.

In addition, artificial intelligence and machine learning can streamline case law searches or help to complete legal forms, reducing costs for firms and clients. Automated billing systems can also help simplify law firms’ complex accounts-receivable processes.

Here are some equipment-related steps you can take towards changing your law firm’s or legal department’s office culture.

 1. Get the right multi-functional printers and copiers. 

Law firms, courts and district attorneys’ offices can benefit from making the right choices when it comes to their multi-functional printers and copiers (MFPs). Equipment with faster page-per-minute outputs, longer-lasting toner cartridges, higher paper-storage capacity and fewer downtime-inducing technical issues will make your office more efficient.

The right machine for your office will also let you quickly scan documents. That MFP component will enable you to create legal files and connect scanned information with your existing document management software to improve workflow and reduce the need for paper copies. The best solutions are designed specifically for your industry and business and include built-in workflow automation, document management and security solutions—something that select MFP manufacturers like Kyocera provide.

Document management software that connects with your MFP can transform your law office by  facilitating digital document processing, letting you organize your files and automatically backing up and securing your client information.

 2. Use artificial intelligence. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the next big thing in the legal business. A survey from HBR Consulting showed that while only 6 percent of law firms have currently implemented an AI solution, 14 percent have identified an area of their business that could benefit from AI, and 26 percent recognize that they need to look into AI in order to stay competitive.

The main areas where artificial intelligence is making its presence felt include contract review, law searches and electronic discovery analytics. McKinsey & Company estimates that automation can do around 22 percent of the work lawyers do and 35 percent of the work that law assistants do—AI is the future of law firms.

If firms don’t take advantage of AI, they might find themselves losing business to legal startups like wevorce, which already provides automated divorce processes for a fraction of the cost of a typical divorce.

 3. Upgrade client billing and management systems. 

While many law firms already have some form of client billing and management system, it might be time to upgrade, as the options have improved.

You should be looking for a new system if you’re not already doing the following: automatically collecting monthly fees and retainers using recurring billing; sending email invoices to clients and accepting their payments electronically; and easily tracking client payment, billable hours and cash flow.

The best billing management systems allow you to use your data to look at past revenue and predict future earnings with easy-to-create reports. Some systems integrate additional functionalities. PracticePanther, for example, can create a “customer portal” for your clients that also helps you manage your calendar and book meetings with clients.

The right system will help save your firm hundreds of hours of work per year.

 4. Introduce practice management software. 

If your firm is using a generic accounting software solution to manage your finances or relying on expense forms that lawyers must print out to fill out, then you might be missing out on some process innovations that purpose-built practice management software provides.

Practice management software systems like Abacus were built with law firms in mind and you can customize them for your needs. They make expense reporting more efficient and give you real-time information about your business by connecting your accounting system with your corporate credit cards. That way you always have the most up-to-date understanding of where you stand financially.

 5. Get the best eDiscovery software. 

Electronic discovery software allows attorneys to more easily identify, collect, store and produce electronic information in the event of a legal request. Many document requests involve searching complex databases such as servers or email accounts; eDiscovery software allows you to data mine in order to more quickly find the documents that you need.

Even if you already have an eDiscovery provider, you might want to make sure that it is still the best option available. Many new offerings allow you to collect data remotely so that it doesn’t tie up an employee’s computer.

They also allow you to integrate your search with existing document management systems, use AI to automatically redact data such as social security numbers and credit card information, and leverage metadata details such as access time and file type.

 Innovate Or Fall Behind 

The legal industry is facing pressure to embrace technology. To stay competitive, it’s vital for your firm to embrace system automation, improve your workflow processes and reduce your costs.

This holds true for the public and private sectors alike. Just as law offices lose money when they don’t implement key advances, bottlenecks in courts and backlogs in legal aid and prosecutors’ offices often have outdated technologies and workplace strategies to blame.

The fact is, the entire industry could benefit from leveraging technologies for greater efficiency. That’s why it’s critical to start looking for the technological solutions that will help your office keep up with the times—whether that’s getting a new Kyocera MFP or investing in a better eDiscovery provider.

Amanda Reaume is a freelance writer and the creator of the blog Millennial Personal Finance. She is also the author of two personal finance books aimed at Millennials: Money Is Everything and The Complete Guide to a Debt-Free Education.

'Red Dead Redemption 2': Reaching for Magic on the Shoulders of Indie Games

Red Dead Redemption 2 begins in the harsh dead of winter. As roaming outlaw Arthur Morgan, you accompany your half-extinct gang into a barn, barely making it out of the terrible blizzard before hypothermia sets in. It’s a slow, miserable trudge, and the first few hours of the game are equally slow and miserable. You linger in this frozen waste, barely alive, for days, learning to hunt, fetching a friend from the mountains, and moving at a crawl as the snow clings to your horse’s hooves.

For people who pick up the game expecting the brisk, freeform playfulness of most other Rockstar games, this might be too much to handle. As its early priorities, Red Dead Redemption 2 demonstrates less an interest in the freedom and expansiveness of its world–though it gets there, eventually–but an interest in forcing you to take your time. Look at the snow, it insists. Feel the weight of each weary step you take. Listen to the long, meandering conversations between these faux cowboy criminals and try to sympathize with terrible men. There’s no rush.

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Even once the game moves beyond this opening chapter, into the freedom more familiar to the Rockstar open-world formula first established by Grand Theft Auto 3 18 years ago, that emphasis on slowness remains. Red Dead Redemption 2 goes out of its way to complicate simple things. Horses have limited stamina, and require food and upkeep, which forces journeys to go slower than they would otherwise. Fast travel is inconvenient, and gated behind limited early-game resources, to force the player to get accustomed to lengthy travel time before doing anything else.

Every interaction is suffused with this sort of depth, which doubles as a slowing complication. You have to clean your guns. Hunted animals need to be carried back to camp on the back of your horse. Keeping Arthur clean requires retiring to a hotel for a bath, wherein you have to scrub each individual body part in turn. And the distance between locations, the swaths of open wilderness separating townships and mission areas, is, by videogame standards, astounding. For long stretches, Red Dead Redemption 2 is spent in busywork and quietude.

This is not a bad thing. It might, in fact, be a very good thing, and one of the big points one would lean on if recommending this game. By creating frustration and imposing slowness, it allows a type of involvement with the world unattainable in more straightforward games. It forces you to pay attention, to learn and follow its rules, to shaped yourself in such a way as to successfully inhabit its world. The degree of involvement required by the game’s slowness forces a strange, added identification with Arthur Morgan and the petty frustrations that make up his outlaw life. It’s a novel means of player engagement.

Or, it would be, if it was new.

It’s easy to imagine that Rockstar came upon these ideas naturally. It would be in keeping with the ambitions of previous games in the series to imagine that the creators simply pushed for as much detail and care as possible, creating deeper and deeper levels of interaction until those interactions became complicated to the point of significantly altering the way the game feels, until they reshaped the entire tone and tenor of the experience. But even so, the idea of using deliberate slowness, clumsiness, or flat-out inaccessibility bears a powerful resemblance to other corners of the gaming world.

Red Dead Redemption 2‘s exploration is like Proteus, with its emphasis on dreamy, carefully paced exploration. Its love of mundane interactions is like Quadrilateral Cowboy and other works by Blendo Games. Not to say that only independent games do these things, but that the broader ethos at play here–an intentional or accidental focus on distancing the player, as a paradoxical means of deepening engagement or as an end to itself–owes a significant debt to independent and alternative games.

It’s a common belief, among these games, that while games are by nature objects to be played and experienced, that they don’t necessarily exist for the personal satisfaction of the player. That good games can be obstinate, or uneasy, or unpolished to the point of being near breaking. Critics like Aevee Bee and Lana Polansky, as well as countless others, have shaped the theoretical framework of this movement to create games that deliberately push against players—games that unwelcome them, that create friction to express something messier than simple joy.

Which is to say that, Red Dead Redemption 2, while massive, and involving, and willing to do things rarely seen in triple-A videogames, might still not be worth recommending on those merits. I ended my last piece on this game with ambiguity, an uncertainty about how to comfortably reckon with both the game’s power and the circumstances that helped create it. I’m still uncertain, on that front. The more I play it, the more I find myself enjoying significant parts of the way it has shaped itself as a messy, anxious, tragic thing.

Yet, I also I find myself thinking that, maybe, its best tricks are already found elsewhere. In games made by people using those tricks to advocate for the oppressed, or to create a depth they thought was lacking in games, or just to express something true. Even though Red Dead Redemption 2 is a good game, I’m not sure if it’s a game worth playing. And if I’m going to recommend something, perhaps I should be recommending those other games, instead.


More Great WIRED Stories

Space Photos of the Week: Ghost Nebula, Prepare to Die

There’s something haunting the Ghost Nebula, located just 1,500 light years from Earth. It’s being driven to extinction by a star called Gamma Cassiopeiae, several light years away. Ultraviolet radiation from that powerful star actually makes the Ghost Nebula emit hydrogen-alpha radiation, which appears in red. The result is that the nebula is being destroyed, and the nebula killer’s lust for dust isn’t done: Several other nebulas in the area are slowly being wiped out by Gamma Cassiopeiae.

The European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter photographed this region of the red planet called Greeley Crater, combining data collected over 16 Mars orbits. The tan flat surface seen here, scarred with so many craters of different sizes, indicates this Martian area has seen a lot of meteorite impacts.

Galaxy NGC 5033, some 40 million light years away, seems similar to our own Milky Way in shape and size (about 100 million light years across), but differs in a few major ways. It has a very active galactic core, fueled by a supermassive black hole. This active nucleus means it’s classified as a Seyfert galaxy, and what we are seeing is the black hole devouring all the stars around it, causing the center to radiate in different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Sadly, there’s nothing we can do for these stars; they’ve certainly been gobbled up by now, because their light took 40 million years to get to Hubble’s camera.

Before we mosey from Mars, check out this false color mound captured by the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter’s Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System, called CaSSIS. This mound is located in an area called Juventae Chasma—just north of Valles Marineris, also known as the Martian Grand Canyon. Scientists study mounds like these to learn how the sediment was laid down over time. If we can figure out the composition of the layers and how they are formed, then we’ll gain greater understanding about ancient activity in this region.

Eat your heart out, Weather Channel: What we’re seeing is a cold front in space, in the galaxy cluster Perseus. This dance of galactic gas was caused by two galaxy clusters colliding with each other; the younger, colder region lies on the right, while the older gas departs the region on the left. When these astral bodies clash, their inner gas is shaken loose and expelled out into space. It is usually much colder than the rest of the galaxy, so the gas creates a cosmic cold front of galactic proportions. This incredible image was captured using three different x-ray observatories: NASA’s Chandra, ESA’s XMM-Newton, and the German Aerospace Centre-led ROSAT satellite.

This swirling tempest was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraftNASA some 32,000 miles above Jupiter’s clouds, and for astronomers, this type of clarity is like candy. No more hazy bands of atmosphere! Rich details like the anticyclone known as White Oval A5 are yet another testimonial to how Juno, now in its 15th science orbit of the gas giant, has revolutionized research on the gas giant.

The ‘born in the cloud’ advantage is real, but not absolute

You often see companies, especially new ones, state that they are “born in the cloud.” But what does that mean? It means that the company was founded at a time where all of its IT assets have always been and are currently in the cloud. It has never owned physical servers or understands what a data center is.

Such “born in the cloud” companies were very rare when the cloud was new; it seemed that cloud computing’s real purpose was for startups. But fast-forward a decade to today, these companies are no longer startups, yet they are still using cloud computing for all their IT needs.

These “born in the cloud” companies have typically been disrupters, innovating in their industries. They used cloud computing as a force multiplier, letting them pivot quickly, fail fast, and expand at the “speed of need.”

But now that the cloud is so established and gaining adoption at legacy companies, is there still an advantage today of being born in the cloud?

Generally speaking, yes. These companies have not gone through the pain of migrating to the cloud but have all the advantages that cloud computing provides. Thus, they can sit back and watch their larger and older competitors struggle with application modernization, data centralization, and security as they move to the cloud and deal with hybrid environments of cloud and on-premises—things a “born in the cloud” company never has to do.

However, there is a downside of “born in the cloud” companies’ cloud provider lockin, perception, and cost. Indeed, many “born in the cloud” companies have migrated off of a particular cloud provider due to perception issues, such as the perception that the risk that the data could be compromised by being in a public cloud provider. Or, for financial issues, such as discovering it’s cheaper to use your own hardware and software in some cases.

There is no guarantee that cloud will be cheaper and better, and many “born in the cloud” companies have discovered that fact, even as “born in the data center” companies are discovering the value of the cloud. Having a single approach is rarely the right strategy.

Still, it’s true that it is better to have been born in the cloud and than to be born in the data center and have to move to the cloud. The “born in the cloud” companies do have an advantage, especially over traditional companies that just can’t get things going around cloud computing fast enough. Even if you weren’t born in the cloud, do your best to act as if you were.

Carl Icahn sues Dell over plans to go public

FILE PHOTO — Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto show in New York, U.S. on February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – Activist investor Carl Icahn sued Dell Technologies on Thursday, alleging that the computer maker did not disclose financial information related to its plans to go public by buying back its tracking stock (DVMT.N).

Icahn, who owns 9.3 percent of Dell, called the proposed deal a “conflicted transaction that benefits the controlling stockholders, at the expense of the DVMT stockholders”.

Dell in July said it would pay $21.7 billion in cash and stock to buy back shares tied to its interest in software company VMware Inc (VMW.N), returning the company to the stock market without an initial public offering.

Icahn and other hedge fund investors have resisted the plan, saying the proposed deal massively undervalues the tracking stock.

“We believe this is a threat blatantly deployed in an attempt to coerce DVMT stockholders to vote in favor of the merger, or else risk the unknown consequences of the forced IPO conversion,” Icahn said on Thursday.

Both Dell and Icahn were not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

Lime Is Shutting Down Some of Its Scooters Because They May Catch Fire

Lithium powers everything from the smartphone revolution to your city’s new e-mobility vehicles. But lithium batteries are subject to the occasional fire and Lime, the e-scooter startup, said Tuesday that one model of its scooters appeared to light up from time to time.

The model in question is made by Segway Ninebot—Lime uses several different models in its fast-growing fleet—and Lime says that only 0.01% of its overall fleet is affected by the problem. Lime and Segway Ninebot wrote software patches to prevent riders from using 2,000 at-risk scooters until the company could pick them up and repair them. Most of the scooters were in Los Angeles, San Diego, or Lake Tahoe, Calif.

The fire department responded to an e-scooter fire at Lime’s facilities in Lake Tahoe this August, the Washington Post reports, and a Lime mechanic told the Post that mechanics were concerned about the device’s safety.

Lime also preventing its charging contractors, known as “Juicers”, from recharging that model until further notice. Juicers earn fees for collecting scooters in the evening, charging them, and returning them in the morning to points designated by Lime.

E-scooter rental companies are also facing a new class action lawsuit in a Los Angeles court over injuries to users (which include fatalities), pedestrians and public nuisance claims.

Microsoft Cloud Outpaces Amazon

Last week, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) reported its fiscal first-quarter results that surpassed market expectations for the fourth consecutive time. The company continues to deliver tremendous growth within the cloud segment. In fact, its performance helped Microsoft become the second-biggest stock after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), stripping Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) of the title.

Microsoft’s Financials

Microsoft’s Q1 revenues grew 19% over the year to $29.1 billion and were significantly ahead of the market’s forecast of $27.73 billion. EPS of $1.14 also beat the Street’s expectations by $0.18.

By segment, Productivity and Business Processes revenues grew 19% to $9.8 billion, ahead of the Street’s forecast of $9.4 billion. Revenues from the Intelligent Cloud grew 24% to $8.6 billion and from the Personal Computing segment increased 15% to $10.7 billion. The market was looking for revenues of $10.13 billion from the segment.

Within the segments, Microsoft’s commercial cloud revenues grew 47% over the year to $8.5 billion. Azure sales reported an increase of 76% over the year. Growth has slowed down from 89% reported a quarter ago, and 90% reported a year ago. Analysts are not too concerned about the slowing rate because the larger base is making the comparative growth look lower. It also saw strong growth in its internet-based computing segment with sales of Office 365 and Dynamic 365 growing 36% and 51%, respectively.

For the second quarter, Microsoft expects revenues of $31.9-32.7 billion, compared with the market’s forecast of $32.35 billion. Analysts expect Q2 EPS of $1.08.

Microsoft’s Cloud Growth

The market has been pleased with Microsoft’s performance in the Cloud. According to a report by Cloud Security Alliance, Amazon’s market share for its AWS has slipped to 41.5% this year, compared with more than 60% share that it held at the end of 2017. During the same period, Microsoft’s Azure’s share has steadily climbed to 29.4%.

Microsoft continues to add features to Azure to drive this growth. During the last quarter, it added almost 100 new capabilities to the platform with focus on existing workloads like security and new workloads like Internet of Things and Edge AI. It helped it add customers like Volkswagen (OTCPK:VLKAF), Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD), and Mastercard (NYSE:MA) to its cloud portfolio.

Some new features added during the quarter include the release of Azure Confidential Computing that makes Azure the first cloud to provide a secure platform for protecting the confidentiality and the integrity of data while in use. To help companies leverage the IoT segment, Azure Sphere is its end-to-end solution for securing microcontroller-powered devices. The service is broadly available and seeing strong customer interest. It also released Azure Digital Twins, a new service that models relationships and interactions across people, places, and devices.

It is also investing in making Azure a better offering for enterprise data. Azure ML is building on its existing data services including SQL Database, Cosmos DB, Data Warehouse, and Data Lake and using AI tools to unlock insights. Microsoft is hopeful that these solutions will help data scientists build and train AI models faster and then deploy them through the cloud or to the Edge.

I would like to know from the users how they rank Microsoft’s cloud offerings over Amazon’s?

Microsoft’s stock is currently trading at $103.85 with a market capitalization of $797.2 billion. It had climbed to an all-time high of $116.18 in September this year. The stock was trading at a 52-week low of $80.70 in November last year.

Data Sheet—IBM’s Make or Break Deal for Red Hat

You’re just what I needed. The mobile search home page of Google got a makeover to promote links to other content. The new “discover” feature positions a curated list of content below the search box. The choice of new topics and stories is based on the user’s web habits. (I’m mostly getting suggested stories about the Red Sox World Series win this morning. Sigh.) Meanwhile, a story that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was planning to eliminate the ability to “like,” or favorite tweets blew up across Twitter on Monday, forcing the company to issue a semi-denial. “We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now.”

It’s not the perfume that you wear. In less positive news from Google, a backlash is brewing in the wake of a New York Times story alleging that male senior executives (including Android founder Andy Rubin) left with millions of dollars after being accused of sexual misconduct. A group of about 200 engineers is organizing a “women’s walk” walkout for later this week, BuzzFeed reports. And Intel is declaring that is has reached “full representation” in its workforce three years after making that a top priority. But at 27% female, 9% hispanic, and under 5% black, the employee base is still not representative of the U.S. workforce. Intel says the stat is one of its own devising measuring the make up of workers available in its market. Meeting the target is only a first step on its path to diversity, the company says.

I don’t mind you comin’ here. How is my favorite note organizing app doing? I’m note sure. Evernote CEO Chris O’Neill, who took over for co-founder Phil Libin in 2015, is departing after “putting Evernote on solid financial footing so we can continue to build for the future.” Those are the words of incoming CEO Ian Small, who had run video platform TokBox.

And wastin’ all my time. The new $1,300 Hydrogen One phone from high-end camera maker Red arrived on Monday and got some of the worst reviews in recent memory. The phone’s much hyped holographic screen “looks like the entire display has been smudged up when holographic mode kicks in,” The Verge says. “The phone seems misguided and unfinished,” adds PC Magazine “The phone’s advertising also lies about its screen being holographic, which makes me really cranky.”

Standin’ oh so near. My colleague Phil Wahba has a interesting take on a kind of boring subject. He reports how rental car company Avis plans to survive and thrive in the coming wave of self-driving cars.

(Headline reference explainer video for non-Gen Xers.)

Tim Cook Just Revealed the Single, Most Dangerous Thing About Technology Today. Here It Is in 1 Sentence

“Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies,” Cook stated. “Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false.”

Cook summed up the most frightening truth about technology today–in a single powerful sentence:

“Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency.”

Let’s consider those words for a moment.

A weapon of mass persuasion

Technology has unleashed some truly deadly weapons through the years. Automatic firearms, along with chemical and nuclear weapons, have been used to cause countless deaths over the past century. 

But Cook highlights a far more dangerous weapon–one that uses knowledge about you: your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions. 

Cook explained further in his speech:

“Every day, billions of dollars change hands and countless decisions are made on the basis of our likes and dislikes, our friends and families, our relationships and conversations, our wishes and fears, our hopes and dreams. 

These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold.

Taken to its extreme, this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is then run through algorithms that can serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into hardened convictions.”

It is this “enduring digital profile” that can be used against you, in an effort to persuade, influence, and manipulate, completely without your knowledge.

I write in detail about this insidious danger in my recently published book, EQ Applied: The Real World Guide to Emotional Intelligence. This invaluable data is being used to feed what we describe as “the dark side” of emotional intelligence–when persons or organizations use knowledge of a person’s thoughts and emotions to strategically achieve self-serving goals.

“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences,” Cook said in his speech. “This is surveillance. And these stockpiles of personal data serve only to enrich the companies that collect them.”

So, how can you protect yourself in this battle for your mind?

First of all, it’s important to realize that social media apps and websites are powerful and potentially dangerous tools. Just like a sharp knife can be used either to prepare food or to cause injury, social media can be used to help or harm you.

Recognizing the power such platforms have to provide insights into your behavior, you may decide to do the following:

1. Limit the access websites have to your personal data. 

Remember that you have control over what data you share with websites and social media. Utilize private browsing and privacy controls to do so. 

If the website or app you’re attempting to use makes this difficult, ditch it. 

2. Use the ‘3-Question Rule.’

You may be completely willing to share your thoughts or opinions online. But if you do, remember that there are people who will use those thoughts and opinions in an effort to manipulate you. 

  • Does this need to be said?
  • Does this need to be said by me?
  • Does this need to be said by me, now?

If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ think twice before posting.

3. Work to increase your self- and social awareness.

Both self-awareness (the ability to identify and understand your own emotions and how they affect you) and social awareness (your capacity to accurately perceive others’ abilities to manage emotions) can serve as a valuable self-defense mechanism.

This “emotional alarm system” can help alert you to the fact that someone is attempting to manipulate your feelings, to get you to act in a way that is not in your best interests or that conflicts with your values and principles. 

At some point, you will cross paths with those who attempt to use your data against you.

In fact, you probably already have. 

“This crisis is real,” Cook went on to say. “It is not imagined, or exaggerated, or ‘crazy.’ And those of us who believe in technology’s potential for good must not shrink from this moment.”

#MeToo A Year Later. How Far Have We Really Come?

One year ago on Oct 15th, 2017, the #MeToo movement exploded virally as a hashtag and has since forced the world to have a very long overdue conversation. Since its inception, a number of prominent men have lost their jobs, as well as California and New York passing laws to require company harassment training and make it easier to report abuse.

Times Up, the Hollywood-born legal defense fund fighting sexual harassment, raised over $20 million to provide legal resources to women in the workplace. And earlier this month, the organization hired its first president and CEO. Although the country has seen some movement in the fight for women’s rights, change takes time.

It got me thinking…what has actually changed since the #MeToo movement and what has not? I wanted to share my own thoughts and ask 5 powerful women entrepreneurs to weigh in on what they thought has changed for women, what hasn’t changed as well as suggesting one action we can take to continue the forward momentum.

Here are my thoughts:

In the past year there has been a collective breath taken by every woman, as more action is being taken in response to women speaking up about being harassed. Our voices are starting to be heard and that allows for more truth. What hasn’t changed is the questioning of women’s truth. We just saw this with the questioning of Dr. Ford’s claims against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

My suggestion is that women need to build their confidence so that they communicate their truth and don’t fear action. When you experience an injustice and sexism, do and say something.

The biggest change I’ve noticed is that women are sharing more freely about the experiences they had, in many cases so long ago. Still scarred, hurt and edgy — but talking about something they’ve mostly kept to themselves until now. What surprises me is how many people are brushing the experiences/accusations aside based on their political affiliation, rather than viewing it as a compassionate human.

My suggestion is to pay attention to your reaction when a new #MeToo story comes out. Watch what your initial impulse is… and follow the source of your belief or disbelief as objectively as you possibly can. If it ties into protecting something politically or personally motivated, check yo’ self!

 Nisha Moodley, Women’s Leadership Coach & Founder of Global Sisterhood Day NishaMoodley.com

Since #MeToo, more women feel a sense of not being alone, and that our voices, bodies, and experiences matter. We matter. Paradoxically, what has not changed is that we are still shown, in numerous ways, that to many people our voices, bodies, and experiences do not matter.

Educate yourself on intersectional feminism, because the more layers of oppression a person experiences, the more complex and challenging it will be for them to thrive. If we’re going to stand for true equality and freedom for all, we have to prioritize and include the needs of LGBTQ folks, people of color, differently-abled folks, children, and our planet. If we’re going to continue to rise and steer our world towards progress, we need to include those who the status quo seeks to exclude.

The most significant change that has precipitated all these other changes has been a huge burst of energy and cohesion among women and their supporting networks. Women are coming out with their stories in greater numbers. Women are running for office in record breaking numbers. Unfortunately, while there has been major cross gender support for this movement, the old boys club remains the same. Some of the same men in power will always chalk this movement up to hysteria or some sort of desire for fame as related to victim hood.

We have to stop feeling that we need to be submissive to men in power. We have to speak up against people who dismiss women who tell their story or air their grievances. You have to define what that means for you, and it can be as small as speaking out against a sexist uncle at Thanksgiving, or as big as running for office. Find your voice. Don’t keep it inside anymore.

I love that women have been standing together in solidarity and saying, ENOUGH. Yes, Time Is Up! Last summer female founders came forward to talk about the harassment and bias and inappropriate behavior we were experiencing from venture capitalists and other high-profile executives in startup land. While the tide is starting to shift for female entrepreneurs in a startup ecosystem designed for and that caters to men, we still have a very, very long way to go in terms of gender parity when launching high-growth startups. 

We need more women to become investors. In 2016, VCs gave male-led startups $58.2 billion compared to 1.46 billion to women-led companies. Yet, women do great things when our startups are venture backed. Our companies have been shown to produce a 35 percent higher ROI when venture-backed. Putting more women in funder seats, ups the chances of women getting funded, as well as additional effects on the startup community, including diversifying venture firms and deal flow.

More women are owning their power to speak up for themselves and share stories that were once shameful, as an opportunity to inspire others to do something different or speak up. Unfortunately, women are still getting themselves into really bad situations and let go of their power to physically, verbally and spiritually abusive men.

Vote! Vote on policies that make change. Take back your power.

3 Reasons Why Los Angeles Could Become the Nation's Next Tech Hub

Los Angeles, a city known for its glitz, glam and its title as the undisputed entertainment capital of the world, has another industry hidden up its sleeve: a thriving, rapidly growing tech ecosystem.

At a time when startups, prominent tech figures from Tim Ferriss to Peter Thiel, and employees alike are all beginning to find homes outside the Silicon Valley, the race for becoming the next tech hub in the United States is on. For a variety of reasons, Los Angeles is well-positioned to take that crown.

Here are a handful of reasons why.

1. Los Angeles is the manufacturing capital of the United States.

Believe it or not, the manufacturing capital of the USA isn’t Pittsburgh or Cleveland or Philadelphia – it’s actually L.A. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are around half a million manufacturing jobs in Los Angeles alone.

Because of its manufacturing capacity and access to resources, L.A. is positioned particularly well to become the go-to hot-spot for hardware startups in the United States. There are already organizations in place that have capitalized on this opportunity.

One example is Make in L.A. Located in San Fernando Valley, Make in L.A. is a private accelerator and venture capital fund focused on bringing hardware startups to market all under one roof. The program is all housed within southern California’s largest coworking space and partner organization, Toolbox LA, where members of the program can refine prototypes in the makerspace, clarify go-to-market strategies, sharpen their value propositions and network with fellow founders without ever having to leave the building. Specifically, Toolbox LA is a community-driven workspace that includes an event space and a biotech incubator in addition to the makerspace and hardware accelerator provided by Make in L.A. 

Lastly, with hardware companies like Google Hardware, Ring and uBeam leading the charge, aerospace giants like SpaceX and JPL putting down roots in LA, along with innovative startup models like the one implemented at Make In LA, the hardware startup scene in southern California looks more than promising.

2. The city has full support from its mayor.

In early October, the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti officially kicked off the start of Manufacturing Week.

With over 400 Los Angeles techies, entrepreneurs and social workers in attendance, the event was just one of many measures Garcetti is backing to promote a healthy tech ecosystem. Make It in L.A., a non-profit dedicated to helping hardware entrepreneurs make their products a reality, and Grid110.org, an incubator and accelerator for startups in downtown Los Angeles, are a couple other examples.

3. There’s a $155 billion valuation in Silicon Beach.

According to a recent study conducted by MediaKix, the Silicon Beach – the name given to the startup scene in Santa Monica, Venice, Playa Del Rey and Culver City – alone is now valued at $155 billion. This is largely thanks to companies like Dollar Shave Club, Headspace, Hulu, and Snap setting up shop in the area.

Additionally, it’s no surprise that the beach lifestyle of the Silicon Beach is appealing to younger workers, making it easy to “snipe” young talent from slower, arguably less exciting areas such as the suburbs in Cupertino and Mountain View. With a favorable climate and ocean view, it won’t be difficult for companies to sway talent to relocate to the Silicon Beach upon their college graduation.

4. There’s a wide variety of entrepreneurs.

Because L.A. is the world’s epicenter of entertainment, it’s comprised of everyone from filmmakers to musicians to stand-up comedians, resulting in a unique blend of creatives and entrepreneurs in Los Angeles that isn’t as prevalent in other areas of the country. Now, with the proliferation of the L.A. startup ecosystem, these same individuals have the potential to bring their creativity to the tech world.

I’ve experienced this first hand upon moving down from the Bay Area to L.A. Having lived in five states and over 20 cities, there truly is a unique sense of grit and hustle embedded in people’s DNA down here. A hustle that has, more than likely, culminated as a result of waitresses anxiously waiting for their next audition or an aspiring musician working night shifts until they get their big break–and it’s exciting to see that same tenacity bleeding over into the startup world.

While the Silicon Valley still remains the icon of the startup world, which city will house the next wave of tech entrepreneurship still remains up in the air. With its manufacturing capacity, immense funding, support of its mayor and culture of grit and hustle, LA seems like it could very well be the front-runner.

A very special thanks to Raychel Espiritu for providing insight and research for this article.

A Massive New Study of 38,000 Workers Says This 1 Thing Makes Employees Much Happier (and Probably More Loyal)

Want happier employees? A big new study by four economics professors has some surprising findings on how to make it happen. And, it becomes clear pretty quickly as you read through the results that happier employees are likely to be more loyal employees. 

This isn’t a small, “improve happiness by 5 percent” finding. In fact, the employees who reported better life satisfaction displayed a similar increase in reported happiness to what they would have if they’d doubled their household income, according to the study.

Here’s the study, the overall finding on how to improve employees’ happiness and loyalty, along with some practical strategies for making it happen.

Two questions, 38,000 workers

Writing for the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, four economics professors–three from colleges in Canada and one from South Korea– analyzed the responses of 38,000 workers to the Gallup-Healthways Daily Poll, which is a daily survey of hundreds of adults on many different topics.

Among the questions in the daily poll are two that are relevant here: one has to do with people’s general overall life satisfaction, and another has to do with their relationships with their supervisor at work.

By combining the answers that thousands of people gave to both of those questions, and correlating them with millions of other data points that allowed them to control for respondents’ personalities and even the days of the week on which they answered the questions, the researchers came up with a surprising but compelling conclusion.

Across the board, people who said they felt like their relationship with their work supervisor was more like that of partners, as opposed to one in which they felt like their supervisor was more of a traditional boss, were likely to report much greater life satisfaction. 

Prime working years

The findings go deeper, of course. Researchers found for one thing that the effect was greatest when employees were in their 40s and early 50s. That’s intriguing for two reasons. 

First for most people, if you were to chart their life satisfaction, you’d see it forms a rough “U” shape.

They have relatively high life satisfaction up until their 20s and 30s, and then it drops during middle age as they are likely to be dealing with competing demands between work and family. Then, it rises again as children grow up and they can start to see a future beyond work.

Second, workers are largely at the apex of their productivity and expertise at right around this stage. That means they can benefit most from this “boss as partner” paradigm right at the point when they have the most to offer at work. 

Prime loyalty

Another compelling finding within this part of the report: Fully two-thirds of workers reported that they worked for partners, rather than bosses

Now, one explanation might just be that two-thirds of bosses already follow this “partner” paradigm. But another explanation makes more sense. It’s that workers gravitated toward the work situations and bosses that had the most positive effect on their overall life satisfaction.

Put differently, if they had partner bosses, they stayed. But if they had boss bosses, they didn’t just suffer in silence.

Instead, they tried to move on. And by and large, you can imagine that it was the most successful and useful employees who found it easiest to find new homes.

Partner strategies

The paper, by economists John F. Helliwell and Max B. Norton of the University of British Columbia, Haifang Huang of the University of Alberta, and Shun Wang of KDI School of Public Policy and Management in Korea, doesn’t offer prescriptions.

But, it’s fairly easy to determine whether a boss is likely to be perceived as a partner or a traditional boss.

Of course, employee satisfaction isn’t the only goal at a company. The trick here is to act authentically in such a way that drives home appreciation for employees’ contributions, and frankly the sense that their satisfaction is at least one thing that bosses are striving for.

Here are 11 of the key areas. Partner bosses, who are nevertheless effective leaders, are more likely to:

1. Share their vision, and ensure that workers understand how their daily work fits into an overall plan. This also means celebrating wins.

2. Respect other people’s time. For starters, no needless meetings without agendas.

3. Set priorities and make decisions. Because if everything is a priority, nothing is.

4. Share information liberally. Yes, there are times when a boss has to keep confidences. But the bias should be toward sharing.

5. Demonstrate empathy. This includes offering sincere thanks.

6. Accept blame and sharing credit.

7. Model ethical behavior. Clearly.

French regulator faces thorny dilemma in 5G spectrum auction

PARIS (Reuters) – French telecom operators are set to pay a hefty price to buy 5G radio frequencies in 2019, but authorities are seeking to avoid bleeding them dry, the head of the country’s telecoms regulator told Reuters.

Sebastien Soriano, chairman of the ARCEP telecoms regulator, attends the New Year wishes ceremony at the Sorbonne university in Paris, France, January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

Italy, one of the first European countries to offer frequencies for 5G services, stunned markets by raising a bumper 6.5 billion euros ($7.39 billion) for state coffers in its fifth-generation mobile auction, sending shivers down telecom investors’ spines.

“In the past, the financial argument may have been important, perhaps very important, but opinions have changed,” said Sebastien Soriano, the head of France’s telecoms authority Arcep.

“There’s room to be inventive. Now, we need to find the right ideas and that’s not easy,” he added.

Cash-strapped countries in Europe have typically used mobile spectrum auctions, which provide raw material for wireless carriers to develop networks, as an easy money-maker in times of low state revenues.

But concerns are growing over risks they could hamper much-needed investments on new mobile infrastructure, which could connect everything from autonomous vehicles to public transportation and smart objects under 5G technology.

DIFFICULT EQUATION

For the next spectrum auction, Arcep plans to essentially use the 3.5 GHz band out of three on the table for 5G (1.4 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz). But there might not be enough airwaves for everyone, Soriano said, and that scarcity could eventually drive up auction prices.

“As long as we’ve not solved this problem about the quantity of frequencies that we have at our disposal … there’s a difficult equation to balance,” he said.

“I can’t say that Italy is a counter-example as long as I haven’t found the solution so that we don’t do the same thing.”

One thing is certain: there will be no reiteration of the “new deal” under which French wireless carriers Orange, Altice Europe’s SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Iliad promised to spend 3 billion euros in rolling out a 4G network to ensure there are no coverage gaps by 2020.

“Sadly, we can’t make a comparison with the new deal in the sense that it’s a new attribution (of frequencies),” Soriano said.

France still has a few months to find the answer to this equation and that work starts with a public consultation on Friday about the attribution of frequencies, which will run until Dec. 19.

The last spectrum auction in 2015 raised 2.8 billion euros for French state coffers.

($1 = 0.8794 euro)

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gwenaelle Barzic; Editing by James Dalgleish

Nokia kicks off new cost-cutting plan after profit drop

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Telecom network equipment maker Nokia announced a new cost-cutting program on Thursday after reporting another drop in quarterly profits as the industry waits operators’ demand for next-generation 5G networks to pick up pace.

FILE PHOTO: The new Nokia 8110 is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

The Finnish company, rival to Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei [HWT.UL], said it was targeting annual cost savings of 700 million euros by the end of 2020, without elaborating on the scale of expected job reductions.

Nokia will this year complete a 1.2 billion euro cost-saving program launched after its 2016 acquisition of Franco-American Alcatel-Lucent.

Nokia’s operating profit in the third quarter fell 27 percent from a year ago to 487 million euros ($555 million), broadly in line with analysts’ mean forecast in a Reuters poll of 492 million euros.

However, the networks business recovered somewhat from the first half of the year and Nokia reaffirmed its outlook for the full year, saying networks would deliver an operating margin of 6-9 percent.

“Despite some risks related to short-term delays in project timing and product deliveries, we remain on track to deliver on our full-year guidance,” Chief Executive Rajeev Suri said in a statement.

The networks industry has struggled with flagging growth for years since demand for 4G equipment peaked.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl and Anne Kauranen, editing by Terje Solsvik and Neil Fullick

What It's Like to Fly the WWII-Era Plane That Crashed on LA's 101 Freeway

Watching the flames devour the wing of a World War II-era aircraft that crash-landed on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles, a few questions come to mind. How did the pilot escape unharmed? How’d he manage not to whack any cars as he came down around 2 pm on Tuesday? Why was the plane, a T-6 Texan, dressed up like a German fighter aircraft (sans swastikas)? And, most pressing of all, what is anybody doing flying a 70-year-old plane over northwest LA?

That last one, at least, is easy enough to answer.

“The T-6, out of all the airplanes I’ve flown, is one of my favorite aircraft to fly. It’s a beautifully handling aircraft, it’s extremely well built, very powerful, and it’s just a lot of fun,” says Dave Whitcomb, a professional pilot who has logged about 500 hours in the T-6 while working with a group called History Flight, which takes members of the public out flying in old-timey planes.

The crashed plane, a North American T-6 Texan, currently belongs to Condor Squadron, KTLA reports. (The Van Nuys-based non-profit’s pilots fly the vintage aircraft for parades and other events, according to its website.) In its previous life, the aircraft saw some combat during World War II and the Korean War, but mostly served as a trainer for pilots preparing to climb into the cockpits of Mustangs and Corsairs. Like a driver’s ed car, the two tandem seats each have a full set of controls. Forty-two feet from wingtip to wingtip, the plane can hit 205 mph at 5,000 feet, thanks to its single engine.

The joy of flying a vintage aircraft is similar to that of driving an old race car, Whitcomb says. Without any of the automated systems that pilots now spend most of their time monitoring, operating the T-6 requires constant adjustments to the stick in your right hand, the throttle and propeller controls in your left.

“You’re always flying the airplane,” he says. “In a smaller aircraft like that, it feels like it’s a part of you. Whereas big heavy jets today, you’re not manipulating the controls as much, because they’re so stable.”

Throw in the joy of reliving history, and it’s easy to see why you’d want to climb into the T-6’s cockpit, slide open the canopy, and slide through the air like the pilots of old.

Most of the folks flying T-6’s today are very experienced, Whitcomb says, largely because insurance companies aren’t in the business of covering rookies who want to zip about in a relatively rare and expensive plane. (Someone in Italy’s selling one for $28,735.) Most of the aircraft now have GPS navigation systems; they all have modern radios.

And while the T-6 is generally reliable, it only has a single engine, meanings that if that one craps out, you’re gonna make like Icarus. (This is why Whitcomb avoided flying the T-6 over large bodies of water or unlandable terrain.) That’s where the experience comes in. When an engine failure turns your plane into a glider, it’s time to look for a long, smooth landing surface—like the 101— steadily drop altitude, float down gradually, and hope everybody in their 21st century car can get out of the way.


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Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison Slams Amazon Over Cloud Security

Oracle executive chairman Larry Ellison is going after Amazon and its cloud computing arm, once again.

During the database giant’s annual user conference in San Francisco Monday, the Oracle co-founder spent much of his keynote criticizing Amazon over perceived failings. It marks another instance of Ellison using his own company’s technology conference as a vehicle to slam rivals in a public setting. Some other companies Ellison has publicly called out during previous conferences over the past 4 years include Salesforce, SAP, and Microsoft.

At the event Monday, Ellison railed against the security measures of Amazon, as well as taking a few shots at other companies like Google and Facebook that have been criticized over recent data blunders.

Ellison’s criticism over Amazon Web Services and its security has to do with the nature of cloud computing, in which customers rent access to computing infrastructure in a pay-as-you-go model.

Cloud computing became popular in part due to the rise of virtualization technology, which allows companies like AWS and Microsoft to more efficiently partition their client’s corporate data across many servers, with some machines storing the data of multiple companies. One benefit of virtualization technology is that each company’s data remains separate from other company’s data while technically residing on the same computer. This has the effect of squeezing more performance out of each machine.

A flaw within AWS, Ellison contends, is that Amazon runs its “AWS cloud control code” on the same machines as it stores corporate data. Ellison then outlined an apocalyptic scenario in which bad actors could “change the Amazon code and hack the system,” thus gaining access to other company’s corporate data.

This problem with Amazon’s approach, Ellison said, is “a fundamental problem with the architecture of the cloud.” Oracle, he said, “will never put our cloud control code in the same computer that has customer code.”

Still, it should be noted that a doomsday scenario like the one Ellison described has yet to occur. Additionally, every cloud computing company is increasingly touting their own cyber security technologies as superior to their competitors in order to capitalize over the public dismay of recent high-profile hacks and data breaches.

Despite Ellison’s comments toward Amazon over the past few years, the online retail giant remains the leader in cloud computing, according to several technology analysts.

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Research firm Gartner said in August that Amazon held about 51% of the overall cloud computing market in 2017, followed by Microsoft with 13.3%, Alibaba with 4.6%, Google with 3.3% and IBM with 1.9%. Oracle was not mentioned in that Gartner report.

Fortune contacted Amazon for comment and will update this story if it responds.