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The latest news from Business Insider

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    your healthcare burden in every state 2017 map

    The cost of healthcare keeps on rising, and a new report shows just how much of a squeeze it's putting on family budgets.

    Researchers at The Commonwealth Fund added up the cost of health insurance with the size of deductibles, or how much people would have to spend if they got sick before their insurance kicks in. They then compared that dollar figure with median incomes in every state. 

    You can think of the resulting figure as providing a rough measure of the financial burden of healthcare spending in every state. The burden is growing because healthcare costs are increasing faster than incomes.

    Nationwide, the combined cost of insurance premiums and deductibles was about $7,240, or about 11.7% of income, in 2017. A decade ago, it was 7.8% of the median income.

    The researchers, Sara Collins and David Radley, used data on the health insurance plans typically offered by employers, which are the most common type of coverage for people under age 65.

    As you can see in the graphic above, the states where healthcare has the potential to eat up the most of a family's earnings are concentrated in the South and Southwest. In Louisiana, the combined cost of premiums and deductibles is equivalent to 15.5% of median income. In Mississippi, it's 15%. Those states face a combination of relatively high health costs and lower incomes.

    Hawaii faces the lowest total cost, at 7.8% of median income. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What happens to your brain and body when you procrastinate too much

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    Tua Tagovailoa

    • Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has put up astounding numbers in a season that many expect to culminate in a Heisman Trophy.
    • In a widely-criticized interview with reporter Tom Rinaldi that aired on ESPN's "College Gameday," Tagovailoa detailed his father's influence in making him into the dominant athlete he is today.
    • Tagovailoa's father, Galu, forced his eldest son to throw left-handed, beat him with a belt when he threw interceptions, and chose where Tua would play in college.
    • Many college football fans and insiders took to social media to express their disapproval of both Galu's punishments and ESPN's positive reporting of such behavior.

    Tua Tagovailoa has taken the world of college football by storm, putting up astounding numbers in a season that many expect to culminate in a Heisman Trophy.

    But the Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback seemingly walked a long road en route to Tuscaloosa.

    In a widely-criticized interview with reporter Tom Rinaldi that aired on ESPN's "College Gameday" this week, Tagovailoa detailed his father's influence in making him into the dominant athlete he is today. Some of Galu Tagovailoa's behavior, however, came across less as motivational than it did abusive.

    The feature began with Tua explaining that his natural instinct is to use his right hand. He continues to write and eat with his right hand to this day. But when Galu began football training with Tua at the ripe age of two years old, Galu forced his eldest son — who is famous for throwing left-handed — to switch to his non-dominant hand.

    "Because I'm the only lefty in the family, I felt like 'okay, I'm gonna make my son a lefty," Galu said.

    As Tua got older and began playing football at Saint Louis School in Oahu, the pressure his father placed on him to perform seemingly increased.

    "If I don't perform well or I don't perform the way I'm supposed to, I'm gonna get it after," Tua said.

    Rinaldi — who simply described Galu as a "demanding audience" during the feature — asked Tua for clarification.

    "Just know that the belt was involved and other things were involved as well," Tua said. "And it's almost the same with school. If I don't get this grade... I'm gonna have to suffer the consequences."

    Galu described running a no-nonsense household, which includes him, his wife, Diane, and their five children. He said the two most important things to the family are faith and discipline.

    "He means the bible and the belt," Diane clarified.

    Galu acknowledged he is tough on his son.

    "He could go 15-for-15 with four touchdowns, but when he throws a pick, it's the worst game," Galu said. "It's the worst game."

    Tua envisioned himself playing in the Pac-12, but when it came time to make his college decision, he did as he was taught to do and deferred to his father.

    "My father is the decision maker within the family," Tua said. "Whether I wanted to go to other schools or not, my dad had the final say with where I was going."

    After the segment reached its conclusion, ESPN's Desmond Howard joking compared Galu to Joe Jackson, the father of Michael Jackson and the rest of the Jackson 5 who was notorious for physically and emotionally abusing his children while managing their music careers.

    Many college football fans and insiders took to social media to express their disapproval of both Galu's abusive tendencies and ESPN's positive reporting of such behavior.


    One person, at least, did not seem to take issue with Galu's comments:

    "There's a respect there that is almost uncommon," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "'My father knows best, he wants what's best for me, and I'm always going to respect and listen to what he has to say.'"

    You can check out the full ESPN feature below:


    Join the conversation about this story »

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

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    Dubai Mall Worlds Second Largest Mall (30 of 61)

    • The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is known worldwide for its extravagance and wealth. Business Insider international correspondent Harrison Jacobs visited in November, expecting it to be wildly expensive and out of reach for all but wealthy travelers.
    • But he and his travel partner found that Dubai was a melting pot of Arabic, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures with a variety of cheap, delicious food, efficient public transportation, five-star hotels available for budget prices, and a thriving art scene.
    • As they quickly learned, if Dubai's luxury attractions like high-end shopping malls and ultra luxurious hotels don't interest you, you can easily have a blast in the city without breaking the bank.

    Three decades ago, Dubai was little more than just desert.

    But an oil boom in the United Arab Emirates produced unprecedented wealth for the small Gulf nation. Dubai's rulers have taken that wealth and turned it into a bustling city with things designed to be the biggest and most extravagant of the world — the tallest building, the second-biggest mall, the most luxurious hotel, and so on.

    Nicknamed the "city of gold," Dubai has increasingly become known as a home for the world's rich.

    Last year, around 5,000 millionaires moved to the United Arab Emirates — a figure higher than the number of millionaires moving to Switzerland or Singapore, traditional places for the world's millionaires and billionaires to park their money. There are now 88,700 millionaires total in the UAE.

    With those figures and the Lamborghini and Dom Perignon-bedecked "Rich Kids of Dubai" in mind, one would think visiting Dubai as a budget traveler wouldn't work out particularly well.

    I (Harrison, here!) spent a week in the city in November, along with my travel partner and Business Insider contributor Annie. Our fears were unfounded.

    Though Dubai's tourism board may emphasize high-end shopping boutiques and swanky resorts to would-be travelers, the city's real attraction is its melting pot of Arabic, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures.

    Add in efficient public transportation, a thriving art scene, and an oversupply of five-star hotels giving away rooms at discount prices, and you can easily have a blast in the city without breaking the bank.

    Here's what it was like to visit Dubai:

    SEE ALSO: I visited Singapore, the outlandishly wealthy setting of 'Crazy Rich Asians.' You don't need billions to have a good time.

    DON'T MISS: I stayed at a hotel on Dubai's massive artificial island shaped like a palm tree and it's more surreal than any photos can show

    Our trip to Dubai began with $1,145 ticket on Dubai-owned Emirates Airlines. I'd always wanted to fly Emirates, the world's fourth-best airline, and was willing to splurge. While there were options as cheap as $400 with a layover, Emirates turned out to be worth the extra dough. It was the best economy experience I've ever had.

    Read More:I flew 13 hours nonstop on the world's biggest passenger plane, the $446 million Airbus superjumbo jet, and it's about as good as economy can get

    When I got off the plane, I noticed that you can pick up the metro directly from the airport. Depending on where you are going it's between 4 and 8.50 Dirhams ($1.09-$2.31).

    But with the bags, we decided to take a car with Careem, a ride-hailing app founded in Dubai and popular all over the Middle East. Prices are very reasonable. It cost 50 Dirhams, or about $14, for the ride to the hotel.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    woman lonely swing

    • Loneliness is a big issue in the US, particularly among younger people.
    • There's a scientific way to determine how lonely you are, called the UCLA Loneliness Scale.
    • Health insurer Cigna on Wednesday released a 10-question version of the tool, made in partnership with Dr. Daniel Russell, who created the initial scale. 
    • You can take the quiz here

    Loneliness has reached epidemic levels in the US. 

    In May, health insurance company Cigna published results from a survey that found most American adults are considered lonely. Younger people, like millennials and Generation Z, are the loneliest.

    The company used a questionnaire based on the UCLA Loneliness Scale, which is the measure most widely used by researchers.

    To help the rest of us get a sense of how lonely we might be, Cigna on Wednesday released a 10-question version of the questionnaire used for the UCLA Loneliness Scale in partnership with Dr. Daniel Russell, who created the initial scale. 

    Being lonely can have a big impact on your health, from disrupting sleep and increasing stress, to weakening a person's immune system. It's also associated with cognitive decline, heart disease, and greater frailty later on in life. And recent research has found that it has such a significant effect on mortality rates that loneliness could be considered a public health threat that's more harmful than obesity and about as bad as smoking.

    Read more: Loneliness may be a greater public health hazard than obesity — and experts say it has hit epidemic levels in the US 

    "Loneliness is a normal feeling," Dr. Doug Nemecek, chief medical officer of behavioral health at Cigna told Business Insider. Everybody will feel lonely at some point in their lives. The key is to figure out who might be chronically lonely, which is what can have a negative impact on people's health, he said.

    The test runs though questions such as "How often do you feel isolated from others?" and "How often do you feel that you have a lot in common with the people around you?" with options to answer "never,""rarely,""sometimes," or "always."


    Screen Shot 2018 12 04 at 10.57.20 AM

    Evaluating loneliness

    Starting in February, Cigna along with research firm Ipsos surveyed 20,000 US adults aged 18 or older to assess the state of loneliness using the UCLA questionnaire. 

    Possible loneliness scores ranged from 20 to 80 in the scale, with anything above 43 qualifying as "lonely." The average score was a 44, making most Americans qualify as lonely.

    Just under half of respondents reported sometimes or always feeling alone or left out. About 27% of Americans said they feel that people rarely or never understand them. One-fifth of respondents said they rarely or never feel close to people, and just under half said they didn't have meaningful relationships or felt isolated.

    Young people in particular reported high rates of loneliness, with rates gradually decreasing with age.

    Take the quiz here. 

    Kevin Loria contributed reporting. 

    SEE ALSO: The man who predicted that Amazon would buy Whole Foods now expects the tech giant will soon be the world's fastest-growing healthcare company

    DON'T MISS: Amazon is threatening the future of independent pharmacies. Here's how they're fighting back.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: What happens to your brain and body when you procrastinate too much

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    Nick Ayers

    President Donald Trump announced that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is on his way out of the administration, saying Kelly will be leaving "at the end of the year" and he will announce his replacement in the next day or two.

    Though Kelly said in July he would stick with Trump until 2020, months of tense clashes have stirred rumors the retired Marine would soon be replaced by Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff. 

    Ayers has been the long-suspected replacement for retired Marine Gen. Kelly, with reports saying he's been Trump's top choice to assume the spot since 2017.

    Here's some background on the man who could become the Trump administration's third chief of staff. 

    Nick Ayers, 36, is reportedly the top candidate to be the next White House chief of staff. He would be one of the youngest people to hold this position in decades.

    Ayers currently serves as Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff.

    In a White House consumed by chaos, Ayers would have his work cut out for him. Chief of staff is arguably the toughest job in Trump's administration.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Mark Deanne Stidham LuLaRoe

    A judge on Friday denied a LuLaRoe supplier's request to immediately seize nearly $34 million in assets from the multi-level marketing company. 

    The supplier, Providence Industries, filed suit against LuLaRoe on November 29 for nearly $49 million, alleging that the company has failed to pay its bills for seven months.

    Several days later, Providence filed a request for the immediate seizure of assets, alleging that LuLaRoe CEO Mark Stidham is a flight risk because of his access to a private jet and his alleged threats to "jump ship" with the company's riches.

    In response, Stidham said in a sworn statement that he had no plans to abscond with the company's money.

    "To be clear, I do not have, and have never had, any intention or plans of absconding abroad with money," he said.

    Read more: LuLaRoe is facing mounting debt, layoffs, and an exodus of top sellers, and sources say the $2.3 billion legging empire could be imploding

    California state Judge John Stroud denied the request for immediate asset seizure on Friday. The next hearing in the case is set for January 28. 

    "Judge John Stroud, who is temporarily presiding over the case, declined to grant this relief on an emergency basis but invited Providence Industries to return to court in a few weeks to seek non-emergency relief," Providence Industries said in a statement. "Providence Industries is confident that once the court fully considers the evidence that it will prevail and will continue to vigorously seek repayment of its debt."

    Read more: LuLaRoe supplier sues for $49 million and accuses the company's founders of hiding assets in 'shell' companies

    LuLaRoe sent an email to consultants on Friday shortly after the hearing with the subject line "Legal Update."

    "For those of you following some of the chatter, Providence  Industries, LLC, a former LuLaRoe vendor, brought ex parte applications seeking a receiver or writ of attachment against LuLaRoe," the company said, according to a copy of the email reviewed by Business Insider. "This morning, the court denied the ex parte applications. The court also encouraged LuLaRoe and this vendor to attempt to amicably resolve what is a very complex and heavily disputed matter."

    If you have information to share about LuLaRoe, email

    SEE ALSO: LuLaRoe supplier sues for $49 million and accuses the company's founders of hiding assets in 'shell' companies

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This fish was sold for $1.8 million — here's why bluefin tuna is so expensive

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    AWS Andy Jassy

    • Amazon's cloud business, Amazon Web Services, has to keep an eye on Microsoft in the cloud wars, analysts say. This is apparent from AWS's recent announcements at its annual cloud conference, AWS re:Invent.
    • Amazon partnered with VMware to launch AWS Outposts, a sign that Amazon is now embracing the hybrid cloud — something it hadn't focused on before.
    • AWS is also launching an assortment of new artificial-intelligence technologies, which will help Amazon keep its place above Microsoft.
    • The race between AWS and Microsoft Azure is tight, because although AWS has dominated the market, Microsoft's cloud momentum will speed up in the next year, analysts say.

    Amazon's annual cloud conference, AWS re:Invent, is a gargantuan spectacle of crowds, electronic dance music, and a seemingly never ending stream of new announcements.

    Most of all, it's a finely choreographed production designed to hammer home the message of Amazon Web Services' dominance in the cloud-computing market.

    Financial-research firm Wedbush Securities estimates that about 30% of computing workloads are in the cloud today and that the number will reach 55% by 2022. It's a colossal market worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and Amazon is vying for all the customers it can get.

    As the dust settles on Amazon's annual show, industry observers and analysts say this year's conference had one clear takeaway: the increasingly fierce and heated battle with Microsoft.

    Onstage, AWS CEO Andy Jassy knocked at Microsoft Azure, constantly referring to it as the "next closest provider." But there's a reason why Amazon wants to bolster itself as the lead. Last quarter, Microsoft Azure saw 76% growth, and analysts say it's likely to continue its cloud momentum in the next 12 to 18 months.

    Here's what analysts Business Insider spoke to had to say about AWS's recent announcements.

    Hybrid cloud is the reality

    On November 28, Amazon announced AWS Outposts, which lets users run Amazon cloud services or VMware Cloud in data centers and at on-premises facilities. That's a big deal because until now, AWS hadn't invested much in on-premises infrastructure, in which servers and computer storage are located at the customer's facilities rather than at Amazon's data centers.

    microsoft data centerOutposts is a sign that Amazon is embracing reality — the fact that, at least in the near future, many customers need a "hybrid" cloud that combines on-premises and remote offerings. And IBM's recent announcement that it would acquire Red Hat, as well as its push into hybrid cloud, also underlines this fact. It's also an acknowledgement that pure public-cloud growth is slowing and the direction in cloud is shifting to hybrid, analysts at BTIG wrote.

    Many customers are not yet ready to go all in on cloud, Sanjeev Mohan, senior director analyst at Gartner, said, even if they embrace a cloud strategy.

    "A lot of customers are going to be on-prem for some time in the near future," Mohan told Business Insider. "I've talked to customers who tell me they will not move some of their workloads to the cloud, but their strategy is cloud-first. This information is so sensitive, they won't move it to the cloud, even though their strategy is cloud-first."

    AWS's closest competitor, Microsoft Azure, has long embraced a hybrid cloud. But Amazon is a trendsetter, and with the announcement of Outposts, analysts said, it's going to set off a wave of companies moving to hybrid, whether in AWS, Azure, or other cloud providers.

    "Until Bezos and AWS embraced it, it was not going to reach significant momentum in enterprise," Daniel Ives, managing director of equity research at Wedbush, told Business Insider. "Now that AWS has embraced this, I think it's a significant catalyst to more hybrid-cloud workloads, both on AWS and Azure, on the coming year."

    A stronger partnership with VMware to take down Microsoft

    Underpinning Ouptosts is a partnership between AWS and VMware. And that's one of the other major takeaways: a tighter partnership between the two enterprise companies. While AWS is still the winner in the cloud wars, Microsoft Azure is a looming threat. The gap between the two companies is closer than Amazon would like customers to think. In fact, analysts said, Microsoft's on a roll with cloud.

    What Amazon lacks that Microsoft thrives in, Ives said, is a longstanding enterprise presence. Microsoft knows this, too, so it's massively amped up its spending among enterprises and hybrid-cloud deployments. AWS and VMware have been partners for a while, but this stronger partnership will likely attract more enterprise customers.

    "VMware gives AWS a partner and really fills a hole or a void when they go up against Microsoft," Ives said. "When you look at the VMware-AWS partnership, as more enterprises move to the cloud, where Amazon lacks is they don't have an enterprise presence. They weren't an established enterprise presence like VMware or Microsoft."

    AWS Andy Jassy, VMware Pat Gelsinger

    Ives believes that this stronger partnership has been forged by competition with Microsoft Azure. AWS's partnership with VMware will be a key ingredient in the recipe for sustaining its No. 1 position in the cloud wars.

    "As they get more aggressive in traditional partnerships, that VMware linchpin is going to be crucial to the AWS success," Ives said. "Without VMware in tow, it would be difficult going up head-to-head [with Microsoft]."

    Read more: Amazon's cloud is now embracing an idea that it spent almost a decade trashing — and it's a big sign that Microsoft was right

    More artificial-intelligence technologies

    AWS came out with a barrage of artificial-intelligence technology, including a document-reading AI called Textract, a machine-learning chip called Inferentia, and even DeepRacer, a mini, AI-powered autonomous racecar.

    "They're constantly lowering the barrier and usage of AI," Mohan said. "They are making it faster, cheaper, and leveraging open-source frameworks. They make it easier for the general public to take advantage of machine learning without having to know machine learning."

    These new technologies will also give AWS an edge in competing with Microsoft in the coming year, especially now that companies need to move more complex workloads to the cloud, analysts said.

    Microsoft also has been arming Azure with AI capabilities, and this year it's made a series of acquisitions of AI startups. Last month, Microsoft announced it would acquire XOXCO, a Texas-based AI startup.

    Even more databases

    At re:Invent, Jassy asserted that Amazon would move off of Oracle's databases by the end of 2019, and Amazon chief technology officer Werner Vogels said that moving off of Oracle's largest data center in November was his happiest day at Amazon this year.

    Jassy also highlighted AWS's massive portfolio of databases, notably Amazon Aurora and DynamoDB. AWS also announced a new database, Amazon Timestream, which helps users quickly analyze and store time-stamped events.

    "Companies say, 'I have a relational database, non-relational database — check, check,'" Jassy said. But AWS, he boasted, has 11.

    However, having more databases isn't always a good thing for cloud providers, Mohan said. Customers may get "analysis paralysis."

    "When you have a lot of choices, you have to spend a lot of time figuring out what are the best solutions," Mohan said.

    Still, BTIG analysts said AWS continues to make strides on all its databases as it continues moving its operations onto its own databases.

    SEE ALSO: A cybersecurity expert quit Apple and joined the ACLU to help fight government efforts to put 'back doors' in smartphones

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Harvard scientists think this interstellar object might be an alien spacecraft

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    Will Gaybrick Stripe

    • Will Gaybrick, Stripe's chief financial officer, is taking a new role as chief product officer and head of payments.
    • Stripe was recently valued at $20 billion in a monster $245 million funding round and this year signed on huge customers like Microsoft, Google, Spotify, and Uber.
    • Gaybrick said that even the largest companies like Stripe because the company makes it simple for them to take payments from customers anywhere in the world.
    • More broadly, he said, the real opportunity for Stripe is in making the complexities of the global financial system feel simple for Stripe's customers.
    • Stripe will search for a new CFO, and Gaybrick said that this move doesn't impact the company's plans to stay private indefinitely — which is to say, don't hold your breath for an initial public offering.

    Back in September, Stripe raised a massive $245 million round of funding, valuing the 8-year-old payments company at $20 billion.

    That deal only served to reinforce Stripe's standing as the most valuable financial-technology startup in the world — and capped off a year that saw Stripe add companies like Microsoft, Google, Spotify, and Uber as customers.

    Now, as Stripe prepares for the new year, it's given one of its top execs a new role: Chief Financial Officer Will Gaybrick will become chief product officer and head of payments.

    Gaybrick, who joined Stripe in 2015 after a stint as a venture capitalist, will still be performing many of his CFO duties while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

    But his main focus will be overseeing Stripe's payments products — which, given Stripe's focus on financial services, accounts for a lot of the company. That includes its core credit-card-processing products, as well as its fraud-detection services, its artificial-intelligence efforts, and more. Everything else, including internal infrastructure and the Stripe Atlas global-entrepreneurship program, will all belong to Chief Technology Officer David Singleton.

    Gaybrick told Business Insider that the shift from CFO to chief product officer is more natural than one might think.

    "To be successful as a CFO, you need to work closely with product teams and engineering teams and users," Gaybrick said. At Stripe in particular, he said, it helps to have somebody with a head for "the highly complex and esoteric global financial system" involved with the decision-making process.

    Gaybrick said the time is right, as the influx of larger tech companies as customers points the way towards the future of Stripe.

    Read more: Stripe, one of Silicon Valley's hottest startups, just raised a $245 million monster round — making it a $20 billion company

    StripePatrick Collison and John Collison

    Masking complexity

    One might think that the likes of Microsoft or Google would have the capacity to build their own payments system, rather than rely on a startup like Stripe. Gaybrick said this might be so, but the real question is: Why would they?

    "The biggest constraint to growth for the largest companies in the world is engineering talent and bandwidth," Gaybrick said. He believes that even a large company has better ways to use its resources than to waste time doing what Stripe has already done.

    Hiring the "dozens or hundreds" of engineers to build a payments system like Stripe is costly and time-consuming, Gaybrick said, and the end product would still be less mature than what Stripe already offers. Stripe allows companies to take payments from most anywhere in the world, with just about any form of currency, from almost every platform — it's easier for even large tech companies to buy Stripe than build the same thing in-house.

    To that end, Gaybrick sees a lot of opportunity in continuing to help Stripe customers smooth over the complexities around the movement of money for commerce, including local regulations, laws, and taxes.

    This year, Stripe launched new services like Stripe Issuing, which lets companies issue their own custom-branded debit cards, as well as Stripe Terminal, a program for point-of-sale systems and cash registers that are integrated with Stripe payments.

    The big idea with Stripe's product strategy, Gaybrick said, is to continue making it easy for companies to accept money from their customers, no matter how they want to pay and no matter where in the world they are.

    He likened it to the same circumstances that resulted in the rise of Amazon Web Services as the leading cloud-computing player. In the same way that AWS started because Amazon had the idea to sell the computing infrastructure it had built for its own retail business, Gaybrick said, many of Stripe's newer products were actually born for its own use and then released to customers.

    "We sort of found ourselves building this infrastructure to mask all those complexities," Gaybrick said.

    No IPO in sight

    As for the future of the company, Gaybrick said his vacating the CFO role has no bearing on the financial future of the company.

    Stripe is still "very happy as a private company," Gaybrick said, and it still has no plans to go public in the foreseeable future. This echoed comments made by Stripe President John Collison earlier this year, who said that the company has no immediate plans to go after any more venture-capital funding anytime soon, either.

    While Stripe has never disclosed whether it's profitable, Gaybrick said that the company is very efficient with its cash and has always raised investment capital as a strategic move, not out of strict necessity. All told, Stripe has raised $685 million in funding from investors including CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) and Visa.

    All of which means that Stripe doesn't feel any kind of pressure to go public, he said, or to take any other kind of money if it doesn't want to.

    "We've never been constrained by capital in any way, ever," Gaybrick said.

    SEE ALSO: The rise of Satya Nadella, the CEO who led Microsoft to becoming more valuable than Apple again in under 5 years

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The science of why human breasts are so big

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    google ceo sundar pichai

    • After a boatload of drama at Google over how the company has handled sexual harassment and misconduct, CEO Sundar Pichai announced new policies.
    • Google is joining a wave of companies that will no longer force its employees making sexual-harassment claims into private arbitration.
    • This is a hopeful sign that Silicon Valley's much publicized bro culture could be truly changing.

    There's been another round of employee drama at Google these past few weeks. After The New York times published an explosive story on how the company previously protected one of its star engineers, Andy Rubin, amid a sexual-misconduct investigation, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the company has fired 48 employees for sexual harassment in the last two years.

    On Thursday, Google published new policies for how the company will handle sexual harassment after employees staged a walkout and sent the company a list of five demands.

    Employees didn't get everything they wanted, but they did get their top demand: an end to forced arbitration for sexual-harassment cases.

    In a memo, Pichai announced the new policy while also defending Google's general policy of forced arbitration by claiming it never required confidentiality.

    Read more: Here's the memo Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent to employees on the changes to its sexual harassment policy after the walkout

    "We will make arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. 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.

    Forcing employees to sign agreements forbidding them to sue the company, and to instead go to arbitration, is one of the key ways a company can keep its dirty laundry secret.

    Arbitration is a private process that doesn't produce public court documents or public court decisions. It can also make it more difficult for employees to band together to file class-action lawsuits.

    And settlement agreements may also include a gag order, forbidding the employee to talk about their experience, even if they won the case.

    Mix it all together, and you get a perfect combo where a company's incentives to cover things up can seem more alluring than banishing illegal behavior or misconduct and seeing that it doesn't happen again.

    With private arbitration, even if the company fires the employee (and that doesn't always happen), a new employer has no easy way to know about the underlying incident, freeing the employee to continue engaging in the same behavior at the new company.

    Forcing employees to agree to arbitration as a condition of employment has become common practice in corporate America today. And it is standard practice in Silicon Valley. It is so common that Susan Fowler, the famed engineer who wrote about her experience with sexual harassment at Uber, argued the practice should be banned in a petition to the Supreme Court about a year ago.

    While Google clearly hasn't given up forced arbitration in general, making it optional for sexual-harassment cases is a huge step for Silicon Valley.

    Alone, this one company's choice won't end Silicon Valley's well-documented bro-culture problems.

    But the thing is, Google isn't alone. About a year ago, Microsoft also removed its forced-arbitration clause for sexual-harassment claims and endorsed a Senate bill attempting to make such a change the law of the land.

    Uber followed suit in May.

    Ideally, companies would simply stop making their employees waive their rights to sue in regular courts for every issue, not just sexual-harassment claims.

    But for now, a slow-and-steady wave of change is happening on this front. Perhaps Silicon Valley can even become a beacon for other industries with well-publicized sexual-harassment issues, like media and finance, to do the same.

    Ultimately, the freedom of employees to go public with sexual-harassment claims will shed some much-needed light on a situation that has been allowed to fester in the dark far too long.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's why virtual reality still hasn't taken off, despite being around for nearly 2 decades

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    Mark Cuban Ignition 2018

    • The billionaire Mark Cuban on Monday said it would be "bad parenting" to run for president in 2020, but he suggested he might go for it regardless.
    • Cuban, an unabashed critic of President Donald Trump, has teased a 2020 run in the past, and polls have indicated he could give Trump a run for his money.
    • Last November, Cuban said he'd most likely run as an independent if he were to challenge Trump.

    The billionaire Mark Cuban on Monday said it would be "bad parenting" to run for president in 2020, but he suggested he might go for it regardless.

    At Business Insider's annual IGNITION conference on tech and media, Global Editor-in-Chief Nicholas Carlson asked Cuban whether he'd made a decision on running after months of speculation.

    "The definition of bad parenting is running for president," Cuban said, noting he has three children. But then he added, "So, we'll see."

    Cuban, an unabashed critic of President Donald Trump, has teased a 2020 run in the past, and polls have shown he could give Trump a run for his money.

    In November 2017, Cuban said he would run as an independent if he were to go head-to-head with Trump.

    Read more: Mark Cuban says he has 3 smartphones and receives about 700 emails every day

    At The New York Times' DealBook Conference, Cuban said he would run as a Republican before running as a Democrat. But he also said he thought there was "incremental value for setting up an independent candidacy," adding: "The benefit of being an independent is you go right to the golden-ticket time — if I get enough support in the polls, then I get to participate in the debates."

    Cuban at the time said he would "absolutely not" consider running as a Democrat.

    The businessman reportedly has a net worth of $3.9 billion, which puts him ahead of Trump. Forbes estimates that the president, who often boasts about his wealth and business experience, has a net worth of about $3.1 billion.

    Cuban, much like Trump, has a lot of experience in the spotlight outside politics. The billionaire owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and is a regular presence on ABC's "Shark Tank."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    Donald Trump Russia

    • President Donald Trump has often claimed he has "nothing to do with Russia," but that's far from the truth. 
    • Trump's efforts to lay down his name in the Russian capital stretch back more than 30 years. 
    • According to Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, the president's most recent attempt to break ground in Moscow was a drawn-out process that lasted well into the 2016 presidential campaign season

    President Donald Trump is adamant that he has no financial interests in Russia.

    "Russia has never tried to use leverage over me," he tweeted in January 2017. "I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!"

    But a glimpse at his actions over the last few decades paints a quite different picture, one that shows a concerted effort by the real-estate mogul to lay a foundation for the Trump name in the heart of Moscow.

    Trump's business ties to Russia jumped back into the spotlight this week, after his former longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, admitted that he lied to Congress about the extent of the Trump Organization's push to open a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 election.

    Prosecutors said Cohen "discussed the status and progress of the Moscow Project" with Trump "on more than the three occasions Cohen claimed" to the Senate Intelligence Committee last year and that "he briefed family members" of Trump within the Trump Organization about it.

    They also said Cohen admitted to pursuing the deal as late as June 2016, after Trump became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

    After Cohen's stunning revelations about the timeline of discussions on building Trump Tower in Moscow, Trump tweeted that he "lightly looked" at "doing a building somewhere in Russia." But the president added that he "didn't do the project" and claimed he made no verbal or financial commitments. The defunct Moscow project is just the latest in a long history of the president trying — and failing — to make his mark in the Russian capital.

    Here's a rundown of Trump's attempted business dealings in Russia:

    • Trump's interest in doing business in Russia was first piqued in 1986, when he met the Soviet ambassador Yuri Dubinin and they began discussing building a "large luxury hotel across the street from the Kremlin in partnership with the Soviet government," as Trump recounted in his 1987 book, "The Art of the Deal."
    • Trump traveled to Russia in 1987 to survey potential locations for his hotel as landmark policies like perestroika and glasnost made the Soviet Union more open to foreign investments.
    • Trump in 1988 said the hotel plan failed because "in the Soviet Union, you don't own anything. It's hard to conjure up spending hundreds of millions of dollars on something and not own."
    • Trump went back to Russia in 1996 and announced a plan to invest $250 million in Russian real estate and slap his name on two luxury residential buildings. 
    • Trump boasted about his plan when he met the Russian politician Aleksandr Lebed in New York in 1997, telling Lebed, "We are actually looking at something in Moscow right now ... Only quality stuff. And we're working with the local government, the mayor of Moscow, and the mayor's people. So far, they've been very responsive ..." The plan never came to fruition.
    • But that wasn't the end of Trump's connection to Russian money. According to The Washington Post, the real estate mogul began seeing significant returns from Russian investments in US properties bearing the Trump name in the 2000s.
    • A Reuters investigation last year found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, for instance.
    • Reuters noted that its tally of Russian investors may be conservative. At least 703 — or about one-third — of the owners of the 2,044 units in the seven Trump buildings are limited liability companies, or LLCs, which have the ability to hide the identity of a property's true owner.
    • In the mid-2000s, the Trump Organization partnered with a company called the Bayrock Group, contracting it to pursue a development deal in Moscow. This effort was led by the Russian-born businessman Felix Sater, who's become a key figure in Mueller's investigation and Cohen's plea deal.
    • In 2005, Sater found a former pencil factory he thought could be converted into a high-end skyscraper, and was in discussions with Russian investors about it. The deal ultimately fell through, but Sater continued to maintain a relationship with the Trump Organization. 
    • At a real estate conference in 2008, Donald Trump Jr. discussed the family's attempts to break into the Russian business world. "As much as we want to take our business over there, Russia is just a different world,” he said at the time. "It is a question of who knows who, whose brother is paying off who...It really is a scary place."Trump Jr. at that point had traveled to Russia a number of times, including a 2006 visit with Sater his sister, Ivanka Trump, and Sater.
    • At the 2008 conference, Trump Jr. also said, "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets." He explained that despite the difficulties his family had in trying to build in Russia they were still determined to keep pushing for it. In the 18 months prior to the conference, Trump Jr. made six trips to Russia.
    • In 2013, Trump traveled to Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant. During the visit, he said, "I have plans for the establishment of business in Russia. Now, I am in talks with several Russian companies to establish this skyscraper."
    • In 2015 and 2016, Cohen and Sater teamed up in an attempt to put up a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen said discussions on the plan lasted until June 2016, which was after Trump had clinched the GOP nomination for president.
    • Cohen was in touch with the office of Russian President Vladimir Putin's press secretary over the matter, which reportedly included a plan to offer Putin a $50 million penthouse in the tower. Those talks fell through as well and the plan eventually crumbled.  

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Lindsey Graham once warned there would be 'holy hell to pay' if Trump fired Jeff Sessions

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    video game

    • Lots of people buy video games, try them briefly, and forget about them for one reason or another.
    • There are plenty of games that deserve a second chance, or a revisit if you gave up on them the first time.

    Not every video game makes an excellent impression the first time around. But many games, especially in recent years, tend to improve greatly after their initial public launch. Updates, expansions, and even remasters can give an old video game new life.

    While there are dozens of video games worth revisiting, we highlighted the three that we think should be at the top of your "second chance" list. 

    SEE ALSO: 'Red Dead Online,' the online multiplayer mode for 'Red Dead Redemption 2' will launch tomorrow as a beta test

    "Destiny 2"— Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    "Destiny 2" was rough at launch, to say the least. I was a big "Destiny" player even before the sequel came out, but was extremely disappointed in all of the ways "Destiny 2" had regressed: Fun systems were made less fun, the all-too-rare "exotic" items were suddenly way too easy to obtain, and the game was generally more boring than the first outing.

    Like the first "Destiny" game, though, "Destiny 2" experienced a massive overhaul in the form of an expansion, which arrived in September, exactly one year after the launch of the base game. The new expansion, "Forsaken," drastically changes the way players experience "Destiny" for the better. I would even call it the best "Destiny" expansion to date.

    Unfortunately, many people are missing out on all of the new goodies in "Destiny 2 Forsaken" because the 2017 launch of "Destiny 2" was so bad. But if you give "Destiny 2" a chance, you'll enjoy a really fun and addicting sci-fi shooter that feels way more rewarding than it was a year ago. If you've ever wanted to know what it would feel like to be a superhero in space, "Destiny 2" is your opportunity — but you need to get it with the "Forsaken" expansion to really enjoy everything the game has to offer.

    Price: "Forsaken Legendary Collection," which includes the base game and all three expansions, costs $35 on Amazon

    "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt"— Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

    I'll admit it: The first time I tried playing "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt," I found it overwhelming. There were too many quests to do, and too many large areas to explore. I had other games I wanted to play at the time, so I put it down and moved on.

    This summer, though, I found myself looking for a new game to play, so I decided to give "The Witcher 3" another chance. I started a new game, and I was immediately enthralled. 

    By the time I played "The Witcher 3," the game's developers CD Projekt Red had vastly improved the game's stability, fixing numerous bugs and issues that hampered the game's performance. And the game also had two massive new expansions available for me to play, including the gorgeous "Blood and Wine" expansion, which features my favorite locale and storyline in the entire game.

    "The Witcher 3" can be a magical experience. It presents you a massive, immersive fantasy world filled with monsters, magic, and memorable quests and characters. The game's looks and performance have significantly improved since launch, and if you pick it up now, you can enjoy all of the excellent expansions as soon as you're ready for them. With so much to do, "The Witcher 3" is one of the best values you can get right now in a video game.

    Price: Game of the Year Edition, which includes base game and all expansions, costs $36 on Amazon

    "Dark Souls Remastered"— Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

    This year, fans were treated to a remastered version of the original "Dark Souls" game, which first came out in 2011 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. "Dark Souls" was notorious for being an extremely difficult game, but it also featured incredible design elements like interconnected environments and a surprisingly deep combat system. 

    "Dark Souls Remastered" features the original base game and all of its expansions, fully remastered for current-generation game consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The game also launched for the Nintendo Switch in October, so you can play "Dark Souls" on the go.

    Many people may have missed "Dark Souls Remastered" because it came out around the same time as other popular games like "God of War," which was one of the most talked-about games of 2018, but with the holiday season approaching, now is the best time to revisit this challenging game.

    Price:$27 to $32 (depending on platform) on Amazon

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Beto O'Rourke Rally

    • Beto O'Rourke of Texas and Andrew Gillum of Florida, both rising Democratic stars and potential 2020 candidates, recently met with former President Barack Obama in his Washington offices. 
    • Obama endorsed Gillum during his gubernatorial bid this year and praised O'Rourke last month, saying the former senate candidate reminds him of himself.
    • Both O'Rourke and Gillum, who ran strong, but unsuccessful races for Senate and governor, have declined to say whether they'll run for president in 2020. 

    Beto O'Rourke of Texas and Andrew Gillum of Florida, both rising stars in the Democratic Party from purple and red states, met with former President Barack Obama in his Washington offices in recent days, stoking speculation that the two will launch 2020 presidential bids. 

    The three-term El Paso congressman — who nearly unseated GOP Sen. Ted Cruz last month — met with Obama on Nov. 16, the Washington Post reported, while the Florida mayor who narrowly lost his state's gubernatorial race met with the former president on Tuesday, according to multiple news outlets. 

    O'Rourke, 46, was by far the best-funded and most competitive Democrat to run statewide in Texas in years, and he would have been the first elected statewide in nearly a quarter of a century. His campaign, which attracted huge national attention and raised more money than any other senate bid in US history, sparked widespread hope among Democrats that he'll channel his popularity into a presidential ticket.

    Obama publicly praised O'Rourke last month, telling his former top adviser David Axelrod that the Texas politician reminded him of himself and inspired voters because he's authentic in his convictions. 

    "What I liked most about his race was that it didn’t feel constantly poll-tested," Obama said during a podcast discussion with Axelrod. "It felt as if he based his statements and his positions on what he believed. And that, you’d like to think, is normally how things work. Sadly it's not."

    Read more: 'I'm so f---ing proud of you guys': Star Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke concedes defeat to Ted Cruz in impassioned speech after his devastating loss

    O'Rourke, who said last week that he's considering a 2020 bid despite repeatedly saying otherwise on the campaign trail, reportedly declined Obama's offers to record robo-calls and stump with O'Rourke and decided against using a video Obama recorded endorsing him during the senate campaign.

    The congressman has expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of endorsements from politicians outside of his home state and rarely utilized surrogates on the campaign trail, but he did receive a series of high-profile endorsements from celebrities, including Beyonce, LeBron James, and Ellen DeGeneres. 


    Gillum, 39, also attracted national attention when he stunned the state by beating out an array of wealthy primary opponents and waged an aggressive and deeply progressive campaign for governor against the Trump-endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis. 

    It's unclear what Gillum and the former president discussed in DC this week, and Gillum has declined to elaborate on his thoughts about a presidential run. 

    "I plan on being married to my wife. That is all I am planning," Gillum said in response to questions about 2020 during an event at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Washington this week. "What I am committed to doing between now and 2020 is doing everything I can to make the state of Florida available and winnable for the democratic nominee for president."

    Obama has also reportedly met with other potential 2020 candidates, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu. 

    SEE ALSO: 'I'm so f---ing proud of you guys': Star Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke concedes defeat to Ted Cruz in impassioned speech after his devastating loss

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Lindsey Graham once warned there would be 'holy hell to pay' if Trump fired Jeff Sessions

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    BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 30: U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during the plenary session on the opening day of Argentina G20 Leaders' Summit 2018 at Costa Salguero on November 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images)

    • Trump said he plans to terminate NAFTA, setting off a firestorm among lawmakers.
    • But both key Republicans and Democrats agree that he has no such legal authority.
    • Lawmakers also warned of the "disruptive" economic effect that a sudden NAFTA withdrawal could have.

    WASHINGTON — Key Republicans and Democrats are in agreement that President Donald Trump does not have any legal authority to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in an effort to force Congress to swiftly consider his new deal with Canada and Mexico.

    Members of the Senate Finance Committee told INSIDER that Trump cannot just shred NAFTA, but would instead have to consult with Congress, where he would no doubt face significant hurdles without a concrete and agreed upon replacement already in place.

    Read more:Republicans are freaking out about Trump's massive new tariffs

    "I'll be terminating it within a relatively short period of time. We get rid of NAFTA. It's been a disaster for the United States. It's caused us tremendous amounts of unemployment and loss and company loss and everything else," Trump told reporters this week. "That'll be terminated. And so Congress will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well."

    Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, told reporters that Trump has no legal authority to withdraw, and he would require consent from Congress.

    "The simple fact is NAFTA was enacted through legislation. It requires legislation to repeal it," Toomey said. "The bizarre thing about the administration’s contention is they acknowledge that if they changed one word in NAFTA they have to come back to Congress to get it approved, but somehow they can strike the whole thing and they don’t need Congress for that? That makes no sense and it is not consistent with the legislation."

    And Toomey's feelings are felt across the political aisle. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, told INSIDER the Constitution's separation of powers is clear as day that Congress is in charge of NAFTA.

    "Up at the White House, they ought to take out a copy of the Constitution. Article 1, Section 8, is very clear that Congress has the power to regulate foreign commerce and there’s also a Congressional Research Service analysis that supports it," he said.

    The CRS analysis Wyden mentioned has stated any withdrawal would require congressional approval.

    Wyden also said Trump is exhibiting lack of confidence in his United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) proposal.

    "If the president was really confident that his trade proposal was going to work, he wouldn’t be playing this kind of brinkmanship and trying to throw this kind of muscle around," he said.

    And Toomey suggested the president's rhetoric about wanting to tear up NAFTA is an attempt to kick-start consideration of the USMCA, but that it is a poor strategy to begin with.

    "It appears the president is trying to say, 'you know it’s this or nothing.'" he said. "But when he doesn’t have the legal authority to enforce that choice, it's not a very good strategy."

    But some suggested there is room for some kind of NAFTA dismantling by Trump, as long as he meets certain criteria.

    "The president is given substantial authority in all of our trade dealings. But it’s not without restrictions," Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told INSIDER. "In other words, certain factual findings are necessary first."

    "As is often in the case, what the president proposes to do has to fit within a larger framework of what is legally permitted under the treaty," she added.

    A rapid withdrawal from NAFTA could have devastating effects on the economy

    In terms of the risks of a NAFTA withdrawal, Warren said the US needs a new deal to replace it, but without the risks of igniting a catastrophe that could devastate the economy.

    "Look, we need a different NAFTA, but that means sitting down and negotiating for a NAFTA that works for American workers, small businesses, and farmers," she said. "Not just unilaterally just trying to start yet another trade war."

    Toomey took a harder stance, saying a sudden or even timetabled withdrawal without a replacement could force the US economy into a downward spiral.

    "It would be extremely disruptive," Toomey told INSIDER. "The markets would go haywire, I mean supply chains would be very, very disrupted. It’d be very harmful to the economy, to jobs in the United States."

    Toomey has reiterated his sentiments to White House officials, but not yet to Trump.

    "So it’s not a good policy," he added. "But as I say, I simply reject the idea he has the authority to do it."

    SEE ALSO: US senators furious with Saudi Arabia after classified briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    • From Facebook's Cambridge Analytica debacle to Google's sexual misconduct investigations, 2018 has been a year rocked by scandal in tech industry. 
    • Here are the 18 biggest tech scandals that happened this year.

    In the tech world, 2018 was rocked by scandal. 

    Over the last 12 months, many tech companies have found themselves at the center of our country's most pressing social and political issues. 

    Facebook provided Cambridge Analytica — a data firm used by President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign to target voters — with 87 million users' personal information without obtaining proper consent. 

    Google reportedly paid an executive tens of millions of dollars after he was let go over a sexual misconduct investigation.

    And WhatsApp became a hotbed of misinformation, influencing political elections and costing people their lives. 

    What follows are the 18 biggest scandals in the tech industry over the course of the last year:

    February: Uber and Waymo go to court over stolen trade secrets regarding self-driving car technology.

    In February, Uber and Google's self-driving car spinoff, Waymo, went to court over allegations that Uber stole trade secrets relating to Waymo's self-driving-car technology.

    The case centered around Anthony Levandowski, a high-profile engineer who was accused of taking information with him when leaving Google and bringing that information to Uber when he joined the company.

    The trial was hugely anticipated among those in tech, as it included two of Silicon Valley’s largest companies, and even featured testimony from Uber's former CEO, Travis Kalanick.

    Ultimately, Uber agreed to pay Waymo $245 million in equity.

    March: Google’s Project Maven contract to partner with the Department of Defense on AI technology is revealed.

    In March, a report by Gizmodo revealed that Google had a contract in place with the US Department of Defense for the use of artificial intelligence technology, known internally as Project Maven.

    Critics of the AI tech — which speeds up the process of analyzing video images — believed it could be used for increasing the accuracy of drone-missile strikes, which often result in civilian casualties. As a result, thousands of Google employees signed a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, urging the company to end the contract, saying: "We believe that Google should not be in the business of war."

    In June, after facing intense internal and external pressures, Google announced it would not renew its current contract with the DoD, which expires in 2019.

    March: A self-driving Uber car hits and kills a woman in Arizona.

    In March, a woman in Tempe, Arizona, was killed by a self-driving car operated by Uber. It was the first time a pedestrian had been killed by an autonomous vehicle.

    Uber, which had been competing with companies like Waymo and GM to bring self-driving services to market, subsequently paused all of its autonomous vehicle testing.

    Now, as the company prepares to return its cars to the roads, new reports from Business Insider have revealed the internal debates and dysfunction leading up to March’s tragic accident.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    happy people in coffee shop

    • If you're looking for a new job, you might want to check out companies where employees are happier than the norm. 
    • Glassdoor has released its annual ranking of the best places to work, which takes into account its database of 45 million company reviews provided by anonymous current and former workers
    • Tech companies dominated the listing, but plenty of firms in healthcare, consulting, manufacturing, and food got kudos for their excellent workplace cultures


    The average American spends some 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime, but 80% are outright dissatisfied with their work

    For that overwhelming majority, the secret to job satisfaction might just be a new company. Glassdoor, a job site with 45 million company reviews, has just released its annual Employees’ Choice Awards for the Best Places to Work. 

    The rankings are compiled from anonymous employee feedback that former or current workers can provide right on Glassdoor. To compile the listing, Glassdoor scans their massive database of company reviews.

    Workers writing a company review are asked to assess the pros and cons of working at the company, growth opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values, senior management, work/life balance, if they would recommend the workplace to a friend, and the company's six-month business outlook. 

    Those reviews are compiled in Glassdoor's awards algorithm, which also assesses the quality of reviews represented in its ranking. 

    Then, companies receive a score on a scale of one to five — five being the highest. The scores have been rounded to the nearest tenth in our article, while Glassdoor ranked the companies by looking at their score rounded to the thousandth. The employers on this list scored between 4.2 and 4.6 on Glassdoor; the average company rating is 3.4.

    Many of these companies in the list of large US workplaces (having more than 1,000 employees) are Bay Area tech firms. Of the 100 workplaces, 23 have headquarters in San Francisco, and 29 are in tech. 

    That's because tech firms are facing a major labor shortage and are keen to woo employees with excellent work cultures, Glassdoor chief economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain told Business Insider.

    Read more: The 50 best places to work in 2018, according to employees

    But you don't have to be a techie to enjoy the benefits of an excellent workplace, which often includes mission-driven company cultures, smart coworkers, transparent senior leadership, great compensation and benefits, and work-life balance. 

    "To work at a company that treats you ethically and gives you good pay and benefits, you don't necessarily have to be in tech,"Chamberlain said. "There's something for everybody."

    What's more, you don't even need to be in an office job or to have a college degree to work at a company that will treat you right. In-N-Out Burger, Trader Joe's, lululemon, and other employers powered by associates all topped the list, as well as healthcare providers that are largely staffed by nursing assistants and similar roles. 

    Here is a countdown of the best 50 workplaces, along with their headquarters location, a description of the company from Glassdoor, and a quote from a current or former employee. You can see all 100 companies on Glassdoor.

    SEE ALSO: Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are worth more than $100 billion — see how they spend it, from trapeze lessons to a 600-foot 'air yacht'

    DON'T MISS: 16 things you should never wear to work — even if you work in a business casual environment

    50. Crowe

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: Chicago

    Crowe is an accounting, technology, and consulting firm.

    "Very flexible work environment, with the ability to work remotely as needed. The company also strives to push career advancement of every employee." Crowe audit business analyst

    49. Johnson & Johnson

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

    Johnson & Johnson is a biotech and pharmaceuticals company. 

    "Great people, great culture, and the company really cares about their employees. Really good work life balance and flexibility to work remote."Johnson & Johnson manager 

    48. SpaceX

    Score: 4.3 

    Headquarters location: Hawthorne, California

    SpaceX is an aerospace company dedicated to making human life on Mars possible. 

    "SpaceX believes in its employees and its missions so much, that they invest in you and you invest in the company. All our employees are owners of the company."SpaceX employee 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.


    A great pair of boots is an absolute must for the fall and winter, and Nordstrom has a wonderful selection for men and women.

    While you could shop their new arrivals, Nordstrom's sale section is full of hidden gems. There, you can find deeply discounted styles, ranging from classic Chelsea boots to chukkas to snow boots, from top brands like UGG, Timberland, Hunter, Cole Haan, FRYE, and more.

    To help you sort through all the options, we rounded up 30 boots for men and women that you can buy on sale right now at Nordstrom. If you're also looking for great deals on clothes, accessories, and even home goods, check out the rest of Nordstrom's sale section.

    Shop men's boots at Nordstrom here >>

    Shop women's boots at Nordstrom here >>

    SEE ALSO: All of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides, in one place

    DON'T MISS: 25 cold weather wardrobe staples for women we swear by for our own closets

    Men's J&M 1850 Karnes Brogue Cap Toe Boot

    J&M 1850 Karnes Brogue Cap Toe Boot, $136.90 (Originally $229) [You save $92.10]

    Men's UGG Dalvin Zip Boot with Genuine Shearling

    UGG Dalvin Zip Boot with Genuine Shearling, $129.90 (Originally $260) [You save $130.10]

    Men's Cole Haan Tyler Chukka Boot

    Cole Haan Tyler Chukka Boot, available in two colors, $149.90 (Originally $250) [You save $100.10]

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    williams sonoma $19.95

    The Star Wars franchise has captivated and continues to captivate audiences of all ages around the world. Nearly everyone can identify at least one person in their lives who loves the epic space story and has watched each of the movies a dozen times. 

    Thanks to the franchise's long-lasting and universal popularity, there are more than enough Star Wars products to go around, from props and clothing to decor and books. Finding a Star Wars-related gift isn't the hard part — finding one that's creative and unexpected is. 

    You can surprise them this year with one of these 27 Star Wars gifts they don't already have. As you'll see, there is a wide range of ways to incorporate new and interesting galactic fun into their lives. 

    Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    SEE ALSO: 31 cool tech gifts for the home that suit every kind of budget

    DON'T MISS: 34 cool stocking stuffers you can get on Amazon for under $20

    A Darth Vader figurine that's also an alarm clock

    Clic Time LEGO Darth Vader Alarm Clock, $22.99, available at Amazon

    What makes this alarm clock even more fun is that they can move the arms and legs to make Darth Vader sit or stand on their night stand. When they push down on his head to snooze the alarm or check the time, he lights up with a red glow. 

    Super comfortable underwear that also glows in the dark

    Men's Star Wars Boxer Brief, $24, available at MeUndies

    Women's Star Wars Bikini, $18, available at MeUndies

    One of MeUndies' many Adventurous prints is not only a fun group of Star Wars characters, but it also glows in the dark for extra quirkiness. We love its soft and stretchy micromodal underwear so much, we recommend MeUndies as some of the best underwear men and women can buy. 


    Mugs shaped like a Stormtrooper and Darth Vader

    Darth Vader and Stormtrooper Ceramic Mugs, $19.99, available at Target

    They'll feel like they can conquer the morning just like Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers after sipping their coffee from these ceramic mugs. 


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    autonomous trucking graphicThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

    Trucking is set to transform radically in the coming years, with innovative technologies enabling trucks to take over more and more driving responsibilities, saving time and money for operators and businesses that rely on shipping.

    Autonomous trucks are being tested on roads around the world, and systems from startups like Peloton and Embark could make their way into commercial trucks as soon as next year. Fleets will be able to leverage autonomous technologies to cut costs and gain a critical edge over competitors.

    But to start planning for, and to eventually implement, those technologies, companies need to know what sorts of systems will be ready and when, and what regulatory hurdles will need to be overcome to get autonomous trucks on the road. 

    In a new report from BI Intelligence, we provide an early glimpse into the emerging autonomous trucking market. First, we look at the trucking market as it stands today, offering a basic profile of the industry and highlighting a number of the challenges and issues it faces. Then, we go through the three waves of autonomous technology that are set to upend the industry — platooning, semi-autonomous systems, and fully autonomous trucks — looking at who is making strides in each of these areas, when the technology can be expected to start making an impact, and what companies can do to get ahead of the curve.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Advanced and autonomous technology will enable operators and shipping firms to eradicate some of the challenges that have long plagued them. Trucks will take over more and more driving responsibilities, saving time and money for operators and businesses that rely on shipping.
    • The impact of autonomous technologies on the trucking industry will come in three major waves: platooning or fuel-saving vehicle convoys, semi-autonomous highway control systems, and fully autonomous trucks.
    • Change to the trucking industry will be gradual but inexorable. Companies with foresight can start to make long-term plans to account for the ways that autonomous technologies will change how goods and products move from place to place.

    In full, the report:

    • Analyzes the development of autonomous trucking technology.
    • Explains the waves in which advanced and autonomous technologies will start to impact the trucking industry, providing detailed explanations of how a company can take advantage of the disruptive technology transforming logistics at each stage.
    • Profiles the efforts of the companies that are at the forefront of new technology in trucking, looking at what they're working on and when their efforts could start to impact the market.

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

    1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >>Learn More Now
    2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now

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