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The latest news from Business Insider

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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    Smart speakers in shoppingConsumers are finally starting to adopt smart home devices, with nearly 60% owning at least one device. This presents an opportunity for e-commerce companies to enter the smart home and encourage purchasing through the devices.

    The smart speaker has become the face of the smart home in many ways, attracting the lion’s share of attention as companies look for ways to take advantage of the growing platform. But there’s a problem: Consumers aren’t using the smart speaker to actually buy products very often.

    Instead, one of the clearest opportunities outside of the smart speaker is home goods and grocery replenishment through large appliances. Smart devices in the home — especially appliances — can take advantage of built-in sensors to either tell consumers when they need to buy more of a product, or make that purchase autonomously. This will create an opportunity for appliance manufacturers, e-commerce vendors, and product suppliers to ink supply agreements to meet consumers' needs.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines several areas of opportunity for e-commerce companies to leverage smart home technologies to provide new and better services to their customers. First, we explore how smart appliances, including connected dishwashers and laundry machines, are building on one-click purchasing systems to enable automated replenishment. We then discuss the smart fridge and detail how apps, cameras, and voice assistants are enabling takeout and grocery delivery through these appliances. Finally, we examine the role of the voice interface beyond smart speakers as it relates to purchasing products in the home, and how omnipresent voice will be used to organize and interact with automated services.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Blue Apron, Costo, GE, Google, Instacart, Keurig, KitchenAid, LG, Ocado, P&G, Plated, Reynolds, Samsung, Target, Walmart, Whirlpool.

     Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Companies have a clear opportunity to leverage sensors, cameras, and connectivity in a variety of home appliances to revolutionize the way consumers buy home goods.
    • Smart appliance manufacturers, e-tailers, and CPG companies will be able to collaborate and partner to develop new methods of resupplying consumers' homes.
    • The smart fridge will transform into the hub of the kitchen and become the autonomous organizing device that oversees grocery purchasing and food delivery.

    In full, the report:

    • Provides an overview of the key players and types of products in the smart appliance space.
    • Highlights the models that companies can adopt to take advantage of the developing sector.
    • Identifies the key services that will boost automated e-commerce engagement in the home.

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

    AmazonShipping_CostSavings

    Outside of the US Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and UPS have dominated the domestic logistics industry — and in particular, the last-mile of the delivery — for decades. On a quarterly earnings call in 2016, FedEx estimated that itself, UPS, and USPS executed a whopping 95% of all e-commerce orders.

    But rapidly rising volumes have put the pair of legacy shippers in a bind. E-commerce sales have risen over 50% and are projected to continue their ascent into the next decade. High volumes are already straining shippers' networks — UPS struggled to bring consumers their parcels on time due to higher-than-anticipated package volume, which upset some big-name retail partners, including Macy's, Walmart, and Amazon. As online sales surge further, package volumes will outstrip legacy shippers' capacities, creating space for new entrants. 

    Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to dethrone UPS and FedEx's duopoly. It's built up a strong logistics infrastructure, counting hundreds of warehouses and thousands of delivery trucks.

    Further, as the leading online retailer in the US, it has a wealth of data on consumers that it can use to craft a personalized delivery experience that's superior to UPS and FedEx's offerings. Amazon must act soon, however, as UPS and FedEx are hard at work fortifying their own networks to handle the expected surge in parcel volume.

    The longer the Seattle-based e-tailer delays the launch of a delivery service, the more it runs the risk that these legacy players will be able to defend their territory. 

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explains how the age of e-commerce is opening up cracks in UPS and FedEx's duopoly. We then outline how Amazon's logistics ambitions began as an effort to more quickly get parcels out the door and fulfill its famous 2-day shipping process and how it'll be a key building block for the company if it builds out a last-mile service. Lastly, we offer concrete steps that the firm must take to maximize the dent it makes in UPS and FedEx's duopoly.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Alibaba, Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • While UPS and FedEx have dominated the US last-mile delivery market for the last few decades, the surge in e-commerce is creating more volume than shipping companies can handle.
    • Amazon is uniquely well-positioned to put a dent in UPS and FedEx's duopoly due to its strategic position as the leading online retailer in the US.
    • Amazon can carry its trust amongst the public, a wealth of consumer data, and its ability to craft a more personalized delivery experience to the last-mile delivery space to ultimately dethrone UPS and FedEx.
    • The top priority for Amazon in taking on UPS and FedEx needs to be offering substantially lower shipping rates — one-third of US retailers say they'll switch to an Amazon shipping service if it's at least 20% cheaper than UPS and FedEx. 

    In full, the report:

    • Outlines Amazon's current shipping and logistics footprint and strengths that it would bring to the last-mile delivery space in the US.
    • Lays out concrete steps that Amazon must take if it wants to launch a standalone last-mile delivery service, including how it can offer a more memorable, higher-quality delivery experience than UPS and FedEx.
    • Illustrates how Amazon can minimize operating costs for a delivery service to ultimately undercut UPS and FedEx's shipping rates in the last-mile space.

     

    SEE ALSO: Amazon and Walmart are building out delivery capabilities

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    bondi xmas

    • Temperature records have been smashed as a Christmas heat wave has the southeastern corner of Australia in a stranglehold.
    • The hottest place in the country, Marble Bar in the Pilbara of Western Australia hit an all-time heat record of 120 degrees Fahreneit (49 degrees Celsius) on Thursday.
    • December and Christmas are only the beginning of the summer season in Australia. It starts getting noticeably toastier around January and February.

    SYDNEY, Australia — After firestorms in Victoria killed 173 people in 2009, Australian fire authorities decided it would be best to add a new category to the ubiquitous fire ratings signs that pop up every few miles on rural highways.

    When a heat wave sweeps out of the central deserts to smother the heavily populated coastal regions — like what the region has seen this Christmas — officials at the Rural Fire Service bump the measurement up to the new, final notch.

    "Catastrophic."

    That's what the weather is in Australia this week. It's not hot, really hot, or even extremely hot. It's catastrophic.

    Australian temperature records have been smashed as a Christmas heat wave has the southeastern corner of the country in a stranglehold.

    In fact, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, this is a December like no other.

    Down in the state of South Australia, temperatures in some country towns have nudged nearly 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius).

    Adelaide city, the capital of South Australia, was breezing through a comparatively relaxed 107 degrees Fahrenheit (41.6 degrees Celsius) at lunchtime on Friday, while down in Port Augusta, things got a little uncomfortable at nearly 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius), according to the Adelaide Advertiser.

    The state ambulance service is urging people to drink lots of water and check on the elderly, sick, and very young to make sure they're cool and comfortable.

    They'll be doing a lot of that in sunny Oodnadatta over the next few days, with the Bureau of Meteorology is expecting temperatures to plateau at an unforgiving 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before pulling back a degree or two on Monday.

    Hayley Nunn, from the Pink Roadhouse in Oodnadatta, described the weather as "bloody horrible,"according to the ABC.

    Around the country there are outright fire bans and blanket health warnings as people flock to the beach.

    According to Reuters, the heat wave emanating out of the central northwest has now spread into the heavily populated southeastern cities — Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide — where December monthly average temperatures are up to 16 degrees Celsius higher than usual.

    “We’re going to see December records tumbling,” Diana Eadie, a meteorologist at the BOM told Reuters on Friday.

    “We’re definitely not out of it yet, in fact I would say it’s going to be peaking over more populated areas this weekend.”

    Australia beach

    Sandals and pavement could melt

    There are a few telltale signs when a certain temperature is achieved here in Sydney. For example, if the windows are left open to catch a whiff of breeze, there is often a sudden and unpleasant mass migration of flies and mossies to the cool of the kitchen.

    Sandals and pavement could melt.

    Beer warms with a distributing and preternatural speed. The Christmas tree dies, and maybe the fridge, too.

    And if you reckon all of that sounds subpar, when talking about heatwaves in this region, there's always someone, somewhere who is worse off. In this case, it's those who live in Marble Bar in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

    The mercury climbed above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49.3 degrees Celsius), an all-time high.

    But if you're freezing in Fargo, spare a thought for the Aussies because December is just the kick-off of summer. January is when the kid gloves come off. And then, of course, things get serious in February.

    But a better snapshot of what Christmas looks like in the southern hemisphere comes courtesy of a 2017 tally from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which suggested that, on average, every household — roughly 24 million of them — spends more than $90 ($AU130) per year on fresh fish and seafood, and almost $30 per year on Christmas decorations.

    About $150 is spent on ice cream, and $600 on beer.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The reason some men can't grow full beards, according to a dermatologist


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    Lionel Messi, son Tiago Messi

    • Lionel Messi is one of the greatest soccer players of all time, but he has to explain himself to his son whenever FC Barcelona fails to win.
    • Messi has said his six-year-old boy lets him know "when things are not so good."
    • Messi is on an awe-inspiring run of form and with him in the team, Barcelona has failed to win just seven times this season.
    • This means he has rarely had to fend off the attacks from little Thiago Messi.
    • Read all of Business Insider's coverage for the 2018-2019 European Soccer season right here.

    Lionel Messi may be the most statistically-impressive soccer player in the world this season, but even he is not exempt from criticisms.

    The FC Barcelona forward has scored 21 goals and supplied 11 assists in 17 starts this season, and has been more prolific than other elite players like Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Harry Kane.

    But once he has left the locker room and driven home after a loss, he finds himself fending off questions from one of his toughest critics — his six-year-old son Thiago Messi.

    In a recent interview with the Spanish national sports daily newspaper MARCA, Messi said his oldest son "discusses everything about the game" and is "very involved."

    Read more: Lionel Messi is renting a $15 million, 16-seat private jet with the names of his family on the steps — take a look inside

    When asked if Thiago expects high standards from his famous father, Messi said: "Yes… I already have a couple of criticisms. He follows Barcelona, La Liga, and the Champions League. He likes it, asks questions, reports, and he tells me when things are not so good."

    He added: "Thiago forces me to comment on what happened and explain why we didn't win."

    With telepathic passing and an attacking dominance that borders on pure artistry on the pitch, Messi has enjoyed awe-inspiring form this season. With him in the team, Barcelona has only failed to win seven times this season. 

    Fortunately for him, this means he has rarely had to explain himself to his "football crazy" son.

    SEE ALSO: 3 goals in 17 minutes, 2 assists, and pure artistry on the pitch: Lionel Messi dominates yet again as Barcelona puts Levante to the sword

    DON'T MISS: Lionel Messi is renting a $15 million customized 16-seat private jet — take a look inside

    UP NEXT: A 15-year-old dubbed 'Japan's Messi' scored a Barcelona-style goal for Real Madrid's under-16 team

    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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    trader happy thumbs up approval

    • Asian shares jumped and European stocks soared, capping a tumultuous week of holiday trading in global stock markets. Gold reached a six-month high. 
    • European indexes have been battered more than the US this year, with worries about trade, Italy's budget crisis, and rising interest rates weighing on sentiment.

    The Euro Stoxx 50 and most major regional benchmarks posted gains of at least 1.2% in the first hours of trading on Friday, following a 0.4% rise in the Shanghai Composite Index. Gold reached a six-month high as investors fled to safety during a volatile week in markets. 

    The increases come after a sharp rebound in US trading on Thursday, where stocks erased sharp losses in a choppy trading session a day after a dramatic rally led Wall Street to its largest percentage gains in nearly a decade.

    Read more: Millennials piled into these 9 stocks in 2018

    European indexes have been battered this year, even more than the brutal year for US investors in 2018, with worries about Germany's economy, France's "yellow vest" protests, and Italy's budget crisis weighing on sentiment. The worries added to external factors including the US-China trade war and rising interest rates.

    "It is certainly too early for any celebrations," said Lukman Otunuga, Research Analyst at FXTM. "With investor appetite for riskier assets seen diminishing amid the unfavorable market conditions, global equity markets remain vulnerable to downside shocks."

    Here's the roundup:

    • In the US, major index futures are flat, hovering between slight gains and losses before volume picks up in New York early trading.
    • In Europe, there are big gains across the board. The main benchmark, the Euro Stoxx 50, is leading surrounding regional indexes with rallies of 1.4% or higher. European shares missed the big rallies in the US this week.
    • In Asia, Chinese and Hong Kong stocks gained, but the Nikkei fell slightly, posting a 0.3% decline.
    • Gold reached a six-month high, as investors spooked by zigzag moves in stock markets sought a safe haven
    • Brent oil jumped 2%, while the dollar was flat against a basket of currencies.

    SEE ALSO: While China and the US spar over trade, Europe quietly heads for its worst year since the financial crisis

    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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    Jeremy Corbyn Theresa May

    • Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tells Theresa May to cut short the Christmas break and let MPs vote on her Brexit deal "as soon as possible."

    • MPs are set to vote on the British prime minister's Brexit deal with the European Union on the week beginning January 14.

    • The vote was meant to happen on December 11 but May delayed it to avoid a huge defeat.

    • Corbyn says the vote must take place as soon as possible. "If that means recalling parliament to have the vote let's have it," he said.

    Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged Theresa May to cut short UK Parliament's Christmas break and hold the vote on her Brexit deal "as soon as possible."

    In an interview with The Independent and i newspaper, Corbyn said: "I want us to have a vote as soon as possible, that's what I've been saying for the past two weeks, and if that means recalling parliament to have the vote let's have it."

    Members of Parliament were originally scheduled to vote on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement on December 11.

    However, Prime Minister May was virtually guaranteed to see her deal voted down by MPs, potentially by a huge margin, so delayed the vote in order give the government more time to persuade MPs to support it.

    The vote is now set to take place a month after the original date, on the week commencing January 14.

    Corbyn said the delay was a "completely cynical manoeuvre to run down the clock and offer MPs the choice of the devil or the deep blue sea."

    The Labour leader was referring to the belief among some MPs that May is delaying the vote in order to leave as little time as possible in the Brexit process for MPs to pursue alternatives to her current agreement with the EU.

    Downing Street has grown increasingly confident in recent weeks that the growing prospect of a disruptive and economically damaging no deal Brexit will convince MPs to back May's deal despite their reservations with it.

    A government source described Corbyn's request as a "silly demand." Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted on Friday that MPs can be persuaded to back the deal, telling BBC Radio 4: "We can get this through."

    Anti-Brexit group Best For Britain supported the Labour leader's demand.

    The campaign's CEO Eloise Todd said: "With the clock ticking on Brexit, the vote on the government’s deal needs to happen as soon as possible — not a day should be wasted.

    "Parliament is likely to reject that deal, and the way out of that impasse for MPs and for the country is to do what most people now want and hand the decision back to the people."

    "Corbyn needs to listen to his own members, his own voters and the country on this and give the people the final say on Brexit."

    In the same interview, Corbyn reaffirmed his insistence that it's a matter of time before if he will lodge an official vote of no confidence in the government, which he hopes will bring down May and trigger an early general election.

    "We've made clear it's a question of when, not if, we do a vote of no confidence in the government. Obviously, we do [it] at a time when their confidence is the lowest ever, which I suspect will be after they've lost the vote."

    SEE ALSO: Exclusive: Inside the People's Vote campaign's final push to stop Brexit

    DON'T MISS: Who will replace Theresa May as prime minister?

    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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    In the last few years, there’s been a major shift as to how consumers interact with social media.

    Rather than posting content that lives on the platform in perpetuity, users are now posting and viewing more “Stories,” video or images that live for only 24 hours.The Stories Slide Deck

    Many platforms have introduced some form of Stories format — whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or WhatsApp. Snapchat was the company to introduce it to the world, but Instagram has surpassed it in terms of volume and perhaps usability.

    Business Insider Intelligence has compiled a slide deck that looks into how Stories work on Instagram and Snapchat, and how brands and publishers should be using the Stories feature to reach their audiences.

    This exclusive deck can be yours for FREE today. As an added bonus, you will gain immediate access to our exclusive BI Intelligence Daily newsletter.

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

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    new york bright blue sky

    • New York's sky glowed bright blue on Thursday night.
    • The eerie, alien-like light was due to an explosion at a Con Edison facility in Queens.
    • Police said that no one was injured and there was "no evidence of extraterrestrial activity."
    • Video footage shows the city lit up like something from a movie.

    An explosion at a New York power plant turned the sky in parts of the city an eerie, alien-like shade of blue.

    The New York Police Department tweeted on Thursday night that it was investigating an incident at a Con Edison facility in Queens. Both the NYPD and the facility confirmed that the light was the result of a transformer explosion.

    "Confirming incident in #Astoria was result of transformer explosion," the NYPD tweeted, adding that it could find no signs of alien life. "No injuries, no fire, no evidence of extraterrestrial activity."

    Twitter users who shared video of the eerie sky noted that it looked like aliens, or something out of a film:

    The NYPD's 114th Precinct said early on Friday morning that the explosion was "determined to be a non-suspcicious equipment malfunction" and asked people to avoid the area.

    Some video captured the scene close to the explosion:

    While others show the eerie blue sky in other parts of the city:

    The NYPD said that the incident was under control. It did not stop one woman from asking Twitter to "call the Ghostbusters."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The reason some men can't grow full beards, according to a dermatologist


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    Revolut cofounders Vlad Yatsenko, left, and Nikolay Storonsky

    • London's Revolut was founded only three years ago, but it already has 3 million customers and is aiming for 100 million customers in the next five years.
    • The challenger bank is set to hit the US market in early 2019, and it says 75,000 people are already on the waiting list.
    • "We want to one of the largest financial services companies in the world," CEO Nikolay Storonsky said.

    An app-based banking alternative in the UK valued at $1.7 billion has plans to grow even bigger. Just three years old, it's hitting the US early next year to continue its rapid expansion.

    Revolut, founded in 2015 by developer Vlad Yatsenko and former Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse trader Nikolay Storonsky, already has 3.2 million customers, and the company boasts that it has long waiting lists outside Europe. Dubbed "the Amazon of banking," Revolut raised $250 million earlier this year and has reportedly lured a potential $500 million investment from Japan's SoftBank.

    The London-based company allows users to spend money worldwide in 150 currencies at a real-time exchange rate, with no fees, through a debit card. CEO Storonsky outlined his goal of seeing the bank reach 100 million customers in the next five years and break into North American and Pacific markets in the coming months.

    "We want to be one of the largest financial services companies in the world and continue our expansion," Storonsky said in an interview with Business Insider. "That's my dream."

    The US market has long been on Revolut's list for expansion, he said, but with significantly higher barriers to entry than Europe, progress has been slow. The company had originally planned to expand into the US by the end of 2018 but is now expecting a rollout early next year, in late March or early April.

    Among the hurdles: US regulations require domestically issued debit cards to use a different interbank messaging system — basically how banks send and receive information such as money transfers — from the rest of the world. And US debit cards must have at least two networks to be compliant. Rather than partner with a US provider, Storonsky said Revolut opted to build its own US-based processor.

    The company will decide soon which bank to partner with in the US as part of its offering.

    "Regulation is key — in the UK, it's very quick," said Storonsky, who holds a masters in economics from the New Economic School in Moscow. "But as you become a big organization, regulators pay much more attention, which can slow things down."

    In addition to the US, Revolut plans to expand to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan in 2019. The company recently announced it had received a Remittance License from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, as well as Stored Value Facility approval, and also noted it had been fully authorized by Japan's JFSA boosting its expansion plans. 

    Read more:UK fintechs claim Brexit could lead to a 'lost generation' of London businesses

    Storonsky declined to comment on any potential SoftBank investment and was coy on the prospect of future funding.

    "It depends how much investors are willing to invest," he said. "We're open to new investors, but them having a good reputation is important."

    Previous Series C funding was led by DST Global, the investment vehicle of Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, who was an early investor of Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify, among others. Existing Revolut investors Index Ventures and Ribbit Capital also took part in the financing.

    So far, Revolut's success has been built on its low-fee, multicurrency platform. But Storonsky sees cryptocurrencies, already on offer via Revolut, as an enduring part of the company's future. Cryptocurrencies have plunged in 2018, with their combined market cap now at $130 billion, down from a high of $800 billion in January, according to research site CoinMarketCap.

    "Banks are still very risk-averse of crypto, institutional funds as well," Storonsky said. "As a result, Wall Street is not really interested — there is no demand from institutional clients."

    On the product side, Revolut offers customers three options: a free account, a premium account, or the recently introduced metal account. The latter provides users with unlimited exchange in 24 fiat currencies, as well as five major cryptocurrencies: bitcoin cash, bitcoin core, ethereum, litecoin, and ripple.

    Storonsky said that Revolut has managed to sidestep the Brexit snags that have impacted a large number of other UK fintechs. The firm has applied for a European banking license from the Bank of Lithuania and is considering an application for an electronic-money license in Luxembourg as part of its plans to reduce any Brexit-related issues.

    SEE ALSO: Revolut is planning a metal 'Platinum' card that will give people 1% cash back in cryptocurrencies

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Bernie Madoff was arrested 10 years ago today — here's what his life is like in prison


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    jeff bezos amazon

    • Amazon is gradually taking on Facebook and Google's dominance in digital advertising.
    • Observers expect Amazon to boost its video, display and search ad products in 2019 and possibly even launch a search engine to take on Google.
    • Even big brands that don't sell their products on Amazon are spending more there on brand-building, but marketers say that the e-commerce platform is still difficult to understand.

    Amazon has long been an e-commerce giant, but it's quickly becoming a growing advertising force.

    Marketers view Amazon as an alternative to the growing control that Google and Facebook exert on digital advertising, and mounting evidence shows that Amazon is slowly beginning to chip into the duopoly's clout. Research firm eMarketer estimated that Facebook and Google would collect 57.7% of US digital ad budgets in 2018, followed by Amazon in third place at 4.1%.

    Amazon execs are notoriously tight-lipped on the company's financials, but advertising is increasingly popping up in earnings. The word "advertising" was mentioned 12 times in the company's third-quarter earnings call, up from nine in its second-quarter call.

    This year, Amazon consolidated its ad business into a single brand and is reportedly building out an ad network for Fire TV.

    Read more:One of Google's biggest spenders says there's a hole in Amazon's ad business

    While the rebrand was meant to group all of Amazon's advertising into one place, marketers still struggle to understand the company's sprawling amount of ad units across search, display and video.

    "A lot of their products are built in silos, and now they're saying, 'OK, let's try to bring it together,'" said Todd Bowman, senior director of Amazon and eRetail at Merkle. "It still is a very complex space though — there is explanation and education that needs to go into that."

    Still, Amazon's trove of data that details what consumers buy, search for and look at outside of Amazon gives it a massive edge, say marketers.

    "No other partner right has the level of depth from a consumer knowledge standpoint," said Sargi Mann, executive vice president of digital strategy and investments at Havas Media. "We're definitely seeing an active trend of marketers getting comfortable with the idea that it's not just a performance platform, it's a brand awareness platform as well."

    Big brands that don't sell stuff on Amazon are starting to get on board

    Amazon has long talked about the potential for "non-endemic" brands on its platform outside of its core retail and consumer-packaged-goods advertisers. Non-endemic brands don't sell items on Amazon — like financial services, automakers or travel agents.

    This year, marketers got a hint that those brands may finally be testing advertising on Amazon, signaling that ad business is becoming more important for brand-building campaigns.

    But because these brands don't sell items on Amazon, they're getting more creative with campaigns that use insights about consumer behavior.

    "I don't think it's purely as an ad-buying platform," said Mann. "I think it has a role as an audience intelligence platform as well."

    In November, Audi worked with Amazon to dole out surprise test drives to Amazon Go shoppers in Seattle, and one shopper won a trip to Audi's headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany.

    The Audi campaign is an example of how big brands are carving out specific ad budgets for Amazon, said Eric Heller, CEO of WPP-owned Marketplace Ignition.

    "It used to be that there was a brand, e-commerce and direct budgets, and what we're seeing is, a lot of that is melding," he said.

    Video will be a big deal for Amazon in 2019

    In August, Amazon began experimenting with video ads in mobile search results and is betting big on its rumored ad-supported Fire TV app in 2019, sources said.

    "Amazon has increased the inventory that they have," Merkle's Bowman said. "It's almost like they're starting to get endless opportunities with Fire TV [and] the streaming capabilities that they have to put high-impact ads out there for some of those brands in non-endemic categories."

    Amazon's push into video advertising signals that it wants to be a bonafide advertising player, but the e-commerce platform is complicated for retailers. Brands that sell on Amazon need to handle all the basics of e-commerce like fulfillment and merchandising in addition to running paid ads.

    "While video is exciting, the vast majority of brands have so much low-hanging fruit that they can still fix," said Marketplace Ignition's Heller.

    amazon box

    It could launch its own search engine to take on Google

    One way that Amazon has chipped into ad budgets this year is through encroaching on Google search. CPG brands are shifting budgets from Google to Amazon because people search for specific brands when buying commodity goods.

    For that reason, Amazon could consider building its own search engine next year, predicted Mark Douglas, CEO of SteelHouse, an ad-tech firm that provides media-buying tools to brands.

    "Right now, Amazon's search business is clearly in the context of a shopping experience," he said. "I think the interesting thing would be if Amazon encroached more on search."

    Amazon's ad network is gaining traction

    Amazon also runs a programmatic-like ad network that places ads on websites outside of Amazon, much like Google DoubleClick Bid Manager.

    Agencies say marketers are seeing more interest in that arm of Amazon's business because the ads are served using Amazon's lucrative first-party data about consumers.

    Trevor George, CEO of agency Blue Wheel Media, said that roughly 30% of its clients ran ads on Amazon's demand-side platform (DSP) this year. He expects that number to hit 70% next year.

    With the ad network, brands can hit a wide group of consumers across the internet who may not be immediately looking to buy something.

    "Getting access to Amazon's display program provides access to a unique network that's exclusive to Amazon," Merkle's Bowman said.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I'm a diehard iPhone user who switched to Android for a week — here's what I loved and hated about the Google Pixel 3 XL


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    trader surprised shocked upset

    • The best-performing exchange-traded products in 2018 included funds geared toward shorting stocks, going long volatility, and fighting cyber crime.
    • Investors who were positioned for higher volatility were rewarded. The top performer, the exchange-traded note (ETN) VXX, exposes investors to futures contracts on the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), which reflects implied volatility in the S&P 500.
    • Business Insider compiled the 11 best-performing exchange-traded products (which include ETFs and ETNs, like the VXX) with at least $500 million of assets under management.

    Even as the market plunged this year, some passive investors were rewarded.

    The best-performing US-listed large exchange-traded products included those exposed to going long the US dollar, health care stocks, and volatility, in addition to shorting US stocks. One of the best performers, too, was a fund with exposure to companies focused on providing cybersecurity as a service. 

    The major US averages were all down meaningfully from their respective record highs hit earlier this year, with the S&P 500 (-18%), Dow Jones Industrial Average (-17%), and Nasdaq Composite (-21%) all in, or near, bear-market territory.

    Globally, investors have poured nearly $338 billion into exchange-traded funds in 2018 through the end of last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch told clients in a report.

    Here are the top-performing vehicles, ranked by their 2018 returns through Thursday morning.

    ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF

    Ticker: HACK

    Assets under management: $1.4 billion

    2018 return: +5.25%

    2018 investments in the fund: +$253 million

     

    Data provided by Bloomberg.



    ProShares Short S&P 500

    Ticker: SH

    Assets under management: $2.1 billion

    2018 return: +7%

    2018 investments in the fund: +$641 million

     

    Data provided by Bloomberg.



    ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury

    Ticker: TBT

    Assets under management: $1.2 billion

    2018 return: +7.5%

    2018 investments in the fund: -$946 million

     

    Data provided by Bloomberg.



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    Stan Druckenmiller

    • Quants and data scientists are going to be on the top of hedge-fund managers' wish lists in 2019, recruiters say, despite poor performance from some of the most well-known quant funds in the space.
    • Systematic strategies, which trade on algorithms, have also been under attack from old-school traders, such as billionaires Stanley Druckenmiller and Leon Cooperman, who say the strategies distort market signals.
    • Poor performance in 2018 from quant funds big and small will make it possible for managers "to get top talent on the cheap," said one industry observer.

    The quants developing algorithm-driven funds are the latest bogeyman old-school stock-pickers have pointed to for why their returns have been increasingly scarier, but that isn't stopping managers from recruiting their own.

    Billionaire old-school traders Stanley Druckenmiller and Leon Cooperman have said the recent jolts of the market are the fault of computer-controlled trading, labeling the market unpredictability a "nightmare" and a "Wild West environment," respectively. Cooperman even called on the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate quants in a CNBC interview earlier this month. 

    Yet recruiters and industry experts say 2019, especially the first half of the year, will be a battle between the biggest hedge-fund names for top quant talent, even after systematic funds' poor 2018 performance. Quant funds underperformed the average hedge fund in a bad year for the industry, declining 2.83% compared to a 2% drop overall through November, according to Hedge Fund Research. 

    "The appetite for good quants and good technologists is and will be incredible," said Vikram Tandon, an industry headhunter who has worked for Options Group and Executive Search. 

    As shops hunt for differentiated data sets and new strategies to squeak out market-beating returns, funds need people who can put these new, and often expensive, tools to the correct use, said Larry Newhook, CEO of the managed-account platform Alpha Innovations and former due-diligence head for Steve Cohen's Point72 Asset Management.

    "In order to generate alpha, you need to use every tool in the toolbox," Newhook said, adding that managers who would never be considered quants are bringing on analysts to their teams that run quantitative models. 

    "Days are gone when you could simply be in one bucket or the other," he said. 

    That systematic strategies, which manage roughly $1 trillion in assets, have any momentum at all going into 2019 is telling of their staying power. Critics say the strict trading rules exacerbate dips and rises in the market while several large players have had poor returns in 2018. 

    Cliff Asness, the co-founder of AQR and one of the original quant managers, tweeted that "most quants hate 2018 too" in response to criticism that him and his peers were warping the markets. He also points out that quants made up a sizable chunk of the market during the long, low-volatility bull run prior to this year.

    The poor 2018 performance by quants though will make it easier for managers, especially large multi-fund firms like Millennium and Citadel and stable quant shops like AQR and Renaissance Technologies, to recruit top talent, said Newhook .

    "The ones that are big enough to survive this year, they can pick up talent on the cheap," he said. 

    There has already been some movement, as a top portfolio manager from Steve Cohen's quant arm Cubist resigned earlier this month. Dmitry Balyasny also cut a majority of his quant team in early December as a part of a 125-person purge as his firm, Balyasny Asset Management, is facing poor performance and steady withdrawals. 

    And with the new datasets crowding in all the time, every manager will be in steady demand for this type of talent.

    “How people think about things have changed, there’s so much more of a focus on technology now," Tandon said. 

    "It's going to be a major, major theme for next year and probably the next few years." 

    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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    Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference on December 19, 2018 in New York City.

    • 2018 has been a rough year for tech investors.
    • The sector got hit especially hard during the sell-off that occurred over the final few months of the year.
    • Big US tech names, including the FAANG stocks, fell out of favor with Wall Street.
    • Chinese tech and semiconductors were among the hardest hit during the selling.

    Over the past few years, betting on the tech sector and its most prominent companies was a winning strategy. But this year has been a different story.

    The stock market saw a brutal sell-off in February, and tech stocks were no exception. The sector suffered along with the broader market, seeing a loss of 8.6% — almost the same as the benchmark S&P 500. It later recovered and surged higher to a record high after President Donald Trump's tax-cut plan, which provided a boost through share buybacks.

    Then things took another turn for the worse. The Nasdaq put in its record high in August before a sell-off in early October hit tech names particularly hard. The Nasdaq tanked as much as 24% during the final four months of the year, tumbling into a bear market.

    The losses were widespread, and even the FAANG basket — Facebook,Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google parent Alphabet— wasn't spared. Apple (-12%) and Google (-5%) are down for the year, and Facebook (-27%) has fallen off a cliff. Meanwhile, Amazon (+18%) and Netflix (+21%) are still higher, but they're well off their highs.

    And while FAANG stocks have been hit hard, there are other names that have fared far worse. Two types of companies — Chinese tech and semiconductors — were among the hardest hit, as uncertainty around the US-China trade war and slowing global growth weighed on investor sentiment.

    Among the biggest losers this year in tech, four are Chinese companies, and three are semiconductors.

    Here are the 10 tech stocks that tumbled the most in 2018, in ascending order of their year-to-date performance through Thursday.

    NetEase

    Ticker:NTES

    Business type: Entertainment group (in China)

    Year-to-date performance: -30%

     

    Source: Bloomberg data



    Skyworks

    Ticker:SWKS

    Business type: Semiconductor manufacturer 

    Year-to-date performance: -30%

     

    Source: Bloomberg data



    Baidu

    Ticker:BIDU

    Business type: Internet-related service provider (in China)

    Year-to-date performance: -32%

     

    Source: Bloomberg data



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    • Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and self-driving technology are helping the transportation and logistics industry finally transform by cutting costs, optimizing delivery routes, and automating mundane tasks.
    • Startups will be the lynchpin of this transformation because they specifically target areas of need  with cutting-edge solutions.
    • Business Insider Intelligence examined the top 5 startups within five key areas: digital freight services, warehouse robotics, AI for supply chain management, last-mile delivery robotics, and self-driving car software.

    Transportation and logistics industries have operated largely the same way for decades. But the surge in e-commerce in the last several years, combined with consumers’ appetite for same-day delivery, has brought us to a tipping point.

    Total Logistics Costs

    Delivery companies are doing all they can to get orders to customers’ doors as quickly as possible, which has facilitated wholesale changes in how they operate.

    Cutting-edge digital solutions (including digital freight services, warehouse robotics, AI for supply chain management, delivery robotics, and autonomous driving software) are forcing traditional delivery companies to either evolve or see their core businesses erode.

    Transportation & Logistics Startups to Watch, a new report from Business Insider Intelligence, monitors the biggest change agents in the industry to offer unique insight into the development of the transportation and logistics space at large, and shows how traditional companies are adapting to their new environment.

    Want to Learn More?

    Business Insider Intelligence's Startups to Watch reports give a high-level overview of the funding trends for startups in a particular coverage area, as well as a list of key startups (by function, what they do, key news, and statistics). Businesses need to understand new competitive threats, technologies, and acquisition opportunities in order to thrive. These reports provide that contextual information in an easy-to-digest manner.

    In full, the Transportation & Logistics Startups to Watch report dives into the top 25 companies - five startups across five key disruption areas - that are easing shipping burdens, improving order fulfillment efficiency, optimizing delivery, and automating processes.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Kenneth Chenault and Mark Zuckerberg

    • Facebook has killed speculation that Kenneth Chenault is about to become its first independent chairman.
    • Chenault, the former CEO of American Express, sparked the rumors after stepping down from the boards of IBM and Procter & Gamble, while retaining his board role at Facebook.
    • Facebook declined to comment initially, but later said he will serve the board in the "same capacity."
    • It comes amid huge pressure from independent Facebook shareholders for the company to break up Mark Zuckerberg's dual role as CEO and chairman.

    Facebook has killed speculation that it is about to fire Mark Zuckerberg as chairman and replace him with US business grandee, Kenneth Chenault.

    Chenault, the former chairman and CEO of American Express, stepped down from board positions at IBM and Procter & Gamble on Thursday, but retained his director role at Facebook.

    The timing of the events, and the fact that Facebook is now Chenault's only posting at a major US company, sparked speculation that he could be about to be installed as Facebook's chairman.

    Read more: Mark Zuckerberg's spectacular failure of leadership shows why some Facebook investors are desperate to fire him

    It comes amid huge pressure from independent Facebook shareholders, some with stakes worth billions, for the company to break up Zuckerberg's dual role as CEO and chairman.

    Investors believe this will help make Zuckerberg more accountable, following a disastrous year for the firm, which has been blighted by scandals including the giant Cambridge Analytica data breach.

    Initially, Facebook did little to extinguish speculation that Chenault will become the firm's first independent chairman by declining to comment on the matter. But later, the company stopped the rumors in their tracks.

    A spokeswoman told reporters: "Ken will continue to serve on our board in the same capacity." Business Insider has contacted Facebook for comment.

    Chenault joined the Facebook board in January this year. At the time of his appointment, Zuckerberg said he had been trying to recruit him for years, adding that Facebook could learn much from his customer service expertise and experience in "building a trusted brand."

    SEE ALSO: These investors control $3 billion of Facebook stock — and they want to take Zuckerberg down

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Singapore solved garbage disposal


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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.

    best new sous vide

    From January through December, you can find us testing and writing about products and services we think will benefit our readers.

    Sometimes, they're the best-selling cult-favorites that have already been around for a few years, and we want to confirm for you whether they really live up to the hype. Other times, we're on the front lines of product drops and we get our hands on the newest products to see if they're worth your time. In 2018, many of our favorite brands introduced shiny new things to get excited about.

    Notable new products of 2018 include cool tech that doesn't come from the big names you would expect, comfortable clothing you'll never want to take off, and kitchen tools that can help you make the most delicious meals of the year. 

    Check out the 23 best new products of 2018, along with their original reviews, below. 

    Best new candle: Otherland

    Shop candles at Otherland

    Read our review of Otherland candles here

    Beautiful packaging and limited-edition collections play a big role in Otherland's success. Our editors, a pair of ardent candle enthusiasts, agree that its whimsical scents and bold designs are unlike any other in the candle space right now. For $89, you can send off a custom gift box by picking three favorites, choosing a matchbox message, then writing a personal note. Just one candle will cost you $36.



    Best new cordless vacuum: Dyson V10 Absolute

    Dyson Cyclone V10 Absolute Cordless Vacuum Cleaner, $527.99, available at Amazon

    The trade-off for the convenience of a cordless vacuum is usually power, but we found that the V10 Absolute actually compared to a corded Dyson in suction power. It's lightweight, powerful, and versatile, with three power modes, two different cleaning heads, and four additional cleaning tools.

    Though it's expensive and may not be suitable for larger homes because of its relatively short battery life, it cleans efficiently and thoroughly, a godsend to anyone who enjoys living in a sparkling clean space. Insider Picks senior editor Ellen Hoffman said, "You'll never look back if you get a Dyson vacuum." 

     



    Best new women's underwear: Tommy John

    Shop underwear at Tommy John here

    Read our review of Tommy John women's underwear here

    Some of our favorite and most memorable products aren't fancy gadgets by any means. If you can perfect a basic essential, then you have our hearts, and that's just what Tommy John did this year with its launch of women's underwear.

    The very comfortable underwear is available in three different fabrics (the light, barely there Air; soft micro modal Second Skin; and breathable Cool Cotton), four cuts (Boyshort, Brief, Cheeky, and Thong), and a variety of colors. By providing coverage and comfort without pilling, rolling, or bunching, they've nailed exactly what we've been looking for in our underwear. The underwear isn't cheap, but it is definitely worth the cost.



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    Airbus taxi

    • Investment banks like Morgan Stanley are already starting to research the flying car ecosystem of the future.
    • The bank has put together a list of 40 stocks that are primed to perform when these new technologies take over.
    • Some names, like Tesla, UPS or Amazon, you might have guessed make the list. Others, like electronics makers and semiconductor companies, are also on the list for their under-the-hood manufacturing. 

    If you want to invest in automakers, there are plenty of exchange-traded funds that will help you do that.

    And for more broad investment themes — like cryptocurrencies or environmental responsibility— there are incredibly specific ETF's built to track a specific idea.

    But for something as nascent as flying cars and taxi drones, you may have to build your own portfolio. Luckily, Morgan Stanley has done some of the homework for you in compiling the "Urban Air 50" a group of more than four dozen stocks it says are ready to reap the rewards of a robust urban air transportation network and rollout.

    "As part of our collaboration across Morgan Stanley, we have constructed a diversified list of stocks that, in our collective view, are most exposed to the adoption of Urban Air Mobility," the team said in its report. "The list is populated irrespective of specific 12-month recommendations, and, so, includes some Underweight-rated names, in addition to Equal-weight- and Overweight-rated names."

    Here’s the full list of 40 names:

    SEE ALSO: Virgin Hyperloop One's new CEO has run subway systems and bike-sharing companies around the world — now he’s focused on making Elon Musk's dream a reality

    Tesla

    Sector: Autos & Shared Mobility

    "Tesla has expertise in batteries, AI software, complete vehicle engineering, charging infrastructure and material science that we believe may have transfer ability to the autonomous aircraft domain. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is regularly asked about flying cars. While he is sometimes cautious about the near-term commercialization of the product due to noise and wind force, he has been outspoken about his desire to design a vertical-take-off-and-landing supersonic electric jet. Tesla’s increasingly close relationship with SpaceX may also prove useful in this adjacent area of development."

    Source: Morgan Stanley



    Aptiv

    Sector: Autos & Shared Mobility

    "Aptiv is a leader in software, sense-and-compute, electronic architecture and hardware integration for autonomous and electric cars. Given the skills overlap between AVs and flying cars discussed throughout this report, we see Aptiv as potentially well positioned in flying cars in a magnitude that we believe exceeds the risk of potential cannibalization. The company has conducted 5,000+ automated rides in Las Vegas, with a 4.96 / 5.00 rating on the Lyft app, and expects to have 75 vehicles in Las Vegas by the end of 2018."

    Source: Morgan Stanley



    Seating and interior companies

    Lear and Adient

    Sector: Autos & Shared Mobility

    "Seating/interior companies have expertise in the mass production of seats (including seat structures and mechanism/recliners) that are tested to a high level of longevity and crash safety in a rigorous automotive environment.

    "In our view, while the absolute unit volume of passenger – carrying flying cars may be quite low for the next 10 to 15 years, the $ value per unit may be substantially higher than for light vehicles - perhaps a significant multiple of content value. Adient has been emphasizing the aerospace opportunity broadly for their seating and interior products. Earlier in 2018, Adient and Boeing launched a new company to design and build airplane seats with the aim to sell a portfolio of products directly to airlines and leasing companies. Lear’s seating portfolio is also well positioned on the theme, in our opinion. "

    Source: Morgan Stanley



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    sandra oh

    • The Golden Globes honor the best movie and TV performances. 
    • Some of the nominees have been in the industry for decades, while some are newcomers. 
    • All of them have paid their dues with smaller roles through the years.
    • The Golden Globes airs Sunday, January 6 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. 

    Many of today's A-list celebrities worked hard for their success. They paid their dues with hundreds of auditions, lots of smaller roles, and plenty of commercials, too.

    The Golden Globes honor the best movie and TV performances of the year and airs Sunday, January 6 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. And before these stars are rightfully honored, INSIDER wanted to take a look back on some of their earliest roles that introduced them to the world.

    From Constance Wu on "Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit" to Julia Roberts in 1988's "Mystic Pizza," take a look back on some of these actors' first roles.

    Nicole Kidman's career started with a series of small Australian films, like "BMX Bandits," in 1983.

    She's nominated for her lead role in "Destroyer." 



    Bradley Cooper made his TV debut with a guest spot on season two of "Sex and the City" in 1999.

    He's nominated for "A Star Is Born." 



    Lady Gaga performed for years before releasing her debut album in 2008.

    She is nominated for "A Star Is Born." 



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    amazon subway


    Amazon will split its second headquarters between the New York and Washington, DC metropolitan areas, sparking fears among residents about an influx of new commuters. 

    Leading up to its decision, Amazon made it seem like it would crown only one winner in the HQ2 competition. That would have brought 50,000 new jobs and add $50 billion to a city's economy. Instead, these jobs and funds will now be divided between two locations.

    A $25 billion economic stimulus and 25,000 more workers could do wonders for Long Island City — an area that has only recently begun to attract a growing population.

    But New Yorkers are far from ecstatic about the decision. Locals in Long Island City worry about overcrowding in schools and sewage lines that are backing up. Across the city, residents fear that additional commuters could put pressure on an already fragile subway system.

    Before word surfaced about Amazon's choice, New York City had created a plan for its deteriorating subway.

    In May, the Metropolitan Transit Authority revealed a $37 billion strategy to install a new signal system across multiple lines, add thousands of new subway cars, and renovate old cars. The plan also included an updated fare method and hundreds of new elevators at subway stations.

    There was just one question: Who would fund it?

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed it was the state's responsibility. A spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the New York Times the plan was "dead on arrival" without the city's investment.

    Now residents are asking: Could Amazon be the one to pay? 

    New Yorkers are freaking out

    After The New York Times broke the news that Amazon was likely moving to Queens, New Yorkers took to Twitter to share their fears about the subway's future. People are especially concerned about the 7 line, which is the most direct route from Long Island City to Midtown Manhattan. Commuters say the line is already crowded and delayed, with riders experiencing long waits on the platform

    According to Danny Pearlstein, the policy and communications director at Riders Alliance, a transportation advocacy group, these delays may be the result of "growing pains" related to a new system.

    While other subway lines have been around for decades, the 7 line's mile-long extension is less than four years old. It's also undergoing a signal renovation, which Pearlstein said was on the verge of being finished. New signals would allow trains to run closer together, cutting back on delays. 

    But the addition of 25,000 new Amazon employees might challenge the subway's reliability. 

    "The overarching question is whether the city can absorb a large influx of jobs when its transit system is falling apart," Pearlstein said. "There may be capacity, but if there's no reliability because the signals don't work and the cars are too old, then it doesn't matter what the capacity is."

    If the subway does end up dealing with the apocalyptic conditions that residents have predicted, it will be because of the government's failure to fund the renovations — not Amazon's. 

    "The sweet spot of this [HQ2] proposal is that, if folks are coming to Long Island City from Manhattan, they're going against rush hour traffic on the subway," said Pearlstein. He also noted that many Amazon employees might choose to live in Brooklyn and commute on the G train, which has significant capacity. Given how many people are now choosing to live in Long Island City, some may even be able to walk to work.

    But it's not just Amazon employees that commuters need to worry about. In December, Google announced it would build a $1 billion campus in Manhattan, signaling a trend of tech companies flocking to New York City. The new campus would bring around 7,000 additional workers over the next decade.

    Don't count on Amazon

    Even if HQ2 does lead to more overcrowding and delays on the subway, it's unlikely that Amazon will help finance the MTA's multi-billion-dollar overhaul strategy.

    "Traditionally, individual New York firms have not made direct investments in the transit system," Pearlstein said.

    While many subway lines were originally built by private companies, the city took over these lines in 1940, before ceding control to the state in 1968. Since then, transit improvements in New York City have been funded by state taxes, riders' fares, tolls on bridges and tunnels, and debt accrued by the MTA

    It's unlikely that Amazon would suddenly step in and revitalize a broken system — especially when the city and state have gone to such great lengths to woo the company in the first place. Two weeks ago, the city released a spending plan that raises the possibility of building a new rail station in Sunnyside Yard, two miles outside of Long Island City. The new station could benefit Amazon employees, but would tack on even more to the city's transit expenditures.

    To its credit, Amazon hasn't shied away from transit investments in the past.

    As the company expanded its workforce in Seattle (where the first HQ is located) to more than 45,000 employees, commute times for locals have grown longer. Last year, The Atlantic's Ronald Brownstein reported that Seattle was adding 60 people daily to its population — the most rapid increase the city has seen since the Gold Rush. Seattle now has around 61,000 "super commuters," or people who spend at least 90 minutes traveling to work each day. 

    To address these issues, Amazon purchased a $5.5 million streetcar that would serve its Seattle campus and made a $1.5 million contribution to add more trips to the city's transit system. In 2016, the company also gave $110,000 to a ballot measure that will add more stations and light rail options by 2041.

    In its solicitation for HQ2 proposals, the company said it contributed $43 million to Seattle's transportation industry from 2010 to 2017 in the form of employee benefits.

    Read more: Here's what New York promised Amazon to win it over

    But these types of investments fall far short of the $37 billion required to ease pressure in New York City. With the city expected to become more congested, that number could climb even higher.

    While Amazon may not destroy the subway in the way that some New Yorkers anticipate, it's not poised to save the system, either.

    SEE ALSO: New Yorkers are freaking out about the subway system as reports of Amazon's plan to pick Long Island City for HQ2 emerge

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    reed hastings

    • Netflix released its 2019 salaries for its top executives on Friday, and they're getting big raises.
    • CEO Reed Hastings and content chief Ted Sarandos will each make $31.5 million in combined salary and stock options.
    • Hastings' net worth was estimated to be $2.2 billion in 2017 when he landed on the Forbes 400 for the first time. 

    Netflix released its 2019 salaries for its top executives on Friday, and they're getting big raises as the streaming giant continues to grow at a rapid pace.

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' salary will remain at $700,000, but his stock options will rise from $28.7 million this year to $30.8 million in 2019. Content chief Ted Sarandos will make $18 million in 2019, an increase from his $12 million salary in 2018. His stock options will be $13.5 million.

    After combining their salaries and stock options, Hastings and Sarandos will both make $31.5 million in 2019. But Hastings' net worth is much more than his compensation in a given year. In 2017, Hastings landed on the Forbes 400 for the first time with an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion

    READ MORE: 5 big trends that could shake up the movie business in 2019

    Financial chief David Wells is set to make $3.5 million in 2019 with a $2.8 million stock option allocation, an increase from $2.8 million and $2.5 million in 2018, respectively.

    Product chief Greg Peters is also getting a substantial raise in salary, from $6 million in 2018 to $10 million in 2019. His stock option allocation will rise from $6.6 million to $6.8 million.

    And Netflix's general counsel and secretary, David Hyman, is expected to make $3.5 million in 2019, with a stock option allocation of $3.85 million. 

    Netflix shares rose 33% in 2018 as the company invested heavily in original content and landed exclusive production deals with the likes of the Obamas and Ryan Murphy, according to CNN Business.

    SEE ALSO: Netflix's 'Black Mirror: Bandersnatch' is an interactive movie with 5 different endings, and fans can expect more 'Black Mirror' in 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

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