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The latest news from Business Insider

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    The proliferation of e-commerce has transformed free shipping and same-day delivery from perks to table stakes — and retailers are paying the price. With daily parcel volumes surging and customers increasingly unlikely to foot the bill, companies have been tasked with finding new ways to offer speedy shipments without eating costs.

    last mile share of delivery costs

    Among the most popular strategies is crowdsourced delivery, the Uber model helping online shops solve the most expensive part of shipping: the last mile problem. Like Uber and other ride hailing apps, a number of crowdsourced delivery solutions have been cropping up over the past few years to ease these pains by connecting customers directly with local couriers. And it’s not just startups either; Amazon, the world's undisputed e-commerce leader, is investing big in crowdsourcing deliveries.

    How much does Amazon spend on shipping?

    “Free shipping” comes at a high cost. According to Amazon’s 2017 annual report, the company spent $21.7 billion in shipping last year — a number that includes sortation, delivery center, and transportation costs. This is nearly double the $11.5 billion it spent on shipping in 2015. And as the expectation of free, same-day delivery becomes the standard for online consumers, even giants like Amazon need to seek alternative solutions.

    The crowdsourcing solution to the last mile problem

    The last mile of delivery is the most expensive and time-consuming part of fulfillment for retailers and their logistics partners, comprising 53% of the overall cost of shipment. Crowdsourcing takes the onus off of companies, instead connecting customers directly with local couriers to expedite deliveries and cut down on costs.

    The crowdsourcing model is already popular among meal and grocery delivery and, seeing the success of startups like Uber, Airbnb, and GrubHub, e-commerce retailers are now eyeing it to fulfill their online orders. As a result, general use crowdsourced delivery companies have emerged to meet this need.

    Here’s a look at how three companies - Amazon Flex, Hitch, and Deliv - are trying their hand in the shipping industry — and what’s coming up next.

    Amazon Flex - Deliver with Amazon

    Launched in 2015 and piloted in Seattle, Amazon Flex lets customers order and receive packages through its on-demand delivery service, Prime Now, which guarantees free one- and two-hour deliveries. For Prime customers with already high expectations for prompt delivery, not much changes; the service primarily markets itself as a side gig for couriers.

    Amazon Flex

    For the most part, the app is only open to people who have cars (except in select regions allowing commercial bicycles), so those who want to make deliveries on bike or foot might have to look elsewhere. The service is particularly attractive to rideshare drivers who may want to make extra money without having strangers or potentially disruptive passengers in their cars. Anyone 21 or older with a smartphone, car, and valid driver’s license can log into the app and schedule their availability to start making deliveries.

    Shipments can originate at an Amazon location, store, or restaurant. Drivers use their smartphone camera and GPS to scan packages and get turn-by-turn directions to their destinations. As long as they deliver the package within the allotted time frame, couriers make $18-25 an hour — all through a cashless transfer to their digital wallet on the app.

    Learn more about Amazon Flex.

    Hitch - Crowdsourced Delivery

    Hitch

    Founded in 2014, Tampa-based startup Hitch gives consumers, “the choice to be Shippers, Travelers, or both.” The platform touts “turning your commute into cash” by pairing up shippers (the people placing the orders) with travelers (the local couriers) who are already heading in the direction of the delivery.

    Users create profiles on the app to join the socially vetted community, where they can then rate one another and verify their accounts by adding bank account information. Shippers put out requests to have packages delivered, and Travelers can input travel information to see if there are any available deliveries along their route.

    The app uses GPS to find the quickest route and provide tracking, as well as camera functionality to show proof of delivery. All payments are exchanged through Hitch’s third-party payment processing partner, Stripe.

    Learn more about Hitch.

    Deliv - Same-Day Delivery

    Deliv is a general use last mile solution offering same-day service to over 4,000 omnichannel businesses in 35 cities across the country. Some of its biggest partners include Macy’s, Best Buy, Walmart, and IBM.

    Deliv Fresh

    Rather than just fulfilling ad hoc deliveries for consumers, Deliv seeks to be a long-term business partner solving companies’ last mile problem — evidenced by its breakdown into Deliv Small Business, Deliv Enterprise, and Deliv Fresh for groceries. It offers SLAs, performance metrics, and integrations into business’ online checkout processes.

    And the company is growing. In February, 2018, it launched Deliv Rx to extend these same-day services to patients, doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, labs, and clinics. Deliveries can include things like prescriptions, x-rays, medical equipment, documents, and even pet medicine.

    Learn more about Deliv.

    Growth & Future of Crowdsource Shipping

    Want to learn more? The Crowdsourced Delivery Report from Business Insider Intelligence examines the rise of the crowdsourcing model in the last mile delivery space.

    In this report, we detail the top use cases for crowdsourced deliveries, as well as the benefits and challenges of using this model for delivering online orders. We also provide insights into how to optimize crowdsourced deliveries for e-commerce and, lastly, we explain the long-term potential of startups appearing in the crowdsourced delivery space as automation plays a bigger role.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Retailers are looking for ways to deliver goods faster to consumers' doorsteps to stave off Amazon's threat and meet customer expectations.
    • To accomplish that, retailers and delivery providers are zeroing in on the "last mile" of fulfillment, the most expensive and time-consuming part of the delivery process, which is when a package reaches the customer's address.
    • Startups like Postmates, Instacart, and others are looking to disrupt the last mile delivery space by leveraging the "Uber model," and connecting businesses to non-professional couriers who can deliver goods instantly.
    • Crowdsourcing can drastically speed up deliveries in urban areas, where there is a high density of deliveries and potential couriers to be matched.
    • However, as delivery volumes increase, crowdsourced delivery startups will need to further optimize their deliveries to improve cost efficiencies.
    • Many of the deliveries these startups perform today will likely be automated in the future, raising the possibility that these startups may eventually look to incorporate new technologies like delivery drones or self-driving delivery vehicles.

    In full, the report:

    • Details the factors driving investment and growth in crowdsourced delivery startups.
    • Examines the benefits and drawbacks of using crowdsourcing to deliver online orders.
    • Explains how crowdsourced delivery startups can improve their cost efficiencies to tackle greater delivery volumes.
    • Explores the role that crowdsourcing will play in the future of delivery once automated delivery options, like drones and robots, arrive.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
    Learn More

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

     

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Mobility Market

    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.

    Automakers are on the verge of a prolonged period of rapid change to the way they do business, thanks to the combined disruptive forces of growing on-demand mobility services and self-driving cars, which will start to come to market in the next couple of years.

    By the end of 2019, Google spinoff Waymo, Uber, and GM all plan to have fleets of autonomous cars deployed in various US cities to provide on-demand rides for passengers. By eliminating the cost of the driver, these rides are expected to be far cheaper than typical Uber or Lyft rides, and even cheaper than owning a car for personal transportation.

    Many industry experts are predicting that such cheap on-demand autonomous rides service will result in a long-term decline in car ownership rates — PwC predicts that the total number of cars on the road in the US and EU will drop from 556 million last year to 416 million in 2030.

    This decline in car ownership represents an enormous threat to automakers’ traditional business models, forcing them to find alternative revenue sources. Many of these automakers, including GM, Ford, and Daimler, have plans to launch their own on-demand ride-hailing services with fleets of self-driving cars they will manufacture, potentially giving them a new stream of recurring revenue. This could set them up to take a sizeable share of a market that is expected to be worth trillions by 2030.

    However, competing in the on-demand mobility market will pit legacy automakers against ride-hailing services from startups and tech giants that have far greater experience in acquiring and engaging consumers through digital channels. To succeed in what will likely be a hyper-competitive market for urban ride-hailing, automakers will have to foster new skill sets in their organizations, and transform from companies that primarily produce vehicles to ones that also manage vehicle fleets and customer relationships.

    That will entail competing with startups and tech giants for software development and data science talent, as well as reforming innovation processes to keep pace with digital trendsetters. Automakers will also need to create unique mobile app and in-car experiences to lure customers. Finally, these automakers will face many overall barriers in the market, including convincing consumers that self-driving cars are safe, and dealing with a complex and evolving regulatory landscape.

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, delves into the future of the on-demand mobility space, focusing on how automakers will use fleets of self-driving vehicles to break into an emerging industry that's been dominated thus far by startups like Uber and Lyft. We examine how the advent of autonomous vehicles will reshape urban transportation, and the impact it will have on traditional automakers. We then detail how automakers can leverage their core strengths to create new revenue sources with autonomous mobility services, and explore the key areas they'll need to gain new skills and capabilities in to compete with mobility startups and tech giants that are also eyeing this opportunity. 

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • The low cost of autonomous taxis will eventually lead car ownership rates among urban consumers to decline sharply, putting automakers’ traditional business models at risk.
    • Many automakers plan to launch their own autonomous ride-hailing services with the self-driving cars they're developing to replace losses from declining car sales, putting them in direct competition with mobility startups and tech giants looking to launch similar services.
    • Additionally, automakers plan to maximize utilization of their autonomous on-demand vehicles by performing last-mile deliveries, which will force them to compete with a variety of players in the parcel logistics industry.
    • Regulatory pressures could also push automakers to consider alternative mobility services besides on-demand taxis, such as autonomous on-demand shuttle or bus services.
    • Providing these types of services will force automakers to make drastic changes to their organizations to acquire new talent and skills, and not all automakers will succeed at that.

    In full, the report:

    • Forecasts the growth of autonomous on-demand ride-hailing services in the US.
    • Examines the cost benefits of such services for consumers, and how they will reshape consumers’ transportation habits.
    • Details the different avenues for automakers to monetize the growth of autonomous ride-hailing.
    • Provides an overview of the various challenges that all players in the self-driving car space will need to overcome to monetize their investments in these new technologies in the coming years.
    • Explains the key factors that will be critical for automakers to succeed in this emerging market.
    • Offers examples of how automakers can differentiate their apps and services from competitors’.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
    Learn More

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    china uighur protest

    • China's Muslim minority, the Uighurs, are subject to harsh surveillance, with many interned in prison-like detention camps and forced to work.
    • Beijing justifies this crackdown as a counterterrorism measure, and calls the internment camps "free vocational training."
    • Countries in the Muslim world have largely avoided confronting Beijing over this crackdown in the past, but the tide is turning.
    • More and more Muslim countries are openly calling out China over its human rights record.
    • Human Rights Watch's China director says the next step is for the countries to take action to persuade or punish Beijing.

    More and more countries are standing up to China over its oppression of the Uighurs, the country's majority-Muslim ethnic minority.

    Beijing is accused of interning up to 1 million Uighurs in prison-like detention camps, forcing them to renounce their religion and native language, and even pushing them into forced labor with little to no pay.

    Activists have found evidence of Chinese authorities tracking Uighurs' cellphone activity in their home region of Xinjiang, also known as East Turkestan.

    Others say Beijing has demanded demanded the Uighur diaspora hand over personal information, and threatened their families if they do not.

    xinjiang camp yingye'er

    Chinese authorities say the policies are a counterterrorism strategy, and that placing Uighurs in internment camps is "free vocational training."

    Read more:China is locking up its Muslim minorities, and pushing Islamophobia to get Europe to do it too

    Until now, countries from the Muslim world have largely avoided bringing up China's Uighur crackdown.

    Experts say this was because countries feared economic retribution from China, or because many Arab states didn't want to draw attention to their own poor human rights records.

    But the tide is turning.

    uighur protest turkey

    The crumbling wall of silence

    In September, the federal minister for religion in Pakistan — China's closest economic ally in the Muslim world — openly criticized Beijing's regulation of Uighur activity, saying that the crackdown actually "increases the chances of an extremist viewpoint growing in reaction."

    A month later, Malaysia — another major economic ally, and home to many ethnic Chinese — ignored Beijing's requests to deport a group of Uighurs imprisoned in the country.

    Most prominently, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation —  a consortium of 57 countries which calls itself  "the collective voice of the Muslim world"— noted in December "disturbing reports" of China's Muslim crackdown.

    It said it hoped China "would address the legitimate concerns of Muslims around the world."

    Read more:Jailing Muslims, burning Bibles, and forcing monks to wave the national flag: How Xi Jinping is attacking religion in China

    n Uighur woman protests in front of policemen at a street on July 7, 2009 in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region, China.

    In countries where world leaders haven't stood up to China, there are prominent protests.

    Prominent politicians and religious figures in Indonesia — the country with the highest proportion of Muslims in the world — are urging the government to speak up. It has so far refused to do so, saying it that it didn't "want to intervene in the domestic affairs of another country."

    Muslim groups in India, Bangladesh, and Kazakhstan also staged multiple protests over the Uighur detentions this year.

    People have been particularly vocal in Kazakhstan, as many ethnic Kazakhs are said to be imprisoned in the China's camps. The government in June said"an urgent request was expressed" over the welfare of Kazakhs detained in China, but there have not been any significant updates.

    Uyghur men gather for a holiday meal during the Corban Festival on September 13, 2016 in Turpan County, in the far western Xinjiang province, China.

    Western powers like the US, UK, and UN have criticised Beijing over its actions in Xinjiang in the past.

    But the criticism of Muslim nations shows a turning tide in the world's attitude to China, said Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch's China director.

    China has long batted away Western criticism, with state-run Global Times tabloid describing Western critics as "a condescending judge" earlier this year. China's foreign ministry said a reported investigation by western diplomats into the Uighur issue was "very rude."

    Richardson said: "When governments like Indonesia or Malaysia ... or organizations like the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation speak up, China can no longer dismiss concerns about Xinjiang being some kind of Western conspiracy."

    "That's very encouraging."

    mahathir mohamad

    The world is paying attention

    The rising tide of outrage against China comes as more and more of the country's human rights record was brought to light this year.

    This summer journalists, academics, and activists were taken aback by the disappearance of the Chinese "X-Men" actress Fan Bingbing, who Chinese authorities detained and kept from the public eye for three months over accusations that she evaded taxes.

    Meng Hongwei, the Lyon-based president of Interpol, remains missing after being mysteriously detained in China in late September. His wife thinks he could be dead.

    The New York Times also featured a story about the Xinjiang detention camps on its front page for the first time this September:

    Richardson said: "Increasingly, governments are seeing the way in which China uses thuggish tactics at home and overseas on governments and citizens, and are starting to realize it's time to push back against it."

    "Three months ago, if you were to tell me there would be critical language coming out of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, I would have suggested it was unlikely," she said.

    Xinjiang

    Next comes action

    Muslim countries' speaking up against China over the Uighurs is a significant first step, but is not likely to do much by itself.

    Countries now need to take concrete action to punish or persuade China to end their crackdown on the Uighurs, Richardson said.

    "The question now is what everybody is willing to do," she said. "Talking and putting in consequential actions are two different things. That's where the game shifts next."

    Countries will also have to be "mindful that China will fight it tooth and nail," she added.

    Members of the Muslim world could demand independent access into Xinjiang to investigate reports of the detention camps, for example.

    The United Nations has already been doing this for months, but Beijing told it to back off.

    Xinjiang

    Another form of punishment could come in the form of sanctions, or cancelling contracts.

    Richardson, the Human Rights Watch director, noted that the latest spate of accusations against China came at a time when multiple Muslim countries started reassessing their economic ties with Beijing.

    Malaysia axed $22 billion of Beijing-backed infrastructure projects this August. Egypt's talks with a Chinese building company for a $20 billion development also broke down this week, Bloomberg reported. Neither of those cancellations were over the Uighur issue.

    A group of US bipartisan lawmakers last month introduced the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act ("Uyghur" is an alternative spelling). The act urges the White House to consider imposing sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for the Uighur crackdown, as well as banning exports of US technology that could be used to oppress Uighurs.

    china xi jinping

    Chinese cash could be hard to quit

    Whether Muslim countries follow suit remains to be seen, however. China is the largest trading partner of 20 of the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, according to Bloomberg.

    Pakistan, whose religious minister criticized China's Uighur crackdown this year, is also one of the largest recipients of Chinese aid and infrastructure contracts.

    Earlier this month its foreign ministry rowed back the religious minister's comments, accusing the media of "trying to sensationalize" the Xinjiang issue, Agence France-Presse reported.

    Mohammad Faisal, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, also appeared to echo Beijing's line on the detention camps, saying that some Pakistani citizens who were detained in Xinjiang were "undergoing voluntary training" instead.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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


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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider and The Points Guy Affiliate Network receive a commission from card issuers if you apply through these links and are approved.

    december best credit cards 4x3

    • The fastest way to earn credit card rewards and frequent flyer miles is to open a new card and get the new membership bonus.
    • For the last month of 2018, there's an excellent slate of both consumer and small business cards offering excellent, but limited-time, offers — there's even a huge new sign-up bonus on a United Airlines credit card, perfect for those looking to score an award flight on United or its partners.
    • We've also included a few of our favorite ongoing offers.
    • You can use the points from these cards to fly or stay in hotels for virtually free, or for upgrades, cash back, gift cards, and more.
    • Read on for the best offers of December 2018.

    It's easy to earn frequent flyer miles and rewards points from everyday credit card spending.

    To step up your rewards and get serious points, though, the best thing to do is open a new card and earn the bonus offered to new members.

    Credit card issuers offer huge bonuses to attract customers, and while each card may have different eligibility requirements, in most cases you can get the bonus as long as you haven't had that card before — or, in some cases, as long as you haven't had it in the past few years.

    Over the course of 2018 we've seen some incredible offers on new cards, refreshed products, and old standbys — and right now, some of the best offers we've seen are available as we get ready to close out the year.

    Even after you earn the bonus, it's easy to keep the rewards and benefits coming. All you need to do is use a card for your normal spending — and pay it off in full each month — and you'll earn tons of bonus points in categories like grocery stores, dining, and travel.

    You can read more about earning new card member bonuses and how that will affect your credit score here, or scroll down to find some of the best offers available this month.

    Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

    When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

    1. United Explorer Card

    Sign-up bonus: Up to 65,000 United miles (40,000 after spending $2,000 in the first three months, and an additional 25,000 miles after spending a total of $10,000 in the first six months). For a limited time only.

    Earlier this year, United and Chase re-launched their co-branded credit card, slightly changing the name, but more importantly, tweaking the benefits and improving how the card earns points. Previously, the card earned 2x miles on every dollar spent with United Airlines and 1x dollar on everything else. Now, the card also earns 2x points at restaurants and hotels. 

    This sign-up bonus is one of the best public offers we've ever seen on this card, but it's only available until January 8, 2019.

    The card offers a free checked bag when you use your card to purchase your tickets, priority boarding as long as you have the open card attached to your MileagePlus account, 25% off in-flight purchases, and a fee credit to cover your application to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

    The United Explorer also has two benefits that are unique among US airline credit cards in the same class. First, you'll get two complimentary United Club lounge passes each year. In the lounges, you can enjoy comfortable seating, Wi-Fi, free food and drinks, and more before your flight. Normally, one-time entry to a United Club would cost $59 if you didn't have a membership.

    Second, although this is an unpublished benefit, United cardholders also get access to more saver award space than other United members — that makes it easier to find good flights when it's time to use your miles..

    The card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.

    Click here to learn more about the United Explorer Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    2. American Express® Gold Card

    amex rose gold new york 12

    Welcome offer: 25,000 Membership Rewards points (after spending $2,000 in the first three months). Until January 9: Get up 20% back at US restaurants within the first three months, up to $100 total.

    Last month, American Express launched a massive reboot of its Premier Rewards Gold card, rebranding it as the American Express Gold Card, releasing a new metal design and limited-edition rose gold version, and totally overhauling the rewards and benefits on the card. Because that wasn't quite enough, AmEx also introduced a fairly unique new welcome bonus.

    The new Gold Card earns 4x points at US restaurants and on up to $25,000 per year at US supermarkets (and 1x after that), 3x points on flights booked directly with the airline, and 1x point on everything else.

    Based on the fact that you can easily redeem Membership Rewards points for more than 1¢ of value each, that makes this the highest-earning card for everything food-related.

    The Gold Card keeps the old card's $100 airline fee credit each calendar year, and adds up to $120 of dining credits — split into $10 each month — at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Steak House, or participating Shake Shack locations. If you use those credits in full, that's a guaranteed $220 of value each year.

    New card members — those who haven't previously had the Premier Rewards Gold — can earn a welcome bonus of 25,000 points when they spend $2,000 in the first three months. Additionally, those who apply before January 9 can get 20% back on all US restaurant charges — up to $100 total — in the form of a statement credit. Keep in mind you may be able to be targeted for a higher offer.

    While it's difficult to assign a single objective value to Membership Rewards points, due to the many ways you can redeem them, travel website The Points Guy subjectively estimates each point as worth 1.9¢. That makes the welcome bonus worth $575 — $475 for the points, and up to $100 back from restaurants. Even without factoring in the annual credit benefits, that's more than enough to make up for the card's $250 annual fee.

    Click here to learn more about the AmEx Gold Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    3. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

    Capital_One_Venture_Photoshoot

    Sign-up bonus: 50,000 miles (after spending $3,000 in the first three months).

    The Capital One Venture has historically been a useful card, thanks to a solid earning rate of 2x miles on everything, even though the rewards program was just...fine. Unlike cards offered by competitors, miles had a fixed value of 1¢ each toward travel purchases. Generally, transferable credit card points— those that you can transfer to an airline frequent flyer program, should you choose — are more valuable, thanks to the way that booking frequent flyer award tickets works. You can read more about that here.

    However, Capital One has announced that as of December 10, Venture cardholders will be able to transfer miles to 12 new airline partners, significantly increasing the potential value of each mile.

    Capital One had a month-long promotional sign-up bonus (up to 75,000 miles) when it first made the announcement. Although the bonus has returned to its normal amount — 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months — it's still a solid value worth pursuing. 

    The Capital One Venture earns miles at a rate of 2x per dollar spent on all purchases, and an incredible 10x points per dollar spent on hotel stays when you book and pay through Hotels.com/Venture. Hotels.com has its own loyalty program that rewards you with a free night after 10 paid nights, so that equates to a staggering 20% return on hotels.

    Between the ability to transfer miles to airlines, and the chance to earn up to 10x miles on hotels, this is one of the best cards available right now.

    The card also offers a credit to enroll in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. It has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. 

    Click here to learn more about the Capital One Venture from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    4. Capital One Spark Miles for Business

    Sign-up bonus: Up to 200,000 miles (50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months, and an additional 150,000 miles after spending $50,000 in the first six months). For a limited time only.

    Like the Venture, the Capital One Spark Miles is gaining the ability to transfer miles to 12 airline frequent flyer partners. Unlike the Venture, the Spark Miles is still offering a limited-time sign-up bonus to mark the change.

    The spending requirement to earn the full bonus — $50,000 in the first six months — is high, but it's definitely achievable for plenty of small- and medium-sized businesses — particularly those that lay out for materials, equipment, or services on behalf of a client.

    The Spark Miles is fairly similar to the Venture, aside from the fact that it's a business card rather than a personal one. It earns 2x miles on all purchases, with no limits, and has a $95 annual fee that's waived the first year.

    It was already a solid card; with the ability to transfer miles to airline partners, plus the massive sign-up bonus, the Spark Miles becomes a major player.

    Click here to learn more about the Capital One Spark Miles from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    5. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

    Sign-up bonus: 70,000 miles (after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days), for a limited time only.

    This is the highest sign-up bonus we've ever seen for this card — an exciting development, coming near the end of a busy year for Barclaycard's flagship US product.

    Earlier this year, Barclays closed applications for one of its most popular credit cards, before relaunching the card with a new all-time highest sign-up bonus. Then, this fall, Barclays began waiving the card's $89 annual fee for the first year, a first for the card.

    The Barclaycard Arrival Plus earns double miles on every dollar spent. Miles can be redeemed for one cent each on travel purchases (applied as a statement credit to negate the cost of that purchase), or a half-cent each for cash back or gift cards. Best of all, you'll earn 5% of your miles back every time you make a redemption.

    Effectively, that means that the sign-up bonus is worth $700 toward travel, plus an extra $100 from the miles you'll earn meeting the spending requirement.

    The card comes equipped with Chip-and-PIN service, which, combined with the fact that the card has no foreign transaction fees, makes it a great option when traveling internationally.

    Depending on your spending habits, it is easy to get more value from the card than what you pay for the annual fee, thanks to the 2x earning rate on all purchases. Of course, the sign-up bonus alone will cover the annual fee for more than eight years.

    Click here to learn more about the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

    6. Platinum Card® from American Express

    amex business

    Welcome Offer: 60,000 points (after spending $5,000 in the first three months)

    The American Express Platinum card has one of the highest annual fees of any consumer credit or charge card — $550 — but as AmEx's flagship product, this premium credit card offers a tremendous amount of value to offset that fee. For example, I got more than $2,000 worth of value in my first year with the card.

    The card earns Membership Rewards points, the currency in AmEx's loyalty program, which can be exchanged for statement credits or cash back, used to book travel through AmEx's travel website, or, to get the most value, transferred to any of 17 airline and three hotel transfer partners (transferable points are among the best). Travel website The Points Guy lists a valuation of 1.9¢ per Membership Rewards point; based on that, the welcome offer is worth around $1,140.

    Because $5,000 is one of the steepest spending requirements of any consumer credit card, this is an ideal time to open it — with holiday spending going on, you can take advantage of those planned expenses to meet a higher minimum required spend than you would normally be able to.

    Plus, you can take advantage of the card's airport lounge access to make holiday travel a little bit less hectic.

    The Platinum Card earns an incredible 5x points on airfare purchased directly from the airline, and offers a $200 airline fee credit each calendar year, and up to $200 in Uber credits each card member year. It also grants the cardholder access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, including Delta Sky Clubs and AmEx's own Centurion Lounges. Other benefits include automatic gold elite status at Starwood, Marriott, and Hilton hotels, a statement credit to cover enrollment in Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, concierge service, and much more.

    If you're an active military servicemember, you can get the AmEx Platinum Card's fee waived.

    You can read our complete review of the card here.

    Click here to learn more about the American Express Platinum from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    7. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

    capital one savor

    Sign-up bonus: $500 (after spending $3,000 in the first three months)

    If dining and cooking are your thing, and cash back is what you're after, the Capital One Savor is sure to please.

    The card earns unlimited 4% cash back on all dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% on everything else. Plus, the card offers a whopping $500 sign-up bonus when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

    The Savor carries a lower annual fee than the AmEx Gold — $95, waived the first year. The earning rate will make up for the fee in many cases, based on normal spending, but if that's too high for you, there's an alternative: the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card.

    The SavorOne card has no annual fee, and offers a slightly lower — but still valuable — earning rate of 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% on everything else. It offers a lower sign-up bonus of $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months.

    Click here to learn more about the Capital One Savor card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Click here to learn more about the Capital One SavorOne card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    Read more: The Capital One Savor offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment — here's how much the average American saves each year with the card

    8. Chase Sapphire Preferred

    Card Group — Chase Sapphire Preferred Chase Sapphire Reserve_21 1

    Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months)

    The Sapphire Preferred is one of the most popular all-around rewards credit cards, and it's easy to see why. This card earns 2x points per dollar spent on just about all travel and dining purchases, and 1x point on everything else. It also comes with a ton of travel and purchase protections, such as rental car insurance, trip delay coverage, and extended warranty.

    The sign-up bonus — 50,000 UR points — is worth, at the very least, $500 as cash back or gift cards. However, if you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and use points to pay, you'll get a 25% bonus, making points worth 1.25 cents each. That means that the sign-up bonus would be worth $625.

    Even more lucrative — the Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you transfer your UR points to a few different frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. This comes in handy because, in many cases, it costs fewer points to book a trip if you go through one of those programs, as opposed to using the points as cash. You can read more about why transferring points to frequent flyer programs gets you more value here.

    This all comes for a fairly standard annual fee of $95, which is waived the first year.

    Click here to learn more about the Sapphire Preferred from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    9. Chase Sapphire Reserve

    Chase card

    Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months)

    The Sapphire Reserve is basically a beefier version of the Preferred. While the card comes with the same sign-up bonus, it earns points on everyday spending faster, nabbing a higher 3x points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases, and 1x on everything else. It also offers similar, though in many cases, enhanced travel and purchase protections.

    Unlike the Preferred, the Sapphire Reserve comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you and any travel companions free access to more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world.

    You can use points from the Reserve the same ways as with the Preferred, except that you'll get a 50% bonus when booking travel through Chase, making your points worth 1.5¢ each.

    The card carries a higher annual fee than the Preferred: $450. However, it also comes with a $300 travel credit each card member year. Each year, you'll get statement credits for the first $300 in travel-related purchases you make, including things like subway fare, taxis, parking, and tolls, as well as airfare and hotels. When you subtract this credit from the annual fee, the card is effectively only $150 each year.

    If you're not sure whether the Preferred or Reserve is the better card for you, take a look at this breakdown. Also keep in mind that you can typically only earn the sign-up bonus for one Sapphire-branded card every two years.

    Click here to learn more about the Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    10. Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

    Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

    Welcome offer: 150,000 Hilton Honors points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months

    The premium Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card has a hefty $450 annual fee, but it comes with so many perks, benefits, and rebates that it's more than worth paying for Hilton loyalists — or even brand-agnostic hotel guests.

    In addition to a $250 airline fee credit per calendar year and a $250 Hilton resort statement credit each card member year, the Aspire also offers a $100 Hilton on-property credit every time you book a stay of two nights or longer at a Hilton property — you just need to book through a specific website for cardholders.

    The card also offers a free weekend night reward each year — regardless of how much you spend — and a second if you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year. It also comes with complimentary Diamond status.

    The Aspire earns a tremendous 14x points per dollar spent with Hilton, 7x points on flights booked with the airline, car rentals, and at US restaurants, and 3x points on everything else.

    Click here to learn more about the Hilton Honors Aspire card from Insider Picks' partner The Points Guy.

    11. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

    https_%2F%2Fblogs images.forbes.com%2Fthepointsguy%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F07%2FNY City Cards wells fargo propel 8 1200x800

    Welcome offer: 30,000 Go Far points (after spending $3,000 in the first three months)

    This new card from Wells Fargo has one of the more attractive rewards offerings you'll find from a no-annual-fee card. The new Propel card is actually a re-launch of an old product — Wells Fargo stopped accepting applications for the old card back in February, before announcing the new product and reopening applications this summer.

    The card earns 3x points on all travel, dining, and select streaming services (and 1x point on everything else). If that sounds familiar, it's because it's almost the same as the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve.

    There are some key differences between the cards. The Propel lets you redeem points for 1¢ each toward cash back, merchandise, travel, or more, while the Sapphire Reserve offers a range of more valuable redemption options — it's easy to get at least 50% more value for Chase points. Plus, the Sapphire Reserve offers a number of premium perks that the Propel doesn't, like airport lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit travel delay insurance, and more.

    Of course, the Sapphire Reserve also comes with a $450 annual fee, while the Wells Fargo Propel doesn't have a fee. Between the new member offer, and the solid earning rate on popular spend categories, the Propel makes a decent option for those who don't travel often, or who aren't comfortable floating a large annual fee.

    We named the Propel the best no-fee card of 2018.

    Click here to learn more about the Wells Fargo Propel card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

    SEE ALSO: I pay $1,000 in annual fees for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Platinum — and as far as I’m concerned, the math checks out

    DON'T MISS: The AmEx Platinum is available to active duty servicemembers at no annual fee — but even with the fee, the credit card is a great value

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    woodstock

    • A celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the famed Woodstock Music and Art Festival will be held in August 2019 on the event's original site.
    • Bethel Woods Center for the Arts announced a three-day celebration of the legendary festival where hundreds of thousands gathered from August 15 to 18 in 1969.
    • The celebration will be held from August 16 to 18, 2019 and feature live music in addition to technology-oriented talks.

    The 50th anniversary of the famed Woodstock Music and Art Festival will be celebrated in August 2019 on the event's original site.

    Bethel Woods Center for the Arts announced a three-day celebration at the non-profit cultural center located at the historic site of the 1969 festival in Bethel, New York where hundreds of thousands gathered from August 15 to 18 in 1969.

    The "Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival" will be held from August 16 to 18, 2019. The event is described by the center as a "pan-generational music, culture and community event" that will include live music performances in addition to TED-style talks "from leading futurists and retro-tech experts."

    The Museum at Bethel Woods will be open to visitors to depict the story of the 1960s through immersive media, interactive engagements, and artifacts from the 1969 festival.

    In addition to the existing venues at Bethel Woods, entertainment villages and performance areas will be created for the festival.

    More information regarding tickets and acts will be released in the coming months.

    Woodstock became famous after 400,000 people attended the three-day event in 1969. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and other stars of the time played the iconic event which would be one of the defining events of the 1960s.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The true story behind the name 'Black Friday' is much darker than you may have thought


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    Growth in Share of Retail Site Visits

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

    Social media is becoming increasingly influential in shoppers' purchasing decisions. In fact, the top 500 retailers earned an estimated $6.5 billion from social shopping in 2017, up 24% from 2016, according to BI Intelligence estimates.

    In addition to influencing purchase decisions, social media is a large part of the product discovery and research phase of the shopping journey. And with more and more retailers offering quick access to their sites via social media pages, and shoppable content becoming more popular, it's likely that social media will play an even larger role in e-commerce. 

    In this report, BI Intelligence examines the advantages and disadvantages of each platform, and reviews case studies of successful campaigns that helped boost conversion and increase brand awareness. Additionally, we explore how retailers can bring social aspects into their own sites and apps to capitalize on consumers' desire for social shopping experiences.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Social media is becoming more influential in all aspects of the purchasing journey.
    • Facebook is the clear winner in social commerce, with its huge user base and wide-ranging demographics.
    • However, retailers should have a presence on every platform their target market is on. Each platform will require a different strategy for retailers to resonate with its users.
    • Retailers can also benefit from bringing social aspects in-house. They can do this by building their own in-house social networks, or by embedding social media posts into their sites.

    In full, the report: 

    • Provides an overview of the top social media platforms — Facebook, YouTube, Instagram — that retailers should be using, the demographics of each platform, as well as their individual advantages and disadvantages. 
    • Reviews tools recently developed by these platforms that help retailers create engaging content.
    • Outlines case studies and specific strategies to use on each platform.
    • Examines how retailers like Sephora, Amazon, and Poshmark are capitalizing on consumers' affinity for social shopping by creating their own in-house social networks.

    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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    Zion Williamson

    • Zion Williamson's superhuman athleticism and high-flying, rim-shaking dunks have left NBA coaches, fans, and scouts salivating.
    • Just 12 games into the 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward's freshman year with the Duke Blue Devils, many fans and pundits are already focused on where he will take his talents next.
    • Williamson is widely expected to be the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
    • Williamson recently revealed the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets fans as the most aggressive on social media in courting him to their NBA franchise.

    Just 12 games into Zion Williamson's freshman year, many fans and pundits are already focused on where the young phenom and social media sensation will take his talents next.

    The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward joined Duke as the second-ranked recruit in the country and has since averaged 19.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. However, it's his superhuman athleticism and high-flying, rim-shaking dunks that have left NBA coaches, fans, and scouts salivating.

    Read more: Zion Williamson has been surprising himself with how high he can jump ever since his first dunk in a game

    After Williamson posted 17 points and 13 rebounds in Duke's 69-58 win against previously undefeated Texas Tech, the Spartanburg, South Carolina, native — who is widely expected to be the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft — revealed which fans are most aggressive on social media in courting him to their NBA franchise.

    "I'm gonna say the ones I see the most," Williamson said. "I'm gonna say the [Atlanta] Hawks, [Charlotte] Hornets, [Chicago] Bulls, [New York] Knicks, and [Brooklyn] Nets. Those are the ones I see the most."

    Many have suggested that teams should "stop tryin' for Zion," better known as tanking for a better pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. But Williamson was not necessarily flattered by the prospect of teams throwing away their current seasons to try to acquire him next year.

    "It's love, don't get me wrong," Williamson said of NBA fans' calls of tanking. "I care about their opinions, but at the same time I truly care about the scouts', the managers', and the coaches' opinions from those teams."

    Zion Williamson dunk

    At this point in the NBA season, the teams expected to sit at the top of the draft order include some of the teams Williamson mentioned, including the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and Atlanta Hawks, but he notably failed to mention two of the teams most likely to bring him into their ranks.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers lost their star in LeBron James and dropped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The Cavaliers — who are 8-26 on the season — arguably need the talent and spark Williamson provides more than any other team in the league. Likewise, the perennially terrible Phoenix Suns — who are also 8-26 on the season — have been desperate for a franchise-changing player like Williamson for years.

    "I don't really care where I go," Williamson said. "Just the experience of being in the NBA… whoever wants me and whoever sees the most in me, that's where I want to be."

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    NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn't buy on Black Friday


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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.

    AmazonBasics Memory Foam Mattress

    • If you're looking for a bed on a budget, the AmazonBasics Memory Foam Mattress provides plush comfort and an impressive level of quality at an unbeatable price. It starts at $130 for the 8-inch Twin size.
    • The construction of the mattress allows for breathability, and neither I nor my partner had any issues with sleeping too hot.
    • The mattress is backed by a one-year limited warranty, and is available in Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes.

    With the wide range of products Amazon offers, it's not much of a surprise that the company decided to produce its own private line of products under the label AmazonBasics.

    In keeping up with the competition of the online mattress market, Amazon added an AmazonBasics mattress to their product lineup, which also includes bed frames and sheets. This memory foam mattress is a remarkably affordable offering in the sea of online mattresses currently available. The 10-inch king-size mattress comes in at just under $300. The price alone makes this a mattress worth considering.

    While the price is nearly unbeatable, I put the AmazonBasics Mattress to the test to see if the quality and the comfort make it a worthwhile purchase. I slept on the queen-sized 10-inch mattress, but depths of 8 inches and 12 inches are also available, and sizes range from twin to California king.

    As with so many of the products featured on Amazon, you won't be without options.

    First impressions

    I came home to find the AmazonBasics propped on my back porch. While the cardboard exterior was a little worse for wear, the rest of the mattress was perfectly encased and vacuum sealed in a compact roll, resulting in a narrow box that easily fit through the door and up the stairs. There is no white glove delivery service available here, but at this price point I wouldn't expect that type of service. I would highly recommend two people to carry the box just to be safe, but my boyfriend did manage to get this up the stairs on his own — so if you're feeling particularly strong and can't snag a friend, or have a stubborn significant other who insists they don't need help — one can get the job done.

    As with most out-of-the-box mattresses, set up was easy. The mattress unrolled from the outer plastic wrapping onto our frame, and I used a pair of scissors to carefully cut through the vacuum-sealed wrapping. It immediately started to expand. Up to 72 hours are recommended for the mattress to come to its full size. I would say it took about a full 24 hours for the mattress to fully take its shape.

    There was some odor from the off gassing, and while unpleasant at first, the smell dissipated within 48 hours and hasn't lingered since.

    Construction

    The AmazonBasics Mattress is made of CertiPUR-US memory foam, and comprises three different layers for support and comfort. The top layer is the softest, providing a nice cushion that conforms to the body. While this mattress isn't without support, those looking for the feeling of resting on top of the mattress won't find that here — this is a softer mattress with more give than some of the firmer options out there. While this mattress does conform to the body more, it's still breathable thanks to the holes in the second layer of foam, and the wave-like shape of the third layer.

    All these layers fit together to form a mattress that provides a decent amount of support coupled with plush comfort. The mattress cover that surrounds these layers is removable, but spot cleaning is recommended. I personally haven't tried washing the cover myself, and the tag advises against it. However, I didn't find this to be an issue with the use of a fitted sheet.

    Comfort

    Overall, I found this mattress to be both comfortable and durable.

    From a support standpoint, I personally would have preferred a firmer feel, but this makes sense for me as I tend to sleep mostly on my stomach. If you're looking for a firmer mattress, but don't want to sacrifice affordability, I would recommend giving the Allswell Hybrid Mattress a try. On the other hand, my boyfriend is a back sleeper and experienced no discomfort or back issues during testing. This would also be an ideal mattress for side sleepers, as the plush memory foam cushions the common pressure points of the shoulders and hips, and helps keep everything in alignment.

    As mentioned above, the construction of the mattress allows for breathability, and neither one of us had any issues with sleeping too hot.

    As a light sleeper, I also appreciated how this mattress performs with motion transference. When my partner rolled over at night, it had a minimal effect on my side of the bed. However, I did notice that because my boyfriend and I are on different spectrums weight wise, I did tend to slide more toward the middle of the mattress during the night. More edge support would likely have helped with this. Overall though, this wasn't a deal breaker, especially considering the deal you get at such an affordable price point.

    Final thoughts

    Whether you don't have the means to drop a large sum of money on a mattress, or you're looking for affordable options for spaces like a guest room, I would definitely recommend the AmazonBasics Mattress.

    Comfort and quality aren't sacrificed here.

    Sleep Sherpa says, "The biggest benefit of this mattress is the price. If you know you like the feel of memory foam, and want a mattress a little on the softer side, this would be a great choice." Amazon reviewers like Neil also praise the affordability. He says, "[I] haven't slept this well in a while, and given the cost it's well worth it."

    The AmazonBasics Mattress is backed by a one-year limited warranty, and is available in Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes.

    Buy the AmazonBasics Memory Foam Mattress starting at $130 for the 8-inch Twin size here.

    SEE ALSO: I tried a $240 Roomba alternative that automatically vacuums and mops floors — here's what using it was like

    DON'T MISS: I've slept on several different 'beds-in-a-box' — and this luxury hybrid mattress is by far the most comfortable

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    quarterly global fintech fundingThis 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.

    Fintech hubs — cities where startups, talent, and funding congregate — are proliferating globally in tandem with ongoing disruption in financial services. 

    These hubs are all vying to become established fintech centers in their own right, and want to contribute to the broader financial services ecosystem of the future. Their success depends on a variety of factors, including access to funding and talent, as well as the approach of relevant regulators.

    This report compiles various fintech snapshots, which together highlight the global spread of fintech, and show where governments and regulatory bodies are shaping the development of national fintech industries. Each provides an overview of the fintech industry in a particular country or state in Asia or Europe, and details what is contributing to, or hindering its further development. We also include notable fintechs in each geography, and discuss what the opportunities or challenges are for that particular domestic industry.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Most countries in Europe have made some formal attempt to foster the development of domestic fintech industries, with Germany and Ireland seeing the best results so far. France, meanwhile, got off to a slow start, but that's starting to change. 
    • The Asian fintech scene took off later than in the US or Europe, but it's seen rapid growth lately, particularly in India, China, and Singapore.
    • The increasing importance of technology-enabled products and services within the financial services ecosystem means the global fintech industry isn't going anywhere. 
    • Fintech hubs will continue to proliferate, with leaders emerging in each region.
    • The future fintech landscape will be molded by regulatory bodies — national and international — as they seek to mitigate the risks, and leverage the opportunities, presented by fintech. 

     In full, the report:

    • Explores the fintech industry in six countries or states, and identifies individual fintech hubs.
    • Highlights successful fintechs in each region.
    • Outlines the challenges and opportunities each country or state faces. 
    • Gives insight into the future of the global fintech industry. 

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
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    Purchase & download the full report from our research store

     

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    Week 16 NFL playoff bracket 4x3

    • This is what the NFL playoff bracket would look like if the season ended today.
    • The Philadelphia Eagles are chasing the Minnesota Vikings for the final spot in the NFC.
    • In the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans will play each other in a win-or-go-home Week 17 matchup.

    Heading into the final week of the NFL regular season, a few teams are still fighting for their spot in the playoffs.

    In the NFC, the Vikings are attempting to hold off the Eagles to remain the final wild-card team in the bracket. If they can win, they're in, but if they lose and Philadelphia beats Washington, the Eagles will get their chance to repeat as NFL champions.

    The Vikings will host the Bears for their final game, with Chicago still hoping for a shot at a first-round bye should they win and the Rams lose.

    In the AFC, it's a slightly different story. The Chiefs currently sit atop the conference, but still need to win on Sunday, as they could quickly fall into the Wild Card round if the Chargers jumped them in the AFC West standings.

    Two other spots in the AFC are also still up for grabs — the Ravens jumped the Steelers last week to take the lead in the AFC North, but could give it back just as easily if they lose on Sunday, and on Sunday night, the Titans and Colts will play what amounts to a play-in game for the final spot in the postseason.

    There's still quite a bit of NFL action left before we know what the bracket will look like, but as things stand, we're shaping up for quite a compelling postseason.

    SEE ALSO: The 40 most dominant athletes of 2018

    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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    luka doncic

    • Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic is putting up gaudy stat lines that have him earning LeBron James comparisons.
    • Even Doncic's play resembles James.
    • In a win on Wednesday in which he was one rebound short of becoming the youngest player in NBA history to notch a triple-double, Doncic showed advanced court vision that could be compared to James'.
    • There are only a handful of players with Doncic's size and skill set, and through the first half of his rookie season, he's blown away the NBA world.

    Less than halfway through his rookie season, Luka Doncic is getting comparisons to LeBron James, and frankly, starting to live up to them.

    Through 32 games, the 19-year-old Slovenian rookie is averaging 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game for the Dallas Mavericks. For comparison, James entered the NBA at 19 and averaged 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    On Wednesday, Doncic continued to pile up impressive numbers, scoring 21 points with 9 rebounds and 10 assists to help the Mavericks beat the New Orleans Pelicans. Doncic came one rebound shy of becoming the youngest player to record a triple-double. Doncic's idol, James, previously held that title; Markelle Fultz currently owns it.

    As ESPN's Tim MacMahon noted, the performance continued a recent string of games where Doncic has posted stat lines that were previously only achieved by James. For instance, on December 20, Doncic had 32 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals — James is the only other teen to post a similar line, putting up 36 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals in December 2003.

    "It's amazing," Doncic said of the James comparisons after the Mavericks' win on Wednesday. "You all know that he's my idol, so it's just amazing to be there."

    Read more: Luka Doncic waited outside the Lakers' locker room after game for a jersey from his idol, LeBron James

    But beyond the gaudy stat lines, Doncic is even making plays that resemble James on the court. Both players are natural forwards because of their size, but they handle and read the floor like point guards, making them matchup nightmares for opponents. Doncic certainly doesn't have James' athleticism, but he might be even more advanced at playmaking than James was when he entered the NBA.

    One attribute they share — staying one play ahead of the defense. Early on Wednesday, Doncic ran a pick-and-roll with center DeAndre Jordan. While they ran it, Wesley Matthews sprang up to the top of the key. Doncic's basic reads would be to feed Jordan on the roll or hit Matthews up top. Instead, he knew that Harrison Barnes' man, in the corner, would sag to the paint to defend Jordan. Doncic swung the ball across the court to hit Barnes for the open three.

    luka_pass_1

    James' pass below isn't identical, but it's similar. Once Tyson Chandler rolls to the basket, Jeremy Lamb leaves Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the corner, and James finds him.


    Doncic showed his pick-and-roll chops again moments later. He and Jordan ran another pick-and-roll, with Barnes just below Jordan to set a stagger or secondary screen. This time, Jordan ran free to the paint, while the Pelicans tried to trap Doncic with the ball on the perimeter. It would have been easy for Doncic to have panicked and thrown the ball right to the defense.

    luka_pass_2

    Instead, Doncic held the ball for just a tick longer than the defense expected, gave a quick pump of his hands, then cleared the lane for a beautiful pass to Jordan for the dunk.

    Watch below, as the Pelicans' Darius Miller jumped just a little on Doncic's fake, then left the paint to defend Barnes. It cleared the way for Doncic's pass.


    Doncic can also post up other players, using his size to draw in defenses, then kick it to open shooters, much like James.


    Look familiar?


    These aren't the most advanced plays, but they are impressive for a 19-year-old. There are only a handful of players with size and court vision to make these types of plays. As Doncic gets more experience in the NBA and gets acclimated to more defensive coverage, his reads will only get better.

    The NBA world keeps waiting for Doncic to fall off, to hit the all-but-guaranteed rookie wall. Maybe it's coming, but nearly halfway into the year, he continues to impress.

    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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    Global VR Headset

    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.

    The virtual reality (VR) market is expected to rally in 2018 after seeing slow growth from 2016 to 2017. The uptick will be largely catalyzed by the emergence of the newest headset form factor, stand-alone VR headsets, which address some of the biggest pain points that have prohibited mainstream consumers from adopting VR.

    This new form factor is more affordable than cost-prohibitive high-end headsets and more capable than its smartphone-powered counterparts. Additionally, it features in-unit processing that frees the VR headset from wires. The first major stand-alone headset, the Vive Focus from HTC, was launched in January of this year, and more from other major companies like Oculus and Google are expected to follow over the next six months. 

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence lays out where the VR market is and forecasts how it will grow over the next five years. We dissect the various hardware categories and the unique strengths and opportunities of each, and identify how they will gain traction at different points of the market’s evolution. Finally, we examine various components impacting consumer adoption.

    Here are some of the key takeaways:

    • Business Insider Intelligence forecasts shipments of all VR headsets to grow 69% year-over-year (YoY) to reach 13.5 million in 2018. Powering that growth is the stand-alone VR headset category, which is expected to account for 30% of total headsets shipped in the year ahead. 
    • The VR hardware market is volatile because getting a device right is a balancing act. On one hand, the price point needs to be affordable for most consumers, and on the other, the experience has to be distinctive and immersive enough to convince a consumer to strap a visor to their face on a regular basis. 
    • While only a handful of stand-alone VR headsets will hit the market in 2018, they mark the biggest step toward mainstream adoption of consumer-oriented VR headsets by making the technology more accessible for the average consumer. 
    • Declining price points, coupled with high-quality headsets and the introduction of a game-changing app, are crucial for the VR industry to achieve before VR can really gain traction on a global scale.

    In full, the report:

    • Forecasts the growth projections and shipment expectations of the global VR headset market, and breaks it up by the major headset categories.
    • Explores the four major segments in the current VR hardware market, defined by the hardware needed to power the experience — stand-alone, smartphone-powered, PC-powered, and game console-powered VR.
    • Identifies the key players shaping the burgeoning stand-alone VR headset segment.
    • Discusses the biggest challenges to VR development and adoption.

    Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
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    migrant child mcallen texas

    • President Trump blamed Democrats for the December deaths of two children that were in Customs and Border Protection custody. 
    • One child was held in CBP custody longer than allowed by agency rules, and the other child wasn't given medical treatment until 90 minutes after she began showing symptoms.
    • Trump's Homeland Security secretary also blamed larger immigration policies for the deaths.

    President Trump took to Twitter Saturday to respond to multiple deaths of migrant children held in US custody in December.

    Trump focused on immigration policy as the problem, writing:

    Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try! The two children in question were very sick before they were given over to Border Patrol. The father of the young girl said it was not their fault, he hadn’t given her water in days. Border Patrol needs the Wall and it will all end. They are working so hard & getting so little credit!

    On Christmas Eve, 8-year-old Felipe Gómez Alonzo from Guatemala died after he was detained for almost a full week between three different facilities — longer than is allowed according to Customs and Border Protection rules. As a result of the death, CBP said it would review its child detention policies, a consideration that did not make it into Trump's tweets.

    Alonzo reportedly tested positive for influenza B, but according to CBP only began showing symptoms the morning of his death. That afternoon, he was taken to a hospital and treated before being taken back to a CBP facility where he was held for further medical treatment. CBP claims that the boy began vomiting, but his father declined further treatment. That evening, CBP officers took Alonzo to the hospital again, after he became lethargic, where he died.

    Read more: Deaths of 2 children raise doubts about US border agency's ability to care for surge of migrant kids

    The incident followed the December 7 death of Jakelin Caal Maquin, who perished in CBP custody. The Guatemalan migrant reportedly waited 90 minutes after she first began showing symptoms to get medical treatment. The girl's father has since contradicted CBP's timeline of events, saying that agents didn't give either of them food or water. Her father's attorneys also disputed a form that he signed that has been referenced by CBP which said Maquin was in good health upon her intake. It was reportedly given to her father in English, a language which he doesn't speak.

    On Wednesday, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on blamed larger forces as well, saying the deaths were a result of "a system that prevents parents who bring their children on a dangerous illegal journey from facing consequences for their actions."

     

    SEE ALSO: The family of a 7-year-old migrant girl who died in Border Patrol custody is disputing US officials’ account of her death

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    serena williams alexis ohanian reddit

    • Serena Williams is arguably the most dominant tennis player of all time.
    • Her husband, Alexis Ohanian, founded the third-most-visited website in the United States.
    • Together, they're one of the most famous and interesting power couples in the country.

    Arguably the greatest tennis player of all time and one of the most prominent tech gurus became one of the most famous power couples when they started dating during the summer of 2015.

    They have since had a child and married in an opulent celebration. Their astronomical combined wealth allows them to lead a fabulous lifestyle together.

    Check out how they make and spend their millions:

    The tech guru Alexis Ohanian and the tennis superstar Serena Williams formed an incredible power couple when they began dating in the summer of 2015.



    Ohanian founded the popular social-media platform Reddit in 2005 and sold it to Condé Nast for at least $10 million a year later. He was 23 years old.

    Read more: Reddit's cofounders sold the company at age 23 for a fraction of the $1.8 billion it's worth today — here's how the duo got back on top



    The Reddit deal was "more money for me than my entire family — my mother and father — had made in their entire lives," Ohanian said.

    Source: NPR



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The healthcare industry is in a state of disruption. Digital solutions are becoming a necessary part of the new global standard of care for patients and regulation is being fast-tracked to catch up to digital health innovation.

    Digital Health

    These rapid changes will have ripple effects across the entire healthcare system, impacting incumbents and new entrants alike.

    Based on our ongoing analysis, understanding of industry trends, and conversations with industry executives, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together The Top Five Trends Shaping The Future of Digital Health.

    To get your copy of this free report, click here.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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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.

    everlane choose what you pay 11

    While most retailers have a sale section, Everlane takes a slightly different approach to discounting products. Its 'Choose What You Pay' model doesn't mean you can pay any price you want, but it does offer up three tiered prices (low, medium, high) to choose from. 

    This alternative sale section is usually available year-round for both men's and women's apparel, but the biggest Choose What You Pay sales event that Everlane has ever held is going on now.

    From December 26 through December 30, a little over 200 styles in select colors enjoy this special pricing option. Some styles will even be discounted up to 50%. With popular styles like the Day Boot, silk shirts, and cashmere crew sweaters on sale, it's one of the nicer inventory cast-offs you'll find online at the end of the year. 

    We've tried a lot of things from Everlane, and have collected many favorites over time, so we certainly won't be sleeping on this rare opportunity to save on its high-quality closet essentials. 

    You can find our top 10 picks from Everlane's Choose What You Pay event below, or shop the sale directly. 

    Shop the biggest Choose What You Pay sale of the year for men or women.

    SEE ALSO: 19 styles from Everlane that we wear in our everyday lives — for both men and women

    A soft, warm cashmere sweater

    The Cashmere Crew in Black/White Mini Stripe, from $70 (originally $100) 

    Read our review of the Cashmere Crew here



    A thicker cashmere sweater

    The Heavyweight Cashmere Crew in Heather Blue, from $98 (originally $140) 



    A bright red cable-knit wool sweater

    The Cable Mockneck in Red, from $78 (originally $130)



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Christie's the_macallan_1926_60_year old_michael_dillon_1_bottle_per_lot

    • Christie's sold its most expensive spirit lot this year with a single bottle of 60-year-old whiskey that went for more than $1.5 million.
    • Six of the top 10 most expensive lots on this list were French wines, while the other four were rare and antique whiskeys.
    • Half of the lots on this list were sold in a single auction in London, the most successful wine and spirits sale for the auctioneer in 20 years.

     

    This past year, auction house Christie's sold a bottle of whiskey that is worth more than seven times as much as the average American house.

    In fact, it even broke a world record for the most expensive scotch to ever be auctioned off.

    Nearly $3.3 million of the auction house's total sales in 2018 came from just 10 high-valued alcohol lots alone.

    Here's a look at the most expensive wines and spirits Christie's has sold globally in the past year, ranked in ascending order.

    SEE ALSO: 5 signs you're probably not part of the middle class

    10. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Montrachet 1986 —  $120,960

    A dozen bottles of this French white sold for $120,960 as part of the most successful London wine sale in 20 years for the auctioneer.



    9. Château Latour 1945 — $135,600

    One wine aficionado took home this rare case of 73-year-old Latour for $135,600 at the Geneva, Switzerland, auction in May.



    8. Henri Jayer, Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 1999 — $136,955

    Selling for $136,955, this case of Cros Parantoux — produced in the heart of France's Burgundy wine region— was the top lot of Christie's Hong Kong wine sale this past fall.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    donald trump

    • President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday that cancels a planned pay increase for federal workers in 2019.
    • Trump previously vowed to cancel the 2.1% raise, telling congressional lawmakers in August it was "inappropriate."
    • The order comes a week into a partial government shutdown that has caused thousands of employees to be furloughed or working without pay.

    President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday that cancels a planned pay increase for federal workers in 2019.

    Trump previously called the raise, a 2.1% increase set to take effect in January, "inappropriate" and an unrealistic burden on the federal budget.

    The order also cancels a yearly paycheck adjustment calculated in order with the region of the country where workers are posted.

    When addressing lawmakers in an August letter, Trump cited his authority to adjust pay for federal employees as he sees appropriate considering "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare."

    Trump said he was pursuing the freeze because of the $25-billion price tag of the raises, though his tax reform bill was calculated to add nearly 10 times the cost of the canceled raises.

    The order comes a week after the government entered a partial shutdown that has caused thousands of workers to be furloughed or working without pay.

    Read more: Some government contractors could go unpaid even after the shutdown ends

    It remains unclear when lawmakers will be able to resolve the shutdown after Trump demanded an agreement that would accommodate a $5-billion wall along the US-Mexico border.

    The shutdown does not affect the entire federal government but several major agencies, including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, the Interior, State, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development.

    About 800,000 federal workers have been affected by the shutdown. Some 420,000 workers are being forced to work without pay since they are considered "essential" employees. The other 380,000 workers are furloughed, which means they are barred from work and will not receive pay.

    SEE ALSO: Identity of Russian ex-spy who served as Manafort's main foreign contact during 2016 election revealed

    DON'T MISS: Deaths of 2 children raise doubts about US border agency's ability to care for surge of migrant kids and families seeking refuge in the US

    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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    • Life insurance is fundamentally hard to sell; it’s morbid to think about, promises no immediate rewards, and often requires a lengthy paper application with minimal guidance.
    • Despite the popularity of personalized products in other areas of finance and fintech, life insurance largely remains unchanged.
    • A small, but growing pocket of insurtech startups are shaking up the status quo by finding ways to digitize life insurance and increase its appeal.

    Life insurance is a fundamentally difficult product to sell; it requires people to think about their deaths without promising any immediate returns.

    Life Insurance Graphic

    And, despite tech innovations and the development of personalized services in other areas of finance, life insurance remains largely unchanged.

    Luckily, there is a small but growing pocket of insurtech startups looking to modernize it. These companies are finding ways to digitize life insurance to  appeal to consumers — and they’re giving incumbents the opportunity to revamp traditional offerings, either by partnering with them or using their technology.

    Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has forecasted the shifting landscape of life insurance in the The Future of Life Insurance report. Here are the key problems insurtechs are tackling:

    • Lack of education: Forty percent of US consumers told the Life Insurance and Market Research Association (LIMRA) that they feel intimidated by the life insurance application process, often drastically overestimating its cost and facing uncertainty about how much or which type of coverage to buy.
    • Inconvenient application process: It can take weeks or months for coverage to take effect because of the sheer number of meetings and parties combing through paperwork in each round of the application process. The risk for the insurer often warrants reviews from the carrier, a team of underwriters, a broker, and even a medical examiner.
    • Low customer loyalty: Life insurance tends to be a “set it and forget it” type of purchase, with very few people revisiting it after buying. Insurers and consumers therefore have limited contact for most of the relationship — with the exception of an annual bill, of course.
    • Inefficient data management and processing: The aggregate data life insurers rely on is typically fed into algorithms that make broad assumptions about particular populations, and often incorporate outdated medical documentation — all of which can delay applications and result in unnecessary rejections.

    Want to learn more?

    The need for modernization in life insurance is clear: Overall sales are slowing and policy ownership is hitting record lows. And because it’s such a tightly-regulated space, innovation from incumbents has stagnated — but they’re not helpless. Consumer-focused and insurer-focused startups have emerged to offer new technologies and process improvements.

    The Future of Life Insurance report from Business Insider Intelligence looks at the two main strategies life insurtechs are adopting to drive change in this market, for the benefit of both buyers and sellers. In full, the report discusses best practices incumbents and startups should adopt to steer clear of the risks attached to applying emerging technologies to such a tightly regulated product.

    Insurtech startups will soon set new industry standards and consumer expectations around this complex product. That, in turn will serve as a catalyst for innovation among legacy players.

    Companies included in this report: Ladder, Haven Life, Getsurance, Tomorrow, Fabric, Atidot, AllLife, Royal London, Polly, Life.io, Legal & General, Vitality, Discovery, John Hancock, Dai-ichi Life.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    fastest growing tech AI

    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.

    Artificial intelligence (AI), often used as an umbrella term to describe types of technology that can simulate human intelligence, is one of today’s hottest topics across a number of business sectors. AI techniques teach computers to parse data in a contextual manner to provide requested information, supply analysis, or trigger an event based on their findings.

    Marketers are already leveraging the power of AI to glean valuable insights about their customers, automate tasks, and improve workflows. Just over half (51%) of marketers currently use AI, and an additional 27% are expected to incorporate the technology by 2019, according to Salesforce. This represents the highest anticipated year-over-year (YoY) growth of any leading technology that marketers expect to adopt in the next year, beating out the Internet of Things and marketing automation. And, as the volume of consumer-generated data grows, AI computing techniques — like machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing (NLP) — will become increasingly important to data-driven decision-making.

    In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence examines the current and potential applications of AI within marketing. We dive into how AI enhances personalization, and identify the best practices for marketers looking to integrate the nascent tech into their strategies. We also look at how marketers cam implement AI to better target audiences, gain a competitive edge, and analyze data from social platforms. Finally, we evaluate how these applications will transform — and enhance — the way marketers analyze data, conduct burdensome tasks, and create content. 

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • AI is advancing beyond data analysis and moving rapidly into data generation, as machines get better at automating two basic human senses: sight and hearing. Gleaning insights from data-rich media like voice and video is now possible, and humans no longer have to manually categorize or describe various types of media.
    • AI will transform marketers from reactive to proactive planners. The enhanced analytics that AI provides will help marketers more efficiently plan and execute campaigns in three main areas: segmentation, tracking, and keyword tagging.
    • However, the rapid pace of innovation is contributing to marketers’ sense of unpreparedness for AI implementation and future use cases. When asked to choose which trending technology they felt most unprepared for, 34% of global marketing executives chose AI, the most of any option, according to Conductor.
    • AI will aid in content creation, but human marketers are still necessary. It’s still early days for marketers to use AI to automatically create editorial content or stitch together the right image with the right messaging for display ads. Machines will help cut down on production time, but humans are needed for their creative juices.

    In full, the report:

    • Discusses the top use cases for AI in marketing and examines those with the greatest potential in the next few years. 
    • Breaks down how the role of marketers will evolve once AI automates remedial tasks. 
    • Explores how the customer experience is becoming more personalized, relevant, and timely. 
    • Provides potential roadmaps for companies that are beginning to invest in AI and machine learning.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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