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SUCCESS INSIDER: The ultimate guide to starting a 6-figure side hustle, whether it's in consulting, design, or even sneakers

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Off White UNC Hold 2
Isaac Davydov is a sneaker reseller.

Now might be a good time to start a side hustle. We've created a guide for anyone who is curious about the process and wants to grow a six-figure business.

Read more here.

Welcome to Success Insider, our regular newsletter for getting things done.

This week we have résumé templates you can use to find a job, insights from one of Lake Tahoe's top real estate agents, a day in the life of an OnlyFans content-creator and entrepreneur, and more. 

10 résumé templates you can use to apply for jobs in industries like marketing, legal, finance, hospitality, and more

resume

It's important to have a solid résumé to get the attention of hiring managers when you're looking for a job, but depending on the industry you're applying to, you may need to highlight different skills. Here are 10 industry-specific résumé templates that will help you land a job in finance, hospitality, HR, tech, nursing, and beyond.

Read more here.

The founder and CEO of popular lingerie brand LIVELY explains the secrets to building a booming ecommerce brand

LIVELY
Ad for LIVELY lingerie.

Founder and CEO Michelle Cordeiro Grant built her lingerie brand LIVELY to weather a recession. As the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic has crushed many retail brands like Brooks Brothers and J.Crew, Cordeiro Grant explains how nimble ecommerce startups have an advantage in bridging the gap between physical and digital retail.

Read more here.

Passion for your product is overrated. The people who are most successful in business have a passion for leadership.

ELON MUSK
Rick Bisio.

Franchise coach Rick Bisio has helped hundreds of business owners navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship. We spoke with him to find out what the most successful leaders have in common.

Read more here.

A Lake Tahoe real-estate agent has over $100 million in sales since 2016, but he's never seen anything like this quarantine market

lake tahoe
Lake Tahoe.

Gregory Ochoa is one of Lake Tahoe's top agents, and says that rental-property demand is high, vacation rentals are full, and clients are pouring in from San Francisco and Los Angeles, desperate for more space.

Read more here.

Read the application form that got the 'Spotify for meditation' into the selective startup accelerator that launched Airbnb and Dropbox

Yunha Kim Simple Habit
Simple Habit founder Yunha Kim.

Y Combinator is the super-selective startup accelerator that's launched the likes of Stripe and Instacart. If you're thinking about applying (the next deadline is September 23), check out this successful application from Yunha Kim, founder of the on-demand meditation service Simple Habit.

Read more here.

How a self-made millionaire pivoted from a career in nursing to helping moms become financially independent without going back to school

Cayla Craft Headshot
Mommy Millionaire founder Cayla Craft.

Cayla Craft's career path has changed throughout her life, but her goal of helping mothers has never wavered. Her company, Mommy Millionaire, helps mothers and women launch and scale their own businesses.

Read more here.

How a Russian supermodel became an angel tech investor — and her advice for entrepreneurs trying to do the same

Natalia Vodianova
Natalia Vodianova.

Natalia Vodianova is one of the world's most successful supermodels, but has found a new passion: angel tech investing. Beginning her investment journey with a charity app called Elbi, she's now invested in 16 companies, and she shared her journey, latest venture, and advice for entrepreneurs with Business Insider.

Read more here.

How to take vacation as a freelancer without losing out on new business

stay at home relaxing waiting

As a freelancer, you might have a hard time knowing when to take a break, especially without company-sanctioned vacations. Seasoned freelancers shared tips with Business Insider on why taking time off is important for your business long-term, and how you can properly plan ahead for a proper vacation.

Read more here.

A day in the life of an OnlyFans creator who makes $100,000 a month off explicit content

Aella
Aella.

This OnlyFans creator begins her day by checking how much money she made off of her explicit content while she slept. Although her channel requires her to be "on all the time," the $100,000-per-month payoff makes it worth it.

Read more here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Michael Cohen says Trump once said after meeting evangelical Christians: 'Can you believe people believe that bulls---?'

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President Donald Trump with a Bible while visiting St. John's Church across from the White House after agents cleared the area of protesters on June 1.
  • Michael Cohen, the former fixer and lawyer to President Donald Trump, is releasing a memoir on Tuesday called "Disloyal."
  • In the book, Cohen details how Trump reacted after meeting with evangelical Christians before winning the 2016 election. An excerpt was published by The Washington Post.
  • According to the excerpt, Cohen says Trump remarked after the meeting: "Can you believe people believe that bulls---?"
  • Cohen also says it was a "cosmic joke" that Trump had managed to convince working-class people that he cared about them when "the truth was that he couldn't care less."
  • Evangelicals — who make up one in four Americans — were credited with helping Trump win the White House, with 80% voting for Trump in 2016.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump spoke condescendingly about evangelical Christians after holding a meeting with religious leaders before the 2016 election, his former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has said in a new book.

Cohen, who broke with Trump to cooperate with the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, is releasing a memoir Tuesday titled "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump."

The Washington Post, which obtained a copy of the book before its release, reported one passage in which Cohen details what he says happened after Trump met with prominent evangelical leaders at Trump Tower in 2016 before winning the presidency.

After the meeting was over, Cohen says, Trump said: "Can you believe that bulls---? Can you believe people believe that bulls---?"

"The cosmic joke was that Trump convinced a vast swathe of working-class white folks in the Midwest that he cared about their well-being," Cohen added, according to The Post. "The truth was that he couldn't care less."

It's unclear what meeting Cohen was referring to, but Trump did meet with conservative Christian leaders in New York City in June 2016, according to NPR, which was allowed inside the private event.

Though Trump — a self-described Presbyterian — was not known for being religious, evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported him in 2016, with 80% of the group voting for him over Hillary Clinton.

Evangelical Christians are an important voting bloc. With one in four Americans describing themselves as evangelical, they are the most common religious group in America, according to the Brookings Institution think tank. 

This support has mystified many, since Trump's behavior and language can be very un-Christian-like.

In his first term, however, he has pleased evangelical Christians by adding two conservative justices to the Supreme Court, blocking funding to Planned Parenthood, and supporting religious freedom.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We compared every luxury electric SUV currently on the market in the US and forthcoming, and Tesla's Model X was the clear winner.

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Jaguar iPACE 2
  • There are five fully electric SUVs currently available in the US or coming soon to the US luxury vehicle market. 
  • This list includes the Tesla Model X and Y, Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, and the recently announced Cadillac Lyriq.
  • These are the five electric luxury SUVs compared across various specs, including range, cargo space, and price.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There are several electric SUVs currently available on the market, including the Kia Nero EV and Hyundai Kona Electric, but for those looking in the luxury segment, this list shortens to just five options, including one newcomer.

At the beginning of August, Cadillac announced the Lyriq, its first fully electric SUV and a new challenger to the yet to be overly saturated luxury electric SUV market. However, Cadillac and its obvious competitors, Tesla's Model Y and X, aren't the only two competitors in this growing segment: Audi and Jaguar both have their own luxury electric SUVs, the e-tron and I-Pace, respectively. 

Of course, the two Teslas and the Cadillac, Jaguar, and Audi all vary in its specifications, including the number of seats, range, and zero-to-60 time, to name a few. The prices also vary widely, ranging anywhere from $43,690 to $94,190.

If you're in the market for a luxury electric SUV, here is how the five vehicles compare in different spec areas, and the winner in each area:

Range: Tesla Model X
2019 Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X.

The Tesla Model X has the longest range out of all of its competitors with 351 miles for the Long Range version and 305 miles for the Performance. The automaker's Model Y falls shortly behind with 316 and 291 miles for the Long Range and Performance, respectively. 

The only other luxury electric SUV that breaks the 300-mile range mark is the Cadillac Lyriq, which has a predicted range of 300 miles. The Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace both have a range of 222 and 234 miles, respectively. 

Number of Seats: Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X electric vehicle is shown in Moscow
A Tesla Model X in Moscow.

The two Teslas both have up to seven seats, but the third row in the Model Y that accommodates this comes optional.

The I-Pace and e-tron both have five seats, but Lyriq's seating capacity has not been announced yet. 

Zero-to-60 miles-per-hour time: Tesla Model X
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla Model X electric car is seen at Brussels Motor Show, Belgium, January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo
A Tesla Model X electric car is seen at Brussels Motor Show.

The e-tron can achieve 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, the longest time of all vehicles with the potential exception of the Lyriq, which has yet to be announced. The I-Pace falls just one second faster at 60 miles-per-hour in 4.5 seconds.

The Long Range edition of the Tesla Model X and Y can go from zero to 60 miles-per-hour in 4.4 seconds and 4.8 seconds, respectively. However, the Performance versions can achieve this quicker: 2.6 seconds for the Model X, and 3.5 seconds for the Model Y. 

Horsepower: Tesla Model X
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk introduces the falcon wing door on the Model X electric sports utility vehicles during a presentation in Fremont..JPG
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk introduces the falcon wing door on the Model X during a presentation in Fremont, California in 2015.

The Lyriq's horsepower also has not been announced yet, and Tesla has not posted the Model X or Y's hosrepowers on its website.

However, according to Car and Driver, the Tesla Model X Performance edition produces 518 horsepower. And according to Motor Trend, the Model Y has 384 and 456 horsepower for the Long Range and Performance, respectively.

The e-tron logs 355 horsepower but can extend up to 402 in boost mode, while the I-Pace has 394 horsepower.

Towing: Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X sport utility vehicle at a new Tesla showroom in Shanghai, China May 8, 2020..JPG
Tesla Model X at a new Tesla showroom in Shanghai in May.

While the towing capacity for the Lyriq hasn't been announced yet, the rest of the vehicles on the list — with the exception of the Jaguar — have capacities between 3,500 to 5,000 pounds.

According to Jaguar, the I-Pace was not designed to have a towing capability.

With towing packages, the Tesla Model X and Y can tow up to 5,000 pounds on 20-inch wheels, and 3,500 pounds, respectively. The e-tron sits in-between with a towing capacity of 4,000 pounds.

Torque: Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X electric cars recharge their batteries in Berlin, Germany, November 13, 2019. .JPG
Tesla Model X cars recharging batteries in Berlin, November 13, 2019.

Unsurprisingly, the Lyriq's torque hasn't been released yet, and Tesla doesn't have the Model X or Y's torque available on its website. However, according to Autoblog, the Model Y has a torque of 376 and 497 pound-feet for the Long Range and Performance versions, respectively.

And according to CarBuzz, the Model X Performance edition has 841 pound-feet of torque, while the Long Range can achieve up to 557 pound-feet.

Audi's electric SUV has between 414 to 490 pound-feet of torque with boost engaged, while the I-Pace tops out with 512 pound-feet.

Cargo: Tesla Model X
2019 Tesla Model X
The Tesla Model X.

Unsurprisingly, the Model X also takes the lead for cargo size at 88 cubic feet.

Second place on the cargo size list is the Model Y, which has 20 cubic feet fewer of storage than the Model X.

The I-Pace packs 26.25 cubic feet of storage space with the combined front storage and rear cargo space. The e-tron has a bit more space at 28.5 cubic feet with the seatbacks up, or 57 cubic feet with the seats folded down.

Lyriq's cargo space has not been announced yet.

Price: Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model Y
The Tesla Model Y.

Given the Model X's accomplishments in the prior specs, it's no surprise the Tesla is also the most expensive vehicle on the list at $74,190 and $94,190 for the Long Range and Performance versions, respectively. 

The e-tron is only slightly more expensive than the Model X Long Range at $74,800, while Jaguar's falls a bit cheaper at $69,850.

Finally, the most affordable luxury electric SUV currently available is Tesla's Model Y, which has a price tag of $43,690 for the Long Range, and $53,690 for the Performance. 

However, there is a potential that this could be upended when Cadillac announces its pricing for the Lyriq: according to a report by CNET, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle has stated that the upcoming electric SUV will start at under $75,000.

Read the original article on Business Insider

2020 was supposed to be a blockbuster year for media and advertising, but the challenges have only accelerated the industry transformation

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  • Prior to the global pandemic, the ad industry was forecasting a blockbuster 2020 with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the US presidential election. Instead, advertisers have slashed spending, which has led to layoffs at ad agencies and media companies.
  • Brands have also accelerated investments in areas that have grown during the past several months, like e-commerce and digital products.
  • Transformers in media and advertising are developing new content breakthroughs for brands like Netflix, launching new direct-to-consumer brands, or organizing boycotts that hold the world's largest platforms accountable for misinformation.
  • 100 People Transforming Business is an annual list and series highlighting people across industries who are changing the way the world does business. Check out the full list for 2020.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on "Online Platforms and Market Power" in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on July 29, 2020.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying social-distance style before a House Judiciary subcommittee in July 2020

The advertising and media worlds are on a crash course of innovation and disruption.

For the second year, Business Insider is highlighting 10 people transforming the advertising and media industries as part of a list identifying 100 people transforming the business world in North America.

We identified visionaries disrupting established businesses and pushing the industry in new directions. They're tasked with breaking new ground — whether it's developing the next big hit for Netflix and Spotify, building a new direct-to-consumer brand from scratch, or organizing boycotts that hold the world's largest platforms accountable for misinformation.

These people are making sweeping decisions that influence how large companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google make money and how people get their news and entertainment.

Industry disruption across every channel

Long gone are the days of glossy print advertisements and the "Mad Men" agencies. More than a decade after Google acquired YouTube and DoubleClick to become the world's biggest online advertising juggernaut and Hulu launched to rival Netflix in the cord-cutting era, the advertising and media industries are grappling with monumental structural change on top of the economic downfall caused by the coronavirus.

The $226 billion US advertising industry is facing disruption and change around every corner. Marketers are under growing pressure from their CEOs to prove that advertising actually drives sales, which is causing more advertisers to cut ties with their ad agencies and handle marketing internally. Agencies are racing to offer clients data-backed expertise to keep up with consulting firms and tech giants that are eating away at their business. 

Regulators and privacy-protection laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 have threatened marketers' ability to target people at exactly the right time and place. And advertisers are changing how they target their audience and giving so-called walled gardens like Facebook, Google, and Amazon more power.

Activists and critics who are making more headway than ever before in holding big tech companies responsible for monitoring speech on their platforms are holding advertisers accountable, as evidenced by July's mass boycott of Facebook that got hundreds of big-name brands like Unilever and Starbucks on board.

With the ongoing decline of traditional TV viewing — and the $70 billion in advertising it props up — Hollywood, media outlets, and tech companies like Disney, NBCUniversal, and Amazon are pivoting harder to streaming video as viewers and ad dollars flock there.

Content creators and entrepreneurs are seizing on the rise of new platforms, changing how people shop and are entertained.

Before the coronavirus, the ad industry was forecasting a blockbuster 2020 with the Summer Olympics in Tokyo and the US presidential election. Instead, the pandemic and associated economic downfall have led advertisers to slash spending, resulting in widespread layoffs at ad agencies and media companies. The pandemic has also caused brands to speed up investments in areas that have grown during the pandemic, like e-commerce and digital products.

"In the previous landscape, those things were very long-term initiatives, but they have taken on a new relevance," Jay Pattisall, an analyst at Forrester Research, said. "[Advertisers] are taking displaced marketing budgets and funneling them into these projects."

Holding media and tech brands accountable 

Ryan Mayward, sales director at Amazon Advertising, is helping challenge Google and Facebook's dominance of digital advertising. As Google phases out the cookies that advertisers have long relied on to zap ads at people, Justin Schuh, engineering director for Chrome at Google, is building privacy controls into the Chrome browser that in theory don't kill advertisers' ability to target and measure ads while maintaining users' privacy. His work is part of Privacy Sandbox, a Google initiative to develop privacy-friendly standards for online advertising.

"With Privacy Sandbox, we are working with the web community to develop new standards that build privacy into the core architecture of the web, while continuing to support free access to content," Schuh said.

Rashad Robinson, executive director of civil-rights group Color of Change, helped organize a massive boycott that led brands like Unilever and Starbucks to pull campaigns from Facebook over concerns about how Facebook handles misinformation.

Eight-year-old YouTuber Ryan Kaji is turning his social-media following into a full-blown business that includes selling branded products and TV show roles on Nickelodeon and Roku.

Scott Stuber, Netflix's VP of original films, Hulu president Kelly Campbell, and director Jordan Peele are building new content and business models based on streaming. Spotify's Dawn Ostroff is positioning the music-streaming giant as a large podcasting player, signing high-profile deals with talent such as Michelle Obama and Joe Rogan.

Others are changing the way we buy online and highlight the shift to e-commerce that was accelerated by the pandemic. Entrepreneur Moiz Ali sidestepped traditional distribution channels and built a direct-to-consumer deodorant brand through Facebook and YouTube before selling it to Procter & Gamble. And Instagram's VP of product Vishal Shah is changing e-commerce by building shopping features into the app.

The full list of transformers reveals more about how these outsiders, upstarts, and entrepreneurs are changing the nature of shopping, advertising, and entertainment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

'The Princess Bride' cast is reuniting to raise money for Wisconsin's Democratic Party, and Ted Cruz — a megafan of the movie — is furious

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Cast members of "The Princess Bride" at a 25th anniversary viewing of the film during the New York Film Festival on October 2, 2012.

Sen. Ted Cruz has reacted to news that the cast of his favorite movie, "The Princess Bride," are reuniting in a fundraiser for the Democratic Party.

The cast of the 1980s cult hit will gather for a table read of the movie and Q&A on September 13, which can be viewed on Zoom by making a donation to the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

"Anything you donate will be used to ensure that Trump loses Wisconsin, and thereby the White House," reads the event page

Most of the major names from the cast, including Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and Wallace Shawn, will take part in the read-through. 

FILE PHOTO: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) questions judicial nominees during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., December 4, 2019.   REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
Sen.Ted Cruz at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The situation has irked Cruz, whose love for the movie is well-known.

He even quoted from it in a tweet objecting to the read-through, where he talked about the "ultimate suffering" of seeing a "perfect movie" become politicized. 

(The tweet adapts a line spoken by Inigo Montoya — played by Mandy Patinkin — to Fezzik, played by the late Andre the Giant.)

Cruz frequently does impressions from the movie in his own campaigning.

Appearing on a TV interview for Republican candidates in 2015, he acted out a scene in which one of the main characters, The Dread Pirate Roberts, is revived from being "mostly dead."

And in 2015, at an Iowa town hall event, he recounted one of the movie's most famous lines: "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

inigo montoya you killed my father
Inigo Montoya, played by Mandy Patinkin, in his infamous revenge scene.

Patinkin, the actor who played Montoya, criticized the senator in a 2015 essay for Time for missing the spirit of the movie and — perhaps ironically — for using it "as a political tool."

Montoya's story arc, which ends with a message about the hollowness of revenge, was not suited to Cruz's politics, Patinkin suggested.

"This man is not putting forth ideas that are at the heart of what that movie is all about," USA Today reported Patinkin as saying. "I would love for Senator Cruz, and everyone creating fear mongering and hatred, to consider creating hope, optimism and love."

Following Cruz's tweet about the upcoming fundraiser, Cary Elwes, who played the hero Westley, responded to Cruz by suggesting he get out of the "fire swamp" — a deadly location in the movie. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Businesses now need to take a stance on looting — and small business owners lose to giant corporations either way

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President Trump stands next to John Rode III.
  • Business owner's response to looting has become increasingly politicized over the summer of 2020, as protests and riots sparked by instances of police brutality continue to roil.
  • But when it comes to the consequences of looting, the reality couldn't be more different for small businesses and large national retailers.
  • Many national retailers like Dollar Tree or Nordstrom have had locations looted during riots, but insurance and an abundance of capital soften any financial impact.
  • "If I get hit too hard and I can't recover, I'm out of business. These big boxes, they're gonna be okay," WGB Marketing CEO Keeana Barber told Business Insider.
  • Barber's company has sold signs designating black-owned businesses and support of Black Lives Matter to thousands of small businesses.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When President Donald Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, the owner of Rodes Camera Shop wasn't interested.

Tom Gram's 109-year-old store had burned down during unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. He declined to meet with the president, who was looking to tour Kenosha's looted businesses. Gram told local news outlet TMJ4, "I think everything he does turns into a circus, and I just didn't want to be involved in it."

So Gram was shocked to see Trump next to his store on the news anyway — with someone else posing as the owner: his former boss, John Rode III. Gram had bought the business eight years prior from Rode, who still owns the property.

"I just appreciate President Trump coming here today; everybody here does. We're so thankful that we got the federal troops in to help because once they got here, things did calm down quite a bit," Rode said.

That was the scene depicted in official White House coverage of Trump's visit: small business owners devastated by property destruction in the wake of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

But just across town, another kind of business owner sent a very different message: Bill Penzey, the owner of Penzey's Spices, announced he would "loot" his own store to show his support for the protests. Penzey said he would donate a day's worth of inventory from his Kenosha store to food banks and nonprofits over the next few weeks.

"Someone wrote to say that you would be singing a different tune if it was your store being looted," Penzey wrote in an email to customers. "I'm by no means perfect but seriously no, I wouldn't. Human life means everything; stuff, not so much."

As America's understanding of looting evolves, so does the way looting is used to drive political narratives. And how a business owner responds to looting has become not just a moral decision, but also a business decision — and one where the stakes grow exponentially the smaller a business is.

'I'm just trying to protect my business'

Police say looters are often career criminals using protests as a cover to burglarize. Protesters have often been vocal and physical about preventing looting, saying it dilutes their message. Still, looting has become widely perceived as being connected to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Meanwhile, vigilante activity by right-wing groups and individuals has been linked with "protecting" businesses. Kyle Rittenhouse claimed to have traveled to Wisconsin in order to defend businesses from rioters on August 25. The 17-year-old is now charged with shooting and killing two protesters that night.

As a result, a stance on looting is now seen as a stance on Black Lives Matter.

For big businesses, the calculus that comes in the wake of looting is relatively simple. These national retailers are able to absorb the costs through insurance and capital. Many have publicly supported Black Lives Matter in their corporate messaging without fear of rocking the boat. And few have addressed the impact of looting, beyond financial statements.

Two such companies include Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom. The clothing retailers both expressed support for Black Lives Matter shortly after the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for around eight minutes on May 25.

Urban Outfitters said 55 of its stores throughout North America were hit with "varying degrees of damage" in instances of "civil unrest" during the spring and summer. Nordstrom saw 27 stores damaged in riots and looting incidents, although it said that it was even keeping certain affected stores open. Both Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom indicated in Securities and Exchange Commission filings that they did not expect significant "losses after insurance recoveries."

dollar tree looted
A Dollar Tree that was looted in Minneapolis on May 28, in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Meanwhile, Dollar Tree was one national chain that broke down a series of significant damages due to looting in its August quarterly report. The chain incurred a $9.8 million in uninsured markdown costs, $3.9 million in uninsured repairs for store damages, and $2.5 million in fixed asset disposals, all due to "civil unrest."

Despite the costs, the dollar store chain was lauded for a successful quarter.

For small business owners, the stakes are much higher. If they speak out, small business owners who are looted run the risk of becoming mouthpieces for the narrative that Black Lives Matter is a destructive movement. And if small business owners condemn looting or lament that they have been looted, they run the risk of being perceived as valuing property over lives.

Eric Chan, the owner of Jade Garden in Seattle, Washington, told Business Insider in June that after his restaurant was looted during protests — not by protesters, who were concentrated in another part of the city at the time Jade Garden was looted — he was criticized for participating in a visit from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to looted businesses in his neighborhood. 

"I agree with what the movement is about, just not the violence and the looting," Chan said. "Business owners that come out and complain and say their s--- was destroyed are being labeled as racist because they're saying you care about your property more than the movement. That's not fair. I'm just trying to protect my business."

Some business owners take the opposite stance. Ruhan Islam, the owner of the Gandhi Mahal restaurant in Minneapolis, garnered attention on social media for how he reacted when his restaurant was burned down at the end of May.

"Let my building burn, justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail," Islam said, according to his daughter. 

'If I get hit too hard and I can't recover'

Keeana Barber, the CEO of WGB Marketing in Chicago, Illinois, gained media attention in June after distributing "Black-owned business" signs to business owners in Black Chicago neighborhoods hit hard by property damage in the wake of unrest over George Floyd's murder. 

Barber told Business Insider in a phone interview that most business owners understand the frustration of the protesters. But she said that doesn't diminish how devastating property damage can be for a small business owner.

"We're left to pick up the pieces and figure out how to survive. We don't have the political allies, we don't have the people in Washington that's going to make sure that we get some funding or money. As an entrepreneur, you have a dream, you push and you really give everything that you can," Barber said.

Barber also said that rather than being concerned about large corporations getting looted, people should turn their attention to supporting their local small businesses.

black owned business
"These bigger companies, they've got every single thing covered. They should be more concerned about small businesses. They might close a couple out of their chain, but for us, this might be our only storefront we have. I only have one office. So if I get hit too hard and I can't recover, I'm out of business. These big boxes, they're gonna be okay," Barber said."

Barber said that she's seen more enthusiasm for her signs than she expected, both from Black business owners and from white ones looking to buy Black Lives Matter signs from a Black-owned print shop. Although she started by distributing just 200 free "Black-owned business" signs to Black business owners around Chicago, she's since sent over 2,000 signs to Black business owners in 10 states around the country. The signs are still free, although Barber asks recipients to pay for shipping. 

Although 2020 has been a heavy year, Barber is optimistic about the potential for change in this moment. She says now more than ever before, she sees more people becoming cognizant of the problems that Black people face and actively working to solve them.

"For once people are figuring out it doesn't matter if it's just one transaction, if it's just one march that you show up to, if it's just one person that you reach out and support or something that you share to share this knowledge, everybody understands that they do have play a part in the solution."

Read the original article on Business Insider

We now live in the Unemployed States of America. Here are 50 stories of life without a paycheck in 2020.

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Stacie Sulzen never missed a shift. The 51-year-old bartender in Kansas often worked double shifts to cover for her colleagues. She was happy bartending for the past 27 years, particularly when she got to socialize with patrons.

When the pandemic hit in March, she figured the bar would close for a couple of weeks and she'd get some much-needed rest. But she still hasn't gone back to work.

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the food-service industry, and millions of restaurant and bar workers like Sulzen have lost their jobs.

Sulzen said it took the state three months to begin giving her unemployment benefits, and the website crashed when she filed a claim to get back pay.

Sulzen doesn't know if she'll ever go back to the bar. 

"I'm glad I was able to prepay my bills for a few months, but after that the future looks uncertain," she told Business Insider.

Sulzen's story reflects the reality of the 55 million Americans who have filed for unemployment since mid-March. They've struggled to find work, make ends meet, and navigate a complicated and patchwork unemployment system.

Mapping the damage

As the coronavirus swept across the country and a number of states and localities implemented strict lockdowns to slow its spread, unemployment spiked to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

While the national unemployment rate in August was down to 8.4% — 6.3 percentage points lower than the peak rate of 14.7% in April — there were still 11.5 million fewer employed Americans in August than in February, before the coronavirus began spreading widely in the US.

The economic pain has been widespread, and no state has come out unscathed. As of July, unemployment rates ranged from a low of 4.6% in Utah to a high of 16.2% in Massachusetts.

Employment, as measured by the number of Americans on nonfarm payrolls, remains lower in every state and DC than before the start of the pandemic. About 29 million Americans were still receiving some form of unemployment insurance during the week ending August 15.

In the early months of the pandemic, Congress authorized a supplemental $600 a week in unemployment benefits for workers dislocated by the pandemic. But those benefits expired at the end of July, slashing pay for the unemployed. According to the Department of Labor, average unemployment benefits in most states are far less generous than that supplement.

There are troubling signs that while employment has improved from the depths of spring, ongoing economic pain could be felt. While the unemployment rate improved in August, the number of people who permanently lost a job increased and the number of temporary layoffs decreased. It suggests that many jobs that were furloughed could now be permanently eliminated, leading to a longer and harder recovery.

The Congressional Budget Office predicted in April that unemployment could be above 10% on average throughout 2021, far higher than the prepandemic rate of 3.8% in the first quarter of 2020. The Federal Reserve's most recent projections suggest a 2021 unemployment rate of 6.5%, lower than the CBO's projections but still well above the rate before the crisis. The IRS released a report in August projecting far fewer tax returns filed for years to come, also suggesting a long-lasting slump in employment.

That means that even a relatively quick recovery from the pandemic could leave economic scars across the country.

50 states, 50 lives

To tell the story of this historic moment, Business Insider collected experiences from people of every state who lost work from the coronavirus pandemic. They said that the country's unemployment insurance system, a historically neglected and underfunded unit, left them unable to get a hold of their benefits and put them further into debt. Americans are struggling to find work because job growth hasn't kept up with the number of jobs lost.

They are also grappling with the reality of the coronavirus. Kimberly Stephens, who lives in California, has to find work while still grieving for the loss of her loved ones. Stephanie Ravion, a 34-year-old mom of four in Arkansas, has an underlying medical condition, and she fears that finding nonremote work could kill her. Elisa Hitchcok cares for her elderly parents in Alaska, and she'd rather remain unemployed than expose her loved ones.

"I have worked hard since I was 16 years old, and it hurts that the government is not here for me when I need it," Tyrone Baker, a 46-year-old auto technician in South Carolina, said.

But the story of coronavirus in the US has also been one of resilience. Laid-off Americans told Business Insider they've tried staying positive as they navigate impossible circumstances.

After getting laid off from his job as a pharmaceutical recruiter in Florida, 31-year-old Artie Dromerhauser has struggled to pay bills and considered asking his family for financial assistance. Yet he's also looking at his situation as a sign he should switch careers and pivot into the entertainment industry. He's already started looking into voice acting.

William Oliver Coursey, 31, lost his job at a YMCA in Delaware. He said the $600 weekly benefits kept the family afloat, but since the state cut them down to $100 a week he's had to dip into his savings account. He's trying to look at the bright side, like his wife's new business idea and having the chance to spend more time with his kids.

"Having my wife and kids here, not treating me any different, not treating me like I lost my job, it's a great feeling," Coursey said. "They're the only reasons why I stayed sane, because if it wasn't for them I would have blamed myself."

Click through the grid below to see what living through labor loss looks like state to state.

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Teach For America's congressional internship program is proof that the organization is more interested in prestige than actually helping students

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  • Teach For America is a nonprofit with a mission to "strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence."
  • But instead of focusing on students, Teach for America seems more focused on getting their alumni into the halls of power and building their influence.
  • The perfect example of this is the congressional internship program, which sends TFA teachers to intern with lawmakers who push policies that hurt the very students TFA serves.
  •  Kaila Williams is a freelance writer currently based in Santa Barbara, CA.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Teach for America is a non-profit that works to "confront educational inequity through teaching and at every sector of society to create a country free from injustice." It trains leaders from across the country to serve low-income students in over 50 regions through two years of teaching in a public school. 

However, Teach for America plants itself in predominantly Black and brown communities with the goal of educational equity, without considering other factors that go into ensuring an equitable and excellent education.

A quality education can't be achieved without addressing outside conditions that also need to be fulfilled in order to achieve educational success like healthcare, mental health, and issues rooted in systemic racism and classism. Teach for America is indirectly addressing many of these issues, but not in any systemic and consistent way that is aligned with its mission.

Not only is TFA failing to meet students' needs outside the classroom, but it is also discrediting it's own goal with actions that continuously go against the betterment of the students its corps members serve. 

Partnering with politicians hostile to the mission

The best example of actions that serve corps members rather than students is the Capitol Hill Fellows Program, a year long program that places alumni in full-time, paid congressional staff positions on Capitol Hill. According to Politico, the entire program is funded by Arthur Rock, a venture capitalist in San Francisco who also sits on TFA's board. 

Alumni have been placed with members of Congress such as Sens. Patty Murray, Sherrod Brown, and Michael Bennet, as well as the late Rep. John Lewis. These are all members who traditionally support policies that promote and strengthen education for all students in America, fund healthcare, and fight for equal rights. This placement makes sense. These are members who will fight against discriminatory hair policies in schools, fight for lower interest rates on student loans, and fight for affordable healthcare for underserved Americans.

At the same time, other alumni have been placed with members such as Sens. Ben Sasse, Lamar Alexander, and Tim Scott. These placements are done with a clear break in the divide between the partisan lines. Their stances tend to lean toward anti-immigration, school choice, which opens public schools to private competition, and have a skewed view of the experiences of Black and brown students in America's education system. 

At the 2018 New York Times Higher Ed Leaders Forum, Alexander said, "I would apply the same sort of enthusiasm to underrepresented points of view that colleges have applied to underrepresented students." To be quite frank, I'm not sure what enthusiasm he is referring to as I sit here and scroll through all of the "Black at" accounts on Instagram. Higher ed isn't enthusiastic about underrepresented students, unless it is to their benefit.

What I want to know is why TFA is partnering with people whose ideologies and policies don't support the students their organization serves? Well, it's quite simple. TFA's overall goal isn't to create great teachers, it's a self-identified "leadership development organization." The ultimate focus isn't on the students, but rather on advancing the TFA participants' careers.

It's not about students

The ultimate goal of the TFA system is clear when you go to their website and look up alumni's current work from healthcare to policy to education, and more. To be honest, they've done a great job. Forbes 2017 30 under 30 had 10 Teach for America alumni in the Education and Social Entrepreneurs categories. TFA has weight almost everywhere you turn, regardless of the sector you're in. 

This focus on ingraining the program and TFA alumni in the halls of power also translates to their policy work. On LinkedIn, TFA has multiple staff members who work on government affairs to, "secure bipartisan support in Congress for programs, policies, and federal funding streams that support Teach For America's (TFA) mission." I honestly want to know, do they not understand the needs of the students they serve?

Having a say in legislature and policy is their end goal, and programs like the Capitol Hill Fellows allow for that goal to be reached quickly, cheaply, and with continuity as some alumni go on to stay in politics. According to Forbes, TFA brought in more than $250 million in revenue in 2018, giving them the financial ability to have influence on the Hill and they are utilizing it. 

Partnerships with organizations like the Walton Family Foundation, and even its own political arm, Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE), TFA is indirectly controlling the educational landscape in America with whom it chooses to support and fund. Similar to the Capitol Hill Fellows Program, many of these partnerships are in favor of less progressive education reform, minimally experienced educators, and are affiliated with the movement to privatize education — a potential threat to public education. 

Teach for America is actively engaging with partners who are hurting the students it serves, and they're doing so without remorse. In 2013 Politico published a story about TFA's political rise to power. Co-CEO, Elisa Villanueva was quoted saying: "'We don't have a choice' but to raise up more alumni as leaders, or in 20 years, we'll just wake up and find… we have made only incremental progress. We've got to be aggressive."

If these millionaire partners cared about the education of Black and brown students across America, then I don't think we'd be experiencing the same level of civil unrest we currently are. Part of a teachers job is to ensure that their students feel valued and empowered, and TFA is directing its money in a way that disavows those beliefs. 

Instead of trying to build consensus with politicians who clearly have no interest in the lives of the students that TFA serves, the organization should instead use its resources to invest in those same students. Black America needs inherently white organizations to step up and induce change. TFA is at a crossroads with who it employs and who it serves. It has the ability to impart influence on Capitol Hill that would allow for students' needs to be fulfilled, and would lead to a greater chance of actually achieving an excellent and equal education. 

Here's the deal: TFA does not have to go into schools, many of whom are not in need of teachers, and attempt to teach to Black and brown students for two years in order to have power on Capitol Hill. It does not have to pretend to want to teach and empower the students of America, if the true end goal is to just have a say in policy and legislation. It does need to make it's organization much more transparent for corps members, who like myself, were not aware of this side of the business until I was already embedded in it.

CEO and Co-Founder, Wendy Kopp was right. TFA is not a teaching organization. It's an organization that is hedging its bets by having both sides of the party line covered, regardless of the holistic outcome for its students. If TFA wants to teach students then they need to ensure that their needs are met on the legislative level as well, and if it can't do that then the organization doesn't need to be teaching students.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A developer used a tool from the AI company Elon Musk cofounded to create an app that lets you build websites simply by describing how they work

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Debuild cofounder and CEO Sharif Shameem used GPT-3 to build a program that allows users to build a website just by describing how it works.
  • Debuild cofounder and CEO Sharif Shameem used OpenAI's GPT-3 tool to build a program that allows users to build a website just by describing how it should look like and work.
  • GPT-3 is able to understand both formal and conversational human language, and developers have used it for creative writing, building websites, and more.
  • He wants the tool to allow even non-technical people to design websites, and doesn't think GPT-3's code writing abilities will ever replace humans entirely: "If anything, it will increase the number of programmers in the world."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In July, Debuild cofounder and CEO Sharif Shameem tweeted about a project he created that allowed him to build a website simply by describing its design.  

In the text box, he typed, "the google logo, a search box, and 2 lightgrey buttons that say 'Search Google' and 'I'm Feeling Lucky." The program then generated a virtual copy of the Google homepage.

This program uses GPT-3, a "natural language generation" tool from research lab OpenAI, which was cofounded by Elon Musk. GPT-3 was trained on massive swathes of data and can spit our results that mimic human writing. Developers have used it for creative writing, designing websites, writing business memos, and more. Now, Shameem is using GPT-3 for Debuild, a no-code tool for building web apps just by describing what they look like and how they work.

With this program, the user just needs to type in and describe what the application will look like and how it will work, and the tool will create a website based on those descriptions.

Debuild is still in its early stages with fewer than five employees working on it, but Shameem believes that it can help bring more people into web design. 

"I really want to build a tool that allows nontechnical individuals to build completely functional web applications," Shameem told Business Insider.

Over the years, Shameem built various software projects. When he started experimenting with GPT-3 and GPT-2, GPT-3's predecessor, he thought it was "the most exciting technology I used in my life." 

Shameem used GPT-3 to build Debuild, training it with various other datasets from websites with samples of code like GitHub and Stack Overflow. 

Read more: The AI company Elon Musk cofounded just released a 'groundbreaking' tool that can automatically mimic human writing — here's how stunned developers are experimenting with it so far

So far, Shameen says people seem excited about his program. His tweet went viral, and many people reacted positively. He also tweeted out a form that allows people to sign up to use Debuild.

However, he also says some people expressed concerns that programmers' jobs are at risk of being automated. Shameen disagrees with that notion, as he believes more programmers will be needed to build AI applications.

"If anything, it will increase the number of programmers in the world," Shameem said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

4 emotional mistakes that may be hurting your career, and how to fix them

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A lack of emotional intelligence could be holding you back from excelling at work.
  • Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, mental strength coach, and international bestselling author.
  • When she hosts workshops for executives, Morin says many of them are surprised to realize they have very limited emotional vocabularies. 
  • Expanding your emotional intelligence is key to developing self-awareness and improving how you react to certain situations at work, she explains.
  • Morin says to avoid negotiating when you're sad, accepting new opportunities when you're overly excited, and taking risks when you're embarrassed or angry.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

When I conduct workshops with executives, I give them an exercise: Write down as many feeling words as you can in 30 seconds. When those 30 seconds are over, I ask everyone who is impressed with their list to raise their hands. No one has ever raised their hand.

The average number of feeling words they're able to produce is five.

The vast majority of the audience feels horrified by their inability to name feeling words beyond happy, sad, angry, anxious, and scared. But they quickly gain a sense of relief when they learn that their counterparts (whom they admire and respect) have equally slim emotional vocabularies.

The truth is, despite the fact that we throw around the phrase "emotional intelligence," most of us don't spend much time actually thinking about our emotions and how those emotions affect how we think and how we behave.

If you're like most people, your lack of emotional awareness might be affecting your professional life. Here are four emotional mistakes that could be harming your career:

1. Accepting an opportunity when you're excited

Why it's a bad idea: Researchers have found when you're excited about something, you'll overestimate your chances of success. You'll also underestimate the likelihood that anything will go wrong. This is why really smart people sometimes fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes.

What to do about it: Before signing a contract or agreeing to tackle something new, pause for a bit. Let the excitement wear off a little before making any major decisions.

Write down a list of the potential benefits as well as the risks. Seeing the potential pros and cons in front of you can help you balance your emotions with logic — which is key to making the best choice.

2. Negotiating when you're sad

Why it's a bad idea: Research shows you'll likely settle for a bad deal when you're sad. You might think you can't handle rejection when you're already feeling down. So rather than make a counteroffer or negotiate for what you want, you'll be more likely to agree to something that favors the other side.

What to do about it: If you can delay negotiating until you're feeling better, do it. If you have to negotiate when you're feeling down, write down the deal you hope to reach before you talk to the other party. Remind yourself that your brain may try to convince you to take something less than you're worth, simply because you're feeling bad.

3. Taking risks when you're angry or embarrassed

Why it's a bad idea: Researchers have found that intense emotions, like anger and embarrassment, increase the chances of taking high-risk, low pay-off choices. That's because intense uncomfortable emotions impair your self-regulation skills, making you more likely to be impulsive. It can lead to a vicious cycle — if those risks don't pay off, your uncomfortable emotions are likely to intensify.

What to do about it: When you're upset, engage in an activity that calms you down or lifts you up before diving into self-defeating behavior. Go for a walk to cool off before sending that email or reach out to someone to talk about a mistake you made before quitting a project.

4. Playing it safe when you're anxious

Why it's a bad idea: Studies show we're really bad at compartmentalizing our anxiety. If you're anxious about something in your personal life, there's a good chance it'll spill over into your professional life. For example, if you're worried about a family member's health, you might decline an invitation from your boss to tackle a new venture  — even though your anxiety is completely unrelated to the task you're being presented.  

What to do about it: When you're feeling anxious, name it. Simply putting a name to your emotions can go a long way toward taking the sting out of them. Then, remind yourself why you feel anxious (if you know) and consider whether it has anything to do with the opportunity in front of you. Separating your anxious feelings from the task-at-hand can help you make a more rational decision.

Self-awareness is key to emotional success

Becoming more aware of your emotions is the key to preventing emotional mistakes — and recovering from the ones you've already made. Check in with yourself a few times to see how you're feeling. Labeling that emotion and being aware of how it may affect your decisions can go a long way toward helping you feel and do your best.

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My book club used to meet in person in New York. Now we're scattered across countries and meeting weekly over Zoom — and it's helped keep me grounded.

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Michaela Schwartz's book club at a recent meeting.
  • Michaela Schwartz is a writer/producer living in New York. Originally from Boston, she graduated from Barnard College with a bachelor's degree in Film and Gender Studies.
  • In September 2018, her friend Leah created a small book club for friends in New York.
  • Fast forward to the pandemic: the eight members of book club are scattered around the Americas, and now Zoom in to discuss their picks.
  • And since they no longer have to deal with commuting, the book club now hosts weekly game nights 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In September 2018, my friend Leah founded a book club with a small group of our friends in New York City. We met monthly (give or take a couple of weeks depending on the length of the book), rotating the location of book club and who selected the book. 

Fast forward to summer 2020: Book club is still going strong, with eight members spread across the Americas. Instead of cuddling in an NYC apartment, we meet over Zoom, calling in from Maine, New York, Washington DC, North Carolina, and Peru. The very pure and simple joy of hanging out with friends regularly has really grounded my sense of the passage of time during this s---storm, and I am so grateful for my nerdy group of pals. 

Our first read of quarantine was "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous," by Ocean Vuong, which I purchased online at Bookshop.org. When I posted an Instagram story of all of us on Zoom holding up our copies of the book, Ocean Vuong himself reposted it on his story and added crowns to our heads. That adrenaline rush lasted all the way until the next time we met for game night. 

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A screenshot from Ocean Vuong's Instagram story.

Next was "The Underground Railroad," by Colson Whitehead, read on my Kindle from 2012. Truly could not have made it through the early stages of the pandemic without access to Libby via the New York Public Library. 

We soon realized that without the barrier of having to schlep an hour or more on the subway to each other's apartments, we could hang out more often. Thus began weekly game nights of Codenames and Drawasaurus. If you haven't been playing online games with your friends regularly during this pandemic, I can't recommend it highly enough. Winning a round of Codenames gives me such a dopamine hit that I can actually sleep soundly for a night.

"Good Omens," by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, was sent to me by a fellow bookclubber's mom, along with a handmade mask. I love the United States Postal Service. 

When it was my turn to pick the book, I chose "Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead," by Olga Tokarczuk. According to our meeting minutes from that night, dutifully taken by Secretary Emma (Book Club takes itself very seriously), "The book received ratings between 3.5 and four stars. The narration was well done and interesting. Some thought it would be more of a page turner." 

Not everyone finished "Dune," by Frank Herbert, and that is OK because Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya will be acting out the plot for us shortly. 

I listened to "The Dutch House," by Ann Patchett while farming in Maine. Tom Hanks narrates this audiobook, so even though I hated the book (sorry to Ms. Patchett!), it was nice to spend some time with my friend Tom. 

"In the Dream House," by Carmen Maria Machado has been one of my favorite books we've read in book club thus far. The pure joy of falling in love with a book and discussing it with a group of friends never gets old!

"The Glass Hotel," by Emily St. John Mandel was our most recent pick, and we convened this week to review. The novel was met with mixed reviews, but we all agreed that Ponzi schemes are endlessly fascinating, especially discussed over red wine with friends.

The pandemic has meant more time with book club, even as we've scattered across countries, lost and started jobs, and dealt with the many challenges these last few months have brought into our lives. I know that moving forward, no matter where I end up, I can mark the passage of time and stay sane with a little help from my book club.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The pandemic is the perfect time to cancel student debt

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  • A decent college education shouldn't leave students thousands and thousands of dollars in debt.
  • During the pandemic, millions of people are experiencing financial uncertainty.
  • Now is the time to address the underlying issues that lead to massive student loan debt.
  • J.H. Deakins is a writer from Los Angeles.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Through a plain white envelope, with my name and address printed on its side, sent from my alma mater — instead of getting it onstage at graduation — I was handed my diploma by my mailbox.

As a country, we've been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic. No one is safe from the all-encompassing effects of what is now being called "the new normal." The economy is slipping precipitously into a deeper and deeper abyss. Public institutions, like the one I just graduated from, are facing an existential crisis. I picked a hell of a time to become a writer.

Around four million college students disembarked from the familiarity of school this year. Over the last month and a half, graduates of the class of 2020 transitioned into their working lives in an era of unprecedented uncertainty. Without the commencements, the addresses from look-what-I've-accomplished alumni, or stiff cloth caps and gowns, it's hard to not feel cheated.

I don't want the cheering-up. I don't want the niceties from out-of-touch celebrities who could pay my debt one hundred times over. What I want — along with at least 1.2 million of my cohorts — is a long, serious look at alleviating student debt. All $1.6 trillion of it. Student loan cancellation was at the forefront of the Democratic debates and was a major selling point for several of the key candidates (The eventual nominee, Joe Biden, unfortunately, was not among them).

But facing the uncertainty of economic meltdown, it's time for Biden, Congress, and our incumbent president to take that serious look.

Plans that fall short

As it stands, the two nominees for president have woefully inadequate plans to address the scale of the student debt crisis. Finally, a bipartisan issue both parties have no qualms agreeing on.

Biden's plan makes individuals with an income under $25,000 per year exempt from student loan payments. Regrettably, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics' latest data, the average annual income for Americans ages 20 to 24 (college-aged or immediately post-grad) is roughly $30,000 – that average only increases with age.

For those above the $25,000 threshold, Biden ensures that only 5% of your discretionary income (income minus taxes, housing, food, other essentials) will mandatorily go toward your loans. Keep this up and, Biden promises, after twenty years of consistent payment, the remainder will be forgiven.

Let's do some quick math and find out what that monthly bill will look like. Say you're making $30,000 a year and you live in Cleveland. In Ohio, your average tax rate is around 15.5%. Median monthly rent in Cleveland was about $700 and other essentials add $200 a month to that. After tax, housing, and other essential spending you'd have $14,550 of annual discretionary income or $1,212.50 a month – take five percent of that and you have the lucky number.

The average graduate left college with $37,000 in debt in 2017. With Biden's proposal, Jane Doe, our Ohioan everywoman will be paying about $60 a month for twenty years – nearly fifteen thousand dollars.

In contrast, Mr. Trump's proposal in his 2021 budget increases the monthly rate to 12.5% of discretionary income and creates a fifteen year window for forgiveness. Jane Doe pays $151 a month for fifteen years: $27,281.

That sum comes out of the same pot you use to buy a home, lease a car, or pay an unexpected hospital bill. The save and accumulate American mantra doesn't float.  

I choose my words carefully and say a "long, serious look" as to be realistic, to understand that a Sandersesque broad-stroke cancellation of all debt isn't in the cards yet. But to emphasize also the severity of that load's weight on the 45 million borrowers who share it. With continued inaction, we are consciously hamstringing the financial stability of millions of Americans and leaving them in an economically precarious situation

Fixing the underlying issue

There is no cure-all for $1.6 trillion of student debt. No two politicians will agree, nor two economists, nor two college graduates. I analyzed Biden's and Trump's plans to show where the current, realistic middle-of-the-road policy from each party's leader stands – not, by any means, to endorse either.

But with Biden's more generous proposal or the idea of doing away with the current outstanding debt, there is another issue. A decent college education still shouldn't leave Americans tens of thousands of dollars in debt.

Currently, the most expensive in-state tuition for public universities can climb as high as $90,000 for four years. That's the cost of tuition for tax-paying residents who want to attend their own state school. Make that an Ivy League and that'll set you back two or three times that (maybe more depending on how much you want to get in).

The skyrocketing cost of what is becoming a necessary part of education must be part of any student debt relief plan.

Change to this system comes through understanding the policies our representatives are advocating for and acknowledging steps necessary to bring down the cost of college. Every recent and soon-to-be graduate should remember that there is still so much to be done regarding the cost of college. Arm yourself with the data and vote accordingly. 

The graduating class of 2020 could represent, not only the recovery of a ravaged country, but the renewed urgency of facing existential threats like global pandemic, student debt, or climate change and fighting them preemptively, collectively. We are the future of humanity and the guarantors that those who come after us will be looked after.

We are heading full sail into a tempest of political, economic, and social upheaval, we don't need your streamed sympathy or pity — we need policies to address the problems gripping our society. If anything positive comes from a year like 2020, it will be that the next generation of doctors, lawyers, journalists, etc., are hardened in their resolve to advocate for those policies and face systemic issues head on.

I didn't get to live the vision I had of my graduation. I didn't get to stroll across a stage, for family and friends alike, diploma in hand, waving to professors, making a snarky comment to my dad as we pose for a photograph, etc. Instead I listened to Oprah tell me everything will be O.K., got a pat on the back from Walgreens, and even watched a couple musical performances.

For now, forget the e-ceremonies and televised congratulations. Let the class of 2020 feel cheated. My diploma came alongside a coupon book and a credit card statement. Remember when November comes, vote accordingly.

J.H. Deakins is a freelance journalist and screenwriter from Los Angeles.

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'Fall Guys' is having such a big problem with cheaters it's having to deploy the same anti-cheating tech used by 'Fortnite'

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"Fall Guys" has been a huge success.
  • The creators of "Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout" on Sunday apologized to players for the number of cheaters that have been hacking their way through the game.
  • "Fall Guys" announced it has a new update in the works that incorporates the same anti-cheat software used by "Fortnite."
  • Epic Games, the studio behind "Fortnite," uses two sets of anti-cheat software, one of which it owns and licenses out to other games. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Newcomer battle royale game "Fall Guys" is mimicking "Fortnite" to help weed out cheaters.

"Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout" came out on August 7, and quickly racked up 7 million downloads on PC gaming storefront Steam as well as becoming the most-downloaded game ever on PlayStation's PS Plus service. The game format is a battle royale where groups of 60 people compete together in a virtual obstacle course, each controlling a jellybean-like avatar.

With its meteoric success it appears "Fall Guys" has run into a problem with cheating, with some players finding hacks to make their jellybeans run faster and jump higher.

"We're really sorry about the cheating problem!" the official account for "Fall Guys" tweeted on Sunday, not giving details on how pervasive the problem was in the game.

The tweet promised that the game is strengthening its cheating-detection systems this week.

 

"We also have a BIG update in the next couple of weeks that adds the same anti-cheat used by games such as Fortnite," the account announced.

"Fortnite" uses two sets of anti-cheating software: Easy Anti-Cheat and BattlEye. Epic owns Easy Anti-Cheat after buying the startup behind it in 2018, and licenses the tech out to other games. It's not clear which of these services "Fall Guys" is working into its game.

Since its release in 2017, "Fortnite" has amassed 350 million registered users, and now hosts professional tournaments with prize pools of $30 million. In the first round of its 2019 tournament "Fortnite" banned over 1,000 accounts for cheating.

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A top Trump campaign official mocked Biden for not talking to reporters while visiting his dead family's graves

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Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden leaves St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church after attending Sunday services on September 6, 2020.
  • Francis Brennan, a Trump campaign official, mocked Joe Biden as he visited the graveyard where his son, daughter and first wife are buried. 
  • He tweeted that Biden was "meandering along" instead of talking to reporters during a Sunday morning visit to the St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware. 
  • Critics unanimously condemned the official for posting the tweet, which remains on Brennan's Twitter feed. 
  • The Trump campaign has focused a series of personal — and at times groundless — attacks on Biden, who retains a lead in national polls. 
  • Biden's first wife and infant daughter were killed in a 1973 car accident. His son, Beau, who survived the crash, died of cancer in 2015. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

An official at President Donald Trump's reelection campaign has been roundly criticized for a tweet in which he apparently mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as he visited the graveyard in Delaware where his son, daughter, and first wife are buried. 

In a tweet Sunday from the account of Francis Brennan, the Trump campaign's Director of Strategic Response, said Biden was "meandering along" instead of talking to reporters during a Sunday morning visit to attend mass at the St. Joseph on the Brandywine Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware. 

Biden's first wife, Neilia Biden, and infant daughter Naomi, who died in a 1973 car accident, are buried in the graveyard. 

His son, Beau Biden, who survived the crash, died of cancer in 2015 aged 46, and is also buried in the graveyard. 

In a video of Biden's visit posted by Brennan with the tweet the former vice president can be seen waving to journalists while walking through the cemetery.

The tweet by Brennan, who works in the Trump campaign "war room" devising viral attacks on Biden, echoes Republican claims that Biden avoids engaging with the media.

On Twitter, critics said Brennan's remarks were appallingly insensitive, and called on him to apologize. 

"Like the next President @JoeBiden, I understand what it's like to go to a cemetery to visit your child. I actually do meander and focus on my personal grief and my daughter," tweeted campaigner Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was killed in the 2018 Parkland High School shootings.

"What sub human life form are you that you would tweet this & think it was a good idea?"

The  Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the criticism, or to a question about why the tweet remains on Brenan's feed. 

In what is shaping up to be among the most vicious presidential races in recent history, the Trump campaign has focused much of its output on smearing Biden's character, and questioning his health. 

The campaign has questioned Biden as in cognitive decline, homing in on his occasional verbal gaffes. In May, Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr, shared an Instagram meme baselessly alleging that Biden is a "pedophile." 

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Brennan's tweet. 

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Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway cuts Wells Fargo stake to 17-year low

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Warren Buffett
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett speaks at an event called, 'Detroit Homecoming' September 18, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.

  • Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has cut its Wells Fargo stake to its smallest size in 17 years.
  • The billionaire investor's conglomerate said on Friday that it owns 3.3% of the company, its slimmest ownership position since 2003.
  • Berkshire owned 13.3% of the bank in 1994, and held more than 500 million shares worth more than $27 billion in 2016.
  • Buffett's company now holds fewer than 140 million shares, worth about $3.4 billion as of Friday's close.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has slashed its Wells Fargo stake to its lowest level in 17 years.

The famed investor's company revealed on Friday that it has cut its holdings to 136 million shares, representing 3.3% of the outstanding shares in America's third-largest bank. The last time it owned a percentage stake that small was 2003, according to Buffett's shareholder letter that year.

Read More: Bank of America lays out the under-the-radar indicators showing that huge swaths of the stock market are 'running on fumes' — and warns a September meltdown may just be getting started

Berkshire has been a Wells Fargo shareholder for more than 30 years, counting the bank among its five biggest holdings for most of that time. It paid less than $290 million between 1989 and 1990 to establish a 9.7% stake in the bank, which it grew as high as 13.3% in 1994.

The position peaked in value at over $27 billion in 2016, when Berkshire owned more than 500 million shares, giving it a 10% stake in the bank at the time.

Berkshire steadily trimmed its Wells Fargo holdings over the next three years, then slashed them by more than 60% this year. Its remaining shares were worth about $3.4 billion as of Friday's close, reflecting Berkshire's reduced stake and the 54% slump in the bank's stock price this year.

Buffett may be cutting his exposure to Wells Fargo because of the reputational damage caused by its fake-accounts scandal and the lending limits imposed on it by federal regulators in 2018, David Kass, a finance professor at the University of Maryland, told Business Insider last month.

Read More: 'Never been so extreme': A renowned stock bear says today's 'hypervalued' market implies the worst market returns in history — and expects a 66% crash from today's levels

The billionaire investor may also be bearish on the bank's medium-term prospects. The coronavirus pandemic continues to hammer the US economy, spurring the Federal Reserve to signal it will keep interest rates close to zero for a while.

Wells Fargo has also followed its peers in setting aside funds to cover a likely surge in loan defaults. The bank took a $13.5 billion credit-loss provision in the first half of this year, fueling a net loss of $2.4 billion — a sharp swing from $12.1 billion in net income for the first six months of 2019.

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Technology companies are pushed for greater accountability, while health wearables boom and 5G goes mainstream

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A girl is holding a smartphone in her hands, which shows a video on the TikTok app. (posed scene)
TikTok has emerged as a powerful — and polarizing — social platform
  • Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple faced the U.S. Congress in a landmark antitrust hearing, capping off a year that saw new calls for accountability for market share and misinformation.
  • Privacy is also a growing concern for consumers, as demonstrated by the success of encrypted apps such as Signal. 
  • Meanwhile, tech innovation continues, as 5G emerges in increasingly accessible packages for consumers,  and health wearables have a moment. 
  • 100 People Transforming Business is an annual list and series highlighting those across industries who are changing the way the world does business. Check out the full list for 2020.

Technology and change often go hand in hand, but 2020 has marked a period of transition unlike any other. A pandemic upended daily life, increasing our reliance on technology and prompting long-lasting changes that will influence how we work and communicate.

COVID-19 is only one piece of how the tech landscape is changing. A bigger demand for privacy and the growing influence of politics and social issues on the apps and services we use are coming to define the industry. It all comes as tech companies are discovering new applications for smartphones and gadgets like wearable devices as Silicon Valley races to build the next evolution of the personal computer.

This has been a landmark year for accountability across Silicon Valley that will set the tone for where the tech industry is headed. That was on full display in July as tech CEOs from Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook were challenged by Congress on their size and scope in a landmark antitrust hearing.

But antitrust concerns are only one way the role of big tech in our everyday lives has been called into question. Privacy has become a dominant part of the conversation about tech, especially as more people have started using Zoom and other digital tools for sensitive conversations.

Pressures to ensure privacy, and accountability

Evan Greer, deputy director of advocacy group Fight for the Future, has been instrumental in drawing attention to privacy threats stemming from tech. The group pressured Zoom to make end-to-end encryption free for its calls and pushed for stronger privacy protections in COVID-19 tracing technology.

Privacy has also become a bigger priority when it comes to the apps that everyday consumers use to communicate, as evidenced by the rising popularity of Signal. The encrypted messaging app became the eighth most downloaded social-networking app for iPhone users in June, as protests against police brutality swept the US.

"It's important to realize that real change happens in private," Signal founder Moxie Marlinspike told Business Insider's Aaron Holmes. "If you don't have any truly private spaces left, I think you're sacrificing a lot."

Politics and social-justice issues are holding a greater influence on technology than ever before, and look no further than President Trump's executive order against TikTok as evidence of this. The president issued the order in early August over concerns that the app's Chinese ownership deems it a national-security threat. Microsoft and Walmart are teaming up in a bid to buy the video app to assuage such concerns, and enterprise giant Oracle is said to have expressed interest in acquiring TikTok as well.

The ways in which politics and social justice are shaping social media also became evident on Twitter and Facebook in recent months. Backlash erupted after Facebook chose to not remove a post by Trump that said "when the looting starts the shooting starts," threatening violence against protesters after the police killing of George Floyd. Twitter, on the other hand, hid the post behind a warning label, reigniting the debate about how social-media giants should approach content moderation.

Wearables, and the future of 5G

At the same time, the pandemic has pushed tech companies to innovate. Health, for example, has always been a core focus of wearable devices like the Apple Watch and Fitbit. But the pandemic has sparked interest in exploring how these devices could be used to detect illnesses early.

Oura, a health-monitoring ring worn by Jack Dorsey and Prince Harry, has lent its devices to studies researching whether wearables could be used to detect COVID-19 symptoms. Most notably, the NBA ordered 2,000 of Oura's $300 smart rings to help players and staff keep closer tabs on their health as they finished the season inside the bubble.

Oura Health CEO Harpreet Rai says he sees devices like his company's smart ring as being useful for helping us understand when it may be time to visit the doctor, even if no symptoms are present.

"If you compare it to a car, we wait until the engine is broken, and it's on the shop to figure out if something needs to be fixed," Rai said. "What if our bodies could be understood like the dashboard of a car? I think that's the way that these consumer devices will blend into working with the healthcare system."

Health tracking isn't the only way personal tech gadgets are becoming more advanced. After years of hype, 5G is poised to finally start becoming a reality as carriers build out their networks and more phones support the technology.

But you won't have to break the bank to get a phone with the latest 5G tech. Many companies like Google and Samsung have been building compatibility into their less expensive devices as well.

You can thank OnePlus for starting that trend. The Chinese tech company has been challenging Apple's and Samsung's dominance of the industry for years by launching well-received yet inexpensive smartphones. That still holds true even when it comes to 5G, which industry experts believe will power a range of connected devices beyond smartphones such as smart glasses.

Between the emergence of 5G and new health-monitoring wearables, it's clear that technology is going to become only more pervasive in our lives. But what's also become certain is that heightened scrutiny will accompany such advancements.

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Digital platforms, private markets, and ESGs — the future of investing is already here

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FILE PHOTO: Traders wearing masks work, on the first day of in person trading since the closure during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files
New York Stock Exchange opens during COVID-19.
  • The S&P was set to have its best year since 2013, led by mega-cap tech, and then came the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Even with the global market disruption, key trends remain strong —  the increased populartiy of digital-investing platforms,  focus on private markets, and burgeoning interest in ESGs.
  • Millennial and Gen Z day-traders were already a growing presence before the pandemic, and have widened the universe of investors considerably.
  • 100 People Transforming Business is an annual list and series highlighting people across industries who are changing the way the world does business. Check out the full list for 2020.

2020 started innocently enough on the investing front.

The S&P 500 was fresh off its best year since 2013, led by the usual suspects in mega-cap tech. Digital investing platforms swelled in popularity, private markets started attracting major attention, and ESG looked like the next big thing.

Then a global pandemic struck, upending the global economy and throwing every conceivable market dynamic out of whack.

Fortunately for those who went all-in on the trends outlined above, they're still very much driving forces of the future of investing. They may look slightly different in a post-coronavirus landscape — as does nearly everything — but the same underlying themes and motivations persist.

Transformations in retail investing

Perhaps the biggest transformation has taken place on the retail-investing front. While millennial and Gen Z day traders were already making their presence felt before the virus outbreak, the scope of their activity, and its ability to move stocks and markets, has widened considerably.

That plays right into the hands of Jaime Rogozinski. He's the founder of WallStreetBets, an irreverent online forum where traders swap strategies, tips, success stories, and dismal failures. Rogozinski said the subreddit has doubled since 2012, and its public profile has never been higher.

It's also reshaped the order of things for Anthony Denier, the CEO of WeBull. As its market-leading competitor Robinhood has drawn scrutiny for supposedly gamifying investing, his platform offers educational resources and targets a more advanced audience. His efforts are part of an ongoing battle among trading platforms as they all vie for the attention of the next generation.

"We will go after the Robinhood demographic," Denier said. "We will go after the robo-adviser demographic. And we also want to go after the advanced trader demographic."

Private markets and ETFs

When it comes to maximizing returns, investors were increasingly looking to the private market ahead of the pandemic. The shift was in response to diminishing yields in other asset classes. And while stocks have certainly surged from multiyear lows reached in late March, the private market remains hot.

Fran Kinniry is helping to spearhead that, as head of portfolio construction for the Vanguard Investment Strategy Group. His goal is to not only encourage private-market participation but to make it available to everyday investors.

 "We see a very strong investment case," he said. "However, that investment case, being very strong, has been limited to the top wealth pools."

On the subject of ETFs — which have been among the world's fastest-growing products for years — the space is crowded with a wide range of offerings. So providers are having to get creative.

That outside-the-box thinking is exemplified by Precidian Investments, which is planning to launch an ETF that's traded actively like a mutual fund, but doesn't require daily disclosures. It's already won some business on Wall Street, with Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, JPMorgan, and Fidelity having entered into agreements.

Social responsibility investing 

And then there's environmentally conscious and sustainable investing, which started the year looking like the next big thing in markets. While the virus outbreak has drawn some attention away, it's still a thriving area into which resources are being poured.

But while billions of dollars flow into environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) funds and strategies, an important question remains. What qualifies a company as ESG-compliant?

That's where Janine Guillot, the CEO of Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), comes in. She essentially acts as a gatekeeper for the venerable ESG identifier, leaning on a set of evidence-based, market-informed, and proprietary standards.

"We really think that SASB is a tool for making better capital-allocation decisions by understanding the connection between sustainability and financial performance," she said. "I think this is a structural shift in how investors look at companies."

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The quest for a vaccine is pushing healthcare innovation to its limits, while telemedicine could be here to stay

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Moderna vaccine
Scientist Xinhua Yan works in the lab at Moderna in Cambridge, MA on Feb. 28, 2020.
  • Insider identified healthcare leaders changing the business across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. stood out despite, or because of, the coronavirus pandemic.
  • During the pandemic there has been extensive focus on research and drug development. But telemedicine and other innovations have also been at the forefront. 
  • The surge of interest in healthcare hasn't obscured issues facing healthcare globally, however, as big economies grapple with aging populations and rising health costs. 
  • 100 People Transforming Business is an annual list and series highlighting those across industries who are changing the way the world does business. Check out the full list for 2020.

The coronavirus is defining 2020. Our list of healthcare Transformers includes leaders who worked through, around, and against the pandemic.

For most of this year, just everything seems to be defined through the lens of the coronavirus pandemic.

It has plunged the global economy into a recession, took hundreds of thousands of lives, and put plans on hold. It's suspended medical procedures and global efforts to fight other infectious diseases and exposed weaknesses in countries' leadership and public-health systems.

But facing such a crisis also meant that healthcare businesses had an opportunity to meet a huge need, and some have thrived. It's part of what guided our thinking when we created Business Insider's 2020 list of 30 people transforming healthcare in Europe, Asia, and North America. 

The list recognizes that during the pandemic, an intense focus fell on pharmaceutical companies and medical research. Massive sums of money poured into drug companies to help them win the race for coronavirus treatments and vaccines.

The quest for a vaccine 

Among those leading the charge for a vaccine were Sarah Gilbert at Oxford University and Stephane Bancel, Moderna's CEO. Biocon in India pushed forward a treatment for the virus, with CEO Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw at the helm.

Drug companies have been a huge moneymaker at a time when other healthcare businesses suffered. Fast-tracking coronavirus vaccines could also uncover new ways to conduct research and reveal how much the industry can accomplish when it becomes hyper-focused and resourced.

To be sure, our list of Transformers would have looked very different if the pandemic hadn't happened. High-income countries face similar challenges to each other. Their populations are aging, they're strained by rising overall healthcare costs, and they struggle to coordinate medical care for people with chronic conditions.

While those struggles may be obscured by the shadow of the pandemic, they haven't gone away. In fact, they're still going to be problems in the long term. For that reason, our list also showcases leaders who pressed on in their work even as the virus capsized daily life. 

Among them are Onno van de Stolpe, founder and CEO of Galapagos, a Dutch-Belgian biotech company that saw promising results for a rheumatoid arthritis treatment; and Hubert Martens, founder and CEO at Dutch biotech company Sirius Medical, which is working to improve breast cancer surgery.

Some leaders were discovering new ways to deliver care while coming up with solutions to the coronavirus pandemic. As president of health platforms at Alphabet's life sciences arm Verily, Vivian Lee is working with engineers to build products that help people manage type 2 diabetes. She's also overseeing tools that help hospitals give patients coronavirus information and a back-to-work program for employers and colleges. 

"If Covid has done anything, it's really, really emphasized the absolute, essential urgency that we get on to improving our healthcare system and our public health system," Lee told Business Insider.

Though the virus obscured so much, it also put a magnifying glass on long-simmering inequalities. People with good health can more easily survive a coronavirus infection, and people's health is determined not only by their genetics but where and how they live, and how much care they can get.

Some leaders sought to turn that around. Ala Stanford saw that Black communities in America were being hardest hit by the virus. In response, she founded the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to deploy a team of doctors and nurses that conducts free testing in Philadelphia.

New ways to treat patients 

We're still struggling to understand the coronavirus and how to get back to normal. But once we're past the pandemic there will be some parts of healthcare that will never be the same, and maybe some changes will actually improve healthcare.

For instance, with so many people stuck inside, the pandemic propelled doctors to provide care by phone and video, which allowed them to keep delivering care while revolutionizing the way they work with patients. When we spoke with healthcare CEOs earlier this year, they identified the change as a permanent fixture in the healthcare system. 

Some leaders already understood digital health was key to healthcare's future, and the need for their businesses became even more apparent. Liao Jieyuan, CEO of WeDoctor in China, oversees a tool that makes it easier to set up doctor's appointments. 

Kentaro Yoshifuji, founder and CEO of Ory Laboratory in Japan, created a robot that helps fight loneliness for people with disabilities and others who cannot leave their homes. CEO Xavier Palomer oversees Barcelona-based Psious, a company that treats people's stress and anxiety by using virtual reality. 

"Ten years from now I want to be proud of helping millions of people around the world to live happier lives, free from mental health problems," Palomar said on the company's website.

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Traditional oil and electricity companies are making commitments to a greener future, but the industry still has a diversity problem

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BP clean energy
In February, BP's chief executive, Bernard Looney, declared that the oil giant would become a net-zero emissions company by 2020.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the global energy industry, but has done little to thwart the transition to cleaner electricity.
  • Increasing renewable energy adoption requires a massive overhaul of the grid, a task that a handful of new startups are taking on.
  • While the energy transition is moving fast, the industry as a whole faces major challenges related to diversity and inclusion that racial-justice protests have resurfaced.
  • 100 People Transforming Business is an annual list and series highlighting those across industries who are changing the way the world does business. Check out the full list for 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic has created colossal challenges for the energy industry. Hammered by a collapse in oil prices, companies were forced to lay off workers, ax their prized dividends, and shrink their budgets.

But the largest trend, which began shaping the industry long before the virus took root, remains intact. Energy companies are getting cleaner, as are the vehicles we drive.

Oil companies built on the exploration and extraction of fossil fuels, such as Shell and BP, are now reimagining themselves as integrated energy companies. Meanwhile, young startups continue to churn out new solutions to the remaining barriers to wide-scale adoption of clean energy, like long-duration batteries.

The pandemic has also given grid digitization and intelligence, another long-term trend, a boost. The virus, which made utility workers and electricity consumers work from home, has underscored the need for automation and reliable energy.

Amid these transformations, the industry has been grappling with its diversity problem, following global racial-justice protests this spring and summer.

In the face of cheap oil, clean energy advances

The coronavirus pandemic has cratered demand for fuels like gasoline, causing the price of oil to fall by as much as 70% by April. Some experts and analysts worried it would slow the industry's transition to cleaner energy.

Big oil companies like Shell and Total — among the top investors in low-carbon technologies — were forced to slash their budgets by billions. Plus, almost overnight, owning a gas-guzzling car was cheap, as fuel at the pump sank to under $2 a gallon in the US.

Yet as we've learned from our reporting, the pandemic and cheap oil have, if anything, accelerated the clean-energy transition. Oil giants have doubled down on their climate-change commitments, while several corporations and investment firms have announced new climate-tech funds.

The coronavirus is making people realize "how unprepared we're going to be for the rapidness of climate change if we don't act sooner," said Emily Reichert, the CEO of Greentown Labs, the largest clean-tech incubator in North America.

In fact, investment in clean tech surged in the first six months of this year relative to the same period last year.

"I'm more bullish than ever," Jigar Shah, the CEO and founder of the investment firm Generate Capital, said about clean energy. "We're going to have 10% unemployment rates for a long time. The only way to solve that problem is to have real fiscal stimulus from the government to fix it. The only thing that everyone knows how to fix is climate change."

The transport sector, on the other hand, was ravaged by the virus, but electric cars have fared better than combustion vehicles, said Denise Gray, who runs battery giant LG Chem's North American operations.

"We're still in that growth period," she said.

Electricity providers get a digital makeover

The energy transition isn't just about building more solar and wind farms and buying electric cars. It requires a makeover of the electric grid.

You can think of the grid as a highly complex network of various energy resources — such as plugged-in EVs, home batteries, rooftop solar panels, or utility-scale power plants.

Those resources are growing in step with the energy transition, and they need to be managed, especially considering the intermittency of renewable power. If wind turbines aren't spinning, the nearby community needs to draw energy from a different resource. 

That's where a new batch of smart-grid startups like AutoGrid and Opus One comes in. They run software to make sure the grid is balanced and enable creative solutions to meet energy demand with clean electricity.

AutoGrid, for example, partners with Sunrun to aggregate batteries among the solar giant's customers to create a "virtual power plant" that kicks in when power demand is surging. 

The energy industry still has a diversity problem

Large energy companies were among the corporations that publicly condemned racism after the police killing of George Floyd in May, but the industry faces steeper challenges than other sectors.

About 8% of the workforce is Black, according to a recent report by the nonprofit Energy Futures Initiative, while women make up between 23% and 32%.

"We're at the bottom," said Lee Jourdan, the chief diversity officer at Chevron, about the industry.

There's also an important history to consider: Pollution from the oil and gas industry has disproportionately affected Black Americans.

But some leaders in the energy industry are making progress, even if they aren't planning a move out of fossil-fuels anytime soon. Jourdan, for example, said he helped Chevron become the first oil giant to publish data on the racial breakdown of its workforce and has pioneered a handful of other diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives at the company.

"I tip my hat off to those individuals that are championing D&I internally because it's an uphill climb for a lot of organizations," said Dennis Kennedy, who heads up the National Diversity Council. "We have an opportunity today."

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Every aspect of supply chain and transportation is undergoing transformation, and the pandemic has only accelerated it

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FILE PHOTO: Amazon.com trucks are seen at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island in New York City, New York, U.S., March 30, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo
Amazon.com trucks are seen at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island in New York City.
  • Every aspect of transportation and supply chain has been rapidly transforming over the past five years — including trucking, delivery, and automotive — a scale and pace of change that has never been seen before.
  • The pandemic upended the global supply chain, and the consequences of the disruption are still reverberating around the world. 
  • The next frontier is space, as affirmed by the successful SpaceX mission to the International Space Station.
  • 100 People Transforming Business is an annual list and series highlighting those across industries who are changing the way the world does business. Check out the full list for 2020.

In 2014, when General Motors CEO Mary Barra became the first woman to lead a major automaker, she said she expected the industry to change more in the next five years than it had in the previous 50.

If anything, she underestimated the pace of the transformation, which has now gone far beyond the car business to encompass trucking, logistics, shipping, aviation, rail, goods delivery, big data, manufacturing, and the final frontier, as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin have ushered in the age of private rocketry.

"We are a species that lives in the Space Age, but on a day-to-day basis, most people are unconnected with that," Julia Hunter, senior vice president at Virgin Galactic, said. "Getting a large enough group of people off-world to see the world with their own eyes, and experiencing it, is what the human race needs."

When you survey the transportation landscape — and skyscape, and seascape, and new virtual scapes where automobiles can talk to each other while driving themselves — it's nearly impossible to find a business that isn't being challenged or new technology that isn't coming online. Bicycles have gone electric in a big way. Scooters are a common, if controversial, sight in cities large and small. Ride-hailing startups such as Uber and Lyft have undermined the longstanding taxi monopolies — whether they've replaced them with something better is debatable — and government regulators are struggling to keep up.

Supply chain faces coronavirus disruption 

The coronavirus pandemic has added a new level of complexity and a new shade of unpredictability to these swiftly moving developments. Business has never been better for Amazon — thanks to consumers who can't leave their houses — but the challenges are tougher. 

"I am spending more time anticipating where new issues may surface, and trying to get ahead of them to the extent possible to ensure we continue to support our employees and customers," said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon's VP of global customer fulfillment.

The entire global auto industry, first in China, then in Europe and North America, shut down for more than a month earlier this year. Carmakers and dealers scrambled to find new ways to reach customers and sell vehicles. So-called touchless deliveries and online purchasing, formerly a fringe idea, became mainstream.

In an age of just-in-time manufacturing, the global supply chain endured unprecedented stress. Chinese factories couldn't make parts destined for US and European plants. Critical medical supplies were rapidly exhausted in the US, leading to calls to bring outsourced manufacturing back home. The aviation industry, dominated by the Boeing-Airbus duopoly, experienced a collapse of demand as airlines grounded flights and begged for government bailouts to avoid bankruptcies.

Before COVID-19, moving people and stuff around a crowded planet had never been easier. After, the entire system revealed the network was exceptionally fragile, elaborately interdependent, entirely multinational, often heavily indebted, and in need of near-constant supervision.

Cars might have been learning to drive themselves, thanks to the efforts of Alphabet's Waymo and GM-affiliated Cruise, but global transportation showed that not everything can operate on autopilot. The ongoing crisis has shocked the system, but it has also presented an opportunity to build in better resistance to catastrophes. And that has to happen in several dimensions, in the physical environment but also on the financial and technological planes.

The process, to put it mildly, could be the most difficult since the resuscitation of the world economy after World War II. And for well-known giants, what lies ahead could be daunting.

"I'm not in favor of gargantuan businesses," Hannah Kain, CEO of supply-chain specialist Alom Technologies, said. "They're going to suffer from not being able to adjust to a new reality."

Disruption and innovation at massive scale 

Amid the tragic chaos came some triumphs. SpaceX returned the US to crewed space flight with a capsule launched from American soil, sending astronauts to the International Space Station and safely returning them home. CEO Elon Musk's other company, Tesla, surpassed every other automaker to become the world's most valuable, a vindication of an electric future.

Trucking, with its hundreds of thousands of small owner-operators in the US, continues to be disproportionately exposed to economic fluctuations, in a near-permanent state of recession. At the same time, freight transport — on the road, in the skies, on the seas — became more important as consumers insisted on rapid deliveries to their homes. Several startups, as well as Waymo and Tesla, proposed to take truckers out of the equation altogether, creating robot drivers who could pilot trains of tractor-trailers across the highways.

The sheer amount of money at stake is staggering. The auto industry is worth at least $2 trillion; it could nearly quintuple by 2030, according to Statista. In the US, the Department of Transportation calculated that in 2018, transportation contributed 9% to a total GDP of more than $20 trillion. Cruise CEO Dan Ammann estimates autonomous ride-hailing services could address an $8 trillion market. With a pandemic-spurred surge in online shopping, Amazon expects to increase its physical footprint by half in 2020. Morgan Stanley has pegged the nascent space industry at $1 trillion.

It's exceptionally rare for so much money to be subjected to so much prospective disruption to business as usual, in so many different industries at the same time. Some observers might characterize the transformation underway as unprecedented. After all, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, automobiles were mainly displacing horses, a form of mobility that had endured for millennia. A hundred years later, and every advanced transportation technology from the 20th century is being rethought, dismantled, reinvented, and revalued.

The entrepreneurial appetite for innovation is ravenous, but of course, funding change at scale in 2020 is drastically more expensive than it was in 1900. Ultimately, it could be impossible for private enterprise to fund everything that's already happening, much less what needs to happen to deal with looming threats, especially global warming.

Citizens will have to be involved, as critical stakeholders. And the way they approach an uncertain future could be the most significant disruption of all.

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