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'Digital transformation' took on a whole new meaning when entire companies started working from home

NMAfA Staff Zoom Meeting
Office life in 2020, as represented by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art staff.
  • Digital transformation has long been the goal for companies wanting to stay competitive, particularly as applications of artificial intelligence (AI) have proliferated. 
  • Enterprise technology entered a whole new phase unexpectedly with the global pandemic, leading to a proliferation of working-from-home solutions.
  • AI continues to underpin enterprise technology transformation, in everything from semiconductors to collaboration tools. 
  • 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.

For years digital transformation has been one of the most consistent themes of enterprise tech, as companies across every industry begin the long slog toward modernizing their IT and their businesses.

When the coronavirus crisis upended the world, that plodding transition revved to warp speed. Companies that barely had an online presence had to shift their operations online nearly overnight.

"We will see five years of growth during 2020," says Diya Jolly, chief product officer of identity-management company Okta, and one of Business Insider's people transforming the enterprise technology business in 2020.

The enterprise tech trends of 2020 may be similar to what they've been for years, but now they're progressing much faster than anyone could have predicted. With companies forced to adapt to widespread remote work and closed storefronts, there's enormous movement toward cloud computing, digital-collaboration software, and relying on big data and artificial intelligence to shape business decisions.

This year's enterprise tech transformers list celebrates the people leading the charge in these areas. As other industries have suffered from widespread layoffs and lost business, enterprise tech companies have, by and large, thrived. 

Enabling the new workplace — anywhere you are

Three startups led by execs featured on this list, Figma, Notion, and Canva, managed to raise hundreds of millions in fresh funding at multibillion-dollar valuations during the height of the crisis. Unsurprisingly, all three sell tools that help customers keep their employees productive even when everyone's working remotely. 

Videoconferencing platform Zoom became a lifeline for corporate workers and regular consumers alike, and, as employees suddenly have less oversight than, cybersecurity firms like Okta, Cloudflare, and Red Points have never been more critical to helping companies protect sensitive data and keep their sites running.

"The true heroes are the first responders of medicine, but the internet may be a trusty sidekick," Cloudflare COO and cofounder Michelle Zatlyn said. "If that's where we can help, we're on it."

But this year's list isn't all about software. The Asia and Europe lists focus on hardware, including a slew of companies focused on semiconductors — such as Graphcore, ASML, and Arm — that all had banner years. 

While each has its specialty, there's one current that runs through them: They're working on technology that's tailor-made for artificial-intelligence applications. A host of companies on this list will benefit from their eventual improvements as well. AI is one of the No. 1 priorities for startups like Celonis and tech giants like Amazon alike.

The pandemic has fueled an entirely new enterprise-tech category: Microsoft and Salesforce have both launched a suite of tools to help businesses return to the office. As Salesforce COO Bret Taylor explains it, the company endeavored to "help every community and every business reopen safely."

In the same way that Taylor sees Salesforce being in a position to help mold this "all-digital, work anywhere economy," all the people on this list are at the forefront of that sea change and have the opportunity to radically reimagine what the future of work could look like. 

As the pandemic has proved that companies don't necessarily need their employees to commute into a physical office, the idea of a hybrid workforce has gained steam, bringing increased demand for all the many tools that make it possible.

Activism and tech purpose

But the paradigm shifters on this list are doing more than just rethinking business tools. One of this year's Transformers, Jacinta Gonzalez, of the immigrant-rights organization Mijente, says that even in the pandemic, tech workers have sustained a level of political activism and willingness to stand up for their beliefs that gives her hope for a more self-aware Silicon Valley and tech industry.

"We are at a critical time where people are asking a lot of questions around how tech is being used," she said.

While more scrutiny of powerful tech platforms won't bring anyone gobs of revenue in the same way that new cloud software may, the societal ripples could be the most transformative change of all.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Evolutions in payments systems, and the structure of banking itself, have fueled transformation in finance

Gojek drivers pass on the road in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, June 6, 2020. Gojek as an application-based transportation startup from Indonesia, and the most innovative technology company in the world, receives investment assistance from Facebook, PayPal, Google and Tencent. According to a regulatory filing, Facebook now owns a 2.4 percent stake in GojekÕs GoPay fintech arm, while PayPal owns 0.6 percent of GoPay.
Gojek drivers pass on the road in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Gojek as an app-based transportation startup. PayPal is an investor in GoPay, GoJek's fintech arm.
  • Financial services are in a dynamic period of transformation, due in large part to innovations in the digital payments sector.
  • The continued push to digital banking has accelerated change at companies like Goldman Sachs, even as structural challenges remain. 
  • Meanwhile, banks are still figuring out how to keep workers and customers safe in reopening phases of the global pandemic. 
  • 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.

2020 has been a year full of upheaval and new opportunities for financial services. During the peak of the pandemic, we heard from executives at financial firms around the world about how lessons learned locally could help different offices prepare for the spread of the virus. For Wall Street traders, that took the form of understanding how market volatility and remote work affected activities in areas first hit by the pandemic's spread and applying those lessons in other offices.

The same dynamic is likely to prove critical as the world looks to move past the pandemic. The earliest regions to return to some semblance of normality will have lessons to pass on to executives in other offices. 

Regions that have been leaders in financial-industry transformation are now set to reap the rewards, but will also serve as key benchmarks for how things could play out for younger companies — and how incumbents can jump on the bandwagon. 

Ant Group is gearing up for what could reportedly be the biggest initial public offering ever and has revealed its built a highly profitable company along the way. The planned IPO looks set to make Ant Group the world's most valuable fintech.

Mastercard, under the leadership of Mastercard's Asia Pacific copresident Ari Sarker, has been embracing partnerships with fintechs to help them build out their offerings with a program launched in Asia at the end of 2019. 

A payments revolution

The payments space, particularly the intersection of payments tech and e-commerce, has been red hot in 2020.

That comes as consumers had to quickly rewire their day-to-day shopping habits. And huge waves of unemployment also meant that buy now, pay later options that help people spread big purchases out in installment payments enjoyed a surge.

You'll hear from PayPal's chief product officer, Mark Britto, who helped oversee the launch of new products for the company like QR codes to pay and spearheaded PayPal's facilitation of PPP loans for small businesses.

PayPal is also at a key point in its history that ensures more transformation to come. It's been an independent company for five years since it was spun off from eBay, which had acquired the company in 2002. With the recent expiration of that agreement, PayPal is now eyeing growth through partnerships with global e-commerce platforms like Alibaba and Shopify. And last December, PayPal acquired Chinese payments platform GoPay, making it the first foreign player with a license to provide digital payments in China. (You'll learn more about GoPay's CEO on our Transformers list.) 

When it comes to "buy now, pay later," the transformation is not just about customer convenience; it's also about how merchants think about marketing and selling their products in a digital world. Startups like Klarna boast that having a buy now, pay later option helps boost cart-conversion rates — the percentage of stuff you put in your online shopping cart that translates into an actual purchase — as well as average value per order.

Klarna's CEO told Business Insider in April that the Sweden-based fintech was seeing a surge in merchant interest in the startup's platform, given a new focus on online shopping. And in June, Klarna became the first buy now, pay later startup to launch a loyalty program.

And many of the "buy now, pay later" players say that they drive sales for merchants not only at checkout but on their own websites. Their store directories, which list all the retailers that accept the buy now, pay later option, is a key way the startup funnels shoppers to its merchant partners.

Digital banks and structures of innovation 

A push toward digital banking has only accelerated in recent months. Fintechs who were quick to lean into new shopping and banking habits that were forced by stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements suddenly saw a huge opportunity set.

London-based challenger bank Starling Bank said in early August that it had gained half a million customers in the past eight months and was expecting to break even by the end of 2020 — even as a drop in overall consumer spending has weighed on interchange fees, a key revenue driver for many fintechs.

"During lockdown, people needed a full-service bank, not just a prepaid card, and we are ideal for businesses who couldn't get to the high street. They wanted a full replacement, not just an additional service," Starling Bank CEO Anne Boden told Business Insider in August. 

Goldman Sachs has been carrying out its own transformation over recent years to embrace digital consumer banking. Carey Halio is the CEO of Goldman Sachs' banking subsidiary, a fledgling unit inside the 150-year old firm that's played a hand in creating some of the bank's most innovative products. The Apple Card, Goldman's Marcus digital bank, and a partnership with JetBlue on buy now, pay later, all showcase the bank's massive transformation.

Halio took the CEO's job two years ago after four years as CFO, and has been a key source of institutional knowledge for the firm's recent efforts. She was a member of a credit team overseeing the firm's relationship with clients like Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual in 2008. And when Goldman converted itself into a bank holding company over a frantic weekend that year, she was one of the few who knew what a commercial bank did.

And even more transformation may be in store behind the scenes at Goldman, showing how a shift in the consumer-facing side can drive changes down the line at the bank more broadly. Halio is now focused on helping Goldman transform in ways that may not capture headlines but are no less important, such as operational and structural improvements. She declined to offer specifics but suggested that more activities will eventually be housed in her subsidiary.

"How you're organized matters," Halio told Business Insider. "The bank can only use the deposits to fund the stuff in the bank, right? So our organizational structure doesn't really match with our bank transformation. So we're really thinking long and hard about that."

The intersection of structure and function can also be seen playing out at UBS. 

UBS Investment Bank's COO told Business Insider late last year that the bank spent 2019 transforming the way it organizes teams to foster more collaboration and efficiency when developing and updating tech. 

The bank had created over 200 small multidisciplinary teams — "hybrid pods" — that encompass 1,300 employees spread across the bank focusing on specific goals. People from technology and operations teams work directly with those on the business side. 

"Our hybrid pods have proven during the recent pandemic that the model is working well," said Zoë Evans, head of investment bank technology and Head of UK Technology, UBS. "[They] were formed to build solutions for traders to work from home, delivering a solution within days."

One theme that came up in talking with many of these transformers — even those at incumbent firms — is the need to move fast and respond quickly. And with big opportunities and high expectations, people driving transformations like digital banking and rethinking consumer lending have the opportunity to prove their theses in the coming months.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Brick-and-mortar retail was already roiling pre-pandemic. Now brand transformation is the key to survival

The entrance to Sephora at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Companies like Sephora have worked with Pittman Claytor to understand systemic racism in retail.
  • Even before the pandemic, brick-and-mortar stores were struggling as more consumers shopped online, and looked or socially-minded alternatives to longstanding brands.
  • The pandemic has accelerated retail ingenuity and changed the "store" experience across the board.
  • Restaurants have had to transform as well, providing take-out services at an unprecedented scale. That's led to new tech solutions.
  • 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.


Everything happening to the retail industry today — the decline of brick-and-mortar stores, the rise of ecommerce, and more socially-minded marketing — was expected. Analysts and executives were just off by a decade. The physical stores have closed, many permanently. Consumers now expect more from companies, and their demands are amplified by social media and magnified by a feeling of unrest.

The pandemic and the racial reckoning that coincided with it changed the timetable, but the most successful people in retail were already looking far beyond the next decade.

The retail experience

Take Cassi Pittman Claytor, a sociologist who's made research on retail racism her life's work. Her work has never been so in demand. Companies looking to prevent racist incidents, or to perform much-needed PR after one, go to Pittman Claytor for help.

For clients such as Sephora, Pittman Claytor's research team created models that demonstrate how racism interferes in each step of the customer's journey, from the moment a consumer realizes they have a need to the moment they make that purchase. Her research brings retailers' attention to the fact that when a person of color feels uncomfortable and unwelcomed in a store, it can lead to backlash on social media, even a boycott. At a minimum, the experience can create a loss in sales and trust.

People such as Pittman Claytor are helping transform the retail store experience into a more equitable one. But for James Reinhart, Maria Raga, and others in resale space, the goal is to give consumers more control over the store itself. The CEOs of ThreadUp and Depop use technology to help consumers start their own resale business. And business is booming: The industry is projected to reach $64 billion by 2025.

The resale industry ties in nicely to two growing themes among consumers — a need to make money and a desire to be more environmentally conscious. 

"The future is bright for resale, but we're staying heads down to figure out more innovative ways to do good for consumers and for the planet," Reinhart said.

Restaurant resets for the pandemic

Of course consumers want to buy more than recycled clothes online. E-commerce dictates everything from a consumer's next meal to their new outfit.

Nick Kokonas has been focusing on dinner for a while now. He balances his time between his high-end restaurants — including Chicago's Alinea — and his reservation platform Tock. He's always embraced technology as a way to help restaurants profit (Tock pioneered the prepaid restaurant meal), so when the pandemic hit he was more than ready to help restaurants embrace technology.

"We realized that the only option for any type of restaurant, even the fine-dining ones, was carry-out operations," Kokonas said. Tock created the prototype for Tock to Go, which includes carry-out and delivery options, take-home experiences, vouchers for future reservations, and groceries, in just five days.

Amazon for fashion

While consumers aren't dressing up for nights out at high-end restaurants, they're still buying new garb. And they're more likely to do their clothes shopping at the same place they buy everything else, on Amazon, thanks to the company's fashion president Christine Beauchamp.

Although many consumers are opting for comfy clothes, they certainly don't have to be drab. 

Beauchamp has used her years of experience in the fashion industry — at the likes of Ralph Lauren and Victoria's Secret — to evolve Amazon's fashion selection to suit the company's millions of consumers.

And those consumers are loyal. While delivery hiccups and warehouse employees sickened with COVID-19 would put other businesses on the outs with consumers, Amazon consumers stay true.

An analysis from consumer-intelligence firm Resonate, which looked at customers who tend to let their activism drive their shopping decisions, found that these consumers were more likely to be multi-product Amazon customers when compared to the average consumer. Their Amazon habit was viewed as "a necessary evil."

Read the original article on Business Insider

From robots to 3D printing, transformation in manufacturing has lead to efficiencies, and also worries over future employment

A collaborative robot, left, works alongside a manufacturing laborer on a chainsaw assembly line at the Stihl Inc. manufacturing facility, Thursday, May 25, 2017 in Virginia Beach. )
A collaborative robot, left, works alongside a manufacturing laborer on a chainsaw assembly line at the Stihl Inc. manufacturing facility May, 201
  • Robots, 3D printing, and drones are features of the new manufacturing world-order, which even a few years ago seemed experimental.
  • Financing these innovations can sometimes be challenging, however, as margins in manufacturing tend to be thin.
  • Innovation does cause concern over lost employment opportunities. Companies are looking at ways to reskill workers for a more automated future. 
  • 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 manufacturing industry is in the midst of a major shift to adopt next-generation technologies. "Digital twins" of aircraft and other assets enable companies to monitor parts for maintenance well before they break down, saving valuable time and money. Robots now routinely work alongside humans on factory floors handling mundane tasks, like transporting pallets.

Drones will soon start flying around large warehouses to help map out inventory and oversee other operations. And the prototypes organizations use to test out products before moving to large-scale production can now be 3D printed, an advancement that not only speeds the process up but enables more remote operations given that the files can be used anywhere a printer is available.

All this comes as the manufacturing industry in the US erodes. The country has shed hundreds of thousands of factory jobs in the past few years despite the Trump administration's efforts to turn the tide. Alongside renegotiating new trade deals with Mexico, Canada, China, and other countries, President Trump even floated the potential for tax breaks for those who bring jobs to the US from China. 

"It's been frustrating for me to see what's happened in the developed world relative to their manufacturing base," Ellen Kullman, the former CEO of DuPont and current CEO of 3D printing startup Carbon, told Business Insider.

The digital revolution could usher in a new era for manufacturers, one that's not predicated on blue-collar line workers but highly skilled technologists.

But while the sector is eagerly embracing digital tools, it's not at the pace of other industries like finance or retail. For one, margins in manufacturing tend to be much lower, which results in less available funding for tech upgrades.

"We have seen productivity decline in the industrial sector for years," said Colin Paris, chief technology officer at GE Digital. "Unless there's a problem, the finances don't suggest that you will invest the level of money you need to actually do these transformations."

And those financial pressures could be exacerbated as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. With the airline industry in turmoil, for example, fewer aircraft may need to undergo maintenance, and carriers are likely to delay or halt investments in new tech.

Innovation charging ahead

It hasn't stopped the pace of innovation. Startups like Carbon and Fetch Robotics are pioneering the future of the industry. And in some instances, those systems are already well established. Amazon, for example, has been using robots successfully in its warehouse for years.

That's a major change from even just a few years ago when the technology was viewed as transformative but still experimental. Kiva Systems cofounder Raffaello D'Andrea, for example, sold the robotics firm to Amazon in 2012 for $775 million when adoption of the machines was still in its infancy.

"Back then, it was science fiction to think that you could have a thousand mobile robots running around 24-7," he told Business Insider. "Now, of course, people are wanting to leverage it for not just distribution but for manufacturing."

Now D'Andrea is trying to pioneer the use of drones within warehouses with Verity Studios. The company does visual performances for artists like Metallica and Celine Dion and is expanding to work with enterprises.

Training the workforce

But as new technology becomes more ubiquitous among manufacturers, employee advocates worry the push could displace thousands of jobs.

"We have to have a worker voice upstream in the innovation process of a company," said Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer at labor union American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. "Do we want to simply make money or do we want to have a better society? If we want to have a better society then we have to have everyone at the table."

Increasingly, companies are trying to upskill their workers to be able to effectively use advanced tech like artificial intelligence, opening up the opportunity to move low-wage employees to higher-paying positions. Amazon, Microsoft, and others are investing billions of dollars on retraining initiatives.

Others are trying to find ways to skill up employees who may not have four-year college degrees. Toyota also has run an apprenticeship program for decades that allows participants to work while going to school to earn an associate degree.

And the AFL-CIO is one organization trying to push the envelope. It recently renegotiated a labor contract with Marriott to include a notification period for any operational changes that could affect a person's job as well as funding for training workers whose jobs could be displaced by tech.

"We don't bury our head in the sand and say we can't embrace technology," Shuler said. "We have an opportunity to actually be proactive here. If you are going to make those investments, the company must think through carefully how those adjustments are made." 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump's Secretary of Veterans Affairs defended the president's reported insults toward the military, saying it's just 'politics'

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie talks before President Donald Trump arrives to speak about protecting seniors, in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie in the White House in April 2020.
  • Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie defended President Donald Trump after a bombshell report by The Atlantic said he called American World War I dead "losers" and dead Marines "suckers."
  • Wilkie, a Trump appointee, said he did not believe the report and said that Trump had done good work for veterans.
  • When pressed by CNN over Trump reportedly calling Sen. John McCain — a former prisoner of war who died in 2018 — a "loser," Wilkie said his comments were "politics" and "the heat of a campaign."
  • Trump denied The Atlantic's reporting — though some details have been confirmed by other outlets — and said he never called McCain a "loser," though he has previously done so publicly.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie defended President Donald Trump's reported comments about American soliders, claiming that Trump's remarks about prisoners of war were "politics" and made in the "heat of the campaign."

Wilkie was responding to a bombshell article by The Atlantic, which claimed that Trump canceled a 2018 visit to a French cemetery housing fallen American soldiers from World War I to mark the end of the war because he did not believe it was important to go.

The White House blamed bad weather conditions at the time.

Trump claimed that the cemetery was "filled with losers" and separately said on the same trip that the US Marines who lost their lives in the war were "suckers," The Atlantic reported.

According to the report, Trump also called Sen. John McCain — a Republican and a Navy veteran who spent more than five years as a prisoner in Vietnam — a "loser" after his 2018 death, saying: "We're not going to support that loser's funeral."

AP_john mccain funeral
The memorial service for Sen. John McCain in September 2018.

Trump has forcefully denied making the comments, despite other outlets corroborating some details of The Atlantic's report.

Wilkie also defended Trump to CNN, saying he had "absolutely not" heard Trump make disparaging comments about US service members, and that he did not believe Trump made the reported comments about Marines.

"I would be offended too if I thought it was true," he told CNN's Dana Bash.

He said that he supported Trump based on what he has done for veterans: "What I'm looking at is the Donald Trump I know. The Donald Trump who has turned around Veteran Affairs." 

He also dismissed Trump's comments about McCain as just "politics." 

You can watch the interview here:


Wilkie said he "was a friend with John McCain" but understood that Trump's comments are part of "name-calling" coming "from both sides."

Bash then said that Trump's comments insulted all prisoners of war, and asked: "Is that acceptable?" 

Wilkie responded: "Well, it's politics. It's the heat of a campaign," without specifying what campaign he was talking about.

"I judge a man by his actions," Wilkie said, adding that McCain was "definitely" a war hero.

Trump nominated Wilkie to the role of Veterans Affairs secretary in 2018, after he served as acting secretary.

trump press conference
President Donald Trump and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie at the White House in April 2020.

Despite Trump and Wilkie's denials, other outlets have confirmed details from the Atlantic report.

Fox News' national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin said on Friday that parts of the report were verified to her by two people who previously worked for the Trump administration. 

In response, Trump tweeted a Breitbart News story that said Griffin had been able to confirm much of the story, but not that Trump called the dead soldiers "losers" and "suckers." The president has also called for Griffin to be fired over her claims.

A former senior administration official confirmed to CNN that Trump referred to fallen US soldiers while using "crude and derogatory terms" during the trip.

Trump Paris cemetary
US President Donald Trump at the American Cemetery of Suresnes outside Paris in November 2018 as part of commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. He cancelled the other cemetery journey on his trip.

Many have also pointed to Trump's public comments as evidence that the reporting is likely accurate.

In his denial of The Atlantic's reporting, Trump said that he "was never a big fan" of McCain, but that he had "never called John a loser."

But Trump described McCain as a loser in 2015 when talking about McCain's capture at an Iowa summit. 

"I like people who weren't captured," he said then. "I don't like losers."

At the time, he also tweeted a link to a political blog that quoted him calling McCain a loser at the event.

Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic and the author of the report, told CNN on Sunday: "I would fully expect more reporting to come out about this and more confirmation and new pieces of information in the coming days and weeks."

He said: "We have a responsibility and we're going to do it regardless of what he says."

He also defended his use of anonymous sources in the reporting, saying: "We all have to use anonymous sources, especially in a climate where the president of the United States tries to actively intimidate."

"These are not people who are anonymous to me."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tech stocks are 'certainly in a bubble' but that won't deflate anytime soon, a chief strategist says

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  • Tech stocks sold off sharply last week but a chief strategist doesn't think things will go much further south.
  • Jonathan Bell of Stanhope Capital, said: "I would be saying to people that this is a bubble-type territory, but it doesn't mean that it is going to deflate now. 
  • All US stock indices closed lower on Friday for a consecutive session driven by the tech-sell off.
  • Bell said investors should trim holdings in big tech stocks and not be overly allocated. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tech stocks are definitely in a bubble, based on the sizzling rally so far in 2020, but it will take a while to burst, a chief strategist said. 

Jonathan Bell, chief investment officer at Stanhope Capital told CNBC's "Street Signs Europe" Monday: "I think we are certainly in bubble territory." 

Bell's comments come days after a sell-off in tech stocks that drove all US indices lower for two consecutive sessions on Friday. 

Read moreBank 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

On Thursday, US stocks fell the most in three months as investors sold high-flying tech stocks, causing the Nasdaq-100 to experience its sharpest decline since March, with a drop of 5.2%. 

But Bell thinks there are "so many good reasons" for investors to hold stocks in Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook and said their outperformance is something "everyone is talking about." 

Stock market darling Apple has risen more than 200% in the last 12 months. It last closed just shy of $121 on Friday on US markets. 

Tesla, another favorite, has exploded higher by nearly 400% since the start of 2020. 

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

But the world's most valuable carmaker had an eventful last few days. It faced four days of straight losses partly due to the tech sell-off and also because Baillie Gifford, the company's largest shareholder, said it had trimmed its stake due to internal rules constraining the weight of a single stock in client portfolios.

Stanhope Capital's Bell said: "It's not that these businesses aren't great businesses that are going to carry on going, it is just the exuberance related to them."

Bell likened the current tech bubble to comments made in 1996 by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan when the equity market, driven by gains in technology stocks, embarked on a rally that would culminate in early 2000 with the bursting of the so-called "dot-com bubble" . 

At the time Greenspan cautioned against "irrational exuberance" in financial markets. 

"I would be saying to people that this is a bubble-type territory, but it doesn't mean that it is going to deflate now. What we have seen in the last week or so is only an unwinding of the rise of the previous two weeks."

But he suggested that investors should avoid allocating too much of their portfolios to the tech sector. 

"There's still a lot of reasons to own these, but be really careful, trim holdings … Look at the percentage weighting you've got," Bell said. "If you've got 15% or 20% and you're overweight those then be aware of that, but if you've got 30% or 40% of your portfolio in there, then that's a really big risk you're taking," he added. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

New York will ramp up testing corpses for COVID-19 and the flu to make sure death data is accurate

coronavirus death funeral home
Omar Rodriguez moves the body of a coronavirus patient into the Gerard Neufeld funeral home in Queens, New York.
  • Newly introduced New York regulations will ramp up the testing of corpses for COVID-19 and the flu.
  • The new rules require that bodies of those who died with a suspected respiratory illness be tested for both within 48 hours of death. 
  • The regulations, which went into effect on September 1, are an attempt to ensure accurate death data in the coming months.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

New York is ramping up its COVID-19 and flu testing on dead bodies in an effort to collect more accurate data about both illnesses.

New regulations that went into effect September 1 require that the corpses of people who died at a hospital or nursing home with a suspected respiratory illness — but hadn't been diagnosed within the 14 days prior — be tested for the flu and the coronavirus within 48 hours of death.

Medical examiners and funeral home directors will also be responsible for testing the bodies of people who died outside of the hospital or extended care setting, according to the regulations.

"While the human toll this virus has taken on New Yorkers is immeasurable, these regulations will ensure we have the most accurate death data possible as we continue to manage COVID-19 while preparing for flu season," Department of Health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement. 

Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in New York, 439,501 people have tested positive and nearly 33,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

Within the last month, though, less than 1% of people who were tested for the virus have gotten positive results, implying a major improvement since the early months of the pandemic. 

Experts hope that collecting increased heath data post-mortem will help with tracking the spread of both the novel coronavirus and the common flu, and ensure that those who had close contact with victims be notified about their need to quarantine, if necessary. 

Additionally, having these increased regulations in place now will encourage New York counties to increase their testing abilities ahead of the colder season, when respiratory illnesses tend to thrive, Dr. Mary Fowkes, a clinical pathologist at Mount Sinai Hospital, told The New York Times.

"Good quality health data helps inform good quality public health decisions, and this information will strengthen our contact tracing efforts and slow the spread of this virus," Zucker said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon deleted 20,000 product ratings after an investigation highlighted paid-for reviews

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, northern France, April 22, 2020 after Amazon extended the closure of its French warehouses until April 25 included, following dispute with unions over health protection measures amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.  REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
FILE PHOTO: Amazon logistics center in Lauwin-Planque
  • Amazon removed 20,000 product reviews following revelations that some sellers offer free products in exchange for positive ratings.
  • An investigation by the Financial Times analyzed the behavior of top reviewers in the UK. One user posted a review every four hours, on average, during August, and then sold duplicate products on eBay.
  • Positive reviews can lift a product's rating and cause a short-term spike in sales.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Amazon has removed 20,000 product reviews after a Financial Times investigation suggested that some of the site's top UK reviewers may have profited from leaving positive ratings.

The paper's analysis showed nine of Amazon's top 10 UK reviewers dished out five-star reviews to products from little-known Chinese brands. The FT found the same products in Facebook groups and forums that offer free products or money in exchange for ratings.

Amazon deleted around 20,000 reviews from seven of these users just hours after the paper's report on Friday.

Amazon also removed thousands of ratings analyzed in a study into paid-for reviews by the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Positive reviews feed into Amazon's product-ranking algorithm, and determine whether a product gets a coveted "Amazon's choice" label. Because of this, vendors have started offering reviewers their products for free – or even for a commission — on Facebook groups and forums. 

USC and UCLA researchers identified around 2,500 of these groups, and around 80% of the products posted in them were from China. Their paper showed that these fake reviews can lift a product's rating temporarily and cause a short-term spike in sales.

Researchers reported that around a third of the reviews on products they were monitoring were removed by Amazon – and that most of these were five-star reviews.

One user posted a review every four hours

The FT's analysis showed that Amazon UK's top-ranked reviewer, Justin Fryer, rated products totalling £15,000 ($19,740) in August alone, including three gazebos, 10 laptops, and even dolls houses, posting a review on average every four hours. Many of the products he reviewed were then listed for sale on an eBay account bearing his name and address. 

Fryer denied he was given the products for free in exchange for positive reviews, and said the eBay listings were for duplicate products he had received. He deleted his Amazon review history after being contacted by the paper.

Several other prominent reviews also removed their history after being contacted by the paper, it said.

Amazon invested more than $500 million into tackling online fraud and abuse in 2019, a spokesperson told The Markup. This includes both software and human investigators analyzing millions of reviews a week. The spokesperson also said that the company has "sued thousands of bad actors for attempting to abuse our reviews systems."

"We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence knowing that the reviews they read are authentic and relevant," an Amazon spokesperson told the FT, adding that it takes action against people who violate its policies.

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Michael Cohen says Trump once leered at his 15-year-old daughter and asked: 'When did she get so hot?'

A composite image of Michael Cohen and President Donald Trump.
  • President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, said Trump once leered at Cohen's teenage daughter in 2012. 
  • Cohen said he, his daughter, and Trump were at his New Jersey golf club when Cohen caught Trump staring at his daughter.
  • Cohen included the detail in his upcoming memoir, "Disloyal," which is coming out Tuesday. 
  • Business Insider has contacted the White Houes for comment on the claims.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer and fixer to the president, said in his book that Donald Trump ogled his then-15-year-old daughter in 2012.

The three were at Trump's New Jersey golf club eight years ago when Cohen caught the president staring at his daughter, according to the Associated Press (AP), which obtained a copy of the book.

"When did she get so hot?" Trump asked when he learned the girl he'd been leering at was Cohen's daughter, according to Cohen. 

Cohen included the detail in his upcoming book, "Disloyal: A Memoir: The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump," which is set for release on Tuesday.

Multiple parts of the book are fixated on Trump's interactions with women throughout the years, the AP reported. Cohen worked for Trump from 2006 to 2018.

In another part of the book, Trump once leered at contestants at a Miss Universe pageant, saying that he could "have all of them," according to the AP.

It's not clear when this took place. Trump owned the Miss Universe pageant family from 1996 to 2015, and Cohen said he was married at the time.

Trump has also cornered and forcibly kissed multiple women at his office, Cohen wrote, according to the AP. Cohen did not say which office this took place in.

When reached for comment, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany gave the following statement: "Michael Cohen is a disgraced felon and disbarred lawyer, who lied to Congress. He has lost all credibility, and it's unsurprising to see his latest attempt to profit off of lies."

Cohen's claims are among many other damning accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against Trump over the last four years. 

Last summer, Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll said Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in Manhattan in the mid-1990s. Trump has denied all allegations of rape and said Carroll was "totally lying."

In 2016, weeks before the presidential election, a damning tape surfaced of Trump saying it's okay to grope women. 

"I'm automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything," Trump said on the tape, adding: "Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything."

Dozens other women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump has repeatedly dismissed all allegations, which span ogling, harassment, groping, and rape.

The president has also exhibited a pattern of demeaning behavior toward women, according to multiple news outlets that have documented his remarks toward them. 

Multiple female journalists have also said that Trump demonstrates a particular disdain toward members of the press who are also women of color

Cohen wrote the memoir while serving a prison sentence in upstate New York. He had admitted to financial crimes and lying to Congress, and has since then publicly come forward about his relationship with Trump. 

Since Cohen's arrest, the White House has tried to distance itself from the former fixer, painting his stories as "lies" and saying that his prime motivation for pushing these allegations was to make money from his book. 

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11 habits of ridiculously likable people you can teach yourself

dwayne the rock johnson
Being likable is under your control.
  • Dr. Travis Bradberry is co-author of the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart.
  • He says that too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few.
  • In fact, being likable is under your control, and it's a matter of emotional intelligence.
  • Being consistent, asking thoughtful questions, and using positive body language are all habits that will help you become more likable. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Dr. Travis Bradberry published this post originally on LinkedIn.

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few — the good-looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It's easy to fall prey to this misconception.

When I speak to smaller audiences, I often ask them to describe the most likable people they have ever worked with. People inevitably ignore innate characteristics (intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, and so on) and instead focus on qualities that are completely under people's control, such as approachability, humility, and positivity.

These qualities, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in emotional intelligence (EQ). TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that people who possess these skills aren't just highly likable, they outperform those who don't by a large margin. Ninety percent of top performers have high EQs, people with high EQs make $29,000 more annually than people with low EQs, and a single-point increase in your EQ adds $1,300 to your salary. I could go on and on.

Being likable is under your control, and it's a matter of emotional intelligence. Unlike innate, fixed characteristics, such as your intelligence (IQ), EQ is a flexible skill that you can improve with effort.

To help you improve your EQ, I did some digging to uncover the key behaviors that emotionally intelligent people engage in that make them so likable.

1. They are genuine
U.S.forward Christen Press hugs forward Tobin Heath, left, for Heath's goal against Ireland during the first half of an international friendly soccer match in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
U.S.forward Christen Press hugs forward Tobin Heath, left, for Heath's goal against Ireland during the first half of an international friendly soccer match in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Being genuine and honest is essential to being likable. No one likes a fake. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them. It is difficult to like someone when you don't know who they really are and how they really feel.

Likable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. By concentrating on what drives you and makes you happy as an individual, you become a much more interesting person than if you attempt to win people over by making choices that you think will make them like you.

2. They ask thoughtful questions
hand raise
Don't fail to hear what people are saying.

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to listening is they're so focused on what they're going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what's being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know you're listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening, you also care about what they're saying. You'll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions.

3. They don't pass judgment
rude airplane passenger
Be open-minded.

If you want to be likable you must be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen.

Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people's eyes. This doesn't require you believe what they believe or condone their behavior, it simply means you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick. Only then can you let them be who they are.

4. They don't seek attention
coworkers talking
They shift focus to the people who have helped them get there.

People are averse to those who are desperate for attention. You don't need to develop a big, extroverted personality to be likable. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, you will notice that people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them you're important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what — or how many people — you know.

When you're being given attention, such as when you're being recognized for an accomplishment, shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help you get there. This may sound cliché, but if it's genuine, the fact that you pay attention to others and appreciate their help will show that you're appreciative and humble — two adjectives that are closely tied to likeability.

5. They are consistent
woman calm meditation work office
You need to be reliable.

Few things make you more unlikable than when you're all over the place. When people approach you, they like to know whom they're dealing with and what sort of response they can expect. To be consistent you must be reliable, and you must ensure that even when your mood goes up and down it doesn't affect how you treat other people.

6. They use positive body language
eye contact office
Uncross your arms and make eye contact.

Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they're positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the person who's speaking are all forms of positive body language that high-EQ people use to draw others in. Positive body language can make all the difference in a conversation.

It's true that how you say something can be more important than what you say.

7. They leave a strong first impression
job interview
You can do this through positive body language.

Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in your likeability. First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language. Strong posture, a firm handshake, smiling, and opening your shoulders to the person you are talking to will help ensure that your first impression is a good one.

8. They greet people by name
networking event
It feels great when people use your name.

Your name is an essential part of your identity, and it feels terrific when people use it. Likable people make certain they use others' names every time they see them. You shouldn't use someone's name only when you greet him. Research shows that people feel validated when the person they're speaking with refers to them by name during a conversation.

If you're great with faces but have trouble with names, have some fun with it and make remembering people's names a brain exercise. When you meet someone, don't be afraid to ask her name a second time if you forget it right after you hear it. You'll need to keep her name handy if you're going to remember it the next time you see her.

9. They smile
Simone Biles of the U.S. smiles as she arrives for a news conference prior to the Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, Monday, Oct.1, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
Simone Biles of the U.S. smiles as she arrives for a news conference prior to the Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, Monday, Oct.1, 2019. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they're talking to. If you want people to like you, smile at them during a conversation and they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.

10. They know who to touch (and they touch them)
high five
This could be a simple touch on the shoulder or a handshake.

When you touch someone during a conversation, you release oxytocin in their brain, a neurotransmitter that makes their brain associate you with trust and a slew of other positive feelings. A simple touch on the shoulder, a hug, or a friendly handshake is all it takes to release oxytocin. Of course, you have to touch the right person in the right way to release oxytocin, as unwanted or inappropriate touching has the opposite effect. Just remember, relationships are built not just from words, but also from general feelings about each other. Touching someone appropriately is a great way to show you care.


11. They balance passion and fun
They're friendly and serious at work.

People gravitate toward those who are passionate. That said, it's easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likable people balance their passion with the ability to have fun. At work they are serious, yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They minimize small talk and gossip and instead focus on having meaningful interactions with their coworkers. They remember what you said to them yesterday or last week, which shows that you're just as important to them as their work.

Bringing it all together

Likable people are invaluable and unique. They network with ease, promote harmony in the workplace, bring out the best in everyone around them, and generally seem to have the most fun. Add these skills to your repertoire and watch your likeability soar!

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, TIME, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.

This LinkedIn story was originally published on Business Insider May 22, 2019.

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Visa is being investigated by the European Commission over its rules for fintechs

contactless payment supermarket
  • The European Commission is investigating Visa's rules for fintech companies using its network, the company has revealted. 
  • Regulators are concerned that Visa may struggle to identify fraud and money laundering among fintechs, industry insiders told the Times newspaper.
  • Visa, which mentioned the investigation in a quarterly report, said it is cooperating.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Visa is facing a European Commission inquiry over its rules for fintech companies using its networks, after being accused of anti-competitive behavior.

The world's biggest card payments company — which grants licenses to fintechs to let them provide digital wallets if they meet certain standards for anti-money laundering and fraud — mentioned the inquiry in its June quarterly report.

The company did not give any detail on the scope of the inquiry, but regulators have raised concerns that Visa may struggle to identify fraud and money laundering, industry insiders told The Times newspaper.

Visa also faces accusations of anti-competitive behavior from some of the companies it has worked with. Euronet, an electronic payment provider, filed a lawsuit against Visa in December 2019, saying the provider's ATM access fees rules in Poland, Greece, and the Czech Republic breach competition laws.

Euronet is looking for "damages, costs and injunctive relief" to stop Visa from enforcing the rules, according to the filings. 

Australian electronic money company iSignthis has accused Visa of restricting data access for smaller financial technology firms, according to The Times. Its license with Visa terminated last month.

A spokesman for Visa said: "We are working with a wide variety of fintechs and start-ups to provide them open access to our global network. We welcome new solutions and new ways for people to make electronic payments and for merchants to accept them, subject always to delivering the security and convenience that our customers expect from Visa."

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Joe Biden relaunched a $47 million digital campaign targeting military families after Trump reportedly called dead US soldiers 'losers' and 'suckers'

joe biden donald trump jacob blake protests
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's campaign will resume running ads centered on his support of the military.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is relaunching a $47 million digital campaign targeting military service members.
  • The massive ad relaunch comes amid a bombshell report that said President Donald Trump privately referred to fallen US soldiers as "losers" and "suckers."
  • The ads will target voters living near military bases in five swing states: Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.
  • The Biden campaign originally ran the ads, which feature Biden interacting with military service members, in January. Those ads represent just one facet of the $47 million campaign.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Joe Biden is relaunching an ad campaign targeting military service members, according to his campaign, following a bombshell report that said President Donald Trump privately referred to fallen US soldiers as "losers" and "suckers."

The president made those comments in an attempt to explain the reason for his canceled visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery outside Paris in 2018, according to the report, published in The Atlantic. This is the site where hundreds of American soldiers who died fighting during World War I lie. 

"Why should I go to that cemetery? It's filled with losers," Trump said of the trip, according to The Atlantic.

In a separate conversation also related to the trip, Trump referred to dead Marines as "suckers," The Atlantic reported. 

Immediately after the report was published, Trump's remarks received resounding criticism, with Biden delivering some of the strongest words against them.

"If what is written in The Atlantic is true, it's disgusting and affirms what most of us believe to be true: That Donald Trump is not fit to do the job of president and be commander in chief," Biden said during a news conference last week.

The Democratic presidential nominee has taken his criticism further, relaunching a $47 million ad campaign across various TV, digital, and radio platforms. 

In January, Biden released an ad titled "Protect Our Troops," featuring Biden interacting with military service members, including his late son Beau. This ad ran across several platforms over the weekend in five swing states: Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. That ad represents just one facet of the $47 million campaign.

The relaunch effort will be an attempt to reach voters living near military bases in key battleground states.

In addition to the ad buy, Biden also tweeted out a video Friday bashing Trump for his comments.

Less than a minute long and entirely wordless, the video delivers a series of powerful images of burial sites where US soldiers lie. Each burial site was one that Trump declined to visit for ceremonies to honor those who died serving.

Images of the burial sites and of soldiers marching are overlaid in the video with the president's remarks, as reported by The Atlantic. 

"If you don't respect our troops, you cannot lead them," the video ends. 

When reached for comment, Biden spokesperson Rosemary Boeglin gave Business Insider the following statement: "Joe Biden understands the sacred duty of a Commander-in-Chief, and that in order to lead our troops, you must respect them."

"As part of a military family, Joe Biden knows the sacrifices made by our troops and our military families across the country, and wants to send a message that he will never take this obligation lightly," Boeglin's statement continued.

Trump has vehemently denied the report from The Atlantic, characterizing it as "fake news." 

"I would be willing to swear on anything that I never said that about our fallen heroes," Trump said Thursday to reporters.

But news reports published over the last four years have revealed that Trump has a history of disparaging those serving and finding ways to avoid being drafted in the military. 

Biden, ahead by about 7 percentage points, maintains a lead over Trump so far, according to a national polling average from Real Clear Politics

The White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Business Insider.

When reached for comment, Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's director of communications, refuted the allegations that the president had referred to fallen soldiers as "losers" and "suckers," saying that multiple people like "Trump critic John Bolton, who was also there, said he never heard the President say the things alleged."

"President Trump shows his reverence for the men and women of the military by rebuilding the military, increasing military pay, and improving healthcare for veterans by expanding choice, increasing quality, and bringing accountability to the VA system," Murtaugh added in his statement. 

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Thousands of Burning Man fans violated social distancing laws to hold their own festivals in the Nevada desert and on California beaches

Burning Man
Held every year since 1986, the annual Burning Man festival has become a cultural juggernaut.

The coronavirus pandemic led 2020's Burning Man, planned for the week leading up to Labor Day, to go virtual for the first time in 30 years. But this didn't stop thousands of fans from holding their own makeshift festivals.

Despite social distancing guidelines and restrictions on in-person gatherings, crowds of Burning Man's most avid fans were spotted celebrating the festival on beaches in San Francisco and in the Nevada desert, where the event's Black Rock City fairground customarily sets up each year.

Videos on social media capturing the illegal gatherings — including one Saturday on San Francisco's Ocean Beach with over 1,000 people reported — led to fierce criticism of attendees' disregard of the pandemic. Other photos showed similar gatherings with music and campfires on San Francisco's Baker Beach, as well as cars and RVs camped out in the Nevada desert.

Joining in on the condemnation was San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who took to Twitter to call attendees "reckless" and "selfish" for crowding the city's beaches.

Ahead of Burning Man's final night on Sunday, Breed said San Francisco police were stepping up their patrols and closing Ocean Beach's parking lot to prevent another large gathering.

Although California's Bay Area was celebrated early on in the pandemic for taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the area started to see an massive uptick in reported cases in July and August. There are nearly 100,000 cases reported in the San Francisco area as of Monday afternoon.

Nevada's Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the area including Black Rock City, told news outlets it was "aware" of campers gathering in the desert, but said they were allowed to do so as long as they adhered to social-distancing rules.

Burning Man Project, the organization behind the festival, released a statement late Sunday night urging those "honor[ing] Burning Man culture" to "refrain from gathering unsafely in large groups."

The music and arts festival regularly draws more than 80,000 attendees each year, including crowds of affluent influencers and Silicon Valley techies, who set up a temporary miles-wide campsite in the Nevada desert called Black Rock City that can be seen from space. However, Burning Man organizers said in April they would be holding the event virtually this year, and offered refunds to those who had already bought tickets.

Burning Man was also a recipient of a large loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program set up to help businesses stave off the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic. According to filings, Burning Man received between $2 million and $5 million in PPP loans.

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China's new stealth fighter prototype may have been sent out for a recent test flight


J-31 stealth fighter
A model of a plane believed to be the Shenyang FC-31 stealth fighter at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, November 12, 2012
  • Photo circulating online suggest China's new FC-31 stealth fighter may have undergone modifications, including to the canopy over its cockpit and wind-resistance improvements.
  • But it appears the new jet has retained an engine based on a 1970s Soviet design, which is seen as a limitation to its function and capabilities.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A Chinese aviation company has apparently been test flying its new stealth fighter jet that aims to match America's F-35s, and which could be a candidate for its next generation of ship-borne warplanes.

The latest prototype of the fifth-generation FC-31 Gyrfalcon may have undergone a number of modifications, according to a witness photograph circulating on social media network Weibo that appears to show the aircraft on a recent flight but could not be verified.

The stealth fighter is pictured using its fuel-guzzling afterburners as it gains altitude, with the logo of state-owned developer the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) clearly visible on the jet's tail.

Different from earlier versions, it appears the latest prototype no longer has an airspeed measurement device located in the nose of the jet, suggesting it could have been replaced with fitted avionics such as an active electronically scanned array, or AESA, radar.

J-31 stealth china

The transparent canopy over the cockpit also appears to have changed to a design more like the one used in China's other stealth fighter, the J-20. There may have also been modifications to improve the jet's wind resistance, according to the photo.

But the aircraft appears to have retained the WS-13 twin turbofan engines of previous FC-31s. The engine is based on a 1970s Soviet design and is seen as a limitation in terms of the fighter jet's function and stealth capabilities.

The FC-31 is China's second domestically developed stealth fighter jet after the J-20. It made its maiden flight in 2012 and has appeared at a number of air shows in the hope of attracting foreign buyers — AVIC had hoped it could compete with the American Lockheed Martin F-35 — but has failed to attract any.

The Chinese air force has also declined to place any orders, even though it was primarily designed for use by the service. But recent progress on the FC-31 suggests its developer has shifted focus to a naval version of the stealth fighter, according to military analysts, especially after an AVIC research and development unit said it aimed to start testing a new jet next year.

Being lighter and smaller than the J-20, the FC-31 could be a better fit for the PLA Navy's next-generation aircraft carrier, which is expected to have a catapult launch system and will need a more advanced stealth fighter than the J-15 — its only carrier-based fighter in service.

The FC-31 has broadly similar specifications to the F-35 Lightning II. It has a maximum take-off weight of 25 metric tons, a combat range of 1,200km (746 miles) and a top speed of Mach 1.8, or 2,205km/h (1,370mph).

By comparison, the F-35 has a maximum take-off weight of 27 to 32 tonnes, a range of up to 2,200km (1,367 miles), and a top speed of Mach 1.6. The Chinese FC-31 has a weapons payload of 8 metric, compared with 6.8 to 8.1 metric tons for the American F-35s.

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Trump demanded a reporter remove his face mask to ask him a question at a press conference after targeting the same journalist months earlier

Trump north portico
President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing on the North Portico of the White House on September 7, 2020 in Washington, DC.
  • At a Labor Day press conference, President Donald Trump demanded a reporter remove his face mask in order to ask him a question.
  • "You're going to have to take that off. Just take it off," Trump told Reuters reporter Jeff Mason on Monday.
  • The president previously confronted the same reporter in May, also demanding he remove his face mask and suggesting Mason was wearing it to the press briefing to be "politically correct." 
  • While the president's rhetoric has shifted to encompass a more positive take on face masks since July, they're still largely unfavored among Trump and his supporters and are not required at his campaign events.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump clashed with a Reuters reporter at a press briefing outside the White House on Monday, demanding the journalist remove his face mask before he asked him a question.

"You're going to have to take that off. Just take it off," Trump said at an outdoor press conference at the North Portico when Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason asked a question at the Monday news conference.

"How many feet are you away?" the president asked Mason. "If you don't take it off, you're very muffled. So if you take it off, it would be a lot easier."

"I'll just speak a lot louder," said Mason. "Is that better?"

"It's better, yeah. It's better," a clearly irritated Trump said, allowing Mason to continue on with his question, which pertained to a report published last week by The Atlantic that said the president called soldiers who died in World War I both "suckers" and "losers."

If the interaction feels at all familiar, that's because a similar one involving the president and the same Reuters reporter occurred — almost verbatim — at a White House press conference in May.

"Can you take it off, because I cannot hear you?" Trump said to Mason at a White House press conference on May 27.

"I'll just speak louder, sir," Mason replied.

"OK, you want to be politically correct. Go ahead," Trump said.

"No sir, I just want to wear the mask," Mason retorted.

In both instances, Mason kept the face mask on as he asked the president a question.

Despite the two interactions, the president's tone concerning face masks has shifted somewhat since May. While Trump previously spent months refusing to wear face masks in public and downplaying their effectiveness, he eventually donned one publicly for the first time in the month of July. Later that month, he suggested wearing face masks was an act of patriotism.

But his tone hasn't been consistent. At a packed campaign event in Pennsylvania on Thursday, Trump mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for his regular wearing of a face mask.

"Did you ever see a man who likes a mask as much as him?" Trump asked the crowd of his supporters.

"It gives him a feeling of security," the president added. "If I were a psychiatrist, right, you know I'd say, 'This guy's got some big issues.'"

Trump's campaign events, like one outside the White House on the final night of the Republican National Convention, don't require attendees to wear them, even though guests are often pictured without taking proper social distancing measures.

Experts have said that wearing face masks is an effective way to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus, especially when social distancing is not possible, despite their continued politicization and persistent myths that have circulated on social media about them.

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Peloton promises to refund price difference to angry customers who just bought a bike before the much-anticipated $350 price drop

Peloton Bike
The original Peloton bike is now $350 cheaper.
  • Peloton is automatically refunding $350 to consumers who recently purchased a bike after the company announced a much-anticipated price drop to its popular stationary bicycle on Tuesday. 
  • However, frustrated Peloton users are taking to Twitter to complain about the change, including users who narrowly missed the 30-day window for refund eligibility and those who waited weeks for their back-ordered purchases. 
  • According to a blog post shared on the Peloton website, users can expect to see the funds return to their bank accounts in the next 7-10 business days. 
  • Individuals who are financing their bike using Affirm will see a reduction to the total balance of their loan "which may reduce the number of payments," Peloton said. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

While some cycling enthusiasts rejoiced after Peloton announced a much-anticipated price drop to its wildly popular bike, those who recently shelled out full price — or are otherwise still awaiting their back-ordered purchases — were a bit less joyous.

Peloton confirmed on Tuesday that it will lower the cost of its original stationary bike by $350, bringing the retail price to $1,895, down from $2,245. As part of the price cut, the company said it will automatically refund individuals who purchased a bike within the last 30 days or are still waiting for back-orders as a result of overwhelming demand during the coronavirus outbreak. 

According to a blog post shared on the Peloton website, the company will immediately begin refunding the $350 price difference, and users can expect to see the money returned to their bank accounts in the next 7-10 business days.

For Peloton members making monthly payments using Affirm, the refund will reduce the total balance of the loan, "which may reduce the number of payments" while the "standard monthly payment will remain the same," according to Peloton. 

Still, Peloton customers took to Twitter on Tuesday to air grievances over the change, including one shopper who was just two days outside of the 30-day window and another who waited for two months to receive her bike earlier in the pandemic. 



In the blog post regarding the refunds, Peloton said it will also give users the option to upgrade their existing order to Peloton's new premium offering Bike+, which includes features like a rotating touchscreen and updated sound quality.

Consumers who currently own an original version of the bike are also eligible for a trade-in program in which they can return their bike for a $700 rebate and free yoga and toning accessories.

"Our goal is to be the go-to at-home fitness solution for as many people as possible," John Foley, Peloton CEO and co-founder, said in a statement on Tuesday. "And with these new product launches, we'll be able to offer access to Peloton's best-in-class fitness content at various price points, depending on what consumers are looking for, especially in a world where people are increasingly working out at home," 

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The best Apple AirPods deals of September 2020 — save $30 on the AirPods Pro with noise cancelling


When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Apple Airpods

Prices and links are current as of 8/26/2020. Added Newegg's one-day sale for the AirPods Pro and removed deals that are no longer active. Updated by Steven Cohen.

AirPods with Charging Case

The original and standard AirPods with Charging Case are the base and cheapest AirPods you can buy. You get the regular AirPods wireless earbuds and a charging case that charges via a Lightning cable, the same cable you use to charge your iPhone.

The AirPods have a five-hour battery life, and the case stores 24 hours of battery charge. A quick 15-minute charge in the case gives them an extra three hours of listening time. These are not sweat or water resistant — you'll have to check out the AirPods Pro below if that's important to you. You can read the full AirPods review here

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

The AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are identical to the 2nd-gen AirPods with Charging Case, except the charging case can be charged wirelessly as well as via a Lightning cable. That means you can charge the wireless charging case on a wireless charging pad that uses the Qi wireless charging standard. Thankfully, that means you can charge the AirPods' wireless charging case on pretty much any wireless charging pad, including the pad you already use for your iPhone, if you already use one. You can read the full AirPods with Wireless Charging Case review here

airpods pro

AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro are Apple's highest-end AirPods, and they're the most expensive. They have a shorter stem than the original AirPods design, and they have an in-ear design that fits more securely in more ears using tips of three different sizes — if you've ever had difficulty keeping Apple's earbuds in your ear, these are the solution. The wireless charging case is also wider than the non-pro charging cases.

Despite their smaller size, they come with active noise cancellation, and they sound a little better than the regular non-pro AirPods. Battery life with noise cancellation enabled isn't as long as the regular AirPods, but it's still pretty good (4.5 hours versus 5 hours). If the AirPods Pro run out of battery, a quick 15-minute charge in the case gives you an extra three hours of listening time. The AirPods Pro come with a wireless charging case that holds a 24-hour total charge for the AirPods.

The AirPods Pro are also sweat and water resistant, whereas the regular non-pro AirPods are not. You can read the full AirPods Pro review here

Beats Solo Pro

Beats Solo Pro

The Apple-owned Beats Solo Pro are the company's premium over-the-ears wireless noise cancelling headphones, like the Bose 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless noise cancelling headphones. The Beats Solo Pro are built with Apple's ecosystem in mind with Apple's H1 chip, which instantly pairs with your compatible iPhone or other device if it's nearby as soon as you unfold the ear cups. We loved the sound they delivered during our review, but we also found that they can clamp onto heads, giving an overly tight feeling. Check out the full Beats Solo Pro review here

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Meet Noor bin Ladin, the niece of Osama bin Laden who has come out as a Trump supporter and QAnon believer

Noor bin Ladin
Noor bin Laden at The National Theatre on March 2, 2016 in London, England.
  • Noor bin Ladin, the 33-year-old niece of Osama bin Laden, recently gave an interview with the New York Post, called for Americans to vote for President Donald Trump. 
  • Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US. He was killed by US Navy SEALs in 2011.
  • Noor bin Ladin lives in Switzerland, but considers herself "an American at heart."
  • She said she was "devastated" by the September 11 attacks, which took place when she was 12, and has denounced her uncle who masterminded them.
  • Here's everything we know about bin Ladin's past and her political beliefs. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Noor bin Ladin, the 33-year-old niece of terrorist Osama bin Laden, gave an interview with the New York Post last Saturday, and talked about her support for President Donald Trump.

Osama bin Laden was the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the US. He was killed by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan in 2011.

Source: New York Post, Business Insider

She is the daughter of Yeslam bin Ladin, Osama bin Laden's older half-brother. She comes from a part of the family that has long spelled their last name with an "-in" instead of an "-en."
yeslam bin ladin
Yeslam bin Ladin is pictured in Paris in April 2006.

Source: New York Post

Osama and Yeslam shared the same father, Mohammed, a wealthy construction magnate who had more than 50 children. It's not clear if the two half-brothers were close, but Osama has been described as the black sheep of the family.
Osama bin Laden born March 10, 1957. member of the prominent Saudi bin Laden family and the founder of the Islamic extremist organization al-Qaeda, best known for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets.
Osama bin Laden.

Mohammed bin Laden had close ties to the Saudi royal family.

The Bin Laden family are known for building many of Saudi Arabia's roads, mosques, and palaces, according to Reuters

According to a 2001 article in The New Yorker, Yeslam was the head of his family's European holding company, the Saudi Investment Company.

Yeslam also told The Telegraph in 2004 he had not seen Osama for more than 20 years.

"He left for Afghanistan and several years later, I left the kingdom for Switzerland," Yeslam told the British newspaper. "I have had no contact with him whatsoever since then."

Read more: The Guardian

Noor's mother is Carmen Dufour, a Swiss author who divorced her husband in 1988, and moved to Switzerland to raise her three daughters.
Carmen Dufour pictured in April 2006.

In 2006, during Yeslam and Carmen's divorce, she claimed that he had more than $100 million in assets, according to The Wall Street Journal.  

Source: New York Post

Bin Ladin still lives in Switzerland, but told the Post she's "an American at heart" who considers the US her "second home." She said she and her mother used to visit the US multiple times a year before the September 11 attacks.
twin towers
One of the World Trade Center towers collapsing after being struck by an airplane in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Source: New York Post

Noor bin Ladin has distanced herself from her infamous uncle, saying "the name that I carry is antithetical to the values I hold."
osama bin laden
Al Qaeda leader and terrorist Osama bin Laden is seen in a video in 1998.

She also told the Post that the September 11 attacks — which happened when she was 12 years old — left her "devastated." 

Source: NoorBinLadin.com

Bin Ladin has an interest in American politics, and said she's speaking out now to throw her support behind Trump as he seeks a second term.
Noor bin Ladin
Noor bin Laden at The National Theatre on March 2, 2016 in London, England.

She has claimed that if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is elected, America would be at risk of another September 11-style attack.

"ISIS proliferated under the Obama/Biden administration, leading to them coming to Europe," bin Ladin told the Post.

"Trump has shown he protects America and us by extension from foreign threats by obliterating terrorists at the root and before they get a chance to strike."

Bin Ladin has also referred to Biden as "Sleepy Joe," a nickname Trump frequently uses.

She recently shared a letter on her website, in which she called Trump "the only leader who can save us from a bleak future."
Donald Trump raises fist
President Donald Trump walks on the White House South Lawn on June 25, 2020.

"With President Trump at her helm, America stands a chance of restoring her principles, pride, independence and true place in the world as a beacon for liberty and hope for all," she wrote in the letter.

"This to me, is what 'Make America Great Again' means. Looking back at your country's foundation, and preserving what makes it truly GREAT. But also knowing that the best is yet to come."

"All the above achievements will be torpedoed with a Biden/Harris presidency, and the dream of America's enemies to see her weak and on her knees would be fulfilled." 

Little else is known about bin Ladin, since the New York Post interview is the first time she has spoken with the media. But her Twitter account gives more insight into her political beliefs.

Source: New York Post, Twitter

In her tweets, bin Ladin has criticized radical Islam, criticized the wearing of face masks, and thrown her support behind Trump's threats to pull funding for the World Health Organization.


She has also tweeted about "Obamagate," a groundless conspiracy theory pushed by Trump and his allies in the past.
Then-President-elect Donald Trump meets with then-President Barack Obama in the Oval Office on November 10, 2016.

The theory claims that former President Barack Obama tried to sabotage Trump's presidency in his final weeks. Trump has repeatedly name-dropped the theory in the past.

She's also pushed another conspiracy theory that claims the Democratic Party was trying to use the coronavirus pandemic to push mail-in voting as a means to win the 2020 election.

Trump has, in recent weeks, repeatedly claimed that the mail-in voting process is exposed to widespread fraud. There is no evidence backing this claim, and election officials and experts have publicly pushed back against it.

Top Republicans, meanwhile, have warned that Trump's attacks on mail-in voting could cost the GOP the election.

Source: Twitter

She has also shared posts that mention QAnon, a group of far-right conspiracy theorists. In another tweet, she shared a photo of herself in a "Make America Great Again" onesie, with the hashtag "#QAnon" added.

Source: Twitter, Business Insider

Bin Ladin regularly retweets the president and other conservatives like Donald Trump Jr., Laura Ingraham, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. She also routinely shares clips from Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson's Fox News shows.

Source: Twitter

According to bin Ladin's Twitter page, she has had the account since 2010, but her tweets only go back as far as February 2019, and most of her tweets were written in the last six months alone.
noor bin ladin

Business Insider has contacted bin Ladin for comment.

Source: Twitter

Read the original article on Business Insider


Key Players in Genetic Testing | Business Insider Intelligence

Key Players in Genetic Testing

The human genome was sequenced – or read in its entirety – for the first time in 2003, after more than 20 years of work.

In the ensuing decades, genetic information catapulted into mainstream healthcare driven largely by the rapid decline in cost for DNA sequencing technology.

Today, there is a massive opportunity for genetic testing firms to help healthcare organizations use DNA to steer more personalized treatments.

In the Key Players in Genetic Testing report, Insider Intelligence gives an overview of the four genetic testing companies – 23andMe, Ancestry, Color, and Invitae – that are racing to the forefront of healthcare.

This exclusive report can be yours for FREE today.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How children's coronavirus symptoms compare with those of the flu

children coronavirus
A girl wears gloves and mask before going to the park after children under 14 years are allowed to leave their homes in Turkey on May 13, 2020.
  • As flu season arrives, researchers are trying to distinguish symptoms to tell the difference between seasonal flu and the novel coronavirus. 
  • Children in particular tend to have irregular or no symptoms of coronavirus, making it possible for them to spread the disease without being sick themselves.
  • A new study found that children with the coronavirus showed more symptoms like fever and digestive upset than those with the flu, but rates of hospitalization were about the same. 
  • Experts say we still can't tell the different based on symptoms alone. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


As school starts and flu season nears, research suggests we still don't know enough about how the novel coronavirus affects children to differentiate it from the flu, at least based on symptoms alone. 

Children with COVID-19 have many of the same symptoms as those with flu, and are hospitalized at approximately the same rates, according to a retrospective study published September 8 in JAMA Network Open

Researchers at Children's National Hospital looked at data collected between March and May from 315 children diagnosed with COVID-19 and 1,402 children diagnosed with the flu.

Comparing symptoms, rates of hospitalization, and the number of patients needing intensive care and/or ventilators, they found children had similar outcomes, regardless of the diagnosis.

To their surprise, the symptoms were broadly the same, with some minor distinctions. They found children actually experienced more shortness of breath from flu than COVID-19, and those with COVID-19 more often experienced digestive symptoms. 

Flu and coronavirus can have nearly identical symptoms

According to the study, the most common coronavirus symptoms were ones that are generally associated with flu: fever, cough, digestive issues like vomiting and diarrhea, body aches, headaches, and chest pain.

More children with coronavirus showed those symptoms than children with the flu — 76% of COVID-19 patients studied had a fever, compared with 55% of flu patients. And more than one in four coronavirus patients (26%) reported vomiting or diarrhea, compared to just 12% of flu patients. 

But to the researchers' surprise, there wasn't any significant difference in rates of shortness of breath between coronavirus and flu patients. 

"I didn't see this coming when I was thinking about doing the study," Dr. Xiaoyan Song, co-author of the study and director of Infection Control and Epidemiology at Children's National, said in a press release. "It took several rounds of thinking and combing through the data to convince myself that this was the conclusion."

Unfortunately, that means researchers still don't have an easy way to tell the difference between the two illnesses without testing, Song told Business Insider.

"It's still very hard to distinguish the two populations solely by symptoms," Song said. "From a clinical management perspective, it confirmed our fear that we can't really eyeball the distinction, we have to really have to rely on diagnostic testing."

Children have similar outcomes from flu and COVID-19

Researchers didn't find any statistically significant difference in outcomes between the flu and the novel coronavirus.

Both resulted in comparable rates of hospitalization — 21% of children with the flu were hospitalized, compared to 17% with COVID-19. They also found similar rates of intensive care needed (7% flu, 5.7% coronavirus) and need for ventilators (1.9% flu, 3.2% coronavirus). 

Children hospitalized with coronavirus infection, though, were more likely to have underlying medical conditions, including neurological conditions such as seizures or developmental delay. That wasn't the case for flu.

We still don't understand the 'silent spreaders' of COVID-19

An additional complication, though, is asymptomatic cases.

There's evidence that children may be particularly likely to spread coronavirus without ever becoming sick themselves, according to previous studies

This study screened out COVID-19 patients without symptoms, since there isn't comparable data for flu patients, but researchers are currently analyzing asymptomatic patients for future studies. 

School shutdowns could keep the flu season — and coronavirus — under control, the researchers say

The hospital didn't see any cases of children with both flu and COVID-19, although that's possible. 

Part of the reason for this was that flu cases plummeted in March — one of the final months of the flu season — when schools were closed to curb coronavirus spread.

"We observed zero influenza in our hospital. It was very unprecedented, it just disappeared," Song said.

That's promising evidence that interventions could help slow or even end what we thing of as "flu season" weeks earlier than expected. 

Next, the team is studying how to best carry out school closures, to reduce the spread of flu and coronavirus, without the social and economic burdens of shutting down businesses and social contact. 

For now, Song urged everyone to maintain physical distance from others, wear masks, wash their hands, and get a flu shot early.

Read more:

Children with asymptomatic coronavirus cases could shed the virus for weeks, a study found

56 coronavirus cases were linked to a Starbucks in South Korea. But employees who were wearing masks didn't get infected.

Wearing a mask doesn't reduce your oxygen levels, and 6 other mask myths you should stop believing now

Read the original article on Business Insider
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