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The crypto exchange Coinbase is down again as bitcoin prices near $11,000

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:54 PM PST

Coinbase offline

  • Coinbase is down for maintenance as bitcoin prices soar back up toward $11,000. 
  • It's the second time this week the site has been unavailable.
  • On Wednesday, bitcoin mayhem overwhelmed the platform and caused an outage on Coinbase that locked many users out of their accounts.


The cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is down again, just two days after a major system outage that kept many users from accessing their bitcoin wallets as prices on the digital coin fluctuated wildly between $9,200 and $11,400. 

A status update on the website Friday said that the company was preforming maintenance on the site from 1:10 p.m. PT. It's planned to last around an hour. 

The maintenance is likely an effort to address the issues leading to Wednesday's outage, which prevented many users from accessing their Coinbase accounts until Thursday morning. 

Bitcoin is currently trading around $10,900 a coin, up 9% from an opening price of $9,999.65.

Coinbase did not immediately respond to a request for comment.  

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin's price is collapsing and people can't trade because 2 big exchanges have crashed

Join the conversation about this story »

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Reddit and its users are ratcheting up their opposition to the FCC's imminent repeal of its net neutrality rules

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:53 PM PST

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman

  • Reddit users on Friday took to the site to call out congressional opponents of net neutrality.
  • Users not only named net neutrality opponents, but posted how much in campaign donations the members of Congress reportedly received from the telecommunications industry, which is pushing for a repeal of the net neutrality rules.
  • The posts come less than two weeks before the Federal Communications Commission is slated to vote on a repeal of those rules.

With the Federal Communications Commission slated to repeal its net neutrality rules in less than two weeks, Reddit and its users are ramping up their opposition to the move.

On Friday, Reddit users by the dozens posted pictures of members of Congress who oppose the rules. The posts also typically included the amount of money the senators and representatives reportedly had received in campaign donations from the telecommunications industry.

post by Reddit user jpmmcb was typical: "This is Senator Cory Gardner. He sold me, Denver, and all of Colorado to the telecom lobby for $95,023."

The posts followed a call to action issued by Reddit earlier in the week. On Monday, the company placed banner ads on its site that asked users to "help us support the free and open internet." The ads linked to a post that encouraged users to share on the site how they would be affected if the FCC eliminates the net neutrality rules.

The rules, which the FCC voted in place in 2015, bar broadband providers from blocking, throttling, or providing preferential access to particular internet sites or services. Although the general public largely supports the rules on a bipartisan basis, Republican officials have generally opposed them, as have many of the largest telecommunications companies. By contrast, the rules are supported by most Democratic officials and by many internet companies.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made clear that he planned to overturn the rules even before he took over as head of the agency in January. The FCC will vote on his proposal to do away with the rules on December 14. With Republicans holding a 3-2 edge on the commission, the proposal is expected to pass.

reddit calling out senators net neutrality

The Reddit posts relating to congressional opponents of net neutrality can be found by clicking on the site's "Popular" tab. That page is the default view the site offers to those who aren't logged into it. Although many of the Reddit users posting about net neutrality on Friday were calling out opponents of the rules, some also praised members of congress who favored them.

Reddit's site is the fifth most visited in the US, with more than 500 million unique pageviews a month, and ranks eighth in the world, according to Alexa, an Amazon-owned market research firm. The site serves as a discussion forum for a wide range of topics, and the company bills it as the "front page of the internet."

SEE ALSO: If you want to see what America would be like if it ditched net neutrality, just look at Portugal

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NOW WATCH: Here's what Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak thinks of the net neutrality battle — and why it matters

The Army has officially ditched its plans for a new, short-term rifle replacement

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:36 PM PST

US Army M4 rifle

  • The Army has discontinued its plans to develop the Interim Combat Service Rifle.
  • The ICSR was meant to replace the M4/M16 for some units until a long-term replacement was ready.

The Army has officially scrapped its search for a short-term replacement for the M4/M16 rifle platform.

Funds for the Interim Combat Service Rifle have been redirected to the long-term project to design the Next Generation Squad Weapon, which will replace the current rifle platform for good. Military Times spotted the announcement on a post on the federal business opportunities website this week.

"Resulting from a change in strategy, the Government is reallocating the ICSR funding to the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW). The NGSW will be a long term solution to meet the identified capability gap instead of the ICSR, which was an interim solution," the post says.

When it officially announced the project in August, the Army said it was looking for up to 50,000 commercially available rifles of 7.62 mm caliber.

"The Army has identified a potential gap in the capability of ground forces and infantry to penetrate body armor using existing ammunition," the August 4 notice said. "To address this operational need, the Army is looking for an Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR) that is capable of defeating emerging threats."

marine corps m27 rifle

Current and former Army officials have said for some time that the range and stopping power of the 5.56 mm round currently in use underperform that of rounds used by adversaries.

The M4/M16 platform has also been criticized, in part because of concerns about jamming and overheating.

Most soldiers and Marines carry M4s, M16s, or M27s that fire 5.56 mm rounds. Specialized personnel, like machine-gunners or snipers, already use weapons that fire rounds of 7.62 mm or some other caliber.

The ICSR was seen as a near-term replacement for the M4/M16 to be distributed to selected units — those more likely to face combat — until the NGSW could be developed and implemented. The Army has said that not every soldier would be outfitted with a 7.62 mm rifle.

In June 2013, the Army ended a competition to replace the M4 without selecting a winner. The more recent ICSR program also took several twists during is short life.

In September, it was first reported by The Firearms Blog that the Army was scrapping the 7.62 mm ICSR plan. No official reason was given at the time, but The Firearms Blog cited sources saying it was canceled because of a lack of a pressing threat, poor written requirements, and little support from rank-and-file troops or in the Defense Department.

Shortly after that report, however, Army Brig. Gen. Brian Cummings — who, as the Army's Program Executive Office Soldier, oversees the programs that provide most of a soldier's gear and weapons — said the service was still evaluating a short-term stand-in for the M4/M16.

"It's not dead," he told Military.com of the ICSR plan. "The decision has not been made."

US Army M4 rifle target range

In an Army report at the beginning of October, Cummings downplayed the prominence of the ICSR in Army planning.

"Right now, many are focused on the ICSR" or on the Squad Designated Marksman Rifle, Cummings said at the time. "But that's not the long-term way ahead. The long-term way ahead is a brand new rifle for all of the Department of Defense called the Next Generation Squad Weapon."

Cummings compared the NGSW program to the Modular Handgun System, which developed and introduced a new sidearm for the Army: "It'll be one complete system, with weapon, magazine, ammo and fire control on it and we will cut down on the load and integration issues associated with it."

The NGSW would be "one end-all solution," he added, with a carbine model replacing the M4 and a rifle version replacing the M249 squad automatic weapon. The weapon would likely fire a caliber between 5.56 and 7.62 mm. The Army is likely to see the first NGSWs by 2022, he said, with other enhancements arriving by 2025.

SEE ALSO: US Marines are returning to 'old stomping grounds' in Iraq to fight an evolving enemy

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NOW WATCH: The Navy thinks this incredible VR video game can make machine gunners even more effective

This appliance turns garbage into clean energy

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:28 PM PST

Humans produce a lot of waste. All that garbage can take up a lot of room. The Hom Biogas 2.0 solves that problem. Following is a transcript of the video.

The HomeBiogas 2.0 transforms food scraps into cooking gas. You can feed HomeBiogas up to six liters of waste per day. It can digest anything from fruits, veggies, meats, and dairy. Bacteria digest the waste and turn it into biogas. The gas flows from the system directly to the kitchen stove. According to HomeBiogas, it can produce up to three hours of cooking gas each day.

HomeBiogas also creates fertilizer that goes back into the soil. The creators of HomeBiogas say an average family produces two liters of waste a day, and the backyard appliance makes that waste useful. It's the ultimate reduce, reuse, and recycle appliance. Available on Kickstarter for $485.

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There will be 24 billion IoT devices installed on Earth by 2020

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 01:05 PM PST

Internet of Everything Slide Deck

By 2020, more than 24 billion internet-connected devices will be installed globally — that's more than 4 devices for every human on earth.

The Internet of Things first came to us on PCs. Then it moved to smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and TVs.

But now it's coming to all of our everyday devices that fall under the IoT umbrella.

This IoT revolution has the potential to change our homes, transportation, work, even our cities. But how will we arrive in this new era?

BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has developed a slide deck analyzing the growth of internet-connected devices — particularly the Internet of Things (IoT).

Today, it can be yours for free. As an added bonus, you will gain immediate access to the team's exclusive FREE newsletter, BI Intelligence Daily.

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

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NOW WATCH: I've been an iPhone user for 10 years — here's what happened when I switched to the Google Pixel 2 for a week

Cboe's president hints at ether and bitcoin cash futures

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 12:59 PM PST

cboe eurodollar traders

  • Cboe President Chris Concannon said the firm could launch more products, such as futures for ether and bitcoin cash.
  • In August, Cboe announced it would launch a bitcoin futures contract.
  • Two months later, CME announced its product, which is set to go live first, on December 18. 


On Friday, the US Commodity Futures Commission gave exchanges the green light to roll out bitcoin futures, and Cboe President Chris Concannon says other cryptocurrency futures might be on the horizon. 

Concannon told Business Insider that bitcoin futures, which will allow investors to bet on the future price of the digital coin, is a meaningful development for the scorching-hot cryptocurrency. 

CME, Cboe's cross-town rival, announced Friday it is set to roll out its futures product on December 18, whereas Cboe Global Markets is preparing for a launch as soon as the end of the year. Cboe will announce its launch day shortly, according to Concannon. 

Still, he made sure to hint at the fact that Cboe was the first exchange to lean in on bitcoin by throwing a bit of shade at his rival, CME head Terry Duffy. 

"I applaud Terry Duffy in joining us in this endeavor," he said. "This is the beginning of what will become a major asset class over the next 10 years."

Concannon said the exchange thinks a family of cryptocurrency products, including futures for ether and bitcoin cash, could come to fruition as the market continues to mature. A spokesperson for CME decline to comment on the launch of additional products in crypto. 

"We started down this road in the form of an ETF," he said. "A healthy market is a healthy underlying market, derivatives markets, and an ETF. That will take time."

Bats Global Markets, which was acquired by Cboe earlier this year, attempted to list a bitcoin exchange-traded fund from the Winklevoss twins. That attempt was rejected by regulators, with the Securities and Exchange Commission citing the lack of "surveillance-sharing agreements with significant markets for trading the underlying commodity or derivatives on that commodity."

As for CME, Duffy said the path forward is relatively uncertain. 

"Though we have worked through a lengthy, comprehensive process with the CFTC to get to this point, we recognize bitcoin is a new, uncharted market that will continue to evolve, requiring continued collaboration with the Commission and our clients going forward," he said in a statement. 

Not all market participants think launching a futures market for bitcoin is wise. 

In an open letter addressed to J. Christopher Giancarlo, the chairman of the CFTC, Thomas Peterffy, the chairman of Interactive Brokers, one of the largest derivatives traders and a provider of clearing services for hundreds of brokers, expressed his concerns about a proposal by CME to launch bitcoin futures this year.

"Cryptocurrencies do not have a mature, regulated and tested underlying market," he said. "The products and their markets have existed for fewer than 10 years and bear little if any relationship to any economic circumstance or reality in the world."

SEE ALSO: The biggest exchange group in the world is unexpectedly gatecrashing the bitcoin business

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NOW WATCH: This is one of the best responses to Jamie Dimon calling bitcoin a fraud that we have heard so far

Twitter says it made a mistake defending Trump's anti-Muslim retweets — but says the videos are still OK (TWTR)

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 12:55 PM PST

donald trump

  • Twitter is retracting its reason for why it allowed anti-Muslim videos shared by Donald Trump — but is leaving them up anyway.
  • The US president retweeted videos posted by a British far-right extremist, to universal outrage in Britain.
  • Twitter now says that the videos don't violated its rules after all.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump caused a firestorm of condemnation on both sides of the Atlantic when he retweeted a series of anti-Muslim videos originally shared on Twitter by a far-right British extremist.

The videos purport to show violence by Muslims, but at least one of the videos has been shown to be inaccurate and the others appear designed to be inflammatory by omitting crucial context.

Twitter on Friday retracted the initial explanation it gave for why the controversial videos were allowed to remain on the site — but the company insisted that the videos are fine anyway and do not cross the bounds of what it considers permissible. 

Originally, the social network had said that the tweets violated its rules, but it had made an active decision to allow them anyway because of their newsworthiness. "To help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue, there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability," a spokesperson said at the time.

"Each situation is evaluated on a case by case basis and ultimately decided upon by a cross-functional team."

But there seems to have been some confusion at Twitter. The company has now retracted that explanation and said that the videos don't violate its rules after all — sparking concern over the company's application of its rules given its well-documented harassment problem.

"To clarify: these videos are not being kept up because they are newsworthy or for public interest. Rather, these videos are permitted on Twitter based on our current media policy," the company's official Safety account tweeted.

CEO Jack Dorsey also chimed in, adding: "We mistakenly pointed to the wrong reason we didn't take action on the videos from earlier this week. We're still looking critically at all of our current policies, and appreciate all the feedback."

The videos were already shared by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of far-right British group Britain First. Fransen has previously been found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment after shouting at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, and she was recently been charged with inciting religious hatred.

She also remains verified on Twitter, despite the social network's recen move to deverify extremist and far-right users.

There have been calls throughout Donald Trump's presidency for Twitter to ban his account completely in light of frequent tweets that appear to violate Twitter's policies banning abuse and harassment on its service. Some critics fear that Trump's erratic tweets could even spark a major diplomatic crisis or worse. But the social network has so far refused to take action.

Joshua Topolsky, founder of tech news site The Outline, challenged Dorsey in the wake of the rule confusion, asking: "Jack do you think the reason is because you desperately need Trump to keep using Twitter so he gets to do whatever he wants?"

The CEO wrote back tersely: "No, I don't."

SEE ALSO: The rogue Twitter employee who briefly banned Trump's account explains how and why it happened

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NOW WATCH: I've been an iPhone user for 10 years — here's what happened when I switched to the Google Pixel 2 for a week

A former Tesla recruiter breaks down the company's intense hiring process — and explains why all candidates had to go through Elon Musk (TSLA)

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 12:46 PM PST

Elon Musk

• Landing a job at Tesla is an "intense" process, according to former Tesla recruiter Marissa Peretz.

• She told Business Insider about how she helped grow the company from 200 to 16,000 employees.

• All candidates had to go through several rounds of screenings — including an interview with CEO Elon Musk himself.

No one got a job at Tesla without first getting a thumbs up from CEO Elon Musk, according to ex-Tesla recruiter Marissa Peretz.

She left the automaker in 2015 to found Silicon Beach Talent with fellow Tesla alum Max Brown, so she can't say for certain if Musk still personally approves of every single hire.

But that was certainly the case during Peretz's tenure.

She recalled one push to hire 2,000 employees for a new Tesla factory.

"He had to approve every single hire," she told Business Insider. "We had to do written bios on every single person. The janitor. The assemblers. The cafeteria workers."

During Peretz's time at Tesla, the company grew from 200 to 16,000 employees worldwide. But when she joined in 2010, she said Tesla wasn't as well known as it is today. As a result, her role was more devoted to headhunting than sifting through thousands of applications.

"We were really selling a dream at that time," she said. "We did not have brand equity at that point. We didn't know whether our stock was going to be worth anything."

As a result, hiring was a major priority for the company.

"Elon is really obsessed with hiring world class talent," she said. "The pressure was on in recruiting."

For a single role, which generally took about two months to fill, the process would be:

1. Screening and preliminary conversations

Screen five to 15 people per role.

Have a preliminary conversation. These mostly focused on the candidate's background and greatest accomplishments. Peretz said the goal was to gauge the person's technical abilities, as well as get a sense of the their career trajectory.

2. Deeper conversations with a hiring manager

If the initial conversation went well, dive deeper into the person's background.

Next, a hiring manager interviewed the individual, asking both technical and cultural questions. Recruiters also did a deep dive into potential factors affecting each hire, like relocation and compensation.

 3. An on-site interview

When a candidate cleared those hurdles, it was time for an on-site interview.

"Once we flew them in, it would be a pretty intense day for them," Peretz said.

The day would involve several interviews, including an interview with a whole panel of Tesla employees. Applicants would also take technical and engineering tests, and have their problem solving skills analyzed throughout the day.

4. Impress the CEO

If the candidate fared well, they would move on to the final step: impressing Musk himself.

Musk met some candidates in person, and conducted other interviews over the phone, depending on the role. Everyone else had to write essays explaining why they wanted to work at Tesla and why they should be hired.

"If we wanted him to interview someone, we essentially had to pitch him before we could set that up," she said. "He was very critical and would push back on us if he didn't think we had answered the things he wanted to know."

The recruiting team would assemble a document outlining all the reasons why the candidate was a great fit. Candidates had to wow everyone they interacted with during the hiring process, because the recruiting team would only go up to bat for applicants they truly felt strongly about.

"After you had a couple of bruises from him pushing back on you and saying to you, 'This person's not impressive enough' or 'This isn't enough, find someone else,' you end up with a bruised ego," Peretz said. "You start learning from your wounds. He was very open to the opinions of his team, so long as they could defend the reasoning."

SEE ALSO: An ex-Tesla recruiter describes Elon Musk's 'intense' interview style

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Watch Elon Musk show off Tesla's first electric semi — which can go from 0-60 mph in five seconds

Bitcoin exchange Coinbase just hired a VC and Hewlett-Packard veteran as president

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 12:33 PM PST

Asiff and Brian

  • The popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase just hired industry veteran Asiff Hirji as president and chief operating officer (COO). 
  • Hirji joins from the legendary VC firm Andreessen Horowitz — though he's also served executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and TP Ameritrade. 
  • The new hire come at a time of growing pains at the richly-valued company, whose popularity has outpaced its ability to expand. 

Tech veteran Asiff Hirji is joining the bitcoin exchange Coinbase as president and chief operating officer, the company announced Friday

Hirji, a tech industry veteran, replaces Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, who served as president of the company until January. The leadership change comes as Coinbase, which has been valued by private investors at $1.6 billion, experiences growing pains.

With bitcoin's popularity and price surging, Coinbase's cryptocurrency exchanged has struggled to cope with a flood of novice traders. 

The exchange has had several large-scale outages in the last few months, including this week, after bitcoin prices surged above $11,000 and then crashed back down around $9,000. On Wednesday, many Coinbase users found themselves locked out of their accounts and unable to trade. 

The company has also faced challenges from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which on Wednesday won a year-long battle over its request for transaction information on more than 14,000 high-rolling Coinbase traders. 

Hirji joins from the famed venture capital firm and Coinbase investor Andreessen Horowitz, where he was a partner. He also spent time in executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and the popular online stock trading platform TD Ameritrade. 

Despite the challenges, Coinbase remains one of the more popular and mainstream exchanges for the digital currencies bitcoin, ether, and litecoin, at a time when both consumers and institutions like banks and governments are beginning to see value in cryptocurrencies.

The platform simplifies a trading process that many people find mystifying, and restricts its exchanges to established digital currencies that have shown stability, so as to not scare off new investors. 

In September, the company put some of its a $100 million funding round toward growing its customer service department after some customers said they spent weeks trying to contact the company about issues like locked up funds. 

SEE ALSO: The bitcoin exchange Coinbase has been ordered to hand the IRS info on 14,355 of its highest-rolling customers

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Here's how Amazon's and Apple's new smart speakers stack up with consumers (AMZN, AAPL)

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 12:04 PM PST

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

Smart speakers — Amazon's Echo, for example — are the latest device category poised to take a chunk of our increasingly digital lives. These devices are made primarily for the home and execute a user's voice commands via an integrated digital assistant. These digital assistants can play music, answer questions, and control other devices within a user's home, among other things. 

The central question for this new product category is not when they will take off, but which devices will rise to the top. To answer this question, BI Intelligence surveyed our leading-edge consumer panel, gathering exclusive data on Amazon's recently released Echo Show and Echo Look, as well as Apple's HomePod. 

In a new Smart Speaker report, BI Intelligence analyzes the market potential of the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod. Using exclusive survey data, we evaluate each device's potential for adoption based on four criteria: awareness, excitement, usefulness, and purchase intent. And we draw some inferences from our data about the direction the smart speaker market could take from here.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Amazon's new Echo Show is the big winner — it has mass-market appeal and looks like it will take off. The combination of usefulness and excitement will drive consumers to buy the Echo Show. The Echo Look, though, seems like it will struggle to attract that same level of interest.
  • Apple’s HomePod looks likely to find a place in the smart speaker market but won’t dominate its space like the iPhone or iPad did.
  • The smart speaker market will evolve rapidly in the next few years, with more devices featuring screens, a variety of more focused products emerging, and eventually, the voice assistant moving beyond the smart speaker.

In full, the report:

  • Showcases exclusive survey data on initial consumer reactions to the Echo Look, Echo Show, and HomePod.
  • Highlights the aims and strategies of major players in the smart speaker market.
  • Provides analysis on the direction this nascent market will take and the opportunity for companies considering a move into the space.

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

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

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The 50 best-paying big companies, according to employees

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:57 AM PST

Microsoft employees

When it comes to looking around for a new job, most employees agree that compensation – how much you'll earn – is a very important consideration. 

But compensation really involves more than just the salary itself. It also involves how employees feel about their pay and if they feel it's fair, or even generous, given the job title and responsibilities they have.

That's why to generate this list of the 50 best-paying large companies, Comparably looked for the highest salaries that employees self-reported and also factored in the sentiment of how employees feel about their compensation (it is not ranked by salary alone.)

Comparably dug through its database of over 3 million employee ratings on 30,000 US companies to come up with this list. Comparably defines a large company as one with at least 500 employees. 

To make the list, each company needed at least 25 employee reviews. All of these companies rank in the top 15% or greater in compensation sentiment, where their employees say they are most satisfied with their compensation.

Companies with employees who answered more questions were weighted more heavily than those with staffers that provided fewer answers.

SEE ALSO: The 50 best big companies to work for of 2017, according to employees

No. 50: Workfront


Average compensation:

Highest-paying department:
Product, with an average salary of $151,903

Lehi, Utah

What it does:
Workfront offers cloud-based project management and collaboration software popular with IT teams.

An employee says: 
"Competitive salary plus quarterly bonus. It is the most generous compensation plan that I have had the chance to be apart of!"


No. 49: Symantec


Average compensation:

Highest-paying department:
Product, with an average salary of $185,781

Mountain View, California

What it does:
Symantec is one of the world's largest makers of computer security software.

An employee says: 
"Best company I've ever worked for, a corporate culture of giving & inclusion. Best part of my comp package is the wellness reimbursement"

No. 48: ZipRecruiter


Average compensation:

Highest-paying department:
Product, with an average salary of $183,897

Santa Monica, California

What it does:
ZipRecruiter is an online service that helps people find jobs and companies find candidates.

An employee says:
"ZipRecruiter takes care of healthcare 100%. Parental leave policy!" 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

THE AUTONOMOUS TRUCKING REPORT: How self-driving technology is disrupting the way goods are delivered and creating opportunities for retailers and shipping firms

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:56 AM PST

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some of the key takeaways:

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

In full, the report:

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

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

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

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Tim Ferriss explains why he left Silicon Valley

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:24 AM PST

Tim Ferriss, the author of "The 4-Hour Workweek" and "Tribe of Mentors," left Silicon Valley after living there for 17 years. Not only did he want the sunshine of Austin, Texas, but Silicon Valley had become for him an echo chamber that wasn't really about open-mindedness anymore. Following is a full transcript of the video. 

Tim Ferris: My name is Tim Ferriss, angel investor and author of books including "The 4-Hour Workweek" and the latest, "Tribe of Mentors."

I lived there, past tense, for 17 years. Despite the incredible friends I have and the brilliant, brilliant people that I’ve had the good fortune of encountering in Silicon Valley, there has come to be a level of intellectual smugness that I found with every passing month that I spent there a little less tolerable.  Closed-mindedness masquerading as open-mindedness. And if you were to go there and ask people if folks there are open-minded — and of course there are truly open-minded people there — but the party line is: Yes, we court diversity, and we want to hear every and any opinions that we can pull the best from different worlds.

In practice, I find that things more resemble McCarthyism right now. And people instead of inviting and courting dissenting opinions lash out and attack people if they don’t conform to — and I’m certainly very socially liberal — if you don’t conform to what Silicon Valley views as the established set of credos and beliefs for a hyperliberal, you do get attacked. People do not ask many questions of your beliefs. They do not necessarily try to unpeel the layers or look at the nuances but instead respond immediately with this very, very violent opposition and ad hominem attack. And that really depresses me.

For the last few years at least, I’ve witnessed what appears to be the forming of an echo chamber that is even tighter, even more hermetically sealed than it usually is in Silicon Valley. And that’s unfortunate.  

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Warren Buffett has a simple prediction for the future of Apple (AAPL)

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:10 AM PST

Tim Cook Warren Buffett

  • Some cynics have been calling for the slow death of Apple since its legendary founder, Steve Jobs, died in 2011.
  • But, Warren Buffett recently endorsed the company and is heavily invested in its future.
  • Apple's economic moat, or competitive advantage, could be what saves the company and allows its profits to continue to grow.
  • Watch Apple's stock move in real time.

Since the death of legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs, it's become somewhat fashionable to opine about the slow death of Apple. The company angered customers by removing the iPhone's headphone jack, alienated pro users by not including a standard set of ports on its newest laptops, and has struggled to offer a competitive experience with its Siri voice assistant.

But UBS analyst Steven Milunovich said that looking to another legend, Warren Buffett, can provide a bit of insight on the future for Apple.

"Warren Buffett differentiates between franchises and businesses. A franchise is based on offerings that are needed, thought by customers to have no close substitute, and not subject to price regulation," Milunovich wrote in a note to clients. "Franchises enjoy such strong economics that they can survive mismanagement. If that's true, then concerns about Apple losing its mojo post-Jobs could be accurate yet misplaced though we think management is performing well."

Buffett recently endorsed Apple by disclosing a 2.6% stake in the company, making his Berkshire Hathaway the fifth-largest owner of Apple shares. The move notably goes against his famous investing habit of staying away from tech.

The reason Buffett is so confident in Apple's ability to outperform its rivals comes down to his simple theory of economic moats. A company with a wide competitive advantage has a "moat" around its business that can keep other players at an arm's length and give the company room to maneuver.

It can be argued that despite several recent hardware missteps, Apple has maintained and expanded its economic moat. Apple customers tend to spend like high-value customers when they step into an Apple store, even when they wouldn't exhibit those behaviors at other retailers, Milunovich explains. Apple's customers are incredibly loyal and show their love by opening their wallets.

With its $1,000 iPhone X, Apple is certainly testing the limits of that theory, but even if the new phone hasn't sparked a "supercycle" like some analysts have predicted, demand has been strong since launch. And Apple is using its economic moat to jumpstart the next big revenue driver for the company, which may not come from a new or updated hardware product.

"Apple says that the vast majority of iPhone users do not purchase its services, but once they do that spending increases. The company's challenge shifts from attracting users to the ecosystem to emptying their wallets once there," Milunovich said.

If Apple can start nudging its existing customers to start spending money on services, like Apple Music, iCloud storage upgrades or Apple Care plans, the company can better monetize its loyal user base and pull even more money from them each month.

Because of its economic moat and loyal customers, Milunovich shares Buffett's bullish outlook on Apple. He rates the company a buy with a price target of $190, about 12.7% higher than the company's current price.

Apple is up 46.15% this year.

Read more about how Apple's mojo may be weakening.

apple stock price

SEE ALSO: Apple has lost its hardware mojo — but iPhone fans should be happier than ever

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Watch this breathtaking view of Earth captured on a NASA astronaut's body cam during a spacewalk

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:07 AM PST

NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik captured stunning footage of Earth during a recent spacewalk to refurbish a robotic arm on the International Space Station. 



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THE CHATBOT MONETIZATION REPORT: Sizing the market, key strategies, and how to navigate the chatbot opportunity (FB, AAPL, GOOG)

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:03 AM PST

bii chatbots_users

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

Improving artificial intelligence (AI) technology and the proliferation of messaging apps — which enable users and businesses to interact through a variety of mediums, including text, voice, image, video, and file sharing — are fueling the popularity of chatbots.

These software programs use messaging as an interface through which to carry out various tasks, like checking the weather or scheduling a meeting. Bots are still nascent and monetization models have yet to be established for the tech, but there are a number of existing strategies — like "as-a-service" or affiliate marketing — that will likely prove successful for bots used as a tool within messaging apps.

Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds — services that don't directly generate revenue, but help increase the ability of brands and businesses to better target and serve customers, and increase productivity. These include bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service.

A new report from BI Intelligence investigates how brands can monetize their chatbots by tailoring existing models. It also explores various ways chatbots can be used to cut businesses' operational costs. And finally, it highlights the slew of barriers that brands need to overcome in order to tap into the potentially lucrative market. 

Here are some of the key takeaways: Screen Shot 2016 11 22 at 5.26.40 pm

  • Chatbot adoption has already taken off in the US with more than half of US users between the ages of 18 and 55 having used them, according to exclusive BI Intelligence survey data.
  • Chatbots boast a number of distinct features that make them a perfect vehicle for brands to reach consumers. These include a global presence, high retention rates, and an ability to appeal to a younger demographic.
  • Businesses and brands are looking to capitalize on the potential to monetize the software. BI Intelligence identifies four existing models that can be successfully tailored for chatbots. These models include Bots-as-a-Service, native content, affiliate marketing, and retail sales.
  • Chatbots can also provide brands with value adds, or services that don't directly generate revenue. Bots used for research, lead generation, and customer service can cut down on companies' operational costs.
  • There are several benchmarks chatbots must reach, and barriers they must overcome, before becoming successful revenue generators. 

In full, the report:

  • Explains the different ways businesses can access, utilize, and distribute content via chatbots.
  • Breaks down the pros and cons of each chatbot monetization model.
  • Identifies the additional value chatbots can provide businesses outside of direct monetization.
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit the growth, adoption, and use of chatbots and therefore their earning potential.

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

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now
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MIZUHO: AMD and Nvidia's crypto boom is officially over (NVDA, AMD)

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 11:00 AM PST

FILE PHOTO: Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang attends an event during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan May 30, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

  • Bitcoin recently crossed the massive $10,000 milestone.
  • Nvidia and AMD have enjoyed strong demand for their chips that could be ending soon.
  • The companies will have to focus on other areas of their businesses to continue to do well in the future.
  • Watch the price of Bitcoin move in real time.

As bitcoin crashes through the $10,000 per coin milestone, it looks like the crypto boost chip makers AMD and Nvidia have enjoyed is finally coming to an end.

"While the Blockchain software technology is here to stay ... we expect crypto-mining will be a much less meaningful market for AMD/NVDA in 2018," Vijay Rakesh, an analyst at Mizuho Securities said in a note to clients.

Both Nvidia and AMD have enjoyed increased demand for their graphics processing unit chips thanks to their abilities to speed up some cryptocurrency mining. But, as the power required to mine bitcoin remains out of reach for individual miners, and ethereum looks to move to a different payment verification system in the next six months, it looks like that demand will be much lower than current levels.

When bitcoin first started, individuals known as miners would lend computing power to bitcoin's blockchain network to help verify payments and were rewarded with small payments in bitcoin for their services. These miners soon figured out that GPUs from AMD and Nvidia were well suited to the type of math used to verify payments and bought them in droves.

As bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, exploded in price and popularity, it looked as if AMD and Nvidia's share prices would mirror bitcoin's rise. Both companies have said that cryptocurrency miners have made it hard for retailers to keep their products in stock, and the graphics card business has been booming because of it.

The companies approached the crypto market a bit differently, though. AMD has said previously that it appreciated the crypto boost, but has not focused on addressing it directly because it doesn't see crypto mining as  "long-term growth driver." Nvidia has had the opposite reaction to the boom, saying it will stay very close to the market and react as needed.

Now, Rakesh thinks that both companies should move on.

"We believe it is increasingly important for AMD/NVDA to show traction in core PC/NB, DT, Gaming and Data Center markets in 2018," Rakesh wrote.

Rakesh reiterated his buy rating for both companies. He has a price target of $225 for Nvidia and a $17 price target for AMD.

AMD is down 1.46% this year, while Nvidia is up 106.71%.

See why some people call crypto mining a "bomb" just waiting to go off for Nvidia and AMD.

Bitcoin price

SEE ALSO: Nvidia's boost from cryptocurrencies is slowing down

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One chart from Bill Gates shows how far we've come in tackling AIDS

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 10:59 AM PST

Bill Gates

  • To commemorate World AIDS Day on Friday, Bill Gates tweeted a graph showing the declining number of AIDS-related deaths.
  • As of 2016, the number of lives saved through using medication was higher than the number of deaths. 


For years, AIDS used to be a death sentence. 

When HIV/AIDS first arrived in the US 36 years ago, the disease quickly spiraled into an epidemic. But medical advances have since made HIV controllable with medication — especially if diagnosed early.

On Friday, Bill Gates tweeted a graphic showing that there were 1 million deaths related to AIDS in 2016, down from a peak of 1.9 million in 2005. At the same time, the deaths averted because of antiretroviral treatments, used to treat HIV, was an estimated 1.2 million. 

That means that, for the first time, fewer people died of AIDS than those who were able to avert death using medication. 

While there isn't a cure for HIV, medications have been successful at suppressing the amount of HIV that's in the body. Keeping the amount of HIV in the blood low is key for suppressing symptoms of the virus.

Antiretroviral treatments are a type of drug used to treat HIV that have been around since the mid-1990s. There are a number of antiretroviral treatments that have been approved since then. 

In November, the FDA approved the first two-drug regiment for treating HIV. The hope is that by using fewer drugs, there won't be as many side effects for patients.

SEE ALSO: A new drug to treat HIV just got approved — and it could shake up a $22 billion market

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UBS: There is no such thing as an iPhone X 'supercycle' (AAPL)

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 10:59 AM PST

this is the iphone x

  • The iPhone X was expected to drive a wave of customers to upgrade their phones, but it looks like that might not happen.
  • Apple seems to have hit a ceiling for its US market penetration.
  • The company will now have to focus on milking more money from its current iPhone owners and growing its international market share.
  • Watch Apple's stock price move in real time here.

Before its release, analysts speculated that the iPhone X would drive a "supercycle" of phone upgrades. For about three years, Apple stuck with the same design for its new phones and many consumers opted to stick with their old models.

The iPhone X was announced in September and offered, for the first time since the iPhone 6, a new design. The bezel-less screen and face-unlocking features were expected to drive a wave of upgrades, but that hasn't happened, according to Steven Milunovich, an analyst at UBS.

"[The fiscal year 2018] likely is not a 'supercycle' but a solid year," Milunovich said in a note to clients on Monday. While iPhone sales are growing, it's not at the "supercycle" rate that many analysts called for.

There are several reasons for the missing supercycle. Milunovich points out that the United States has roughly 320 million people, and only 48% of those people currently own an iPhone to upgrade from. That means only about 75 million people are willing to upgrade their iPhones each year, assuming a 2-year upgrade cycle. Milunovich suggests that Apple has hit its ceiling in the US market, and would have to expand its market share in order to sell more phones.

Many analysts were worried about the high cost and low supply of the phone too. The iPhone X is the most expensive phone Apple has ever released, and only a few million were available for purchase at the time the phone launched, though production issues seem to be much better now. The higher price could have steered customers away from the iPhone X. The the other options Apple announced in September maintain the same design as their predecessors.

Milking more money out of its customers is Apple's next best move, after selling more devices and expanding its market share, Milunovich said.

"The stock narrative should shift from iPhone cycles to iPhone annuity—how does Apple monetize the installed base through additional products and services?" Milunovich said. Apple is already working on this, increasing its services business to 16.2% of its total revenue, or $8.5 billion, in the most recent quarter. The higher price of the new iPhones also means that Apple makes more money from each phone it sells, on average.

International markets are another potential target for Apple. Even though the US may be a saturated market, Apple has a lot of growth opportunity available in China and other areas of the world, Milunovich said.

He rated the company a buy, with a price target of $190, about 8.6% higher than the company's current price around $174.

Apple is up 80.07% this year.

Read more about iPhone X production.

Apple stock price

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Companies waste $62 billion on the cloud by paying for capacity they don't need, according to a report

Posted: 01 Dec 2017 10:56 AM PST

man on laptop at data center

  • Most companies think moving to the cloud will save them money on IT costs, but that's not the always case, according to researcher Jonathan Koomey. 
  • More than 80% of on-premise data centers have way more space than is necessary, which translates to higher costs with cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Koomey found.
  • This unnecessary spending costs companies around the world an estimated $62 billion annually. 

Many companies think that moving their data centers onto the cloud will save money. But merely moving from in-house storage to a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS) doesn't actually cut costs in most cases, according to a new report. 

The majority of companies migrating their systems to the cloud have the wrong idea of how much capacity they actually need. The companies are over-estimating the amount of cloud capacity they need to pay for because the in-house data centers they've been relying on are poorly configured, says the report by Stanford researcher and lecturer Dr. Jonathan Koomey.

More than 80% of in-house data centers have way more storage space than is necessary, Koomey found in his study. Since many companies don't do routine checks to see how much storage they are using, they end up paying for extra electricity, cooling, licensing and maintenance for storage that never gets used, Koomey said. 

That extra cost rolls over when companies move onto the cloud, Koomey found, resulting in companies paying an average of 36% more for cloud services than they actually need to. Given Gartner's projection that data storage will be a $173 billion business in 2018, companies globally could save $62 billion IT costs just by optimizing their workloads.

Koomey's report analyzed data from 20 different companies, whose information was provided by TSO Logic, a software provider that analyzes how data is stored on the cloud. (TSO Logic did not fund the study).

He found that only 20% of companies would save money if they transferred their server data directly onto the cloud, whereas 80% would see an increase in annual costs. However, 100% of the sample group would save if the companies migrated after figuring out how much server space they actually use. 

SEE ALSO: Google Cloud just nudged its way into Amazon's territory as a storage provider for Salesforce

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