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THE MOBILE PAYMENTS REPORT: Key strategies that wallet providers can implement to break from disappointing growth

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 02:05 PM PDT

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

In the US, the in-store mobile wallet space is becoming increasingly crowded. Most customers have an option provided by their smartphone vendor, like Apple, Android, or Samsung Pay. But those are often supplemented by a myriad of options from other players, ranging from tech firms like PayPal, to banks and card issuers, to major retailers and restaurants.

With that proliferation of options, one would expect to see a surge in adoption. But that's not the case — though Business Insider Intelligence projects that US in-store mobile payments volume will quintuple in the next five years, usage is consistently lagging below expectations, with estimates for 2019 falling far below what we expected just two years ago. 

As such, despite promising factors driving gains, including the normalization of NFC technology and improved incentive programs to encourage adoption and engagement, it's important for wallet providers and groups trying to break into the space to address the problems still holding mobile wallets back. These issues include customer satisfaction with current payment methods, limited repeat purchasing, and consumer confusion stemming from fragmentation. But several wallets, like Apple Pay, Starbucks' app, and Samsung Pay, are outperforming their peers, and by delving into why, firms can begin to develop best practices and see better results.

A new report from Business Insider Intelligence addresses how in-store mobile payments volume will grow through 2021, why that's below past expectations, and what successful cases can teach other players in the space. It also issues actionable recommendations that various providers can take to improve their performance and better compete.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • US in-store mobile payments will advance steadily at a 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to hit $128 billion in 2021. That's suppressed by major headwinds, though — this is the second year running that Business Insider Intelligence has halved its projected growth rate.
  • To power ahead, US wallets should look at pockets of success. Banks, merchants, and tech providers could each benefit from implementing strategies that have worked for early leaders, including eliminating fragmentation, improving the purchase journey, and building repeat purchasing.
  • Building multiple layers of value is key to getting ahead. Adding value to the user experience and making wallets as simple and frictionless as possible are critical to encouraging adoption and keeping consumers engaged. 

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the US in-store mobile payments market and examines growth drivers.
  • Analyzes headwinds that have suppressed adoption.
  • Identifies three strategic changes providers can make to improve their results.
  • Evaluates pockets of success in the market.
  • Provides actionable insights that providers can implement to improve results.

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Jeff Bezos admits Amazon has 'the weirdest meeting culture you will ever encounter'

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 01:50 PM PDT

Jeff Bezos

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos explained during an on-stage interview on Friday the strange meetings Amazon holds.
  • Every meeting requires a well-crafted six-page memo which the whole room sits and reads at the start of the meeting.
  • Bezos banned PowerPoint years ago and explained why the memo-driven meeting is far superior.

If you go to work as an executive at Amazon, no matter what your expertise, you will be required to become a good writer, and a good reader, in order to lead the meetings necessary to do your job.

And Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos fully admits that this will likely be 'weird,' he explained during an on-stage interview at the George Bush Presidential Center on Friday.

"No PowerPoints are used inside Amazon," he said. "When we hire a new executive from outside [we warn], this is the weirdest meeting culture you ever encounter."

He explained, "For every meeting, someone from the meeting has prepared a six-page, narratively structured memo that has real sentences and topic sentences and verbs. It's not just bullet points. It's supposed to create the context for the discussion we're about to have."

Everyone then sits and reads the memo silently, which often takes a good half-hour. And then they discuss the memo. 

These meetings are "so much better than the typical PowerPoint presentation for so many reasons," he said. He didn't go into the reasons why on stage, but he had discussed his views on memo-driven meetings in his recently published annual letter to shareholders. (And he has, in years past, explained his ban on PowerPoint.)

In the letter, he explained that writing a brilliant, long memo requires the writer to understand the subject well. It also requires the writer to "improve results through the simple act of teaching scope." By that he means doing a great job requires effort, not speed. "A great memo probably should take a week or more" to write, he said in the letter.

On stage on Friday, Bezos explained that since it takes so much time to create a great memo, he uses a foolproof method to ensure everyone reads it.

"We read [the memos] in the room. Just like high school kids, executives will bluff their way through the meeting as if they've read the memo. So you have to carve out time so everyone has actually read the memo — they are not just pretending," he said.

Ultimately  "a brilliant and thoughtful" memo  will "set up the meeting for high-quality discussion," he explained.

There might be another reason for this "weird" meeting culture. Bezos is a book lover who started Amazon as an online book store. Reading is in the company's DNA. 

SEE ALSO: At Amazon, Jeff Bezos has strict instructions for crafting the perfect memo — and he said it should take days to write

SEE ALSO: These ex-Facebook and Google engineers are helping companies kick abusive people off popular internet sites

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Dropbox CEO talks about how he went from rejecting Steve Jobs to an $11 billion IPO

Marissa Mayer says her Google bosses 'yelled at us until we became what they needed us to become' — and it wasn't a bad thing

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 01:04 PM PDT

marissa mayer

  • Yahoo's former CEO is Marissa Mayer, who was one of the first employees at Google. Mayer was recently interviewed by The New York Times.
  • Mayer told The Times that she modeled her management style at Yahoo on Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's leadership strategies. One example is setting clear expectations for employees.
  • Still, Mayer wasn't so well-liked or highly rated as CEO of Yahoo; while Page had a very high approval rating as CEO of Google.

Marissa Mayer, former CEO of Yahoo and one of the first employees at Google, just gave her first interview since leaving Yahoo.

Mayer, who parted ways with Yahoo in 2017 when the company was sold to Verizon, spoke with David Gelles for an installment of The New York Times' Corner Office column. One of Mayer's most interesting comments is that she tried to model her leadership style at Yahoo after Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin's management style in the early days of Google.

Here's Mayer: "Larry and Sergey just yelled at us until we became what they needed us to become, and get done what they needed to be done. And so I said, look, I'm going to just rinse and repeat that, hopefully with less yelling."

Mayer said she brought in management coaches and mentors to help shape Yahoo's management strategy.

She went on:

"I think you can have high expectations as a leader, and as long as they're consistent and clearly communicated, a lot of people find that really inspiring. I always knew what Larry and Sergey wanted. I knew what good looked like to them, and so I never got discouraged by them saying, 'Wait, I don't think this is ready' or 'I think this is overly ready.'"

Mayer and Page were perceived very differently as CEOs of large tech companies

Mayer was probably wise to emulate Page's leadership strategies: In 2015, he was the highest-rated CEO of a large company, according to Glassdoor. (That was back when Page was still CEO of Google; after a reorganization in 2015, he's now CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet.)

Yet Mayer only cracked the top 50 on Glassdoor's list of highest-rated CEOs once between 2013 and 2017. And in 2017, she was rated the least likable tech CEO, according to Owler.

Forbes reported in 2015 that Mayer was known among executives as a micromanager. "She would go line by line and decide on what date a contract should end," a senior executive told Forbes, referring to the terms given to contractors and vendors.

Still, some former Yahoo employees praised Mayer's leadership skill, such as Jelena Woehr, who wrote on Medium that Mayer always listened closely to employees' concerns.

Mayer was vague in the interview with The Times about what she's doing now: She's working with a company called Lumi Labs and has "some ideas in the consumer space."

Asked for her best tips on perseverance by Linkedin user Karen Lippman, Meyer said: "Develop a thick skin."

Read the full interview at The New York Times »

SEE ALSO: Google's Larry Page uses an unusual management trick to inspire his employees to think bigger

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The 3 people Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer leans on for advice

Netflix has rejected showing its movies at some willing theaters, and Hollywood insiders don't understand why (NFLX)

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 11:05 AM PDT

Mudbound Steve Dietl Netflix final

  • Netflix briefly considered acquiring Landmark Theatres, according to the Los Angeles Times.
  • The move would have allowed the streaming giant to get their prestige titles better award seasons consideration.
  • However, numerous sources told Business Insider that Netflix has the opportunity to screen its movies at more theaters but has declined some offers.

It seems that, for at least a fleeting moment, Netflix was interested in buying movie theaters that would play its movies on the big screen.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the streaming giant “explored” the idea of acquiring Landmark Theatres, the 53-theater chain with locations in New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and San Francisco (among others).

Netflix eventually decided the price was too high, according to the paper (a source familiar with the situation confirmed to Business Insider that Netflix is not buying Landmark). But the news has puzzled many in the movie theater community because for years Netflix has been playing a cat-and-mouse game with exhibitors, especially arthouses.

On one hand, Netflix paints itself as the ultimate Hollywood disrupter — releasing movies simultaneously across the world on its streaming service, from blockbusters to award-season bait. However, on the other hand, Netflix craves prestige from Hollywood and wants its movies to be recognized with multiple Oscar nominations, just like how its TV shows are received by the Emmys.

But the big problem is movie theaters still hold some strong cards. Specifically, no movie can receive Oscar consideration unless it plays in movie theaters in New York and Los Angeles for a specific time. Because Netflix rarely gives its moves theatrical releases, and when it does they are "day-and-date" (playing in theaters when the movies are already streaming), the major movie chains refuse to show them.

This hasn’t stopped Netflix from getting acclaimed documentaries recognized (Netflix’s documentary “Icarus” recently won the best documentary Oscar), but when it comes to its narrative titles they are all but ignored. The acclaimed “Mudbound” received four nominations at this year’s Oscars, but none were for any of the major categories.

AMC theaterSo Netflix considering buying its own movie theaters to show its titles makes sense.

“They are looking for awards to boost subscription revenue and buying a theater chain would potentially allow them greater access to awards through key theatrical runs in target markets,” a source who works in exhibition told Business Insider.

However, some in the business are wondering why they just don’t play on more arthouse screens.

“Wouldn’t it be infinitely cheaper to just exhibit their movies like everyone else?” asked one source.

Despite the major multiplexes like AMC and Cinemark blocking Netflix movies because it does day-and-date, independent theaters want them.

Multiple sources in the arthouse community told Business Insider that Netflix has refused theaters that have asked to show its movies. Alamo Drafthouse, which has screened Netflix titles in the past, asked to screen “Mudbound” and Netflix declined, according to numerous sources.

“Netflix has specifically chosen not to make its films available,” a source said.

And there’s another reason why Netflix may have decided owning theaters wasn’t worth it: They would have finally have had to reveal to the public how their titles perform.

“Netflix movies do not report their grosses through comScore, which would likely have to end if they owned a theater company,” one industry source said. “It would look very bad for Netflix movies to underperform against traditional releases in their own theaters.”

Netflix declined to comment for this story.

SEE ALSO: Netflix's "Amateur" director had to navigate real-life NCAA regulations in casting a 15 year old as a basketball star

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why Apple makes it so hard to get a new iPhone battery

Tesla's Model 3 struggles have traders paying record prices to protect against a stock drop (TSLA)

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 10:15 AM PDT

Elon Musk

  • Tesla's stock has been remarkably resilient in recent days even as negative headwinds continue to pile up.
  • Still, traders are paying close to the highest premium on record to protect against a big drop in the company's stock, indicating that worries linger under the surface.
  • Follow Tesla's stock price here.

Based on how Tesla's stock has reacted to the past week's events, one might think it's downright invincible at this point.

Take Tuesday's price action for instance. Following an announcement that the company would temporarily suspend its Model 3 assembly line, Tesla's stock actually rose as much as 0.3% intraday before finishing the day 1.2% lower.

Then, on Wednesday, following reports that CEO Elon Musk wrote a letter to employees raising the company's Model 3 production target, the stock climbed more than 4% at one point.

Considering Tesla has drawn the ire of investors by repeatedly moving the goalposts for production estimates — which they've also missed on multiple occasions — the gain shows traders are still more than willing to take Musk's word for it, further reinforcing the company's air of invincibility.

But one statistic suggests Tesla investors are actually bracing for the worst. In fact, they're more worried than they've ever been.

As this chart shows, traders are paying close to the highest premium on record to protect against a 10% decline in Tesla's stock over the next month, relative to wagers on a 10% gain. The measure — known as skew — hit a peak in early April and has stayed elevated ever since.

4 18 18 tesla skew COTD

Despite the resilience of Tesla's stock in recent days, it's not altogether surprising that traders are paying up for downside protection when you consider the many headwinds that have rocked the company in recent months.

Those hurdles include an an ongoing government investigation into a fatal Model X crash in California and a downgrade from Moody'sMore recently, a report from the Center for Investigative Reporting out Monday said Tesla deliberately concealed serious injuries from public reports to boost its safety statistics.

And while those issues combined to drag Tesla shares down 16% over a series of weeks, 71% of Wall Street analysts covering the company still have either a "buy" or "neutral" rating on the stock. This once again reaffirms the idea that despite its myriad woes, Tesla can do no wrong in the eyes of many.

One last caveat that must be mentioned is the propensity for investors to short large technology companies as a proxy for a broader market hedge. Tesla in particular is a lightning rod for this strategy, due to the outsized returns generated by shorting it, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners.

In fact, from March 19 through March 31, shorting Tesla yielded a whopping 16.7%, almost four times more than a strategy that involves shorting exchange-traded funds tracking the benchmark S&P 500.

At this point, it's anyone's guess what the next month will hold for Tesla. But regardless of what happens, if things end up going awry for the heavily scrutinized company, traders seem ready for it. 

Screen Shot 2018 04 18 at 11.55.58 AM

SEE ALSO: An unconventional hedge has been creating 'turbo-charged' returns for worried stock traders

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Wall Street's biggest bull explains why trade war fears are way overblown

How The Rock conquered the China box office and proved he's the biggest movie star on the planet (TWX)

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 10:10 AM PDT

Rampage 3 Warner Bros

  • With its $55 million opening-weekend take in China, Dwayne Johnson's latest movie, "Rampage," is further evidence he's one of the few actors who can bring in major coin across the world.
  • But his dominance in China, the world's second-largest movie market, has been years in the making.

For many studio heads these days, glancing at how their latest movie did in China is in some ways more important than seeing how it did in North America. That is because things are changing drastically for an industry in which the domestic box office had been considered the true indicator of a movie's worth for over a century.

Since the early 2000s, the movie market in China has gone from almost nonexistent to second behind only the US. And it could become No. 1 by 2020, as movie theaters continue to be built at a hurried pace to feed the interest of not just the Hollywood titles but those made by the country's burgeoning homegrown production industry.

Everyone in Hollywood is trying to figure out how to navigate this sea change. Which stories work best? Which are duds? And which movie stars can rake in the cash?

That last one has become an easy answer: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

His latest CGI (and testosterone) heavy blockbuster, "Rampage," won the US box office over the weekend with a $35.8 million take for its studio Warner Bros. But what the movie did in China has the studio ecstatic, as it took in $55.2 million there as part of a $115.7 million international gross.

But this is far from an overnight success. The Rock has been big in China for a while.

Dominance years in the making

Johnson's elevation to a global box-office draw came when he joined the "Fast and the Furious" franchise with 2011's "Fast Five." But his potential worth in China expanded dramatically over the next few years.

In 2013, "Fast & Furious 6" became the first movie in the Universal franchise to play in China (though years' worth of bootlegs of the previous movies were undoubtedly floating around the country). It took in a respectable $66.5 million there. But when "Furious 7" played there in 2015, it went gangbusters, taking in $391 million in China. A few months later, Johnson showed he didn't need the "Fast" fam to make it in China, where "San Andreas" went on to earn $103.2 million.

fate of the furious the rockThe next movie starring Johnson that went to China was the 2016 animated film "Moana" ($32.7 million), and then in 2017 "The Fate of the Furious" found incredible success there with $392.8 million, helping the movie earn $1.2 billion worldwide.

With audiences in China already getting a glimpse of Johnson this year when "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" opened there in January ($78 million), the $55 million "Rampage" opening suggests it doesn't matter whether he's with an ensemble or solo: They want to see Johnson.

"Johnson continues to prove that he is the most bankable star in the world with his growing global appeal," the comScore box-office analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Business Insider. "It's hard to imagine any other star who could have catapulted 'Rampage' to a nearly $150 million worldwide debut."

But in an indication of just how important China is, The Rock made sure to spend some time there before "Rampage" opened.

Mr. Johnson goes to Shanghai

It's pretty standard to tour the globe for publicity on a major Hollywood release, but when you're a huge star like Dwayne Johnson, the hustle can be narrowed down to some key regions. And Warner Bros. made sure one of Johnson's stops was in China.

Johnson went on a promotional tour in Shanghai for "Rampage," his first time visiting the country's largest city, a studio source told Business Insider.

And the way he was treated, he's certain to return.

The movie's press conference in the city was live-streamed through multiple partners across the country, there was a fan screening in Shanghai's biggest theater, and Johnson extended his likability across all ages after he befriended three kids who were dressed as the three monsters from the movie during the press conference (the movie is based on a popular video game in which giant monsters destroy cities).

"Dwayne, or 'Johnson' as they call him in China, was in great spirits and charmed all of the audiences with his signature enthusiasm and humor," the source said.

Along with the $55 million opening weekend, "Rampage" took in $15.7 million on its opening day in China, the third-highest opening day ever for a Warner Bros. movie in the country.

"Dwayne Johnson and giant monsters — that's the perfect recipe for a hit in China these days," Jeff Bock, a senior analyst for Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider. "In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was the tipping point for 'Rampage' getting green-lit in the first place."

In an era when the mega movie stars are considered less of a draw than a good superhero movie with "regular" stars, Johnson is showing he's an exception to the trend. He is already a household name in the US, and he's ahead of most stars in conquering China.

SEE ALSO: All the Marvel Cinematic Universe details you need to remember before seeing "Avengers: Infinity War"

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Google, Apple, and Amazon are in a war that no one will win

This luxurious hotel room is also a crazy paradise for gamers — take a look inside

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 09:00 AM PDT

gamer hotel room thumbnail

Panama City has a lot to offer tourists. Gorgeous beaches, historic sites, and a lively downtown area are just a few of the many attractions that bring millions of tourists from all over the world to the Central American city every year. 

But if you're not into any of that outdoorsy stuff, you might enjoy a stay in this crazy hotel room, designed to be a gamer's paradise, at the Panama City Hilton Hotel. The room was created by the Latin American division of PC company Alienware — a subsidiary of Dell — and showcased in a video this week touting the room in all its glory.

The room is decked out with Alienware gaming tech, and it's like nothing you've ever seen:


SEE ALSO: The new 'God of War' is one of the best-looking games ever made — see for yourself

A high-end Alienware PC and VR-gaming setup dominates the room, all centered around a racing-style gamer chair, pointed at a massive 65-inch TV. It reportedly costs $349 a night.

The room also features the usual hotel stuff: Two queen beds, cable access, full bathroom, and so on. 

Source: Xataka

A close up of the battle station shows an Alienware Aurora desktop, a high-end gaming PC that starts at $899.99, and a color-changing backlit gaming keyboard, complimented with two Xbox controllers and an Oculus Rift VR headset.

The equipment in this photo is worth at least $1,500, by even the most modest of estimates.

If you happen to bring a guest with you and want to play a few rounds of "Fortnite: Battle Royale," they can use the Alienware gaming laptop conveniently right behind the main chair.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

There's a new vape pen taking over America — and it has Wall Street worried about tobacco stocks (MO, PMI)

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 08:54 AM PDT

JUUL In Hand Female Black Tank Small

  • The Juul, a wildly popular vape pen with twice the nicotine content of similar devices, is starting to encroach on big tobacco's financial terrain.
  • In a recent memo, Citigroup analysts warned investors that the device's sales could have a negative effect on tobacco stocks such as Altria and British American Tobacco.
  • But the Juul isn't just popular among adults, and scientists say its potential health effects are concerning.
  • Shares of Altria and Philip Morris International plunged Thursday after disappointing earnings reports showing that sales of its new products were not meeting expectations.

A new vape pen is starting to encroach on big tobacco's financial terrain.

In a recent research note, Citigroup analysts warned investors that the Juul, an e-cigarette that's particularly appealing to former smokers because of its powerful nicotine punch, was beginning to disrupt tobacco stocks.

The note suggested that the rise of the Juul could bode poorly for tobacco companies — including Altria, British American Tobacco, and Imperial Brands — as sales are falling faster than they should.

The analysts expect a sustained slowdown for tobacco companies — something they see as directly attributable to the Juul and its "rapid growth." They said its skyrocketing sales would pose a significant challenge to traditional tobacco earnings.

"The US tobacco market is beginning to be disrupted by Juul," the analysts wrote, adding, "We don't expect underlying cigarette trends to improve much in the rest of 2018."

Several tobacco companies, such as Altria, Philip Morris, and British American Tobacco, make so-called next-generation devices designed to compete with the Juul, but most have failed to generate profit for companies.

On Thursday, shares of Altria and Philip Morris International plunged, most likely as a result of disappointing earnings reports showing that sales of its new products were not meeting expectations.

In 2016, Philip Morris International launched the Iqos, a heat-not-burn device that lies somewhere between a regular cigarette and an e-cig and is expected to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration later this year.

But that device isn't expected to protect Altria — which maintains sole distribution rights for the product in the US — from the slump, the analysts said.

Vaping and the future of big tobacco

Unlike cigarettes, which burn their ingredients, e-cigs or vape pens heat vapor via a small portable device.

The Juul, which comprises an e-cig device and interchangeable pods that contain nicotine, is one of the most popular vape pens, having generated a whopping $224 million in retail sales from November 2016 to November 2017 and snagging one-third of the total e-cig market share during the four weeks that ended November 4.

But the Juul is also trendy among teens — something that has been a big red flag for scientists, who warn that nicotine is highly addictive and damaging to the developing brain.

Several other health concerns related to vaping are also emerging.

A study published this spring found that some of the toxic metals in conventional cigarettes were present in e-cigs.

Another found that at least some of those toxins appeared to make their way through the body, as evidenced by a urine analysis by researchers who randomly sampled about 100 people in the Bay Area who vape.

And research presented recently at a large conference found substantial evidence tying daily e-cig use to an increased risk of heart attack.

SEE ALSO: Experts are calling out a vape pen with 'scary' nicotine levels that teens love — here's how it affects the brain

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What too much exercise does to your body and brain

The 17 worst sequels to great movies, ranked

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 08:10 AM PDT

terminator genisys

Whenever a critically acclaimed movie does well at the box office, Hollywood studios are eager to throw money into a follow-up picture or even a series of sequels.

But some movie premises aren't meant to be extended.

And many, many sequels aren't executed with the thought or care of their far-superior original films, especially in series that have stretched over many years — as one sees in the chasm of quality between "The Terminator" (1984) and "Terminator Genisys" (2015). 

We adapted this ranking from our list of the worst sequels of all time, selecting the films that had a vast discrepancy in Rotten Tomatoes critic scores between their terrible sequels and great originals. 

Here are 17 of the worst sequels to great movies, ranked by the increasing discrepancies in their critical reception:

SEE ALSO: The 44 worst movies made by iconic directors — from Spielberg to Scorsese

17. "Friday After Next" (2002)

Critic score: 26%

Sequel to: "Friday" (1995) — 74%

Discrepancy: 48%

What critics said: "The jokes are sophomoric, stereotypes are sprinkled everywhere and the acting ranges from bad to bodacious." — San Francisco Chronicle

16. "Batman & Robin"

Critic score: 10%

Sequel to: "Batman" (1989) — 72%

Discrepancy: 62%

What critics said: "A sniggering, exhausting, overproduced extravaganza that has virtually all of the humanity pounded out of it in the name of an endless parade of stunt sequences." — Chicago Tribune

15. "The Fly II" (1989)

Critic score: 27%

Sequel to: "The Fly" (1986) — 91%

Discrepancy: 64%

What critics said: "It's got nothing on Cronenberg's original - or the Vincent Price classic" — Sunday Times

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

8 common mistakes startup founders make, according to former executives at Facebook and Foursquare

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 08:00 AM PDT

Oceans Venture Group

  • Startup founders get gobs of cash, but little guidance.
  • Three former executives with experience working at companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Foursquare are providing a mentorship program that's tailored to the startup set, called Oceans.
  • Here, they break down the most common mistakes they see founders making. 

In the past few years, startups have received an unprecedented influx of capital.

While entrepreneurs might have an easier time getting funding, they're often confronted by problems that aren't solved by money. Indeed, so much interest from investors can actually cause more problems. 

One new program called Oceans is hoping to guide startup founders in building successful companies. Founded by three tech veterans, who between them have experience working early on at companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, and Foursquare, Oceans is attempting to help entrepreneurs steer clear of common mistakes.

In an interview with Business Insider, Ocean co-founders Josh Rahn and Steven Rosenblatt outlined the errors that they see entrepreneurs making most often.

Here's the top eight mistakes they said they see the most:

They're chasing high valuations instead of building real businesses.

"This is a really slippery slope," said Josh Rahn, a former group agency lead at Facebook. Rahn said that most  of the founders he speaks with are focused on solving funding problems, rather than fixing the flaws within their companies. 

They try to do too many things at once.

While being an entrepreneur can often require dabbling in many different roles, Rahn said that founders should always play to their strengths. "It's not about being mediocre at three things, it's about gaining expertise in really individual areas of focus," said Rahn. "When you do that and you scale that, you can conquer just about anything."

They hire the wrong people.

Rahn said that entrepreneurs should never underestimate the importance of putting the right person in the right role. Rahn, who said he's hired close to three hundred people in his former position at Facebook, said that bringing mediocre people onboard can destroy a product, even if that product is inherently great. However, said Rahn, this works the other way, as well: "The best people on the best teams can still make a mediocre product spectacular." 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

These ex-Facebook and Google engineers are helping companies kick abusive people off popular internet sites

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 08:00 AM PDT

Smyte founders

  • In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal we asked an ex-Facebook engineer how tech can be used to prevent internet sites like Facebook from being abused.
  • Pete Hunt is the CEO founder of a startup called Smyte which was formed to tackle exactly this problem.
  • He says that finding bad actors is relatively easy by searching for signals. The hard part is to not accidentally catch the good guys "in the net."

In the wake of Mark Zuckerberg's exhaustive Congressional testimony over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, we caught up with former Facebook engineer Pete Hunt, the CEO founder of a startup called Smyte

We asked him how technology can be used to find bad actors online, such as Russian hackers and trolls intent on influencing elections, and prevent them from using internet sites to spread misinformation or do other misdeeds.

Smyte was formed in 2015 to tackle exactly this sort of problem.

It was founded by two former Facebook engineers (Hunt and his cofounder Josh Yudaken) and an ex Google engineer (co-founder Julian Tempelsman). The company uses technology to find the abusers so they can be booted off of internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit.

Smyte can also be used to protect corporate websites and apps from being hacked by bad guys using trickery like spam, manipulating customer support agents and so on.

"Technology can enable lots of harm if you don't think about abuse," Hunt said.

Zuckerberg Facebook Privacy Hearing Day 2 GettyIn his recent testimony on Capitol Hill, Zuckerberg talked about hiring more people to monitor content and help it police its website.

But even when Facebook builds that team out to 20,000 people, that won't be enough. Facebook's 2 billion users upload 100 billion bits of content like links, status check-ins and photos every day. Humans just can't watch all that stuff. So Facebook uses monitoring technology to be its eyes and ears and its working on making that tech smarter using artificial intelligence, Zuckerberg said.

We asked Hunt how technology can be used to spot the bad actors, fake news, malicious links and the like.

"The thing about abuse and these kind of adversaries in general is that it's a business just like any other business. They have a sales funnel just like we have a sales funnel: you start with a list of prospects who seem like high-value targets," Hunt explained.

"And the way you do that in a technology age, is you use all these great machine learning technologies and search and  crawling technologies that can be used for good, and you can can use them to identify the most vulnerable and highest-value targets," he said.

For instance, Cambridge Analytica gathered data on 87 million Facebook users to determine their beliefs and leanings, then fed them misinformation to influence their opinions and ultimately their actions.

How to stop it

Smyte says its team has figured out how to stop these bad guys by looking at four specific types of "signals."

1. Content signals. Does a post or ad have a photo and if so, it uses machine learning to determine what the photo is, such as a photo of a political figure like Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. 

2. Behavior signals. For instance, when someone signs up for a new account and instantly copies and pastes a description about themselves in, as opposed to taking time and care. 

3. Reputational signals. Is the IP address coming from say, the Ukraine. If so, why is someone from the Ukraine buying ads on US political figures or issues?

4. Relationship signals. Who is the account connected to and are there clusters of suspicious behavior among them?

What then?

After content is flagged, a company can't just boot the person off. Bad behavior isn't black and white and the tech will make mistakes in the gray areas.

Smyte Pete Hunt"It's really easy to catch bad guys, if you don't care about the good guys who get caught in the net," Hunt says. 

In fact, Zuckerberg was grilled by several conservative politicians over instances where content was banned, prowling for evidence that internet companies are censoring conservative viewpoints.

But it's more accurate to say that mistakes are just a numbers game, Hunt point out.

With 2 billion users, even if Facebook's monitoring tech was 99% accurate, that's still 2 million people that get impacted. And there's a network effect, of all those people's connections learning about the mistake, spreading the impact to millions more.  

Rather than cutting people off, Hunt advocates putting suspicious players in a gray-area where they are monitored for more bad behavior, warned and educated, before they are cut off. 

Obviously, his hope, and the hope of his startup, is that this Facebook scandal causes more companies to start taking abuse more seriously.

He imagines a day when companies have a VP of Anti-abuse job in-house and in which the focus shifts "from security that's focused on protecting the company's assets" to security that can "stand up and protect the users."

SEE ALSO: Now is an 'opportune' time to land a job at Facebook, one of the company's top recruiters says

SEE ALSO: A security guy at JPMorgan spied on employees emails and phone calls using the secretive software tool Palantir

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A $22 billion investment firm led one of the largest ever funding rounds for a cannabis tech company — here's why it's a big deal for the industry

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 07:59 AM PDT

marijuana store 2 dispensary

  • Tiger Global Management led a $17 million Series A round in Green Bits, a software platform for cannabis dispensaries.
  • It's one of the largest Series A rounds for a cannabis tech company to date.
  • Tiger Global's participation in the round is a sign that big money is starting to take the emerging sector seriously. 


Big money is getting into the booming cannabis tech sector. 

Tiger Global Management, a New York City-based investment firm that manages $22 billion, led a $17 million investment into Green Bits, a software platform for marijuana dispensaries. 

It's a sign that mainstream investors are starting to take the emerging sector — which analysts say could generate $75 billion in sales by 2030 — seriously.

Casa Verde Capital, a Los Angeles-based venture fund that focuses on the "ancillary" side of the cannabis industry (that is, tech companies that provide software or payroll services to the cannabis industry but don't actually handle marijuana), also participated in the round. 

Tiger Global declined to comment for the story. However, Karan Wadhera, the managing partner of Casa Verde, told Business Insider his firm has recieved a lot of interest from large institutional investors over the last quarter.

"I think this is a testament to both the size and pace of growth in the cannabis industry," Wadhera said. "Six months ago, many top VCs would not be ready to entertain a conversation on cannabis. Now we're seeing firms like Tiger Global ready to invest."

While many VC funds may want to invest in the cannabis industry, their limited partners — typically large, institutional pension funds or insurance companies — don't want to take on the risk as cannabis is considered an illegal, Schedule I drug by the US federal government. 

marijuana company

Big money is coming for cannabis tech 

Cannabis is legal in 9 states and Washington D.C., though institutional investors have generally been averse to putting money into the space. The rules in the cannabis industry, similar to other emerging sectors like cryptocurrencies, are fluid and constantly changing. Firms that invest in these nascent spaces risk bringing unwanted scrutiny from regulators.

Tiger Global's move to lead a Series A round into a cannabis tech company is a sign that this is beginning to shift. It's likely that bigger hedge funds and investment firms will start investing in cannabis tech companies that don't touch the plant directly and therefore don't come into conflict with federal law, like Green Bits.

Recent political developments, like President Donald Trump assuring Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner that he would support legislation protecting state's rights to legalize marijuana, have served to "de-risk the industry," Vahan Ajamian, an analyst at Beacon Securities said in a note.

Congress is also working to come up with more coherent rules for banking in the cannabis industry and for resolving federal-state conflicts, despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions' opposition to legalization

"The US cannabis sector will have another year under its belt with no material negative federal developments – and potentially positive ones, providing investors with increased comfort," Ajamian wrote. 

The lack of institutional players in the cannabis industry has provided an opening for firms like Casa Verde, as well as a host of other hedge and venture funds that invest solely in cannabis tech companies and understand the complicated regulations involved in the space. 

Green Bits wants to be in 'every state' that has legalized cannabis

The Series A round led by Tiger Global brings Green Bits total raised to $19.3 million, which the company hopes to use to expand into new markets. 

Ben Curren, Green Bits' CEO, told Business Insider that Wadhera made the introduction to Tiger Global after Casa Verde invested in Green Bits last summer. 

"They were really comfortable investing in us because we're really a tech company, like any other they've dealt with before," Curren said. Tiger Global has made a number of venture investments in established tech companies, including Spotify and Wealthfront, according to CrunchBase

Green Bits

Curren, like the rest of Green Bits' management team, is a seasoned tech executive. He founded and sold a startup to GoDaddy before starting Green Bits with his own money to capitalize on the cannabis space. 

Green Bits, headquartered in San Jose, California, plans to use the financing to get their software platform into more dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal, Curren said.

The company's point-of-sale system, which helps dispensaries comply with regulations and drive sales, is already in over 1,000 dispensaries in legal states, Curren said, and he wants to expand Green Bits' business into payments.

Most dispensaries don't allow customers to charge their purchase to their credit card, as most big banks refuse to do business with cannabis dispensaries because of cannabis' federal status.

"We're trying to get Visa and Mastercard in dispensaries," Curren said, adding that his vision for the product would look something like Square, the credit-card processing company.

"We've aligned with some good partners, but it's going to take a couple steps to get there," Curren said. 

Green Bits already processes more than $2.2 billion in sales annually through its point-of-sale system, Curren told Business Insider. Like many cannabis companies, Green Bits is setting its sites on dominating California and the potentially lucrative East Coast as more state markets, like Massachusetts and New York, open up.

"Our goal is to be in every state that has legalized cannabis in some way," Curren said. With an investor like Tiger Global, that goal may not be so far away. 

Read more of our cannabis industry coverage:

SEE ALSO: The rising stars of marijuana's investment scene that everyone from Wall Street to Silicon Valley should know

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The 22 top Marvel Cinematic Universe sidekicks and supporting heroes, ranked from worst to best

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 07:45 AM PDT

black panther danai gurira

When you think about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, popular heroes like Captain America, Iron Man, and Black Panther probably spring to mind first. Or you might even think about the notable villains like Loki and Killmonger.

But the MCU is also rich with memorable supporting characters that have made their mark on their respective movies. Standouts like the rock-man Korg in "Thor: Ragnarok" or Black Panther's technologically savvy sister Shuri stole the show in great movies.

Business Insider has gathered 22 of the most memorable (some more than others) supporting heroes and "sidekicks" in the MCU and ranked them worst to best. These are the characters that aren't necessarily "Avengers" (yet) but could be; or they are regular people who have provided immense support.

Love interests like Natalie Portman's character in "Thor" and Rachel McAdams in "Doctor Strange" were left off the list because the MCU unfortunately casts talented actresses in wasted, underwritten roles. There are, though, a couple exceptions, like Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts in the "Iron Man" movies and Lupita Nyong'o's Nakia in "Black Panther," who have memorable roles that stand apart from the main character.

Below are 22 notable supporting heroes and sidekicks in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ranked:

SEE ALSO: All the Marvel Cinematic Universe details you need to remember before seeing 'Avengers: Infinity War'

22. Ned ("Spider-Man: Homecoming")

Played by Jacob Batalon

Ned, Peter Parker's best friend, doesn't really do much in "Homecoming" aside from providing comic relief. He does help Parker unlock some cool features in his Spider suit, but that's about it.

21. Erik Selvig ("Thor" and "The Avengers")

Played by Stellan Skarsgård

The astrophysicist Selvig was first introduced in 2011 in "Thor" and reprised his role in "The Avengers," and then the sequels to both of those movies. You probably wouldn't realize that he's shown up that much in the MCU, even though he's been a big help to Thor and the Avengers, because he's kind of forgettable. And he spends much of "The Avengers" brainwashed. 

20. Harley ("Iron Man 3")

Played by Ty Simpkins

Harley is a very, very supporting character who shows up in "Iron Man 3" and helps Tony Stark after his armor shuts down and leaves him stranded. The movie is so divisive, though, that perhaps the one thing most people can agree on is that this kid is the best part of the movie. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

MoviePass is losing $20 million a month — and starting to look a lot like a famous dot-com bust (HMNY)

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 07:00 AM PDT


  • One of the lessons of the dot-com bust was that services that seem too good to be true probably are.
  • Since it dropped its price to $10 a month, MoviePass, the subscription movie ticket service, has seemed to be just that — too good to be true.
  • Executives insisted the service was rationally priced and the company was developing a valuable asset in its large and growing subscriber base.
  • But documents released showed the company is doing just what skeptics suspected — losing gobs of money.

Of all the companies that came and went in the dot-com boom and bust, the one I most regret not using before it died was Kozmo.com.

Kozmo was essentially an online convenience store. At just about any hour, you could place an order for whatever it was you were in need of at that moment, and the company would deliver it — quickly and for free.

Because it didn't have a minimum order size, you could get away with ordering a single candy bar or a pack of gum. A buddy of mine, after getting a song stuck in his head, would go on Kozmo and order a single CD to be delivered to his house.

The service was so amazing at the time, it sounded too good to be true.

And, of course, it was.

It turned out that once you factored in delivery costs, Kozmo was losing money on every sale. Its net loss in 1999, the last year it publicly disclosed, was $29 million which was 8 times the size of its meager total revenue for that year. By the time Kozmo shut down in 2001 — four years after it launched — it had burned through $250 million in venture capital funding and had little left to show for it.

The lessons of Kozmo and other, similar dot-com busts have kept coming back to me repeatedly in recent months, particularly as the craze over MoviePass continues.

MoviePass has been a big hit with consumers — but that's its problem

By now, you've probably heard about MoviePass. It's the company that offers a subscription service that allows you to attend one movie each day in the theaters for only $10 a month.

MoviePass has actually been around since 2011, but barely made a stir with the general public until it cut its rates to the $10 price in August. Since then, its service has taken off, hitting 1 million subscribers before the end of last year and 2 million by February. Just by itself, MoviePass bought 1 million tickets to "Black Panther" for subscribers.

But ever since MoviePass made a splash by announcing its $10 a month plan, I've thought there was something very Kozmo-like about it. The company's service sounded just too good to be true.

moviepass CEO mitch loweThe average price of a single movie ticket was almost $9 last year, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. At that price, MoviePass subscribers starts saving money by using the service with the second movie they see each month. Each movie they see after that each month is essentially free.

Things are even better for customers in areas such as New York and San Francisco, where ticket prices are generally significantly more than the average, and often top $10. Subscribers in those areas can often save money on the very first movie ticket they buy each month if they use MoviePass. And if customers signed up for the annual plan that MoviePass temporarily offered — which averaged about $7.50 a month — they can save even more money.

That's a great deal for consumers. But it's a recipe for disaster for a company. The whole thinking behind MoviePass is to encourage consumers to get back into the habit of watching movies in theaters. But it loses money on anyone who sees more than one movie in a month. And the customers that use the service the most are the ones that cost the company the most money.

MoviePass has been publicly dismissing concerns

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, a former Netflix executive, has been shrugging off these concerns. Instead of the price being irrationally low, Lowe has argued that the service is priced just right. The average casual moviegoer only sees about one movie a month, meaning that the service is priced at around breakeven for them and for the company.

Meanwhile, MoviePass is building up a valuable asset in the form of its large and growing subscriber base, Lowe has argued. Theaters and other companies will pay to advertise to them, he's predicted. And theater chains will end up offering the company discounted tickets and a cut of concession sales, figuring that MoviePass is helping to bring in more viewers to their venues than they'd otherwise have, he's said.

That's a nice dream, but as MoviePass' parent company made clear this week, its reality is much closer to what I believed it to be — MoviePass is losing money hand over fist.

But the company's business model looks a lot like a dot-com bust

The company's annual report indicates that MoviePass is spending far more money buying tickets than it's getting in subscription revenues, a business model that Kozmo would have been familiar with.

Thanks to that, as Business Insider reported, MoviePass has been burning through about $20 million a month since September. Just between December 19 and February 20, parent company Helios and Matheson, which only took control of MoviePass on December 11, advanced MoviePass nearly $56 million to support its operations, Helios disclosed in its annual report this week. Helios gave MoviePass another $35 million between March 1 and April 12.

In fact, MoviePass is burning through money so quickly that Helios had to go to the public markets to raise more funds. And even after raising $30 million this week, it warned investors that it would need to keep raising money.

MoviePass has become such an albatross for Helios that the company's auditors issued a warning in its annual report that there was substantial doubt it would remain in business over the next year.

That too was familiar. We saw a lot of similar "going concern" warnings during the dot-com bust.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Lowe and MoviePass will pull this out. Maybe the company won't be our era's version of Kozmo.

But right now, I feel like I've seen this movie before, and I know the ending.

SEE ALSO: A Wall Street analyst thinks he's figured out the real price Netflix would need to charge to break even — and he says it would destroy the company's growth

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NOW WATCH: How does MoviePass make money?

One of Amazon's biggest challenges in its early days was solved by an obscure book about lichen

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 06:30 AM PDT

jeff bezos

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos found a "loophole" that allowed him to solve one of the company's early challenges.
  • Booksellers required the company to order at least 10 books at once, but Amazon didn't have that kind of sales volume yet, Brad Stone writes in "The Everything Store." So they ordered the book they needed and nine copies of an obscure book about lichen.
  • Amazon employees also wrote their own reviews of books that customers had ordered.

When Amazon first launched, it aimed to become nothing short of the world's largest bookstore.

But first, it had to work out some kinks.

As Brad Stone writes in his 2013 bestseller "The Everything Store," Amazon's distribution methods in the early days weren't exactly scientific. The company didn't hold any inventory of its own, and it could take a week or more for Amazon to deliver books to customers.

One of the biggest problems Amazon faced, Stone writes, was that book distributors required retailers to order 10 books at once. But the company wasn't yet making enough sales to do that. Stone highlights a tidbit from a Playboy interview with Bezos, published in 2000, that illustrates how they got around the issue.

According to Bezos:

"We found a loophole. Their systems were programmed in such a way that you didn't have to receive ten books, you only had to order ten books. So we found an obscure book about lichens that they had in their system but was out of stock. We began ordering the one book we wanted and nine copies of the lichen book. They would ship out the book we needed and a note that said, 'Sorry, but we're out of the lichen book.'"

Around the same time, Amazon figured out how to handle the issue of customer reviews of books. Stone writes that early employees and their friends wrote many of the first reviews.

Shel Kaphan, Amazon's first employee, found a book that a customer had ordered: "Bitter Winds: A Memoir of My Years in China's Gulag." He read the whole thing and wrote one of the book's first reviews. (It's unclear which review he wrote, but there is a 1995 review from "A Customer" that reads simply, "I love it.")

Today, Amazon is one of the most powerful businesses in the world, close to becoming a trillion-dollar company. But in that 2000 Playboy interview, Bezos joked about the company's early strategies coming back to haunt them: "One of these days we're going to get all those lichen books dumped onto our front lawn."

SEE ALSO: Early Amazon interviews were so tough, one comment could disqualify a job candidate immediately

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There's a science-backed treatment for drug addiction that works — but it's nearly impossible to get

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 06:16 AM PDT

Black tar heroin Mexico US drugs free base

  • The death toll from the opioids epidemic continues to soar.
  • Experts say we already have a science-backed treatment that works: medication-assisted treatment, or MAT.
  • The problem, however, is that very few people can get it.

The death toll from the opioids epidemic continues to soar — nearly 64,000 people died in 2016 alone. Scientists are working to find creative tools to fight it, and President Donald Trump has called the overdose crisis a public health emergency. But he has not yet outlined any targeted solutions aside from calling for drug dealers to be given the death penalty.

A growing cadre of health professionals say we already have a science-backed treatment that works. It's called medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, and it involves administering FDA-approved medications that help curb cravings and reduce the excruciating symptoms of withdrawal.

"Medications are an effective treatment for opioid addiction," Kelly J. Clark, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, told Business Insider.

The problem is that very few people can get those medications.

Only about half of private-sector treatment programs for opioid use disorder currently offer access to MAT, and of those that offer it, only one third of patients actually receive the medication, according to a study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

There are many reasons for this lack of access to medication. Some stem from a misconception about how the treatments — which can include buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone — work. The stigma surrounding drug use and addiction plays a role, too. Still other issues include federal and state laws that restrict the availability of the medications. 

"It's more of an implementation problem than a basic science problem," Clark said, "because we know what works."

Medications do not ‘substitute one drug for another'

Fentanyl opioids

In someone with opioid use disorder, using the drugs is often not a pleasurable experience, but rather a practice that has become a necessary fact of life. Being without the drugs leads to painful symptoms that can include severe nausea, shaking, diarrhea, and depression. The need to use is simultaneously a physical and emotional compulsion — the lines between those kinds of pain are blurred.

One of the main misconceptions about medication-assisted treatment is that medications simply replace the drugs that hooked users — leading to more highs and fueling a pattern of repeated use.

But that view is outdated and ill-informed, experts say. Instead, the drugs work by staunching cravings and reducing or preventing withdrawal and relapse. Buprenorphine and methadone help suppress cravings, while naltrexone blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids so users don't experience a high.

"People ask me all the time, ‘well, aren't they just substituting one drug for another?' The answer is no. These are evidence-based treatments and they work," Patrice A. Harris, the former president of the American Medical Association and a board certified psychiatrist, told Business Insider.

Several large studies suggest that as access to MAT rises, drug overdose deaths fall. A study of heroin overdose deaths in Baltimore between 1995 and 2009 published in the American Journal of Public Health, for example, found a link between the increasing availability of methadone and buprenorphine and a roughly 50% decrease in the number of fatal overdoses.

"These treatments are life saving and they work," Sarah Wakeman, the medical director of the substance use disorder initiative at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor at Harvard, told Business Insider.

From jail to court to rehab, medication-assisted treatment is hard to find

methadoneDespite the evidence demonstrating MAT's effectiveness, it is surprisingly difficult to obtain.

One of the hardest-to-access forms of medication for recovery is methadone. In the US, the medication can only be accessed in specialized clinics; because of the way the treatment works, people on MAT must come to a facility to be injected daily. But those facilities typically have negative reputations because of policies that restrict them to locations considered seedy or run-down. And patients who come for treatment often have to push past active drug users — a big trigger for someone with substance use disorder — on their way to and from the clinic.

"You can access heroin pretty easily, yet we make it really hard to get a treatment that’s life-saving and allows you to live healthily," Wakeman said.

On Friday, the US Food and Drug Adminstration issued a new set of guidelines aimed at underlining the important role MAT should play treating opioid use disorder.

“Unfortunately, far too few people who suffer from opioid use disorder are offered an adequate chance for treatment that uses safe and effective medications,”commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.

Other countries take a very different approach to medication-assisted treatment that makes the treatments easier to obtain. In Canada, for example, methadone is distributed in pharmacies.

Rehabilitation facilities and courts in the US often don't offer medication-assisted treatment either. Instead, most operate on an abstinence-based model, in which patients must detox and then are offered counseling. They're  encouraged to attend 12-step meetings like Narcotics Anonymous, which remains opposed to MAT despite the growing body of evidence behind it.

Among staff at rehab centers across the US, many workers maintain the belief that the medication doesn't work and say clients will "abuse" medications. Stephanie Rogers, an intake coordinator at Talbott Recovery, an Atlanta-based addiction treatment center, told Business Insider that she "honestly believed" that MAT was "just substituting one drug for another."

This trend runs in sharp contrast to the way treatment for other conditions has changed based on new research. When it comes to type 2 diabetes, for example, a large body of scientific evidence demonstrated that the medication insulin helped curb the symptoms of the illness. Those findings prompted medical professionals across the country to uniformly endorse and offer it.

Even among rehab center workers who do understand the potential of medication-assisted treatment, many told Business Insider that their facilities aren't licensed to provide MAT in the first place. San Diego-based drug treatment center AToN, for example, lacks the proper licensing to provide methadone to patients, according to its program director.

Turning the tide requires buy-in from officials and medical providers

Some officials, including judges who preside over courts that see people brought in on drug offenses, are trying to update their policies to incorporate the most recent research on addiction treatment.

Judge Desiree Bruce-Lyle presides over several such courts at the Superior Court of San Diego County. She told Business Insider that she became convinced of the efficacy of MAT after attending an American Society of Addiction Medicine conference and speaking to some of its leaders, including Kelly Clark and vice president Penny S. Mills.

"I didn't believe in [MAT] until I met Penny and Kelly last year and they convinced me why it was a good thing and then I heard from a lot of the speakers that were attending that we needed to take a look at it," Bruce-Lyle said.

Still, out of roughly 50 participants in the reentry court that Bruce-Lyle helps oversees, only one or two are on MAT, she said. In their veterans court, which includes roughly 60 people, three or four are on MAT.

"I'd like to see more of it," Bruce-Lyle said, but added that she felt she'd need to convince key players at the court — including the Sheriff and other leaders — of the treatment's efficacy.

A handful of physicians and social workers are also helping to lead the charge by calling attention to the scientific evidence that shows MAT is more effective than an abstinence-only model. Wakeman, the assistant professor at Harvard, travels around the country giving presentations at conferences like the one that helped change Bruce-Lyle's mind.

"Medication-assisted treatment saves lives," Wakeman said. "You can also just call it 'treatment' and drop the two words in front of it."

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SEE ALSO: Pharmaceutical giants are sidestepping US marijuana restrictions to research cannabis-based drugs

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15 tips and tricks to play and win at Fortnite Battle Royale, the most popular game in the world right now

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 06:15 AM PDT


In just about seven months, "Fortnite Battle Royale" has become the hottest game in the world.

The game is not only free-to-play for anyone, it's also everywhere you could possibly play a video game: It's a free download for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, but also iOS. It's coming soon to Android.

The gist of "Fortnite Battle Royale" is simple: 100 players are dropped onto an island with a constantly-shrinking "safe zone." There are weapons and special items scattered all over the island. The goal is to be the last person standing at the end.

"Fortnite Battle Royale" may seem straightforward, but it's actually a very nuanced game with plenty of depth. And knowledge, in addition to fast reflexes, is crucial to surviving and winning the 100-person battle royale.

And so, here are 15 tips and tricks to win at "Fortnite Battle Royale":

1. Take advantage of the training area before the game starts.

Before every game, all of the players are loaded into a lobby of sorts, where you'll be able to pick up a few weapons and materials to practice shooting and building, respectively. If you're feeling unsure about controls, use this time to get familiar.

2. Use your pickaxe on everything you can, especially at the start of each game.

Every character in "Fortnite Battle Royale" carries an indestructible pickaxe, and almost every object in the game can be destroyed with your pickaxe. Just hit it repeatedly to gather its materials — wood, metal, or brick — which you'll use to build forts, ramps, walls, and defenses.

Gathering materials early on is the key to a good defense in "Fortnite Battle Royale." The best players break everything apart from the very start of the game, from trees to boxes and even walls and floors.

3. Learn to build. Building is the key to your defense, and defense often means survival.

This is crucial for newcomers. Practice making quick buildings and ramps around your character in just a few seconds, which can save your character if you're getting shot at. Practice building to climb mountains and buildings quickly. Keep practicing. Building is your best mode of transport in "Fortnite," but it's also your very best defense aside from the potions and Med Kits you'll find strewn around the island.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The pilot who landed the fatal Southwest flight performed an incredible feat — but those who know her weren't surprised (LUV)

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 06:14 AM PDT

tammie jo shults

  • Tammie Jo Shults gained praise for safely landing a Southwest Airlines flight after an engine exploded on Tuesday.
  • Shults was one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots, and she received a number of awards during her seven years of service.
  • Shults has also taught Sunday School at her church, performed volunteer work for at-risk children, and opened a cottage on her family's property to victims of Hurricane Rita.

Landing a plane with an exploded engine and a busted cabin window would challenge even the most experienced pilot.

But those who know Tammie Jo Shults, the pilot of a Southwest Airlines flight that made an emergency landing on Tuesday after an engine malfunctioned, weren't surprised she handled the situation with poise.

"That’s Tammie, that’s Tammie, that’s her," longtime friend Robert Bruce told The Dallas Morning News. "She’s not the type to panic."

Shults was praised for her conduct during and after the landing

Passengers on Flight 1380 praised Shults for her conduct during and after the emergency landing. While passengers reported emotional turmoil in the aircraft's cabin, an audio recording obtained by NBC between Shults and air traffic control paints a different picture in the cockpit. On the recording, Shults sounds calm as she reports hearing that a passenger "went out" a window.

Her mother-in-law, Virginia Shults, told The Washington Post she recognized Tammie Jo's voice when she heard the recording and wasn't surprised at her composure.

"It was just as if she and I were sitting here talking," she said. "She’s a very calming person."

After the flight landed, passengers remarked on how she addressed them individually to make sure they were alright.

Shults has declined to give interviews after the incident, but Southwest released a statement attributed to her and the flight's first officer, Darren Ellisor.

"We all feel we were simply doing our jobs," the statement read. "Our hearts are heavy. On behalf of the entire Crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss."

She had a decorated tenure in the Navy

Shults grew up in New Mexico and developed an interest in aviation from a young age, when she would watch Air Force planes fly over her family's ranch. 

But she faced obstacles as early as high school. Once, when she attended a lecture about aviation given by a retired colonel during a career day, the speaker asked if she was lost because she was the only woman present. 

"He started the class by asking me, the only girl in attendance, if I was lost," she said in Linda Maloney's book, "Military Fly Moms." "I mustered up the courage to assure him I was not and that I was interested in flying. He allowed me to stay but assured me there were no professional women pilots."

"I did not say another word. In my heart, I hoped that God had given me an interest in flying for a reason. I had never touched an airplane, but I knew flying was my future. My junior year in college, I met a girl who had just received her Air Force wings. My heart jumped. Girls did fly! I set to work trying to break into the club."

After the Air Force rejected her, Shults applied for aviation officer candidate school in the Navy. She was accepted, but Maloney, who also served in the Navy, told Business Insider that instructors were unsure of how to teach female students.

"The instructors were a little bit tentative and standoffish. I don't think they knew what to think to because the problem was there we so few of us," she said. "There were two or three women in flight school when I was there." 

Shults was commissioned in 1985 and became an instructor pilot in Texas. While she was not allowed to fly combat missions, Shults rose through the ranks and eventually became one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots. By the time she left Navy in 1993, she had become a lieutenant commander, received a National Defense Service Medal, expert pistol Marksmanship Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal twice, according to The Post.

She's an active member of her community

During her service, she would also meet her husband, Dean Shults, a fellow pilot. Both would later become pilots for Southwest Airlines. They currently live in the San Antonio area and have two children.

Shults is an active member in her community, Staci Thompson, a friend who attends the same church as Shults, told The Dallas Morning News.

"She would tell you everything she has she’s been given from God, so she wants to share it," Thompson said.

Shults has taught Sunday School at her church, performed volunteer work for at-risk children, and opened a cottage on her family's property to victims of Hurricane Rita.

Her skillful, emergency landing on Tuesday, then, might be seen as just another act of charity.


SEE ALSO: Here's what happened on the fatal Southwest Airlines flight

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NOW WATCH: Investors need to lower their expectations

I used Amazon's free 2-hour delivery service while ill — and it's clear why it's becoming the brand's secret weapon in the war for grocery domination (AMZN)

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 06:03 AM PDT

amazon prime now

  • Amazon Prime Now is Amazon's free two-hour delivery service available in 50 cities around the world.
  • It offers staples, groceries, and seasonal merchandise delivered from hubs near in the centers of major metropolises.
  • I tested it earlier this year and found it was a bit more expensive than I expected and not as quick as I had hoped.
  • However, I used the service again recently while sick, and I now understand the value of the service when homebound or just too busy to go shopping.

Amazon Prime Now is a service that promises a lot.

Free delivery in two hours for a wide variety of seasonal goods, food staples, and every-day items sounds too good to be true. And when I tried it earlier this year, I wasn't completely sold on it. It took too long, was too expensive for such small orders when factoring in a tip, and I thought wasn't worth it.

But then I decided to give Prime Now another shot — and now I see what the big deal is. While sick with a cold and stuck at home, I used Prime Now again. This time, I found it to be a lifesaver.

I was struck with one of those annoying colds that decided to stick around far longer than it was welcome. For that reason, I was running out of groceries, medicine, and tissues. Luckily, those are all things easily orderable on Prime Now.

I ordered nearly $60 worth of goods, including canned soups, bottled juices, NyQuil (lifesaver), milk, bread, and fresh produce — 15 items in all. It was all priced super competitively, and definitely beat the shop on my street, if not average New York City grocery and drug store prices.

The selection had everything I wanted, but I did need to make some compromises. Though there were a lot of Whole Foods 365 brand items, Prime Now's Amazon shop didn't have the cereal I wanted. The selection for produce was also limited, and they didn't have oranges. I was also forced to buy a 5-pound bag of apples, which I am still trying to work my way through.

Still, I was able to do my weekly shop quickly, economically, and the bags were left at the front door my building. I didn't even have to see another human being in my frightening condition. It also came fairly promptly — it only took a little over an hour from when I ordered.

Tip wasn't bad either. Amazon suggested a $6 tip on the nearly $60 order, which was a lot easier to swallow than the $5 tip on the $13.57 order from February.

I still won't use Prime Now as part of my weekly routine. I may use it for days when I just can't make it to the supermarket, however, or are otherwise indisposed. I finally realize its appeal, why customers are flocking to it to buy groceries, and why Amazon is likely banking on it to increase its grocery sales.

After all, convenience is how Amazon convinced over 100 million people to sign up for Prime.

SEE ALSO: Jeff Bezos explains why he will never be satisfied with Amazon's success

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NOW WATCH: Inside Cook Out, the South's most underrated restaurant

RANKED: The best-looking iPhone designs, from the original iPhone to the iPhone X (AAPL)

Posted: 21 Apr 2018 06:00 AM PDT

Original iPhone and iPhone X comparison

Apple has made a lot of gorgeous smartphones over the years.

While the iPhone has evolved plenty over the years, particularly with regards to functionality, we thought it'd be fun to just focus on how the exterior of the phone has changed over the years, and rank our favorite looks.

Here are the best-looking iPhone designs of all-time, from the original iPhone to the iPhone X:

12. The original iPhone

We've written extensively about how terrible the very first iPhone was from a technical standpoint when it was launched in 2007.

From a design perspective, though, it was a good-looking phone that was intuitive to use, with buttons and the mute toggle on the side, and the power button on top. With its silver trim and matte back, it looked like a more premium version of the iPod Touch. More beautiful iPhone models came along, but this was the model the launched the smartphone wave that defined the last decade. 

11. The iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus

The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were very similar to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The phones were slightly thicker, slightly heavier, and made of a stronger aluminum that made it tougher to bend. It also had a finish that made it slightly less slippery to hold.

Other than that, Apple kept all the design choices from the iPhone 6, for better or worse. The display was still the star of the show, but details on the back of the phone — like the awkward antenna lines and the rear camera bump — left much to be desired.


10. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple ditched the glass portions from the iPhone 5S and went whole-hog on aluminum with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The all-aluminum design made those phones much thinner and much lighter than previous iPhone designs, which had an unintended consequence where people tested the phone's flexibility by bending it, leading to the much-publicized #BendGate.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus featured a new rounded look, compared to the flat edges of the iPhone 5 and 5S, making them look more like iPod designs from way back when. But the biggest improvement in the iPhone 6 line was the display: Apple upgraded from the 4-inch screens of the iPhone 5 era to a larger 4.7-inch screen for the iPhone 6, and a much larger 5.5-inch screen for the iPhone 6 Plus.

The iPhone 6 phones were the first inkling that Apple wanted to create a phone that was mostly display. Still, those antenna lines on the back were not very appealing, and this was the first iPhone to introduce the rear camera bump: The lens is raised slightly off the back of the device, which meant the phone couldn't lie perfectly flat on a table.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider