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A founder who survived the Chinese bike-sharing bubble is launching a scooter startup, and reckons it’s a $35 billion market

Dott's teamDott

  • Dott is a new scooter and electric bike startup which has raised €20 million to launch in Paris.
  • There are a lot of scooter startups fighting for market share right now, with major players Bird and Lime raising a collective $870 million in the US and expanding to Europe.
  • Dott’s cofounder, Maxim Romain, said Europe had room for competition and the market could be worth $35 billion in time.

European startup Dott is the latest scooter startup to raise millions from venture capitalists in the hope that city-dwellers will abandon cars and zip around on small electric vehicles.

Dott is headquartered in Amsterdam and founded by two former execs of Chinese bike startup Ofo, Maxim Romain and Henri Moissinac.

The two have raised €20 million ($23 million) from media firm Naspers, European venture capital firm EQT Ventures, and a number of other backers, including Axel Springer, Business Insider’s parent company.

Dott, which launches in Paris as its first city on Friday, works similarly to the plethora of scooter startups now fighting for global dominance.

It will initially run a test pilot in Paris, putting 100 scooters in the French capital’s startup hub Station F before expanding to a further two cities.

Riders wanting to hire a scooter will need to download the Dott app, register, pay a small initial fee and then pay more the longer they travel. The company isn’t revealing trip prices yet.

Scooter startups look like a bubble because there are so many companies doing exactly the same thing

Dott scooterDott

There are eight scooter companies in the US alone, led by Bird and Lime which have raised $870 million in total, according to Crunchbase, and are worth more than $1 billion each.

There isn’t quite as much money sloshing around scooters in Europe, but Didi-backed ride-hailing unicorn Taxify has edged into scooters, while local firms TIER and Voi have also raised funding from major European venture capital backers. Bird and Lime have also expanded into Europe.

Dott, meanwhile, is launching more than a year after its big-name competitors in the US. How can it succeed, and with such a small pool of capital?

Cofounder Maxim Romain said there was room for multiple competitors in Europe and that the startup had only raised "as much as we need."

Read more: Electric scooter hire is coming to the UK under a deal struck by $2 billion startup Bird

He believes the market is "definitely in the tens of billions." In a city of around 10 million, such as London, he thinks people might take five short trips a day. Multiplied out across the city’s population, that’s up to 50 million short trips every day. It’s feasible that people might use electric scooters or electric bikes for 5% of those trips.

"You multiply that by £1, £2, or £3 per trip, immediately you see a £1 billion-plus market just in London," he said.

Scooters remain illegal in the UK but, Romain said, Dott plans to launch electric bikes first. He said he anticipated the law would change to allow for electric scooters on British roads.

Adding all the cities in Europe, he said, could equal a market worth up to €30 billion ($35 billion) one day. "It’s not a short-term thing," Romain enthused.

This feels optimistic, but Bird and Lime’s spiralling valuations in the US suggest Romain isn’t alone. Still, there are signs investor interest is cooling, given reports Bird and Lime have tempered their valuation goals.

"It could become a bubble, it’s not impossible," Romain said.

He argued that in Europe, at least, there isn’t a "micro-mobility" bubble because scooters are still in their infancy. A bubble would imply oversupply versus demand whereas. But Romain noted that cities such as London still have antiquated legislation that bans scooters, there are wider European moves to reduce car ownership, and scooters are not exactly flooding the market.

"It’s still just the beginning," Romain said.

Dott’s founders learnt from the genuine bubble of Chinese bike-sharing companies

ofoReuters

Romain and his cofounder both survived Ofo, the Chinese bike-sharing startup that appeared close to implosion earlier this year.

Romain said the pair learnt that creating an attractive, durable scooter or ebike was key, and to nail down the unit economics early on. Ofo’s mistake, he said, was flooding its native China with unwanted bikes.

"There was this crazy commercial war where local players were raising as much money as possible, Mobike and Ofo, and the only game was to put as many bikes as possible on the streets," he said. "They ignored unit economics, and what the actual demand was."

He added that Ofo had been "profitable" in several European cities, but the Chinese mothership ran out of money before its overseas teams could expand.

Dott stress-tests its vehicles to avoid disasters like scooters catching fire

Safety is still a huge issue for scooters, with Lime having to issue two product recalls, and reports of fatalities. Scooter executives have continued to claim their products are safe, despite evidence to the contrary.

Roman said it was impossible to eliminate all risk, but said Dott had designed its own scooters and vetted all of its parts suppliers — especially the battery. The company, he said, stress tested its scooters to ensure they could withstand daily road impact, and would also hire its own workers to maintain fleets of scooters. Bird, by contrast, relies on gig economy workers to collect scooters.

He added that Dott’s model was larger than rivals, suggesting that riders would feel more stable.

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Hundreds of troops deployed to the US-Mexico border have started heading home, but many more are staying through the holidays

Soldiers from the the 89th Military Police Brigade, and 41st Engineering Company, 19th Engineering Battalion, Fort Riley, KS., arrive at Valley International Airport, Harlingen, TX to conduct the first missions along the southern border in support of Operation FAITHFUL PATRIOT November 1, 2018.U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Alexandra Minor

  • Hundreds of active-duty troops deployed to the southern border have started heading home, according to the latest update from US Northern Command.
  • Many of the US troops heading out are those who were involved in hardening ports of entry and barrier emplacement. Troops have set up around 70 miles of razor wire and moveable barriers since their arrival in late October.
  • Among the remaining troops are force protection units and military aviation units, which are expected to continue supporting Customs and Border Protection agents through at least the end of January.

Having completed their missions, some troops deployed to the US-Mexico border are heading back to their home bases, US Northern Command reported Thursday.

The number of troops at the border, which peaked at 5,900 troops from across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, has been decreasing. Around 750 service members serving in Texas and Arizona redeployed to their home bases to prepare for other missions on Wednesday. The Department of Defense currently has roughly 4,200 active-duty troops at the southern border.

Army engineers install concertina wire Nov. 5, 2018, on the Anzalduas International Bridge, Texas.U.S Northern Command is providing military support to the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to secure the southern border of the United States.US Air Force photo by Airman First Class Daniel A. Hernandez

By state, there are 1,700 active-duty troops in Texas, 1,000 in Arizona, and 1,500 in California. There are also approximately 2,100 National Guard units deployed to the US-Mexico border. For the active-duty troops, the mission, originally known as Operation Faithful Patriot but later renamed "border support," was expected to end on December 15, but the Department of Defense agreed to extend the mission to the end of January following a Department of Homeland Security Request.

Read More: US troops are staying at the US-Mexico border through Christmas and into the new year

The troops that have left the southern border are certain engineering, logistics, and headquarters units, some of which were involved in hardening points of entry and erecting barriers. Since late October, troops have set up 70 miles of wire obstacles and moveable barriers at 22 ports of entry.

Soldiers from the 97th Military Police Brigade, and 41st Engineering Company, Fort Riley, Kansas, run 300 meters of concertina wire along the border in support of CBP operations in Hidalgo, Texas.U.S. Air Force photo by SrA Alexandra Minor

Among the remaining troops are military police units, which have completed 10,000 man-hours of unit training — including tactical and riot control training — in recent weeks, while military rotary wing aviators flew more than 740 hours in support of the border mission. These units will continue their service in border areas.

Read More: US troops at the Mexico border have turned from just laying razor wire to bracing for violence as migrants arrive by the thousands

Several thousand troops were sent to the border toward the end of October to support Customs and Border Protection as large caravans consisting of thousands of Central American migrants marched northward. While the mission initially focused on barrier emplacement, a force protection element has also been incorporated for the active-duty military personnel deployed to the border.

Read More: Trump administration reportedly authorizes US troops to use lethal force at the border as migrant caravan approaches

U.S. Soldiers and Marines assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 7, practice non-lethal crowd control drills at the Calexico West Port of Entry in Calexico, California on Nov. 27, 2018.U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Nyatan Bol

While there was a clash between migrants and CBP personnel at the San Ysidro port of entry last month, there have not been any serious escalations since. Some of the migrants have actually started heading home.

President Donald Trump stated Tuesday that the military could be directed to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, but the Pentagon explained the same day that there is no plan at this time for service members to do so.

Many of the president’s critics have accused Trump of using the military for a political stunt. These accusations have been rejected by the Department of Defense and the administration.

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A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died 8 hours after entering Border Patrol custody

border patrolAssociated Press/Russell Contreras

  • A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died around eight hours after entering Border Patrol custody, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
  • The girl was reportedly having seizures and emergency responders measured her fever at 105.7 degrees. According to CBP, the girl had "not eaten or consumed water for several days."
  • The unnamed child was airlifted to a hospital in El Paso, where CBP said she later died.
  • Border security has been a central pillar in Trump’s tough immigration agenda, most recently the president offered to shut down the government while sparring with leading Democrats over his headline border wall project.

A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died at an El Paso hospital just eight hours after Border Patrol took her into custody, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

The girl and her father were part of a group of 163 migrants who turned themselves in to officials in New Mexico, US Customs and Border Protection told The Post.

The group was taken into custody in the New Mexico desert six miles south of Lordsburg, N.M. at 10 p.m. local time, according to The Post. A little more than 8 hours later, at 6:25 a.m. local time, the girl was reportedly having seizures and emergency responders measured her fever at 105.7 degrees.

According to what CBP told The Post, the girl "reportedly had not eaten or consumed water for several days."

After being airlifted to a hospital in El Paso, she went into cardiac arrest, was revived, but did not survive the ordeal.

"[T]he child did not recover and died at the hospital less than 24 hours after being transported," CBP said to The Post. Autopsy results will not be available for several weeks, however, "El Paso’s Providence Hospital listed the cause of death as septic shock, fever and dehydration," The Post reported. It’s unclear if the girl received food, water or a medical examination once in Border Patrol custody.

"Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the child," a CBP spokesperson told The Post.

"Border Patrol agents took every possible step to save the child’s life under the most trying of circumstances," the spokesperson continued.

INSIDER reached out to CBP and will update with more information.

READ MORE:  People are roasting a bizarre government memo claiming the Trump administration is ‘building wall and building wall quickly’.

The girl’s death is likely to heighten scrutiny of Border Patrol and CBP, two agencies already under the microscope following a succession of controversial White House policies targeting the US southern border and immigrant detention.

While the greater attention has centered on the "caravan" of Central American migrants now in Tijuana, Mexico, due to heightened politicization of the migrants prior to the midterm elections, there have also been smaller groups making their way across the desert in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico.

The Post says the number of family units coming across has increased, and the CBP admits it’s is not adequately equipped.

"Our border patrol stations were built decades ago to handle mostly male single adults in custody, not families and children," CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday.

Earlier this year the White House invoked a "zero tolerance" approach to these kinds of crossings, initially separating parents and children at the border, then changing sudden course in June, ahead of a court judgement reuniting separated families.

NPR reports there are still roughly 15,000 children in Department of Health and Human Services custody, largely unaccompanied minors that made the crossing alone and now due to a more stringent vetting process for potential sponsors, are waiting to be transferred to parents or guardians who are already in the US.

Many Central American migrants hope to secure asylum in the US far from violent homelands, while the Trump administration is determined to block anyone who does not enter the US at an official port of entry port of entry from being eligible for asylum. This week the Trump administration asked the US Supreme Court to weigh in after it was blocked in lower courts.

All this has made the actions of border security a potential lightning rod within Trump’s political agenda. Earlier this week the president publicly sparred with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer over his proposed border wall, eagerly assuming responsibility for any government shutdown stemming form challenges over its funding.

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SEE ALSO: Trump offers bold new interpretation of Mexico paying for the border wall

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Bitcoin scammers are sending bomb threat emails to millions around the world, but authorities are confirming ‘NO DEVICES have been found’

Facebook bomb threat

  • On Thursday, numerous reports emerged of people receiving extortion emails demanding recipients send $20,000 in Bitcoin to a particular Bitcoin address. 
  • The emails stated that failure to send the payment would result in that person’s workplace being blown up by an explosive device. 
  • Police forces from cities in multiple countries have responded to the threats and have confirmed that no devices have been found in connection to the extortion emails. 
  • This story is developing, but for now, authorities say no actual threats have been discovered. 

If you’ve received an email saying that your office will explode if you don’t forward on $20,000 in Bitcoin, stay calm. 

Law enforcement officials across the country responded on Thursday to a recent string of threats, sent to numerous people via a spam-like email campaign, and stated that no explosive devices have found in connection to the messages. 

"Please be advised – there is an email being circulated containing a bomb threat asking for bitcoin payment," the NYPD tweeted around 3pm ET on Thursday. "While this email has been sent to numerous locations, searches have been conducted and NO DEVICES have been found." 

Other police departments from across the country have provided similar updates. 

The extortion emails demand that recipients send $20,000 in Bitcoin to particular a Bitcoin address. Failure to do so by the end of the working day, the emails stated, would result in that person’s workplace being blown up by an explosive device. 

Here’s an example of one of the emails: 

Universities, schools, media outlets, courthouses, and private businesses across the US reported receiving the extortion emails. Some were evacuated as a result. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement on Thursday: "We are aware of recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance. As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety.”

Threats have also been reported outside the US in Canada and New Zealand

Read more: Bitcoin slumps after bomb threats that were emailed across the US demanded it for ransom

More information about the scam should emerge in the coming days, but if there’s any good news to come out of Thursday’s scare, it’s that no actual devices have been reported.

And, as ZDNet reports, no Bitcoin payments have been made in relation to the emails. 

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The ‘father of the internet’ says that Google employee backlash to its defense work was just ‘a lot of misunderstanding’ (GOOGL)

Vint Cerf, a Google vice president and its chief internet evangelist, as seen at San Jose's Fairmont hotel on Monday, December 10, 2018, during the Troy Wolverton/Business Insider

  • Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, this week defended Google’s work on Project Maven — its controversial pilot program with the Pentagon. 
  • Employee objections to the work, which involved developing artificial-intelligence technologies for use by the Defense Department, were based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the work, said Cerf, who is Google’s chief internet evangelist.
  • But the company could have been more transparent about what it was doing, he acknowledged.

If you ask Vint Cerf, the protests at Google about its contract to help develop artificial-intelligence technologies for the military can be chalked up to a misunderstanding.

Employees that objected to the company’s work for the Defense Department didn’t really understand the nature of the work or its benefits, Cerf, a vice president at the search giant and its chief internet evangelist, told Business Insider this week at the "Our People-Centered Digital Future" conference in San Jose.

Although some Google employees expressed concern that the technology could be used by the military to kill people, that’s not what the project was about, he said. 

"People were leaping to conclusions about the purpose of those contracts and the objectives of the contracts that I don’t think were justifiable," said Cerf, chairman of the People Centered Internet coalition, which helped organize the conference. PCI is an international group dedicated to ensuring "that the Internet continues to improve people’s lives and livelihoods and that the Internet is a positive force for good." 

A quiet contract led to mass protests

sundar pichai google ceo congress hearingAlex Wong/Getty ImagesGoogle quietly signed a contract to provide its AI technology to the military as part of the latter’s Project Maven effort in September 2017. Under the contract, the company was due to help the Defense Deparment use machine-learning algorithms to analyze drone footage.

When employees learned of the effort in February, many of them were outraged. Many expressed concern that even if the technology wasn’t initially developed for lethal purposes, it could eventually be used for that. More than 4,000 signed a letter demanding that the company cancel the contract and promise to never build "warfare technology." About a dozen also resigned from the company in protest over it. 

The company announced in June that it wouldn’t renew the contract when it expires next year, and company CEO Sundar Pichai announced a set of principles that would guide its AI development and applications. Among other things, he said the company wouldn’t "design or deploy" AI that would be used for weapons or for illegitimate surveillance.

Read this: Google just released a set of ethical principles about how it will use AI technology

Cerf said the contract was about "situational awareness"

To Cerf, though, the brouhaha was overblown. Employee concerns about the use of Google’s AI technology by the military were generally unfounded, he said.

As he understands it, the purpose of the contract was to develop technology to automatically detect things that might be harmful, such as people putting in place improvised explosive devices. It wasn’t designed to automatically detect and target individuals, he said.

"That particular project, as far as I know, was not to do that. It was a situational awareness application," said Cerf, who’s widely considered to be one of the fathers of the internet, because he helped develop its underlying data transfer protocols. "How can I recognize what’s going on around me in order to protect against [it] … Can I automatically discover things going on in my environment that might be harmful?"

But according to Gizmodo, which broke the initial report on Google’s Project Maven contract, the company had hoped the effort would lead to much more work for it with the military and with US intelligence agencies. As part of the project, it was already developing a system for the military that could be used to surveil entire cities, Gizmodo reported. 

The military does more than fight wars

More broadly, Cerf said, employees misunderstood the breadth of the military’s mission and technology efforts. The Defense Department does more than just fight wars, he noted. Among other things, the military has helped develop technologies that have proven to be invaluable in the private sector, he said, noting his own work in the 1970s and 1980s developing internet technology on behalf of the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency.

"There is a lot of misunderstanding about the positive benefits of working with [and] in the public sector, the military being a part of that," he said. 

Google declined to publicize its work on Project Maven and, when it came to light, downplayed its involvement, according to published reports. The company initially told Gizmodo that its work on the project only consisted of providing the military access to the same kind of open source machine-learning tools it provides to other corporate and institutional customers of its cloud services. But the company had actually assigned more than 10 employees to the project and was actively working to customize its AI technology for the military, according to Gizmodo.

Cerf acknowledged Google may have some responsibility for the misapprehension of its employees.

"There probably was not enough transparency" regarding its Project Maven work, he said.

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Here are the top 10 fastest-growing work apps of 2018 (FB)

Zapier cofoundersZapier

With 2018 rapidly winding down, Zapier has released its annual report of the year’s fastest growing workplace apps.

Zapier which rhymes with "happier" — connects apps through simple integrations that help users automate their work and be more productive. That means it gets good insight on the fastest-growing apps, just by watching which pieces of software its users are looking for. 

Placing highly on the list is Facebook, oddly enough, as well as a tool for managing chatbots — something that some in Silicon Valley had written off as a fad, but is still finding an audience.

This year’s list points to some general trends in productivity tools. First of all, many of the trendiest tools allow users to customize the way they work. Many of the apps on the report allow users to customize their team’s communication tools, their websites, and how they manage projects.

"They really let you customize what you’re doing," Zapier CEO Wade Foster told Business Insider. "I think that’s interesting as you see early adopters get more comfortable with technology … We’re going to see even more of that in 2019."

Also spotted in the report are software suites that put lots of tools in one place. Finally, users are also relying on productivity tools that automate work routines, so that they get more done and can focus on tasks that only humans can do.

Here are the top 10 fastest-growing apps of 2018, according to Zapier:

10. Zoho Forms

Kate Hiscock/Flickr

This tool, part of the Zoho cloud suite, lets users make web forms for users and customers to fill out — for instance, an order form for a catering gig, or feedback for a conference session. 

9. Mailshake

Disney

Mailshake is used for email marketing. It allows users to customize these emails using tools like templates, bulk email, auto follow ups, and tracking for clicks and replies.

8. WPForms

Brian Ach/Getty Images

This is a plugin for the WordPress content management system that lets users make their own web forms. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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The co-founder of $725 million cloud startup Mesosphere is stepping aside as CEO to make way for a Symantec veteran

mesosphere ceo mike feyMesosphere

  • Mesosphere, most recently valued at $725 million in a funding round this year, is getting a new CEO.
  • Founder Florian Leibert is stepping aside to make way for Mike Fey, most recently COO of Symantec.
  • Leibert had previously announced his intention to find his own replacement.
  • Fey sees a lot of opportunity in bringing Mesosphere’s software to larger customers, to help them manage their server and cloud infrastructure. 
  • Fey says he was first intrigued by Mesosphere’s all-star roster of investors, which include Khosla Ventures, Microsoft, Andreessen Horowitz, T. Rowe Price, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Earlier this year, cloud startup Mesosphere raised $125 million, bringing its total funding to just shy of $250 million. That deal valued Mesosphere at $725 million, according to Bloomberg, up from $600 million in 2016. 

Now, Mesosphere co-founder Florian Leibert is following through on his previously-announced intention to step aside as CEO, to take a new role focused on strategy and working with customers. Replacing him will be Mike Fey, most recently president and COO of Symantec, in a move that the company says will help it achieve the next stage of growth by going after larger customers. 

"I realized this was one of the few things that could impact the future in a meaningful way," Fey told Business Insider in an interview on Thursday. 

Mesosphere once famously turned down an acquisition offer from Microsoft, after which some pundits started to theorize that the company was doomed. But Fey says that Mesosphere is growing fast, and it’s his intention to keep on building momentum as an independent company. 

"I didn’t come here to sell it short," Fey says. "I came here to build something special." 

mesosphere ceo florian leibertMesosphere

What first attracted him to Mesosphere, Fey says, is its all-star roster of investors, including T. Rowe Price, Andreessen Horowitz, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Khosla Ventures, and even Koch Industries, who have sunk just shy of $250 million into the company in total. 

"That led me to take it very seriously," Fey says.

With his interest piqued, Fey first met with Leibert in October, and ultimately decided that it was the logical next move for him. Leibert, for his part, was excited to hand off the reins after 5 years as chief exec, and spend more time working with customers and thinking about what’s next for the company. 

What’s next for Mesosphere

Last year, the company said it was on a $50 million annualized run rate, a measure of how much revenue it expects to book over the next 12-month period. While Mesosphere declines to share new numbers today, Leibert has said that its revenue triples every year. 

Read more: This startup famously turned down an acquisition offer from Microsoft — now it’s a $50 million business

Mesosphere’s flagship product is DC/OS, or the Data Center Operating System. The general principle behind DC/OS is that it should be as easy for IT pros to manage the software on their servers as it is to download an iPhone app. It’s especially popular for running Kubernetes, a Google-born technology for managing cloud infrastructure.

Fey sees big value in bringing this to ever-larger customers, who need an easy way to first bring their software to the cloud, and then to snap on additional technologies like Kubernetes, artificial intelligence, or smart device management. 

Tactically, Fey wants to take the positive experiences of Mesosphere’s smaller customers, and "repeat it at the highest levels." He highlights new customer GE Transportation, which is using DC/OS to manage applications across its own data centers, as well as mega-clouds like those offered by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Leibert says that the time is right, too: With Microsoft buying GitHub for $7.5 billion, IBM snapping up Red Hat for $34 billion, and VMware acquiring red-hot Kubernetes startup Heptio, there’s going to be a lot of interest in open source software. That’s good for Mesosphere, Leibert says, because there’s no easier way for customers to get started using open source software than to install and manage it via DC/OS.

"You need to be able to put all of these technologies together," says Leibert. 

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Trump is failing to achieve one of the biggest goals of his trade war, and he only has himself to blame

donald trump chuck schumerMark Wilson/Getty Images

  • President Donald Trump wanted to use tariffs to help bring down the trade deficit with China.
  • The US-China trade deficit hit a record high in the month of October.
  • According to economists from Goldman Sachs, Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods are actually making the trade deficit worse.

One of the President Donald Trump’s biggest goals for the trade war was to reduce the US’s trade deficit with China. But according to Goldman Sachs, the president is only making it worse.

The most recent trade report from the US Census Bureau showed that the US’s trade deficit with China once again hit a record for the month of October — after also hitting a record the previous month. This string of record-high deficits seems to run counter to Trump’s stated mission for tariffs on roughly $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.

But according to Goldman Sachs economists Blake Taylor and Alec Phillips, the ever-increasing US-China trade deficit is actually because of the tariffs.

"The trade deficit with China stands at an all-time high," the pair wrote in a note to clients on Thursday. "Exports declined sharply on a seasonally adjusted basis, extending their decline since retaliatory tariffs started to take effect in July, and imports continued to rise further. Unsurprisingly, we find that recently imposed tariffs have played a role in these changes."

The economists said there are two big reasons the tariffs are making the ever-growing trade deficit even worse.

A rush of imports

The first issue is that the US appetite for goods with China has gone unabated since the start of the trade war — in part due to the strong American economy, but also because US companies are pulling ahead purchases of Chinese goods that could be subject to tariffs before the duties hit.

Taylor and Phillips pointed out that imports jumped of items that were set to be hit with a third round of tariffs shortly before those tariffs were imposed.

"Imports of goods subject to Round 3 tariffs rose moderately in July, August, and September as further tariffs appeared increasingly likely," the economists said. "The value of imports then declined in October after tariffs took effect."

Read more: Trump’s trade war with China is the biggest threat to the US economy in 2019, and it’s making economists the most worried they’ve been in years»

Exports tanking

At the same time, exports to China have fallen off a cliff.

"US exports to China continued their sharp decline, a trend in place since the tariffs took effect over the summer," Taylor and Phillips said. "Declining exports alongside modestly increasing imports pushed the trade deficit with China to an all-time high in October."

Screen Shot 2018 12 13 at 4.16.58 PMGoldman Sachs

The economists said the drop in exports was mostly the result of large drop for a handful of key items — primarily soybeans. US farmers sent just under $14 billion worth of soybeans to China in 2017. Since the tariffs went into place, Chinese purchases of soybeans have all but dried up.

"US soybean exports are highly seasonal, with about 60% of annual exports to China occurring in Q4 and about 25% in October," Phillips and Taylor wrote. "Excluding soybeans, exports to China are only modestly lower on a seasonally adjusted monthly basis."

Screen Shot 2018 12 13 at 4.29.18 PMGoldman Sachs

This means Wednesday’s soybean purchases by Chinese companies, which totaled somewhere between 1.5 million and 2 million metric tonnes (about the average weekly pace this time of year), could help to alleviate some of the gap.

But despite promising signs coming out of Trump’s meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping at the G20 summit, the threat of further escalation looms. On March 1, the 10% tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods hit as part of the third round is set to be increased to 25%, a slight delay from the original January 1 deadline.

"While we think it is a close call, we believe it is slightly more likely that negotiations will fall short of what is necessary for a further delay," Taylor and Phillips said. "In light of this uncertainty, importers might once again front-load imports in January and February ahead of the potential step up."

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People in the NBA think LeBron James is emulating Stephen Curry to preserve his body and keep himself interested

lebron jamesDavid Zalubowski/AP

  • LeBron James is taking and making more and deeper three-pointers than ever before.
  • According to a report, one NBA scout thinks James may be taking more three-pointers because they’re easier shots than going to the basket and will help him preserve his body.
  • Lakers head coach Luke Walton suggested that James may be finding new ways to challenge himself and keep himself engaged.

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: a year older, another year into his career, LeBron James isn’t slowing down.

The soon-to-be 34-year-old Los Angeles Laker is averaging 28 points (his most in nine years), 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per game for the 17-10 Lakers.

But James has made one subtle change to his game — he’s launching from deep like he’s doing a Stephen Curry impression.

Read more: LeBron James has added a Stephen Curry-esque skill to his repertoire that could make him an even bigger nightmare for defenses

James is averaging 5.9 three-point attempts and making two of them per game, both career-highs. His 37% shooting from downtown is three percentage points better than his career average. But it’s not just James’ shooting that has increased; it’s how he’s doing it.

According to the NBA’s stats site, James has already taken 118 shots from 25-29 feet, which is basically any non-corner three. He’s taken eight shots from 30 feet and beyond, making three of them. He took 12 such shots all of last year.

James is also letting them fly quicker, too. According to NBA.com/Stats, James is taking 3 pull-up three-pointers per game, tied for ninth in the league.

According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, some people around the league have theories on James’ new shooting habits. One is that deep threes are simply easier shots for James to take. They’re generally less contested and require less work.

A scout told McMenamin: "I think he is preserving his body. Doesn’t want to have everything going to the rim and take a pounding this early in the season. I think those shots will be fewer in the playoffs. Right now, they are easy shots for him to take. Doesn’t really have to work for them."

lebron james 2Marcio Jose Sanchez/APPerhaps a more interesting theory is that James is just finding new ways to occupy himself. The NBA regular season is long, and frankly, even while adjusting to a new team, James plays for the playoffs. These new and difficult shots might just be James’ way of keeping himself busy, according to Lakers coach Luke Walton.

"I played with Kobe [Bryant] and I remember challenging him one time that he can’t shoot off the glass," Walton told McMenamin. "And for two straight weeks in practice, he shot every single shot off the glass and made a very high percentage of them. I guess that’s something [similar] that could be possible [for James]."

Of course, James himself is smart enough to add a new skill to his repertoire. In an era when teams are shooting more threes from further than ever before, it surely has occurred to James that he has to keep up with the times.

"I understand that you got to, at times, keep the defense off balance; and being able to take a jump shot here, a couple 3s there, keeps them off balance," James said, via McMenamin.

He added: "I try to get better and better and do things the following year that I wasn’t so good at the previous year. Or bring things to my game that I didn’t have the previous year. So, I guess increasing my range is one of them. And being confident and sticking my landing and keeping my follow-through up."

James hasn’t lost much of a step, even as he’s gotten older, and is still an offensive force. If James’ three-pointer becomes a truly reliable skill, he’ll only continue to age better and better, extending what is already an unfathomably long prime for an NBA star.

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The 7 best lessons successful people taught us about money in 2018

bethenny frankelJamie McCarthy / Getty Images

  • Building wealth is a little easier when you have advice from people who’ve done it themselves.
  • We rounded up some of the best money lessons successful people, like CEOs and entrepreneurs, shared in 2018.
  • Among the most important: Invest in low-cost index funds, save your income, invest in yourself, and know that money doesn’t equal happiness or success.

One of the best ways to build wealth is to learn from those who have been there, done that.

When it comes to money, they know what works and what doesn’t, as well as what the value of a dollar really means — and they’re not shy when it comes to sharing their financial wisdom.

Why wouldn’t you take a piece of their advice?

To help you get your finances in order (since that’s your New Year’s resolution for 2019, right?), we’ve rounded up some of the best money lessons from 2018 that successful people have shared.

From tips on investing and paying off debt to growing your savings and the real importance of money, these lessons are bound to help set you on a path for financial success — or at least shift your perspective.

Here’s what successful entrepreneurs, authors, and CEOs had to say about money this year.

Suze Orman: Invest in low-cost index funds.

Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Orman, a New York Times bestselling personal finance author, called investing in low-cost index funds "the winning ticket" on an episode of financial planner Farnoosh Torabi’s "So Money" podcast.

"Here’s what I found works so great: women love when things are on sale. They do. They wait, they’ll buy it cheaper. They love that. You explain dollar cost averaging to them, and why buying these stocks on sale is exactly what they want to do."

She suggested investing with a small amount of money each month that you’d be comfortable losing, such as $100. You can even do it through contributions to your 401(k), she said.

"As soon as they get that, it’s okay, and they’ll be better off when the market goes down for the long run, because they’re buying more shares. We’ve taken the fear out of it."

 

Brad Katsuyama: The amount of money you make doesn’t equal success.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Katsuyama, CEO and cofounder of Investors Exchange (IEX), told Business Insider’s Rich Feloni on our podcast "This is Success" that he’s learned to differentiate personal and professional success — and neither is tied to money.

"I could not tell you if you asked me, if you had a gun to my head right now and said, ‘What’s the value of your stake in IEX?’ I would miss it. I would be wrong. I don’t know. So that tells me it’s not about money.

"I think people equate success to work. I actually don’t, and I learned the lesson early that identifying yourself too much with one thing in a way sets you up to be dramatically disappointed at some point."

Rus Yusupov: Don’t chase money.

Rus Yusupov, Intermedia Labs cofounder and CEO.

Yusupov, cofounder of the wildly popular quiz app HQ Trivia, working toward solving a problem is better than working toward a dollar figure.

He told Business Insider’s Shana Lebowitz: "Profound motivations will take you a lot further than chasing money or a big exit. Bring something to life, solve a real problem or just build a big vision of the future."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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