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I"ve padded my income as an entrepreneur by monetizing my online following. Here are 3 low-lift ways I"ve attracted brand deals.

Jen Glantz decided to leverage her following of 100,000 by reaching out to companies she knew and loved. Now brand deals make up 20% of her income. Jen Glantz.Courtesy Jen Glantz Jen Glantz is an entrepreneur who runs social-media accounts, a podcast, and a newsletter. She started monetizing her following, and brand deals now make up 20% of her income. Reaching out to brands is her first step, and she posts free content to get their attention. I'm an entrepreneur, and for the past 10 years, I've been sharing the details of my life on the internet. I started out as a blogger and eventually began to use social media, a podcast, and an email newsletter as ways to grow my customer base and expand the reach of my personal brand.But it wasn't until last year that I decided I wanted to start monetizing these different content streams by working with brand partners and sponsors.After years of slowly building my audience, I realized that I was reaching close to 100,000 people a month on all of my platforms and could start doing deals with brands who wanted access to the people who followed me. I started off by building a media kit using a free template on Canva, which showcased what platforms I have, the types of content I create, and the numbers that support each vertical — from follower count to my email open rate to how many listeners my podcast gets every month, and more.After I had a media kit ready to go, I started looking for brands who wanted to work with me. Today, more than 20% of my income comes from brand sponsorships.Without using an agent or manager, here were the three ways I found my first handful of sponsors to work with in 2021 and 2022.1. I reached out to brands directlyThe very first approach I took was to make a list of brands that I genuinely loved and used regularly. I picked skincare, jewelry, and clothing companies I'd followed for years and reached out to them directly.After searching on LinkedIn for the name of the brand's partnership or influencer manager, I located their email using a free tool called Any Mail Finder and drafted my pitch.Here's my email template:I'm Jen Glantz. It's wonderful to e-meet you! I'm reaching out because I've been a fan of [brand name] for several years, relying on [name of product] to get me through [a specific use case of when I use the product].As a social media, newsletter, and podcast content creator in the wedding space, I'd love to work with [brand name] on a partnership to spread the word about your unique and incredible products.I'm sharing my media kit with you today and hope we can chat more about working together this season.While I only heard back from one of the three brands I initially pitched, I was able to close a small brand deal with a sunscreen company I use regularly called Solara to post an ad in my newsletter and do a TikTok video about its newest product launch. It helped me secure my first well-known brand partnership that can help lead to more deals in the future.2. I used an influencer-management platformOne passive way that I've been able to land new brand deals is by using free influencer and creator-management platforms. These platforms let you create a profile, where you can share details about your content-creation verticals (social-media channels, newsletter, or podcasts) as well as your pricing for brand deals based on what kind of content you're open to creating or the types of ads you'll run. After you list that information, brands from beauty to fashion, kitchen supplies, and more can contact you if they believe you're a good fit for them.You can also use these platforms to search for brands interested in working with content creators and pitch them directly on the platform. While these platforms are free to use, some might take a fee once you book a deal with a brand, while others charge the brand and not the creator.For social-media brand deals, I use AspireIQ and Tinysponsor, and for newsletter and podcast ad deals I use Swapstack.3. I post for free and tag brandsIf there's a brand that I really want to work with and they haven't responded to my email pitch, I start creating content for free and tag them in my posts. I'll share my favorite products or items from them in an Instagram story, mention them in a TikTok video, send the brand account a DM, or talk about them in my newsletter.The hope is that when they see these mentions and maybe even reach out to work together, I have a portfolio of content I can share with them about their product or service. This shows the brand your true commitment and also gives them a taste of the kind of content you can create for them.Be sure to tag the brand in your posts, use their branded hashtags, and use any additional hashtags that are relevant to them. You can often find these hashtags by looking at the ones the brand has used in recent posts. While I don't advise creators to work for free, doing this occasionally to get on a brand's radar might be a good move, especially when starting out.I recently did this with a skincare company that I really liked and that hadn't responded to two pitch emails I'd sent. Showing them what I'd created for free helped me enter the negotiation phase, and we're in talks about doing a 2023 partnership.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt6 hr. 38 min. ago Related News

Wuhan Whistleblower: Former EcoHealth VP Says Covid "Man Made", Escaped From Lab

Wuhan Whistleblower: Former EcoHealth VP Says Covid "Man Made", Escaped From Lab Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance Just hours after we find out that the Hunter Biden laptop not only wasn't "Russian disinformation", but rather was being actively covered up by social media, another "conspiracy theory" that wound up costing tons of honest truth seekers their social media accounts (including Zero Hedge, who was first to talk about the lab leak all the way back in February 2020), is inching closer toward being validated as reality. That's because a scientist who formerly worked at the Wuhan Institute of Virology has now gone on record and has said that COVID was "man-made" and leaked from the lab. The claims are according to the Post, who cited The Sun, who was provided a copy of the scientist’s forthcoming book. The gravity of the allegations, which I have written about at length over the last year, would make the global Covid-19 pandemic cover up among the most stunning lies ever perpetrated on modern humanity. The whistleblower, epidemiologist Andrew Huff, called the lab leak the “biggest US intelligence failure since 9/11". He detailed his allegations in his book “The Truth About Wuhan". Get 50% off: If you enjoy this article, would like to support my work, I would love to have you as a subscriber and can offer you 50% off for life: Get 50% off forever Huff is the former vice president of EcoHealth Alliance, which studied coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. He worked for the company from 2014 to 2016 and, per the Post: ...said that the non-profit helped the Wuhan lab put together the “best existing methods to engineer bat coronaviruses to attack other species” for many years. Meanwhile, EcoHealth Alliance has been awarded millions to continue their work as recently as this year: Peter Daszak's EcoHealth Was Just Awarded Another NIH Grant To Study Bat Coronaviruses “Foreign laboratories did not have the adequate control measures in place for ensuring proper biosafety, biosecurity, and risk management, ultimately resulting in the lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he wrote in his book. Huff wrote: “China knew from day one that this was a genetically engineered agent. The US government is to blame for the transfer of dangerous biotechnology to the Chinese. “I was terrified by what I saw. We were just handing them bioweapon technology.” Fringe Finance has been covering the idea of a lab leak since the blog’s inception and we have long maintained that a leak from the lab was the most obvious explanation for Covid. Now the question becomes: who will be held accountable…not only for the leak but for the campaign against those who asked honest questions about the lab for the last 3 years? And what other “conspiracy theories” will we soon find out are closer to truth? You can read more here: Covid "Much More Easily Explained" By Lab Leak: Harvard PhD & Rutgers Chem Professor Tyler Durden Sun, 12/04/2022 - 22:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge11 hr. 22 min. ago Related News

Sunday links: a proper temperament

StrategyThings that never happened before happen in the markets all the time. (awealthofcommonsense.com)The 'bear market in everything' is a reset. (novelinvestor.com)Why you can safely ignore year-end price targets. (tker.co)Fund managers should not in the business of betting on Fed moves. (blogs.cfainstitute.org)TIPS aren't risk-free. (wsj.com)FinanceWhy frauds and rare in the futures industry. (rcmalternatives.com)Some hedge funds are tightening up their job offers to prevent candidates from ghosting them. (finance.yahoo.com)ETFsWhat makes for a successful ETF? (blog.etfthinktank.com)Goldman Sachs ($GS) is getting into the white label ETF business. (on.ft.com)2022 ETF launches are lagging behind 2021's pace. (etf.com)FundsThe data are against anyone trying to find a fund that consistently outperforms its benchmark. (nytimes.com)Keep an eye on the situation with Blackrock's ($BLK) BREIT fund. (ft.com)Cathie Wood is sticking with Elon Musk. (theinformation.com)Is nuclear power now ESG-worthy? (morningstar.com)EconomicsThe economics profession has a sexual harassment problem. (theatlantic.com)Five insights from Owen Ullmann's new book "Empathy Economics: Janet Yellen’s Remarkable Rise to Power and Her Drive to Spread Prosperity to All." (nextbigideaclub.com)A Q&A with Ran Abramitzky, co-author of "Streets of Gold: America's Untold Story of Immigrant Success." (behavioralscientist.org)A review of "Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War" by Roger Lowenstein. (americanpurpose.com)PolicyThe backlash against billionaires is growing. (theweek.com)How Booz Allen became the 'Ticketmaster of America’s public lands.' (doctorow.medium.com)How fintech startups helped facilitate PPP fraud. (washingtonpost.com)Is there a constitutional right to spread misinformation? (nytimes.com)Why can a single federal judges block regulations and laws? (vox.com)The public health case for sin taxes. (statnews.com)EconomyThe November NFP shows a slowing, but still growing, economy. (bonddad.blogspot.com)Inflation hawks and doves have been proven wrong. (stayathomemacro.substack.com)Middle-aged men have still now fully returned to the workforce, post-pandemic. (nytimes.com)Americans are spending down their excess savings. (nytimes.com)The economic schedule for the coming week. (calculatedriskblog.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsTop clicks last week on the site. (abnormalreturns.com)What you missed in our Saturday linkfest. (abnormalreturns.com)Are you a financial adviser looking for some out-of-the-box thinking? Then check out our weekly e-mail newsletter. (newsletter.abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaThe 10 best books of 2022 including "Trust" by Hernan Diaz. (nytimes.com)The 10 best books of 2022 including "A Half-Built Garden" by Ruthanna Emrys. (slate.com)10 notable books from 2022 including "The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward" by Daniel Pink. (nextbigideaclub.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsDec 4th, 2022Related News

A woman had to move out of her tiny home after 1 day because the city threatened to fine her $1,000 a day

Chasidy Decker is taking legal action against the city of Meridian, Idaho over its ban on living in trailers and RVs in residential areas. Chasidy Decker's tiny home.Institute for Justice A woman is suing the city of Meridian, Idaho over its ban on living in mobile homes.  Chasidy Decker bought her tiny home because she couldn't afford a traditional house. City officials told her she can't live in it legally despite her paying rent to park it in a yard. A woman who bought a tiny home is taking legal action against her city because she was left homeless after being threatened with fines of $1,000 a day if she lived in it. Chasidy Decker of Meridian, Idaho, couldn't afford to buy a house so opted for the 252-square-foot tiny home and arranged to put it on Robert Calacal's property paying for $600 a month, according to the lawsuit.A neighbor called the Meridian Police Department when it arrived on the property and asked whether living in it would be legal.In May, a day after Decker moved in, a Meridian city code enforcement officer threatened both Decker and Calacal with criminal prosecution and fines of $1,000 a day unless she moved out, the Institute for Justice wrote in a blog post. Chasidy Decker is a 46-year-old woman who bought a 252-square feet tiny home.Institute for JusticeThe institute, which files constitutional cases in state and federal courts, said in the blog post that Meridian's city code permitted trailers and recreational vehicles to be parked in residential neighborhoods but did not permit living in them.Decker and Calacal filed a lawsuit to challenge the city's ban, bringing five claims as to why the restriction on tiny homes breached the Idado constitution.Judge Jason Scott of the District Court of Ada County allowed four of the five claims to proceed, but blocked Decker from being allowed to live in her home during the legal proceedings.Decker said she was "disappointed because I really wish I was living in my home again. But I have high hopes that in the end, something good will happen. And I appreciate that the judge is so engaged with the case, because this is something that affects a lot of people in the housing crisis," according to another blog post by the law firm.Robert Belden, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, told Insider: "Everyone needs a place to live, but the city would rather have Chasidy be homeless than living in a tiny home on wheels parked on private property. That's not just wrong, it's unconstitutional. Making Chasidy homeless does nothing to improve public health, safety, or welfare in Meridian, and it certainly doesn't improve Chasidy's.""At a time when so few affordable housing options are available, why is the city's zoning ordinance further reducing such options?" Belden concluded.Lawyers representing Decker and Calacal didn't immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 4th, 2022Related News

I quit my tech job in Seattle because I was miserable — here"s how I moved to Los Angeles and started over as a freelancer and content creator

Dayana Sabatin came up with a strict savings plan to put away $10,000 before starting over in Los Angeles. She's now a full-time freelance writer. Dayana Sabatin said she knew she'd made the right choice to leave her old life behind and move to LA, even though she didn't have a job or apartment lined up right away.Courtesy of Dayana Sabatin Dayana Sabatin was working in tech in Seattle and feeling miserable with her career. She decided to make a major life change — so she moved to Los Angeles without a clear plan. Sabatin started as a waitress and then was able to grow her freelance writing work to full-time. Four years ago, I was a financial specialist at a tech company in Seattle — in a cubicle for eight to 10 hours a day, and beyond miserable. I decided I wanted to change my life. I always dreamed of living in a city like Los Angeles. So I made a plan and left my life in Seattle behind to move there.Since then, I've made a life for myself in LA — I'm a writer, blogger and YouTuber — but getting here was a journey. I've heard the stories of people moving to LA with less than $200 in their bank account, and I applaud them — but I wasn't one of those people. I spent three months trying to pay off school debt and save at least $10,000 for my move.I set a specific amount of money aside for rent, car payment, phone bill, gas, and groceries from every paycheck. Everything else went into savings. The goal was to move with enough money in my bank account to feel comfortable until I could get another job. I didn't give myself the option to spend money on unnecessary things. I'm not a saver — I'm strictly a spender, so it was challenging.What helped was knowing I was moving towards something that would radically change my life. Mostly though, what got me through was knowing that I was doing this purely because I wanted to. It was exhilarating. I didn't like the path I was onWhen I was young, my whole life revolved around the idea that I should go to college, get a degree in the tech field, secure a job that pays well, and sell my soul to the corporate world. I was homeschooled in high school, which allowed me to go to college during sophomore year, and it was decided that because my cousin made the most in our family as a software engineer, that I should become one too.I wasn't the most confident growing up; I didn't have a "passion" for anything. It was incredibly easy for me to be influenced by my family and everyone around me, because there wasn't anything specific that I wanted to do with my life. I had interests. I've always loved the idea of becoming a writer — but those dreams felt unrealistic in the world I was raised in.The change was difficult for the people around me, but I was determinedBy moving to LA, I was leaving behind everything I'd ever known — my mom (who's also my best friend), my baby sisters, my cousin who was also my roommate, my dog, and the friends I'd made. I've always been a huge introvert and making friends was a challenge, so the idea of having to make new friendships was scary to think about. My family felt blindsided by the news that I was moving.  When I told my cousin, she looked at me like I was crazy — my mom was worried I'd be kidnapped or that I'd be all alone because I didn't know anyone. She didn't like that I'd be so far away.I told her that this was my one chance to do something different and exciting with my life. I had my mind made up — I was going to LA. I'm incredibly indecisive, so to feel so sure about something felt strange, but good. Some people in my life tried to stop me from goingMy boss tried to stop me leaving my job, promising me a six-figure salary if I stayed and kept my financial specialist position — I said "no thanks" — and my friends also tried to stop me, telling me it would be extremely tough to survive in LA. My ex even tried to get me to stay and then tried to convince me to take him with me.When people hear that you're chasing your dreams or doing something they don't understand, they get jealous. Usually, it's because they're unhappy with their own lives, and the idea of someone else escaping and thriving bothers them. When I saved enough, I found an apartment on CraigslistI moved to LA before securing an apartment, with around $9,000 in my bank account after paying for a hotel. I still remember the drive from Seattle to Los Angeles. I woke up at 4 a.m., feeling elated. I was doing exactly what I was meant to be doing, and all those years before that moment had set me up to be where I was.I doubt Craigslist is all that safe nowadays, but I lucked out when using it for my apartment search. The place I found was only 25 minutes from the beach and I had two great roommates — I loved it. I used LinkedIn to find a job and I worked remotely for a tech startup for the first few months — I was making $2,000 a month and my rent was $1,200. My pay was enough to cover rent, food, and my coffee addiction, but the hours were infuriating. I felt like I was back in my cubicle in Seattle. After a few months, I quit and took a waitressing job at a hip restaurant in Venice, where I made around twice as much as I did before.I was still pretty lost in terms of my career, but I was living a life I was genuinely enjoying and building on my own terms. I met celebrities — like Jillian Michaels, Paul Wesley, Emilia Clarke, and Kevin Garnett. I met my now-boyfriend who introduced me to all of his friends, and I went to the beach every single day and ate incredible food.I started writing on Medium and identified my passion for writing about self-improvement and relationships. The first few months I made a few dollars, eventually those few dollars turned into a consistent few thousand.  The monetization of my content came after a whole lot of grinding and hustling. I reached out to brands, did a lot of work for free, and eventually started getting paid here and there for sponsorships and writing articles. I stopped waitressing once I was making enough from writing. Now I'm growing my lifestyle blog, my YouTube channel, and working on my book about dating and relationships. Eventually, I want to publish more books — both fiction and nonfiction.My goal is to be financially freeI want to be able to take care of myself and my family while doing what I love, every single day. I know what it's like to live a life dictated by outside pressure or family expectations, so I want to be an inspiration to other girls who also feel lost in their careers. I can confidently say I'm on the right path now, and I've never felt more excited about the direction my life is headed in. If you feel destined for something outside of what you currently have, then go for it. Don't be afraid to color outside of the lines.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 4th, 2022Related News

Global Warming? Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover At 56-Year High

Global Warming? Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover At 56-Year High The COP27 climate change conference wrapped up last month. World leaders flew in private jets to Egypt to discuss how fossil fuels were quickly heating the planet to the point of no return, as humanity was doomed if crucial climate change policies weren't implemented. But while the climate alarmist leaders met in the desert, November's snowfall across the Northern Hemisphere was running at rates exceeding a half-a-century average.  NOAA and Rutgers University released new data that showed snow cover across the Northern Hemisphere reached the highest level since measurements began in 1967 and are currently above the 56-year mean.  Here's the Rutgers Global Snow Lab snow coverage map across the Northern Hemisphere.  And another from NOAA with more resolution.  "Extensive snow extent early in the season is an indicator of persistent cold as we head into winter proper," weather blog Severe Weather Europe said.  Most mainstream media outlets overlooked this data because it is an inconvenient truth for the climate change narrative they're pushing.  A severe winter for the Northern Hemisphere might complicate power grids for western countries that are hellbent on disrupting energy flows by sanctioning Russia, forcing the world into the worst energy crisis in a generation. Since the US and Europe's natural gas storage facilities have flipped into withdrawal season, the clock starts as storage levels could quickly wind down if temperatures stay below average, which would continue to boost energy prices.  Tyler Durden Sat, 12/03/2022 - 15:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2022Related News

I help brides get in shape for their weddings with an online-only business — here"s how I set it up and keep raking in clients

Stephanie Thomas was a personal trainer who had a lot of brides as clients, so she rebranded to focus on them. Her 90-day bridal program costs $247. Stephanie Thomas.Emma Mattson Photography Stephanie Thomas is a bridal personal trainer in Maryland who offers all her services virtually. She rebranded for brides when she noticed a high demand, and now she sells programs and guides. Coaching communities, social-media resources, books, and podcasts helped her grow the business. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Stephanie Thomas, a certified personal trainer and the owner of Stephanie Thomas Fitness, who's in her late 20s and lives in Maryland. It has been edited for length and clarity.I'm a bridal personal trainer, certified health coach, and the owner of Stephanie Thomas Fitness, which I officially launched in 2019. I rebranded and redesigned my website to focus on bridal parties in 2021. Prior to my rebrand, I was a general women's fitness coach and helped women through personal training and yoga classes.After competing in Miss Teen USA in 2012 and looking for a way to destress, I fell in love with yoga and started to practice daily. I started my career in fitness in 2014, when I became a certified yoga teacher and taught yoga classes to women at my college, local yoga studios, and gyms.I now offer online personal training and nutrition-coaching plans for brides, bridesmaids, and mothers of the bride. Training online can actually be a lot more work than just training at a gym, but it gives me the ability to help more brides that I wouldn't have otherwise. My fitness program helps my clients look and feel their best for the special day and show off their hard work in the wedding photos. I've helped hundreds of brides with my programs so far in 2022.Thomas.Emma Mattson PhotographyThe plans are tailored to each bride, so they can feel confident they're following a fitness and/or nutrition plan that fits their specific goals and lifestyleAll my offerings are online, so clients have the flexibility to complete their workouts on their own time. They connect with me directly through the app Trainerize, where they can message me with any questions or whenever they need extra motivation or support.My most popular offering is a 90-day wedding-workout program called Bridal Body Fitness. It costs $247 total for three months of access to the program and includes a fitness plan, nutrition advice, and the support of 10 other brides in a group chat. Additionally, I offer digital PDF guides. The most popular digital plan is The Bridal Arms Workout Guide, which I sell for $19 and includes a four-week arm-sculpting workout plan designed specifically for brides.I also run a "Sweating for the Wedding" Facebook community that I've grown to almost 7,000 members and a weekly wellness newsletter called the "Sunday Sweat" which has tens of thousands of subscribers. The Facebook group is getting refined right now, but in the past it's included monthly workout challenges in a calendar format. I'll be moving brides to a separate group soon who want weekly fitness and nutrition tips in addition to the challenges.The newsletter includes a motivational message, a weekly blog post feature, a recipe of the week, and a feature of one of my favorite wedding, fitness, or lifestyle products.Some brides have unrealistic expectations, which isn't their fault at all. It's simply what we're marketed to as women. We're sold quick fixes and fad diets, and we expect to get results quickly. I help educate brides and explain how to get results in a healthy and realistic way.The first few months of business consisted of learning and trying new thingsMy startup costs were only a few thousand dollars. I didn't know if I should focus my time on Pinterest, Instagram, building my email list, or creating a good website, and I didn't know how to begin to market my services to my ideal client. To address this challenge, I started by posting regularly across platforms, and clients started signing up for my different offerings. Many of them also said they found me through a Google search.Facebook and Instagram have been the most helpful for my business, and I'll be focusing on short-form video in 2023, which is something I haven't had much time for. I've been consistent with posting on social media, posting blogs on my website, sending email newsletters, and learning more about business and marketing. These small daily actions have contributed to my business growth.After working with many brides I completely rebranded my business to focus on wedding fitnessI worked with a fantastic designer, Kailynn Summer, whom I met through a small-business-support group we were in together, to rebrand my business and create my dream website. Once I focused on this niche, I started bringing in more revenue.One of my favorite resources is Jasmine Star's Social Curator, which gives you customizable social-media-caption templates, group-coaching sessions, a social-media action plan, and more for $49 a month. I've been a member for more than three years now.I was also lucky enough to meet my business coach, Rebecca Kelly, through an online course we took together. Rebecca runs an online-coaching community for women in business called Badass Business Co, and signing up was one of the best decisions I've made. She's been one of the biggest supporters of my business. Getting feedback on marketing campaigns and systems from other business owners and having an extra set of eyes to look at things has been very helpful. Plus the overall accountability and support has helped me stay positive and excited about my business.I would advise new business owners to start growing their email list from the beginningIt's one of the best ways to connect with your audience regularly and build trust with them. I would also recommend finding a business-accountability partner. Through the Social Curator community, I found my accountability partner and friend, Michele. Knowing you have someone to share your business highs and lows with is so encouraging. We check in with each other, and when I set a goal, she asks me how it went.On social media, engage with your audience, ask them questions, and simply talk to them. The fact that I was in my clients' positions getting in shape for my own wedding a few years ago really helps me make authentic connections with brides.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 3rd, 2022Related News

Quinn: We Are Trapped In "A Truman Show" Directed By Psychopaths

Quinn: We Are Trapped In 'A Truman Show' Directed By Psychopaths Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog, “Whether in actual fact the policy of the boot-on-the-face can go on indefinitely seems doubtful. My own belief is that the ruling oligarchy will find less arduous and wasteful ways of governing and of satisfying its lust for power, and these ways will resemble those which I described in Brave New World. Within the next generation I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.” – Aldous Huxley – Letter to George Orwell about 1984 in 1949 “There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution” ― Aldous Huxley When I step back from the day-to-day minutia and trivialities flooding my senses from all directions and media devices, it almost appears as if I’m living in a highly scripted reality TV program where the characters and plots are designed to create passions and reactions to support whatever narrative is being weaved by those directing the show. Huxley really did foresee the future as clearly and concisely as anyone could, decades before his dystopian vision came to fruition. Orwell’s boot on the face vision is only now being initiated because a few too many critical thinkers have awoken from their pharmaceutically induced stupor and begun to question the plotline of this spectacle masquerading as our reality. The mass formation psychosis infecting the weak-minded masses; relentless mass propaganda designed to mislead, misinform, and brainwash a dumbed down and government indoctrinated populace; and complete control of the story line through media manipulation, regulation, and censorship of the truth; has run its course. As Charles Mackay stated 180 years ago, the masses go mad as a herd, but only regain their senses slowly, and one by one. My recognition that the world seems to be scripted and directed by Machiavellian managers, working behind a dark shroud, representing an invisible governing authority, molding our minds, suggesting our ideas, dictating our tastes, and creating fear, triggered a recollection of the 1998 Jim Carrey movie – The Truman Show. The movie, directed by Peter Weir (Gallipoli, Witness, Dead Poet’s Society), had the surreal feel of Forest Gump, while beckoning the horrendous introduction of reality TV (Big Brother, Survivor), which poisons our shallow unserious society to this day. The plot of the movie focuses on individuality versus conformity, consumerism, voyeurism, reality versus manipulation, false narratives, the truth about the American Dream, and the dangers of surveillance in a technologically advanced society. Truman Burbank is the unsuspecting star of The Truman Show, a reality television program filmed 24/7 through thousands of hidden cameras and broadcast to a worldwide audience. Christof, the show’s creator seeks to capture Truman’s authentic emotions and give audiences a relatable everyman. Truman has been the unsuspecting star of the show since he was born 30 years prior. Truman’s hometown of Seahaven Island is a complete set built within an enormous dome, populated by crew members and actors who highlight the product placements that generate revenue for the show. The elaborate set allows Christof to control almost every aspect of Truman’s life, including the weather. The picture-perfect home, with picket fence and plastic people, is an attempt to convince Truman he is living the American Dream rather than in an inescapable dystopian techno-prison. To prevent Truman from discovering his false reality, Christof manufactures scenarios that dissuade Truman’s desire for exploration, such as the “death” of his father in a sea storm to instill aquaphobia, and by constantly broadcasting and printing messages of the dangers of traveling and the virtues of staying home. One cannot but acknowledge the plotline to keep Truman under control, obedient, and locked down in his controlled environment, with no escape hatch visible, as exactly the plotline used by our overlords during the Covid scam. Using fear to regulate your subjects is a familiar theme used by those controlling the narrative and pulling the strings behind the scenes of our glorious democracy of dystopia. The first task was to instill fear into the masses through fake videos, fake medical experts spewing fake “facts”, denying the reality masks, social distancing, and locking down the world did not stop a microscopic virus, while suppressing treatments which were clearly safe and effective (ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine) and forcing Fauci’s remdesivir and ventilators on patients – insuring their deaths. Truman’s life was built upon lies, deception, and fake narratives, controlled by a tyrannical director putting on a show to please his bosses and maximize profits. We are experiencing the same reality today. Since March 2020 we have been trapped in a dystopian reality show based on lies, deception, and fake narratives about a weaponized virus created in a lab funded by Anthony Fauci and utilized to further the totalitarian Great Reset agenda of Schwab, Gates and their ilk, while maximizing the profits of Pfizer, TV networks and filling the pockets of politicians, shills, and apparatchiks willing to sellout the people of our country for thirty pieces of silver. As the Truman Show approached its 30th anniversary, Truman began discovering unusual elements, such as a spotlight falling out of the sky in front of his house and a radio channel that precisely described his movements. He began to awaken to the fact he was nothing but a peculiarity trapped in a cage and constantly deterred from escaping at every turn, for the good of the show. He lived in a scripted world of conformity, where questioning the plot was not allowed, and the masses just played their parts. This is exactly how a dictatorship without tears uses technology, pharmaceuticals, and psychological manipulation to convince the masses to love their servitude. This is the reality show we have been living in during this 21st Century dictatorship dystopia of dunces. But this psychological phenomenon is not new to mankind, as Plato described an ancient Truman Show analog in the 6th Century with his Allegory of the Cave. The nature of human beings has not changed across the trials and tribulations of history. In the allegory, Plato describes a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire behind them and give names to these shadows. The shadows are the prisoners’ reality but are not an accurate representation of the real world. An enlightened man is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand the shadows on the wall are not reality. The ignorant inmates do not desire to leave their prison/cave, for it is the only life they know, and they fear reality. The fire and the puppets, used to create shadows, are controlled by artists. Plato indicates the fire is also the political doctrine taught by a nation state. The artists use light and shadows to indoctrinate the masses with the dominant doctrines of the times. Few humans ever escape the cave. Most humans will remain at the bottom of the cave, with a small few elevated as major artists, to project the shadows keeping the masses disoriented, confused and fearful. “Whereas the truth is that the State in which the rulers are most reluctant to govern is always the best and most quietly governed, and the State in which they are most eager, the worst.” ― Plato, The Allegory of the Cave “Most people are not just comfortable in their ignorance, but hostile to anyone who points it out.” ― Plato, The Allegory of the Cave The State is run by an eager group of psychopaths who are hell bent on destroying our civil society and common culture on behalf of globalists attempting to implement their Great Reset agenda, and enforcing it through technological surveillance, mind control through propaganda messaging, and strict management of the daily plot via mainstream media and social media censorship of the truth. As Plato contemplated fifteen centuries ago, most men will remain in their cave, believing shadows presented by their overlords is reality, never questioning their servitude or seeking the truth. Never has this fact been truer than during this covid pandemic reality show directed by our Christof – mass murderer Anthony Fauci. The willful ignorance of the masses was assumed by the covid controllers who cast shadows of fear and death on the cave walls of the locked down extras in this well-orchestrated reality show. Using a purposefully misleading PCR test to vastly overestimate “cases”, paying hospitals to classify all deaths as covid, and having the propaganda professionals at CNN, MSNBC and Fox showing Covid Death Counters on their screens 24/7 to terrify the masses into compliance was the Covid Show. Once the fear level was ramped to eleven on the control dial, the producers of this show introduced the miraculous Big Pharma vaccine antidote to save the day. Their script was so believable they were able to convince over 5 billion members of their captive audience to inject themselves with an untested, unproven genetic therapy, that didn’t prevent you from catching, transmitting, getting sick, being hospitalized, or dying from the Fauci funded Wuhan lab produced virus. But, as a dramatic twist to the tale, it seems the “vaccine” causes myocarditis, blood clots, infertility, miscarriages, heart attacks, cancer, and sudden death. Despite the obvious dangers and failures of these “vaccines”, those bullied into getting jabbed became so comfortable in their ignorance, they were easily persuaded to hate the unjabbed and wish for their deaths. Orwell’s “Two Minutes of Hate” was extended for over a year and continues to this day. Rather than think critically and question why annual flu cases averaged 35 million per year prior to 2020 but dropped to near ZERO during the covid “emergency”, the cave dwellers lashed out in anger at anyone questioning the plot, because to admit they were duped would destroy their self-esteem and decrease their virtue signal credits. The annual flu didn’t disappear. Covid was the annual flu, with a multi-billion-dollar marketing campaign. This wasn’t a pandemic, but an IQ test, and most people failed miserably. But the critical thinking unvaxxed are still considered the enemy of the state, especially since they have been proven right. Whether we are trapped in an artificial world produced in a dome, cave, or our current technologically advanced surveillance propaganda state, the goal of those controlling our false reality is to take away our freedoms, crush dissent, keep us ignorant of the truth, and treat us as plebs to be taxed and molded. Christof, whose name is supposed to invoke him being a god-like figure ruling over Truman’s world, declares Truman could discover the truth and leave at any time, while using every diabolical trick to keep that from ever happening, because his show generated revenues exceeding the GDP of a small country. Truman and ourselves are essentially prisoners in a vast production, and our overlords believe it is their duty to convince us to love our servitude and prefer our cells, because it is financially beneficial to the overlords and their crew. Our world is not fake, but it is tightly controlled by those running the show. Seemingly random events, plots, and subplots are manipulated to generate specific emotions and reactions by the public in order to achieve the objectives of those benefitting from the various storylines. They are molding our minds and forming our tastes through psychological and technological manipulation of our daily existence. Christof explained why most rarely discover the truth or question the world they live in – “We accept the reality of the world with which we’re presented. It’s as simple as that.” We have allowed men we have never seen to dictate how we live our lives, the choices we make, and which politicians and “experts” to believe, without ever putting in the effort to understand why we are being prodded to do so. We are locked in a self-imposed prison of desires, emotions, and needs through mass media messaging and a constant barrage of advertisements. Conformity and obedience are the desired traits sought by the ruling class, while individuality and skepticism are frowned upon and punished through social ostracism. We are conditioned from birth to believe what they tell us to believe. Government school indoctrination and mass media misinformation does the trick. Distracted by our techno-gadgets and ignorant of truth is how the globalist oligarchs methodically implement their Great Reset agenda. They are so convinced of the ignorance of the masses they openly proclaim their depopulation and techno-prison schemes with no fear of push back or retribution. The ending of the Truman Show is a lesson in resistance, persistence, and the strength of the individual, even in the face of a technologically advanced Big Brother state. It offers a message of hope, no matter how powerful our overlords appear to be. Refusing to obey or conform by one individual can inspire others to do likewise. Once Truman ‘awoke’ to his plight as a lab rat in a scripted show, he began to plot his escape. Using a makeshift tunnel in his basement, out of view of Christof’s cameras, he disappeared and forced the suspension of the broadcast for the first time in thirty years. Christof discovers Truman sailing away from Seahaven in a small boat, as he has overcome the fake conditioning of fear instilled in him by the man who supposedly loves him but traumatized him about the sea by faking his father’s death while at sea. Christof chooses to almost drown Truman by creating a violent storm to deter him from discovering the truth. Ultimately the storm ceases and his boat strikes the wall of the dome. This is exactly how our controllers treat the ignorant masses. They feed us stories designed to make us fearful and compliant to the exhortations of their paid experts. Paid to lie. Paid to misinform. Paid to persuade people a dangerous concoction is “safe and effective”. The evilness of using Sesame Street characters to convince four-year-old children they need this Big Pharma gene altering toxic brew, even though essentially ZERO children on earth died from covid, is a testament to the greed and malevolent impulses of those in power. Vast amounts of ever-increasing advertising revenue are what kept The Truman Show on the air for thirty years. The covid advertising campaign will never be topped, as Hollywood stars, top athletes, famous writers, rock legends, supposedly impartial journalists, and all the major networks said SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!! Everyone was for sale, and all they had to do was lie and say the jabs were “safe and effective”. Product placement was the money-making formula for the Truman Show, while hard selling a Big Pharma phony cure over the airwaves 24/7 using the tax dollars of the victims was the final solution of the Great Reset Cabal. The grand finale is a clash of the philosophies of reality versus false reality, as Truman discovers a staircase leading to an exit door. Christof speaks to Truman, claiming there was no more truth in the real world than in his artificial world, and he would be safe, with nothing to fear, in a world controlled by men invisible to him assuring him they have his best interests at heart. Truman chooses individuality, truth, risk, living a real meaningful life, and seeking honest relationships over a safe existence in a bubble where all decisions were made by others. Truman bows to the audience and exits, leaving Chistof to mourn the loss of his star and the revenue he generated. The ignorant masses watching the show cheer his escape and then ask, “what’s on next?” Plato captured the uncertainty and bewilderment Truman must have felt as he walked into the light. “Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light” ― Plato, The Allegory of the Cave This world of manufactured dystopian pleasure harkens more towards Huxley’s Brave New World, where pharmaceuticals and conditioning would keep the public seeking pleasure, pre-occupied with trivialities, distracted by materialism, unable to think critically, and reduced to passivity and egoism through the control of messaging by their controllers. Our efficient totalitarian state has gained complete control by convincing the masses to love their servitude and beg for more rules, restrictions, and reduction of liberties in the name of safety and security. Smart phones, smart cities, and smart streets are nothing more than code for spying on you and controlling you. Truman finally understood his liberty was his to choose and not Christof’s to give. There is a small minority of Americans who are realizing the same thing after two years of totalitarian measures designed to take away our freedoms and liberty. The question is whether enough will exit this tyrannical government produced show to make a difference. The future of mankind literally depends on the answer to this question. “Liberties aren’t given, they are taken.” ― Aldous Huxley “A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Just as those controlling the Truman Show were not doing it for Truman’s benefit, but for their enrichment, those controlling the puppet strings of our society today had no interest in our health over the last two years, our financial well-being, our psychological well-being, or the peaceful rational functioning of our civilization. They have no interest in securing our border, reducing crime, holding fair elections, promoting peaceful solutions to global conflict, or allowing the truth to reach the masses. Their agenda has been and continues to be, the destruction of our civilized society, obliteration of our core standards and norms, depopulation of the planet, confiscation of our wealth, and ultimately our enslavement through technological shackles and chains. As Huxley noted decades ago, technology has just provided our civilization with a more efficient means of going backwards. Technology is being used by our controllers to monitor our movements, communications, and to surveil, distract, and amuse us to death. It is no longer a force for good, but a means to control us. They plan to use technology to disarm their citizens through increasingly authoritarian regulations, sold as keeping us safe from mass shooters. Their climate agenda isn’t about the climate, but about complete control of the masses. When government and their social media attack dogs monitor the citizens for “hate speech and misinformation”, and dole out retribution at their whim, our system is profoundly broken and extremely warped. They are supposed to answer to us. But these megalomaniacs have much bigger agenda. We’ve lost all sense of reality, reason, and truth in a profoundly abnormal world, created by those we allowed to ascend to power through the control and influence of shadowy globalist billionaires operating as an invisible government, with Deep State apparatchiks doing the dirty work. Schwab, Gates, Soros, the World Economic Forum, and whoever hides in the shadows behind these psychopaths, intend to control the entire world and steal all the wealth because they believe they are smarter, more ruthless, and know what’s best for the lowly peasants polluting their satanic playground planet. They know facts can be ignored when they’ve conditioned the masses to be willfully ignorant. They know they can lie without implications, but even more powerful, they can stay silent about the truth through censorship, suppression, and cancellation of truth tellers. The adaptation of the masses to this abnormal society, created by evil power-seeking men, is a form of mental illness – or as documented by Mattias Desmet in his book The Psychology of Totalitarianism – Mass Formation Psychosis.  “The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society. Their perfect adjustment to that abnormal society is a measure of their mental sickness. These millions of abnormally normal people, living without fuss in a society to which, if they were fully human beings, they ought not to be adjusted.” ― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited I know I will never adapt or adjust to this abnormal society. We certainly can’t change a system, so thoroughly rigged and controlled (e.g., 2022 Arizona election and the 2020 presidential election), through traditional means. Those in control can easily buy-off our politicians, scientists, doctors, academics, TV personalities, and journalists to spin whatever web they choose, enabling their despicable anti-human agenda of deviancy. The only viable solution is the individual solution of walking away from this phony world like Truman. Armed revolution is a non-starter, as the oligarchs have far more firepower, and the dissenters are unorganized and scattered. A form of ‘Irish Democracy’ where a silent dogged resistance, marked by the withdrawal from society, belligerence to authority and non-compliance with government dictates by millions of ordinary people would accomplish far more than rioting and armed revolution. Millions have already practiced a form of Irish Democracy by not masking, not social distancing, not getting jabbed, and taking control of their own health decisions. They have almost sealed the escape hatch in this dystopian paradise of pleasure and pain. They know their techniques of control through fear work like a charm. Their final task to achieve total control is central bank digital currencies (CBDC), where everything we buy and sell is tracked digitally, so taxes can be levied, your life tracked, and if you choose to dissent from government directives, your ability to utilize CBDCs will be turned off. Micro-chipping us is next on the agenda. We need to reduce our tax and digital footprint now. It might seem hopeless in going to battle against these vile, vindictive vermin, but the solution is to not play. Many have already walked away from the modern world, taking to the country – farming, homesteading, bartering, and only giving to Caesar the bare minimum. They’ve chosen a hard, but a far more fulfilling life. The more people who disassociate from their fake world, the weaker they get. As their hold on our lives weakens, they will lash out. This is why it is important to be armed. Direct armed confrontation with the establishment’s forces is foolish, but guerrilla tactics on land you know would start to eat away at the morale of the paid police thugs sent to enforce their dictates. The beast isn’t as strong as it portrays. It’s broke and its empire of debt is crumbling. If millions walk out the exit door, the beast will begin to starve and eventually die. Maybe a new, less complex, smaller, more community-oriented society could be born from the ashes. Tribe up with like-minded individuals with different skills, if possible. There is hope if enough patriots decide to regain their senses and walk away from this abnormal society, leaving our totalitarian Christofs to wallow in their failure to control the truly awoken. “Do not let the hero in your soul parish, in lonely frustration, for the life you deserved but never have been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.” ― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged *  *  *It is my sincere desire to provide readers of The Burning Platform with the best unbiased information available, and a forum where it can be discussed openly, as our Founders intended. But it is not easy nor inexpensive to do so, especially when those who wish to prevent us from making the truth known, attack us without mercy on all fronts on a daily basis. So each time you visit the site, I would ask that you consider the value that you receive and have received from The Burning Platform and the community of which you are a vital part. I can't do it all alone, and I need your help and support to keep it alive. Please consider contributing an amount commensurate to the value that you receive from this site and community, or even by becoming a sustaining supporter through periodic contributions. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/02/2022 - 16:25.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 2nd, 2022Related News

A group of Taylor Swift fans is demanding the Federal Trade Commission investigate Ticketmaster for "predatory" and "misleading" tactics. Read their complaint.

A group of Taylor Swift fans have demanded an official investigation of Ticketmaster in the wake of the contentious presale for her upcoming tour. Taylor Swift attends the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images Nine Swifties have asked the FTC to look into Ticketmaster's ticket presale for her upcoming tour. They said Ticketmaster abused its dominant position in the ticketing industry to gouge people. The group is urging Swift fans to file complaints with their state attorneys general. An activist group of Taylor Swift fans that united after the bungled presale for her upcoming tour has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Ticketmaster over its role, according to a copy of the complaint shared with Insider.The group — which includes four US lawyers and a law graduate — claimed that Ticketmaster didn't honor its statements about who could access the presale or its commitment to let people who've bought merchandise from Taylor Swift's website get priority access to tickets.It also claimed that users who did manage to select seats were often confused by the presence of "VIP" packages that cost hundreds of dollars extra and weren't advertised beforehand. Some users felt they had no choice but to pay for a VIP package if they wanted to see Swift, who last toured in 2018."[Ticketmaster's] actions left misinformed, frustrated and mentally exhausted consumers feeling pressured and tricked — all without any clarity on the product they were buying," the complaint said.The complaint also claimed that Ticketmaster violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not making clear which seats were accessible to people with disabilities. Ticketmaster didn't respond to a request for comment on the complaint.Tickets for Swift's "The Eras" tour went on sale on November 15 for people with Ticketmaster's "Verified Fan" status or a Capital One credit card. But many customers reacted with anger and confusion, saying they didn't receive presale codes they were entitled to, or waited for hours in digital queues, only to see that tickets had been snatched up for resale at multiples of their face value.Ticketmaster said it faced unprecedented demand and did nothing wrong. The company implied that people who weren't entitled to buy tickets tried to do so anyway, and said that it operates in competitive markets and follows antitrust laws.Vigilante Legal, the group that filed the complaint, was created last month to push for consumer rights and fairness, according to Jordan Burger, a US-trained law graduate who lives in Australia and is involved with the group. It's trying to get Swifties to file complaints with their state attorneys general partly because of how hard it is for consumers to sue Ticketmaster, he said.Ticketmaster, which is owned by Live Nation Entertainment, dominates the ticket sales market in the US. The company has said that it complies with the law, but the Justice Department said in 2019 that Live Nation and Ticketmaster had violated the commitments they made in 2010 not to abuse their market power.Some lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, have said the Swift fiasco underscores the need to reverse the companies' merger and promote competition in the live-entertainment business, according to Reuters. The New York Times reported last month that federal law enforcement has been asking concert venues about Live Nation's conduct, indicating that it is still investigating the company.Vigilante Legal's eight-page complaint includes several exhibits: copies of a Ticketmaster blog post, a marketing email sent to fans, and Twitter threads and customer-support messages that they say is evidence of wrongdoing by Ticketmaster. The complaint claims Ticketmaster's 2010 tie-up with Live Nation should have been blocked."This is bigger than Taylor Swift," said Burger. It's about "putting the pressure on the government to do the job it should've done in 2010."The complaint also includes Swift-themed wordplay, accusing the company of stirring up "bad blood" — the title of Swift's 2014 song with Kendrick Lamar — and including a reference to her 2017 hit "Look What You Made Me Do" in its letterhead.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 2nd, 2022Related News

Russians are angry Putin is spending billions on an unpopular war as they freeze back home, report says

Russians are complaining about poverty and poor infrastructure amid Putin's ongoing war in Ukraine, The Daily Beast reported. Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the SCTO Summit in Yerevan, Armenia, on November 23, 2022.Contributor/Getty Images Russians are accusing Putin of ignoring domestic problems while focusing on the war in Ukraine.  Some Russians are complaining about a lack of heating in their homes, The Daily Beast reported. Forbes Ukraine estimated last week that Russia has spent around $82 billion in the war so far.  Russians are angry President Vladimir Putin is spending billions on an increasingly unpopular war in Ukraine as they freeze back home, The Daily Beast reported on Thursday. As Russian troops continue to strike Ukraine's vital power in fractures — plunging millions into darkness — Russians at home are also struggling to keep afloat amid crippling Western sanctions. People living in many of the remote regions of the country, where conditions are at their worst, have been complaining about a lack of heating in their homes and burst water pipes, The Beast reported, citing social media posts. Remote regions including Tyumen, Karaganda, and Yakutia are among the worst affected, reporting many victims of frost in the past week, the outlet reported."They take young men—the only breadwinners—away and send them back in coffins. The guys freeze on the front, get sick, die while their families live in poverty," Valentina Melnikova, an activist with the Soldiers' Mothers Committee, told The Beast."It seems authorities have no interest left in human lives at this point," she added.Nikolay Zolotov, a Russian blogger who lives in a republic in Siberia, told the Beast: "Dark times. Ukraine is surviving without heating and light and here in Khakasia our life is awfully hard.""Bursting pipes is not the worst problem: people live on tiny salaries in a poorly maintained city, without cash to buy food, while our government spends billions on the special operation in Ukraine," he added.It is unclear how much exactly Putin is spending on the war in Ukraine, which continues nine months after the Russian leader launched his large-scale invasion.Forbes Ukraine estimated last week that Russia has spent around $82 billion — a quarter of its annual budget.Among other costs, this estimate includes nearly $29 billion that Moscow has allocated to support its army with weapons and equipment, $16 billion for soldiers' salaries, and more than $9 billion to pay off the families of servicemen killed in combat.The war will not get any cheaper for Putin, Forbes Ukraine said, estimating that it will cost at least $10 billion a month going forward.The reports come amid numerous battlefield setbacks in recent weeks for Russia, which has started looking to countries like Iran, North Korea, and Syria for assistance.Other reports of mobilized Russian soldiers being deployed with little training and poor equipment have prompted more Russians to publicly voice their criticisms. Before the war, which started on February 24, Putin admitted that poverty was Russia's biggest challenge, calling it the country's "main enemy" in 2019, The Beast reported."Our main goal is to improve the quality of life for our citizens," he said. Meanwhile, Russian attacks have crippled half of Ukraine's energy infrastructure, a top World Health Organization official said last month, leaving millions of people across the country without power and water.The upcoming winter "will be about survival" for Ukrainians, the official warned.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2022Related News

Noom sells psychology-driven weight loss — but former employees say they were unprepared for and overwhelmed by users" eating disorders, depression, and trauma

Diet app Noom says it using psychology to address the root causes of weight gain. Users suffering from psychological problems seemed to expect therapy Tara Anand for InsiderOver one weekend last year, as the holidays approached, a user of the popular weight loss app Noom sent a series of alarming messages through the service's chat feature. The user, in his mid-50s, described himself as a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and a father of three daughters, according to the Noom "goal specialist," or coach, assigned to him. He was expressing suicidal thoughts, which seemed to coincide with the coming holidays and pandemic-related isolation and stress. In one message, he wrote about "wanting to step off this ride."The coach – whose job was to answer users' questions about Noom's program and send upbeat missives like "Stick with It!" – didn't see the messages until they logged in on Monday."When I didn't respond over the weekend, he asked why I had forsaken him," the coach, who has since left the company, told Insider. "I felt so awful that I couldn't do more, but I wasn't qualified to do anything but send a suicide hotline resource and encourage him to reach out to a therapist."According to Noom's protocols, the case was passed on to a team that reviews whether users should be kicked off the platform, and the coach was told to direct the user to a suicide hotline and encourage him to talk to his psychiatrist. He replied that he was feeling more stable.The man was allowed to remain on the app, though, and eventually, he stopped responding to messages. The coach never found out what happened to him and says the experience was intense and emotionally challenging. The coach did not have access to the chat logs and Insider has no way of reaching the user or verifying the coach's account. But 13 former Noom coaches and coaching managers who spoke with Insider say the coach's story is consistent with their experiences working for the service. They described at least seven incidents where they or their colleagues flagged users threatening suicide. (The identities of coaches interviewed are known to Insider, but most of them asked to remain anonymous to protect their careers.) 'Easy access to a healthier life'With its tagline, "Stop dieting. Get lifelong results," Noom frames itself as using psychology to address the root causes of weight gain, helping users lose weight, long-term, by reframing their thinking around food and eating habits. "When it comes to losing weight, it's psychological," Noom says in one ad, which features a man who scrapes every morsel from his plate. The man is then transported back to the dining table of his childhood, across from a stern father figure, so he can connect the dots: "I've been conditioned to clean my plate since childhood!" But it's not clear how Noom helps its users achieve breakthroughs, like linking a current behavior to childhood trauma, or how users can distinguish between unhealthy habits and, say, metabolic reasons for their appetites. What is clear, according to interviews with more than 30 people, including former coaches, as well as other former employees, users and experts, is that Noom attracted users who appeared to be suffering from depression, eating disorders, and other acute mental health conditions, and understood Noom's "psychology-based" offerings to be something like therapy. While Noom doesn't advertise therapeutic services or eating disorder treatment, its emphasis on psychology and mental wellness can make it hard to tell the difference. Noom's coaches, who lacked the qualifications, preparation, and training to be psychological counselors, often found themselves working with clients who exhibited complex and sometimes frightening behaviors. As the company's growth accelerated amid the COVID lockdowns of early 2020, a huge uptick in users put enormous pressure on Noom's coaching staff.  "Coaches may as well be therapists without licensure," one former coach and project manager told Insider. "It was like crowdsourced therapy."Shoppers at a San Francisco Costco are seen in 2020, stocking up on toilet paper and non-perishable foods.Liu Guanguan/China News Service via Getty ImagesIn response to a detailed list of questions from Insider about Noom's marketing, safety protocols, and training, a Noom spokesperson provided this statement:  "Noom has helped millions achieve their personal health and wellness goals using behavioral science techniques. It is incredibly important to us that every Noom user has a safe and rewarding experience as we continually evolve and improve our platform by incorporating user feedback and input from credentialed experts," the statement said. "We have robust processes and safeguards in place to protect the safety of our users, such as preventing at-risk people from joining the program and employing a team of clinical experts who are consulted upon signs of unhealthy behavior."Noom was co-founded in 2008 by Saeju Jeong, an entrepreneur who studied electrical engineering, and Artem Petakov, a former Google software engineer. They spent a decade searching for a hit. A stationary bike digital interface (that might today bring the success of Peloton to mind) never caught on. A digital fitness tracker that included a step counter and food journal couldn't retain users and folded. But the Noom Weight Loss app was a winner. In 2017, it became the first virtual program to be recognized by the CDC as an evidence-based program to help prevent diabetes, based on data that up to 64% of Noom users lost at least 5% of their body weight. By 2018, it was one of the most-searched diets, according to Google, after the low-carb keto diet and the celebrity Dubrow diet, and retained its top-10 spot through 2020. In September 2019, Noom announced that tennis great Serena Williams had invested in the app. "I'm a true believer that everyone should have easy access to a healthier life," she said in Noom's press release. In an era of growing disillusionment with juice cleanses and low-fat everything, Noom's success seemed counterintuitive. By pitching itself as something different from a diet and promising that long-term weight loss and mental wellness could be within reach, Noom managed to benefit both from the backlash against diet culture and growing awareness about the benefits of therapy, which can cost hundreds of dollars an hour. For $60 a month — the price varies based on the length of a subscription —  Noom promised breakthroughs at a relatively affordable price. 'How would you like to feel this month?'Before joining Noom, users fill out a questionnaire asking about what diet programs or mental health apps they've used in the past. "What feelings are you hoping to achieve during your journey with Noom?", the app wants to know.Noom's marketing suggests a customized program, but all users are given a standard set of tools. For the first 16 weeks, they're encouraged to follow Noom's curriculum and watch a brief video lesson every day. These range from goal setting to short explainers on thought distortions, patterns of exaggerated thinking that exacerbate stress and anxiety, and emotional eating. The app also includes a step counter and food tracker, which categorizes foods based on caloric density. In the sign-up process, prospective users are asked if they have an "active diagnosis of an eating disorder." Answering "yes" brings up a box that reads, "Noom is not currently designed to support those with an active eating disorder." However, "yes" does not close users out of the signup process, and it's possible to change the answer to "no" and continue. Noom's signature offering has been its goal specialists, or coaches — real people with expertise in fitness, nutrition, wellness, or psychology, who offer regular encouragement. Coaches said they were given client rosters that fluctuated in size depending on the time of year, and they were expected to send a certain number of messages per hour via Noom's chat feature. At Noom's peak, coaches were juggling 300-400 users at a time, and 600 or more during the January high season.    Coaches would reach out to users to ask, "How would you like to feel this month?" or encouraging them to "Remember your big picture!" They also responded to messages from users that appeared in the chat. Noom gave coaches prompts for "motivational interviewing" — a series of questions to help guide a user toward the best course of action. Many of the queries were simple, like questions about Noom's curriculum, former coaches said. But other messages could be deeply personal. Some users described the minutiae of their daily lives and shared intimate details about themselves. Often, users treated the chat feature like instant messenger and seemed to expect immediate engagement and empathetic responses. There's no limit to the number of messages a user can send and messages could add up to pages of text. When users' free-flowing messaging styles were met with the robotic cadence of motivational interviewing, or didn't get a quick response, users would grow frustrated and lash out.The parameters of client and coach interactions are laid out on Noom's FAQ page. But getting there requires users to click through to "Support" and then "My program." It says that coaches are there to help with accountability and to support users' specific needs. It also says that coaches will check in weekly, during standard business hours, and that it can take up to two business days to respond to a user. "Together, you can discuss the highs and lows of your week and adjust your goals if needed," the page reads. Based on the number of Noom users who went on social media to complain about their interactions with coaches, the often generic tone and the wait time of responses came as a surprise to many users. "I'm like being legit vulnerable to my coach, only to be met with some Disney Channel type of energy. Very overly optimistic and happy, doesn't acknowledge what I'm really saying," one Noom user wrote on Reddit. "What I wanted was some sort of validation, most of what I message is ignored."Noom coaches said they struggled to set ground rules and expectations when they interacted with users — a process in therapy that's known as "setting scope." Some faulted the app's marketing and interface and felt it distorted users' expectations, making it unclear what the service entailed. Noom's directive that employees express an "unconditional positive regard" for its users made it difficult to be direct or set appropriate boundaries with users, former coaches said. "You're fat and you're ugly, how can you help me?", one coach was told by a user, according to that coach's former manager. (Coaches' pictures appeared on Noom's chat feature.)"One of the growing pains was that they didn't standardize support," said the former manager, who worked at Noom from 2019 to May 2022. "It was a fast-paced environment. And, as it scaled up, instead of just dealing with one jerk, maybe you're dealing with 30 jerks." A display of weight loss products at a Walgreens pharmacy in Miami Beach, Florida.Jeffrey Greenberg/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesIn its job ads for coaches, Noom said candidates must be willing to "pilot experimental coaching protocols" and help "prevent or manage chronic conditions by facilitating healthful lifestyle modifications." The ads called for a bachelor's degree or an associate's degree with relevant experience. Along with recent bachelor-of-science graduates in nutrition and exercise science, the coaching staff included counselors and dietitians with years of professional experience. According to interviews with former coaches and a salary sharing document compiled by employees and viewed by Insider, Noom coaches' pay started at $37,500 and varied widely, up to about $46,000. The experience that coaches brought to the job could vary widely. That diversity of experience was sometimes seen as a strength, and former coaches said counted on co-workers to help them work through solutions for their clients. But the downside was inconsistency. A Noom user might be assigned to a veteran psychologist who was adept at working through unhealthy habits, or a green 20-something with far less work experience.Coaches got some training at the start and supplemental training was offered on an ongoing basis. Some of the coaches Insider interviewed said they were interacting with Noom users within two weeks of starting. Within a month, they were mostly on their own with clients. Depending on when a coach started — for example, pre-COVID or after — the substance of the training varied widely, as did the experience of the trainers, former coaches said. The consistent part of the training focused on Noom as a product. But coaches said their training left them ill-prepared to deal with the unpredictable sides of coaching, like signs of an eating disorder or serious depression. Noom employs, in addition to coaches, experts with mental health credentials, including a chief of psychology. But coaches who spoke to Insider said it wasn't always clear how they could access those resources.A former coach with a masters degree in counseling and clinical psychology experience said that her experience of the training was that it was "terribly orchestrated and terribly done." "It still feels like the beginning stages of an idea and not super based in science," the former coach said. Emotional bandwidthRachel Clair was hired as a Noom coach in 2018, at a time when the coaching staff grew from 60 to about 200. She had a PhD in health psychology. And, for a while, she said it was a great place to work. The job allowed Clair to work remotely — a relative rarity prior to COVID — and she could choose her own hours. (Clair said she underwent treatment for cancer while working for Noom, and was able to get ample time off for her medical care without losing pay.) Like other coaches Insider talked to, she became concerned that Noom users were hyper-focused "on the scale and calories" while Noom wasn't equipped to treat disordered eating. Then came March 2020, and the COVID lockdowns. Suddenly, everything from work to school to therapy went online. For some, the lockdowns were an excuse to become a digital nomad, or a master sourdough baker. For others, the combination of isolation, anxiety, and being cooped up with a stockpile of packaged foods made the pandemic uniquely triggering for disordered eating, according to experts. Anxiety and depression increased by 25% worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Eating disorder diagnoses spiked by an alarming rate, and hospitalizations for eating disorders rose at nearly 10 times the pace of the previous two years among young adults, a recent study found.Noom became a ubiquitous advertiser on a dizzying array of new podcasts (more than 300, according to Noom's website), offering simple solutions to the stress-eating and pandemic weight gain from the convenience of a single app. Along with companies like Peloton and TalkSpace, Noom garnered media buzz as a pandemic success story.Shoppers stocking up on staples like toilet paper and canned goods at a Massachusetts Costco on March 13, 2020, in the early days of the COVID pandemic.John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesNoom nearly doubled its revenue from $237 million to $400 million in 2020, according to Inc. It announced a $540 million investment from Silver Lake the following spring. According to TechCrunch, it had an estimated 45 million downloads across 100 countries. (Noom declined to disclose its user numbers.) Valued at more than $3 billion, the company was looking ahead to a hotly-anticipated IPO. But while the pandemic accelerated Noom's growth, coaches said they were inundated with huge caseloads, forcing them to juggle hundreds of users, some of whose messages were increasingly weighted with grief, stress, and anxiety. "We had users who had loved ones dying during COVID, users have gotten cancer diagnoses,"  the former coach with a counseling degree said. Meanwhile, they said they were under pressure to hit performance targets that included how many messages they sent per hour, how many users they interacted with daily, and their response times. By January 2021, Clair had become a coaching manager, and she said that the coaches she supervised had "less than five minutes" a day to focus on each client. During that time, she was a supervisor on two cases involving suicidal ideation. Noom's growth had both dramatically increased what coaches were asked to do, and stretched whatever support was available to help them. "They seemed to stop caring about the coaches and started caring about the numbers, and that trickled down to the users," Clair said. "Coaches put their heart and soul into it but when they can't take care of themselves, they don't have the emotional bandwidth to help users."Clair left the company in June 2021 and now works as a freelance ghostwriter. "I was burning out too. I couldn't do my job and I couldn't take the stress anymore," she said.A Gold's Gym in East Northport, New York, during COVID-19 shutdown in August 2020.J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday via Getty ImagesAnother coach, a recent college graduate with a degree in community health, described a similar trajectory. When she started, in 2018, she appreciated Noom's energetic and flexible work culture, and felt she could do some good.  But soon her coaching job felt more akin to a therapist, trauma counselor, or nutritionist. She worried she might be doing more harm than good. "A majority of my conversations would be with people clearly in a very unhealthy relationship with food and their bodies," she said. Three years after starting at Noom, she took another job and left. She and several former coaches told Insider they pursued a career in nutrition counseling because they had previously dealt with disordered eating themselves. In addition to feeling like she was falling short as a coach, she said she was increasingly triggered by her own issues with food and dieting. STING: A safety net with holes In a typical therapy or counseling scenario, a clinician meets with a client to determine their needs prior to enrolling them in a program. The clinician might determine that the client is not a good fit and refer to more specialized or intensive care. But Noom does minimal screening, and asks just one question during sign-up to flag for eating disorders. Instead, according to former employees and some critics, Noom largely puts the onus on its coaches. According to company training documents seen by Insider, coaches who encountered high-risk users were told to refer those cases to STING — "Support for Those In Need of Guidance" — and there would be a follow-up via Zoom within 24 hours.STING was designed to determine whether users should stay within the app, or should be removed for issues  beyond the scope of what Noom is designed to handle, such as eating disorders, serious mental or physical health issues or what Noom documents call "off label" use of the app as a substitute for therapy. Removal was a "last resort," the documents said. STING teams were made up of coaches who volunteered for the roles and weren't paid extra for the time, as well as a supervisor. Multiple ex-employees told Insider that their understanding was that taking on additional assignments like this was important if they wanted to get a raise or promotion. Users who reported self-harm or domestic abuse were immediately referred to STING, and suspected disordered eating behaviors, substance abuse, or medical issues could also lead to STING involvement.Once a case is flagged, the STING team would work with the coach to assess or de-escalating the situation. If it's determined that the user needs outside resources, like a suicide or eating disorder hotline, that can be provided. In most cases, though, the goal is to bring the user "back into scope."As one former employee who worked with STING explained it, the coach would copy and paste the relevant messages into a chat, and the STING team would offer help to redirect the conversation back to Noom's curriculum. If this was successful, the Noom user was generally allowed to stay on the app. That former employee recalled working on several cases where users had told their coaches about experiences with sexual violence, which they believed had led to dysfunctional eating habits. Even in those cases, STING's goal would be to get the user back within the scope of Noom's program. A typical response might be: "It can be difficult to parse emotions, past events, and the present. Would it be helpful if I provided resources on emotional eating?"Coaches confronting disturbing messages from users might spend a tense period waiting on a response from STING.  If something came up after normal working hours or over the weekend, the wait could stretch to three days. According to Noom's training documents, if certain risky behaviors were observed after 5 pm Eastern time, coaches should wait until the next business day to report them. "Active purging... and bulimia does require escalation but does not need to be escalated after hours," the document says, without further explanation. A woman with a smartphone holds a K95 protective face mask.Sean Gallup/Getty ImagesOne coach, a registered dietitian, said that users could sometimes avoid being kicked off the app by going along with STING's prompts and walking back, or denying, whatever statements had been flagged. The former employee who worked with STING said one reason she left Noom was concern that users the coach believed should have been kicked off the app had been allowed to stay. The coach recalled, for example, one user who seemed to present signs of dissociative personality disorder, and responded to messages with a childlike persona. "It was an ethical issue," they said. "They decided to move forward with coaching and I didn't feel it was clinically appropriate." Heather Clark, clinical director of eating disorder treatment at the nonprofit Rock Recovery, said that in her estimation Noom's processes don't measure up to established standards of care for counseling and eating disorder recovery, which she said is concerning even if Noom doesn't claim to provide those services."It's a murky space that they've put themselves in, where they're saying that they're psychology-based, not a diet," she said. "It's tricky because dieting is a risk factor for eating disorders. It doesn't matter if you call it a diet or not.""Part of our responsibility [as counselors] is that if someone needs more help than we can provide, we need to be honest about our limitations," she said.Instead, Clark says it appears that Noom "falsely advertises safety" and then leans on its coaches to "pick up the pieces."Counting caloriesMeanwhile, critics have also cataloged concerns about Noom's methods. Reports that Noom was recommending 1,200 calories a day for many users prompted criticism from dietitians and led Noom to raise the range in November 2021.Former Noom coaches said they routinely had users log daily calories below a safe limit. One coach told Insider they had a client who refused to eat more than 1,000 calories a day, and often ate significantly less — a level of under-eating which could have dangerous side effects, according to dietitians. The coach said they were advised to "coach around" the issue. Coaches said users who logged too few calories in a day should have received warnings from the app, but Noom didn't have a mechanism for that. Other weight-loss apps, such as MyFitnessPal, generate an automatic message if a user logs too few calories. In a blog post updated July 2022, Noom discussed a new feature that prevents users from setting a calorie goal below a certain limit. The app's sign-up process was also updated to generate a suggested weight range, based on BMI, and prevent users from setting a goal weight that would categorize them as underweight. Former coaches said they previously had to manually calculate a user's body mass index (BMI) to prevent them from setting a goal that would be medically underweight, a process confirmed in a training document seen by Insider. Noom cites an array of peer-reviewed studies on its research page in support of its methods based on a time frame from 16 weeks up to 18 months. A majority of those studies are co-authored by Noom employees or advisory board members. While a healthy diet and vigorous physical activity is known to promote good health and relieve stress, those who lose weight through dieting often regain the weight over time. In addition, dieting is known to raise the risk of disordered eating, says Melainie Rogers, founder of BALANCE eating disorder treatment center. "Repairing people's relationship with food and body image is about pushing away that thin ideal and working with people to become healthier where they are, Rogers said. Noom "really hit it out of the ballpark with the marketing," Rogers said. "But are they selling something they can't provide?" Downsizing By mid-2022, Noom's fortunes had shifted. The company was facing "cash burn," including a $56 million settlement after users alleged they had been billed for subscriptions long after they'd tried to cancel them. Along with other pandemic-era success stories like Peloton, which laid off hundreds of employees in 2022, it appeared that Noom had grown too fast.  Noom staff are referred to as the "Noomily" (Noom Family) in emails and work messages. But former employees described Noom's culture as one of "toxic positivity," where they were expected to be unflappably upbeat and enthusiastic about the company, and said it had led to serious burnout.A company representative, listed online as an external coach communications project coordinator, told employees in Slack to refrain from criticizing the company in a work environment survey for a third party, emphasizing that feedback should be kept internal, according to screenshots seen by Insider. Another company representative then walked it back by saying they wanted people to be honest on external surveys, according to the screenshots.In late April, Noom laid off 495 coaches — 25% of its coaching staff.  According to a document produced a month earlier by Noom management, the goal of the layoffs was to quickly trim $40 million from the company's costs and lose lower-performing coaches. "Costs are high," Noom management said in the document, which was seen by Insider. "Because we were not as rigorous as an organization, we have not allowed things to be performance managed. This is our preferred method of controlling costs." A teenager stands on a bathroom scale.Annette Riedl/picture alliance via Getty ImagesIn October, 500 more Noom coaches were abruptly called into a virtual meeting and laid off. The move was explained as part of a pivot away from the coaching model, former employees familiar with the company's internal strategy told Insider."Our model is not sustainable," Dr. Andreas Michaelides, Noom's chief of psychology, said in a company meeting, a transcript of which was seen by Insider. "We are focused on experiments that are more premium coaching." Many users were also shaken by the layoffs. The lively Noom community on Reddit was filled with posts from users expressing frustration with the abrupt loss of coaches with whom they'd built a strong connection. "My coach was the only reason I used the app. She was so kind and compassionate," wrote one user.Former employees said they were told that coaching would ultimately become an add-on service. One former product team member said that most users didn't engage with coaches and "don't like coaching." It's not clear how the coaching model will change, or whether Noom will address some of the underlying issues that critics have raised, including Noom's screening process, the confusing points of its marketing, who it hires, and how it trains coaches. "Working there truly hurt my mental and physical health, even though that's what the company preaches," said the former coach who joined the company right out of college."I felt like I could never relax, even when my work day was done, because all I could think about is the messages from people who desperately need support piling up." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2022Related News

This Is Of Course Insane

This Is Of Course Insane Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog, Greed is a powerful motivation to be an ardent believer in the central banking cult. The ideal cult convinces its followers that it isn't a cult, it's simply the natural order of things. In current terms, this normalizes insane behaviors and beliefs. Sacrificing youth to appease the gods isn't a cult; it's simply the natural order of things. If we don't sacrifice youth, bad things will happen, so we have to follow the natural order of things. Despite the lofty claims made by our rational mind, we want to hear and obey the voices of the gods. This non-rational desire is the root of cults and episodes of mass hysteria, i.e. the madness of crowds. Humanity is in the grip of the secular cult of central banking. The cult's seers and prophets periodically emerge with arcane signs and readings, offering divinations to guide the followers. The motivation to believe the cult is the natural order of things is powerful: greed. Those who heed the oracles of the cult enrich themselves, unbelievers impoverish themselves. Rationalists outside the cult discern the structure of the cult and its core beliefs. The cult creates credit and "money" out of thin air and distributes it to the few extremely wealthy to further expand their wealth. These few do not improve productivity or the well-being of the many; they use the cult's gifts to exploit the cult's rigged casino of speculation to maximize their private gains. In other words, the cult benefits the few at the expense of the many while proclaiming it benefits everyone. This is of course insane. The cult's core beliefs are: 1) enriching the already-rich magically trickles down benefits to the masses, and 2) this vast enrichment of the already-wealthy is cost-free. The economy prospers with no downside or consequences other than the glorious expansion of wealth at the top and the trickle-down of sweet goodness to the masses. This is of course insane. The costs are borne by the masses and by the socio-economic system, which is now in thrall to a cult that has made the economy dependent on an ever-expanding credit bubble which feeds an ever-expanding asset bubble, which then enables a further expansion of credit which then fuels ever-higher assets prices. And so on, forever, because the cult and its ever-expanding bubble are the natural order of things. If we don't sacrifice the many to benefit the few, the sun will stop rising and the Earth will be cast into endless shadow. This is of course insane, but greed is a powerful motivation to be an ardent believer in the central banking cult. Expanding credit based on the expanding collateral of asset bubbles, each feeding the other, is held up not as insane but as a financial perpetual-motion machine, overseen and managed by the seers and prophets of the central bank cult. Followers heeding the cult's oracles become rich, non-believers and skeptics become impoverished. Alas, cults and bubbles both come to an inglorious end. What seemed self-evidently true for the ages is revealed as a brief moment of self-serving delusion, supported by the immense powers of greed and the madness of crowds. Do you hear the voices of the gods? Yes, yes, oh yes. *  *  * My new book is now available at a 10% discount ($8.95 ebook, $18 print): Self-Reliance in the 21st Century. Read the first chapter for free (PDF) Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/01/2022 - 16:25.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 1st, 2022Related News

Thursday links: luxury goods gone bad

MarketsHow major asset classes performed in November 2022. (capitalspectator.com)Lumber is the worst performing commodity of 2022. (marketwatch.com)So-called 'zero day' options trading is booming. (ft.com)FTXFTX's collapse was a crime, not an accident. (coindesk.com)Why did the Dealbook crowd applaud SBF? (thereformedbroker.com)FTX is what can happen when you give a founder unchecked power. (hbr.org)CompaniesWhy Salesforce ($CRM) keeps shedding successors to Marc Benioff. (marketwatch.com)Why Netflix ($NFLX) teamed up with Microsoft ($MSFT) to launch an ad-supported tier. (vox.com)Private equityCFOs [collateralized fund obligations] have 'flown largely under the radar.' (on.ft.com)Private equity has been slow to mark down portfolio values. (economist.com)Carbon offsetsTimberland manager, Manulife Investment Management, is getting into the forest-offset market. (wsj.com)Forest carbon offsets don't actually do anything. (theconversation.com)GlobalIs China's stock market still even investable? (ft.com)How European manufacturers are dealing with higher natural gas prices. (noahpinion.substack.com)Given conditions on the ground, Ukrainian refugees are waiting to return. (wsj.com)It's hard to argue that Brexit has been a net-positive for the UK economy. (ft.com)EconomyThe October PCE showed slowing inflation. (calculatedriskblog.com)Initial unemployment claims are rising, albeit, from a low level. (bonddad.blogspot.com)The apartment rental market has rolled over. (calculatedrisk.substack.com)Earlier on Abnormal ReturnsLongform links: reading and writing well. (abnormalreturns.com)What you missed in our Wednesday linkfest. (abnormalreturns.com)Personal finance links: what other people think. (abnormalreturns.com)Are you a financial adviser looking for some out-of-the-box thinking? Then check out our weekly e-mail newsletter. (newsletter.abnormalreturns.com)Mixed mediaFive insights from "Smart Brevity: The Power of Saying More with Less." (nextbigideaclub.com)How generative AI could become the “autocomplete for everything.” (noahpinion.substack.com)Don't take advice from people 'screaming at you from your phone.' (defector.com).....»»

Category: blogSource: abnormalreturnsDec 1st, 2022Related News

Several left-wing activists had their Twitter accounts suspended after a false-report campaign by far-right users

One of the users targeted told Insider they had found evidence of a coordinated campaign to get them banned from Twitter. Twitter has suspended the accounts of prominent left-wing activists since Elon Musk's takeover.Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency Prominent left-wing Twitter accounts have been banned after false reports.  Far-right activists have launched a campaign to report left-wing accounts for false violations. Elon Musk reinstated banned right wing accounts like Donald Trump and Kanye West earlier this month. Several left-wing activists on Twitter have been suspended from the platform after far-right users launched a false-report campaign. Prominent left-wing accounts have been banned from Twitter since Musk's takeover, the Intercept reported first. This includes Chad Loder, an anti-fascist researcher who identified a Proud Boy member involved in the US Capitol Riots on January 6 2021; Vishal Pratap Singh, a journalist who has reported on far-right protests in Southern California; Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club, a group that provides armed security for LGBTQ+ events in Texas; and CrimethInc, an anarchist organization that publishes books and podcasts. Loder told Insider that they suspects their account was suspended because of an "organized mass reporting campaign" against left-wing Twitter users coordinated by a right-wing group called Zanting. The group published detailed instructions on a Substack blog on how to falsely report people along with a list of accounts which included Loder's profile at the top. Loder shared screenshots with Insider of messages on Telegram channels — with thousands of followers including Proud Boys and QAnon believers —  celebrating Loder's suspension from the platform. Senior members of Twitter's trust and safety team were aware of the list and the false reporting campaign against Loder — which is a violation of Twitter's policies against platform manipulation — and had plans to address it. However, key members of the team have now quit or were fired including executives Vijaya Gadde and Yoel Roth. "There's nobody minding the shop anymore," Loder said. "I know everyone that worked on Twitter's trust and safety team over the years has long gone and the team has been more than decimated. It's maybe 5% of the original staff, so what's happening is mass-reporting is allowed to succeed because there's no one double checking whether these reports are valid or not. So people are being suspended for silly things or over nothing at all." Far-right users like journalist Andy Ngo on Twitter have also urged Musk to address the "large number of Antifa accounts" operating on Twitter. Ngo specifically mentioned CrimethInc calling it an "Antifa collective." Musk then directed Ngo to report Antifa accounts. CrimethInc said in a written statement to Insider: "We have been using Twitter since 2008. We have never so much as received a warning. On November 25, Elon Musk banned us at the request of a far-right troll who has made a career out of targeting those who oppose fascist violence."Elon Musk's rhetoric about 'free speech' is willfully dishonest. In fact, he is purging anti-fascist accounts at the same time that he reinstates neo-Nazis like Brett Stevens, the neo-Nazi blogger who inspired Anders Breivik to murder 77 people."Elm Fork John Brown Gun Club shared a screenshot with Insider of its account suspension. In the screenshot, Twitter said the account had been suspended for "violating our rules against hateful conduct." The group said in a written statement to Insider: "Our primary account, like many others, was baselessly suspended after numerous campaigns by right-wing propagandists like Andy Ngo to silence us. The reinstatement of the most vile antisemitic, racist, and transphobic accounts coinciding with the silencing of accounts documenting them is not a coincidence. This is a clear indication of Musk's interpretation of who 'freedom of speech' applies to." Singh told Insider his "reporting had been disrupted," by the actions of "Twitter, Elon Musk, and far-right online trolls." He added: " Not only are my own articles impacted by this suspension— various other reporters and researchers have previously linked to my tweets and videos as evidence. Now those links are broken."Musk has described himself as a "free speech absolutist," and reinstated several right-wing accounts that were previously banned including Donald Trump, Jordan Peterson, Kanye West, Babylon Bee and more. Loder said Musk's free speech campaign is really just about "bringing back a lot of legitimate violent neo-Nazi accounts." He has "thrown his lot in with far-right extremists and they have his ear," and he is "in an echo chamber of his own design." "We're seeing far-right voices crowded into the space while far-left voices are being pushed out of the space."  Loder said that "trying to get back onto Twitter at this point feels like trying to crawl back onto the Titanic whilst it's sinking." Twitter did not respond to Insider's request for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2022Related News

A Gen Z-led company tapped TikTok influencers to turn out young voters in midterm elections, creating a “blueprint” for 2024

"I think the people that cracked the youth voter turnout code are the youth," said Social Currant Founder and CEO Ashwath Narayanan, who is 22. From left, TikTok influencers Christian Maldonado, Tega Orhorhoro, and Ryze Hendricks.Compiled by Insider, courtesy of Social Currant A Gen Z-led company tapped TikTok influencers in November to persuade young people to vote. Young people had one of their highest turnout rates ever in a midterm election in November. Now some progressive groups are looking to influencers to mobilize young voters in 2024. Two months before the midterm elections, Social Currant Founder and CEO Ashwath Narayanan thought TikTok and Instagram influencers would have better luck persuading young people to vote than a Facebook ad.So Narayanan, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, matched his progressive advocacy clients like NextGen America and Community Change Action with creators on social media who have nothing to do with politics. Among them were a comedian, an actress, a makeup artist, and a rapper, who all delivered the message in whatever way they saw fit.Their followers responded, and now the influencer campaigns of 2022 have become a model for how some advocacy groups will mobilize young voters in 2024."I think the people that cracked the youth voter turnout code are the youth," said Narayanan, whose staff is mostly Gen Z. "Trusting us to get other young people to vote I think is the lesson here. And I definitely think creators, and reaching young people where they are, is a huge part of it."Young people aged 18 to 29 had one of their highest turnout rates ever in a midterm election in November. They overwhelmingly favored Democrats, helping prevent a Republican "red wave" election, according to the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. President Joe Biden, who also courted TikTok influencers, especially thanked young people for the election results.Politicians have long struggled to get young people to vote on election day. Maybe they've just been the wrong messengers."The challenge is that with few exceptions, there hasn't been a politician in recent memory that connects with young people in a way that's authentic and credible," said Shripal Shah, a partner at the Democratic media, strategy and public affairs firm Left Hook. "Creators, however, do."Digital creators and influencers are the main source of trusted information for young people who grew up on social media platforms, said Shah, who is advising Social Currant. It's a "no-brainer" to use them to mobilize voters, "just like brands do with their products." Without young voters' support in 2022, Democrats "would've been wiped out by Republicans across the map, up and down the ballot," he said. "That reality underscores the need to invest in creators for 2024 and beyond."It's hard to imagine Republican groups embracing a similar strategy with influencers on TikTok, given their distrust of the Chinese-company owned app. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem went so far as to ban the use of TikTok on government devices, saying China uses information gathered on the app to "manipulate the American people." Some national security and social media experts, the Washington Post reported, also worry that the app isn't prepared to identify misinformation.The Republican National Committee says it does not have a TikTok account. "We do not have any plans to give the Chinese Communist Party our data, nor do we plan to use their spyware," RNC spokesperson Nathan Brand told Insider.But when it comes to reaching members of the digital generation, they aren't listening to anchors on major networks, said Antonio Arellano, a spokesperson for the youth voting organization NextGen America. "They're listening to influencers on TikTok and on Instagram. These are the trusted messengers," he said.NextGen America spent $500,000 on its 2022 influencer program, the largest in youth politics nationwide during the midterm election cycle, Arellano said. They worked with young athletes, fashion bloggers, comics, and other influencers, creating a "blueprint" for their digital organizing efforts in 2024, he said."People were really clicking our links, which led them to pledge to vote, which led them to register to vote," he said.NextGen is working on an influencer voter study to try to match voter files to influencer followers to know exactly how many followers went out and voted, he said. TikTok influencer "Dez" applauds a follower's response to a voter mobilization video.Courtesy of Community Change ActionCommunity Change Action used a "rapid testing tool" to understand how the videos were being received by target audiences, including young people of color. They also monitored the responses online, said Mikka Kei Macdonald, the group's creative director."The comments were, 'Oh my gosh, I'm finally old enough to vote, I had totally forgotten that I had to register, doing that right now,'" Macdonald said.Between NextGen America and Community Change Action, Narayanan said they were able to reach about 13 million people on TikTok and Instagram in just the last two months of the midterm campaigns. Social Currant worked with nearly 300 creators in the last two months to produce more than 500 pieces of content, he said."We're trying to build … a movement with influencers," he said.Ashwath Narayanan, 22, Social Currant founder and CEOCourtesy of Kariann Tan, community manager at Social CurrantNextGen America and Community Change Action both said they pay influencers and give them control over the creative process. "We don't tell our influencers how to say things," Arellano said. "We lean into their skills and talents."Rapper Ryze Hendricks, who has 6.3 million TikTok followers, delivered his message in rhyme: "I got a message for the youth. You got the power to make a difference and expose the truth." Tega "Reacts" Orhorhoro danced with Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, in a TikTok video for her nearly 4 million followers as part of a get-out-the-vote event. @tegareacts #ad Get you a friend like Congressman Jamaal Bowman who loves to vote! Make sure you have a plan to vote on NOV 8 because voting is what besties do. #CCAPartnerAd ♬ original sound - bri  The groups turned to Social Currant, partly because its team members are young, themselves. "It's run by Gen Z folks," Arellano said. "They are uniquely positioned to connect us to the absolute most digitally savvy and successful voices online right now."Narayanan, who graduated from George Washington University in May, said he launched the agency in September 2020 after noticing that advocacy organizations were often trying to figure out how to reach young people like him. He wanted to give other young people "voices in these rooms where they were making decisions about reaching us — without us," he said.He quickly began to see investing in influencers, rather than ads on social media, as a powerful tool to build audiences. Now Social Currant is working on technology to make it easier for nonprofits to find the right trusted messenger for topics such as immigration, health care, abortion access or gun violence prevention.He wants to continue tapping influencers to spread messages about important legislation passing Congress or voter registration deadlines."The youth vote this year has just been phenomenal," Narayanan said. "I think it just shows what young people can do. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2022Related News

I"ve made $974,000 in revenue in the last year as a freelance copywriter and only work 5 hours a day. Here"s how I taught myself the skills needed to win clients.

Chris Orzechowski found his first freelance clients in Facebook groups by offering free consultations while he was still a special-ed teacher. Chris Orzechowski.Courtesy of Chris Orzechowski Chris Orzechowski is a freelance copywriter who turned his side hustle into a business in 2017. He learned skills through online coaching and courses, books, and blogs. He gets a lot of clients through his email list, which he's built by publishing content regularly. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Chris Orzechowski, a freelance copywriter and e-commerce email-marketing strategist based in Westfield, New Jersey. Insider has verified his yearly revenue with documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.I originally became a freelance copywriter to supplement my income as a public-school teacher. I started studying copywriting in 2013, but I didn't get my first paying client until 2015.My first idea was to start blogging on the side in hopes that I could monetize a website. I launched a few sites, and nothing worked all that well, but I learned a ton of skills in the process.My most recent site, in 2013, was a blog that was all about coaching wrestling. It built a decent following and even made a little money through affiliate marketing. But after six months of working five to six hours a night on the website and not making that much money, I knew something had to change.Around that time, I learned about copywriting and that people would pay you to write ads for them, whether in an email, on a sales page, or in a video. I knew I could write, and I enjoyed it. So I bet that if I spent enough time learning, I could figure out how to assemble a piece of writing that someone would pay me for.I went on Amazon and bought a dozen books on copywriting, including "Scientific Advertising" and "The Ultimate Sales Letter." I also started reading blog posts and consuming content from top copywriters including André Chaperon, Frank Kern, and Russell Brunson, and I invested in online courses such as CopyHour and Copy Chief.Then I started putting myself out there to try to get clients. Eventually I landed my first-ever writing gig. It paid $300, and I wrote a bunch of emails, five website pages, a product insert (an ad that rides along with whatever item you've purchased), and a couple other small deliverables. The project took me a good three weeks, but I didn't care. I couldn't believe someone paid me to write something for them. Life was never the same after that.In the past 12 months I've made $974,000 in top-line revenue — collected before expenses and taxes — from my copywriting business, and I have clients in more than 30 countries. I put in about four to five hours a day on my business, on average, and spend the other part of my day helping my wife take care of our two young boys.In 2015, I was at a crossroadsToward the end of my second year of teaching, I was let go. I was crushed, but my copywriting business had started to take off. I made about $7,000 in project fees that year.I had two options: I could try to find another job, or go into freelance copywriting full time. I wish I had a cool "burn the lifeboats" story, but I tucked my tail between my legs and found another teaching job.Could I have sprinted and gotten enough clients to replace my lost income? Maybe, but my girlfriend (now wife) and I were shopping for our first home. I was planning on proposing that summer. I couldn't risk it. So I told myself I'd work my ass off every single night and weekend to build my copywriting side hustle to the point where it could support me.My new job was teaching eighth-grade special-education math at a middle school in my hometown. It paid $54,427. I'd work on my side gig on my lunch break and after I'd get home at 4 p.m. until about 9 or 10 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays I'd log anywhere from four to eight hours of extra work. By 2016, I'd made around $52,000 from client work — almost as much as my day job.I pumped most of the money I made from copywriting back into training, coaching, and business development. One of my biggest expenses was a five-week coaching program called Real Free Life by Kevin Rogers that cost $5,000. I also invested in ongoing coaching with Rogers so I could continue to grow and learn. I subscribed to several other marketing and copywriting memberships and communities — including Ryan Lee and John Carlton — so I could learn from different teachers.Eventually I felt ready to make the jumpIn 2017, at the halfway point in my fourth year of teaching (my second year at my second teaching job), I met with my principal for a midyear evaluation. The first thing he said to me was "Chris, I feel like your head and heart aren't in this. Unless you turn it around and start showing me something, I'm not going to renew your contract."I was making money from my side gig. I had clients — including one on retainer for about eight months at that point — and I had confidence, a portfolio, and a network. My rationale was: Imagine if I had my best 40 hours of the week to focus on the business instead of my worst 40 hours.A week later, I walked into the principal's office and handed him my resignation letter. I was free.When I started copywriting full time, I tried everything to get clientsA lot of people recommended cold-emailing. I did that at first and got almost no response. The few people who did respond weren't serious.It wasn't until I shifted to targeting business owners who expressed a need for copywriting help that I started to get traction. I found most of my early clients in various Facebook groups. Sometimes people would post about a project they needed help with or a job opening. Other times people would ask for feedback on their ads and emails, so I'd essentially give people free public consults. I started filming Loom videos of me going through their copy and giving them suggestions. Then I'd reply to their post with a link to the video.A lot of other people in those groups would watch these videos and see my feedback. I'd friend as many of these people as possible, and when they needed a writer, I was the guy they'd call.I also did some other stuff. One time I offered a free one-on-one, 60-minute email-marketing training session in one of the Facebook groups. I wound up giving the same slideshow presentation 24 times in two weeks to entrepreneurs who wanted to learn about email copywriting. It was painful, but it helped me hone my pitch.As I got more clients, I looked for more ways to market myselfI started noticing trends in what my prospects would ask about, such as how to structure an email launch sequence or how to increase open rates. So I decided that whenever I had a handful of people asking me the same question, I'd write an article answering it.I posted these articles on Medium because I didn't have a website. Once I launched my website, I started posting the articles there, in an email newsletter, and on my social-media pages. Eventually I stumbled into some pretty decent SEO, and people started finding my articles and website on Google.These people would sign up for my email list as well. As my list grew, I started emailing more to establish a relationship with my subscribers. Now I email just about every day. I also hold periodic webinars when I'm launching new products and enrolling new cohorts of students into my coaching programs.I also create video content for my YouTube channel. All the traffic flows back toward my email list, which I care about more than anything else in my business. My email list is where I get the lion's share of my clients. It's where most of my consulting work comes from, and it's a platform I own.There are a few things I did to charge — and get people to pay — high fees for my workFirst, I made myself "niche famous." Nobody would ever recognize me on the street, but I've become well known in the copywriting space because I've been publishing content on the topic every week for more than five years.Second, I embraced the laws of supply and demand. I'm only one guy, and I get new client leads on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. I don't have time to work with everyone, so I can pick the cream of the crop and work only with people I really want to work with, at the fee I want to charge. If a client balks at my fee, that's fine; I've got clients lined up down the block and around the corner.Finally, I published content about the results I've gotten. Whenever I do a launch or email campaign that works well, I break it down so that other people can replicate that success in their own business, and I overwhelm people with proof. People are sold by the time they get on the phone with me.I don't spend a second convincing anyone they should hire me. That's what my content is for.If you want to make big money as a copywriter, you have to refuse to listen to reasonYou have to believe in yourself, even when you know your colleagues, friends, and even your family members think you're crazy.During the pandemic, I wanted to quit my business every week for two years straight. I was in a huge phase of growth, and I was reinvesting a ton of capital back into the business — and it felt like the whole world was conspiring against me.But when I laid my head down at night, I reminded myself why I was doing this. One reason was that my son was born a couple weeks after the lockdowns went into place. I had no idea what was going to happen, but I knew it was not time to slow down. I wasn't going to let my family down.I also knew that a lot of people needed my help. There were people who were just like me, trying to scale their businesses so they could leave their day jobs. There were clients who were trying to make sales to make payroll and keep their lights on. How could I fail them? I couldn't — it just wasn't an option. The only path was forward.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2022Related News

I traveled to every country in the world, including North Korea, in 558 days. These are my top 10 travel tips.

Cassie De Pecol traveled to all 193 sovereign nations in addition to Taiwan, Kosovo, and Palestine, and is now an advocate for female solo travel. Cassie De Pecol previously held the Guinness World Records for "Fastest time to visit all sovereign countries (female)" and "Fastest time to visit all sovereign countries."Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol Cassie De Pecol has traveled to all 193 sovereign nations in addition to Taiwan, Kosovo, and Palestine. She completed her trip around the world in slightly over 18 months, breaking the record at the time. These are some of her top travel tips — from her favorite airlines to how to stay safe as a solo traveler. This as-told-to essay is based on conversations with 33-year-old Cassie De Pecol, a travel influencer who previously held the Guinness World Record for traveling to every country in the world in the fastest time in 2017  (her record has since been broken). She is the author of "Expedition 196" and the founder of Her International, a non-profit organization that funds female-driven businesses addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The following has been edited for length and clarity.Growing up, I didn't actually travel at all besides to Canada, where my mom is from.It wasn't till the age of 18 that I booked a one-way ticket to Costa Rica for school. From there, I never looked back.After I finished my studies, I went to Nicaragua, traveled throughout Latin America, and went backpacking across Europe. Then I ran out of money. I had traveled around backpacking in about 25 countries, working odd jobs here and there. I worked in hotels and hostels cleaning toilets, making beds — whatever needed to be done — and they would give me a free room and board in exchange. I also had a blog and would reach out to try to write for other people's blogs to help me make small amounts of cash to keep me going. Sometimes they would pay me $100 bucks for the month and I'd use that to buy my next flight. So that's how I was able to sustain a very small income at the time.I wish I had known about credit cards and credit card points sooner. But back then I couldn't even qualify for a card if I wanted to, so I used platforms like Workaway.info to find jobs in exchange for free housing. When I came home, I was approaching my mid-twenties and didn't know what I wanted to do in life, but knew I loved to travel. I'm one to have very outlandish ideas and I very much follow the "you only live once" sort of mindset. So I decided to go after the Guinness World Record for traveling to every country in the fastest amount of time.How I traveled to 193 countries in just over 18 months Cassie De Pecol in North Korea.Courtesy of Cassie De PecolThe trip started when I was 25 and ended when I was 27. It took around a year and a half of trying to figure out all the logistics. There were the flights and the political situations, weather patterns — I looked into it all. I strategically started with the most expensive places, since I had enough money to start out, and then figured out the rest later on. I had saved roughly $10,000 from working two babysitting jobs 80 hours a week. I also relied on a couple of credit cards with great travel rewards incentives.It's a bit challenging to calculate the total cost of the trip as I received free hotels, experiences, flights, etc., but the trip landed somewhere around the $110,000 mark. AIG was an important sponsor and really looked out for my safety, offering me kidnap and ransom insurance as well. The Asia-Pacific and Oceanic regions were the most expensive, so that's where I started out. Then I went to Europe. At this point, I was running out of money and knew Europe was much easier to travel on a budget.I was also meeting with university students and Ministers of Tourism, getting speaking engagements and planting trees and such. So that also required planning around.For countries like North Korea and Yemen, I had to be more strategic in my planning. To get into North Korea as an American tourist you need to pay $1,000 just for the minimum three-day visa, and you have to fly in on their airline. I was the only Westerner in my tour group. I stayed at the same hotel that Otto Warmbier, the American student who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months, stayed in. This was just six months after that whole ordeal happened, so I was walking on eggshells the whole time. I mean, the people were nice and the tour guide was nice. It was definitely an experience — but one I wouldn't do again.Cassie De Pecol at a speaking engagement.Courtesy of Cassie De PecolNone of my speaking engagements during the expedition were paid. I poured myself into my work pro-bono and wasn't making an income. I knew it would pay off eventually, but it was a big struggle financially to give out free work.I wasn't allowed to spend more than 14 days in a country. So when I ran out of money, I would fly home to Connecticut to my parents' house and go to New York for conferences and networking events to try to secure funding from brands and investors. It was really a pedal-to-the-metal situation so I could secure funding and take off within two weeks. That part was really challenging and put a damper on the experience — It was kind of depressing to finish this trip around the world so quickly. But it was also so invigorating to see the whole world and want to spend more time in these places. 10 lessons I learned while traveling around the worldCassie De Pecol in Yemen.Courtesy of Cassie De Pecol1. Be a traveler, not a touristI always try to support the local economy by staying in local hotels instead of big corporate chains. Also, going off the beaten path and visiting local communities and supporting them as opposed to just mainstream tourist activities. 2. Don't rule out entire countries just because of one bad experienceI don't think there are any countries that I wouldn't go back to besides North Korea. Even if I had a kind of negative experience in a country, I would always give it a second or third chance because a lot of the time, it just depends on the circumstance, or the day, or who you're with.My top countries are always changing and it's always so hard to pick when I've traveled to so many and had such great experiences. The most underrated country in my opinion is Pakistan. It's a natural and culturally beautiful country with really kind people.3.  Take advantage of credit cards and pointsIf people have the opportunity to get a couple of credit cards that have good travel points programs, I would really recommend that. Specifically, the American Express Platinum, Chase Reserve, and Chase Preferred cards. I used Chase Reserve for my entire trip around the world and would use IHG Rewards Traveler Credit Card for hotels.4. Know how to defend yourself in an emergencyCassie De Pecol in Mongolia.Courtesy of Cassie De PecolAs a solo female traveler, it was important to me to know how to defend myself. If you're a really small woman and there's a really big guy, it's good to know what you have to do to save your own life. I'm a huge advocate for women knowing Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art. Aside from that, just practice little things like not roaming the streets with headphones in, always being aware, not looking lost, and knowing where you're going. Always let at least one friend or family member know where you are, don't feel that you need to be kind and answer to everyone – your safety and sense of surroundings come first.5. Pack door stoppers, mace, and a satellite GPS tracking deviceThere was a man who broke into my hotel room in Burkina Faso at three in the morning and it was really scary. I wish that I had brought one of those doorstoppers with me to prevent it. I also recommend bringing mace — you can pack it in your checked bag. One other thing I used was a satellite GPS tracking device with an SOS button. So if my phone can't track me, at least this device can.6. I found hotels are usually safer than Airbnbs for solo travelersI used Airbnb maybe 10 times or so. I tried to stay in hotels more just because it tends to be safer for solo travel. They'll have a shuttle from the airport, you'd have someone you can call down to at the front desk. There's more security. So I felt safer and I also found better deals with hotels. It was actually more budget-friendly to stay in hotels than Airbnbs most of the time. But I did have some great experiences in the Airbnbs I did stay in.7. Being humble and empathetic can help with culture shockWhen I traveled outside North America for the first time when I was 18, it was a huge culture shock. The way I adjusted over time was just recognizing that these people are just like me – a human – trying to survive and make the best out of this life we're given. Once I was able to humble myself, I was able to feel "at home" in even the most precarious of places, and that culture shock never came back.All every human wants is a hot meal, a roof over their head, clean drinking water, and someone who loves them. Generally speaking, most people want to show you the beauty of the countries they live in, and get excited to show you. Connecting with communities from a grassroots level, supporting their endeavors and economies, and recognizing the humility in others and yourself can open up a world of contentment and inspiration. I did find most countries welcoming, if not the government, the people.8. Do research to see how you can offset your carbon footprintCassie De Pecol tree planting in Bhutan.Courtesy of Cassie De PecolSustainable travel is something I'm super passionate about. I think it's important for people to see if they can offset their carbon footprint. Some Airlines have carbon footprint models that you can purchase, and certain organizations you can donate to in the country that you land in. I planted trees in countries that I landed in to offset the emissions, and stayed in sustainable and regenerative hotels. 9. If you can, pack lightFor my trip around the world, I traveled with just a backpack. I had one outfit in there, maybe two pairs of leggings, two sports bras, plus supplements, and my camera equipment. I prefer traveling lighter but it's harder for me to travel lighter these days. So I definitely tend to check a bag more often than not. But when I was racing around the world, I wouldn't have been able to wait at the baggage claim after every flight so it definitely worked out for me to travel that way.10. Rack up those airline points: My favorite US airline is Delta and my favorite international airline is probably Qatar, they're both really great.Get points, become members of all the hotel groups and airlines, and use your credit card for everything so you can use all the points you accumulate towards your travel. I've learned it actually doesn't have to be that expensive to travel — you can do it on a budget. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2022Related News

Sam Bankman-Fried just explained what happened at FTX: Everything to know

The disgraced, fallen crypto king shares details of FTX's collapse and his own financial troubles in a wide-ranging interview with DealBook. Good morning, readers. I'm senior reporter Phil Rosen. I never thought I'd see a bankrupt, vilified ex-crypto CEO overshadow comments from the chairman of the Federal Reserve, but alas, I can't think of everything.Speaking at the Brookings Institution Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that there's still a chance of a soft landing, and it'd be possible for the US to skirt a recession. He maintained the fight against inflation is far from over, and policymakers will likely have to keep interest rates high for some time. "We will stay the course until the job is done," Powell said, and stocks rallied on his words.While the world's most powerful finance official took the lunchtime billing, it was Sam Bankman-Fried who held the primetime slot. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX CEO, at a digital assets hearing in 2021.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images1. The 30-year-old disgraced FTX founder gave a wide-ranging interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times Dealbook Summit yesterday via a video call from The Bahamas. Within minutes of starting, Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried directly if there was a commingling of funds between the two now-bankrupt companies he founded, FTX and Alameda Research. "I didn't knowingly commingle funds," Bankman-Fried said. He shook visibly as he spoke. Even over video, he appeared nervous and jittery. Bankman-Fried kept his head bowed for much of the hour-long conversation, and his eyes drifted away from the camera often. "I've had a bad month," he said.Bankman-Fried said he's working diligently to figure out how to make customers whole again. In his view, American and Japanese customers could actually be made whole right now if the relevant parties — presumably FTX's new management, led by John Ray III — allowed it to be the case. "I made a lot of mistakes," Bankman-Fried said. "There are things I would give anything to be able to do over again. I didn't ever try to commit fraud on anyone."Remember, Ray III was the one who cleaned up the mess left by the Enron scandal in the early 2000s, and wrote in a court filing after taking over FTX that he'd never before "seen such a complete failure of corporate controls."When Sorkin asked whether Bankman-Fried feels he has any criminal liability, Bankman-Fried said that's not what he's focused on right now. "There's going to be a time and place when I think about myself and my own future, but I dont think this is it," he said, before bringing the conversation back to those who lost money in the tumult. "What matters is the millions of customers, all the stakeholders in FTX who got hurt, and trying to do everything I can to help them out," he said. "I don't think what happens with me is the important part." Near the end of the interview, Bankman-Fried, who just a month ago had a net worth of $16 billion, admitted that he has close to nothing left. All his money was tied up in his businesses, and he has only about $100,000 left in a bank account now."I don't have any hidden funds here. I'm down to one working credit card," he said.What do you think of the FTX fallout and Sam Bankman-Fried's latest comments? Tweet me (@philrosenn) or email me (prosen@insider.com) to let me know.In other news:Brendan McDermid/Reuters2. US stock futures fall early Thursday, after rallying Wednesday following Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech. Meanwhile, Salesforce's stock slid as much as 6% in extended trading on the shock news that co-CEO Bret Taylor is stepping down. Here are the latest market moves.3. Earnings on deck: Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Montreal, and Dollar General Corporation, all reporting.4. BlackRock bond chief Rick Rieder said he's never seen a market this rich in income opportunities. In his view, bond yields will remain high and should be more stable heading into the new year. He explained how he's investing right now to get the strongest returns possible.5. Investors should stick with energy stocks despite the recent slide in oil prices. Analysts at Datatrek broke down why it's a good time to buy into the sector, even as short interest grows. See their three reasons. 6. A new survey showed global stocks will be in a rut for another three months. Yet, inflation concerns and central bank tightening means any rebound in 2023 won't be enough to erase this year's losses. Analysts are expecting even the top indexes to have single-digit gains by the end of next year.7. European Central Bank officials said bitcoin is on the "road to irrelevance." In a Wednesday blog post, writers from the ECB's market infrastructure and payments division broke down why bitcoin is on its last gasp — and why the token was already headed for a dead-end even before FTX collapsed.8. Bank of America's stock chief explained how investors can thrive during a recession. The firm is forecasting a recession, and that will make it tricky to balance a portfolio moving forward. Here's BofA's Savita Subramanian's five-part playbook.9. An investor with nine real estate properties breaks down his methodology for finding strong deals. Stephen Yin shared the spreadsheet he built that helps him evaluate whether to add something to his property portfolio — and he also explained how he avoids bad deals.Markets Insider10. Markets will face more turmoil next year and the benchmark US index could see a potential 24% decline. Bank of America strategists warned that the new year could bring a sustained economic downturn that weighs on company earnings targets. "We think the market could drop as low as 3,000 based on a panoply of indicators, given a host of risks we face as payback continues and a recession unfolds."Keep up with the latest markets news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. Feedback or tips? Tweet @philrosenn or email prosen@insider.comEdited by Max Adams (@maxradams) in New York and Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock) in London.   Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2022Related News

The EU warns Elon Musk that Twitter could be banned if it doesn"t comply with content moderation laws: FT

EU commissioner Thierry Breton told Twitter CEO Elon Musk over a call that the platform must comply with a list of rules, the FT reported. Elon Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter in October.Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Getty Images A high-ranking EU official told Twitter CEO Musk the platform must comply with content moderation laws, per the FT. Twitter faces an EU-wide ban or fine if it breaches the EU's law, commissioner Thierry Breton warned. Musk told Breton repeatedly that he thought the EU's Digital Services Act was "very sensible." The European Union has warned Elon Musk Twitter could be banned from operating in the bloc unless the social media platform adheres to its content moderation regulations, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.Thierry Breton, the European Union's commissioner for the internal market, was on a video call with the Twitter CEO when he gave the warning, the FT reported, citing people with knowledge of the discussion.Breton tweeted about his call with Musk on Wednesday, saying there's still "huge work ahead."—Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) November 30, 2022 Breton told Musk Twitter must comply with a list of rules, including doing away with an "arbitrary" approach to reinstating banned accounts, the FT reported. Twitter must also agree to  an "extensive independent audit" by 2023.The regulations refer to the EU Digital Services Act which came into force on November 16. The Act covers "cover detection, flagging and removal of illegal content."However, Twitter has closed its entire office in Brussels after Musk took over the company, sparking concerns about its compliance with the EU's online safety rules. Since Musk's finalized his acquisition, Twitter has been hit with swathes of layoffs globally, with cuts across every department including content moderation.Breton told Musk Twitter faces an EU-wide ban if it doesn't comply with the law, the FT reported. Per the law, Twitter could also be fined up to 6% of its global turnover for any breaches.Musk reportedly told Breton he thought the EU's Digital Services Act was "very sensible" and should be applied globally.Twitter said in a Wednesday blog post that none of its policies have changed since Musk bought the company for $44 billion. The social network's trust and safety teams "remains strong and well-resourced, and automated detection plays an increasingly important role in eliminating abuse." "Our approach to policy enforcement will rely more heavily on de-amplification of violative content: freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach," Twitter said. The European Commission and Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2022Related News

Number Of Handgun Owners Carrying Daily Nearly Doubles In US

Number Of Handgun Owners Carrying Daily Nearly Doubles In US A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed the number of law-abiding Americans carrying a loaded handgun daily nearly doubled between 2015-19.  The study titled "Trend in Loaded Handgun Carrying Among Adult Handgun Owners in the United States, 2015‒2019" found the number of law-abiding US adults carrying handguns nearly doubled from 9 million in 2015 to 16 million in 2019. "Proportionally fewer handgun owners carried handguns in states where issuing authorities had substantial discretion in granting permits," the study's authors said.  The authors claimed that very "little was known about the frequency and features of firearm carrying among adult handgun owners in the United States before this study. In fact, over the past 30 years, only a few peer-reviewed national surveys, conducted in 1994,1995, 1996, and 2015, have provided even the most basic information about firearm carrying frequency." Research firm Ipsos conducted the national survey between July 2019 and August 2019. Respondents were from firearm-owning households drawn from Ipsos's Knowledge Panel, an online sampling pool of approximately 55,000 adults.  There was no explanation by the study's authors for the rapid increase in daily handgun-carrying adults. But during the period, social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore City, Maryland, as well as surging violent crime across certain metro areas, could be the reason behind the trend.  After all, an overwhelming number of respondents said they were carrying handguns for "personal protection."  "And all of these increases happened before the Covid lockdowns and the "Summer of Love" where many US cities experienced massive rioting, violence and staggering increases in crime," firearms blog Bearing Arms said. Much of this unleashed a tidal wave of law-abiding citizens panic buying guns, even to this day, for personal protection.  And then there's this summer's US Supreme Court's NYSRPA v. Bruen ruling affirmed the right-to-carry applies outside the home, which forces states to stop arbitrarily denying carry permits to applicants who didn't meet specific requirements. This ruling has allowed millions of gun owners to conceal carry if they take a two-day class and pass a background check.   Suppose the authors were to update the study for the pandemic years and the Bruen ruling. In that case, we believe the number of Americans packing heat has dramatically increased as the country is plagued with violent crime in progressively run cities. Data shows that not only are more gun owners carrying firearms for self-defense, but more law-abiding gun owners are carrying DAILY. This is what happens when violent crime is on the rise across the country and #SecondAmendment rights are being attacked from every angle. — Gun Owners of America (@GunOwners) November 29, 2022 Tyler Durden Wed, 11/30/2022 - 22:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2022Related News