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This Year"s Thanksgiving Dinner Will Be The Most Expensive In History

This Year's Thanksgiving Dinner Will Be The Most Expensive In History Thanksgiving Day, an annual national holiday in the US, began as a way to celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Nowadays people celebrate the holiday with massive feasts and watch football. But one thing consumers won't be giving thanks to this year is soaring food inflation that could make Thanksgiving 2021 one of the most expensive on record. "When you go to the grocery store and it feels more expensive, that's because it is," Veronica Nigh, senior economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, told CBS News. She said food prices in 2021 jumped 3.7% versus a 20-year average of 2.4%. Turkeys and all the trimmings will cost 4% to 5% more this year than a year ago. Rising food prices have been an ongoing issue since the beginning of the pandemic, as disrupted supply chains and adverse weather conditions around the world have made supplies of crops dwindle. Global food prices are at fresh decade highs and have begun to hit the wallets of consumers.  September's Consumer Price Index for food was up 4.6% from a year ago. Prices for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs were up the most, soaring more than 10%. The rise in food prices has spooked the Biden administration.  Several factors contribute to food inflation, including supply chain snarls, higher transportation costs, and labor shortages. Next year, food inflation may rise further as fertilizer prices jump.  "Agriculture is like everybody else — it's impacted by the supply restraints we've seen," Nigh said. She said 10% of food costs only come from farming, while the rest (90%) are trucking, wages, distribution, and warehousing.  Besides soaring food costs, consumers may experience widespread supply chain challenges that could make certain food items critical for Turkey Day harder or impossible to find because of shortages. Dr. Krishnakumar S. Davey, president of IRI Client Engagement, published a note explaining IRI's basket of availability, demand, price, and promotion for Thanksgiving is "recording significant out-of-stock rates on several Thanksgiving-related grocery categories at this time." According to Consumer Reports, there is some good news: "turkeys in all sizes will be in abundance."  But there's a dark side to Thanksgiving this year, that is, an income-inequality story which means the top 10% of Americans will be spending more while the working-poor might skip the holiday entirely due to affordability issues.  Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 22:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

Jeff Bezos turns 58 today. Here are 14 things you might not know about the Amazon founder.

Bezos, who celebrates his birthday on January 12, started his first business when he was in high school. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images You might not know that Jeff Bezos almost named Amazon "Cadabra." He survived a helicopter crash in Texas in 2003. In August 2020, he became the first person to accumulate a fortune of over $200 billion. His mother, Jacklyn Bezos, gave birth to him when she was a teenager.Jeff Bezos in 1997.Paul Souders/Getty ImagesAccording to CNBC, Bezos, then Jacklyn Gise Jorgensen, was barely 17 years old and a junior in high school when she gave birth to her son in 1964. At the time, her high school administrators told her she would not be permitted to finish her education there. After she was allowed to return under strict conditions, Jacklyn Bezos graduated and later divorced from Jeff Bezos' biological father, Ted Jorgensen, after less than a year of marriage. Jeff Bezos was just over a year old at the time. She struggled to make ends meet while working as a secretary and, at one point, didn't even have enough income to afford a phone, CNBC reported.Determined to make life better for her and her son, Bezos enrolled in college classes with professors who permitted her to bring her infant along. It was there she met her future husband, Mike Bezos, a Cuban immigrant who would give Jeff Bezos his last name and step in as his father.Bezos' biological father was once a circus performer.A circus performer on a unicycle.giulia186/Getty ImagesAccording to the 2013 biography of Jeff Bezos by Brad Stone, "The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon," the now-billionaire's biological father was a unicyclist and circus performer.When Stone tracked down Jorgensen to interview him for his biography, he had reportedly not seen his son in decades and hadn't realized he was his biological father. Jorgensen reached out to his son and the two made amends, with Bezos telling him "he harbored no ill will towards Jorgensen at all," according to Stone.Ted Jorgensen died March 16, 2015, at the age of 71.Bezos was interested in how things work and engineering even as a child.Jeff Bezos.Chris Carroll/Corbis/Getty ImagesWhen Bezos was a toddler, he reportedly felt he was "too old" to sleep in a crib and managed to take it apart with a screwdriver by himself. By the time he entered high school, Bezos had transformed his home garage into a laboratory for his own inventions, Harvard Business School wrote, citing Angela Duckworth's "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance."He started his first business when he was in high school.Jeff Bezos.Chris Carroll/Corbis/Getty ImagesWhile he was in high school, Bezos launched his very first business, an educational summer camp for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders called the Dream Institute. According to Insider, Bezos and his girlfriend at the time both worked on the camp and charged its six attendees $600 per person.Prior to starting the camp, Bezos also worked at McDonald's for a summer.Bezos worked on Wall Street in the early 1990s.Wall Street.Matteo Colombo/Getty ImagesAfter graduating from Princeton University with a degree in computer science and electrical engineering, Bezos worked at several financial firms on Wall Street in New York City, including Fitel and investment firm D.E. Shaw, Insider previously reported.Bezos worked his way up to become D.E. Shaw's youngest vice president in 1990 but left four years later to launch an online bookstore.Bezos founded Amazon in his garage.Jeff Bezos' home where he started Amazon.Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post/Getty ImagesAfter launching a prototype of the Amazon website and asking 300 friends to beta test it, Bezos and a few early employees began developing software for the site in Bezos' garage. The space was so small that Bezos was forced to hold meetings at a local Barnes & Noble, according to Insider. The small team later expanded its operations and began working out of a two-bedroom house.Jeff Bezos' former wife, MacKenzie Bezos, also played a large role in the founding of Amazon during the company's early years. After the couple divorced in 2019 after 25 years of marriage, MacKenzie Bezos received 25% of the couple's stock in Amazon, which was worth about $38 billion at the time.Jeff Bezos almost named his company "Cadabra" instead of Amazon.An Amazon logistics center.Pascal Rossignol/ReutersJeff Bezos originally wanted to give his company the more magical-sounding name but was warned against doing so by Amazon's first lawyer, Todd Tarbert, according to a previous article by Insider.Tarbert explained that the name "Cadabra" sounded a little too similar to "cadaver," especially over the phone. In the end, the founder and future billionaire went with Amazon, named after the largest river in the world because he was building the largest bookstore in the world.Bezos was a passenger in a helicopter crash in 2003.Jeff Bezos speaks at an event in Washington.REUTERS/Joshua RobertsWhile onboard an Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter with his attorney, guide Ty Holland, and pilot Charles Bella, Bezos was involved in a serious helicopter crash in west Texas after wind blew the helicopter off course.According to Insider, the helicopter landed upside-down in a creek and partially filled with water. Bella, Bezos, and Holland all escaped the wreck with only minor injuries. However, Bezos' attorney, Elizabeth Korrell, suffered a broken vertebra from the accident."Avoid helicopters whenever possible," Bezos told Fast Company in 2004. "They're not as reliable as fixed-wing aircraft."Bezos had a cameo role in "Star Trek Beyond."Jeff Bezos attends the premiere of "Star Trek Beyond" in 2016.Kevin Winter/Getty ImagesBezos played an alien in the 2016 movie reboot, and he reportedly made quite an impression on set, with movie star Chris Pine saying Bezos arrived to set with three limousines and accompanied by nine bodyguards. "For years, I have been begging Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, to let me be in a 'Star Trek' movie. I was very persistent, and you can imagine the poor director who got the call, you know, 'You have to let Bezos be in your "Star Trek" movie,'" Bezos said at the 2016 Pathfinder Awards at Seattle's Museum of Flight. "It was super fun for me. It was a bucket list item."Bezos is the owner of the Washington Post.The Washington Post headquarters.ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty ImagesBezos purchased the newspaper company in 2013 for $250 million. At the time, Bezos' net worth was estimated to be over $25 billion. Immediately following the purchase, The Post Company shares rose 5.5% in after-hours trading. Under Bezos' ownership, the once-struggling newspaper turned a profit in 2016, 2017, and 2018, according to CNN.The billionaire also runs his own privately funded rocket ship company, Blue Origin.Jeff Bezos at a Blue Origin presentation.Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesThe aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Kent, Washington, which is also Bezos' home state. "Blue Origin believes that in order to preserve Earth, our home, for our grandchildren's grandchildren, we must go to space to tap its unlimited resources and energy," the company's mission statement reads.On June 20, 2021, Bezos and three companions successfully journeyed to the edge of space before returning back to Earth just minutes later.He became a self-made billionaire in 1999 at 35 years old.Jeff Bezos appears on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in 1999.NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal/Getty ImagesThe same year that Bezos first registered on the Forbes Billionaires list, Amazon's headquarters was on the same street as a pawn shop and an adult film store, according to CNBC.Since, Bezos' net worth has drastically grown ...In August 2020, Bezos became the first person in modern history to accumulate a fortune of over $200 billion.Kim Kardashian West, Kylie Jenner, Kendall Jenner, and Jeff Bezos attend the 2019 Met Gala.Kevin Mazur/MG19/Getty ImagesIn February 2021, at the time Amazon announced he would be stepping down as CEO, Bezos was worth $196.2 billion.He is now worth $191.5 billion, according to Forbes.Also that year, he bought a massive Beverly Hills compound for $165 million, in what was the most expensive home sale in California history at the time.A Google Maps satellite view of the Jack Warner Estate.Google MapsIn February 2020, Bezos broke a California record when he bought the Warner estate, which had belonged to billionaire David Geffen. The $165 million sale was the most expensive home sale in state history, Business Insider reported at the time.The estate, which was built by Warner Bros. co-founder Jack Warner in 1937, spans 8 acres and has an eight-bedroom, 13,600-square-foot Georgian-style mansion, as well as two guest houses.The purchase came after Bezos and his girlfriend, Lauren Sanchez, had reportedly been house hunting in Los Angeles for a few weeks.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Here"s The One Thing Traders Want To Know After Biggest "Rate Shock" Selloff Since 2016

Here's The One Thing Traders Want To Know After Biggest "Rate Shock" Selloff Since 2016 Just how bad was yesterday's market rout? According to quants at Morgan Stanley, it was worse than every selloff in the past 5 years, including the March 2020 crash. As Morgan Stanley's QDS team notes, flows were aggressively for sale post 2pm when the FOMC Minutes hit, with signs of selling from both institutions and retail:  as shown in the chart below, S&P 500 futures Trade Pressure hit negative $13 billion, the most for sale since at least 2016... ... and QDS also estimates retail supply post 2pm was the 4th largest for that time frame in the last two years, with most of the retail selling in Tech, where daily supply was the biggest of the last year, perpetuating the painful rotations even as the stress spilled into the S&P 500. So while yesterday's selling was clearly panicked, furious and indiscriminate, the question on all traders' minds is simple: is the rout finally over? In response, Morgan Stanley's quants write that whether investors overreacted today or there is more to come will depend on whether yields continue to rise... and if rates do move higher, the drawdowns in equity indices could only be 40 to 50% done if history is a guide.  QDS calculates that in five prior "rate shocks" over the last five years, the S&P 500 typically moved down ~5%, while right now SPX is only 2% off the highs. That said, some corners of the market may be reaching selling exhaustion, notably baskets like MSXXCRWD (crowded longs) and MSXXEVSA (expensive Tech) which are currently down 80 to 85% as much as in prior rate shocks – and that is only accounting for the moves since yields started to rise since mid-December (when MSXXCRWD was already down 18% and MSXXEVSA was already down 24% from the highs), supporting a view that broader indices could have more downside than the underperformers of the last few months (alternatively, the trade here is to short the S&P or Nasdaq while going long the most beaten down stocks). A detailed breakdown of trough-to-peak increases in yields and corresponding drawdowns is shown below. While history suggests more pain at the index level, a similar picture emerges when looking at flows and positioning where there is a risk of further supply from both institutions and retail from here, according to Morgan Stanley's quants. For institutions, QDS estimates systematic strategies will have $15 to $20bn for sale over the next week on the back of yesterday’s gap lower – not a particularly significant amount, but this can build if realized vol rises further (see slide below).  And the continued weakness in crowded longs and long duration Tech (MSXXCRWD -6% YTD, MSXXUPT -11%, MSXXEVSA -12%) is a drag on HF P/L, where according to Goldman, hedge funds had already undergone some of the biggest selling (and degrossing) in the past decade ahead of the FOMC minutes. This matters because as QDS notes, the early year hits to P/L are having a big impact on sentiment and investors’ likelihood of adding or even holding risk, particularly coming off the poor alpha of 2021. This leaves Morgan Stanley concerned about overall equity exposures having to come down, particularly given that US L/S nets came into today in the 70th %ile per the MS PB Content Team even while grosses are at a relatively light 36th 5-year percentile. What about retail traders? Here, flows have been choppy: Tuesday was a strong buy day but retail was light both today and Monday.  This comes on the back of the lightest buying in December since March 2020 (and all of the buying was in ETFs while stocks have been for sale), plus negative P/L in many names retail is active in. And while retail flows can be volatile and could quickly turn positive again - after all JPM's Marko Kolanovic has often turned bullish expecting strong retail inflows -  so far retail flows are not following the normal strong January seasonality, which to MS suggests retail will be slower to buy this dip than they have been historically. One place where there was a surprisingly calm response was in vol: despite the sharp spot moves lower after the Minutes, implied volatility was relatively well behaved, and VIX rose just 2.82 points, relatively in-line with the normal 1.5x ratio of VIX moves vs SPX returns.  One reason for this is that market makers remain short downside vega, a byproduct of cliquet flows, but end user demand for volatility was relatively light so those short vega positions weren’t squeezed. According to QDS, for vol to gap higher the market will likely need sharper moves lower to force a scramble from investors to buy hedges. For now dealer long gamma balances which remain > $5bn / 1% help cushion against sharper moves, but as seen several times last year, that gamma can evaporate quickly in a down market. Putting it all together, Morgan Stanley's QDS says that much will depend on what yields do going forward but at this stage its base case is for modest further downside in SPX and NDX over the next ~2 weeks, and believes that rallies should be sold: "The Fed is steadfast in telegraphing a hawkish tone which is unlikely to change in the very near-term, while there is little in terms of positive catalysts for investors to latch on to" according to the MS quants, which also note that "earnings may provide some respite if growth proves strong enough to pair off against the Fed’s hawkishness (but isn’t too strong…), but again that is still several weeks away." That leaves technical and positioning to play a larger role near-term, and given the negative P/L to start the year, it may be easier for investors (both institutional and retail) to sell rather than buy.   Finally, the QDS desk notes that while near-term technicals are worrisome, returning to the impact of prior rate spikes on equities, the bank notes that all of those events were relatively brief, and also had relatively modest impact on stocks (with the exception of 4Q18, which also coincided with slowing growth expectations and was followed by rate cuts).  So unless growth quickly slows at the same time, QDS expects similar modest drawdowns as equities absorb this rate shock as well, and hence continues to favor put spreads in SPX or NDX to hedge downside over the next few weeks. On the other hand, a slowdown now appears increasingly likely since the US consumer is once again largely tapped out (most if not all excess savings for the middle class have been spent) and we expect this to materialize in economic data, forcing the Fed to comprehensively rethink its tightening bias. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 15:21.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 6th, 2022

Tim Cook took the helm at Apple over 10 years ago. Here"s how he got his start and built Apple into the first US company to hit $3 trillion.

Apple CEO Tim Cook had big shoes to fill after Steve Jobs stepped down. Over 10 years later, he's built Apple into a $2 trillion company. Cook has been with Apple since 1998 and became the CEO of Apple in 2011 following Steve Jobs.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Tim Cook took the CEO job at Apple in August 2011 — many wondered if he could fill the shoes left by his friend, colleague, and mentor, Steve Jobs. But Cook has made major strides at Apple, including overseeing the launch of AirPods, the Apple Watch, and Apple Music. He's also guided Apple toward becoming one of the world's most valuable companies — these days, its market cap is hovering around $3 trillion. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Tim Cook was born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1960. His father, Donald Cook, was a shipyard worker. His mother, Geraldine Cook, worked at a pharmacy.A shipyard, though not the one Donald Cook worked at.Melia Robinson/Business InsiderSource: Business InsiderCook graduated from Alabama's Auburn University in 1982 with a degree in industrial engineering.John Korduner/Replay Photos via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderFrom there, Cook joined IBM in its still-new PC division — before Microsoft Windows was even a thing. He eventually became the director of North American fulfillment.IBM Watson Office 10 (not the IBM office that Cook worked in).Hollis JohnsonSource: The TelegraphCook was misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996, something he says made him view the world in a different way. Since then, he's been a fitness buff and a big giver to MS-related causes.Apple CEO Tim Cook.Stephen Lam/Getty ImagesSource: The GuardianTwelve years later, Cook left IBM and jumped into a COO role at a company called Intelligent Electronics. He eventually became vice president of corporate materials at Compaq, then one of the hottest PC manufacturers around.Compaq CEO Michael Capellas (right) after a press conference in New York on September 4, 2001.Jeff Christensen/ReutersSource: Business InsiderMeanwhile, Steve Jobs had just come into power as Apple's CEO, following the ouster of Gil Amelio. Jobs had the tough task of turning the company around after many years of fading relevance. He went looking for fresh blood for his executive team.Jobs gives a Keynote speech in 1998.ReutersSource: Business InsiderSo Jobs approached Cook, identifying him as a strong prospect for the new Apple. Cook signed on to Apple in 1998 as SVP of worldwide operations.Apple CEO Tim Cook.GettySource: Business InsiderIt must have been a difficult decision for Cook. In 1997, Apple was an industry laughingstock: Michael Dell, one of Microsoft's closest partners, once said that if he were in Jobs' shoes, "I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders."Michael Dell, right, and Bill Gates, left, at a Windows product launch in 2001.Mario Tama/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderAnd experiencing Jobs' biggest flop first-hand just a few years later probably didn't make the transition easier, either: In 2000, Apple released the Power Mac G4 Cube, but the small PC, which Cook called an "engineering marvel," never found its audience.AP Photo/Richard DrewSource: Business InsiderBut Cook said the "spectacular failure" taught him an important lesson in humility and intellectual honesty. "This was another thing that Steve taught me, actually," Cook said. "You've got to be willing to look yourself in the mirror and say, 'I was wrong, it's not right.'"CUPERTINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during an Apple special event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on the Apple Park campus on September 12, 2017 in Cupertino, California. Apple is holding their first special event at the new Apple Park campus where they are expected to unveil a new iPhone.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderBut everything worked out. One of Cook's biggest early coups was closing Apple's own factories and warehouses and replacing them with contract manufacturers, meaning that devices could be made in larger quantities and get delivered faster.Ng Han Guan/AP ImagesSource: Business InsiderTim Cook once said of his role: "You kind of want to manage it like you're in the dairy business. If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem."Getty/Justin SullivanSource: WiredStarting in 2005, Cook made investments that would lay the groundwork for the future of the company, including forming critical deals with manufacturers on flash memory, the computer-storage component that would form the basis for the iPhone and iPad.Jobs reveals the first iPhone in 2007.Paul Sakuma/AP ImagesSource: The New York TimesCook's prescience meant that when competitors sought to build their own phones and tablets, they had to compete for what little factory capacity and components those factories could spare, after they had already fulfilled their commitments to Apple.An Android phone.Antonio Villas-Boas/Business InsiderThanks to Cook's management expertise, his star within the company rose rapidly. Apple was on the track toward growth and big profits, and Cook got a lot of the credit.Cook in 2009.Paul Sakuma/AP ImagesSource: Business InsiderAs his influence grew, Cook became known within the company for his no-mercy, relentless questioning style, his willingness to hold hours-long meetings, and his propensity for sending emails at all hours and expecting answers.Cook, Jobs, and Phil Schiller, EVP Product Marketing, answer questions about the new iMac in 2007.David Paul Morris/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderIn 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone — the device that would change everything.Jobs unveils the iPhone in 2007.David Paul Morris/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThat same year, Jobs brought Cook a little closer into the core of the business by naming him COO. At this point, Apple insiders say, he was already running much of the business, with Jobs just there to make important product decisions.Cook and Jobs answer questions at a press conference in 2010.Kimberly White/ReutersSource: AppleAs COO, Cook made more appearances at public events, getting out in front of executives, customers, partners, and investors.Cook examines the Macbook Air at a special event at the company's headquarters in 2010.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesIn 2009, Tim Cook was named interim CEO while Steve Jobs was on leave to manage his declining health. Jobs had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003, and it was starting to take its toll.Jobs presents iMovie during the 2003 Macworld Conference and Expo.Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP ImagesSource: Business InsiderIn 2009, Cook actually offered Jobs a portion of his liver, since they share a rare blood type. But Jobs refused, saying, "I'll never let you do that. I'll never do that."Cook and Jobs answer questions about the iPhone 4 in 2010.Kimberly White/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn January 2011, Cook took over as interim CEO once again while Jobs was on medical leave. In August 2011, Jobs resigned his role to focus on his health — the board then named Cook permanent CEO of Apple.Cook speaking at an Apple launch event in New York in 2018.Shannon Stapleton/ReutersSource: Business InsiderWhen Jobs died in October 2011, Cook had the flags of the Apple campus flown at half staff in his memory.The flags at Apple's headquarters on the day following Jobs' death.Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP ImagesSource: Business InsiderCook reportedly considers the time following Job's death as the loneliest time of his life.J. Scott Applewhite/AP ImagesSource: Business InsiderCook told Stanford University's graduating class of 2019 that mentors can leave you prepared but not ready. Cook said that after Jobs' death, "when the dust settled, all he knew was that he was going to have to be the best version of himself that he could be."Cook spoke at Stanford in 2005 and then again in 2019.AP Photo/Alex BrandonSource: Business InsiderBut Cook had some big shoes to fill. The iPhone, especially, is an internationally beloved product, and Jobs is held up as one of the greatest CEOs in history. "His greatest gift ... was not a singular product, but rather Apple itself," Cook said of Jobs in 2017.Tim Cook presenting at an iPhone event.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider, Business InsiderJobs once said that making things with "a great deal of care and love" is ultimately the thing that "keeps Apple, Apple," and Cook has said that he believes Jobs' vision lives on everywhere at Apple.Apple CEO Tim Cook prepares a keynote presentation.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderIn the months following Jobs' resignation and then his death, there was a lot of uncertainty over whether or not Apple could keep the momentum going under Cook.Cook's first presentation as CEO.Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesThough Cook was now in the limelight as CEO of Apple, he followed Jobs' example as a public figure and has remained intensely private when it came to his personal life, directing the attention as much as possible back on Apple.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderIn 2014, though, Cook ended years of speculation by publicly announcing, in an editorial in Bloomberg Businessweek, that he was gay. That made Cook the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company.Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP ImagesSource: Business InsiderDuring his tenure as CEO, Cook has kept a lot of important Apple traditions alive, including appearances by rock stars like the Foo Fighters at big company events ...Cook and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.Beck Diefenbach/ReutersSource: Rolling Stone... and Jobs' famous "one more thing" product announcements.Apple CEO Tim CookStephen Lam/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn 2015, Apple released the Apple Watch, the company's first entirely new product in the post-Jobs era.Cook and model Christy Turlington at the Apple Watch launch event.Robert Galbraith/ReutersSource: Business InsiderAnd in 2016, Apple introduced AirPods, tiny wireless earbuds that have become a runaway hit and an important product for Apple's growth. The company has since released several upgraded versions of the buds — analysts estimate they're among Apple's best-selling products.Crystal Cox/Business InsiderSource: Business Insider, Business InsiderApple has also expanded its iPhone lineup under Cook, adding lower cost iPhones like the iPhone SE and the iPhone 13, as well as more expensive "pro" models that cost more than $1,000.Apple's latest iPhone, the iPhone 13 Pro.AppleIn recent years, Apple has expanded beyond hardware to focus on subscription services like Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, and Apple News Plus, services that help retain existing Apple customers. Apple's services division — as well as wearables — is now a major factor in fueling the company's growth.Getty/Michael Short/StringerSource: Business InsiderIn the last few years, Apple has seen a few more high-profile execs depart: Apple's retail chief Angela Ahrendts departed in April 2019; Jony Ive, Apple's design chief and another of Jobs' close friends, left the company that June; and marketing chief Phil Schiller announced he was stepping down in August 2020.From left: Tim Cook, Jony Ive, and Dave Grohl.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderBut Apple's growth hasn't slowed — in fact, it's tripled since 2018. This month, the company became the first in the US to hit a $3 trillion market cap.APSource: The New York TimesWhen Apple surpassed a $2 trillion market cap in 2020, it helped Cook reach billionaire status for the first time. Earlier this year, Cook received the 10th in a series of payouts from a deal he received when he took over as CEO. The final payment included 5 million Apple shares worth about $750 million, according to Bloomberg.GettySource: Bloomberg, BloombergCook doesn't live lavishly, however. He lives in a $2.3 million home in Palo Alto, California, but rarely takes expensive vacations and doesn't own yachts or private planes like other tech CEOs.REUTERS/Rick WilkingSource: Business InsiderLike some of his fellow tech executives, Cook has pledged to give away most of his wealth. "You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripples for change," Cook told Fortune in 2015.Getty Images/Chip SomodevillaSource: Bloomberg, ReutersMatt Weinberger and Joey Hadden contributed to an earlier version of this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 5th, 2022

Fast food is way more expensive than it was pre-pandemic

Costs for staple ingredients like chicken breasts, eggs, and pork have skyrocketed. Subway tuna.Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Fast food prices keep going up even as it remains more popular than ever. Costs for staple ingredients like chicken breasts, eggs, and pork have skyrocketed. Labor has gotten more expensive as some businesses say they can't find workers. The whole fast food landscape has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, including prices.While fast food has gotten more convenient and accessible than ever over the last two years, prices have climbed significantly.Some chains have been vocal about rising prices, warning customers ahead of time. Chipotle has been upfront about price increases over the last few years in part due to raising wages for employees. In June, the fast-casual chain said that it raised prices about 4%, making the average meal 30 to 40 cents pricier."We think everybody in the restaurant industry is going to have to pass those costs along to the customer," CFO Jack Hartung said in an April earnings call, warning of coming price hikes.Many price increases can likely in part also be attributed to rising ingredient costs. Meat, poultry, fish, and egg prices all rose year over year, according to the BLS data. Pork prices rose 14.1%, their highest ever increase in BLS history, and beef prices increased a whopping 20.1%, and tortilla prices have also jumped.Chicken, which is a staple in quick-service restaurants given the still-growing demand for chicken sandwiches and wings, also continued climbing. Chicken breast prices doubled last year, The Wall Street Journal reported. The chicken sandwiches sold by Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, McDonald's, and other competitors are made with white meat filets from chicken breasts, and these chains had to contend with rising costs.In July, Insider reported on some chains raising prices by as much as 10%. The greatest price increases were 10% at Taco Bell, 8% at McDonald's, and 8% at Dunkin', followed by Chipotle and The Cheesecake Factory, according to analysis from Gordon Haskett. Prices continued growing for the rest of the year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices at limited-service restaurants, meaning fast food and fast casual, peaked at 7.1% higher than the year before in October.Labor costs are partially the cause of these rising prices. Business owners say they're unable to find staff and in some cases even cite a lack of desire to work, while workers say they can demand better pay and benefits in the tight labor market. Chains including Chipotle and Starbucks have announced wage increases to attract and retain workers.Inflation seems to be outpacing the wage growth many Americans saw during the pandemic, meaning those people would have less buying power when it ends than they did when it started. Some experts say inflation peaked this fall and will slow down in 2022, so there's hope that fast food prices won't necessarily continue on this trajectory. Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022

Luongo: Bitcoin, 2022, & The Real Story Behind COVID-9/11

Luongo: Bitcoin, 2022, & The Real Story Behind COVID-9/11 Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, I don’t necessarily like to do so-called ‘annual prediction’ posts. Having written a ton of them for the newsletters I’ve written over the years, looking back on them is always a bit cringe-inducing. But 2021 was a crazy year and one where so much happened that changed the landscape it looks like one of those necessary evils for 2022. In fact, I may wind up doing more than I normally do. After being on Bitcoin Magazine’s Fed Watch podcast in December, I was asked to do a 2022 Predictions article for them. It just dropped over there. IS 2022 THE YEAR BITCOIN PROVES ITSELF ON THE WORLD STAGE? It was a fascinating year for cryptos. One in which no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t keep up with everything that happened. Going to Bitcoin 2021 in Miami and seeing the clash of OG bitcoiners with the gold rush mentality of the industry it reminded me of the best of times at your typical precious metals conference. Hey, even Ron Paul was there, which is always a treat. But that said, 2021 was as strange as any year I’ve ever experienced. The real clash wasn’t in the various crypto fiefdoms per se, but what the emergence of crypto as a full-fledged investible asset class meant that grabbed and held my attention all year. It was beyond the regular bull market mentality that morphed into mania by mid-year. It was the realization that bitcoin and crypto would begin asserting its potential as a safe-haven asset that was finally proven to more than just us fringe Austro-libertarian types. Because of this the responses from what Michael Malice calls The Cathedral and what I call The Davos Crowd is what the real story was in 2021. Capital inflow to cryptocurrency grew as China forced out mining and sent that capacity to the U.S. Global economic disruptions thanks to COVID-19 forced radical rethinking of energy policy. Bitcoin was finally exposed as uneconomic subsidized electricity rates in China, for example. So, given this immense growth in the public mindshare in 2021, the title seems a moot question at first blush. In many ways Bitcoin has already proven itself. But 2021 was just the warm-up act for the real economic showdown in 2022 between the Great Powers. The old system is clearly failing. It is the way it fails which will inform geopolitical tensions worldwide. These will take center stage as the titans of that old financial and political order fight for dominance over a shrinking pile of capital. In the middle, bitcoin stands ready to perform the vital role of intermediary and escape valve for potentially trillions in capital seeking a safe haven from that storm. And it’s very obvious that Davos is scared to death of not having control over the outcome of this story. Lock it Down, Tune it Up I spent most of 2021 making the argument that despite the endless procession of headlines and edicts from Davos and its quislings in decision-making positions all across the West, they were making big gains but leaving themselves more exposed to counterattack than they ever have before. From ridiculous lockdowns to vaccine mandates it was clear that what we were watching was a pre-planned script of second-rate screenwriters. It was a constant barrage of micromanaging public opinion via complicit media, stoking fear to create division to rob people of something far worse than their reason, their reason for living. But as the year went along the truth about COVID-9/11, the efficacy of masks and the intimidation of the medical industry reached a peak. No matter how much more they squeezed, there was a large enough percentage of people all across the world who simply said, “You know what? No.” No masks. No jab. No job. No problem. No. No. A thousand times, No. Because when anyone resorts to the level of bullying, bribing, coercing and lying that these people have engaged in it reveals just how shallow their power truly is. And it’s plain as day to anyone whose mind is still free. Too many see this story for what it is, a story for this thing to be successful. A bad horror movie meant to keep the weak and the indebted in a constant fight or flight response, while everyday another person looks up and says, “What in the actual hell are you talking about?” At some point in every scam the mark confronts the scammer and the scammer then has a choice. Double down or run. Davos still thinks they can double down. Dr. Fauci now thinks he can go out and tell the truth out loud and still have credibility. But those with real credibility just speak the truth once and the narrative collapses: Mark Jeftovic noted what I said weeks ago: Omicron would be the end of the COVID-9/11 scam: Ironically, the fact that the dominant strain is now a head-cold version of COVID should be good news. However, for many this had become a religion. There will be those who try to cling onto COVID tyranny for as long as possible and in doing so, they will perpetuate a state of hyper-normalization that will be self-defeating. Hyper-normalization is a phrase coined by the UK documentarist Adam Curtis, and it describes a state where the prevailing establishment narrative is so absurd and demonstrably false that only the most brainwashed True Believers can cling to it. Only the most corrupt and self-seeking policy makers will attempt to perpetuate it. Those who do espouse it are typically the greatest beneficiaries of the dysfunctional zeitgeist. If you step back and think about the Davos narrative over COVID you realize that this is a plan that says trust the people in charge while also destroying your faith in them. For the hyper-normal, skewering their statist religion will spur them to new heights of violence rather than face their shame. Eventually, people just get tired of being jerked around by an invisible chain held by blue-checkmarked NPCs on Twitter and tune into the very people, mRNA vaccine developer Robert Malone, they were told they weren’t allowed to listen to. I told you when he signed the big Spotify deal that Joe Rogan would blow up Davos’ Death Star. Lies are expensive. The truth sells itself. Because, eventually, there is a limit to threatening people for disobeying. Eventually people call the bluff. Eventually people show up en masse and deliver a big “NO.” The mayor of Napoli prohibited any noisy celebrations on NYE. This was Napoli's response. pic.twitter.com/gekdkSl82I — Pepe Escobar (@RealPepeEscobar) January 1, 2022 The Patchwork Tyranny COVID-9/11 was simply a means to an end. That end is nothing less than a reset of an immoral financial architecture that has squandered the capital and heritage of the entire West in the vain hope of salvaging the power and prestige of old European money. While Davos sold the Great Reset to that old money and the politicians to save their privilege they would have to fully destroy everything else, namely their subjects, and Build it Back Better. It was badly premised on the idea that Communism would have worked if only the U.S. and Europe had joined Mao and Stalin during the last major cycle. It was never going to work. There’s too much wealth in the world to pull that off and technology is advancing too rapidly for them to control how we use it to our advantage versus theirs. So, today we are witness to the willful destruction of some of the oldest cultures in the West, purposefully impoverishing hundreds of millions while simultaneously poisoning them to cull the herd of the unwanted. While we in control group of their grand experiment continue sitting back with our arms crossed saying, “No.” They get weaker. We get stronger. What happens in 2022 is Davos getting their plans implemented in a rough patchwork of tyranny. They’ll take the wins where they can get them — Germany, California, Canada, Australia, etc. — and hope it is enough to keep the program moving forward. But having exposed themselves this badly those that have refused to date will not be bowed. They have nothing left to lose. And the costs of enforcement of this plan are rising too rapidly for it to be maintained. Bitcoin Fixed Some of This, Too This is why I think 2021 wasn’t Bitcoin’s year. 2022 is. 2022 is the year that Bitcoin becomes the means by which trillions in capital flee the chaos as Davos splinters, their control over important nodes of economic dynamism slips further and the people have the choice put in front of them clearly. Your keys, your money. Their keys, your servitude. Because we’ve reached that proverbial crossroads in time where more beatings ensures morale never improves, instead it hardens into something cold and implacable. As those places most under Davos’ control sink into ever-widening gyres of madness, the capital flight from them will be beyond anything the world has experienced in nearly a hundred years. No amount of arm-twisting and rule changes will hold back this tidal outflow. It’s already begun. Capital is like water. And if Europeans are forbidden from moving their money out through normal means, buying property in Florida is always a good bet, then they will use whatever is at hand. Crypto is definitely one of those escape valves, it’s the thing that ECB President Christine Lagarde fears more than anything else. So, for my 2022 predictions, it all boils down to the following: Bitcoin, along with gold, will assert themselves as the premier custodial assets for a world in chaos. Debt will become the dirtiest word in the English language over this period of history. The trade in both gold and crypto will be volatile and choppy as day-to-day U.S. dollar funding needs will create false moves up and down. The Fed will defend the dollar. Bitcoin will peak and likely fall later in the year as the crisis in Europe reaches its zenith and the four-year bitcoin cycle asserts itself. It will be a titanic fight. But the early trend will be the same as 2021, up. During the height of the crisis that emerges, bitcoin should be the premier asset of choice which investors flee into. The groundwork for this capacity was laid in 2021. 2022 is the year it gets utilized. For capital that can’t move into bitcoin and for central banks who need to diversify reserves, gold will remain their asset of choice. Gold will play catchup in 2022 to bitcoin. Because capital flows to where it is treated best. And despite the volatility, there are fewer places on earth that have the capacity to treat capital better today than Bitcoin. *  *  * Join my Patreon if you like saying No. BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7ZfBCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6rytDCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oELTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5kDASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4VaWAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSaETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edcDGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE Tyler Durden Mon, 01/03/2022 - 17:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 3rd, 2022

Adam Aron"s New Year"s resolution for AMC is to refinance the movie-theater chain"s pandemic debt

"There is no guarantee of success, but we will try very hard to get this done," Aron wrote on Twitter. AMC CEO Adam Aron. REUTERS/Mario AnzuoniREUTERS/Mario Anzuoni AMC CEO Adam Aron wants to refinance some of the company's most expensive debt. "There is no guarantee of success, but we will try very hard to get this done," he wrote on Twitter. The company staved off a pandemic bankruptcy with the help of a debt and equity raise. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Adam Aron tweeted his New Year's resolution: refinance AMC debt. On Monday, the AMC boss said the Leawood, Kansas-based company took on high-interest debt amid the COVID-19 pandemic in order "to survive." For 2022, he wants to cut interest expenses, delay debt maturities, and loosen covenants to help strengthen the movie-theater chain's balance sheet."There is no guarantee of success, but we will try very hard to get this done," he wrote on Twitter. "We are always thinking of creative ways to make AMC's future more secure."The company neared bankruptcy early on in the pandemic as movie theaters shuttered and the economy went into lockdown. Going into the pandemic, AMC had $4.8 billion in corporate borrowings, filings show.The company staved off insolvency in 2021 with a nearly $1 billion debt raise last January. It also completed several share offerings throughout the year that took advantage of the retail-driven surge in its stock price. As of the quarter ended September 30, the company had $5.4 billion in debt, a filing shows. As for liquidity, AMC said it had $1.6 billion in cash and another approximate $200 million in credit lines that it said it didn't anticipate needing to draw from. The company has already begun slashing its debt. In October 2021, AMC said it paid off $35 million of its most expensive debt, reducing its annual interest expense by more than $5 million. In one year, AMC stock has rallied more than 1,200%, boosted by loyal meme-stock traders. Aron, meanwhile, has interacted frequently with the company's individual investors, reaching out on Twitter and through a popular YouTube channel and handing out investor perks like free popcorn. Recently, AMC got a boost from sales of the Spiderman movie sequel "No Way Home," which generated the second biggest one-day ticket sales in its history.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

How Russia"s "Blackjack" bomber survived the Cold War and has remained on the frontlines all over the world

Russia has doubled-down on the "White Swan," rebuilding and upgrading its fleet of Tu-160s for global operations. A Russian Tu-160 bomber during a military parade in Minsk for Belarus Independence Day, July 3, 2019.Reuters Introduced in the 1980s, the Tu-160 bomber remains the largest and fastest supersonic bomber in service. The Blackjack's most important mission was and remains to approach North America and launch its missiles. In recent years, Moscow has rebuilt its dilapidated Tu-160 force and sent it on missions around the world. Tu-160: a history — As tensions escalate between Russia and Ukraine, the latter is ironically at risk of being bombarded by aircraft and missiles it sold back to Russia 22 years ago at a bargain price.Among modern military aircraft, few are as majestic yet utterly destructive in purpose as Russia's Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber, dubbed the White Swan ("Belyj Lebeď") and codenamed Blackjack by NATO.Capable of ranging far across the globe and unleashing a dozen nuclear weapons from standoff range, the Tu-160 remains by far the largest and fastest supersonic bomber in service. Moscow claims it will build dozens more even as China and the US develop stealth bombers instead.The Tu-160 was in its origins a reflexive product of the Cold War arms race. Though by the 1960s the Kremlin decided intercontinental ballistic missiles were more practical nuclear delivery systems than heavy bombers, it nonetheless began the development of a supersonic strategic bomber to match the US's huge, Mach 3-capable XB-70 Valkyrie.Though the Valkyrie was canceled and replaced by the less ambitious B-1, the Soviets nonetheless tapped Tupolev to build a Soviet counter in 1972. Tupolev drafted several designs before settling in 1977 on the Project 160M design informed by the Tu-22M Backfire swing-wing supersonic bomber.A Russian Tu-160 bomber during the first day of the MAKS-2005 international air show outside Moscow, August 16, 2005.Viktor Korotayev/REUTERSThe Tu-160 made its first flight in December 1981 and entered operational service in 1987. The behemoth bomber, weighing in at 129 tons empty, mounted four extremely powerful Kuznetsov NK-32 afterburning turbojet engines — the largest on any combat aircraft! — onto an airframe with gigantic wings spanning more than half a football field (54 meters) from wingtip to wingtip.Moreover, those massive wings could swing between three positions: fully extended at 20 degrees to maximize lift, then swept back to 35 degrees to reduce drag for subsonic cruising, and tucked fully back to 65 degrees when sprinting at the maximum speed of Mach 2.05 using afterburners.The airframe's aerodynamically unstable characteristics were automatically compensated for by a quadruple-redundant fly-by-wire system.The Tu-160 could carry enough fuel to fly 7,500 miles with a 50% missile payload, and its retractable refueling probe enabled even greater ranges if desired. A crew of four operates the bomber on its long-distance missions — pilot and co-pilot seated side by side in the front, and two navigators individually sub-specialized in weapons and self-defense systems.Entering service the same year as the US supersonic B-1B Lancer bomber, which it resembled in some respects, the Tu-160 was much larger and had a 70% faster maximum speed. However, the Lancer had a slighter radar signature and would evolve to employ a wider range of weapons, though it was stripped of nuclear weapons capability in the 2010s.A Russian Tu-160 during an intercept by Belgian F-16s.NATO/ Belgian Air ForceThough capable of conventional attacks, the Blackjack's most important mission was, and remains, to approach close enough to North America to release up to a dozen cruise missiles each with nuclear warheads 17 times the yield of the Fat Man bomb dropped on Hiroshima.The most promising approach vector for the Tu-160 was via the Arctic, but that still entailed evading detection and interception by US and Canadian land-based radars, interceptors and AWACS airborne early-warning aircraft. And just getting there would take many hours, as the Blackjack cruised at 600 mph, the speed of a 747 airliner.To stave off crew burnout, Tu-160 designers thoughtfully included massage-rollers in the crew's zero-altitude ejection seats, a galley kitchen and a toilet in the aft crew compartment.Though Tupolev designers made some efforts to reduce Radar Cross-Section, at 10-15 square meters the Tu-160's signature remains comparable to an F-15 fighter. Thus, Tu-160 crew would approach at low altitude to minimize detection range, using its Sopka terrain-following radar to avoid ground collision.Passive warning receivers would inform the crew once they were detected, at which point they could employ a self-defense radar jammer and light up the afterburners to surge to Mach 2 to evade interceptors.A Tu-160 Blackjack bomber over the Red Square during the Victory Day parade in Moscow, May 9, 2015.REUTERS/Host Photo Agency/RIA NovostiThe Tu-160's raison d'etre were the weapons in its two 11-meter-long weapon bays: up to 12 turbofan-powered Kh-55 cruise missiles in rotary launchers with 250-kiloton warheads. Indeed, the bomber's iconic white paint scheme is designed to reflect thermal radiation from a nuclear blast.The Kh-55s would skim at 300 feet above the surface, navigating toward a programmed target up to 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) away using inertial and terrain-contour-matching navigation systems. Tu-160s could also launch the conventional-warhead Kh-555 variant, and the Kh-55SM with range extended to 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles).Blackjacks could also be tasked with attacking US carrier strike groups across the globe using an alternate payload of up to 24 Kh-15 air-launched ballistic missiles with a range of 186 miles. These dual nuclear/conventional-capable weapons arc high after launch before plummeting down on maritime or land targets at over five times the speed of sound, guided by either by radar or a radar-homing seeker.There were also unrealized plans to create a Tu-161 long-range interceptor for hunting NATO maritime patrol planes, a Tu-160PP electronic warfare jet, a Tu-160R reconnaissance plane, and even Blackjacks modified to carry supersonic drones or Burlak air-launched satellite deployment vehicles.From Soviet Union to Ukraine to RussiaA Russian Tu-160 bomber, known as the White Swan, lands at Engels Air Base near Saratov.Misha Japaridze/APJust two Tu-160s squadrons were operational when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 — and of the 36 Tu-160s built (including several prototypes), 19 were in the 184th Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment based at Pryluky Airbase in Ukraine, and thus grandfathered into the new Ukrainian Air Force. Four more airframes remained unassembled.The heavy bombers proved too expensive for cash-strapped Ukraine to regularly fly or even maintain.After NATO-Russia tensions flared in 1999 due to the Kosovo war, the Kremlin sought to buy Tu-160s and their missiles back from Ukraine to flesh out its own impractically small fleet. But Moscow was also short on money and couldn't meet Kiev's $3 billion asking price.In the end, Russia acquired eight of the huge bombers and 575 cruise missiles from Ukraine in exchange for cancellation of $285 million in natural gas debt owed to Moscow. Ukraine scrapped the rest, save for one on display at the Poltava Museum of Heavy Bomber Aviation.White Swan, nuclear troll, Syrian scattershotA Tu-160 strategic bomber.Alexei Panov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via APMoscow subsequently strove to rebuild its dilapidated Tu-160 force by refurbishing aircraft and building unassembled airframes, funding permitting — though one Tu-160 and its crew were lost in a 2003 crash.By 2021 Russia officially had 16 or 17 operational Tu-160s, though no more than 11 have been seen deployed at one time, grouped into the 121st Guards Heavy Bomber Aviation Regiment based at Engels airbase in Saratov, Russia. Most are named after famous Russian historical or fictional personages.When Putin announced the resumption of strategic bomber patrols in 2006, the small Blackjack force and more numerous Tu-95 Bear bombers were at the forefront of Moscow's campaign to remind everybody it could still dispatch nuclear-armed bombers to buzz by a country's airspace.Blackjacks could tweak Washington for example with layovers in Venezuela and Nicaragua (on one occasion violating Colombian airspace) or be deployed near Alaska. Some of these patrols, aided by in-flight refueling, set new records for endurance, with Tu-160s staying airborne 23 hours in 2010, and then 25 hours in 2020 while traversing over 12,400 miles.Blackjacks were finally combat-tested in 2015, launching dozens of new Kh-101 conventional stealth cruise missiles to strikes anti-Assad insurgents in Syria in November 2015 and again in 2016. The 2015 missile attacks tended to fall wildly off-target, though it's unknown how many misses came from Kh-101s rather than Kh-555 missiles launched by Tu-95s.In theory, however, the Kh-101 conventional and Kh-102 nuclear missiles constitute a major upgrade, extending range to 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles), and boasting greater stealth, re-targetability after launch and improved precision.Second act for the White SwanRussian Tu-160 bombers during a Kazakh-Russian military exercise west of Almaty, October 3, 2008.Thomson ReutersUnlike the US Air Force, which seems skeptical its B-1B bombers bring enough added value over B-52s, the Kremlin is doubling down on the Tu-160.First of all, Russia is modernizing Tu-160s to the Tu-160M2 model, installing more fuel-efficient NK-32-02 engines expected to increase range by over 600 miles, GLONASS satellite-navigation systems, a digitized glass cockpit, and new AESA radar.It also includes the application of radar-absorbent materials to the canopy which may modestly reduce the bomber's radar signature, new defensive countermeasures. Finally, there's the integration of the Kh-101/102 missiles and possibly air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic weapon, giving the Tu-160 more effective and survivable weaponry.Russia's Defense Ministry has also ordered production of 10 new Tu-160Ms at the Kazan factory out of an eventual planned 50 more of the Soviet-era jet bombers for 900 billion rubles, with production ostensibly to peak at three per year.Russian Tu-160 bomber over the Baltic Sea, April 29, 2020.ReutersThis is in part due to delays developing the PAK-DA stealth bomber. However, given the high cost of new Tu-160 production (ostensibly 16 billion rubles or $218 million per aircraft) and the arthritic state of Russian defense financing, observers are skeptical Moscow can sustain such an expensive and ambitious program, especially once the supply of unassembled or un-refurbished Tu-160 airframes is exhausted.After all, that funds could go to the PAK-DA or more expendable stealth combat drones. However, the money and effort already devoted to the Tu-160 suggest Russia's Blackjack fleet is likely to continue ticking upward in the 2020s.Still, Moscow seemingly values the conspicuous global power projection the large bomber flights provide.Moreover, attempts to renew procurement seemingly reflect faith that the White Swan and its modernized standoff-range cruise missiles have acceptable odds of penetrating US air defenses, even if some Russian critics harbor doubts.Sébastien Roblin writes on the technical, historical and political aspects of international security and conflict for publications including the 19FortyFive, The National Interest, NBC News, Forbes.com and War is Boring. He holds a naster's degree from Georgetown University and served with the Peace Corps in China. You can follow his articles on Twitter.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), Dave: You do lack self control, but I learned and laughed making my way thru this. ~ Larry Summers (@LHSummers), former Secretary of the Treasury Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Introduction I’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. What began more than a dozen years ago as a synopsis of the year’s events in markets and finance for a few friends morphed beyond my control into a Year in Review (YIR)—an attempt to chronicle human folly and world events for the entire year. It captures key moments before they slip into the brain fog. The process of trying to write a coherent narrative helps me better understand WTF just happened and seminal moments that catch my eye. By far my favorite end-of-year recap for the last ten years. Finished it yesterday. Once again David hasn’t disappointed. He’s on my I want to go to dinner with list. ~ Jim Pallotta (@jimpallotta13), money manager and former owner of Boston Celtics I’m game, Jim, even if it’s just a pretzel, nachos, and a brewski. The title, “Crisis of Authorities,” is a double entendre. On the one hand, previously trusted authorities that we relied on to better understand the world are long gone. Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and Tim Russert have been replaced with Chris Cuomo, Don Lemon, and Brian Stelter. Oops. Scratch Chris Cuomo. Ponder the following: which acronymed organization do you still trust? FBI? CIA? FEMA? DOJ? CBS? ABC? Fox? CNN? At one point I would have comfortably offered up the CDC, FDA, and NIH. Portions of those three should be razed. Social media offered up one acceptable answer: KFC. The second, more deeply disturbing meaning is that smoldering socialism has veered toward authoritarianism, a seismic shift that is global and quite possibly unstoppable. 2021: The year liberals threw eggs at black politicians, republicans pushed to legalize pot, conservatives declared “my body, my choice”, and libertarians muttered, “just shoot me now.” I am suffering future shock—the struggle to adapt to an abruptly changing world. Topics that seemed farcical not long ago are less entertaining now. Silly events in public schools and college campuses loosely defined as political correctness have morphed into religious wars. Progress was made in the Cancel Culture Wars. They tried to get Joe Rogan and couldn’t put a glove on him. The populace and the workers at Netflix went after Dave Chappelle and learned that not everybody kowtows: If this is what being canceled is like, I love it… To the transgender community, I am more than willing to give you an audience, but you will not summon me. I am not bending to anybody’s demands. ~ Dave Chappelle, wisdom Politicians groping for their vig—10% for the Big Guy—have mutated into total MAC (Mutually Assured Corruption). Social contagions are more virulent than biological pathogens. Attempts to stem the movements are emblematic of proto-authoritarianism of the past. I am unable to keep up—unable to even catch my breath on some days. Following up after listening to a widely distributed QTR podcast, a friend and long-time YIR reader asked, “Are you OK?” I said I was fine, but on further reflection realized I was not so sure. You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks. ~ Winston Churchill (@DeadGuy) I have lost friends and made new ones all because of the Great Partisan Divide. (Please excuse the caps throughout; everything now seems to demand a proper name and acronym.) My colleagues have put to rest doubts about whether I am nuts, noting that I am contrarian on all topics. Of course, they don’t hear about the ones for which I have no gripe, but their assertions are not entirely wrong. Friends let me be me, but there is something isolating about it. By contrast, I have many friends in the digital world for which the Venn Diagram of Ideas has a much greater overlap. You can have friends without ever seeing them in the flesh, but these digital pals become bucket-listers for me to meet. Some accept my invitation to have dinner on my deck overseeing Cayuga Lake. Try explaining to your wife that you are having dinner with some guy you met on the internet. This has included famous people like David Einhorn, Tony Deden, Cate Long, and Doug Noland as well as walk-ins whom I knew nothing about until they showed up with a bottle of wine. They have, without fail, brought rewarding evenings of lively chat. Disclaimer: Opinions and ideas expressed herein are not my own. I also don’t use asterisks, so you are just going to have to grow a f*cking pair. If this message is lost because you have sh*t for brains, my advice is to stop reading now. Philosophy. I have let go of the belief that I know truth, because I am relentlessly doubting the veracity of the data from which my narrative derives. In the Age of Narratives, all I can offer is Dave’s Narrative. There is also no topic in the Year of Our Lord 2021 in which my opinion is non-partisan because all opinions are now partisan. Consequently, I may come off as a right-wing white supremacist who moonlights as a Russian operative while serving up nostrums characteristic of an anti-war ex-hippie. This guy is so left wing that he doesn’t even understand his own bias. ~ Rich Weatherford, commenter on a podcast   The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him. ~ Richard Benchley My attempt to create a Unified Theory of Everything is very much like building a jumbo jet in mid-flight. In science, when your model is right, it starts playing like the tail end of a game of Solitaire or a jigsaw puzzle—the cards and pieces naturally fall into place. If the nothing makes sense no matter how hard you try, it may be time to tear down that Rube Goldberg structure and start from a fresh perspective. My greatest strength and weakness are an ability to entertain almost any idea—entertain conspiracy theories and scamper down rabbit holes—until I hit paydirt or hardpan. Feel free to call me a conspiracy theorist; it helps me identify narrow-minded boneheads. What baffles me is why “conspiracy” is so pejorative. Men and women of wealth and power conspire. Anybody who cannot concede that point is an intellectual dingleberry (or works for the Deep State!) Alex Jones got more right than CNN. ~ Dave Smith, comic and possible presidential candidate   Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. ~ Matt Taibbi I am an openly white, right-leaning, closeted hand-sexual male with audacious opinions. I promise, however, that I will sling barbs without regard to race, creed, or color. If I think you are a douche bag, I will say so. When anger consumes me, however, it gives way to angst because somebody may have suckered me into playing a role in some higher authority’s master plan to disrupt the American Dream. As we are being dazzled by the Harlem Globe Trotters, recognize that we are the Washington Generals. Remember the olden days when the wealthy and powerful nefariously assaulted the unsuspecting populace? If caught, scandal followed, heads rolled, and we moved on, leaving us plebes with the sense that justice was served. Since the government was small relative to GDP, the systemic corruption represented a few percent of the system. It’s now growing like a tumor and devoid of consequences for the powerful. In the Age of Narratives, we snarf down platters of propaganda served by powerful media empires. This bread and circuses is free but leaves us marinating in ignorance. It’s a trap Mickey: the cheese is not free! The Western media is now the arm of the State, no better than Pravda. Failed business model led the media into the oldest profession. How many narratives have we fallen for? How many have you fallen for? I think you owe it to yourselves to replay the tape from years past and ask whether you were duped. Malcolm Gladwell’s latest (see Books) suggests we are hard-wired to trust. As social animals, we cannot function if we don’t. It’s difficult to push back but push back we must. The more highly politicized the topic—climate change, pandemics, vaccines, elections, central banking, foreign wars—the greater the urgency to repel. I offer up one of several quotes from Gore Vidal, a thought-leader canted profoundly left whom I have come to view as the intellectuals’ George Carlin: Our rulers for more than half a century have made sure that we are never to be told the truth about anything that our government has done to other people, not to mention our own. ~ Gore Vidal Sources and Social Media. I am a Twitter long hauler with 70,000 followers but haven’t yet figured out how to monetize the micro-fame enough to buy a mocha Frappuccino. I do, however, find it a useful sounding board. One tweeter—probably a Twitter bot—captured the essence: If you need something researched for free and you don’t feel like doing it just post a tweet about it that’s mildly incorrect and wait. ~ @InternetHippo My Twitter long hauling has occasionally been interrupted by Twitter time-outs. They range from 12 hours to ponder the err in my ways for posting an inappropriate link to Bichute or The Lancet, to a full week for calling Tony Fauci “a skanky whore.” A permanent ban would (will) be painful because I have old and new friends there—Rudy: I love ya man!—who enrich my life with their wisdom. New posse members joining the already eclectic mix include @JonNajarian (getting me closer to winning CNBC Twitter Bingo), scholar and author @BretWeinstein (see Books), actor @AdamBaldwin, polymath rapper @ZubyMusic, and waves of bitcoin hodlers. Favorite news sources include podcasts—I am an audiophile—as well as blogs and newsletters by Tony Greer, James Grant, Jesse Felder, Bill Fleckenstein, Automatic Earth, Grant Williams, Ron Griess of The Chart Store, Chris Martenson, emails from a woman named Denise, and the 500 lb. gorilla of the internet—Zerohedge. I know I’ve missed many more. Apologies. The trouble is, you think you have time. ~ Buddha Figure 1. Toddler hacks the US Strategic Air Command; nuclear war was averted. Topics Untouched. As usual, I am up to my ass in debris on the cutting room floor writing this beast. Some topics simply proved unworthy; others were not ready yet. One of the great merits of blogging is that blogs stand alone; write them when you wish. A once-a-year narrative, by contrast, demands some sort of theme or glue, and, frankly, you can’t write The Wealth of Nations in November. By December the tank read “Empty”, but there were topics I had to finish. I actually started getting minor migraines. What follows are thumbnail sketches of a few stories that were left largely untold. There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen. ~ Vladimir Lenin By late 2020, it was clear that I had overlooked China as the global provocateur. They are Orwell’s hole in the air—the blurry schlieren in the jungle as the Predator arrives to tear out Arnie’s organs. The Chinese have infiltrated all aspects of the West’s geopolitical and economic system. Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven (see Books) is an excellent primer. I’ve heard second hand that the military top brass believes we are already at war but just don’t realize it yet. I regret punting the most important story, but they invented the punt for a reason. I’ve taken a pass on campus politics, cancel culture, and all things politically correct. I know how much joy it brought many of you to find out how much you wasted sending your children to college, but this was an off-year. Cancel culture may be fading because, to put it bluntly, nobody likes a bunch of clueless douche bags. Critical race theory (CRT) with its deeply Marxist underpinnings and intentions is a bad idea whose time has come. In a law school, there are scholarly components. As it seeps into the K–12 zone it becomes a steaming load of crap. If you have kids, you should go to school board meetings and get arrested for speaking up or, what is now called, being a domestic terrorist. It masquerades as objective science but was written as—all right, I’ll use the word—propaganda. ~ Steven Koonin (@SteveKoonin), former Cal Tech physicist, Obama Science Advisor, and author of Unsettled? The 2019 YIR tackled climate change.ref 1 I thought I might be augmenting it this year, but I will simply leave it by noting a few high-water marks. Steve Koonin, former Cal Tech physicist, expert modeler of complex systems, and Obama chief science advisor wrote the book Settled?. (See Books.) Like many other “climate deniers” his creds are beyond reproach. Steve had chaired the American Physical Society’s committee of 12 elite scientists that examined the state of climate science. After paying some lip service to Mankind’s contributions, Steve eviscerated the models and absurdities comprising the Climate Change Narrative. This, of course, caused a seismic shift in the scientific community’s view of our global climate initiatives. Just kidding. Nobody gave a shit because trillions of dollars have already been spent on it and an estimated $150 trillion more will be handed out to anybody willing to feign belief in the Scriptures. I also had a long talk with a Stanford University psychologist and media expert who went down that rabbit hole and became a denier. Nothing will get in the way of this $150-trillion-dollar juggernaut. All hail Greta! By the way, Michael Moore’s Planet of the Humans appears to have snuck back on YouTube after being banned for truthiness. It is a good documentary.ref 2 Despite numerous podcasts with Holy Rolling Bitcoin Hodlers with their Scriptures under arm trying to sell me currency warranties, I remain on the sidelines (a no-coiner, pejoratively speaking). I cannot add much to this heated debate except to congratulate them for riding Metcalf’s Law to riches. I suspect their next test will be a Tether insolvency or a good ol’ fashioned credit crunch, prefacing the final Battle of the Bastards pitting the Hodlers versus The State unwilling to forfeit control of the money supply. All of this presumes cryptos aren’t just a fad. I wish you laser-eyed crazies well. Dude –you deserve a Pulitzer for your coverage of the George Floyd Story, and I’m going to tweet that out. ~ Tony Greer (@TgMacro), TGMacro In the 2020 YIR I wrote extensively on why Chauvin would be a tricky conviction.ref 3 At least two of us thought it worthy. The trial went off without a hitch. The media’s minor lipservice given to why angry mobs in the street would make it hard for the jury to remain unbiased while obsessing over why he should be convicted no matter what. The jury did their job. The part that was missed was the witness nullification. I must confess to not watching much, but nobody—as in not a single person in court—wanted to provide the testimony that got Chauvin acquitted. You could hear witnesses choose their words carefully. I’m not even sure the defense team wanted the win. Oh well, I wouldn’t underwrite Derek’s life insurance policy. Prosecutor: But you decided you needed to run because of the fire of [inaudible]: why? What was so urgent? Kyle Rittenhouse: There was a fire. Enter the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. In shades of the Covington Scandal, even the President of the United States fondled the scales of justice to ensure the right outcome. The talking heads served up narratives that were fact-free clickbait to pay the bills. The prosecution was so comically bad—moments of great levityref 4a,b,c—that I began to wonder if they were tossing the case intentionally. Both the judge and the prosecution appeared to be intentionally setting up a mistrial. Kyle is gonna have a college essay to die for. Good luck getting it past all but Liberty University’s admissions committee.ref 5 In a related story, Nick Sandmann of Covington fame got his third quarter of a billion dollar settlement for defamation of character. Early negotiations are rumored to involve a 50:50 split of CNN by Sandmann and Rittenhouse. Figure 2. Judge David Collum and Kyle Rittenhouse playing Call of Duty-Modern Warfare. And now to bullet a few drive-by shootings: The Epstein story could have been resurrected from the 2019 YIRref 6 with the arrest of Head Pimp, Gishlaine “Gizz” Maxwell, caught hiding in a New Hampshire mansion already surveilled by the FBI, but it is just starting. I’m guessing she will be convicted of a 1997 minor traffic(king) violation, punished with time served, and retire comfortably on the MPP (Mossad Pension Plan) to live out her days in seclusion with her manly girlfriend, Jessica Schlepstein. Durham’s investigation of the Steele Dossier could heat up but hasn’t yet. Indictments are working their way from the bottom up. I won’t believe that plot has legs till I see it running. Nobody in power ever pays for their misdeeds. The Pandora Papers showed galaxy-class criminality of the global elite socking over $11 trillion dollars away in off-shore accounts, but prominent Americans were notably absent.ref 7 The media assured us that there are no crooks of such sociopathy in America.ref 8 The story had the shelf life of a souffle. John McAfee offed himself (or not). There were rumors that he had a kill switch that would hew vast stands of powerful people including voter fraudsters.ref 9 Well, McDeadGuy, we’re waiting. It won’t matter anyway because…oh never mind. Major Themes of 2021. Enough already: what are you going to talk about? I cover the usual topics on the economy and investing and take a bat to market valuations again. Broken Markets are a prominent because they’ve never been more broken. Covid-19 and the vaccine get serious facetime as the opening act of a much bigger drama. The events at the January Insurrection offers more plot thickener as one of the most important single days in American history. That anagnorisis arrives when the voice says, “The call is coming from inside the house!” The final scene will be the rise of global authoritarianism—total global domination—and you squeal… I did nazi that coming. WTF just happened? Figure 3. Change comes with little warning. Contents Part 1  Introduction My Year Investing – Gold, Energy, and Materials  Gold and Silver The Economy Inflation The Fed Valuations Broken Markets Part 2 (Coming Soon) Covid-19 – The Disease Covid-19 – The Response Vaccine – The Risks Vaccine – The Rollout Part 3 (Coming Soon) Biden – Freshman Year One Scorecard Capitol Insurrection Rising Authoritarianism Conclusion Acknowledgment Books My Year This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. ~ Winston Churchill I read a book on narcissism. Although I flunked yet another test having checked a paucity of the boxes, there were a couple of categories demanding a big Sharpie. Narcissistic tendencies underly all achievement so there’s that too. This section is where I wander through the last calendar year of my life looking for college-essay material. It can be skipped by all but the most loyal readers (three at last count). That isn’t writing at all, it’s typing. ~ Truman Capote Self-Improvement. OK. Let’s call it attenuated personal decay. I had dropped 26 pounds of comorbidity in 2020 and another 10 pounds in 2021. I am by no means emaciated yet. I was pestered by London money manager Mitch Feierstein into playing a seminal round of golf after decades of neglect and was hooked. While watching the final hole of the FedEx Open, Cantalay hits a 371-yard drive, a 217-yard 6 iron 10 ft from the cup and two-putts for a birdie and $15 million. I’m thinkin’, “Hey: I can birdie a par 5 with a few Mulligans!” .....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 3rd, 2022

Michael Burry, Jeremy Grantham, and other top investors are predicting an epic market crash. Here are their gravest warnings of 2021.

The "bond king" Jeffrey Gundlach, the "Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary, and the "Rich Dad Poor Dad" author Robert Kiyosaki are expecting a downturn. Michael Burry.Jim Spellman/Getty Images Michael Burry, Jeremy Grantham, and other experts are predicting an epic market crash. Jeffrey Gundlach, Leon Cooperman, and Stanley Druckenmiller expect a downturn too. Here are the gravest warnings so far from eight top investors and commentators. See more stories on Insider's business page. Michael Burry and Jeremy Grantham are bracing for a devastating crash across financial markets. They're far from the only experts to warn that rampant speculation fueled by government stimulus programs can't shore up asset prices forever.The billionaire investors Leon Cooperman, Stanley Druckenmiller, and Jeffrey Gundlach have also sounded the alarm. The same is true for the "Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary, the market prophet Gary Shilling, and the "Rich Dad Poor Dad" author Robert Kiyosaki.Here are the most striking warnings from these 8 market experts:Michael BurryMichael Burry.Getty Images/ Astrid StawiarzBurry described the markets as the "greatest speculative bubble of all time in all things" in June 2021, and said retail investors were buying into the hype around meme stocks and cryptocurrencies before the "mother of all crashes."In the weeks and months before that tweet, the investor of "The Big Short" fame, who runs Scion Asset Management, pointed to Tesla, GameStop, bitcoin, dogecoin, Robinhood, and the red-hot US housing market as signs of speculative excess.Read more: Goldman Sachs says buy these 20 stocks that have the most upside potential right now — including 5 set to surge by at least 50%Jeremy GranthamJeremy Grantham.Morningstar/YouTubeGrantham  said in January 2021 the market was a "fully fledged epic bubble" and described it as the "real McCoy.""When you have reached this level of obvious super-enthusiasm, the bubble has always, without exception, broken in the next few months, not a few years," the legendary investor and GMO cofounder said."We will have to live, potentially, possibly, with the biggest loss of perceived value from assets that we have ever seen," Grantham added.Leon CoopermanLeon Cooperman.Jeff Zelevansky/ReutersCooperman expressed deep concerns about financial markets in May 2021."Everything I look at would suggest caution, intermediate to long term, would be the rule of the day," the billionaire investor and Omega Advisors boss said. "When this market has a reason to go down, it's going to go down so fast your head's going to spin."But Cooperman described himself as a "fully invested bear" because factors that typically cause bear markets — rising inflation, recession fears, a hostile Federal Reserve — weren't present.Read more: How to mine doge: An 18-year-old TikTok influencer shares his process for earning crypto without directly buying via a $700 rig — and explains how it works for other altcoins including litecoinStanley DruckenmillerStanley Druckenmiller.Brendan McDermid/ReutersDruckenmiller said in May 2021 that the bull market reminded him of the dot-com boom, but he cautioned that asset prices could continue rising for a while."I have no doubt that we are in a raging mania in all assets," the billionaire investor and Duquesne Family Office chief said. "I also have no doubt that I don't have a clue when that's going to end."I knew we were in a raging mania in '99, but it kept going on, and if you had shorted the tech stocks in mid-'99, you were out of business by the end of the year," Druckenmiller added.The investor indicated he would pull his cash out of equities in a matter of months."I will be surprised if we're not out of the stock market by the end of the year, just because the bubbles can't last that long," he said.Jeffrey GundlachJeffrey Gundlach.Jessica Rinaldi/ReutersEquities are undeniably expensive, Gundlach said in March 2021.The billionaire investor and DoubleLine Capital boss said that claiming the stock market was "anything other than very overvalued versus history" was "just to be ignorant of all the metrics of valuation." He predicted that stocks would fall by upwards of 15% when the downturn comes.Gundlach, known as the "bond king," predicted that the retail investors who had piled into meme stocks and other speculative assets wouldn't stick around once prices started dropping."We'll have a tremendous unwind of a lot of the money that thinks that the stock market is a one-way thing," he said.Read more: Famed investor Michael Burry is predicting the 'mother of all crashes'. Here's what 9 other key 'Big Short' players are doing now.Kevin O'LearyKevin O'Leary."Shark Tank"/ABCO'Leary said in April 2021 that stocks would eventually crumble, but he framed the downturn as an educational opportunity for rookie investors."Buying the dip is more rock-and-roll, but what invariably happens is you go through a massive correction and you learn a very important lesson," the "Shark Tank" star and O'Leary Funds chief said."The generation that is trading right now has never gone through a sustained correction. It's coming — I don't know when, I don't know what'll trigger it, but they will learn their lesson," he continued."If you have a lot of leverage on, it's a hell of a lesson because you end up in a negative net-worth position," O'Leary added. "But you do learn from it."Robert KiyosakiRobert Kiyosaki.The Rich Dad Channel/YouTubeKiyosaki tweeted in June 2021 that he was expecting the greatest market crash ever."Biggest bubble in world history getting bigger," the personal-finance guru and author of "Rich Dad Poor Dad" said. "Biggest crash in world history coming."Kiyosaki has accused the Federal Reserve of overstimulating markets and devaluing the dollar. He's advised investors to prepare for the downturn by stocking up on precious metals and cryptocurrencies."ARE YOU READY?" he tweeted in April. "Boom, Bust, Mania, Crash, Depression. Mania in markets today. Prepare for biggest crash, depression in world history. What will Fed do? Print more money? Save more gold, silver, bitcoin."Gary ShillingGary Shilling.Bloomberg TVShilling predicted in April 2021 that financial markets would nosedive, but he declined to hazard a guess at when the crash would arrive."I'm not making any firm prediction as to when this thing is going to collapse," the veteran forecaster and president of A. Gary Shilling & Co. said."Speculations outrun any logic and that's probably going to be true of this one," Shilling continued. "But at some point, boy, there's going to be a lot of blood on the floor."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 2nd, 2022

4 Charts That Explain the U.S.’s 2021 Economic Rollercoaster

The U.S. economy ended up in a weird place in 2021. Consumers were eager to spend money, but couldn’t get their purchases because supply chains were haywire. Wages rose as workers resigned. Prices, meanwhile, soared for everything from groceries to gas to rent and vehicles. And the global health crisis that triggered these trends is… The U.S. economy ended up in a weird place in 2021. Consumers were eager to spend money, but couldn’t get their purchases because supply chains were haywire. Wages rose as workers resigned. Prices, meanwhile, soared for everything from groceries to gas to rent and vehicles. And the global health crisis that triggered these trends is still in full force. If you are feeling a bit of whiplash from all this, you’re not alone. Americans have mixed feelings about what’s going on. A Gallup economic poll in November found that 70% of U.S. adults believe the economy is getting worse—a rate not seen since April 2020, when the country was in shut-down mode. But at the same time, 74% say now is a good time to get a job—the highest rate recorded in the survey’s 20-year history. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It’s hard to say if things will start to feel more normal in 2022. The unusual combination of economic circumstances from the last year could persist for some time, experts say, but the timeline is uncertain because so much depends on the pandemic’s severity, monetary policies and human behavior—all of which play off each other. Consider all the ingredients that were necessary to create the so-called “great resignation” of 2021. First was the fact that Americans weren’t cash-strapped thanks to federal programs such as relief checks and enhanced unemployment benefits from President Biden in 2021 and former President Trump in 2020. Even as those programs wound down, families with children received child tax credit payments on a monthly basis in the second half of the year. Those income sources, combined with the dampened consumer spending from early in the pandemic, triggered the personal savings rate to shoot up—giving Americans a financial cushion to sit on as they waited to rejoin the labor force. Americans experienced less material hardship during the pandemic than before the pandemic, according to one analysis from the Urban Institute, a left-leaning think tank. “The intentions [of the pandemic policies] might have been good, but they also provided a bit of a disincentive and lack of a need to get back on the job,” says Joel Griffith, an economics research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “So I think we’re still experiencing some of the lagging effects of that.” Financial security aside, the decision to take a job—or stay in an existing one—became more complicated in 2021 as the pandemic continued to drag on. Some workers left customer-facing jobs due to the health risks. Others left industries like trucking that capitalize on poor working conditions. More recently, employees left jobs in defiance of vaccine mandates, as well. This confluence of factors, both tangible and psychological, created an unusual scenario where people didn’t rush into available jobs. Currently, there are 6.9 million unemployed Americans, but there are 11 million job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A rising number of workers quit in the second half of 2021, hitting a record 4.4 million people, or 3% of workers, in September. The upshot of the great resignation is that companies are bumping wages and benefits to lure and retain employees. Just ahead of the holiday shopping season, for instance, Macy’s announced that all workers would earn at least $15 an hour by May 2022, making the department store one of the latest national chains to boost pay, following the likes of Costco (which set a $17 base wage in October) and Starbucks ($15 by next summer). Amazon’s base wage has been $15 since 2018, but the company announced in September that its average starting pay would jump to $18. The Macy’s decision came amid “intense competition for talent,” as noted in the retailer’s latest earnings report. Although these increases are above the $7.25 federal minimum wage, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who track the cost of living by U.S. county report that even $15 an hour is not enough for most Americans to get by. What’s most defining about 2021’s labor crunch is that so many Americans left the labor force at a time when living costs were rising. Indeed, inflation has been an increasingly worrisome issue, hitting 6.9% year-over-year in November, a 39-year high. Inflation has stemmed largely from tight supply chains (an ongoing problem since the first economic shutdowns) and high consumer demand. Labor shortages haven’t been the main cause for inflation, experts say, but they aren’t exactly helping the problem, either. Indeed, manufacturing, transport and wholesale industries are all paying more to hire and retain workers and certainly some of those costs are getting passed down the line to the consumer. Energy prices are a major reason why inflation has spiked. Consumers around the world are feeling the effects of rising energy costs in their utility bills and at the pump—and just about everywhere else considering the vast number of goods that get produced and transported with fuel. The World Bank announced in late October that energy prices are on track to be more than 80% higher in 2021 compared to 2020, and will stay high in the first half of next year, posing a significant risk to global inflation. “We were in a pandemic recession. We were in a quarantine. We were really slowing down economic activity for a long time,” says Michael Horrigan, president of the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research who previously served as an associate commissioner with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “As we have come back—and it’s been uneven—but as we have come back, there has been a big increase in the demand for a variety of things that are related to the use of energy.” Prices for goods and services are running so high that they are wiping out wage gains. Wages and salaries for private industry workers as measured by the Employment Cost Index were rising about 3% a year prior to the pandemic. They were up 4.6% for the 12-month period ending Sept. 2021. But U.S. inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, has topped 5% annual increases every month since June, which means that the price increases have eaten into the salary gains for much of the year. Researchers at Harvard’s Kennedy School calculate that inflation-adjusted wages are nearly 3% below the pre-pandemic growth trend. Inflation-adjusted wages may strengthen again if prices return to their pre-pandemic norms in 2022, says Jason Furman, an economics professor at Harvard. “If inflation is below 2.5% next year, then probably workers will start to catch up—maybe not get back all the way, but make up some of the ground they lost in the last year and a half,” he says. “If inflation is above 3%, then they’re likely to lose further ground next year.” (Furman’s personal prediction is that inflation will top 3% next year.) Economists aren’t certain how long it will take for prices to restabilize. The calculation depends on which policy interventions will kick in. The Federal Reserve, which is tasked with maintaining price stability, has signaled that it could raise interest rates in an effort to lower inflation. Higher interest rates could dampen spending and slow down the economy because consumers and businesses will find it more expensive to borrow money. The trade-off in curbing inflation with higher interest rates is that as the economy cools, businesses typically slow hiring. Should that happen, it could take longer for the U.S. unemployment rate—which was 4.2% in November— to drop back down to its pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%. “The Fed expected inflation to come back down much more rapidly,” says Narayana Kocherlakota, an economics professor at the University of Rochester who previously served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. “The forces that we’re seeing on inflation are more persistent than were expected a year ago.” Now, the clock is ticking as economists debate what normal employment should look like in an era when employees are quitting in droves. For Americans, fearing that inflation is here to stay could make inflation worse. Given enough time and exposure to higher prices, businesses and workers may start to worry that their dollars won’t cover expenses and they may try to hedge against it. For instance, labor unions could demand wage boosts that are commensurate with living costs. Businesses might opt into contracts that account for anticipated price spikes. And landlords may raise rents in their lease agreements. These reactions, in combination with the current inflation triggers like high energy prices and supply chain problems, could lock in high prices for the future, making inflation spiral higher. For much of 2021, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell publicly noted that inflation was transitory and driven by certain parts of the economy most impacted by the pandemic. Only recently has that outlook shifted. The Fed has acknowledged in more recent weeks that the problem is more widespread, to the point of requiring intervention. “Expectations matter tremendously,” says Kocherlakota. “You’re trying to see, as a policymaker, how permanent do people believe inflation is going to be, because the more they believe it’s going to be permanent, the more tendency there is for it to become permanent.” Managing expectations about how inflation will look in 2022 could curb the behaviors that threaten to perpetuate ever-rising prices. But at the same time, the forces that kicked off the economic problems in the first place—a hesitant workforce, supply chain holdups and a glut of consumer spending—are all rooted in a pandemic that can’t be solved with monetary policies. For the economy to feel healthy again, the world needs to pull together to overcome the human health crisis first......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 1st, 2022

‘Profit Doesn’t Exist Anymore.’ Restaurants That Barely Survived COVID-19 Closures Now Face Labor, Inflation and Supply Chain Crises

It’s easy to poke fun at terrible restaurants, like the one on Gordon Ramsay’s show Kitchen Nightmares that served a mayonnaise-and-cheese sushi pizza, or the Washington D.C. Popeyes that went viral after a video revealed the franchise was overrun with gargantuan rats. (They were not of the Pixar variety that hide in chef hats and… It’s easy to poke fun at terrible restaurants, like the one on Gordon Ramsay’s show Kitchen Nightmares that served a mayonnaise-and-cheese sushi pizza, or the Washington D.C. Popeyes that went viral after a video revealed the franchise was overrun with gargantuan rats. (They were not of the Pixar variety that hide in chef hats and improve recipes, unfortunately). Both eateries have since shuttered permanently. Probably for the best. But even restaurants with delicious food, competent staff and clean kitchens often must perform a near-acrobatic balancing act to survive. Too large of a menu can prevent chefs from executing every dish well, while too small of a menu can starve guests of options they like; overstaffing drives up labor costs, while understaffing leads to angry customer reviews about slow service; a bad location will thwart guests from coming through the door, but a great location often costs too much to rent. These tightropes mean that, even in normal economic conditions, as many as 61% of independently operated restaurants fail within three years of opening, according to a widely cited 2005 analysis from Ohio State University researchers. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “It’s an incredibly high-cost, low-profit-margin business, that in the best of times only barely works if you have almost a full house for every meal service that you’re selling,” says Sean Kennedy, the executive vice president for public affairs at the National Restaurant Association. “If you can make that happen, you have a good shot of getting a 3% to 5% profit margin.” The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made those odds infinitely worse. After months-long bans on indoor dining and a slow rebound in consumer confidence, restaurant sales across the country were down $240 billion in 2020 from their expected levels. Roughly 80,000 restaurants have temporarily or permanently closed since the start of the pandemic, according to estimates from the National Restaurant Association, down from 110,000 at the peak of the pandemic. “It was like we hit a brick wall,” says Sara Sawicki, 48, co-owner of Portland, Oregon’s Fire on the Mountain chicken wing restaurants, recalling the aftermath of March 2020. She was gearing up for a busy month of March Madness and Spring Break; instead she says she saw her profits decline by roughly 40% in the first few months of the 2020 lockdowns. This past summer, many restaurant proprietors began to get a bit of relief. Small business association loans, paired with vaccine availability, warmer weather and a near-universal sense of pandemic fatigue, led to crowded dining rooms and resurgent profits. But they’re hardly out of the woods. After nearly two years of abysmal profits, restaurant owners are being hit by a cascading series of new challenges: inflationary pressures on key ingredients and paper products are driving up their operating costs; a global supply chain crunch has stymied delivery of everything from cream cheese to chicken wings to portion cups for salad dressing; and the entire hospitality industry is struggling to hire and retain enough employees to operate. Fully 85% of restaurant operators reported smaller margins than before the pandemic, according to a September field survey from the National Restaurant Association. “The restaurant industry,” says Kennedy, “can only defy the business laws of gravity for so long.” Missing chicken wings and the new cost of fry oil Customers at Sawicki’s chicken wing joints have come to expect one thing when they visit her three locations: chicken wings. Unfortunately for Sawicki, global supply chain constraints made the product difficult to come by. Her suppliers would tell her, “‘I’m shorting you 10 cases of chicken [wings] on the delivery tomorrow,'” she says, “or the delivery just wouldn’t come.” In order to keep serving her restaurant chain’s staple product, Sawicki’s staff would drive to the warehouses to pick up the wings themselves. Her three restaurants would also communicate with one another, lending each other a few cases when another was close to running out. “We managed to not run out very often. If we did, it was towards the end of the night,” she says. “But to make that happen, it took a lot of effort.” The chicken wing shortage can be traced to unseasonal 2021 cold snaps in the American South that killed off hundreds of thousands of chickens. Covid-19 outbreaks at meat production plants further encumbered the supply chain, just as America’s pandemic eating habits—more casual takeout, less fine dining—caused a wing and pizza supply-demand imbalance that still hasn’t reached equilibrium. Getty Images—Saul Granda © Osama Yousef, the owner of two North Carolina eateries, had to temporarily take wings off the menu. But the wings are only one example of shortages. He’s also had to nix fried mushrooms and chicken strips due to sourcing problems, and has struggled to stock enough take-out packaging. More than 90% of restaurant operators experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items over the three months prior, according to the National Restaurant Association survey. Meanwhile, the ingredients that restaurants are able to find have become markedly more expensive in recent months. The September survey showed 91% of restaurant operators reported paying more for food. A case of bacon used to cost Yousef $47.96 in 2019, for example. The same product is now priced at $85.58. A crate of onions jumped from $24.95 to $40.72. Yousef now pays 140% more than he used to for fry oil, a central ingredient in many American restaurants. In New Canaan, Connecticut, 48-year-old restaurant owner Nick Martschenko reports the same amount of fry oil now costs him double. Yousef’s restaurants have added a 15% surcharge on all receipts at his two restaurants—he used to own three, but one closed permanently during the pandemic—in attempts of counteracting the price increases, but the extra tax hasn’t put his businesses back in the green. “The profit doesn’t exist anymore,” Yousef, 51, says. “We worked hard all this year for almost nothing.” ‘My standards have lowered’ Restaurant owners are also struggling to hire and retain a sufficient number of reliable employees. Part of the shortage can be explained by the ongoing pandemic, which has presented would-be workers with childcare and safety concerns. The omicron variant—which has already shuttered daycares and caused some schools to resume virtual-only learning—may further exacerbate the Covid-19-induced labor imbalance. Some experts and restaurant owners also point to strict immigration policies under the Trump administration, which deterred immigrants from migrating to the United States, thus depriving restaurants of individuals willing to work relatively low-paid jobs. A November Insider analysis estimates that as many as two-thirds of the three million shortage of workers right now are immigrants who did not move to the U.S. The pandemic’s instantaneous elimination of many of restaurant industry jobs—and thus the employees’ livelihoods—back in March 2020, caused many in the sector to reconsider whether they wanted to stay in their relatively low-paid roles or move to more stable, higher paying ones. Employees “don’t want to return to backbreaking or boring, low wage, sh-t jobs,” Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, told TIME in October. “Workers are burned out. They’re fed up. They’re fried. In the wake of so much hardship, and illness and death during the past year, they’re not going to take it anymore.” More than 4 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The near-record high was most acutely felt in the food accommodation sector, where the rate of separations was higher than any other industry. Martschenko has raised wages in the last year to be able to retain enough servers to stay open, but facing negative profit margins—and hundreds of thousands in loans he had to take out during the pandemic and still has to repay—can’t afford to boost them much more. Instead, restaurant owners have had to get creative. Two of Martschenko’s three Connecticut restaurants cut down on lunch service and are open for dinner five days per week instead of seven. He is also introducing QR code systems in two of his restaurants that will allow customers to order and pay through their phones, in order to decrease pressure on his now smaller staffs. On numerous occasions, Yousef has opted to send all of his employees to staff one restaurant and temporarily close the other because he hasn’t had enough employees to fill both. He admits he’s also had to lower his expectations too. “People just don’t show up to work. You can’t really fire them because you need them,” he says. “There’s so much my standards have lowered.” What the industry needs next Restaurants have been offered aid to get through the past two years’ challenges. They were assisted by three rounds of a program called the Paycheck Protection Program, which provided small businesses with forgivable loans to offset payroll or interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The March 2021 American Rescue Plan Act provided further relief to restaurants, bars, caterers and other food service providers through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which established $28.6 billion in grant money for the industry. But it wasn’t enough: Within three weeks of the RRF program opening applications in May, the Small Business Association received more than 360,000 applications seeking more than $75 billion in RRF relief—nearly triple the amount of funding available. Approximately 176,000 eligible applicants are still waiting in the queue for help. Both Yousef and Martschenko blame some of the challenges restaurants are facing on the myriad of government support that went to individuals during the health crisis, including multiple rounds of stimulus checks and expanded unemployment funds, that hurt their ability to hire and prompted delays from their suppliers too. “Instead of giving people money to stay in business,” says Yousef, “stop giving people money to stay at home.” The National Restaurant Association says one of the most pressing issues is the number of restaurants that were not able to access the RRF funds. A bipartisan bill to replenish the program’s funds with an extra $60 billion is currently stalled in Congress. Rep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat who supports the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act (RRFA), says he is also preparing to introduce a bill in early 2022 that would provide tax credits to small brick-and-mortar based businesses, like mom-and-pop restaurants, to help level the playing field against online retail giants that thrived under the U.S. tax code, which essentially allowed them to avoid sales taxes. One of his arguments for supporting the RRFA and introducing this new bill is that the policies would help both the small businesses and their surrounding communities. “Having a vibrant Main Street and cultural center with small stores and restaurants is essential to a community’s health,” he says. “The shutting down of these businesses and restaurants is a harbinger for the decline of a community itself.” But whatever the solutions are, experts say they need to come fast. “The challenge right now is that Congress is only able to focus on things when they are truly at a cliff’s edge. Our message to Congress right now is the restaurant industry is absolutely at that point,” says Kennedy. “If there isn’t action soon, a number of restaurants will not survive.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 1st, 2022

The top 5 wildest crypto moments of 2021

To say 2021 was a crazy year for cryptocurrencies is an understatement. Insider takes a look back at the key moments. Getty Images To say 2021 was a crazy year for cryptocurrencies is an understatement. Insider takes a look back at the five wildest crypto moments. They include El Salvador making bitcoin legal tender and an NFT selling for $69 million. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell To say 2021 was a crazy year for cryptocurrencies is an understatement.Bitcoin soared to new highs but also achieved full legitimacy in one country. Meanwhile, meme tokens like shiba inu and dogecoin went from being jokes to delivering mind-blowing gains. The number of cryptos ballooned to more than 16,000, and the overall market cap hit $3 trillion at one point. In other parts of the space, a non-fungible token stunned the art world when it fetched a staggering $69 million to become the most expensive work of digital art in history. Insider takes a look back at the top five wildest crypto moments in 2021:El Salvador made bitcoin legal tenderNo one thought it would happen -- until it did. Nayib Bukele, El Salvador's 40-year-old president, first floated the idea of making bitcoin legal tender in June during the Bitcoin 2021 Conference in Miami. He said he hoped introducing bitcoin would be the catalyst for El Salvador's shift from being a developing country to becoming an industrialized, advanced nation. Just days after, a resolution dubbed Bitcoin Law was approved in June by a supermajority. Then, in September, El Salvador became the first country in the world to make bitcoin legal tender, elevating it to the same status as the US dollar, which replaced the colon in 2001 as the local currency.Dogecoin cracked the top 10 biggest cryptosDogecoin started as a joke in 2013. But today, the joke is on all investors who doubted the meme token. The shiba-inu-themed coin muscled its way to the top 10 cryptos by market cap in 2021, thanks in part to random boosts from staunch advocates such as Elon Musk. The coin's transformation has been astonishing. At present, dogecoin is the most searched crypto on Google and can even be used to buy certain things, including some Tesla merchandise and an AMC gift card.Shiba inu surpassed dogecoinRiding on the back of dogecoin's popularity is a spin-off that achieved even more dizzying heights. Shiba inu, the self-proclaimed dogecoin killer, vaulted out of nowhere and at one point surpassed dogecoin's market cap to join the top 10. It's now $18 billion, trailing dogecoin's $23 billion.Shiba inu, created in August 2020, saw an astronomical rally thanks in large part to its Shib Army, an overenthusiastic group of investors backing the token. In fact, shiba inu's price rocketed 44,540,000% this year, while dogecoin surged about 3,600%.An NFT sold for $69 millionIn March, artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, sold the most expensive work of digital art in history. His "Everydays: The First 5,000 Days" NFT, which comprises 5,000 days of work, fetched a whopping $69.3 million at auction. He told Insider he did not really think much of it; he just kept producing art.The mania behind this staggering purchase is emblematic of the surge in popularity of NFTs, digital representations of artwork tied to a blockchain, typically on ethereum. When people buy NFTs, they gain the rights to the unique token on the blockchain, making these next to impossible to alter.A bunch of randos almost bought the ConstitutionA decentralized autonomous organization -- essentially a group of internet friends with a common goal -- raised around $46 million in November to buy an extremely rare print of the US Constitution. It may have sounded absurd, but the DAO actually came close to winning the Sotheby's auction until Citadel CEO Ken Griffin dashed their hopes and bought it for himself.ConstitutionDAO, the loosely organized group of around 17,000 people, still made headlines for the attempt. And while the DAO disbanded after losing the bid, it did lay bare the power of decentralization.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 1st, 2022

A 1997 Prophecy: Bitcoin And The Unfolding Of "The Sovereign Individual" Thesis

A 1997 Prophecy: Bitcoin And The Unfolding Of 'The Sovereign Individual' Thesis Authored by Bob Simon via BitcoinMagazine.com, The following is the written version of a video presentation which can be viewed here. THE WANING OF THE MODERN AGE “In our view, you are witnessing nothing less than the waning of the Modern Age. It is a development driven by ruthless but hidden logic. More than we commonly understand, the next millennium will no longer be ‘modern.’ We say this not to imply that you face a savage or backward future, although that is possible, but to emphasize that the stage of history now opening will be qualitatively different from that into which you were born. Something new is coming. Just as farming societies differed in kind from hunting and gathering bands, and industrial societies differed radically from feudal or yeoman agricultural systems, so the New World to come will mark a radical departure from anything seen before.” –”The Sovereign Individual,” page 53 Published in 1997 from authors James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg, “The Sovereign Individual” can best be described as a guidebook. The authors combine a deep investigation into the history of man with a careful analysis of praxeology, or the study of human action, to come to a startling conclusion: Our civilization is standing at the precipice of radical change. Those who recognize this change and take the proper actions will benefit immensely, while those who remain ignorant will suffer the consequences. The book can also be viewed as a prophecy, making bold predictions about the future of civilization, many of which have already come to pass. A quarter of a century ago, while “experts” such as Paul Krugman were predicting that the internet would have little impact on the economy, Davidson and Rees-Mogg were predicting the emergence of the cybereconomy; non-state digital money; personalized media; the convergence of the telephone, computer and TV into a single device; as well as the record level of public distrust in major institutions currently unfolding before our eyes. THE THESIS OF “THE SOVEREIGN INDIVIDUAL” While religious and allegorical themes are beautifully woven throughout the book, the authors make it very clear that their thesis is rooted in hard logic, specifically a concept they call “the logic of violence.” Throughout all of history, humans have had to deal with the simple truth that taking is often easier than making. Working hard to acquire possessions such as food, shelter and clothing means nothing if they cannot be protected. The available methods by which humans have defended themselves and their property have transformed drastically from the time of hunter-gatherers up until the present day. In the authors’ views, it is this transformation of the logic of violence that is at the root of all major societal change throughout history. The fundamental axiom of the book is this: Human action is guided by incentives. If we can become conscious of the incentives, then we can, to a certain extent, forecast human action. For example, dropping a $100 bill on the ground of any city in the world will produce very predictable results: someone will quickly pick it up. To better understand the origins of these incentives, the authors introduce a concept called “megapolitics.” “The concept of megapolitics helps illuminate some of the major mysteries of history: how governments rise and fall and what types of institutions they become; the timing and outcome of wars; and patterns of economic prosperity and decline. By raising or lowering the costs and rewards of projecting power, megapolitics governs the ability of people to impose their will on others.” –“The Sovereign Individual,” page 65 Unlike manmade political institutions, megapolitics exist outside of the realm of conscious direction. Davidson and Rees-Mogg describe the four basic types of megapolitical forces as being topography, climate, microbes and technology. Of these four, technology is described as “having played by far the largest role in determining the costs and rewards of projecting power during the modern centuries.” CYBERCASH It is the authors’ belief that the emergence of cryptography in conjunction with the borderless jurisdiction of cyberspace was poised to drastically alter the logic of violence, and therefore shift the balance of power from the state to the individual. In the past, massive and expensive armies were needed to secure large amounts of wealth. Today, thanks to the invention of Bitcoin, wealth can be stored in the brain of any human being, simply by memorizing 24 words. Instead of needing to rely upon state-run institutions to uphold property rights, wealth in the 21st century will be protected by unbreakable cryptography, or in other words, pure mathematics. Read as the authors describe in detail the eventual emergence of what they call “cybercash” and keep in mind that all this was first published in 1997: “Now the advent of the Information Age implies another revolution in the character of money. As cybercommerce begins, it will lead inevitably to cybermoney. This new form of money will reset the odds, reducing the capacity of the world's nationstates to determine who becomes a Sovereign Individual. A crucial part of this change will come about because of the effect of information technology in liberating the holders of wealth from expropriation through inflation. Soon, you will pay for almost any transaction over the Net the same time you place it, using cybercash. This new digital form of money is destined to play a pivotal role in cybercommerce. It will consist of encrypted sequences of multihundred-digit prime numbers. Unique, anonymous, and verifiable, this money will accommodate the largest transactions. It will also be divisible into the tiniest fraction of value. It will be tradable at a keystroke in a multi-trillion-dollar wholesale market without borders.”  –“The Sovereign Individual,” page 215 Bitcoin has turned this 1997 prophecy into a reality. Bitcoin will be the most important tool in the arsenal of the 21st century sovereign individual. Impervious to confiscation via theft or inflation, and open to all human beings on earth with access to the internet, the rise of Bitcoin represents the rise of the sovereign individual. THE STRUGGLE FOR SOVEREIGNTY Sovereignty in this context is a zero-sum game. When individuals gain sovereignty, the state necessarily loses sovereignty over them. As citizens continue to take advantage of new technological innovations, institutions will naturally struggle to reclaim power. We are not only seeing this with Bitcoin in the form of propaganda-style attacks launched by many central banks, but we are seeing it in legacy media as well. In the words of “The Sovereign Individual,” “The mass media will become individualized media… No longer will you be at the mercy of Dan Rather or the BBC for the news that reaches you. You will be able to select news compiled and edited according to your instructions.” With the rise of alternative, independent and social media, the mainstream media has never held less power than it does today. Legacy news organizations are so desperate for significance that they do not hesitate to lie, manipulate and sow fear and hatred among its viewers in exchange for cheap clicks and views. So many of the biggest issues in society are kept alive by the mainstream media’s incessant desperation for relevance. CNN’s recent spat with Joe Rogan provides us a real time example of legacy media’s waning influence. Rogan, a single man, was able to expose CNN’s lies about him by the simple virtue of the fact that he, himself, has a larger audience than CNN does. We are entering a world where all voices will have the opportunity to be heard. The internet is providing each human being a chance to live up to their full potential. Geography, social class, gender and other labels are no longer limitations in the new digital world. The internet doesn’t care what you look like. If you are able to provide value, you will be rewarded. A NEW PARADIGM As fascinating and impressive as the authors’ use of logic to accurately predict many aspects of our modern life is, perhaps equally fascinating is their ability to look into the deeper, more mysterious patterns of history. “Giggle if you will, but we do not despise or dismiss intuitive understandings of history. Although our argument is grounded in logic, not in reveries, we are awed by the prophetic power of human consciousness... Understanding the way the world works means developing a realistic intuition of the way that human society obeys the mathematics of natural processes. Reality is nonlinear. But most people's expectations are not. To understand the dynamics of change, you have to recognize that human society, like other complex systems in nature, is characterized by cycles and discontinuities. That means certain features of history have a tendency to repeat themselves, and the most important changes, when they occur, may be abrupt rather than gradual.” –“The Sovereign Individual,” page 49 The pattern they are referring to is a curious 500-year cycle which seems to correlate with paradigm shifting events in Western civilization. Beginning in 500 BC, the emergence of Greek democracy and philosophy laid the foundations of Western civilization. The birth of Christ in 4 BC, during the height of the Roman empire, set the stage for Judeo-Christian values becoming the bedrock of Western culture. Five centuries later, in 500 AD, the fall of Rome would lead to the dark ages in Western Europe, a period of institutional collapse and lawless disarray. 1,000 AD marks the beginning of a period now known as the Middle Ages in which commerce and literacy were rediscovered. In the words of Raoul Glaber, an 11th century historian quoted by “The Sovereign Individual,” the turn of the millennium “shook off the tatters of antiquity.” 500 years later, around the year 1,500, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the discovery of the New World all contributed to what we view as the commencement of the modern era. Now, here we sit 500 years later in the very early stages of the 21st century. Technological advances are being compounded exponentially. The era which gave birth to our modern notion of the nation state around the year 1,500 is coming to an end. As the balance of power shifts from the institutional level to the individual level, we would expect the legacy system to tighten its grip. This is exactly what we’re seeing. Simply questioning the official story given by the state or mainstream media can result in being labeled a dangerous conspiracy theorist. Attempting to create a dialogue about important issues on social media can result in censorship and re-education. Suddenly, the inalienable right of bodily sovereignty encoded at Nuremberg is being revoked by governments throughout the world. Citizens of many countries are literally trapped within the borders, unable to leave unless granted permission by their government. Innocent Australians are being removed from their homes and shipped in buses to internment camps where they are being held in isolation, and then hunted down when they try to escape back to their families. Unable to fund these operations against their citizens via transparent taxation, governments and central banks throughout the world have resorted to printing exorbitant amounts of money resulting in the highest inflation in decades. The mainstream media tells you this is all normal, the government tells you this is all normal, the big tech monopolies tell you this is all normal. However, to anyone paying any attention at all, it is becoming abundantly clear that the emperor has no clothes. As unsettling as all this may be, it is all a part of a natural process. Metamorphosis requires death and rebirth. Old institutions are dying, and the madness we are witnessing all around us is simply evidence of their accelerating decay. Just as Gutenberg's printing press broke the Catholic Church’s monopoly on information five centuries ago, Bitcoin is poised to break the state’s monopoly on money. The stage is already set: Insolvent governments will continue to print money in an effort to maintain control over their subjects. The savings of millions of responsible people throughout the world will be wiped out as the value of paper trends towards zero. Many unwitting people will go down with the ship. But for the rest of us, a bright orange lifeboat awaits. Tyler Durden Mon, 12/27/2021 - 16:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 27th, 2021

The 52 worst movies made by iconic directors — from Spielberg to Scorsese

Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and a number of other critically acclaimed directors have directed at least one movie that critics tore apart. "Gemini Man"Paramount Even some of the most admired and iconic directors have made at least one critically reviled film. Insider turned to Rotten Tomatoes to find the worst-reviewed movies of 52 acclaimed filmmakers. The latest is Antoine Fuqua's "Infinite," which was released this year on Paramount+. Most of the greatest film directors in history have swung and missed on occasion. Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, and numerous other critically acclaimed directors have directed at least one movie that critics tore apart. For this list, we chose 52 directors who have largely been praised by critics as masters of their craft, and we turned to the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to find out which of the films they've directed was the most critically panned.We excluded a number of great directors who did not have a film in their catalog that they directed with a critic score under 60%. Stanley Kubrick, for instance, is not on this list, as his "worst" film, "Eyes Wide Shut," has a 76% "Fresh" rating on the site. Another example is Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose lowest-rated film is "Biutiful" at 66%.John Lynch contributed to an earlier version of this post. Here are the 52 worst movies made by iconic directors, ordered from the (relative) best to worst, according to their critic scores:Guillermo del Toro — "Blade II" (2002)New LineCritic score: 57%What critics said: "The only dread it inspires is in the possibility that its director prefers turning human flesh into CGI-enhanced mush over exploring genuinely frightening material." — The Village VoiceSofia Coppola — "Marie Antoinette" (2006)Even if Marie Antoinette didn't say it, the sentiment is clear.screenshot/ "Marie Antoinette"Critic score: 57%What critics said: "Although it is purposely devoid of substance, it is still devoid of substance." — Detroit Free PressJonathan Demme — "Last Embrace" (1979)United ArtistsCritic score: 57%What critics said: "Belabored imitation Hitchcock." — Las Vegas Review JournalWes Anderson — "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004)Touchstone PicturesCritic score: 56%What critics said: "If there's anything more tiresome in film today than hip irony, it is forced irony, and here comes a boatload." — New York Daily NewsFederico Fellini — "La Casanova de Fellini" (1976)Produzioni Europee AssociationCritic score: 55%What critics said: "An ordeal rather than a pleasure, a spectacle that cries out to be endured rather than enjoyed, 'Casanova,' may be the perfect consummation of the distasteful conception Fellini had in mind." — The Washington PostJoel and Ethan Coen — "The Ladykillers" (2004)TouchstoneCritic score: 54%What critics said: "Most of this stuff isn't worthy of the Farrelly brothers, let alone the Coen brothers." — Ebert & RoeperGeorge Lucas — "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999)LucasfilmCritic score: 52%What critics said: "Too busy and talky by half, overpopulated by a baffling array of aliens and robot 'droids,' 'The Phantom Menace' fails to engage the audience in its mythic quest 'to restore balance to the Force.'" — Toronto StarMartin Scorsese — "Boxcar Bertha" (1972)MGMCritic score: 52%What critics said: "'Promising juvenilia' is about the most one can say for it." — Chicago ReaderJean-Luc Goddard — "Sympathy for the Devil" (1968)Cupid ProductionsCritic score: 50%What critics said: "The politics are as muddled as the art is (deliberately?) amateurish." — TV GuideRichard Linklater — "Bad News Bears" (2005)Paramount PicturesCritic score: 48%What critics said: "More irksome is the ordained focus on plot undulation and simplistic motivation, as if nobody remembered that the first film was a social satire." — Village VoiceAlexander Payne — "Downsizing" (2017)ParamountCritic score: 47%What critics said: "The film, having launched a sprightly comic conceit, lets it glide away." — The New YorkerDavid Fincher — "Alien 3" (1992)20th Century FoxCritic score: 45%What critics said: "Good acting has salvaged many a poor script in the past, but not here." — Time OutTerrence Malick — "Song to Song" (2017)Waypoint EntertainmentCritic score: 44%What critics said: "We're left with gorgeous photography (Emmanuel Lubezki), a plotless plot and a sense that some transcendentalist Nashville may lurk here waiting to be discovered, though not — thanks — by me." — Financial TimesDavid Lynch — "Dune" (1984)MCA UniversalCritic score: 44%What critics said: "This movie is a real mess, an incomprehensible, ugly, unstructured, pointless excursion into the murkier realms of one of the most confusing screenplays of all time." — Chicago Sun-TimesDavid Cronenberg — "M. Butterfly" (1993)Warner Home VideoCritic score: 43%What critics said: "When John Lone parades around in mascara and speaks in an asexual monotone, the film audience discovers itself staring at John Lone's whiskers underneath his makeup." — FilmCritic.comJohn Huston — "Sinful Davey" (1969)United ArtistsCritic score: 43%What critics said: "A bland, lethargic period comedy." — VarietyAva DuVernay — "A Wrinkle In Time" (2018)DisneyCritic score: 42%What critics said: "Disney's version of the Madeleine L'Engle young-adult novel is a magical mystery tour minus the magic and mystery, and a great disappointment, since there were so many reasons to root for the film's success." — Wall Street JournalJohn Ford — "The Wings of Eagles" (1957)MGMCritics score: 40%What critics said: "Wants to be epic in scope but ends up feeling like ham-fisted CliffsNotes version of a man's life. The film loiters way, way too long on Frank Wead's early days as a hell-raising test pilot, then skips ahead through long sections of his life." — Sarasota Herald-TribuneAlfonso Cuarón — "Great Expectations" (1998)20th Century FoxCritic score: 37%What critics said: "A meandering, stilted movie." — San Francisco ChronicleTim Burton — "Dark Shadows" (2012)Warner Bros.Critic score: 35%What critics said: "This is not so much a coherent movie as it is a long, expensive joke in search of a purpose." — The New YorkerKathryn Bigelow — "The Weight of Water" (2001)LionsgateCritic score: 35%What critics said: "A boring, pretentious muddle that uses a sensational, real-life 19th-Century crime as a metaphor for -- well, I'm not exactly sure what -- and has all the dramatic weight of a raindrop." — Detroit Free PressRobert Zemeckis — "Welcome to Marwen" (2018)UniversalCritic score: 35%What critics said: "Mind-numbingly immense, joylessly violent and utterly lifeless... You've got to see it to believe it, though I wouldn't advise doing so." — Wall Street JournalSteven Soderbergh — "The Good German" (2007)Warner Bros.Critic score: 34%What critics said: "There's a line between homage and mimicry, and Soderbergh has crossed it." — Houston ChroniclePeter Jackson — "The Lovely Bones" (2009)ParamountCritic score: 32%What critics said: "Jackson seems more at home in the afterlife than in this one, rendering this off-kilter project creepy and pretentious." — CNNJane Campion — "In the Cut" (2003)Pathé PicturesCritic score: 32%What critics said: "Beneath its dense texture and rich mood, Jane Campion's romantic thriller is about nothing and goes nowhere." — Associated PressWoody Allen — "Wonder Wheel" (2017)Amazon StudiosCritic score: 31%What critics said: "'Wonder Wheel' will strike fans as an embarrassment and doubters as further evidence of decline - proof of Allen's lack of interest or engagement in a world beyond his shrinking artistic comfort zone." — Boston GlobeMiloš Forman — "Goya's Ghost" (2007)Samuel Goldwyn FilmsCritic score: 30%What critics said: "Think of it as an 'Amadeus' that doesn't work." — Orlando SentinelIngmar Bergman — "The Serpent's Egg" (1977)ParamountCritic score: 30%What critics said: "Bergman's paranoia runs dementedly and tediously out of control." — Time OutSteven Spielberg — "Hook" (1991)TriStar PicturesCritic score: 29%What critics said: "The exposition is so underlined and re-underlined, you could teach yourself to fly waiting for something to happen." — The Washington PostAlfred Hitchcock — "Juno and the Paycock" (1930)British International PicturesCritic score: 27%What critics said: "A fairly deadly case of canned theater that's pretty close to what Hitchcock many years later would refer to as 'photographs of people talking.'" — Chicago ReaderRobert Redford — "Lion for Lambs" (2007)MGMCritic score: 27%What critics said: "There is much talk of paralysis in Robert Redford's what's-wrong-with-America movie 'Lions for Lambs,' and there is a whole lot of the same in the movie itself." — Toronto StarAng Lee — "Gemini Man" (2019)ParamountCritic score: 26%What critics said: "No matter how many (presumably non-computer-generated) tears Smith sheds, he and Lee never transform this baby hit man into a plausible science-fiction conceit, let alone invest him with a soul." — Los Angeles TimesRidley Scott — "A Good Year" (2006)20th Century FoxCritic score: 25%What critics said: "Russell Crowe has many talents, but a gift for light comedy is not one of them." — Rolling StoneClint Eastwood — "The 15:17 to Paris" (2018)Warner Bros.Critic score: 23%What critics said: "A single act of heroism can truly transform a life, but that action does not necessarily make for a transformative motion picture." — Los Angeles TimesRon Howard — "Inferno" (2016)Sony PicturesCritic score: 23%What critics said: "Ron Howard's mostly lame adaptation of Dan Brown's wholly lame novel." — VultureJames Ivory — "Slaves of New York" (1989)Sony PicturesCritic score: 22%What critics said: "The first thing I feel is a genuine dislike for the people in this film." — Chicago Sun-Times Robert Altman — "Beyond Therapy" (1987)New WorldCritic score: 18%What critics said: "There's no special logic at work. The performances are good, but the film has been assembled without an overriding sense of humor and style." — New York TimesHoward Hawks — "Today We Live" (1933)MGMCritic score: 20%What critics said: "As a drama of the war it is not precisely convincing, for coincidences play an important part in its arrangement. It is also anachronistic." — New York TimesDanny Boyle — "The Beach" (2000)20th Century FoxCritic score: 20%What critics said: "'The Beach' is the kind of literary rubbish that makes you trace the patterns in the carpet while you're supposed to be watching the screen." — ObserverSpike Lee — "She Hate Me" (2004)Sony Pictures ClassicCritic score: 19%What critics said: "Succeeds in finding something to offend almost everybody." — Orlando SentinelWerner Herzog — "Queen of the Desert" (2017)IFC FilmsCritic score: 18%What critics said: "An emotionally empty, thematically ill-defined, and listless affair. It is never able to communicate the complexity of the woman at its center." — RogerEbert.comFrancis Ford Coppola — "Jack" (1996)Hollywood PicturesCritic score: 17%What critics said: "Someone deserves a timeout for letting this mawkish misfire get to the screen." — USA TodayRoman Polanski — "Diary of Forbidden Dreams" (1973)Carlo Ponti ProductionsCritic score: 17%What critics said: "I wonder how much Carlo Ponti gave Roman Polanski to make 'Diary of Forbidden Dreams.' Ten cents would have been excessive." — Chicago Sun-TimesAntoine Fuqua — "Infinite" (2021)Mark Wahlberg in "Infinite."ParamountCritic score: 16%What critics said: "The pace of all the action gets tripped up by a convoluted plot that Infinite tangles instead of unfurls." — IGNOliver Stone — "Alexander" (2004)Warner Bros.Critic score: 16%What critics said: "By summoning his inner classicist, [director] Stone has made an excruciating disaster for the ages." — AV ClubSydney Pollack — "Random Hearts" (1999)Columbia PicturesCritic score: 15%What critics said: "Pollack appears to have taken lessons from Martin Brest about how to irritate and bore viewers with endless pauses in conversations." — ReelViewsSidney Lumet — "Gloria" (1999)Sony PicturesCritic score: 14%What critics said: "Sidney Lumet-directed dud that sprung from the singularly bad idea of remaking John Cassavetes' oddball 1980 character study." — Entertainment WeeklyMel Brooks — "Dracula - Dead and Loving It" (1995)Warner Bros.Critic score: 11%What critics said: "Either this is the lamest Mel Brooks comedy ever or it's too close to other contenders to make much difference." — Chicago ReaderHarold Ramis — "Club Paradise" (1986)Warner Home VideoCritic score: 11%What critics said: "A frenetically unfunny and charmless movie." — Los Angeles TimesBarry Levinson — "Rock the Kasbah" (2015)Open Road FilmsCritic score: 7%What critics said: "An acclaimed film director, a legendary comic actor, lots of fun rock and pop songs, and a noble story at its core can't save 'Rock the Kasbah' from being one hugely misguided dud." — Los Angeles TimesJohn Singleton — "Abduction" (2011)LionsgateCritic score: 5%What critics said: "Actual abduction may be preferable to the movie of the same name, but only if your kidnappers don't torture you by forcing you to watch it." — New York PostWiliam Friedkin — "Good Times" (1967)Columbia PicturesCritic score: 0%What critics said: "The movie's incredibly thin storyline seems to exist for the sole purpose of allowing Sonny and Cher to sing a lot of silly pop songs and appear in cheesy sketches." — Reel Film ReviewsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 27th, 2021

The Queen will honor Prince Philip with a treasured photograph and a special brooch in an unusually personal Christmas message

An image of the Queen's televised speech shows her wearing the same brooch she wore for her honeymoon photoshoot with the prince in 1947. The Queen with a framed photo of herself and the late Duke of Edinburgh looking at each other fondly at their diamond wedding anniversary in 2007.Victoria Jones/Pool via AP The Queen will mark her first Christmas without Prince Philip with a special tribute. She will devote a "particularly personal" annual Christmas message to her late husband. The Queen will wear the same brooch she wore for a honeymoon photoshoot with Prince Philip in 1947. The UK's Queen Elizabeth II is expected to deliver an unusually personal Christmas message this year, honoring her late husband Prince Philip by appearing with a treasured photograph and wearing a special brooch.Pictures released by Buckingham Palace ahead of her annual message to the British people show a framed photo of herself and the late Duke of Edinburgh looking at each other fondly during their diamond wedding anniversary in 2007, according to BBC.To record the message, the Queen wore a red embossed wool shift dress, made by her friend and designer Angela Kelly, the Telegraph reported.The 95-year-old monarch also wore the same sapphire chrysanthemum brooch as in the photograph, which she also wore at her honeymoon photoshoot in the Broadlands in 1947.It was reportedly given to her as a gift in 1946, and is part of her cherished collection. She's worn it on several occasions such as overseas visits and in portraits with her children when they were young.The brooch is placed on her right this time, unlike in previous appearances where it has been pinned to the left. While this wasn't done for a specific reason, according to the Telegraph, fans of the royal will likely wonder whether it's a reference to the loss of her husband, as some widows move their wedding ring to the right hand. The Queen and her husband, who was the longest-serving British consort in history, were married for 73 years. A service of thanksgiving for the prince will take place at Westminster Abbey, London in the spring of 2022.Christmas 2021 marks the Queen's first Christmas without Prince Philip since he passed away at the age of 99 on April 9.Her speech this year is said to be "particularly personal," the Telegraph said, citing a source.The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be staying with the Queen at Windsor Castle during the festive period after she canceled plans to travel to her Sandringham estate for the holidays.Her Christmas message will be broadcast on December 25 at 3 p.m. UK time as is tradition.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 25th, 2021

65 thoughtful gifts for Mom, from a personalized photo calendar to a customizable pendant necklace

If you're looking for a thoughtful gift for Mom, we've put together a list for all budgets that has plenty of things she's sure to love. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Getty Images Show Mom your appreciation with any of these 65 thoughtful gifts. From loungewear to jewelry to tech gadgets, there's a gift for all tastes and budgets. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. Although mothers may be challenging to shop for — humbly resigning to the phrase "you don't have to get me anything" — we can safely say she'll love any of the gifts in this guide. This list can help you find what you're looking for or, at the very least, spark some inspiration. Whether she's into the latest and greatest tech, loves to read, or wants to update her work-from-home wardrobe with comfortable loungewear, there's a unique gift for Mom, below.See all our gift ideas below, or use these links to jump to products that suit your mother's particular gift needs.Home gifts for MomFashion gifts for MomBeauty gifts for MomTech gifts for MomFood gifts for MomWellness gifts for MomHere are 65 of the best gifts for Mom:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Leesa. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*Home gifts for MomA cocktail maker that mixes drinks in secondsBartesianBartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine, available at Amazon, $349.85Summer's here, which, for some moms, means it's time to break out refreshing cocktails. This cocktail maker will make Mom's life a whole lot easier, since all she has to do is pop in a cocktail capsule, choose her preferred strength, and press mix. She'll be sipping a margarita, cosmopolitan, or gin martini in seconds.Read our full review of the Bartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine here.  An incredibly comfortable mattressLeesaLeesa Hybrid Mattress, available at Leesa, starting at $1,614 (Queen)The Leesa Hybrid is one of our favorite mattresses because of its comfortable memory foam and motion transfer. It's soft, breathable, and supportive, so we're confident that Mom would love it, too. Read our review of the Leesa Hybrid here.*Sponsored by LeesaA digital picture frame for remembering the good timesAuraCarver Digital Picture Frame, available at Aura, $169It's hard to find a mom who isn't obsessed with taking photos and displaying them all around the house. But instead of buying tons of picture frames, she can show off all her family photos using this digital picture frame. You can upload an unlimited amount of pictures to the Aura app, connect the frame to Wi-Fi, and she's all set. Read our full review of Aura here.A personalized photo calendar for her deskArtifact UprisingWalnut Desktop Photo Calendar, available at Artifact Uprising, starting at $35A desk calendar can add a decorative touch to her desk, but one that displays photos of her and her family makes for an even better gift for mom. She'll love glancing at her calendar and being reminded of her favorite memories with you.A fancy candle setOtherland/Alyssa Powell/InsiderOtherland Candles The Threesome, available at Otherland, $89Candles make any home smell great, and this fancy candle set from Otherland will look gorgeous in any room in her house. It includes three coconut and soy wax blend candles in beautiful glass vessels. Each candle burns for 55 hours — that's a lot of time that your mom can spend enjoying this gift. We named candles by Otherland one of the All-Time Best products we've tested.Read our full review of Otherland candles here.A coffee table book for the mom who loves photographyAmazon"Women: The National Geographic Image Collection", available at Amazon, $27.05You can't go wrong with a coffee table book gift for Mom, and this one is a true standout. The photography is sure to be top-notch, since National Geographic created this book. Moms often serve as constant sources of inspiration, so why not pass along this book of powerful women to your mom.Soft, crisp sheets and beddingBrooklinenBrooklinen Queen Classic Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, starting at $198Brooklinen Queen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, starting at $240Brooklinen's luxe sheets are the ones we always recommend to friends, family, and readers, for their affordable price, sophisticated look, and comfort.The Hardcore Sheet Bundles have everything she needs to completely makeover her bed — and stay nice and cozy all year long. Each bundle includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, duvet cover, and four pillowcases. Brooklinen also sells comforters, pillows, candles, and blankets. This is another item that features in our list of the All-Time Best products we've tested.Read our full review of Brooklinen sheets here.A custom map posterGrafomap InstagramGrafomap Custom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, starting at $49Grafomap is a website that lets you design map posters of any place in the world. You can make one of your mom's hometown, her college town, her favorite travel destination, or the place where she got engaged or married — you're only limited by your imagination.Read our full review of the Grafomap Custom Map Poster here.A cute potted plant instead of flowersThe SillShop The Sill's selection of plants starting at $14The Sill is a relatively new startup that's making the process of choosing and buying house plants much easier. This gift set is just one of many options you can choose from — you can even shop based on which plants are pet-safe. Read our full review of The Sill here.A Le Creuset Dutch ovenAmazonLe Creuset Round Dutch Oven, available at Williams-Sonoma, starting at $230At $160, this Le Creuset Dutch oven is the most expensive piece of cookware in my kitchen, but it is also my most used. It comes in tons of colors, so you can choose Mom's favorite. We've even ranked it as the best overall in our guide to the best Dutch ovens. It's one of the best products we've ever tested.Read our full review of the Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven here.A hardcover photo book for any mother figureArtifact UprisingHardcover Photo Book, available at Artifact Uprising, starting at $72Honor any mother figure with a custom hardcover photo album that commemorates their best life moments. You can tie in her life story with a display-worthy dust jacket that puts her front and center. Choose from 11 fabric binding colors to complement her bookshelf or coffee table.A cutting board in the shape of the state she calls homeAmazonTotally Bamboo State Cutting & Serving Board, available at Amazon, $29.99Available for all 50 states as well British Columbia, Puerto Rico, Long Island, and Ontario, this uniquely shaped cutting and serving board doubles as kitchen decor. It's a great gift for the mom who loves spending time in the kitchen. A weighted blanket to help her sleep betterBearabyBearaby 15-pound Cotton Napper, available at Bearaby, $249Made of soft organic cotton just like her favorite T-shirt, this weighted blanket can help her fall asleep faster and its buttery softness is perfect for wrapping up in. We ranked it as the best weighted throw blanket in our guide to the best weighted blankets. A sous vide for making tender, perfectly cooked meatAmazonAnova Nano Sous Vide Bluetooth Precision Cooker, available at Amazon and Target, from $99The Anova sous vide is a reasonably priced investment that just might change Mom's life for the better. Not only will it boil and poach eggs with ease, but it'll also produce tender, perfectly cooked meat every time. You can hear more about why we love this product in our guide to the best sous vide machines. An alarm clock that uses light to wake her up gentlyAmazonPhilips Light Alarm Clock, available at Amazon, $99.99Moms work hard and they often have to wake up early. Just because she has to wake up before the sun rises that doesn't mean she has to awaken to the blaring of an obnoxious alarm clock.Philips makes a lovely alarm clock that gradually lights up to mimic the sunrise and wake her up naturally. The light alarm clock also displays the time and has customizable sounds so she can wake up feeling rested and ready for the day. You can find out why we recommend this alarm clock in our guide to the best sunrise alarm clocks. Read our full review of the Philips Wake-Up Light.An indoor herb garden that requires zero effortClick & GrowClick & Grow Smart Garden 3 Indoor Gardening Kit, available at Click & Grow, $139.95Every chef knows that cooking with fresh ingredients like basil can make a big difference. The Click & Grow Smart Garden is a self-watering system that allows even the most amateur gardeners to quickly and effortlessly grow herbs and vegetables. We tried it and were impressed with how well it worked, and the truly effortless process. Read our full review of the Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 Indoor Gardening Kit here.A retro-inspired electric kettleNordstromSMEG 50's Retro Style 7-Cup Electric Kettle, available at Williams-Sonoma, starting at $169.95With this retro-inspired electric kettle in her kitchen, she'll spend much less time making tea and more time enjoying a cup. It comes in 10 fun colors, like pastel green, pastel blue, and bright red. You can learn more about this kettle in our guide to the best electric kettles. Fashion gifts for MomA recycled fleece to stay warmGirlfriend CollectiveTeddy Recycled Half-Zip Fleece, available at Girlfriend Collective, $109Moms love effortless comfort and this super soft fleece delivers just that for her. Not only will she enjoy the warmth, but she'll feel good knowing she's helping the environment with this recycled pullover.A gold square watch to keep track of timeNordstromMVMT Signature Square Bracelet Watch, available at Nordstrom, $128For the mom who's always running late, this elegant square watch bares a minimalist and luxurious design that elevates any look. The gold watch is so impossible to miss that she'll now be on time to every occasion with it as a reminder.A lovely silk scarf for any outfitNordstromPaisley Square scarf, available at Nordstrom, $49.99You can't go wrong with a silk scarf if her style embraces a refined, ladylike taste. The elegant floral print adds gorgeous detail to an outfit that gives it a more polished and soft feminine appearance.A jewelry cleaner for all of her precious piecesMagnasonicMagnasonic Professional Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner, available at Amazon, $39.99Your mom's soft spot might be jewelry, but taking care of each piece is a must. This jewelry cleaner removes dirt and grime in minutes using water only. She'll appreciate this little machine that will take great care of her jewelry. A passport cover and luggage tagLeatherologyDeluxe Passport Cover + Luggage Tag Set, available at Leatherology, starting at $85 + monogram $20Mom might be planning her next trip out of town, and what better travel accessory to have than a personalized passport cover and luggage tag? She'll be less likely to lose her passport or suitcase thanks to these colorful accessories that also sport her initials. A chic purse that can turn into a backpackSenreveAlunna, available at Senreve, starting at $645A purse is an obvious gift for Mom if she has an eye for handbags. You can mix things up by giving her one that's both a purse and a backpack. The Alunna by Senreve is versatile and stylish, and it can be worn on her back, hand, over the shoulder, or across her body. Plus, it can organize all of Mom's essentials with its two interior pockets and exterior cardholder.A pair of sunglasses to block the sun in styleGlassesUSACheck out GlassesUSA's selection of sunglasses, starting at $29Sunglasses are spring and summer essentials and a perfect gift for Mom. GlassesUSA carries a wide variety of popular brands, including Ray-Ban, Oakley, Muse, Prada, and more. Through June 15, get 30% off your entire order for sunglasses and eyeglasses with free Rx lenses and shipping, if you enter code USA30 at checkout. Also through June 15, use code DEAL60 to save 60% off frames for sunglasses and eyeglasses with free Rx lenses and shipping. Read our full review of GlassesUSA here.A leather wallet that can be monogrammed with her initialsLeatherologyKlyde Continental Wallet, available at Leatherology (+ $10 for monogram), $120A sophisticated leather wallet instantly elevates a busy woman's everyday style and keeps her organized when she's constantly moving from place to place. You can get this leather wallet from Leatherology in 11 colors and three different personalization options. A luxurious bathrobeParachuteParachute Classic Bathrobe, available at Parachute, $99A plush bathrobe will make every shower feel like a trip to the spa. Parachute's soft Turkish cotton robe comes in four great colors: white, mineral, blush, and stone. This cozy gift for Mom will become her go-to pick. Read our full review of the Parachute Classic Bathrobe here.Luxe slippers with a cozy cashmere blendMargauxSlippers, available at Margaux, $158Made from a soft wool-cashmere blend and cushiony foam padding, Margaux slippers feel like stepping into a cloud. She'll enjoy wearing any of the three styles — Slide, Ballet, or Cozy — around the house.The gift of comfortable loungewearTommy JohnShop all women's loungewear and sleepwear, available at Tommy JohnTommy John E-Gift Card, available at Tommy John, starting at $25The Insider Reviews team is positively smitten with Tommy John's loungewear and underwear — so much so, we named the latter one of the best women's underwear brands in our buying guide, so you can be sure Mom will love it too.Alexa-enabled glassesAmazonEcho Frames Smart Glasses, available at Amazon, $154.99If your mom loves tech, she'll think these smart glasses are from the future. Amazon's Echo Frames allow for open-ear audio, hands-free calling, and access to thousands of Alexa's skills.Read our full review of the Amazon Echo Frames.A roomy work bag with tons of pocketsDagne DoverDagne Dover Allyn Tote, available at Dagne Dover, from $239Dagne Dover's Allyn Tote is a sophisticated and spacious work bag with a padded laptop sleeve, water bottle holder, and other thoughtful interior pockets that will keep her organized and always ready to go. A jewelry holderCatbirdCatbird Swan Ring Holder, available at Catbird, $32This ornate swan is a subtle jewelry holder that'll dress up any bathroom countertop or nightstand.Pearl hoop earringsMejuriMejuri Pearl Hoops, available at Mejuri, $65Get your mom a beautiful pair of earrings or a necklace with her zodiac sign that she can wear every day. Mejuri is a favorite jewelry startup of ours, so your Mom will likely enjoy this Canadian company's delicate jewelry, too.Read our full review of Mejuri here.A personalized T-shirtKnown SupplyKnown Supply Personalized Women's Fitted Crew, available at Known Supply, $32You can personalize this comfortable Pima cotton tee with "mom" or "mama" — or any other name that's under nine characters — in cute, loopy cursive. A crossbody bag with a hand-painted monogramClaire V.Claire V. Midi Sac, avaliable at Claire V., starting at $335 (+ $50 for hand-painted monogram)This leather crossbody bag comes in tons of colors and is great for travel and daytime outings — for an extra $50, you can customize it with a gold foil or hand-painted monogram. Popular leggings with a no-slip fitVuoriDaily Legging, available at Vuori, $84Vuori is well-known for its super-soft fabrics and flattering cuts, and the Daily Leggings are just another example. This style looks like a pair of joggers but fits like a pair of leggings. The high waistband and drawstring allow for a snug feel while the brand's smoothing technology gives an airbrushed appearance.Read more about the Daily Legging here.A pendant necklaceSet & StonesSet & Stones Cheyenne Mama Necklace, available at Nordstrom, $198Your mom will want to keep this pendant necklace very close to her heart. It'll sit lightly around her neck and be a subtle reminder of her special bond with you. Beauty gifts for MomA luxurious facial treatment deviceZIIPZIIP GX Series, available at ZIIP Beauty, $495Switch up her facial appointments with the ZIIP experience that beautifully improves your skin beyond your imagination with every use. The ZIIP devices employ energy from tiny electrical currents with a conductive gel to sculpt and tighten the skin for a radiant glow. A floral fragrance with a pear and white freesia scentJo MaloneEnglish Pear & Freesia Cologne, available at Jo Malone, $144If she prefers a light yet luscious fragrance, this Jo Malone perfume makes for a lovely layer. This floral perfume accentuates her style with a smell of autumn from the freshness of the pear and freesias along with the subtle woodsy scents.A face mask set for at-home spa daysfreshMini Loves Mini Masks Set, available at fresh, $56Moms need time to themselves, too, and these face mask minis will have her and her skin feeling rejuvenated. She can kick back and relax with one of the black tea masks, the clay mask, the rose mask, or even the sugar exfoliator.The weighted sleep mask that's the ticket to instant sleepAnthropologieNodpod Weighted Eye Mask, available at Anthropologie, $23.80Move over, weighted blankets. These eye masks have gentle weights with just the right amount of pressure to lull her to sleep. The four equally weighted pods let her rest easy no matter her sleep position. Custom haircare products that cater to her hair goalsFunction of Beauty/InstagramPersonalized 8 oz. Shampoo and Conditioner Set, available at Function of Beauty, $29.99Function of Beauty revolutionizes haircare by creating a custom line of shampoo and conditioner that's based on her hair type and goals. She can choose the formula's color and fragrance as well as add personalized details like her name on the bottle.Read our full review of Function of Beauty here.Tech Gifts for MomA voice-assisted remote for all her streaming needsAmazonFire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, available at Amazon, $24.99She can access hundreds of streaming services, including Hulu, Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and more, with this affordable entertainment hub. Plus, Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV episodes with Amazon Prime Video. This model supports up to 4K Ultra HD. You can read more in our guide to the best streaming devices.The Amazon EchoAmazonAmazon Echo (4th Generation), available at Amazon, $54.99There's an ever-so-slight learning curve in figuring out what Amazon's Alexa can and can't do, but once that's passed, the Echo can forecast the weather, read an audiobook, order a pizza, tell jokes, or any number of things moms should find charming. Read our full review of the Amazon Echo (4th Generation) here.A waterproof Kindle PaperwhiteAmazonAmazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $129.99On the other hand, if she's tired of lugging around heavy hardcovers, the Kindle Paperwhite is an extremely thoughtful and practical gift for Mom. The latest version is waterproof, too, which is a huge bonus.Read our full review of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite here.A heated massager to melt the day awayAmazonInvoSpa Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager, available at Amazon, $49.97After a long day, all she wants is some true relaxation to melt away the tension that's built up. While she can't get a real massage every day, you can give her this at-home shiatsu massager, which can give her a quality massage for much less.Read our full review of the InvoSpa Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager here.A personalized video message from her favorite celebrityCameoPersonalized video message, available at Cameo, starting at $1When trying to think of a unique gift for Mom, one that might not immediately come to mind is Cameo. The online service has tons of famous people she might want a personalized video message from, like her favorite actor from "The Office" or most-loved musician. Whether it's for her birthday, Mother's Day, or a different milestone, there's something for everyone on Cameo, with all types of categories and price points to choose from.Read more about Cameo and how to use Cameo. Food gifts for MomA tasty baking cookbookAmazonDessert Person cookbook, available at Amazon, $22.24For the mom who adores baking, this dessert cookbook has plenty of baking recipes to satisfy the family's sweet tooth.  This cookbook offers recipes and guidance on how to bake sweet and savory treats whether it's a caramelized honey pumpkin pie or English muffins.  A delicious treat from Milk BarMilk Bar/Alyssa Powell/InsiderCheck out all the goodies in Milk Bar's Gift Shop starting at $39Milk Bar's treats will definitely satisfy her sweet tooth. Choose from a limited-edition Strawberry Shortcake Cake, the bestselling B'Day Truffles, and plenty more. We break down how to shop for Milk Bar online, here. Milk bar cakes topped our list of the All-Time Best things we've tested. Read our full review of Milk Bar.A wooden gift crate with 2 pounds of cheese insideMurray's CheeseMurray's Cheese Greatest Hits Gift Box, available at Murray's Cheese, $95Cheese lovers will find a lot to like in this wooden gift crate (yes, crate) from Murray's Cheese, which includes 2 pounds of English cheddar, brie, cave-aged Gruyere, and one-year-aged Manchego along with snacks to pair with each cheese: spiced cherry preserves, sea salt and olive oil crackers, and Marcona almonds. It's a mouthwatering gift for Mom that'll surely satisfy her cheese cravings. For more of the best from Murray's Cheese, check out our guide to the best cheeses you can buy online.Read our review of Murray's Cheese gift boxes.A cookbook for 'Girl Meets Farm' fansAmazon"Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm" by Molly Yeh, available at Amazon, $19.54Not only does this cookbook contain more than 120 delicious recipes, you'll also find tons of personal stories and beautiful photos of Food Network star and award-winning blogger Molly Yeh and her family.A gift subscription to a popular coffee clubAtlas Coffee ClubAtlas Coffee Club 3-Month Gift Subscription, available at Atlas Coffee Club, $60If her veins run dark roast, a coffee gift won't go unused. We recommend a gift subscription to the Atlas Coffee Club, which curates a global selection of single-origin coffee that gets freshly roasted and shipped to your house from $9 per bag. Read our full review of the Atlas Coffee Club Subscription here.Wellness gifts for MomA water bottle that solves all pain pointsHydro Flask/Alyssa Powell/InsiderHydro Flask Wide Mouth Watter Bottle (32 oz), available at Hydro Flask, from $32.93Hydo Flask's products have a cult following for a number of reasons: The double-walled vacuum seal keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for hours on end, many products come with a lifetime warranty, and the bright colors add a bit of fun to something that's otherwise thought of as ordinary. You can hear more about why we love this water bottle, in our guide to the best travel mugs. Hydro Flask water bottles are one of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested.* Free shipping on all orders with code INSIDER at checkout. Code expires 1/31/22.A year-long MasterClass membership to learn new thingsMasterClassAnnual Membership, available at MasterClass, $180/yearMasterClass, unlike many competitors, follows a format that feels like a one-sided conversation with your favorite icons rather than a traditional academic setting. It's interesting — and you can go as deep (into reading materials) or shallow (listening to their insight while running errands) as you like to. An Unlimited Membership will give them access to all the site's classes for the year.The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership.Read our full review of MasterClass here.A DNA test kit23andme23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA Test, available at 23andMe, $129This genetic test kit from 23andMe is a unique and cool gift idea for any mom who's interested in learning more about her family history.A 'book of the month' membershipBook of the MonthBook of the Month Monthly Membership, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she loves to read and isn't ready to go 100% digital, a Book of the Month membership is the perfect gift. This gift membership gets Mom her pick of the best new books for $12.50 to $15 a month depending on the length of subscription you choose to give her (three, six, or 12 months). She can also request extra books if she reads more than one book a month. Barack Obama's bestselling bookJamie McCarthy/Getty Images"A Promised Land" by Barack Obama on Kindle, available at Amazon, $17.99If Mom likes to read, Barack Obama's bestselling book 'A Promised Land' is probably on her reading list. Instead of risking having a hard copy arrive late, you can gift her the Kindle version. A daily planner for the busy momAmazonPanda Planner Daily Planner 2021, available at Amazon. $19.97 Even the most organized mom could use the help of a trusty planner. This one from Panda Planner has monthly, weekly, and daily sections for all of her needs. She'll have her schedule, tasks, goals, and projects all in one place. We like the layout of this planner so much that we include it in our guide to the best planners.A yoga mat for the fitness enthusiastMandukaProLite Yoga Mat, available at Manduka, $99For the mom who doubles as a yogi, this mat has just the right amount of padding, is made of eco-friendly materials, and has a no-slip grip texture. It has even earned the title of best yoga mat overall in our guide to the best yoga mats.A fresh flower bouquetUrban StemsUrbanStems bouquets, available at UrbanStems, $40 and upWe've ordered bouquets from UrbanStems and it offers gorgeous flower arrangements, potted plants, and even dried bouquets, and they're delivered quickly, too. A bouquet of flowers is a classic gift for Mom that she'll love on any given day. Its bouquets are one of the best things we've ever tested.Read our full review of UrbanStems.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 23rd, 2021

What the future looks like for movie theaters in 2022, according to top industry execs

One of the biggest threats facing the movie business is a smaller supply of theatrical releases, one executive said. Zendaya and Tom Holland in "Spider-Man: No Way Home."Sony Pictures This year's box office is well ahead of 2020, but still far from pre-pandemic figures. Theatrical and distribution executives laid out their outlook and concerns heading into 2022. One of the biggest long-term threats they raised was a smaller supply of movies in theaters. After two years of chaos brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, theatrical industry insiders are cautiously optimistic about the future of moviegoing. "We'll keep an eye on variants and how that may or may not affect theater capacities going forward, but generally speaking there's a lot of films coming, and markets are open with few exceptions, so we're excited about the slate that we have for 2022," Jim Orr, the president of domestic theatrical distribution for Universal, told Insider.But the numbers tell a story of an industry still far from recovery, despite signs of hope like "Spider-Man: No Way Home," which opened over the weekend with $260 million at the US box office, the second biggest domestic debut of all time. The data firm Comscore is projecting the North American box office to end the year at around $4.4 billion, nearly double 2020's total but down more than 61% from 2019. Comscore is projecting the global box office to end the year with more than $20 billion, up from $12 billion last year but down from 2019's $42.5 billion.Part of the problem for theaters is that older audiences have been the slowest to return amid the pandemic, impacting adult dramas like "West Side Story," Steven Spielberg's $100 million musical remake that has made just $19 million domestically since opening earlier this month.But even the most successful movies this year — IP-driven tentpoles — have underperformed compared to pre-pandemic numbers, save for "No Way Home." Insiders say that it is more of a marathon than a sprint."Less than half of a normal year can still be seen as a win for an industry coming off the most challenging two years in its history," said Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst.But the box-office performance raises questions of how and when theaters will fully recover — and if they ever can to 2019 or 2018 figures again.Insider spoke with executives close to the theatrical business about their outlook for the future of moviegoing, how the industry can rebound, what their most concerned about, and what long-term effects the pandemic will have on the theater business. Here were the key takeaways."Black Widow."Marvel StudiosWindowing and release strategies will evolveThroughout the pandemic, movie studios have experimented with streaming as an alternative or supplement to theaters. Warner Bros. released all of its movies this year simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, for instance. But heading into 2022, some major studios have announced plans for exclusive, but shortened, windows for their theatrical releases, including Warner Bros., giving theaters a degree of exclusivity while allowing studios to premiere movies on streaming services earlier than they typically would have.The traditional pre-pandemic window of between 75 days to 90 days will be a thing of the past for most releases. 45-day windows have emerged as a potential new standard, though it's not concrete."It seems that the industry is coalescing around 45 days but that certainly doesn't seem set in stone and it won't be for every single title," said Orr, the Universal distribution exec. "There may be titles from certain studios that might not have any theatrical exclusivity. I don't know if we'll ever get back to one specific windowing model like we had back in 2019. Even then I think there was a lot of talk about how windows may look going forward, and the pandemic just accelerated that."The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has pushed hard for exclusive theatrical windows this year. After "Black Widow" debuted simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+, the organization released a scathing statement calling simultaneous releases a "pandemic-era artifact."The criticism was mostly around increased piracy, but John Fithian, the NATO CEO, said simultaneous releases also "blurred the distinction between a theatrical movie and a made-for-home movie."Simultaneous releases aren't going away in the new year, or maybe even beyond (Universal is releasing its romantic comedy "Marry Me" in theaters and on Peacock in February). But with some major studios committing to a degree of theatrical exclusivity, Fithian is now more concerned with a "shrinking slate of theatrical releases." The pending acquisition of the MGM film studio by Amazon embodies his concerns."MGM makes movies for theatrical release and Amazon's all about Prime Video," Fithian told Insider. "MGM makes the kind of mid-budget movies that we need. That's a potential harbinger of the impact of big tech."Even so, Fithian said that theaters are in conversations with Apple and Netflix. Exhibitors had previously been hesitant to play Netflix films because of the streamer's windowing demands."It makes sense for some of their movies to go theatrical," he said. "We'll look for additional suppliers where we can find them."Rachel Zegler as Maria in "West Side Story."20th Century StudiosOlder audiences have stayed home, but could be backThose aforementioned mid-budget movies, the kind that skew toward an older audience, have struggled at the box office this year. Younger moviegoers have driven the most successful releases, from "No Way Home" to "Shang-Chi.""Older demographics, the 50-plus audience, are the last to come back," Mark Zoradi, the Cinemark CEO set to retire at the end of the year, told Insider during a recent interview. "But it's a matter of them feeling a bit more comfortable. I think if that happens and movies come out that appeal to them, I think we'll see them come back." Others feel the pandemic has shifted consumers' appetite for what they're willing to pay to see in a theater versus streaming it at home. "I think the less expensive movies will go straight to streaming," Imax CEO Richard Gelfond told Insider. The pandemic "accelerated the drive towards blockbuster movies in theaters," he added.Getting older audiences back may take more than good movies that attract that demographic. As far as innovation goes, Fithian thinks it's rather simple: Moviegoers want things they can't get at home, like reclining seats and high-end food and beverage options (like those at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain, where customers order from their seats).But a robust supply of good movies is a start."It's fair to say that an older audience isn't running out to theaters like they did in the past," Orr said. "But I think quality storytelling will win out in the end."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 23rd, 2021

What a Record-Breaking Year For IPOs Tells Us About the Economy

2021 was a crowded year for companies entering public markets with 980 businesses going public—more than double the number that did so in 2020. It was a crowded year for companies entering public markets, with 980 businesses going public in 2021—more than double the number that did so in 2020. The most successful of these debuts shine a light on the strengths of the global economy. Asian businesses remain on the rise, all while combating a rocky regulatory environment. Companies that focus on delivering products to consumers at ever growing speeds continue to attract the dollars of global investors. Businesses that develop technologies to combat the climate crisis—like electric vehicles and renewable energy—and to capture the attention of consumers—like social media—have captivated global markets. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] While the companies that enjoyed successful stock market debuts were characterized by innovation, many lacked diversity in their leaders. Of the top 10 IPOs by size in 2021, all the chief executives were men. Dating app Bumble, which ranked in the top 15, was the most successful IPO by a woman-led company. To better understand the shifting market priorities in 2021, these were the top 10 IPOs of the year—using data provided by financial analysis firm Dealogic—ranked in order of size. Rivian The Wall Street debut of electric car manufacturer Rivian was well timed. While countries raced to sign emission-cutting pledges during the UN climate conference in November, the environmentally-conscious company raised over $13.7 billion, making it one of the biggest U.S. IPOs in history. Rivian, founded in 2009 by RJ Scaringe, began selling vehicles in 2021. The company’s original target was the sports car market, but it pivoted to electric pickup trucks and SUVs when Scaringe realized the widespread appetite for sustainable models. Rivian launched its first product in September, the all-electric R1T pickup truck retailing at $67,500. In an attempt to counter the rise of rival electric vehicle manufacturer, Tesla, Rivian won the backing of car giant Ford, which owns a 12% stake. In 2019, former CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, announced the e-commerce company had ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian, to help Amazon achieve its 2040 net-zero carbon pledge. Amazon is Rivian’s largest shareholder with a 20% stake. With a global demand for sustainable transport, Scaringe foresees the company will increase production to 1 million vehicles per year by 2030. Read more: Amid Scaling Challenges, Rivian Announced Plans to Build New $5B Factory in Georgia Kuaishou Technology Kuaishou, the biggest rival to video sharing platform ByteDance, raised $6.23 billion in its Hong Kong debut in February, the largest IPO in the tech industry since Uber raised more than $8 billion in 2019. Cheng Yixiao, the company’s chief of product, founded Kuaishou in 2011 as a tool to create GIFs on smartphones. The company later pivoted toward short videos, with the tagline: “Capture the World, Share Your Story”. In June, then-CEO Su Hua revealed Kuaishou had amassed more than one billion monthly active users per month. Like other content creator sites such as OnlyFans, the video sharing platform lets users leave tips for content creators, of which Kuaishou takes a cut. According to the FT, tips contributed 62% of Kuaishou’s revenue in the first nine months of 2020. The app also doubles as a livestreaming e-commerce platform, where creators market products directly to consumers. After reaching a $160 billion valuation following its IPO, investors were spooked by tightened state regulation aimed at deterring inappropriate explicit content, and shares plummeted in value. In August, Kuaishou announced it was halting planned expansion to the U.S., and in October, Hua stepped back from the day-to-day running of the company. The company’s share prices are currently 26% lower than their IPO valuation. Coupang Inc. Dubbed “the Amazon of South Korea,” e-commerce platform Coupang raised $4.6 billion in its Wall Street IPO in March. The company ended its first trading day with a market value of more than $84 billion, making it the largest U.S. debut for an international company since Alibaba’s listing in 2014. According to the FT, Coupang allocated shares to less than 100 investor accounts—which include SoftBank, BlackRock, and Fidelity—a small number for an IPO of its size. The Seoul-based company was founded in 2010 by Bom Kim, a Harvard Business School dropout. In just ten years Coupang has grown to South Korea’s largest online retailer. SeongJoon Cho—Bloomberg/Getty ImagesEco-bags carrying fresh food move along a conveyor belt at a Coupang Corp. fulfillment center in Bucheon, South Korea, on Feb. 19, 2021. Like Amazon, short shipping times and efficient supply chains have made Coupang synonymous with convenience. According to the company, 70% of Koreans live within 10 minutes of a Coupang logistics center. More than 99% of orders placed on its site are delivered within one day, it claims. Since the blockbuster IPO, it hasn’t all been clear sailing for the company. In June, Coupang faced consumer boycotts following its handling of a fire that killed one person and destroyed its biggest logistics center. The incident, along with other worker deaths earlier in the year, caused concern that fast delivery times were being prioritized over workplace safety and fair labor practices. The company has also faced regulator probes into alleged algorithmic bias favoring its own products. DiDi Global Inc. It’s been a bumpy ride for China’s cab hailing app, DiDi. Just weeks before its Wall Street debut in June, China’s market regulator launched an antitrust probe into the company, as part of a crackdown on large companies, including Alibaba and Tencent, squeezing out smaller rivals. Despite the threat, DiDi went on to raise $4.4 billion on the New York stock exchange, giving it a $73 billion valuation. Read more: DiDi Chuxing Is One of the 2021 TIME100 Most Influential Companies Just days later, however, regulators launched another investigation, this time into DiDi’s use of customers’ personal data. During the probe, the app was banned from registering new users or listing on Chinese app stores. Its stocks plummeted, and the company was forced to tell investors it was unaware of regulators’ plans ahead of its IPO. Then, DiDi was hit by another blow, this time in the U.S. On Dec. 2, the SEC finalized rules making US-listed foreign companies liable to delisting if their auditors do not comply with requests for information from regulators. The law was introduced in 2020 after Chinese regulators repeatedly denied requests from U.S. authorities to inspect the accounts of Chinese firms listed on Wall Street. Just six days later, DiDi announced it will remove shares from the NYSE, and move its listing to Hong Kong. Since its Wall Street debut, the company’s shares have lost more than 40% of their value. InPost S.A. Polish package locker provider was Europe’s biggest IPO since 2018, with the company raising $3.9 billion in January on Amsterdam’s stock exchange. The listing was so popular that InPost was forced to shorten the offer period due to what it called “significant investor demand”. Launched in 2006 and acquired by the private equity firm, Advent, in 2017, InPost offers an alternative to mainstream courier services. Deliveries are sent to one of the company’s vast network of automated lockers—which InPost dubs “automatic parcel machines”—allowing customers to collect at their leisure, 24 hours a day. In Poland, 49% of the population already lives within a 7-minute walk of one of InPost’s lockers and its app has over 7 million users. InPost also operates key markets in the U.K. and Italy. Amid COVID-19 stay at home orders at the start of the year, the market was primed for InPost’s expansion. Since the IPO, the company acquired French counterpart Mondial Relay in efforts to grow in Europe. Krafton Inc. South Korean online game developer, Krafton, made its public debut in July, marking Korea’s highest IPO of 2021. The company, which derives almost all its sales from hit game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), raised $3.8 billion with the offering. Jung Yeon-je—AFP/Getty ImagesSouth Korean e-sports players compete in a ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ match during the Esports Championships East Asia Seoul 2021 in Seoul on Sept. 10 2021. Entrepreneur Chang Byung-gyu founded Krafton—then Bluehold—in 2007. In 2018, a $500 million investment from Tencent Holdings, owner of Chinese messaging app WeChat, made Krafton a unicorn overnight. Despite its size, Krafton underperformed in its IPO. First, the company was ordered to cut its offering by more than $870 million by the Korean financial watchdog, amid concerns over a potential bubble in the stock market. Then, after its debut, Krafton’s shares dropped. Mostly to blame were concerns about the company’s reliance on PUBG for its revenue, and a proposed crackdown on online gaming in China, one of the company’s biggest markets. Despite setbacks, Krafton has plans to expand its entertainment offerings to include animated movies and interactive content around its PUBG fantasy universe. Earlier this month, the company backed Jordan-based mobile game publisher Tamatem in a $11 million funding round, as part of Krafton’s expansion into the Middle East and North Africa. JD Logistics Inc. The supply chain and delivery spinoff of Chinese e-commerce group, JD.com, enjoyed a healthy debut in Hong Kong, raising $3.6 billion. Founded in 2007 as an integrated supply chain provider, JD Logistics helped to solidify its parent company’s leading position in the online retail market. JD Logistics delivers 90% of JD.com packages on the same or next day, and now has its sights set on expanding its third-party capacity. While the logistics provider benefitted from the COVID-19 online shopping boom, its stock market debut—which came amid increased scrutiny of the tech sector in China—fell short of expectations. Analysts attributed the shortfall to the company’s increased investment in infrastructure. The company is attempting to slim down its labor costs with the use of AI and robots to automate packing processes. China Three Gorges Renewables Group Amid strong investor appetite for green energy assets, the renewables arm of China’s state-run power company raised $3.5 billion in its Shanghai debut in May. Its parent, China Three Gorges Corp (CTG), is the world’s largest hydropower company, famous for the hydropower dam on the Yangtze river. CTG said proceeds from the offering would be used to help fund offshore wind power projects, as Beijing seeks alternatives to expensive coal power. The renewables unit launched its first floating offshore wind power platform in June, off the coast of Zhejiang province in south-eastern China. CTG Renewables’ plans to grow non-hydro renewables are set to be crucial in the race to reach net zero (China reported record coal production and only committing to “phasing down” coal at the UN climate conference, COP26). GlobalFoundries Inc. Semiconductor manufacturer GlobalFoundries made its Wall Street debut under unusual circumstances: a global shortage of its own product. Just days after the company raised $2.9 billion in its October IPO, chief executive Tom Caulfield told CNBC that GlobalFoundries’ chip capacity was sold out through the end of 2023. Manufacturers of cars, phones, and home appliances have all been hit by the microchip shortage. Apple has had to cut its projected iPhone 13 production targets by as many as 10 million units for 2021. Read more: From Cars to Toasters, America’s Semiconductor Shortage Is Wreaking Havoc on Our Lives. Can We Fix It? GlobalFoundries, which was spun off from Advanced Micro Devices in 2009, reported a 13% increase in revenue in the first half of the year as demand for chips soared. Despite global supply chain issues exacerbated by the pandemic, and what the CEO called an “underinvestment” in semiconductor technology, GlobalFoundries has secured record deals with the likes of BMW. Volvo Chinese-owned, Swedish-headquartered car manufacturer Volvo listed on the Stockholm stock exchange in October after a previous cancelled attempt in 2018. Despite raising $2.7 billion, the IPO was scaled back on initial projections—owner Zhejiang Geely was forced to convert its vote-heavy shares into normal stock after protests from potential Swedish investors. The increased desire among investors for electric vehicles, which only make up 3% of Volvo’s sales, possibly played a role in the modest valuation. Chief executive Hakan Samuelsson told the FT that to boost funding Volvo needed “to be credible in telling investors we’re on our way to being 100% electric”. The company is set to use IPO proceeds to double annual sales to 1.2 million vehicles by 2025. It plans to sell only fully electric vehicles by the end of the decade......»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 23rd, 2021

Check out 30 pitch decks from fintechs disrupting trading, banking, and lending that helped them raise millions

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech VC  funding hit a fresh quarterly record of $22.8 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to CB Insights data. While mega-rounds helped propel overall funding, new cash was spread across 614 deals. Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. A trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 21st, 2021

The 23 best thriller books of the year, according to the Goodreads Choice Awards

According to the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards, some of the year's best thrillers include "Apples Never Fall," "Razorblade Tears," and "The Push." Prices are accurate at the time of publication.According to the 2021 Goodreads Choice Awards, some of the year's best thrillers include "Apples Never Fall," "Razorblade Tears," and "The Push."Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Thrillers are suspenseful mystery stories filled with twists and turns. We turned to Goodreads reviewers to rank the most popular thrillers from 2021. Reader's favorites included "Apples Never Fall" and "Razorblade Tears." It's almost impossible to resist a great thriller. Thrillers are some of the most exciting novels you can read, made enticing with suspenseful storylines, unique characters, and the staple plot twists that leave readers reeling. The best ones remind readers how much fun reading can be. To make this list, we turned to reviewers on Goodreads. Goodreads is a book reviewing platform where over 125 million readers rate, review, and share their favorite book recommendations with friends and the book community. From stunning debuts to gripping psychological mysteries, here are the most popular thrillers from 2021, according to Goodreads reviewers. The 23 best thriller books from 2021, according to Goodreads:  "Apples Never Fall" by Liane MoriartyAmazon"Apples Never Fall" by Liane Moriarty, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.41This bestselling thriller follows the four adult siblings of the notable Delaney family as their mother goes missing, leaving their father as the only suspect. Torn between protecting him and turning against him, the siblings square off and begin to re-examine their shared family history with a new lens. "Razorblade Tears" by S.A. CosbyAmazon"Razorblade Tears" by S.A. Cosby, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.19When Derek and his husband Isiah are found murdered, their fathers, Ike and Buddy Lee, come together over their shared pasts and deep desires for revenge. Each an ex-con and struggling with their own deeply held prejudices, the fathers set off on a fast-paced journey for retribution and redemption. "The Push" by Ashley AudrainAmazon"The Push" by Ashley Audrain, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $19.69In this book that I, like countless others, read in a single day (or single sitting), Blythe Connor is a new mom and determined to be the loving mother she never had. When her connection with her daughter isn't what she hoped it would be, she finds an inseparable bond with her second child — until a terrible incident leaves Blythe convinced there is something truly wrong with her firstborn. "Every Last Secret" by A.R. TorreAmazon"Every Last Secret" by A.R. Torre, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.95Neena Ryder and her lackluster husband have just moved into a beautiful new neighborhood with seemingly perfect neighbors Cat and William Winthorpe. Anxious to move up in the world, Neena develops an infatuation for Cat's incredible husband, which quickly turns into a dangerous obsession in this domestic thriller about Neena's desperate and toxic drive for the life she's always wanted. "All Her Little Secrets" by Wanda M. MorrisAmazon"All Her Little Secrets "by Wanda M. Morris, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.08Ellice is a respected attorney in midtown Atlanta with a "for fun" relationship with her boss, Michael. When Ellice goes to meet Michael one morning, she finds him dead with a gunshot wound to the head. Needing to avoid the spotlight with a murder investigation, she walks away from the scene but finds she can't outrun her past, her secrets, or the strange conspiracies swirling around her for long. "Not a Happy Family" by Shari LapenaAmazon"Not a Happy Family" by Shari Lapena, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.97As wealthy Fred and Sheila Merton convene for Sunday family dinner with their three adult children, they have no idea it will be their last. When the couple is found brutally murdered, the children appear devastated. But with their inheritance on the line and countless hidden secrets, this gripping thriller proves nearly impossible to put down. "We Begin at the End" by Chris WhitakerAmazonWe Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker, available at Amazon and Bookshop, $16.79"We Begin at the End" is a character-driven thriller about police chief Walk and 13-year-old Duchess, who don't seem to have a lot in common but are inexplicably entwined over a murder from decades prior. When an old friend and convicted murderer Vincent King is released from prison, the two are brought together over their drives for self-preservation."The Wife Upstairs" by Rachel HawkinsAmazon"The Wife Upstairs" by Rachel Hawkins, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99This modern-day Southern retelling of the classic "Jane Eyre" is about Jane, a dog-walker who has only recently moved into her impressive new gated community when she meets Eddie Rochester, a recent widow. Believing Eddie could offer Jane the life she's always wanted, the two fall in love — until Jane's past and the legends of Eddie's previous wife begin to haunt her new life.  "Harlem Shuffle" by Colson WhiteheadAmazon"Harlem Shuffle" by Colson Whitehead, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.75Ray Carney is an upstanding furniture salesman in 1960s Harlem whose cousin occasionally helps him out with shady business dealings that keep his family's financial concerns at bay. When Ray's cousin gets drawn into a complicated and dangerous heist, Ray finds himself torn between his salesman persona and a growing identity as a crook. "A Slow Fire Burning" by Paula HawkinsAmazon"A Slow Fire Burning" by Paula Hawkins, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.80When a man is found murdered, the police begin to question three women from his life — a one-night stand, a grief-stricken aunt, and a nosy neighbor — each holding their own resentment towards the man. With unreliable and unlikeable characters, this complex thriller begins as a slow burn but takes off with plenty of satisfying twists and turns. "The Good Sister" by Sally HepworthAmazon"The Good Sister" by Sally Hepworth, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.79This captivating thriller is about Fern, who struggles with a sensory processing disorder but enjoys spending time with her protective twin sister, Rose. When Rose finds out she can't have a baby, Fern sees it as an opportunity to pay her sister back for everything she's done in this family drama thriller with dark secrets desperate to be revealed. "The Survivors" by Jane HarperAmazon"The Survivors" by Jane Harper, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.20This dark and tense thriller links a past tragedy to a new one when a woman is found dead on the beach and police inadvertently find a connection to an accident 12 years prior. Set in an eerie coastal town, this thriller is full of lies, injustice, and guilt. "Billy Summers" by Stephen KingAmazon"Billy Summers" by Stephen King, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15Billy Summers is a killer-for-hire but only if the target is a bad person who needs to be taken down. Looking to retire into oblivion after one final job, Billy goes undercover for weeks as an author writing a book and finds himself writing his own story. "The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura DaveAmazon"The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14Before her new husband mysteriously disappeared, he left Hannah a note reading "Protect her," clearly about his 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. When the FBI arrests Owen's boss and shows up at their house, Hannah and Bailey must come together to figure out Owen's true identity, his deceitful past, and the future they'll both need to survive. "The Plot" by Jean Hanff KorelitzAmazon"The Plot" by Jean Hanff Korelitz, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.30While teaching at a third-rate MFA program after his own writing dreams didn't pan out, Jacob Finch Bonner is approached by a student who claims he doesn't need his class and explains the incredible plot of his sure-to-be-published future novel. When Jacob finds out the student passed away, he steals the plot of the novel for his own publishing success — until a cryptic email threatens to unravel his success and the story's history. "Local Woman Missing" by Mary KubicaAmazon"Local Woman Missing" by Mary Kubica, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.74When two women and a six-year-old girl named Delilah go missing just blocks from each other, their small community is shaken and left searching for answers. 11 years later, Delilah returns just as mysteriously as she disappeared and everyone wants to know what happened to her in this outstanding thriller that can be read in a single sitting. "Arsenic and Adobo" by Mia P. ManansalaAmazon"Arsenic and Adobo" by Mia P. Manansala, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.40Lila Macapagal decides to move home to recover from a terrible breakup and is swiftly recruited to help save her aunt's restaurant. When Lila's food critic ex-boyfriend suddenly drops dead, the police treat Lila like she's the only suspect, leaving her to conduct her own investigation and clear her name in this delicious new thriller. "The Night She Disappeared" by Lisa JewellAmazon"The Night She Disappeared" by Lisa Jewell, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.76In 2017, Tallulah left her daughter with her mother to enjoy a night out with her boyfriend, a night from which she never returned. When detective novelist Sophie inadvertently stumbles upon a clue to Tallulah's mysterious disappearance, the case slowly unravels in this haunting thriller. "Rock Paper Scissors" by Alice FeeneyAmazon"Rock Paper Scissors" by Alice Feeney, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.2910 years into their marriage, Adam and Amelia know things haven't been great for a long time. So when they win a trip to Scotland — a trip could make or break their marriage. On their anniversary, a decade of secrets and lies threaten to ruin them in this gripping domestic thriller. "The Maidens" by Alex MichaelidesAmazon"The Maidens" by Alex Michaelides, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.78At Cambridge University, a secret society of women students called The Maidens is devastated when one of their own is killed. Convinced the adored Greek Tragedy professor is a killer, therapist Mariana becomes obsessed with proving his guilt and willing to stop at nothing to prevent another murder. "Finlay Donovan Is Killing It" by Elle CosimanoAmazon"Finlay Donovan Is Killing It" by Elle Cosimano, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.99When Finlay Donovan is overheard discussing her new murder novel with her literary agent, a stranger mistakes her for a killer-for-hire and offers her a huge sum of money to kill her problem husband. Finlay swiftly finds herself entangled in a real-life murder investigation in this thriller that is equal parts hilarious and suspenseful. "The Man Who Died Twice" by Richard OsmanAmazon"The Man Who Died Twice" by Richard Osman, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.30"The Man Who Died Twice" is the second novel in the "Thursday Murder Club" thriller series about a group of four retired friends who meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders. In this sequel, Elizabeth receives a cryptic letter from an old colleague, asking for help. She recruits her fellow Murder Club members to hunt for a murderer, recover stolen diamonds, and save her friend's life. "Win" by Harlan CobenAmazon"Win" by Harlan Coben, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.99When a man is found murdered beside two objects that link the crime to a cold case and a kidnapping from over 20 years ago, the FBI begins to look into Windsor "Win" Horne Lockwood III, who has no idea how these items of his and his family ended up with the murdered man. With a personal connection and an untapped fortune, Win subscribes to his own brand of vigilante justice to solve the case. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 20th, 2021