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Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon reportedly wants to make a comeback at the company, as he faces a new abuse allegation

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 5:49pm
Vince McMahon.
  • Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon wants to make a comeback, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • McMahon retired from the company in July amid a board investigation into misconduct allegations.
  • WSJ reported a new accusation from a former spa manager, who claimed McMahon assaulted her.

Former WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who retired this year amid misconduct allegations, reportedly wants to make a return to the company.

McMahon has told people that he's eyeing a comeback, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter. He believes he received bad advice and that the allegations would have blown over if he hadn't stepped away from the company, according to WSJ.

McMahon's reported conversations on a potential comeback was part of a new WSJ report that also alleged he is declining to pay settlements to two women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, one allegation of which was previously unreported.

In an email to McMahon's attorney Jerry McDevitt, reviewed by WSJ, a lawyer for a former spa manager claimed that McMahon had assaulted the former spa manager at a resort in California in 2011.

In another letter reviewed by WSJ, a lawyer for former WWE ref Rita Chatterton — who in 1992 had accused McMahon of raping her six years prior — asked McMahon to pay Chatteron $11.5 million in damages.

McMahon has not paid either of the women settlements, according to WSJ.

McDevitt did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on WSJ's reporting on behalf of McMahon. WWE did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on McMahon's reported desire to make a comeback and the newly reported allegation from the spa manager. McMahon and WWE declined to comment to WSJ.

Former wrestler Leonard Inzitari said in a June New York magazine story that Chatterton's accusation was true, and that she had confided in him after it happened in 1986 — the first time a wrestler had backed up Chatterton's claim.

McMahon denied Chatterton's accusation in a lawsuit filed against her after she made her allegation public in 1992, but the lawsuit was eventually dropped, according to the New York magazine story.

McMahon retired from WWE in July amid an investigation by the company's board into alleged payments made to other women who had accused McMahon of misconduct.

His daughter and the company's former brand chief, Stephanie McMahon, and the company's president Nick Khan, were named co-CEOs.

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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried denied bail by a judge in the Bahamas after he was arrested and charged by the US with fraud

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 5:27pm
  • A judge in the Bahamas denied Sam Bankman-Fried bail after he was arrested Monday on fraud charges.
  • The former FTX CEO was remanded into custody until February, according to reports.
  • US authorities charged him with several counts of fraud on Tuesday.

A magistrate judge in the Bahamas denied FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried bail during a hearing on Tuesday following his Monday arrest on fraud charges. 

The judge said the former CEO and founder of the crypto exchange platform posed a flight risk and remanded him to custody until February. 

Authorities in the Bahamas detained Bankman-Fried this week, acting on a request from US officials. A US federal criminal indictment unsealed on Tuesday charged Bankman-Fried with multiple counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed civil charges against Bankman-Fried on Tuesday, alleging that he duped investors and defrauded customers. 

Bankman-Fried told the court he could fight extradition back to the US, according to Reuters. Bahamian prosecutors had requested he be denied bail if he did so. 

Bankman-Fried resigned from his role as CEO of FTX last month after the crypto-exchange filed for bankruptcy after facing a multi-billion dollar liquidity crunch. Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York allege that Bankman-Fried lied to investors since the start of the company and misused customer funds. 

FTX's new CEO, John J. Ray III, testified at a US House Financial Services Committee hearing on Tuesday that there was "no record-keeping whatsoever" regarding the company's financial dealings under Bankman-Fried's leadership. 

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The Trump Organization lost a secret trial and was held in contempt of court for defying grand jury subpoenas

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 5:19pm
US President Donald Trump pauses while announcing an agreement with Guatemala regarding people seeking asylum in the Oval Office of the White House July 26, 2019, in Washington, DC.
  • The Trump Organization lost a secret one-day trial last year and was held in contempt.
  • It failed to respond to grand jury subpoenas and court orders, a New York judge found.
  • The company separately lost a criminal trial on fraud charges this month.

The Trump Organization was held in contempt of court in 2021 after losing a secret one-day trial over its refusal to comply with grand jury subpoenas and court orders, according to The New York Times, which first reported on the trial.

A judicial order indicating the Trump Organization's loss in the case was unsealed on Tuesday, with identifying information redacted. The New York Times confirmed that it referred to the Trump Organization, and details within the order line up with the Trump Organization's history of defying investigations into its conduct.

The judge, Juan Merchan, held the trial on October 7, 2021, after former President Donald Trump's company failed to comply with four grand jury subpoenas and three court orders, and issued his ruling on December 8, 2021.

"Examining the record as a whole, there, can be no doubt that [the Trump Organization's] failures amount to willful disobedience," Merchan wrote. "Despite clear warnings, the Company missed deadline after deadline, never moving to quash subpoenas and never seeking Court intervention. Some subpoenas went largely ignored and another was ignored entirely."

The Manhattan District Attorney's office brought criminal fraud charges against the company in July 2021. It was found guilty at trial, also overseen by Merchan, earlier this month.

The details included in Merchan's order line up with parallel litigation brought by the New York Attorney General's office, which also led to contempt orders after the company fought subpoenas. In court filings, the attorney general's office said the company blamed "email migrations" in order to delay document production and testimony from executives. These same "email migrations" appear to come up repeatedly in Merchan's December order.

"In this Court's view, it is unacceptable that the [redacted] documents, which were purportedly identified and set aside by the Corporation's IT department, were not forwarded to the eDiscovery vendor and simply sat idle for as much as four months," Merchan wrote.

The documents, Merchan said, should have been produced earlier despite the purported email issues.

"There is no question that many documents were in existence and within Respondent's control and yet not produced," Merchan wrote. "Not only does the record demonstrate this, but [redacted] has conceded this point on several occasions."

The New York Attorney General's office filed a civil suit against Trump and his company earlier this year, alleging it broke numerous civil fraud laws. The Manhattan District Attorney's investigation remains ongoing.

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The electric F-150 is such a smash hit, Ford's ramping up production again — and its scale shows why it's not sweating the startups

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 5:08pm
F-150 Lightning at Ford's Dearborn assembly factory.
  • Ford added a third shift at the F-150 Lightning factory last month.
  • It now plans to build 150,000 Lightnings annually at the EV factory.
  • Startup production goals lag far behind legacy competitors like Ford.

Ford's F-150 Lightning factory in suburban Detroit is now operating on three shifts, ramping up to full capacity as the carmaker rushes to meet demand for the all-electric pickup just named Motor Trend's Truck of the Year.

Ford is adding this new production shift at the same time it completes two large additions to the factory to increase square-footage by some 300,000 square feet, plant manager Corey Williams told reporters at the factory Tuesday morning. The third shift started work late last month, he said.

The ultimate goal is for Ford to build 150,000 F-150 Lightnings a year at the Dearborn, Michigan factory, double the company's initial production target. Ford set into motion plans to increase its Lightning build capacity after it had to cap reservations at 200,000 late last year. Through November, Ford had sold 13,258 F-150 Lightning trucks.

More than a sign of the truck's popularity, this lofty production goal highlights legacy automakers' advantage over newcomers like Rivian and Lucid when it comes to scaling up. While companies like Ford and GM leverage existing manufacturing footprints and a century's worth of experience building vehicles, startups are struggling with the tricky task of mass-producing vehicles for the first time.

Rivian had built 14,317 of its electric pickup trucks, SUVs, and delivery vans through the end of the third quarter, and is targeting annual production around 25,000 vehicles. Lucid reported it had built 3,687 vehicles in the first nine months of 2022, and is aiming for between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicles for the year.

Ford's global EV sales target for 2023 is 600,000 vehicles, and CEO Jim Farley has said he wants his company to overtake Tesla as the number one seller of electrics in the US. The expansions at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center are just part of a $30 billion shift toward electric vehicles. Earlier this year, Ford restructured its business to place more focus on its electric division, now called Ford Model e. 

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9 million student-loan borrowers are now receiving correction emails after mistakenly being told last month they were approved for debt relief

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 5:00pm
  • 9 million student-loan borrowers mistakenly received a November email saying they were approved for debt relief.
  • Correction emails started going out to the impacted borrowers this week.
  • The errors were made by Accenture Federal Services, a contractor of the department.

Millions of student-loan borrowers should keep an eye out for an updated email from the Education Department coming their way.

Insider was the first to report two weeks ago that on November 22-23, nine million student-loan borrowers received an email with an incorrect subject line informing them that their debt relief had been approved. It should have stated: "Update on Student Loan Debt Relief." 

This error was made by Accenture Federal Services, a contractor of the Education Department that sent out those emails.

Starting this week, correction emails have started arriving in the impacted borrowers' inboxes. According to an email reviewed by Insider, the new subject line reads: "CORRECTION: Status of Your Student Loan Debt Relief Application."

"Due to a vendor error, you recently received an email with a subject line indicating your application for the one-time Student Loan Debt Relief Plan had been approved," the email stated. "The subject line was inaccurate. The body of the previous email was accurate."

Screenshot of the first part of the student debt correction email, as provided by a borrower.

"We have received your application but are not permitted to review your eligibility because of ongoing litigation," the email continued. "We will keep your application information and review your eligibility if and when we prevail in court."

An Education Department spokesperson told Insider that of the nine millions borrowers, some are receiving a correction email clarifying the initial subject line was inaccurate, and some will receive an email noting they should not have received any email in the first place. 

A spokesperson previously told Insider in a statement that "communicating clearly and accurately with borrowers is a top priority of the Department." 

"We are in close touch with Accenture Federal Services as they take corrective action to ensure all borrowers and those affected have accurate information about debt relief," the person said.

Still, no student-loan borrower will see a reduction to their balance anytime soon. Two federal courts have so far blocked the implementation of President Joe Biden's plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers, and while the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments on the case early next year, the legal proceedings could take months.

To ensure borrowers would not have to resume payments without the relief they were promised, Biden recently extended the student-loan payment pause through June 30 or whenever the lawsuits are resolved, whichever happens first. His administration continues to express confidence that the broad debt relief will ultimately prevail in court.

"This program is necessary to help over 40 million eligible Americans struggling under the burden of student loan debt recover from the pandemic and move forward with their lives," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter last week. "The program is also legal, supported by careful analysis from administration lawyers. @POTUS will keep fighting against efforts to rob middle class families of the relief they need and deserve."

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Companies are too quick to lay off employees in a recession, one entrepreneur says. Instead, they should focus on retaining valuable 'human capital.'

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 4:52pm

Ryan Niddel, a serial entrepreneur, is the CEO of South Sea Ventures.
  • About 20% of layoffs and discharges in the US in October were at the country's smallest businesses.
  • Ryan Niddel, a serial entrepreneur, argued that layoffs aren't always a quick fix for companies.
  • Instead, he said, business owners should look at other ways to cut costs.
  • This article is part of Talent Insider, a series containing expert advice to help small business owners tackle a range of hiring challenges.

This year, as the US economy has prepared for a recession, at least 52 major companies have laid off workers, including Meta, BuzzFeed, Amazon, Shopify, and Twitter.

It's not only behemoth companies that are cutting staffers — businesses with fewer than 10 employees represented about 20% of layoffs and discharges in the US in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But Ryan Niddel, a serial entrepreneur and growth specialist, argued that layoffs aren't always a quick fix for a company facing uncertainty.

"Human capital is something that a lot of entrepreneurs are too quick to get rid of," he said.

Here's why small-business owners should be cautious to cut staff — and other areas where they can downsize instead.

Loyalty can be an economic advantage

Amid a worker shortage, many small businesses have had difficulty filling open positions. Richard Bliss, a finance professor at Babson College, said a recession could abate that problem.

"If most of their need for people is driven by growth, and if the recession impairs that, then the demand for people is going to be less," he told Insider.

While analysts think an economic downturn next year would probably be different from the brief pandemic recession of 2020, Bliss said there could be some parallels.

"During COVID, a lot of small-business owners didn't lay off at the pace that larger companies did," Bliss said. He attributed that outcome to the closer relationships business owners have with their employees. "It's more of a family environment," he added.

Bliss said it also makes more economic sense to keep the workers you have. Laying off employees might help a company in the short term, but over time many business owners realize it's more difficult to maintain company culture and expensive to rehire.

"They understand that there's a bigger cost to laying off and rehiring," he said. "The culture of the company is critical, especially if it's a company of five or seven people."

Niddel said founders who keep employees during an economic downturn could reap the benefits later. "Those people will become incredibly loyal if they realize they still have a place to land," he said.

There are other places to cut costs first

Lowering expenses can be a necessary step in hedging your business, but Niddel suggested entrepreneurs consider other categories before payroll.

"There are so many ways to keep driving things forward versus just arbitrarily cutting staff," he said.

To start, analyze recurring expenses such as subscriptions, software, and utilities to determine what's a necessity and what's a luxury. If you can't close your accounts, try to negotiate lower rates with your vendors — for example, landlords may be willing to defer your rent.

Niddel also recommended hiring a third-party auditor, especially for a young startup. "It's a great way to catch things that you might not know to look at," he said. "There could be small amounts of money leaking out in places you didn't even know to look."

Consider pay cuts before layoffs

Niddel said that if your company has made all other possible cuts and still can't afford payroll, salary cuts are another option.

"If they've been a part of the company, they might be willing to take a reduction in compensation if they need to," he said.

Cate Luzio, the founder of Luminary, learned this when she faced an 80% drop in memberships in her network platform at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She said she was honest with her employees about the company's finances and gave them a choice between layoffs, furloughs, or pay cuts of 20% — and they all chose the latter.

But Niddel said it's not enough to ask employees to take a pay cut if the founder isn't doing so as well. For example, Luzio and her chief operating officer took larger pay cuts than the rest of the staff.

At the end of the day, employees appreciate transparency. A Luminary staff member previously told Insider that she was content taking the pay cut if it meant continuing her career in a work environment where she felt valued.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to watch 'Free Guy' starring Ryan Reynolds — Disney Plus and HBO Max subscribers can stream without paying extra

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 4:38pm

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Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer in "Free Guy."
  • "Free Guy" is now available to stream at home on Disney Plus and HBO Max.
  • Starring Ryan Reynolds, "Free Guy" is an action comedy about a non-player character (NPC) in a video game.
  • You can also rent the movie through VOD retailers like Prime Video, Vudu, and Apple TV for $4.

"Free Guy" is now streaming at home on several different services. The action movie is available to all Disney Plus and HBO Max subscribers. You can also choose to purchase the film for $20 or rent it for $4 on Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, and Microsoft Movies.

In "Free Guy," Ryan Reynolds is a non-player character (NPC) in a video game, known simply as Guy, who becomes increasingly self-aware. With the help of the mysterious Molotov Girl (Jodie Comer), Guy tries to save his virtual world before it's deleted by a corrupt developer. The movie includes multiple cameos from popular video game streamers like Ninja and Pokimane.

According to Deadline, "Free Guy'' earned over $300 million worldwide during its initial theatrical release. Beyond box office success, "Free Guy" was favorably received by critics. The movie holds an "80% Certified Fresh" rating on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.

Where to watch 'Free Guy' online

"Free Guy" is now available to watch at home through Disney Plus, HBO Max, and VOD retailers. All Disney Plus and HBO Max subscribers can watch without paying any extra fees.

Disney Plus costs $8 a month for ad-free access to the service's entire library of on-demand content. Disney Plus is streaming "Free Guy" in up to 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos sound, but you need a TV and audio system that supports those formats.

HBO Max starts at $10 a month for ad-supported streaming, but you can upgrade to ad-free streaming for $15 a month. Unlike Disney Plus, HBO Max is not streaming "Free Guy" in 4K or HDR. Instead the movie is only available in high definition (HD) and regular surround sound. 

If you don't have Disney Plus or HBO Max, you can choose to pay a one-time fee to rent or buy "Free Guy" instead. The movie costs $4 to rent or $20 to buy on VOD services like Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, and Microsoft Movies. These services all offer "Free Guy" in up to 4K quality with high dynamic range (HDR) on compatible devices.

If you choose to purchase "Free Guy," you'll be able to stream the movie as many times as you like with no time restrictions. For customers who rent "Free Guy," most VOD retailers give you 30 days to begin watching a rental. Once you press play, you typically have 48 hours to finish streaming a movie.

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The rise and fall of FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried, who went from being a crypto billionaire to being arrested and charged with fraud

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 4:26pm
  • Sam Bankman-Fried catapulted into a crypto billionaire, but it took just one day for most of his fortune to be wiped out.
  • The co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and Alameda Research saw his net worth plummet from nearly $16 billion to $1 billion.
  • Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, was arrested in the Bahamas, and is now facing several legal proceedings.

Just months ago, Sam Bankman-Fried was a 30-year-old with a mop of brown hair and enough clout to go by his initials, SBF. He had a cryptocurrency exchange called FTX, a trading firm called Alameda Research, and $15.6 billion to his name, according to estimates from Bloomberg. 

He had catapulted into one of the biggest names in crypto in a matter of four years and was setting his sights on mainstream finance.

Now, all he has left are his initials, and several legal proceedings ahead of him. Bankman-Fried was arrested Monday by Bahamian authorities at the US government's request, "based on a sealed indictment" that was filed by the US Attorney's Office Southern District of New York, the office tweeted. Shortly after his arrest, the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced it had "authorized separate charges relating to his violations of securities laws."

On November 11, FTX announced Bankman-Fried was resigning as CEO and would be replaced by John J. Ray III. In addition, FTX, Alameda Research, and roughly 130 affiliated companies have begun Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings

The collapse of Bankman-Fried's fortune has loomed for months. Reports have been circulating this year that FTX was on a "shaky financial foundations" amidst larger instabilities in the global crypto market, according to The New York Times. 

Bankman-Fried spoke to Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook Summit on November 30, where he said he didn't "personally think that" when Sorkin asked if he was worried about being held criminally liable for the collapse of FTX.

He said he was more focused on helping FTX's millions of customers and stakeholders who lost money from the exchange. 

Here's how SBF went from crypto's poster child to its greatest cautionary tale:

Bankman-Fried grew up in Silicon Valley as the son of two Stanford Law professors.He spent his childhood playing games like chess and bridge. His brother, Gabe, told Insider, "playing games growing up, his inclination is if a board game is fun, you should play two simultaneous games at once with a timer."A chess board

Source: Insider

Bankman-Fried studied physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he juggled several extracurriculars alongside his academics. "I worked like an hour and a half a day in total and had trouble getting places on time," Bankman-Fried told Insider. "I was a really negligent student."

Source: Insider

During college, Bankman-Fried began honing his moral compass. He became especially interested in effective altruism, a philosophical movement that uses calculations to understand how people can use their time, money, and resources to best help others.After college, Bankman-Fried went to work for the global trading firm, Jane Street. That's where he learned the art of arbitrage— a form of trading in which traders buy an asset for a low price in one market and sell it for higher in another market.During his three years at Jane Street, Bankman-Fried would give away half of his salary to animal-welfare groups and effective altruism charities, according to Bloomberg. He left to work for MacAskill's Centre for Effective Altruism, set up by William MacAskill, one of the leaders of the effective altruism movement.By 2017, crypto was booming, and people were trading on private exchanges. Bankman-Fried noticed that some coins were selling for higher prices on some exchanges than others. He realized he could use his arbitrage skills to exploit the gaps in prices.The gap in bitcoin prices between Asian and Western exchanges eventually became known as the Kimchi Premium.By October of 2017, Bankman-Fried had set up his own crypto trading firm, Alameda Research, in Berkeley, California. His Alameda colleagues told Insider that he was adept at finding ways to move faster than other traders.

Source: Insider

At its peak, Alameda was moving almost $15 million a day between markets, according to Bloomberg. Bankman-Fried soon earned the nickname "the Moby Dick of crypto whales" for the waves he was making in the crypto industry.In 2018, he abruptly moved Alameda's team to Hong Kong, after realizing how lax the rules were compared to the United States. "I think we're losing $50,000 a day by not working out of Hong Kong instead of Berkeley," one of his colleagues who spoke to Insider recalled him saying.Victoria harbour, Hong Kong

Source: Insider

As Bankman-Fried continued to rack up money from trading, his ambitions grew, too. He began entertaining thoughts of building an alternative to what he called the "shitshow exchanges" he was trading in between the years of 2017 and 2018.By the start of 2019, Bankman-Fried and his team were fervently working towards building their own crypto exchange. After four months coding, they launched FTX in May.FTX was a win. The platform boasted cost-effective features like low-trading fees and offered several types of coins for traders to bet on. FTX even allowed traders to swap cash as collateral for coins.Sam Bankman-Fried.In 2020, Bankman-Fried also opened a small US branch of FTX. He had designs of eventually taking a major slice of the U.S. crypto market and began lobbying Congress for new crypto rules a few times a year. He's also donated millions to pro-crypto super PAC, GMI PAC, according to Politico.In September 2021, Bankman-Fried decided to move FTX's operations to the Bahamas. It was just a flight away from Miami, but the platform could still operate outside of the SEC's purview.FTX only takes a minor cut of every trade, but by 2020, an average of $1 billion was being traded daily on the platform, according to Bloomberg. In 2021 alone, Bankman-Fried raked in a profit of $350 million from FTX, and another $1 billion from Alameda, according to Bloomberg.Major investors like SoftBank Vision Fund, Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital, and BlackRock placed bets on FTX in funding rounds. By early 2022, FTX and its U.S. operations were valued by investors at a combined $40 billion, according to Forbes.At his peak, Bankman-Fried's own net worth was $26 billion, according to Bloomberg.He's allocated that wealth towards sponsorships, funding political leaders, and furthering his moral agenda.He suddenly emerged as a major political donor in 2020 and spent over $10 million backing Joe Biden's presidential campaign, according to Politico. But Bankman-Fried actually made his political first donation back in 2010 to Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, Politico reported.He spent over $40 million on campaigns in 2022, according to Federal Election Committee filings reviewed by Politico.He's made donations on both sides of the political aisle though the majority of his funding has skewed towards Democratic leaders. The Los Angeles Times reported that Bankman-Fried has given $1 million to the Senate Majority PAC and $6 million to the House Majority PAC— two super PACs that are dedicated to keeping Congress in the hands of Democrats. He also funded Protect Our Future, a Super PAC that focuses exclusively on Democratic House primaries, according to Politico.He's made COVID-19 prevention a top issue as the principle funder of Guarding Against Pandemics, a nonprofit run by his brother Gabe, according to Politico.A fundraiser for Guarding Against Pandemics.Bankman-Fried has said his donations are about furthering his larger belief in effective altruism. He told Bloomberg that he would eventually only keep 1% of his income or a minimum of $100,000 a year.His simple lifestyle, too, follows the ideas of effective altruism. He drives a Toyota Corolla, lives with roommates, and is vegan.The 2020 Toyota Corolla.At the same time, he's funneled money into flashy corporate sponsorships. His most notable is acquiring naming rights for the Miami Heat's arena which will cost him about $135 million over 19 years, according to Bloomberg.He also spent about $30 million airing an ad in the 2022 Super Bowl with the comedian Larry David, according to Bloomberg.FTX commercial starring Larry DavidThrough FTX, Bankman-Fried has also forged deals with major basketball teams like the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors. FTX has also struck deals with individual athletes like basketball player Steph Curry and quarterback Tom Brady.Steph Curry in FTX commercialBankman-Fried seemed unstoppable— until he wasn't. In early November, the crypto publication CoinDesk reported a leaked balance sheet that showed that Alameda Research was on unstable grounds.The report revealed that most of Alameda's assets were tied up in FTX's in-house token, FTT. With the broader crypto market already reeling, traders began worrying about a sudden drop in the value of FTT.Changpeng Zhao, who runs Binance, FTX's rival exchange, announced shortly after that Binance would be selling its holdings of FTT. With that traders across the board began rushing to withdraw their own holdings off of FTX's platform. Bankman-Fried had no choice but to ask Binance to bail FTX out.By Wednesday, Binance had walked away from the deal. Bankman-Fried's own assets dropped 94% and his net worth plummeted to around $1 billion, according to Bloomberg.On Friday, FTX announced Bankman-Fried was resigning as CEO but would help "assist in an orderly transition" to new CEO John J. Ray III.

Ray has held several senior executives roles at other companies in the past, including at Enron to lead its turnaround efforts.

Having failed to secure a bailout, FTX, Alameda Research, and 130 additional affiliated companies have started voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

"The immediate relief of Chapter 11 is appropriate to provide the FTX Group the opportunity to assess its situation and develop a process to maximize recoveries for stakeholders," said new CEO Ray. "The FTX Group has valuable assets that can only be effectively administered in an organized, joint process. I want to ensure every employee, customer, creditor, contract party, stockholder, investor, governmental authority and other stakeholder that we are going to conduct this effort with diligence, thoroughness and transparency."

As part of FTX's bankruptcy proceedings, the new CEO said he'd never "seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information" as what happened with the company.The logo of FTX is seen at the entrance of the FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, US.

Source: Insider

On the first day of FTX's bankruptcy hearing, the company's lawyer said one of its US branches bought almost $300 million worth of Bahamian real estate.Sam Bankman-Fried and a Bahamas government building in Nassau.

"Based on preliminary investigations, most of those real estate purchases related to homes and vacation properties that were used by senior executives of the company," James Bromley, a restructuring partner at Sullivan & Cromwell who is on FTX's bankruptcy team, said.

Bankman-Fried showed up for an interview on Wednesday with Andrew Ross Sorkin at the DealBook Summit in a segment called "What Happened?"

Bankman-Fried said he's not focused on worrying about being held criminally liable for FTX's collapse, and that instead he wants to "help" the millions of customers and stakeholders who lost their money.

He appeared virtually from the Bahamas, and said he's "thought about" coming back to the US — denying that the reason he hasn't returned is because of fears of being arrested.

He denied reports of improper drug use and "wild parties" with his employees.Sam Bankman-Fried speaks with Andrew Ross Sorkin during The New York Times DealBook Summit in New York City on November 30, 2022.

During his appearance at the DealBook Summit, Bankman-Fried told Sorkin that drugs he took were "totally on-label," and were prescribed to him for "focus and concentration."

He also said he doesn't know what happened to the $100 million stake he had in Twitter. Elon Musk previously disputed a Semafor report that said he invited Bankman-Fried to roll over his public Twitter shares into a stake in the now private company.

Source: Insider, Insider

Against the advice of his lawyers, Bankman-Fried is also talking to other news publications.Sam Bankman-Fried speaks onstage during the first annual Moonlight Gala benefitting CARE - Children With Special Needs - hosted by Michael Cayre, Roy Nachum and MegaMoon Museum at Casa Cipriani on June 23, 2022 in New York City.

In addition to appearing at the DealBook Summit, Bankman-Fried has done interviews with Intelligencer and Good Morning America, and had his conversation with a Vox reporter, who is also a "longtime friend," published. At the DealBook Summit, Bankman-Fried said he "stupidly forgot" his friend "was also a reporter."

He also said at the summit that his lawyers don't want him talking, but, "I have a duty to talk to people... I have a duty to do everything I can to try and do what's right."

On Good Morning America, Bankman-Fried said he could've prevented FTX's implosion if he'd spent "an hour a day" on risk management.Sam Bankman-Fried dines with (from left) TK, Anthony Scaramucci, and Kevin O'Leary at the SALT NY Conference

Source: Good Morning America

Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on Monday, and could be extradited to the US.

Bahamian authorities arrested Bankman-Fried at the US government's request on Monday.

"The Bahamas and the United States have a shared interest in holding accountable all individuals associated with FTX who may have betrayed the public trust and broken the law," Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis said in a press release.

Legal experts told Insider that prosecutors in the US can extradite Bankman-Fried back to the US once he faces criminal charges from the US government. 

It's "likely" authorities in the US are going to request Bankman-Fried's extradition, Sen. Ryan Pinder KC, attorney general of the Bahamas, said in a statement.

Hours before his arrest, Bankman-Fried was doing an interview in Twitter Spaces with Unusual Whales, and said he didn't "believe" he would be arrested if he returned to the US. 

During the interview, he was playing a video game called "Storybook Brawl" — a game his now collapsed company, FTX, acquired in March.

Bankman-Fried was formally charged with 8 criminal charges by US federal prosecutors in New YorkWASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08: CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried testifies during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee at Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 8, 2021 in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing on "Digital Assets and the Future of Finance: Understanding the Challenges and Benefits of Financial Innovation in the United States."

Charges include fraud for allegedly using funds from FTX to support his hedge fund Alameda Research, wire fraud, conspiracy charges to commit securities fraud, money laundering, and defrauding the US, and violating campaign finance laws.

Hours after his arrest, the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced it would file charges against Bankman-Fried in relation "to his violations of securities laws."Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX CEO, at a digital assets hearing in 2021.

"We commend our law enforcement partners for securing the arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried on federal criminal charges," Gurbir Grewal, the enforcement director for the SEC, wrote in a Twitter statement

The SEC alleges Bankman-Fried violated the Securities Act through misusing FTX customer funds for his own benefits, and not being transparent about debts with investors.

Bankman-Fried was "orchestrating a massive, years-long fraud, diverting billions of dollars of the trading platform's customer funds for his own personal benefit and to help grow his crypto empire," the SEC said in its filing against him.

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Biden signs bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriage months after Supreme Court raised doubts about marriage and contraception decisions

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 4:20pm
President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law on Tuesday.
  • President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law on Tuesday.
  • It repeals the Defense of Marriage Act and requires states to recognize marriages performed in other states.
  • The bill emerged after the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade threw precedents into doubt.

President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law on Tuesday, capping off a months-long debate that began after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

"Today's a good day," said Biden at a ceremony on the South Lawn that was also attended by singer and LGBT activist Cyndi Lauper and musical artist Sam Smith. "A day America takes a vital step toward equality. Toward liberty and justice. Not just for some, but for everyone."

The new law, designed to protect same-sex and interracial marriage, formally repeals the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage at the federal level as being solely between a man and a woman. It will also require states to recognize marriages performed in other states.

While the Supreme Court overturned DOMA in 2013 and required states to perform same-sex marriages with its Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015, those rulings and others were thrown into question this year when a majority composed of conservative justices overturned Roe v. Wade and revoked the constitutional right to an abortion.

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion to the June ruling that other precedents, including the Obergefell decision finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, should be "reconsidered" as well.

Democrats introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in response, and were joined in supporting the legislation by an unprecedented number of Republicans, including 47 House Republicans who supported the initial version of the bill in July and 12 Republican senators who supported an amended version of the bill in December.

Biden addressed Thomas' June opinion during his address on Tuesday at the White House. 

"Congress is acting because an extreme Supreme Court has stripped away the right important to millions of Americans that existed for half a century," he said, adding that Thomas "thinks we should reconsider" constitutional rights to marriage and contraception. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a previously outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, notably never spoke out against the bill.

Nonetheless, the bill garnered eight fewer Republican votes when a version amended to protect religious liberties passed the House again in December.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to clear your Telegram cache to reclaim storage space and enhance your privacy

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 4:16pm
Telegram carries a cache that you may want to clear for various reasons.
  • You can manually clear the Telegram cache on your computer or phone from the "Data and storage" section of the Settings menu.
  • Using Telegram's storage settings, you can specify the maximum storage space the cache will ever take up. 
  • In the Telegram app for Windows and MacOS, you can clear the entire cache or selectively delete just photos and videos.

Whenever you use the Telegram app, it stores files locally on whatever device you're using, whether that's a computer or mobile device. These files are in Telegram's cache, which the app relies on to improve performance and quickly serve data (like shared photos and videos) you might want to view. 

You might occasionally want to clear your Telegram cache, whether it's to recover storage space, enhance your privacy by removing local files, or troubleshoot issues with the app. The process varies depending on what device you are using, but it only takes a few clicks or taps. 

How to clear the Telegram cache on the desktop

1. On the Windows or Mac desktop, start the Telegram app. 

2. Click the three-line menu at the top left and click Settings.

To get to the Telegram cache, start by choosing Settings.

3. On the Settings page, click Advanced

4. In the Data and storage section, click Manage local storage

The cache controls are in the Data and storage section of the Settings menu.

5. You can selectively clear elements of the cache or, to remove everything and recover all the space used by the Telegram cache, click Clear all

You can clear the cache or fine-tune how large the cache may be.

Quick tip: You can specify the maximum size of the cache using the sliders as well as set a time limit for how long files stay on your computer using the Clear files older than slider. 

How to clear the Telegram cache on mobile

1. On your Android or iPhone, start the Telegram app.

2. Tap Settings at the bottom of the page.

3. Tap Data and Storage.

4. Tap Storage Usage.

5. In the storage section at the bottom of the page, tap Clear Telegram Cache.

The mobile Telegram app lets you clear the cache or customize the size of the cache.

Quick tip: Use the maximum cache size slider to limit how much space Telegram takes up on your phone. You can also set a time limit for how long files stay on your phone using the Keep media slider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The simple brain hack that will make achieving your goals so much easier

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 4:15pm
After goal setting comes the less exciting day-to-day work, but using "if-then" statements can help you see it through.
  • A technique psychologists call "implementation intention" can help you stick to your goals.
  • Motivation is not always enough — "pre-determined goal-directed behaviors" keep you focused longer.
  • People are more likely to reach their goals if they train their brains to use "if-then" statements.

As entrepreneurs, most of us are goal-driven, and we've learned how to set clear, juicy goals and then break them down into game plans of smaller projects and tasks. The challenge comes when it's time for you and your team to actually to follow those game plans.

After the thrill of setting that awesome goal, comes the day-to-day work that's often not so exciting. So how do you keep yourself and your team moving forward? How can you stay on track and consistently hit your daily, weekly, and quarterly goals?

One of the answers is in the simple brain hack that psychologists call "implementation intention."

What the research shows

Peter Gollwitzer, a psychology professor at NYU, first coined the term in the 1990s. He realized that many people set goals, but not many achieved them because they didn't take the action they needed to take. Dr. Gollwitzer showed that the difference wasn't just motivation — as some people were highly motivated and still didn't do what they needed to do — but people were much more likely to reach their goals by figuring out "pre-determined goal-directed behaviors" and turning them into habits.

Rather than just coming up with a strategy to achieve a goal and then breaking it down into tasks, Dr. Gollwitzer found that people were more likely to succeed if they trained their brains to choose to do the things that they needed to do by using "if-then" statements (you can also use "when-then" statements).

He and his colleagues ran over 400 studies using every type of goal: quitting smoking, voting, healthy eating, exercising, and even using condoms. All the studies showed that implementation intentions made a massive difference in the results people got.

Get to your goal using "when-then"

How does it work? For example, let's say that you want to grow your business and getting lots of 5-star testimonials will help. So, you decide to get 100 testimonials this quarter (about eight per week), and you'll get them by calling 20 past clients per week, just four every day.

Sounds simple, right? But this kind of project easily gets lost in the shuffle. You mean to do it; you know it's important, but other things that seem more urgent pop up. Eventually, you might even forget about getting those testimonials completely.

With implementation intention, you start with the statement, "When ___, then I will ___." You not only say what you'll do, but also give it a specific time and place. In this case, you might say, "When I get to the office, and before I even look at my emails, I'll call four past clients for testimonials." This tells your brain exactly when to be ready to make the calls. It sets up your energy and focus. By doing it over and over, your brain is automatically triggered to sit down and make calls as soon as you walk into your office.

James Clear talks about this in his book "Atomic Habits." He points out that setting up implementation intention keeps you from deciding whether to do something every single time. You don't need to be super motivated that day, and you don't need to use your willpower to get yourself to do it. You just do it because, after a while, it would feel weird not to do it, just like not brushing your teeth before bed would feel strange.

Overcome obstacles using "if-then"

Implementation intention also helps you pre-plan for obstacles you might encounter and helps get you through them. Say you know that your morning calls will often get interrupted by team members who need your input. You know something like this is bound to happen, so before it does, you figure out, "If ___ then I will ___."

"If I get interrupted, I will ask the person (unless they are bleeding to death) to give me 15-20 minutes." Or maybe you decide, "If I get interrupted in the morning, I will close the door and eat lunch at my desk to make my calls." The strategy you use to handle the obstacle is up to you. The point is that you already have it figured out and know exactly how to stay on track despite anything that tries to get in the way.

Athletes have used this for years. Marathon runners know they'll run into "the wall" at about 18 to 20 miles. Rather than getting blindsided, they figure out ways to handle it before the race. They'll slow their pace and take some sports gel. They'll pay attention to the cheering crowd or focus on a certain mantra. They don't try to figure out how to deal with the wall when it's happening. They have a plan, so it doesn't throw them off their goal.

When I started coaching, I realized that many of my students hit a wall about three months in. They were learning and implementing different marketing strategies — but these strategies take some time, so they didn't see any results yet. We learned to warn them ahead of time. "Hey, you might not see results for 4-5 months. That doesn't mean you aren't on track. If you're doing the work, results will come soon."

Then we help them with "if-then" strategies. "If you feel stuck or discouraged, then call in during office hours." An implementation intention is a brain-hack tool that helps you take the steps you need to take, whether you're feeling motivated or not. You set up the implementation intention by saying what you'll do and precisely when you'll do it, and you pre-plan how you'll deal with obstacles to stay on track.

James Clear wrote: "Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated. It's the ability to keep going when work isn't exciting that makes the difference."

Read the original article on Business Insider

US stocks rise but pare most gains after inflation cools in November and investors brace for final Fed decision of 2022

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 4:10pm
Used car prices continued to fall in November.
  • US stocks ended Tuesday's session with a win but came off session highs. 
  • Stocks initially surged after November CPI cooled to 7.1%, the lowest rate in nearly a year. 
  • The Fed is likely to deliver its 7th rate increase at its final meeting of 2022 on Wednesday.  

US stocks finished higher Tuesday after data showed consumer prices cooled in November but investors surrendered stronger gains as they braced for the Federal Reserve's final policy meeting of 2022 that will cap off this year's aggressive rate-hike campaign. 

The S&P 500 ended up modestly, notching a second straight win after soaring by more than 2% during the session. The Nasdaq Composite rose but back off a potential advance of more than 3%.  Ten of the S&P 500's 11 sectors rose, with the consumer staples group lagging behind. 

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. closing bell on Tuesday: 

Stocks climbed after the Labor Department said the headline Consumer Price Index rose to 7.1% year over year, the lowest reading since December 2021. Core CPI rose 6% year-over-year, below the projection of 6.1% from economists polled by Bloomberg. 

With that report in hand, investors prepared to hear from the Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday. It's expected to deliver its seventh and final rate increase of 2022, sized at 50 basis points. Odds that the Fed will continue to downsize rate hikes to 25 basis points in 2023 spiked up after the November inflation report.

However, "we think it's too early for the Fed to send a clear signal about an end to its tightening cycle," Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote in a Tuesday note. 

"The US's two-track economy will make it difficult for the Fed to clearly signal an end to the tightening cycle, and there is even scope for disappointment as the US economy is starting to hurt from this year's tightening and geopolitical risk adds to uncertainty." 

The Fed on Wednesday will update its economic and inflation projections. 

Outside of equity indexes, investors learned former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is facing various criminal and civil charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Southern District of New York, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Bankman-Fried, who was arrested at his home in the Bahamas on Monday, was charged by the SEC with defrauding $1.8 billion out of investors. He faces conspiracy and wire fraud charges, among others, from the Southern District of New York. 

Here's what else is happening today:

  • Binance temporarily paused withdrawals of stablecoin USDC after customers pulled over $2 billion in funds over worries about the crypto exchange's stability.
  • BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, expects the Fed to keep interest rates high even if a recession crushes stocks next year. 
  • Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel says the Fed will start rate cuts by mid-2023 and stocks are undervalued. 
  • Moderna stock jumped more than 20% during Tuesday's session following upbeat results from a trial of its Keytruda cancer treatment.  

In commodities, bonds, and crypto:

Read the original article on Business Insider

44 creative corporate gifts to thank your employees for their hard work

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 3:49pm

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Surprise your employees or clients with elevated and thoughtful corporate gifts like flowers, personalized clothes, Milk Bar sweets, and more.

'Tis the season: Corporate gifting season, that is. Whether you manage a small team of five or oversee thousands in offices nationwide, you know that your employees, clients, and customers are invaluable to the success of your business. If you're looking for a great way to say thanks (that doesn't involve cheap trinkets or overpriced gift baskets), we've got you covered with over 40 unique corporate gift ideas.

All of the gifts in this guide can be easily ordered in bulk; where applicable, we've linked to the brand's corporate ordering form. Some gifts are also customizable with company colors, a logo, or a personal touch that truly shows your appreciation, whether you're treating them to a mug portrait or an Otherland candle.

Cute gift boxes you can curate

Greetabl, from $15, available at Greetabl

Greetabl lets you pick everything from the box and bow to the contents inside the present. You can pick everything from a mug and socks to bath bombs and hot sauce to create a truly customizable gift.

Greetabl has a corporate gifting page to make the shipping process easier and faster.


Trendy luxury candles

Otherland Candles, from $36, available at Otherland

Otherland makes really beautiful and unique scented candles — anyone would be happy to receive one.

The startup has a corporate gifting page, so you can order in bulk and even add a custom logo.

A mouth-watering charcuterie board

Boarderie Charcuterie, from $129, available at Boarderie and Amazon

Featured on Oprah's Favorite Things list, Boarderie charcuterie boards are the perfect gift for foodies. They feature a wide assortment of high-quality artisan ingredients. Plus, Boarderie will engrave the board with your corporate logo.

A cute, personalized mug

Personalized Hobby Mug, $32, available at Uncommon Goods

Perfect if you manage a small team where you know everyone pretty well, these mugs from Uncommon Goods can be personalized to your coworkers and their hobbies. They're also relatively inexpensive and probably something they'll use every single day. 

If you're in charge of all the corporate gifts this year, you can also make a group corporate order with your company logo.

Noise-canceling headphones for loud work environments

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Canceling Headphones, fom $47.99, available at Amazon and Soundcore

More workers are logging on while on the road. Whether in airports or busy coffee shops, finding the quiet needed for more cognitively challenging tasks can be tricky. Enter the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 headphones. Their active noise canceling will help employees focus in any environment.

Anker offers a corporate purchasing program to save on bulk orders.

A mug warmer to keep coffee and tea hot

Bestinnkits Smart Coffee Warmer, $29.99, available at Amazon

A mug warmer is one of the most useful corporate gifts we've received. It keeps your tea or coffee warm as you take sips throughout the day. The Bestinnkits warmer turns on automatically when you put your mug down and turns off when it's removed.

A collection of cocktail (or mocktail) syrups

12 Days of Cocktails Cocktail Syrup Advent Calendar, $44.95, available at Cocktail & Sons

The 12 Days of Cocktails features 12 unique syrups in numbered boxes. Each day, you open up a box and make a cocktail using the recipes in the included booklet. Each syrup has an alcohol-free mocktail recipe. Some unique syrups include Roasted Pineapple & Chili Peppers, Tonic, and Cucumber Lemon Balm.

Get a discount on larger orders with Cocktail & Sons' wholesale program.

A tin of gourmet popcorn

Gourmet Popcorn Tin, from $19.95, available at Cravings Gourmet Popcorn

A tin of popcorn is a classic corporate gift, but when you order from Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, you put an artisan twist on the old standard, adding serious flavor. In addition to the traditional mixes, Cravings offers unique options, including Fruity Rainbow Remix, Sea Salt and Molasses, and more. The company also offers deals on large bundle orders.

A soothing DIY plant project

Just Breathe Eucalyptus Spa Gift Set, $30, available at Uncommon Goods

Plants are a solid, safe gift, but this set goes the extra mile with a DIY plant-your-own-eucalyptus project, a self-watering planter, and soothing extras like bath salts and a body scrubber. The idea is that once the eucalyptus is planted, it can be reused for at-home self-care experiences like a facial steam or warm bath, helping everyone get some much needed relaxation. 

A small Tile Pro that helps them find misplaced items

Tile Pro, from $33.25, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart

The Tile Pro is something they might not buy for themselves, but it's immensely helpful in finding misplaced items like keys and phones. You attach one to an item that can be tracked through a free app or by pushing a button to create noise. 

Tile provides custom corporate orders or can even incorporate Tile technology into your product.

A daily planner designed to fit against their keyboard

BestSelf Weekly Action Pad, from $19.99, available at Amazon and BestSelf

Designed to be keyboard-friendly, this calendar helps people prioritize their week, organize any tasks, and keep tabs on goals or projects. It's made by the same company that makes one of our most-recommended planners. If you think people might enjoy another organizational resource in life or at work, this is a good gift. 

BestSelf has a corporate gifting program that offers discounts and custom printing to incorporate your brand.

Famously delicious sweets from Milk Bar

Milk Bar Treats, from $27, available at Milk Bar

Milk Bar, the cult-favorite bakery based in New York, delivers its decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to gift recipients' doorsteps. Check out Milk Bar's corporate gifting program.

Olive oil they've been meaning to try from Brightland

Awake Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $37, available at Brightland

California brand Brightland makes extra virgin olive oil and vinegar that we've found to be full-bodied and sharp. Its recognizable white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage — and also look really nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here

Brightland's corporate gifting program is a great option if you have 10 or more people you are buying for.

A nice leather mouse pad

Horween Leather Mousepad, $84.95, available at Nomad

Sure, something monogrammed with the company name is nice. But a company gift doesn't need to be so explicit either — and sometimes employees may appreciate the versatility of something timeless. This stylish leather mousepad is functional and comes with a microfiber travel bag. It's also one of the desk accessories Insider Reviews employees swear by.

If you want to put your logo on it, Nomad has a corporate sales program.

Brownies that give back

Benevolent Brownies, $35, available at Uncommon Goods

Not only are these the same delicious brownies Ben & Jerry's uses in its ice cream, but they're made at a B Corp that practice inclusive hiring and connects its employees with resources such as child care, community gardens, and sustainability programs. Check out Uncommon Goods' corporate gifting program.


A comfortable seat cushion for their home office

Royal Seat Cushion, $79, available at Purple

Why not make their office setup a bit more enjoyable? We love this Purple Seat cushion because it makes sitting down all day significantly more comfortable and helps improve posture while seated. You can read a full review of the Royal Seat Cushion here.

Engraved spirits from ReserveBar

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, $68, available at ReserveBar

Consider a bottle of their favorite spirit from ReserveBar's corporate gifting guide. Choose from a wide variety of champagnes, tequilas, and cocktail gift sets based on your employees' preferences.

If you're looking to make this gift even more special, you can opt for a custom bottle engraving.

To make a large ReserveBar order of 12 bottles or more, just fill out this form.

A Hydro Flask mug that regulates their drink's temperature

Hydro Flask 12 oz. Insulated Coffee Mug, from $27.62, available at Hydro Flask, REI, and Amazon

This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. Hydro Flask will put your company's branding on the mug.

This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold for up to 24. Read our full review of it here.

An inconspicuous and stylish wireless charger

iOttie iON Wireless Plus v2 Charging Pad, $34.95, available at Amazon

They probably don't need any more tchotchkes for their workspace. But they'll probably appreciate the inconspicuousness and convenience of this small wireless device that charges their iPhone much faster than a standard power adapter and cable. Senior reporter Amir Ismael swears by this one.

If you've got a bigger budget or fewer employees to purchase gifts for, we also recommend the sleek Courant Catch 3 Wireless Charger, even for $90.

An Atlas Tea Club subscription to some of the world's best teas and coffees

Atlas Tea Club 6 Month Gift Subscription, $99, available at Atlas Tea Club

This subscription sends your giftee single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. You can also opt for coffee

Starbucks gift cards

Starbucks Gift Card, from $15, available at Best Buy

Since there are Starbucks all over the country, its gift cards are great if you have employees spread across many locations. Starbucks' corporate sales program also has options that range from physical gift cards, branded gift cards, or digital gift cards delivered directly to your recipient's email.

You can set the value of the gift cards to anywhere between $5-$500. Learn more about Starbucks' corporate sales program here.

Mashable magnet toys from Speks

Speks Original Magnetic Balls, $34.95, available at Speks

We loved these tiny magnet toys a lot more than we expected to. Less obnoxious than fidget spinners, they're immensely satisfying to play with and build with as you work through a problem or concentrate on a task. The set includes 512 rare earth magnetic balls, a metal building base, a plastic splitter card, a 16-page starter guide, and a carrying case. 

A box of customer favorite coffee blends from La Colombe

Greatest Hits Gifts Box, $42, available at La Colombe 

If they don't live near one of La Colombe's 30 locations, send them a gift set filled with the brand's fan-favorite blends instead. La Colombe's Coffee for a Crowd program allows you to mix and match different products from its vast selection and receive 20% off any order of 20 or more boxes of coffee, making it a great gift for your coffee-loving employees.

Decadent chocolates from Vosges

Mini Exotic Chocolate Bar Library, $25, available at Vosges 

Our pick for the best chocolates you can gift, Vosges offers gift sets that are sure to impress your employees with both the high-quality chocolate and the beautiful packaging.

The Chocolate Bar Library is a great gifting option as it includes nine unique chocolate flavors — including banana coconut, matcha, and raw honey — in a keepsake box. Aside from this very giftable set, the Hazelnut Praline Bonbons set is a great gifting option, too.

Vosges also offers a corporate concierge which can help guide you through personalizing your chocolate selection with your company's branding and help coordinate shipping to multiple addresses. 

Plants and flowers from BloomsyBox

Cape Town Orchid, $44.99, available at BloomsyBox

Bring some life into your employee's home office setup by gifting them a beautiful flower arrangement or plant from BloomsyBox. The retailer offers a wide variety of floral arrangements and plants, subscriptions, and corporate gifting so that you can send your employees flowers on a consistent basis.

The comfiest Bombas socks

Men's and Women's Merino Calf Sock 8-Pack, $151.20, available at Bombas

Part of Bombas' appeal, other than the obvious differences in fit and feel, is that it donates a pair of socks to a homeless shelter every time someone buys a pair, which also applies to its corporate gifting program. It can work with your company's current charity partner, or help you find the perfect donation recipient. You can fill out a corporate gifting form at Bombas here.

UrbanStems flowers to show them they're appreciated

Flower Bouquets, from $32, available at UrbanStems

Valentine's Day and Mother's Day aren't the only occasions where a bouquet of flowers is appropriate. Welcome new employees (and remind current ones) they're appreciated with beautifully arranged flowers from our favorite flower delivery service.

Business customers can get up to 25% off regular prices. You can learn more about corporate gifting at UrbanStems here.

A variety of Sugarwish candies for every kind of sweet tooth

Candy or Snack Gift Box, from $23, available at Sugarwish

If your employees prefer sour, sweet, or even chocolate candy, Sugarwish's wide offering of sweets and snacks has them covered. Plus, Sugarwish's corporate gifting program allows businesses to customize candies with branding and logos. 

Lula's Garden succulents to brighten up their workspace

Urban Garden, $105, available at Lula's Garden

A dash of greenery on their desk or in their room will make them happy — make it low-maintenance and nearly impossible to kill, and they'll be even happier. You can learn more about custom gifting at Lula's Garden here.

Gourmet gummies from Sugarfina

Clementine Bears Candy Cube, $8.95, available at Sugarfina

Give your employees a sweet treat they'll remember with a Sugarfina Candy Cube. Thoughtfully packaged in clear acrylic boxes, these candies were made for gifting.

You can also design a custom Bento Box, candy cube, or taster packet with your company logo. Submit a corporate gifting request here for Sugarfina

A set of spa-worthy bath products from Nécessaire

The Body Essentials, $60, available at Nécessaire

If you're looking to gift employees bath and body products they'll actually want to use, Nécessaire offers luxurious products free of toxic ingredients. With three set options, multiple scents, and even a fragrance-free option, you'll surely find something they'll love. To participate in the brand's corporate gifting program, simply fill out this contact form.

BAGGU's iconic nylon tote bags

BAGGU Nylon Tote Bag, from $14, available at Amazon and BAGGU

These waterproof nylon totes hold 50 pounds of stuff, fold down to a fraction of their size to fit in your back pocket, and can be customized with your company name.

You can request a custom quote at BAGGU here.

Classic sweet treats from Baked by Melissa

Latest & Greatest Cupcake Pack, 25-count, $37, available at Baked by Melissa

There's a reason that these bite-sized but flavorful cupcakes are a go-to gift for many. Baked by Melissa's Latest & Greatest pack includes customer favorites such as red velvet and cookie dough as well as new seasonal flavor additions.

Purchase these cupcakes in large quantities directly from the product page, or if you would like a more customized experience for your giftees, check out the brand's corporate gifting information here.

Customized pencils from Shutterfly

Custom Pencils, from $9.99, available at Shutterfly

Something to write with can always come in handy, be it for to-do lists, doodling, or anything in between. These custom pencils come in a set of 12, are available in four colors, and the message can be anything from a company name to a fun insider joke with coworkers.

Custom L.L.Bean jackets

Custom jacket, $99, available at L.L.Bean

When it comes to gifting clothing, one size does not fit all. Luckily, L.L.Bean's business gifting site offers a wide range of inclusive sizes, from XS to 3X. Its fitness fleece quarter-zip jacket is available in five colors and can be customized with a logo.

The retailer also has a selection of other customizable products such as beanies, blankets, and duffle bags. You can place a corporate order here.

Delicious treats from Goldbelly

Corporate gifts, from $34.95, available at Goldbelly

You can never go wrong with baked goods. With an option to narrow your search by region, Goldbelly's corporate gifting program allows you to send local eats to your employees no matter where they're located.

It offers everything from organic mixed fruit baskets to gift boxes of assorted brownies. Plus, every order also helps support small or minority-owned businesses. For bulk orders of 15 recipients or more, you can email

Versatile YETI tumblers

YETI Rambler 20 Oz. Tumbler, $35, available at YETI, REI, and Amazon

Whether you're sipping on a hot or cold drink, YETI's stainless steel, double-wall insulated tumblers never fail to keep your beverage at the optimal temperature. Employees can keep them on their desks or bring them along to the trails on their days off.

You can fill out a corporate gift form at YETI here.

Custom sticky notes from Zazzle

Custom Post-It Notes, from $6, available at Zazzle

Sticky notes are a productive gift that you know they'll make great use of, whether jotting down assignments for the day or using them for out-of-office tasks and grocery lists.

Add a custom touch to this office staple with a team photo, company logo, or personal text. Zazzle allows for orders of up to 500 packs at a time, and bulk ordering can save up to 60%.

Patterned socks from Happy Socks

Happy Socks Gift Box, from $16, available at Happy Socks

Regardless of your office dress code, fun socks will always be appreciated. You'll have difficulty narrowing down the final choice from Happy Socks' large selection of colorful, quirky patterns and prints.

Custom designs with the company colors or logo are also available for orders of 6,000 pairs or more. 

Leather accessories from Leatherology

Bifold Wallet with Flap, $100, available at Leatherology

Send employees a beautiful, full-grain leather accessory like a luggage tag, business card case, or keychain. For an extra special touch, add a debossed monogram or logo.

Though leather goods sound like a premium gift that could be out of your budget, Leatherology sells its bags and accessories without the markup, so customers don't have to spend so much for a touch of luxury. You can fill out a corporate gift inquiry form at Leatherology here.

Hatch Idea notebooks to keep track of agenda items

Hatch Ideas Notebook, $25, available at Etsy

A well-executed idea doesn't happen overnight. Help your employees hatch the next big idea with this cloth-bound notebook that's organized into three sections: Conceive, Incubate, and Hatch.

Although there's no automatic option for bulk purchasing, the Etsy shop owner typically responds to messages within 24 hours and should be able to accommodate larger orders.

Elegant candles from Otherland

Chandelier Candle, $36, available at Otherland

There are plenty of candles out there, but few quite as giftable as Otherland's. These premium candles are available in many scents to suit the different personalities of your employees, and they look great on any tabletop (office, bedroom, or otherwise).

You can email to inquire about corporate gifts and place a large order.

At-home wine tastings from Vinebox

Wine Gift Boxes, from $45, available at Vinebox

Instead of gifting them a bottle of wine you're not sure they'll like, let them personalize the selection themselves.

Vinebox takes the intimidation and pressure off buying wine by delivering wine flights in unique bottles and helping budding wine enthusiasts discover their favorites. You can learn more about corporate gifting at Vinebox here.

High-quality sunglasses from Sunglass Hut

Polo Ralph Lauren Sunglasses, from $64.50, available at Sunglass Hut

Sunglasses are a common gift or employee freebie, but they're rarely worn because they're usually plain or low-quality.

Sunglass Hut offers top brands and stylish options that everyone will actually want to wear. A perk of ordering through Sunglass Hut is that anyone can go to a store to receive a free personalized adjustment if the glasses don't fit well. You can learn about corporate gifting at Sunglass Hut here.

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Billionaire David Rubenstein says a recession is coming, tech valuations are set to fall further, and the Fed is going to have to get unemployment to 6% to get inflation down

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 3:49pm
  • In a new interview with LinkedIn, Billionaire David Rubenstein weighed in on the biggest market risks, adding that a recession is likely near.
  • The Carlyle Group cofounder says "until we get unemployment to about 6%, we're not likely to get inflation down appreciably."
  • Rubenstein also said tech valuations are set to fall further.

Billionaire David Rubenstein detailed his market outlook on Tuesday, including predictions for the technology sector, the Federal Reserve's fight against rampant inflation, and a looming recession. 

The Carlyle Group cofounder says that given the current economic conditions a recession is upon us, citing "jacked up" interest rates, which will inevitably slow down gross domestic product growth.

"I suspect the Fed is determined to not make another mistake on inflation," Rubenstein said in an interview with LinkedIn. "I think the Fed generally would say that they misread how much inflation was going to be caused by the $5 trillion injected into the economy by Congress to deal with COVID, and also the quantitative easing impact as well."

He added: "[Inflation] was transitory, they said, but it turns out it wasn't."

If the Fed continues aggressive rate hikes, unemployment will almost certainly rise too, despite a remarkably resilient labor market. Rubenstein predicts easing hawkish monetary tightening, however, won't ease up soon. 

"The Fed now recognizes that it's got its work cut out," Rubenstein said. "The Fed cannot say publicly what I can say, and what others have said, which is that until we get unemployment to about 6%, we're not likely to get inflation down appreciably."

Along with a recession and a rise in unemployment, Rubenstein says tech company valuations are expected to fall further on harsh economic conditions into next year.

"I think some of the tech companies that have changed our lives for the better are very good, and maybe their valuations will come down a bit," he said. "But I think a lot of the valuations for newer tech companies that don't have revenues, let alone earnings, probably are going to come down more than a fair bit."

Rubenstein added: "That's a cautionary note."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mitch McConnell says Trump's 2022 endorsements limited the GOP's 'ability to control a primary outcome' which led to 'candidate quality' issues

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 3:39pm
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump.
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Trump for the GOP's poor showing in this year's Senate races.
  • He reiterated previous comments on Tuesday about "candidate quality" issues with Senate candidates.
  • But he said Trump's "decisive" endorsements meant the national GOP had to work with his picks.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed former President Donald Trump on Tuesday for the Republican Party's poor showing in Senate elections this year, saying that the influence of Trump's endorsements limited the ability of the party to choose better nominees.

"Our ability to control a primary outcome was quite limited in [2022] because the support of the former president proved to be very decisive in these primaries," he told reporters at his weekly press conference at the Capitol. "So my view was: do the best you can with the cards you're dealt."

"Hopefully in the next cycle, we'll have quality candidates everywhere and a better outcome," he added.

McConnell's comments suggest that he and other top Republicans essentially had to work with the candidates who Trump chose, rather than attempt to wage a proxy war against the former president.

The Kentucky Republican noted on Tuesday that he had intervened in Senate races in both Missouri and Alabama. In Missouri, Trump essentially declined to endorse a particular candidate, while he switched his support to McConnell-backed Katie Britt in Alabama after a falling out with his original endorsed candidate, Rep. Mo Brooks.

—Acyn (@Acyn) December 13, 2022

McConnell also reiterated previous comments he's made about the party's roster of Senate candidates, including that he "never said there was a red wave." 

But it's the first time he's publicly tied Trump to the issue of "candidate quality," which McConnell first raised during comments at an event in Kentucky in August.

He again referenced the candidacies of Blake Masters in Arizona and Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, two candidates who denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election and won their primaries with Trump's support, only to easily lose to their Democratic opponents in November.

And he referenced Herschel Walker, another scandal-plagued candidate pushed by Trump who was defeated by Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia during a runoff election last week.

"Look at Arizona, look at New Hampshire, and a challenging situation in Georgia as well," he said on Tuesday.

"I do think we had an opportunity to relearn, one more time: you have to have quality candidates to win competitive Senate races," he added.

In 2022, not only did every incumbent Democratic senator win re-election — the first time that's happened with a Democrat in the White House since 1934 — but they also expanded their majority in the Senate to 51 votes.

Spokespeople for Trump's 2024 presidential campaign did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Recession fears have crushed risk appetite for stocks in December, but easing inflation brightens the outlook on consumer sectors, S&P says

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 3:18pm
  • Risk appetite for US stocks among institutional investors plunged in December, S&P Global Market Intelligence said Tuesday.
  • The firm's Risk Appetite Index veered to negative 13% from neutral in November. 
  • The macro environment is a key concern with nearly one-in-eight investors anticipating a deep recession in 2023. 

Risk appetite for US stocks among institutional investors veered sharply lower in December but consumer-linked shares appeared to gain favor as inflation cooled from multi-year highs, S&P Global said Tuesday.

"With almost one-in-eight investors anticipating a deep recession, and a further 70% expecting a mild recession, the macro environment remains a key concern for the markets," Chris Williamson, executive director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said in a statement about the monthly report he wrote. 

The firm's Risk Appetite Index flipped to negative 13%, pulling back from neutral in November and marking the lowest level since September. The result came from a survey of around 300 institutional investors operating funds with roughly $3.5 million in assets under management. 

The global macro environment, central bank policy, and the US macro economy were seen as the biggest drags on the market, said Williamson.

"While in all three cases the perceived drag has moderated slightly compared to November, investors still see the economic environment and prospect of further rate hikes to be major headwinds for equities," he said.  

The Federal Reserve, in its fight to bring down inflation from four-decade highs, looked ready this week to issue its seventh interest rate increase of 2022. The Fed in jacking up borrowing costs is aiming to slow economic activity, which, in turn, ramps up worries about the US sliding into a recession in 2023. 

For its part, Bank of America projected the economy could enter a contractionary period by March. The S&P Global survey found 82% of respondents see a recession as the most likely scenario to develop in the coming months. The rate was 12% for deep-recession expectations, up from 4% in July. 

Meanwhile, the Expected Returns Index moved further into negative territory. S&P Global MI said equity fundamentals and shareholder returns looked set to provide less support to stocks than previously anticipated, increasing concerns over valuations. 

It said one "bright spot" in the December survey was sentiment has turned increasingly positive for the consumer staples sector and less bearish towards consumer discretionary stocks, suggesting some benefits to households with inflation cooling in recent months. The November inflation report released Tuesday showed headline inflation eased by more than expected to 7.1%. 

Healthcare logged the highest degree of bullish sentiment among sectors, displacing energy from the top spot. But real estate remained the least preferred sector, stemming in part from the impact of higher interest rates.

The S&P 500 plunged into a bear market in 2022 as the Fed kicked up interest rates but the index has narrowed its potential loss for the year to about 16%. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Billionaire investor Howard Marks says financial markets are going through their 3rd 'sea change' of the last 50 years. Here are the 6 best quotes from his letter to investors.

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 3:02pm
  • Billionaire Howard Marks says markets are in the middle of the third "sea change" of his 53-year career. 
  • Previous changes were in risk appetite and in the interest rate environment. 
  • Today, the post-crisis era of low returns is over, and "full returns" are possible but old investing strategies will be tested. 

Howard Marks in his letter to investors said that financial markets are in their third "sea change" he's seen in his 53-year career, and that the strategies that worked well for decades may be tested amid upheavals in the investing landscape. 

The billionaire founder of Oaktree Capital says that the previous two changes he's observed earlier in his career were the shift in investor mentality when it comes to risk appetite, noting that the rise of high-yield bonds completely altered the conventional wisdom of investing in only "safe assets". The second change came during the era of Paul Volcker's leadership of the Federal Reserve, which ushered in a 40 year period of declining interest rates and an equally long boom in the stock market. 

In this latest change, market conditions are radically different, and less ideal compared to the post-crisis years. His biggest takeaway is that the the previous era of low returns from 2009-2021 has now become a "full-return world," and investors may not have to lean as heavily on risky investments to meet return requirements, though they will need to change how they invest compared to previous decades. 

Here are the investor's six best quotes from the memo, lightly edited for length and clarity:

1. On the sea change in risk appetite:

"Now risk wasn't necessarily avoided, but rather considered relative to return and hopefully borne intelligently...Young people joining the industry today would likely be shocked to learn that, back then, investors didn't think in risk/return terms. Now that's all we do."

2. On the sea change in the rate environment: 

"The long-term decline in interest rates began just a few years after the advent of risk/return thinking, and I view the combination of the two as having given rise to (a) the rebirth of optimism among investors, (b) the pursuit of profit through aggressive investment vehicles, and (c) an incredible four decades for the stock market."

3. On the third and most recent sea change: 

"The bottom line for me is that, in many ways, conditions at this moment are overwhelmingly different from – and mostly less favorable than – those of the post-GFC climate described above. These changes may be long-lasting, or they may wear off over time. But in my view, we're unlikely to quickly see the same optimism and ease that marked the post-GFC period.

We've gone from the low-return world of 2009-21 to a full-return world, and it may become more so in the near term. Investors can now potentially get solid returns from credit instruments, meaning they no longer have to rely as heavily on riskier investments to achieve their overall return targets. Lenders and bargain hunters face much better prospects in this changed environment than they did in 2009-21. And importantly, if you grant that the environment is and may continue to be very different from what it was over the last 13 years – and most of the last 40 years – it should follow that the investment strategies that worked best over those periods may not be the ones that outperform in the years ahead."

4. On the staggering difference in previous interest rate environments versus today:

"I received a notice from the bank each time my rate changed, and I framed the one that marked the high point in December 1980: It told me the interest rate on my loan had risen to 22.25%! Four decades later, I was able to borrow at just 2.25%, fixed for 10 years. This represented a decline of 2,000 basis points. Miraculous!"

5. On his outlook for interest rates:

"[I] believe that the base interest rate over the next several years is more likely to average 2-4% (i.e., not far from where it is now) than 0-2%. Of course, there are counterarguments. But, for me, the bottom line is that highly stimulative rates are likely not in the cards for the next several years, barring a serious recession from which we need rescuing (and that would have ramifications of its own). But I assure you Oaktree isn't going to bet money on that belief.

And later on in the memo: "Lastly, there is a forecast I'm confident of: Interest rates aren't about to decline by another 2,000 basis points from here."

6. On the outlook for the rate of debt defaults:

"No one can foretell how high the debt default rate will rise or how long it'll stay there. It's worth noting in this context that the annual default rate on high yield bonds averaged 3.6% from 1978 through 2009, but an unusually low 2.1% under the "just-right" conditions that prevailed for the decade 2010-19. In fact, there was only one year in that decade in which defaults reached the historical average."


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I run a multimillion-dollar specialty-coffee business that I started 5 years ago. Here are our 3 main marketing channels and how we measure success.

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 3:00pm
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Sahra Nguyen is the founder and CEO of Nguyen Coffee Supply.
  • Sahra Nguyen is the founder and CEO of Nguyen Coffee Supply, which sells Vietnamese coffee.
  • She started out with organic social and public-relations marketing and leaned into storytelling.
  • Nguyen now also does paid advertising, but success is measured by all channels working together.
  • This article is part of "Marketing for Small Business," a series exploring the basics of marketing strategy for SBOs to earn new customers and grow their business.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Sahra Nguyen, the 36-year-old founder and CEO of Nguyen Coffee Supply, about the marketing strategies that have helped grow her business. Insider has verified her business' revenue with documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

When people see the speed at which I've grown my direct-to-consumer coffee company over the past five years, they're often surprised to learn we didn't do any paid advertising for about the first 1 ½ years. 

Like many small businesses, we simply didn't have the money to spend. So we relied on growing our audience more organically for as long as we could. Even though we eventually layered in ad spend, I think this diversified marketing mix has really benefited us by allowing us to meet different types of customers where they are and creating multiple touchpoints to ultimately inspire a prospective customer to buy.

Here are the three marketing channels we rely on most, the unique opportunity each has given us for connecting with consumers, and how all three have worked together to help us gain traction and build a multimillion-dollar company.

We used social media to tell our story and build relationshipsNguyen brewing in Brooklyn, New York.

The core of our marketing efforts has always been about education, storytelling, and building community around our mission: To elevate Vietnamese coffee, especially the robusta bean. Social media has always been such a good place to do that because it gives me and my team direct access to our customer base. 

On social media, I can share ideas for ways to enjoy our beans and insights into how to use our specialty-coffee equipment. I can show behind-the-scenes shots of the Vietnamese coffee farmers we work with directly and explain why Vietnamese coffee is so special. I can dig into my journey as a Vietnamese American founder and discuss the change I want to see in the industry.

A post shared by Nguyen Coffee Supply ⚡️ (@nguyencoffeesupply)

What started as friends and family following us quickly grew to affinity groups who cared about the same things I did: The Asian American community, the immigrant community, and the specialty-coffee community. Finding our people and speaking our truth via social media have not only grown our social following but also influenced our word-of-mouth marketing, I believe, which is the No. 3 way people find out about us, a survey we conducted this year found. Because of our deep commitment to storytelling on social media, followers love to share the brand and have the talking points to do so.

We used PR to educate consumers and shift the narrative

Much of the success of our company relies on a massive narrative shift around the perception of the robusta bean and of Vietnam as a coffee producer. As such, public relations have been an important channel to layer on top of social media to deepen our education efforts and legitimize our message and product. 

For starters, traditional media allows for deeper and more nuanced education. While on social media we often have mere seconds to get to the point, longer articles or TV spots give us more space to share context or tie our mission to issues facing the world.

It's also helped widen our audience to people who cared about issues tangential to our mission. We targeted major news organizations to discuss the ethics of visibility in the coffee industry and how the perception of Vietnamese coffee is related to anti-racism activism. We sought out food publications to discuss why Vietnamese coffee deserved a rebrand and what it could offer serious coffee lovers

In the beginning, we'd measure the success of our PR by how many of our pitches were turning into published stories, which helped us evaluate the efficacy of our pitch, hook, storytelling, and macro-cultural relevance. Now that we've got the ball rolling, we cross-analyze press pieces, site traffic, and Google Analytics to estimate impressions and site traffic coming from a particular article.

We added paid advertising to push our efforts furtherNguyen visiting a coffee farm in Vietnam.

At some point, I found that the audience we were able to reach using organic marketing and word of mouth got kind of tapped out — especially on social media, the algorithm limits how many people you can reach organically, and it's tough to control. 

So we eventually started to add in paid advertising on Instagram, Facebook, and Google to scale our message to newer audiences. In doing so, we had to shift our messaging to appeal to an audience that may be colder, as they call it in marketing speak. Instead of sharing what mattered to me as a founder, I had to think about what mattered to the consumers: They want coffee that gives them energy and tastes good. 

Nguyen says success is about all of her marketing channels working together to drive consumers to purchase.

I also had to do a lot of experimentation and incremental tests to figure out which paid-advertising channels worked for us. For instance, early on I had a founder friend who had success with YouTube advertising, so I immediately threw a lot of money into it — and it ended up being a total flop for us because the customer-acquisition cost was far too high considering our average-order value.

There are so many channels for reaching your target market, and they won't all work for every brand, so incremental tests are important.

When it comes to measuring the success of our paid advertising, we've found it most helpful to think about how these channels work together. Consumers often interact with multiple touchpoints before they make a purchase. For instance, they may see an ad on Facebook and then read an article about us later and then Google us to click through and purchase. While Google Ads may get the attribution in that case, multiple platforms played a role.

That's why instead of paying attention only to the return on advertising spend of any given advertising channel, we also look at the blended return on advertising spend (also called the marketing-efficiency ratio) across all channels: How much money are we spending on ads across platforms, and how much revenue are we gaining from e-commerce? That helps us get a full-picture view of how our marketing efforts are working together.

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Iran hangs man from a crane in second execution related to protests

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 2:45pm
  • Majidreza Rahnavard was hanged from a crane on charges of "waging war against God."
  • Iran claims he stabbed two members of the paramilitary Basij force to death.
  • Human-rights activists say at least 488 people have been killed since protests began in September.

Majidreza Rahnavard was hanged from a crane amid nationwide protests in Iran. He is the second detainee to be executed.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The UK defense chief read out the numbers on Russia's war losses, and they're bleak

Tue, 12/13/2022 - 2:27pm
The Ukrainian army fires a captured Russian tank T-80 at the Russian position in Donetsk region, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.
  • Ben Wallace, the UK's defense chief, unveiled the latest figures on Russian military losses.
  • He said in an update that over 100,000 soldiers are either "dead, injured, or have deserted."
  • Additionally, Moscow has lost mountains of armored vehicles, aircraft, and artillery systems. 

After nearly 10 months of war in Ukraine, the UK's defense chief revealed this week a bleak set of figures on Russian military losses.

"We can say that we estimate over 100,000 Russians are either dead, injured, or have deserted," UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Monday as he delivered updates on the war to London's House of Commons.

This figure reflects a similar estimate from top US Gen. Mark Milley, who said in early November that over 100,000 Russian soldiers had been "killed and wounded" since Moscow launched its large-scale invasion on February 24. At the time, he noted that Ukraine's military has "probably" seen similar casualties. 

Additionally, Wallace noted Russia has lost 4,500 armored vehicles, 63 fixed-wing aircraft, 70 helicopters, 150 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 12 naval vessels, and over 600 artillery systems. He did not specify the make and model of each of these weapons systems. 

According to the open-source intelligence operation Oryx, Russian forces have lost over 8,400 vehicles or pieces of equipment — meaning it was either destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured. Specifically, the country has lost over 1,500 tanks, more than 700 armored fighting vehicles, 160 multiple rocket launchers, and nearly 300 self-propelled artillery systems.    

Russian troops abandoned massive amounts of weaponry, ammunition, and equipment during Ukraine's lightning-fast counteroffensive in the country's northeast Kharkiv region. The blitz-style campaign saw Kyiv liberate thousands of square miles of territory earlier in the fall that was previously under Russian occupation.

As they quickly fled their positions in the face of the advancing Ukrainians, Russian forces abandoned an overwhelming amount of military equipment. And adding to its many problems, Russia has been rapidly burning through its stockpiles of munitions faster than it can replenish them, forcing it to rely on older, less reliable weapons and ammunition pulled from storage and to turn to pariah states like Iran and North Korea for assistance.  

Beyond just weapons and personnel, Wallace said that Russia has also "failed to capture a single one of its major objectives from day one," adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin's "three-day war, 'or special operation,' ... turns out to be a disaster for him and his army."

His remarks appear to reference Putin's pre-war expectations that Kyiv would fall in a matter of days and the term "special military operation" that the Russian leader has used to avoid calling the conflict what it actually is — a war. Months later, the bloody campaign continues to show no signs of slowing down. The Kremlin rejected a Ukrainian call for Russia to withdraw troops at Christmas.

In November, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy at the Department of Defense, said that the Russian military has "suffered a massive strategic failure" in Ukraine, adding that "Russia will emerge from this war weaker than it went in."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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