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Disney Plus isn't a 'Netflix killer,' but other streamers like Apple should be worried

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 1:58pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Disney unveiled its Netflix rival, Disney Plus, on Thursday, and some industry observers dubbed it a "Netflix killer."
  • But the streaming market won't have one winner, and as Netflix is the clear No. 1, Disney Plus is much more of a threat to services from Apple and WarnerMedia.
  • Disney's aggressive pricing of Disney Plus (and Hulu) also validates Netflix's emphasis on achieving global scale as quickly as possible.
  • Netflix's brand has become an important part of the pop-culture fabric, and while losing third-party content like Disney's will be painful, it's not an existential threat anymore.
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On Thursday, Disney unveiled the key details of its coming streaming service, Disney Plus, and in the aftermath the phrase "Netflix killer" got thrown around in articles and on social media.

It's easy to see why.

Disney Plus has an attractive price point ($6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year) and the kind of blue-chip intellectual property that other entertainment companies dream about. Shouldn't Netflix CEO Reed Hastings be shaking in his boots right about now?

The answer is "no," and there's a simple reason. The word "killer" carries with it the implication that in this mortal combat, only one streamer can survive. But that's not how the streaming market has worked so far.

The truth is that there has historically been a high rate of overlap between subscribers of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now. Research by Parks Associates late last year found that 36% of US broadband households subscribed to two or more streaming video services.

Most people don't look at a new video service, like Disney Plus, and ask themselves, "Should I cancel Netflix and make this the one streaming service I subscribe to?"

The streaming market is still a free-for-all, but when the dust settles most industry executives and analysts I talk to expect the average consumer to subscribe to two to four services.

Netflix, as it stands today, is the clear No. 1 at over 139 million worldwide paying subscribers. No one else is even close. So the real battle is for who will take up slot Nos. 2 through 4. And that means that while Netflix shouldn't view Disney Plus as an existential threat, some services should, particularly those that haven't launched yet.

$6.99 is a cash-burning, scale-seeking price point

One big reason for the Netflix-killer label is that Disney has aggressively priced its service at $6.99 a month ($5.83 if you pay for a year up front). That undercuts Netflix, which recently raised its price so the entry-level plan is $8.99 and the standard plan is $12.99.

Disney's price does put pressure on Netflix, but it's also a validation of Netflix's general strategy. Netflix has bet that achieving massive global scale as quickly as possible is what will allow the streaming business model to work. That's why it has consistently provided a superior value to consumers relative to alternatives like cable TV and stomached billions in negative free cash flow.

By pricing Disney Plus at $6.99, and being willing to sustain billions in losses until at least 2024, Disney is following a similar playbook.

You can also see that thinking reflected in the strategy of Hulu, of which Disney now owns 60%. Hulu has been discounting its ad-supported tier to boost subscriber growth, and it has worked. Hulu was the fastest-growing streaming service in the US last year.

At Business Insider’s Ignition conference in December, Hulu CEO Randy Freer stressed that achieving scale was of paramount importance to Hulu and to streaming services in general. Disney clearly agrees.

Who should be worried?

If scale is of such importance, the services that should really be worried about Disney Plus are the ones that don't have it yet.

This is particularly the case for those that haven't launched, like Apple TV Plus and WarnerMedia's coming service, or those with only a few million subscribers, like CBS All Access.

If Disney Plus becomes a must-have for streamers in the same way Netflix is, that is one more spot taken up for many consumers, making it that much harder for others to scale quickly.

The other players that should be worried are traditional pay-TV bundlers and the new digital ones (YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, Sling TV, and so on).

The addition of Disney Plus and the increased investment in original programming at places like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO makes forgoing the traditional bundle an even more attractive option for customers. This could accelerate a slimming of the live pay-TV offering down to mostly news and sports, with "entertainment" programming existing mainly in the on-demand world of streaming.

Netflix has mastered the zeitgeist

Disney pulling its content off of Netflix is a blow, and the Mouse House's iconic TV shows and movies certainly helped Netflix scale.

But Netflix bought enough time with licensed content to build both scale and a beloved brand. The transition to mostly originals will cause Netflix pain, but its ubiquity in pop culture will sustain it.

As I wrote in January, Netflix has reached such scale that its original content — from Marie Kondo's show, to "You," to a documentary about the Fyre music festival — can enter the zeitgeist in a way that causes a tangible sense of FOMO in those who aren't subscribers. Disney is not going to destroy that by pulling its movies and TV shows off the service.

There will be good debates to be had in the coming months about the level at which the increased competition of new services like Disney Plus hamper Netflix's growth or margins. But it's not a Netflix killer. It's simply too late for that.

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Barclays just lost 2 more executives as Ravi Singh departs after only 4 months

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 12:42pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Ravi Singh, a senior Barclays executive who joined the British bank less than four months ago, is leaving.
  • Singh reported to now-departed Chief Investment Officer Art Mbanefo, who left the bank earlier this month after the sudden exit of his boss Tim Throsby
  • See more stories on Business Insider. 

Ravi Singh, a Goldman Sachs alum who joined Barclays' Chief Investment Office in New York earlier this year, is leaving the firm after less than four months. according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Singh reported to now-departed Chief Investment Officer of the international unit Art Mbanefo, who left the bank earlier this month after the sudden exit of his boss Tim Throsby. 

Singh had previously worked as Global Head of Alternatives at Credit Suisse, as well as at Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers, Mbanefo wrote in a memo announcing his hire in December and seen by Business Insider. 

See also: Barclays just hired two Wall Street veterans in its chief investment office

Separately David Simpson, a Barclays managing director in London who also worked under Mbanefo, is also leaving the bank, insiders said. 

Barclays staffers were jolted in late March by the surprise exit of Throsby, who was hired by CEO Jes Staley in 2017 from JPMorgan to help turn around the investment bank. Barclays announced Throsby's departure along with a wide swathe of management changes.

The bank is also already battling a revolt from activist shareholder Edward Bramson, who is leveraging his 5.5% stake in the company to angle for a seat on the board and deep cuts to the investment-bank unit.   

Simpson did not respond to a request for comment. Singh could not be reached for comment. 

Barclays declined to comment.

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GrubHub tumbles after Uber says it has a massive opportunity in food delivery (GRUB)

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 12:41pm  |  Clusterstock

  • GrubHub plunged more than 6% on Friday after Uber's S1 filing said it has an outsized opportunity in the food-delivery space. 
  • Uber believes its Uber Eats app has so far only captured 1% of a nearly $800 billion market.
  • Watch GrubHub trade live.

GrubHub dropped more than 6% Friday after Uber's S1 filing indicated the ride-sharing company was continuing its aggressive expansion into the food-delivery business through its subsidiary UberEats. GrubHub's stock has plunged more than 50% from its highs reached in October 2018 as disclosure around UberEats' business has increased.

According to the Uber's S1 documents filed in preparation for an IPO, UberEats' 2018 revenues reached $1.5 billion, growing 149% year-over-year. Uber regards the total market potential, or the amount that consumers spend on all home delivery, takeaway, and drive-through service globally, to be a staggering $795 billion.

In a research report out Friday, Jeffries analyst Brent Thill maintained his "hold" rating on GrubHub. Thill has a price target of $80 — 23% above where shares were trading on Friday.

"We believe much of this information was already well understood by investors as Uber has been more transparent about the Eats business the last couple quarters," wrote Thill. The stock is down ~54% from its highs & we believe much of that performance has been a direct cause of increased competition and disclosure from Uber & other larger players."

Uber's initial public offering, which could value the firm at up to $100 billion, is expected to come as early as next week.

GrubHub was down more than 15% this year, including Friday's loss.



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Dispensed: Pharma middlemen get their day in the hot seat, life at Flatiron Health a year after acquisition, and almost $1 billion invested in clinical trial startups

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 12:18pm  |  Clusterstock


Well, it's official: Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene are likely going to form the megamerger of their dreams, after shareholders approved the $74 billion union. 

Before heading into the weekend on that note, I wanted to leave you with a recap of all the news that kept Business Insider's healthcare team busy this week (tune in next week for some big pieces we've been working on for a while!). 

We kept a close eye on Capitol Hill this week, where pharmacy benefit managers and drugmakers alike faced lines of questioning from Congress.

Here's a recap of what all went down in the Senate hearing with PBMs, which involved a lot of downplaying of rebates and shifting blame back on drug companies. 

Congress grilled little-known middlemen over the high cost of prescription drugs. Here's how they defended themselves.
  • In February, Congress brought in a group of pharmaceutical CEOs and executives from seven companies to testify about the high price of prescription drugs.
  • On Tuesday, Congress kept the conversation going, this time grilling pharmacy benefit managers, the little-known middlemen responsible for negotiating drug prices.
  • During the hearing executives from the PBMs owned by companies including Humana, Cigna, and UnitedHealth Group made their cases as to why they shouldn't be to blame for the high price of prescription drugs.

Relatedly, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon followed up with drugmakers after the February hearing, asking them whether they'd commit to lowering their prices if the proposed rule to get rid of rebates in Medicare goes through. Not surprisingly, there were caveats that the drugmakers leaned on, Emma Court reports. 

Senators asked 7 big drugmakers to lower their prices. None of them gave a straight answer.
  • US drug prices are higher than anywhere else in the world. Congress has been trying to figure out who's to blame, but there has been a lot of finger pointing.
  • The Trump administration has proposed a change that would target shadowy middlemen called pharmacy-benefit managers (PBMs).
  • But drug companies have been left largely unscathed. When senators pressed drug companies if they would commit to lowering prices, they were evasive.
  • Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is calling for Congress to take action. "In case there was any doubt, Big Pharma is not about to start self-policing their pricing practices," he said on Monday.

Between that and the insulin hearing the next day, I'll be curious to see what actions Congress decides to adopt going forward to keep a lid on drug prices. 

This week, I popped over to Flatiron Health's offices to talk to the company's CEO Nat Turner about life at the company a year after Roche acquired it for $1.9 billion.

He tells me not much has changed day-to-day at Flatiron Health, something he's surprised to say.

A CEO who sold his company for $1.9 billion in 2018 shares his advice for other founders who want to stay on after an acquisition

We caught up on what it's like to have a boss now, the company's growing pains that come with a transition, and expanding a team to 1,000 people by the end of 2019. I also had him share some advice he'd give to other founders looking to stay on post-acquisition.

Speaking of the intersection of health and tech, Emma reported on why Morgan Stanley thinks the healthcare industry should be taking Apple very seriously. 

Forget Amazon and Google. Apple could bring in $300 billion a year in healthcare, Morgan Stanley says
  • Apple has been getting into healthcare for years, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch and more.
  • Investors are too focused on healthcare efforts from other tech companies like Amazon and aren't taking Apple's opportunity seriously enough, a new Morgan Stanley report says.
  • The tech giant could build an App Store-like model for healthcare, potentially bringing in $15 billion to $313 billion in revenue by 2027, Morgan Stanley estimates. Read on to find out how.

Emma also has a deep dive into what you need to know about all the funding flowing into clinical trial startups. 

Creating a new drug takes a decade and costs a fortune. Investors have poured almost $1 billion into startups trying to change that.
  • Developing an innovative new medicine is a long and expensive slog.
  • Upending that process is the goal of a wave of new startups. Investors have put just under $1 billion into the area over the last five years, according to an analysis done by PitchBook for Business Insider.
  • These new companies are putting data and technology at the center of their approaches, but the sorry state of the two in healthcare could undermine the whole enterprise.

With that, I'll let you head into your weekend with the knowledge that Kate McKinnon and Jennifer Lawrence will both be playing Elizabeth Holmes in TV and film adaptations. I know we're all probably burnt out on Theranos content, but I have to say, I'm pretty curious to see how those two acting forces take on the role in their respective projects. 

Tips? Dream casting choices for other roles in the Theranos saga? You can find me at and the entire team at 

- Lydia 

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8 of the best credit card offers this month — including two huge hotel bonuses that end soon

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 12:14pm  |  Clusterstock

Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

  • Credit cards frequently offer large sign-up bonuses to try and entice new customers.
  • Opening a new credit card and earning these bonuses is the fastest way to build your stocks of credit card rewards, hotel loyalty points, and frequent-flyer miles.
  • This April, 2019, there are a few fantastic limited-time bonuses available on co-branded credit cards, including from IHG and Marriott — these are ending in just a few weeks.
  • There's also a limited-time bonus on the United Airlines credit card from Chase.
  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card raised its sign-up bonus for the first time since 2015 from 50,000 points to 60,000 — its highest-ever.

The fastest way to earn rewards points, cash back, and frequent-flyer miles is to open a new credit card and earn its sign-up or welcome bonus.

Credit card issuers like Chase and AmEx offer huge bonuses to attract customers, while designing card features with long-term, continuing value in an effort to keep them. This offers consumers a chance to take advantage of these bonuses, perks, and features.

You can read more about earning new card-member bonuses and how that will affect your credit score here, or scroll down to find some of the best offers available this month.

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which can far outweigh the value of any rewards.

When you're working to earn credit card rewards, it's important to practice financial discipline, like paying your balances off in full each month, making payments on time, and not spending more than you can afford to pay back. Basically, treat your credit card like a debit card.

1. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Welcome bonus: 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (after spending $5,000 in the first three months). Offer ends April 24.

Last month, Marriott wrapped up a major rebranding of its loyalty program, combining it with the Starwood Preferred Guest program to create a single entity: Marriott Bonvoy.

The various terms and benefits of the program are virtually unchanged from what took effect in August, when the two separate programs were brought under a new single set of benefits.

The biggest changes under February's rebrand came to the Bonvoy's rewards credit cards, which are issued by American Express and Chase. To mark the occasion, both are offering a big, limited-time promotion on the personal cards they issue.

AmEx issues the premium version of Marriott's credit cards, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card, formerly called the SPG Luxury Card. Until April 24, new cardholders can earn 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when they spend $5,000 on the card in the first three months.

While the card has a high $450 annual fee, it's easy to get much more value from it than you pay for that fee — especially if you stay at Marriott hotels semi-frequently.

Right off the bat, the card offers up to $300 each year in statement credits for purchases at participating Marriott hotels, which can apply to room charges. That effectively brings the fee down to $150.

It also offers a free night award each year on your cardmember anniversary, which can be redeemed at any hotel that costs 50,000 points per night or under. The card also offers complimentary Gold elite status, and comes with a Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership.

The card earns 6x points at Marriott hotels, 3x points at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with the airline, and 2x points on everything else.

Click here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card from Insider Picks' partner, The Points Guy. 2. IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

Sign-up bonus: Up to 120,000 points (80,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first three months; an additional 40,000 points after spending a total of $5,000 in the first six months). Offer ends May 2.

IHG is the parent company of a handful of hotel chains, including Holiday Inn. The company has more than 5,600 properties around the world, making it the second-largest hotel brand, behind Marriott. IHG has a wide range of properties from budget options like the Holiday Inn Express, to luxurious Regent and InterContinental hotels and resorts. 

IHG's Rewards Club program is often overlooked — I know I'm guilty of passing it over without a second look in favor of Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy (and back in the day, Starwood Preferred Guest).

However, the program is worth a second look, and a newly increased sign-up bonus on its primary credit card offers a perfect opportunity.

Right now, the IHG Rewards Club Premier card has a sign-up bonus of up to 120,000 points that is broken up into two parts. First, you'll earn 80,000 points if you spend $2,000 in the first three months. Then, you'll earn the remaining 40,000 points when you spend an additional $3,000 within the first six months (for a total of $5,000).

IHG recently shared that this bonus will only be around for a limited time, and the end date has been announced: May 2.

Rooms can cost as little at 10,000 points per night, depending on the property and its location within a city. The bonus is enough to cover almost two weeks' worth of nights at a Holiday Inn Express — even some in prime markets — or two to four nights at top InterContinental locations.

The card earns 10x points per dollar spent at IHG hotels, 2x points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, and 1x point on everything else.

It also comes with automatic Platinum elite status, which entitles you to a 50% bonus on points earned during a stay, complimentary room upgrades, late checkout when available, and guaranteed room availability with 72 hours' notice — helpful if you have a last-minute trip.

The Premier card offers an annual anniversary free night certificate that can be used at any category 1-7 hotel (hotels that cost 40,000 points per night or less). While that means that some of IHG's most premium locations are excluded, the certificate is still valid at a ton of locations all around the world.

For instance, I didn't have trouble finding properties in major cities like New York and Chicago during peak travel season — all charging well upward of $200 — that accept the free night certificate. That more than makes up for the card's $89 annual fee.

Click here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy. 3. United Explorer Card

Sign-up bonus: Up to 60,000 United miles (40,000 after spending $2,000 in the first three months, and an additional 20,000 miles after spending a total of $8,000 in the first six months). Ends May 16.

Last year, United and Chase re-launched their co-branded credit card, slightly changing the name, but more importantly, tweaking the benefits and improving how the card earns points. Previously, the card earned 2x miles on every dollar spent with United Airlines and 1x dollar on everything else. Now, the card also earns 2x points at restaurants and hotels.

This sign-up bonus is one of the better public offers we've seen on this card, given the spending requirement, but it's only available until May 16.

The card offers a free checked bag when you use your card to purchase your tickets, priority boarding as long as you have the open card attached to your MileagePlus account, 25% off in-flight purchases, and a fee credit to cover your application to Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

The United Explorer also has two benefits that are unique among US airline credit cards in the same class.

First, you'll get two complimentary United Club lounge passes each year. In the lounges, you can enjoy comfortable seating, Wi-Fi, free food and drinks, and more before your flight. Normally, one-time entry to a United Club would cost $59 if you didn't have a membership.

Second, although this is an unpublished benefit, United cardholders also get access to more saver award space than other United members — that makes it easier to find good flights when it's time to use your miles.

The card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year.

Click here to learn more about the United Explorer Card from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

4. Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Sign-up bonus: 60,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months)

The Sapphire Preferred is one of the most popular all-around rewards credit cards, and it's easy to see why. This card earns 2x points per dollar spent on just about all travel and dining purchases, and 1x point on everything else. It also comes with a ton of travel and purchase protections, such as rental car insurance, trip delay coverage, and extended warranty.

The card's sign-up bonus was just raised for the first time since 2015 — it's now 60,000 Ultimate Rewards (UR) points. That's worth, at the very least, $600 as cash back or gift cards. However, if you book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and use points to pay, you'll get a 25% bonus, making points worth 1.25 cents each. That means that the sign-up bonus would be worth $750.

Even more lucrative — the Chase Sapphire Preferred lets you transfer your UR points to a few different frequent-flyer and hotel-loyalty programs. This comes in handy because in many cases it costs fewer points to book a trip if you go through one of those programs, as opposed to using the points as cash. You can read more about why transferring points to frequent-flyer programs gets you more value here.

This all comes for a fairly standard annual fee of $95, which is not waived the first year.

Click here to learn more about the Sapphire Preferred from Insider Picks' partner, The Points Guy. 5. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Sign-up bonus: 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (after spending $5,000 in the first three months). Only available for a limited time.

Between the yearly $300 of credits and the annual anniversary free night, the Bonvoy Brilliant card from AmEx tends to represent a better deal for cardholders.

However, the downside to that card is that you'll have to pay a $450 annual fee. Sure, you'll get the value back from the various benefits and rewards, but you'll still have to float that fee at the top of each calendar year.

For people who find that unappealing, Chase offers the mainstream version of the personal card: the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless credit card.

The Bonvoy Boundless currently offers the same welcome bonus as the Bonvoy Brilliant — unlike with the Brilliant's, we don't know the Boundless offer's end date, but we do know it's only available for a limited time.

Learn more: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and benefits of 2019

Like the Brilliant, the Boundless offers a free night award each year on your cardholder anniversary; the difference is that it's only good on rooms that would cost up to 35,000 points per night, rather than 50,000. Fortunately, that still includes plenty of properties.

The Boundless card comes with complimentary Silver elite status. Silver doesn't get you as much as Gold, but it's still something. You'll get a 10% bonus on points earned, priority for late checkout, access to a dedicated customer service line, free Wi-Fi, and more. While it's not a published benefit, you may also be given preferential rooms. You can get Gold status if you spend $35,000 or more in a calendar year. You'll also get 15 qualifying nights' worth of elite credit each calendar year, making it easier to earn Gold status or higher through hotel stays.

The card earns 6x points per dollar spent at Marriott hotels, and 2x points per dollar on everything else.

Click here to learn more about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card from Insider Picks' partner, The Points Guy. 6. Platinum Card® from American Express

Welcome Offer: 60,000 points (after spending $5,000 in the first three months).

The American Express Platinum card has one of the highest annual fees of any consumer credit or charge card — $550 — but as AmEx's flagship product, this premium credit card offers a tremendous amount of value to offset that fee. For example, I got more than $2,000 worth of value in my first year with the card.

The card earns Membership Rewards points, the currency in AmEx's loyalty program, which can be exchanged for statement credits or cash back, used to book travel through AmEx's travel website, or, to get the most value, transferred to any of 17 airline and three hotel transfer partners (transferable points are among the best). Travel website The Points Guy lists a valuation of 2¢ per membership rewards point; based on that, the welcome offer is worth about $1,200.

The Platinum Card earns an incredible 5x points on airfare purchased directly from the airline, and offers an airline fee credit of up to $200 each calendar year, and up to $200 in Uber credits each card member year.

It also grants the cardholder access to more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, including Delta Sky Clubs and AmEx's own Centurion Lounges.

Other benefits include automatic Gold elite status in the Marriott and Hilton loyalty programs, a statement credit up to $100 to cover enrollment in Global Entry/TSA PreCheck, concierge service, access to exclusive events, and much more.

If you're an active military servicemember, you can get the AmEx Platinum Card's fee waived.

You can read our complete review of the card here.

Click here to learn more about the American Express Platinum from Insider Picks' partner, The Points Guy. 7. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Welcome offer: 30,000 Go Far points (after spending $3,000 in the first three months).

This card from Wells Fargo has one of the more attractive rewards offerings you'll find from a no-annual-fee card. The current Propel card is a relaunch of an old product — Wells Fargo stopped accepting applications for the old card a year ago, before announcing the new product and reopening applications this summer.

The card earns 3x points on all travel, dining, and select streaming services (and 1x point on everything else). If that sounds familiar, it's because it's almost the same as the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve.

There are key differences between the cards. The Propel lets you redeem points for 1¢ each toward cash back, merchandise, travel, or more, while the Sapphire Reserve offers a range of more valuable redemption options — it's easy to get at least 50% more value for Chase points. Plus, the Sapphire Reserve offers a number of premium perks that the Propel doesn't, like airport lounge access, a $300 annual travel credit travel delay insurance, and more.

Of course, the Sapphire Reserve also comes with a $450 annual fee, while the Wells Fargo Propel doesn't have a fee. Between the new member offer, and the solid earning rate on popular spend categories, the Propel makes a decent option for those who don't travel often, or who aren't comfortable floating a large annual fee.

We named the Propel the best no-fee card of 2018.

Click here to learn more about the Wells Fargo Propel card from Insider Picks' partner, The Points Guy. 8. Chase Sapphire Reserve

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points (after spending $4,000 in the first three months).

The Sapphire Reserve is basically a beefier version of the Preferred. While the card comes with the same sign-up bonus, it earns points on everyday spending faster, nabbing a higher 3x points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases, and 1x on everything else. It also offers similar, though in many cases, enhanced travel and purchase protections.

Unlike the Preferred, the Sapphire Reserve comes with a Priority Pass Select membership, which gets you and any travel companions free access to more than 1,000 airport lounges around the world.

You can use points from the Reserve the same ways as with the Preferred, except that you'll get a 50% bonus when booking travel through Chase, making your points worth 1.5¢ each.

The card carries a higher annual fee than the Preferred: $450. However, it also comes with a $300 travel credit each card member year. Each year, you'll get statement credits for the first $300 in travel-related purchases you make, including things like subway fare, taxis, parking, and tolls, as well as airfare and hotels — naturally, you don't earn points on the purchases covered by that credit. When you subtract this credit from the annual fee, the card is effectively only $150 each year.

If you're not sure whether the Preferred or Reserve is the better card for you, take a look at this breakdown. Also keep in mind that you can typically only earn the sign-up bonus for one Sapphire-branded card every two years.

Click here to learn more about the Sapphire Reserve from Insider Picks' partner: The Points Guy.

SEE ALSO: The best credit card rewards, bonuses, and benefits of 2019

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Uber can't decide whether cofounder Travis Kalanick is an asset or a liability, and it makes for an awkward but revealing IPO filing (UBER)

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:58am  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber went to great lengths in its initial-public-offering filing to show it had cleaned up its act and fixed the problems that once plagued the company.
  • That means indirectly indicting the era of Travis Kalanick, its cofounder and former CEO.
  • It's an awkward dance, since Kalanick is still a director on Uber's board.

Travis Kalanick's name appears 13 times in Uber's IPO prospectus.

But the cofounder and former CEO of Uber appears many more times, if you read between the lines of the company's S-1 filed Thursday. And for the most part, it seems, he's there to serve as a punching bag.

The 300-page prospectus for Uber's initial public offering seeks to convince investors that the ride-hailing company is a well-managed operation, free of the chaos and problems that plagued it a couple of years ago — back when Kalanick was in charge.

"We are on a new path forward with the hiring of our Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi in September 2017 following many challenges regarding our culture, workplace practices, and reputation," Uber says toward the beginning of the document.

"It's a new day at Uber," the document declares.

An entire section labeled "Conduct and Culture" includes categories like "Tone at the Top" and refers to efforts to "fundamentally reform our workplace culture."

"We have made tremendous progress in creating a program that is designed to prevent and detect violations of corporate policy, law, and regulations," it says.

It's a pretty damning indictment of Uber's past, even though the company acknowledges that the "fierce entrepreneurialism" and "famous Uber hustle" it began with were key ingredients to its success. 

Dancing the Travis 2-step

Kalanick served as Uber's CEO from 2010 to 2017, turning the ride-hailing company into an unstoppable juggernaut worth nearly $70 billion during that time. But the company was rocked by a series of scandals on his watch, including accusations of sexual harassment and a toxic work culture, a high-profile trade-theft lawsuit, and reports of operations designed to deceive regulators.

Khosrowshahi, the CEO who replaced Kalanick, indirectly refers to his predecessor's legacy in a personal letter to investors that acknowledges "missteps along the way."

It must make for awkward reading for Kalanick, given that he's still a member of the company's board of directors.

And it's a delicate needle for Uber to thread, since the company must also praise Kalanick and sell him to investors as a desirable member of the board.

"Mr. Kalanick was selected to serve on our board of directors because of his experience as one of the co-founders and early leaders of our company, and as such, his extensive knowledge of our business, and his innovation, technology, and high-growth experience, as well as his consumer and digital experience," the Uber S-1 says in Kalanick's director bio.

Depending on which part of the S-1 you read, Kalanick's experience as an "early leader" of the company is either an asset or a liability; a feature or a bug.

We all share this love-hate relationship

It's a tricky balancing act that mirrors some of the broader questions we have about Uber. As consumers, we love the convenience, but we hate its impact on traffic and on workers. Is Uber the future of transportation, or another mechanism to further the divide between the haves and the have-nots? 

The IPO is likely to make a lot of people very rich, especially the early investors, not to mention Kalanick. But, as with the authors of the S-1 filing, we'll still be struggling to answer fundamental questions about the company and its legacy.

More on Uber's massive IPO:

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Uber's former CEO Travis Kalanick was ousted after the company became entrenched in scandals — here are 7 other tech execs who were cast out from companies they helped build (AAPL, TSLA, GRPN)

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:47am  |  Clusterstock

  • Just because you founded a high-flying tech company doesn't mean you can't be asked to leave.
  • Steve Jobs himself was once ousted by Apple (or left voluntarily, depending on who you believe), and spent years running his own company before coming back into the fold as CEO. 
  • More recently, Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick was ousted as CEO, following a year of scandals for the company.  
  • Here are 8 tech executives who were once ousted from the companies they helped to build. 

Just because you founded one of the most successful tech companies in the world, it doesn't mean that job security is automatically guaranteed.

Steve Jobs was once ousted from Apple (or voluntarily left, depending who you ask), spending years running his own startup before returning to the fold as CEO. More recent examples include Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick, who left the company after a year of scandals, and Martin Eberhard, the ousted cofounder of Tesla. 

They weren't the only ones, either.

Take a look at 8 tech executives who were ousted from companies they helped to build: 

This article was originally written by Meira Gebel.

SEE ALSO: This is why Steve Jobs got ousted from Apple — and how he came back to save the company

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs famously left (or was ousted, depending on who you believe) in 1985, after clashing with CEO John Sculley. 12 years later, Apple bought Jobs' startup NeXT Computer, bringing him back into the fold.

Perhaps ironically, Jobs orchestrated an ouster of his own: Just months after returning to Apple, Jobs convinced the board to oust then-CEO Gil Amelio. Jobs became CEO in 1997, and the rest is history. 

Source: Business Insider

Uber founder Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO in July 2017, following many months of scandals for the company.

Kalanick left Uber in July 2017, following a long string of scandals — from a #DeleteUber campaign that saw hundreds of thousands of people delete the ride-hailing app, to allegations of a toxic company culture from former engineer Susan Fowler, and more.

Kalanick resigned under pressure from Uber's board and has been dabbling in a variety investments in the time since. In March 2018, Kalanick created an investment fund named 10100 — pronounced "ten one hundred" — and announced that it had purchased a controlling stake in City Storage Systems, a real-estate startup. A year later, reports surfaced that Kalanick and City Storage Systems had launched a food-delivery startup, CloudKitchens.

Source: Business Insider, The New York Times

Jack Dorsey founded Twitter with Ev Williams in 2006. Two years later, Williams fired him from the CEO role — even though it was Dorsey who came up with the idea for the micro-blogging site in the first place.

But this didn't stop Dorsey from founding $31 billion Square, the mobile payments platform, in 2009. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg even tried to hire Dorsey after he left Twitter. 

However, in 2015, Dorsey was brought back to Twitter as interim CEO, taking over for former leader Dick Costolo. Not long after, Twitter dropped the "interim" from Dorsey's job title.

Dorsey is now the CEO of both Twitter and Square, and splits his time between the two companies during the week.

Source: Business Insider 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Americans are becoming much less optimistic about the economy as growth slows

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:33am  |  Clusterstock

  • Americans were much less optimistic about the outlook for the economy in early April, the latest sign of expectations for a sustained slowdown in growth.  
  • Consumer confidence fell to 96.9 at the beginning of the month, according to the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index, compared with expectations for a reading of 98.2.
  • Americans don’t expect much more to come from the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package passed in late 2017, the data suggested.

Americans were much less optimistic about the outlook for the economy in early April, the latest sign of expectations for a sustained slowdown in growth.  

Consumer confidence fell to 96.9 at the beginning of the month from 98.4 in March, the University of Michigan's index indicated in its preliminary report on Friday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected a reading of 98.2.

While consumers saw conditions in April as better than the previous month, their medium-term outlook for the economy fell sharply. Expectations for five years in the future fell to the lowest level since January 2018.

Respondents were less focused on tax cuts than in previous months, indicating Americans don't expect much more to come from the $1.5 trillion package passed in late 2017.

"The data do suggest that consumers thought that its stimulative impact on the overall economy has now run its course," said the survey’s chief economist, Richard Curtin.

Forecasters expect the economy to slow in the coming months as those stimulus measures fade, growth in other countries cools, and trade tensions persist. But the declining outlook in April came despite a recent rebound in employment results and financial markets. 

Consumers were optimistic about a rise in real adjusted earnings, but increasingly voiced complaints about rising vehicle and home prices. Slight declines in unit sales of both markets are anticipated in 2019, the survey said.

"Taking a step back from the monthly volatility, the expectations index has trended gradually lower over the past six months," said Michael Pearce, chief US economist at Capital Economics.

SEE ALSO: Citigroup's CEO says the biggest threat to the US economy is 'our ability to talk ourselves into the next recession' (C)

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I saved over $285,000 in my 20s without ever making a budget thanks to a laughably easy strategy I use instead

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 11:21am  |  Clusterstock

I just wrapped up my 28th year on planet earth, and my net worth has grown to over $285,000. (I publish an update each and every month, here.)

With all that said, I know what you're thinking. "This guy must be nuts! He must have used the world's strictest budget if he grew his net worth by roughly $60,000 a year for the past three years ..."

Ready for the confession of the century?

In all that time, I've never once made a budget.

Need a better place to keep the money you save? Consider these offers from our partners: 

I know, I know. That's somewhat embarrassing coming from a guy who, with an appointed name like The Money Wizard, is supposed to have all his finances in order.

But there's a method to that madness. And it's because I think budgeting is 100%, totally, completely ... overrated.

Because there's another strategy that's not only way easier, but also works far better.

Why I think budgets are a completely overrated waste of time

In my experience, here's how the typical budgeting process goes down. (Stop me if this sounds familiar ...)

January 1 rolls around, and you decide it's finally time to get that spending under control. So, you vow to make a budget.

With the weight of your own personal financial world on your shoulders, you immediately begin dreading the chore. For a few hours, days, or weeks you attempt to muster up to the courage to bucket out your desired spending.

Once you finally sit down to do the deed, you come across your first roadblock. "Hmm ... How much should I be spending on groceries again?"

!function(){function e(){var e=document.createElement("script"),n=document.getElementById("myFinance-widget-script"),a=t+"static/widget/myFinance.js";e.type="text/javascript",e.async=!0,e.src=a,n.parentNode.insertBefore(e,n);var c="myFinance-widget-css";if(!document.getElementById(c)){var d=document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0],i=document.createElement("link");,i.rel="stylesheet",i.type="text/css",i.href=t+"static/widget/myFinance.css","all",d.appendChild(i)}}var t="";document.attachEvent?document.attachEvent("onreadystatechange",function(){"complete"===document.readyState&&e()}):document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",e,!1)}();

The answer to that question requires the answer to an earlier one. How much do you usually spend on groceries?

So you start doing your best detective work. You begin combing through credit card statements, doing your best CSI impression, and eventually tally up what you think is last month's grocery bill.

But wait, last month you bought all those supplies for the big football watching party! So that's certainly not a normal month.

And ... you're back at square one.

If you don't get frustrated enough to quit at this point, you'll eventually power through the chore. You'll likely put together some sort of overly optimistic framework for how you should be spending your money. Then, you'll fret and stress for the next several months about whether or not you're sticking to your budget.

After a few slip ups, you very well might abandon the whole resolution entirely.

And before you know it, it's December 31, and you're staring back on your bank account wondering how a whole year went by and the needle of your savings didn't so much as flinch upwards.

There's a better way.

Ditch monthly budgeting for monthly tracking

For the past decade, I've adopted a money strategy that's so much easier than budgeting it's almost laughable.

Instead of struggling through the tedious chore of The Dreaded Budget, I simply write down what I spend.

Literally. That's it.

!function(){function e(){var e=document.createElement("script"),n=document.getElementById("myFinance-widget-script"),a=t+"static/widget/myFinance.js";e.type="text/javascript",e.async=!0,e.src=a,n.parentNode.insertBefore(e,n);var c="myFinance-widget-css";if(!document.getElementById(c)){var d=document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0],i=document.createElement("link");,i.rel="stylesheet",i.type="text/css",i.href=t+"static/widget/myFinance.css","all",d.appendChild(i)}}var t="";document.attachEvent?document.attachEvent("onreadystatechange",function(){"complete"===document.readyState&&e()}):document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",e,!1)}();

I don't spend time racking my brain deciding how much should be going towards what. Nor do I stress if I go over some arbitrary number that a younger version of me decided was the law of the land, for whatever reason.

Instead, I just record every purchase I make. Which, surprisingly, has tons of subtle advantages over the traditional budget.

1. It's easier to start

Sometimes I think if money gurus had their way, they'd lock you into an office and not let you leave until you decided how much money you were going to spend on everything for the rest of your life.

With that kind of pressure, is it any surprise most people struggle to get started?

2. It's less stressful to maintain

With a budget, you tend to beat yourself up if you go even a few cents over.

When you instead just commit to tracking your spending, you cut out the stress while getting the same effect.

Over time, you'll find something amazing starts to happen. You'll immediately highlight the problem areas, and eventually, just knowing there's a log of your spending will encourage you to spend less and save more. And you'll be well on your way to becoming a high net worth individual.

3. You don't subconsciously commit to a certain level of spending

This is huge.

What most commonly happens to the budget, without us even realizing it, is that we find ourselves saying, "Hmm... The Budget says there's one day left in the month, and I still have $100 left in my entertainment category. Maybe I should grab some expensive drinks with friends?"

!function(){function e(){var e=document.createElement("script"),n=document.getElementById("myFinance-widget-script"),a=t+"static/widget/myFinance.js";e.type="text/javascript",e.async=!0,e.src=a,n.parentNode.insertBefore(e,n);var c="myFinance-widget-css";if(!document.getElementById(c)){var d=document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0],i=document.createElement("link");,i.rel="stylesheet",i.type="text/css",i.href=t+"static/widget/myFinance.css","all",d.appendChild(i)}}var t="";document.attachEvent?document.attachEvent("onreadystatechange",function(){"complete"===document.readyState&&e()}):document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",e,!1)}();

And before you know it, you've spent hundreds of dollars you otherwise wouldn't, and you've leveled what could have been an extraordinary month of savings into an ordinary one.

With simple monthly tracking, you realize The Budget isn't the one controlling your finances.

Instead, you realize that YOU are the one in control of your spending. And as a result, you often end up saving more than you ever thought possible.

Yeah, but how to do all that tracking?

At this point, I know what you're thinking.

"Money Wiz, how on earth do you expect me to keep track of everything I spend in a month??"

And for that, I've got a one-two punch that's helped thousands of my readers get their spending on track.

1. I carry a secret weapon in my pocket, at all times

No, I'm not talking about some kind of switchblade.

I'm talking about my iPhone.

You see, included in the iPhone's generic apps is one of the most surprisingly effective money trackers I've ever come across.

The "Numbers" app is a mobile spreadsheet that can easily serve as your virtual notepad for all your spending. In fact, with a few clever formatting moves, iPhone's Numbers will automatically sort all your spending for you. All you have to do is enter a line item for each item bought.

!function(){function e(){var e=document.createElement("script"),n=document.getElementById("myFinance-widget-script"),a=t+"static/widget/myFinance.js";e.type="text/javascript",e.async=!0,e.src=a,n.parentNode.insertBefore(e,n);var c="myFinance-widget-css";if(!document.getElementById(c)){var d=document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0],i=document.createElement("link");,i.rel="stylesheet",i.type="text/css",i.href=t+"static/widget/myFinance.css","all",d.appendChild(i)}}var t="";document.attachEvent?document.attachEvent("onreadystatechange",function(){"complete"===document.readyState&&e()}):document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",e,!1)}();

The result is that I'm able to whip out my phone and record a transaction in the time it takes to send a 4 word text message. That's faster than the cashier can even say, "You can swipe your card now ..." which is great at helping me avoid looking like a weirdo..

(If you want the exact spreadsheet I use with Numbers, you can grab it here.)

2. I enlist the help of high-tech robots

These days, there's all sorts of free money apps that will automatically tally up your spending for you each month.

I break down two of my favorite in my Personal Capital vs. Mint comparison, and I still use the winner as a backup plan to my iPhone spreadsheet each month.

Get rid of the chore of monthly budgeting, and all the baggage that comes with it.

I encourage you to simply track what you're spending for a month or two. No rules. No pressure.

Grab my free spreadsheet, pick up a financial app, or both. Either way, you'll be shocked at how quickly your savings grow when you break the chains of the budget.

How much could your savings grow? Find out with this free calculator from our partner:

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Markets Live: Friday, 12th April 2019

Fri, 04/12/2019 - 6:04am  |  FT Alphaville

Live markets commentary from

Continue reading: Markets Live: Friday, 12th April 2019

Tesla made Autopilot a standard feature on all its vehicles and announced sweeping changes to the Model 3 lineup (TSLA)

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 11:49pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Tesla announced sweeping changes to its Model 3 lineup on Thursday night. Among those changes, the electric-car maker removed the $35,000 version of the car from its website.
  • The most affordable "Standard" Model 3 can now only be ordered by phone, or in person at a Tesla store. The company cites customer demand for that change, saying the "Standard Plus" version of the Model 3 has sold at "more than six times the rate of Standard."
  • The Long Range, rear-wheel-drive Model 3 will also only be available by phone or in stores.
  • Additionally, Tesla announced Autopilot will now be a standard feature on every vehicle it makes.
  • Visit for more stories.

Tesla announced a number of changes to its Model 3 lineup on Thursday night. Among them, the electric-car maker is removing the $35,000 version of the car from its website.

The most affordable "Standard" Model 3 can now only be ordered by phone, or in person at a Tesla store. The company cites customer demand for that change, saying the "Standard Plus" version of the Model 3 has sold at "more than six times the rate of Standard."

The Model 3 Standard will be a "software-limited" version of the Standard Plus, with 10% less battery range than the Standard Plus.

The Long Range rear-wheel drive Model 3 will also require a phone call or a visit to a Tesla store for customers who want it.

That news follows Tesla's move in February to close some of its retail locations in order to shift sales online. The company had walked that announcement back a bit after it took some of its employees by surprise. In March, CEO Elon Musk sent an email to employees to clarify that strategy, saying its most popular stores would "absolutely not be closed down," while lower-volume locations would "gradually be closed down."

Read more: Tesla told some $35,000 Model 3 customers they were days away from getting their cars. Now, those customers don't know when their orders will arrive.

Autopilot is standard on all Teslas now

In addition to the lineup changes, Tesla made Autopilot, its semi-autonomous-driving technology, a standard feature as part of an effort to make it less cost-prohibitive.

"For example, Model 3 Standard Plus used to cost $37,500, plus $3,000 for the Autopilot option. It now costs $39,500, with Autopilot included," Tesla said in a press release Thursday night.

The company added: "We think including Autopilot is very important because our data strongly indicates that the chance of an accident is much lower when Autopilot is enabled."

Tesla also highlighted what it says is positive customer feedback about the technology.

Autopilot as a standard feature is not as robust as the optional full self-driving capability, which Tesla offers as a $5,000 option.

With standard Autopilot, a Tesla vehicle can steer within its own lane in traffic, and accelerate and brake on its own. The full self-driving capability adds "Navigate on Autopilot," which gives Teslas the ability to enter and exit freeways and merge onto freeway interchanges, and also drive around slower vehicles.

The self-driving option includes automatic lane changes, auto-park, and the summon feature.

Read more: Tesla disputes report that Panasonic and Tesla are freezing Gigafactory spending plans

Leasing options and Tesla ride-hailing

As of Thursday, the Model 3 is also available for lease but, unlike a typical vehicle lease, customers will not have the option to purchase their cars at the end of the contract. That's because Tesla plans to have those off-lease Model 3s join its self-driving ride-hailing fleet.

In 2016, Tesla made known its intention to operate such a fleet, but did not mention at the time that previously leased Model 3s would be used for the program.

Notably, those new details about the ride-hailing service come just hours after Uber filed for its initial public offering. Uber is developing its own fleet of self-driving vehicles. Lyft, Uber's closest competitor that went public in late March, is doing the same.

SEE ALSO: Here are all the differences between Tesla's sedans — the Model S and Model 3

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Chevy drove the next-generation Corvette through New York City — and GM CEO Mary Barra was along for the ride (GM)

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 10:15pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Chevy has finally confirmed a reveal date for the long-rumored eighth-generation Corvette.
  • The C8 Vette will have a mid-engine design, ending six decades of front-engines only.
  • Chevy took the new Corvette for a drive through Manhattan, with GM CEO Mary Barra in the passenger seat.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The long-rumored eighth-generation Corvette has finally been confirmed. And it won't have its likely twin-turbocharged V8 engine up front — the new Vette will be a mid-engine machine.

The car has been spotted testing around the world, but Chevy hasn't said anything about when it would be revealed. We found on Tuesday, when General Motors CEO Mary Barra was driven to a Stephen Siller Foundation event in the camouflaged Vette (the foundation, named for a New York firefighter who died in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, administers various charitable causes).

Chevy said that the C8 Corvette would be revealed on July 18. The carmaker provided no additional details, but word is that the six-decade-old nameplate will get a new engine that cranks out upwards of 800 horsepower, beating out the current king of the hill, the 755-pony Corvette ZR1. A possible gas-electric drivetrain could take that to 1,000 hp.

Read more: We drove the Lamborghini Urus to see if it holds up as a family SUV

The seventh-generation Vette has been around since 2014; the Stingray was Business Insiders first-ever Car of the Year. The platform has given us the Grand Sport and the Z06, and the C7.R competition version has carried Corvette Racing to victory at numerous sports-car events worldwide, including the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

It's expected that Chevy will sell the front-engine Vettes alongside the new mid-engine car, at least for a while.

It remains to be seen whether the C8.R will take on the mid-engined Ferrari 488 and Ford GT in sports-car races in 2020, but that's certainly something that fans should be looking forward to (the Ford GT program is ending this year, and the participation of Ferrari is contingent on independent teams).

Obviously, one of these days we're going to see some photos of the new Vette in which the car isn't sporting black-and-white camo. But now we know that the long Corvette hood could soon be a thing of the past.

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Salesforce bought new co-CEO Keith Block a $211,703 car and an $86,423 watch in recognition of his 'leadership achievements' (CRM)

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 7:39pm  |  Clusterstock

  • According to Salesforce's new proxy statement, the company awarded co-CEO Keith Block a $211,703 car and an $86,423 watch "in recognition of Mr. Block’s leadership achievements."
  • Block, who joined Salesforce in 2013, oversaw a rapid period of growth for the company as COO. He was promoted to co-CEO last summer.
  • The filing did not specify what kind of watch and car Block received.
  • Salesforce also spent $1,230,424 on security arrangements for Salesforce co-founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff — notable, because last year, the company didn't pay for his personal security. 
  • Visit for more stories.

Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block was awarded a $211,703 car and an $86,423 watch, the company said in a proxy statement released on Thursday

According to the filing, these were awarded to Block at some point in its 2019 fiscal year, "in recognition of Mr. Block’s leadership achievements." Salesforce also spent $179,977 on taxes related to the car and $38,005 on taxes related to the watch, in what it says is a one-time bonus. 

The filing said that Salesforce's Compensation Committee only reserves these types of awards for unique situations.

"In this case, the Committee approved this award because it believed that recognizing Mr. Block’s leadership and success in achieving Company goals was warranted, and that doing so in a memorable and visible way would be motivational not only for the executive, but for other employees who observe exceptional performance being rewarded in exceptional ways consistent with the Company’s philosophy of paying for performance," the filing said.

To that point, Block is widely credited with accelerating Salesforce's rapid growth rate: In Salesforce's 2014 fiscal year, when Block left Oracle and first joined up, the company booked $4.1 billion in annual revenue. In its most recent full fiscal year, ended January 2019, that had more than quadrupled all the way to $13.28 billion. 

Block served as Salesforce's chief operating officer until last summer, when cofounder Marc Benioff officially promoted him to be his co-CEO. While the filing doesn't say for sure, it seems likely that these gifts were made in honor of Block's ascension to the very highest ranks of management. 

It is also unknown what kind of car and watch Block received. Possibilities include a Porsche Panamera Turbo S E- Hybrid Sport Turismo or a Land Rover Defender 90, which both are priced around $211,000. Business Insider has reached out to Salesforce for comment.

In addition, Salesforce spent $1,230,424 on security arrangements for Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff while at work or on business travel. That's notable, because it represents a departure from its 2018 fiscal year, when the company spent nothing on his personal security.

"The Compensation Committee limited the Company-paid portion of Mr. Benioff’s security program to cover only security services provided at business facilities and during business-related travel," during that fiscal year, the filing says.  However, Salesforce says that it solicited "specific feedback from our major institutional investors," and decided to reinstate his company-paid personal security program after reviewing Benioff's "security profile." 

"We view these security services as a necessary and appropriate business expense, but have reported incremental costs to us of the arrangements because they may be viewed as conveying a personal benefit to him," the filing says. 

Read more: Here's how much the top Salesforce executives make in salaries, bonuses and stock

All this on top of the two executives' base salary, bonuses, and equity awards. 

Block made $16,961,156 in total compensation in the 2019 fiscal year, according to the filing. That includes his $1,342,500 base salary, the $298,126 total value of the car and watch, various equity awards, and all of his other compensation, including the taxes related to those two gifts. 

His co-CEO Benioff made $28,391,846 over the same period, including his $1,550,000 base salary, the cost of his security, and all other equity awards and compensation. 

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Uber relies on Google Maps for its business and spent $58 million on it over three years (GOOGL, GOOG)

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 7:11pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber filed to go public on Thursday, and its paperwork shows that Uber spent $58 million on Google Maps between 2016 and 2018.
  • Uber sees Google Maps as "critical" to its business, it says in the filing. 
  • If Google and Uber were to end their agreement, this could harm Uber's business because other mapping services may be expensive, inferior, or just not exist. 

Uber filed to go public on Thursday, and its S-1 paperwork revealed that from the beginning of 2016 to the end 2018, Uber spent some $58 million on Google Maps — a function that is "critical to the functionality of our platform," built in as it is to the company's apps for riders and drivers alike.

The filing shows that Uber has been working with Google to use Google Maps for Work, its business-grade version of the mapping tool, since October 2015. In the filing, Uber says that it's turned to Google becuase it's the only one that meets its needs all over the world. 

"We do not believe that an alternative mapping solution exists that can provide the global functionality that we require to offer our platform in all of the markets in which we operate," the Uber S-1 said.

Still, Uber writes: If Google Maps suddenly gets less reliable, doesn't provide adequate support, or hikes prices, it might have to lean on an alternative solution. Uber warned that such alternatives could be expensive, inferior, or not available at all, which could harm its business.

Read more: Uber gave CEO Dara Khosrowshahi $45 million in total pay last year, but it paid its COO even more

According to the filing, Alphabet, Google's parent company, owns some 5% in Uber. David Drummond, senior vice president of corporate development and chief legal officer at Alphabet, also served on Uber's board from July 2013 to August 2016.

However, the relationship between the two has been tumultous: A landmark lawsuit between Uber and Alphabet's Waymo over self-driving car technology ended in a settlement in which Alphabet received $245 million worth of Uber equity.

This season's spate of big tech IPOs also highlights the reliance of modern tech companies on products and services from the major platform providers: Pinterest's IPO filing revealed that it's paid over $309 million to Amazon Web Services since 2017, while Lyft has its own commitment to AWS that averages out to some $8 million a month.

More on Uber's massive IPO:

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Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is part of a family of impressive tech leaders, founders, and CEOs — here's who they are

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 7:08pm  |  Clusterstock

Led by CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, ride-sharing startup Uber filed for an initial public offering on Thursday, which could turn out to be one of the biggest IPOs in years.

Khosrowshahi, who took over Uber in 2017 from founder Travis Kalanick, wrote in a letter to the filing that Uber's success will come from "stellar execution and the strength of the platform we have worked so hard to build."

Read more: The amazing life of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi — from refugee to tech superstar and a huge IPO

For Khosrowshahi, one of today's most powerful tech CEOs, success runs in his blood, Fortune reports. The chief executive's brothers, cousins, and uncles have impressive resumes that include founding their own multimillion-dollar startups, running Fortune 500 companies, and earning diplomas from Harvard, Brown and Stanford. 

Here are some of the impressive careers of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi's family members:

Dara Khosrowshahi took over at Uber's helm in 2017.

Before Uber, he acted as CEO of travel site Expedia.

After earning his degree from Brown University, Khosrowshahi began his career at boutique investing firm Allen & Company. From there, the young Khosrowshahi took an executive role at what was then known as USA Networks, where he was considered a protégé of media industry icon Barry Diller.

The company spun off Expedia Inc in 2005, and Khosrowshahi served as CEO for 12 years. During that time, he turned the site into the largest online US travel agency and saw revenues balloon from $2.1 billion in 2005 to $8.7 billion in 2016.

Kaveh Khosrowshahi, Dara's brother, is currently managing director at investment firm Allen & Company.

Like Dara, Kaveh went to the prestigious Hackley School, the Ivy League prep school that charges around $44,000 in tuition. He then got a bachelor's degree in history from Williams College, according to his LinkedIn, and has been at Allen & Company since 1989.

Mehrad Khosrowshahi, Dara's other brother, is managing partner of the boutique consulting firm Confida Inc.

Mehrad runs the company's Strategy and Performance Reporting division.

Before joining Confida, Mehrad spent five years at Symmetrix, a management consulting firm serving Fortune 500 companies, the Confida website states. He received an MBA from Columbia Business school with high distinction and graduated magna cum laude from Brown University.

Hassan Khosrowshahi, Dara's uncle, founded the Canadian electronics chain Future Shop.

Best Buy acquired Future Shop in 2001 for $580 million CAD.

Hassan immigrated to Canada in 1981 and founded Inwest Investments, now part of holding company Persis. Hassan now serves as chairman of Persis Holdings, and is a member of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor, according to Persis Holdings' website.

Hadi Partovi, Dara's cousin, is the CEO of education non-profit

Hadi graduated from Harvard in 1994, and went on to have an illustrious career, working as a general manager at Microsoft and sitting on the board of directors at trucking company Convoy Inc., his LinkedIn states.

Hadi was also an angel investor in Facebook, DropBox, Uber, and more.

Ali Partovi, Hadi's twin brother, helped his brother start

Ali now serves as CEO of Neo, an engineering mentorship company. Like his brother, Ali backed numerous successful startups like Facebook, Zappos, and DropBox, his LinkedIn states.

Amir Khosrowshahi, Dara's cousin, co-founded IT company Nervana.

Amir reportedly sold Nervana to Intel for $400 million, Recode reported in 2016.

He graduated from Harvard and then completed a Ph.D. at the University of California-Berkeley. Amir also served as a vice president at Goldman Sachs for six years, his LinkedIn states. Amir now serves as VP of Intel.

Farzad "Fuzzy" Khosrowshahi, another one of Dara's cousins, created Google Sheets.

Upon graduating from Columbia, Farzad opened a Subway shop with his wife in 1993 in Mamaroneck, New York. He then worked at Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan before arriving at Google, according to a Wall Street Journal profile of him written in 2012.

Darian Shirazi, Dara's cousin, was one of Facebook's first 10 hires, he says on his LinkedIn.

He went on to create Radius, a marketing software company.

Darian served as CEO of Radius until 2018. Darian says he reported directly to Mark Zuckerberg while at Facebook, and then left the company to pursue his undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, his LinkedIn states. He dropped out within a year at college.

Avid Larizadeh Duggan, Dara's cousin, was a general partner for Google's venture capital arm and now serves as an executive at digital-music startup, Kobalt. 

Avid served as the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leader for over 3 years, she states on her LinkedIn. She got her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Uber says the #DeleteUber movement led to 'hundreds of thousands' of people quitting the app

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:26pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber filed public IPO proposal documents on Thursday as it readies itself for what could be one of the biggest IPOs in years.
  • In the risk factors mentioned in its S-1 filing, Uber said that its business was "negatively impacted" when "hundreds of thousands" of customers deleted their accounts as part of the #DeleteUber campaign.
  • The #DeleteUber movement went viral in January 2017 after Uber was accused of profiting off of a protest against President Trump's travel ban.

Uber filed its IPO proposal documents on Thursday, and they reveal exactly how the #DeleteUber campaign in January 2017 negatively affected its business and reputation.

In its paperwork, Uber said that "hundreds of thousands" of customers deleted the ride-hailing app and deactivated their accounts "within days" of the campaign's launch across social media. The viral movement caused Uber's reputation to be "adversely affected" and "fueled distrust" in the company, the company said in the risk factors portion of its S-1 filing.

The #DeleteUber movement took social media by storm in January 2017, after President Donald Trump announced his travel ban. The ban was met with protests, including a strike from taxi drivers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Uber continued to operate its service at the airport, and even switched off its surge pricing halfway through the strike to get more riders.

The move was met with backlash from furious customers, who accused Uber of profiting off the taxi strike and putting its support behind Trump's immigration ban. The #DeleteUber hashtag emerged on Twitter, and it wasn't long before it went viral.

"As a result of the #DeleteUber campaign, hundreds of thousands of consumers stopped using the Uber platform within days of the campaign," Uber wrote in its public filings.

To make matters worse, former Uber employee Susan Fowler alleged in a blog post that same month that she was sexually harassed and experienced gender bias during her time at the company.

Beyond the #DeleteUber campaign and blog post, 2017 was a disastrous year for the company. The series of scandals ultimately led to Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick resigning from his position as CEO, and current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi eventually taking over.

Read more: Uber warns that its reputation may always be a risk for its continued success

Uber said in its documents filed Thursday that one of its risk factors is its ability to maintain its "brand and reputation." 

"We have previously received significant media coverage and negative publicity, particularly in 2017, regarding our brand and reputation, and failure to rehabilitate our brand and reputation will cause our business to suffer," Uber said in the filing.

Although the #DeleteUber campaign adversely impacted Uber, the ride-hailing service's main rival benefited from the controversy. Lyft filed its public S-1 paperwork in March, where it said that the company saw a boost in business in January 2017, during the peak of the #DeleteUber campaign.

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Uber sees its burgeoning food delivery service as a massive opportunity (UBER)

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:21pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber believes its Uber Eats app addresses a $795 billion market.
  • So far, it believes it has only penetrated 1% of that market considering Gross Bookings for Uber Eats have reached $7.9 billion in 2018.
  • The company says it views Uber Eats as being the largest meal delivery platform in the world outside of China. 

Uber believes the food delivery program it launched more than three years ago addresses a $795 billion market, the company revealed in the S-1 documents it filed on Thursday as part of its initial public offering. 

Revenue from Uber Eats has also grown significantly, according to the filing. Uber Eats revenue was $1.5 billion in 2018, representing an increase of 149% from the $0.6 billion in revenue the food delivery service generated in 2017. 

The company also said it views the serviceable addressable market for Uber Eats as being $795 billion, which refers to the amount that consumers spent on home delivery, takeaway, and drive-through worldwide from restaurants, cafés, bars in 2017. The company believes it's only penetrated 1% of this $795 billion market so far given that Uber Eats Gross Bookings reached $7.9 billion in 2018.

Based on Gross Bookings, the company says it believes Uber Eats is the largest meal delivery platform in the world outside of China. Of the 91 million monthly active platform consumers on Uber's platform, more than 15 million received a meal using Uber Eats in the December quarter. The company defines Gross Bookings, not to be confused with revenue, as the total dollar value ridesharing and new mobility rides, Uber Eats meal deliveries, and amounts paid by shippers for Uber Freight payments. 

Uber believes it has an advantage in its scale, which it says enables it to offer faster delivery times than its competitors. The average delivery time for an Uber Eats order was approximately 30 minutes for the December quarter, the company said. Uber Eats operates on a network comprised of more than 220,000 restaurants in over 500 cities.

It's not just the home delivery market that Uber is after. It says it believes that it can address a portion of the $2 trillion eat-in market as more consumers opt to have meals from dine-in eateries delivered, and also says there's room for Uber Eats to address a portion of spending on groceries too.

Ana Mahony, head of U.S. cities for Uber Eats, discussed the potential the service has to expand when describing how it's recently grown in popularity within suburban areas. 

"The demand that we've received from the suburbs over the last year and a half has been truly phenomenal," she said in an interview with Business Insider. "It shows the power and potential to expand our business everywhere." 


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Uber says its future is riding on the success of self-driving cars, but warns investors that there's a lot that can go wrong (UBER)

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:12pm  |  Clusterstock

  • The future of Uber's business is riding on self-driving cars.
  • The transportation startup has warned that if its rivals develop the tech at scale before it does, everything from its ride-hailing to its food delivery efforts are at risk.
  • On Thursday, the company finally filed to go public in what is expected to be one of the biggest IPOs of all time.
  • Uber's financial disclosures provide an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the firm, and how it's thinking about its future.
  • Visit for more stories.

Uber is convinced that self-driving cars are the future of its business. But even so, it warns investors, they could be a total bust for the company.

On Thursday, Uber finally filed its S-1 paperwork to go public in the coming weeks, offering an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the ride-hailing company. It also provides fresh insight into how the Silicon Valley mega-startup views the promise — and perils — of autonomous vehicles.

"We believe that autonomous vehicle technologies will enable a product that competes with the cost of personal vehicle ownership and usage, and represents the future of transportation," Uber's paperwork says, adding that it believes believes the tech "will be an important part of our platform over the long term."

In 2018, the company spent $457 million on its autonomous vehicle-focused Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) and other tech initiatives — including Uber Elevate, its futuristic urban aircraft program. Long term, Uber hopes the self-driving car tech will allow it to end its dependence on human drivers in favor of a fleet of cheaper autonomous vehicles that don't need to be paid wages. 

But despite investing hundreds of millions of dollars in self-driving car technology, Uber still warns that it might screw up — and says it expects its competitors to be able to commercial ise the tech "at scale" before it can.

"We have invested, and we expect to continue to invest, substantial amounts in autonomous vehicle technologies. As discussed elsewhere in this prospectus, we believe that autonomous vehicle technologies may have the ability to meaningfully impact the industries in which we compete," the company wrote.

"While we believe that autonomous vehicles present substantial opportunities, the development of such technology is expensive and time-consuming and may not be successful. Several other companies ... are also developing autonomous vehicle technologies, either alone or through collaborations with car manufacturers, and we expect that they will use such technology to further compete with us in the personal mobility, meal delivery, or logistics industries. We expect certain competitors to commercialize autonomous vehicle technologies at scale before we do."

Uber calls out Google cousin company Waymo, Cruise Automation, Tesla, Apple, Zoox, Aptiv, May Mobility,, Aurora, and Nuro as the companies all racing to conquer the self-driving mobility market — citing Waymo as a particular threat due to the development of its commercialized fleet.

If these rivals do manage to scale up self-driving tech before Uber does, then numerous areas of its business could be at risk. 

"In the event that our competitors bring autonomous vehicles to market before we do, or their technology is or is perceived to be superior to ours, they may be able to leverage such technology to compete more effectively with us, which would adversely impact our financial performance and our prospects," it wrote.

"For example, use of autonomous vehicles could substantially reduce the cost of providing ridesharing, meal delivery, or logistics services, which could allow competitors to offer such services at a substantially lower price as compared to the price available to consumers on our platform. If a significant number of consumers choose to use our competitors’ offerings over ours, our financial performance and prospects would be adversely impacted."

Similarly, even sourcing parts and securing suppliers could prove problematic in the experimental field, it warns — especially in the event of external events like currency market fluctuations, new tariffs or trade wars, or theft.

And all this high-tech development is capital intensive: There's no guarantee that Uber will be "to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when required, [in which case] our ability to continue to support our business growth and to respond to business challenges and competition may be significantly limited."

Uber doesn't anticipate eliminating all traditional human drivers overnight once the tech reaches maturity. Instead, the company predicts a "hybrid" period, "in which autonomous vehicles will be deployed gradually against specific use cases while Drivers continue to serve most consumer demand ... Such situations may include trips along a standard, well-mapped route in a predictable environment in good weather."

This prompts another, related risk: The pursuit of autonomous technology might spark discontent among Uber's existing base of human drivers, with unpredictable consequences. The efforts may "add to Driver dissatisfaction over time, as it may reduce the need for Drivers," the S-1 warns.

"Driver dissatisfaction has in the past resulted in protests by Drivers, most recently in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Such protests have resulted, and any future protests may result, in interruptions to our business. Continued Driver dissatisfaction may also result in a decline in our number of platform users, which would reduce our network liquidity, and which in turn may cause a further decline in platform usage."

The disclosures echo earlier remarks by former CEO Travis Kalanick, who described the technology as an "existential" risk to the company.

"It starts with understanding that the world is going to go self-driving and autonomous," he told Business Insider in 2016. "So if that's happening, what would happen if we weren't a part of that future? If we weren't part of the autonomy thing? Then the future passes us by basically, in a very expeditious and efficient way."

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.


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Uber expects to pay around $300 million in total payouts to more than 1 million qualifying drivers as a one-time reward

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 6:06pm  |  Clusterstock

  • In a regulatory filing to go public released Thursday, Uber announced its plans to pay out a one-time cash reward to more than 1 million drivers for a total around $300 million.
  • Qualifying Uber drivers will receive the award at the end of April 2019, according to the filing.
  • According to the filing, each qualifying driver in the US will receive either $100, $500, $1,000, or $10,000, based on the number of lifetime trips completed on the platform.
  • To qualify, drivers will have had to complete one trip in 2019 as of April 7, 2019, and be in good standing. Drivers will have had to complete a minimum of 2,500 trips on the platform to qualify.
  • Visit for more stories.

In a highly-anticipated regulatory filing to go public, Uber on Thursday announced its plans to pay out a one-time cash reward to over 1 million drivers for a total around $300 million.

According to the filing, around 1.1 million drivers will qualify for the cash payout. To qualify, drivers will have had to complete one trip in 2019 as of April 7, 2019, and be in good standing. Drivers will have had to complete a minimum of 2,500 trips on the platform to qualify.

Read More: Uber has filed to go public in what could be the biggest IPO in years

The filing outlines four tiers of driver payouts based on total trips completed. Drivers who have completed between 2,500 and 4,999 trips will receive $100; those with a total trip count between 5,000 and 9,999 will receive $500; drivers who completed between 10,000 and 19,999 trips will receive $1,000. Drivers who have completed over 20,000 trips can expect to receive $10,000.

Uber has been criticized for its move to classify drivers on its platform as independent contractors. Under that classification, the company is not responsible for offering drivers minimum wage protection or benefits. In December, Uber changed its pay structure in some cities to prioritize trip time over distance driven, a move that was unpopular with drivers.

Read More: Uber warns that its reputation may always be a risk for its continued success

The payout amounts and trip tiers may be adjusted for international drivers on a region-by-region basis to account for differences in average hourly earnings by region, the company said in the filing.

Drivers will receive the one-time payment near the end of April 2019, and will receive the highest amount for which they are eligible, according to the company’s filing.

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Uber warns cyber attacks could cripple its business (UBER)

Thu, 04/11/2019 - 5:54pm  |  Clusterstock

  • Uber has filed to public. 
  • In its prospectus made public for the first time Thursday, the company warned cyber attacks could affect its future business. 
  • In 2017, the company disclosed a major cyberattack that compromised 57 million users. 

Uber has officially filed to go public.

The ride-hailing giant made its paperwork public for the first time on Thursday, providing us the first comprehensive look under the hood at the company's financials, risk factors and more.

Among those risk factors was a stern warning about how important technology — and the security of that technology — is for Uber.

"We rely heavily on information technology systems across our operations," the company said in the filing. "Computer malware, viruses, spamming, and phishing attacks have become more prevalent in our industry, have occurred on our systems in the past, and may occur on our systems in the future," the company continued.

In 2017, for example, Uber paid hackers $100,00 to cover up a 2016 cyber attack that exposed the personal data of 57 million people, including both riders and drivers. Among the info stolen was a trove of data including the names, emails, and phone numbers for 50 million riders globally, as well as the personal information of 7 million drivers. This included US driver's license numbers, but no Social Security numbers, according to Uber.

"None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a blog post at the time. "We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers."

Read Business Insider's full coverage of Uber's IPO here.

Here's the full disclosure from Uber's S-1:

We rely heavily on information technology systems across our operations. Our information technology systems, including mobile and online platforms and mobile payment systems, administrative functions such as human resources, payroll, accounting, and internal and external communications, and the information technology systems of our third-party business partners and service providers contain proprietary or confidential information related to business and sensitive personal data, including personally identifiable information, entrusted to us by platform users, employees, and job candidates. Computer malware, viruses, spamming, and phishing attacks have become more prevalent in our industry, have occurred on our systems in the past, and may occur on our systems in the future. Various other factors may also cause system failures, including power outages, catastrophic events, inadequate or ineffective redundancy, issues with upgrading or creating new systems or platforms, flaws in third-party software or services, errors by our employees or third-party service providers, or breaches in the security of these systems or platforms. For example, third parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or platform users to disclose information to gain access to our data or the data of platform users. If our incident response, disaster recovery, and business continuity plans do not resolve these issues in an effective manner, they could result in adverse impacts to our business operations and our financial results. Because of our prominence, the number of platform users, and the types and volume of personal data on our systems, we may be a particularly attractive target for such attacks. Although we have developed systems and processes that are designed to protect our data and that of platform users, and to prevent data loss, undesirable activities on our platform, and security breaches, we cannot assure you that such measures will provide absolute security. Our efforts on this front may be unsuccessful as a result of, for example, software bugs or other technical malfunctions; employee, contractor, or vendor error or malfeasance; government surveillance; or other threats that evolve, and we may incur significant costs in protecting against or remediating cyber-attacks. Any actual or perceived failure to maintain the performance, reliability, security, and availability of our products, offerings, and technical infrastructure to the satisfaction of platform users and certain regulators would likely harm our reputation and result in loss of revenue from the adverse impact to our reputation and brand, disruption to our business, and our decreased ability to attract and retain Drivers, consumers, restaurants, shippers, and carriers.

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