Beware Of Crypto Risks – 10 Risks To Watch

HONG KONG, HONG KONG – JUNE 15: As a visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency, Litecoin (LTC), Monero (XMR), Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP) and Dash on June 15, 2018 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by S3studio/Getty Images)

You know we are at the top of the hype cycle on blockchain and cryptocurrencies when examples of peak crypto include glistening fleets of Lamborghinis as a reflection of price spikes and talk of crypto-utopia with no central governments. Nonetheless, there are a number of key risks that plague this asset class and stand in the way of broader market adoption and stability. While there is no doubt cryptocurrencies, digital tokens and blockchain-based business models are here to stay, understanding how risk interplays with this emerging market and their underlying technologies will not only help protect investors, it will also give regulators a steady hand and, hopefully, guide how entrepreneurs are approaching risk management in their projects, which is not easily done after the fact. One unique facet that blockchain-based projects bring to the market is that unlike the analog economy, which hopes to code good conduct in people who have the care, custody and control of our savings and assets, is that “good conduct” can be coded at the technology layer and in an unalterable and transparent manner. In short, a machine is not naturally greedy or prone to moral hazard (risk taking without bearing the consequences).

What follows are 10 examples of key risks that imperil cryptocurrencies and stand in the way of market progress.

Wide Entrance, Narrow Exit – It is true that the advent of bitcoin and its ilk of cryptocurrencies, of which there are more than 1,600 and counting that have been digitally minted, has democratized many aspects of finance. This lowered barrier to entry creates a wide entrance and a very narrow exit, which as is prone to happen in the real world during Black Friday shopping frenzies for example, can lead to collateral damage as people rush to get out. The exit can be barred due to technological constraints, currency inconvertibility and few counterparties with whom to trade. While the asset class is generally uncorrelated to the traditional economy, it is all correlated to itself, which can create market panics and runs.

Intangible, Illiquid, Uninsured – The true miracle of blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, is that the issue of double counting is resolved without any intermediary, such as a bank or banker. This feature captured by the notion of digital singularity, where there can only be one instance of an asset is powerful and one of the primary reasons this asset class has blossomed. However, the intangible and illiquid nature of cryptocurrencies (combined with the point above about narrow exits) hampers their convertibility and insurability. Indeed, despite reports of growing insurer interest in the segment, the majority of crypto-assets and crypto companies are either under-insured or uninsurable by today’s standards. There is no deposit insurance “floor” for this asset class, which can help broaden appeal and investor security.

Mark To Market – As crypto holders seek to exit the intangible asset class returning to fiat currencies or other assets, which are often loathed by many crypto purists, their flight to safety or liquidity most often takes them to the greenback or U.S. While the price pegs work well on the way in to cryptocurrencies as investors informed by their “animal spirits” who want in on a speculative wave have a willingness to pay at a stated value or peg. On the way out, however, this mark to market feature sees many investors subjected to downward price pressure, which highlights the adverse effects of illiquidity, narrow exits and narrow participation in the asset class. These types of issues are being remedied as more institutional investors enter the space and more markets and trading platforms open. In the meantime, market participants would be wise in minding currency inconvertibility and the implied volatility of cryptocurrencies, which would make high-frequency traders flinch. To truly understanding blockchain’s potential requires the suspension of disbelief. To truly capture the investment thesis of cryptocurrencies requires the suspension of the traditional economy yardstick.

From Extortion To Manipulation – While no investor should part ways with money they are not prepared to lose, no matter how nominal the amount, cryptocurrencies are particularly prone to social engineering and misinformation risks. The naïve, as with the analog economy, can become easy prey to cyber extortion, market manipulation, fraud and other investor risks. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has gone as far as creating a fake initial coin offering (ICO) website as a way of alerting would-be crypto investors to “shinny object” threats. Indeed, emerging regulatory clarity on what constitutes a truly decentralized asset, such as bitcoin or ethereum, which is beyond the control of any one party, versus company-issued cryptocurrencies or tokens is a growing area of securities attention.

Care, Custody And Control – Despite the intangible and unseen nature of cryptocurrencies and digital assets more generally, one of the single biggest issues plaguing the market is care, custody and control. Not unlike the perennial challenges of cyber and physical security of the traditional banking sector, there is a veritable standards war taking place among crypto custodians on who is providing the highest standards of investor protection and asset security. The number of high profile and high value crypto heists suggests that this playbook of best security practices is still being written. The wealthiest crypto investors are going to great lengths to protect their intangible hoard by using cold storage devices placed in physical (offline / airtight) vaults and bunkers. Not every crypto investor can afford this level of security no more than every crypto investor is a target, but all are subject to the emerging nature of care, custody and control standards. Here too, the absence of a basic “floor” in terms of security and capital guarantees, like a cyber Federal Deposit Insurance Corporate, FDIC, means that investors are exposed on a first-loss basis.

Cyber Risks On All Sides – As is true with cyber threats, which evolve according to Moore’s law, the space between the keyboard and the chair (or the smart phone and the digital wallet) is as important as the cyber hygiene and defenses of the crypto custodian. While in principle the bitcoin blockchain has proven to be among the most cyber resilient innovations thus far, the firms that plug into it, like other cryptocurrencies, are often new entrants with lax cybersecurity standards and wherewithal. By this measure, not all cryptocurrencies are created equal in term of their traceability, transaction ledgering and levels of trust or fiduciary responsibility. For this, risks as simple as “mysterious disappearance” and as complex as ransomware attacks and AI-powered bots scouring the Internet for weak links and easy prey are complex and fast-moving perils.

Human Error (And Forgetfulness) – Given the intangible nature of the asset class, human error and something as confounding as password amnesia can spell total loss of a crypto fortune. Not everyone is as lucky as 50 Cent, who forgot he accepted bitcoin for an album release and discovered an $8 million bitcoin bounty. The prospect of being locked out, losing hardware or facing “geophysical risks,” such as spilled coffee is often enough to create losses – not to mention the ever present risk of buyer’s remorse given cryptocurrency price volatility. At the crypto whale end of the market, the high-profile nature and public quality of large asset holders may expose people to direct physical security threats, such as kidnaping, ransom and extortion. A fleet of lambos will not add to the needed discretion of not becoming a potential target.

(Un)Safe Havens – Another key risk with cryptocurrencies and this asset class more generally is the lack of coordination and clarity on regulatory, financial, tax and legal treatment. This is unsurprising given the relatively new nature of this market and the often slow moving and lagging quality of “regulatory catch up.” Indeed, most regulators around the world did not begin to form an opinion about cryptocurrencies until their rise to prominence with bitcoin’s meteoric appreciation in 2017. Suddenly, countries and jurisdictions around the world have entered a crypto land grab by seeking to become destinations of choice for prospective investors and projects. Like the global financial system, coordination and coherence can go a long way in eschewing risks of the systemic and mundane variety while improving overall market stability.

Technological Risks – There have been many reports about the computational complexity and energy consumption of bitcoin mining, as one example of some of the technological limitations of cryptocurrencies. This computational complexity may also work in the inverse and pose potential risks to the asset class under the premise that complex systems fail in complex ways. It is true that the decentralized feature of true blockchain structures gives then an inherent disaster and risk-proofing that is not enjoyed by centralized databases (which are veritable honey pots as evidenced by Equifax’s massive breach). Yet not all cryptocurrencies or tokens are riding on similar rails. For this, investors should beware of the technological risks and false promises of decentralization that are being made in many projects, for not all blockchains are created equal.

Civil Wars With Forks – Last, but certainly not least, while much crypto wealth is concentrated in the hands of people who are thinking long term about the positive change this asset class can have on the world, there is nevertheless the constant specter of civil wars and forks, which can bifurcate the consensus on cryptocurrencies, thus eroding market share, valuation and adoption. This standards war continues to flare up, including most recently with the advent of Bitcoin Cash. It is also notable that despite the talk amongst crypto-utopians of a world ruled by blind scalable trust and no centralized authorities, that councils of large crypto holders, much like a papal conclave or the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), can set a course on the market influencing outcomes and price fluctuations. As with the real movement of whales, smaller fry can either get gobbled up or caught in the wake.

Precisely because there are risks in the cryptocurrency market there are rewards. Countless new entrants, from large traditional enterprises who have awoken to blockchain’s promise, or startup teams bent on creating a new democratized future challenging status quo, all realize that a new technology driven wave of value creation is upon us.  Understanding the potential perils of diving into this wave can help improve the long-term prospects of cryptocurrencies and broaden their adoption beyond risk-seeking first movers.

Amazon Video Announces New TV Shows And Movies For August (2018)

While Amazon’s list of new movies and TV shows for August isn’t as long as usual, there are definitely some big hitters on there.

Starting with Amazon’s home-grown Original content, Amazon Prime subscribers can expect four new TV shows and one movie.

The film is Gringo. This stars Charlize Theron, David Oyelowo and Joel Edgerton in a dark comedy/action film about a businessman who crosses the line from law-abiding citizen to wanted criminal. Available on August 17, Gringo will be available in both HDR and 4K.

Deadpool 2 is arriving on Amazon Video in August 2018.Photo: Deadpool 2, 20th Century Fox

The highlight of the new Amazon Original TV shows is Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. This marks the first time Ryan has appeared in a TV series format, so hopefully actor John Krasinski can do Clancy’s beloved CIA Analyst character proud. This show will be available from August 31 in HDR, 4K and, in a first for Amazon, Dolby Atmos sound. You can find more details on the arrival of Dolby Atmos on Amazon Prime Video in this separate story.

Another promising Amazon Original arriving this month is Agatha Christie. This three-part series is based on the novel of the same name, and tells the story of a family trying to figure out which one of them is a murderer. This show will appear in 4K and HDR for subscribers with suitably capable TVs.

Football (as in, Soccer!) fans, meanwhile, can get a behind the scenes look at the UK’s Premier League courtesy of All Or Nothing: Manchester City. Again available in high dynamic range and 4K, this series promises to chronicle everything from the team’s training facilities to executive meetings and interviews with manager Pep Guardiola. Hopefully it turns out to be less cliched in its approach than the ‘All Or Nothing’ bit of its title.

The last of Amazon’s new Originals for August is season two of The Stinky And Dirty Show – an animated children’s series based on the books by Jim and Kate McMullan.

See Gary Oldman in Oscar-winning form from August 18 on the HBO Amazon Channel.Photo: Darkest Hour, Universal Pictures

Leading the way when it comes to movies and TV shows not made by Amazon is Marvel/Fox mega-hit Deadpool 2, which mostly picks up where the hilarious first movie left off – except for not feeling quite as fresh this time round. This is available to buy from August 7th, or rent from August 21st.

Get Shorty (from August 1) is also worth a look thanks to its sharp combination of Barry Sonnenfeld behind the camera, and Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito and John Travolta in front of it.

Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is worth a tense couple of hours of your time, even if it runs out of ideas before the end, while Amazon follows up its July delivery of David Lynch classic Mulholland Drive with the director’s unbearably good The Elephant Man. The Hurt Locker and The Elephant Man are both available from August 1.

The Usual Suspects (arriving August 1) is as brilliant now as it ever was, even if you’ve seen it before and know how the story plays out.

Excellent if slightly theatrical Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri shifts berths from Amazon Video to the HBO Amazon Channel, which also delivers Gary Oldman’s amazing turn as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour from August 18.

David Lynch’s The Elephant Man is almost unbearably good. See for yourself on Amazon Prime Video from August 1.Photo: The Elephant Man, Paramount

Finally I can’t resist recommending one of my biggest guilty pleasures: Kingpin. Bill Murray’s bowling strike celebrations are enough in themselves to make this unmissable, but there’s plenty of puerile hilarity in between, too.

Here’s the full list of what Amazon Prime Video (US) is sending our way for August 2018.

Available for Streaming on Prime Video

August TBD

*All or Nothing: Manchester City, Season 1 (Prime Original series)

August 1

TV Series

#MeToo: Now What?, Season 1

Movies

A Cinderella Story (2004)

American Gigolo (1980)

American Ninja (1985)

American Ninja III: Blood Hunt (1989)

Be Cool (2005)

Black Mask (1996)

Black Rain (1989)

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000)

Boomerang (1992)

Cold War (2012)

CSNY/Déjà Vu (2008)

Curse of the Starving Class (1994)

Double Whammy (2002)

Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

Fled (1996)

Flight of the Intruder (1991)

Freedom Writers (2007)

Frequency (2000)

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

Get Shorty delivers a pleasingly sharp adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s beloved novel.Photo: Get Shorty, MGM

Get Shorty (1995)

Heartbreakers (2001)

High Noon (1952)

Hoosiers (1986)

Hurt Locker (2008)

I Went Down (1997)

In & Out (1997)

Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010)

Joe (2014)

John Grisham’s The Rainmaker (1997)

King Corn (2016)

Kingpin (1996)

Nick of Time (1995)

No Way Out (1987)

Original Sin (2001)

Out of Time (2003)

Private Parts (1997)

Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2013)

Species (1995)

Species II (1998)

Species III (2004)

Stir of Echoes (1999)

Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming (2007)

Teen Wolf (1985)

Teen Wolf Too (1987)

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Elephant Man (1980)

The Ninth Gate (2000)

The Prince and Me (2004)

The Soloist (2009)

The Time Machine (2002)

The Usual Suspects (1995)

True Colors (1991)

Tunnel Rats (1968)

Vegas Vacation (1997)

Watchmen (2009)

Sorry not sorry.Photo: Kingpin, MGM/UA

August 2

Movies

America Divided: 201 (2018)

August 6

Movies

Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002)

August 7

Movies

Having Our Baby (2017)

It Takes Guts (2016)

August 8

Movies

All I See Is You (2016)

Blood Ties (2014)

August 9

Movies

America Divided: 202 (2018)

August 10

Series

*Agatha Christie, Season 1 (Prime Original series)

Movies

Bleed for This (2016)

August 14

Series

Avoiding Apocalypse, Season 1

*The Stinky & Dirty Show, Season 2B (Prime Original series)

Movies

I Am Not Lorena (2014)

August 16

Movies

America Divided: 203 (2018)

August 17

Movies

*Gringo (2018) (Prime Original movie)

August 21

Movies

Ambassadors of the Sky (2016)

Two of a Kind (2014)

August 23

Movies

America Divided: 204 (2018)

August 25

Movies

Disobedience (2017)

The Escape of Prisoner 614 (2018)

Woman Walk Ahead (2017)

August 26

Movies

Mother! (2017)

August 31

Series

Billy the Exterminator, Season 1

Hangar 1: The UFO Files, Season 1

*Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Season 1 (Prime Original series)

True Tori, Seasons 1-2

Available to Rent or Purchase on Prime Video

August 7 (Purchase) August 21 (Rent)

Deadpool 2

Available for Streaming on Prime Video Channels

August 4

Movies

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, HBO

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri moves to the Amazon HBO channel for August.Photo: Three Billboards Outside Of Ebbing, Missouri, 20th Century Fox

Live Sports

*UFC 227 (PPV) – Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2, UFC

August 11

Movies

Murder on the Orient Express, HBO

August 12

Series

Ballers, HBO, Season 4

Insecure, HBO, Season 3

August 17

Live Sports

AVP Gold Series – Manhattan, Prime Video (8/17-19)

August 18

Movies

Darkest Hour, HBO

August 20

Series

Frankie Drake Mysteries, PBS Masterpiece, Season 1

August 25

Movies

Father Figures, HBO

August 31

Live Sports

AVP Gold Series – Chicago, Prime Video (8/31-9/2)

*UFC 227 is under the Prime Video | Pay-Per-View

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Netflix Says HDR Trumps 4K – And Expects You To Pay More For It

Amazon Video Announces New Movies And TV Shows For July (2018)

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How Circles.Life Created The Netflix Of Telco In Singapore

The Circles.Life foundersCircles.Life

Since its launch in May 2016, the Singapore-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Circles.Life has been a determined upstart committed to shaking things up in Singapore’s telecoms industry. For a long time, there were only three operators in the island state — Singtel, Starhub and M1.

Now with Circle.Life’s relatively successful 2 year presence, it seems that consumers are opting to leave the old guards of telecomms services and hop on board the young, bold provider. Declining to give exact numbers, Rameez Ansar, co-founder of Circles.Life, shared they are now reaching 3-5% of market share and claim that 24% of Singaporeans are looking to switch to their services. In fact, 43% of their subscribers also come from referrals.

Rameez Ansar, co-founder of Circles.LifeCircles.Life

It wasn’t easy getting to this position though. Consumers doubted that digital telcos are the future or how the company could provide such incredible, low-cost data packages. Incumbents were typically offering 3-4GB data plans at much higher costs. For instance, with Circles.Life, you can receive 20GB monthly mobile data for approximately $15 with no additional hidden costs. This seemed too good to be true until consumers had a chance to try it for themselves. As Ansar puts it, “we disrupted the industry through technology to give power back to the customers.”

Targeting consumers who rely on internet-connected devices, are data savvy and use data as their main currency, the team went forth to “tap into this market segment and offer what they need the most, unlimited data.” This way consumers never have to worry about exorbitant costs when they exceed limits. Besides providing unlimited data, the young upstart prides itself for being fully digital and giving customers flexibility and control over managing their telco needs through an easy-to-use app.

Cost savings also seem to be one of the perks for going digital, with Circles.Life claiming to have saved 95% of operational costs with this model. In fact, the startup partners with one of 3 incumbent operators, M1, and leases their existing network infrastructure thus negating the need to build from scratch.

Analyst, Sachin Mittal noted in a DBS Equity Research report that with Circles.Life, M1 is seeing a growth in revenue. “We think revenue share from Circles.Life could be a big factor here. Fixed revenues rose to approx. $26.3 million (+33% YoY) due to higher fibre customer base and contributions from corporate segment projects and comprised 17% of the total service revenue,” reported Mittal. 

Local influencers, Michelle Lee and Charlotte Tan with their masterpiece for Circles.LifeCircles.Life

However, while their attractive packages and over-the-top advertising campaigns attracted hordes of attention — one publicity stunt included ‘vandalizing’ subway walls, an act that’s technically illegal in Singapore — the team are finding it a challenge to stay relevant in this growing market. The need to be agile and constantly evolving is a strong one as they’re always on their toes to “identify rapid growth opportunities across the telco portfolio, including 5G, IoT, and cross-vertical partnerships, such as mPayments,” explained Ansar.

One such growth opportunity the team has identified is an expansion of their services to Indonesia. Considering the sheer penetration of mobile devices (expected to reach 47.6% in 2019) and how it’s the most popular device used to access the Internet there, this expansion made simple business sense for the Circles.Life team. Besides this expansion, Ansar shares that they’re working on opening an R&D center in Bangalore, bringing them closer to becoming a digital lifestyle platform.

Circles.Life teamCircles.Life

Circles.Life has set a standard for innovation and bold moves, heating up the telco industry in Singapore. Now a newcomer, TPG, plans to enter the market end of 2018 and shake things up further. Circles.Life remains undeterred though. Noting that customers are more value sensitive than price sensitive, Ansar assures they “will continue to over deliver through innovation and customer first features, while remaining competitive on price.”

All of which they believe is possible because of Circles-X, a cloud system they created 5 years ago that aligns all the key systems in a nimble manner — network operations, customer service, logistics and delivery, to the consumer facing digital experience. With this system, they are also able to react quickly to customers’ behaviours and launch or change products within weeks — effectively catering to their needs swiftly.

So now by slowing chipping away at the market share in Singapore and offering data-hungry mobile users bigger, bolder plans they can customize at the click of a button, Circles.Life is ultimately doing what Netflix is doing for content-hungry users.

Losing Streak Emerges As NYC, Hired Guns Lose Climate Change Case Against Big Oil

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s climate change lawsuit is, so far, unsuccessful, as a federal judge has thrown it out of court. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Federal judges continue to reject the efforts of private lawyers who hold a financial stake in lawsuits brought by government officials against the oil industry over the alleged effects of climate change.

On Thursday, a New York federal judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by New York City and attorneys at Hagens Berman working on a contingency fee against five of the biggest oil companies in the world, finding that the issue has already been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s not the job of the judiciary to regulate greenhouse gases, Judge John Keenan wrote. That task rests with the federal government, says Keenan’s opinion, endorsing the thoughts of the California federal judge who tossed lawsuits from San Francisco and Oakland in June.

It’s another blow to the group of plaintiffs that has climate change cases in federal court.

“Although the City agrees that ‘federal common law has long applied to’ suits against ‘direct emitters of interstate pollution,’ it contends that its claims are not governed by federal common law because ‘the City bases liability on defendants’ production and sale of fossil fuels – not direct emissions of [greenhouse gases],” Keenan wrote.

“However, regardless of the manner in which the City frames its claims in its opposition brief, the amended complaint makes clear that the City is seeking damages for global warming-related injuries resulting from greenhouse gas emissions, and not only the production of Defendants’ fossil fuels.”

Currently, all but one in the recent string of climate change lawsuits are in federal court. Several counties and cities in California kicked things off last year, and a federal judge has remanded their cases to state court to deal with state law issues.

But defendants – Chevron, BP, Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell and ConocoPhillips – have appealed those rulings to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

However, Judge William Alsup drew the cases of San Francisco and Oakland and asserted federal jurisdiction over them, then threw them out of court.

King County, Wash., is using the same private lawyers, working on a contingency fee, as many of the plaintiffs. Its case is also in federal court.

Boulder, Colo., looked like it was going to be free to litigate its case in state court but recently decided to amend the lawsuit to include a claim for civil conspiracy. Filing an amended complaint allowed defendants Exxon and Suncor to remove the case to Colorado federal court, where it will be heard by a judge appointed by President George W. Bush.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin’s lawsuit is the only case in state court, though the time period for the many defendants to remove it to federal court has not expired.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio used the law firm Hagens Berman for his case, as have many of the other plaintiffs, to push a theory of “public nuisance” on the oil industry.

Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, there exists U.S. Supreme Court precedent that says it is the job of the Environmental Protection Agency to administer the Clean Air Act and regulate greenhouse gases.

“As an initial matter, it is not clear that Defendants’ fossil fuel production and the emissions created therefrom have been an ‘unlawful invasion’ in New York City, as the City benefits from and participates in the use of fossil fuels as a source of power, and has done so for many decades,” Keenan wrote.

“More importantly, Congress has expressly delegated to the EPA the determination as to what constitutes a reasonable amount of greenhouse gas emission under the Clean Air Act.”

Resisting these lawsuits have been several Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration. Opposition to the cases argues that is the job of the legislative and executive branches to regulate greenhouse gases.

Where these cases have been filed has not been surprising. In Rhode Island, the state previously attempted a similar “public nuisance” theory on the former makers of lead paint. Boulder has a history of addressing climate change, and Washington’s King County is home to Hagens Berman’s headquarters.

And California and New York have reputations as two of the country’s most favorable jurisdictions for plaintiffs lawyers.

“We’re thrilled with Judge Keenan’s decision today to dismiss the City’s baseless climate change lawsuit. New York is already a haven for excessive litigation and this kind of lawsuit only adds to the problem,” said Tom Stebbins, executive director of the New York Lawsuit Reform Alliance.

“Trial lawyers are attempting to politicize the legal system and stretch tort law far beyond its purposes in search of the next litigation jackpot.

“Unelected, profit-seeking trial lawyers should not be pushing public policy through the courts. That is not the role of the civil justice system; it is the domain of Congress and state legislatures – elected officials accountable to the people.”

A final note: Exxon’s defense includes an attack on statements made by the California cities and counties when they presented bond offerings. A Texas judge has found that those municipalities told contradictory stories – alleging near certain, climate change-caused doom in their lawsuits while neglecting to inform potential investors in bonds of those dangers.

The California plaintiffs have appealed that ruling, which could pave the way for depositions of and a lawsuit against government officials and Hagens Berman attorney Matt Pawa.

From Legal Newsline: Reach editor John O’Brien at [email protected]

This New Hampshire Startup Says It's Building The iPod Of Robots

In a nondescript industrial park in Merrimack, New Hampshire, Jason Walker is putting the final touches on what he believes will become the iPod of working robots.

Walker, 47, is co-founder of Waypoint Robotics, and the former lead quality and testing manager for the Roomba vacuuming robot. Waypoint, a tech startup about a year old, is housed in one cavernous room with high ceilings and a barebones office upfront filled with large, flat-screen monitors.

The Waypoint Robotics team at their lab/production facility in a Merrimack, New Hampshire industrial park. Co-Founder and CEO Jason Walker is third from the left.Waypoints Robotics

“We don’t splurge on anything except screens and chairs,” Walker says in the easy drawl of his native Kansas.

Although he makes no claims to being another Steve Jobs, Walker does fervently believe that he and his small team are going to revolutionize robots in the same way Jobs revolutionized MP3 players.

There were lots of MP3 players on the market before the iPod came out, Walker says. They were cheaper, more open and “all harder to use.”

“You had to be a computer science person to figure out how to make them work,” Walker said.

Apple, he says, did everything right.

“They did all of the individual things right, but without the entire pie, they wouldn’t have had a product,” Walker said. “That means creating the ecosystem, that means creating iTunes, that means creating deals with the record companies and the musicians, and that means creating the piece of software that gets it out of the internet and onto the iPod.”

How does that apply to robots? How do you make robots easy?

Walker and his team demonstrate, first boxing up the Waypoints Vector, their first and only robot at this point, in a wooden Quick-Crate, which goes together with metal clamps that snap in place and are easily removed with a provided tool.

Step 1: Make it easy to uncrate the 100-pound Vector.

The Vector robot is designed primarily for moving boxes and other items in warehouses.Waypoint Robotics

The robot, measuring about three feet long and two feet wide, is an aluminum platform mounted on four, independently powered Mecanum wheels that allow it to manuever as if it were skating on ice. The Vector can go forwards and backwards and sideways and any direction in between. It can carry up to 300 pounds.

The distinctive Mecanum wheels were invented by a Swedish company in 1972 and are used by the U.S. Navy to transport bombs and other items within the tight confines of a battleship. The wheels are comprised of a series of rollers positioned at a 45 degree angle. When forces – vectors – are applied to the wheels in various combinations, they can move in any direction.

That manueverability is important to the Waypoint Vector for a couple of reasons. It allows the robot to navigate its way through a warehouse with ease, sidling up to loading docks and drop-off points. It also allows the Vector to “dock” with Waypoint’s Enzone wireless charging station, where it fully recharges in a couple of hours without plugging anything in.

Walker says there are several key benefits to the Enzone. Wireless charging means there are no mechanical contacts to wear out or get dirty.

“That’s a huge benefit if you’re in a dusty environment, or an environment with fumes,” he said. “There’s no contact to make a spark, which might cause an explosion.”

Next is what Walker calls “opportunity charging.”

“The idea there is if the robot is parked at a machine or loading dock, waiting to get a package put on its back, you can put an Enzone in that place and get it charged while it’s waiting,” Walker said.

Popping off the clamps to uncrate the Vector, Walker uses one side of the Quick-Crate to build a ramp to drive the robot onto the floor of the shop, steering with the supplied joy stick. Next, he places a notebook computer on the Vector’s platform and begins driving it around the perimeter of the shop, skirting tables, chairs and shelves and stopping occasionally to mark a waypoint for an imaginary loading dock or drop-off point.

Everything Walker is doing is being prompted by software created by Nick Varas, one of three members of his tight-knit team. Walker will only hire what he calls “full-stack” robotic engineers.

“It means any one of us could build, and have built, an entire robot from the ground up,” Walker said. “We all have all the skills required to do all of the disciplines – the mechanical, electrical and software. But we tend to focus on specific areas.”

Walker says he’s afraid to hire anyone who isn’t a full-stack engineer because if you only have one area of expertise, “you learn a lot of hard lessons trying to figure out what other people have already figured out by ruining their own process.”

Once Walker has mapped the room by driving the Vector around it, he brings the robot back to retrieve the notebook computer.

“So there it is,” Walker says. “We just made that map and we’re going to save it. Now it’s asking us, Do you want to create boundaries so it doesn’t run over things it might not be able to see?”

The Vector “sees” using laser-based Lidar sensors front and back, which Walker describes as a plane spreading out 10 yards on each side of the robot. Whatever that plane intersects, the robot can see, but there are blind spots, both above and below the plane.

“That’s where you run into trouble where the robot thinks it can go through someplace where somebody left something hanging over, or parked a cart,” Walker said.

Full three-dimensional perception is an option for robots like the Vector, but it is prohibitively expensive, Walker said. As it is, the Vector costs $40,000.

The software prompts Walker to create boundaries on his map, using his finger on the touch screen.

“I’m going to draw a circle around that table because it’s hard to see,” Walker said.

After blocking off a few other areas of his map, Walker is ready to proceed to navigation.

“Every step it tells you what you need to do next,” Walker says.

A button, “Set a goal,” comes up on the screen of the computer.

“I’m going to touch that and just pick a point ahead of it and say, ‘Go to goal,’ and it goes,” Walker says. “So that’s it. You’re automonously navigating now.”

On its way to its goal, the Vector navigates around people standing in its way, an important feature for its intended use in warehouses.

“To test it I had a lot of fun with a remote control car with a piece of cardboard taped on it,” says Andy Mertinooke, another of the full-stack engineers at Waypoint Robotics. “We try to be mean to our robots.”

Mertinooke uses a different analogy than Apple to describe what Waypoint is doing for robots. The inspiration, he says, is Picasso.

“Simplify, simplify, simplify,” Mertinooke says. “Picasso went from a period where he was doing extremely realistic stuff to simpler and simpler to get to the essence of what something is. A bicycle handlebar and a seat could be a bull at the end of his career.”

The idea, says Mertinooke, is to distill robots to the essence of what they need to be.

“That’s going to make them more reliable,” he says. “It’s going to make them more robust.”

Walker sold 13 Vectors in his company’s first year, but some of them have gone to very important customers — tier one automotive suppliers. With his team closing in on perfecting all the elements that will make the Vector the iPod of robots, Walker is confident that Waypoint Robotics will grow exponentially.

Automation is a “must” for American manufacturers, he says, in spite of the fact that he estimates only 10 percent of the companies that could automate, have automated.

“A big part of the reason why is it’s hard,” Walker said. “Which is why if we make it easy, they’ll do it.”

Amazon 'Prime Day' 2018: The Best Deals So Far

Early Amazon Prime Day sales have already begunBestBlackFriday

</div> </div> <p><b>Amazon Prime Day 2018 – Early Live Deals</b></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">You can get these deals right now with one catch: you must be an Amazon Prime subscriber. If you aren’t, there’s an easy hack. Sign-up for the free 30-day trial membership and you will get full access to all the deals and fast, free shipping while being able to cancel at any time (</span><a href="https://www.amazon.com/amazonprime?_encoding=UTF8&amp;ref=st_wlp_opt_out" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/amazonprime?_encoding=UTF8&amp;ref=st_wlp_opt_out" rel="nofollow"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/amazonprime?_encoding=UTF8&amp;ref=st_wlp_opt_out">Amazon Prime trial link</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">)</span></p> <p> </p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400"><i><span style="font-weight: 400">Echo Show </span></i><span style="font-weight: 400">for $129.99 (save $100) – easily the show-stopping deal right now – </span><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J24C0TI/ref=s9_acsd_al_bw_cr_x__a_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-5&amp;pf_rd_r=MJX613GKYF3NYC7QW10W&amp;pf_rd_r=MJX613GKYF3NYC7QW10W&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_p=eaf144fd-ff85-4e4e-ba57-56c853a4d952&amp;pf_rd_p=eaf144fd-ff85-4e4e-ba57-56c853a4d952&amp;pf_rd_i=9818047011" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J24C0TI/ref=s9_acsd_al_bw_cr_x__a_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-5&amp;pf_rd_r=MJX613GKYF3NYC7QW10W&amp;pf_rd_r=MJX613GKYF3NYC7QW10W&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_p=eaf144fd-ff85-4e4e-ba57-56c853a4d952&amp;pf_rd_p=eaf144fd-ff85-4e4e-ba57-56c853a4d952&amp;pf_rd_i=9818047011" rel="nofollow"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J24C0TI/ref=s9_acsd_al_bw_cr_x__a_w?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-5&amp;pf_rd_r=MJX613GKYF3NYC7QW10W&amp;pf_rd_r=MJX613GKYF3NYC7QW10W&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_p=eaf144fd-ff85-4e4e-ba57-56c853a4d952&amp;pf_rd_p=eaf144fd-ff85-4e4e-ba57-56c853a4d952&amp;pf_rd_i=9818047011">product link</span></a></li> <li style="font-weight: 400"><span style="font-weight: 400">Prime Video, DVDs and Blu-Ray – Up to 50% Off, the selection is solid – </span><a href="https://www.primevideo.com/?ref=dvm_pds_amz_FI_lb_s_g%7Cc_267085762555_m_IcNKpJNg-dc_s__" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.primevideo.com/?ref=dvm_pds_amz_FI_lb_s_g%7Cc_267085762555_m_IcNKpJNg-dc_s__" rel="nofollow"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.primevideo.com/?ref=dvm_pds_amz_FI_lb_s_g%7Cc_267085762555_m_IcNKpJNg-dc_s__">product link</span></a></li> <li style="font-weight: 400"><span style="font-weight: 400">Amazon Music Unlimited – four months for $0.99 if you are a new subscriber – </span><a href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/promotions/AmazonMusicUnlimited?" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/promotions/AmazonMusicUnlimited?" rel="nofollow"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/gp/dmusic/promotions/AmazonMusicUnlimited?">product link</span></a></li> <li style="font-weight: 400"><span style="font-weight: 400">Kindle Unlimited – New subscribers get three months for $0.99 – </span><a href="https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/promoLanding?promoCode=8ca6e69e-d37e-4fae-be1f-4d95d6d5637f&amp;campaignId=8ca6e69e-d37e-4fae-be1f-4d95d6d5637f&amp;ref_=&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-13&amp;pf_rd_r=4A1DZRJQ444CB6XQH04V&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_p=a112edb4-5205-4a0f-9043-0d1bb89f3f5f&amp;pf_rd_i=13887280011" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/promoLanding?promoCode=8ca6e69e-d37e-4fae-be1f-4d95d6d5637f&amp;campaignId=8ca6e69e-d37e-4fae-be1f-4d95d6d5637f&amp;ref_=&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-13&amp;pf_rd_r=4A1DZRJQ444CB6XQH04V&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_p=a112edb4-5205-4a0f-9043-0d1bb89f3f5f&amp;pf_rd_i=13887280011" rel="nofollow"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/promoLanding?promoCode=8ca6e69e-d37e-4fae-be1f-4d95d6d5637f&amp;campaignId=8ca6e69e-d37e-4fae-be1f-4d95d6d5637f&amp;ref_=&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_s=merchandised-search-13&amp;pf_rd_r=4A1DZRJQ444CB6XQH04V&amp;pf_rd_t=101&amp;pf_rd_p=a112edb4-5205-4a0f-9043-0d1bb89f3f5f&amp;pf_rd_i=13887280011">product link</span></a></li> <li style="font-weight: 400"><span style="font-weight: 400">Audible – Eligible members receive first three months for $4.95 per month – </span><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NB873RG?" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NB873RG?" rel="nofollow"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NB873RG?">product link</span></a></li> <li style="font-weight: 400"><span style="font-weight: 400">‘Free’ Amazon Voucher – spend $10 in Whole Foods between July 11-17th and you’ll get a $10 Amazon voucher. Effectively, that’s your money back!</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400"><span style="font-weight: 400">Twitch Free PC games – a free game every day to Prime Day for Prime subscribers – </span><a href="https://www.twitch.tv/prime" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.twitch.tv/prime" rel="nofollow"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.twitch.tv/prime">product link</span></a></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">In addition to these live deals, Amazon has already confirmed multiple Prime Day deals which you can read about in my comprehensive </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/07/11/amazon-prime-day-2018-deals-preview-best-sales-to-expect-on-echo-fire-kindle-hdtvs/" target="_self"><span style="font-weight: 400">Prime Day 2018 Preview and Buyers Tips</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">Note: Prime Day starts on Monday, July 16th at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET and ends on Tuesday, July 17th. It will run for 36 hours, a six-hour extension over Prime Day 2017. </span></p>

<p><span style="font-weight: 400">I will be tracking and writing about the best Amazon’s best deals throughout Prime Day 2018, so hit the </span><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/" target="_self"><span style="font-weight: 400">’Follow’ button on my author page</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400"> to stay on top of them with my daily updates. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400">___</span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400">Follow Gordon on </span></i><a href="https://twitter.com/GordonKelly" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/GordonKelly" rel="nofollow"><i data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/GordonKelly"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/GordonKelly">Twitter</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400">, </span></i><a href="https://www.facebook.com/GordonKelly" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.facebook.com/GordonKelly" rel="nofollow"><i data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.facebook.com/GordonKelly"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.facebook.com/GordonKelly">Facebook</span></i></a><i><span style="font-weight: 400"> and </span></i><a href="https://plus.google.com/+GordonKelly" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://plus.google.com/+GordonKelly" rel="nofollow"><i data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://plus.google.com/+GordonKelly"><span style="font-weight: 400" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://plus.google.com/+GordonKelly">Google+</span></i></a></p> <p><b>More On Forbes</b></p> <p><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/07/11/amazon-prime-day-2018-deals-preview-best-sales-to-expect-on-echo-fire-kindle-hdtvs/" target="_self"><span style="font-weight: 400">Amazon ‘Prime Day’ 2018 Preview: Best Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV, Kindle, HDTV Deals</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/07/12/samsung-galaxy-note-9-galaxy-s10-specs-design-camera-fingerprint-reader-release-date-cost-price/" target="_self"><span style="font-weight: 400">Samsung ‘Accidentally’ Confirms Massive Galaxy Note 9</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/07/12/apple-iphone-x-iphone-se2-iphone-9-specs-design-camera-release-date-price/" target="_self"><span style="font-weight: 400">New iPhone Leak Reveals Apple’s Expensive Surprise</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/07/08/apple-iphone-new-iphone-upgrade-se2-specs-release-date-cost/" target="_self"><span style="font-weight: 400">iPhone Exclusive: Apple’s Massive, Cheap iPhone Confirmed</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2018/07/10/apple-ios-11-4-1-release-should-you-upgrade/" target="_self"><span style="font-weight: 400">Apple iOS 11.4.1: Should You Upgrade?</span></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>” readability=”45.8438256659″>

Thought Amazon ‘Prime Day’ began Monday, July 16th? Think again. While you will have to wait four more days for the main sales, Amazon has jumped the gun and started early deals on many of its biggest brands. These are the highlights you should move on now…

This post was created by the Contributor in partnership with BestBlackFriday, which specializes in holiday season sales. The deals highlighted within this post were independently selected by the Contributor and do not contain affiliate links.

Early Amazon Prime Day sales have already begunBestBlackFriday

Amazon Prime Day 2018 – Early Live Deals

You can get these deals right now with one catch: you must be an Amazon Prime subscriber. If you aren’t, there’s an easy hack. Sign-up for the free 30-day trial membership and you will get full access to all the deals and fast, free shipping while being able to cancel at any time (Amazon Prime trial link)

  • Echo Show for $129.99 (save $100) – easily the show-stopping deal right now – product link
  • Prime Video, DVDs and Blu-Ray – Up to 50% Off, the selection is solid – product link
  • Amazon Music Unlimited – four months for $0.99 if you are a new subscriber – product link
  • Kindle Unlimited – New subscribers get three months for $0.99 – product link
  • Audible – Eligible members receive first three months for $4.95 per month – product link
  • ‘Free’ Amazon Voucher – spend $10 in Whole Foods between July 11-17th and you’ll get a $10 Amazon voucher. Effectively, that’s your money back!
  • Twitch Free PC games – a free game every day to Prime Day for Prime subscribers – product link

In addition to these live deals, Amazon has already confirmed multiple Prime Day deals which you can read about in my comprehensive Prime Day 2018 Preview and Buyers Tips.

Note: Prime Day starts on Monday, July 16th at 12 pm PT/3 pm ET and ends on Tuesday, July 17th. It will run for 36 hours, a six-hour extension over Prime Day 2017.

I will be tracking and writing about the best Amazon’s best deals throughout Prime Day 2018, so hit the ’Follow’ button on my author page to stay on top of them with my daily updates.

___

Follow Gordon on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

More On Forbes

Amazon ‘Prime Day’ 2018 Preview: Best Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV, Kindle, HDTV Deals

Samsung ‘Accidentally’ Confirms Massive Galaxy Note 9

New iPhone Leak Reveals Apple’s Expensive Surprise

iPhone Exclusive: Apple’s Massive, Cheap iPhone Confirmed

Apple iOS 11.4.1: Should You Upgrade?

Why Small Businesses Are Feeling the Threat of Trump's Latest Tariffs

Time and effort have gone down the drain for Steve Gould, who is scrambling to find new customers for his gin, whiskey and other spirits since the United States has taken a tough stance on trade issues.

Before the European Union retaliated against new U.S. tariffs with taxes of its own, Gould expected revenue from the EU at his Golden Moon Distillery in Colorado to reach $250,000 or $350,000 this year. Now he’s concerned that European exports will total just $25,000. Golden Moon already saw an effect when then-candidate Donald Trump made trade an issue during the 2016 campaign. Gould lost one of his Mexican importers and an investor, as overseas demand for small-distiller spirits was growing.

“We’ve lost years of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars in building relationships with offshore markets,” says Gould, who’s hoping to find new customers in countries like Japan.

President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policies are taking a toll on small U.S. manufacturers. The president has imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports from most of the world, including Europe, Mexico and Canada, driving up costs for companies that rely on those metals. And he has slapped 25 percent taxes on $34 billion in Chinese imports in a separate trade dispute, targeting mostly machinery and industrial components so far. Trump’s tariffs have drawn retaliation from around the world. China is taxing American soybeans, among other things; the European Union has hit Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky bourbon; Canada has imposed tariffs on a range of products — from U.S. steel to dishwasher detergent.

More businesses could be feeling the pain as the trade disputes escalate — the administration on Tuesday threatened to impose 10 percent tariffs on thousands of Chinese products including fish, apples and burglar alarms. And China responded with a tariff threat of its own, although it didn’t say what U.S. exports would be targeted.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to tariffs because they lack the financial resources larger companies have to absorb higher costs. Large companies can move production overseas — as Harley-Davidson recently announced it would do to escape 25 percent retaliatory tariffs in Europe. But “if you’re a small firm, it’s much harder to do that; you don’t have an international network of production locations,” says Lee Branstetter, professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.

Shifting manufacturing away from items that use components that are being taxed is also harder since small businesses tend to make fewer products, he says. And if tariffs make it too expensive to export to their current markets, small companies may not be able to afford the effort of finding new ones.

Small business owners have been growing more confident over the past year as the economy has been strong, and they’ve been hiring at a steady if not robust pace. But those hurt by tariffs are can lose their optimism and appetite for growth within a few months.

“They have narrow profit margins and it’s a tax,” says Kent Jones, an economics professor at Babson College. “That lowers their profit margins and increases the possibility of layoffs and even bankruptcies.”

Bertram Yachts is one company finding it trickier to maneuver. The U.S. has put a 25 percent tariff on hundreds of boat parts imported from China, where most marine components are made. And European countries have imposed a 25 percent tariff on U.S.-made boats. Last year, Bertram exported about a third of its boats, with half going to Europe.

“We have been squeezed on both sides,” says Peter Truslow, CEO of the Tampa, Florida-based boat maker.

Truslow doesn’t know how the tariffs will affect the company’s sales and profits, but dealers he’s spoken to in Europe have already gotten cancellations on boats that run into the millions of dollars. Bertram plans to try to build up its strong U.S. business and seek more customers in countries that aren’t involved in trade disputes with the U.S. including Japan and Australia.

Still, the company’s growth and job creation stand to slow. “It’s probably going to be more about a reduction in hiring than it is about layoffs,” Truslow says.

The ripples are being felt across the industry, says Tom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association trade group. He estimates there are about 1,000 manufacturers, almost all small or mid-size businesses, and says some parts can only be bought from China.

Matt Barton’s metal fabrication company, which makes custom replacement parts for farm equipment, outdoor signs and people who race hot rods, is paying its suppliers up to 20 percent more for metals than it did a year ago.

Prices had actually soared as much as 40 percent months ago amid expectations of U.S. tariffs on aluminum and steel. They have since steadied, but are expected to remain high for three to six months. Barton’s Pittsboro, Indiana-based company, The Hero Lab, is absorbing part of the increases. Some racing customers are still delaying orders.

“What they budgeted to cost $1,000 now is now $1,200 or $1,500,” Barton says. “They’re pushing their orders back four to six weeks, waiting for a few more paychecks to come in.”

Jeff Schwager’s cheese company, Sartori, is selling products to Mexico at break-even prices because of that nation’s retaliatory 25 percent tariff. Twelve percent of the Plymouth, Wisconsin-based company’s revenue comes from exports, which is the fastest-growing segment of the business.

Sartori and its Mexican importer are each absorbing half the costs of the tariff. Schwager, the CEO, doesn’t see leaving the Mexican market as an option.

“If you lose space on the grocery store shelf, or you’re taken out of recipes in restaurants, that takes years to get back,” he says. He hopes the trade dispute can be resolved and tariffs rolled back.

But some small manufacturers believe they can benefit from a trade dispute. Greg Owens, president of flatware maker Sherrill Manufacturing, says if his competitors in China are hit by U.S. tariffs, he could see revenue increase.

“They would have to raise the retail price, which would allow us to raise our prices,” says Owens, whose company is located in Sherrill, New York. In turn, Owens says, that would allow “long overdue” raises for workers and upgrades to capital equipment.

Catalyzing Innovation via Centers, Labs, and Foundries

Industry, government and academia working togetherDepositphotos enhanced by CogWorld

The cornerstone of collaboration is based on knowledge transfer; sharing of research tools, methodologies and findings; and sometimes combining mutual funding resources to meet shortfalls necessary to build prototypes and commercialize technologies.

Collaborations often involve combinations of government, industry and academia who work together to meet difficult challenges and cultivate new ideas. A growing trend for many leading companies is creating technology specific innovation centers, labs, and foundries to accelerate collaboration and invention.

As the development of new technologies continues to grow exponentially and globally, collaboration has more value as a resource for adapting to the rapidly emerging technologies landscape by establishing pivotal connections between companies, technologies and stakeholders.

In the US Federal government, the National Labs (including: Lawrence Livermore, Oak Ridge, Argonne, Sandia, Idaho National Laboratory, Battelle, and Brookhaven, and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC’s), and federally funded Centers For Excellence have been outlets for innovation and public/private cooperation. The benefits of the Labs’ role include experienced capability in rapid proto-typing of new technologies ready for transitioning, showcasing and commercialization. The Labs are a reservoir of specialized skills and capabilities with the best state-of-the art facilities for testing and evaluation of technologies.

Industry has increasingly adapted the innovation centers, labs, and foundries model used by government. They are often focused on areas of specific types of technologies where companies have expertise. Their models often include participation by clients, other companies, academia and government.

The focused innovation concept is not a new one, but it’s a proven one. PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), founded in 1970 as a division of Xerox Corporation transformed in 2002 into an independent, wholly owned subsidiary company, has been dedicated to developing and maturing advances in science and business concepts with the support of commercial partners and clients.

There are a variety of promising and exciting new initiatives in the PARC mold. For example, in the growing area of artificial intelligence and deep learning, Nvidia opened up a lab in Toronto dedicated to the technology. Giants such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, Cisco and many others in the AI ecosphere have all established innovation centers to create, collaborate, and develop in a wide range of technology disciplines, including AI.

Similarly, in defense and aerospace, leading companies such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, and Raytheon all have invested in labs, centers and collaborative projects to develop better solutions for the warfighter.

Dell EMC recently announced the creation of the world-class High Performance Computing Dell EMC HPC Innovation Lab in Austin, Texas. Booz Allen’s IHub will serve as the headquarters for Booz Allen’s Dark Labs team, an elite group of security researchers, penetration testers, reverse engineers, network analysts and data scientists dedicated to stopping cyber-attacks. And, Intel Corp. is opening an Information Technology Innovation Center in Folsom, California to stimulate and attract innovation in IT research and development.

An interesting approach is the global positioning of Foundries. AT&T has established Foundry innovation centers in 6 cities around the world, and since its inception, has started more than 500 projects and has deployed dozens of new products and services. Each Foundry has a specialized research, prototype, and networking area, including IoT, Edge computing, and cybersecurity.

Image credit: AT&T; enhanced by CogWorld

The exponential arrival of new technologies in diverse areas such as genetic engineering, augmented reality, robotics, renewable energies, big data, digital security, quantum computing and artificial intelligence necessitates rapid, comprehensive approaches that innovation centers, labs and foundries can help fulfill. The result of such collaborations will both keep us apprised of new paradigms and contribute to a seismic shift in breakthrough product discoveries. Such cooperation could speed up the realization of the next industrial revolution and bring benefits beyond our expectations.

Apple Loop: New iPhone Design Revealed, iPhone X Beaten In Global Sales, Mystery MacBook Pro Leaks

Taking a look back at another week of news from Cupertino, this week’s Apple Loop includes a closer look at the new iPhone X designs, the details of Apple’s new fast charger, benchmarks for mystery MacBook Pro model, iPhone topping world sales charts, update to the iOS 12 public beta, and how to not mention the World Cup in your marketing.

Apple Loop is here to remind you of a few of the very many discussions that have happened around Apple over the last seven days (and you can read my weekly digest of Android news here on Forbes).

New iPhone Dummy Models On Show

This week saw the team at 9to5Mac obtain dummy models of the 2018 iPhone line-up, including the 6.5 inch iPhone X Plus, the second generation iPhone X, and the ‘budget’ iPhone X that is expected to replace the iPhone 8. Although these reveal little of the internals of the smartphones, the visual design is now clear. Forbes’ Gordon Kelly takes a closer look at the models:

Looking at the flagship model first, the dummy units illustrate that Apple will be able to crowbar the massive iPhone X Plus display into a chassis no larger than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus thanks to its adoption of the iPhone X’s so-called ‘bezel-less’ display. Moreover, the budget iPhone X will also offer a bezel-less design and potentially for less money than an iPhone 8.

More here on Forbes.

Apple Prepares To Match Android Fast Charge With New iPhone

Leaked images this week have revealed more details about Apple’s sat charger that it plans to include in the box with this year’s new iPhones. Along with the new fast-charge circuits, the higher rated charger will mean the iPhone can reach parity with other fast charging smartphones powered by Android, as I reported earlier this week:

The latest leaked images around the new iPhones show Apple’s new charger, and the standout feature is that these chargers are USB-C based. That means Apple will package the new iPhone X handsets with a USB-C to lightning charging cable. Given the latest MacBook machines only have USB-C ports on them, Apple is finally shipping a charging cable that offers dongle-free connection to its own hardware.

The inclusion of the fast charger is welcome, although I do wonder why it has taken so long for Apple to do so. The next question is when Apple will release hardware that will enable fast wireless charging using Apple’s AirPower.

More details on the charger here on Forbes. Meanwhile Jon Gruber sums up the practical angle nicely:

Moving to a single 18-watt adapter for iPhones and iPads makes a lot of sense. Wired charging for the fastest charge, inductive charging pads for the most convenient.

More on that at Daring Fireball…

A skateboarder jumps the curb crossing a street in Los Angeles, California on october 13, 2017, where advertising for Apple’s new iPhone X (Photo: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Mystery MacBook Pro Benchmarked

Following up on details found by online benchmarking tool Geekbench, I’ve taken a look at the potential updates to the MacBook Pro for 2018. The basic specifics look to be little more than a bump in the numbers. Given Apple’s focus on iOS and the devaluation of the Mac in presentations, this lack of obvious ‘gee-whizz’ updates should come as no surprise to disappointed Mac fans:

The question now is if Apple will give any new MacBook machines a platform at a key event. Given the developer community was gathered at WWDC, one of the key moments was rejected. Apple’s March event placed an educational focus on the iPad (and relegated talk of macOS machines to ‘that big box the teachers use’). Even the updates to macOS announced at WWDC were either cosmetic or to provide support for iOS.

More on the benchmarking, and how the new MacBook machines could be launched, here on Forbes.

Next: iPhone sales, iOS 12 betas, and marketing without mentioning the World Cup…

Check Out The Rocket League 'Year Three' Infographic

, I write about gaming and technology, giving news, insights, and more. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Psyonix/Rocket League

Rocket League Year 3 Infographic

</div> </div> <p>July 7th, 2018 is Rocket League’s third birthday, and Psyonix has released their yearly infographic to celebrate. This year’s graphic provides statistics like player base, community involvement, and item popularity- statistics that would be unknown to us if Psyonix wasn’t the community-involved team that it is.</p> <p>I was hoping we’d be treated to another infographic this year, since they&nbsp;provide not only a great snapshot of the game’s current state, but also allow us the chance to compare to previous years’ statistics to see how the community has changed.</p> <p>I’ve collected some of more interesting statistics from the graphic with some comments below, but feel free to check out the entire infographic (without my interruptions!) <a href="https://rocketleague.media.zestyio.com/RL-Infographic-Year-3_2.jpg" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://rocketleague.media.zestyio.com/RL-Infographic-Year-3_2.jpg" rel="nofollow">on the Rocket League site</a>.</p> <p> </p>

Psyonix/Rocket League

Match statistics since Rocket League’s release

</div> </div> <p>2.5&nbsp;<em>Billion&nbsp;</em>matches played is a staggering figure. If each match takes 5 minutes, that’s about 24,000 years of Rocket League played in just 3 real-life years. Time flies when you’re having fun!</p>

<p>Interestingly, across the 46 million players that number averages to only 55 matches each. I’d love to see the&nbsp;distribution of average matches played, if only to see where my obsession places me among others.</p>

Psyonix/Rocket League

Rocket League’s "Big Numbers"

</div> </div>” readability=”34.3465272591″>

Psyonix/Rocket League

Rocket League Year 3 Infographic

July 7th, 2018 is Rocket League’s third birthday, and Psyonix has released their yearly infographic to celebrate. This year’s graphic provides statistics like player base, community involvement, and item popularity- statistics that would be unknown to us if Psyonix wasn’t the community-involved team that it is.

I was hoping we’d be treated to another infographic this year, since they provide not only a great snapshot of the game’s current state, but also allow us the chance to compare to previous years’ statistics to see how the community has changed.

I’ve collected some of more interesting statistics from the graphic with some comments below, but feel free to check out the entire infographic (without my interruptions!) on the Rocket League site.

Psyonix/Rocket League

Match statistics since Rocket League’s release

2.5 Billion matches played is a staggering figure. If each match takes 5 minutes, that’s about 24,000 years of Rocket League played in just 3 real-life years. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Interestingly, across the 46 million players that number averages to only 55 matches each. I’d love to see the distribution of average matches played, if only to see where my obsession places me among others.

Psyonix/Rocket League

Rocket League’s “Big Numbers”

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Three Ways Scott Pruitt's EPA Put The Oceans At Risk

, I write about the ocean, climate change, and the future of our planet. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
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Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

</div> </div> <p>Earlier today, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that Scott Pruitt had&nbsp;resigned from his post as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator.</p> <blockquote> <span class="tweet_quote"> <a href="https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fpriyashukla%2F2018%2F07%2F05%2Fthree-ways-scott-pruitts-epa-put-the-oceans-at-risk%2F&amp;text=I%20have%20accepted%20the%20resignation%20of%20Scott%20Pruitt%20as%20the%20Administrator%20of%20the%20Environmental%20Protection%20Agency." target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fpriyashukla%2F2018%2F07%2F05%2Fthree-ways-scott-pruitts-epa-put-the-oceans-at-risk%2F&amp;text=I%20have%20accepted%20the%20resignation%20of%20Scott%20Pruitt%20as%20the%20Administrator%20of%20the%20Environmental%20Protection%20Agency." rel="nofollow">I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.<span data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fpriyashukla%2F2018%2F07%2F05%2Fthree-ways-scott-pruitts-epa-put-the-oceans-at-risk%2F&amp;text=I%20have%20accepted%20the%20resignation%20of%20Scott%20Pruitt%20as%20the%20Administrator%20of%20the%20Environmental%20Protection%20Agency."></span></a></span> </blockquote> <p>While Pruitt <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/pruitt-aides-reveal-new-details-of-his-spending-and-management-at-epa/2018/07/02/71b87384-7aec-11e8-80be-6d32e182a3bc_story.html?utm_term=.07c17a32dfb4" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/pruitt-aides-reveal-new-details-of-his-spending-and-management-at-epa/2018/07/02/71b87384-7aec-11e8-80be-6d32e182a3bc_story.html?utm_term=.07c17a32dfb4" rel="nofollow">exhibited questionable ethics and made controversial decisions</a>&nbsp;(including spending <em>thousands</em> of dollars on &quot;<a href="https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/6/21/17488454/scott-pruitt-tactical-pants-scandal" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/6/21/17488454/scott-pruitt-tactical-pants-scandal" rel="nofollow">tactical pants</a>&quot; &amp; attempting to secure a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/climate/pruitt-epa-chick-fil-a.html" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/climate/pruitt-epa-chick-fil-a.html" rel="nofollow">job for his wife at Chick-fil-A</a>), his&nbsp;steadfast&nbsp;efforts to repeal Obama-era environmental policies&nbsp;and permit pollution by fossil fuel and chemical companies will be his lasting legacy.</p> <p>Below&nbsp;are three ways that&nbsp;the EPA&nbsp; imperiled the oceans while Pruitt was Administrator:</p> <p><strong>[1] DENYING OCEAN ACIDIFICATION</strong></p> <p> </p> <p>During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt <a href="https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lisa-suatoni/scott-pruitt-ocean-acidification-wrong-again" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lisa-suatoni/scott-pruitt-ocean-acidification-wrong-again" rel="nofollow">denied</a>&nbsp;that the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification" rel="nofollow">oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere</a>. While unsurprising due to his reputation as a firm&nbsp;<a href="https://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/othervoices/scott-pruitt-and-luther-strange-an-un-american-prosecution-of/article_eff77ff4-8f6c-5646-84da-1f3204b89f54.html" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/othervoices/scott-pruitt-and-luther-strange-an-un-american-prosecution-of/article_eff77ff4-8f6c-5646-84da-1f3204b89f54.html" rel="nofollow">climate change denier</a>,&nbsp;this deliberate obfuscation of the truth <a href="https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/new-crp-evaluating-the-impacts-of-ocean-acidification-on-seafood-a-global-approach-k41018" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/new-crp-evaluating-the-impacts-of-ocean-acidification-on-seafood-a-global-approach-k41018" rel="nofollow">has threatened the shellfish aquaculture industry</a>; starting in the early 2000s,&nbsp;growers in the Pacific Northwest observed their <a href="https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Eco/ocean-acidification-hits-northwest-oyster-farms/story?id=10425738" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Eco/ocean-acidification-hits-northwest-oyster-farms/story?id=10425738" rel="nofollow">shellfish dissolving&nbsp;during periods of&nbsp;intense acidification</a>. Therefore,&nbsp;as the&nbsp;<a href="https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2013/07/03/how-much-co2-can-the-oceans-take-up/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://scripps.ucsd.edu/programs/keelingcurve/2013/07/03/how-much-co2-can-the-oceans-take-up/" rel="nofollow">oceans continue to absorb CO2 emitted from burning fossil fuels</a>,&nbsp;shellfish growers will become increasingly vulnerable to ocean acidification and little governmental infrastructure&nbsp;exists to help them face these challenges.</p>” readability=”21.4725943971″>

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Earlier today, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that Scott Pruitt had resigned from his post as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator.

I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

While Pruitt exhibited questionable ethics and made controversial decisions (including spending thousands of dollars on “tactical pants” & attempting to secure a job for his wife at Chick-fil-A), his steadfast efforts to repeal Obama-era environmental policies and permit pollution by fossil fuel and chemical companies will be his lasting legacy.

Below are three ways that the EPA  imperiled the oceans while Pruitt was Administrator:

[1] DENYING OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt denied that the oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. While unsurprising due to his reputation as a firm climate change denier, this deliberate obfuscation of the truth has threatened the shellfish aquaculture industry; starting in the early 2000s, growers in the Pacific Northwest observed their shellfish dissolving during periods of intense acidification. Therefore, as the oceans continue to absorb CO2 emitted from burning fossil fuels, shellfish growers will become increasingly vulnerable to ocean acidification and little governmental infrastructure exists to help them face these challenges.

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Meet the Women Taking Over the MIT Technology Review's 35 Innovators Under 35 List

The gatekeepers to innovation may question whether someone named Jennifer or Patricia can be inventors–a study out of the Yale School of Management found that men were more likely to see their patent applications approved than women, but that this disparity decreased for women with less traditionally female names. Those at the U.S. Patent Office may reconsider their assumptions after checking out the 2018 MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators under 35. For the first time in the list’s nearly 20-year history, the majority of young innovators are women.

From working to make electricity more accessible to building smarter robots, the 18 women on this list are proving that creativity is not gender-based, at a time when still nearly 80 percent of patents are given to men. Meet five visionary women with some of the most groundbreaking ideas for reshaping our world.

1. Elizabeth Nyeko, Modularity Grid, 34

Nyeko is working to make sure rural communities in Africa have electricity — sustainably. She has developed a mini-grid to serve the areas that are too expensive for national grids to cover. But unlike others available, which can overproduce electricity, Nyeko’s Modularity Grid is a cloud-based platform that can predict consumption and redirect excess to where it is needed.

2. Shehar Bano, Tackling State Censorship, 31

Bano was frustrated with the state-censorship in her native Pakistan that prevented access to websites like YouTube. So as a computer science postdoctoral researcher at University College London, she conducted the first systematic study of state censorship on the internet. Her research has led to not only a better understanding of how such systems work but several workarounds for people in need of unfettered access to the web.

3. Hera Hussain, Chayn, 28

Hussain is the founder of Chayn, an online platform for women seeking resources for how to handle domestic violence–including how to build a case without a lawyer. Chayn is an open-source medium for survivors and experts to share their knowledge, which she found is often either entirely missing or incredibly biased.

4. Joy Buolamwini, Algorithmic Justice League, 28

Buolamwini founded the Algorithmic Justice League, which aims to take down bias in machine learning. As a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, Buolamwini has found that AI is significantly better at recognizing the faces of lighter skin males than darker-skinned females (compare error rates of 1 percent and 35 percent, respectively). Already a Rhodes Scholar and Fulbright Fellow, Boulamwini isn’t stopping until the technology becoming increasingly part of societal institutions is representative of all people.

5. Chelsea Finn, Berkeley Artificial Intelligence Lab, 25

A challenge of many robots on the market is their limited skill sets: they can only do tasks they have been programed to do. But Finn’s robots are changing this. They learn how by watching and repeating, just as toddlers copy adults. If Finn, a PhD student at UC Berkeley, is successful, we will have a generation of robots that require less programming and have broader skill sets.

How Tesla Scored A Zero On Climate Management

, From Chicago, I write about green technology, energy, environment. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, stands with a Tesla Roadster outside the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York in a file photo. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

</div> </div> <p>Tesla Motors is widely regarded as the most climate-conscious automaker,&nbsp;with an&nbsp;all-electric fleet&nbsp;that&nbsp;spurred&nbsp;clean-car innovation across the industry. But Elon Musk’s company nonetheless earned a zero score this year in an assessment of corporate climate governance.</p> <p>The Transition Pathway Initiative assessed the climate&nbsp;performance of 138 companies in seven sectors, including all the major automakers. Tesla tops the list&nbsp;when it comes to&nbsp;carbon emissions&nbsp;from its products, thanks to a fleet that&nbsp;burns no gasoline or diesel. But Tesla&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/tpi/company/tesla/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/tpi/company/tesla/">finished last</a>, alongside Ferrari and the Chinese automaker Brilliance, when it comes to&nbsp;management of its overall climate&nbsp;impact, because the company hasn’t disclosed&nbsp;any management&nbsp;information.</p> <p>&quot;They clearly are by far the most efficient in terms of alignment with 2&ordm;, but at the same time they’re&nbsp;one of the worst in terms of actually making public disclosure in terms of how they manage climate change as a company,&quot; said Adam Matthews, the director of ethics and engagement for the Church of England Pension Board and co-chair of TPI. His reference to 2&ordm; refers to the international ambition to limit human-caused warming to no more than 2&ordm; C.</p> <p> </p> <p>TPI’s zero score is&nbsp;typically reserved for companies that are &quot;unaware of (or not acknowledging) climate change as a business issue.&quot;</p> <p>That characterization rankled a Tesla spokesman I reached yesterday.</p> <p>&quot;Tesla’s entire reason for existing is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,&quot; said Tesla spokesman Kamran Mumtaz. &quot;Our fleet of vehicles has saved more than 3.5 million tons of CO<sub>2</sub>, and our solar products have produced more than 10 billion kilowatt hours of clean energy across the globe. When we read that Tesla is ‘unaware of climate change as a business issue,’&nbsp;we checked the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1<sup>st</sup>.”</p>

<p>TPI is not the&nbsp;only organization to&nbsp;criticize&nbsp;Tesla’s&nbsp;silence about&nbsp;its climate impact. Trillium Asset Management knocked Tesla <a href="http://www.trilliuminvest.com/shareholder-proposal/tesla-corporate-sustainability-reporting-2018/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.trilliuminvest.com/shareholder-proposal/tesla-corporate-sustainability-reporting-2018/">in a recent report</a>&nbsp;on&nbsp;the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures:</p>” readability=”45.3778359511″>

Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors, stands with a Tesla Roadster outside the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York in a file photo. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Tesla Motors is widely regarded as the most climate-conscious automaker, with an all-electric fleet that spurred clean-car innovation across the industry. But Elon Musk’s company nonetheless earned a zero score this year in an assessment of corporate climate governance.

The Transition Pathway Initiative assessed the climate performance of 138 companies in seven sectors, including all the major automakers. Tesla tops the list when it comes to carbon emissions from its products, thanks to a fleet that burns no gasoline or diesel. But Tesla finished last, alongside Ferrari and the Chinese automaker Brilliance, when it comes to management of its overall climate impact, because the company hasn’t disclosed any management information.

“They clearly are by far the most efficient in terms of alignment with 2º, but at the same time they’re one of the worst in terms of actually making public disclosure in terms of how they manage climate change as a company,” said Adam Matthews, the director of ethics and engagement for the Church of England Pension Board and co-chair of TPI. His reference to 2º refers to the international ambition to limit human-caused warming to no more than 2º C.

TPI’s zero score is typically reserved for companies that are “unaware of (or not acknowledging) climate change as a business issue.”

That characterization rankled a Tesla spokesman I reached yesterday.

“Tesla’s entire reason for existing is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” said Tesla spokesman Kamran Mumtaz. “Our fleet of vehicles has saved more than 3.5 million tons of CO2, and our solar products have produced more than 10 billion kilowatt hours of clean energy across the globe. When we read that Tesla is ‘unaware of climate change as a business issue,’ we checked the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.”

TPI is not the only organization to criticize Tesla’s silence about its climate impact. Trillium Asset Management knocked Tesla in a recent report on the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures:

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New Surface StudioLeakHighlightsMicrosoft's Exciting Future

With the launch of the Surface Studio, Microsoft’s all-in-one desk-bound masterpiece made a huge play to the design community. It might have been pricey, but the tight integration of the Windows 10 Creators Update with practical peripherals such as the Surface Dial and Surface Pen could be seen as a subtle shockwave that disturbed the comfortable reliance on macOS.

Two years later I think its time for the 28-inch easel based Studio to be updated, and all the signs out there suggest Microsoft is thinking the same.

The last few years have seen Microsoft keep a relatively steady pace for its high-end designs. Winding the clock back, 2017 saw the debut of the Surface Book 2, while the original Surface Book was launched in 2015. Meanwhile the first Surface Studio was revealed in 2016.

There’s not a huge amount of data, but on the assumption that the Surface line allows us to assume Taniyama-Shimura, then we have Surface Book in 2015, Surface Studio in 2016, Surface Book 2 in 2017, and Surface Studio 2 in late 2018?

Microsoft Corporate VP of Devices, Panos Panay introduces Microsoft Surface Studio at a Microsoft news conference October 26, 2016 (Photo: Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

The Surface Studio is not a machine designed to sell in the quantities seen by smartphones, or other Surface devices. It is very much a nice machine, but one that allows Microsoft to show off its engineering prowess, to show what Windows 10 can do when the gloves come of, and allows Redmond to have a product it can use to illustrate its software and hardware without biasing towards a single partner manufacturer

Yes, there’s an argument that having Surface line actually weakness the partnership as Microsoft is seen more as a hardware competitor than a thought leader, but that’s for another time.

This article is looking forward to the window that could see the second Studio model launched. The spark comes from the news that the current Surface Studio machines are sold out. MSPowerUser has the details:

Some evidence that it may be coming sooner rather than later is that all models of the Surface Studio, from the cheapest to the most expensive, are currently sold out at the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft announced the last Surface Studio at a special Windows 10 event on October 2016, and I assume with a raft of new hardware expected, including the long expected and rumoured Surface Phone, it is likely Microsoft will be having another such event, likely to coincide with the release of Windows 10 Redstone 5, to announce the new devices.

It is a bit of a jump to go from ‘out of stock’ in late June to ‘new hardware incoming’ but it’s not that stretching that far. As well as updates and codenamed for new versions of the Surface Pro, a budget version of a Surace tablet, updates to Surface Book, and the almost mythical Surface Phone, there is the small matter of ‘Capitola’ the codename that shows up in Microsoft’s product maps. Zac Bowden has more details:

Obviously, a new Surface Studio would feature updated internals, which would be much appreciated considering the original Surface Studio was made available with rather lackluster specifications for an incredibly steep price. I’m told the Surface Studio 2 will fix this, with improved specifications in the higher-tier models, and perhaps even a lower-cost option for those that can’t afford $3000 out of the gate.

There’s a clear (but short) release pattern that fits, there’s a product on the road-map, and there’s a clear gap in terms of technology and specifications that needs filled.

Your move, Microsoft.

Now read more about the radical ‘not a Surface Phone’ mobile device that Microsoft is working on…

Will Multi-Cloud Strategy Help Docker Inc. Win The Enterprise?

At the recently held DockerCon conference, Docker, Inc. has announced plans to make its enterprise container management platform capable of managing applications deployed across multiple environments. The company has also highlighted the integration with Windows containers bringing interoperability between Microsoft Windows Server and Linux operating system.

Source: Docker

Docker Enterprise Edition, the commercial offering from Docker, Inc. to manage containerized applications, will allow organizations to federate applications deployed on-premises, the cloud environments and managed Kubernetes. The cloud-hosted, managed Kubernetes offerings include Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), AWS Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (EKS) and Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).

According to Docker Inc., Docker Enterprise Edition is the only container platform that can deliver federated application management with a secure supply chain. With Docker EE, customers get the choice of Linux distribution or Windows Server, the choice of running in a virtual machine or on bare metal, running traditional or microservices applications with either Swarm or Kubernetes orchestration along with the flexibility to choose the right cloud platform to run containerized workloads.

The federated control plane that would be available in Docker EE delivers higher availability of applications. An application deployed in one location will be automatically replicated across multiple clusters. When the primary cluster becomes unavailable, Docker EE will transparently route the traffic to a healthy cluster. There are other possible use cases where customers will be able to manage applications across development, staging seamlessly, and production environments powered by Docker EE.

Since the move to embrace Kubernetes, Docker, Inc. has been trying to find a differentiating factor. Through federated application management, Docker wants to plug a gap that exists in current Kubernetes offerings. But this capability is not an exclusive Docker EE feature.

There are on-going efforts in the Kubernetes community to federate clusters running in different environments. Vendors such as StackPointCloud and Upbound are moving towards a federated control plane for Kubernetes. It’s a matter of time before upstream Kubernetes gets a more stable and streamlined mechanism to federate clusters. Docker, Inc. will have to make a strong case to use its enterprise platform against other Kubernetes-based offerings.

Docker, Inc. is working closely with Microsoft to integrate Kubernetes with Windows containers. Microsoft has already exposed native Windows containers through familiar Docker API and CLI. Docker and Microsoft are now working together to let Windows workloads run while leveraging all the features of both Kubernetes and Docker Enterprise Edition combined. That means organizations can choose to deploy Windows and .NET applications with either Swarm or Kubernetes, running along alongside Linux applications.

This Week In Mobile: Vivo Nex, Samsung Tops Mobile Sales, Apple Shuts iPhone Loophole, Lumen Privacy

, Vice-President and Principal Analyst at Atherton Research Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

This Week in Mobile is a weekly podcast produced by Atherton Research that reviews the main news of the mobile world from the past 7 days

</div> </div> <p><em><a href="https://thisweekinmobile.simplecast.fm/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://thisweekinmobile.simplecast.fm/">This Week in Mobile</a></em> is a weekly podcast available on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-week-in-mobile/id1370922528?mt=2" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-week-in-mobile/id1370922528?mt=2">Apple iTunes</a> or <a href="https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Igkeffprbrviwl4kygggp4veuae" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Igkeffprbrviwl4kygggp4veuae">Google Play</a> where I bring you up to speed on the top mobile news stories of the week:</p> <ol> <li>The <a href="http://www.vivo.com/en/about-vivo/news/vivo-nex" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.vivo.com/en/about-vivo/news/vivo-nex">Nex S</a> (~$700) by Chinese smartphone maker Vivo is the very commercially available first all-screen (6.59-inch Super AMOLED display with a full-HD+ resolution) smartphone with no notch, no front earpiece speaker – it uses&nbsp;its Screen SoundCasting technology to turn the screen into a speaker – an under-the-display fingerprint scanner and an 8-megapixel selfie camera that pops up from inside the phone. Other features include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, dual-SIM support, 128GB or 256GB of storage, a rear dual camera (12-megapixel and 5-megapixel), and a 4,000-mAh battery. At 8 mm thick, the Vivo NEX is just 0.3 mm thicker than the iPhone X. However, the virtual fingerprint scanner is slower than a physical one and doesn’t work all the time, and we will have to see how the pop-up mechanism survives the test of time.</li> <li>For the second quarter in a row, the iPhone X remained the world’s most popular smartphone. For the first 3 months of this year, Apple sold between 12.7 and 16 million iPhone Xs according to estimates from <a href="http://news.ihsmarkit.com/press-release/technology/iphone-x-led-global-smartphone-unit-shipments-q1-2018-ihs-markit-says" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://news.ihsmarkit.com/press-release/technology/iphone-x-led-global-smartphone-unit-shipments-q1-2018-ihs-markit-says">IHS Markit</a> and <a href="https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/news/strategy-analytics-press-releases/strategy-analytics-press-release/2018/05/03/strategy-analytics-apple-iphone-x-becomes-world%27s-best-selling-smartphone-model-in-q1-2018#.Wycb2iBlDic" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.strategyanalytics.com/strategy-analytics/news/strategy-analytics-press-releases/strategy-analytics-press-release/2018/05/03/strategy-analytics-apple-iphone-x-becomes-world%27s-best-selling-smartphone-model-in-q1-2018#.Wycb2iBlDic">Strategy Analytics</a>, respectively. For Strategy Analytics, the iPhone X was closely followed by the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus which shipped 12.5 million and 8.3 million units, respectively, and then followed by the iPhone 7 with 5.6 million units. IHS Markit also ranked the iPhone 8 second, followed by the $116 Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Plus and the iPhone 8 Plus. However, this will certainly change during the current quarter, when sales of the Samsung S8 will surpass iPhone X shipments and become the world’s best-selling Android smartphone globally in the second quarter of 2018.</li> <p> </p> <li>Overall, Samsung was the best selling smartphone manufacturer last quarter with 78 million units, according to <a href="https://www.counterpointresearch.com/global-smartphone-share" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.counterpointresearch.com/global-smartphone-share">Counterpoint Research</a>, followed by Apple (52.2 million), Huawei/Honor (39.3 million), Xiaomi (27 million), Oppo (22 million), Vivo (19.5 million) and LG (11.4 million). Interestingly, despite a 14% decline of the Chinese smartphone market last quarter, Apple’s market share in China grew 32% year-over-year while most of the other local smartphone makers saw theirs declined, forcing them to look at other growing markets like India, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America.</li> <li>Shenzhen-based <a href="https://www.oneplus.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.oneplus.com/">OnePlus</a>, a sister company of Vivo and Oppo and part of the <a href="http://www.gdbbk.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.gdbbk.com/">BKK Electronics</a> conglomerate, announced that they sold 1 million OnePlus 6 (~$530) in less than a month (22 days to be exact). In comparison, it took 3 months to reach the same milestone for the 2 previous OnePlus phones, while Apple sold more than 3 million iPhone X in just 22 days last quarter.</li>

<li>Apple confirmed that starting with the next generation of its mobile operating system (iOS 12), expected in the fall, it will deactivate the data function of an iPhone lightning/USB port if the device has not been unlocked in the past hour. This &quot;USB Restricted Mode&quot; will prevent anyone (mostly law enforcement agencies) to crack into an iPhone using the lightning port and siphon all of its data.</li> <li>App of the week: the <a href="https://www.icsi.berkeley.edu/icsi/projects/networking/haystack" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.icsi.berkeley.edu/icsi/projects/networking/haystack">Lumen Privacy Monitor</a> is a VPN application for <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.berkeley.icsi.haystack" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.berkeley.icsi.haystack">Android </a>that monitors applications on the device for connections to servers tracking users and collecting data.</li> </ol> <p>Joining me this week to discuss these top mobile news stories and more is tech veteran Eric Leandri, the co-founder and CEO of search-engine <a href="https://www.qwant.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.qwant.com/">Qwant</a>.</p>” readability=”11.5027442371″>

This Week in Mobile is a weekly podcast produced by Atherton Research that reviews the main news of the mobile world from the past 7 days

This Week in Mobile is a weekly podcast available on Apple iTunes or Google Play where I bring you up to speed on the top mobile news stories of the week:

  1. The Nex S (~$700) by Chinese smartphone maker Vivo is the very commercially available first all-screen (6.59-inch Super AMOLED display with a full-HD+ resolution) smartphone with no notch, no front earpiece speaker – it uses its Screen SoundCasting technology to turn the screen into a speaker – an under-the-display fingerprint scanner and an 8-megapixel selfie camera that pops up from inside the phone. Other features include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, dual-SIM support, 128GB or 256GB of storage, a rear dual camera (12-megapixel and 5-megapixel), and a 4,000-mAh battery. At 8 mm thick, the Vivo NEX is just 0.3 mm thicker than the iPhone X. However, the virtual fingerprint scanner is slower than a physical one and doesn’t work all the time, and we will have to see how the pop-up mechanism survives the test of time.
  2. For the second quarter in a row, the iPhone X remained the world’s most popular smartphone. For the first 3 months of this year, Apple sold between 12.7 and 16 million iPhone Xs according to estimates from IHS Markit and Strategy Analytics, respectively. For Strategy Analytics, the iPhone X was closely followed by the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus which shipped 12.5 million and 8.3 million units, respectively, and then followed by the iPhone 7 with 5.6 million units. IHS Markit also ranked the iPhone 8 second, followed by the $116 Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime Plus and the iPhone 8 Plus. However, this will certainly change during the current quarter, when sales of the Samsung S8 will surpass iPhone X shipments and become the world’s best-selling Android smartphone globally in the second quarter of 2018.
  3. Overall, Samsung was the best selling smartphone manufacturer last quarter with 78 million units, according to Counterpoint Research, followed by Apple (52.2 million), Huawei/Honor (39.3 million), Xiaomi (27 million), Oppo (22 million), Vivo (19.5 million) and LG (11.4 million). Interestingly, despite a 14% decline of the Chinese smartphone market last quarter, Apple’s market share in China grew 32% year-over-year while most of the other local smartphone makers saw theirs declined, forcing them to look at other growing markets like India, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America.
  4. Shenzhen-based OnePlus, a sister company of Vivo and Oppo and part of the BKK Electronics conglomerate, announced that they sold 1 million OnePlus 6 (~$530) in less than a month (22 days to be exact). In comparison, it took 3 months to reach the same milestone for the 2 previous OnePlus phones, while Apple sold more than 3 million iPhone X in just 22 days last quarter.
  5. Apple confirmed that starting with the next generation of its mobile operating system (iOS 12), expected in the fall, it will deactivate the data function of an iPhone lightning/USB port if the device has not been unlocked in the past hour. This “USB Restricted Mode” will prevent anyone (mostly law enforcement agencies) to crack into an iPhone using the lightning port and siphon all of its data.
  6. App of the week: the Lumen Privacy Monitor is a VPN application for Android that monitors applications on the device for connections to servers tracking users and collecting data.

Joining me this week to discuss these top mobile news stories and more is tech veteran Eric Leandri, the co-founder and CEO of search-engine Qwant.

Author: Jean Baptiste is a Vice-President and Principal Analyst at Atherton Research, a global technology intelligence firm helping clients deliver successful go-to-market strategies.

The Race To $1 Trillion, But What About $2 Trillion?

Which company is going to reach the notorious $1 trillion market cap first? Apple (AAPL) will but Amazon (AMZN) will whiz by to be the first to $2 billion. Let’s take a look at the numbers…

By the Numbers

Company

Share Price

Market Cap

% Increase to $1 Trillion

Apple

$192.64

$941 billion

5.6%

Amazon

$1,711

$822 billion

20.65%

Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)

$1,151.78

$788 billion

26.06%

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

$101.65

$781 billion

28.04%

Company

Share Price at $1 Billion

Apple

$203.42

Amazon

$2,063.18

Alphabet

$1,451.79

Microsoft

$129.47

Only the top 4 companies by market cap were included because Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) was fifth and the market cap was around $555 billion at $192 per share. So it basically needs to double before Apple has to go up 5.6%. Possible but not plausible.

So you can see by the numbers Apple looks to be the winner. Especially since the company only trades for 18x earnings, pretty much in line with the S&P 500 (SPX). Even intuitively, Apple reaching $203 before Amazon reaching $2,063 just seems way more possible.

If the question was posed, which company will reach $2 trillion first, a lot of people would have bet on Amazon. Granted, Apple was undervalued a couple of years ago, especially when it bottomed around $90/share and Buffett, or more appropriately Combs and Weschler, backed up the truck. But Amazon’s rate of innovation and the growth of AWS led me to believe Amazon would win the foot race.

Also, Apple has bought back stock aggressively, spending over $275 billion over the past 6 or so years on buybacks and dividends. So it only makes sense that Apple is here, about to cross the finish line first.

The Race To $2 Trillion

But what about $2 Trillion? Which company is going to reach that historic landmark first? Honestly, it would not be extremely surprising if a company not even public right now managed to reach $2 trillion first, but from this vantage point, the easy answer is Amazon. The other three companies here don’t stand a chance. And for one reason: fear of failure. Amazon is not afraid to fail and that has given them a huge sustainable advantage in the form of the culture.

In other words, the company’s mindset is completely different from Apple or Microsoft. The people aren’t smarter, everyone at these companies is a genius. It’s about how those geniuses function in the context of the business. In this department, Amazon will win every time. It has proven itself time and time again. Reading a quarterly press release from Amazon is pure silliness; the highlights section goes on and on and on. There seems to be so much innovation, even the press release can’t handle it.

How Amazon Will Get There

There won’t be a comprehensive model of Amazon’s revenue, split into the three operating segments: AWS, North America and International because well, Amazon is so unpredictable. Instead, just retail and AWS will be considered. This is mostly because the quarterly numbers for the past four years and the financials do not lend themselves to pattern recognition. The only real trends are that cash flow has been strong and revenue has accelerated in the past year, due in part to the Whole Foods acquisition, which is absolutely incredible at this scale.

A slight acceleration might give the company around $240 billion in net sales at the end of this year. Nearly a quarter trillion! About 10% of that will most likely be AWS revenue, which accounts for more than 100% of operating income. Yes, you read that right, more than 100%.

It would be surprised if the company reaches $2 trillion before 2021 honestly. However, in just three years, there will probably be so many innovations investors never even saw coming.

But just some quick, back-of-the-napkin math perhaps.

Year

Total Sales at 25% Growth

AWS Sales at 40% Growth

Retail Value (2x sales)

AWS Value (40x EBIT at 30% opm)

2018

$235 billion

$24 billion

2019

$294 billion

$34 billion

2020

$367 billion

$47 billion

2021

$459 billion

$66 billion

$902 billion

$800 billion

2022

$574 billion

$92 billion

$964 billion

$1,104 billion

This is very rough math but it just goes to show that even for Amazon, it will not be easy to reach $2 trillion. Let’s break down some of the math.

  • The retail value was derived from taking the net sales and subtracting AWS sales (574-92) = 482 and giving it a 2x sales multiple = 964 billion.

To break down the growth in the retail segment, Amazon’s revenue has actually been accelerating in the last couple of years. In 2015, sales grew by 20%, in 2016, growth was 27% and this past year’s numbers shot to 30%.

The pay-offs for years of innovation are just rolling in. In the past quarter, revenue re-accelerated to 43%. An impressive feat for a company of Amazon’s scale. Over the next three or so years, 25% as a revenue growth estimate might be a little aggressive but you cannot deny the technological advancements. For example, apparently almost 30 million Alexas have been sold. Some reports peg this voice-enabled technology market at $55 billion.

And the company is, of course, attacking many other industries. According to some reports, Prime Video has over 26 million watchers and in 2017, Amazon sent nearly $5 billion on original content. And some reports estimate the online streaming industry to reach $82 billion by 2023.

Even more, the Whole Foods acquisition has certainly accelerated the grocery delivery business, a market expected to reach $100 billion by 2025. But the Amazon juggernaut will be a serious player in logistics in the far but not too distant future. Last year, the company unveiled a $1.5 billion hub for its cargo planes. For just its planes! As it funds more the purchasing of more assets through current business operations, it continues to cement its competitive advantage.

For instance, buying more trucks for delivery gives Amazon more control over delivery times, meaning more customers will sign up for Prime, meaning it can fund more trucks. It’s really a beautiful cycle, one that JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) has taken very seriously. The size of this global market is immense. Some estimates have it in the trillions, which Amazon could take a small bite of.

It is much different than an asset-light model but it gives the company a huge structural advantage, enabling a better customer experience. This is all to say that the company’s retail segment can grow and grow and grow. It doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

And if Amazon reached $574 billion in revenues, the company would still have less than 10% of just North America’s retail market. Plus, with forays into the pharmaceutical industry, Amazon just keeps expanding its markets. Now we have covered grocery delivery, video streaming, logistics, voice-enabled devices, and now drugs. For instance, McKesson (MCK), does over $200 billion in sales for distributing drugs every year. It is possible for Amazon to get a small piece of that.

So all in all, the company has a lot of optionality in terms of the industries it can attack and has decided to attack. The crazy part is that this doesn’t even include international expansion.

To add it all up by the year 2022 (author’s estimates based on reports):

– Voice-enabled tech: $55 billion

– Online streaming: $75 billion

– Grocery delivery: $80 billion

– Logistics: realistically $5 trillion

– Pharmaceutical distribution: $200 billion

– Retail: $5 trillion

Total TAM: $10.4 trillion

Of course, Amazon’s respective market shares of each of these markets varies widely. In logistics and pharmaceuticals, it is practically nothing right now. But it has more than two-thirds of the market in voice-enabled technology. The retail category will naturally move more towards Amazon. Estimates have the e-commerce market at $5 trillion in 2022, up from $2.8 trillion this year. It is likely that the company will capture a sizable piece of that growth.

If the incremental growth in only e-commerce is $2.3 trillion, it is likely that Amazon can add over $300 billion in revenues in the next four years, adding in all the other industries it is involved in as well. Capturing just 10% of that incremental $2.3 billion, leaves the company with revenues of $230 billion. It is likely that Amazon can capture an additional $70 billion from the combination of industries discussed above.

  • The AWS value came from a 30% operating margin on the 2021 number ~20 billion with a 40x EBIT multiple = 800 billion.

One could go on and on about AWS, but it really is a powerhouse. On the last earnings call, Bezos noted that he and his team got a seven-year head-start. In something that moves as quickly as computing, seven years is a huge gap to make up. Only now is Microsoft catching up a little bit with Azure. Even Buffett had to comment.

The fact is that AWS is a gorilla and it will continue to be. By 2022, the cloud computing market is pegged at $210 billion. Currently, the company commands 47% market share so the estimate of $92 billion in four years is not far-fetched at all. In fact, it actually factors in a bit of market share deterioration to 44%.

So all in all, we get over $2 trillion for a market cap, more than a double from today’s levels, or about 26% annual returns after 4 years. That seems like a tall order but then again, it’s Amazon.

Guessing – Why Not?

To guess, Amazon will surpass the $2 trillion mark in the third quarter of 2022. There you have it. Will that be wrong? Almost guaranteed, but based on some quick numbers and knowledge of Amazon’s intensity and innovation, that estimate is plausible.

Apple will reach $203 per share pretty soon. But Amazon will likely be the first company to reach $2 trillion, a crazy number to believe, more than 10% of the US’s current GDP.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

AT&T's Merger Creates A Buying Opportunity

Ma Bell is what many people think of when they hear AT&T (NYSE: T). The old AT&T of years ago was a boring utility until it was broken up. Years later, AT&T is attempting to diversify itself into a growth and income story. With the announcement that AT&T will be allowed to acquire Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), the company’s growth profile should change for the better. As I’m writing this, AT&T’s stock sits nearly 18% below its 52-week high. Combine a discounted share price with a roughly 6% yield, and this “boring” company could be an exciting addition to any portfolio.

Favorable Figures

At first glance, the new AT&T doesn’t seem that impressive. If we combine AT&T and Time Warner’s most recent results, you get the following:

  • Total revenue $46 bil. – down 2.3%
  • Core Payout Ratio 61%
  • Operating margin 17.2%

These numbers don’t look to exciting. However, if we dig a little below the surface, the company’s potential becomes clearer. The combined company would have net income growth of just over 16% year-over-year. In addition, the combined company would have reported $5.9 billion in core free cash flow (net income + depreciation – capex.), which represents growth of just over 9%.

If the company’s income and cash flow are growing, what about AT&T’s balance sheet? Though the Time Warner deal is a large transaction, Verizon’s (NYSE: VZ) acquisition of the remainder of Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless gives us a look at what AT&T might expect.

AT&T buys Time Warner

Verizon acquires Vodafone’s stake

Total Value = $85 bil.

Total Value = $130 bil.

Cash value = $42.5 bil.

Cash value = $58.9 bil.

Stock value = $38.2 bil.

Stock value = $60.2 bil.

(Source: AT&T details and Verizon’s details)

Verizon’s acquisition occurred roughly five years ago, and the company took on more debt than AT&T is for the Time Warner deal. If we look at a few key numbers comparing 2014 to 2017 at Verizon, there is a clear improvement in the company’s cash flow, debt profile, and interest expense.

Item

2014

2017

Core Free Cash Flow

$11.3 bil.

$30.3 bil.

Op. Margin

15.4%

21.8%

Interest as percentage of operating income

25%

17.3%

Long-Term Debt net of Cash

42.9%

43.4%

(Source Verizon Annual Reports: 2014 and 2017)

Now obviously Verizon’s acquisition of the remainder of an existing business isn’t the same as integrating AT&T and Time Warner. In addition, Verizon has made several other acquisitions and changes during this time frame. However, Time Warner’s business has a higher operating margin than legacy AT&T. In addition, Time Warner is expected to be free cash flow accretive.

After the acquisition, AT&T’s long-term debt profile totals roughly $180 billion versus roughly $134 billion previously. Though this sounds like a big difference, the combined company’s interest cost versus operating income shows a positive outcome for the new AT&T.

Item

Legacy AT&T

New AT&T

Quarterly interest cost

$1.8 bil.

$2.3 bil.

Operating income

$6.3 bil.

$8.1 bil.

Interest as percent of operating income

28.6%

28.4%

(all numbers per quarter)

It seems clear the new debt that AT&T is taking on won’t be a significant drain on the new company’s resources.

Red or Blue who are you going to choose?

For a long time, investors have lumped Verizon and AT&T into the same group. These two companies are solid dividend choices, but they don’t exactly set the world on fire with growth. The Time Warner merger has a chance to turn some heads toward AT&T.

If investors are concerned that AT&T’s value already reflects the potential of this merger, nothing could be further from the truth. In 2016, after the merger was announced, AT&T stock was at about $38.60. Today, those shares are nearly 16% lower. In the same time, AT&T’s dividend has increased from $1.92 to $2.00 annually.

It also seems the combined company isn’t getting much respect in the growth department. Most analysts expect AT&T to grow earnings next year by a measly 1.5%. Time Warner is expected to grow earnings by less than 1%. If we compare AT&T’s prospects to Verizon (NYSE: VZ) it seems analysts think these two companies move in lockstep. Verizon is expected to grow earnings next year by just over 2%.

It is worth noting AT&T has beaten earnings estimates by an average of 6% the last four quarters. Over the last year, Time Warner has done even better than its suitor, beating estimates by an average of 17%. Given the cost savings potential, vertical integration, and potential of the Warner Bros movie lineup, AT&T will likely keep beating estimates into the future.

Let’s all go to the movies!

The old tagline “let’s all go to the movies” is the perfect comment for why AT&T wanted to acquire Time Warner. Among the movie studios, only Disney seems to have a better lineup of movies coming out in the next few years.

Warner Bros. has at least three major releases left this year. Whether the company makes money from the recently released Oceans 8, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, or Aquaman, Warner Bros. should positively contribute for the remainder of 2018. In 2019, the studio has and enviable list of titles including: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Minecraft: The Movie, Wonder Woman 2, and more.

In 2018 and 2019, Warner Bros. should add to the new AT&T’s growth profile. Between sequels we never thought we would see (Gremlins 3 anyone?), and new franchises being launched like a Joker Origin movie or Deathstroke, AT&T has the right to expect big things from it’s studio.

The bottom line

In the end, AT&T shareholders should be excited for the future. Time Warner has the potential to upgrade AT&T’s growth profile and diversify its revenue streams.

The cost synergies and new content bundles available to the combined company could be impressive. AT&T has already announced a “skinny bundle” of television programming free to its mobile customers that will be Turner content. DirecTV could have special access to movie trailers from Warner Bros. AT&T could bundle mobile, DirecTV, and HBO without having to negotiate with an outside party. Uncertainty around the stock today represents a buying opportunity. Faster growth, improved cash flow, better margins, and a 6% yield are rarely available, smart investors should take advantage.

Disclosure: I am/we are long VZ.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

3 Tricks Dads Know That They Should Be Using on the Job

Once upon a time–let’s say June 1978–there was a freshly minted college graduate hoping to work in corporate communications. Let’s call him Joe. Now this guy is adventurous and a little eccentric, so he builds a time machine in his garage. He climbs in and sets it ahead 40 years, figuring the world will be more interesting in the future, and he exits in June 2018, or right about now.

Dusting off his wide tie and poly-blend suit, our young man marches smartly off in search of the want ads. Joe is sure to be a little confused by some of the job titles that were unheard of in his day: What the heck is a scrum master? A cloud services developer? 

One category Joe is definitely going to see is storyteller, a job that didn’t exist even 20 years ago. It is an essential corporate role in today’s instant-information-saturation world. You must brand your company, whether a startup or an established business, no matter how well known you already are. By storytelling, you nourish and burnish the image by taking people deeply and broadly into your narrative. It’s what keeps them wanting to be there.

A storyteller’s job goes beyond the traditional pairing of a grip-and-grin photo with a boilerplate press release to really narrate and show the impact of a business through–you guessed it–storytelling. When done right, it’s brilliant. Joe might not know how to apply for a storyteller job online, but telling a good story hasn’t changed since the dawn of time; it is universal and eternal. 

Likewise, the home environment of 2018 with its flat-screen TVs and Alexas might look very different to Joe, but there’s one ritual he would recognize immediately: that of a mom, dad, or other special grownup reading stories to a child at bedtime. How fortunate that some of the best things never change.

The interesting part is that this essential (and usually enjoyable) bedtime task translates to better outcomes at work. Here are three things you can learn from being a storyteller at home that will make you a great storyteller in the workplace.

1. You can’t be boring.

Kids like it when you use a bunch of different voices when reading–you know, one for the Big Bad Wolf, one for Red Riding Hood, and so on. If you’re writing (or shooting video or making a podcast) about your latest business initiative, do it that way, too. First of all, have characters, because a story with people in it is more relatable than any page of data will ever be. That’s why I introduced our friend Joe into this article and then give the different characters (members of your team, people who use your product) their own “voices” and make each one unique.

2. You need a story arc.

An “arc,” as storytellers say, means the people in your story go through a challenge of some kind, overcome obstacles, and come to a clear (ideally, happy) ending. Where’s the excitement, the suspense, the things to cheer for? Your corporate communications don’t have to rise to the thrill level of A Series of Unfortunate Events (or Stephen King, for you adults), and your story has to be believable and not seem trumped up, but if there’s no drama at all, you’re not doing it right.

3. You need just enough story and not too much.

What parent hasn’t tiptoed away from a snoozing child’s bedside, gingerly closing a Little Golden Book? Your job is to provide a story that suits the time and attention your young listener has, not to keep shaking him or her awake so you can finish the book. The amount of attention and interest will change depending on the child’s personality and age (and depending on how good the story is). As a business storyteller, your goal is to tell just enough story to get the job done, not more. Leave your listeners wondering what else there is to know about your business, not shell-shocked by information overload.

With Father’s Day on the horizon, there’s no better time to give a thumbs-up to all you dads and granddads who open up that well-worn Goodnight Moon or Harry Potter book and bond with kids over a great story. It’s such a special form of intimacy–one proven to improve children’s attention spans, ability to self-regulate, and goal-setting skills.

In other words, an adult reading to a child is doing the very best kind of mentoring there is. Oh, and Joe, your dad is going to expect you on Sunday, so you might want to get back to that time machine. Happy Father’s Day to you all!

The AT&T Time Warner Merger Provides The Single Greatest Lesson For 21st Century Business: Yes, That's Your Business

In his book, Rules of Thumb, Alan Weber provided a series of 52 rules he’d learned from life. #24 was, “If you want to change the game, change the economics of how the game is played.”

This past Tuesday Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court in Washington sent a clear signal that the economics of how the game is played have changed, when he gave the go ahead for the AT&T Time Warner merger.

The short story is this. The DOJ was opposed to the AT&T Time Warner merger because it believed that it would not have been to the benefit of consumers. This is based on the simple premise that the more choices there are in a market the greater the likelihood of innovation, fair pricing, and diverse options for the consumer.

According to an article in the New York Times, Judge Leon’s opinion was that the “Justice Department had not proved that the telecom company’s acquisition of Time Warner would lead to fewer choices for consumers and higher prices for television and internet services.”

Seems simple enough, right? But there’s much more to this worth paying attention to. Because the rules that have changed aren’t the obvious ones of how AT&T and Time Warner play but a whole ‘nother set of players who are defining their own rules.

You Can’t Handle The Truth

Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on the hill several weeks ago gave us all cause for concern  when it comes to our legislators’ knowledge of technology. I had so wished that at any of the dozen or so times he was asked, “So, exactly how does Facebook make money?” Zuck would have just said, with a straight face, “You Can’t handle the Truth!”

“But in fairness to Mr. Goldberg, at least his contraptions would normally move a pea from one side of a room to another.”

In stark contrast Judge Leon’s depth of knowledge, insight, vision, and ability to clearly articulate the massive changes at play due to technology, had me shouting hallelujah in the hallway!   

This was a massive case. The trial transcript is more than 4,300 pages long, and Judge Leon’s opinion is a whopping 172 pages. I’m convinced that it will be one of the most read cases in business school classrooms for years to come. Not because of its legal prowess, but rather its portrayal of a post-industrial era attitude towards competition.

Although it contains some of the most enlightening and entertaining commentary that you’re likely to find in any court’s opinion, including such gems as the term “Poppycock,” it also makes it clear that this case was not just a matter of legal technicalities but rather foundational differences between old and the new ways of doing business.

That was evident in my favorite of Judge Leon’s comments. He compared the antiquated and ridiculously complex financial models presented by the DOJ to a Rube Goldberg device. After which, he went on to say, “But in fairness to Mr. Goldberg, at least his contraptions would normally move a pea from one side of a room to another.”

It’s all very entertaining, however something dramatic is also at play that cuts to the very foundation of the free market. And it’s something that will undoubtedly challenge the most basic assumptions that we’ve used to define what constitutes healthy competition, how businesses operate, and what is ultimately in the best interest of the consumer. 

Going Vertical

First, it’s worth taking a moment to describe the difference between a vertical and a horizontal merger.

A horizontal merger is between competing companies that most often represent alternative options for a consumer and are therefore driven, independently, to provide the best value. Horizontal mergers are frowned upon in a free market when they significantly reduce the positive effect of competition. We all get this cornerstone of free markets. 

Vertical merges are between companies that are at different points within the same supply chain. For example, one company manufacturers products and then merges with a separate company that distributes them.

In both types of mergers, the objectives of the companies merging are to achieve higher levels of efficiency, lower costs, and greater profit. Nothing at all wrong with that. The problems set in when the merger takes the option of choice away from the consumer and/or puts the merged company in a position where they can exert monopolistic power over pricing.

The history of regulation governing mergers is fascinating. It was spurred by the industrial trusts of the late 19th Century and the later monopolies created through mergers in the early 20th Century. There were political. labor, and economic concerns over so much concentrated power. But this was mostly true for horizontal mergers. 

Vertical integration however, was eventually shunned by corporations themselves under the premise that if everyone in a supply chain could focus on their core competency overall innovation and quality would rise, and inefficiencies would be driven out.

“You here a lot about digital disruption, right? Well, this is exactly what it looks like!”

That began to makes sense when the basics of an information sharing infrastructure were put into place through telecommunications and transportation infrastructure of hte early 20th Century. And it worked exceptionally well for the first hundred years.

Interestingly, it was technology that drove and enabled the shift to vertical disintegration. In fact, a very early conversation I had with management guru Peter Drucker, I asked him what he thought was the greatest single shift in business during the 20th Century. His answer was the shift from control through ownership to control through strategy and the shift from delivering products to delivering services.  This, according to Drucker, was the result of technological advances in how we work across businesses to build common strategies. 

So, how does all this play into the AT&T Time Warner Merger? Clearly, when it comes to content Time Warner has a treasure trove of properties, including HBO, Turner, TNT, CNN, Cartoon Network, and Warner Bros. AT&T has none of that. But AT&T does have control over the fastest growing platform for content consumption, mobile networks. Combined they seem to be purely complimentary.

There’s also fair precedent for many other vertical mergers of this sort, including Comcast and NBC Universal, Oracle and Sun, Google and Double-click, and Disney and Pixar.

Why then would the DOJ oppose this particular merger? Because, they are operating under an old industrial era economic model in which companies could achieve adequate vertical integration to meet the demands of the market and to compete on a global stage.

No longer. 

You here a lot about digital disruption, right? Well, this is exactly what it looks like! Owning the network or owning the content alone isn’t enough. And the reason is fascinating.  

Today’s marketplace is wildly different and it’s creating some of the most perverse relationships between companies–what Ken Auletta calls Frenemies, in the book by the same name.

Consider that Amazon which competes with digital media companies through its in-house produced original TV content, such as The Tick, also stores the content for its competitors’ TV series on its cloud storage. That would be like buying critical product from a competitor who you are also suing because they are stealing intellectual property from you. Oh, wait, that’s what Apple and Samsung have been doing for years.

In fact, according to a New York Post article, despite handing over a half billon dollars to Apple for patent infringement, Samsung makes more off of the components it provides to Apple for iPhone X than it does from its own Galaxy S8! 

The point here is that in today’s global markets supply chains are so intertwined and inter-reliant that in many cases the formality of a merger is just that. Sort of like the difference between cohabitating with a domestic partner and being married. Set aside religion for a moment, it’s a legal construct for economic benefit and convenience.

Whoever Owns The Behavior Wins

The one aspect of the AT&T Time Warner merger that should act as wake up call (or more like a fire alarm) to virtually every industrial era company is something that I talk about a great deal in my latest book, Revealing The Invisible. Judge Leon specifically pointed out that traditional media companies are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to the erosion of their revenue streams from advertising.

In what has to be one of the court’s most cutting observations, Leon observed that while yesterday’s advertising players were media giants, today’s are vendors of hardware, technology, email, and social networking. He went on to point out that it’s these same companies who can, through behavioral marketing, so finely target their audience that they can deliver both advertising and content that is infinitely better suited to the consumer’s preferences than any traditional media company. 

In many ways what he was saying is that the industrial era model of business, mass marketing, billboard advertising, and ultimately faceless consumerism is on life support. Whoever owns the behavioral data owns the market. It’s that simple.

But the way, I see shades of this in many other areas as well. Musk is pushing Tesla towards ever greater vertical integration. In some cases that’s overt, such as owning their car dealerships and shunning any sort of traditional marketing. In other cases its subtle, such as collocating their battery supplier manufacturing and R&D under the same roof as the rest of their manufacturing at the Tesla Giga factory. In every case Tesla is using behavioral data across a tightly vertically integrated supply chain to create what will be an incredibly personalized experience.

So, what’s all this pointing towards? Simply that the rate at which companies need to innovate today and coordinate across their supply chains is impossible without ownership and access to deep behavioral data about the customer. 

Of course, none of this is a prediction of success for the merger between AT&T and Time Warner. Whether two businesses that are both facing huge challenges can achieve the economies of scale needed to overcome those same challenges when combined is something I do not hold out much hope for over the long term. AT&T has the data from its mobile users if it can figure out what to do, and if it will be tied through regulation in what not to do with it,  are entirely separate and unanswered questions. 

To me the most valuable lesson in all of this is that we are at an inflection point between the industrial era models that served us so well to scale and meet the needs of a burgeoning market of consumers to the hyper-personalized behavioral models needed to meet the demands of an insatiable appetite for personalized innovation.

You can play by the old rules or try to figure out the new ones; all that’s sure is that the rules of the game have indeed changed.

Intel Optane Finally On DIMMS

Intel first publicly discussed their 3D Point technology (developed with Micron) at the 2015 IDF and more boradly at the 2016 Storage Visions Conference. They introduced an NVMe SSD using their renamed Optane technology in 2017. Intel has now announced availability of Optane technology on a DDR4 memory channel. Providing Optane on the computer/server memory channel should allow using Optane most effectively as a non-volatile extension of DRAM.

From Intel Product Introduction

Intel’s OPTANE DC DDR Memory

Intel sees DDR-based Optane as filling the gap between fast storage (SSDs) and DRAM memory. The performance of Optane is faster than flash memory but slower than DRAM, while the endurance of Optane is better than flash memory. Like flash memory, though, Optane is a non-volatile technology and doesn’t require regular electrical refreshes to maintain its stored content. This combination makes Optane useful for traditional memory applications, and the technology can include more writing than flash memory cells can support. As a consequence, Optane can serve as a non-volatile layer, behind DRAM, effectively expanding the fast memory available to a server or host computer and providing a fast non-volatile cache to support DRAM.

From Intel Product Introduction

Intel New Memory and Storage Hierarchy

Enabling the performance of Optane on the memory channel apparently involved changes in the way the microprocessors work. Intel of course makes microprocessors, and they have been very involved in developing new memory access technologies with industry groups such as the SNIA Solid State Storage Initiative, NVM Express Promotors Group and the Open Fabric Alliance. These technologies are being applied to enable Optane to provide enhanced non-volatile memory capacity (currently up to 3 TB of capacity per CPU socket) and optimal performance at a much lower cost than an all DRAM memory. Expect that new versions or upgrades of the Xeon processors will be needed to gain the greatest advantage from the Optane DDR solutions.

Intel says that this technology will have a real impact on real world data center applications, “For example, for planned restarts of a NoSQL in-memory database using Aerospike* Hybrid Memory Architecture, Intel Optane DC persistent memory provides a minutes-to-seconds restart speedup compared to DRAM-only cold restart. On memory-intensive workloads such as Redis IMDB server, Intel’s persistent memory enables higher memory capacities, delivering more server instances at the same service level agreement (SLA) performance when compared to a system configured with just DRAM.”

Intel said that Optane can be used to provide native persistence to a local processor but it can also provide persistent memory over RDMA (Remote Direct Memory Access). This remote memory access allows low latency data replications and is enabled by PMoF (Persistent Memory over Fabric) which Intel is working on with industry groups, such as the Open Fabric Alliance. Intel has built a Persistent Memory Development Kit (DMDK) with a collection of libraries, APIs and an on-line community to support developers.

From Intel Product Introduction

Intel Persistent Memory over Fabric Illustration

The Optane DDR memory are available this year but many of the new capabilities are tied to new upcoming CPUs from Intel that will be selectively available in 2018 and broadly available in 2019. Intel also said that it will be shipping QLC NAND drives in the second half of 2018 and into 2019. Technologies like Intel’s Optane have the potential to dramatically change data center memory and storage in the next few years.

Talking To Yourself As Stress Control

, Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
pxhere.com

Meeting stress

</div> </div> <p>You’re sitting in a meeting and some guy pokes fun at the idea you just pitched, in a way that sounds like when your dad made you feel stupid as a kid.&nbsp; You feel your pulse quicken. At once angry and diminished, you feel yourself reverting to the 8-year old you that believed your dad. &nbsp;What do you?</p> <p>How you react in that moment, what you say to yourself in that moment, could make or break the deal you’re trying to close, your professional reputation, and maybe even your career.</p> <p>It’ll also affect your self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence, and your mental health more broadly.</p> <p>The shocking suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, who had lives many of us aspire to, rightfully shined a light on the suicide epidemic, mental health issues, and how we can help people suffering from depression.&nbsp; It’s another reminder to get our heads out of our phones, talk to people face to face, and listen.</p> <p> </p> <p>Their tragedies are also a reminder to manage that voice in your head. Here are useful insights.</p> <h2><strong>“Regular People” Pressures – How You Respond is What Matters</strong></h2> <p>“[R]egular people can wind up with the same urgent need to maintain a celebrity-like front to the world,” Ana Marie Cox wrote in <span><em><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/06/09/celebrities-arent-the-only-ones-who-struggle-to-appear-perfect-or-who-need-help/?utm_term=.d3a62c9ae619" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/06/09/celebrities-arent-the-only-ones-who-struggle-to-appear-perfect-or-who-need-help/?utm_term=.d3a62c9ae619">The Washington Post</a></em></span> after the Spade and Bourdain suicides. “[P]ressure to conform to whatever story we’ve created for ourselves …(is) based in the simple fear of revealing yourself to be flawed, and how the world (or just your friends and family — <em>your&nbsp;</em>world) will respond when you do.”</p>

<p>It’s this fear that can take over when we face a stressor, whether it’s the revelation of a mistake, an unhappy client, or being spoken to in a degrading manner.</p>” readability=”49.4434680726″>

pxhere.com

Meeting stress

You’re sitting in a meeting and some guy pokes fun at the idea you just pitched, in a way that sounds like when your dad made you feel stupid as a kid.  You feel your pulse quicken. At once angry and diminished, you feel yourself reverting to the 8-year old you that believed your dad.  What do you?

How you react in that moment, what you say to yourself in that moment, could make or break the deal you’re trying to close, your professional reputation, and maybe even your career.

It’ll also affect your self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence, and your mental health more broadly.

The shocking suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, who had lives many of us aspire to, rightfully shined a light on the suicide epidemic, mental health issues, and how we can help people suffering from depression.  It’s another reminder to get our heads out of our phones, talk to people face to face, and listen.

Their tragedies are also a reminder to manage that voice in your head. Here are useful insights.

“Regular People” Pressures – How You Respond is What Matters

“[R]egular people can wind up with the same urgent need to maintain a celebrity-like front to the world,” Ana Marie Cox wrote in The Washington Post after the Spade and Bourdain suicides. “[P]ressure to conform to whatever story we’ve created for ourselves …(is) based in the simple fear of revealing yourself to be flawed, and how the world (or just your friends and family — your world) will respond when you do.”

It’s this fear that can take over when we face a stressor, whether it’s the revelation of a mistake, an unhappy client, or being spoken to in a degrading manner.

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The PC Version Of 'New Gundam Breaker' Will Have Its Release Delayed

, I cover gaming in Japan as well the pop-culture here. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Credit: Bandai Namco

‘New Gundam Breaker’ will have its PC release delayed.

</div> </div> <p>With the PlayStation 4 version of <a href="https://gb.ggame.jp/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://gb.ggame.jp/" rel="nofollow"><em data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://gb.ggame.jp/">New Gundam Breaker</em></a> released in a few weeks, Bandai Namco has announced that the PC version of the game <a href="https://twitter.com/BandaiNamcoEU/status/1004981415476453376" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/BandaiNamcoEU/status/1004981415476453376" rel="nofollow">will have its release delayed</a>.</p> <p>In a recent <a href="https://twitter.com/BandaiNamcoEU/status/1004981415476453376" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/BandaiNamcoEU/status/1004981415476453376" rel="nofollow">Tweet</a>, Bandai Namco has explained that the PC version of <em>New Gundam Breaker</em> will have its release delayed until later this Summer to improve the quality of the game for this particular platform.</p> <p>As this will be the first <em>Gundam Breaker</em> game to come to PC, I think it is wise that Bandai Namco takes some extra time to get the game right.</p> <p>After all, there are plenty of PC ports of console games that are often terrible, as they were obviously rushed to market and thus sacrificed any kind of meaningful quality assurance.</p> <p> </p> <p>In recent years, Bandai Namco has been trying to change the fortunes of <em>Gundam</em> games outside of Japan and the PC userbase is clearly something that is very different in the West in terms of its requirements.</p> <p>As such, I think the delay of the PC version of <em>New Gundam Breaker</em> is a sensible decision.</p> <p>The good news here though is that the PS4 version will still be released later this June, so we are still getting the game on console in a timely fashion</p>

<p><em>New Gundam Breaker</em> is released for PS4 on June 22. The PC version of the game is delayed until a later this Summer.</p> <p><em>Follow me on <a href="https://twitter.com/Cacophanus/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/Cacophanus/" rel="nofollow">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cacophanus" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.facebook.com/cacophanus" rel="nofollow">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Cacophanus" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/user/Cacophanus" rel="nofollow">YouTube</a>. I also manage <a href="http://www.mechadamashii.com" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.mechadamashii.com" rel="nofollow">Mecha Damashii</a> and do toy reviews over at <a href="http://www.hobbylink.tv/members/ollie/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.hobbylink.tv/members/ollie/" rel="nofollow">hobbylink.tv</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Read my Forbes blog <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/" target="_self">here</a>.</em></p>” readability=”40.9205921938″>

Credit: Bandai Namco

‘New Gundam Breaker’ will have its PC release delayed.

With the PlayStation 4 version of New Gundam Breaker released in a few weeks, Bandai Namco has announced that the PC version of the game will have its release delayed.

In a recent Tweet, Bandai Namco has explained that the PC version of New Gundam Breaker will have its release delayed until later this Summer to improve the quality of the game for this particular platform.

As this will be the first Gundam Breaker game to come to PC, I think it is wise that Bandai Namco takes some extra time to get the game right.

After all, there are plenty of PC ports of console games that are often terrible, as they were obviously rushed to market and thus sacrificed any kind of meaningful quality assurance.

In recent years, Bandai Namco has been trying to change the fortunes of Gundam games outside of Japan and the PC userbase is clearly something that is very different in the West in terms of its requirements.

As such, I think the delay of the PC version of New Gundam Breaker is a sensible decision.

The good news here though is that the PS4 version will still be released later this June, so we are still getting the game on console in a timely fashion

New Gundam Breaker is released for PS4 on June 22. The PC version of the game is delayed until a later this Summer.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I also manage Mecha Damashii and do toy reviews over at hobbylink.tv.

Read my Forbes blog here.

'A Certain Magical Virtual On' Has A New Crowdfunding Campaign For A TwinStick Peripheral

, I cover gaming in Japan as well the pop-culture here. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Credit: Tanita

Tanita’s plan for the new pair of TwinSticks.

</div> </div> <p>Back in February, Tanita announced it had plans to <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2018/02/20/it-looks-like-tanita-will-be-making-some-virtual-on-twinsticks/" target="_self">make a pair of new TwinSticks</a> for <a href="http://vo-index.sega.jp/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://vo-index.sega.jp/" rel="nofollow"><em data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://vo-index.sega.jp/">A Certain Magical Virtual On</em></a>. Well, there’s now a <a href="https://camp-fire.jp/projects/view/64929" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://camp-fire.jp/projects/view/64929" rel="nofollow">new crowdfunding campaign underway</a> to make that happen.</p> <p>The recently released <em>A Certain Magical Virtual On</em> ties into the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Certain_Magical_Index" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Certain_Magical_Index" rel="nofollow"><em data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Certain_Magical_Index">A Certain Magical Index</em></a> series and was released in February on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.</p> <p>However, what was absent for the PS4 release was a suitable TwinStick peripheral. This was the traditional means of control for the <a href="http://www.mechadamashii.com/features/features-virtual-ontaku/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.mechadamashii.com/features/features-virtual-ontaku/" rel="nofollow"><em data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.mechadamashii.com/features/features-virtual-ontaku/">Virtual On</em></a> games when they were originally released in the arcades back in the 90s.</p> <p> </p> <p>While Hori stepped in during the last console generation to make TwinStick controllers for these games, the company abstained for the new <em>A Certain Magical Virtual On</em>.</p> <p>This is where Tanita stepped in and <a href="http://www.tanita.co.jp/page/twin-stick" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.tanita.co.jp/page/twin-stick" rel="nofollow">offered its services</a>.</p> <p>The complication here is that <em>A Certain Magical Virtual On</em> has not been met with open arms by the <em>Virtual On</em> community and it’s clear that making a pair of TwinSticks for the game would now be risky.</p>

<p>So this new crowdfunding campaign is hoping to mitigate that risk by having fans support the project financially and to show that there is a demand for a new TwinStick peripheral.</p> <p>The campaign is now up on <a href="https://camp-fire.jp/projects/view/64929" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://camp-fire.jp/projects/view/64929" rel="nofollow">Campfire</a> and aiming for a target of 277,000,000 yen (or around $2.5 million). This is a lofty goal, but the deadline is still a good way off, as the campaign ends on July 30.</p> <p>The sticks themselves look very similar to the earlier Hori versions (shown in the schematic above) but whether Tanita will be able to make something as serviceable as those Hori sticks remain to be seen.</p> <p><em>Follow me on <a href="https://twitter.com/Cacophanus/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/Cacophanus/" rel="nofollow">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/cacophanus" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.facebook.com/cacophanus" rel="nofollow">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/Cacophanus" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/user/Cacophanus" rel="nofollow">YouTube</a>. I also manage <a href="http://www.mechadamashii.com" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.mechadamashii.com" rel="nofollow">Mecha Damashii</a> and do toy reviews over at <a href="http://www.hobbylink.tv/members/ollie/" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.hobbylink.tv/members/ollie/" rel="nofollow">hobbylink.tv</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Read my Forbes blog <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/" target="_self">here</a>.</em></p>” readability=”43.421875″>

Credit: Tanita

Tanita’s plan for the new pair of TwinSticks.

Back in February, Tanita announced it had plans to make a pair of new TwinSticks for A Certain Magical Virtual On. Well, there’s now a new crowdfunding campaign underway to make that happen.

The recently released A Certain Magical Virtual On ties into the A Certain Magical Index series and was released in February on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

However, what was absent for the PS4 release was a suitable TwinStick peripheral. This was the traditional means of control for the Virtual On games when they were originally released in the arcades back in the 90s.

While Hori stepped in during the last console generation to make TwinStick controllers for these games, the company abstained for the new A Certain Magical Virtual On.

This is where Tanita stepped in and offered its services.

The complication here is that A Certain Magical Virtual On has not been met with open arms by the Virtual On community and it’s clear that making a pair of TwinSticks for the game would now be risky.

So this new crowdfunding campaign is hoping to mitigate that risk by having fans support the project financially and to show that there is a demand for a new TwinStick peripheral.

The campaign is now up on Campfire and aiming for a target of 277,000,000 yen (or around $2.5 million). This is a lofty goal, but the deadline is still a good way off, as the campaign ends on July 30.

The sticks themselves look very similar to the earlier Hori versions (shown in the schematic above) but whether Tanita will be able to make something as serviceable as those Hori sticks remain to be seen.

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. I also manage Mecha Damashii and do toy reviews over at hobbylink.tv.

Read my Forbes blog here.

This Hong Kong 'Smart Ring' Startup Raised $2.5M To Crack The Wearables Market

Origami Labs

Origami Labs co-founders Emile Chan, Marcus Leung-Shea and Johan Wong wear their Orii rings. (photo courtesy of Origami Labs)

When you think wearables, the first things that come to mind are probably smartwatches and fitness bands. Wearables surfaced as a mainstream consumer electronics trend about four years ago, but eventually the trend tapered.

One Hong Kong startup, Origami Labs, is widening the wearables wardrobe with a finger ring that answers phone calls.

The ring, called Orii, receives any kind of smartphone notification, like a text message. The wearer can use the device to take a call or activate a phone’s voice assistant, hearing by placing the ringed finger close to one’s ear. The ring communicates with a phone via Bluetooth, with the user’s finger bones conducting the sound (painlessly).

Orii functions something like a wireless earbud but never has to be taken off until the battery dies after about 48 hours of standby time.

“It’s truly a wearable in that it serves as a notification device,” co-founder Johan Wong said at the 2.5-year-old firm’s booth at the InnoVEX tech show in Taipei this week. It’s ideal, he adds, “in a private setting, or [if] you’re outdoors or you’re on the go.”

After the user presses a button, he says, “then [the ring] will either read out whatever info,” audibly like a text message, “or you can just jump on the call.”

What got it going

The four Origami Labs founders got the idea as students at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Wong’s father, now in his 50s, had trouble seeing and wanted some way to use smartphones without looking at the screen.

The product that launched late last year has sold 5,000 boxes–of four to 10 rings each–with another 5,000 expected to move by the end of August. Orders are coming mainly from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan as well as Europe and the United States.

Origami Labs has raised $500,000 in crowdfunding and closed a hefty total funding of $2.5 million , Wong said. One of its founders is China-based Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund for startups.

A set of rings sells for $160 after production in Taiwan and final assembly in China.

Magic ring or just another wearable?

Whether Origami Labs will see further funding, increased orders, or even an IPO is hard to say. Wong says the point for now is to make a “kick-butt” product.

The ring’s success could come down to fashion. The boxy Orii ring looms larger on the finger than the average wedding ring, and Origami Labs demos it by encouraging people to use the index rather than ring finger.

“It’s always neat to see creative ideas like this,” says Bryan Ma, Vice President of Client Devices Research with the market analysis firm IDC. Ma points out that Bluetooth headsets have become accepted in day-to-day life, “as awkward as they might’ve looked at first.”

“As with many wearable devices though, tech and fashion don’t always mix together very well, and society might not quickly accept the idea of putting your finger next to your ear either,” Ma says.

An Orii ring is tried at the Slush start-up events in Tokyo, March 28, 2018. (Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Vendors will sell 411 million wearable devices in 2020, worth $34 billion, up from $14 billion in 2016 , CSS Insight says as cited here. But by last year, forecasts were getting more conservative. A lot of those shipments were watches, as well. Reports such as this one point to a shakier market.

Smartrings aren’t a new concept, either; Wareable.com released a list of some top performers earlier this year. But still…they don’t answer phones through your bones.

​Mark Shuttleworth dishes on where Canonical and Ubuntu Linux are going next

Mark Shuttleworth looked good at OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. Not only were his company Canonical and operating system Ubuntu Linux doing well, but thanks to his microfasting diet, he’s lost 40 pounds. Energized and feeling good, he’s looking forward to taking Canonical to its initial public offering (IPO) in 2019 and making the company more powerful than ever.

It’s taken him longer than expected to IPO Canonical. Shuttleworth explained, “We will do the right thing at the right time. That’s not this year, though. There’s a process that you have to go through and that takes time. We know what we need to hit in terms of revenue and growth and we’re on track.”

In the meantime, besides his own wealth — according to the BBC, his personal wealth jumped by £340 million last year — he’s turned to private equity to help fuel Canonical’s growth.

And, where is that growth coming from? Well, it’s not the desktop. Found as users — and Shuttleworth himself — of the Linux desktop, Canonical’s real money comes in from the cloud.

Ubuntu remains the dominant cloud operating system. According to the May 8, 2018 Cloud Market statistics, on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, Ubuntu dominates the cloud with 209,000 instances, well ahead of its competitors Amazon Linux AMI, 88,500; Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and CentOS‘s 31,400, and Windows Server‘s 29,200. As another data point, the executives at the OpenStack cloud company Rackspace told me that although their company had started with RHEL, today it’s 60/40 Ubuntu.

OpenStack has been very, very good for Canonical, which is more than you can say for many companies that tried to make it as OpenStack providers or distributors. “With OpenStack it’s important to deliver on the underlying promise of more cost-effective infrastructure,” Shuttleworth said. Sure, “You can love technology and you can have new projects and it can all be kumbaya and open source, but what really matters is computers, virtual machines, virtual disks, virtual networks. So we ruthlessly focus on delivering that and then also solving all the problems around that.”

So it is, Shuttleworth claims, that “Canonical can deliver an OpenStack platform to an enterprise in two weeks with everything in place.”

What’s driving Canonical growth on both the public and OpenStack-based cloud is “machine learning and container operations. The economics of automating the data center brings people to Ubuntu.”

That said, “The Internet of Things (IoT) is still an area of investment for us. We have the right set of primitives [Ubuntu Core, Ubuntu for IoT and Snap contanizeried applications] to bring IoT all over the planet.” But, it’s “not profitable yet”.

Shuttleworth thinks Ubuntu will end up leading IoT, as it has the cloud, “because a developer can transfer their programs from a workstation to the cloud to a gateway to the IoT. I want to make sure we build the right set of technologies so you can operate a billion things with Ubuntu on it.” To make this happen, Shuttleworth said Canonical currently has just short of 600 full-time developers.

As for the desktop, Shuttleworth finds it a “fascinating study of human nature that Unity [Ubuntu’s former desktop] became a complete exercise in torches and pitchforks. I’m now convinced a lot of the people who demanded its demise never used it.” That’s because, while “I think GNOME is a nicely done desktop,” many Ubuntu users are now objecting to GNOME. Shuttleworth also had kind words about the KDE Neon, MATE, and LXDE desktops. Still, “I do miss Unity, but I use GNOME.”

Shuttleworth would like to see the open-source community become “safer to put new ideas out into it.” Too often, “it’s obnoxious to someone else’s labor of love.”

That said, in business competition, Shuttleworth said, after people criticized him for calling out Red Hat and VMware by name in his OpenStack keynote speech, “I don’t think it was offsides to talk about money and competition. OpenStack has to be in the room where public clouds are discussed and Ubuntu has to be in the conversation when it comes to cloud operating systems. No one has questioned the facts.”

In a way, though, having given up on innovating on the desktop and on the smartphone market has been a blessing. “I can work with more focus on cloud and the edge and IoT. We’re moving faster. Our security and performance story can be tighter because we can put more time on both them.”

One thing that Shuttleworth believes Canonical does better than his competition is delivering the best from upstream to its customers. “Take OpenStack, we didn’t invent a bunch of pieces. We take care of stuff people need by trusting the upstream community. People find this refreshing.”

Canonical also succeeds, he thinks, because they eat their own dog food. “We learn stuff by operating it ourselves and not just developing it. We experience what it’s like to operate many OpenStack and Kubernetes stacks. We then offer these complex solutions as a managed service, and that reduces the cost for users.”

The result is a company that Shuttleworth is sure will lead the way in the cloud and container-driven world of IT.

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5 Ways to Develop More Meaningful Relationships at Work

You might assume it is common knowledge that relationships in business are important and that everyone strives to create and maintain good working relationships. However, that is not always the case.

Business relationships are tricky. Sometimes they are transactional; simply interacting as a means to an end. Other times they are relational, and centered on having meaningful engagements that build and maintain the relationship. And they can even be a combination of the two.

Transactional interactions can be collaborative or competitive. When collaborative, you and your counterpart walk away feeling good about the transaction, like you were treated fairly and more likely to engage with one another in the future. On the other hand, if competitive, you might feel like you were treated unfairly, cheated or nickeled and dimed. In such cases, you probably will not want to engage with this person again.

In relational interactions, you care about the outcome, but also about your colleague. In turn, your colleague cares about you, too. This means you are paying attention to the process and quality of how you are both communicating, not just interacting as a means to an end.

Framing these engagements as a collaborative, relational process helps you build and maintain relationships. Here are five components of collaborative relationships and how you can develop yours to be more mutually beneficial.

1. Fostering open communication.

Communicating in an open and honest manner, in any relationship, is critical. You want to experience the authenticity of your counterpart and you want that person to see you for who you are.

You want to be prepared and honestly acknowledge what it is you know and do not know. Admitting you do not have an answer and saying you will look into it and get back to them establishes credibility. Being caught making things up can be considered deceptive and inauthentic.

2. Building trust.

Building trust allows you both to feel safe sharing information. Trust does not come overnight. It is time-consuming to build, but can be easily compromised.

One way of building trust is to find out what is important to your counterpart and commit to providing something for them. It can be a key data point, a book reference or an introduction to a colleague. Whatever you promise, make sure it is something you can actually deliver on and that will build your image of being reliable.

3. Managing the pace.

Relationships take time. There is a window within which you will feel comfortable about the pace to establish rapport, and build trust and confidence in each other. Signing an important contract the next day can feel rushed, while meeting for three years before closing a deal can feel like an eternity.

It is useful to determine the “what” and “when” of milestones you can use to measure the pace of building your relationship. Your short- and long-term goals will need to be taken into consideration to identify these milestones and when you would like to reach them.

4. Controlling your emotions. 

Engaging in new relationships can feel exciting, make you anxious or both. You will not know how to interpret some comments made or actions taken, nor how to communicate your own feelings because you do not know this other person well.

Identify practices you can use to feel more comfortable even in the uncomfortable moments. Try to slow down your breathing or visualize a soothing scene. This will keep you calm and buy you time to think of a suitable response to dig deeper and clarify your understanding.

5. Creating mutually-beneficial outcomes.

At the end of the day, mutual benefits are the payoff for investing time and energy into business relationships. Maybe you learn from each other. Maybe performance increases when you are around each other. Or maybe there are other tangible benefits.

Think about the aspects of the relationship you find valuable and want to retain. What are your contributions? What are theirs?

It is the mutually-beneficial relationships that prove to be most valuable in the workplace, and in life.

Elon Musk Calms Down, and More From Tesla's Shareholder Meeting

When Elon Musk was a kid, he had so much trouble managing his time, that his younger brother Kimbal would lie to him about the bus schedule. Elon would show up a few minutes after the supposed arrival—and have just enough time to hop aboard. A few decades on, the whole world knows about Elon’s habit of blowing deadlines. And he admits it can be a problem.

“This is something I’m trying to get better at,” he said from the stage of Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum on Tuesday afternoon, at Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting. “I’m trying to recalibrate these estimates.”

A few days after a Twitter rage fest aimed at the media, a month after refusing to answer questions about Tesla’s financial state during an investors’ call, and two months after getting in a public spat with the feds investigating a deadly crash in one of his cars, Musk’s attitude when he appeared before his fellow shareholders was conciliatory. He even seemed emotional at times. “We build our cares with love,” he said, with a slight quaver in his voice. And he noted how brutal the auto industry can be, especially to newcomers. “It’s insanely hard just staying alive.”

For an hour and a half, Musk patiently fielded questions on just about every part of Tesla’s sprawling business. He said the Model 3 production rate will hit the long-promised 5,000 cars a week rate later this month, predicted an enormous increase in battery production, announced upgrades to the Autopilot semi-autonomous system, and even appeased PETA. If you missed the meeting, here are the key takeaways.

Elon Retains the Reins

The official business of the meeting included voting on the reelection of venture capitalist Antonio Gracias, Elon’s bus-catching brother Kimbal, and 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch to Tesla’s board of directors. (Only a third of the nine board members come up for election at a time—it’s like the US Senate that way.) Last month, activist investor the CtW Group urged Tesla shareholders to replace the trio with people who had automotive and manufacturing expertise. Another investor, Jing Zhao, filed a proposal to strip Musk of his position as Tesla’s chairman, which he has held since 2004 (he took the CEO job in 2008). But the shareholders stuck with Musk, reelecting the board members and nixing the leadership change by an overwhelming majority. (Tesla will file the exact vote count with the SEC in the next few days.)

The loss didn’t surprise CtW executive director Dieter Waizenegger, who argues control of Tesla is too concentrated in people tied to Musk. “This opinion is shared by a significant number of shareholders of Tesla,” he says. “We expect the final vote tally to reveal that.” Even if he’s right, Musk remains fully in charge.

More Model 3

Musk’s acknowledgement of his timeline trouble didn’t stop him from announcing that, by the end of the month, Tesla will be building 5,000 Model 3 sedans every week, which should be enough to start turning a profit on the car. The uptick is thanks to Tesla’s rebalancing of the workload between humans and robots in its factory in Fremont, California, where the company is adding a third Model 3 production line. It is also planning to open a factory in China, to go with its plants in Fremont and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Tesla is gradually expanding options for Model 3 owners, who so far have been limited to the version with an upgraded battery and premium interior, which starts at $56,000. By the end of this year, Musk hopes to start production of the version closer to the car’s $35,000 base price, with the smaller battery pack. Also coming soon: right hand drive.

New Products

Even as it struggles to build the Model 3, Tesla is planning on three new vehicles: the Semi truck, the revived Roadster, and the still mysterious Model Y. Musk told shareholders he’s hoping to start production of all three in the first half of 2020, though he has yet to specify where he’ll do that, or how. He’ll unveil the Model Y in March (it will be “something super special”), and expects the truck and the sports car to deliver better specs than the already very impressive numbers he announced last fall. Oh, and he’ll never build an electric motorcycle.

Autopilot Advances

Without getting into details, Musk said Tesla is making steady progress to improve its Autopilot feature, and is now working on adding the ability to change lanes and handle highway on- and off-ramps (Musk noted he was testing new software around 1 am this morning). For drivers who aren’t sure they want to spend $5,000 on the feature, Tesla will soon start offering free trials. Musk also reaffirmed his distaste for lidar, the laser shooting sensor most autonomous vehicle developers say is key to building a safe, capable robo-car.

SuperChargers

Tesla now runs nearly 10,000 Supercharger stations around the world, the stations where its drivers (and no one else) can plug in and charge a depleted battery to about 80 percent in 30 minutes. And Musk is working to keep improving charge times, saying a three- or four-fold improvement is possible. (That’s only true for relatively new cars, he added, disappointing the 2012 Model S owner who asked him about it.)

Going Vegan

Unlike many automakers, Tesla has been offering leather-free versions of its cars for years, appealing to its vegan and vegetarian fans. But it’s still using some leather in its steering wheels, and a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) rep took the mic to press Musk on it. He explained Tesla can make leather-free steering wheels, but the work has to be done it its design studio, making it something of a pain. But he promised it’ll be easier once the Model Y comes around. Now he’s just gotta hit that 2020 goal.


More Great WIRED Stories

Digital Storage For Media And Entertainment

For 9 years, Coughlin Associates has been running a survey of media and entertainment professionals on their uses of digital storage for content creation and capture, post production, content distribution as well as archiving and preservation. This has provided insights on developments in digital storage for rich media applications. This article and a talk that Tom Coughlin will give at the 2018 Creative Storage Conference on June 7, 2018 in Culver City, CA (www.creativestorage.org) explore some of the results from the 2018 and earlier surveys. Tom Coughlin is the organizer of the Creative Storage Conference.

Digital storage for the M&E industry has demand characteristics often very different from typical IT storage because of the performance requirements of real-time video in capture, editing and post-production as well as distribution. On the other hand, the ever-growing archive of long-tail digital content and increasing digitized historical analog content is swelling the demand for cold as well as warm archives using tape, optical discs and hard drive arrays.

Professional video cameras are undergoing rapid evolution, driven by higher resolution content as well as multi-camera content capture, including stereoscopic virtual reality content capture. The figure below shows the percentage of various recording media used by the 2018 survey recipients in professional video cameras.

Coughlin Associates

Content Capture Storage Media Distribution

Note that about 59.6% said that they used external storage devices to capture content from their cameras in 2018 (this was about the same in 2017 and 2016). 82.3% of the 2018 participants said that over 80% of their content was created as digital content (this was 85.7% in 2017).

In video post-production, there was a general increase in network storage (NAS and SAN) and a decline to between 40-50% on direct attached storage (DAS) as the number of people working in a post-production facility increases. 83% of the participants used DAS in 2018 with 1-50 TB as the most popular size DAS with 12.1% of the participants having more than 50 TB of DAS storage. 12% reported that they were using flash memory in their post-production work.

58% of the participants had NAS or SAN with 68.6% having 50 TB or more of network storage in 2018 with 15% having more than 500 TB of NAS/SAN storage in 2018. 48% of the participants used cloud-based storage for editing and post-production in 2018 with 56% having 1 TB or more of storage capacity in the cloud.

Average hours on a central content delivery system was about 1,241 hours with 372 hour ingested monthly in 2018. 43% of respondents had more than 5% of their content on edge servers and 48% used flash memory on their edge servers and 39% on their central delivery servers in 2018.

32% of participants had over 2,000 hours of content in a long-term archive in 2018. 35% said that their annual archive growth rate was greater than 6% in 2017 with 24% adding 1,000 hours or more to their archive annually in 2018. About 19% had more than 2,000 hours of unconverted analog content in 2018 with 6% having over 5,000 hours of unconverted analog content. The average rate of analog to digital conversion was 4% in 2018.

Can Apple Stay Apple?

, I write about strategy, leadership and red teaming Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

A sad face emoticon is seen on an iPhone in this photo illustration on May 25, 2018. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

</div> </div> <p>On June 1, the <em>Wall Street Journal&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-looks-to-expand-advertising-business-with-new-network-for-apps-1527869990" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.wsj.com/articles/apple-looks-to-expand-advertising-business-with-new-network-for-apps-1527869990" rel="nofollow">reported</a>&nbsp;Apple was looking to expand its advertising business with a new network for app-makers such as Pinterest Inc. and Snap Inc.</p> <p>“The digital ad effort, if it proceeds, would push Apple into territory dominated by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which claims 35% of the mobile ad market, and Facebook Inc., which has 25%,” the <em>Journal </em>reported.</p> <p> </p> <p>It could also take Apple farther away from its original vision, which has in many ways been the secret to the company’s success.</p> <p>Steve Jobs decided long ago that Apple would make its money selling great products and services. He believed people would be willing to pay a premium for such products and services, and if they did, then Apple would not have to make its money off their personal information the way that competitors such as Google (now Alphabet Inc.) and Facebook Inc. increasingly were.</p> <p>In recent months, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed like he was doubling-down on that original vision, emphatically declaring that Apple’s customers are not its product.</p> <p>“If our customer was our product, we could make a ton of money. We’ve elected not to do that,” he <a href="https://www.recode.net/2018/4/6/17197754/watch-apple-ceo-tim-cook-msnbc" target="_blank" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.recode.net/2018/4/6/17197754/watch-apple-ceo-tim-cook-msnbc" rel="nofollow">told Recode</a> in March. “We’re not going to traffic in your personal life.”</p>

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I am struggling to understand how Apple Inc.’s purported plan to dramatically expand its digital-advertising business makes sense for a company that has successfully differentiated itself by selling products and services, rather than information about its customers.

A sad face emoticon is seen on an iPhone in this photo illustration on May 25, 2018. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

On June 1, the Wall Street Journal reported Apple was looking to expand its advertising business with a new network for app-makers such as Pinterest Inc. and Snap Inc.

“The digital ad effort, if it proceeds, would push Apple into territory dominated by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which claims 35% of the mobile ad market, and Facebook Inc., which has 25%,” the Journal reported.

It could also take Apple farther away from its original vision, which has in many ways been the secret to the company’s success.

Steve Jobs decided long ago that Apple would make its money selling great products and services. He believed people would be willing to pay a premium for such products and services, and if they did, then Apple would not have to make its money off their personal information the way that competitors such as Google (now Alphabet Inc.) and Facebook Inc. increasingly were.

In recent months, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed like he was doubling-down on that original vision, emphatically declaring that Apple’s customers are not its product.

“If our customer was our product, we could make a ton of money. We’ve elected not to do that,” he told Recode in March. “We’re not going to traffic in your personal life.”

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