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Monthly Archives: June 2019

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Tesla’s investigation confirms a Model S that caught fire on video in Shanghai had a faulty battery module (TSLA)

Category : entrepreneur

A massive fire caught on video inside a Shanghai parking garage earlier this spring was caused by a faulty battery module, Tesla’s internal investigation has concluded.

In a statement on the Chinese social-media site Weibo, the company said it “found no system deficiencies” for the Model S fire in April and has updated the charging and thermal management settings for Model S and X vehicles out of an abundance of caution.

“Through extensive investigations into batteries, software, manufacturing data, and vehicle historical data, we found no system deficiencies and initially determined that the individual incident was caused by a single battery module failure at the front of the vehicle,” Tesla said in Chinese on it’s official account on Friday.

“After the first smoke, the battery pack safety system, as designed, controls the fire in a specific module of the battery and expels heat to the outside of the cabin and outside the module, leaving the rest of the battery pack intact. Personnel in the car should have time to safely leave the vehicle.”

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Tesla’s battery modules are sets of battery cells joined together. Those individual cells are produced by Panasonic in a joint venture between the two companies.

Read more: Tesla is reportedly trying to make its own battery cells as its relationship with Panasonic becomes more tense

At the time, Shanghai’s fire department said it had dispatched 15 fire engines to the scene, where firefighters battled the blaze for just under an hour. Their experience highlights the particular difficulties that electric vehicles, and their batteries, can pose for firefighters around the world.

Battery fires can burn hotter and longer than those of Tesla’s gasoline-powered counterparts. Tesla’s own documentation for first responders says a fire in the Model S can take up to 3,000 gallons of water to establish sufficient cooling for the battery.

According to Reuters,there have been at least 14 instances of Tesla vehicles igniting in the past six years, most of which have occurred after a crash.

“Although the probability of a Tesla electric vehicle fire accident is significantly lower than that of a gasoline vehicle, we will continue to pursue the goal of “small accident rate,” Tesla said.

Angela Wang assisted with reporting.

Do you work for Tesla? Got a news tip? Get in touch with this reporter at grapier@businessinsider.com. Secure contact methods are available here.

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I drove a $71,000 Mercedes-Benz C 300 convertible to see if the elegant drop-top could combine performance and luxury — here’s the verdict

Category : entrepreneur

The C 300 Cabrio is probably the most luxurious compact luxury convertible two-plus-two you can buy, with the only potential drawback being the four-cylinder engine. For me, it makes plenty of useful horsepower, but if 255 horsepower doesn’t thrill you, you can always consider the AMG C-Class drop-tops, which have a beefier V6 and V8 under their hoods, depending on which AMG model you buy.

I’m not sure that I see the point of louder, huskier convertibles than this, although I’ll admit that all convertibles are good convertibles, at some level. The C 300 is a step beyond a roadster, but it doesn’t entirely renounce a roadster’s lighthearted nature simply by adding two more seats.

And of course, many times when you choose a drop-top with a big motor, you end up wishing you’d selected the coupé. Cabrios compel one to drive slowly enough to feel the breeze, and if your cabrio doesn’t like it slow, you might be tempted to stomp the accelerator and create an airflow that’s more like a gale.

I really put the C 300 Cabrio through its paces, making several runs up and back to New Jersey lake country, involving both highways and winding back roads. I also used it for everyday grocery store runs and school drop-offs. For the last, it’s not the ideal vehicle — no two-seater is — but it’s definitely a kick on sunny days.

The C 300 really shines on the transition from highway to byway. The car is comfy at freeway velocities, and if you like, a $1,700 Driver Assistance Package provides Mercedes suite of semi-self-driving features, including Active Steering Assist. That technology has been, in my experience, the closest that another automaker has come to emulating Tesla’s Autopilot autosteer feature, although it falls short of Cadillac SuperCruise’s fully hands-free highway tech.

In truth, I used all the Driver Assist stuff sparingly because the C 300 was so much fun to drive myself. A combination of the Mercedes Airscarf neck-heating system and a rear wind deflector means that top-down, high-speed motoring is possible (seat heaters also help). But the soft-top has acoustic dampening, so if you choose to go top up for highway driving, you’ll enjoy a quiet cabin.

Exit the freeway and head for winding routes, and you’ll discover the soft-top can stow at up to 30 mph. I did this a couple of times and then took to some twisty asphalt.

The C 300 likes to tool along at a nice, controlled pace, sliding in and out of corners — but the turbo four also serves up pop on command. In manual and Sport or Sport Plus mode, the power delivery is smooth and lag-less, and you can choose to finesse curves or overpower them. I’m less and less a fan of paddle shifters, so I usually stayed in automatic and let the graceful nine-speed automatic transmission manage the gears.

The steering could have been crisper, even though it was upgraded as part of the $1,500 AMG Line Package. The ventilated front brakes, with some beefy calipers, made up for it. And while some reviewers have called the C 300’s suspension stiff, I found it to be just right. In Comfort or Eco mode it softened, and in Sport and Sport Plus it got firm. The calibrations were perfect. The all-wheel-drive setup wasn’t much in evidence, as I drove in perfect conditions except for one day when it rained, and then I limited myself to tooling around town.

The C 300 drop-top can be had for about $50,000, minus a lot of cool, but perhaps not entirely necessary, features. The base, rear-wheel drive car is a machine that I would seriously consider adding to my personal fleet — a sort of grown-up convertible, an expense that could be justified. The extras on my tester car were, to be sure, splendid. But I could have lived without many of them.

The bottom line is that while the C 300 Cabrio ain’t cheap, it’s one of those cars you’re going to look forward to driving, and not just on days when the open-air beckons.


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Gen Z says everyone has an iPhone these days — and if they don’t, they get left out of group chats (AAPL)

Category : entrepreneur

For teens, iPhones rule the roost.

It is by far the most popular device among teens and members of Generation Z, the tribe of 13- to 21-year-olds that comes after millennials.

About 83% of teens surveyed in Piper Jaffray’s Taking Stock of Teens said they owned an iPhone.

“It’s ridiculous how strong it continues to be,” Mike Olson, a senior analyst at Piper Jaffray, said.

In Business Insider’s survey of 1,884 Americans between the ages of 13 and 21, the iPhone’s dominance was less pronounced, but Apple devices still commanded a strong majority, with 46% of respondents saying they used an iOS phone or tablet to answer the questions. Some 36% used an Android-powered phone or tablet to take the survey, and 11% used a Windows desktop or laptop.

The national poll was conducted on January 11-14 with SurveyMonkey Audience partner Cint on behalf of Business Insider.

Gen Z came of age just as the iPhone effectively became a requirement instead of a luxury. The median age of Gen Z is 17, meaning they were just 10 years old when the iPhone was starting to become adopted by the masses.

The expectation of iPhone ownership is so culturally powerful that those who don’t have the devices are sometimes ostracized.

“If you don’t have an iPhone it’s kind of frowned upon,” Liane Lopez, an 18-year-old high-school senior in New Jersey, told Business Insider.

It must be said that iPhones are not cheap: The least expensive model that Apple sells is the iPhone 7 at $450, which is not an insignificant expense.

People who don’t have an iPhone are also sometimes seen as “people who want to be different,” said Mason O’Hanlon, a 19-year-old sophomore at Babson College. He estimated that 90% of the people he knows have iPhones.

“If you don’t have an iPhone, you’re not getting added to group chats,” Nicole Jimenez, a 20-year-old sophomore at Rutgers University, said. “That seems really mean, but it’s difficult to group-text people if they don’t have an iPhone.”

Some experts blame the rise of smartphones — and especially the iPhone — for fueling a pervasive culture of multitasking.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

“The ability to participate in most of these activities, with an additional device beyond your TV or your PC, has had a huge impact on multitasking, and therefore consumption of more media or content,” Olson said.

Teens who spoke with Business Insider said they recognized that multitasking was not efficient.

“It doesn’t really work out that well,” Jimenez said, acknowledging that she does it anyway.

Experts say that trying to process two or more things at once may not even really be possible.

“We know from cognitive psychology that the human brain can’t actually consciously focus on more than one thing at a time,” Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at the San Diego State University, told Business Insider. Twenge is the author of “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood — and What That Means for the Rest of Us,” published in 2018.

Yet teens are compelled to multitask because of the constant barrage of notifications and fear of missing out on what their friends are up to online.

It’s enough for Jess Gallo, a 19-year-old freshman at Montclair State University, to say: “I wish we were less connected.”


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Facebook quietly elevated its top advertising exec to chief revenue officer, and it shows how rapidly the company is trying to diversify its revenue

Category : entrepreneur

Facebook is giving its head advertising exec more oversight into growing revenue across all of its properties.

Facebook’s top advertising exec David Fischer was bumped up to the role of chief revenue officer in March, in a move that was not publicly announced. Fischer was previously VP of business and marketing partnerships and is a longtime Facebook exec that joined the company in 2010. Previously, he oversaw Google’s North American advertising teams in addition to working with other departments like Google Checkout.

Fischer’s title change was included in a proxy statement filed with the SEC in April, but it went largely unnoticed at the time.

The new title reflects Fischer’s increased purview over all of the company’s platforms that make money including Instagram, its Facebook Audience Network ad network, and messaging apps.

Fisher, along with Carolyn Everson, VP of global marketing solutions, is often viewed by marketers as the face of Facebook’s advertising business, and both work with Facebook’s largest advertisers and agencies. According to a spokesperson, Fischer’s role oversees Facebook’s 7 million advertisers.

Everson’s role was also recently expanded to cover both big brands and small and medium-sized businesses. Meanwhile, Dan Levy, VP of product on ads, is leading a new team that combines Facebook’s ads and free products.

Read more: Facebook’s bet on privacy may threaten advertisers’ sophisticated targeting, and it could ‘dramatically change’ its relationship with brands

The expanded roles show how Facebook is increasingly trying to bring its apps together under a single umbrella for advertisers. It also reflects CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s focus on making Facebook more private in light of growing regulatory and privacy concerns.

Facebook made $55 billion in advertising revenue in 2018, up 38% year-over-year.

Facebook is making big changes to its products

The leadership changes come at the same time that Facebook is focusing on privacy and preparing to encrypt its messaging products. This spring, CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined a number of steps that the company is taking to become more private, including new features for Messenger and a redesigned Facebook app that prominently displays groups.

That message is trickling down to advertisers, who have raised questions about Facebook’s security and measurement over the past few years. While advertisers can still use tactics like lookalike targeting and custom audiences, Facebook’s sales teams are increasingly encouraging advertisers to use their own first-party data for ad targeting and to apply less targeting parameters to ensure campaigns reach a wide audience.

“If you’re going to put people first, we have to get the privacy controls correct,” Everson recently told Business Insider at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. “It’s really important to build and in some cases rebuild the trust that we may have lost over the last couple of years.”

Facebook is also increasingly integrating its products across its flagship app, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. The company recently appointed creative agencies like Wieden + Kennedy, Ogilvy, and Droga5 to work on new ad campaigns aimed at restoring trust and promoting each app.

“We’ve brought outside partners in because for the first time, we’re doing not just on-platform advertising, but also off-platform,” chief marketing officer Antonio Lucio told Business Insider at Cannes. “We now have a fundamentally different business challenge.”


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Apple’s newest iPhones have a sexist design flaw (AAPL)

Category : entrepreneur

My iPhone is too big.

I can barely hold my iPhone XR in one hand. I’ve cycled through three PopSockets in three months, determined to find something to grasp. If I have a drink in one hand, half my phone is basically unusable, as my thumb cannot reach the far side of the screen (the letter A — so near, yet so far). I clutch my phone on the subway, paralyzed with fear that it will fall into the gap between the train and the platform.

What I can reach using my iPhone with one hand. Most of the phone is impossible to touch.
Kate Taylor/Business Insider

Fortunately, I have a heavy-duty phone case. But I can imagine the day it bounces out of my control and gets run over by a truck. Or when it falls off a ledge, plummeting straight onto an unsuspecting civilian, causing near-fatal injuries.

Am I going to be sued? Will Apple cover the legal fees? Will I be sent to jail for a crime committed by my horrible, too-big phone?

While at age 28 I do have the freakishly tiny hands of a baby, I’m not alone in my struggles.

Read more: I’ve been using my iPhone X for nearly a month, and I’ve decided I hate it

In 2018, Apple faced backlash for its supersized iPhone X lineup, with many women saying the company was ignoring the practical realities of people with smaller hands.

“I’m not saying Apple is being evil and deliberately setting out to design phones that injure women by being too big for the average female hand,” Caroline Criado-Perez, a journalist who said she developed a repetitive strain injury from using an iPhone with a 5.5-inch screen, told The Independent.

“They are simply part of an industry — and a world — that consistently fails to remember that women are 50% of the population,” Criado-Perez continued.

At the time, I vaguely agreed. Now that I’ve fallen into the trap of buying a new iPhone of my own, I am furious.

My preemptive response to everyone who thinks I’m an idiot

Bring back the 5-inch phone — or go smaller.
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

“Well, Kate,” I can already imagine you typing in an email, “why didn’t you just buy an older, smaller phone?”

Because I wanted portrait mode, duh. I want to look hot in my pictures! All I want in life is to look good on Instagram and scroll aimlessly on my phone while I’m waiting for the subway. Apple should not force me to choose between the two. The smallest iPhones with portrait mode are the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 8 Plus, both of which have 5.5-inch screens — slightly smaller than the XR’s, which is 6.1 inches, but still, I have found, too big for my hands.

Read more: Here’s why Apple’s ‘portrait mode’ feature only works on some iPhones and not others

Again, I’m not alone on this one. More than one woman I’ve spoken with has expressed a similar tension between her desire for portrait mode and her fear of an oversized phone.

“Well, just buy a non-Apple phone, you idiot,” I see you writing in another email, cc-ing my boss and calling for my resignation.

To which I say: No! I have gotten used to Apple running my life. It already has all my data, and I like the basic infrastructure and connection between devices.

Anyway, I’m not going to read a million other phone reviews in an effort to figure out what non-Apple phone is best for me. I write about fast food, not tech. I shouldn’t have to become an expert in technology before spending several hundred dollars on a phone. I don’t make you all read my fast-food backlog to decide what you’re ordering at McDonald’s.

Goodbye, Jony Ive

Jony Ive.
Getty Images/Michael Kovac

Why am I complaining about this now?

For one thing, I’ve been complaining about it out loud pretty much every day since I got a new phone in April, and everyone is sick of listening to me.

But I also wanted to write this now because of the departure of Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer.

“Ive, described as the Lennon to Jobs’ McCartney, is … the man who essentially changed the way we consume media on the go with the invention of the iPhone, the iPad, and other iconic hardware,” Business Insider’s Shona Ghosh reported.

In revolutionizing the way we consume media, Ive consistently skewed toward a certain type of male customer. In 2008, as Apple entered the iPhone 3G era, Apple faced backlash that it was making a phone that was essentially impossible to use with long fingernails.

People adapted, using voice-to-text services and adjusting the angle for typing. But again and again, Apple has shown that the iPhone isn’t created with women in mind.

Instead, needs outside of those of a cisgender American man tend to be a footnote, with tweaks made after the product hits the market. It took Apple a year after launching its HealthKit platform to add a period tracker, something that would be significantly more common to track than blood glucose level.

Apple did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on this issue.

While Ghosh said Apple isn’t churning out hardware innovation like it used to, Ive’s departure signals a new era for Apple. Hopefully, it’s an era that looks at the population more broadly when developing new products.

Even if some things never change, I hope and pray that the rumors are true and that the new era brings a smaller phone that will actually fit in my hands. And please let it have portrait mode.


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The US smart home market is finally entering the mass market after overcoming the chasm it sat in for the last few years

Category : entrepreneur

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here. Current subscribers can read the report here.

The US smart home market has still yet to meet the expectations many observers had in the early part of this decade.

BI Intelligence

The same issues Business Insider Intelligence first identified back in 2015 still plague the space — persistently high prices, technological fragmentation, and consumers’ lack of a perceived benefit from the devices.

But the newfound popularity of smart home voice control has revolutionized smart home ecosystems across the country, and convinces more consumers to equip their homes with smart devices on a daily basis. The Amazon Echo, released in 2014, has become immensely popular and capable, awakening users to the utility of both voice control and smart home devices. This has prompted companies to rush to release competing devices and integrate voice control into their smart home ecosystems.

In The U.S. Smart Home Market Report from Business Insider Intelligence, we examine the overall state of the US smart home market — both the professionally and self-installed markets. We analyze the factors driving demand for smart home devices and smart home voice speakers, and discuss the future of voice control in the home.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • Voice control is becoming a key remote interface within the home, a trend that began with the introduction of the Amazon Echo in 2014. Since then, Google, Samsung, and Apple have all integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.
  • While progress has been made, prices are still too high and consumers still have yet to show strong demand for smart home devices.
  • The US smart home market is only now entering the mass market phase of consumer adoption and overcoming the chasm that it sat in back in 2015.

In full, the report:

  • Analyzes current consumer demand for smart home devices based off results from Business Insider Intelligence’s proprietary survey.
  • Forecasts future growth in the number of smart home devices installed in American homes.
  • Analyzes the factors influencing the proliferation of voice control devices in the homes.
  • Identifies and analyzes the market strategies of various companies that have integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.

To get this report, subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

This report and more than 275 other expertly researched reports
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Amazon’s Fire TV Recast is discounted by $100 as an early Prime Day deal — it lets you watch and record live TV at home and on the go

Category : entrepreneur

It’s not an easy time to be a cable provider. As millions of people realize they only ever watch a tiny fraction of the channels in their cable package, they’re switching over to and relying entirely upon subscription-based streaming services in droves.

Though I haven’t had cable in six years, I do miss it sometimes. Most US adults, myself included, still prefer getting their news through TV, but none of my streaming subscriptions have local news channels. There’s also the thrill of watching sports games, awards shows, and reality talent competitions in real time with viewers across the country, not knowing exactly what’s going to happen next — which, again, is missing with streaming subscriptions.

Of course, there are live TV streaming options like Hulu Live and ESPN+, but they can cost hundreds of dollars a year, so the ultimate cost savings may be minimal.

In late 2018, Amazon began shipping out its solution, called the Fire TV Recast ($129.99+), a box that lets you watch and record live TV on your Fire TV, Echo Show, or phone. It’s another option to consider as you figure out what TV content you care most about watching and how you want to watch it. I got my hands on the Recast to see why you might want to add it to your home entertainment setup.

Here’s what you need to make the Fire TV Recast work and how to set it up:

In order to watch and record live TV, you’ll need the Fire TV Recast device, a Fire TV Stick or Fire TV Edition television, and an HD antenna. If you’re missing the last two devices, Amazon offers a bundle of all three.

As long as you follow the set up instructions closely and your devices (the Recast and the Fire TV stick or television) are all connected to the same network and account, your Recast should be up and running within half an hour.

The Recast unit and your HD antenna don’t have to be placed near your TV, which was a relief to find out since that area is often already cluttered enough. In fact, it’s better if your antenna is mounted on a window. The Recast itself isn’t too big, measuring 7.1″ x 7.1″ x 2.9″ and weighing 2.4 pounds.

The Fire TV app walks you through the set up process.
Amazon Fire TV

After the antenna scans for all the channels within its radius, you can start watching content on your TV or smartphone.

On your Fire TV, a new section, “DVR,” will automatically appear in the top menu bar.

Look for the DVR option in the main Fire TV menu.
Connie Chen/Business Insider

You can browse what’s currently on, what’s coming up ahead, and a list of your recorded shows.

The days of channel-surfing are back with this familiar-looking guide of scheduled programming.
Connie Chen/Business Insider

The app is also easy to navigate and record shows on. Whether you hit ‘record’ on your TV or phone, the recording will show up on both devices.

I loved being able to watch live and recorded shows from anywhere.
Amazon Fire TV

There are two storage sizes of the unit available: the 500 GB, which can record up to two shows at once and store up to 75 hours of HD programming, and the 1 TB, which can record up to four shows at once and store up to 150 hours of HD programming.

The interface isn’t perfect — for example, you can’t search for channels and shows directly or schedule recordings through the app. Overall, however, the viewing and recording experience is reliable and strong enough that I can live with these small drawbacks. Hopefully, Amazon has plans to update these features to make the product even better.

In the meantime, you’ll be able to watch the news and live events as they’re happening, record the ones you can’t catch live, favorite your most-watched local channels, and enjoy entertainment on your phone, all without paying a subscription.

Who should buy the Fire TV Recast? In short: Amazon and Fire TV fans who miss watching live, local TV.

Due to its seamless connection to the rest of the Amazon/Fire TV ecosystem, the Recast is a top option if you already own a Fire TV device. It’s as intuitive to navigate and integrates with the existing menu and your Amazon account.

I’m usually the person who stands on the sidelines and offers the occasional, non-committal murmur of support as others sweat their way through tech set-up, but even I found the process of setting up and using the Recast easy. The cost will be a one-time investment that pays for itself over time.

For a limited time during Prime Day, Amazon has discounted the Fire TV Recast: Get a 2-tuner Fire TV Recast for $100 off or a 4-tuner Fire TV Recast for $100 off. You can see more can’t-miss deals of Amazon Prime Day 2019 here and find all of our Amazon Prime Day 2019 coverage here.

Get the Fire TV Recast, (500 GB, 75 hours) for $129.99 here [$100 off]

Get the Fire TV Recast, (1 TB, 150 hours) for $179.99 here [$100 off]


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The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals Prime members can get starting today

Category : entrepreneur

Though Amazon’s annual sales extravaganza, Prime Day, isn’t until July 15, you can already start shopping some Prime Day deals today.

Every day leading up to Prime Day 2019, Prime members enjoy exclusive promotions and deals on Amazon products and services.

To shop these early deals and all Prime Day 2019 deals, you must be a Prime member. Sign up for a free 30-day trial here to get in on the Prime Day savings and try the many other benefits of a membership.

The following leaked Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals are available to Prime members only, now through Prime Day.

Products:

  • Fire TV Recast, $129.99 (originally $229.99) [You save $100]
  • myQ Smart Garage Door Opener and Amazon Cloud Cam, $99.98 (originally $189.40) [You save $89.42]
  • Echo Input, $14.99 (originally $34.99) [You save $20]
  • Up to 50% off Amazon brands, including AmazonBasics, Presto! household supplies, Goodthreads men’s shirts, Daily Ritual women’s styles, and Stone & Beam furniture
  • Up to 50% off Amazon Fashion clothing, shoes, and accessories from brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Reebok, and The Children’s Place
  • Up to 30% off household essentials
  • Up to 30% off Amazon Handmade products
  • Receive a $10 reward when you reload your Amazon.com gift card balance with $100 or more

Services:

  • Amazon Music Unlimited, first 4 months for $1 (originally $31.96) [You save $30.96]
  • Kindle Unlimited, first 3 months free (originally $29.97) [You save $29.97]
  • 50% off movie rentals from Prime Video
  • Audible, first 3 months for $4.95/month (originally $14.95/month) [You save $10/month]
  • Sign up for an annual Audible membership and get an Echo Dot for $0.99
  • AmazonFresh, $15 off orders of $35+ for new customers. Plus, save up to 40% off groceries.
  • Prime Book Box, first month for $13.99 (originally $19.99) [You save $6]
  • Unlock exclusive Legend and weapon skins for Apex Legends, and content from multiple EA SPORTS titles on Twitch Prime
  • Receive up to $25 in Amazon credits when you sign in and use the Amazon app for the first time.

The best early Amazon device deal is on the Fire TV Recast, a live viewing and recording box that works with a Fire TV device and TV antenna to bring you local channels at home and on the go. We reviewed the Fire TV Recast and found it was easy to set up and integrated seamlessly with our Amazon accounts and Fire TV. If you like watching local, live TV but don’t want to be saddled with yet another subscription, it’s an excellent one-time purchase to get your live TV fix — and only $130 through Prime Day.

The best early Amazon Prime Day deal is on the Fire TV Recast.
Amazon

These early Prime Day deals are a nice warm-up for the real event on July 15 and 16.

Make sure you’re fully prepared by learning how to make the most of Prime Day 2019, looking at what deals were most popular (and are likely to be featured again) last year, and finalizing your Lightning Deal-grabbing strategy.

Read all our Amazon Prime Day 2019 coverage here as the big day approaches, and bookmark our list of the best deals of Prime Day 2019 here.


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Rent the Runway is fixing one of its customers’ biggest complaints

Category : entrepreneur

Rent the Runway is solving one of its customers’ biggest complaints, with a new tool that will make it easier to cancel subscriptions.

On Monday, the trendy clothing rental service launched two new emails to allow customers to easily cancel or pause their membership. Now, customers can use cancel@rentherunway.com and pause@renttherunway.com emails to change their subscriptions.

“All subscribers’ pause and cancellation requests will be effective from the time they are requested through this email,” Rent the Runway representative Gabby Cohen told Business Insider.

The company is also working to develop new tools that make it easier to manage memberships, allowing them to cancel, pause or change their subscriptions on the app and online.

Previously, the only way to cancel or change subscriptions was by calling or emailing the Membership Concierge.

Read more: We used Rent the Runway Unlimited to rent $4,862 worth of designer clothes in a week

The change comes after a significant uptick in customer complaints regarding difficulties getting in touch with Rent the Runway, citing long wait times and a lack of response from the company.

Rent the Runway tweeted an average of 18 times per day in June, mostly responding to customers’ issues, up from 14 times a day in May, according to Thinknum data. The trendy clothing rental brand tweeted an average of just eight times per day in April, seven per day in March, and six per day in February.

In recent weeks, customers have complained on social media about hours-long wait times on the phone and waiting for days before they received a response from Rent the Runway’s concierge email.

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When Business Insider attempted to contact Rent the Runway’s customer service line last week, we were told that the wait would be more than an hour. An email to the concierge line sent on Thursday in an attempt to change a subscription did not receive a response until early Monday morning.

Rent the Runway launched a new Twitter account with the handle @RTRHelp to assist with customer service and social media complaints on Monday. Cohen said the company is also doubling the size of its customer experience team.

Cohen told Business Insider that recent issues are tied to the company’s growth. The company has had 180% year-over-year growth of customers returning directly to stores or drop-off boxes, which results in a shorter turn-around time.

Last week, Rent the Runway opened a new 300,000 square foot warehouse in Arlington, Texas, which will speed up service for West Coast customers. Physical drop boxes in cities including Miami, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York also speed up the pace of customers’ swaps.

Rent the Runway’s Unlimited services costs $159 a month for unlimited swaps on four clothing items. The Update subscription costs $89 per month, with customers having access to four items of clothing a month.

Rent the Runway reached unicorn status in March, hitting a $1 billion valuation after raising $125 million in funding. Rent the Runway is known for its robust logistics operation, as it works to swiftly ship and return outfits to its ten million members.


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Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are set to finalize their divorce this week — here’s what typically happens when billionaires break up

Category : entrepreneur

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, and wife MacKenzie Bezos have are set to finalize their divorce settlement this week. The couple, who has four children, filed for divorce in January following a trial separation after 25 years of marriage. They finalized the terms of their divorce in April.

A lot more was at stake for Bezos, the world’s richest man with a reported net worth of more than $157 billion, than there is in a typical divorce — as is often the case with high-net-worth couples.

“The major thing for billionaires is that most of the time, their assets are very complex and mostly illiquid — with Bezos, a lot of his assets are linked to Amazon stock,” Jacqueline Newman, a matrimonial law attorney who is a managing partner of Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd LLP, told Business Insider.

The Bezos’ state of residence, Washington, further complicates matters for Bezos’ Amazon holdings. It’s a community property state, which means wealth accrued during the couple’s marriage could be split in half, Karin J. Lundell, a matrimonial and trust and estate partner at Rower LLC, told Business Insider.

Such distribution could be altered if the Bezoses signed a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement, she said: “Often, very wealthy people have prenups that lay out the division of their property. A prenup can carve out certain things and say, ‘We’ll divide this up.'” TMZ previously reported that the couple did not have a prenup, citing “sources with direct knowledge” of the situation.

In a Twitter statement on April 4, Mackenzie Bezos said she’s granting Jeff Bezos all of her interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, and 75% of the Amazon stock co-owned by the pair and voting control over the shares she’s retaining.

Her remaining stake in Amazon is estimated to be worth about $38 billion at current prices, making her the third- or fourth-richest woman in the world, according to Forbes’ list.

Read more: There are 2 types of contracts married couples can sign to protect their money — here’s what it means if divorcing billionaires Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos never signed one

A fortune tied to company stock, like Amazon, complicates divorce for billionaire couples

Having a net worth tied to company stock is an issue billionaires like Bezos often have to contend with in a divorce. Deciding what to do can get tricky — you could transfer the stock itself, but if you do, you could lose control of the company depending on your stake, Newman said.

But running a company brings more issues for divorcing billionaires than the possibility of having to transfer or sell a stock to fund a settlement and possibly lose company control.

“Most of the time, it’s valuation issues — how to value assets in business,” Lundell said. “The publicly traded stocks are easy to value — you don’t want to sell because that causes fluctuation. Business interests that are harder to value and are more complex assets, The Washington Post, we don’t know the value of that.”

Read more: Billionaire couple Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos live in one of the best states in the US to get divorced if your spouse is loaded — here are the rest

With assets that are hard to value and hard to liquidate, divorce proceedings can take longer because there’s a more complex evaluation, according to Newman.

And for billionaires in the public eye, like Bezos, there’s also the issue of how the divorce will affect the company, Newman said: “They could be distracted or emotionally charged, there could be concern about whether there will be a transfer of actual shares and who’s running the company — stocks could go down.”

For high-net-worth people not tied to a company, such as an actor, their public image could be just as important, Newman added.

But for Bezos, she said: “The concern is the company and the shares. That’s the biggest issue. Beyond that, children are involved. When you’re dealing with people of these levels, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen, a lot of vested interest.”

  • Read more:
  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, announce they are divorcing
  • A look inside the 25-year marriage of the richest couple in history, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos — who met at work, were engaged in 3 months, and together owned more land than almost anyone else in America
  • We did the math to calculate how much money Jeff Bezos makes in a year, month, week, day, hour, minute, and second
  • See inside the secretive Seattle suburb that’s home to Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates, where streets are lined with opulent waterfront mansions behind tall gates and security cameras