The $52.4 billion Disney-Fox deal is not just about Netflix — it also has major ad-sales ramifications

the bold type freeform

  • Disney has announced a $52.4 billion media-industry-rocking deal to acquire a collection of assets from 21st Century Fox.
  • While 21st Century Fox’s content assets help Disney in its budding war with Netflix, don’t forget about ad sales.
  • The combined media entity immediately boasts a broader array of TV networks to sell to marketers, allowing it to command more clout in the market and deliver elaborate cross-network packages.
  • Fox’s ad team also helps nudge Disney ahead in data-driven ad sales, where it’s fallen behind, ad buyers say.

Disney has agreed to acquire 21st Century Fox’s film studio and a large chunk of its television production assets for $52.4 billion — a deal that alters the media landscape as we know it.

It helps Disney battle accelerated cord cutting, gives it an even bigger repository of content, and helps prepare it to take on Silicon Valley giants including Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple.

But less examined thus far is the fact that the deal would make Disney all the more attractive in the eyes of media buyers purchasing ads on behalf of marketers.

The package that Disney is buying includes Fox’s 39% stake in Sky across Europe, Star India, and a collection of pay-TV channels including FX and National Geographic. The deal also includes popular entertainment properties like X-Men, Avatar, and The Simpsons.

That represents a massive boost to Disney’s TV advertising portfolio, whose cable-channel assets have been limited to Freeform and the very niche (and mostly ad-free) Disney Channel.

“From a cable point of view, Fox brings in rich assets in the form of FX and National Geographic, an area in which Disney has so far been limited,” one TV ad buyer told Business Insider. “It sounds like a very synergistic compilation of companies and broadens its appeal to marketers.”

Jason Maltby, the president and co-executive director of national broadcast at Mindshare, agreed, saying that Fox presented Disney with a much broader range of networks to sell to giant advertisers. “From a marketplace standpoint, fundamentally what this does is that it allows Disney to become a bigger player in the cable arena,” he said.

The combined entity would also be able to provide advertisers more opportunities to purchase custom, complex ad packages that include a mix of TV and digital ads, said Jim Fosina, the founder and CEO of Fosina Marketing Group.

It also helps that the Disney-ABC TV Group reorganized earlier this year, laying the precedent for what comes ahead. The restructuring put ad sales for its entire portfolio, which includes ABC, Disney Channel, Freeform, and Radio Disney, under the company’s sales chief, Rita Ferro. Buyers expect Fox’s assets to be incorporated under Ferro as well.

“A consolidated Disney where they go to one place for all their needs is far more attractive to marketers,” a TV ad buyer added. “A broader portfolio and reduced competition also allows Disney to attempt to garner a higher premium.”

In other words, Disney now promises one-stop shopping and has set itself up to be one of the few big TV ad players left standing.

Ad buyers have been pushing for such streamlining for years, said Steven Piluso, the head of media and integration at Media Storm. He recalled having to go through numerous sales reps and silos within 21st Century Fox and News Corp, with it being common “to talk to eight to nine different reps to get a deal done.” Consolidation is welcome, he said.

A combined arsenal of Disney-Fox assets also enables marketers to chalk out larger-scale ad programs that could tap into Disney and Fox’s intellectual property — and its data.

For example, recently the Nissan Rogue was promoted in conjunction with “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” across Disney’s networks, stations, and shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” — and even on ESPN, which is typically run independently. Campaigns like that could become bigger and more common.

“They have more leverage in the marketplace, more insight into how budgets are allocated, and, ultimately, a tighter grip on the future,” Mindshare’s Maltby said.

That grip is strengthened by more data. Advertisers have increasingly pushed the TV industry to embrace elements of digital advertising — in terms of audience targeting using data and software — an area where Disney has been seen as lagging.

Fox recently formed a consortium with Turner and Viacom to launch OpenAP — through which advertisers can mix and match data sets to be used for ad targeting on multiple TV networks.

The deal brings Disney into that fold.

“Until this point, Disney could not have played in behavioral marketing,” Maltby said. “This really gives them the opportunity to play in that space and go beyond targeting based on gender and age and do it based on purchase behavior.”

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    This is the most successful age when Silicon Valley founders exit

    Zach Woods Silicon Valley

    • Many associate startup founders with young 20-somethings.
    • A presentation from researchers at The National Bureau of Economic Research found the average exit age of successful silicon valley startup founders was 47.

    When you think of successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who sell their startup or take it public, you’d be forgiven if you thought they were typically in their 30s, or even their 20s.

    The average exit age of successful Silicon Valley startup founders between 2007 and 2014 was actually 47. That’s according to to a post from July on Digitopoly by entrepreneurship professor Joshua Gans citing a paper from the NBER Summer Institute.

    Gans also quoted investor Paul Graham in a 2013 interview with The New York Times, who said, “The cutoff in investors’ heads is 32 … after 32 they tend to be a little skeptical.”

    With that mindset, investors could be missing out on golden opportunities. Indeed, the bright star of youth is certainly alluring, but nothing beats experience.

    Gans says the finding is from basic data results and the research is still developing, but it’s still worth the consideration of Silicon Valley investors who tend to gravitate toward younger entrepreneurs.

    SEE ALSO: The $13.7 billion Whole Foods buy has turned the whole world against Amazon — and we’ll see the sparks fly next year

    DON’T MISS: Here are the ages you peak at everything throughout life

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      The Disney-Fox deal could create a Hollywood giant (DIS, FOX)

      Disney’s plans to acquire most of the assets of 21st Century Fox could reshape Hollywood. Assuming the $52.4 billion deal goes through, the Mouse House will get the rights to the “Avatar” movies, full control over movies based on Marvel’s X-men characters, and the rights to distribute the original “Star Wars” movie. As we can see in this chart from Statista, Disney was already the top movie studio; adding on Fox’s assets should cement its lead.

      But the move is about more than movies. The deal includes Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu, which would make Disney the majority owner of the streaming service and put it in a good position to compete with Netflix.


      SEE ALSO: E-waste is a huge and growing problem — and the US is a big reason why

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        Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wore these strange shoes during a talk with Lloyd Blankfein — and broke a workplace style rule


        • Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wore a strange pair of black sandals during a talk with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.
        • In doing so, he broke one of the cardinal rules of dressing professionally.


        Jack Dorsey is known for his style prowess, but not even he can pull off flip-flop-style sandals in a work meeting.

        The Twitter and Square CEO wore the curious footwear, which left nearly his entire foot exposed, during a talk with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein at Twitter headquarters. A picture of Dorsey at the meeting in a pair of black sandals was tweeted by Twitter employee Brett Goldslager.

        We get it — Dorsey comes from the super-laidback San Francisco startup culture. But when the CEO of Goldman Sachs comes to your office, it might be time to at least cover your feet.

        Blankfein, who is accustomed to wearing a full suit for work and interviews, had to lose not just his jacket but also his tie to blend in with Twitter’s casual culture.

        Laidback dress codes are the norm now, but even they require standards. You shouldn’t subject your office mates to your potentially unsightly feet — even if you are their boss.

        “I would’ve sent out a press release but this (Twitter) is better.” @lloydblankfein

        — Brett Goldslager (@goldslager) December 13, 2017

        SEE ALSO: What not to wear to your office holiday party

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          Former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya: Uber is ‘the great American tragedy playing out’

          uber travis kalanick

          • Over the course of 2017, Uber went from one of the most admired companies in Silicon Valley to one of the most vilified.
          • Many executive heads have rolled including former CEO Travis Kalanick.
          • But investors also have responsibility in how a company is run, one famous VC and former Facebook exec argues. He applauds Uber’s biggest VC, Benchmark, for the drastic steps it took this year. 

          The wave of scandal and controversy that washed over Uber this year has been nothing short of spectacular. But the sad truth is, almost any Silicon Valley startup could be the next Uber.

          That’s because every startup is encouraged to begin operating with the same “growing at all costs” playbook that Uber relied on, says Chamath Palihapitiya, the outspoken founder of venture capitalist firm Social Capital. Palihapitiya is a successful VC whose firm has backed companies like Box, Slack, SurveyMonkey, Yammer. He’s trying to disrupt the VC world by doing things like investing in startups automatically, without ever meeting them and taking them public in a novel way, too.

          But Palihapitiya is perhaps best known as an early manager at Facebook who helped that company navigate through many of its own early-days of scandals. 

          He recently said he feels “tremendous guilt” about Facebook’s role in the world these days saying that social networks are “destroying how society works,” and adding, “In the back, deep, deep recesses of our mind, we kind of knew something bad could happen.” (Facebook shot back at Palihapitiya, noting that the company was much different when he left six years ago)

          Now, as a VC, he believes that while the CEO and executives should shoulder the blame for a startup’s questionable decisions, VCs also play a part. They fund the startups, sit on the boards and advise these CEOs. 

          Uber is the ultimate example. It’s fall from grace this year is “the great American tragedy playing out in a company,” Palihapitiya recently told Business Insider. 

          All startups must ‘grow at all costs’ – at first

          All successful company go through several chapters and the first chapter is always about survival, an “existential … I am going to die … fight or flight” stage, Palihapitiya says.

          In this first stage, “Everybody’s order is to grow at all costs,” he says. 

          Chamath Palihapitiya

          “Most companies fail because they’re run by people who do not have the wherewithal to fight through the fear [of failing].” 

          Uber was a “superb” example of how to find a market and grow, says Palihapitiya.

          But a chapter of success in the Valley is followed by one he calls “the fall.”

          “What you have to do in Chapter 2 is deal with the real world implications of Chapter 1,” he says.

          In Facebook’s early days, “there were a lot of moral implications. The big deal was related to privacy and an emerging understanding of information and the use of information for things like how to target ads.”

          He believes Facebook is still grappling with these implications. 

          For Uber, “It was not about data privacy issues, or issues with wages for drivers. They were dealing with fundamental safety/security issues for passengers and employees, a culture riddled with sexism and all sorts of behaviors people thought were utterly unacceptable.”

          As these issues came to light through press reports and lawsuits, Uber’s biggest investor Benchmark went to war within the company. It led an investor revolt that caused CEO Travis Kalanick to resign, and then it doubled down by suing Kalanick to try and block his potential return.

          They didn’t turn a blind eye in Chapter 2

          The lawsuit by Benchmark, a major Uber investor and board member, was an extreme measure, even by Silicon Valley standards. Many tech industry insiders wondered whether the move would tarnish Benchmark’s reputation and future business prospects among startups and entrepreneurs. 

          Bill GurleyBut Palihapitiya is adamant that Benchmark did the right thing. 

          “We can blame them [as board members] all day long, and chastise them for what was happening during the growth phase, but they were playing by a set of rules defined by everyone when you grow. But the important thing is they didn’t turn a blind eye in that Chapter 2,” he says.

          He adds,”When bad things are happening, it doesn’t matter what the economic incentive is, you have a moral obligation to stand up for what you believe,” Palihapitiya says.

          Suing a cofounder CEO may scare other startup founders away from working with Benchmark, Palihapitiya notes. “But I’m glad they did something because it would be morally reprehensible if they didn’t.”

          Uber is now in Chapter 3, the rebuilding phase. “And we are going to have to see. Can [new CEO] Dara [Khosrowshahi] really rewrite a culture where it’s almost as if there’s an entire population of people that corrupted what was acceptable and what was not?”

          Time will tell, Palihapitiya says. But one thing is for certain, the mentality that drove Uber to grow at all costs was not unique to Uber. Maybe Uber will serve as a warning sign to others. Then again, maybe it will be a beacon.

          SEE ALSO: An early Facebook exec explains why investing in startups without meeting them is the future of venture capital

          SEE ALSO: No one used to call Okta’s CEO before trying to squash his business — now Amazon and Google give him a heads-up and that’s ‘progress’

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            Here are the top 5 banks offering the mobile banking features consumers say they want most

            Top five pacesetters

            When it comes to offering cutting-edge mobile banking features that consumers most value, Wells Fargo tops the list, according to BI Intelligence’s Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study. Banks are increasingly putting mobile first to keep up with consumers’ growing reliance on digital channels, as a strong suite of mobile offerings can now give them a major edge in attracting customers.

            To help banks understand how to differentiate and win customers on mobile, we identified 33 key mobile banking features and ranked them based on how important consumers say those features are in choosing a new bank. Using this ranking, we evaluated the mobile offerings of the top 15 US banks and credit unions to select our 2017 Mobile Banking Pacesetters.

            Wells Fargo and USAA snagged the top spots. 

            Wells Fargo and USAA screenshots

            • Wells Fargo leads the pack. Despite the bank’s recent high-profile scandals, its digital team has managed to stay ahead in mobile. Wells Fargo scored top marks in the transfers, wallets, and security categories of our scorecard, and ranked first overall. Recently, the bank has added a number of new capabilities, including the ability to temporarily disable new cards, a Facebook chatbot in partnership with Kasisto, and the ability to use a smartphone in place of a card at an ATM. Rank: 1st. Overall score: 82 out of 100 points.
            • USAA follows with a close second. A military-serving bank without a branch network, USAA has built a sterling reputation for giving its customers, which it calls “members,” the best that digital channels have to offer. USAA led in the account access and artificial intelligence (AI) categories of our scorecard, and took the second spot in our broader ranking. The bank’s success is partly due to its provision of several features that many competitors have yet to offer, such as integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, as well as a swath of biometric features including face and voice recognition. Rank: 2nd. Overall score: 79 out of 100 points. 

            The rest of the top five are in close competition.

            Citi Bank of America USAA Screenshots

            • Bank of America’s commitment to digital is undeniable. Like USAA, Bank of America gained points for offering its 23 million mobile users rare features, such as cardless ATM access, the ability to re-order or disable a payment card in-app, and the ability to alert the bank to travel plans. Bank of America tied with Wells Fargo for first place in the security section, and tied for third overall. Rank: 3rd (tie). Overall score: 73 out of 100 points.
            • Citibank is reinventing itself as a digital-first bank. Citi is in the midst of a fundamental digital transformation — it launched 86 digital features in 2016, and is on track to deploy 800 more in 2017. The volume of features offered by the bank, including its range of biometric login options and the ability to order a replacement card via mobile banking, helped set it apart in this benchmark. Citi received top marks in the wallets section of the scorecard, thanks to its innovative mobile wallet Citi Pay, and tied for third overall. Rank: 3rd (tie). Overall score: 73 out of 100 points.
            • Capital One is pioneering next-generation digital banking experiences. Known for its commitment to a superior user experience, Capital One rounded out the top five in this scorecard with cutting-edge features that position it for the future of digital banking. Specifically, Capital One offers a conversational SMS chatbot and an integration with Amazon’s Echo device for voice-based banking. The bank tied with Wells Fargo and Citi for first in the wallets category of the scorecard, scored highest for social, and came in fifth overall. Rank: 5th. Overall score: 72 out of 100 points.

            BI Intelligence’s Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study ranks banks according to strength of their mobile offerings and offers analysis on what banks need to do to win and retain customers. The study is based on an August benchmark of what features the 15 top US banks offer, and a dedicated September 2017 study of 1,100 consumers on the importance of 32 cutting edge features in choosing a bank.

            The full report will be available to BI Intelligence enterprise clients in November. To learn more about this report, email Senior Account Executive Chris Roth ( BI Intelligence’s Mobile Banking Competitive Edge study includes: Bank of America, BB&T, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Fifth Third, HSBC, Key Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, SunTrust, TD, US Bank, USAA, and Wells Fargo.

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              Millennials are tracking their kids’ whereabouts and internet usage on their phones — here are the apps ‘parennials’ are obsessed with

              millennial parent young phone

              Millennials, roughly defined as being born between 1980 and 2000, have grown up with the internet. Now that older millennials are having kids, they’re also giving birth to countless new apps for parents like them.

              These apps can track a child’s whereabouts, internet usage, and even bowel movements on a smartphone.

              There’s a massive market for apps built with millennial parents — or “parennials” — in mind. The New York Times recently reported that more than 16 million millennial women are now mothers, according to Pew

              Here are the apps that parennials are obsessed with.

              SEE ALSO: A high-fashion apparel startup wants to create a better uniform for working women — and millennials are obsessed

              Winnie is a place for parents to connect and discover new things to do with their kids.

              People on Winnie help each other be more successful parents. They can ask questions and get recommendations about everything from sleep-training to local childcare, and browse and search a directory of family-friendly restaurants, shopping, and parks. It’s like Yelp for parents.

              Sara Mauskopf, who created Winnie as CEO, is an alumna of Google and a millennial mother. 

              Download the app »

              Life360 lets you keep tabs on your kid’s location.

              Life360 answers an age-old question: “Where are you?” The app enables parents to track their children’s whereabouts using GPS, and lets them save their favorite locations so that family members get automatic alerts when someone comes or goes. A chat feature allows family members to let the group know when they’re running late.

              Download the app »

              Cozi is a calendar for the digital-savvy family.

              There’s no shortage of calendar apps for your phone, but some parents say Cozi is the first you should try. Specifically designed for families, the app helps parents keep track of each family member’s (color-coded) individual calendar, shopping lists, and to-do lists all in one place.

              Users have the ability to add new events and lists and send reminders to ensure that no one misses a practice or an appointment.

              Download the app »

              See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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                How the scrappy TED conference became a juggernaut worth millions — and where it wants to go next

                ted chris anderson

                • TED, the media organization behind the popular ideas conference and video talks, is expanding.
                • The 33-year-old company has stayed out of politics for most of its existence, but as political tensions create a crisis of ideas, TED now has to figure out where it’s going next.
                • The first stop, beginning this month, is a new TV show in India. 

                “So, uh, politics,” Chris Anderson said as he paced across the stage in the Vancouver Convention Center. “Politics. Politics … How do I say this?”

                It was a Monday evening this past April, and Anderson was standing in front of a sea of attendees at the 2017 TED Conference, where nearly 2,000 executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities, artists, and scientists had descended for five days of thought-provoking talks. Anderson, TED’s director, was doing his best to address the elephant in the room.

                chris anderson

                In the three months since Donald Trump had been sworn in as president of the United States, nearly every news story and water-cooler chat had been tinged with political rhetoric. TED, an organization that says it’s set on remaining apolitical, was now thrust into the mix.

                Anderson said he was sick of politics, to which he received raucous cheers. Then he said what could become a guiding philosophy for TED: “This week, we’re not going to escape it entirely,” he said. “But we are going to do our best to put it in its rightful place.”

                A company on the rise faces a new reality

                TED started 33 years ago as a low-budget, in-person series of 18-minute talks. In the past decade, it’s grown into a $65 million juggernaut. All around the world, TED produces talks (available to watch online), podcasts, and books, offers fellowships and grants, and gives little-known speakers the chance to become industry leaders just by taking the TED stage.

                This month it’s launching its most ambitious project yet, “TED Talks India: Nayi Soch,” an eight-part TV series that will be broadcast in Hindi. It’s TED’s first non-English TV program, and it’s expected to reach millions of people.

                TED has hit an inflection point. The company was founded on the premise that fresh, innovative ideas can shape the future. But as social-media bubbles have made it easier to ignore ideas that don’t appeal to us, an increasing number of people seem uninterested in stepping out of their comfort zone. Whether it’s Trump’s election win or the UK’s Brexit, the world has shown signs of turning inward. TED’s success hinges on that not happening.

                TED graphics_fast facts

                Politics and TED can still be compatible

                In the wake of October’s Las Vegas Mandalay Bay massacre — the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history — political debates about gun control reopened and closed in a matter of weeks. But Anderson, seated in a quiet space at TED’s New York City headquarters a few weeks later, maintained that no topic, not even gun control, was too sensitive for the politically neutral TED stage.

                He recalled a recent trip to Vermont during which someone informed him that the state had one of the lowest murder rates in the US despite a high rate of gun ownership.

                “Maybe having the argument [on the TED stage] given by someone who loves guns, has hunted, and gets the pleasure and the appeal of them” would work better, Anderson said, “rather than the nanny wagging their finger at you and saying ‘No, you mustn’t.'”

                Serena Williams TED talk

                TED relies on a three-pronged test to determine if a talk is worth including in a conference lineup.

                The first is whether the talk gives people a fresh way of seeing the world. Anderson’s quintessential example is Barry Schwartz’s 2005 talk, “The Paradox of Choice,” in which Schwartz, a psychologist, suggested that people can be paralyzed by how much choice they have, not liberated by it.

                The second is whether the talk offers the audience a clever solution to a given problem, or the promise of a better future.

                The third is inspiration. The talk should express an idea in a way that compels people to act.

                TED graphics_video views

                The test has come to be even more crucial over the past few years. In a press call ahead of this year’s TED Conference, Anderson said that “ideas have never mattered more.”

                “We have this tool for bridging that allows any two humans to see the world a bit differently. Call the tool what you want: reason, discussion, sharing of ideas. It’s actually an amazing thing that it can happen at all,” Anderson told Business Insider. “The single most terrifying thing about the current moment is that we are throwing away that superpower and descending into more animal-like behavior.”

                A dinner party goes viral

                When designer and architect Richard Saul Wurman launched TED in 1984, he called it the dinner party he always wanted to have but couldn’t. Wurman united technology, entertainment, and design into one multiday event. He called it “TED.” (Wurman is a fan of cheeky acronyms. Recently, the 82-year-old hosted a dinner party called EAT, wherein conversation had to center on envy, admiration, and terror.)

                richard saul wurman

                Wurman and his assistant organized the first TED conference for 300 of Wurman’s closest friends and colleagues. If someone flubbed a line or lost their way entirely, Wurman, who sat onstage for every talk, would sometimes leave his chair and stand directly behind the speaker. It was his quiet way of saying, “Time to wrap things up.”

                Despite TED’s unveiling of the world’s first compact disc — quite the feat at the time — it wasn’t until 1990 that Wurman held his second conference. Gradually, the event began to attract bigger names and bigger audiences.

                “Steve [Jobs] would call me up at home and say, ‘What stuff do you want at the conference this year as far as equipment?'” Wurman recalled.

                Wurman sold the enterprise, in 2000, to Future PLC, a publishing company that Anderson had built into a media giant in the 1990s. Through his personal nonprofit, the Sapling Foundation, Anderson bought TED from Future PLC in 2001 for $6 million. The company has stayed under Anderson’s watch since.

                Under Anderson’s stewardship, TED has grown into a bona-fide kingmaker.

                “It’s not an exaggeration to say my life very much divides itself into pre-TED and post-TED,” Sarah Kay, a spoken-word poet, told Business Insider. Kay’s 2011 talk, “If I Should Have a Daughter,” has amassed 10.5 million views since it hit the TED site. “I’m very much aware that my career would not be what it is had that video not gone online.”

                simon sinek

                Leadership expert and author Simon Sinek said TED has given a similar golden touch for his career. When Sinek’s 2009 TEDx talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” was uploaded to the TED site, it coincided with his first book, “Start With Why,” which has gone on to sell nearly a million copies and has seen rising sales every year since the talk was uploaded. At 34 million views, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is the third-most-viewed TED talk of all time.

                “All of our careers have been catalyzed thanks to TED,” Sinek told Business Insider, referring to the site’s top-viewed speakers. “When you hang out backstage at TED now, the anxiety is palpable. People truly believe it’s this make-or-break thing for their careers.”

                Even people who are already famous when they hit the TED stage feel this pressure. Author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell gave his first TED talk in 2004. He chose as his topic the mystery of creating the perfect spaghetti sauce.

                “I was very nervous, and in fact I never liked that talk because I lose my way halfway through,” Gladwell told Business Insider. “It’s kind of obvious if you watch it. To me, it’s painfully obvious.”

                amy cuddy power posing

                TED-driven fame doesn’t always lead to positive outcomes.

                In 2012, Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy gave a talk called “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” It hinged on a 2010 study in which she found standing like Wonder Woman boosted testosterone and lowered stress.

                Almost overnight, “power posing” became a life hack for millions. But as Susan Dominus recently reported for The New York Times Magazine, a movement among psychologists looking to highlight flaws in research has since discredited Cuddy’s 2010 study.

                The prominence Cuddy gained from TED made her an easy scapegoat, Dominus wrote. In the spring Cuddy left her tenure-track job at Harvard.

                Getting bigger has brought new challenges

                Anderson saw the TED acquisition as his big second chance to deliver these kinds of inventive ideas to millions, if not billions, of people. By 2006, he had broadened its scope so that religious leaders, artists, life coaches, poets, and other bright minds could join original stars like Jane Goodall and Stewart Brand on the TED stage. The son of two missionaries, Anderson also bestowed upon TED a subtitle: “ideas worth spreading.”

                TED is now a household name in educated, urban pockets of the US and beyond. At TED’s home office, a counter projected on to the server-room door shows a live feed of the day’s video views. Shortly after lunch on a recent October visit, the counter had already reached 1.3 million. The most popular talk — Sir Ken Robinson’s “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” — has been viewed more than 61 million times.

                But as it’s gotten bigger TED has seemed to at times struggle to maintain oversight at its conferences and offices. Several attendees of the 2017 TED Conference said they’d been sexually harassed or groped, according to The Washington Post

                Casting a broader net has also invited critics who take issue with what TED has become. In 2013, Benjamin H. Bratton, an associate professor of visual arts at the University of California at San Diego, gave a TEDx talk in which he argued that TED doesn’t actually inspire people to think or behave differently.

                He called the platform “middlebrow megachurch infotainment” and suggested TED is complicit in “dumbing down the future.” In a 2014 New York Times profile of Anderson, David Hochman called TED “the Starbucks of intellectual conglomerates.”

                Sinek defended TED’s emphasis on simplifying complex topics as one of the reasons TED exists in the first place.

                “That’s the idea,” he said. “If ideas are so complex that nobody can ever hear them, then what’s the value to the general population? But if we can learn to communicate our ideas in ways that people can understand them, isn’t that a good thing? Many academics hate TED because they’re the ones who didn’t get TED famous.”

                Giving videos away for free isn’t cheap

                The company’s main TED Conference is held every year in Vancouver and remains its flagship moneymaker. Capped at 1,800 attendees — or “TEDsters” if they are regulars — the event features five days of nonstop activity.

                Many academics hate TED because they’re the ones who didn’t get TED famous.

                Titans of the tech, science, art, design, and entertainment world attend TED for the chance to adjourn, however briefly, to a brighter future. Access to this future isn’t cheap. Tickets cost $8,500 and up, and the high price has rankled some who say TED is hypocritical for spreading ideas only to those wealthy enough to hear them. At the 2017 event, branded partner BMW let people test-drive new high-end models. Lululemon provided an indoor pod for meditation and yoga.

                Anderson said he’s trying to structure the 2018 conference so that more of a general audience can attend, perhaps through a lottery system. And he defended the cost of admission as a way to bring TED talks to a broad audience. “They’re the people who are actually paying for us to spend literally tens of millions of dollars every year on a website that distributes these talks to the world,” he said.

                An evolving company figures out what’s next

                Anderson’s goal is to allow the 3 to 5 billion people expected to come online by 2020 to draw inspiration from TED. He called this digital migration “the most extraordinary social experiment we’ve seen in history.”

                “There just hasn’t been a time when a girl in a remote village or a boy in a slum who is unemployed and angry and trying to figure out what to do with his life, can actually have, 18 inches from their eyeballs and plugged into their ears, some of the most inspiring speakers and mentors,” he said.

                Attracting that new audience comes with a new set of quandaries. It means thinking about how to bring TED’s ideas to people who don’t speak English, can’t access technology, or may want to hear certain ideas at critical moments.

                “There were a number of talks we shared in the wake of the events in Charlottesville,” said Colin Helms, TED’s head of media, referring to the August riots that took place in Virginia between white-supremacist groups and counterprotesters. “We’re always sensitive to not taking a political stance, but we also have an obligation to share ideas that we think will empower and help people, particularly in times of need or the world is in a sense of disarray, wherever that may be.”

                Bill and Melinda Gates TED

                Expanding TED also means considering future speakers even more carefully.

                There will always be the marquee stars Anderson wants to get, like astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson (who has yet to accept an invite). But for the young person living in a slum, Anderson said, “How do we find the person who will speak to them and will give them what they need?”

                The clearest sign TED is making good on its global mission is the December launch of “TED Talks India: Nayi Soch,” its first foreign TV series. Broadcast in Hindi with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan as its host, the series will air on India’s largest TV network, Star Plus. The network reaches 650 million people.

                Juliet Blake, the executive producer of the series, said the program would consist of eight one-hour shows, each with a different theme. The talks were developed with the TED team in English and then translated to Hindi for the stage.

                TEDTalks India

                Khan, one of India’s icons, said the global crisis of ideas has reached India. 

                “This kind of show, at this time in the world, is an encouragement to people,” Khan told Business Insider. “If you’ve got a simple idea, let’s exchange it. Let’s not get chained to the thoughts that are pervading or being talked about around us.”

                According to Blake, TED wanted to make a focused effort to emphasize equality in the Indian series, so the company appointed women to roughly half the lineup spots. Many of the talks become quite intense, Blake said.

                During a talk on violence against women, “I looked at the audience, and so many of the women in the audience were crying,” Blake said. When the woman finished her talk, Blake said, she rushed out of the control room and down four flights of stairs to meet her as she got offstage. The audience was on its feet. Khan was in tears.

                “It started off as a brilliant talk,” Blake said. “But it became something more than a TED talk. I think it will be life-changing for many women in India.”

                TED graphics_fast facts TEDx

                Future unknown, but exciting

                As TED has grown into a public-facing behemoth over the past three decades, it’s been forced to reevaluate what kinds of responsibilities it has to the people who catch wind of its ideas.

                TED’s role as global ideas curator comes with an open-ended future, and it’s a matter of ongoing discussion inside the company, Helms said.

                Even though the world is engulfed in a crisis of ideas, Anderson said people still crave rational, lucid insight into issues related to their basic livelihoods and ongoing challenges. He brought up the rise of artificial intelligence and wealth inequality as two examples.

                “When you can have 2 billion customers two years after starting up a business, that’s a recipe for a few people getting extraordinarily wealthy — and then what?” Anderson said. “What happens next? We don’t have answers to that yet, so I’m definitely interested in that.”

                SEE ALSO: 32-year-old investor with ties to Elon Musk wants to upend America with a crazy utopian plan for the future

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                  The most captivating aerial photos taken of Earth from the sky this year

                  aerial earth

                  From the on-the-ground perspective, Earth is pretty stunning.

                  But that view is limited.

                  Take to the skies and you can see the world in entirely new ways.

                  These are some of the most stunning aerial photos that Reuters photographers took of life on Earth over the past year.

                  Cities peek through clouds of smog, forests smolder as they burn, and rivers flow through the Australian outback.

                  Check out some of the most amazing perspectives of Earth from above captured in 2017.


                  SEE ALSO: These are 15 of the best photos scientists took in 2017 — and they show the world in stunning ways

                  A rainbow of bicycles sits at a parking lot in Shanghai, China.

                  Agents of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources burn forest to combat illegal logging in the state of Amazonas, Brazil.

                  A machine tries to clear a road across the Sognefjellet mountain in Krossbu, Norway.

                  See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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                    Seattle might be the next San Francisco — here’s how the two major tech hubs compare

                    San Francisco

                    Seattle and San Francisco have been at the epicenter of the west coast’s tech boom since the dot-com era.

                    Today, both cities are home to some of the most influential companies in tech: Seattle with Microsoft and Amazon, and San Francisco with Twitter, Airbnb, Lyft, and Uber. 

                    As the tech industry’s influence continues to grow, San Francisco and Seattle have faced comparison in recent months. If you work in tech, which city would make a better home? Here’s an overview of how the two metropolises compare:

                    SEE ALSO: The 50 best-paying big companies, according to employees

                    It’s more expensive to live in San Francisco than Seattle.

                    It’s estimated that living in San Francisco will cost you nearly a quarter more than living in Seattle, and San Francisco’s housing costs aren’t expected to wane anytime soon.

                    Seattle’s housing costs are on the rise, but they’re not expected to supersede San Francisco’s pricey housing anytime soon.

                    Average monthly rent for a one bedroom in Seattle will run you around $1,300, as opposed to San Francisco’s estimated $2,000 for a bedroom in a house with roommates. And don’t expect to purchase property in either city: Both of these coastal tech meccas have very little real estate on the market. While it doesn’t look like Seattle’s housing costs will eclipse San Francisco’s anytime in the near future, the city’s housing market is skyrocketing. 

                    Prefer a mild climate but hate the rain? Head to the Bay.

                    San Francisco enjoys mild temperatures year round with the thermostat usually hovering around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

                    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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